Citizens

No Matter What the Bottle Tells You, Do Not Share a Coke with ...

- your computer
- your left ear
- your dreams
- shag carpeting
- most of Bob Dylan
- Antonio. If the Coke bottle wants you to share with Antonio, don't! If Antonio begs, still do not share with him. He'll get petulant about it - trust me - and then you can point out that his petulance is a big reason why you won't share with him. If he persists, tell him it's because I said so. That'll shut him up, because his past actions are not to be forgiven. Not yet. And, despite his bluster, he knows why and likely accepts that he brought this harm unto himself. So, no Coke for Antonio. None.
- any product of exhumation
- chalk
- the unreachable horizon
- your friend's pants
- all prime numbers
- Antonio, still no
- your manta ray
- the rest of Bob Dylan
Categories: Citizens

Soil Test Results

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:35am

Almost every garden book starts with the admonition to “get a soil test.” I hate to admit it but in nearly two decades of active gardening, I have never had one — until this summer.

Some of my vegetable garden boxes have not been performing as well as I thought they should be over the past couple of years. When one area of the garden looks bad and the rest look OK (or better than OK), then soil may well be the problem. I had a coupon for $2 off the standard University of Minnesota soil test courtesy of the Hennepin County Master Gardeners’ Learning Tour, which I went on in July. So, I got out my trowel and collected samples of the soil from a couple of places in the boxes, and took it down to the soil test office at the U’s St. Paul campus. Within a week, I got the results back in the mail.

The results were both surprising and not. In the “not surprising” category, I found out that my soil is a bit alkaline. It has a pH of 7.1, which is slightly high. The ideal pH for growing vegetable is 6.0 to 6.5, some say 7.0. It might be hard to lower the pH much because the water in our area is very alkaline (like 7.5 to 8.0) and that’s the water I use on the garden. Plants generally grow well up to a pH of 7.5, so I likely won’t try to adjust this much. I may see if I can find some more acid mulches (such as pine needles) and use those in the vegetable garden.

Also “not surprising” is that the soil has adequate levels of nitrogen and a high percentage of organic matter — 10.5 percent, which is pretty good though lower than the 19 percent required to have “organic soil.” My potassium levels are in the normal range at 158 parts per million.

What struck me as surprising was the extremely high levels of phosphorous in the soil. The report did not list an exact number but my soil has more than 100 parts per million of phosphorous. A “very high” reading is 25 parts per million. What does that mean? Well, according to this university article, it may mean the composts and manures that I have added to the garden were high in phosphorous. I do use a lot of compost and it generally comes from my own yard or the city compost pile. I’ve also added aged chicken manure to this garden in the past. This University of Wisconsin article on soil tests says that high phosphorous readings are not uncommon in urban soils and that it’s best to avoid “balanced” fertilizers, which most organic fertilizers are.

The U of M recommended that I use a fertilizer with no phosphorous and more nitrogen than potassium. (The exact ratio recommended for me was 30-0-20—that’s nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium or NPK—for you fertilizer geeks.) I’ve done a bit of online searching and most fertilizers with that rating are commercial fertilizers designed for golf courses or other turf-heavy spots.  I’ll be looking over the winter for some low-phosphorous options, preferably organic.

Phosphorous is not bad per se. It’s vital for root growth, for instance, but too much phosphorous can promote weed growth (yep!) and lead to stunted plants. Apparently too much phosphorous can also affect plants’ abilities to take in zinc and calcium, which are essential nutrients for vegetable crops.

My plan was to spread a lot of leaf compost that I made this summer over the vegetable gardens this fall. I’ll be doing some more research to see if that is still a good idea. I’ll also be taking soil samples from some of my other garden beds. Knowledge is power, as they say, and the more you know about your garden, the better you can tend it.

Have you ever had a soil test?

 

 

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Categories: Citizens

Silica Sand Mining 1,000 ft setback from Public Waters

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:58pm

At long last, here it is — only took a gazillion phone calls, emails, and finally a Data Practices Act Request…

TA-DA!!!

The Goodhue County Silica Sand Mining Ordinance 1,000 foot set back from Public Waters:

1000_BlufflandEco_MEFsetback – BIG map, can enlarge for great detail!

Categories: Citizens

My Comments on Goodhue Co.’s Solar Ordinance

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:25pm

Last night was the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Committee.  On the Agenda was the new Solar Ordinance, something we need to get moving on, but which needs work.

