Blogosphere

Freeborn Wind Pre-construction Mtg?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:09pm
Eagles outstanding in their field…

I heard a rumor that there was to be another “pre-construction” meeting on the Freeborn Wind project. Last time this happened, I’d sent a request, ANOTHER request, for notice of any pre-construction meeting. Turns out the meeting was THAT SAME DAY, starting just half an hour after I’d sent the request for notice. That time, I’d known nothing, no rumors. And of course, Association of Freeborn Landowners, a PARTY in this docket, got no notice.

Commerce_DPA Request_11-25-2019Download

In that letter:

AFCL AGAIN requests notice, of at least 10 days, of the time and location of
any and all pre-construction meetings for the Freeborn Wind project. AFCL is a party in this proceeding.

Oh well… a meeting was had… and Xcel Energy filed this required summary of the pre-construction meeting held on November 25, 2019:

17-0410+Compliance+Filing-Preconstruction Mtg-Section+10.1+120619+NSP_Mtg 11-25-3019Download

Yesterday, I fired off emails to Commerce, Freeborn County, and PUC, left phone messages, and filed a copy on the docket so everyone would be aware that we were asking:

Fwd_ Freeborn Wind – PRE-CONSTRUCTION MEETING TODAY___Download

<iframe width=”420″ height=”240″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/K8E_zMLCRNg” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Minn. Stat. §216E.08, Public Participation anyone?

Categories: Citizens

Engineering group makes recommendations for Nfld’s beleaguered WWTP; NH&C increasing Covid-19 testing parameters; DSI – covid and cleanup day

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director From malfunctions to floods to fire (which led to trucking out our sludge for months) in the first half of 2018, the Northfield Wastewater Treatment plant suffered millions of dollars in damage. It also dumped a million gallons of sewage water into the Cannon River resulting in Lake Byllesby beach

DEED info about opening up!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:40am

Hot off the press… errrrrrrr… inbox, from DEED, answering questions about what it means to “reopen,” and practices and procedures to reopen safely.

First, the long version:

DEED – Guidance on Reopening Businesses

And the email that just came in:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Safely reopening and returning to work: What businesses and workers need to know 

As Minnesota businesses begin the process of reopening and safely returning people to work, we know there are a lot of questions. We’ve answered many of the most common questions at mn.gov/deed/safework, and I encourage businesses and workers alike to review customized guidance there. 

We also know that businesses and workers may be wondering about the process for bringing workers back into the workplace, and that many workers may have concerns about returning to the workplace given the threat of COVID-19. On May 13, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-54 which provides more clarity on worker protections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope that this post will address some additional questions about how unemployment insurance works in this context.

Here’s what you need to know:

Most importantly, businesses must be safe and healthy for their workers and customers.

  • Businesses must follow all CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards about creating a safe and healthy environment for workers and customers.
  • A business may not take adverse action (including terminating, laying off or other retaliatory action) against a worker for raising safety and health concerns, refusing to work under conditions they reasonably believe are unsafe or unhealthy related to COVID-19, participating in union activities concerning work place safety and health issues, filing a safety and health complaint, or participating in an OSHA investigation.

In order to reopen, any non-Critical Sector business or retail establishment must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place to protect the health and safety of their workers.  

  • Plans are extremely important to provide direction on how workers are going to remain safe. To help in the process, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), DEED, and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) have developed a template plan and guidance that businesses can use as a starting point. Businesses aren’t required to use this template, but a business’ plan does need to follow CDC and MDH guidelines and OSHA standards.
  • Wherever possible, workers should continue to work from home.
  • Businesses are encouraged to consult with workers on the development of their plans – it will make the plans better, proactively address many worker concerns and ensure workers are invested in the new norms businesses are setting.
  • We aren’t requiring businesses to submit their plans to the state for approval, but businesses should be prepared to provide a copy of your plan if requested.
  • Copies of the plan must be shared with workers in advance of reopening and posted at the workplace.

Once a COVID-19 Preparedness plan is in place and workers are called back to work, anticipate that some may be nervous or worried about returning to the workplace. Be flexible and provide necessary accommodations for workers.

  • This is an uncertain and challenging time, and many workers may have concerns about being back at work. Workers should also not have to sacrifice their health and safety for economic security. Businesses are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with workers, be responsive to requests for accommodations and ensure that you have provided appropriate protective gear in accordance with CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards – such as gloves if handling goods or money with customers, and non-medical face coverings.

Some employees may not be able to return to work.

  • Executive Order 20-05 provides a list of COVID-19 exemptions for workers, including those with underlying health issues or caretaking responsibilities.
  • Workers who qualify for these exemptions do not need to return to work and will continue to qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

If a worker feels that their employer is not operating with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and/or not following health and safety protocols, there is action they can take.

