Snow removal crews are people too

Lee Sjolander, the official police chief of NewsCut City, issued a call to the people of Kenyon on Saturday that should be amplified to every city: Give the snow removal people a break.

A favor from Chief Sjolander…

I just had a conversation with our Public Works Director here in town. We live and work in a small town where everybody knows one another. I remember our Public Works Director back when he was in high school and I was a rookie officer. I remember him as a hard-working country kid who liked to be outdoors.

Watching him take on all the responsibility and stress of running Public Works, and making it look easy, has really filled me with pride. Trust me, I know the role that he and his coworkers do is vital to our city and I could never do it.

We visited about the current hot topic in our city, which as you can imagine with a record snowfall for the month of February, is snow removal.

I have to say, I feel a new appreciation for the work they all do and I wanted to share some thoughts…

First of all, everyone that works for our city is human. That means we do the best we can with what we have, we are not perfect, and we have feelings, just like everyone else. A lot of us live in this town, our children go to school here, we shop here, and we take great pride in what we do. That being said, I wanted to share some of what I learned during our conversation.

Driving the payloader around town to scoop up snow is not an easy task. Your head is on a swivel, and you are over 20 feet wide at the bucket while attempting surgical like maneuvers around vehicles, curbs, benches, fire hydrants, etc. The same goes for driving one of our large plow trucks.

Leaving your warm bed at the wee hours of the morning to go move snow is a thankless job at times, but they do it, because they know you need to get to work, school, etc. just like their family and friends do.

They know you are not happy when you’ve cleaned out your driveway, and they come by and it gets filled in. The same thing happens when they clean the streets in front of their homes.

Removing snow from streets can take multiple passes. For instance, the first pass might get the first few inches of snow off the street. The second pass, hopefully widens the street, and the third pass, or more, is an attempt to get as close to the curb as they can.

Our city does not have an ordinance that allows for declaring a snow emergency. That being said, it’s very important that you move your vehicle off any and all public streets after 2 inches or more of snow has fallen and the streets are cleared off.

If you are hired to move snow from a local home, or business, public works has asked that you take the snow you’ve moved and haul it away when you can. Pushing it across the street, alley, etc. is not an option, especially with this much snow and I was asked to remind everyone to please move your trash cans back from the curbs when they are emptied.

I guess what I’m asking is that you give these hard-working people a break and be a good neighbor. These are the same people who haul away large branches that have fallen during storms, maintain our waste water plant, our parks, swimming pool, etc.

Let’s all do what we can to work together during this long and snowy winter and meet back here in the spring to visit about how wet everything is.

Stay safe,

Lee

  • Camille Beach

    My folks recently moved from St. Paul to Woodbury. When I complained about the ruts on their St. Paul street, Mom used to joke that “Woodbury plows whether it’s snowed or not.” Now, she brags that Woodbury has the best snowplow service in the state. If you’ve ever watched one of those huge plows clear a residential street with cul-de-sac, curb-to-curb at the crack of dawn, you would agree.

  • Al

    Remember your public works departments in the lean years, too. Many drivers count on a bit of overtime each winter in their family budgets, and when the snow doesn’t fall, they’re running on empty.