Citizens

A Pioneer of Women's Rights: Phebe Sudlow, the First Female School Superintendent in the United States

Rob Hardy - Rough Draft - 9 hours 21 min ago
In 1860, twenty-nine year old Phebe Sudlow had been teaching for twelve years—for most of that time in a one-room school schoolhouse in rural Scott County, Iowa—when she was appointed principal at Grammar School No. 2 in the city of Davenport.

When she found that the salary she had been offered was less than that of a male colleague in the same position, Sudlow she brought up the issue with the school board. At the time, lower salaries for women were justified on the grounds that female teachers—unmarried women who left teaching when they married—had only themselves, while male teachers had families to support. The school board refused to raise Sudlow’s pay, but she continued to press the issue.
In 1874, when she was chosen to become Davenport’s superintendent of schools, she again approached the school board and refused to accept the position unless her salary was equal to that of her male predecessor.
“Gentlemen,” she told the school board, “if you are cutting the salary because of my experience, I have nothing to say; but if you are doing this because I am a woman, I’ll have nothing more to do with it.
The school board agreed to Sudlow’s conditions, and she was hired as the first female superintendent of schools in the United States. Thanks to Sudlow’s efforts, the teachers’ contract in Davenport was changed to offer equal pay to men and women—decades before this became the standard practice elsewhere.
In an address given as the first female  president of the Iowa State Teachers Association in 1877, Sudlow said: "I cannot understand why equal attainment, equal culture, and equal strength of purpose and will should not have equal influence whether in man or woman."

The following year, she was hired as the first female professor at the University of Iowa. As one newspaper reported: "Every institution of this kind should have at least one lady in its faculty; and we know of no one more worthy to fill the place than Miss Sudlow."

(Photo from the Davenport School Museum)
Categories: Citizens

Hydro power, old generation flooding the Great Plains

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 05/27/2016 - 6:39pm

50 years ago, on a family vacation, we went to Ft. Peck, stayed at Hell Creek State Park, which more than lived up to its name then, with miles and miles of nothingness, except for the Park Ranger and his trusty pup.  He’d spent his day shooting rattlesnakes, he had a bagfull of them, and showed them to us, advising that we keep an eye open!  The coolest, and hottest, camping experience ever.  So of course I’ve wanted to go back, and this is the perfect time.  It’s cool at night, and it had rained the night before, and it was SO green, blinding, and not at all like the desolate wasteland I’d remembered.  Same spot 50 years later… (how did THAT happen?)

The park is in a pickle, seems there’s no money available for needed improvements, like a single phase line that’s at capacity (AACK, just found a tick!  Now it’s a dead tick!), septic over capacity, and tens of thousands of folks come there to fish. They put together a “Master Plan” but it wasn’t clear the purpose, and instead of being a Master Plan, I think it was a way to set out the issues facing the Park and to try to figure out what to do about it.

Hell Creek State Park (Montana) – Comments due 11/25

I don’t get it, it’s a foreign world to me.  Everyone there had a big honkin’ pick up truck, and a 5th wheel and towing a big boat that probably cost more than my house!  And if they didn’t have the three part rig, they pulled a YUGE trailer and a friend pulled the YUGE fishing boat.  To get there, it’s a 26 mile drive over washboard gravel, with so much dust that I don’t know if it will ever come out of the van.  Washing it might induce a mudslide!

Not all that far away in miles, but a trip out and back over that long dirt road, is the Ft. Peck dam and power house, and so of course I called up and arranged a tour.  Very cool, but no photos allowed.  I recognized the museum, the first part of the tour, from 50 years ago, back in the days when we took family “utility infrastructure” trips.  And guess who worked on the dam?

There are two power houses, one, the oldest, with three turbines and a 105 nameplate capacity, and two in power house #2, which have a 80 MW capacity.  One of the turbines in unit 1 is being replaced, is much smaller, but will be much more efficient and have a higher capacity.

Ft. Peck is the largest earthen dam in the world!  The Army Corps built a handful of dams on the Missouri, Ft. Peck, Tarrison (400 MW)(where we are now), Oahe (595 MW), Big Bend (468 M), Ft. Randall (320 MW), and Gavins Point (100 MW).  Most of these are probably overdue for serious rehab.

