Citizens

Ellsworth School District – willful disregard

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:07am

This is so disturbing to me, I wrote about it before I became speechless — in the Red Wing Republican Eagle:

Letter: Willful disregard and willful ignorance in Pierce County

I’m fuming. I just read with shock and disbelief that there’s a second case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. The cause of my shock and disbelief stems from the article which said that, “band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The person attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.”

A school trip March 9-14? COVID was in the news in January and February. There were very public self-isolation and social distancing recommendations, including warnings not to travel, the first week of March. Yet the Ellsworth trip went forward the second week of March?

This display of willful ignorance and willful disregard for people’s health, perhaps their lives, is hard to accept. School administrators, trip organizers and the school board are responsible for the health and safety of those in their care. Parents are responsible for their children. The “children” are senior high students, some maybe “adults,” but in any case, old enough to be thinking for themselves. The responsibility for this ill-advised trip is a shared responsibility.

Thinking “it can’t happen here” or “it won’t happen to me”? There is no rational basis for such ideas, and science says otherwise, it can and will happen. Look around. It is happening, it is happening to people you ostensibly care about, and it is happening to the community around you.To go forward on a school trip when there’s a burgeoning pandemic with isolation, distancing, and no-travel recommendations, it is just so irresponsible. It goes beyond poor judgment – it is willful disregard and willful ignorance – selfish “me first” disregard and ignorance that puts people in harm’s way.

Get to work to fix this mess. What are you doing to help your friends and neighbors who are now or who will become sick, for those who are quarantined and unable to care for themselves? It’s time for continuing education in science, situational ethics, critical thinking, and public health for the district officials, staff, and students alike, with a healthy dose of public service.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

Categories: Citizens

My Great-Grandfather the Hottie and Other Treasures

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 8:30pm
I spent a few hours this afternoon cleaning out the bedroom that has served as my office since September, so Sebastian can reclaim it for the rest of the school year. I got sidetracked (no surprise) when I came across a fragile, musty photo album that a second cousin sent me many months ago. It appears to have belonged to my paternal great-grandmother, Islea.

I hadn't spent much time with the album when it arrived at my house because I was deep in revisions to my book at that time. I do remember noticing that few, if any, of the photos in it were labeled, some were in rough shape, and most of the people didn't look familiar to me.
But today, I took my time, and my patience was rewarded. My favorite find — the attention-grabbing hottie photo of G. Oliver and his friend, shown below — was tucked behind another photo and is in excellent shape.
A young G. Oliver Riggs, on the left, with an unnamed friendWhy had it been tucked behind another photo? Who's the friend? The photo is small – not much bigger than a postage stamp – and undated. Could it be from his student years at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music? Another mystery for me to ponder.
I also took the time to look more closely at three of the oldest-looking photos in the book, printed on metal instead of paper. What do you suppose – yes, G. Oliver turns up again in two of them, with his younger sister, Daisy. The third appears to be their father, Jasper. It's likely they were taken in Nebraska, where the family lived for several years when G. Oliver was a schoolboy.
G. Oliver and his sister DaisyDaisy and G. Oliver (who went by Oliver as a boy)
The last photo I'm including here is of Islea. It's the first one that appears in the photo book. On the back of the photo, which was taken at a studio in Galesburg, Illinois, she wrote: "Myself at 14 years of age." The photo isn't in great shape, but I'd recognize her sweet young face anywhere.

Gotta love the back of this portrait! So fancy.
I eventually had to put the album aside so I could get more work done. But I'll go back to it soon and see if I can make any sense out the remaining photos. Minnesota goes under a stay-at-home order beginning at midnight tomorrow, so I should have plenty of time to go on a hunt for more treasures.
Categories: Citizens

Health Care Directive – STAT!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 1:15pm

DO YOU HAVE A HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE?

JUST DO IT, NOW. CONTACT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER ABOUT THEIR FORMS, THEIR PROCESS, AND GET YOUR HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE ON FILE WITH THEM.

Here in SE Minnesota, it’s Mayo Clinic. Here is their “Living wills and advance directive” page.

