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.


Kathleen R. Huber

DANCERS FROM JENNIFER’S DANCE CENTER will be performing at Disney World in Florida in October. Pictured (front row, left to right), are Grace Esselman, Lillian St. Jean, Sophia Gerou, Kailey Buchta, Rowan Payne and Hannah Oakes. Middle row are Amelia Cameron, Brianna Anthony, Jacqie Bengtson, Gianna Mitchell, Alex Dillion, Abby Yanke and Rose Curtis. Back row are Tori Ramert, Alexis Erickson, Sophia St. Ives, Tiana Link, Rachel Royseth, Kristian Kunkel, Brooklynn Bengtson, Nicole Bengtson and Kendall Luoma. Not pictured are Haylee Oakes and Melanie Miskowic. (Submitted photo).

FIVE GIRLS FROM MARY OF THE VISITATION CHURCH’S YOUTH GROUP helped Gail Stanley (not pictured) of Big Lake pack her belongings for a move she was taking to Princeton last weekend. The girls are (from left to right): Bridget Buchholz, Jasmine Johnson, Michaela Manifold, Brittney Kostek and Josie Berger. (Photo by Bill Morgan)

CENTRACARE HEALTH MONTICELLO HOSPITAL provides top-quality health care for the community. St. Cloud Hospital, run by CentraCare Health, was recently named the third best medical facility in the state, second only to the Mayo Clinic and Abbot Northwestern. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

CHUCK MAURER, 54, of Becker was killed in a car crash Tuesday and his 10 year old daughter, Casey, was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center after his mini-van was t-boned by a pickup truck driven by four teenagers from Little Falls. (Submitted photo courtesy of the Maurer family.)
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