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.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A desperate plea to the city leaders.

I just sent an email to the mayor and most city council members begging them to do something about the horrible polluted air in this city. As I write this, the air outside has been smoky for the past 7 hours. Nobody should have to live like this in the modern era.

I sent the email to Mayor Michael (Mike) Kuehn and council members Bob Bruton, Dave Zick, and Terry Furlong. I did not bother sending a copy to Jan Walczak. When I contacted her last year about the smoky air problem, all I got was a patronizing email in response reminding me of the hours the city allows recreational burning (7 hours a day, 7 days a week). Last fall, three frequent wood burners had Jan Walczak campaign signs in their yards. Two of them were right next door to each other on the northern corner of Chippewa and Navajo. There must have been a reason those wood burners supported Ms. Walczak. Walczak must support wood burning and air pollution.

I am providing to you readers the text of the email I sent. I debated sending it in a letter. An email should be sufficient. Should the mayor and city council turn their backs on clean air and defend air pollution, I will do whatever I can to ensure people know they opposed fresh air up to and including contacting reporters at the local papers. I do not see how any elected official could support smoky, polluted air to the detriment of all residents in this day in age. Who actually desires to breathe smoky air every day? Nobody.

The message follows.

Dear City Leaders:

I am writing to you on behalf of my family, my neighbors, and the thousands of other residents of this city who are forced to live with the daily nuisance and public health hazard caused by the recreational burning of wood.

In the past few years, wood smoke has become an almost daily event. An evening without wood smoke in North St. Paul is a rare occurrence in the summer months, and getting to be a rare thing during the spring and autumn as well. Ten years ago, this was not the case. Back then, wood burning was uncommon. You could leave your windows open for days at a time without worrying about the choking, nauseating stench of wood smoke. People did not have many bonfires back then. Fresh, breathable air was the norm—as it should be.

This has changed in the past few years. What used to be rare is now very common. Backyard fire pits are more prevalent now than ever. Not only has the burning of wood become more common, the burning of yard waste has become increasingly frequent as well. This almost daily barrage of smoke pollution is making living in this city unbearable. Living in North St. Paul has become a living hell. A very smoky living hell. If the weather is nice enough to have the windows open, you can be almost certain someone is going to be burning wood and smoking up the air.

I have been documenting the wood smoke pollution where I live since June of 2008. As you can see, it is rare for us to enjoy a day without wood smoke, particularly in the summer unless it is very hot. Please take the time to read my blog if you have not already. I update it regularly with the polluted conditions under which we suffer.

If we get one day a week without wood smoke in some months, we are lucky. Often, the wood smoke is so heavy it burns your sinuses, gives you headaches, a sore throat, makes your eyes water, and makes you feel nauseous. Sometimes, the wood smoke is strong enough to taste. I’ve also seen wood smoke so thick it blankets the ground like a cloud. Not just my yard, but the entire block.

Which is more important do you think: the right of all residents, young and old, to breathe fresh, unpolluted air, or the right of a small percentage of the population to burn wood for recreational fun? I and most people would say that fresh air is more important than recreational wood burning.

You cannot enjoy most evenings outside in this city without inhaling wood smoke pollution. You cannot leave your windows open to enjoy the breeze and cool down your home. Leaving your windows open most evenings means that you will be sitting in wood smoke. Your entire home will stink like burning wood. Long after the fires have been extinguished, your home will still smell like wood smoke because it gets into your furnishings, carpeting, bedding, draperies, and even your clothes. You cannot escape wood smoke outside, and you cannot escape it in your own home. You can’t even escape it taking your dog for a walk. It is everywhere, almost every day. We are prisoners in our own homes. This is not a good way to live.

The only options we have are to close the windows and sit in a hot, stuffy house instead of enjoying the nice weather as we should be able to do or run the air conditioner. I often think about how much electricity is wasted on cool summer evenings by residents of this city who are forced to run their air conditioners instead of opening their windows because the air is too smoky to breathe. We have to close our windows almost every evening in the summer and leave them closed all night long. My neighbors do, too. Not only must we bear the expense of running our air conditioners when we should not have to, but this added electricity usage creates even more pollution.

In addition to being a nuisance, wood smoke has been determined to be a public health hazard by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Wood smoke adds fine particles to the air that can travel deep into the lungs. Wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and heart problems. Inhaling wood smoke can trigger headaches, irritate the eyes, lungs, throat and sinuses, reduce lung function, and increase the severity of existing respiratory diseases.

I have experienced burning sinuses, nausea, and headaches from wood smoke in this city several times. If I experience those things, I am certain others do, too.

Are the negative health effects worth allowing the unnecessary recreational burning of wood by a small percentage of the population?

I want you to think about the babies, small children, the elderly, and those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory diseases who are forced to breathe smoky air because of the city’s ordinance allowing the unnecessary recreational burning of wood.

Would you want your baby breathing smoky air in her crib? Would you want your child with asthma to have to play inside on a summer evening because the wood smoke outside makes it difficult for him to breathe? Do you want senior citizens to spend the final days of their lives in this city breathing smoky, polluted air?

Are you going to turn your backs on the weak and powerless? How can you in good conscience allow this wood smoke pollution to continue knowing that it is a nuisance to thousands and is bad for the health of your citizens? Don’t you care?

Does anyone really need to burn wood recreationally? The answer is no. But everyone must breathe the air. Fresh air is paramount. The recreational burning of wood is completely unnecessary.

This city is not a campground. It is a densely populated suburb with small lots and homes that are close together. Wood smoke does not stay confined to the yard of the burner. It travels with the wind and can permeate an entire neighborhood. I have been able to track the source of wood smoke one-half mile from where I originally smelled it. One recreational fire can smoke up an entire neighborhood. How many hundreds, if not thousands, of people are inconvenienced by the smoke from one recreational fire? What about the health effects of that smoke pollution? Why would the city protect the right of that one burner and turn its back on the hundreds of people who need and deserve fresh air?

