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Ice Melt Barrel makes weekend splashdown

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By Stephen Knapp

It withstood biting winds and subzero temperatures, remained steadfast in the face of two vicious attacks, but, alas, had no defense against the gentle kiss of spring. Last weekend, the Mountain Foothills Rotary Ice Melt Barrel went maritime.

To find out exactly when, Rotary officials joined experts from Evergreen Fire/Rescue and the Jefferson County Bomb Squad at Evergreen Lake on Monday morning, April 7, on a joint mission to retrieve the bright blue derelict and consult its space-age chronometer.

EFR volunteer Mike Mendelsohn was tapped to spearhead the effort, perhaps as punishment for some transgression like using his lieutenant’s parking space. Though trained in aquatic operations, it would be Mendelsohn’s first bona fide water rescue.

“We have a couple different certification levels,” explained EFR Lt. Todd Briscoe, perfectly dry and clearly pleased about it. “Barrel rescue is the lowest.”

Even so, it was a textbook barrel rescue, of which Mendelsohn can be justly proud.

Once ashore, the barrel was delivered into the sure hands of the bomb squad. Using the kind of high-tech tools that most people keep in a paint-stained bucket in their garage, officers Dale Foley and Mark Gutke laboriously extracted the barrel’s mysterious black box and summoned Rotarian Jerry Lautiger to the water’s edge. The fancy-pants timing device functioned as advertised, proving that technology can answer all of life’s problems.

The Ice Melt Barrel went feet-wet at precisely 12:31:31 on the afternoon of Sunday, April 6.

“We sold between 1,300 and 1,400 tickets, but only about 200 guessed after April 1,” Lautiger said. “It shouldn’t take too long to determine the winners.”