Tales From Normal, Mn.--FICTION

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Tales from Normal, Mn. Headline News---FICTION

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zoning in Normal, Mn. made simple---FICTION

Well recently I have been reading stories about zoning battles in Elkhorn regarding the new ethanol plant there, and the bewilderment of city officials in finding out that their long tedious deliberations about a conditional use permit were fruitless since in fact, the zoning of the plant in question had been changed so that any owner of the land had an absolute right to do what they wanted re ethanol regardless of citizen, or government regulation.

I thought that was a totally renegade idea...and a novel one. Just to check, I gave my old friend Herman from Normal, Mn. a call. After all, he was a lawyer, he was a full time fisherman, part time city official and also served on the Normal Minn School Board...He should know.

Herman listened intently as I described the situation in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Then he erupted in a huge bellylaugh.

'Shucks Wolfman (that's what he always called me). Up here in Normal,Mn we changed the zoning to "E" back in 1899. That stands for "Everything." Up here we want our beer, our bait and our ammo in the same convenient store, and we don't want any unamerican folks putting limits on us. Shucks. This is the land of the free."

Then he paused.

"What's the fishing like in Elkhorn?"

I tried to explain to him that though the air stinked, the fishing was not an issue cause there were not so many lakes like in Minnesota.

"If there's no fishing...it really does stink."

I'm not sure that Herman really does understanding zoning after all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dateline Normal, Mn.: National Health Care Debate solved: Plan to be implemented next Monday----FICTION

Well..it's been pretty exciting, roaming Minnesota looking for new ideas...and while doing so, I received a text message from Herman, the countryboylawyer from Normal, Mn ---that he had solved the current health care crisis and was ready to implement the solution next Monday at midnight. I was all ears.

On the beach at Brainerd, I hopped in the car and headed over to Normal for a scheduled press conference. All 100 citizens of Normal were there, and each one had a complimentary cup of coffee from Betty Lou's, in the blue Viking mug, with lots of whipped cream on the top. It was so strong...there was no need for a mocha.

Herman led off the press conference by thanking everyone for taking off from fishing that morning to attend. Then he paused and began:

"We've been fighting and ranting about the health care crisis enough..it is time for concrete answers and time for action.

In the past 40 years since Medicare was implemented, and I remember well the day that happened, we have grown in our knowledge of how to deliver health care. Only 1% of Medicare costs go to administration. The lives of seniors have been changed dramatically over these 40 years. Private insurance has provided supplement insurance and the terms of that supplement insurance has been regulated closely ---it was not always so, but we made improvenents. The problem has been in enforcement and curtailment of fraud. That will change. Inspectors will be increased 10 fold and violators will go to jail.

Effective next Monday, all US citizens with a Social Security number will use it as a temporary number for the Americare health program---ALL citizens will qualify. The current intermediaries that handle the payment process electronically...and they do a wonderful job in paying claims in 10 days...they will brace for larger volumes, and the government will adjust their contacts to pay them for the larger volume.

A preventative care benefits section will be added on a stat basis as well as pregnancy care. Other care issues will be addressed as we go along.

As seniors know, Medicare never did cover everything---far from it. And the role of private insurance in Americare will be to pay for the physician costs of part B in Americare, and of course prescription drugs. Americare will be primary coverage, and private insurance will be secondary for hospital...and private insurance will be primary for physician coverage and Americare will be the payor of last resort.

America is tired of waiting and fighting about healthcare.

Also effective next Monday...the wars in Afganistan and Iraq will be phased down. We have been victorious. We salute our troops, and I urge all Americans to give them their due when they return."

Naturally I was stunned by the news...but pleased.