  • Any worker who believes that their workplace is not following their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan or is not following CDC or Minnesota Department of Health guidelines is encouraged to attempt to resolve their concerns directly with their employer.
  • If the worker is not successful in that attempt, is not comfortable raising their concerns with their employer, or has additional concerns about the safety of their workplace, the worker should contact Minnesota OSHA at 651-284-5050 or Compliance@state.mn.us.
  • If a worker raises concerns with an employer about not operating with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and/or not following health and safety protocols and the employer does not address the concern in a reasonable amount of time, the worker can quit and not lose unemployment insurance eligibility benefits as long as it was reasonable to do so.
  • If a worker is fired for raising concerns about workplace safety–either with Minnesota OSHA or directly with their employer–they will not lose unemployment benefits eligibility.

State Unemployment Insurance law prevents the state from continuing to pay benefits to those who are no longer eligible.

  • Workers who are offered the opportunity to return to work and don’t qualify for an exemption under Executive Order 20-05 or state unemployment insurance law are no longer eligible to receive benefits.
  • We ask every applicant on a weekly basis whether they have refused an offer of suitable employment. Providing inaccurate information may result in an applicant being held overpaid for unemployment benefits.
  • When workers return to work or want to stop requesting unemployment benefits, no additional notification is needed. They simply should stop requesting weekly benefits in their unemployment insurance account. Some additional information about unemployment and returning to work can be found here.
  • Under Minnesota law, businesses can “raise an issue” regarding a former employee’s eligibility for unemployment insurance
  • Raising an issue is the way to tell us that you have a question regarding an employee’s eligibility for unemployment. You can find more information about how to raise an issue here.
  • Businesses must follow all CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards about creating a safe and healthy environment for workers and customers. For non-Critical Sector businesses, this includes having a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
  • A business may not take adverse action (including terminating, laying off or other retaliatory action) against a worker for raising safety and health concerns, refusing to work under conditions they reasonably believe are unsafe or unhealthy related to COVID-19, participating in union activities concerning work place safety and health issues, filing a safety and health complaint, or participating in an OSHA investigation.

If a worker or employer notifies the department that an offer to return to work was refused, we will review the applicant’s eligibility for unemployment. What happens next?

  • DEED will mail questionnaires out to both the applicant and employer about why the applicant did not return to work – including questions about the applicant’s medical situation. A doctor’s note may be requested during any follow-up process for additional information.
  • Once the department has enough information to make a decision, a written determination about the applicant’s continued eligibility for unemployment will be provided.
  • At this point, either the applicant or employer can file an appeal within 20 calendar days. Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law provides an opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing to any party who disagrees with a determination issued by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program.
  • A telephone hearing and an appeals process follow from there, which will be outlined in detail to any worker or employer in this situation.

We know that both businesses and workers want to make the process of returning to work safe, effective, and fair. Thoughtful planning, clear communication, and a collaborative and generous spirit are going to get us through this difficult time.

We hope these guidelines make it clear how this process will work, and we encourage everyone to get more information in the FAQ section of UIMN.org.

 – Commissioner Steve Grove

Categories: Citizens

Steve Underdahl and Nicole Strusz-Mueller

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:58am
Steve Underdahl, CEO and President of Northfield Hospital & Clinics, and Manager of Clinic Practices Nicole Strusz-Mueller discuss Covid19 testing, resumption of elective surgeries, and safety measures and procedures at the hospital and clinics as they begin the resume services.

John Fossum

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:41am
Rice County Attorney John Fossum describes the gradual reopening process of the court system.

Gov. Noem, back off Rosebud

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 8:41am

There’s case law that looks to me to say that it’s a really bad idea to push Rosebud about monitoring highways through the reservation:

Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. State of S.DDownload

Even TIME magazine is taking notice:

South Dakota Governor Demands Tribe Leaders Remove Checkpoints Set Up to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Oglala Sioux had the right idea earlier, closing their doors to Gov. Noem, though she’s now allowed on the reservation:

Oglala Sioux Tribe lifts ban of Gov. Kristi Noem from Pine Ridge reservation
Categories: Citizens

Survey: Majority of middle, high schoolers adjusted to distance learning after difficulty

Northfield News - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 7:30pm
A majority of Northfield Middle and High School students say they’ve adjusted to distance learning after experiencing difficulty.
Categories: Local News

New Publication: Poems from the Lockdown

Rob Hardy - Rough Draft - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 4:30pm
My poem "Crossing the Delaware" is included in the anthology Poems from the Lockdown (Willowdown Books 2020), edited by Trevor Maynard. The anthology includes 146 poems by 115 poets from 10 different countries, all in response to the new realities of life in the time of Covid-19. 

