2010 could be a great year

Published 12:16 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

It was an eventful 2009 in Mower County, with the downtown fire, the June tornado and the deadly tour bus crash topping the list. There was also the Curt Rude trial, Rude’s lawsuit against the school district and the Austin soccer team reaching the state tournament. It will be interesting to see what 2010 has in store for Austin — I’m betting another year filled with newsworthy events — both the good and the bad.

Here’s my list of what I’m looking forward to in the New Year.

1) Spring.

Sorry, we just finished a week of subzero temperatures, and as I’m writing this it’s 14 below outside. While 50 degrees was cold this summer, it sounds pretty good right now. April can’t come soon enough.

2) The special election to fill the 5th District Commissioner’s seat.

Left vacant after the recent death of David Tollefson, seven candidates eye this important seat of county government. The race should be a good one.

3) The completion of the Mower County Jail and Justice Center.

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay, and I’m eager to see what the inside looks like when it’s all finished.

4) Progress downtown.

With the help of the Main Street Project, this section is growing into an attractive centerpiece for Austin. Hopefully that will continue in 2010 and finding a solution to the empty lots left by last year’s fire would also be nice.

5) What happens with the economy.

Fortunately for Austin, the unemployment rate hasn’t followed national trends. However, the economic crisis has still hit local residents and business owners. It should be a slow recovery, but a slow recovery is better than none this year at all.

6) The Winter Olympics.

I’ve mention before in this column that I was able to attend the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002. I’ve always been a fan of both the summer and winter games, and Vancouver should do a great job as host city.

7) Progress in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both conflicts seemed to get worse instead of better in 2009, especially the latter. Let’s hope the trend ends this year.

8) The World Cup.

I played youth soccer from the age of 5 to 15 and scored 21 goals in the season when I was 10. Every four years, the world’s best teams play this great game in one location. It’s good stuff, and I find it fun to watch.

9) The state fair.

Last year — in a matter of five hours — I ate a bacon on a stick, a bucket of fries, a diet coke (go figure), an ice cream cone, a Spam hotdog, a deep fried twinkie and a some cod cakes for lunch. Is it summer yet?

10) The unexpected

You never know what life will bring from one year to the next. That’s part of what makes it great.