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Inherit the wind


Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Over the past few months I have attended several public meetings in Preston dealing with the proposed Heartland Energy and Recycling project that, if built, will burn used tires to generate electricity. Proponents of the plant claimed that the environmental impact of burning 25 semi-loads of tires a day would be minimal to the area’s air and that the emissions would be well within current MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) guidelines. On the other hand I saw real concern among the local citizenry, who turned out by the hundreds, to speak out and say they were afraid that this proposed plant would adversely affect the personal health and overall well being of this community.

It got me wondering what sort of alternative methods of producing electricity might be available and appropriate in this area. I wondered if there were methods that would utilize renewable resources that would not end up producing emissions or pollutants.

With this in mind, I recently attended the Wind Energy Conference sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Conference in Minneapolis. There I learned that Minnesota has the wind potential to serve our entire state’s electrical needs seven times over. In fact, if this potential was truly realized our blustery Great Plains could become the Saudi Arabia of wind power.

Wind is now the world’s fastest growing electrical generation technology with an annual growth rate over 25 percent. Wind is actually a cash crop because it offers rural landowners and farmers a supplementary source of income that comes through leasing and royalty arrangements (generally around $2,000 per year for each turbine). With the cost of turbines coming down and various tax incentive programs increasing, the Midwest is currently leading the nation in the development of wind resources.

Last year 10 billion kilowatt hours were generated by wind plants in the United States. This natural, non-polluting energy source displaced about 6.7 million tons of carbon dioxide, 35,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 21,000 tons of nitrogen oxide that would have been produced by other traditional methods.

In a Minnesota Department of Commerce fact sheet it was reported that, "In 2001, wind turbines generated more than 800,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in Minnesota. That amounted to roughly 1.5 percent of Minnesota’s total electrical use and was enough to power more .....
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Minnesota faces “the mother of all deficits”

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

The latest revenue forecast from the State of Minnesota projects a $4.6 billion deficit. Journal Editor John Torgrimson spoke with State Representative Greg Davids about his reaction to that news and how he sees the state legislature working to solve ..... 
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County dips into reserves to balance budget

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Fillmore County’s proposed 2003 budget tipped the scales at $20,849,241. That was $275,566 over projected revenues, which forced the County Board to dip into its reserves to balance the budget..

"We’re going to have to do some ..... 
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Lanesboro Council: Water park given go ahead

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Raindrops? In December? The Lanesboro City Council turned its attention to a different kind of raindrops at the December 2nd meeting as RainDrop Products president Ron George presented information on "spraygrounds," water play areas. According to Geo ..... 
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Preston Council looks at economic development matters

Fri, Dec 6th, 2002
Posted in Features

Joe Hoffman, Executive Director of the SE Minnesota Development Corporation (SEMDC) in Rushford, was before the Preston City Council on Monday night to discuss renewing the contract between his organization and the city of Preston for 2003.&nb ..... 
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A life in the Big Woods

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854.[Read the Rest]

Sheriff’s Department reviews staffing at Commissioner's meeting

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

"How are our deputies set up?" asked Chairman Bakke as Sheriff Jim Connolly prepared to give his report to the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday. Connolly said the press has interviewed him many times over the years and has given good coverage about h ..... 
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Fillmore County Board approves courthouse addition design

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Former Commissioner Robert Thompson addressed the County Board regarding the courthouse building project on Tuesday.   In a soft voice that commanded silence from a somewhat uncomfortable looking board, Thompson said, "It bot ..... 
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Radio Hour fantastic holiday offering

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

One of the tastiest treats available in Fillmore County this holiday season is the Commonweal's final play of the year. The 1940's Radio Hour. In a formula oddly similar to the highly successful television show, Seinfeld, the new play, which opened N ..... 
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