The Pleasing Routine

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 8:18pm

As much as I like being away riding bikes, it’s awfully nice to come home again. Not that the homecomings are always joyous, but rather the opposite: the girls (and Shannon) have a very no-nonsense attitude. “Oh, you’re home! Good. Help me with my homework.”

Tonight, for instance, I got home around 7 from a work event and within a minute of hanging up my jacket, I was working with Vivi on a tiny model of a bison. When we finished that, Julia taught me how to make a cool origami cube. I loved just hanging out with them, and by their bedtime, we had made some neat stuff for my desk:

Bison and Sonobe Cube

Categories: Citizens

Yesterday at House Mining Committee

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 11:52am


Lynn Schoen, Wabasha City Council and frac sand activist who has devoted years to this, tells the House Mining Committee exactly what’s what.

This committee is so skewed, and as Lynn Schoen notes, they are there to represent us. That’s not happening, and it’s the mining industry being given the committee time.

Here’s the whole hearing: Watch live streaming video from uptakemnhouse at

Video is acting a little funky, ??

Here’s the Committee emmails to let them know what you think about regulation of silica sand mining and their industry-based focus. They need to hear from a broader spectrum, oh yes, that means YOU:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Membership 2015 – 2016

Meets: Tuesday and Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. in Room 10 of the State Office Building.

Tom Hackbarth (R) Committee Chair
409 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Dale Lueck (R) Vice Chair
423 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

David Dill (DFL) DFL Lead
311 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Mark Anderson (R)
579 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Tom Anzelc (DFL)
317 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

John (Jack) Considine Jr. (DFL)
323 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Tony Cornish (R)
369 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Jerry Hertaus (R)
403 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Brian Johnson (R)
421 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Debra Kiel (R)
537 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Eric Lucero (R)
515 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Denny McNamara (R)
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Carly Melin (DFL)
315 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Jason Metsa (DFL)
313 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Barb Yarusso (DFL)
307 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155

Committee Staff
Administrator: Stephanie Lamphere 651-296-5528
Legislative Assistant: Claire Leiter 651-296-4272
Non-Partisan Staff Assigned to the Committee
Research Analysts: Janelle Taylor 651-296-5039 and Christopher Kleman 651-296-8959

Categories: Citizens

In LA at Keystone Gallery: Land Interactions

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:47pm

Yes, electrical infrastructure, substation, transmission — that’s Michelle Robinson’s work — check it out:

Categories: Citizens

Dear Mayor Graham – Bike and pedestrian safety edition

Betsey Buckheit - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 9:31am
Dear Mayor Graham, I hope you’ve been thinking about joining Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx’s  Mayor’s Challenge for improving safety for bicycle riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities this year.  Northfield is so well-positioned to make significant progress on this … Continue reading →
Categories: Citizens

Laughing all the way

Myrna CG Mibus - Idyllwild - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 9:21pm
We have a great new mountain bike trail in Northfield. The Sechler Park River Bottoms Trail was built by members of the Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT) club a few months ago and runs along the Cannon River. I've had the chance to ride it with Owen a couple of times and had great fun.

We had a fresh layer of snow last week and I was itching to get out and ride my Beargrease on the trail again. Owen wasn't free to ride and since I'm a beginner when it comes to mountain biking I didn't want to ride alone - I think it's safer to ride with a buddy plus it's more fun! - so I contacted Griff Wigley (friend and blogger at Mountain Bike Geezer) to see if he was free to ride with me. Griff was free so we set a time to meet.

It was sunny and about 28 degrees when we headed out on the Sechler Park trail last Thursday afternoon. The trail was snow covered but fairly well packed by other mountain and fat bikes that had been out not he trail before us. We set off on the main trail then, just as I'd hoped, Griff led me off the main trail to explore some sections of the trail I hadn't ridden before - sections known as The Spine and The Velodrome.