Here, as an example, is link to Mayo’s advance directive form , complete with directions, things to think about. Here’s the pdf:

Mayo Health Care Directive – Minnesota, Wisconsin, and IowaDownload

And anyone alive right now is thinking about COVID. It’s the right time to make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row, and that means, for example, aforementioned Health Care Directive.

I’ve been sick now for nearly 3 weeks. I’ve had serious long-term sinus issues before, most notably during the Goodhue Wind hearing, March 15-17, 2011. It was so bad that I couldn’t talk, could only squawk, and it was excruciating for everyone there. I wasn’t in pain, just a bit lethargic and a fuzzy brain, but utterly neutralized with no ability to speak! Not a good place to be for an attorney in a hearing! At that time I had no access to health care, only the Red Wing Care Clinic on Tuesdays. That sucked so bad, particularly having to get to the Care Clinic on that one specific day (I left the hearing early to get there, and of course nobody bothered to tell me they decided to start early the following day, GRRRRR). Getting access to regular health care was life changing, no doubt about it.

Flash forward to this year. We were on vacation mid-February to the end of February. Sunday, March 8th, I developed the symptoms of sinus, NO fever, but productive cough, flowing sinuses and nose, and general malaise. Same thing Alan had developed March 3, and he got over before I got sick. By the following Friday, I figured I’d need Z-pak again, so went in, knowing CORVID was around. I got checked out, and was treated for my sinus crap, but was told that because we were coughing and had traveled to Portland and lower Washington, we should be checked out for COVID. OK, whatever, we got checked out, and cleared, not justifying COVID testing (which Mayo had just ramped up that Monday, 3/16).

FOR THE RECORD: If I have CORVID, can’t breathe, and arrest, I’m DNR, DNI, DNT, it’s over, let me go. NO VENTILATOR!!!

NOW is an important time to do your Health Care Directive, f/k/a Living Will, to talk it over with family and friends, and figure out what you want. Most health care providers have their own forms, process, but whatever it is, be sure to do it. Then make sure a copy is on file with provider, with your point people, and a copy on the fridge so emergency responders can find it, one in your bag/glove compartment too. Make sure your point people can handle making the decisions YOU want made, and can advocate fiercely for you (i.e., my mother’s health care provider did not want to follow her wishes to stay out of the hospital, and even Dr. Order of “do not hospitalize” as she was on hospice, it was a fight that shouldn’t have happened).

Just do it! Contact your health care provider today and make sure you have a current Health Care Directive. Your state may also have a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney that gives power of decisions to your point person and beefs up your Health Care Directive. As attorney, I’ve done hundreds of Wills, DHCPoAs and directed folks to their health care providers, this is so important to do, and yes, especially now. JUST DO IT!

Categories: Citizens

Pandemics, Methodists, and the Healing Power of Art

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:50am
Three weeks ago — which seems like three years ago now — I was the featured guest at the monthly meeting of the Stillwater Woman's Reading Club. The group formed in 1886 and is the longest-operating woman-founded club in Minnesota. I was honored to be invited and had a marvelous time talking to its members about my book, Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man. During my presentation at St. Paul Lutheran Church, I read an excerpt from Chapter 12, which seemed appropriate for several reasons. That chapter covers the years my great-grandparents G. Oliver and Islea Riggs lived in Bemidji, Minnesota (1919-1923), and it includes events like the influenza pandemic, a measles epidemic, and the passage of the 19th Amendment, which allowed women nationwide to vote in their first presidential election in the fall of 1920. 
The week after my talk, I learned that Elias's college, Grinnell, was shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the days seemed to both accelerate and elongate from there, as our daily routines changed by the day and by the hour. On March 12, I gave what I imagine will be my last public talk for quite a while. I was the guest of the Northfield Rotary Club, which holds weekly luncheon meetings at the United Methodist Church (or did; those meetings are currently on hiatus).
Courtesy of Northfield Rotary ClubThe audience, I was told, was not as large as it usually is, no doubt to the growing concern at that time about the spread of COVID-19 (this was one day before Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency, and three days before he ordered all public schools to close between March 18 and March 27). The 65 to 70 people who did attend seemed nervous, as was I, about being in a large public group. So I decided to read again from Chapter 12. It gave me comfort to know that people 100 years ago endured a similar horror and got through it by supporting each other as best they could.

