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With the Norway pines removed from the trout pond at Animal Land, employee Brandee Evermoen begins cleaning the branches for the parks ground. All the animals were safe from the storm. Animal Land will reopen Monday

Area in recovery mode: Progress shows as residents work to clean up after storm

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI - As the Bemidji area continued to clean up from Monday night's severe storm, the northern part of Beltrami County was hit by a similar storm.

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At about 1 p.m. Wednesday, a storm carrying 60 mph straight-line winds hit the western edge of Bemidji and extended north toward Waskish, Kelliher, Blackduck and Turtle River, Jeff Makowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D., said.

Trees were down and uprooted in those areas in northern Beltrami County, Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said.

"There were also pockets of power lines down up there and some hail damage north of Kelliher," Hodapp said. "There was also some wind damage on the west side of Bemidji."

Hodapp said there had been no reported injuries from this second storm.

As for the damage from Monday night's storms, power company crews continued to restore power to the city Thursday.

As of 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Beltrami Electric had less than 1,300 customers without power. About 700 were from Monday night's storm, while 700 were from Wednesday's storm, Mitch Raile, Beltrami Electric's spokesman, said.

"Crews were able to make substantial progress and will be working into the evening again," he said. "Today, crews from Itasca-Mantrap, Wild Rice Electric, Clearwater-Polk, Roseau Electric and Todd-Wadena Cooperatives were here to help out."

Raile said the company hoped to have power completely restored in the southern part of the county by the end of Thursday - nearly 4,100 were affected by the area's first storm - and warned that customers in the northern part may have to wait until today for power to be restored from the second storm.

Otter Tail Power didn't provide details Thursday about customer outages. The company had about 4,400 reported outages Monday and less than 200 customers in Bemidji and Cass Lake were without power as of early Wednesday evening.

'It came through my wall'

As people continue the cleanup process, some Bemidji residents are reaching out to thank their community.

Claire Coder said she was thankful no one was hurt when a 40-foot red pine tree came through the wall of her home on Jackson Avenue Southwest during Monday night's storm.

"I heard a huge crash and thought it was my 8-foot patio door," Coder said. "I looked down the hall and saw I had a tree through the wall in my bathroom."

Coder, who has foster children, said the storm happened at a time the two youngest children usually get ready for bed.

Coder's bathroom had ceramic tile on the wall and a ceramic bathtub and vanity, all of which shattered when the tree came through, she said.

The next day, T&K Outdoors came right away to remove the tree, Coder said. She said Wes' Plumbing, Higgins Heating, Young Fencing and Kevin Kangas Construction all came either in the middle of other projects or at the end of their days to help her out.

"They really helped with the stress," Coder said. "They could have said they were really busy, but they came as soon as they could. This community has some great people who are in the business of helping others."

Coder said her roof and fence also had tree damage, her basement flooded and her air conditioning unit moved two feet off its base.

Competitors team up

It wasn't just homeowners thankful for others in the community.

When the storm hit, Lueken's Village Foods lost power, which wasn't restored until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Store Director Brent Sicard said.

To help preserve their frozen and refrigerated items, Marketplace Foods sent over a refrigerator truck and freezer truck for Lueken's to use.

"A year ago during the floods in Minot, we worked together to send some relief there," Sicard said. "This time, it was our turn to need help."

Lueken's lost all of the ice cream it had in stock and the first row of milk, Sicard said.

"Being able to throw everything in the trucks really helped," Sicard said. "It saved us from losing thousands of dollars of refrigerated and frozen goods."

Lueken's and Marketplace also donated some relief to workers in Bemidji, Sicard said.

"Together we donated water and Gatorade to the firefighters and other crew helping with recovery," Sicard said.

Mission group helps out

Seventy-two youth missionaries spent the week helping with recovery in Cass Lake.

The students, who were part of the YouthWorks group, arrived Sunday in Cass Lake for a five-day mission.

Emilie Lamourdux, Cass Lake site director for YouthWorks, said YouthWorks is a nonprofit group providing youth mission opportunities for churches.

Lamourdux oversees mission groups every week throughout the summer. They teach a kids club and a sports camp all summer but also spend time volunteering in the community, Lamourdux said.

The groups have worked on various projects in Cass Lake this summer, but after the storm hit, they saw the need for help, Lamourdux said.

"It was an obvious need," Lamourdux said. "Before I could even talk to them, they came to me and said this is what they wanted to do this week."

Lamourdux sent out five 12-person teams Tuesday morning, which then canvassed downtown Cass Lake, she said.

"Some of them knocked on doors and asked if they could help clean up yards," Lamourdux said. "Others followed the public works guys as they cut things up and swept the streets and moved logs and branches."

The students are from four different churches in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Iowa and will be here through today.

Baby hawk lost in storm

While cleaning up their property Tuesday, Elisabeth Burnham and her husband, Paul, found a baby hawk.

Elisabeth Burnham said they were cleaning up the backyard of their Bemidji home when she noticed a group of robins were loudly chirping.

"I figured they had a nest that was damaged by the storm, so I went over to look at it," Burnham said.

The birds flew away and the couple's dogs started barking at the fence.

"He was on the other side of the fence, stuck up against it," Burnham said. "It was hot and he was panting, so we covered him in a shirt and put him in a dog cage."

Burnham contacted a few different places, but she said no one has the facilities to take the hawk at this time.

"He's just in a dog cage and we're feeding him raw chicken like they told us to," Burnham said.

If interested in adopting the baby hawk, which the couple has named Stormy, contact Burnham at (612) 839-8546.

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