Three Books for Beginning Veg Gardeners in the North

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - 2 hours 16 min ago
A few years ago (gosh, it was 10!), I did a list of best books for beginning gardeners, with a focus on vegetable gardening. Those books are still good options, but several more recent books are really worth adding to your collection. And, any of them would make a wonderful gift for a young gardener […] Related posts:
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Categories: Citizens

What’s become of Excelsior Energy?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 3:10pm

Remember Excelsior Energy‘s boondoggle Mesaba Project?  Go to the PUC’s search page and search for “05-1993” and “06-668” for the dockets.

A little birdie flew by today, cocked its shiny eye and said…

So following up… Does anyone find it strange that as of August 3, 2018, the registered office of Excelsior Energy and its agent, CEO, and Principal Executive Office Address of Tom Micheletti, is  THE ABOVE STORAGE UNIT at 4630 Quebec Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55428?

Last known address: 708 1st St., #421, Minneapolis, sold 2017 for $749,900(verified in Metsa for Congress report, 3/9/2018 donation)… and then there’s Orono: Tom & Julie’s house is for sale.

Did you know that Excelsior Energy got their regulatory perks extended until 2025?!?!  Really, look at this, Minn. Stat. 216B.1694, Subd. 3(b)(1), a 2017 legislative boondoggle!

(1) site and route permits and water appropriation approvals for an innovative energy project must also be deemed valid for a plant meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) and shall remain valid until the earlier later of (i) four years from the date the final required state or federal preconstruction permit is issued or (ii) June 30, 2019 2025; and

Yes, Excelsior Energy was doing their lobbying in 2017.

Julie Jorgensen has been hustling with Greenmark, our good friends Mark Andrews and Red Wing’s ex-Mayor Dennis EganThree Musketeers? Three Stooges?

Then there’s Excelsior Energy Capital.  What’s that?!?!  Well, a Delaware corp registered in Minnesota in August of 2017, and inquiring minds found out their HQ is a BOAT SLIP at 21950 Minnetonka Boulevard, #210, Excelsior, MN.

Really.  Could google maps be wrong?  It’s not international waters, but assuredly … ummmm… well, bizarre!  Look at their TEAM (can you say photoshopped?).  I can’t find direct connections to our friends at Excelsior Energy, but with an operation like this, it’s got to be there!  Searching…

Remember AWA Goodhue’s office?  And Secretary of State lets them get away with this?


Categories: Citizens

Solar Rulemaking Petition on file at WI PSC

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:02pm

Does anyone else think it odd, when solar projects in Wisconsin are in the 2-10MW range, to apply to site the 300MW Badger Hollow solar project when there are no rules?  Yeah, I know, it sounds like Minnesota siting 2,000+ MW of large wind projects with no rules and using small wind standards, way too similar.  But this is real.  300MW of solar is a LOT of solar.  It’s central station solar.  It’s on some of the best ag land in Wisconsin.  And it just happens to be on the route of the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line!

What to do?  Rulemaking, of course.  Yeah, we know how that goes (PUC denies Reconsideration re: Wind Rulemaking), but without rules, how will they reasonably site this project?  Without rules, how will they reasonably site any solar project?  So of course here we go, the Jewell Jinkins Intervenors’ solar rulemaking petition:

Petition for Rulemaking_JJI_Solar_FINAL_Signed

And Wisconsin’s PSC “ERFed” it today.  It’s docket 1-AC-254.  It’s my understanding that a comment period will be announced and then the Commission will decide whether or not to proceed with rulemaking.

Categories: Citizens

Hoar Frost over Shell Rock River

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 6:39pm

This is the Shell Rock River, covered with winter hoar frost today, and part of the DNR’s Shell Rock River State Water Trail, where Freeborn Wind wants to string a transmission line over the river!  Click for larger view:

It’s a State Water Trail – click for larger view:

Doesn’t this just look like the greatest place for transmission across the river?!?!  Good grief, what are they thinking?

Categories: Citizens

WI Petition for Rulemaking – Solar siting rules are needed

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 3:54pm

Photo of DOE project in Alamosa, under 30 MW

There’s a 300MW solar project proposed for southern Wisconsin, in Iowa County.  Thing is, as with Minnesota and large wind (PUC denies Reconsideration re: Wind Rulemaking), there are no siting rules for solar in Wisconsin!  Really, no rules!  Typically thus far, solar projects are 2-10 MW.  This one proposed is 300MW!  Central station power to put it mildly.