If you think I am the only person in this city troubled by wood smoke pollution, you are mistaken. Most people never burn recreationally. Only a small percentage of residents have recreational fires. But everyone has to breathe the air. I have spoken to others around me about this issue. They are just as frustrated as I am, and they feel equally powerless to do anything about it. Only you city leaders have the power to make the changes necessary to end this problem once and for all and make living in this city enjoyable again.

The real question is: which side are you on? The side of my family, my neighbors, and the thousands of other residents of this city who deserve to breathe fresh air, or the side of a small percentage of polluters who cannot find anything better to do than to burn wood for fun?

I am asking you to do what is right for all residents of this city and change the city ordinance to prohibit the recreational burning of wood. Only you can eliminate the unnecessary pollution and health hazard created by wood smoke. Only you can restore the quality of life in this city to what it used to be. Please do the right thing and restore fresh air for all residents of this city. I beg of you to end our suffering in this polluted air.

Recreational burners will find other things to do than create pollution. They don’t need to burn wood, but we must all breathe the air.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Saturday 05/30/2009 Burning

1:30 AM: Faint odor of burnt wood lingers in the air. We had rain sprinkles earlier. The options we have are to open the windows and cool the house down before bed or sleep in a warm, stuffy house until morning. I guess we'll have to live with the faint burnt wood smell.

You cannot possibly imagine how much I would love to live in a city with fresh air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is what North St. Paul used to be like 10 years ago. It hasn't been that way in years.

4:30 PM: Air is smoky again. I truly hate the city of North St. Paul. Living here is pure hell. A decade ago living here was nice. Not anymore. The wood smoke is sickeningly sweet. I wonder if someone is cooking over wood. Most people grill using propane or charcoal. This is wood smoke. Wood smoke is wood smoke, it stinks all the same.

6:30 PM: Moderately strong wood smoke.

7:30 PM: Faint wood smoke. Could the wood burning be done for the evening?

9:00 PM: Strong wood smoke. The smoke is so strong it burns your nose. The air outside reeks of burning wood. You cannot take a breath without inhaling that stench!

10:00 PM: Strong wood smoke continues. Horrible smoky air! Can't open the windows, can't sit outside, can't do a damn thing but sit in a stuffy house and wish to God you didn't have to live like this!

10:30 PM: Air is still strongly smoky. That's 6 hours of smoky air this evening.

It was a good idea to mention North St. Paul Crazy Days in my post yesterday. I got 12 visitors today as a result. Those people were searching for information on Crazy Days and they found this blog.

Crazy Days has been renamed "Slice of Summer" and takes place on May 29th and 30th in downtown North St. Paul. The North St. Paul classic car show is called the "History Cruze". It starts on Friday, June 5th and takes place every Friday night until Sept. 18th.

I got an email from someone in Illinois who is battling the same thing in his hometown that we are here. Keep up the fight. Fresh air is worth fighting for. Hopefully your city leaders will be more helpful than mine are. I don't see how any local politician could support smoky, polluted air in his or her own community when only a small percentage of people burn. Oddly enough, some do. How can anyone support polluted, smoky air in our age of environmental awareness?

11:30 PM: Stench of burnt wood lingers in the air. The air is foul and polluted. It seems like the burning is done with the odor being from the remnants of burnt wood.

That's 7 hours of foul air this evening. It is currently 60 degrees outside, nice and cool. It is 74 degrees inside. I would love nothing more than to open the windows and enjoy the cool air. Doing so would bring in the stink of burnt wood. I don't want the whole house to smell like that.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday 05/29/2009 Burning

Another horrible, smoky evening in North Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Before I begin documenting the smoky air this evening, I would like to mention that more people are starting to find this web site by searching for terms related to North St. Paul. To help more people find this blog and to further spread the word about the horrible smoky air in this formerly nice city, I think I'll drop in a few terms to help more people find us.

I will mention Crazy Days, the annual event to bring people into downtown North St. Paul. Crazy Days can be interesting. Don't forget about the ice cream social and water ski show at Silver Lake coming up. The Classic Car Show takes place every Friday evening in downtown North St. Paul. It is a short drive from Oakdale, Maplewood, White Bear Lake, or Mahtomedi. It isn't far from Roseville, Shoreview, Woodbury, Eagan, Burnsville, Lakeville, or any other cities I can think of. You can find cars mainly from the 1950s and 1960s at the antique car show.

Now that's done, let's document the horrible smoky air in this city.

1:00 AM: Faint wood smoke from the prior evening continues.

5:15 PM: Light wood smoke at this time.

5:30 PM: Some jackass is burning grass. I have an idea who it might be.

6:00 PM: Light wood smoke.

6:30 PM: Light wood smoke.

7:15 PM: Light wood smoke. A neighbor has a recreational fire going. I can see the smoke in their yard coming up over their roof. It will be a smoky evening where I am. Pure misery. It is 74 degrees, cloudy, and I would love to have the windows open, but I can't. The air is too damn smoky!

8:00 PM: Faint wood smoke. We are lucky. The neighbor's bonfire smoke isn't coming directly at us. If it were, the would smoke would be very heavy I am sure. Rain clouds are moving in. Let's hope for a good soaking to put out that bonfire and any others around the city.

Do not move to the city of North St. Paul, MN. Do not buy a home in this city. If you see any listings of homes for sale, do not bother viewing them. Buying a house in this city means smoky air almost every day of your life. If you love smoky air, you will love this city. Otherwise, living in North St. Paul will be a living hell.

Take the word of someone who knows. If the city government ever solves the air pollution problem, I will happily retract my words. Until then, don't even consider purchasing real estate here. MLS lists 63 properties for sale in the city currently. I feel sorry for those people who end up buying those homes. Don't do it unless you love smoky, polluted air.

9:00 PM: WOW! Strong wood smoke. Very heavy, sickening. Turns your stomach and irritates your sinuses after only a few seconds. Stepping outside will leave your clothes reeking of smoke. So don't do it. Stay trapped inside your home. Keep your windows sealed up tight! It is another smoky hell of a night in North St. Paul!

