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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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday 05/17/2011 Air Pollution

It was a normal smoky evening in North St. Paul.

4:45 PM: No smoke. 65 degrees and sunny.

5:40 PM: Faint wood smoke for a few minutes then it was gone. Is someone burning brush? Did the breeze shift direction?

7:45 PM: Light wood smoke. Damn this polluted city. I was sitting watching TV when I smelled smoke coming in. Close the windows! That's our evening ritual in this town. When you smell smoke -- and we do almost every evening when the weather is nice -- jump up and close the windows or else your entire home will reek of burning wood within minutes. When the smoke is in, you cannot get rid of it.

I went out searching for the source of the wood smoke. I found it. One of city council member Jan Walczak's neighbors had what may have been a bonfire. It looked like the house on Lake Blvd. behind her and a couple houses over was doing the burning. I could see smoke rising from the backyard on Helen St. Behind on Lake Blvd. I could see a column of smoke rising from a yard. I could not see any flames. Only smoke. A column of smoke rising and polluting the air we must breathe. We could smell that smoke blocks away.

That's why we hate North St. Paul. One person has a bonfire and everyone has to breathe smoky, polluted air because of that one bonfire burner. One person decides to burn and hundreds of people are nuisanced by the smoke. The smoke from one small bonfire can be smelled up to a half mile away if the breeze is right. When I passed by city council member Jan Walczak's house while looking for the source of the burning, I noticed it was smoky in front of her house and that none of the windows visible from the road were open. Why not, Jan? Don't you want to breathe your neighbor's bonfire smoke inside your home? You make us breathe smoky air every day, Jan. We live like prisoners in our own home because of you, Ms. Walczak. The least you can do is open your windows and let the wood smoke you love so much inside of your home and into your lungs.

I first complained to Jan Walczak about the horrible wood smoke pollution in North St. Paul in May of 2008. She was of no help. I hope her neighbors have a lot of smoky bonfires this summer.

8:45 PM: No smoke where we live. The slight breeze shifted direction. The smoke from the fire slowly drifts and does not vacate quickly. I can smell the smoke at the end of the street but not in our yard.

10:00 PM: No smoke. The air is not fresh. Smells like someone is cooking.

11:00 PM: No smoke. Last check of the evening.