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When will ice leave?

Tired of seeing white? Doubting that green will arrive any time soon? How about thinking blue - as in the blue water of a lake free of ice? It's time for the Echo Press' annual Ice Out Contest. The person who guesses when the ice will leave Lake ...

Tired of seeing white?

Doubting that green will arrive any time soon?

How about thinking blue - as in the blue water of a lake free of ice?

It's time for the Echo Press' annual Ice Out Contest.

The person who guesses when the ice will leave Lake L'Homme Dieu this spring will win a cool prize - a Rave Sports Razor Tube donated by Alex Dock, Lift and Marine of Garfield.

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The entry fee is $2 with all proceeds donated to the Douglas County Food Shelf. An entry form is printed on page A5 in today's issue and will also be available in the Lakeland Shopping Guide. Only one entry per person is allowed.

All entries must be received at the newspaper office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16.

Official ice-spotters from the Echo Press will determine when the ice has left the lake. If two or more people guess the correct date, a drawing will be held to determine the winner.

The Echo Press has been keeping track of the ice-out times dating back to 1867. Lake Osakis was originally the official lake but the site was changed to Lake L'Homme Dieu in 1965.

The earliest ice-out happened in 2000, when the lake was clear of ice on March 25.

The ice's most stubborn year was 1878 when it finally retreated on May 15.

Old Man Winter fooled most of the entrants in last year's Ice Out Contest. Temperatures shot up into the 70s toward the end of March, prompting many to predict an early ice out, but a return to cold winter temps and more than a foot of snow spoiled their chances.

Of the more than 50 guesses submitted last year, only five predicted an ice out later than April 16. And only two, John Davis and Elaine Zimmerman, both of Alexandria, predicted the correct date - April 18. Zimmerman won the drawing for the prize.

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Last year's April 18 date was the latest ice out in six years; the ice left on April 26 in 2001.

Compared to past years, however, last year's ice-out can't be considered tardy. In the past 100 years, the ice has stayed on the lake beyond April 18 48 times.

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