Carol Overland - Legalectric

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Carol A. Overland, Overland Law Office -- Utility Regulatory and Land Use Advocacy
Updated: 1 hour 53 min ago

West Avenue, almost done, and parking changes?

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 3:44pm

That’s tonight!  West is almost done.  The final layer of asphalt is now down, and they’ve dumped black dirt behind the wall and sprayed the boulevards and dirt bordering the sidewalks with that green stuff.

Here’s the new yard, with two new trees (with aftermarket bird nest), and the wired-for-light post for the Little Free Library next to the Neighbors Against the Burner sign:

Categories: Citizens

PUC Chair: This is not about layout…

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 12:57pm

Not today’s photo, this one from September 11, 2014.

Today at the PUC, the Black Oak and Getty Wind Project was on the agenda. For the full docket, go to PUC SEARCH DOCKETS, and search for 10-1240 (Black Oak) or 11-831 (Getty), and for the Certificate of Need, 11-471.

I’d been retained late last week by project neighbors to address the Commission on their behalf.  They’d been participating throughout, and are frustrated that they’re not being heard, that issues that had been raised by their group, their neighbors, and the DNR were not being heard.  Well, so much for that… Chair Heydinger said that they, the Commission, were not there to discuss layout of the turbines, that it’s only about size, that the notice was about size.  Well, we did get that statement on the record, and I asked again, to be clear on the record, and she repeated that the layout was not at issue, that it’s all in the footprint.  There’s no where to go at the Commission with that kind of statement from the Chair!

Here’s the notice for that agenda item, the issues for Commission decision.

And more importantly, the Applicant filed a Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need on Tuesday, two days before this meeting!  The Commission is making decisions on this siting permit when the Certificate of Need is in limbo?  When the Applicant by their own admission is not going to meet its in-service deadline?

Anyway, layout not at issue today?  Here are the decision items presented to the Commission:

From the Briefing Papers, here is the DNR take on the layout, and note the reference to “previous layouts” because there have been several, and it’s very confusing

Here are DNR comments over the years — the September and October, 2014, comments are regarding this new layout — can you tell if the Commission, Commerce, or anyone paid any attention to the DNR Comments?







DNR_Aug 24 2012_20128-78117-01

DNR_Bat_Feb 22 2013_20132-83757-01


Did the Commission make any attempt to determine whether the DNR concerns were addressed?  Nope.  They just voted.

But this “wasn’t about layout,” so what does it matter…

And worse, knowing of the just filed Petition For Extension of Certificate of Need and that the project would admittedly not be built by the claimed in-service date, they rammed through approval of this new siting arrangement.



Categories: Citizens

MPCA Extends Silica Sand Comment Deadline

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:58pm

There was a notice on the MPCA Silica Sand page that the 10/29 deadline for Comments on their latest “rule concept” release, but couldn’t find a notice.  So I got ahold of Nathan Cooley who said he’d get on it, and lo and behold, a formal “Notice” is released and lands in the inbox!  YES!  Thank you!

Here it is, it’s official, straight from the State Register, p. 586:

So what to comment on?  This, from the MPCA site:

Second request for comments (September 2014); deadline for comments extended to Nov. 21, 2014.

The DNR also has rulemaking going on about trout stream setbacks and reclamation of abandoned mines.  MORE INFO HERE!

Categories: Citizens

Transmission filings last week!

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 9:45am

For an update on Testimony filings last week, hop over to “Not-so-Great Northern Transmission” and check it out:

Rebuttal Testimony filed in GNTL Certificate of Need docket
Categories: Citizens

Yesterday was the perfect day for some time off!

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 9:43am

Categories: Citizens


Fri, 10/24/2014 - 7:59am

The West Avenue project is almost done, you can see the wall where they’ll be filling in and painting the phony-rock part.  The street still needs another layer or two of blacktop, and the boulevards need seeding, but OUR TREES ARE HERE!!!   Two maples in the front, and on the side a new style elm and a Kentucky coffee tree.  We’d lost one tree before we bought the house (the hole was there), then a year ago spring a blizzard took another, and we lost our beautiful maple with this construction.  Now we’ve got to keep them alive and keep those damn deer from eating them!  Apparently one got ripped up by a buck further down the street.

And squint and look closely — check the flock of birds, thousands going by:



Categories: Citizens

Barbara O’Brien’s DOGFACE book release pawty tomorrow!

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:34pm

Tomorrow, Friday, October 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., photographer Barbara O’Brien is having a DOGFACE book release party at Agile Canines, 216 Colfax Ave. N., Minneapolis.  Come join the fun, and bring a bag of dog food, cat food, kitty litter, or some other animal donation for the Humane Society of Goodhue County.  Be the first in your dog park to have a copy of her new book.  That’s DOGFACE!

