Over 640 Xcel Energy customers (households, businesses) are without power here in Red Wing this morning after the storms came whipping through here yesterday afternoon.  Ours was out for a while, maybe an hour, and then back on.  Towards the west end of town, that’s another story, and they’re still without power.

Xcel Energy Outage Map

From the map, it looks like Eau Claire was very hard hit, with 2,300+ customers still without power.

The Dogometer predicted a bad storm about half an hour before it hit, evident when she firmly assumed the position under my desk.  Now she’s back to normal.



FeeltheBern!Bernie Sanders is the first Presidential candidate that I’ve been able to wholeheartedly support, that I’ve very actively supported, in my how-did-that-happen-so-fast long lifetime of many elections.  I’m anxious, not eager, to see how the national convention plays out.

Yesterday, Clinton said:

“It never feels good to put our heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and come up short,” she said. “I know that feeling well. But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let’s remember all that unites us.”

But Hillary Clinton is the candidate that falls short.  With the twists and spins and tricks of Clinton’s campaign, and knowledge that she cannot pull in crossovers and independents as Bernie could due to her baggage, I’m disappointed beyond placation.  Politics as usual is not acceptable.

Can Hillary Clinton salvage this?  For the sake of the party and the country and each and every one of us citizens, I think she needs to withdraw.

As if…



Remember Xcel Energy’s Hollydale Transmission Project that was derailed when it was clear it wasn’t needed, and so Xcel Energy withdrew the application with regular compliance reports on status of the project, and a promise of a need study so long ago???

Yeah, I’ve been forgetting too, it’s been so long.  Here’s Xcel Energy’s page on what’s now called the “Plymouth Project.”

But, here it is!!  Finally, it has arrived, the Hollydale System Assessment Report from Xcel Energy that we’ve all been waiting for:


Pay particular attention to the map above of the “study area,” and note that it is the Interstate 494/694 ring and Hwy 55 to the east and north where the problems are, and the problems are yellow and orange, and not red.  The problems are not in the area of the Hollydale substation and not to the west, towards Medina.

When do we start seeing problems?  Looks like it’s in 2036, 20 years from now, double the usual 10 year transmission planning outlook (hint, that means it STILL is not needed) — and note, again, the problems are to the east and north, along the highways:


I’ve got to scour this report, but I do not think that they’ve considered select placement of distributed generation, i.e., solar panels on all the big boxes in the areas above in red!  Or residential solar on those in yellow.  What’s so difficult about that?

Here’s their choice:

FavoriteAlternativeCOn the plus side, there’s new substations planned in the red territory.  On the minus side, they still want to utilize the Hollydale substation.  On the plus side, they plan to expand transmission using 34.5 feeders, which is what I promoted as a solution.  On the minus side, they plan to keep the 69 kV line through Plymouth, with an eye on utilizing it in the future.  On the PLUS side, they claim that there’s no impact on the Hollydale – Medina section of the 69 kV line, claim that there’s no change from present use and non-use, and for my clients in Medina, that’s a good thing.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to tear that “unused” 69 kV line down.  On the MINUS side, they don’t propose to put all the transmission and distribution underground.  And remember, just yesterday, when there was a large distribution outage due to wind out in the western suburbs?

So now, it’s time to read this report!


DFL Convention yesterday

June 5th, 2016


Yesterday was the DFL State Convention, and it was a long, long day on not enough sleep.  I distinctly recall seeing the clock a little after 1 a.m., and the 6:45 a.m.alarm never went off.  A Convention is right up there with a root canal (which I WON’T do), so with all due haste I got my butt into the van and headed north.  Orchestra Hall?   I haven’t been there since Dexter Gordon, so you know how long ago that was!

Amid divisions, DFL leaders target Trump at state convention

Registration was an exercise in planning ineptness.  They ran out of registration forms.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, it’s like running out of ballots!  There is a set number of delegates and alternates, so why were there not sufficient registration forms?  I found one laying on a table, SCORE!

