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Heavy snowfall closes roads, schools; citizens concerned about trash

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12th, 2014

KEMMERER — In spite of heavy snowfall over the days leading up to Monday’s Kemmerer City Council meeting, many residents showed up with concerns of snow removal.

Residents living on Topaz Street and Beech Avenue voiced concerns that their streets were being ignored by snowplows, which could potentially make it impossible for emergency responders attempting to get to the hospital. Snowplows were said to have only plowed the roads one time — on Sunday, Feb. 9 — and didn’t return for over 24 hours.

Snow that was plowed created a two- to three-foot berm that was said to be blocking storm grates making it difficult for snowmelt from the top of the hill to drain properly. The snowmelt could then freeze, causing hazardous conditions for drivers.

Questions about the amount of personnel involved in clearing the streets and the need for more people to help were raised.

“We’re trying to do the 28 miles of roads with five people,” Mayor Hopkins said. “We have one spot to fill. If people don’t apply, we can’t hire them.”

Praise was given for those in the community that came together to help clear neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks. Praise was also given to those who run the snowplows and also about the direction that plowing streets was going in general while the council noted that there was room for improvement.

“We’re moving in a new direction and there will be bumps,” Councilman Bobby Reetz said. “We are moving to a better way to plow snow. We just have to be patient.”

The next concern that was brought up involved trashcan placement for weekly trash pickup in light of the amount of snow there was on streets. Trashcans placed in the street where trucks had access to them had a higher potential of being hit by motorists. Suggestions involving digging out a spot for trashcans were mentioned.

“This was a bizarre storm and we have to use common sense,” Councilman Jim Burnett said about the placement. “We’ve become a society that relies on government for everything. We need to be more self-reliant.”

The snow also kept all Kemmerer kids out of school Monday as crews scrambled to clear the roads for safe travel.

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