Here are the Comments I sent, though not until 2:50 p.m. yesterday:

Cover_and_Overland_Comments

FERC Order Terminating GIAs  ER14-1719-000_H061

FERC Order Terminating GIAs ER14-1684-000-5_H062

There was an open house before hand, and then the PAC meeting and a hearing on it.  This was a noticed “Public Hearing,” the purpose of which is to take comments on the Proposed Ordinance, not the price of solar, or interesting new designs, but on their proposed Ordinance.  There were a few commentors, most of whom had energy infrastructure siting experience.  Everyone was on point and specific, and it didn’t last all that long.

Bernie Overby was being his usual inciteful self — someday soon, Bernie, we’ve got to have a chat about what your nephew is hauling with the lime green large car and that shiny steel trailer.

But in deliberations and discussion, Dan “Wrongzigel” started with a low key rant about the number of comments and the detail (hello?  We’re supposed to be commenting on the specific Ordinance, anything else would be off point!) as if that’s a problem, and then goes off about the U.S. Constitution and how it’s vague, doesn’t even specify the number of Supreme Court justices, and then there’s Russia trying to control everything down to the last detail, “and guess who’s still around.”  So was the implication that attention to detail means collapse, that we commentors are Communists, that there’s too much information for him to handle, too much effort to fill in the blanks, that considering issues raised might slow down his steamroller, or ??  What do you mean, Dan?

And these comments from a teacher who “teaches classes such as Honors American Government… [who] takes great pride in bringing government into his classrooms.“  Wrongzigel’s taken some notes and proceeds to diss almost every comment, one by one, waving it away with his hand, towards Bernie, saying “we can deal with that in the CUP.”  And he even argued against setting some guidelines for how much ag land could be taken out of production by saying,”we’re for preserving agriculture, not preserving ag land.”  This, Mr. Wrongzigel, is a topic for some discussion — what exactly do you mean?  What’s the race to get this Ordinance through?  Whose interest are you representing?

And Dan, on August 18, 2014, looking at the state of our Constitution, can you really “guess who’s still around.”

Yeah, right, Dan, look around… our Constitution has been shot full of holes…  Yesterday was not the day to make such a bizarre statement!

Categories: Citizens

Mastic’s H061 & H062 Interconnection Agmts TERMINATED

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:45pm

Peter Mastic, a/k/a New Era Wind, and Peter J. Mastic Holdings, LLC, has apparently been trying to leverage his MISO Interconnection Agreements into some sort of advantage as a proposer of a solar project in Goodhue County.

DOH!  That won’t work — MISO went to FERC and requested that Mastic’s Interconnection Agreements for MISO queue projects H061 and H062 be terminated.  “New Era” vigorously defended its Interconnection Agreements, and against claims it had not paid requisite costs.  Oh well, that didn’t fly.  FERC complied and issued the orders a couple months ago.  H061 and H062 are TERMINATED!

FERC Docket No. ER14-1719-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H061

FERC Docket No. ER14-1684-000_Order – TERMINATION of Interconnection Agmt H062

So given the public nature of these Terminations, and MISO requests to FERC for termination which Mastic was obviously aware of, what would you call statements claiming that these Interconnection Agreements and spots on the MISO queue are Mastic’s asset, or that they could be used for any purpose?  Hmmmmmm…

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: August 18, 2014

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 6:20pm

Categories: Citizens

Latest version of PUC draft rules

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 9:48am

We’re working on the revisions of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rules for Certificate of Need (Minn. R. Ch. 7849) and for Routing/Siting (Minn. R. Ch. 7850), and it’s OH SO PAINFUL and tedious.  But this is where it happens — the rules developed here will be presented to the PUC to release for public comment and adoption — and once they’re released, they can’t adopt rules that are significantly different, so realistically, there won’t be major changes.  It’s now or never… this is where participation matters.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, August 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Commission’s Large Hearing Room in the Metro Square Building, located at 121 Seventh Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101. The PUC will provide refreshments.

FINAL MEETING – Wednesday September 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Please take a look at these rule drafts and send in your comments.  Here are the latest drafts.

August 13 Draft 7849

7850 July 8 draft

August 13 Ch. 7850 comparison

The next meeting is this Wednesday, so not much time for review and comment.  Comments can be sent to kate.kahlert [at] state.mn.us and/or posted in the PUC’s Rulemaking Docket, 12-1246.  To see what all has been filed in that docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS PAGE and search for 12-1246 (“12″ is the year, “1246″ is the docket number).

