Recreational Fires Must Be Eliminated

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The air is smoky from burning wood in North St. Paul, MN, almost every evening. It is a nightmare. What used to be a nice place to live has become a living hell.

WARNING: If you buy a house in North St. Paul, MN, you will regret it! It may be the biggest, most expensive mistake you ever make. You will breathe smoky air almost every day of your life in this town. This is not an exaggeration. The wood smoke in this town gets heavy and gets heavy often. When you want to get out of this dump of a town, how many people do you think are going to want to buy a house in a city where heavy air pollution every night is normal and clean air is rare? This blog gets thousands of visitors every year. The word is out: North St. Paul is a horrible place to live!

Fresh air is very rare around here. If you are considering moving to North St. Paul or buying a home here, I strongly recommend that you do not do it no matter how good of a price you get. The only way you will be happy in this town is if you love breathing smoky air almost every day. North St. Paul, MN, is a horrible place to live because of the smoky air!

Burning wood, grass, leaves, paper, cardboard, and sometimes plastic, construction materials, and chemicals, if it is combustible it gets burned in North St. Paul and you are going to breathe it.

The air was smoky 25 out of 31 evenings in July 2009. We had 37 hours of continuous wood smoke in the air Aug. 29th - 31st. There was wood smoke in the air 19 consecutive evenings from Aug. 21st to Sept. 8th. It rained heavily on Aug. 20th, providing the only relief we got from wood smoke for almost three weeks.

Is this a good way to live? No. It is a horrible way to live. Take it from someone who knows. Breathing smoky, polluted air every day is misery.

Every day in this city several people are having recreational fires. Every evening the air is filled with the stench of burning wood. I am one person sick and tired of breathing smoky air every day. Is it too much to ask to be able to breathe fresh air in your own home?

Who is responsible for this wood smoke nightmare? The four city council members are responsible. Council members Jan Walczak, Bob Bruton, Terry Furlong, and Dave Zick have refused to do anything about this wood smoke problem. They don't care if you have a child with asthma. They don't care if you have to live like a shut-in because the air is so polluted. They don't care if your sinuses burn because the wood smoke is so heavy.

Our four Council members have defended the rights of a small percentage of households to burn wood daily over the rights of all the rest of us to breathe.

You have no right to breathe under Walczak, Bruton, Furlong, and Zick. Burners have the right to burn wood 49 hours a week recreationally. The rest of us have no rights at all.

If you are considering purchasing real estate in the city of North Saint Paul, Minnesota (55109), factor this blog carefully into your decision. Buying a home in this city means that your kids will breathe smoky air while playing in the yard almost every day. Your baby will breathe smoky air in her crib should you leave the windows open around your house. If you leave your windows open you will wake up in the middle of the night choking on smoky air.

Perhaps worst of all, your utility rates will be high because you will have to run the air conditioner instead of leaving the windows open on a cool summer evening. You have no other choice because almost every night the air is too smoky to breathe in this city. Consider this blog your warning.

North St. Paul, Minnesota, is a wonderful community other than the wood smoke. If we could restore fresh air like we used to enjoy, life would be happy again. But that is not going to happen any time soon.

Tell others about this blog!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emails from supporters and other fresh air lovers

I don't check my email too often. Most of what I get is just harassing emails. I got a few emails from supporters and residents of other cities just as concerned about smoky air as I and my neighbors are.

I'd like to say hi to the people at the Clean Air Revival website at Sorry for my late acknowledgment.

I got an email from Kiwiwnpd a few days ago who claims to be a Maplewood resident. Kiwiwnpd writes:
I am hoping your blog is not a joke (someone who loves woodsmoke making fun of the rest of us). I don't think it is.

I live in Maplewood. I have a journal exactly like yours. There have been 46 times since May we have been unable to be outside-close windows, the whole deal.

Plus, in our new suburban neighborhood of 1/4 acre lots, it is now fashionable to heat with wood. So Oct-April there is woodsmoke 24 hours a day.
Kiwiwnpd, I assure you that this blog is not a joke. I set up this blog out of frustration and to document the daily smoky air in this city that is making life a living hell. I do not know too many people who like smoky air. I do not know anyone who wants to breathe smoky air in their bedrooms at night when they are trying to sleep.