(Interestingly, that chapter also includes mention of a speech by Maria Sanford at the Methodist Church in Bemidji. I didn't appreciate the coincidence until later that my last public appearance was at a Methodist church.)
I closed my Rotary presentation with a short excerpt from Chapter 25 about a magical moment from the 2013 Vintage Band Festival, when a trombone shout group from North Carolina took the stage and brought the crowd to its feet. Reading that scene aloud gave me hope that we will endure the difficult times ahead and eventually emerge from our homes to gather and celebrate. I am holding out hope that we will hold the One Day Vintage Band Festival on Aug. 1 in Northfield as planned, and that music can provide a balm for us, like it did for my great-grandparents and their community during the darker moments of history.
A picture of the welcoming, receptive audience I had for my talk in StillwaterAlthough I'm disappointed that other spring events I had planned have been canceled (the 2020 DSM Book Festival in Des Moines) or rescheduled for the fall (Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair and the Family History Conference in St. Cloud), I'm grateful for my health and my ability to connect with people through other ways — like Zoom, my new best friend.

If you don't already have a copy of my book and are interested in reading it during this prolonged time of staying at home, you do have some options. It's still in stock and/or can be ordered through several independent bookstores, including Content Bookstore in Northfield (they ship for only 99 cents); Cherry Street Books in Alexandria; the Irreverent Bookworm in Minneapolis; Zenith Bookstore in Duluth; Beagle and Wolf Books and Bindery in Park Rapids; Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais; Ferguson Books and More in Grand Forks; and Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. 
You can also order it online through Itasca Books, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

It's available in several libraries, too, but since they're not open right now, I'll skip linking to their sites.
Be safe and be well, and keep making and enjoying art.
Categories: Citizens

2nd Ellsworth COVID case

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 2:26pm

I’m having this “WTF WERE THEY THINKING?” experience. The Ellsworth School District had a choir and band trip that LEFT on March 9, returned on March 14, to New Orleans. This trip LEFT after the pandemic was blooming, after recommendations to self-isolate and for social distancing. There’s just no excuse for this, putting people at risk. And now, the second person from that trip has been officially diagnosed with COVID.

Update: Pierce County COVID-19 cases now number three

From the article:

Band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The two people attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.

The group consisted of 44 students, 14 parents and two teaching staff, the email said. When the group left on March 9, all Wisconsin schools were still in session. The group returned the day after the governor’s Friday afternoon announcement closing schools and five days prior to the actual mandatory closing of Wisconsin schools.

Listen to this rationalization and denial:

“The trajectory of the virus changed dramatically from the time in which the group left to their point of return. At the time in which the group left for the trip to New Orleans, the State of Louisiana was not listed as an area of community spread. The first case in Louisiana was actually reported on March 9th, the day the group left,” the district email reads. “Spring break was a time in which many of our families traveled throughout the country and to other countries. Due to the many changes that took place in an extremely short period of time, the decision was made to not have all district students return to school after spring break for the three days available prior to the governor’s closing date of March 18, 2020. ”

Is “self-isolation” and “social distancing” so hard to understand? “Do not travel” is pretty self-explanatory. Putting people at risk like this is so wrong, living in denial is no excuse. Willful ignorance, willful disregard…

