Here they are, Krie on the left, Kenya on the right, ready to go chase balls at the park. Krie did so well in the short time I worked with her that I couldn’t resist, she’s moved right in! She was dog agressive with every dog at the shelter, but when she met Kenya, she peed submissively and licked Ken’s lips, and there’s not a bit of aggression. So far, Ken is still alpha. When we go for walks, they walk along like a team of horses, joined at the shoulder — it’s amazing, the folks at the shelter cannot believe it! Walking two is easier than either one of them. But for some reason, people tend to cross the street or take a different path, quick. At home, there’s a growl and snap here and there, but they are buddies who share the back seat, food, water and everything but tennis balls. Krie’s got this aura — the guy across the street commented that his son said he wouldn’t get anywhere near my house, good thing, too, he was busted for auto theft last month! Way to go, girls!

Bitch Sisters.JPG

If you’re looking for a shep, the Humane Society of Goodhue County has five (5) white sheps needing homes. They’re young and not set in their ways.

Humane Society of Goodhue County
1213 Brick Road
Red Wing, MN
(651) 388-5286

If a Shep doesn’t do it, here’s the list of all their pets looking for YOU!

Weird day – yesterday was dog days (I understand the dog days of August now… an entire day spent getting ready for the invasion of Krie, a trip to the vet to make her a “sport model,” a pen, 70’s style block patio for the dog, doggie jail with style) — today I’m in the lobby of the St. James Hotel because I’m having wireless trouble, and it’s going to be a bit before the “naked DSL” is working. Trying to get work done is excruciating, but it’s worse at the office with dial-up.

St James Hotel.jpg

It’s a lobby of people roaming around looking lost, some happy family reunions, some obviously not thrilled to be even associating, others rushing through happily chattering on cells, most wonder why there’s a four foot Red Wing boot oddly painted, a strange show in my hometown, obviously not locals. Through it all marches a cadre of Red Hats, and purple too, on the way to the Veranda …

012911 Red Hat Parade  by Michael Miller 879py  C2232_Purple.jpeg
Red Hat Parade by Michael Miller (from

(8/25 addendum – a friend tells me some metro area ones were on the front page of the STrib Metro section yesterday, maybe they were all out celebrating? I see them around the Tale of Two Sisters Tea Room regularly.)

… back to the Estate/Conservatorship in this alternate reality… and better see if the dogs got together to put that 10 foot long pink leather couch out of its misery…

This just in from Ron Gustafson, landowner right by the red and white pine old growth forest where Excelsior Energy announced it wants to put the Mesaba plant, a big coal gasification power plant. Here’s what he’ll see out his door:


The group of local landowners has put together the Minnesota Coal Gasification Plant Information Site.

Ron said this column was in yesterday’s Hibbing Tribune.

Questions remain in Excelsior Energy project

By Aaron J. Brown

The words ?eminent domain? seem harmless on paper, but for some local landowners those words crush dreams.

Ron Gustafson, his wife and brother-in-law own a cabin on Big Diamond Lake in Itasca County they had hoped would be a retirement paradise starting next year. Instead, they recently learned that Excelsior Energy might take over the unspoiled forests around Big Diamond and Dunning lakes to build a coal gasification power plant.

?It would end our Minnesota dream,? Gustafson told me in a recent radio interview on 91.7 KAXE.

Even more troubling was that Gustafson and other affected landowners only found out about possibly losing their land in the pages of their local newspapers.

Two years ago, we heard an idea to produce power on the Iron Range, creating good jobs and needed energy for the Midwest?s increasingly taxed power grid. Excelsior Energy, a fledgling company run by the lobbyist couple of Tom Micheletti and Julie Jorgenson, said the Mesaba Energy Project would involve an innovative new plant on the former LTV mine site in Hoyt Lakes.

Iron Range Resources invested millions of dollars early on, with support from local state lawmakers. Those same lawmakers passed legislation that gave Excelsior the right to use eminent domain in unprecedented ways, while also waiving the law that requires power companies to show they have an actual customer for the power. In most regions of the country, this would never fly, but ?jobs, jobs, jobs? was the rallying cry, and it went through.

Two weeks ago, President Bush signed a massive energy bill that included $800 million in loan guarantees for Excelsior Energy. The project enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle. Now the company says it will raise the remaining funds and start the plant sometime after 2010.

We need growth in Northeastern Minnesota. Retail development from Grand Rapids to Hibbing, possible steel and iron nugget production and a revved up mining industry all feel good after Northern Minnesota faced such bad economic news over the past five years.

But we need to be smart about that growth, and when taxpayers invest in something the way we?ve invested in this Mesaba Energy Project, we need to be firm in our expectations.

We were told this project would be on the site of the former LTV mine, already an industrial location. Instead, Micheletti announced in June that the Big Diamond Lake area and its all-natural surroundings off of Scenic Highway 7 was the new site. I still don?t have a firm idea of the reason for this.

We were told at one time that this project would create as many as 1,000 jobs. In the same June announcement Excelsior halved that figure. And, even 500 jobs seems high when compared to other similarly-sized power plants. How much of this was designed to win political favor?

And there is still lingering doubt in my mind about a 500-plus megawatt power plant where the only possible customer (Xcel Energy) is mandated by the government to purchase power produced from sources like coal gasification. Another major coal gas plant created under a similar set of circumstances in Indiana closed, and couldn?t reopen until once again bailed out by government funding (much of it from the same energy bill signed last week).

