In what world is something like this needed or wanted in a 16,000 population city like Red Wing, or in a rural county like Goodhue County?  What would be the envisioned purpose?

Goodhue County and the City of Red Wing have applied for Homeland Security money to buy one of these, a Lenco Bearcat.  Cost is $332,246.00.  They call the current one the “PeaceKeeper” armored vehicle.  They’re saying it’s too slow, and they’ve been having problems with it.  I saw it cruising toward downtown on West Ave. a few years ago, and was stunned, didn’t know they had one here — I mean really, whatever for?!?!  Meth labs?  Militaristic cults?  The Republican National Convention contractual obligations?  Folks, this isn’t St. Paul…

I’ve heard that the Goodhue County vote recently was that it would not opt in to this grant, but that there is another vote about it.  Red Wing will decide soon.

Goodhue County Commissioners (for your cut and pasting pleasure):  ron.allen@co.goodhue.mn.us, brad.anderson@co.goodhue.mn.us, dan.rechtzigel@co.goodhue.mn.us, jason.majerus@co.goodhue.mn.us, ted.seifert@co.goodhue.mn.us

City of Red Wing Mayor and Council (for your cut and pasting pleasure): dan.bender@ci.red-wing.mn.us, jsebion3@gmail.com , lisa.bayley@ci.red-wing.mn.us, deanhove@charter.net, dan.munson@ci.red-wing.mn.us, peggy.rehder@ci.red-wing.mn.us, ralph.rauterkus@ci.red-wing.mn.us, dustin.schulenberg@ci.red-wing.mn.us

A memo to the County Board from a Sheriff’s Deputy states:

The Emergency Response Team uses an armored vehicle on every mission and at events that may take place at the PINGP.

What does this mean?  How many “missions” and what are the details?  The phrase “at events that may take place at the PINGP” is odd — please explain!  Does this mean response to nuclear emergencies?  Does this mean response to Xcel Energy security concerns?  If this is about the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, shouldn’t Xcel Energy be paying for it?  They’ll probably say that these expenses are what the Utility Personal Property Tax is for, but I don’t think that’s how it works, it’s a separate issue!

Goodhue County LENCO Bearcat

City of Red Wing – CP_Project_Detail_M-Port_Auth-LencoBearcat

Again, cost is $332,246.00.  For this amount, the County and City could buy roughly 10 fully equipped squad cars (based on this linked Goodhue County purchase of 4). Think of the computer equipment they could buy with that kind of money!

Pages from CP_Project_Detail_M-Port_Auth_Squad Replacement

This is overkill, it is not needed in Red Wing, not needed in Goodhue County.  This is not “policing,” but is militarization of policing.  Not a trend I want in my community.


Yesterday, I received a missive about the Plains & Eastern Clean Line that was disconcerting to say the least.  After all the Comment periods have closed, both DEIS and Section 1222, the DOE now says that based on comments received, there have been changes, and we get this:

Route Variations and Modified Converter Station Siting Areas

Route Variations Project Overview
Route Variations by Regions
Route Variation Sheet Maps
Modified Arkansas Converter Station Alternative Siting Area
Modified Tennessee Converter Station Siting Area

Here’s an example that makes no sense to me — look at the site for the so-called Arkansas Converter Station — it’s surrounded.  Does DOE think it can ram through Wildlife Management Areas?


Given all this new information, where’s the announcement of opportunity to review and file DEIS Comments on this?

Given the alterations of routes, are new landowners affected?  If so, where’s the announcement of opportunity to review the whole mess and file Section 1222 Comments?

Check out this great slap down of Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois by the Missouri Court of Appeals when Ameren challenged the lower court’s dismissal of their attempt to circumvent state regulation (thanks to Paul Henry for passing this on):

Ameren (ATXI) – Missouri Court of Appeals

As you know, Missouri is the state that had the wherewithall to declare that Grain Belt Express and its Clean Line was not a utility.  In this case, Ameren went in and said, with it seems quite a bit of arrogance, Missouri, don’t touch me, we don’t have to play with you, you don’t regulate me:

Ameren1WOW, whew, that sure didn’t work for Ameren.  Love it when that happens.


Thinking Presidential, John Kennedy & Jimmy Carter’s “Life is unfair.”  Right now, I regret the passage of time, oh, to be young again… but Dog I love the internet, love this “Too-Much-Information Age” and our broad range of ability to speak out.  From The Independent:

Women are live-tweeting their periods at Donald Trump to prove menstruation can’t be used against them as an insult



Plantings in Red Wing

August 9th, 2015

20150809_102511_resizedThanks to Sheila in Frontenac who gave us TWO van loads of day lilies.  They’re in, looking kinda bent up and tired, they’ve had quite a journey, but they’re perking up and next year they’ll look like something, and the year after, even better.  The grass wasn’t coming in on the boulevard after the West Avenue redo, it looks like crap, so let’s see how the day lilies do.  To be covered with chips soon, we have lots of the left over from the West Avenue construction.  And on the other side, in the yard, in addition to the day lilies, I’ve added a bee balm and a few cone flowers.  Soon, the Little Free Library on the metal post, and I found the perfect browsing chair to chain to the post.  Before winter?

And speaking of plantings, we often have a picnic up on Memorial Bluff at the lower quarry, the beautiful newly refurbished area with huge stone benches overlooking the garbage burner.  They’d reopened it last year, but this year, it was clear most of the newly planted trees had died.  Tonight I saw there were new ones… GREAT!  But look, really, 6 of them are planted under the transmission line.  It’s bad enough that they put two big stone picnic benches under the transmission line, but TREES? How long will it be before our friends at Xcel Energy mow them down?