Yesterday I attended a tremendous open house in the City of Pequot Lakes, MN, where we are working on an update to their comprehensive plan. I say tremendous because we had a great turnout, lots of good input and even more valuable discussion. Hosting twelve hours of open house makes for a long day, but it was well worth the effort. Great job, Pequot Lakes!

Enjoy this week's news:

  • I wish you didn't have to register and pay for this website because I would love to read the rest of this article. It starts to touch on why conservative America (most of rural America) can and will embrace New Urbanism, before the teaser ends and the fee-article begins. The first couple paragraphs give you the flavor though, so start there.
  • I have never voted for Representative Oberstar and have for a long time felt that he, as a key member of the House Transportation Committee, a committee that has fueled our inefficient development pattern for generations with massive subsidies for road construction, is part of the problem. It looks like now, in the twilight of his political career, he is trying to be part of the solution.
  • And while $20/gallon gas would actually assist Oberstar's efforts, it might not actually make us happier as this article contends. some interesting thoughts though:

Change, especially on such a wide level, is never easy nor is it popular. But this is the next step in mankind's evolution. We will adapt, and we will adapt well. Civilization's tale doesn't end here — it just gets more interesting. The easy stream of oil remade our world; so, too, will its demise.

"This College Drive reconstruction is a huge project. We'll probably not see another project of this scale," for years, until there's a demand for another Mississippi River bridge crossing, [City Engineer Jeff] Hulsether said. "These mega-type projects do come along once in awhile."

"There are so many reasons why this project is important for our community as a whole, with the key issue being safety, transportation and traffic flow along the corridor," [Central Lakes College vp of administration services Kari] Christiansen said. "We need to ensure visibility at key intersections, safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and incorporate sidewalks and trails."

"One thing that concerned us is the costs are higher than we expected but when you look at what we're getting for the money, what is needed and what the roadway will do for the future, it will be a main artery west to east," [Council member Bob] Olson said.

  • Maybe with the project, Brainerd residents can be leaders in learning to love the roundabout.
  • I guess the upside of this article is that 4% of Minnesotans are living in blissful ignorance. Interesting to note that over half understand that things are getting worse.
  • Despite the spin in this headline, I believe the Fed knows this as well. The article is worth a full read.

"The source of their angst is the explosion in the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. It has financed its emergency loans to the financial system and purchases of long-term government and mortgage-related bonds (the latter designed to push down long-term interest rates) by printing money, or, more technically, creating new reserves for banks. Such reserves now stand at $782 billion compared with a typical level of around $10 billion before the crisis. And people who know nothing else about inflation do understand that it is what you get if you print enough money."

  • We've thought for some time that it will be only a matter of time before some cities are forced to declare bankruptcy. It did not dawn on me that it could be school districts that start this trend.
  • But it is clear that cities will follow as they are just starting to feel the squeeze, and it is sure to get more intense as states are forced to pass on costs they used to subsidize.
  • In the meantime, let's just continue to spend like there is no tomorrow. This type of rural subsidy is likely to be the first to go post-redistricting following the census.
  • Keep in mind that China, our new global competitor, has no such legacy of subsidizing inefficient land use patterns to get over.
  • Finally, we've mentioned this idea of growing stronger by growing smaller a few times. This article gives another example of a community considering the approach that most towns are going to be forced to take in the coming years.