Not only are there no siting rules, but there is no Environmental Impact Statement required for a project covering 3,500 acres!


So on behalf of Jewell Jinkins Intervenors, I’ve just filed this Petition for Rulemaking to get them going on solar rules.

Petition for Rulemaking_JJI_Solar_FINAL_Signed

We shall see what, if anything, they do.

Categories: Citizens

PUC denies Reconsideration re: Wind Rulemaking

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 4:10pm

We know who you are, and we saw what you did… and didn’t!

No surprise.  Today the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission rejected Goodhue Wind Truth’s Petition for Reconsideration of the Commission’s denial of our Petition for Rulemaking.  Rules, who needs rules… about 2,500 MW of wind has been sited in Minnesota WITHOUT LARGE WIND SPECIFIC SITING RULES AND/OR STANDARDS!  Really!  And the Commission doesn’t seem to regard that as a problem.  Large wind is sited using SMALL WIND/COUNTY SITING STANDARDS, not intended for large wind.  And the Commission doesn’t seem to regard that as a problem.  Large wind is sited using MPCA’s industrial noise standards which were admittedly NOT designed with wind in mind.  And the Commission doesn’t seem to regard that as a problem.  Large wind is sited using a Commerce boilerplate site permit with 1,000 foot setbacks and staff has no idea where that 1,000 foot setback came from (it’s contrary to even the small wind standards, and there’s no rule or standard of 1,000 ft!).  And the Commission doesn’t seem to regard that as a problem.


Here’s the rest of the background information:

GWT Rulemaking Reconsideration is 12/6

   November 21st, 2018

Wind Rulemaking — Petition for Reconsideration

   October 16th, 2018

Today’s Wind Rulemaking Comments

   August 24th, 2018

Notice – PUC wants wind rulemaking comments!

   August 2nd, 2018

Just filed – Petition for Wind Siting Rulemaking

   July 30th, 2018

Categories: Citizens

Emoluments – DC Circuit page with primary docs

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 4:50pm

Here ya go, the REAL NEWS of the DC Circuit Emoluments suit:

Emoluments Lawsuit – DC Attorney General’s Page

That’ll keep ya busy for a while, very entertaining!  Particularly:

hee, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee, SNORT!

Categories: Citizens

Stone takes 5th!?!?!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 4:44pm

Why would he take this route when he technically doesn’t even have to respond, no subpoena power, just a request?  Let’s just make the logical presumption…

From the horse’s … mouth… (click for larger version):

Categories: Citizens

Oil & Gas Drilling around Cook Inlet

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 4:41pm

So why is no one talking about all the oil and gas drilling around Cook Inlet where the MASSIVE earthquake was in Alaska?  Primary info HERE!  See for yourself.

Check this video of all the earthquakes in Alaska since the big one.

And as we know, there are seismic impacts:

You can find it here at


Categories: Citizens

RUS EIS is released for Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 3:12pm

It’s out, the USDA’s RUS EIS for Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project:

Draft Environmental Impact Statement – November 2018

From the RUS Notice, how to send in comments and list of public meetings:

RUS page for Environmental Review for Cardinal – Hickory Creek Transmission Line Project – Iowa & Wisconsin


Categories: Citizens

Three Gifts Especially for Northern Gardeners

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:08pm
Tis the season for lists of gifts for gardeners. There are lots of tools and books that make great gifts, but for cold-climate gardeners, you have some special choices. Here are three any northern gardener would love. A Mosquito-Proof Jumpsuit I was the lucky winner of this mosquito-proof jumpsuit from Meshed at the Garden Bloggers […] Related posts:
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Categories: Citizens

Sunday – Christine Coughlin, MN State Director, Humane Society of US

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 6:54pm


THIS Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m.

Hobgoblin, Red Wing, MN

Cruelty and care: hope for our contradictory relationship with animals

Christine Coughlin Minnesota State Director, The Humane Society of the United States

The majority of Americans have pets and we spend more money than ever on our companion animals.  Our appreciation for wildlife is surging, and our concern for the welfare of animals raised for food is higher than ever.  At the same time, there are inherent cruelties in the ways we relate to millions of animals- in puppy mills, factory farms, and in the wild.

