Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Local Mullet Man Loses Camaro To PoPo


Come on, it had his Van Halen, a wig, and some shades.


Iconic Duluth Structure Needs Help

My beloved home town Duluth needs help restoring an icon, The Enger Tower.

Enger Tower is an 80-foot (24 m), five-story blue stone observation tower atop Enger Hill in Duluth, Minnesota.[1] The tower is at an elevation of 451 feet (137 m) above Lake Superior, providing panoramic views of the Twin Ports. Each of the tower’s levels has a lookout that is accessible by stairs. A green beacon mounted on top of the tower can be seen for many miles.

MPR reports

a close look reveals trouble. A stone bench on the first level is all but gone — reduced to a few rocky shards jutting from the tower’s side. City Architect Terry Groshon points to the hole in the tower roof, where rain and fog creep through on Duluth’s colder days and to a nearby steel rail that’s half-eaten by rust. Water gets into the cracking masonry, freezes, and pops the rock and concrete out. Some people pick at the loosening stones … He doesn’t have a price tag yet, but he thinks it would take a couple hundred thousand dollars to patch it up for another decade, and over a million dollars to do it right

As a child Enger Tower was one of my favorite places to picnic and I try and make it there at least once a year. The views really are spectacular and I hope the city finds a way to fix this amazing landmark.

If you’re heading to Duluth then Enger Tower is a must visit and not just for the views from the tower. The surrounding park is beautiful and the drive along Skyway Road is breathtaking.


Just Another Music Friday – 07/31/09

Old Cars
Uploaded on June 21, 2009
by manyhighways @ 2009 MSRA “Back to the Fifties” Car Show

Do you know what goes really well with music? Cool old cars.

I don’t have any shows to see this weekend, but I bought a ton of Cd’s last night at Half Priced Books. So I guess I’ll be ripping them to disk and dumping’em on my iPod Bombadil.

Heard and good local music lately?
I hear the new Vampire Hands release is superb, which I don’t doubt for a second. It’s my opinion they are the best “vampire” band out there, and that other vampire band that was so popular on 89.3 . . . well I’m not going to even mention their name.

Here’s Vampire Hands with Safe Word.

What are you listening to?

*Saturday Morning Update*Ways to get live and local this evening, Tim Mahoney will be rocking the 5:00 PM slot at St. Anthony Village Fest (FREE!) and the Unknown Prophets will be laying it down later in the eve at the 501 (FREE?) (I think so)

Or spend a little money and get artsy at the Fringe Festival [ #MNFRINGE ] or perhaps help the Common Room “bust through gallery stereotypes” at The Soap Factory.

So much to do. Rock on.


Is it all going to Hell?

When I was on my way back from the BWCA last week I saw an honest-to-goodness old fashioned motorcycle gang on Scenic Highway 61, which runs along the shore of Lake Superior.

When we arrived at our break point, my favorite North Shore coffee shop the Mocha Moose, I noticed the headline of a local paper read something like “Praying for Heaven, Preparing for Hell” and mentioned the Hell’s Angels arriving for a bike rally in August.

Little did I realize the amount of commotion this had been causing until we arrived in Duluth and every headline from the last week had been about the biker gang, with the biggest story being The City of Duluth had gone so far as to not issue permits for Spirit Valley Days or any festivals for a few week time frame as the city feared any disruption the Hell’s Angels may have caused.

Now the Strib reports Police brace for huge rally of Hells Angels near Cloquet

For nearly six months now, hundreds of law enforcement agents from Carlton, Pine and St. Louis counties — plus 30 State Patrol troopers and some federal agents — have been planning to be on hand to greet the Hells Angels.

“You don’t poke a hornets’ nest with a stick, but you sure do like to know where the hornets’ nest is at,” Pine County Chief Deputy Steve Ovick said.

A writer,Julian Sher,that specializes in pissing off the Hells Angels writes,

“public outings like the USA Ride “are largely public-relations dog-and-pony shows for the bikers.”

He said the media tend to cover the roaring motorcycles, and when the club members remain more or less law abiding, their image improves.

“Their PR machine is as well-oiled as their Harleys,” Sher said, noting their high-tech website that allows you to purchase gear ( “The mafia doesn’t have a website.”

He even goes as far as comparing the H.A. to the Taliban having a bake sale.

Though it seems when all the posturing is put aside, most of Northern Minnesota is happy for the tourist revenue.

What do you think?


You Have To Emit, Change Is Coming To ‘Minnesota Motors’

A lot of news about vehicles and the emissions they put into our air has been rolling out lately. Here’s a summary, and what it means to Minnesota. This week the White House announced it’s plan for fast-tracking higher vehicle fuel efficiency standards and, for the first time, introduce a national program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement has (for the moment) the support of most major automakers and environmental groups. More Minnestoa dealers may be closing soon, a move that will have ripple effects across the state.  A group of partners (including the American Lung Association in Minnesota) is looking to bring electric vehicles to the Twin Cities. The airport has already got one.  Don Shelby at WCCO-TV gets all excited about the idea, and also gets fired up about a student biodiesel project

Bottom line: things are changing fast — fewer dealerships are a certainty, new types of vehicles (and fuels) are coming, and for once, most of the major players are moving in the same direction.

When Nanny State meets Police State – Minnesota State Patrol Gets Sued

Have you heard about the latest lawsuit against the Minnesota State Patrol? It’s based on a checklist they created to determine if a Commercial Driver is fatigued and should be taken off the road.

On the surface this seems like a good idea, but there are some problems.

