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Minnesota National Guard
Flooding along northern Minnesota border prompts Guard response

Minnesota National Guard The good news for flood-weary residents along the Minnesota-Ontario border is that the amount of water moving through local rivers dropped a bit Wednesday after having peaked on Tuesday

The bad news is that there's a good chance of more rain from today through the weekend

"It's looking like a good inch (of additional rainfall) over much the area in the next few days, and there's just no where for that water to go," said Matt DeWolfe, executive engineer for the Lake of the Woods Control Board

And even as some rivers dipped at midweek, officials predict Rainy Lake could rise another foot or more in coming days, breaching sandbag dikes, flooding more roads and causing even more damage

Gov Mark Dayton on Wednesday authorized 100 Minnesota National Guard personnel to assist volunteers working to protect property, Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund said And officials said several more groups of volunteers are coming to help

The Guard unit is expected to arrive tonight

"We're also expecting to ask for a state incident command team This is getting to be a little too much for just the county and the city (International Falls) to handle," Ecklund said "Having the Guard come in will be a big help"

The Rainy River at Manitou Rapids, downstream from International Falls, peaked at an all-time high of 2201 feet on Tuesday but then dropped a bit to 2167 feet on Wednesday -- still higher than any previous flood

In other good news, upstream, near Squirrel Island where the water system flows from Namakan Lake into Rainy Lake, the flow appeared to have peaked Tuesday at 34155 feet above sea level before falling slightly to 34154 on Wednesday And, farther upstream, the Vermilion River, where it enters crane Lake, dropped from more than 13 feet earlier this week to 1286 feet on Wednesday, according to US Geological Service data

Those depths indicate that less water is flowing in from the south and east after rising for nearly a week

But the high water isn't going away anytime soon Rainy Lake continues to receive more water than it can expel, and the level is expected to rise for several more days, DeWolfe said, perhaps 12-15 inches more That's bad news for cabins, home and resort owners along the lake who have struggled to keep the water out of their buildings Even without more rain it would take weeks for lake water levels to drop to normal levels

"Another 15 inches would be really bad," Ecklund said "If we get much rain it could get even higher than that"

On Wednesday the International Rainy/Lake of the Woods Watershed Board said water depth on the downstream side of the hydroelectric dam on the Rainy River was near "a critical elevation" So much water was entering the Rainy River below the dam, from tributaries in Minnesota and Ontario, that the river actually backed up and is threatening to flood the electric turbines, DeWolfe said

The dam stretches between International Falls and Fort Frances, Ontario, and is shared by paper mills on both sides of the river for electric power generation

The downstream water level is critical because if it gets any deeper, hydroelectric "generators would have to be shut down," the board said in an emergency update Wednesday That would force gates on the dam to close, causing bigger flooding problems upstream in Rainy Lake

"The river was literally backing up (upstream) into the generator areas, and that's something I don't think anyone ever contemplated when they designed the dam 100 years ago This is something no one has ever seen," DeWolfe said

The border flooding situation is worst at the narrowest point of the huge system that drains water from as far east as Gunflint Lake in Cook County, as far south as Eveleth on the Iron Range, and as far north as Ignace, Ontario

All of the water from the land area flows north and west -- through the International Falls-Fort Frances bottleneck -- on to Lake of the Woods and then much farther north, all the way to Hudson Bay

Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell

Article by: John Myers , Forum News Service Last update: June 20, 2014 - 12:00 AM

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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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