Well, riding those more technical sections of the trail certainly was a challenge! I managed to fall off my bike a few times and had to put a foot down to catch myself from falling over many times. I found it a bit scary to try the new-to-me parts of the trail but Griff patiently talked me through new things and demonstrated how to ride each section before I gave it a go. Though the ride was a challenge, it was also great fun and I found myself laughing pretty much all the way (even when I was falling down or getting up after my falls).Here I am right after a fall. I decided to make a snow angel while I was there.
Photo by Griff WigleyGriff took some pictures of me riding (and falling) and also put together a video clip of me attempting different parts of the trail. He also blogged about our ride on his Mountain Bike Geezer blog and on the CROCT blog.
Click on the link to view Griff's video of me riding my fatbike -
You can also view the video, see more pics and read what Griff had to say about our ride at the links below.
Click HERE to read the Mountain Bike Geezer post
Click HERE to read Griff's post on CROCT
Categories: Citizens

Arrowhead Stoke

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 7:51pm

Composing my blog post before last year’s Arrowhead 135, I had to sit far away from my motel-room window, which was entirely iced over in that year’s epic cold.

This year, we are prepping for the race in a too-hot room at the Falls Motel in International Falls, where tomorrow’s temperatures are forecasted to range from 15 to 35 degrees F, or about 50-60 degrees warmer than last year.

Needless to say, I’m extremely excited for the race. I know the course, the weather and conditions will be good, the Buffalo proved itself in Idaho to be a great bike, and I should have a decent bump in fitness from the Fat Pursuit.

Or, you know, maybe not: maybe my legs are still fried! Either way, though, I’m happy and lucky to be here in I Falls ready to kick things off again. I enjoyed catching up with some old friends and meeting some new ones at the pre-race events this afternoon, and I’m very grateful for all the support and interest from friends far and wide – especially as always Shannon, who’s solo-parenting while I’m adventuring.

I’m hoping for a 24-hour finish, which is conceivable and maybe even realistic. My tactics, such as they are, include stopping as briefly as possible at the checkpoints and trying to follow the wheels of some racers whom I know are just a little bit faster than I am.

You can follow the race on the Trackleaders service used at the Fat Pursuit. The race tracking page is at Since not all racers are using tracking devices, Trackleaders won’t provide a comprehensive view of racers’ times and placings. For that, check the official race results page, which will include everyone’s times at each checkpoint and the finish.

Yay bikes!

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: January 26, 2015

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 4:32pm

Categories: Citizens

Do you want to build a snowman⛄️

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 8:23am

Me, the amazing Julia, made this snowman yesterday with help from my friend Meg!#awesome

Categories: Citizens

Rebecca Rusch and Me

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 9:04pm

Friday night, I finished the pro cyclist Rebecca Rusch’s great memoir of her athletic career, Rusch to Glory. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in pro cycling or endurance sport.

I’ve followed the career of the “Queen of Pain” since she won her first Leadville 100 mountain-bike race in 2009  – the year that Lance Armstrong won the men’s race. Rusch had a long and successful athletic career before her first (of four consecutive) Leadville wins, and she spends a good deal of her book (co-written with Selene Yeager) on her exploits as a paddler, a rock climber, an adventure racer, and finally a long-distance mountain biker. All of her race stories are gripping, whether she’s describing an insanely arduous adventure race in Tibet, her first 24-hour MTB national and world championships, her Leadville wins, or even the tragic death of a teammate during an adventure race in South America.

In the book, Rebecca comes across as a supremely driven and superbly talented athlete but also as a capable businesswoman (sponsorships sound like a blessing and a curse!) and a pretty nice person. I’d like to think that I can testify to that last quality. “Reba” did JayP’s Backyard Fat Pursuit in 2014 and, like me, DNF’ed. She came back to the race in 2015 and, like me, finished – in her case, fourth overall. Before the race, she graciously chatted with me and signed my copy of her book (as well as a copy for a friend).

Rubbing Shoulders with the Queen of Pain(Fat Pursuit 2015; photo by Sveta Vold)

True to her inscription in my book, she actually tracked me down after the race and congratulated me on my finish. I was a little bit awestruck, but as the book shows, that’s the kind of person she is – as well as the person who can turn herself inside out on the bike.