10:30 PM: Moderately strong wood smoke at this time. It's good and smoky, but not as strong as before.

11:15 PM: Air is clearing. Light wood smoke at this time. Maybe we can open the windows in a couple of hours.

Midnight: Wood smoke almost gone.

After 1 AM I was able to open the windows again to cool down the house. The air was not fresh. It had a faint trace of burnt wood odor. A few rain sprinkles are coming down at the same time, probably making the wood remnants extra pungent.

Only 7 hours of wood smoke this evening. Sadly, this is good for a Friday where 10 hours of nonstop wood smoke is normal.

This is life in North St. Paul.

Thursday 05/28/2009 Burning

7:30 PM: Getting smoky. Light wood smoke at this time.

8:15 PM: Faint wood smoke.

9:15 PM: Strange odor in the air. Not wood smoke. Kind of smells like toasted bread, but not exactly. The smell is everywhere, in the front yard and back.

10:15 PM: Light wood smoke in the air. 75 degrees at this time. Nice night to open the windows, BUT THE DAMN AIR IS TOO SMOKY AGAIN IN NORTH ST. PAUL!

11:30 PM: Light wood smoke continues.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday 05/27/2009 Burning

4:30 PM: Light wood smoke in the air. More air pollution in North Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is cloudy with a temperature of around 53 degrees. Someone probably has a fireplace going. Isn't it nice of that person or persons to pollute the air hundreds have to breathe because they can't turn on the furnace for a short period of time or do some cooking to heat up the house? Want to heat up your house? Cook some food. Bake a frozen pizza. That's how we do it. There is no need to have a fireplace going when summer is only a few days away.

6:30 PM: Faint wood smoke.

8:30 PM: Faint wood smoke continues.

Tuesday 05/26/2009 Burning

No wood smoke to speak of. Only wonderful fresh air! It rained earlier in the day. It was cool and cloudy with a temperature in the upper 50s. Not prime weather for recreational bonfires.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday 05/25/2009 Burning

1:00 AM: Faint wood smoke lingers in the air. Warm and stuffy inside the house. I would love to open the windows and let some cool air in, but I don't want to breathe any type of wood smoke when I am inside the house, especially when I am in bed. The wood smoke is faint, but it is still enough to irritate my nose.

3:30 AM: Air is fresh and clear. Open the windows and let the cool, fresh air in! There is nothing in the air to irritate my nose now.

6:55 PM: Light wood smoke for 10 - 15 minutes.

7:30 PM: Faint intermittent wood smoke carried on the breeze out of the east. Wood smoke is very light and varies on wind speed and direction. But you can smell the unmistakable odor of burning wood.

8:00 PM: Faint intermittent wood smoke continues.

8:30 PM: No wood smoke beyond this point for the duration of the evening.

Overall, an uncharacteristically low wood smoke day in North St. Paul, MN. Especially with the pleasant temperature in the low 70s and sun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday 05/24/2009 Burning

1:00 AM: Air is still smoky. The burner probably did not fully extinguish the fire.

2:00 AM: The air reeks of smoldering logs or the remnants of burnt wood. The air stinks so bad! You can't step outside for a breath of fresh air. You can't open the windows. You can't enjoy life in this damn town!

It is 2 AM as I write this. I would love nothing more than to step outside and look at the sky and enjoy a breath of fresh air. But if I do, I will end up stinking like burnt wood and have to take another shower. Since 5:30 PM, the air has been polluted continuously by burning wood. That's 9 hours of continuous foul air. It would be nice to be able to open the windows and cool down the house. It is 75 degrees inside, a cool 55 degrees outside. But we can't, or else the house will reek of burnt wood.

This wood smoke pollution has to end. Enough is enough!

11:00 AM: No wood smoke at this time. But I can smell the remnants of burnt wood on the breeze coming out of the west. Ick!

4:00 PM: Someone is burning grass. The exhaust fan is on to remove heat from cooking and it's sucking in the smoky air. I'm not sure who is burning, but it is probably the guy who always burns grass and has been doing so for years.

The grass smoke did not last long, not more than 5 minutes.

6:15 PM: Something is in the air. I'm not sure what, but it is irritating my nose. It could be very light wood smoke. Nothing irritates my nose more than wood smoke. It is like pepper spray.

7:00 PM: Light wood smoke at this time. Unlike 45 minutes ago, you can smell it and know for certain that it is wood smoke.

7:30 PM: Faint wood smoke.

8:30 PM: Light wood smoke.

9:30 PM: Light wood smoke.

I went to bed and woke up around 1 AM. I checked the air. It was faintly smoky. Can't open the windows yet. It would be nice, because it is warm and stuffy in here. But even faint wood smoke is irritating to me. I do not want to smell wood smoke no matter how weak or strong it is when I am in bed, OK?

I woke up a second time around 3:30 AM. The air was fresh and clear at this time. Finally, I can open the windows and cool down the house!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday 05/23/2009 Burning

3:15 PM: Somebody is burning grass. I noticed the odor of burning grass as I passed by a window. The smell is light, carried on the breeze. I don't think the burning of grass has been legal for a long time. It doesn't matter. As far as I can tell, there are no fines or penalties for burning yard waste. So, what does a burner have to risk by flaunting the law and burning yard waste? Nothing.

Tonight should be smoky. A nice Saturday evening on a holiday weekend is perfect for recreational fires and the pollution it creates. Who wants to breathe fresh air when one can enjoy the stench of burning wood?

Fresh, clean air is overrated, isn't it?

3:45 PM: No more burning grass or any other smoke.

5:30 PM: Light wood smoke at this time.

6:30 PM: Light wood smoke continues.

8:00 PM: Very strong wood smoke. Someone on the next block has a fire going. I can see the cloud of smoke wafting over the trees a few houses down from me. I can sure smell it. Horrible stench of burning wood! That smoke is blowing right at homes! Homes where people need to breathe the air!