Hope is abundant, as we are experiencing a revolution in the way we view and treat animals, thanks to expanding awareness among consumers, legislators, voters, and business.

Join us to hear about the Humane Society of the United States’ campaigns and work in Minnesota and how you can help build a truly humane society here at home.

Christine Coughlin 
is the Minnesota State Director for The Humane Society of the United States.

Born and raised in Minnesota, she has been active in the field of animal protection since 2002, with a focus on grassroots legislative campaigns and electoral advocacy.  Christine has served on animal welfare policy task forces for the City of Minneapolis, initiated the biannual publication of MN’s Humane Scorecard, and founded Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, serving as executive director until 2015, when she joined The Humane Society of the United States.

She is the recipient of the 2017 Kenny Feldman Animal Advocate Award.

Categories: Citizens

New White House “rules” for press conferences?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:52am

In Variety:

White House’s New Press Conference Rules Pose New Problems

It’s appropriate that this be in Variety, as this is an un-reality White House show.

And the rules?

Please be advised of the following rules governing future press conferences:

(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;

(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;

(3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner;

(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

On a side note, take a look at the White House site. It used to have clear pages across the top for Press Releases, live broadcasts, and a listing of Executive Orders and Proclamations.  Now?  It’s gone.  It’s available in the upper lefthand corner, the lines which will give you a menu.

Categories: Citizens

Publication: "An Open House" at

Rob Hardy - Rough Draft - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:14am
You can find my essay on Susan Glaspell's play Inheritors online HERE on the Critical Read website. 
Categories: Citizens

Fun urbanism: Making repelling bollards more inviting

Betsey Buckheit - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 7:07am
Bollards are booming since the 9/11 bombings in the United States and more recent vehicular terrorism in London (and elsewhere). Bollards and other defensive architecture may protect buildings and sidewalks from vehicles, but they typically don’t encourage people to come enjoy public spaces. Jersey barriers are probably only redeemable by really great graffiti or art …
Categories: Citizens

Happy Birthday to Our Traveling Companion

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 8:40am

Two weeks ago, we took my paternal great-grandfather along on a college visit. It’s not the first time we’ve traveled with him. Over the past decade he’s accompanied us on several family vacations, ones that have a connection to places he once lived or places he himself once visited — like Havre, Montana, the Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee, and the Minnesota towns of Bemidji and Crookston.
Lest you think we traveled with a man who would be 148 years old today, if he had not died in January 1946, I should clarify: this version of my great-grandfather does not require a cane or a wheelchair, does not order off the Perkins senior menu, and does not require his own airplane seat. He’s not a flesh and blood man. He’s a paper-thin, black and white photo reproduction, mounted on cardboard. He is the “Flat Stanley” of bandmasters, and he is a most agreeable companion.
Mini G returns to Oberlin, Ohio, in October 2018The practice of taking G. Oliver Riggs along on trips started in 2008, a year after I began researching his life and career as a pioneering Minnesota band director. He was a prominent violin and cornet soloist at the turn of the last century, and he eventually specialized in forming and directing boys’ bands, in the days before public schools had music programs. Early in my research days, the museum in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he directed the municipal band for 20 years, held a G. Oliver Riggs Day in his honor. For that special occasion, I created a 3-foot-tall cardboard cutout of my great-grandfather, blown up from a portrait of him wearing a tuxedo, taken in 1899 when he was about 30 years old.
G. Oliver Riggs with family at G. Oliver Riggs Day in 2008The cardboard cutout was a hit with my extended Riggs family, and we included him in our group photos. We continued to take G. Oliver to other family and music-related events, and he began vacationing with my husband, my three kids and me, as I began working on a book about him. We eventually created a 9-inch-tall mini version, one that can easily fit inside a purse or laptop bag, for those situations when bringing along the larger version was impractical.
Mini G visits the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago in 2014It’s the mini version that accompanied my husband, my youngest child, Elias, and me two weeks ago on a visit to Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, the school where my great-grandfather got his music education in the late 1880s and early 1890s.
G. Oliver was born on November 26, 1870, in Louisa County, Iowa, grew up on the plains of Nebraska and Kansas, and he learned to play instruments at a young age, likely inspired by his violin-playing father and accordion-playing mother. When he was 13, he decided he wanted to attend the celebrated music conservatory in Oberlin. He saved up his money, earned by herding cattle, and in the fall of 1885, shortly before he turned 15—three years younger than Elias is now—he took the train by himself from rural Kansas to Oberlin, with an overnight stop in Chicago. He took several courses over a period of terms, dropping out occasionally to earn more tuition money, and he finished his musical studies in the winter of 1891.
One hundred and thirty three years after G. Oliver first set foot on campus, Elias, his dad, and I flew from Minneapolis/St. Paul airport to Cleveland, rented a car, and drove 30 miles to Oberlin. Because the visit was about Elias checking out the school, and because I’d visited the campus once before, three years earlier with my older son, Sebastian (and Mini G), I did not feel compelled to make a big deal about G. Oliver’s return to campus. But I did sneak one photo of me with Mini G standing in front of the music conservatory building, built on the site of the old conservatory building where G. Oliver took lessons in piano, violin, and harmony.
I’m not sure if my great-grandfather would be flattered or weirded out to know that he continues to be our traveling companion, decades after he no longer walks the earth. I prefer to think the former. As for Mini G, I can report that he kept a proud smile on his face during the entire campus visit, even if his true thoughts remained inscrutable.
Mini G visits Bridge Square in Northfield, September 2018Happy 148thbirthday, G. Oliver Riggs. May you enjoy many more musical family adventures with us in the coming decades.
Categories: Citizens

