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Extreme cold, burst pipeline threaten heating-fuel supplies

This cold and school-less thing is getting old … and expensive. The AP story on the latest outbreak and shutdown says: “Temperatures will remain in the grips of the deep freeze for two and a half days, said meteorologist Mike Hudson of the National Weather Service in Kansas City, Mo. It will be similar to what happened earlier this month when temperatures dropped quickly and stayed low for days when a piece of the polar vortex — winds that circulate around the North Pole — ‘broke off and moved south,’ Hudson said.

Oh yeah, and don’t use so much gas, OK? Aimee Blanchette of the Strib says: “Even as temperatures plunged Sunday, Xcel Energy asked all customers, including in the Twin Cities, to cut back on natural gas use in the wake of Saturday’s pipeline blast near Winnipeg. One pipeline ruptured and two others were damaged and removed from service. Those lines provide the main supply of natural gas to more than 100,000 Xcel Energy customers in northwestern Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and western Wisconsin.”

Related … Pam Louwagie of the Strib says: “As winter keeps an enduring, ferocious grip on Minnesota and much of the nation, the price of propane is jumping and all types of furnaces are running extra hard, putting residents like [78 year-old retiree Ron] Selleck on the brink of freezing pipes and financial disaster. Administrators of government heat-assistance programs and nonprofits are seeing a spike in requests for help. Propane suppliers already are rationing supplies and natural gas users began feeling the pinch Sunday.”

At MPR, Jon Collins says: “An analysis this week from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said propane demand has outpaced supply in the Midwest as temperatures fell … [Lakes Gas Co.]  Vice President Steve Sargeant said prices have increased from their typical level of about $1.20 a unit to about $5. And they’re still going up. ‘This is unforeseen, we’ve been in business for over 54 years and at no time has the depth of the supply been restricted at the level it is now,’ Sargeant said.” If we find out some Enron-style commodity traders are jacking with this …

Osmo didn’t get to strut like Pink or Katy Perry, but he and the band were winners. Jon Bream of the Strib says: “After settling a bitter lockout of musicians two weeks ago, the Minnesota Orchestra found a reason to smile Sunday: its first Grammy for best orchestral performance. Neither conductor Osmo Vänskä nor any orchestra representative was in Los Angeles to pick up the prize for ‘Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4,’ presented in the pre-telecast portion of the Grammys.”

Chris Kluwe might be on solid footing … Ben Goessling of ESPN reports: “The attorney for former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said his client first approached the team last May about special teams coordinator Mike Priefer’s alleged homophobic comments, and that Kluwe has text messages from kicker Blair Walsh corroborating those allegations.”

The GleanTo be coordinated with the Vikings’ first Super Bowl victory … KARE-TV says: “Gov. Mark Dayton and a coalition of Minnesota business and community leaders will announce the state’s bid to bring the Super Bowl to Minnesota. A news conference will be held at the Minnesota State Capitol on Monday at 11 a.m. New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis are the three finalists to host the NFL championship game in 2018.”

In a commentary, DFL Sen. Matt Schmitt makes a case for (much) improved rural broadband service: “Since November I’ve met with nearly 20 communities around the state interested in improving broadband connectivity for their residents, businesses, schools, libraries and hospitals. The findings have been clear: … Despite the best efforts of our local providers and cooperatives, poor broadband connectivity remains a real problem in many parts of the state. … The 2014 legislative session presents us with a timely opportunity: let’s use this ‘unsession’ to rewrite key provisions of our telecom law.”

Meanwhile, still more from a guy who really needs to chill … Dave Phelps of the Strib reports on Tom Petters: “Representing himself with the assistance of a fellow inmate in the role of ‘jailhouse lawyer,’ Petters has peppered the court with documents seeking to set aside his current 50-year sentence for a shorter one. In his most recent filings last week, Petters requested to be released from Leavenworth on bail pending a ruling on his motions.” Heck, I could rule on that motion.

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 01/27/2014 - 09:06 am.

    A positive aspect of globabl warming?

