More big chill - more wind - more snow

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Freezing temperatures  in Big Lake closed school again for two more days this week as the polar vortex slid south to wreak havoc with schedules and ice up roads.
The closing delayed the start of Sno Daze week and the coronation of royalty (see separate story in this issue). Activities continued with a talent show Thursday and pep fest Friday. The annual semi-formal Sno Daze dance is still scheduled for Saturday at the high school.
Sub-zero temperatures did nothing to slow the number of people who turned out for the Big Lake Lioness American Red Cross Blood Drive at Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church on Lake Street North.
“Our goal was 116 units of blood and even with the brutal weather on Monday, we managed to collect 112 units,” said Lioness organizer Mary Noble. 
“It just shows you that the donors of Big Lake are not deterred from their passion of giving blood and helping others to live no matter what the weather,” she said. “We even had some walk-ins.”
The Big Lake Firefighters are happy to report that inspite of the bitter cold, things have been relatively quiet this winter. They were last called out to a fire on 196th Circle Jan. 13 at 4:15 a.m.
New Fire Chief Paul Nemes reports the fire was called in by a neighbor and firefighters from Big Lake and Elk River responded to the scene.
“It was a one-story rambler and it was totally engulfed in flames,” Nemes said. Fortunately the owners went to Texas for the winter.”
The home was a complete write-off, Nemes said. The fire was investigated by the State Fire Marshal but the results were inconclusive.
“The most likely cause was the heating system,” Nemes said.
Frigid weather poses additional hazards for firefighters.
“It’s much more of a challenge, said Nemes. “It starts when the pager goes off at whatever time. You have to make sure you have enough staffing, and that includes bringing in people from other departments.” “Once you get wet, it’s impossible. Then there are freeze-ups. Lines will freeze and equipment is more likely to break down. We will sometimes call in a bus so we can have some place to warm up. It’s not a good scene. It’s very taxing,” he said. “Then you have to worry about slips and falls, not to mention the destruction of property.”
The cold weather has also played havoc with the lights on the television broadcasting tower located off Co. Rd. 43. The lights are set for three phases, daylight, dusk and dark.   Sometimes the lights which are supposed to flash in the daytime come on in the dark and really light up the surrounding neighborhood. Repair crews are working to rectify the situation.
The long-range weather forecast continues to show sub-zero temperatures all this week with a possible warm-up for the second week in February.


MEMBERS OF THE BIG LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR performed for the school board at the beginning of their last meeting. The Chamber Choir members are selected for their skills from among their peers. They were directed by Mary Ebanks. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

DARLENE LANZ grew up just east of town and has lived in or around Big Lake all her life. She recalls what Christmas was like in Big Lake back then. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY ATTORNEY Kathleen Heaney, taking over as MCAA President. (Submitted photo.)

Cheryl Turck and Corey Mabis of the Sherburne County Probation Dept. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

SANTA AND HIS HELPERS prepared to give out toys to 111 families at the Food Shelf Monday. The toys were all donated by one local merchant. (Photo by Ken Francis.)