If you look really closely, you’ll see that turbines 3, 4, 16, 17, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, and 49 are now not on the map! What gives?

Here are other maps for comparison:

And ya know, when there’s a significant change in the project, the developer needs to apply for a permit amendment. But wait… there’s not been a peep about this! Nothing, not a word!

We received verification of the missing 17 turbines, so yesterday Association of Freeborn County Landowners filed this:

Ya gotta acknowledge the changes, and address the impacts, and, well, will this project even be built? How dependent is the project on $$$$ to the local governments to support this poorly designed mess? With over 40% of the turbines gone, that means at least 40% of the production and 40% of money to local governments, and 40% of payments to participating landowners is missing in action. Do the participating landowners of the missing 17 turbines know of the changes? The County Board seems to have not been told, and the summary of the May 13, 2020 “Pre-construction Meeting” reflects that there was no discussion of eliminating 17 turbines.

What gives, Xcel? Where’d those turbines go? Gone to Iowa?

COVID Camping…

June 24th, 2020

After having 3 camping trips cancelled due to COVID, the state parks are now open, and our annual trip to Tettegouche State Park (usually Wooden Boat Show, but that’s virtual only this year) over solstice was booked a year ahead again, so we headed up north.

Campers don’t seem to get that we’ve got a COVID pandemic happening. No masks, other than ours and DNR staff. We spent much of the time at our site, and up and down the shore checking out campgrounds, and of course, a stop at Gun Flint Tavern!

Back home, after a long drive to consider the situation, I fired off this missive to the DNR person in charge of this sort of thing, Linda Erickson-Eastwood, the DNR Commissioner, and the Governor:

Ms. Erickson-Eastwood, Commissioner Strommen, and Governor Walz:

We need an Executive Order requiring everyone to wear masks in public.  I also think it’s too early to have campgrounds and parks open.  After spending 5 days up at Tettegouche State Park, and an afternoon at Jay Cooke State Park, I think it’s too early to “open up.” At Tettegouche, staff was wearing masks, most but not all, when deep cleaning and stocking bathrooms and taking out trash, and that was happening at least twice daily, GOOD! Plastic barrier was up between sinks, GOOD!  Signs on bathroom door about distancing, GOOD, but no mention of wearing MASKS.

And the CAMPERS!!  That was the major problem.  We were the only ones wearing masks in the tight bathrooms, and we had them around our necks hiking and pulled them up when others were nearby.  People didn’t seem to care about distancing. Jay Cooke was so crowded, particularly on the approaches to and on the bridge, people were not observing distancing at all, and again, we were the only ones with masks on.

In a camping situation, how on earth will any sort of enforcement happen, who would that fall to?  I can’t imagine a more difficult task than attempting to get folks to take this pandemic seriously!  But if Menards can, so can Minnesota.

Generally, we need an Executive Order to wear masks in public, top down.  Again, I think it’s too early to have campgrounds and parks open.  But campgrounds and parks are open…  That said, in addition to an Executive Order from Gov to wear masks in public as state parks and campgrounds are open, a few things I’d recommend:

  • A LARGE NEON sign at the check-in stopsign/desk “wear masks in public, i.e., restrooms, and have handy out in public” or some such, signs on bathroom doors.
  • Get serious about signage. There should be signs everywhere there’s a sign of another sort, i.e., vending machines, wood sales, picnic areas, water spigots, rentals, etc., EVERYWHERE.
  • Make sure staff has large supply of cheap Menards style masks to hand out to everyone not wearing one, asking, “Do you need a mask?” frequently!!
  • Masks everywhere, with a sign, “”Take one, wear it in good health!”  Camp hosts can put masks on picnic tables in a bag with note inside, “Please wear masks in bathrooms, in public where others are nearby, have handy on the trails, for everyone’s protection,” or some such…
  • Sell irresistibly cute pine tree, bear, moose, etc. masks at all visitor centers, front and center with a sign, “Please wear masks, help keep our parks open,” or some such.
  • Camping and reservation page banner with two photos, one of cute 20 somethings with masks hanging around their neck hiking with message, “Pull up your mask when you encounter others on the trail!” and a few women in the bathroom with masks on distancing and handwashing, “Keep 6’ Distance!  Wear Masks!  Wash Those Hands!”  Website changes are easy.
  • On reservation page, when making reservation, the message “I agree to wear a mask when in proximity to others, while hiking, in bathrooms, etc.” and click an “I accept” box. Again, website changes are easy.

We just cancelled out of our Minneopa State Park camp host gig, which I was seriously looking forward to, but that gig involves not just stocking, but cleaning bathrooms at the campground and separate picnic site, and of course greeting and hosting… but there’s COVID (plus we’re down to one vehicle now).  As it is, I don’t think I could do camp hosting without bringing my sewing machine and making masks in the screen tent, greeting campers and handing them out, hanging them on each site number post, in the bathrooms, etc!  It’s not part of the camp host gig, nor is being a bossy boots, but this is a pandemic, and I think the state needs to step up its precautions.

We need an Executive Order requiring wearing of masks in public.  STAT!