    It is revealing to observe that I have yet to read or hear a story in any establishment media outlet, local or national, relating to the topic so let me be the first to note that maybe all of this global warming concern might not be such a bad thing.

    Is it possible that someone in the establishment media might eventually get around to featuring a story noting global warming could have some positive aspects after all? Gosh, you would hope some might even have a sense of humor regarding their advocacy.

    It is as revealing as it is entertaining to point out that no one in the media will bring up the obvious question that asks how can it continue to be this cold when we have been telling viewers and readers for years their biggest concern should be hot and not cold weather? If enterprising reporters were to ask folks huddled under a heavy blanket how they feel about global warming now, they might get a very informative and entertaining response. Sadly, that is a story we will never see.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 01/27/2014 - 10:33 am.

      and they shouldn’t

      The current cold weather is just that, weather. Sure, it’s cold here, right now, but it’s not this cold globally. What happens the next time it gets hot? Will that mean climate change is back on again?

      Climate is what you expect based on long term averages. Weather is what you get day to day. This is just cold weather.

      • Submitted by Robert Owen on 01/27/2014 - 11:09 am.

        When it gets hot again

        Pretty much, yes. The next time we have a spell of very hot weather there will be those using that as proof that global warming is indeed very real and the consequences are dire.

        It’s a safe bet that if we see any 100 degree days in the Twin Cities there will be a letter to the editor in the Strib saying “See! It’s happening!” And Al Gore will be in the news again (he’s kept a low profile as of late for some reason).

        Both sides of the debate use weather to make their point about climate.

      • Submitted by Jim Halonen on 01/27/2014 - 02:27 pm.

        Averages going down

        Many cold days (for years now) will cause the averages to go down. I hear averages have been trending down for fifteen years now. I hope the averages do start going up, because a colder and colder climate means nothing growing and I tend to get hungary from time to time.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/27/2014 - 11:12 am.

      The answer is that the 14 month-long blocking high pressure system off the west coast (drought in California, torrential rains in the Philipines) is shovelling warm air from around Hawaii up the west coast of Alaska into the Arctic, producing record warmth in Alska and the Arctic, splitting the “polar vortex”, which is then flowing south over the continental US. Hence, cold here, but warm there.

      Read more about that mechanism here, if you care to–it’s a layman who explains the mechanism pretty well

      Or, go on and pretend all is as it should be.

      Record warmth in places, cold in others. By the way, the global temperatures in 2013 made it the 4th warmest on record. And if you can be bothered to google the record heat in Austrailia, you might read that they are extraordinarily hot there right now..

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/27/2014 - 01:20 pm.

      There is a stage of development where a person realizes that what they are experiencing is not necessarily what others are experiencing.

      I would suggest that you use the vast resources of google to find out about the record warmth in Alaska and much of the Arctic. And then google Australia and their weather and find out how hot it has been there. Perhaps then check out the recent heat waves in Brazil. And then perhaps you could move on to read about the serious drought conditions in California. And then find out about the developing hot spot in the Pacific that lead to the super typhoon Haiyan and to weeks of persistent downpours in the Philipines. And then perhaps you could realize the cold weather we are having is due to a weakening polar wind circulation pattern, and that there is a reason for the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming”.

      You might realize that there are some very odd and different things going on in climate and weather.

      Or you could not, as I suspect, and say I’m cold, it’s winter, therefore it’s as normal for everyone as it is for me.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/27/2014 - 01:43 pm.

      Or as the climate change activists

      who were stuck in the ice at the south pole would say, “Embrace global warming!”

  2. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 01/27/2014 - 11:35 am.

    A Response

    I am well aware of the difference. Unfortunately, that distinction was never mentioned by the establishment media when we were having extremely hot temperatures.

    It is now very easy to hoist them on their own petard and no one is enjoying that more than I am. Come on Ice Age.

  3. Submitted by Jim Camery on 01/27/2014 - 11:56 am.

    This is what we get

    This propane service was brought to you by trusting the free market to deliver critical public services (and diverting a lot of propane to dry corn to, amazingly, make ethanol).

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