Snapshots of local life in arctic conditions

2014-01-07T00:00:00Z Snapshots of local life in arctic conditionsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
January 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Lansing crews working 12-hour shifts to clear roads

LANSING | Village Administrator J. Wynsma is dreading the financial reports he will see later this month.

They will include significant amounts of overtime pay for Public Works Department crews who have been working 12-hour shifts nonstop since Dec. 30 to keep the village streets passible.

“It’s going to be painful to look at,” Wynsma said, adding Monday he isn’t sure how much the additional labor will cost. “But we have to do what we have to do in order to keep things safe.”

He said the cleared streets have made it easier for police and fire crews to travel the village. Not that many of them are necessary, since there have been few incidents of people being trapped or otherwise injured.

Wynsma also said there has been little demand for an official warming center, although he said the police station is always available for people in need of escaping the weather conditions.

The weather did cause Homewood Disposal to cancel trash pickup services on Monday. People whose trash was supposed to be hauled away will have it done on today, although Wynsma said he and other village officials are anxious to see if garbage pickup crews are able to complete the day’s routes all on today, or if delays will extend even further into the week.

“We’re hoping it will be just a one-day delay that will be caught up by Saturday, but we’re going to have to see,” he said.

Residents keeping eye on each other in Calumet City

CALUMET CITY | Public Works Department crews have been working nonstop since Saturday to keep city streets clear of snow, and one local official says the cooperation of local residents is largely responsible for their success.

Eric Schneider, an alderman and staffer with the Calumet Memorial Park District, said he has seen several incidents where people came out of their houses with shovels in order to help dig out any cars that might otherwise have been buried in the snow.

That meant city snowplows were able to get through residential neighborhoods with ease. “Neighbors are looking out for each other, and it’s helping to make things easier for everyone,” Schneider said.

With low temperatures becoming more of a concern, Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore sent out a notice Sunday advising Calumet City residents to take care of themselves and watch out for neighbors who might be in need. While Fire Chief Dan Galgan said people should be cautious in their use of space heaters to avoid accidentally setting their homes on fire.

Gilmore also mentioned the warming centers at the Police Department and the library as places where people could seek shelter from the cold. Schneider said Park District buildings also were open to give children a place to go since schools were closed for the day.

Library Director Jane Rowland said few people used the library on Monday. “We don’t really have a homeless population like other communities might have,” she said.

Weather brings neighbors together in Lynwood

LYNWOOD | Village President Eugene Williams was out in front of his home with a shovel Monday morning, trying to keep his property clear of snow.

He wasn’t alone.

Williams said he and his neighbors wound up trying to help each other dig out of the snow and cope with the cold, and he thinks the experience may well bring them closer together in the future.

“Actually, it was fun,” Williams said. “Getting out there to know your neighbors better is a plus.”

Aside from that, Williams said Public Works crews were able to keep streets clear, with the worst emergency call being an incident where someone’s car was stuck in their garage.

For the record, village government was open on Monday, even though many municipal employees live in Indiana, where travel was restricted because of the weather conditions. “Although even most of the employees from Indiana managed to come to work,” Williams said.

Road crews, employees hard at work in Sauk Village

SAUK VILLAGE | Village residents are going to have to alter their routines slightly for the week, as the heavy snow combined with frigid cold caused trash pickup crews to be delayed a day.

Those with Monday pickup were told they will get their trash taken away on Tuesday, said Village Clerk Debbie Williams. Everyone else in Sauk Village will have their trash pickup delayed by a day through week’s end.

She described the village on Monday as being “snowed in,” saying she had not left her house since Saturday afternoon.

Yet she has been able to keep in touch through telephone and constant checking of Facebook pages used by local residents to pass along information.

Williams said Public Works crews have been able to clear the streets, and said the Village Hall was open for municipal services.

She also said it was a plus that the Fairway Foods supermarket also was open for business on Monday. “Things are going rather well,” Williams said.

Few emergency calls due to severe weather in Crete

CRETE | “It’s cold!” was how Village Administrator Tom Durkin described conditions in the municipality Monday, saying the temperatures largely kept local residents confined to their homes.

He said police had few emergency calls, and no reports of anyone being trapped or suffering severe injuries due to the weather. He also said the official warming centers at the public library and at the park district offices were not being put to too much use on Monday.

Durkin also said that most village employees were able to make it to work on Monday, as the Village Hall was open.

But as for area residents, “It seems that people are pretty much taking to heed all the warnings they received the past few days about the cold, and that’s good,” he said.

South Holland reports business as usual

SOUTH HOLLAND | The village is working with Thornton Township to operate a pair of places where people can go to escape the severe cold.

Yet neither the Community Center nor the Township Hall had an overflow of people.

Officials with the township said their offices were open and that people were coming and going at about the usual numbers. While police said they had not received any calls of people being trapped anywhere due to weather conditions.

Aside from a few minor auto accidents, there has been little of incident within the village.

“Things are going fine,” said police Lt. James Cavernero, adding that many people appeared to be heeding warnings to avoid going outside.

“We have been fortunate,” he said.

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