storm brings flurry of activity
Salomé García-Halpin, peaking through
a hole in the snow fort she built Monday with her parents, Meg Halpin
and Nance Parent, in their front yard on Orton Road.
It started snowing
Friday evening. And kept snowing and snowing and snowing. By Monday morning,
Yellow Springs was covered with a blanket of snow.
All weekend, vehicle traffic was minimal and pedestrians were free to
walk in the middle of the streets. The hill at Gaunt Park was packed with
sledders. Snow forts sprang up all over town. Local schools canceled classes.
Many downtown stores were steadily busy. Cross-country skiers were out
in full force. Snow plowers and Village and Miami Township personnel just
tried to keep up with the snow.
In the end, the National Weather Service reported that 10 to 12 inches
of powdery, flaky snow fell on the town.
Saturday morning local roads were white and quiet. Most residents adhered
to the level 3 snow emergency issued by the Greene County Sheriffs
Department, which closed roadways to non-emergency personnel. The ban
lasted until Monday afternoon, when the advisory was downgraded to level
2, which advised drivers to travel with extreme caution, according
to the Yellow Springs Police Department.
No weather related accidents were reported in the village all weekend.
People in the township paid attention to the snow emergency and
stayed home, Miami Township Fire Chief Colin Altman said.
The Village road crew, which has already had a busy winter, lost track
of time, plowing day and night to keep the roads clear.
Two shifts of crew members worked around the clock from Saturday to Monday,
crew leader Harold Dunie Hamilton Jr. said.
Greg Jones, a member of the Village Parks and
Recreation Department, cleared out the parking lot in Kieths
Alley Monday morning. Jones and other Village and Miami Township
employees worked around the clock last weekend to keep local streets
and parking lots clear of snow.
A two-man first shift
began around 5 a.m., and a four-man second shift took over at 5 p.m. the
same day. They tried to keep intersections and the main roads cleared,
though a limited salt supply was coming from the Greene County engineer,
Village personnel cleared the snow from downtown, starting at 2 a.m. on
Wednesday, Public Works crew leader Mike Applin said.
Its been pretty rough getting two inches here and three inches
here, and its been going on for quite some time, he said on
Hamilton said that the blizzard of 1978 was the last time he remembered
doing as much work to clear the roads. The snow accumulation was about
the same, he said, though this weekends winds were not as powerful.
Independent snow shovelers were out in full force all weekend as well.
Chris Entler, who along with his wife, Jessica Wyant, owns Jessicas
Landscape and Gardening, formerly Euphorbia, likened his work to a firemans
job of putting out a raging fire. Entler said that they had gotten little
sleep trying to stay on top of the snow that just kept falling.
When we havent been working weve been watching the radar,
Entler said. Its been a solid responsibility for us watching
the weather and planning the best way to move the snow.
Alban Holyoke cleared snow from the Little Art
Theatre marquee last Sunday, with his father, Andy Holyoke, watching.
Marco Comegys had
trouble getting his snow plow started at the beginning of the weekend,
so he was up until 4 a.m. Tuesday morning finishing up residents
driveways. By 7 a.m. he was back on the road to beat back the drifts that
rose as high as six feet on some farm properties in Cedarville, he said.
In between snow-plowing jobs he helped tow three cars out of the snow
over the weekend, he said, reluctantly accepting remuneration for his
On three hours sleep Tuesday, he was full of spunk and energy.
I love snow plowing, you get your CD player and some hot cocoa,
he said. I go for a luxury plow, the cabs all warm.
A group of students got into the act and used their holiday to shovel
residential driveways. Eighth grader Jordan Lininger and seventh grader
Kumar Jensen were part of a group that made $100 shoveling five drives
in the south part of town on Monday afternoon. Though business was good,
by 2 p.m. their energy was flagging, and they were headed home for a nap.
Still, the snow kept falling, and many offices and businesses closed up
early for the long weekend.
U.S. Bank closed at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the Yellow Springs Credit
Union did the same 15 minutes later. The Yellow Springs Library never
opened last weekend.
The Little Art Theatre canceled its late show Saturday night and all of
its screenings Sunday.
Other downtown businesses,
including Ohio Silver and Glen Garden Gifts, also closed because of the
Deatons Do it Best Hardware closed at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon
because of weather, though shovel and salt business was booming Friday,
store clerk Kathy McLemore said, as people prepared for the barrage to
come. The hardware store sold all of its 25 25-pound bags of salt within
an hour of delivery Friday, and then preceded to sell out of shovels as
If I had 50 shovels I would have sold them all and we could have
closed up for the week, McLemore said.
By Monday, when the roads were better and the store opened back up, customers
were buying sleds and birdseed.
Yellow Springs schools canceled school Tuesday. The YSHS girls basketball
tournament game was rescheduled for tonight (Thursday). The high school
boys tournament game on Tuesday, Feb. 18, was not affected by the weather.
Even Antioch College got quiet when classes were canceled Monday. Antioch
University McGregor was closed Saturday and Monday as well.