Categories: Citizens

Happy Eighth Birthday, Vivi

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:28am

Today, Vivi turns eight! What a roller coaster these years have been, and what a marvelous person she is today!

Categories: Citizens

Part 1 of ‘Holding a Line’ video series now available

Mountain Bike Geezer - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:21am

Finally! Part 1 of my new ‘holding a line’ video series is now available. Subscribers to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills newsletter get it for a special price this week.

And as you can see here, there are other advantages to being a subscriber.

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribers to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills newsletter get:

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blogs.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Categories: Citizens

Goodbye, Beast!

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:21am

My attempt to sell the Beast was successful. Within a couple days of putting it up for sale, several people wrote to ask me about the bike, and one guy checked it out on Monday.

I figured Dave was serious, since he was willing to come down from Minneapolis to ride the machine, and he was: he asked good questions, told me he was planning to do a 24-hour cycling race that weekend, and best of all eagerly roared off toward the nearest gravel roads. About a half hour later, he came back grinning and splattered in mud. He handed over cash for the bike, I helped him pack the bike into his car, and away he went, a new fatbiker.

For the first time in almost two years, I don’t own a fatbike. That’ll change on Wednesday, when I go to pick up this beauty from my friend Ben. I’m eager to ride it and name it and race it. I’ve got big plans for us.

Categories: Citizens

Choice Cards Strike Again

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 3:42pm

We don’t do a lot of collection development in my department, but every once in a while I’m glad we still get choice cards. Otherwise how would my colleague have learned about this exciting new resource!

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: August 11, 2014

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 08/10/2014 - 7:52pm

Categories: Citizens

Dairy-Free Basil Gelato

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 5:44pm

Dairy free basil gelato — lime, coconut, basil, yum.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Julie introduced me to Basil Gelato, a creamy, delicious mix of milk, cream, eggs and sugar flavored with lots of whirled up basil from the garden. You can read the recipe through the Notes from Northern Gardener blog. The one problem with the gelato was the color was just a bit too close to Army green.

I wanted to play with the recipe and also see if I could make a version that was dairy free for all my lactose-intolerant friends and relatives. Since the original recipe called for cream, the natural dairy-free replacement was coconut milk. I tempered that with some almond milk and added lime because coconut, basil and lime go so well together in Thai foods. To deal with the color issue, I decided to steep the basil in the ice-cream base rather than whirl it in a blender. The result is just slightly green and totally delicious.

Dairy-Free Basil Gelato

Ingredients

1 can (13.6 ounces) coconut milk (NOT low-fat)

1 cup almond milk

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

2 cups basil leaves

1 lime (used for zest and juice)

Method

Rinse and dry the basil leaves and set aside. In a sauce pan, mix the coconut and almond milks and 1/2 cup sugar and set them on a low heat to warm. In a bowl, mix the four egg yolks, vanilla, salt and 1/4 cup sugar and beat with a whisk (or a mixer) until they are lighter in color and thickened slightly. When the milk mixture begins to steam, ladle about 1/4 cup at a time into the egg yolk mixture to bring the temperature up slightly. After about three ladles, you can add the eggs to the milks and continue to cook the custard, stirring regularly. After about 8 minutes, the mixture will be thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add the basil leaves. Let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes as the gelato base cools.

When it is cooler, add the zest and juice of a lime. Then strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the basil leaves. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool even more. If you have an ice cream maker, get it out and set it up. When the mixture is cool, add it and process until you have gelato. If you do not have an ice cream maker (I don’t), pour the cooled mixture into an 8×8 inch pan that you have lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Put it in the freezer and take it out every 30 minutes and stir it up to mix the icy bits around. In about two hours, it will be frozen and close to ice cream texture. You can cover the pan with plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer until it’s time to serve.  When you serve it, set it out on the counter for about 10 minutes to thaw before scooping.

This would be great as dessert after any spicy meal.

 

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Categories: Citizens

Throwback Thursday

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 9:06pm

Vivi and I spent quite a bit of the second half of July working on this 500-piece puzzle. She was a good partner.

Working on this monster took me back to working on giant puzzles with my great aunts Mayme Leppanen and Selma Palojarvi in Ironwood Township, Michigan, when I was about Julia’s age.

Categories: Citizens

Minnesota State Fair Potted Plant Show

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 3:55pm

Cacti on display at the Minnesota State Fair potted plant show.

I’m not much of a houseplant or cacti grower, but I sure admire people who can keep a plant healthy and lush through the winters in our harsh climate. That’s one reason I usually stop by the MSHS Potted Plant, Cactus and Succulent Show at the Minnesota State Fair.

