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‘Eventful’ Eelpout festival in 2014

WALKER -- The Cass County Sheriff’s Office described the 35th Annual Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake as, “safe, yet eventful for local law enforcement.”

In a press release the sheriff’s office said there were a total of 69 Eelpout related incidents including: medical calls, public assists and property related crimes. Friday night, a tandem axle fishhouse and pickup truck caught fire accidentally. It was reported as a total loss. No injuries occurred.

Saturday night, a stolen pickup was taken from the lake and located south of Walker. Officers took a juvenile male into custody in relation to the crime. The sheriff’s office received a report of a medical situation at the Chase on the Lake tent on Saturday; an unresponsive party was located inside the tent who was transported via Air Care to a Fargo hospital after lifesaving efforts were initiated, according to the sheriff’s office release.

A combined 112 hours of patrol were logged by the sheriff’s office, lake and event area patrols and the Walker, Lake Shore, Pine River, Longville and Pike Bay police departments. Of 115 traffic stops conducted, 13 people were taken into custody for DWI and other infractions including underage consumption.

The sheriff’s office reported spending a considerable amount of time enforcing litter control.

The debris left behind by event goers last year was described as “atrocious,” according to a release from Cass County Environmental Services. An increased effort was made in 2014 to better manage the trash and sanitation situation.

Cass County Environmental Services credits event promoters and cass county staff with good planning early on and follow through for better management of the trash situation.

More than 100 trash barrels and 90 portable toilets were available. The Polar Plunge committee donated money to the Leech Lake Hockey Association to complete trash pick-up, according to the Cass County Environmental Services release.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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