The post office delivered 60 to 70 percent of Saturdays mail, but
the snow piled on the sides of the roads prevented carriers from accessing
freestanding boxes, acting postmaster Greg Turner said.
There are always two sides to a story, especiallay one about snow.
Chris Mucher, the owner of Photoworks/Movieworks, said that he rented
four times the normal number of videos or DVDs on Saturday and Monday.
Toms Market kept regular hours and attracted business equal to a
pre-holiday week, manager Dave Trollinger said. Dairy manager Sonny Wallen
said that business was unbelievable, because people shopped
in town for necessities.
People stayed in town for their coffee too, as witnessed by bustling traffic
at The Emporium and Dinos Cappuccinos.
Im amazed. I thought wed be dead, Dinos
employee Eric Brown said at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, when, although the
streets were empty, 12 people crowded around the coffeeshops small
tables sipping their lattes and cappuccinos and comparing snow stories.
Snow covered the patio of Ye Olde Trail Tavern
Monday morning, as last weekends winter storm cleared.
One by one bundled-up
coffee lovers appeared at the door, greeted by Brown, who invited customers
to enjoy the Alberta Clipper. One regular had concentrated
so hard on dressing warmly that he discovered, when it was time to pay,
hed forgotten his wallet. Brown treated him to a coffee.
Since the sidewalks on Xenia Avenue in residential neighborhoods were
practically impassable Sunday, residents had to walk into town beside
the three-foot snow drifts along the street. They came to pick up supplies
for dinner, to walk their dogs, to smell the crisp freshness of new snow.
Marnie Neumann and John Brennan were out with Myra, their white wolf dog,
for coffee and a walk in the Glen on Sunday afternoon.
Weve been watching too much TV, eating more, sleeping more,
Neumann said. Its good because I think people need to slow
Are you kidding, this is adventurous! Brennan said, before
they headed on into the snow.
Miami Township resident Cathy Paige also took advantage of the weather
conditions and skied into town Sunday on the bikepath from her home on
Jackson Road to buy groceries and try out her new cross-country skis.
It was totally empty, and there was no wind because of the trees,
she said. Theres just my own ski tracks. Its beautiful.
Whether the snow is troublesome or beautiful, it affects everyone at the
For one or two days weve all got the same focus and we know
it, Entler said. In some ways common problems bring us together
as a community. Ive seen that here, and I think its a good
Diane Chiddister and Robert Mihalek contributed to this report
is second worst of Yellow Springs career, Armocida says
to cancel the school day
When snow falls overnight, the Village and Miami Township plows arent
the only vehicles out in the early morning darkness. A Dodge Voyager also
makes its way through snow, sleet and ice as Tony Armocida, the superintendent
of the Yellow Springs schools, checks to see if its safe for Yellow
Springs children to go to school.
This winter especially, hes driven many snowy predawn mornings,
Armocida said in a recent interview.
Seems like everyday, he said with a laugh. Actually, he added,
hes checked the roads about twice a week since Christmas.
This winter school has been canceled three times, including this past
Tuesday, and delayed four or five times, Armocida said.
While he could assign other employees to check the weather, Armocida prefers
to drive up and down local roads himself. Some superintendents, especially
those of larger school districts, delegate the responsibility while superintendents
in small districts often do their own checking, he said.
If snow is expected, Armocida sets his alarm for 4:30 a.m. and gets on
the road by 5. As well as checking village streets, he circles just outside
Yellow Springs, travelling school bus routes on East Enon Road, Hyde Road,
Fairfield Pike, Jackson Road, Husted Road and John Bryan Park Road. He
checks the amount of snow more than two or three inches will cause
drifting and looks for icy patches where busses might skid.
The most serious condition is ice, he said. Snow isnt
always a problem, but ice is.
Armocida said that he doesnt really mind this part of his job. If
the snow is new its beautiful, and I kind of like being out there
all alone, he said. Often, as he drives he listens to weather reports
on WHIO, and in the past he enjoyed a BBC broadcast of classic rock and
roll on WYSO.
After he returns from his 45-minute drive, Armocida checks in with other
area superintendents. While they dont always make the same decision,
he said he finds it helpful to confer with his colleagues who have the
same responsibility. Along with snow and ice, he considers the temperature,
since extreme cold can be dangerous to children walking to school.
Theres no magic number regarding what temperature mandates
a closing, Armocida said.
If everyone else is closing because its too cold, probably
well go with the majority, he said.
His weather forecasting responsibility doesnt end when school begins,
and Armocida keeps a TV in his office tuned to the Weather Channel. While
its difficult to decide whether or not to cancel school before the
first bell rings, its even more difficult to make the call when
bad weather threatens during the school day. If the forecast calls for
sending busses home early, Mills Lawn officials attempt to contact all
parents to make sure theyll be home. Otherwise, Armocida said, grade-
school-age students are not sent home, although older students might be.
Out of his six winter seasons as Yellow Springs superintendent, this winter
is not the worst, Armocida said. He gives that distinction to the winter
of 1999, when bad weather repeatedly struck during the school day so that
he had to send students home early. Armocida pegs the winter of 2003 as
the second worst of his Yellow Springs career.