Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spraying Thistles

Today, the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners approved paying a bill amounting to $5,612.17. This was to cover the cost of chemical to spray thistles in county road right of way. The application and time spent would have to be added to this amount to get a true cost to the county in the ongoing effort to control noxious weeds.
Road right of ways have become the last bastion of weeds like thistles. Farmers fields are clean as a whistle because of the seed varieties and weed control measures used. If left unchecked, we would see road ditches rampant with thistles. end

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Tim Gerlach, Executive Director of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association wrote the following regarding the so called “indirect land use” concept in the fall issue of “Corn Talk”.

Attempting to model and attribute international land use changes to U.S. biofuels can be summarized in the following statements overheard at the Land Use and Carbon Impacts of Corn-Based Ethanol Conference:
· “We’re attempting to measure the immeasurable.”-Dr. Bruce Babcock, Iowa State University
· “Models should be seen as learning tools, not truth machines.”-
· “Many believe if a computer spits it out, it must be true. If a highly complex model is involved, it certainly must be true.” – Dr. Bruce Scherr, Informa Economics
· “You can all relax now; we have solved global climate change.” Referring to the California Global Warming Solutions Act – Dr. Stephen Kaffka, University of California-Davis
· “We’re growing more (corn) on less land…this is the global trend.” – Dr. Ruben Lubowski, Environmental Defense Fund

These statements were made in discussions regarding changes or spin offs that occur once we find new and different uses for our commodities. It seems to me these statements could apply to lots of other parts of life today and in our future. end

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Almost a year ago, I found out that my grown children all communicated with each other through Face Book. I decided that I needed to communicate with them as well, so I signed up. It works great! I have found out lots about what is going on in their lives because they comment on FB and because they have friended me, their information comes to my page.
Getting the attention of youth is one of the goals of many groups. Last evening at a Region 9 strategic planning meeting, our discussion centered on communicating with youth. As members of the Region 9 commission, youth issues are important to us. Keeping youth in our Region is important to everyone. How do we communicate with them to find out about there needs and what it will take to keep more of them here and discourage their movement to other areas of the state.
I just read that an Auschwitz Museum memorial has launched a Face Book page. The folks running the memorial say, “Face Book is a tool that young people are using to communicate, so if we want to reach them, we should be using their tool.” Face Book is a way to reach people WHERE THEY GATHER. And they gather on Face Book, and You Tube, and Twitter.
The folks in Portland, Oregon know this fact very well. The Nutrition Council of Oregon is launching a public awareness campaign to counter junk food commercials on television. They say that the average child sees 40,000 commercials a year and half of these commercials are for food and snacks that are high in sugar and calories. And – by the way – they are also setting up a Face Book page featuring healthy food.
Just the other day, I was doing some research on Country Schools and found that the Country School Movie has a Face Book Page. The Country School Movie is a documentary being made about the one-room schoolhouses of days gone by. Quite a contrast with today. When I attended country school, our method of communication was two cans with a string connected between them. end

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I recently received a letter from you acknowledging an earlier letter that I had mailed to you about the Clean Water Act.

Your letter says, “One of the most important parts of my job is listening to what the people of Minnesota have to say to me.” I am so glad that you are pleased to hear from me.

If that is indeed true, I then pose one question to you. Why do you use stationery without a phone number, e-mail address, fax number, or even street address on your letterhead? The return address on the envelope is just as lacking in information. I guess United States Senators are so important that you receive mail simply addressed to “United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510-2308.” I will be glad to send my letters to that address. But, somehow I have the idea that a building name and street address would expedite delivery. end