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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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday 08/18/2009 Air Pollution

I never have a problem finding wood smoke in this city when it isn't raining. Recreational burning has gotten way out of hand. Somebody is always burning in this city.

10:00 PM: No wood smoke where we are yet this evening. It isn't fresh air, but we'll take it over the smoky air we had last night at this time. 72 degrees now. 78 degrees at 6 PM. This was a beautiful smoke-free summer evening. Some residents of this city are not so lucky.

Around 8:45 PM I went for a little cruise around the northern half of the city. I did not do a thorough check of every street looking for wood smoke. I went up and down all the streets south of the lake and down to Tower Park. I found no wood smoke in these areas. This could be the first time I have not encountered wood smoke over by Tower Park on a nice evening this year.

I headed down 19th by another frequent burner's house on the corner of 19th & 1st. He wasn't burning. I headed up Chippewa and found my first area of wood smoke at Navajo & Chippewa. It was faintly smoky at Chippewa & Shawnee. The wood smoke was strong at Navajo & Chippewa. There is a guy on the northwest corner of that intersection who burned a lot last year. I haven't seen him burn at all this year, but I haven't been in that area much. It was very smoky right in front of his house. I remember last year on a beautiful summer evening when he and his next door neighbor to the west both had bonfires in their front yards going at the same time. Double the pollution. They both had Jan Walczak campaign signs in their yards last Fall.

I headed down Navajo to McKnight. The wood smoke was weakening all the way down. I headed south to Shawnee. Nothing at that street and McKnight. I could smell faint wood smoke at Apache & Shawnee. I headed down Apache then back up Delaware. Nothing until I got back to Shawnee. Light wood smoke at Delaware & Shawnee.

I then headed up into Maplewood. Smoky on Standridge. I saw a bonfire in the backyard of a house. Maplewood was supposed to be looking at banning recreational burning. The city council must have chickened out. Shame on them.

I headed back into North St. Paul. I encountered a huge cloud of wood smoke at the corner of Shawnee & 2nd. It was very smoky at that intersection. The cloud of wood smoke was heaviest in the front yard of the home on the northwest corner. Could this be the source of the wood smoke at Navajo & Chippewa? There isn't much of a breeze this evening. I could not locate the burner. 72 degrees is too warm for a fireplace. It had to be a recreational fire. I spent no more than 10 - 15 seconds in that cloud and my clothes reeked of wood smoke! When I got back home I had to shower and put my clothes in a plastic bag because they smelled so badly of wood smoke. I have sympathy for the poor souls who live near that intersection. I hope they didn't have their windows open. If my clothes reeked of wood smoke after only a few seconds, imagine what their houses must smell like inside.

If you happen to be one of the many people who don't like breathing wood smoke all the time, you can pin the blame on the city council. They are the reason you have to breathe smoky air. They have refused to do anything about this problem.

10:30 PM: Still no wood smoke. We may get lucky tonight. I have my fingers crossed.

Midnight: Still no wood smoke. We did get lucky. We had a beautiful evening without wood smoke!