Between all of these dams, there’s some serious power generation going on, but there’s also a problem with low water levels, putting generation at risk and requiring a FERC docket to address allocation.  And of course, I was wondering where they sell the power, and it’s operated by the Army Corps to this day, and power is sold through the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Power Marketing Area and Western Area Power Authority (WAPA).  Dispatch is supposed to happen out of a complex in Watertown, SD.  Transmission out of Ft. Peck runs mostly east, but some to the west!  From Ft. Peck, there are two 115kV lines, one 230 kV line, one 161 kV line, one 69 kV line, and one 34.5 kV line.  Of the big collection of dams, there’s a transmission network moving the energy around:

Little is said about the impact of the flooding on the Assiniboine Nation, which met Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 6, 1934, to address those issues when he came out to cheer on the construction efforts.  Now there’s “Ft. Peck” Reservation, north and east of the dam.  The impacts of flooding on First Nations was part of the FERC docket regarding allocation, because a decrease in output and change in allocation will likely have an impact on local residents:

PICK-SLOAN MISSOURI BASIN PROGRAM Eastern

From the “Answers” to comments, it seems FERC didn’t see it the same way:

DOE WAPA_2011-29601

And now we’re on to our second dam of the trip, Garrison Dam, and Ft. (not Grant) Stevenson, which has a great campground.  Very nice, though sites are too close together.  And once again, everyone has these huge rigs, some crammed in 3 to a space, circling the wagons, with a big campfire in the middle where they all hang out.  I can’t help but snort, because many don’t know how to back up!!!  There oughtta e a law, can’t back up — can’t go forward.  And campgrounds accommodate these sorts of folks by making half the sites pull-throughs.

So anyway, on to the Soudan Mine and neutrino lab.  How much fun can I stand?

Categories: Citizens

Octopus Life

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 10:50pm

A while ago I asked for recommendations of natural-history and science books to read.

Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus was heartily recommended by several people, and very much worth my time. The book is so beautifully and transparently written that it can be read quickly, which for me heightened its effect. Like an octopus using all eight arms to take in everything it can all at once, I wanted to gorge on everything the book has to offer: wonderful science writing on these utterly bizarre creatures; learned considerations of how humans can connect to wild creatures and, especially, what forms animal consciousness might take; and wonderful stories about her own relationships with several octopuses in a Boston aquarium.

The book contains too much of all that and more to summarize, so let me just say that anyone interested in animals or a nature beyond humans should read it. The closing passages were as moving as anything I’ve read this year, but every other page contained astounding stuff like this litany of octopus mythology:

Categories: Citizens

News you can use: Obama signs bill modernizing terms referring to minorities in two sections of the U.S. Code

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:18am

You know you’re a librarian geek when you read the headlines telling you that Obama has signed a bill that will strike “oriental” and “negro” from two sections of the U.S. Code and think “What a good reminder that  full text searching through government documents is tricky.” And yes, that was me when I read those headlines on Friday.

And here’s the language from the bill itself.

(a) Office Of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native”.

(b) Minority Business Enterprises.—Section 106(f)(2) of the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6705(f)(2)) is amended by striking “Negroes, Spanish-speaking, Orientals, Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, African American, Hispanic, Native American, or Alaska Natives”.

First, I’m somewhat horrified to find the periods on the “wrong” side of final quotation marks — I guess Congress doesn’t go by standard U.S. style guides.

But more importantly, this means that if you’re full-text searching the U.S. Code, and you know to be careful to use outdated language when searching through historic documents, you should now OR in modern language if you’re searching through the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 and the Department of Energy Organization Act.

Here ends your communique from a librarian geek interested in search language.

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: May 23, 2016

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 6:23am

Categories: Citizens

G. Oliver Riggs Returns to the Crookston Times

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Sat, 05/21/2016 - 6:01pm
A Crookston woman contacted me at the end of March seeking permission to publish some Riggs family pictures as part of a series of newspaper articles she was writing about the city’s former bands and bandmasters. I was happy to discover recently that Janna Johnson Dinkel’s series has been running this month in the Crookston Times—the same newspaper that featured countless stories about the musical doings of G. Oliver and his wife, Islea, more than one hundred years ago.

G. Oliver Riggs, center (28), with son Ronald, left (26), and son Percy, right (44)Parts III and IV of the series feature G. Oliver’s musical contributions to the city, and I have included links below:

Part III: For the love of music: the rise of the band under G. Oliver Riggs

Part IV: For the love of music: the golden age of Crookston culture

Part IV also contains information about G. Oliver’s friend Bert Keck, an architect whom I have written about in previous blog posts.