GWT Rulemaking Reconsideration is 12/6

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 11:14am

I often use this photo, because it represents one simple fact: Sometimes things go off the rails.  Wind siting in Minnesota is one of those things, we have no wind specific siting criteria!

Thursday, December 6th, we’re back at the Commission, where they’ll address Goodhue Wind Truth’s Petition for Reconsideration, or not (and toss it in the circular file).

PUC Notice – Agenda Meeting 12-6-2018

Here’s some background:

Wind Rulemaking — Petition for Reconsideration      October 16th, 2018 Today’s Wind Rulemaking Comments      August 24th, 2018
Categories: Citizens

Lots of filing in Wisconsin

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 9:57pm

Apparently Invenergy doesn’t like the idea that we’re intervening in their Wisconsin dockets.  I guess after Freeborn Wind, it’s not hard to understand why.

Intervention in Badger Hollow HUGE 300 MW solar project docket — approved by the Administrative Law Judge (Docket 9697-CE-100):

Jinkins Jewell Wendhausen_Intervention


And then the related dockets, the transmission line and the acquisition docket, appropriately known as the BS docket, our intervention, their objection, and our response.  The transmission docket (Docket 9697-CE-101):

Jewell Jinkins_101_Intervention_FINAL

9697-CE-101 Badger Hollow – Response to Request for Intervention (Objection!)

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_101_Reply to Objection

And the acquisition BS docket (Docket 5-BS-228):

Jewell Jinkins_228_Intervention_CORRECTED

Applicant Response to Motion to Intervene (Objection)

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_228_Reply to Response

Oh, and the Cardinal Hickory Creek 345 kV Transmission Line!  Docket 5-CE-146.

Jewell Jinkins Intervenors_Cardinal-Hickory Creek_Intervention

To look up any of these dockets, go to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s Search site, and  plug in the numbers.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting on the Minnesota Commission meeting on Reconsideration for our Rulemaking Petition, and waiting on two orders, project and transmission, for Freeborn Wind.

And around all these filings, I’ve been to band practice, made wild rice and garbanzo salad, and I hear a Ferndale Market turkey calling…

What a long week it’s been!  WHAT?  Tuesday?!?!  No, really?!?!

Categories: Citizens

What’s that in my neighbor’s backyard? More neighbors! – ADUs on the agenda

Betsey Buckheit - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 5:55pm
What’s that in your neighbor’s backyard? It’s an ADU, planner shorthand for planner longhand “accessory dwelling unit.”  It’s just a second, smaller dwelling on the same lot as a single family home.  It could be an apartment above a garage, a Tiny House in the backyard, or and addition to the main home.   Tomorrow, …
Categories: Citizens
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