Imagine what those houses would smell like inside if the residents left their windows open as a cloud of smoke rolled right at them. Everything would stink like burning wood! All the furniture, carpeting, and draperies would reek of wood smoke. And that smell would be there all night because they couldn't open the windows to air out the house because the air outside is polluted!

9:00 PM: Moderate to strong wood smoke.

10:00 PM: Extremely heavy wood smoke! HORRIBLE! This air is unfit for human beings! Who the hell could possibly argue that air this smoky is a good thing? Who the hell would want to breathe it? You can't open your windows in this damn city! It is 65 degrees right now and this is perfect weather to open the windows. But you can't! You are a prisoner in your own home in this city thanks to the city government which continues to allow this unnecessary and dangerous wood smoke pollution! Not only does the city allow it, it encourages it on the city website!

To give you an idea of how smoky it is, I spent a very short time outside and my clothes reek of wood smoke. It's almost like I spent several hours in a smoky bar. But I didn't. Only a minute or so. Everything outside reeks of smoke and so do my clothes! The wood smoke is sickeningly strong. I didn't stay outside long, but the wood smoke is probably strong enough to make me nauseous and make my sinuses burn.

Do you like burning sinuses and a turning stomach because of wood smoke? I DON'T!

A shower and a fresh change of clothes is in store right after I finish writing this.

I bet that horrible wood smoke will last all night long. I would not be surprised if the air reeks of burnt logs well into the morning hours like it has many times in the past year. As of this writing, we've had nonstop wood smoke for the past 4.5 hours! It probably won't let up any time soon knowing this city like I do.

Another miserable hell of an evening in North St. Paul, MN!

This city is not a campground. This is not a rural area. This is a dense suburban city with small lots and homes that are close together. Recreational burning of wood should not be allowed! Hundreds of people around me are negatively impacted by this powerful wood smoke. That smoke can travel a great distance, meaning a thousand people or more may be forced to breathe smoky air. And the city leaders don't give a damn!

11:00 PM: Heavy wood smoke continues.

12:00 AM: Still very smoky outside.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday 05/22/2009 Burning

8:30 PM: The air is getting smoky and polluted at this time. Light to moderate wood smoke. There is very little breeze to push the smoke away. It is going to be a horrible, smoky night. 71 degrees outside and a holiday weekend. Close up the windows and hope the air is clear by morning.

I told you the fresh air in North St. Paul would not last. I've been to campgrounds that were less smoky than this city. The air quality in this city is unbearable most evenings.

A few hours ago, a visitor found this blog using the search terms "wood for sale north st paul mn". No, don't buy any wood. We do not need more smoke pollution in this city! North Saint Paul is smoky enough without you adding to it!

9:30 PM: From this time through 10:30 PM there was only a faint trace of wood smoke in the air. You could smell burning wood, but you could also smell the lilacs. It isn't fresh air, but at least it doesn't burn your sinuses and give you a headache.

Overall this was not a very smoky evening considering it was a Friday of a holiday weekend. Still, we did experience wood smoke, something which no modern human should suffer.

Wednesday 05/21/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening. Amazing. That doesn't mean that people weren't burning wood in the city, just that I didn't smell any wood smoke where I live. I was surprised given the mild temperature of 70 degrees at 7 PM. It was a gorgeous evening unspoiled by the unnecessary pollution created by the recreational burning of wood.

Since this is a holiday weekend, I anticipate that the fresh air will not last long. As I mentioned the other day, I noticed three fire pits stocked with wood and branches ready to be torched. Unless those people are leaving town for the weekend, they will probably be burning.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday 05/20/2009 Burning

A second wonderful evening without wood smoke! The temperature again was a record for the Twin Cities. The official temperature was 93 degrees at 5:00 PM, according to the news. I measured the temperature at 88 degrees at 8 PM here in North St. Paul. The winds were very strong. It was too hot and windy for many to have recreational bonfires.

Nobody burning

At 8 PM, I went cruising around the northern half of the city. I didn't go down every road. I was mainly looking for pockets of smoky air. I found none. Nobody was burning wood. The air was fresh and loaded with floral essences everywhere I went.

Burning will return

Do not worry, wood smoke pollution will soon return to this city when the temperature drops back to normal. On my short journey through the city this evening, I saw three fire pits loaded with wood and branches just waiting to be ignited. The recreational burners are locked and loaded and ready to pollute the air with wood smoke as soon as possible. And what a great way to dispose of yard waste like tree branches. The branches go from their yard, up into smoke, and right into the lungs of every resident downwind.

Tuesday 05/19/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening, only wonderful fresh air! The reason being that it was too hot to have a recreational fire. The official high temperature at the airport was 97 degrees for the Twin Cities. It was cooler in the eastern metro. I measured the temperature at 88 degrees at 6 PM here in North Saint Paul. It was also windy.

The sweet spot for recreational burning is between 70 and 85 degrees. Within that temperature range, the likelihood of being forced to breathe smoky, polluted air on any given evening absent rain is near 100% in this city. Outside that temperature range, the likelihood of people having recreational bonfires diminishes. As I have said before, when the temperature is nice enough to leave the windows open, many people burn wood leaving the air too smoky to breathe comfortably. When it is too hot or cold to leave the windows open, few burn. Also, recreational burning increases in the summer months. We are still in spring.

Other than the record heat, it was a beautiful evening. As the sun started to sink and the temperature dropped, I sat out on the deck to enjoy the weather. Without wood smoke, being outside was pleasurable and relaxing. The gusty winds changed direction frequently, blowing three different directions. No matter which way the wind blew, it delivered the wonderful aroma of lilacs and tree blossoms.

