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At Home in the Woods: In Everyones’ Backyard


Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Urban sprawl is encroaching on the Big Woods with proposals for twelve-house and four-house subdivisions. Urban sprawl increases pollution and use of natural resources. Due to our growing population, some of this is unavoidable, but are the huge houses we see today necessary? Does it make sense to assault our environment in unnecessary ways? The proposed Heartland facility would burn 357 tons of waste tires daily to produce electricity that would be sold on the grid. Is this plant necessary? Why does Mr. Maust want to build his plant in an area where hundreds of his neighbors are opposed to it, an area in proximity to rich farmlands, parks, trails, scenic views, trout streams, tourist-centered businesses, karst geology and schools? It doesn't make sense that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizen's Board would approve an air permit for a plant estimated to produce two tons per day of emissions including nitrogen oxide; carbon monoxide; and hazardous air pollutants (arsenic, lead, mercury and numerous others), but it has done exactly that. Emissions spewing from a 210-foot tall stack will affect not only Preston, but the surrounding area. Do what we can to protect our own backyards, we can do nothing about the acid rain that will fall on our trees, crops, gardens and trout streams and percolate through our fractured limestone bedrock into our ground water. It doesn't make sense that the MPCA would approve an air permit for a plant in which methods to be used have never been used before and have not been adequately tested. The Food and Drug Administration is required to put a proposed drug through rigorous testing before approval for public consumption. Why doesn't the MPCA follow this principle? Are we to learn about unexpected pollutants and their dangers only after the plant is operating? Are we like some poverty stricken town in Mississippi that is forced to accept a polluting industry for the few jobs it has to offer or because it doesn't have enough political clout to keep it out? Will we too see an increase of cancer, asthma and reproductive failures? The proposed tire burning plant becomes more worrisome when we add it to the list of assaults on our environment, especially of a global nature, perpetuated by the Bush administration. The following are only a few examples. One of the first things the Bush administration did was to pull .....
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The Commute: The Blueberry Story

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Everyone I know, and not only teachers, thinks this summer has gone by too quickly. Since I am a teacher, the month of August is spent doing lesson plans, or at least feeling guilty about not doing them, while I’d rather be drifting on an air mattres ..... 
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Township Roads: Wild Times in the Sweet Corn

Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Our new habitat is thirty miles closer to a city than our old home, but we are in many ways more rural than ever. It smells more like hogs here than it ever did at our old place. This doesn’t bother us too much as we expect that living in the country ..... 
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Of People, Places & Things: Local leaders are faced with difficult decisions

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Governing at the local level can sometimes be very complex,” Lanesboro council member, Joe O’Connor told me the other day. “It’s not like you can hop a plane after making a vote in Washington. The decisions you make here affect your neighbors.”[Read the Rest]

Prairie Notes: The Thrill of the Hunt

Fri, Aug 1st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

There are those who grab the sports section first when the paper comes; others flip to the editorial page; I seek out the tiny part of the classifieds reserved for auction advertisements. These I read thoroughly, plotting Saturdays based upon the dis ..... 
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Township Roads - I need a garbage truck

Fri, Jul 25th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Moving is not an event. It is a process. Moving the "stuff" of one’s life is tedious enough, but the process of getting over the feeling that one has moved is really tough. Not only is it walking around boxes and feeling like you’re living in a motel ..... 
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