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, August 1, 2009

Emails I received

I got a couple emails this week. One was from city manager Wally Wysopal asking me to call him so he can assist me in a "productive manner". I don't know if Wally reads this blog, but if he does I would like to thank him for contacting me. There is nothing he can do to help. City ordinance allows recreational burning from 4 PM - 11 PM all seven days of the week. As long as burning and the pollution that it generates is allowed, the air is going to continue to be smoky almost every evening. It will continue to get worse every year, too, as more people hop on the recreational air pollution bandwagon. Only the city council can provide relief from this terrible wood smoke pollution. Only they have the power to restrict it or end it completely (my preference).

If I wanted to be a jerk, I could get some wood and burn every day from 4:30 - 11:00 PM and it would be entirely legal to do so. It is my right under the existing city ordinance. It is tempting to do that to seek requital against the three or four burners on my block. But everyone around me, including some elderly neighbors who are in the final years of their lives and in declining health, would suffer. People blocks downwind would suffer as well. I cannot in good conscience assault my innocent neighbors with wood smoke pollution in an act of revenge against the few burners around us. The city council has no such conscience. Nice guys do finish last, unfortunately.

I got another email from a regular Pennsylvania reader who is "addicted" to this blog. Hello in Pennsylvania! I'm glad you enjoy our tales of woe from this polluted nightmare of a city. We've had one day without wood smoke out of the past eight days. That's about as good as it gets around here. It is Saturday and I'm sure it will be another smoky evening. I wish you the best of luck in your battle against wood smoke pollution out there. Breathing smoky air every day is misery. People who aren't bombarded with wood smoke pollution every day won't understand how it destroys the quality of life. There is nothing trivial about air pollution so bad it makes your sinuses burn.