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July 14, 2017

When Historic Preservation Begins

Again. The damage had been done, and the implications were clear. Like the rape of Mother Earth, in creating their territory with roads, like in Rondo, there was the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation.  viking hat

“I’m beginning to think we do not matter to you,” said member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Matthew Northrup. After five years of planning, the Fond du Lac Band was not consulted, no ‘flags’ were raised, where highway construction by the Minnesota Department of Transportation was taking place. Have you ever had to deal with the arrogance of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, no matter what political party held power?

Whose land? What treaty? Only after desecrating a cemetery in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood near Minnesota Highway 23, said Charlie Zelle, Commissioner for Governor Mark Dayton, after five years of planning: “We’re just beginning to understand the pain and the anger that comes from a disruption that we could have avoided.”

A disruption? This is a fake apology over the damage to burial places of the First People by a Minnesota state agency while building a new access road to West Fourth Street, replacing the Mission Creek bridge on May 15. Because the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation’s ‘process’ did not include working with the band, ‘the process’ had failed. Ten days later, the Fond du Lac Band was notified of work in the area. By a historian.

History is such a burden. It was announced that “The State” will study the bones and artifacts that have been unearthed in a non-invasive way. There was a time, perhaps when these bones of the Anishinaabe were buried, when Church was not split from state.

When you belong to a Land, you know things. Growing up in Fond du Lac, Historian Christine Carlson contacted the Fond du Lac Band after driving past the site on May 25th. This isn’t the first time construction has disturbed Fond du Lac graveyards, said Carlson. Noticing construction in the area that Carlson knew held documented graveyards, she brought the road construction project to the attention of the Fond du Lac. This land has served both as a gathering place as well as a burial site for Lake Superior Chippewa since at least the 1600s. Was it the first time the State of Minnesota failed to consider the historic nature of the LAND or the nature of the Peace Treaties?

Eleven days later, on June 6, 2017, human remains were found, which ruined “the process.” Said project manager Roberta Dwyer, “We need to restore and recover the graves that have been, unfortunately, damaged.”

Could you hear the missing passion in this statement? Did you ever identify the threat in all the Spiritual, Not Religious around in descendants of the Old World who have lost something, in the split of Church and State. People who think this is all hooey. With 50 states, there are all of these conflicts over the units – unitaty– making up the Spiritual identity of the political state. As if the new people would rob the sacred burial places, of the dead and of the living Spirits? Now the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation has to work to restore the affected area in partnership with the band. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Initially, State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation had stated that the State Historic Preservation Office which operates under the Minnesota Historical Society, also had to “approve” the plans. And imagine what would have happened without the publicity? Like in the days when the Authority knew those treaties would be lost if not forgotten. Gutless politicians.

The gutting. Minnesota Historical Society public relations manager Jessa Kohen wrote in an email to the Duluth News Tribune: “The State Historic Preservation Office was not given an opportunity to review and consult with Mn-DOT on the Highway 23 reconstruction plans in their entirety. In this case, State Historic Preservation Office was asked by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the bridge replacement portion of the road project, only.”

After human remains were found June 6, law enforcement authority has not arrested anyone under the employment of Charlie Zelle or Mark Dayton. Historian Christine Carlson tracked a similar history during the initial construction of Minnesota 23, of unearthed bodies. In 1937. An initial occurrence of unearthed bodies was in 1869 as railroad construction roused the dead. Said Fond du Lac Band Chairman Kevin Dupuis, “If I were to drive a backhoe through your cemetery, I would be arrested, I would be in jail.”


November 15, 2008

Playing Bridge

One half-inch. Since 1993, according to the news in July 2008, after the “state bridge inspector found that the gusset plate at L-11 East had lost nearly half of its thickness in some spots due to corrosion along an 18-inch line, no repairs were ever ordered,” a collapse could have occurred at any time. No one picked up in July the reference to the half-inch gusset plate? How thick was a half of a half-inch? Res ipsa locquiter.

One half-inch. Thirteen people dead. Bigger, stronger, faster. Vehicles. Athletes. Government.

Half-inch.In American society, government did not design and build bridges. But government did disperse money to see that projects were done. Then government tried to maintain the past, including all that government money had paid to build.


Even if we lived in a monarchy, the question this morning should be the same. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on July 29, 2008 that one gusset plate connection had “fractured partially along a line of corrosion that had gone unfixed by state transportation officials since at least 1993.” If it had gone unfixed for 15 years, how could the design flaw itself have been missed in the first place? No one at the time was publicly talking about the particular gusset plate critically fractured – that its width always was half as large as it should have been. How much time did it take for the NTSB to determine that a gusset plate, which was half the size it should have been, had lost half of its thickness due to corrosion?

In some spots. Due to corrosion. These reports had been filed since 1993, according to the news in July 2008. The gun was smoking. In these state bridge inspectors’ reports. All along.

Would not an inspector inspecting have seen that the gusset plate was half of its size, if they were trained in their profession? Bridge inspectors were not just professional photographers? What standards were not applied by the human resource department of the state in hiring people at MN-DOT [State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation].

In my past experience, I have found the one MN-DOT official I dealt with arbitrary and capricious. One of their lawyers who had placed a lien on a man’s income because his vehicle was one of many who had struck a highway barricade. MN-Dot wanted this guy to pay for the replacement of the barricade, no matter what prior damage had been done. And a law was cited, without a question of due process. The state got the money immediately, without the chance to determine fairness.

I found a behavior displayed of someone just going through the motions. There is not a lot of fairness any more either in politics or government. How could an attorney working for the state overlook a rather important issue of due process. MN-DOT had already placed on lien on this guy and had their money. I am sure that over the past 8 years that he has continued to go about his work, much like that unfixed gusset plate discovered 15 years ago, without ever considering the purpose, his purpose, or what it was that gusset plate was being asked to do. When something had worked for 15 years, or 40 years, no one seemed to focus on design flaws. Any more. Was the flaw in the people?

Res ipsa locquiter.

If it had worked for 25 years, the design was never in question. It spoke for itself. The corrosion did not do it, the NTSB concluded?  What does one-half look like? Even if you lived in a monarchy, the question this morning should be the same.  Per the Minneapolis Star Tribune report on July 29, 2008, one gusset plate connection had “fractured partially along a line of corrosion that had gone unfixed by state transportation officials since at least 1993.”

The gun was smoking.  All along.  In these state bridge inspectors’ reports, as Minnesota government tried to maintain the past, the past that once was supposed to include due process, no longer does. With this report, no one ever considered the corrosion of the process…. of government or the elected leaders.

What standards were not applied by the human resource department of the state after hiring people at MN-DOT, when someone had worked for 15 years, or 40 years, no one seemed to focus on the designers or the design flaws. Even if transportation officials do not ever do the fixing. Is this what white collar crime looks like?  

Bigger. Stronger. Faster!.

#random #bridge collapse #random?  #bridge collapse

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