Big Island turned into ‘Garbage Island’ after annual 4th of July party

The annual Fourth of July party in Cruiser’s Cove on Big Island in Orono had a slight reduction in the number of serious incidents, citations and littering, according to public safety officials.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol reported that from July 1-4 on Lake Minnetonka and other west metro lakes there were 11 boating while impaired citations, 45 underage consumption citations, six medicals, one near-drowning and one drowning.

The drowning happened at a Maple Grove home when a 14-month-old boy fell into a pool July 2. The near-drowning was an alcohol-related incident on Cedar Lake where no actual emergency services were required.

Last year, from July 1-4, were 14 boating while impaired citations, 50 underage consumption citations, 15 medicals and no near-drownings or drownings.

The reduced number of citations, minor consumptions and medicals was due to increased media coverage, social media, boater education and additional patrols that have increased over the past two years, according to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

“Boaters are now more educated about safety requirements, laws and regulation on the lake and expect to see the water patrol on the lake,” Stanek said.

This year, the water patrol had six boats on Lake Minnetonka. The Excelsior Fire District, Wayzata Fire Department, Mound Fire Department and the St. Bonifacius Fire Department also assisted with patrolling Cruiser’s Cove.

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