Bitching Posts

Traps, again

Via Wildwoods Founders:

Yesterday evening, friends called about a red squirrel caught in a leghold trap set on the edge of a city park. We don’t know how long the squirrel had been trapped there. See the brown discoloration on the fur by his mouth? He’d been trying to chew his way out of the trap.

Aquaman Saves the City

I saw broken bottles underwater at a popular Lake Superior swimming spot in Duluth. A few days later I was able to return and used my powers for good to clean up after the bad guys. You can either wade in at the shallow end of this spot, or rock-jump in at the deep end, either way there was broken glass within reach of innocent bare feet. It was the remains of at least five separate beer bottles, probably from one douchebag at a party of cowards.

I spent about three hours collecting all the glass I could in dives lasting 30-45 seconds each with rests to catch my breath in between. I couldn’t get it all, there were many shards too small to pick up, but they will wash away most easily into the deep. All of it would have turned into smooth beach glass sooner or later, or been sucked out to sea by the next storm, but in the meantime this mess sat there for several days and could have easily lacerated someone. I was very careful picking it up, but obviously it was a little risky and the wave action was moving me around quite a bit (good thing my Atlantean physiology is adapted to the pressure at great depths, so my skin can even resist machine gun fire).

Be warned: I protect this lake, and those who come here. If I catch anyone breaking glass at the beach I will not hesitate to call the police. Either that or I will telepathically summon a giant catfish to eat you.

Local news spot here.

Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current?

Why doesn’t Duluth have a repeater of the Current? What would it take to get one?

T-Mobile Cell Coverage in Duluth

My wife and I are long-time Verizon wireless subscribers. In my experience, their coverage is second to none, no matter how far off the beaten path I’ve gotten. Unfortunately their customer services are starting to fade.  

It used to be that after two years (contract period) they’d offer discounted prices and a $100 credit toward a new phone. Then, a few years back, it was lowered to a $50 credit. Today, when I looked at a replacement phone for her cracked one, there is no credit, plus they now charge $30 on top of the phone price ($100 to $300) as an “upgrade fee.” All the while collecting the $140 per month for service while “locking” us in for an additional two years.

Well, I’m getting woozy from this roller coaster and want off. From my research, T-Mobile has the market cornered in both service price for two smart phones as well as remaining contract-free. My worry is whether those savings and lack of seat belts will come with sketchy coverage? Any PDD people with T-Mobile?

Video Auto Play

Apparently, because of some changes at YouTube, some videos on PDD have been autoplaying under some circumstances, in some browsers. That should never happen, and we apologize profusely if it has happened to you.

Please, if you ever open a page on PDD and a video starts playing without you asking it to, e-mail help @ with a note about what video it is and what browser you are using and we’ll either fix it or take the post down.

That’s our PDD no-auto-play guarantee, for what it’s worth.

Sprint coverage in Lakeside/Lester Park?

Does anyone have a Sprint phone in Lakeside/Lester Park? I’m with AT&T and its coverage has become almost non-existent in the past six months. I’m thinking about trying Ting, which uses an intriguing billing model, but it uses Sprint’s network and I don’t want to find out its coverage sucks too. Its map looks okay, but I was hoping that someone here could back that up with actual experience.

On a semi-related note, am I the only one in the country who can’t imagine paying $80 per month for a phone? I’m currently only paying $20 a month (no data) by having a line on my sister’s AT&T plan.

Duluth sanitary sewer repair estimate

So we received a while back information telling us that we would need to repair our existing sewer line because of inflow and infiltration along with other neighbors. The city of Duluth does provide a grant for these projects (80 percent of $4,000 to $5,000). We were looking at lining the sewer line rather than excavating it.

However, we called the same company (they were the lowest bidder for the project) as our neighbors did and got an estimate that was nearly $2,500 more than the estimate they gave them!!!

I’m sure others in Duluth have dealt with this, or are dealing with the same situation as myself. Ideally I would like to get a ballpark figure of the expense and the company any of you chose for this project. Needless to say we will be calling around.

Bike Thefts on the East Side

My son’s bike was stolen this weekend. A really nice white-and-black Specialized Hardrock Comp with disc brakes was taken from my back yard. The officer from DPD told me there has been a rash of bike thefts east from 10th Avenue East. I spoke with a pawn shop owner who told me they are often moved out of town to more populated cities to our south. So get ’em locked up and put away or end up like my little-big man who will be mowing lawns for a new one.