You are right about Maplewood being a smoky city. On the morning of July 4th I was going through the city of Maplewood and it was very smoky the entire way from Co. Rd. C and White Bear Ave. to Lake Phalen. At 6 AM the stench of burnt wood is all that could be smelled.

In another email to me Kiwiwnpd writes:
OK, I just emailed you. We are going through the same thing with Maplewood city govt..please email me...there is a bully mentality as you have discovered, but there are more who feel like you do (in Mpls, St Anthony and other cities) and are angry about it. It's good to connect us all.
Kiwiwnpd, is there a website where you are communicating with people in other cities? Do you know if there is any attempt to get recreational burning regulated at the state or county level? If so, please send me another email to let me know.

I got an email from Julie, this time a Minneapolis resident dealing with smoky air just like we are in North St. Paul. Julie writes:
I saw your blog on wood smoke and would like you to know that I also am concerned about the hazards of wood smoke pollution. But I think Minneapolis is even more polluted with wood smoke than N. St. Paul! It is disturbing that our public officials don't seem to want to do anything.
Julie, I don't know if it is possible for any community to be smokier than North St. Paul. Rare is it that we have a day when no one is burning.

What bothers me most about these burners is that the smoke from their fires leaves their property. They don't have to breathe their own smoke, but everyone downwind from them does!
As for the website link you gave me, Julie, it takes me to an advertising page. There's nothing on it other than links to advertisements. So I won't link to it here. Doing a search for your name brings me to a Star Tribune article you wrote back in late 2007. So I know you are legitimate.

As for what you say about public officials not wanting to do anything, you are right. My own contacts with the local elected leaders have resulted in a big fat nothing. Most people in my area do not burn, only a small minority do. On my block, including the row of houses directly behind me and the row of houses behind the homes across the street, there are about 50 homes. Of those 50 homes, there are only 5 that burn wood. Non-burners comprise 90% of the homes and have to breathe smoky air while the mayor and city council protect the ability of the minority to burn wood every day.

I have spoken to neighbors about this issue. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: they can't stand the smoky air. But when it comes to making our voices heard, they get timid. Some people are willing to suffer in silence instead of making their voices heard to effect change.

The only way I can think of to get those too timid to make some noise to join the effort to clean up the air is to find others who are less timid and hope the more timid ones are encouraged to join in. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

Thanks to those who have contacted me with encouragement and those who are suffering from the same smoky, polluted air in their communities. We need to attract more attention to this issue. I will be attempting to get some coverage from journalists before the local election in November. Maybe one of the candidates for city council will be willing to take on this issue since none of the incumbents have.

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out. Mention this blog to others. Also, if you know others who are suffering from smoky air, encourage them to set up blogs to document the polluted conditions in their own communities. Setting up a blog on Blogspot is free and only takes a few minutes. Complaining about something is one thing. Providing documentation of the conditions you endure helps others to get an idea of what you are going through.

Sunday 09/28/2008 Burning

8:00 PM: Faint smokiness from burning wood way off in the distance.

8:45 PM: Heavy stench of burning wood blowing on the wind.

9:00 PM: Smokiness has reduced. Now only faint smokiness again.

It is about 60 degrees this evening.

Saturday 09/27/2008 Burning

12:30 PM: Air is already getting smoky at this time.

1:00 PM: Air is getting smokier. Air smells like burning wood and leaves. People are probably burning their yard waste.

2:00 PM: Heavy smokiness. It reeks! Wind blowing intermittently East then West. Smoky air is coming from both directions, heaviest from the West.

3:00 PM: The stench of smoke has cleared.

4:30 PM: Guy down the street who used to burn every day, but has reduced his burning in the past two months, is burning something. Whatever it is, he is burning a lot of it. It is probably grass as he is a grass burner. The wind is not blowing this direction so I cannot smell it.

6:30 PM: Guy down the street is still burning.

7:00 PM: Light smokiness in the air.

8:00 PM: Still light smokiness in the air.

9:00 PM: Still light smokiness.

10:00 PM: Still light smokiness. Going to bed with the windows closed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday 09/26/2008 Burning

8:00 PM: Getting smoky at this time. Light smokiness from burning wood.

9:00 PM: Moderate smokiness from burning wood.

