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Today was the Zip Rail meeting at the Kenyon High School, and it was PACKED.  I printed up 80 flyers, but ran out and could have handed out another 80.  WOW!  It’s great to see people so interested.

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I’ve been learning about this project, and it takes some digging to get information.  My goal is to encourage people to ask questions, and where there’s the opportunity, to file comments.  In this case, we have until August 6, 2014, to send comments in for scoping on the “Tier 1″ EIS.  This means that we should tell them what all we think should be covered in the environmental review, and send the comments to:

Comments due by August  6, 2014.  Send comments to:

          info@goziprail.org         or

MN DOT Passenger Rail Office ATTN: Zip Rail
395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470
St. Paul, MN 55155
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What I’ve found is that it’s hard to find anything.  Start looking, and what do you find?  Zip!  The best information source is the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, and to look at their “Studies/White Papers” page.  I’m most interested in “Midwest” “HSR” (high speed rail) and “Economics,” and HERE IS THE RESULT for that.

Here is my favorite for basic information, it’s got some basic cost estimates, particularly on p. 105 of 151, for the Metro – Chicago route, take a quarter of that and it’s a good starting ballpark figure, just over $7 billion (the number I hear being thrown around is $1 billion, and no way, no how, so just pay no attention and do some digging):

Economic Impacts of High Speed Rail 2011

And some others:

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Zip Rail Report

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And remember, here is from the Minnesota Zip Rail site, their documents, sparse, but this is what we have:

Title Document Type Date Format File Size
Page size:

select
 10 items in 1 pages
Zip Rail Open House Flyer Public Meeting Materials Jul 16, 2014 icon 132 KB
Newsletter – July 2014 Newsletters Jul 07, 2014 icon 885 KB
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting No. 4 Other Jul 07, 2014 icon 5 MB
Zip Rail Scoping Package Reports Jul 07, 2014 icon 7 MB
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting No.3 Reports Oct 17, 2013 icon 3 MB
Draft Purpose and Need Statement Reports Oct 07, 2013 icon 634 KB
Public Involvement Plan Reports Jun 01, 2013 icon 4 MB
Notice of Intent Reports May 13, 2013 icon 28 KB
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting No.2 Reports Apr 04, 2013 icon 1 MB
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting No.1 Reports Feb 28, 2013 icon 1 MB

 

Ya know, the weather couldn’t be any better.  Cool, sunny, but rainy enough, birds chirping, and the baby robins are growing:

 

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But this morning, it was a chorus of jangly rebar and jackhammers into the stone.  They’re working on the retaining wall now.  Piles of rebar line the first 30+ feet of Sturdevant, and a new addition that will probably increase our market value and assessment:

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It’s a bit scary how close they’ve dug in to the houses up on top of the hill, and now getting in there with jackhammers, oh my.  I would NOT want to live in one of those houses up on top.

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And down West, they’re experiencing the joy of sewer and water replacement that we went through for the past month now:

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Guess they should try “open carry” of fishing poles!  See what they do then?!?!

“Rueful city officials have slapped a ban on some political speech…” what IS and IS NOT banned?  Who is deciding?  What are the guidelines?

Seems Delaware City had decided to give the 1st Amendment a good swift kick and quash free speech at Delaware City Days.  WHAT?  What could possibly be such a problem with people saying, “PFB REFINERY: STOP KILLING OUR FISH!”

Controversy overshadows Delaware City Day

Jeff Montgomery, The News Journal

Rueful city officials have slapped a ban on some political speech at Saturday’s 34th annual Delaware City Day, claiming protesters hijacked the city’s parade, skies and a few activities last year to target PBF Energy’s nearby refinery.

The ban – enforced through requiring a review before the event of brochures and parade floats – drew accusations of a free speech foul from Delaware Audubon, and a charge that the city was fishing for the refinery’s favor. Audubon now plans a floating protest Saturday afternoon in waters just off the community’s Battery Park.

“It’s a family event,” said City Manager Richard C. Cathcart, a former state lawmaker. “They’re the ones who created the problem last year. In the parade, they were coming down with pictures of the governor in a hangman’s noose.”

The Green Party of Delaware’s parade entry last year included a banner with a likeness of Gov. Jack Markell as a pirate with eye-patch and parrot, alongside the words “Toxic Jack Markell.” A chartered plane also circled the area briefly last year, towing a banner calling on the refinery to “Stop Killing Our Fish,” a reference to fish losses to the plant’s outdated cooling water intake.

Dave Carter, conservation chair for Delaware Audubon, said the city’s effort amounts to an attack on a civil liberty and is inconsistent with the public intent of a $33,000 grant-in-aid that lawmakers approved for the Delaware City Day Committee last month.

“It’s clearly intended to limit and chill free speech at this publicly funded event,” said Carter, who plans to use his own watercraft, possibly with one or more fish-suited crew members, to display a sign objecting to the refinery’s large daily withdrawals from the Delaware River for plant cooling needs.

PBF’s water intake and discharge permit is up for renewal, with environmental groups pressing the state to require investments in towers that would reduce fish loss.

“Is this the appropriate way to use grants-in-aid at a time when people are suffering and people have real needs?” Carter asked, adding he believed the city was protecting aid that the community receives from the refinery.

Carter shared an email exchange in which Cathcart said state aid and sponsorship from the refinery “had absolutely nothing to do with our vendor and parade policy.”

“If you want to protest, go up to the refinery. Don’t come to our battery park, where there are kids and family members going to enjoy themselves,” Cathcart said.

The Sierra Club Delaware chapter, also critical of the refinery, plans to have a table at Delaware City, as it did last year.

As many as 6,000 people are expected at daytime activities in the city, with a nighttime fireworks show expected to draw 6,000. Cathcart said the city’s streets will be closed at 4 p.m. and visitors directed to remote parking and shuttle buses for evening activities.

Delaware City’s fire company manages the parking, with a $5 per car fee supporting cadet programs.

Contact Jeff Montgomery at (302) 463-3344 or jmontgomery@delawareonline.com

 

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Only six dogs on this dog transport, last time we had 12!  Tomorrow we meet a mom Bridget, her three “chipmunk” pups Alvin, Theodore and Simon; chi/feist mix Perez; and Nora.  Nora’s a wiggle-butt “lab mix” (bottom photo) and she’ll probably be the lap dog this trip.

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alvin

simon

theodore

perez

Nora