First Tick of the Year — 2013 Edition

In addition to misapplied possessive apostrophes and upset people in the newspaper, another thing we’ve been following on PDD for quite some time is the first tick to show its face each year. This little bloodsucker latched on to me today on the Lumber Camp Trail at Pattison Park.

And here’s the rundown of past tick posts:
March 26, 2012
April 14, 2011
March 29, 2010
May 8, 2009
June 8, 2008
May 11, 2007
June 6, 2005

Vikings Fumble

Well, I don’t really follow football, and now here’s another reason to despise the world 0f big, corporate sports. Message sent and received–athletics is a place where freedom of speech will kick your football on down the field. Boo team Vikings!

Chris Kluwe’s release by Vikings sends message that gay-marriage talk is not tolerable in NFL

A cautionary tale for Duluth collectives?

Recently in Minneapolis, the Sisters’ Camelot collective faced restrictions in its ability to canvass for donations as the group was no longer listed as a registered nonprofit or charity in Minnesota. It has been told to cease fundraising efforts with a potential $25,000 fine per fund solicitation. The canvass workers unionized and have been calling for collective organizers to step down to restructure in the wake of the mishandling of the collective.

From the Industrial Workers of the World website: Union Exposes Wage Theft, Gross Negligence at Sisters’ Camelot, Calls for Resignation of Managing Collective

Sisters’ Camelot provides food and meals to homeless folks and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis. It relies on monetary donations and donations of food from merchants.

This is not unlike Duluth’s very own Loaves and Fishes Catholic Worker Community.  Not listed as a nonprofit in Minnesota, nor a church/religious organization, yet it solicits funds from the community and even states on its Facebook page that the running of its houses costs up to $50,000 per year (the threshold for income requiring an organization to file a federal 990 individual tax form as a nonprofit).  On March 8 it asked for $3,000 on its Facebook page to help pay for insurance for its homes.

Should Loaves and Fishes and other Duluth collectives be wary in light of this news?  Is there a line between helping the poor and marginalized as a household service and negligence to the law in not having accountability as a registered nonprofit?

Segway tours on the Lakewalk?

Duluth Glides Segway Tours

Is this a new thing, or have I just not noticed it before? I just saw on Craigslist they were hiring tour guides. I do already try to avoid the Canal Park/Downtown portion of the Lakewalk in the summer because it’s so crowded, and those doublewide pedal-mobile things are impossible to get around when I’m on a bike, but if I’m going to have to be dodging Segways now, too, well, one more reason to stay off the Lakewalk.

(I wish the business owners the best of luck and yay for tourism dollars and all that. I’m just selfishly grumping about crowds and am wanting my own private Lakewalk.)

Am I just stupid, or are the Interstate Parking Lot Automatic Systems difficult?

I used an Interstate lot in downtown Duluth today thinking it would be a nice solution to not having quarters or cash and also not knowing how long my meeting was going to run. As is often the case in Duluth, I was unable to read my spot number and was also unable to read the spot number for the neighboring spot due to snow and ice. So I paid for 2 hours of parking using my license plate number. About five minutes before my two hours was up I called the 866 number listed on the receipt to extend time.

Problem number one encountered is that the receipt listed two lot numbers. On the top portion of the ticket, it says Lot 2561. On the very bottom of the ticket it says “to extend time at location 3110.” When I called the 866 number I was unsure which number was supposed to be entered.

Is the Duluth News Tribune taking potshots at special education?

The DNT has run two recent articles on special education in our public schools. Both articles seem to be to be blaming the current overcrowding and school budget crisis on special education costs.

Special education costs squeeze all classrooms
State rule forces Duluth district to pay costs for special education students in other districts

Now, I am not unbiased here, I am the father of an autistic boy in the Duluth public school system. I am also a home owner and I pay taxes in Duluth. Does educating special needs children cost more? I am sure it does, but by helping special needs children become educated, we are increasing the chances that they can become productive members of our society. Like all forms of public education, it is an investment! My son does not have an aid to help him through the day, nor does he receive any “Cadillac benefits,” he also does not participate in several school programs: He doesn’t participate in art, music, or gym. He does not play any organized sports. If the Duluth school system could become more competitive in offering services needed by special needs students, it would not have to send funds to other districts that can.

It’s articles like these that show why we need federal mandates to provide for our special needs children.

Google killing Reader

If you are reading this through your Google Reader, you already know you won’t be after July 1. If you’re not, you probably don’t care. But in case further explanation is necessary, read “RIP Google Reader” on Mashable.

So, just out of curiosity, how many of you care? Will any of you stop reading PDD because of this, or will we never know because you’re reading the RSS feed and are too lazy to log in and complain about it?

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!