Almost a year and a half after the Ham Lake fire consumed about 75,000 acres along the Gunflint Trail, a federal grand jury indicted a Washington, D.C., man on charges he started the blaze.
Authorities say the blaze began after Stephen G. Posniak, 64, set fire to trash May 5, 2007, at a Ham Lake campsite in northern Minnesota and then left without completely extinguishing the flames.
The resulting two-week-long fire crossed the U.S-Canadian border, destroyed 140 structures in Minnesota valued at $4 million and cost $11 million more to put out.
Posniak, a retired computer programmer, faces three counts: setting timber afire, leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished and giving false information to a U.S. Forest Service officer.
We'll have to see how this plays out, innocent until proven guilty and all that, and accidents do happen. It sounds like Mr. Posniak was an experienced visitor to the area so I would be surprised if he was blatantly negligent in extinguishing his campfire, if in fact he was the one who camped at the fire's point of origin. If it was his camp, it's entirely possible that he thought he had properly extinguished his fire and gone on his way. I know I've drowned enough campfires to be an expert and I'm still paranoid about something like this happening to me. This part of the article makes me wonder though:
Hmmm. As horrified and crushed as I'd be, I like to think that I would be honest about something like that. If the above is true, that makes me think that the fire got out of control while he was there and he panicked and booked. That's just speculation and to be fair to Mr. Posniak, they may have the wrong person or it may have been something entirely different. If it did happen that way and he didn't make a beeline straight to the nearest phone then he's not going to get much sympathy from me. We'll find out soon enough.
Remember the Outrage? There were all sorts of screams against the pre-emptive raids on some groups just before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Now one of those persons has admitted to plotting to plant bombs:
A 23-year-old Michigan man has admitted to plotting to detonate a homemade bomb in the tunnels near the Xcel Energy Center, hoping it would cause a power failure and prompt cancellation of the Republican National Convention.
Matthew B. DePalma of Flint, pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis Tuesday to illegally possessing Molotov cocktails.
St. Paul provided plenty of venues for people who just wanted to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, there was a small group of people who came to keep others, Republicans, from exercising their political right to assemble. Those people aren't protesters, they are anti-democratic thugs, and should be treated accordingly. Shame on anyone who tries to justify their actions.
Wrong again. Yesterday I wrote that the precipitation that was headed our way would be rain and not sleet. We're getting both right now on this rather dreary day.
Charming. Looks like we have some bipartisan nutcases running around the Twin Cities:
Vandals struck the garages and homes of at least six Minnesota members of Congress Tuesday night, spray painting angry graffiti including a Biblical reference to "Psalm 2."
When Laurie Coleman, wife of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, hauled her trash to the alley at 7:30 this morning, a chilling sight greeted her.
Spray-painted in black on the wooden siding of the garage in the couple's Summit Hill neighborhood, in letters nearly a foot high: "U R A CRIMINAL RESIGN OR ELSE! PSALM 2"
On the alley side, each double-bay stall door had the word "SCUM" spray painted in black ink, as a did a wooden partition in between.
Also vandalized in similar fashion: U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, John Kline, Michelle Bachmann and Jim Ramstad. Klobuchar and Ellison are Democrats; Coleman, Kline, Bachmann and Ramstad, Republicans.
The thought of having someone slinking around defacing your property while you sleep is at least creepy, if not downright scary. It sounds like the cops are taking it seriously because of the "or else" aspect. I can't imagine they have much to work with though.