White Bear Lake landowners’ suit against DNR can proceed

As if the DNR doesn’t have enough problems … Nicole Norfleet of the Strib says: “A Ramsey County judge has denied the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by White Bear Lake homeowners who claim the agency is at fault for allowing water levels to plummet at the lake. The White Bear Lake Restoration Association sued the DNR in November and said the agency has violated state environmental standards by allowing communities around White Bear Lake to double their withdrawals of water from the aquifer beneath the lake since 2000. The association asserted that these water appropriation permitting decisions had lowered the levels of the lake and the Jordan/Prairie du Chien aquifer, a large underground sea embedded among rock and sand that feeds the lake groundwater and serves as the city’s water source.”

The update on the very dry conditions around town … from the Strib’s Jeff Strickler: “The drought that we thought had ended is now officially back. The first six months of the year were among the wettest in the 119 years Minnesotans have been keeping such records. By the end of June, only a couple of areas in the northwestern part of the state were still reporting dry conditions, and in mid-July, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center issued a rosy projection that the entire state would be drought-free by Halloween. But that prediction turned out to be more trick than treat. The weather tables have turned, combining a late-season heat wave with rainfall that’s been about 3 inches below normal since July 1. The U.S. Drought Monitor report released last week classified 53 percent of the state — including the Twin Cities — as being in moderate drought and another 26 percent as overly dry.”

The latest on the police chase that ended with the death of a 20-year-old in the wrong place at the wrong time. Matt McKinney and Paul Walsh of the Strib write: “The drunken driver who sped from a state trooper through downtown Minneapolis and killed a driver in another vehicle did all he could to elude capture, according to charges filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court. Those measures included running red lights, tearing through shrubbery and going the wrong way on one-way streets, according to the documents. Felony charges of fleeing police in a vehicle, causing death or injury, against Yia Her, 34, of St. Paul, also say that he was driving with a suspended license early Monday. They also say he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the allowable limit in Minnesota.”

In the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the story goes: “ A Twin Cities-area woman is expected to soon be charged with robbing banks in Menomonie and Hudson and possibly three banks in Minnesota, according to law enforcement officials. The woman was taken into custody Monday evening, only hours after she reportedly robbed the Menomonie bank, and is being held at an undisclosed location pending formal charges, most likely in federal court. Federal officials have not released information on the suspect, but Hudson police Chief Marty Jensen said Tuesday that a woman was taken into custody on suspicion of the two Wisconsin bank robberies. … A woman was believed to be involved with Minnesota bank robberies Aug. 15 in Cologne, Aug. 22 in Stacy and Sept. 1 in Forest Lake.”

The governor wants MNsure to clean up its act vis a vis minorities … The AP says: “Gov. Mark Dayton says he shares concerns that Minnesota’s health insurance exchange has neglected black and Somali community groups in its initial enrollment drive. The Democratic governor says Wednesday that he’s communicated that to the executive director of MNsure as well as the state’s commissioner of human services. Dayton says he believes MNsure board members will address the concerns at a meeting later in the day.”

Cargill has a new boss. Michael Calia of The Wall Street Journal says: “Cargill Inc.’s board appointed David MacLennan to take over as chief executive when the current CEO, Gregory R. Page, retires on Dec. 1. Mr. MacLennan, who is 54 years old, has been with the company since 1991 and is currently Cargill’s operating chief and president. He will continue to serve as president after he takes over as CEO. Mr. Page, 62, will remain with Cargill as executive chairman. He started with the company in 1974 and has been its CEO and chairman since 2007. Cargill, one of the world’s largest privately held companies, operates businesses ranging from grain handling and meat processing to energy trading.”

The GleanFolks in Grand Marais are getting a little help with their heating bill. Dan Kraker of MPR writes: “After the Ham Lake Fire torched more than 100 buildings along the Gunflint Trail in 2007, Cook County residents looked differently at the lush pine forest surrounding their homes. All those beautiful trees posed a very real wildfire hazard. So homeowners began thinning thousands of trees, adopting a strategy known as ‘Firewise.’ They hauled the trees and brush to gravel pits on the Superior National Forest and burned them. … members of the Cook County Local Energy Project hatched an idea. Why not harness that wasted energy, and use it to heat buildings in Grand Marais? That question led to nearly four years of community discussion and detailed analysis of a plan to build a district biomass heating plant, which would burn locally harvested timber to heat water and pipe it underground to the city’s 21 largest customers, including the hospital, schools, county courthouse and the city’s largest private businesses.”

That St. Cloud mosque project …? Kari Petrie of the Times reports: “Looking to limit the impact on a south St. Cloud neighborhood, the St. Cloud Planning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend a modified plan for a proposed mosque development. The commission voted 5-2 to recommend to the City Council to approve an amendment, with conditions, to the planned unit development. … The Islamic Center of St. Cloud wants to build a mosque, school and community space at the site. The property is zoned for duplexes and single-family homes. As part of the conditions to the amendment, the commission recommends the mosque and school be built in the first phase. The applicant would have to come back for approval from the city to move forward with a second phase, which would include constructing a third building to house a community center and gym and allow for expansion of the mosque and school.”

There’s a bit of a dust-up between City Pages and Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie fame. Sally Jo writes: “It’s no secret that the City Pages’ Blotter lifts a lot of material from Bluestem Prairie, and we were grateful when now-departed staff writer Andy Mannix picked Bluestem as Best Blog 2013. Having Mannix’s respect meant a great deal. Thus, it’s with great sadness that we read this lede in a Blotter post ‘Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment’ is a thing in Minnesota:

One day after its kick-off meeting, the Minnesota chapter of ‘Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment’ already has more than 500 Facebook members.

Well, no. As Bluestem reported in Cindy Pugh likes people standing on overpasses calling for President Obama’s impeachment, a local Overpass organizer spoke at the Kick-Off meeting of the SW Metro Tea Party, which has been around long enough to launch Representative Cindy Pugh’s political career. The Minnesota Facebook group had been around for at least a month before the Blotter blogger misread about it on Bluestem.  With a little googling, as well as reading comprehension, the unfortunate blogger could have avoided publishing a fake scoop.”                                                        

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 09/12/2013 - 01:43 am.

    The governor wants MNsure to clean up its act

    I am interested in following this story. The link provided did not work. Any other sources?

  2. Submitted by richard owens on 09/12/2013 - 07:53 am.

    Thanks, Brian.

    Minnesota’s aquifers need more protection. With irrigation doubling in recent years, along with water-hungry ethanol plants, the monitoring of water use cannot be left to the consumers.

    And yet, most water permit limits are enforced by the users.

    Republican legislators, especially, should temper their frugality and work to protect Minnesota’s water resources by allowing our government agencies the resources to monitor and enforce municipal, commercial and agricultural water use. No one else would oppose more vigilance in Minnesota’s greatest natural resource- her water.


    The Grand Marais forest management/heating project is an example of forward thinking and cooperation. Thanks for the news about it. We need more of this.

  3. Submitted by Mike Downing on 09/12/2013 - 06:06 pm.

    Solutions for White Bear Lake

    There is a three part solution to the lake level problem on White Bear Lake. The first includes Conservation, i.e. reduce our water consumption. The second includes Augmentation of White Bear Lake with surface water from the Mississippi River. The third includes Conversion of our water supply from municipal wells back to surface water from the Mississippi River.

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