Categories: Citizens

Almost spring again

Duck Fat and Politics - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 12:02am
And a fire pulses in the wood stove and today’s blue sky masked the chill in the air and though I planted my peas two days ago and a floating row cover whose edges are held down with smooth Lake Superior rocks and leftover bricks keeps birds and squirrels from pecking and pawing them, and started a whole flat of holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), hoping to have more for my favorite Thai dish which calls for a large colander of it but my soil has so much clay in it and this basil with fine hairs on its leaves never gets as big as I hope it will when I’m thinking about my garden in the winter, this coming week still calls for cold rain and sleet and maybe it’ll snow but the flats are in a bay window indoors wrapped in a big translucent bag getting all warm and humid on the inside and science and life systems are all a go and the long slow germination of holy basil is similar to parsley, of which I sowed a half flat at the same time, but come August the flat leafed parsley is an herb that can stand by itself in so many dishes – maybe a grilled mackerel stuffed with onions tomatoes and parsley, wrapped in foil and when it opens I think of Turkey and now I just hope the soil warms and remains moist for those first pushes of green through the long darkness of a seed underground – a seed, packed with knowledge and enough nutrients to get it into the light, overcoming dormancy, and the lightest feather-like wisps of tendrils so delicate they waver in even the stillest dawn quiet hush when only a bead of dew weighs upon this urge into light into the sky and around the rough galvanized wire stapled to the wood lattices stretched down the garden row next to the longer row of yet to be planted beans, long tall beans that taste like summer and sing in the hot wok when they’re chopped small and flash fried dry, an edge of char to overcome the raw push of life today needs to be nourished and nurtured and held warm and close against the still looming chance of snow and cold and a below ground darkness that admits no warmth, no hope for that long awaited perennial movement of the earth on its course, steadfast perhaps as our universe expands, grows, pushes us in new directions as we wonder what these coming weeks will bring as waves of illness and fear lap at our feet and now it is time or still it is time to graze with our fingers so lightly on the skin of the ones we love so deeply and feel the same urge that draws us into the light, into spring again
Categories: Citizens

Sewing masks for you and yours

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 2:27pm

UPDATE: St. Paul fabric store gives away mask-making kits to help fight COVID-19

Pattern for one above HERE!

This one has the most detailed instructions, and design is more intricate:

And this one, recommended by a hospital that is asking for volunteers to make them — and now it’s bee removed. Note that they only want them partially made, but the video shows how to make the whole thing, and MOST IMPORTANT, at the end of the video is info on FILTERS, and they recommend using replaceable HEPA or vacuum cleaner filters, and the design is such that you can replace the filter easily. And the video has been removed… great… it was very well done. Anyway, here’s directions and a pattern. I think something like this is a whole lot better than running around shopping in a bandana (HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT!).

OlsonMask_wPattern_v3-Unity Point Health System Cedar RapidsDownload

I don’t really like these kind, but they’re pretty easy to make:

Categories: Citizens

AFCL appeals PUC denial of EAW Petition

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:19pm

On Wednesday, Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed an appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s denial of AFCL’s Petition for and Environmental Assessment Worksheet. It was mailed Certified Mail yesterday, as required by statute, and today, filed on the PUC’s eDockets:

AFCL Appeal – PUC 3-20-2020_CorrespondenceDownload

The PUC really screwed this up, in so many ways. Granted there are few Petitions for EAW to the Commission, and Commission staff may not be familiar with EQB rules and process. However, in the only other Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet/EIS, they denied a Motion and then a Petition for EAW forwarded by the EQB, and it was sent back to the Commission by the Appellate Court:

In the Matter of Minnesota Power’s Petition for Approval of the EnergyForward Resource Package

Lesson not learned. We’ve been trying to get environmental review of wind projects for how long now, particularly given the demonstrable impacts, actual and constructive notice, beyond the “potential” for environmental impacts. Bent Tree noise excedences and landowner settlements? What more is needed?

Bent Tree Order filed by PUC

In the Staff Briefing Papers, which is staff’s recommendation to the Commission, over and over it was said that the Petition was insufficient because there were not 100 signatures, but there were 380+ signatures! In the Staff Briefing Papers, over and over it was said that the Commission could declare the Petition insufficient, when it is NOT the Commission’s job to address sufficiency, that was already determined by the Environmental Quality Board, which validated the Petition and forwarded it to the Commission for action! Read the Briefing Papers… really, it’s that absurd:

Attachment E_PUC Staff Briefing PapersDownload

I fired off a letter requesting correction, which never happened:

Attachment F_AFCL to PUC-False StatementsDownload

And even after denying AFCL’s Petition, they went further, and provided “notice” in an email to the EQB that the Board had made its decision:

Attachment B_PUC Notice to EQB 2-13-2020Download

And that “notice” was published in the EQB Monitor on February 18, 2020:

Attachment A_EQB Monitor-2-18-2020Download

And yet to this date, they’ve not filed an Order or the Record of Decision on this decision! WHAT?!?! Yes, really!!

