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'Icebox' title heads north

A Minnesota city beats a Colorado town for legal coldest-weather bragging rights.

February 10, 2008|From the Associated Press

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MINN. — This city is officially the "Icebox of the Nation."

International Falls, on the Canadian border, had been fighting the ski town of Fraser, Colo., for the legal right to the trademark. International Falls claimed victory last week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent the city attorney a certificate granting the community Reg. No. 3,375,139.

"I ran over to the attorney's office and kissed the certificate," Mayor Shawn Mason said Friday. "Fraser's actions had sent a chill down my spine."

Mason said more was at stake than bragging rights. She said International Falls has used the "Icebox" title to market itself to industry as the nation's premier site for cold-weather testing.

International Falls and Fraser have fought over the title before.

City Attorney Joe Boyle said International Falls has used the moniker since 1948.

International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 in 1989 for dropping its claim to the title. But when the Minnesota community of 6,500 failed to renew its trademark, the Colorado town of 1,000 jumped.

"They let it lapse and we thought, 'Heck, if they don't want it, we do,' " Fraser Mayor Fran Cook said Friday. "It's something we've always gotten a kick out of and it will not disappear from the old-timers' lingo," she said.

In the near term, nature is siding with International Falls.

"It's supposed to be 20 below with wind come Sunday," Mason said, toasting the chill with a frosty one.

The forecast for Fraser: sunny and highs in mid-30s.

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