Maybe what bothers me the most about this is Excelsior?s impaired sense of irony. You see, the word ?scenic? in Scenic Highway 7 is not just an adjective, but it?s part of the OFFICIAL NAME OF THE HIGHWAY. Abundant signs tout the name, and the road itself leads to Scenic State Park. The site Excelsior now wants to use is in large part an untouched forest, when literally dozens of large, vacant industrial settings exist from one end of the Iron Range to the other.

The former mine sites and other vacant areas around Hibbing seem full of potential power plant sites. Perhaps the power company found it easier to push around private citizens than mining land feeholders?

Indeed, the lakes along Scenic Highway 7 might be ideal channels to send millions of gallons of warm water discharge through wetlands, the Swan and Mississippi rivers according to Excelsior Energy. But that doesn?t make it the best place to put a power plant. As of today, we taxpayers have put more money into this project than anyone else. As an Itasca County taxpayer, I expect better. The Big Diamond and Dunning Lake landowners expect better. So should you.

Producing cleaner energy on the Iron Range remains a sensible pursuit, worthy of support, but don?t sell us on one site and then pull the wool over our eyes. Lots of well-intentioned local leaders supported this project, but if Excelsior plans to abuse its almost unbelievable rights of eminent domain it should not expect the good will to last much longer.

Aaron J. Brown is a columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

The Minnesota League of Women Voters included the Mesaba Project in its 2005 Capitol Letter — click on Energy scroll down for Mesaba!

Here’s the site they’ve picked: View image

We’ll have to be sure the Mesaba supporters get the thanks they deserve, including Northfield’s Rep. Ray Cox, a coauthor of the Mesaba bill, H.F. 964, and off in Washington, Sen. Mark Dayton and Sen. Norm Coleman… what’s appropriate for something this absurd?

Greetings from Iowa!

August 19th, 2005

(oops, too much of a hurry — filed it in draft!)

I’m on a whirlwind trip through Iowa, went down to Des Moines to deliver the Schous appeal brief, Cedar Falls Utilities “Waterloo,” and am now on the way over to Cedar Falls to meet with the Schous, my clients on the 161kV transmission proposal. Things have changed since I lived on the highways — there’s wireless in the Rest Areas through Iowa! Come on, Minnesota, get with it!

And look what I found here in Iowa right near the Ft. Dodge/Waterloo exit, Hwy 20. They seem to be on shorter structures:

Iowa turbine 1.jpg

But I’ve been up all night, I’m running out of gas, running out of computer batttery, out of phone battery, out of daylight, and out of time… more later!

Iowa turbine 2.jpg

How is it that someone who is by definition a political partisan can whine about “partisan politics” and then disclose an anecdote of a partisan constituent displaying inappropriate partisan behavior at a nonpartisan church forum that she organized? It’s one of those “whatever is he thinking” things…


Par-ti-san 1: a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause or person: esp: one exhibiting blind, prejudiced and unreasoning allegiance 2a: a member of a body of detached light troops making forays and harassing an enemy b: a member of a guerrilla band operating within enemy lines.

Here’s what Ray has to say:

I?ve talked about partisan politics from time to time on my weblog. I will say that the partisan part of politics can really wear people down. It doesn’t crop up so much during the off years, but the election years really turns up the heat under partisan rhetoric.

Now, here’s that odd part — Ray is using a comment from a constutient, disclosing her inappropriate behavior (bold added):

?Hang in there…here’s a little humor for you from last fall before the election. I hosted a Forum at XXX Lutheran using the Nat’l Council of Churches format as to why ALL Christians should become informed and vote…not just the Evangelical right. As we were going through the criteria I said that I encouraged folks to search their heart and their mind on each vote. I gave you as an example. (I think some would call it the bully pulpit) I said, “As you all know, I have been a life long Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I support a straight party ticket. I admit that I didn’t vote for Ray Cox the first time, but he has earned my vote this time because of his willingness to look at the broader picture of what is best for all of Minnesotans. Politics is the art of compromise. I believe Ray has proved that through his actions.” You can imagine the shock waves this sent and many loyal Democrats tried to convince me to change my vote. They didn’t. Thanks for your informative updates. I have been in XXXX for the past XX months working, but have appreciated the link via the internet.?

Something tells me the shock waves were from the statement of the event organizer in what is supposed to be a neutral context. I wonder if the Northfield League of Women Voters witnessed this incident? I wonder what the National Council of Churches would think?

Not to worry… no matter what partisan rhetoric he puts out there, the votes show that he’s voting Republican party line on all but a few votes where Sviggum says the Republican Party can afford a vote to please Northfield. Don’t believe it? That means you haven’t look at his record! Some people remember that the guy who says “I refuse to participate in negative campaigning” was negative campaigning in the Rice County dump with the Speaker. Forgotten about that? Refresh your memory here!

Sviggum pig nose.jpg

Damn, speaking of Rovian political partisans, I missed Doug Jones’ Republican “take over the Senate” fundraiser. Guess I’d better check with my partisan on that! And I have to admit, Jones does understand the jurisdictional issues of transmission!

Speaking of partisans, if anyone wants to be a Republican volunteer, here’s your chance:

Please join us here at RPM Headquarters every Monday from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. for voter identification phone banks! In addition to pizza and great prizes for helping out, your hard work will go towards helping all of our endorsed Republican candidates win in 2006! For questions, please call Leslie Wilcox at 651-842-0116 or email at

Oh, we’re having fun now…