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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: Can’t wait for spring

  • Courier-Post columnist identifies one group of people who can't wait for spring to arrive.
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  • It was recently suggested to my wife, Nancy, that I might consider running for public office. While I appreciate the notion that someone thinks I might make a good public servant, I’m confident I lack the disposition necessary to be at the beck and call of my constituents 24/7, although as a journalist whose phone number is still listed in the phone book, I receive my fair share of calls at home.
    My resolve to never seek public office is only enhanced at this time of year, when massive snowfalls seem to be the meteorological rule here in Twainland, rather than the exception. (February 2011, 22 inches of snow; February 2013, 9.7 inches of snow; a week ago, 13 inches.)
    I’m sure if I had a quarter for every phone call a city or county official has received since last Wednesday, I could undoubtedly afford to move somewhere where snow and ice are only seen on the Facebook posts of people I’d left behind.
    While I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of the phone calls received by elected officials are of a positive nature – “Boy, those guys sure did a great job moving snow off my road!” – I’m willing to lay down some serious coin that the negative calls outweigh the positive contacts by at least a 10/1 margin, and that’s a very conservative estimate. I would also guess there is a direct correlation between the amount of snow that fell and the number of complaints. There’s nothing like a thick blanket of white to bring out the dark side of someone’s disposition, especially if a snow plow just filled in a driveway entrance or buried a vehicle that someone had invested an hour or more digging out.
    I know for a fact that the city of Hannibal’s practice of pushing snow to the center of Main Street has ruffled feathers both north and south of Broadway.
    Let me say right here and now, you will not hear me throwing any verbal “snowballs” at the city’s Street Department. Those guys work long hours following a snowstorm in an effort to get city streets at least passable. And the protocol they follow when clearing streets has been mapped out in advance by city officials. While I’ve never seen the city’s “game plan” for snow moving, it’s a policy that’s guaranteed to not please everyone.
    Although some business owners and residents along Main Street are unhappy with the practice of pushing snow to the center of that thoroughfare, it was only a year ago when a business owner on Broadway went before the City Council to complain that snow had been pushed to the curbs following last February’s 10-incher.
    Page 2 of 2 - While it’s not my job to do “spin” work in behalf of the city, I certainly sympathize with officials who find themselves smack in the middle of an issue that doesn’t have an obvious answer. I liken the situation to being in the middle of an argument between one’s wife and mother. One gave birth to you. The other has the ability to make you wish you’d never been born.
    I’ve heard that city hall’s approach is to encourage those with a stake in the downtown area to come together and decide what they’d like the city to do with future snow. I’m predicting now that the day a unanimous opinion is reached on this topic will be the same day my Pulitzer’s arrives. And if by some miracle an agreed upon solution drafted, I’m wondering if it will take into consideration the city’s cost, manpower and equipment limitations?
    I’m guessing those unhappy with the city’s snow-moving policy will continue to gnash their teeth until March, maybe April, when last week’s 13 inches of snow are out of sight and out of mind.
    There’s undoubtedly a lot of people right now who can’t wait for spring. Heading that list are elected officials with publicly-listed phone numbers.
     
     

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