By Joe Morey
At this time, there is a dangerous winter storm approaching our community and on the heels of a storm that just covered us with 12 to 15 inches of heavy snow that took down trees and resulted in widespread power outages for days, this new storm may cause much more significant outages and damage.
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board is currently working on a state of emergency declaration, which will activate their emergency management plan. This plan will involve the opening up of community centers as emergency shelters equipped with generator and supplied with enough food and beverages.
The shelters will open prior to the arrival of the storm to keep people safe who may not have other options. This storm is expected to drop 12 to 15 inches again, but in addition, we will have 40 mph winds and dangerously cold wind chill temps reaching to -30 degrees. The power is expected to go out again. This is a life-threatening situation and everyone is encouraged to be prepared.
The Sevenwinds Convention Center is still being used as a warming shelter from the previous storm, and will now be available again for this new storm. The casino also has some rooms on hold for Elders as a priority. The hotel desk will be the point of contact for rooms or the convention center shelter, but people may also call any member of the Executive Team, MOD, or Lodge manager. Casino management is also working on having volunteers ready to go to work the shelter through Christmas should the power outage still be in effect.
Other shelters are being considered and an announcement will follow once the state of emergency is declared, which may be the daycare center as it has a lot of room and a generator.
Other emergency plans are underway, such as furnishing the 16-plex, the men’s and women’s homeless and domestic abuse shelters with generators.
LCO Health Center Director Gary Girard said the clinic will follow Hayward School closings. If Hayward School closes, the clinic will close. Furthermore, if Hayward School has delayed or early closing so will the clinic. Also, any closing will also be at the discretion of Girard, should he feel there is a safety concern for patients, staff and community. In all cases of closing or delay start time, the employees will receive text message, as well as radio ads as soon as possible.
Girard urges any community members who may need prescriptions filled, to do so before the storm arrives, if possible.
The TGB wants everyone to know all actions are being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our community members. Continue to watch for the emergency declaration and any other urgent messages issued by tribal leaders or individual enterprises.