I pondered how much better life would be in North St. Paul if every evening was without the horrid stench of burning wood--as they should be. A ban on recreational burning and the completely unnecessary pollution it creates would enable one to more fully enjoy life and the little pleasures it brings such as the aroma of spring flowers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday 05/18/2009 Burning

7:00 PM: Gorgeous evening. Sunny, nice breeze, 80 degrees. And wouldn't you know, someone is burning wood. Not grill smoke, not cooking of food, burning wood. Wood smoke is wafting in on the breeze right up to my nose and into my lungs!

Prior to this time I was out on the deck enjoying the beautiful evening. The smell of lilacs and blossoms filled the air. So delightful! Until some inconsiderate ass started burning wood! What would you rather smell? Lilacs, or wood smoke? In this city, you will always smell wood smoke!!!!!! You have no choice in North St. Paul. The wonderful aroma of lilacs was obliterated by wood smoke! The blossoms will be gone in two or three weeks. The window of opportunity to enjoy them is small. But we get to breathe wood smoke almost every day the weather is nice!

By now I've made it clear how much I hate breathing wood smoke. So I came inside. My evening ruined yet again by wood smoke! The wood smoke was light, carried on the breeze. But I know this city. I know it is only going to get stronger as the evening wears on. Given how gorgeous this evening is, the wood smoke will probably be very heavy.

Every damn day somebody is burning wood when the weather is nice. Every f- day! You cannot enjoy a single day in this damn town without breathing wood smoke! Read my entries from 2008 on this blog and you will see that almost every day we had to endure the hell of wood smoke pollution last year. This year isn't much different.

The city government put in the generous recreational burning ordinance that allows 7 hours of burning per day, 7 days per week, each and every day of the year. Believe me, people use much of that allowed time, and burn frequently outside the allowed time, if they don't just let their fires smolder all night long, which occurs often.

I've been paying attention to city hall for almost a year now. In that time an internet system was proposed that would have put the city deep in debt. A small wind turbine is being built that will only power 110 homes at peak capacity, a level that will seldom be reached (good idea, but too costly to justify the power output). The city council is devoting time and energy to grand projects that the city does not need but they have done nothing about the wood smoke pollution we are forced to breathe on a daily basis.

I think the city leaders should reconsider their priorities and focus more on the issues that make the city uninhabitable. Issues like wood smoke pollution, for example. I have spoken to elderly citizens of this city, some of whom have lived here for 40 or 50 years. Many of them plan on dying here. Do you, dear city leaders, think those elderly residents want to breathe wood smoke each and every day for the duration of their lives? Or would they rather smell the lilacs?

8:00 PM: No wood smoke at this time. Wind is coming from a different direction. Was coming from the south before. Still early.

Note: I noticed several visitors finding this blog searching Google using the phrase "city of North St. Paul". So I searched Google using those words and see that at this time this blog is in the third position of the search results. Only the official city website is positioned higher in both the first and second positions. This means that more people will be finding this blog. More attention will be drawn to this issue.

8:30 PM: Wood smoke is back. Light to moderate wood smoke at this time. You can really smell the wood smoke outside. It isn't so strong as to burn your sinuses. But hey, who wants to breathe smoky air even if it is only mildly smoky? Not me. Not most people.

9:30 PM: Wood smoke is gone at this time. This was the last check of the air quality this evening.

Overall, this evening was not nearly as smoky as I thought it would be. It was not without wood smoke, as every evening should be. The wood smoke wasn't strong because nobody near me was burning. As I have written numerous times, wood smoke can travel a great distance. It does not need to be a nearby neighbor with a bonfire to smoke up your neighborhood. The burner can be half a mile a way or more and your neighborhood will be filled with smoke if the wind pattern is right.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday 05/17/2009 Burning

5:45 PM: Intermittent light wood smoke coming up from the south when the wind changes direction. Does not smell like cooking of food. It is wood smoke, not charcoal, not smoke from animal fat. Wood smoke.

7:00 PM: Faint wood smoke in the air at this time.

It is a gorgeous evening. 66 degrees and sunny. You know someone is going to have to ruin it by burning wood.

8:00 PM: Good and SMOKY now! Moderately strong wood smoke. You can really smell it. Like polluted air? Then you will love this city!

9:30 PM: Wood smoke is gone. Last check for the evening.

Saturday 05/16/2009 Burning

We couldn't possibly make it through the weekend without wood smoke, could we? No.

7:00 PM: Intermittent light wood smoke on the breeze. Wind is gusty. Smoke is coming from a distance. Nobody nearby is burning. Sunny and 48 degrees at this time. Unseasonably cool.

7:30 PM: Consistent light wood smoke.

9:00 PM: Light wood smoke still in the air.

10:00 PM: Light wood smoke continues. This was the last check of the air quality this evening.

The air wasn't too smoky tonight. You wouldn't want light wood smoke in your home any more than you would want heavy wood smoke. Left the windows closed all evening. In a normal city with city leaders who actually care about the quality of life, I would have left a window open a crack all night long for fresh air. But not in North St. Paul. No fresh air available in this town.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday 05/15/2009 Burning

8 PM: No wood smoke up until this point. It is cool, 60 degrees. It rained around 7 PM. The ground is wet. I would not wager on much wood smoke this evening, but it is still early. You know how it goes in North St. Paul. If it isn't smoky, it is highly unusual.

There was no wood smoke this evening. It was very windy after 9 PM. Strong winds and cool temperatures kept the pyromaniacs at bay.

Thursday 05/14/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening. The temperature was unseasonably cool, around 62 degrees at 7 PM. Nice and sunny, it was a pleasant evening. If it were warmer, you can bet that it would have been very smoky outside.

The smell of the lilacs on the breeze was delightful. So nice to be able to smell the blossoms instead of wood smoke!

What would you rather smell? Lilacs and tree blossoms or wood smoke?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday 05/13/2009 Burning

9:00 PM: No wood smoke up until this point. It was very windy earlier, probably too windy for a recreational fire. The ground is still damp from the rain this afternoon. It looked like it might rain again this evening, but it did not. It was around 70 degrees this evening.

Hopefully, this will be another smoke-free evening. I've got my fingers crossed.

There was no wood smoke this evening. Thankfully.

