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Off The Editor’s Desk – 8-26-2015

OPEN YOUR POCKETBOOKS, THE DNR CAME TO TOWN

A DNR official came to Glenwood City recently and by the time he left, the city was facing a large bill to improve one of its well houses and pump. I know this has happened in most communities in the state.

 The DNR is charged with seeing that citizens of this state have clean and safe water, but some of their rules are not rules passed by the Legislative, but are administrative rules, which carry the same force as if they were passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor. But in any case the DNR representative that visited Glenwood City found a list of items he did not like, called deficiencies, at the one of its well houses and recommended that the city construct a new one and abandon the well that has furnished water to the city for more than a century.

This all came about because the DNR received a notice from the St. Croix County Health Department which indicated that a man had become sick with giardia. But how he contacted it, is still in question, but he said that he had drank water from a hose at the cattle washing area during an animal show at the fairgrounds. The water came from the city’s water utility.

I wonder how many other communities are faced with large expenditures because of the DNR. The well at question has never had a bad sample. A representative of a company that works on pumps and wells, told the city’s Public Works Director, “Why would you abandon a well that never has had a bad sample.”

I always felt that water from this well was the best tasting water in the country. I can remember going on vacation and looking forward to coming home to have a glass of great tasting cold water. But when the city constructed a new well near the swimming pool, it changed the taste of our water and now we have a water cooler in our office.

I am sure that this will be a topic at city hall in many upcoming meetings. The City Council is seeking a face-to-face meeting with the DNR over this matter.

Over the years, I can remember asking the DNR to sit down and talk about an item. You still ended up digging for money. As a young man of 21, I was elected to the City Council and coming on, the DNR was leading the city in constructing a new wastewater treatment facility over the treatment plant that the city had. And that’s how we got the Lagoon.

It served for many years, but as soon as it was paid for, the DNR showed up and demanded changes and updates. But by that time the new sewer collection lines were installed in Downing and they became a partner with the city in operating costs of the lagoon.

The DNR told the city that the lagoon was leaking nitrates into the ground and thus needed work. The city asked for a meeting with the DNR and their head honcho with his young assistants came to face the local citizens. After a meeting that filled the basement of the old city hall the DNR offer a $36,000 grant to the city to drill test wells at the lagoon site. They figured the test wells would show that nitrates had leaked into the ground. But the test showed that, that had not happened.

But, if you guessed that city was off the hook, you’re wrong. The city still had to update the facility. Now that was many years ago and the updates have now been paid for and now the city is again looking at more updates at that facility, thanks to the DNR.

Now I don’t want to hear from someone about the DNR looking out for the environment and us. If it’s working and not broke, it don’t need fixing!

In another matter, closer to my heart is that I will again be spending time at the Minnesota State Fair at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum. If you attend the state fair stop by for a visit. We are in the 4-H building on Cosgrove St.

We received a grant to improve visitor knowledge, with the installation of signage that explains the old equipment and why the “press” is called the “fourth estate”.

I have been working at the museum several days the past couple of weeks getting ready for the fair. To get to the fairgrounds you exit onto Snelling Ave. But with it under construction I have gone up Dale to Pierce-Butler and over to the fairgrounds. Along Pierce-Butler is a landscaping business with a sign indicating a “Back to School Sale.” It reads: “10 percent off Manure.”

Thanks for reading!   — Carlton