Under the Dome

with Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Email Larry Kusch & Bruce Owen

  • Melnick's path to redemption

    It's not the easiest story to tell, but it could have a simple ending.

  • Ripped from headlines: School zone speed traps?

    It seems there's not a lot of difference to what's going on in 2014 and what happened in 1965 with the debate over lower speed limits in school zones.

  • Manitoba's jails: By the numbers

    Earlier this year the province's auditor general released a report on overcrowding in Manitoba's jails. 

  • MPI's counter attack

    What's the real reason why Manitoba Public Insurance has picked a fight with the Public Utilities Board?

  • The thing about Frank

    What bothers me most is how long Frank Ostrowski is being left to dangle.

  • Pallister's bad month

    From Hansard on June 12, on the last day Opposition Leader Brian Pallister and Premier Greg Selinger squared off in the house:

  • Crying wolf

    Not that long ago I had conversation with a gentleman who lives on Lake Manitoba. 

  • Politics in the flood zone

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

  • Rate shock

    On Wednesday the Public Utilities released its report on Manitoba Hydro's plan to build the Keeyask and Conawapa dams and a new transmission line to Minnesota.

  • Updated: A corridor for power, but whose?

     
    Over the past couple of years I've written quite a bit about Manitoba Hydro's plan to build a transmission line from south of Winnipeg to the interior of Minnesota.

    The Manitoba portion of the line is called the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project.
     
    The Minnesota portion is called the Great Northern Transmission Line.

    Under a proposal now being studied by the Public Utilities Board, Manitoba Hydro will own 49 per cent of the U.S. side of the 500 KV transmission line, with Minnesota Power owning the rest.
     
    The PUB is also studying the need for the proposed Keeyask and Conawapa generating stations on the Nelson River. They are to report to government June 20. 
     
    Simply, Hydro says it needs the line to sell more electricity to American utilities. Under state mandates they're required to supply more renewable power to their customers. They are also under White House pressure to reduce green-house gas emissions from their older coal-burning plants. Some plants have closed and others are on the list to close.
     
    Hydro says the other benefit to the line is that it can import more power to Manitoba from the U.S. at times when we need it. Like during a drought. 
     
    Overall, Hydro says the line would add more reliability to the regional grid.
     
    Manitoba Hydro and Minnesota Power are currently in the process of selecting a route for the new transmission line.
     
    Below are letters that have landed in my inbox about what some landowners in south-east Manitoba think about the proposed route. There is also opposition to the line in Minnesota.
    1)

    To:
    Scott Thompson CEO at Manitoba Hydro
    Patrick McGarry, Manitoba Hydro
    Shannon Johnson, Manitoba Hydro
    Trevor Joyal, Licensing & Environmental Assessment Department, Manitoba Hydro
    Leslie McLaren, CBC, Winnipeg, MB
    Bruce Owen, Winnipeg Free Press
    Tom Brodbeck, Winnipeg Sun
    Grant Burr, The Carillon, Steinbach, MB
    Premiere Greg Selinger, Winnipeg, MB
    Kelvin Goertzen, MLA Steinbach, Steinbach, MB
    Ron Lemieux, MLA Dawson Trail, Lorette, MB
    Ralph Eichler,MLA Lakeside, Winnipeg, MB
    Brian Pallister, MLA Fort Whyte, Winnipeg, MB
    Stan Struthers Minister of administering the MB Hydro Act, Winnipeg, MB
    Gord Macintosh, Minister of Conservation & Water, Winnipeg, MB

  • Pallister's cushion?

    Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister will reverse the NDP's increase to the PST during his first term in office if he becomes premier in the next election.

  • A blurring of lines

    The Manitoba government has introduced proposed changes to the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act that would allow police officers to be identified by their badge number instead of their name as part of annual public-sector compensation disclosure reporting.

  • Mail-order Marijuana

    In Stephen Harper's Canada, you and I can buy dope online.

  • Too many dams and Power Smarter

    Too many dams?

  • Cottage fees

    The average service fee increase for cottagers in provincial parks this year is $247, Conservation and water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said recently.

  • Measles information lacking

    After announcing a third and fourth case of measles in Manitoba two weeks ago, the Health Department decided it would not issue further news releases if more cases were confirmed.

  • PLAN 5: No Conawapa

    Just so we're clear, Plan 5 has nothing to with the 1959 movie.

  • Jim Poole: City loses one of its finest

    I was riding my bike over the Redwood Bridge one evening last summer, heading towards Main Street, when I bumped in to Jim.

  • UPDATE: Uh oh, Shelly Glover is on the phone

    I learned long ago that when Shelly Glover calls, you'd best drop what you're doing and listen.

  • UPDATE #2 Plett replies: Senator Plett's air time

    The People's Network recently aired a story on Conservative senators who bought business class airfares, with public money, to fly themselves and their spouses to Ottawa as the Senate expense scandal was in full swing last fall.

About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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