I’d sent a letter to the EQB about the Commission’s failure to file the Order and Record of Decision nearly a month ago:

Attachment C_AFCL Letter to EQB 2-28-2020Download

STILL NO ORDER OR RECORD OF DECISION. There are no Findings of Facts to explain, to support, the Commission’s decision. I guess it’s harder to make them up than staff thought?!?!

Meanwhile, the appeal deadline of a decision on an EAW Petition is 30 days after the notice is published in the EQB Monitor. Minn. Stat. 116D.04, Subd. 10. It’s kind of hard to Appeal a decision without the necessary documents, so I can guess that’s one more reason the Commission has chosen not to file! Oh well… ONWARD!

Prior posts on AFCL’s Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet:

Freeborn EAW – more time! EQB forwards EAW Petition to PUC Petition for EAW – Freeborn Wind
Categories: Citizens

A Tale of Two Rooms

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 5:10pm

Like many, I found myself setting up what I think of as a “pop-up home office” this week as we all scramble to slow the spread of the coronavirus (#WFH #CatsWorkingFromHome).

I was homeschooled until college, so I’m very used to the personal routines and dispositions that make working from home work for me. Plus I have good technology infrastructure available both at home and from work, and I don’t have kids, so all in all I’m one of the very very lucky ones.

So here’s where I am with this new life (for now, at least).

In the morning before work, I do all my normal calm, quiet, relaxing morning stuff in my living room as usual, snuggled on the couch with the cat. I knit while watching last night’s Colbert Show and Daily Show on YouTube, I read, I sip tea… When it’s time to get ready for work I get dressed, make my bed, eat breakfast, and brush my teeth.

My living room this morning, complete with knitting chart on the coffee table, and my home laptop.

Then I go to work … which is now at my kitchen table, complete with my actual office plant (and a co-worker’s office plant). I don’t have a good office chair at home, but I’ve found that a towel folded on my kitchen chair seat works very nicely. As a bonus, my workspace has windows for the first time in 15 years! And nobody thinks it’s weird that I like working with a blanket over my legs.

My kitchen table office, complete with work plants on the table, tea under a tea cozy, and windows.

After work, I close my work laptop and turn off my work stuff, and then I move back into my living room…. where I open my home laptop and turn on my home stuff. My cat looks on in quiet bafflement, but it’s a pattern that works for me.

And this is how things will be for the next while, I think.

Categories: Citizens

One reference librarian in a time of COVID-19

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 3:14pm

I have colleagues who are doing fantastic work with information gathering and dissemination for our various publics, so I’ve let them get on with that. Management folks are all scrambling to figure out big things like what kinds of access and services we can safely provide, and how to adjust practices for increased safety, so I’m letting them get on with that.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

  • I’ve started a task list called “When This Is All Over” where I keep track of stuff I’ll need to change back once our college resumes normal-ish operations.
  • I’ve offered my services as a test participant in virtual meeting/instruction platforms that our faculty and staff are learning and setting up right now in preparation for online-only instruction.
  • I’ve tested my VPN and will take my laptop and headphones home with me whenever I’m not working at the library. (My phone sends audio files to my email, so I’ll just let it keep doing that.)
  • My colleagues and I are using email, chat, and video chat where we used to pop into each others’ offices. Or else we’re standing outside each others’ offices talking from a distance. (Starting tomorrow we’ll rotate so only one of us at a time is on campus, and only healthy/low-risk people are in the rotation.)

I also have a couple of specialized roles that suddenly required action:

  • Copyright
    • I’m the chair of our campus’ copyright team, so we had to get a decision from College administration about how much they’re comfortable taking on the risk of uncharted legal territory vs instruction upheaval. Once we got that answer my team and I started drafting guidance for our campus that will hopefully be posted by the end of the day, or tomorrow. (Meanwhile, check out the extremely helpful Public Statement of Library Copyright Experts: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research and Nancy Sims’ CC-BY guidance for the University of Minnesota on Rapidly Shifting Your Course from In-Person to Online.)
    • Working from within what’s legal and within campus policy, I also worked with library administration to draft a statement about practical availability of library resources. (Not everything that is possible is practical, or possible within the staffing and infrastructure available.) And no, this isn’t comprehensive and there are a lot of unanswered questions still, but for right now the statement reads:
      “The Gould Library provides access to many physical as well as digital materials, and in some cases the physical materials may not be practical or available for online teaching. Your Liaison Librarian can work with you to investigate whether alternative content is accessible that would help you achieve your learning goals. Your liaison can also help you create stable links to online materials that will work for you and your students, whether on campus or off.”
  • I’m in charge of our LibApps stuff so…
    • I’ve been getting virtual meeting URLs into the librarians’ automated scheduling systems. (This is a local document, but it explains how we’re putting a virtual meeting URL into LibCal and LibGuides, and here’s what it looks like live.)
    • In LibGuides I replicated the alert text from our main library website (many thanks to Grand Valley State University for sharing how they managed this so that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel). Other libraries are able to put similar code into their LibGuides Headers, which would be easier, but our local header functions in a way that wouldn’t allow for that so I put it on every page layout instead. You can put something similar at the bottom of your system’s header code, or (like me) after the line in your page layouts that ends in {{breadcrumbs}} </nav>
      Here’s what the alert code it looks like:
      <div class="alert alert-warning">
      <p>YOUR TEXT HERE</p>
      </div>
      If you don’t normally do this kind of thing and you want step-by-step help, just let me know.

What practical steps are you implementing?

Categories: Citizens

STAY HOME!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 1:14pm

From the STrib: Tracking Coronavirus in Minnesota

Just do it — no excuses. Neighbors, relatives, friends, need to help each other get through this, self-isolation and social distancing is not easy, and is for sure nearly impossible for too many. HELP AS YOU CAN!

Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Categories: Citizens

2019 PJM State of Market

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 1:53pm

PJM’s annual State of the Market Report has been released by Marketing Analytics:

2019-SoM-PJM-Volume 1Download 2019-SoM-PJM-Volume 2Download

What I’m looking for first is demand info, so I’m searching. Here ya go:

It looks like peak demand/load, at 148,228MW is above what it was in 2006. From FERC – Electric Power Markets PJM:

All time peak demand: 144,644 MW (set August 2, 2006), and down to 139,438 in 2007.

Peak demand growth (2006-2007): Peak demand declined 3.6%. See PJM State of the Market 2008, below.

2006Summer Peak Demand (MW)144,644 139,438(Source: PJM)

CLICK HERE FOR:  PJM State of the Market – 2008

And about wholesale cost, from the 2019 State of the Market report:

One of the benefits of competitive power markets is that changes in input prices and changes in the balance of supply and demand are reflected immediately in energy prices. PJM real-time energy market prices decreased significantly in 2019 compared to 2018. The load weighted,average real-time LMP was 28.6 percent lower in 2019 than in 2018, $27.32 per MWh versus $38.24per MWh. Of the $10.92 per MWh decrease, 41.5 percent was a result of lower fuel costs. Other contributors to the decrease were the dispatch of lower cost units, decreased load and lower markups (2019 SoM,Intro, p 3).

Once more with feeling –wholesale energy costs and prices are DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, yet rates are going UP, UP, UP. DOH! It’s because, like Xcel, utilities are changing their business plan. They’re not making the money anymore on selling electricity, and can make a LOT more by building infrastructure that we don’t need and charging us ratepayers for it. Transmission costing billions; the rebuild and start up of Sherco 3 after 22 months off-line, and then announcing shut down of 1 & 2; the rebuild of Monticello costing twice the estimate; request to PUC to sell surplus Sherco and King plant generation on MISO market (just how is running it for sale elsewhere consistent with cutting CO2?!?!?)…

Another thing I do see is that the Capacity Market is deemed “Not Competitive,” and this has been a documented problem since 2007. DOH! Yet it continues.

Vol 1, Intro, p. 8

If it’s not competitive, why hasn’t the market structure been changed? After all, it’s all about “let the free market decide,” and where it’s not competitive, that isn’t happening, eh? As Marketing Analytics states, “Structural market power is endemic to the capacity market.” From a wiki definition of endemic, “In epidemiology, an infection is said to be endemic in a population when that infection is constantly maintained at a baseline level…” Houston, methinks we have a market problem…

More to follow, but wanted to get these tidbits out there.

