Property problems

Could wasps solve the problem of the flies?

Monday, August 10th, 2009

In the Sunday Whistleblower column, I wrote about the frustrations of two rural Scott County residents whose homes have been bombarded by flies from the neighboring feedlot. The flies leave behind trails of excrement on the siding and windows of Richard Theis and Wiley Vogt’s homes.

Scott County got involved in the dispute because the feedlot operator, Roger Breeggemann, had up to 90 head of cattle on a 10-acre property that legally could only hold eight. County officials worked out a solution with Breeggemann, which required him to lease additional land and spray Theis and Vogt’s homes with a product to keep the flies away. Both Theis and Vogt said they were concerned about an insecticide being sprayed on their homes. (more…)

Mold chases a couple from their Golden Valley condo

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

My Sunday column explored the ordeal of Denise Martineau and Mark Bufkin, a couple who gave up on their condo in the Villa on Bassett Creek after a tussle with their homeowner’s association. It will be interesting to see whether the new owner, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (a state agency), does any mold remediation before putting it on the market again.

A tree falling in the city can make a big noise, and that’s what neighbors feared

Friday, July 24th, 2009

crackedtreesmall.jpgJim Stadler called me earlier this month to say he’s got a problem with a neighbor. In this case, the neighbor was a tall ash tree with an ominous crack that could send one of its two main branches crashing into his yard. The tree grows on a property that was foreclosed on last year, so Stadler didn’t know who was responsible for it. Stadler said he couldn’t persuade the city to remove the menacing tree. Unlike the leaning tree of Fridley, whose ownership is still in question, this one was definitely on private property. So he called Whistleblower.

This week I traveled up to the 2000 block of Russell Avenue North, in Minneapolis’s Willard-Hay neighborhood, to see the arboreal menace for myself. It wasn’t hard to find.


Second homeowner in Victoria blames cracked foundation, warped house on sewer project

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Last month I wrote about the ordeal of Pete and Ethel Nelson, who are battling the Metropolitan Council over who will pay to repair their home and yard in the aftermath of an immense sewer reconstruction project. The start of the next phase of the sewer upgrade has been a contentious issue before the Victoria City Council, with council member Kim Roden putting the Met Council’s feet to the fire about improving the way it responds to property owners’ claims of collateral damage. Today, Roden told me she’s pressuring the regional government to take a second look at the struggle of another Victoria property owner, Gary Corwin.

Corwin, a pilot for the airline formerly known as Northwest, has lived on Virginia Shores Circle with his family since 1988. He told Whistleblower that the excavation for the sewer shifted the footings under his deck, cracked his foundation and warped his house to the point that windows and doors don’t open and close. “You can tell it looked like an earthquake,” he said. He estimates the damage at $200,000 to $250,000.