Week of October 15, 2017

If you missed last week's awesome tour history sponsored by the Lake Links Association, you have a second opportunity this Saturday: Steve Wolgamot will lead a tour of the Chautauqua area, gangster hangouts and more in Mahtomedi. Meet at the Mahtomedi District Education Center, 1520 Mahtomedi Ave, at 2 PM. The hike is free and open to the public. The Lake Links Association is a citizen group pursuing safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians around White Bear Lake. Learn more at lakelinks.net.
I am so proud that our Roads Committee, Terry Granec and John Anderson in particular, has solved a vexing problem created by putting winter salt on the roads.  Birchwood has an inordinately large portion of roads with hills, north-facing slopes, and shaded by trees making it harder to keep the roads clear of ice.  In the past, the solution has been to throw tons (literally) of salt down.  The salt ultimately ran into White Bear Lake, where it accumulates every year and remains FOREVER.
Public safety demanded there was no other choice...until now.  Terry and John convinced our plow contractor (Birch Inc.) to invest in a pre-treatment applicator that could reduce our salt use by up to 70%!  And the results also should reduce our snow and ice buildup.  It's a win-win for the community; Terry and John had the foresight to make it happen.  Thanks Terry and John.
City Staff, Megan Malvey and I met with representatives from the Washington Conservation District and the Rice Creek Watershed District to talk about alternatives to keeping our waterways clean.  There are a number of opportunities the city will be looking at including upgrading the rain garden at Birch Beach.  Another opportunity is using AmeriCorps people to clean out the buckthorn in our city parks.  These folks are dedicated to improving the environment and this is right up their alley; buckthorn eradication has been a need of ours for some time.  The cost would be nominal.

Stay tuned.