Aug 29, 2014

Confirmation, Finally

One of the things “Transportation Ombudsman Officer,” Marcell Walker (, 651-366-3340) had promised back in early August was a letter from MNDOT confirming the construction schedule and informing residents of the noise expectations. He'd said that MNDOT's procedure was to make that announcement before construction began, but since they failed that he promised that he'd do what he could to make it happen eventually.

All last week, I'd considered calling or emailing Marcell to see if he'd found any of the construction schedule information or managed to raise a living mind at MNDOT to get that letter sent. I received my copy ("to current resident") on Wednesday. Now, we have a couple of things: including the "project website", the nightwork project schedule, a project hotline (612/284-1781), and confirmation of the noise wall schedules.

Aug 20, 2014

Stay Tuned, Things Might Get Better

About the time it seems things could not get worse, that view turns out to be wrong. Like Mark Twain's condition and to paraphrase his response, the report of our lake's sad fate may have been an exaggeration. The complaints from our neighbors about MNDOT's abuse of the lake with the freeway drainage plan some carefully planted suggestions that our business neighbor, Gopher Electronics, has been less than environmentally conscious has drawn the attention of an otherwise slumbering bureaucracy, the DNR.

A few weeks ago, Rocky Waite dropped by and introduced someone from the DNR office who had seen the articles on this blog regarding MNDOT's drainage damage. She made a lap around some of the lakeshore and found enough evidence of abuse to recommend work be done on the lake. Who knows, we might even have some help, finally, with the Eurasian Watermilfoil and nonnative waterlilies. It's pretty obvious that efforts to control those species are failing in Gervais Lake and a lap around our lake would demonstrate where the seeds for the downstream contamination are coming from.

Rocky has put a lot of time, thought, and effort into getting attention for our lake and we all owe him a big "thanks" for his work. He has been a persistent advocate for Savage Lake and our neighborhood for the nearly two decades that I have known him.

At any rate, it sounds like we might see some serious dredging action where the freeway has filled the lake with silt and freeway runoff. The drainage problems from Gopher Electronics might get addressed, too.

The freeway construction project seems to be making a reasonable effort to contain construction noise late at night and that has brought back a little peace and quiet to our neighborhood. Our state representative, Jason Isaacson (, has been extremely helpful in getting some attention brought to this issue and it wouldn't hurt to let him know we appreciate his efforts.

Aug 13, 2014

Today’s Abuse

IMG_6290 The noise pollution from today’s environmentally irresponsible MNDOT abuse of Savage Lake came from a giant pile driver inserting these pieces of steel into our side (the west side) of the lake. Nothing good can come from this, I suspect.

The other day, Rocky Waite brought a representative of the DNR to look at the sorry state of our lake. He’s trying to convince the Powers That Be that the lake height is unnaturally low and that is contributing the lake’s demise. Fifteen years ago, our lake had a small spring near the north eastern corner. In most years, even when the water level was “low” (for the time) that corner of the lake didn’t freeze over until well into the winter. After the mess the Watershed District made of the drain on the east side and the water level dropped dramatically, the spring seemed to have re-routed itself. MNDOT followed that with the entrance ramp and bridge drain near the middle of the south-bound entrance ramp. That drain dumped tons of sediment into the lake until it overwhelmed itself and clogged with its own sediment. That turned the spring corner into a silt island, which the Watershed District has been ignoring with its pointless measurements and water samples for a decade.

IMG_6289With the latest MNDOT addition to the freeway, the irresponsible I35E drainage is bound to be even more aggressively harmful to the lake and our peace and quiet. I suppose this is pretty much what it feels like to be a second-class citizen. I suppose the only thing MNDOT and the Watershed District will have left to do to our lake will be to install a rest stop along the lakeshore with toilets that dump directly into the lake. I can hardly wait. 

Aug 7, 2014

Getting Attention

I have always been a believer in “you get the government you deserve.” Americans are well known as being one of the most pacified, conservative (timid), and easiest to fool citizens in the industrialized world. In simple terms, we’re whipped.

After my rant about the freeway construction last week, I decided to do the least “something” I could manage and I wrote a letter to our state representatives:

From: Thomas Day
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2014 2:02 PM
Subject: Little Canada noise

It is pretty obvious that Little Canada residents are considered to be throwaway citizens, based on the indiscriminate noise generation of the current I35E construction and the "plan" to widen the freeway without consideration for the noise pollution we'll suffer as a result. If the state had a functional EPA that actually monitored the noise level highway construction and freeway expansion in neighborhoods, we might be receiving some protection from the uncontrolled, irrational expansion of our barely-taxed (as in overbuilt) freeway system and the multiple pollution sources that idiocy generates. Since we seem to be barreling toward becoming another Texas, in every moronic respect, citizens are constantly out-voted by special interests.

Having been kept awake almost every night for the last two months by the unregulated, inconsiderate construction schedule just across Savage Lake from I35E, I have about had it with Minnesota and, especially, the Cities. Residents of the other side of the lake are even closer to these vandals and corporate criminals and they have all of my sympathy.

Why this place would want to model itself after Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and other mismanged urban hell-holes is beyond me, but it appears that is the direction our quality of life is degrading. If I thought we had a functioning civil court system, I'd consider hiring a lawyer to shut this project down until some semblance of sanity raised its head out of the muck. Minneapolis is regulating noise in night clubs while St. Paul is turning into a noise pollution nightmare. Clearly, the closer to the state government one lives, the dumber the environment. I'm only 66, so I'm not old enough to remember a time when this country was a "nation of laws," but at one time I believed Minnesota was a place where government served the people instead of itself. I've lost that faith along with several months of reasonable peace and quiet.

Thomas Day

Yeah, I admit I was a little over the top. A couple weeks of little-to-no sleep will do that to me. I also pretty much assumed that my note would vanish into the void of state government. So, you might assume I was surprised when I received a call from the “Transportation Ombudsman Office.” Marcell Walker (, 651-366-3340), the MNDOT representative, asked if we could meet so he could hear my complaints and any suggestions I might have to mitigate the intolerable noise in our neighborhood. Monday, Mr. Walker and I spent several hours in our backyard discussing the noise, what could be done to moderate it or make it less offensive, and other issues regarding our neighborhood and the freeway. True to form, he said I was the only person from Little Canada to complain about the construction noise. He admitted that isn’t unusual. He offered to do some investigation into the construction schedule and get back to me with what he learns. So far, I haven’t heard back from him, but if some of you were to offer some verbal or electronic input we might learn something.

All of the links I’ve previously posted about the construction plan and schedule have been taken down by the state. I can’t guess why. Mr. Walker suggested that, as property owners near this project, we should have received something more than the city’s notice that our noise ordinances would be ignored for an indefinite period. The reason the jack hammering is going on all night is because the construction company is concerned with flying concrete shrapnel from that work and is too unconcerned with our neighborhood’s peace and quiet to bother with putting up screens so that work could go on during the day. The rest of the noise they are generating could likely be modified with some motivation, but if we’re willing to put up with being abused I’m sure they will be willing to offer plenty of abuse.

I’d like to thank Representative Jason Isaacson ( for forwarding my email to the department that might be able to help. I’d like to thank Marcell Walker for taking the time to seriously listen to the noise in our neighborhood and trying to help.