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Answer Man: Tough break for wind turbine blade

A wind turbine stands still on Wednesday with a buckled blade and a damaged gear box in Dexter.
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Dear Answer Man, I saw this wind turbine with a broken blade a few weeks ago, on the north side of I-90 east of Dexter, not far from where 290th Street crosses I-90. I thought the blades on wind turbines were extremely tough — I'm amazed that it's broken. I'm not implying that you have experience with windy problems, but could you check this one out? — Ron Jensen

A few other readers have also sent snapshots of that sad turbine along I-90. The P-B had a story last month that said the turbine, one of 67 in the Wapsipinicon Wind Project near Dexter, was apparently was hit by lightning, causing that blade to droop. I believe workers were out there this week, possibly to replace it.

Regarding wind farms, can we agree that they're a blight upon the landscape? I know they're better for the environment than a smoke-belching power plant, but I totally get why some people in the Goodhue and Zumbrota area have been fighting so hard to keep wind turbines out. Day and night, they're ugly.

Dear Answer Man, are those new e-cigarettes safe to use? Are they regulated by anybody?

Excellent question. You'd think somebody would have to sign off on tobacco-oriented devices such as these, but the federal Food and Drug Administration hasn't gotten any traction yet. The agency tried to have them labeled "drug/device combinations" but the manufacturers are fighting that in court. In the meantime, the FDA is ready to propose a new regulatory approach.


Are they safe? Your guess is as good as mine. There's little independent research on them. Public health officials are concerned that they glamorize smoking and lure young people into the cigarette habit. They also happen to be expensive -- $12-$15 for "cheap" disposables and $100-$200 for luxurious, reloadable versions.

More old tractors

Last week, I invited tips on where you can find a vintage tractor show this summer and a few people — Irv Plitzuweit, of Eyota, and John Koenigs — cited the " Days of Yesteryear " show at the History Center of Olmsted County, which is on Aug. 10 and 11 this year. I'll add a link to this magnificent column online, for your information pleasure.


You can't do better than the Answer Man. Send questions to P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903 or

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