Categories: Citizens

Winona County frac sand mining ban upheld

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 03/11/2020 - 4:42pm

And the good news is… the Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld Winona County’s frac sand mining ban:

OPA180090-031020-2Download

Check out the court’s rejection of Minnesota Sands’ takings claim, starting on p. 26.

Categories: Citizens

9th Anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi meltdown

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 03/11/2020 - 3:34pm

Nine years ago, when this happened, I posted as much as I could find about it, and it was hard to nail info down, but this photo above pretty much said it all, massive explosion.

Today, the release of SimplyInfo.org’s 9th Anniversary report:

View The 9th Anniversary Annual Report Here

SimplyInfo.org, a group of talented volunteers deep-researching this issue, has been tracking this for 9 years now. From their site’s “about us” page:

Our group began out of a live blog run by Reuters during the Great East Japan Earthquake and the related Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. We wanted the real news and a way to do something about this unprecedented tragedy. Our strength is in our diversity. People from around the globe, from varied professions and industries came together to research, investigate, analyze and educate about this ongoing incident. Using the knowledge of the crowd for research and analysis of both the technical and humanitarian aspects of complex incidents and concerns without focus on profit.

Back when it happened, I put these up on my Legalectricsite, and shortly after it happened, Day 3 I believe, I had over 4,000 hits in ONE DAY! People were hungry, desperate, for information. When I’d reported the explosion, the first one, someone commented that “no way was it melting down,” and that made no sense, even given what little objective information we had. And in fact, it was a lot worse than those folks thought. I knew it was a disaster, but as it kept getting worse, well, stunning… and the impacts are still affecting us, will be for thousands of years. Right now, they’re on the verge of dumping radioactive water into the ocean!

These Legalectric posts below were no real scoop, “just information lite,” a compilation of public info, news reports, but its information that we in Minnesota should take into account because our Monticello nuclear plant is the same design as Fukushima Diiachi:

The “peaceful atom” strikes Japan March 12th, 2011 Fukushima Reactor 3 blows… March 13th, 2011 Nuclear saga continues in Japan March 21st, 2011 Fukushima Daiichi update March 26th, 2011 Another Fukushima Daiichi update March 30th, 2011 More on Fukushima nuclear disaster April 8th, 2011 Fukushima can’t happen here? Uh-huh… right… June 6th, 2011 Fukushima admittedly a mess… August 9th, 2011 One year after Fukushima Daiichi meltdown March 10th, 2012 Fukushima Daiichi — 4 years ago today March 11th, 2015
Categories: Citizens

Sick with COVFEFE-20!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 03/11/2020 - 11:24am

Repeated sternutation, over and over. Hacking and wheezing for two days. Alan had it first, now moi. How do I know it’s not corona/COVID-19? No fever. Yup, for the record: NO FEVER, no aches and pains, just a head stuff to the extreme and going to explode, utterly unable to sleep. Until yesterday, slept all day. No work done whatsoever!

SO, if you’re looking for me to produce something, put your feet up, it’ll be a while. Drafting and pontificating on the computer is not a good idea when this loopy! Thanks PUC, Xcel, and whoever else, for stalling!

Categories: Citizens

Alan Muller on Fox and Friends

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 9:46am

From their main page, with… ALAN!! Linked below:

Breakfast with ‘Friends’: Who will Minnesota voters choose on Super Tuesday?

Here’s another clip:

Breakfast with Friends – longer clip

The guy asked Alan what broadcast media he relied on, and Alan told him we don’t have a TV and that he’s never seen their show before. Yeah, that says it all!

Categories: Citizens

Ken Cuccinelli unlawfully appointed

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 03/01/2020 - 10:23pm

Hot off the press from RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, another big win in immigration, and a big slap upside the head to the tRump administration:

Ken Cuccinelli was improperly appointed to head U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services! Details are in today’s court decision below:

Decision PDF

From a RAICES email just in:

USCIS is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security and processes applications for asylum, refugee status, work visas, and citizenship. And If you don’t recall, Ken recently suggested the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty be changed. The leader of USCIS should not be a person who blatantly attempts to erase the history and values of America. And the court’s strong rebuke in today’s ruling now sends a powerful message to the Administration that it cannot escape the lawful process for appointments.