Categories: Citizens

O’er the trails she goes, laughing all the way: fat bikes do that to you

Mountain Bike Geezer - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 8:45pm


Back in the summer of 2013, I took Myrna Mibus, a friend who lives near Northfield, and her son Ryan to the Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trail in Inver Grove Heights for their first ride on a mtb trail. They both had fun (Ryan giggled the whole time, despite a few crashes) and not too long after that, Myrna and her husband Owen bought fat bikes.

Today I accompanied her on her first ‪‎fat bike‬ ride on the more challenging sections of CROCT’s Sechler Park mtb trail here in Northfield. Sections of The Spine can eat you up and spit you out, as she found out. Fresh snow made it tougher than normal. But she owned a challenging line in the Velodrome section of the Figure 8 loop. Here’s a 40-second video of her various rides. She was smiling and laughing much of the time, just like her son:

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part 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 blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post O’er the trails she goes, laughing all the way: fat bikes do that to you appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

The Third Year--Montessori Kindergarten

The Children's House - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 3:02pm
It's that time of year at MCH when parents of our second year students begin the decision making process for re-enrollment. We applaud and support them in this important process. It can seem like an overwhelming responsibility to choose the best class for your child. We hold a special meeting just for them at our school to offer guidance and explain which choice we feel is the best for our Montessori students. While not everyone can stay for the third year at our school, our hope is that those who can will do just that. It is a gift that will pay huge dividends in the child's outlook on learning. We feel so strongly about it that all of our scholarship money in the past has gone to making the third year choice an easy one for parents. As an authentic Montessori school, we are committed to the three year cycle in the classroom and to offering the best possible Montessori primary education to each child. We serve the Watcher (3 year old), the Worker (4 year old) and the Teacher (5 year old). It is both our mission and our pure delight.
Here are some of the videos we'll share at the information meeting:

Categories: Citizens

Motion for Reconsideration DENIED!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 1:53pm

Today we were before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, moi and my clients, Residents of Getty and Raymond Townships, asking that the Commission reconsider its permit amendment for the Black Oak and Getty wind projects:

Residents of Getty and Raymond Twps_Motion for Reconsideration

Given Staff’s position, well:

Reconsideration_Staff Briefing Papers

So yeah, that was a unanimous refusal to reconsider, and then a unanimous vote to deny.  But there was a ray of sunshine this morning!  Chair Heydinger did indeed recuse herself.

Imagine living on the farm right there in the middle of this in Section 18?  And it’s not “just” people who live there, but bald eagles too.  We’ll see what US Fish & Wildlife has had to say, my FOIA request to them is slowly-at-a-snail’s-pace moving forward:

Categories: Citizens

A Facelift for My Blog's Fifth Birthday

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 10:19am
Five years is a long time to do anything. When that’s the amount of time a person has done something fun, or productive, or both, it’s an anniversary worth celebrating.

Today I am celebrating the five-year anniversary of this blog, My Musical Family. I published my first post on Jan. 8, 2010, and followed that with eight more that same month. Sheesh — what an overachiever! Now I am lucky if I get two posts a month.

If you are a regular follower, you have probably noticed there is something different about the blog today — it has a new look!

I was originally just going to add a few new pages to the blog, including a page with links to my other writing, and a page that summarizes the career of my paternal great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs (the links are located in the gray bar just under the name of the blog). But one thing led to another yesterday, and suddenly my little blog looked like a big kid with a new haircut going off to kindergarten.

Change can be difficult. I am still getting used to the new look, but I am also excited about it. Let me know what you think!
Categories: Citizens


Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:31pm

Julia has always been into clothes, but she’s lately combined her fashion sense with her love of drawing to create pages and pages of cool outfits like these.

Categories: Citizens

Zip Rail EIS Scoping Decision Released

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 4:19pm

Hot off the press, here is the Zip Rail Scoping Decision and Alternatives:

Final Scoping Decision Document Reports Jan 20, 2015 3 MB Final Scoping Decision Document Appendix A Reports Jan 20, 2015 22 MB Final Scoping Decision Document Appendix B Reports Jan 20, 2015 21 MB

Sign in sheets for meetings are in Appendix A.  Comments received are in Appendix B.

