Statewide: June 16, 2010 Archive
Kevin Burkart wants to jump out of an airplane 200 times today. Fog and clouds
are hampering delayed the start of his crazy stunt.
UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Burkart completed his first jump of the day shortly after 11 a.m. If he aims to hit 200 before dark, he's got to make about 20 jumps per hour.
UPDATE 2:35 p.m.: Things are really rolling now. He's got 50 jumps in the can.
UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Looks like the late start was too much too overcome. Burkart's Twitter stream indicates the team was calling it a night at only 150 jumps.
For Burkart, the skydiving marathon is a way to raise money for Parkinson's research, a cause he took up after his dad was diagnosed with the disease in 1999.
He's hoping to do the jumps at Skydive Twin Cities in Baldwin, Wis.
Burkart wrote a touching story about his dad's experience.
It was 7:00am on a Saturday morning. July 31, 1999. I was a busy 28 year old professional living in the Twin Cities. I was late to meet my friends at the boat launch on the Mississippi River. We were putting in for a weekend of boating and camping on the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. I hadn't spoken to my Dad much that summer. Not as much as I would have liked. And for some reason, something was nagging at me that I needed to call him. So, schedule aside, I phoned him. His wife Monica answered. I told her I had to talk to Dad and tell him I loved him. She said okay, I'll put him on right away. When he got on, I noticed she stayed on the phone. And I knew something wasn't quite right. And indeed, he cried.
He told me the day before, Friday, he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson Disease and how did I know to call him and tell him I loved him?
Posted at 12:50 PM on June 16, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Environment
But a national conservation organization took a whack at that pillar last week with a report concluding that electricity produced from biomass produces more greenhouse gases than power from coal.
The study touched off a firestorm in green energy circles. Biomass backers pointed out what they see as flaws in the study's methods. They were especially upset that the study assumed wood-burning plants were consuming freshly cut trees, as opposed to burning material destined for landfills.
The coal-vs-wood issue is a big deal in Minnesota. A state survey found that dozens of Minnesota plants burned nearly five million tons of biomass in 2007. The state's report forecast an increasing demand for biomass power.
Questions about the relative cleanliness of biomass may surface as the state and local governments weigh subsidies and other aid for plants that promise "green energy."
Posted at 3:55 PM on June 16, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Northwest Minnesota
Lake property owners on Dead Lake in northwest Minnesota have been fighting lake shore developers for a decade and it appears they've now won.
The Trust for Public Land and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources say 200 acres of environmentally sensitive lakeshore will become a state Wildlife Management Area.
This shoreline would be a busy marina if the Blue Heron Bay development ever gets built. (MPR photo/Dan Gunderson)
Dead lake is the largest natural environment lake in the state. Natural environment lakes are shallow and considered more sensitive to environmental damage than other lakes.
A developer wanted to build a small community on the lakeshore with condos, a restaurant, stores and a marina.
The Trust for Public Lands says more than three miles of lakeshore are now protected at a cost of more than two million dollars mostly from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and Critical Habitat license plate funds.
- Dan Gunderson