The bottom line?

The Court concludes that it has jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ challenges to the reduced-time-to-consult and prohibition-on-extensions directives and that it lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ challenge relating to the in-person-orientation directive. The Court also concludes that Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as the acting Director of USCIS and that, accordingly, the reduced-time-to-consult and prohibition-on-extensions directives must be set aside as ultra vires under both the FVRA, 5 U.S.C. § 3348(d)(1), and the APA, 5 U.S.C. §706(2)(A). Finally, the Court sets aside the individual Plaintiffs’ negative credible-fear determinations and expedited removal orders and remands to USCIS for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Like WOW… and on a Sunday, no less!

CKICJ HERE to donate to RAICES and support this intense and successful work.

Categories: Citizens

Generating more than what we use!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Sun, 03/01/2020 - 11:02am

And it’s only March 1st!


Categories: Citizens

What’s left

Duck Fat and Politics - Thu, 02/27/2020 - 11:43pm
Here we are with crusted mounds of traffic-weathered snow on the edges of roads, dragged grey through the long weeks of February, an oscillating weather pendulum punctuated by sheets of cold rain and dumps of snow and now at the end we’re wondering what’s next. In the kitchen, though, it’s mostly been sour rye, risen and proofed and baked hot, a thick chewy crust and memory after memory of my Buffalo childhood and the smell of Kaufman’s rye bread drifting over the neighborhood, and when I slice this bread and toast it lightly and skim a thin sheen of butter the rich earthy caraway seeds and the springy dense texture of this bread satisfies some primordial memory, maybe that of ancestors in the wilds of cold northern Europe equally satisfied with a tear of this bread, frothy and alive and bubbling as it’s built, a mostly forgotten grain these days and as we head into Lent I went to an ecumenical Christian service and liked that they used the traditional, remember you are dust and to dust you shall return, the rough texture of ashes beneath his thumb and onto my forehead and those words are liberating because you who read this and I will both in three hundred years be dust again and with that certainty we can and should do what we will and in this season of want I remember so many past years when I believed in the trajectory of the church and thought it an institution that weathered the ages because of some grace and after these recent years of unending revelation of decades-long indifference to the abuse, molestation and rape of children by innumerable priests I continue to feel an anger and rage toward those men who used the power and moral authority of the church to intimidate and silence the very people they vowed to lead and protect, and the administrative, institutional authority of God’s church on earth crushed so many girls and boys that it’s hard for me to go into a church because when I do I want to interrupt the priest saying Mass and challenge his holy vows because I think of all the times I served as an altar boy for years and years and it’s only luck that a pedophile rapist priest was never assigned to my parish because then it would have been me and my friends whose lives would have been torn apart and filled with fear and doubt and mistrust but instead it was a parish over there, and over there, and over there and I feel an anger that can’t be forgiven but even with those feelings when I walk into a church there is a texture to the silence and I feel the pull of the sacrament of the holy Eucharist and even when I feel such anger toward the priests and the institution of the church the ritual ceremony sacrament they perform or conduct connects me back again to an even older, deeper mystery of life and death and the life of a soul or spirit and our unending desire to know and feel what lies beyond the edge of death and if the church sells its gold and vestments and art and churches and properties and jeweled chalices and priests are the people who hear within them a silence that calls to be voiced then perhaps the church has a chance and will not succumb to the fate it currently faces, a slow fall into indifference and irrelevance, and now, as these forty days unfold I wonder what’s left of the church I knew and gospels are filled with references to bread and after a long generation of bad bread in this country, the past decade or two have given us remembories of what bread is, fermented with wild yeasts and shared among neighbors and friends, constantly used and saved and used again, grown and depleted time after time, a continuous nurturing of life even when it slows down and rests in the fridge in an old pickle jar, a chunk of starter just waiting for warmth and wild spores floating through the air.
Categories: Citizens
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