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Forecast 2010: Bulletin looks at issues to come in new year

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Forecast 2010: Bulletin looks at issues to come in new year
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

The year 2010 promises to be another interesting one for the community. The Woodbury Bulletin editorial staff presents a rundown on some of the most important issues we expect to follow in the year ahead:

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THE ISSUE: 2010 will mark the first year that East Ridge High School will have its full student population, complete with seniors.

• WHY IT MATTERS: This past year ERHS has missed out on some of the traditions associated with high school -- homecoming, prom and graduation -- but the 2010-2011 school year will see that change with the addition of seniors.

"The addition of seniors will give East Ridge a sense of completeness they're probably lacking right now," said District 833 superintendent Mark Porter. "This interim year will be over with and they will see a more complete picture and see more fully the effect of new opportunities for students."

Next year will also see Woodbury High School and Park High School go back to manageable numbers after having a large senior class this year.

"A full compliment of students at East Ridge gives us a normal compliment of students at our other schools," Porter said.

• KEY DATE: Come next September, ERHS, WHS and PHS will see their student populations shift.

• WHO IS INVOLVED: The next school year will mostly be in the hands of the students since they are the ones who will determine the feeling within the school.

The coming school year could potentially see an increased sense of identity within the schools, said Porter, since next year's seniors will be this year's juniors and those students already have a stake in the school.

"They've gotten their feet on the ground, not only without seniors, but with a slightly smaller student body," Porter said. "Next year's seniors are simply this year's juniors so they will be very familiar with and accustomed to the building."

- Amber Kispert

THE ISSUE: The 2010 elections

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: This is a big year for state and local elections.

At the state level, Democrats and Republicans who want to be Minnesota's next governor already have been campaigning for months. Voters also will fill the state's other constitutional offices - lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and auditor.

There is no U.S. Senate race - perhaps to the relief of voters still exhausted from the prolonged 2008 contest.

Locally, Democrats are trying to hold onto three legislative seats. There are announced challengers to Sen. Kathy Saltzman and Reps. Marsha Swails and Julie Bunn.

It will be Saltzman's first re-election bid and second for both Swails and Bunn.

"To regain a seat is always tough, but we're definitely going to try hard to regain them," said Ted Harasyn, vice-chairman of Senate District 56 Republicans.

Democrats like their chances.

"We have three good candidates that are running for office that have good records for the people of Senate District 56," said David Baudette, DFL district chairman.

Republicans are optimistic about electoral gains at the federal level, but Harasyn said he does not know whether that will translate into local GOP victories.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican whose district includes Woodbury, has a big target on her back. Two Democrats are vying to run against her.

Voters also will fill Washington County commissioner posts - Lisa Weik, who represents much of Woodbury, and Bill Pulkrabek, whose district includes a slice of Woodbury, are seeking re-election. Commissioner Myra Peterson of Cottage Grove wants another term, too.

Woodbury mayor and two city council seats also will be on the ballot.

KEY DATES: The election year gets rolling with political caucuses on Feb. 2. Then, local endorsing conventions will take place leading up to state party conventions in April. Minnesota voters likely will see an August primary election, because a new federal law requires more time between elections to handle overseas and military ballots than Minnesota's traditional September primary allowed.

The general election is Nov. 2.

WHO IS INVOLVED: You, the voter, and a slew of candidates.

- Scott Wente

THE ISSUE: Woodbury Public Safety building expansion

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Plans have been in the works for more than five years to update and expand the city's public safety building on the southwest corner of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road. The building, which once housed the city hall on the ground floor and the police department in the basement, now belongs entirely to the public safety department, which is made up of police, fire and emergency medical services. Construction of parking garage is planned to store the department's 40-some vehicles, most of which are currently housed in the rear parking lot. The addition of a parking garage and a full-sized training room that can double as an emergency operations center are included in the plan along with upgrades to heating and ventilation in the building which is more than 30 years old.

The city included the expansion plan in its 2010-2014 capital improvement plan that the city council approved last year.

KEY DATES: Ground breaking for the expansion is hoped for by fall this year, said Capt. Jay Alberio, who has been with the public safety department for almost 25 years.

"My dream has always been to see some type of indoor parking for the (squad cars)," said Alberio, who has been working on development of the expansion with public safety director Lee Vague.

Alberio said the indoor parking is most needed during the winter, to minimize the wear and tear that the cold climate has on equipment in the vehicles.

WHO IS INVOLVED: Woodbury Public Safety officials will present their finalized site plan to the city council later this year. The department is in the process of working with an architect on drafting the plan

- Hank Long

More on the Woodbury Bulletin's "Forecast 2010" is available in the Wednesday, Jan. 6 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.

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