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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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.