Tuesday 05/12/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke where I live this evening. It was windy, cloudy, and threatening to rain all evening. It rained for a short time around 8 PM. These are not conditions suitable for creating unnecessary pollution by burning wood recreationally.

What did we get instead of wood smoke? Fresh air! Trees and bushes are in full bloom. The air smells wonderful this time of year when it isn't ruined by wood smoke.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday 05/11/2009 Burning

No wood smoke to speak of this evening (surprising). Spent some time outside. It was really nice to be able to go outside and NOT have to breathe smoky air. Your clothes don't stink of wood smoke, either.

Fresh air should be the norm, not the exception. But it isn't in this city.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday 05/10/2009 Burning

1:00 AM: Light wood smoke lingers in the air. The breeze picked up allowing me to determine the smoke is coming from the west.

8:00 PM: Faint wood smoke. You can smell burning wood, but the odor is weak. Must be a distant burner. No wood smoke prior to this.

9:00 PM: Very light wood smoke.

10:30 PM: Very light wood smoke.

Overall, a light day for wood smoke in North St. Paul.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday 05/09/2009 Burning

8:00 PM: You guessed it. Somebody is burning wood. It is cloudy and cool, 54 degrees. The air is intermittently moderately smoky. Is it a bonfire or a fireplace? It doesn't matter. The outcome is the same: horrible smoky air.

There is a reason I call North St. Paul the smokiest city in the world. It is a moniker this city has earned and deserves.

9:00 PM: Moderate wood smoke. Burning wood is all you can smell outside. Went for a walk around the block. It was uniformly smoky all around. I could not pinpoint the source. It must be coming from another block somewhere. There isn't much of a breeze to help locate it.

10:00 PM: Wow! Extremely heavy wood smoke! Opening the door, it hits you in the nose like a sledge hammer. The smoke is sickeningly strong. THIS IS INHUMANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:30 PM: Light wood smoke in the air. A few small drops of rain are falling at this time. It isn't raining, not really drizzling, just a few drops.

Why do you make us live like this, dear mayor city council? Why should we endure this pollution day after day, week after week, month after month for doing nothing more than living our lives in this city? Why do you refuse to do anything about this and make us suffer through this smoky hell? Don't you care about the health and quality of life of your residents?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday 05/08/2009 Burning

9:00 PM: It drizzled earlier, there is a little drizzle here and there, and would you believe that it is smoky outside? What is wrong with the people in this city? I felt quite certain there would be no burning tonight given how damp everything is. The air is moderately smoky at this time. Wood smoke is all you can smell outside. It is 52 degrees. Would someone have a fireplace going in May? I would love to leave the window open a crack for some fresh air, but I can't because it is so damn smoky!

I am beginning to hate this city. If anyone out there reading this is considering moving to North St. Paul, DON'T! You will regret it. If the powers that be ever get around to eliminating all the wood burning, then I would recommend moving here. It is an otherwise great town. But if you want to live in North St. Paul, you've got to love the smell of burning wood. Because you are going to smell it every day with very few exceptions.

11:00 PM: No more wood smoke. I know what a grill smells like, and the smoke from earlier was not grill smoke. It was wood. I did smell grill smoke twice earlier, but I don't mind it.

I don't object to grill smoke because the duration of grilling is not that long. I have never experienced smoky air from grilling for periods of six hours or longer the way I have with wood smoke. I do not know anyone who grills every day, either. Grill smoke isn't as much of a nuisance. It doesn't burn my sinuses, make me nauseous, nor does it smoke up an entire neighborhood the way recreational or fireplace burning does. I have a neighbor who likes to grill every weekend. All I have to do is close the windows for 30 minutes or so until he is done.

I don't object to cigarette smoke, either. There is a neighbor down the street who smokes. In the mornings I can sometimes smell the smoke from the cigarette wafting down along the row of houses. The duration is short, only three to five minutes, so it isn't much to complain about. The combustible mass of a cigarette is nothing compared to that of a log. Burning wood creates much more smoke than a tiny little cigarette.

It perplexes me that cigarette smoking is banned indoors in the entire state but the recreational burning of wood is not. I would rather not be inundated with cigarette smoke. If I had a visitor who lit up a cigarette inside the house, he would promptly be ejected. You can avoid cigarette smoke by not going to places where there is smoking. But you cannot avoid wood smoke in this town. It blankets your entire neighborhood. You can't even avoid it in your own home unless you seal up everything air tight.

Something has to be done about the frequent burning of wood. If not during the winter, then certainly from April through October when windows can be opened.

Thursday 05/07/2009 Burning

Yet another evening without wood smoke! Wonderful! This was the fourth evening in a row without the stench of burning wood polluting the air. It should always be this way. This is how life was 10 years ago--no wood smoke. I think I am beginning to get spoiled by this run of fresh air in North St. Paul. Alas, it will not continue for long. Last year was pure misery because of wood smoke. The air was smoky almost every evening from June through August and into September. It was a living hell! This past April was pretty heavy with wood smoke considering how early in the spring it was. Peak recreational burning season doesn't start until summer. So don't let this short run of fresh air in the spring deceive you into thinking the air won't be smoky again this year. It will be.

I left a window open last night. It was a risk, I know. I wrote last year about the time I left the window open at night only to have the bedroom fill with the stench of burning wood at 2:30 AM. I love nothing more than a little cool, fresh air in the morning. Cool air helps us sleep better, too. Sadly, we are frequently prisoners in our own home in this city because of so much recreational burning of wood.

Trees and bushes are starting to flower. In a couple of weeks they will be in full bloom. One of the greatest joys of springtime is the air mildy perfumed by blossoms in the morning. It smells wonderful. We haven't been able to enjoy that in recent years because we've had to leave the windows closed at night because of all the burning. And in the evening you usually can't smell anything except wood smoke.

It is supposed to rain Friday evening. I sure hope it does. Going five days without wood smoke when the weather is nice enough to leave the windows open would be a record not achieved in years.