Thanks to Janna for her interest and efforts in helping focus attention on this important aspect of Crooskton’s history!
Categories: Citizens

ATC/ITC/Dairyland’s Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 5:29pm

Be there or be square — transmission open houses in eastern Iowa near Dubuque and southwestern Wisconsin near Cassville.

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Where’s Art Hughes when you need him??

Art Hughes has died…  March 31st, 2009

Days before he died, Art Hughes was testifying in Peosta against an ITC transmission line heading east to Peosta, here’s the photo from that hearing, and the article about it is in the “Art Hughes has died…” link above.

And now they’re doing another round of open houses, yesterday in Peosta, IA.  Wherefore Art thou?  Well, Art, where are you?  I guess they remember him, because this time it’s “open house” and not a meeting/hearing.  These “open houses” are held by ATC, ITC, and Dairyland about its plan for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Project.  This project is the southern part of the “5” project on the MISO MVP project map below, from the Hickory Creek substation (near Dubuque) to the Cardinal substation (near Madison)(the northern part of 5 is the Xcel/ATC Badger Coulee line).  It’s one of the transmission lines that fills in the 345 kV transmission gaps to enable North & South Dakota to Chicago bulk power transfer.

Once more with feeling: Open House Schedule — each starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. (hello, ITC, it’s planting season, how convenient!):

Monday, May 16 –
Peosta Community Center
7896 Burds Road
Peosta, IA 52068

Tuesday, May 17 –
Pioneer Lanes
1185 US (Business) 151
Platteville, WI 53818

Wednesday, May 18 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

Thursday, May 19 –
Deer Valley Lodge
401 West Industrial Drive
Barneveld, WI 53507

 

 

Categories: Citizens

A practical guide to the 2016 Georgia State eReserves Copyright Case for Librarians

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 9:17pm

Wikimedia Commons

The academic library world has been watching the Georgia State (GSU) eReserves copyright lawsuit with interest for half of my career, and now there’s a new ruling in the case. On the one hand, I recommend reading the ruling because there’s interesting language in Judge Evans’ Fair Use assessments for each item at issue, and every time I watch someone who knows a lot about copyright go through the four factor test I learn a little bit more about how I might apply it in my own work. On the other hand, it’s 220 pages long, so there’s that.

Oh, and another thing, I’m not a lawyer and don’t even play one on TV. I’m just a librarian who takes an interest in copyright but has no legal advice to give.

History of this case

In case you’ve forgotten how we got to this ruling, Cambridge University Press and a few other publishers sued GSU over book chapters that had been scanned and loaded into GSU’s eReserves system, 99 items in all, of which Judge Evans ruled on 74. The first ruling in that case was back in 2012 by Judge Orinda Evans (and I wrote a Practical Guide here). The publishers weren’t particularly thrilled with the outcome, so they appealed the case, and the appellate court handed down a ruling in 2014 that sent the case back to Judge Evans with instructions about how to amend her item-by-item Fair Use analyses (and I wrote a Practical Guide here). This Judge Evans has now done for the 48 items that the publishers thought were still at issue, resulting in the 2016 ruling that came out on March 31st. If you’re interested, here are all the details and filings involved in Cambridge University Press et al. v. Patton (this case’s official name).

One of the main things that the appellate court asked Judge Evans to do was a much more thorough analysis of the “Market Effect” (Factor Four), delving into year-by-year sales and permissions licensing fees to see what the effect of unpaid nontransformative copying really might have been on those two markets. This plus the appellate court’s insistence that there should be no “mechanistic” Fair Use analysis means that the new ruling isn’t very generalizable to on-the-ground decision-making in our libraries and classrooms. Still every new ruling helps to clarify the boundaries of Fair Use, so this one is still worth paying attention to.

In this case, of the 48 items under consideration, 4 were ruled to be copyright infringement, and all of these 4 had previously been ruled infringement in the 2012 version of the ruling. Interestingly, of the 48 items, only 2 decisions changed as a result of the appeals process:

  1. One item had previously been rejected because the publishers hadn’t sufficiently proved that they owned the copyrights in the first place. This one was now ruled to be Fair Use, so the publishers must have provided that proof at some point.
  2. One item had previously been ruled infringement, and this time it was ruled to be Fair Use.