One problem is, The Department of Transportation already has rules and guidlines for determining what constitutes driver fatigue.

A second problem is The Mn State Patrol created their own criteria and then attempted to keep it a secret.
As reported by Landlinenow

Now, a memo has been sent from the e-mail account of an officer in the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Minnesota State Patrol. In the memo, other enforcement officers are told to keep quiet about the checklist, even when they’re using it, even to the trucker they’re using it on.

Here’s the memo:

“Due to much publicity, both on a local and national level, several inquiries are being made about our fatigue report by the State Legislature, news media, etc.

“We as an organization do not want to damage what we have worked so hard to accomplish. Please use your interviewing skills to determine if the driver is fatigued.

“I ask that you do not tell the drivers that you need to fill out a checklist (worksheet), that you are taking a survey or any other statements that you use to reference the report.

“The report is for you to use to document what you observed; statements made by the driver; notes for you to reference to about the event; and as a guide to gather the various indicators from different areas on the report.”

As if that isn’t disturbing enough you really must see the checklist. I obtained a hardcopy and then called upon some sources to get a digital version for you.

Here it is. (a special thanks to Neb Trucking)

Here’s how it works. They take their arbitrary list and for each item that applies the driver get’s a check. After a certain number of checks it’s determined that the driver is fatigued and can’t drive.

Let’s address some of the more ridiculous questions: “Pets in Vehicle”, “Cell Phone”, “Computer”.

 That’s right, if the driver has any of the above they are on the path to being considered fatigued.

How about this one “Driver II” – Yup, if there’s a second driver,as is common safety measure to avoid fatigue, the driver gets a check towards being fatigued.

Let’s take a look at few more “Unshaven”, “Use of prescription meds”, “allergies”, “Money concerns”, “Job/Home stress”, “Driver neck size”.

Setting aside the very illegal act of requiring someone to disclose personal medical information, neck size, really?

So now we have a lawsuit (view in it’s entirety)

It appears that law enforcement is now not only in the act of saying what should be a law, but also making up their own laws as they go along.

What do you think?



Did I break the Internet? (Coachella Queries. )

Do you ever wonder that?

I mean locally, of course, not at Coachella or someplace totally way more awesome than SxSWhatnot or Seattle.

That is, do you know somone at Coachella? You know, someone local? Or, have you heard about any Coachella acts that you really, really, really, want to roll through the T.C.?

.My friend mellowlee says “Now playing at #Coachella ; #Calexico Check it out at #webcast ♫

 and stephenhero just can’t catch a break  “Glasvegas cancelled. Bullshit! I feel like a Gypsy homosexual in 1939 Poland.” #coachella

Do tell.



DWI Denny

I find this too ironic not to post. Denny Hecker, the local car mogul, is facing charges for careless driving and driving under the influence:

Witnesses told police they saw a vehicle matching Hecker’s description driving erratically and into oncoming traffic before swerving into a ditch and launching airborne into a utility pole, according to court documents.

(via WCCO)

At least he can just grab another car off his many (now empty) lots, with help from his (unpaid or laid off) workers.

I am glad that no one was seriously hurt. Its too bad he was not charged with careless lending or doing business under the influence.

And you too shall know the crushing weight of hyperbole and fear

I think tomorrow’s commute will involve me setting my car on fire,driving it 200mph, and then jumping over the county line.


All while texting from my phone, of course.

Now why would I do something so totally awesome and fun sounding you may ask?

Because of this article A stop-and-go future for traffic tickets?

It warns that if the state budget for courts is cut by $6 million, as Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes, courts would very likely be unable to prosecute parking and traffic offenses, which last year generated more than $16 million in revenue for Hennepin County cities.

That’s right, no traffic tix enforcement, but it get’s worse.

“We are hoping the Legislature and governor understand that justice needs funding,” said Minnetonka City Attorney Desyl Peterson. “If people knew the police officers were issuing speeding tickets but there were no consequences, there would be rampant lawlessness.”

That’s right, rampant lawlessness! Doesn’t the thought of no more speeding tickets just make you want to hold up a liquor store while wearing a lawless carrot costume?

All kidding aside, here’s my favorite part of the article: “In Minneapolis alone, the fines brought in more than $8 million to pay police salaries during 2008” and “Startled by the potential lost revenue, some cities, including Minneapolis…”

Hmm, kind of makes you wonder about the quota system the police always deny exists in any way, shape, or form.

Doesn’t it?

What kind of rampant lawlessness will you create when speeding and parking tickets are no longer enforced?


Smoking, Cars, Kids & The Failure of Common Sense

Today’s “Letter of the Day” in the Star Tribune is from Jason Crosby of Plymouth, former smoker, father and critic of the proposed state law to prohibit smoking in cars with kids. Crosby confesses to smoking in the car (presumably with children aboard) , reasoning that since he always rolled the windows “at least partially down , most of the smoke is sucked out the window while the car is moving.”

I agree that that statement is a “common sense” rationalision. Unfortunately, it is also wrong.  I have seen the testing being done in cars, and even with the windows down, the monitors used to track secondhand smoke quickly went above the EPA’s  “unsafe level” for air pollution.  Scientific studies back this up.

I don’t think Mr. Crosby is a bad man or a bad father for exposing his kid to secondhand smoke — he thought it was okay, if he just cracked the window a bit.  I may have thought the same thing, in his place.  However, we know things today about tobacco and secondhand smoke we didn’t know in the past, and this new bill is a good opportunity to spread the news. 

Hopefully, more people will become better informed, and no one will ever get a ticket for smoking in a car with kids on board.

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