Sincerely praying for rain Friday evening,

North Saint Paul Resident

Wednesday 05/06/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening, thankfully. This was the third evening in a row without the nuisance and health hazard of wood smoke. I love fresh air! It rained briefly around 7 PM. That is probably why I didn't smell any wood smoke where I live. It was a really nice evening temperature-wise. It was so nice to be able to have the windows open!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday 05/05/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening. This was the second evening in a row without the horrid stench of wood smoke. There was a brief rain sprinkle after 7 PM. That may have put a damper on plans to burn wood and pollute the air for recreation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday 05/04/2009 Burning

There was no wood smoke this evening. I am amazed. From 6 PM to the last check at 10 PM I detected no wood smoke in the air. Spent two hours of this glorious evening out on the deck. What a great way to relax, outside on a beautiful spring day. Sunny and 73 degrees. What more can you ask for? The prior two days were a smoky hell. This smoke-free evening was a gift from heaven. A very rare gift.

Ten years ago, every day was like this in North St. Paul. Wood smoke was rare. This is the way every day should be. Nobody should have to breathe smoky air on a daily basis. It is inhumane. It is a health hazard.

My air quality forecast for this day was incorrect. It is still early in the burning season. Last year, we probably only got one or two days a month without the stench of wood smoke filling the air.

Hopefully, it will rain this evening. It would be great two have two smoke-free days following two smoky days. It would be even better if everyday were smoke-free.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Health Hazards Of Wood Smoke Pollution

Here is a page from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website about wood smoke. Have a look.
Wood smoke contains toxics and harmful microscopic particles.
Health effects of wood smoke.
Burning wood adds harmful fine particles and toxics to the air. “The fine particles (or particulate matter (PM)) in wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks in a manner similar to diesel exhaust or secondhand cigarette smoke,” said Laura Oatman, environmental research scientist from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Wood smoke contains harmful chemical substances such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dioxin, and inhalable particulate matter (PM). Some of the VOCs are irritating, toxic, and/or cancer causing. One of the biggest human health threats from smoke, indoors or outdoors, comes from PM. Wood smoke PM is composed of wood tars, gases, soot, and ashes. Toxic air pollutants are a potentially important component of wood smoke. A group of air toxics known as polycyclic organic matter includes potential carcinogens such as benzo(a)pyrene.”

Some of the smallest fine particles can go deep into the lungs and can even pass through the lungs into the bloodstream. They can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma attacks and even heart problems. Fine particles are considered especially dangerous for young children with developing lungs, and people of all ages who have asthma, bronchitis, other respiratory problems, and or cardiovascular disease.

Breathing air containing wood smoke can:

  • Irritate eyes, lungs, throat and sinuses
  • Reduce lung function, especially in young children
  • Increase severity of existing lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Increase risks of heart attacks
  • Trigger headaches and allergies

Long term exposure to wood smoke may lead to:

  • Chronic obstructive lung disease
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Increased risks of cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
Smoke from backyard recreational fires can trigger the same health problems and may penetrate indoors to neighboring homes through intake vents or windows.
City council member Jan Walczak refused to help us last year when I complained about the constant wood smoke in this city. Three of the city's most frequent recreational burners had Walczak campaign signs in their yards last year prior to the election. Perhaps council member Walczak wants us to suffer from the long term effects of wood smoke.

I will be contacting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to see if there is anything that can be done about this issue since the North St. Paul Mayor and city council haven't done a thing. The MPCA says on their website that they have limited power. Maybe I can get someone out to measure the contaminants in the air.

North St. Paul Air Quality Forecast For May 4, 2009

North St. Paul, MN, air quality forecast for today: EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

The temperature will be in the low 70s this evening with no rain in the forecast. What does that mean? Burning wood! It doesn't matter which night of the week it is, there are always people burning wood in this city. When the temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees, many people will burn wood for recreation. Tonight is likely to be another smoky hell in North St. Paul just as last night was.

Keep your windows closed this evening. Keep your children inside. Breathing wood smoke pollution is not good for one's health despite what the people on the North St. Paul city council think. Yes, the city council put in place the ordinance that allows 49 hours of recreational burning per week. And there are those on the city council who are friends with frequent recreational burners. And some of the city's most frequent polluters supported one of the city council members with yard signs last campaign season. And some on the city council are devoted to protecting the rights of recreational burners to pollute the air you must breathe. But that does not mean the air is safe!

Take a look at the toxic chemicals in wood smoke (link). If you live in North St. Paul, you will inhale toxic chemicals in wood smoke every day of your life! Every single day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday 05/03/2009 Burning & Air Quality Forecast

12:30 AM: Air still reeks. The burning may have stopped or the fire may have been allowed to burn itself out. The air stinks like the remnants of burnt logs.

4:15 AM: Air still stinks like the remnants of burnt logs.

That's 10 hours of non-stop foul air in North St. Paul. From 6 PM yesterday evening until this time the air was contaminated by wood smoke pollution. Do you see the conditions we must endure in this city because of the city council's lack of attention to this issue?

6:30 AM: Fresh air at last!

Air quality forecast for today

North St. Paul, MN, air quality forecast for May 3, 2009: DANGEROUS.

The weather will be very nice today with a high of around 70 degrees. That means what? It means lots of burning wood!

An otherwise gorgeous spring day in North St. Paul will be ruined by a small number of recreational burners polluting the air for fun. This afternoon you may experience isolated pockets of smoke from burning yard waste. With nothing seemingly better to do, a half dozen or more people in a neighborhood will sit around a pile of burning wood this evening while the smoke blows away from them and into the yards and homes of everyone within 1/2 mile downwind. Entire neighborhoods will be smoked up.