If you’re a real nerd, here’s a spreadsheet I made to track the item-by-item analysis and compare their outcomes between 2012 and 2016.

Highlights of what librarians should know
  1. This ruling makes it clear that there is no transformative nature to eReserves. Judge Evans says, “the excerpts are nontransformative because they are mirror-image copies of a part of the book” (page 5). I’ve heard some people wonder if readings like this might be transformative for various reasons including presenting only excerpts in juxtaposing items in ways the original publishers didn’t intend. This ruling makes it clear that rearranging how students experience the readings is not a transformative use.
  2. Because the copying was nontransformative, Factor Four (the “Market Effect” factor) was given the majority of the weight in the Fair Use analyses for each item.
  3. GSU’s status as a non-profit educational institution, and all of this copying done in the service of teaching, Factor One (the “Nature of the Use” factor) always favors Fair Use. One useful thing to note is that the professors in the courses were questioned about exactly how each of the readings figured into their courses, and this information informed both Factor One and also Factor Three, the “Amount and Substantiality” factor. If the amount copied was “narrowly tailored” to the professor’s pedagogical goals (see page 22 for example), that helped tip things toward Fair Use.
  4. For each item, two markets were considered: the market for sales of the full book, and the market of permissions fees for the book chapter(s) when available. The publishers worked very hard to make it look like if there are licenses available for the chapters, then faculty and librarians should pay those fees almost without thinking. Nancy Sims (J.D., M.L.I.S.) and Kevin Smith (J.D.) strongly advise the opposite. Smith’s contention is that there will only be a market for those licenses if we pay for the licenses all the time. If we don’t pay for the licenses unless we really have to, then there’s no market to effect. I think what he has to say on the matter warrants a nice long quote:

    “We should resort to paying for licenses only very rarely, and when there is no other alternative.  The simple fact is that the nature of the analysis that the Court of Appeals pushed Judge Evans into is such that licensing income for the publishers narrows the scope for fair use by libraries.  To my mind, this means that whenever we are faced with an e-reserves request that may not fall easily into fair use, we should look at ways to improve the fair use situation before we decide to license the excerpt.  Can we link to an already licensed version?  Can we shorten the excerpt?  Buying a separate license should be a last resort.  Doing extensive business with the Copyright Clearance Center, including purchase of their blanket campus license, is not, in my opinion, a way to buy reassurance and security; instead, it increases the risk that our space for fair use will shrink over time.” (emphasis mine)

  5. At the appellate court’s demand, Judge Evans was directed to pay careful attention to Factor 2 (the “Nature of the Work”) factor. This is the factor where if the item is creative, that makes copying less fair, and if it’s not creative, that makes copying more fair. (At the extreme, lists of phone numbers in the phone book are not creative enough to be copyrighted.) Some people have painted this with a very broad brush and said that fiction is creative and non-fiction is not creative. That’s obviously not nuanced enough. It was really interesting to watch Judge Evans evaluate each excerpt looking at writing style and whether the author provided opinion or evaluation. One item’s analysis on this factor ended with, “Author opinion, subjective description and evaluative expression dominate. Factor two disfavors fair use” (pages 36-37). Only 2 of the 48 items in this case came through with a “favors fair use” on Factor Two. The other 46 were either neutral or disfavored fair use.
  6. Given all of this, but #3 and #5 in particular, it was reinforced for me how important it is that the faculty member do the fair use analysis before putting things on eReserve. There’s no way that library staff would be able to carefully weigh the four factors without reading the works and knowing exactly how they will fit into the syllabus.
  7. And finally, I really appreciated Kevin Smith’s point that since very little of the Market Effect analysis is possible without court orders, making Fair Use decisions in “Good Faith” becomes all the more important. That way employees of non-profit educational institutions or libraries are not subject to statutory damages. (And I would add to his point that keeping records of these good faith decisions is very important.)
Further Reading (by people who know more than I do):

 

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: May 16, 2016

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 8:23am

Categories: Citizens

Hollydale Meeting May 25, 2016

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 2:43pm

A shindig has been announced, at which Xcel Energy will unveil its plans, the options it has deemed “alternatives” to the Hollydale Transmission Project.