That’s a photo of Alan and our dear old Kenya, not long before she died, yes, taken by Barbara O’Brien, photographer extraordinaire, when she did a photo shoot for Humane Society of Goodhue County.   Kenya couldn’t walk then, Alan had to carry her in, but her spirit was still good and she was full of life, a happy pup.  Barbara captured her buoyant smile.

Thanks, Barbara, for preserving her for us, and also Kady when she was younger, new to our family, Minnesota, and a little hesitant.  Now she’s always smiling too… when she isn’t sleeping, which she does a lot now.  It means a lot to all of us that Barbara got them on film… errr, on disk.  And we’ll be there tomorrow!!!

Categories: Citizens

One transmission line easement settled!

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:53pm

One small step… and a giant leap!  A transmission easement settled, and at more than twice the original offer.  Yeah, we can live with that.

The troubling thing is that the appraisal didn’t really make sense, and they way they came to the appraisal amount didn’t add up.  But despite that, the bottom line was good, so we’re not going to quibble.

Onward, heading up north for transmission hearings for the Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line.

Categories: Citizens

And all is calm on the West front!

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:56pm

The wall is UP.  The street is paved, and the sidewalks were finished today!  Like WOW!  Next week they fill in the boulevards, and do something with that hill behind the retaining wall.  Almost… almost…

And the good news is that now we’ve got drainage that won’t turn the sidewalks into a skating rink, and the pole for the Little Free Library and light is now installed!

Categories: Citizens

Bees tonight!

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:44pm

And so says the STrib:

Willie & the Bees buzzed for first gig in 14 years

Time to hit the road and jump on the LRT!

Categories: Citizens

Stephanie Henriksen at Northfield Arts Guild

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 1:05am

Stephanie Henricksen has been a friend, activist, cohort, and client on so many land use issues for so long now, and though I’d seen her “Farm Art” show that she put together with many other farm and agriculture focused artists, I’d not seen a room full of her work… until today.  And apparently is was a side of her that many in Northfield did not know existed!  So good to fill them in.  It was the last day of her “Retrospective” at the Northfield Arts Guild.  That’s Stephanie in her “winter” hat discussing her work:

One day we were in my office talking about the Target development just south of Northfield, and, well, it was a spirited discussion, and I leaned back snorting and CRACK!  My chair broke, I went flying over backwards, hootin’ and hollerin’ all the way to the floor.  A few days later she comes in with a drawing of it, which I have to this day.  I also have an evocative photo of Stephanie, taken by David, on my wall, of her sitting with three of her many ducks who were assassinated in a drive by shooting just after she’d published an editorial about a local land use project — a price of her advocacy.  She’s had other incidents, including a sow’s teats skinned off and left in her mailbox, a rib cage stuck on her fence post, during her work on feedlot regulation.  She’s well known for her activism, but unfortunately, not so much for her art.

Oh, and did you know she’s an alto sax player too?

And some others from the exhibition:

This is her mother out in the yard:

This was one of my favorites — a squirrel ring toss!!!

This one was to be a “Madonna and Child” which she said just wasn’t working until she put her dog in:

And here she is again, Stephanie Henricksen and friends:

And from my personal collection from a much appreciated thank you note she’d sent in the heat of a tough struggle, after we’d made some progress on a land use issue.  I think we’d gotten a permit stalled out in Rice County with a petition to the EQB for environmental review:

Categories: Citizens

It was brought to you by a trucker…

Sat, 10/04/2014 - 8:53pm

If you have anything at all in the way of material possessions, odds are that it was brought to you by a trucker, or the pieces you made it with were brought to you by a trucker.  If you eat, unless you grew it on your own, odds are it was brought to you by a trucker.

There’s always been a truck driver shortage, despite yahoos like Rick Brandt at W&S (that’s Wicked & Sadistic) saying, “The driver is the most easily replaceable part of a truck.”  Now, it’s worse.  The Hours of Service rules are tighter — you read these and let me know if you can comply!  Plus trucks are computerized, meaning logs are on the computer, if the truck is rolling down the road, the computer says you’re driving and you can only do so much of that in a day.  Insurance companies are probably more strict about who companies can hire, what kind of driving record means rejection.  And as always, it means being away from home so long that home becomes your truck.

In today’s STrib:

Trucking firms, short of drivers, are stretching to find more

On the flip side, pay is more than twice what it was as Reagan deregulated trucking in 1983.  And trucks are nothing like the cabovers with arm strong steering and hockey puck suspension of that era — nowadays, everyone’s got a hood and a rumpus room, usually a fridge, and of course the aforementioned computer which isn’t exactly programmed for fun or enlightenment, just work.  Fuel mileage has also changed, where 7 mpg is now not that unusual, and you won’t see the black clouds of eye-stinging emissions, what with low sulphur fuel and “Diesel Emissions Fuel” to further limit sulphur output.  Loads are better, with shipper load, and mostly receiver unload and when they want it broken down, lumper fees are paid without a hassle.

Still, “easy” as it is, it makes for a long week…


Categories: Citizens

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