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Continued: Heat wave bakes Minnesota; State Fair attendance way down

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE and STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Last update: August 28, 2013 - 9:54 AM

Running hot

Football practice at Farview Park in north Minneapolis was canceled because of the heat, but Jordan Watts, 11, and his brother, Brandon, 13, plus Savion Reeves, 11, and Damon “DJ” Young, 11, wanted a workout.

Enter Domonique Gilmer, a teacher at Ramsey Middle School in St. Paul, who has been running the hill at Farview since high school. The hill, he said, made him fast.

As the sun slipped lower in the sky, Gilmer, 25, pumped his arms and dug into the hill, sending puffs of dirt into the air with each step of his fluorescent orange track shoes.

He had briefly thought about staying home, where the air conditioner ran. But, “in 14 weeks, it’s going to be snowing,” he said. “This is my chance. No excuses. You got to enjoy this.”

As Gilmer pushed to the pine tree at the top, the four boys trailed behind, pumping, grimacing, bending over to catch a breath.

“Running this hill is going to make me a better football player,” Reeves said, looking down as sweat trickled down his bare, skinny chest. “That’s what my coach tells me. I wanted to stop, but then I saw [Gilmer] go and I had to go. I wanted to show him that we can do it just like a grown-up.”

And then from somewhere across the park someone called out to Reeves and then the others. It was time to go home, leaving Gilmer to pound up the hill 10 more times, alone.

Getting used to it?

Chad Stuart, safety training manager for Q3 Contracting, said his company was making sure there was 1 quart of water per hour for each of about a dozen workers replacing a steel gas line on St. Paul’s Arlington Avenue. Electrolyte replacement tablets were also available, Stuart said.

Employees go through heat stress training and there are daily hazard assessment meetings where weather is discussed, he said. Jeffrey Hill, a foreman for the company, said workers take breaks whenever needed and look out for one another.

“Bottom line, it’s knowing your own body, knowing what you can do,” Hill said. During the heat wave, employees are also working shorter hours, he said.

Manning the fryers

The mini-doughnuts cooked and served hot in baggies at Tiny Tim’s Donuts at the State Fair kept the heat on six stand servers, even with all five fans going.

“We don’t sell drinks, so we had to run to Cub and buy cases of water. We’ve got everybody chugging,” stand manager Dan Hable said.

Hable, 29, of Taylors Falls, rotated his six-member crew so “nobody is in here more than two hours at a time.” The staff took rotating half-hour breaks.

No workers had problems, but Hable said he had to call 911 about a fairgoer who had heat issues behind his stand. An ambulance took the person to the medical building.

“I’ve seen more ambulances going by than I ever have” in 10 years working at the fair, Hable said.

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  • A student hung his head out a window at Patrick Henry High School.

  • A student hung his head out a window at Patrick Henry High School Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013](DAVID JOLES/STARTRIBUNE) Minneapolis and area school students suffered through yet another day of brutal heat, many without the benefit of air conditioning. A protest of the hot learning conditions and press conference was held at Patrick Henry High School, following classes Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 organized by the Minneapolis teachers union and Neighborhoods organizing for Change. A few students spoke, including senior Todd Riser who said he heard a chemistry teacher exclaim it had reached more than 100 degrees in his room.

  • Patrick Henry senior Todd Riser said students on Tuesday were too drowsy to participate in overheated classrooms.

  • Seeking fresh air, a student hung his head out a window at Patrick Henry High School in north Minneapolis on Tuesday. Some classrooms don’t even have fans.

  • Domonique Gilmer, 25, powered up the hill at Farview Park in north Minneapolis on Tuesday evening in search of stronger, faster legs. After 20 sprints up the 150-meter hill, Gilmer headed home for a hot shower. “In 14 weeks it’s going to be snowing. This is my chance,” he said.

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