Xcel Energy’s Hollydale “Open House”

May 25, 2016 from 12-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Medina Ballroom

500 Highway 55

Medina, Minnesota

Heard some time ago that this was in the works, and made a scheduling request, overtly received with intent to schedule around time I could not attend… well, so much for that.  Gee, thanks, folks!  PPPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFBT!

Now, on to the Hollydale Transmission Project.  This is the project that Xcel withdrew, because it was apparent that it wasn’t needed… well, Xcel would never admit that, but it was going down in flames:

Xcel and Great River pull the plug on Hollydale applications

 

This is a project that was first applied for in 2011, 5 years ago!  That project was a plan to run a 115 kV transmission line through Plymouth and Medina to a substation way to the west, when the “problem” was increased demand along 694 and Hwy. 55.  DOH!  What’s not to object to!  Here’s what they’d originally proposed:

So after the project was withdrawn, without prejudice (they can re apply), they embarked on a “study” to determine options.  That was so long ago…

Hollydale Order – Withdrawn with conditions

May 12th, 2014

For ages, they’ve been saying they’re working on this report, and have been saying “it’s not finalized” (this is NOT rocket science, it’s only engineering and transmission planning and PR spin, what takes so long?  I guess it takes this long to come up with justifications and twist the data to make it look reasonable and needed?).

Compliance Filing_July 2015_20157-112044-01

Compliance Filing_April2016_20164-119743-01

From that April Compliance Filing, here’s their plan for this meeting:

It would help to be able to review the “study.”  So I left a message with Xcel Energy at 612-330-6644, the number provided on the meeting notice (no name, but I presumed Tom Hillstrom is still in charge of this) asking for the study.  Because I got voicemail, I also called the attorney assigned to this:

No “little birdie” here, and something’s fishy — no “study” is forthcoming to study because “it is not finalized yet.”  Sent an email to Plymouth@xcelenergy.com with the same request.  Oh please… it has been YEARS!  Pretty tough to argue for any of your “options” when you don’t have anything to back it up!

My clients are on the Medina end of this, and each project blurb notes that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives”

Here’s the three they’re proposing:

View Alternative A Map (PDF)

View Alternative B Map (PDF)

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

Alternative C what looks to be the worst one of the three — to energize the existing 69 kV line through this Plymouth subdivision, much of which is directly over a walkway/bike path:

View Alternative C Map (PDF)

And once more with feeling, Xcel says that “The existing 69 kV transmission line west of the Hollydale Substation will remain unchanged on all three of these alternatives.”  GOOD!  But… will that hold true for the foreseeable future?  What’s the “Long Term Conceptual Plan” on the maps?  That’s why I want to see this study, because past experience with Xcel Energy is that once they propose something, they work it until they get it, one way or another.

From the Xcel “Plymouth Project” site:

Categories: Citizens

Searching and Browsing: Lessons for Life from Libraries

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:57am

Our campus is in the midst of moving from one email/calendar solution to another, and from local network storage to cloud storage. (Specifically, we’re moving from Zimbra to Gmail and Google Calendar, and from local network storage to Dropbox — we already use Google Drive but it doesn’t fill all the needs in the file storage area.) So all of a sudden there’s this moment where the campus gets to/has to think about individual and departmental practices and figure out if these processes can or must change during the transition. (Personally, I totally geek out on these kinds of conversations, but you’re not surprised to hear that, I’m sure.) Tucked into these conversations, there’s a topic in which two very entrenched camps face off: Do you rely on search to find your email or files? Or do you rely on a folder structure? In library terms this comes back to the age old balancing of search vs browse.

Here’s the thing (and take it from a librarian, because we’ve built a whole profession on this over many many many years) most people cannot rely only on Search or only on Browse. Most people need to have mechanisms that allow for both.

Here’s why. Search relies on there being the right letters-in-a-row in your query, which the computer then matches to the letters-in-a-row contained in the items it indexes or in the metadata associated with those items. If there’s a misspelling, if there’s more than one word for the thing you’re searching on and the other person used the other word, or if there’s no built in metadata for the type of thing you’re trying to gather, search will fail you. Search will be useful in many ways and may even be your primary entry point into your saved emails or files, but it is not sufficient.