In addition to the requisite “No Build Alternative,” the route options they’re looking at in the EIS will include:

I wonder if they’ve considered the big natural gas pipeline that runs across Hwy. 14 along the pink/purple route between Dodge Center and Rochester?

Also looks like a potential problem by Cannon Falls and Hwy. 19… Wild & Scenic River designation, sandwiched in between the Byllesby Dam, Hwy. 52 and the City of Cannon Falls.  Can’t see how that would work, particularly with that CapX 2020 transmission line right there and the DOT restrictions on putting that through.  I… DON’T… THINK… SO…

The Draft EIS is supposed to be completed in 2015.  Something tells me that’s a bit overambitious…

Categories: Citizens

Living Treasures of Northfield

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 2:39pm
Sebastian, Elias and I were among the crowd of more than 100 people who showed up last Thursday evening at the Grand Event Center to celebrate happy news (which it seems we are all so desperate for these days): the occasion of DeWayne and Theo Wee receiving Northfield’s 2015 Living Treasure Award.

The city’s arts and culture commission made public what our family has known for more than a decade — the Wees are talented musicians and wonderful, giving people.

The annual award honors Northfield area residents who make an outstanding and lasting contribution to the city’s identity and quality of life through arts and culture. (For more background, you can read the Northfield News article about last week’s event.)

I first met DeWayne and his wife, Theo, when Louisa was in kindergarten. Louisa decided that she wanted to take piano lessons, and she insisted that we find her a teacher. If any of you readers remember what Louisa was like as a kindergartner, you will recall her persistence. I asked around and got the name of a teacher who lived down the block from us. Unfortunately, she had no openings. But that teacher suggested DeWayne, who also lives in our neighborhood.

DeWayne Wee looks on while a 6-year-old Louisa performs at a piano recital.I must admit — at the time, as the mom of a kindergartner, a preschooler and a toddler, I was not interested in interviewing a dozen people to find the absolute best teacher for my child. I mainly wanted someone who was patient, kind and lived nearby, so I wouldn’t have to go far to get her to her lessons. It was just out of luck that Louisa ended up with a retired St. Olaf College professor who had studied at St. Olaf, Juilliard, and Indiana University.

Clearly, he was more than qualified to teach my daughter. But more importantly, I discovered that DeWayne is one of the most patient and encouraging teachers on earth. Not only did he teach Louisa through fifth grade, he taught Sebastian for about four years, and he is in his eighth year of giving lessons to Elias.

All three kids have experienced the pleasure of having Theo fill in occasionally for her husband at their lessons. She also is a kind, patient, highly qualified retired St. Olaf music professor, and both she and DeWayne have performed for numerous community organizations and events, have served as church musicians, and have provided accompaniment for students participating in the high school solo/ensemble contests.

The Wees were nominated for the Living Treasure Award by high school band director Mary Williams. At the event last week, Mary read some comments by former and current students who were appreciative of the Wees’ contributions.

Louisa would likely have chimed in if she hadn’t been away at college. Last spring, when she was a high school senior, she performed a French horn solo, the Rondo from “Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in E flat Major,” for the solo/ensemble contest, and DeWayne played the piano accompaniment. It was a fitting way for her to conclude her K-12 music performance career.

At Louisa’s graduation party, we showed DeWayne the video of young Louisa from an early piano recital performing the piece “Mozart By a Nose” by Kevin Olson, which concludes in an unexpected way: as directed in the music, Louisa played the final note with — you guessed it — her nose. It was a memorable piece, one that fit her personality, and watching DeWayne’s enjoyment of the performance was as much fun as watching Louisa play it.

Our family’s hearty and sincere congratulations go out to DeWayne and Theo for a much-deserved award. Bravo!
Categories: Citizens

“Invitation to Consult” on Great Northern Transmission

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 11:55am

Interesting letter arrived today:

GNTL_Invitation to Consult

It says that “DOE is contacting you because you submitted comment(s) related to cultural resources during the open NEPA public scoping period for the proposed GNTL project.”

RRANT Scoping Comment


So what does that mean? What’s involved?  Sending info to them?  Sending more Comments?  Attending meetings? A free trip to D.C?  A self-funded trip to International Falls in February?

