Master Gardener: Protect your home from the wrath of woodpeckers

Answer: Woodpeckers can cause a lot of damage to a house! Several years ago, I noticed drywall dust on my bedroom nightstand, looked up, and discovered a hole in the wall. A pileated woodpecker had pecked through the cedar siding, sheeting, insulation, and drywall, causing $1,000 worth of damage. I then discovered that insurance doesn’t cover damage from birds. During the past week I have been chasing them off the house every time I happen to hear rat-a-tat-tat.

Related: Ask the Master Gardener: Add a splash of fall color to your yard with shrubberies

There are nine species of woodpeckers found in Minnesota. Flickers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers leave for the winter, but the others stay here year-round. Don’t consider shooting them out your window because woodpeckers are a protected species — it is illegal to kill or trap one without a permit. Wood siding, especially soft wood like cedar,

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Renovation will help protect Springdale firefighters at Station No. 4

SPRINGDALE — The City Council has answered the call to protect the firefighters in the Fire Department.

The council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a $7,800 contract with Crafton Tull for architectural services to renovate Fire Station No. 4 on Elm Springs Road.

“We’re trying to help with the decontamination of our individuals,” Fire Chief Mike Irwin told the council. “And that’s become very different with our pandemic calls.”

Even without the threat of covid-19, firefighters’ exposure to smoke and burning of hazardous chemicals at fire sites and even the diesel fumes from engines and ambulances has been linked to cancer, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The renovated space at Station No. 4 will include showers, washing machines and a new weight room to help protect its firefighters and get them ready more quickly for the next call, Irwin said.

“This will help improve response times for our

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I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

Dear Moneyist,

I got married recently and moved into my husband’s house that he shares with his parents. (His name and his parents’ name are on the deed.) Currently, we pay a small amount for rent, but my husband hopes to take on the mortgage of the house over the next couple of years. I am the breadwinner, and so the majority (or even all) of the money that would go towards the mortgage would be coming from me.

Before fully committing to this, are there any precautions I need to take? Or what are the risks I could be facing? I am worried about what would happen if I end up paying off their home, and they want to sell it or my in-laws pass away, or if they decide to give their share of the house to my husband’s sister, or if my husband and I separate (which

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