As I write this post in the Twin Cities, the temperature stands at -21F, wind chill takes it to -27F, and I have a foot of snow on my front lawn. In Duluth, three hours north by road, it’s -17F but the wind chill is -43F. We have an abundance of cold, or more accurately, a dearth of heat, with plenty of snow for our use … if we could just bring ourselves to leave our homes.
And yet, in the Great Bailout Rush of 2009, what does Duluth want from Uncle Sam to “stimulate” its economy? As my good friend King Banaian points out, they need snowmakers — six million dollars’ worth of them (last item):
Duluth MN Water Spirit Mountain snowmaking and maintenance facility $6,000,000
That’s the final item in Duluth’s whopping $413 million request list. This includes construction of a public farmers market ($2 million), “reskinning” the exterior of Midtowne Manors I & II ($4.5 million for “skinning”?), seevral million more for replacing flooring and bathrooms at both manors, seventeen million for two new schools, $5 million to repaint the Aerial Lift Bridge, $17 million for a rail project, $24 million for a downtown trolley system, and so on.
None of these are federal issues, but they pale in comparison to demanding federal funding for snowmaking machines in Duluth. Talk about carrying coals to Newcastle! What’s next – requests for tanning beds in Florida? Sand for California beaches?