This year’s show will be held the first two days of the fair, Aug. 21 and 22, and now is the time to get your entries ready. The show features categories for growers of everything from African violets to patio petunias, orchids, coleus, roses, begonias, all types of succulents from aloe to sedum, figs, cacti of all kinds and dozens of other species. See the entry information for a complete list of categories.

Not flashy, but a beautiful and healthy looking plant.

Entrants should bring their plants to the Horticulture Building at the Minnesota State Fair before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Judging will be done that evening, with ribbons awarded for each category. Judges may also name a Grand Champion and Reserve Champion as well as special awards for exceptional entries.

The show is open to the public during the first two days of the fair, Aug. 21 and 22. It’s well worth a visit for any plant enthusiast.

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  3. State Fair Gardens If you go to the Minnesota State Fair this weekend,...
Categories: Citizens

Zip Rail comment period extended to 8/22

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 3:33pm

The Comment Period for scoping for the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement has been extended until August 22, 2014.  Really, here’s the quote from their site:

Comment Period Extended

In response to public interest, the comment period on the Scoping Booklet/Draft Scoping Decision Document is being extended to August 22, 2014, an additional 16 days.

And their press release:

August 6 2014    Zip Rail News Release – Public Comment Period Extension

So get to it and get your comment in:

Zip Rail’s Comment Link

or email:

info@goziprail.org        

or mail to:

MN DOT Passenger Rail Office ATTN: Zip Rail 395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470 St. Paul, MN 55155

For more info go to www.goziprail.org and for high speed passenger rail generally, with more technical info than you’ll find on the Zip site, try Midwest High Speed Rail Association, and make sure to look at their “Studies/White Papers” page.

 

 

Categories: Citizens

Birds and the Vikings Stadium

Penelopedia: This & That in Northfield - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 1:57pm
Below is the text of an email I sent today to the Chair, Executive Director and Director of Communications for the Metropolitan Sports Facility Authority regarding the proposed use of special glass that will greatly reduce the incidence of birds striking this glass-heavy, spectacular new stadium located along a key North American bird migration path, the Mississippi flyway. More information on this topic, and contact information for key decision-makers, is available here:And I'd like to follow that last article's title with the comment that because such a major flyway is involved, this is decidedly NOT just a threat to Minnesota's birds. Birds that use the Mississippi flyway during migration may very well be coming from or returning to other states in the U.S., Canada, the Arctic, Mexico, Central America and/or South America. State boundaries have very little relevance here. These are the Western Hemisphere's birds.

My email:
With great concern, as a birder, nature blogger, Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer, conservationist and long-time Minnesota resident, I most strongly urge you to act to protect birds from the foreseeable effects of such a large glass structure located so close to the Mississippi flyway. As a strategic communications professional (at Neuger Communications Group, where I am a vice president and senior communications counselor), I also urge you to take this step. It will be truly a shame if this beautiful, world-class, publicly supported facility is forever tainted in the minds of many game and event attendees, and many more who will not be in a position to attend, as a bird-killer. The pledge to adjust lighting when possible during key migration periods is important, and to be applauded. The choice also to use bird-friendlier glass is one that can still be made, and now is the time to make it -- for good public relations, and because it is the right thing to do for the survival of the beings with whom we share this continent. Please, please, find the funds and make this happen.
(Note: This post was amended August 7 to add the link to the Audubon petition to the Vikings.)
Categories: Citizens

IGCC Kemper plant lawsuit

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 11:58am

Thanks to John Blair, Valley Watch and Bruce Nilles for the heads up on this IGCC project settlement.  We fought off one here, the Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project, which took a lot of people, a lot of groups, a lot of approaches and a lot of coalition, and thanks to all, we do not have a coal gasification plant in Minnesota.

What’s disturbing is that they get to run this boondoggle $5.2 billion dollar project (initially billed as $2.6 billion) at all, though they are shutting down older coal plants and converting to natural gas.  It’s the most expensive power plant in history, and guess who’s paying for it?

Mississippi Power, Sierra settle coal litigation

Mississippi Power, Sierra Club settle coal power dispute

Categories: Citizens

Progress on West? Another old tree down…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 9:54am

OH NOOOOOOOO… We’re losing another big beautiful tree today.  Diesel fumes are particularly intense.  The noise these days is unreal, industrual-strength jackhammer on a bucket breaking up rock and digging down to build the wall foundation.  They’re getting down, all right!

Categories: Citizens

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