At registration, there’s a “voluntary” fee of $50 when pre-registered, and $65 at the door, but given how the party is pushing Hillary despite the state’s Sanders win, no, I’m not about to give the DFL money — Bernie gets my donations.  And so after winding through a long, long amorphous line, I finally got to the front of the line, said, “I’m here and I’m broke (I did have $1 and some change in my pocket)” and she said, “That’s OK, we love you anyway” with such sincerity!  Her attitude was a day brightener!

After registering, we had to go over to a different alphabetical section to pick up our credentials, and that was another YUGE line, well, many YUGE lines, and the good news was that the letters didn’t mean anything, we could jump to an open line.  I got registered, got my credentials, and got to the “Alternates” balcony (Alternates are not allowed on floor).  I later heard from others there were not enough blue bags with convention materials.  The Alternates section was up in the balcony… not long after I arrived, I was shuttled further up, to the THIRD FLOOR balcony, the second tier balcony, way, way up in the nosebleed section.

I sat through a few speeches, and jumped right on Gov. Dayton and Sen. Klobuchar when they brought up Hillary.  BOO HISS!  Why raise their support of the LOSER in Minnesota?  They should know better when the state went for Sanders by a landslide, 61.6% to 38.4%, with Bernie winning in every Congressional District:


Both Gov. Dayton and Sen. Klobuchar chose to bring up their support for Hillary, and they got the response they deserved, and then had the nerve to plea for “party unity” that followed their Hillary support.  Oh, please…  Their choice to be divisive and ignore the landslide support of Sanders in Minnesota could have, should have, been different.  Bad choice.  SHAME!  A few rounds of BOO-HISS is fully appropriate.  And for them to then pile on with “we need unity,” give it a rest.  They chose their divisive promotion.

There were co-chairs in charge.  O’Brien as a chair appeared at times unsure, confused and maneuvering/directing the process, but also not firm enough with the group and from my perspective, making some bad calls.  Melvin Carter was more direct and firm, pushing the process along.  It was so slow…

Just as I was getting ready to leave after a couple hours of these speeches that were so manipulative, I got word that I was being “upgraded” and to get ready to be a delegate and be seated with the Goodhue County group in the front row.  Another point of disorganization, we were assigned 7 seats for 9 delegates.  WTF?  This was a common problem raised by others that day, seats were assigned and there were not enough assigned seats.  They know how many delegates are allotted, so why this crap?

SNORT of the day:  When St. Paul’s mayor was introduced, and we were urged to welcome him, the captioning said, “POLICE WELCOME ST. PAUL MAYOR CHRIS COLEMAN.”  Really… after the 2008 RNC, no surprise there!

There was a Motion for “A Sense of the Convention” or some such, which had two parts, first, that the superdelegate system should be scrapped/reformed, and second, that at the 2016 national convention, the superdelegates should not vote or should vote according to MN caucus results:

DFL_Sense of Convention

This received a resounding YES! in proportion to Bernie v. Hillary supporters.  It took quite a while to get to the vote, and recount, but finally, YES!  Hope that will be heard by the superdelegates.

Most notably, there were not enough copies of the Resolutions on which we were supposed to vote. When voting time came, there was a call from the chair for people to pass on their copies to those who didn’t have them.  Sharing is good, but copies of documents we’re voting on is a pretty basic need and they should have been prepared.  The number of delegates is known, alternates didn’t get the bag of materials, so why were there not enough? And in the email to us, they could have told us to print them out and saved on copies by asking if we needed copies at registration.  Then it gets worse, “some” resolutions were taken off the ballot after the resolution ballot was sent pre-convention and after they were printed for convention packets, and somehow referred to the Central Committee!  Which ones?  Well, no one was saying, and it took repeated pushes to get that info.  What bullshit.  What resolutions were they?  24, 32, 41, 54, and 60!  Numbers only.  Great… What were they?

24. Support legislation (such as tax credits, loan forgiveness programs, and refinancing) to reduce Minnesota’s student loan debt.

