Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winsome win some

The other day, on Twitter, I saw a wonderful quote from one of my favorite authors. “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." It comes from Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Desperaux, and it is inspiring me to approach my writing and my life quite differently. (One of the shortcomings of having grown children is that they used to serves as excuses for reading her stories more frequently. Now, from time to time, I just read them to myself.)

Winter sunlight at sunrise can be spectacular
Winter sunlight at sunrise can be spectacular
Photo by J. Harrington

Telling stories, I used to focus on exposing the dark. I believed, and still do, like Justice Brandeis, that sunlight is the best disinfectant. And sunlight is certainly precious, especially during times like this cloudy Winter and contentious presidential primary season. But, I may have been guilty of doing little more than casting sunlight on the dark instead of bringing sunlight into the lives of readers. I'll do better in the future. (I almost wrote "I'll try to" when I remembered another of my favorite quotations, this one from Yoda "Do or do not. There is no try.") All of this leads up to announcing this win for the good guys and the environment.

Last week we wrote about a proposal to downgrade the classification of the Vermillion River in Dakota County from Class 2A (cold water habitat) to Class 2B (warm water habitat). The Twin Cities Chapter of Trout Unlimited (full disclosure, I've been a member for years and, several lifetimes ago, was editor of their newsletter) was understandably upset about this proposal since the Vermillion is an existing trout fishery. This morning, I learned from TCTU leadership that:
All the emails from TU members, other environmental groups, and clean water advocates we alerted worked!

Last night at a public hearing on the 10-year Draft Watershed Management Plan for the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO), staff prefaced the public comment period by saying they had been inundated with emails, and they will drop language in the plan advocating for lowering pollution protections and cleanup standards on the Vermillion River.

The river runs from Elko New Market in Scott County, through Lakeville, Farmington and the townships all the way to Hastings and the Mississippi River. It’s a trophy brown trout stream, with catch and release regulations for the naturally-reproducing browns, and regular, statewide limits on keeping the stocked rainbow trout. It’s the biggest trout stream in the metro area.

Your advocacy has had a major impact on the future of the Vermillion. The VRWJPO pledged to continue work with Trout Unlimited to restore the watershed and the river. THANK YOU!
This Spring, I intend to head for the Vermillion and do some exploring. I haven't been near the stream in years, not since I worked for the Metro Council on water quality planning. So, I have a growing list of things to look forward to come Spring and to plan for during what's left of this Winter. That helps contain my discontent. Remembering and following KDC's observation about stories and light will help me put a lid on it, as they say.

The Poets light but Lamps — (930)



By Emily Dickinson

The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate
If vital Light

Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their
Circumference —


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