Why don’t we have the freedom to do what we want with our lawns?

In most cities, if you don’t mow your lawn, you’ll get a notice from the city threatening to send in the mowers and leave you a big bill for the work. A lawn must be just so.

More people are pushing back — admittedly haphazardly — against the notion that grass must be green and well manicured, even though fewer people are arguing that any good — other than an aesthetic — comes out of it.

An Ohio woman, writing in the Washington Post, challenges this ongoing sensibility by refusing to cut her lawn, although she recently hacked it down to 8 inches to keep the township at bay.

People should be allowed to live out their values on their own property as long as they are not causing a true nuisance that hinders their neighbors’ use of their own properties. In May, the White House released a strategy to protect pollinators by increasing wildlife habitat.

But while the report encourages homeowners to set aside natural habitat for wildlife, it offers them no legal support to do so. We need local regulations of private lawns to reflect science, not the whims of town officials. They should be developed in consultation with ecologists and botanists, to set standards for natural yards that are safe and healthy for both humans and wildlife.

Society needs to adjust its cultural norms on lawn aesthetics. For the health of the planet, and for our own health, we need to start letting nature dictate how we design our outdoor spaces.

We need to reassess how much mowed space we really need. By the size of most people’s lawns in my area, you’d think they were hosting a weekly lacrosse match. But the only time I ever really see them on their lawns is when they are mowing them.

It’s a nice sentiment but it’s probably never going to happen.

A homeowner in Michigan made a federal case out of the situation. David Shoemaker of Howell, Mich., rebelled after the city cut a tree by the curb without consulting him. So he stopped mowing his lawn.

The city sent in the mowers and gave him a $600 bill.

He won in a lower court but last week a federal appeals court said the charge and the ordinance are legit.

“No fundamental right is impacted by the ordinance’s requirement that he mow and maintain that land,” a judge said.

The case could end up at the Supreme Court, says the Detroit Free Press.

Is it time to dial back the high school sports worship a bit?

East Ridge High School, the sprawling campus that caters to Woodbury’s higher-end neighborhoods, may be caught in a cheating scandal in its football program, according to the Star Tribune.

Mike Pendino, who has been a football coach for five years at the high school, quit yesterday morning.

Last month, the school forfeited all of its victories for the last two seasons, including conference and section football titles.

The school has apparently been using ringers — ineligible players — to be competitive.

In Pendino’s resignation letter, quoted by the Strib, he denied any knowledge of the fraud.

“[A]t no time was I aware of the purported fact of any East Ridge football player residing out of the boundaries of our school district, and at no time was I aware that any coach on my staff had any knowledge of this event. My understanding of the policy in place in the South Washington School District is such that the determination of any student’s place of residence is not a responsibility of a teacher or coach, but of the district administration. Would I have had knowledge of any such impropriety, I would have reported any inconsistency to my school athletic director or principal.

“With the continuing scrutiny placed on the football program at ERHS, I feel it would be best for the student athletes involved that their efforts and actions would be placed at the forefront, and it is for this reason that I resign my position so that their interests would regain the rightful place they deserve. They are a class act of hard-working young men and I wish them all of the best.”

“There are a couple of big-time recruits that probably shouldn’t have been there,” Jo Jo Garcia, a player who was ruled ineligible, told the Star Tribune.

If he knew it, why didn’t anyone else in the “I see nothing” system?

So far the school’s principal — he’s charged with felony counts for swindle — athletic director and now football coach have resigned.

Woodbury must be so proud.

You can count us among the big fans of signs going up around St. Paul honoring members of the city’s fire department who died in the line of duty.

The signs mark the location where a firefighter died.

As it happens, this sign went up in the last few days at the corner of Cedar and West Seventh, better known, perhaps, as the World Headquarters of NewsCut.

Julia Schrenkler | MPR News

The signs, which were first proposed early last year, don’t tell you much, however. But that’s what blogs are for.

According to the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation:

Louis Kieger, 67, Captain Engine No. 9 he served the department for thirty five years. Injured at fire at Husch Bros., 7th & Cedar Streets – May 24, 1919. Tripped and fell, receiving injuries from which he died on May 28.

Louis Kieger, who died a martyr to duty and who is placed on the list of those who died “in harness” had slipped on a hose and fell to the pavement suffering a severe abdominal injury causing his death.

He was born in Alsace-Lorraine, and came to Saint Paul 50 years ago. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, Marie and Clara, and four sons, Albert, Frank, George, and Louis

There is little account available for details of the blaze. The fire caused about $100,000 in damage, however, and injured more than two dozen people. That’s nearly $3 million in today’s dollars.

But Husch Brothers lived on through at least 1950.

Minnesota Historical Society

It’s all gone now, of course. The only thing to remind us that Louis Kieger was ever here is a new sign at an old location.