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk



Categories: Citizens

Oles Versus the Pandemic: A Heroic, if Distanced, Tale

St. Olaf College - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:47pm
Professor of History Judy Kutulas delivered the keynote address at a virtual Honor's Day celebration titled "Oles Versus the Pandemic: A Heroic, if Distanced, Tale."
Categories: Colleges

Hundreds honor first responders in flyover

Northfield News - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 3:33pm
Hundreds of cars lined the streets surrounding Northfield Hospital and Clinics May12 afternoon as two fighter jets flew through the sky in recognition of the health care workers and other essential employees working in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Categories: Local News

Prior Lake man popped for 28 gr of meth; Draheim talks hogs and PPE’s; C-130’s to fly over Northfield at 2:10pm; New Alumni site for Northfield grads

KYMN Radio - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director A barely conscious man is now jailed on multiple drug charges. On Monday, a State Trooper was enroute to a driving complaint near the Flying J truck stop when he noticed  a red car on the southbound side of I-35 in the area. The driver was slumped over the steering

Looking back at a month of primary politics in New Hampshire

St. Olaf College - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:32am
Led by Professor of Political Science Dan Hofrenning, the New Hampshire Primary and U.S. Presidential Politics course allowed 24 St. Olaf students to study and work on presidential campaigns this January in the "first in the nation" primary.
Categories: Colleges

Ben Martig

KYMN Radio - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:39am
  Northfield City Administrator Ben Martig discusses the May 12 City Council work session.  The Council had a presentation of the wastewater treatment analysis done by an independent company as well as a report on elevated manganese in drinking water.  The City will be sending out information to residents relating to that.

The Eyes

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:44am
We had a rough patch because of a sore spot. Something got lodged in my little buddy’s back right paw. Must have walked over something. Or scraped something. Anyway, it didn’t look right. Or at all comfortable. I have been learning about stoicism from books and talks and lectures of late. But, of course, I […]
Categories: Citizens

Elevated levels of mineral in water has city recommending filtration for residents

Northfield News - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 7:56pm
A recent study reportedly found elevated levels of manganese in three of the city’s five operational wells.
Categories: Local News

"Please lock your doors", warns Chief Nelson; Nordine discusses 5-point plan for long-term care facilities; 3 Links reports 1 Covid case; Utility work at Jefferson Pkwy and 246

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director Northfield Police Chief Nelson says don’t be an easy target. Lock your home and your vehicles. Don’t leave things in your vehicle that you don’t want stolen. In the last several weeks, there have been incidents of persons rummaging through vehicles and taking items, entering garages, and entering homes.  In

Friends you can count on 5-12-20

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:14am
Dina Fessler and Jeff Johnson, sitting in for Wayne Eddy for the first forty-five minutes, talk with local officials regarding their response to Covid-19. Sheriff Troy Dunn, Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann and Northfield Administrator Ben Martig.

Who’s hollering “OPEN UP!”

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:07am

What struck me most in the videos of the “protests” at the Governor’s mansion two and three Saturdays ago (wasn’t one this Saturday that I noticed) was that people were in a carnival mood, that they seemed new at demonstrations. I was also shocked at their disregard for distancing and so few masks, like they were inviting COVID. And I’ve been thinking a lot about just who would behave this way, why people would act so against their self-interest and against the community interest. Then today, I saw this piece on facebook, yeah, I know, the internet, but like Anger Games, a study of common factors in tRump supporters, this little ditty today made so much intuitive sense explaining those who are pushing so hard for “Open Up!”

Oh, Karen

Here it is:

This morning, I awoke to find that I was out of coffee; so I took myself down to the coffee shop to buy myself a pound of beans.

Our local Peet’s has set up its cash registers in the doorway, so you stand on the sidewalk to place your order and wait, rather than going inside.

I found myself standing in a line with a bunch of other middle-aged white people in masks.

The guy in front of me got to the front of the line and said, “Hi, I’d like my usual, please.”

Dude’s standing there in a mask, asking for “his usual.”The cashier was like, “Uhhhh…”

And the dude eventually had to actually come out and actually say what he wanted.

And I had a sudden revelation: That guy was standing there, at a chain coffee shop ordering a generic fucking drink, in order to feel like he was participating in civic life. Like, his whole reason for being there was to feel like he belonged to a community where somebody would remember his name and treat him nice.

This is the reason people are so pissed off about not being able to go fucking shopping: It’s because for them, the retail experience is the whole and all of their civic participation. They’ve fully bought into the idea that their role in society is to go to work and earn money, and that with that money they get this transactional sort of membership in the body politic, or the body societas, or whatever.

This is why Karen wants to speak to your manager, and why she’s so entitled about it: She’s exercising all the power she’s got, in order to demonstrate to herself that she’s got an important role in society.

Karen doesn’t go to meetings. She doesn’t do art. She doesn’t participate in collective endeavors of any kind. Even though she espouses religious beliefs, she doesn’t go to church — and if she does, it’s a megachurch where she’s not actually required to do anything except sit in the pews and pony up to the collection palate.

All her participation in the culture is transactional: She gets paid, she buys things, and she votes.

No wonder they’re so upset. They actually bought the idea of a transactional society, and now it’s being denied them.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’m not so sure that Karen votes, but if she does, we know for who…

Categories: Citizens

Council Employment Policy Committee Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:47am
Event date: May 20, 2020
Event Time: 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
Members of the public may monitor the meeting electronically from a remote location by dialing in using your phone. United States: +1 (571) 317-3122 Access Code: 449-806-797

Jenelle Teppen

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:58am
Dundas City Administrator Jenelle Teppen talks about the May 11 City Council meeting.  Topics include a PUD amendment for Menards to install a 3rd gate to pick up online orders, a change in the zoning code to allow conditional use of a daycare center in the industrial zoning district, renewal of liquor licenses, and more.
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