10:00 PM: Moderate smokiness from burning wood.

11:45 PM: Light to moderate smokiness from burning wood depending on wind direction. It is a breezy evening with the wind blowing North and East. The smoke odor is strongest when wind is blowing out of the South. Assumption is that someone to the South is burning wood.

Recreational fires are supposed to be extinguished by 11 PM. It does not seem to matter. It really doesn't because smoky air is smoky air whether it is at 7 PM or 12 AM. Smoky air at 7 PM is no less irritating than smoky air at midnight.

Other than the mayor and city council members, who in the city of North St. Paul enjoys smoky air?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thurdsay 09/25/2008 Burning

5:00 PM: Air smells smoky at this time. Wood smoke, not a charcoal grill. Air was smoky for about an hour or so. After this, only very light intermittent smokiness. After 8 PM, the air was clear.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday 09/24/2008 Burning

5:30 PM: Starting to smell light wood smoke on the wind.

8:00 PM: Very heavy stench of burning wood fills the air. You can't breathe it is so heavy! Horrible polluted air!

9:00 PM: Still heavy smoke. The smoke is so strong sticking your head out the back door to get a whiff stings your nose.

10:00 PM: Heavy, nauseating stench of wood smoke outside.

Thanks Jan Walczak.

Tuesday 09/23/2008 Burning

Storms this evening. Heavy wind and rain. Nobody burned. It was great.

Monday 09/22/2008 Burning

6:30 PM: There was a light odor of burning wood at this time. It lasted for about half-an-hour then disappeared. Rain was moving in this evening. The wind was blowing to the West, someone to the East was burning wood this evening.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello European Visitors!

I have been receiving visitors from Europe to this blog the past couple of weeks. So I want to take the time to say hello to you all!

We've been getting visitors from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, and a few other European nations. We even had a few visitors from Australia. That's in addition to the visitors from Canada and all across the United States.

I never imagined that I would get visitors from all over the world.

Thanks for visiting!

Comments Turned Off For Good

I have had enough of the harassing comments left by visitors to this blog so I have disabled commenting entirely. You could not imagine some of the stupid comments left by people. I can't even discuss some of them on a family blog. No more comments!

If you wish to read this blog, please do. I welcome the readership. Dozens of people read this blog on most days, many from the Twin Cities area.

If you want others to read this blog, please link to it. I would appreciate drawing as much attention to this issue as possible. I know that others feel the same way I do, not just in my city, but in cities all across the metro area.

If you want to discuss this blog on other discussion boards, that is your right.

If you want to harass me by leaving nasty comments and threats of violence, you can't do that anymore. You will have to find other venues for your entertainment.

Sunday 09/21/2008 Burning

You guessed it, another smoky evening in North St. Paul! This evening's smokiness was light compared to the prior three nights. The stench of burning wood wasn't so strong that it made you sick, but it was enough to the point you could smell it and wouldn't want it in your house.

Is there anyone who wants to lie in bed at night trying to sleep with smoky air coming in the windows? Anyone? How about you, Ms. Walczak? How about you, Mayor Kuehn? Do you like smoky air in your bedroom? Does smoky air help you sleep soundly? Do you wake refreshed with a bedroom reeking of burnt wood?

Catching Up With The North St. Paul Burning Log

Sorry I have neglected updates the past few weeks. Thanks to you readers for not abandoning my blog. Every single day I get visitors to this blog. It's nice to know that others are reading it.

Burning of wood in the city of North Saint Paul:

Saturday 08/30/2008
State Fair day. Got back before 11 PM. The air was smoky as hell. Could hardly breathe after driving into North St. Paul. Fortunately, the windows were all closed up and the AC was on. Otherwise, the house would have reeked of a burning log!

Month of September 2008:
We got some much needed rain this month. Rain puts a damper on the recreational burning of wood. Combined with some cooler than average temperatures, people haven't been burning as much. But they are still burning a lot of wood in this city.

08/31/2008 - 09/06/2008:
Temperatures were in the 80s the first few days of this week then the temps dropped to the upper 60s for highs. By mid-week, there was only one day where there was burning of wood. Wednesday, Sept. 3rd was a smoky evening. I was sitting outside enjoying a cloudy evening when I was forced back inside by the smoky air.

