Herald Journal Columns
August 27, 2007 Herald Journal

A ‘Ka-saw . . .?”


This week I had the good fortune of interviewing two engineers for the article about bridges in Wright County.

Let’s take a moment to thank God for these people who like physics, facts and figures so much that they ensure our safety as we drive all over the place.

I stick a key into my car, and it goes. I know not how or why a bridge keeps me out of the water or how I can pass over a railroad track without trouble, other than these people safeguard our roads so that we can do this.

That being said, they speak their own language, and I was instantly mesmerized by Wayne Fingalson from the county in the first minute of conversation, as he referenced a Ka-Saw several times.

I stopped him. “What does a Ka-Saw mean?” Turns out that a Ka-Saw is actually a CSAH, or a county state aid highway.

Silly me! I thought they were simply county roads, funded as such. No such deal.

They are actually county roads that are funded in part by the state.

“Shoot!” I told my co-workers. “I take a Ka-Saw all the way home!” since I usually take CSAH 30 home.

In fact, Wayne noted that the gas tax is the perfect example of how local roads get funded by the state, even though they are regarded as county roads.

In fact, if you find yourself at a dinner party and need to strike up a conversation with an engineer, go ahead and start talking about funding and Ka-Saws. But be prepared, because they’ll make your eyeballs cross in three seconds.

I mentioned Ka-Saws and the gas tax to state engineer Terry Humbert from the Minnesota Department of Transportation at the end of our conversation.

That’s all it took, because we could have talked for another half hour about it, if we wanted to. It’s very interesting stuff.

Humbert said that 62 percent of the gas tax goes to the state, 29 percent goes to counties, and then 9 percent goes to cities over 5,000 that are designated as “state aid” cities.

It’s too bad that the gas tax wasn’t increased slowly over time, rather than now when gas is $3 per gallon. It taxes the working poor, in my opinion.

Tricked at Valleyfair

Our family visited Valleyfair a week ago, and I got tricked onto riding the Power Tower (blue version) by my husband.

He got us into line, and I lost my nerve after seeing the first bunch of people shoot up in the air couple hundred feet. Um, no thanks.

Still in line, I gave him a look of disbelief and fear. “I think I’ll watch you from over there,” I said.

Then I scooted over to a safe distance and watched him get strapped in, then summarily shot up in to the air.

He yawned. He dangled his legs. He waved happy waves at me. He looked bored.

So I agreed to take the next ride up with our kids. They strapped me in and POW – we were shooting into the air. I kept think CLOSERTOGOD, CLOSERTOGOD, CLOSERTOGOD!!

Down was easier than up, and I don’t know if I’d ride it again.

Yes, I was tricked, but we had fun!

If you are so inclined, then I recommend going to Valleyfair yourself.

Contrarily wise, I do not recommend attending the Renaissance Festival with any minors (or even full adults; mainly husbands) because of the exhibitionism that takes place there – mainly the employees and other women who wear near-topless outfits (the bosoms overflow and things can be seen).

It’s definitely not children fare, or at least it wasn’t when we attended there in the past.

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