TONKA BAY, Minn. - The Fourth of July on Lake Minnetonka is supposed to be happy. And for Gabriel Jabbour, who owns Tonka Bay Marina, it finally is after several years.
"It's substantial relief for all of us,” he said, talking about Lake Minnetonka home and business owners.
It was just two years ago, Jabbour complained Big Island, and specifically Cruiser’s Cove, was filled with drunkenness and trash.
It’s not smooth sailing, but he told KARE 11, it’s substantially better even from last year when he told us it was “night and day” compared to previous years.
"This is twice as good as last year,” he said.
"The majority of the credit goes to the water patrol and the new command and the way they have handled it, their presence is felt,” he said.
And it's not just the Hennepin County Sheriff deputies you see but the DNR and other area departments. He said the color-coordinated buoy system added last year that tells people where they are in an emergency continues to work. As does the water patrol dock put in last year near Big Island. It’s designed to get people in trouble, or people who are causing it, out of the area quickly.
And what about the trash issue? It still happens, but not nearly at the same level, he said.
“We came to some preliminary trash pickup the last couple days. It seems to be substantially better,” he said.
That's not to say everything is perfect. There is still bad behavior, but authorities are on it much faster.
But he says law enforcement can't do everything.
"Parents need to teach their kids personal responsibility,” he added.
All in all, a happy 4th on Lake Minnetonka from a guy who used to be one of its chief critics, now its chief cheerleader.
"This is phenomenally better,” he raved.
The BWI numbers are still preliminary, but according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office there were about half the amount of arrests this year compared to last year as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.