Friday 09/05/2008 was very smoky as well. Every breathe you took outside was filled with the horrid stench of burning wood. It's horrible. It's the only thing you can smell. It's like being in a log cabin that is burning down around you. All you smell is smoke smoke smoke smoke! Every breath you take is smoky air in North St. Paul!

I don't recall if it was smoky on the Saturday of this week. I believe it rained. I didn't make good notes on this day.

09/07/2008 - 09/13/2008
More cooler temperatures this week helped reduce the unnecessary air pollution from recreational burning. It is so nice to breathe fresh air, you can't imagine how happy I am when it isn't smoky outside!

Wednesday Sept. 10th was smoky. Yes, somebody decided to burn some wood. Who? I don't know. It wasn't anyone nearby. That smoke drifts on the wind and you can smell it at least a mile from its source, possibly even further.

Friday Sept. 12th was smoky as hell. Nobody around me was burning, it could have been someone a block or two over. Who knows. All I know is that the windows had to remain shut all damn night. We are talking nice, cool nights. The high this day was low 70s. No need to keep the house all closed up. In a normal town you should not have to keep your windows closed all the time. But in the city of N. St. Paul you don't have much choice.

Saturday Sept. 13th was another smoky as hell evening. Even the early rain couldn't put a damper on people's desire to torch some wood for recreational purposes. And the 95% of us who never burn wood have to breathe the damn smoky air because of the mayor and city council's refusal to address this issue!

Sunday 09/14/2008
I noticed no burning this day. I turn in earlier now that I must be up earlier. I am often in bed by 9 PM, windows closed, of course. So I am not tracking any burning after that time.

Monday 09/15/2008
No burning. Kind of cool this day.

Tuesday 09/16/2008
Yes, more burning of wood for recreational purposes this evening. The temperature is back up near 80 degrees. I guess people can't resist the urge to sit around a pile of burning wood.

Too bad, because there are hundreds, if not thousands of us who have to breathe that smoky air from one person's recreational fire. Hundreds or a thousand or more people have to endure smoky air because of one person, and the mayor and city council thinks it is good.

Wednesday 09/17/2008
More burning of wood this evening. It isn't sickeningly strong smoke like it is on the weekends, but it is strong enough to be offensive. It isn't anything anyone would want to smell in their home. That's probably why my neighbors have their windows closed.

Thursday 09/18/2008
More burning. That's three days in a row that people have been burning wood in the evening. Earlier in the month I had hoped that most of the recreational burning was done for the year. Having lived in this city for a few years, I should have known better.

North St. Paul is a burner's paradise, thanks to city council member Jan Walczak and Mayor Mike Kuehn. I'm surprised there are any trees left in this city with the high tendency to burn anything combustible in this screwed up town!

Satan would love North St. Paul. Fire and brimstone or smoky wood, which is worse? Maybe Satan does live in North St. Paul. Maybe he's the mayor or on the city council? That would explain why the city is such a smoky hell and miserable place to live!

Friday 09/19/2008
If you were to wager on whether or not the air was smoky this evening, on which side would you wager? Smoky, or not smoky? If you picked smoky, congratulations, you are a winner! Betting that any evening is going to be without smoke would be a sucker's bet. It's smoky a majority of the evenings in North St. Paul. And that is why living here is hell!

Another evening of wood smoke so strong it turns your stomach and burns your nose. Thanks very much, Jan Walczak. You blew me off when I turned to you for help. You have made life in this city a living hell.

Saturday 09/20/2008
Another day in Lucifer's garden. The burning started early today. By 11:30 AM someone was burning wood in the area of Helen and 15th. All day long it was smoky air, and it got even worse once the sun went down!

During the day, it didn't matter which direction the wind was blowing, the air was smoky. When the wind blew one direction, it was strong, when it briefly changed directions, it was weak, until it changed direction again.

There is no happiness in North St. Paul with air quality so poor. This is a terrible place to live.

I left the windows closed all night. By the time I went to bed around 11 PM the air was so smoky you couldn't breathe it. When I woke up around 5:30 AM Sunday morning you could still smell the smokiness in the air.

All day and all night the air was smoky! All damn day and all damn night!

Another smoky as hell evening in North St. Paul