Lake Shore Suffers Extensive Storm Damage – Brainerd Dispatch


LAKE SHORE — As Lake Shore Police Chief Steve Sundstrom drove through the town’s lanes Thursday morning, he expressed disbelief at the extent of the storm’s damage.

“I’ve been in Lake Shore for almost 19 years,” Sundstrom said. “This is the worst I’ve seen Lake Shore get hit by a storm since I’ve been here.”

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Around 10 a.m. Thursday, chainsaws buzzed in all directions along Gullwood Road. Small passages, with enough room for a vehicle to pass, were cut in massive trees crossing the road. Damage to homes was visible among fallen pine and hardwood branches.

On Ridge Road, just north of Cass County Highway 78, former police chief John Bukovich agreed. Bukovich stood in front of his house, looking north toward a tangle of trees and power lines completely blocking the street.

“My God, this looks like a mess,” Bukovich said.

A Cass County sheriff’s deputy and a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer guarded a roadblock on County Road 77, which was closed to anyone but residents while cleanup work was underway. Sundstrom said the stretch of road between Sherwood Forest and Zorbaz on Gull Lake was the hardest hit in the city.

“For us, it’s much worse than the crisis (in July 2015),” Sundstrom said. “It’s very widespread. … We didn’t get a warning. A lot of people were caught off guard by this storm.”

At the Baywood Townhomes Association on Channel View Road, association chairman Charlie Pearson was surprised by downed trees along the shore of Gull Lake Passage. Several pines were uprooted and lying on the docks and boat lifts.

“We’re pretty sheltered here, we’re kind of hidden behind everything,” Pearson said. “Actually, it’s a little surprising that it happened.”

But, he noted, heavy rains in recent weeks have caused flooding along the shoreline and softened the ground.

“That ground is soft and it makes those trees disappear like nothing,” he said. “This wind catches them and tears them away.”

Just down the road at Zorbaz on Gull Lake, the Salvation Army has set up a relief center to provide food and water to residents without power. A few trees had fallen on the restaurant’s lawn and one of its signature airplane weathervanes was torn from its post, but Zorbaz was otherwise in relatively good condition, owner Lee Johnson said. The restaurant had electricity and took care of lunch service at 11:30 on Thursday.

“The community always works really well together and we will do whatever we can to help,” Johnson said.

Lake Shore City Hall was also open to residents for restroom use and a chance to get out of the heat. Sundstrom said the generators kept the City Hall building powered.

Along the north shore of Gull Lake at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, general manager Mark Ronnei said the resort suffered significantly more structural damage on Thursday morning compared to last year’s July 12 supercell storm. . Twelve guest residences on the resort’s property were damaged, along with the Chocolate Ox building and the pool building. The most dramatic damage was done to the main pavilion, where much of the rear terrace was destroyed by a 125-year-old oak tree. The huge log lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At the lodge-owned Roy Villas, Ronnei said about 10 massive white pines, each estimated to be 150 years old, had been cleanly uprooted from the saturated ground.

Ronnei said two weddings were planned at the lodge on Saturday and he expected the resort to be ready for them. Between lodge staff and contractors, around 1,200 man-hours would be spent by the end of the day Thursday on the clean-up efforts.

Several tall pines rest on docks and boat lifts Thursday along the shore in front of Baywood Townhomes in Lake Shore. Association president Charlie Pearson said trees seemed to fall easily along the recently flooded shoreline. Cast Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd


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