“Consultation” is a term of art in federal permitting, and is required with all Indian tribes, of which there are several in the area of the project.  In this case, they also specify “the State Historic Preservation Officer” and “the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,” and also “certain individuals and organizations…”

Here’s the  National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA)

Working with Section 106

Energy Development, Transmission and Historic Preservation

Are “historical resources” all that they’re concerned about, is there a special category for “cultural resources?”  Or are different people invited to consult on different categories?

And if this is something I want to do, and it is, I have to “include information about your demonstrated legal or economic relation to the undertaking” … (odd word, that)… ” or to properties potentially affected by the proposed GNTL project…”

Guess I’d better figure out what I said in those comments first!

Categories: Citizens

CROCT’s presentation to BikeNorthfield’s Soup & Cycles

Mountain Bike Geezer - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 11:55pm


Last week, fellow CROCT Board member Marty Larson and I made a short presentation to BikeNorthfield‘s 2nd Annual Soup & Cycles community meeting. We reviewed our club’s  progress in 2015 and previewed our activities for 2015.  Many CROCT members attended, as did CROCT board members Galen Murray, Curtis Ness, and Scott Koehler. 

See my album of 80+ photos from the entire night here:

Our photo-infested slide presentation:

Subscribe to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills/Mountain Bike Geezer newsletter and get:

  1. The free 6-part 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 blog.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

The post CROCT’s presentation to BikeNorthfield’s Soup & Cycles appeared first on Mountain Bike Geezer.

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: January 19, 2015

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 7:01pm

Categories: Citizens

PUC 1/22 — Getty & Black Oak Wind

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 8:19pm

Eagle photo by Jason Jennissen, on the Jennissen property in Stearns County

Notice just came out that our Motion for Reconsideration of Amendment of the Siting Permit, issued November 14, 2014, for the Getty and Black Oak wind projects is before the Public Utilities Commission on January 22, next Thursday:

PUC – January 22, 2015 Meeting Notice  20151-106031-01

The Commission will either do nothing, take it up and make no changes, or “Reconsider,” which could mean taking action then, or pushing it forward to revisit.

We were before them in the Certificate of Need docket a couple of weeks ago, where they were saying it’s a 78 MW project (and there’s an exemption to Commission reconsideration of a Certificate of Need if it’s under 80 MW, funny how that works).  78 MW?  Yes, that’s what they say in their request for Extension of the In-Service Date:

But their permit, just amended is for 21 – 2 MW turbines and 20 – 2 MW turbines which equals 82 MW…

So which is it, 78 MW, where Recertification by the Commission is exempted, or is it 82 MW as stated in the permit, and where Recertification is not exempted because it’s over 80 MW?

And let’s look a little closer at potential impacts of this project:

See that red dot just above the Padua Wildlife Management Area?  That’s an eagle nest, recognized as such by HDR when it did the Avian Study for the Black Oak and Getty wind projects:

Revised Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) 20127-76674-01

What’s very strange about this project is that although the DNR has submitted numerous comments in the record, and although there are references to US Fish & Wildlife by Applicants in the ABPP, there are no USFWS comments in the record that I can find.

So I fired off a FOIA request to USFWS, and they weren’t real happy with it, so I fired off another a couple days ago:

FOIA and Fee Waiver Requst to USFWS  1-14-2015

Hoping to get some good info, because as you can see above, there is an eagle nest, and as you can see on the map below, well, count the wind turbines within two miles of that eagle nest:

Here are the project siting maps:

An off the cuff review of the map shows the following affected turbines in Getty, where turbines are located within a two mile radius of an eagle nest:

Section 7: Turbines 14 & 38;

Section 8: Turbine 35;

Section 16: Turbine 18, and Turbine 36 RD area affected;

Section 1: Turbines 19, 20 and 21.

A similar review of the affected turbines in Black Oak:

Section 1: Turbine 40;

Section 11: Turbine 17;

Section 12: Turbines 12, 13, 14 and 16;

Section 13: Turbine 11;

Section 14: Turbines 28, 9, 10;

Section 23: Turbine 29.

 Eagle photo by Jason Jennissen, on the Jennissen property in Stearns County


Categories: Citizens

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