Silver Bay, Finland, struggle back from iceOn Wednesday morning, 1,000 Coop Light and Power customers were still without power after Monday's ice storm.
On Wednesday morning, 1,000 Coop Light and Power customers were still without power after Monday's ice storm.
"Most of these are individuals in pockets here and there," said Sarah Cron of CLP. "Almost all of Knife River, Larsmont and Clover Valley areas are on."
Beaver Bay was partially back on line and was expected to be totally caught up by the end of Wednesday.
The biggest area of concern continued to be the Finland area, where electrical workers from Two Harbors and Lake Country Power offered assistance to CLP.
"Our substation went out, but we also had a ton of broken poles," Cron said. "We have only so much equipment that can do poles."
She said the Coop Store and businesses close to it were "on and holding," but that was all. She expected it to be at least one more day before the rest of Finland and Isabella were back on line.
In Silver Bay, mayor Scott Johnson said the roads were passable. At an emergency city council meeting, a tree trimmer was hired for two days to take care of dangerous situations.
"The town looks like a BWCAW blowdown," he said.
The city had lost power Tuesday night, but it was back up by Wednesday morning. At the arena, people were trickling in to take advantage of the emergency shelter set up by the Red Cross.
"They're expecting it to be a big day today," Johnson said. "By now, people are getting tired of being self sufficient."
He said it was good to have the Red Cross there, with experienced people who know how to deal with these emergency situations.
"We could have figured something out ourselves, but they're better at it," Johnson said.
He also said that Randy Bolen Jr., mayor of Two Harbors, called to commiserate and offer whatever assistance possible.
Johnson said what amazed him the most is that with all the trees and power lines down, there was very little property damage and no one was injured.
"For the most part, people are amazed at what happened, and more upbeat than I would have thought," he said.
Gina Heinzen, director of the Lake County Ambulance Service in Silver Bay, has been acting as liaison between the community and the Red Cross, and helping with logistics. She said four people used the emergency shelter Tuesday night, but that a lot more showed up for bottled water, or to use the showers.
Some people qualify for special room rates at AmericInn, set up for those who might find it difficult to sleep in the emergency shelters--people with infants or those with handicaps or who need to use oxygen, for instance.
Hot meals at night are provided by the Red Cross, both for those who stay in the shelter and those who don't have cooking facilities at their homes. Box lunches are also available. Heinzen said she coordinates with local restaurants and grocery store to have those things provided, as well as snacks for those who come and go.
"The biggest challenge has been to get the word out to people about what's available," Heinzen said. "We have it on the news, but if they have no electricity..."
Posters have been put up, and volunteers in Finland and Isabella went door to door to advise people, especially those with special needs.
Heinzen said the Red Cross will remain available as long as they're needed, and that will depend on how fast electrical service is restored.
There were plenty of good Samaritans out during the storm. Ernie Trafford of Finland said that Chuck Meeks and John Nelson came by hauling a 100-pound tank and a propane heater, providing much needed warmth in a trailer that had been without power for over a day.
“We were freezing and they were going house to house warming people up,” said Trafford. “They kept us going. Those guys deserve recognition for something like that.”
In Beaver Bay, Silver Bay utility employee Larry Carter was pumping holding tanks for the City of Beaver Bay, hauling wastewater, some 27,000 gallons of it--3,000 gallons at a time--to the Silver Bay wastewater plant. Beaver Bay was without power so its water and wastewater plants were down.