This means that there also have to be mechanisms that allow for smart browsing. In email and file storage, these mechanisms are folders or tags or labels or whatever. In library catalogs these are subject headings and call numbers. These are the things that get applied in a consistent way to say “all of these messages are related in a meaningful way, regardless of the keywords and metadata.” It would take too much time to make everything browsable in all possible ways, so Search is also important if you have anything more than a very few emails or files. So Browse won’t work all the time, but it is important.

For me, it’s important that I have a way to browse just the emails between me and my students because I really can’t remember all the names of everyone who meets with me, or what words we used in our emails, so if I want to be able to go back to a conversation the only thing in my head that I can use as a hook to go back into my email and pull relevant messages out is “student.” So I created a folder for that. I have similar folders for major projects where I know I’ll need to skim back over information that I can’t gather together through a search. The same principle governs my folder structure on my computer.

For me, I rely heavily on search, especially for email. Probably 85% of my email goes into the main archived email bin without being tagged or put into a folder. But I’ve searched for enough things in my life that I know for sure and certain that it won’t solve all my retrieval needs. Browsing is also critical.

And just for a few more thoughts on organizing your stuff, here’s an archivist talking in simple and useful ways about using her professional training to help her with her computer files. Enjoy!

Categories: Citizens

Spring Term 7th Week Burnout Blues

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 11:47am

Carleton doesn’t have semesters or even quarters, we have terms. Each term is 10 weeks long, and there’s Fall, Winter, and Spring term. The week numbers of each term matter so much that at the end of every spring term I look ahead to the next year and enter “Week 1, week 2, week 3…” as events on the Monday of each week for the next year’s terms. Week numbers matter more than months or dates or days of the week. Classes start on the Monday of Week 1 and end on the Wednesday of Week 9. Then there are two Reading Days, and then finals run on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Right now we’re at the beginning of 7th week of Spring Term, and it feels like we’ll never survive through to graduation next month. On top of that, it’s been a crazy intense year+ that’s left me burned out and used up. Apparently powering through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while juggling a ton of extra work, a few massive transitions, plus all the normal intensity of this job only works for so long. The fallout is starting to show up in medical bills and mental anguish.

So how do I turn it around? I like my coworkers and don’t want to let them down. And I’m pretty sure that when I step out of my own head I actually still believe that the work matters. And then there’s the mortgage, which probably won’t pay itself. I want to get back to liking my job. I want to get back to liking me in my job.

Categories: Citizens

Xcel demand down, down, down…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 9:26pm

Once again, Xcel Energy’s demand is down.  From Seeking Alpha’s Transcript of Xcel’s 1Q Earnings Call (click on the quote for the full transcript):

Turning to our sales results, although the economy in our region remains strong and we continue to add customers, our weather-adjusted electric sales declined by 0.3%. Further adjusting for the impact of an extra day of sales in the quarter due to leap year, our weather-adjusted electric sales actually declined by 1.4%. The decline in sales is largely driven by lower use per customer from energy efficiency, an increase in the number of multi-family units, the impact of distributed solar and the impact on consumption of lower oil and natural gas prices on some of our larger customers.

As a result, we have lowered our full-year electric sales growth assumption to 0.5% from 0.5% to 1% range. We continue to expect positive sales growth for the full year in all jurisdictions, due to customer growth as well as planned expansion from some of our larger customers.

After Xcel’s decreased demand last year, well, let’s just say I love it when this happens:

Or more specifically:

9,327?  I think not…

Remember how off Steve Rakow, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, tried to pass off the most incredible chart?  This was during the CapX 2020 Certificate of Need when the record was showing there just wasn’t going to be that 2.49% peak demand increase that the project relied on.  Rakow was allowed to enter this bogus chart:

Rakow tried to convince us, and did convince the ALJ and Commission, that Xcel Energy’s demand was going up, it was “just a blip” and demand would increase sufficiently high to justify CapX 2020 transmission!  What a crock…

Meanwhile, even Xcel Energy admits that demand remains down, and with this Earnings Call, dropped its projection.  As Xcel’s Ben Fowkes said recently, I think at the year end call, this is the “new normal.”

Are earnings calls transcripts entered into the rate case record?

Categories: Citizens

Public Hearing Schedule for Xcel Rate Case

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 1:24pm

The Public Utilities Commission has approved the Public Hearing Notice for the Xcel Energy Rate Case to be included in bills and publicized where ever.  We’ve got some notice to get prepared:

Lo and behold, there’s one scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…

What are the issues in the rate case?  Check the docket by going HERE TO PUC SEARCH DOCUMENTS PAGE, and search for docket 15-826.