Expect the wood smoke to start around 6 PM, maybe sooner, and continue until at least 10 PM, perhaps later. Absent strong winds, the smoke will likely linger close to the ground, making being outside on this gorgeous spring day intolerable. Leaving the windows to your home open is not advised as the wood smoke will enter and fill your lungs with every breath you take. If the wood smoke is strong enough, you may well taste it. You may suffer symptoms of wood smoke pollution including:
  • Burning sinuses
  • Irritated eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
This forecast is typical for an evening in North Saint Paul, MN, when the weather is nice.

7:00 PM: Air is starting to get smoky at this time. Light wood smoke. It will get heavier, I am sure of that. It almost always does! Today was a day made in heaven. Beautiful, sunny, not too warm, not too cool. 68 degrees. The evening is spectacular as well. It would be a great evening to sit on the deck as the evening winds down. Maybe watch the sunset over the trees. Too bad it is ruined by wood smoke!

Who the hell wants to sit outside and breathe smoky air, dear city council members? Do you like smoky air? Me and my neighbors don't!

I have no idea who is burning. I looked around and didn't see clouds of smoke from the usual culprits. I have been able to track the source of wood smoke a full 1/2 mile from where I originally smelled it, as I have documented here on this blog. It could be someone 1/2 a mile away with a recreational fire, and hundreds of us downwind have to breathe smoky air!

I wish someone on the city council would have the guts to do something about this instead of making all of us suffer another miserable year in this city. They seem to be more interested in not rocking the boat and upsetting the small number of burners than they are in protecting the right of the majority to breathe fresh air and enjoy a high standard of living.

8:30 PM: Good and smoky outside--like ALWAYS! If you love smoky air, come on down to North St. Paul, Minnesota. There is so much wood smoke here it will make you sick to your stomach! You are literally a prisoner in your own home in this town.

9:30 PM: Light wood smoke. This is the last time I checked the air quality prior to going to bed.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday 05/02/2009 Burning

6:00 PM: Light wood smoke. Jerk neighbor down the street who used to burn every day last summer is finally joining in on the burning. I think this is his first time all year. Smoke is blowing right into my yard! The jerk doesn't have any smoke in his yard. It is all blowing into our yards! We breathe the smoky air, he doesn't!

The temperature is about 63 degrees at this time. Not so cool that people can't burn wood for fun fun fun! Gotta burn that damn wood! Pollute the air for fun fun fun! Can't find anything better to do with your time! Burn burn burn in North St. Paul! Burn that friggin wood like it's going out of style! We don't want to breathe, anyway. Breathing is highly overrated, is it not? Really, those elderly people don't need to breathe fresh air, do they? Let's make them all shut ins and force them to seal up their houses every evening so a small number of people can burn wood for recreational purposes!

And don't get me started on those annoying children with asthma or those neurotic people with respiratory diseases. How dare they think they should have the right to breathe fresh air?

And you people with allergies who experience great difficulty and inconvenience because of wood smoke, too bad for you. You can't have fresh air because the rights of burners to burn for fun are more important than your right to breathe fresh air. If you don't like it, don't breathe!

6:30 PM: Heavy wood smoke. Horrible. Modern people should not have to endure smoky air like this because one inconsiderate jerk feels the need to burn wood recreationally. Why should I and my neighbors and those 1/2 a mile downwind have to breathe smoky air, dear Mayor and city council members? Why?

7:30 PM: Light to moderate wood smoke. Not nearly as smoky as before. Could the jerk be done burning for the evening?

8:00 PM: Extremely heavy wood smoke. If you stuck your head directly over a very smoky burning log, that is what the air outside smells like. Or if you can imagine yourself hung upside down like a sausage in a smoke house, you will get the idea of how smoky it is outside at this time. I am not going to dare step outside to see if it is the same jerk burning, because stepping outside for even a few seconds will leave my clothes reeking of wood smoke! I just took a shower. I am not going to take another one. You really cannot breathe that air. It is not suitable for human lungs. It burns your sinuses. This air in North St. Paul is unfit for human consumption!

8:30 PM: Extremely heavy wood smoke continues. Looks like it may rain. I hope it does. Then jerks can't have recreational fires! Air will be fresh and breathable like it should be all the time!

9:30 PM: Still moderately smoky outside. How can anyone on the city council think that people want to breathe air like that? Where is the leadership in this city?

At times I may show how annoyed I am at the living conditions in this city on this blog. I apologize sincerely if I go off the deep end a little bit. But you cannot imagine the frustration of living in a city that has smoky air almost every day. I did a good job documenting the smoky air nearly every day last year. Take a minute to read the blog and see for yourself how smoky North St. Paul is and how horrible living here has become in recent years.

I spoke to someone today who said that he's planning to fix up his home to sell it. He doesn't want to live in North St. Paul any more. Why? Because of two reasons: smoky air and crime. I don't think crime is that bad in this city. The Subway on 7th St. near downtown North St. Paul was robbed this week and a possible suspect fired shots at a Maplewood police officer who tried to pull him over. That may have affected his perception of crime in the city. But one thing is for certain: the air is very smoky in this city nearly every day and the mayor and city council have the authority to do something about it and they must!

Friday 05/01/2009 Burning

7:00 PM: No wood smoke prior to this time. Went to bed early again and did not check the air after this time.

Thursday 04/30/2009 Burning

6:00 AM: Very light odor of putrid burning wood can be detected in the air. Did someone have a fireplace burning all night long?

Went to bed early this evening. Did not check the air after 7 PM. No wood smoke detected at that time.

Wednesday 04/29/2009 Burning

10:30 PM: I went to bed early. Got up around this time. Sniffed the air outside. Lightly smoky. Somebody is burning putrid smelling wood. Probably in a fireplace as weather conditions are not those under which you would expect recreational burning. I do not know what kind of wood it is, but it stinks! Bad!

Tuesday 04/28/2009 Burning

No burning detected. Again went to bed early. Did not check after 7 PM.

Monday 04/27/2009 Burning

No burning of wood detected this day. Went to bed early, so I did not check beyond 7 PM.

Sunday 04/26/2009 Burning

No burning this day. Cool and damp. Not ideal for burning wood recreationally.