32. Support legislation that requires all crude oil pipelines transiting Minnesota to have Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), to have financial assurances for spill and abandonment cleanup, and respect sovereign native territory.

41. Support health care as a basic right for everyone in our society, and take steps to ensure that everyone is able to receive a niminum level of health care including physical, mental and dental care.

54. Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake uperior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in the sulfur bearing rock of Minnesota.

60. Oppose fracking because of its damage to the environment and the resulting burden on future generations.

Interesting combo there…  This finagling is a problem.

Then, when it was time to vote on delegates to the DNC Convention in Philly, the set up at Orchestra Hall was poor.  What were they thinking?  On the other hand, SNORT, as reported in the STrib:

To elect national delegates, Bernie Sanders supporters remained in Orchestra Hall and Hillary supporters were herded into a smaller room without chairs. They were grumpy about it.

For the Sanders delegate elections, it took a while to get a moderator, but moderating was handled well.  First, there was no procedure or a complete list of those who were running.  WHAT?  So that had to be established…

And then we started with a poor play by Sanders crew — they proposed a slate of 10 delegates, and 2 of them weren’t even present!  Oh my… bad move.  And that was soundly rejected.  We did get the 8 of them onstage, but at that time, we didn’t even get any info about them other than their names.  No one who doesn’t show should be allowed to be a national delegate.  The group soundly rejected this slate (who all were allowed to be part of the following delegate cattle call).  I hope the campaign got the message, though I’ll send them one directly too.

For the potential national Bernie delegates, there would be 9 women and 7 men, and 4 alternates.  For applicants, there was only a sheet from THURSDAY (!?), on a Saturday, in teeny tiny print with just under 200 names, and many more applied after Thursday, so for sure over 200 were wanting to be national delegates. That’s a lot!  Essentially, 10% of those who wanted to be a delegate would be selected.

After spending at least an hour, maybe two, nailing down the delegate selection process, we had a parade of delegates.  This was the best part of the day.  The parade of delegates was the most diverse, devoted, dedicated bunch ever.  Some were brand new to voting and politics, some were grizzled old farts, some were long-time dedicated party workers, some wore suits, some wore shorts (“I’m the short guy in shorts!” said one), some Native, some first generation immigrants, some new to Minnesota from other states, some L or B or G or T or some mix of identification, some small business owners, some disabled, some union members (Teamster & Stagehands 13), some urban, some suburban, some rural, some students, like wow!  Their allotted 30 second elevator speeches were great, inspiring.  THIS is what DEMOCRACY looks like.  This group was Minnesota, the essence of our state, and made me so proud to be Minnesotan and part of this Convention.  I can’t say enough good things about this group of Bernie supporters.  Looking forward to hearing who all was selected.  Oh, here’s the list:

1. Muhammad Abdurrahman
2. Gabe Aderhold
3. Michael Gibino
4. John Neitge
5. Frank Hornstein
6. Keith McClain
7. Will Moore
A1. Michael Bearfoot
A2. Jacob Mazurek

1. Yishu Dài
2. Mara Glubka
3. Shakia McDavid
4. Erika Onsrud
5. Shauna Kaylene Wimmer Valdez
6. Margaret Breen
7. Nelsie Yang
8. Lisa Bender
9. Ashley Fairbanks
A1. Fartun Weli
A2. Susan Wolfe


KOIN_oregon_train_derail_060316From KOIN TV

KOIN_mosier-oil-train-derailment-e-060302016Also from KOIN TV

It’s happened again, this time on the other end of the country, in Oregon in the Columbia Gorge, near the river and near homes in Mosier, OR, where the derailment occurred.  Oil has leaked, exploded in flames, and at least 8-10 cars are derailed.

Oregon train derailment spills oil, sparks fire

Oil train derails, on fire in Columbia River Gorge

Oil train derails near Mosier, Oregon, smoke visible for miles

Oil train derailment, fire in Columbia Gorge evacuates Mosier schools, I-84 shut down