Say so long to summer

State fair, a look to heavens mark the Labor Day weekend

083013_Starwatch            All good things must come to an end.

But before summer unofficially ends Tuesday, several events in the region over the Labor Day holiday weekend will help St. Croix Valley residents enjoy the fleeting days of the season.

The Minnesota State Fair winds down its annual 10-day run this weekend, with the last day Monday, Labor Day. The fairgrounds are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Closer to the Valley, WCCO-AM Meteorologist Mike Lynch hosts his popular “Minnesota Starwatch” party from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. today at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The family-friendly event features two 20-inch reflector telescopes that are among the largest mobile telescopes in the state.

Starwatch party-goers receive user-friendly star maps and constellation charts to use at Lynch introduces visitors to constellations “The Big Bear,” “Cygnus the Swan” and “Scorpius the Scorpion” along with planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae and more.

And the good news is tonight’s forecast calls for clear skies and mild temperatures, so Lynch will probably not issue any “cloud checks” for future parties.

The event is free with a Washington County Parks $5 daily or $25 annual vehicle permit. Lake Elmo Park Reserve is located at County roads 19 and 10, one mile north of Interstate 94.

Area motorists received some good news today with the re-opening of Minnesota 36 between White Bear Avenue and U.S. Highway 36 that had been closed most of the summer for construction of the new English Avenue interchange in Maplewood. However, motorists will find possible delays on MN 36 in Pine Springs due to the Hilton Trail interchange project.

Traffic impacts locally from the St. Croix Crossing project include traffic delays at the MN 36, Osgood Avenue intersection and single-lane traffic on MN 36 east of Osgood. Temporary traffic signals remain at the MN 36-MN 95 junction between Lookout Trail and Point Road. MN 95 will have single lanes in both directions at the construction site.

St. Croix River boaters are asked to observe no-wake rules in the bridge construction area designated by buoys on the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the river.

Motorists can also expected increased enforcement of DWI and the state’s “Ted Foss Move Over Law” this weekend. The move-over law is named in memory of State Trooper Ted Foss, who was killed 13 years ago by a passing vehicle during a traffic stop on the shoulder of Interstate 90 in Winona.

The law requires motorists traveling on a road with two or more lanes to move one full lane away from stopped emergency, maintenance or construction vehicles with flashing lights or reduce speed if they cannot move over a lane.

State troopers and area law enforcement agencies also will continue enhanced DWI enforcement throughout the holiday weekend.

The American Red Cross offers safety tips for families planning activities over the holiday weekend. Safe travel plans should include having an emergency supply kit in your vehicle, letting someone know your destination and time of arrival, wearing your seat belt and observing posted speed limits.

Tips for safe swimming include:

  • Check weather and water conditions beforehand and throughout the day.
  • Always swim with a buddy in a designated swimming area supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Provide constant supervision to children in or near the water and always stay within arm’s reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers while they are in the water.
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

Tips for safe grilling include:

  • Keep the grill away from the house, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

The American Red Cross First Aid App for smart phones and tablets provides users with expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores and at

For more information on emergency preparedness, go to Additional water safety tips are located at

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]