Wings of Freedom Airshow

May 28th, 2005

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So there I was, minding my own business working on an awfully horrendous project, and I noticed it sounded like airplanes were trying to modify my chimney, which is pretty odd, sitting here half-way up the bluff in Red Wing. About the fifth time, I stuck my beak out, and saw an old biplane, don’t know enough to say anything more about it, and then a little bit later saw something a LOT bigger and louder that had a distinct military air about it.

Turns out there’s an airshow today and tomrrow here in Red Wing, Wings of Freedom 2005, sponsored by Treasure Island. After it was over for the day, Kenya and I snuck in and had a look around.

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Tomorrow, Sunday May 29th, is the last day, from 9-5 at the Red Wing airport. Click for ticket info.

From the Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau website:


Flying events will include:

* Aerobatic displays and formation flyovers of WWII period aircraft
* Periodic flybys of current military aircraft
* Reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the world famous CAF act TORA! TORA! TORA!
* Commemorative flights by the historic aircraft of the CAF for the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, and others.
* Other evens to be announced.
* Missing Man Formation

Red Wing Airport is just across the Mississippi river from downtown Red Wing,Minnesota, on Wisconsin HWY 35 between Hager City and Bay City, Wisconsin.

These two had just landed, and then the little one turned right around and took off again:

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I wonder if they’ll be practicing the Tora, Tora, Tora bit over the Prairie Island plant?

Wind on the Rails

May 27th, 2005

This just in from Ron Barber of Stewartville:

This photo (that isn’t here, waiting for official permission) was taken by a friend of Ron’s near Trempeleau, WI today, as was the other, below.


I received word that an entire train of Vestas wind generators for 12 plants will be passing through Minnesota in the next couple of days.

Background:
The material was unloaded from a ship at Houston TX onto a Burlington Northern Santa Fe special train. The train passed through Kansas City this morning and is working its way to Minneapolis, where it will be
interchanged with the Canadian Pacific (former SOO Line) for delivery in Saskatchewan.

The BNSF routing will be along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River, where it will then swing over at Hastings MN, through Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul and Minneapolis. There, the Canadian Pacific RR will take over and run the train through towns like Buffalo, Paynesville, and Glenwood, then through North Dakota and finally Canada.

Train makeup:
64 cars total consisting of two BNSF office passenger cars and many 70 foot and 89 foot long flat cars. There are 12 hubs, 12 pods, and 36 blades and two shipping containers. Each 125 foot long blade has what is called an ‘idler’ flat car accommodate the length of the blades around curves. Because this is considered an ‘oversize’ train load, there will be a 45mph speed restriction for the train.

Photos of the turbines here! These were taken in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Below are a couple of Vestas press releases last autumn that must be about these turbines:
One press release
Another press release

And more from Ron:

Here are some pictures a friend sent. They were taken about 11am today. I would say the train is now in the Twin Cities metro area. A new rumor is that the train will head north out of Glenwood MN on a different CP RR line that will go through Thief River Falls and on to MN before crossing into Canada.

(the great photo that isn’t here is a long string of train cars with wind turbine hubs)

Hopefully permission for photos will come through, or some others to post!

Another update from Ron (5/27 @ 7:15 p.m.) about the route:


The possible routing of the train on the Canadian Pacific (former Soo Line) will be after it leaves the Twin Cities and heads northwest to Glenwood, it MAY get on another line that goes north to Noyes MN (Canadian border), instead of west through Minot and Portal ND (the other border crossing). Hopefully I will get a confirmation by tomorrow on this routing.

Greetings from St. Cloud on the CLE trail!

My friend Jay has a theory — toss a rock in a pack of dogs and see who yelps.

Apparently Dick Day thinks it’s a “routine matter,” business as usual, to exclude the township and include only the county in a power plant’s personal property tax exemption. Sen. Day thinks it’s appropriate to introduce exemption legislation prior to bring it to the local governments. What’s worse, he thinks it’s appropriate to fail to educate local governments about Host Fee Agreements, without which they give up significant revenue available to them.

Nancy Prehn has succeeded in raising the issue that Waseca County and Blooming Grove Township have the power to negotiate a Host Fee Agreement. Since Nancy’s been on this issue, the county and township have learned about their rights and passed resolutions that they approve of the exemption contingent on negotiation of a Host Fee Agreement, and thanks to Nancy’s work, the county rescinded its prior resolution with a blanket approval and no Host Fee Agreement.

Legislation is pending, delayed to the Special Session. Sen. Dick Day authored SF 2091 and Rep. Connie Ruth authored HF2372, and both are now incorporated into HF785.

Look at language in the bill they authored — only the county is named, no township approval necessary, and NO HOST FEE AGREEMENT IS REQUIRED. See for yourself:

22.23 (5) have received, by resolution, the approval from the
22.24 governing body of the county for the exemption of personal
22.25 property under this subdivision.

Someone ought to fix this error and protect the county and township right to a Host Fee Agreement! One would think it would be the local elected officials, Sen. Dick Day and Rep. Connie Ruth, who provide leadership and work to correct the legislation they authored on behalf of their constituents.