Thanks for your consideration,

Carol A. Overland

I’m seriously bummed over backing out of the camp hosting gig, but with what I observed this past week, neither of us are comfortable with all the cleaning necessary and dealing with people, mostly unmasked, that’s necessary as camp host. Same goes for camping in the near, and perhaps distant, future — is camping in crowded campgrounds a good idea? Would it be better to head out to way out of the way dispersed camping areas? Reservations about reservations going forward…

But the past week was overall well worth it, got around to a few favorites and some new places too. Cascade River State Park is still closed to camping, but will open on July 15.

Silver Bay has a rather bizarre scenic overlook of the Cliffs taconite pellet plant!

Yes, MASKS!!!

And Taconite Harbor, where I took old Kenya for a swim a decade ago while touring the state getting caught up on CLEs:

Smothered chicken burritos:

And of course, corncakes with rhubarb & maple syrup:

And no, not even close to primitive:

Little Sadie loves not-at-all-primitive camping:

And a stop to check out Jay Cooke State Park on the way back:

Just filed in Ramsey County District Court:

This is a suit regarding four PUC dockets, Freeborn Wind (WS-17-410); Plum Creek (WS-18-700); Buffalo Ridge WS-19-394; and Three Waters WS-19-576.

Three issues:

  1. No environmental review of wind projects! They have actual and constructive notice that there are issues, and issues so serious that there have been landowner buyouts. Wake up call, DOH!
  2. No siting criteria or rules have been developed despite ancient mandate to do it and a couple of rulemaking petitions. It’s been 25 years… and they’ve been using small wind rules, and setbacks that they have no idea where they came from!
  3. Failure to operate with broad spectrum of public participation, instead shutting public out and operating in private to give developers what they want. How many requests do we need to make for meeting notice? Why are noise studies now “TRADE SECRET?” (well, obviously because if it was public we’d have the proof that they can’t meet the Minnesota noise standard)

Pretty simple, eh?

Here’s the Complaint filed by ACLU in federal court:

Why? Attacks on journalists are a pattern of behavior. From the Complaint, and evident in the media coverage of police attacks, arrests live on camera, what more proof is needed:

The past week has been marked by an extraordinary escalation of unlawful force deliberately targeting reporters…

The press is under assault in our City.
Over the past week, the Minneapolis Police and the Minnesota State Patrol have tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, arrested without cause, and threatened journalists at gunpoint, all after these journalists identified themselves and were otherwise clearly engaged in their reporting duties. These are not isolated incidents.

This pattern and practice of conduct by law enforcement tramples on the Constitution. It violates the sacrosanct right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press that form the linchpin of a free society. It constitutes a pattern of unreasonable force and unlawful seizures under the Fourth Amendment. And it deprives liberty without a modicum of due process protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Plaintiff brings this action and asks the Court to restrain Defendants from further violence and unconstitutional conduct.

Minnesota Fusion Center logo

Last Friday, Alan and I were on errands, and we stopped at Lisu’s Thai Taste (oh, I miss being able to go up there regularly!), and saw a bearcat sitting on the 80th St. overpass of Hwy. 61 in Cottage Grove and grabbed this photo (3 p.m. May 29, 2002):

Facing us, and the bearcat, was this:

We were on our way back home, with stop for picnic in Hastings. As we arrived at the riverside park, we saw a law enforcement boat (sheriff? It was red, couldn’t read the side) motoring up the Mississippi at a high rate of speed. WHAT IS GOING ON? So I fired up the phone, and saw on a Red Wing list claims that “rioters are heading our way,” that “THE BLACK PANTHERS ARE COMING!” and “they’re coming to burn down the Cottage Grove High School, Chauvin went there!” What? Yeah, really. Later there was an alert distributed by Red Wing Police Dept. saying there was a “credible threat” and that people should stay away from the protest scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, and this notion of a “credible threat” was confirmed by more than one City Council member.

My red flags went up, false flag detectors bending the needle. I did some calling around, because no one who had posted this crap knew anything about it, they didn’t source before posting. Stores were closed in Cottage Grove, Target was closing all their metro stores, Menards hadn’t closed yet, and the guy who answered at Menards, which was closing in an hour, was utterly freaked, that “thousands of rioters were coming to Cottage Grove,” and “they’re going to burn down the high school because Chauvin went there” (again) (did he? and why would anyone care decades later?). Had a rational conversation with someone from the sheriff’s office, the bearcat was out there due to the rumors “with utmost caution,” but I heard an undercurrent of “good grief, what are people thinking” in the mix.

I’ve sent in this Data Practices Act Request, because the rumors and “alerts” and “credible threats,” well, they aren’t credible — I mean really, 70-75,000 agitators on the road to the Metro? Out-state communities filled with rumors of THOUSANDS OF RIOTERS deemed credible threat? Who would believe such crap, and who is spreading this around and why? Who benefits from this?

UPDATED: Sheriff says credible threats were received Saturday; state Rep. Grossell takes part in citizen patrol

Walz sending national guard to Minnesota’s western border due to ‘credible threat’

From Unicorn Riot, looking into the workings and ties to Minnesota Fusion Center:

Police Fusion Center Tied to Fake Social Media Accounts