A couple of things you might find interesting, I did, are some of the Direct Testimony filings.

2A2_Multi-Year Rate Plan – Burdick_201511-115332-02

2C2_Xmsn_Benson_201511-115335-03

In addition to whining about the grid being only 55% utilized (ummm, yes, we knew it wasn’t needed, but you went ahead and built it and now want us to pay through the nose, or other orifices, for your transmission for market export?  ppppppbbbbbbft!), here’s the issue — prices have fallen, the market is down, down, down, and we’re conserving, using less, and so now they want us to pay more to make up for it, oh.  Recap:  Xcel Energy wants us to pay for the transmission over our land for their private profit, they want us to pay more because we’re using less, and they want us to make up for their poor business decisions… yeah, great idea.

This rate case and rate increase request is in large part transmission driven.  Xcel wants to move from cost based rates to formula rates, and they want to shift transmission costs from the Construction Work in Progress recovery that was part of the deal leading to the 2005 Ch 97 – Transmission Omnibus Bill from Hell, with transmission perks, CWIP and Transmission Only Companies.

And then there’s the e21 Initiative, Xcel Energy’s effort leading up to the 2015 legislative session, and it seems that with the exception of AARP, only those who signed on to the e21 “Consensus” are allowed to intervene.

e21_Initiative_Phase_I_Report_2014

Great…

Lo and behold, there’s a public hearing scheduled for Red Wing!!  Thanks for small favors…  Mark the hearings on your calendar and show up.  Before hand, do a little reading!

 

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: May 9, 2016

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 10:00am

Categories: Citizens

Fun urbanism: Age-friendly edition

Betsey Buckheit - Sat, 05/07/2016 - 8:00am
As someone who is only temporarily middle-aged, I’m hoping to live in a place where being old is not made more difficult by my built environment. Northfield might be that place by the time I get old.  The Northfield City … Continue reading →
Categories: Citizens

Getting the message right

Betsey Buckheit - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 8:15am
Northfield prohibits riding bicycles (skateboards and rollerblades) on downtown sidewalks. This ordinance makes sense on Division Street – a busy, pedestrian street with pretty narrow sidewalks populated with street furniture, sidewalk dining, signs, trees, and trash/recycling containers and the people using … Continue reading →
Categories: Citizens

More Denial of Intervention in Xcel Rate Case

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:25pm

WOW… can you believe??  It’s not just me, it’s not just denial of Intervention of No CapX 2020.  See 20162-118122-01_Denial2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention.

Intervention as a party in this Rate Case is only open to those who sold out to Xcel Energy and it’s “business plan” agenda of e21.

This is the most recent Order in the Xcel Energy Rate Case:

Order Denying Intervention – SunShare & ILSR

Here are their Intervention Petitions:

ILSR_Intervention_20164-120145-01

SunShare_Intervention_20164-120144-01

To see the full Rate Case docket, go to the PUC’s Search Documents page, and search for Docket 15-826.

And the Order… Dig this, parroting Xcel’s objections:

And this, even worse, as if the interests of the “Clean Energy Organizations” who bought into, stumped for, and sat quietly during the legislative hearings about Xcel Energy‘s e21 Initiative are the same as the interests of SunShare and Institute for Local Self-Reliance – ILSR:

This is SO offensive.  There is no consideration that the perspectives are different, only statements that the issues, the concerns, are the same.

The late, great Myer Shark, rate case Intervenor extraordinaire, would spin in his grave at the limitations of participation in this rate case.

Myer Shark, Lawyer Who Fought Utility, Is Dead at 94 In the Matter of the Complaint by Myer Shark, et al …
Categories: Citizens

Tours of Fort Peck Dam and Garrison Dam!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:10pm

Did you know you can tour dams?!?!  As a kid, we toured Ft. Peck, while visiting Hell Creek campground, the name oh-so-apt.  And Hoover dam, which I remember better, this was SO long ago…  And knowing how I love utility infrastructure, I’m trying to arrange tours.  We shall see!  And SUCCESS!!!!  We get to tour Fort Peck Dam!  Is this cool or what?!?!?

Categories: Citizens

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