Here’s what Dick Day has to say… note how he tries to minimize his role as author of the bill… note how he tries to diminish Nancy’s effective work… note how he does not commit to bringing the legislation into line with the intent of the county and township — he ducks his responsibility!

Contrary to Claim

To the Editor:

Contrary to Kimber Prehn’s claim in his Tuesday letter to the Waseca County News, there was never any attempt by either the Waseca County Board or the Minnesota legislature, Rep. Connie Ruth and myself in particular, to deceive anyone regarding Simon Industries’ request for an exemption from personal property taxes on the new power plant they would like to build in Blooming Grove Township.

First, I am certain that the Waseca County Board acted in good faith and in the best interests of the citizens of the county when it welcomed the jobs and new revenue that the project will bring into our community.

Second, the legislature authorized the exemption as a routine matter to encourage economic growth and support new power sources–as they have done for every project like this in the state for the last 10 years. Rep. Ruth and I have no role in this matter beyond simply seeking the exemption. All other details remain to be negotiated as the county and township boards see fit. And that’s as it should be. Neither Rep. Ruth nor myself wants to interfere in this local matter, and I’m disappointed that Kimber and Nancy Prehn are so eager to accuse the two of us of sinister motives.

If the Prehns are successful in shutting down the project entirely or sending it to another county–which I suspect is their true intention–it would be our loss. Do they understand that, along with providing safe, reliable, and efficient electric power for our area, the company will be paying ordinary property taxes? And corporate income taxes? And salaries and payroll taxes? If Simon decides to locate somewhere else, the jobs and money will re-locate as well.

In conversations my staff and I had with Mrs. Prehn, it was clear that she was uninformed about the legislative process, about the electric utility industry in Minnesota, and about the significant benefits our community will derive from this project. Perhaps as she becomes more familiar with all the facts, she will appreciate the efforts we have all made to do the right thing.

I called Nancy Prehn today and proposed that we conduct any further conversations in public at township or county board meetings rather than on the pages of the newspaper. As soon as I am able, considering the current legislative schedule, I will attend Blooming Grove Township Board and Waseca County Board meetings.

Sen. Dick Day
Owatonna

You can call Dick Day at (651) 296-9457 and Connie Ruth at (651) 296-5368. Remind them who they represent!

Call Rep. Connie Ruth and Sen. Dick Day

The legislative special session will give Sen. Dick Day and Rep. Connie Ruth another chance to correct the tax exemption bill for Simon Industries power plant. They can fix this by naming Blooming Grove Township as a necessary party to approve of the exemption and by mandating a Host Fee Agreement for both the County and Township.

Call Sen. Dick Day at (651) 296-9457 and Rep. Connie Ruth at (651) 296-5368 and tell them to represent their constituents and fix the language of their bill to include the Township and a Host Fee Agreement!

Hard work is recognized

Here is a tribute Nancy Prehn, from the Editorial Board of the Waseca County News, for her work on the Waseca area power plant, where she was successful in advocating for a Resolution from both Waseca County and Blooming Grove Township, securing their rights to negotiate a Host Fee Agreement with Simon Industries, as other communities have done.

It only takes one persion

It is worth noting that individual citizens can alter public debate.

We have three examples right in Waseca where a citizen, later joined by like-minded residents, has raised questions about public policy that would otherwise have gone unasked.

While the outcome does not always match the desires of the protesters, we should not undervalue the role they play.

When a plan to build a new road and trail around Clear Lake was proposed, Waseca resident Andy Miller raised questions that led to the formation of an advisory committee. The result was another look at the plan, and revisions that addressed some, if not all, of the trail opponents’ issues.

When a new and bigger Wal-Mart was proposed, then mayor Tom Hagen began a debate about the value and effect of the larger big box store in Waseca. While the council ultimately approved the plan, the debate was public and two-sided. Raising the questions also resulted in a study that looked at the future of the city and what the larger Wal-Mart might mean.

When the Waseca County Commissioners approved a power plant north of Waseca, it would have been a done deal with no public scrutiny or township involvement had not resident Nancy Prehn voiced her concerns.

Prehn’s dogged pursuit of the plan’s details, and her willingness to put herself on the front of the issue, led ultimately to the inclusion of Blooming Grove Township in future negotiations with power plant owners.

It is not easy to be the focus of a public discussion and it requires exceptional commitment. But sometimes it takes only one person to bring a debate into the light of day.

In the same edition of the Waseca County News is an editorial from Kimber Prehn:

Thanks to County Commissioners

Here’s Kimber Prehn and Mike White of Dahlen-Berg, when Kimber and Nancy toured the Faribault plant to get an idea what they could expect across the road from them if the Simon plant is built.

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The people in the community who have been working so hard on this issue appreciate the efforts of their local officials who represent them. They listened and got the job done!

This Circle Lake residential development, over in Forest Township, is one of the Rice County issues that stands out, from the clear cutting of trees, to the filling of wetlands without a permit in ways that just happen to look like pads for houses, the shutdown by the Army Corps of Engineers, to the County’s multiple violations of EAW process rules, and take a look who’s building there! Ray Cox!

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Follow the trail from the Kuyper’s to Circle Lake Estates to Northfield Construction.

More to follow AFTER I get this whirlwind CLE tour of Minnesota out of the way.