December 15, 2010

Please Don't Call the Cops on the Snow Blower Guy

Today I spoke with one of the men who have been working hard to clear snow within our neighborhood.  I noticed him working outside this afternoon while I was home. As he climbed out of his bobcat preparing to hand-dig around a fire hydrant, I spoke with him for a few minutes. I thanked him for his work on behalf of all us.  He appreciated the feedback, and said that he and his co-workers had been working very hard over the last few days.

He said that they've been trying to keep up with the recent storm's snowfall, drifting, and setbacks caused by the City of Hugo plows.  Then he mentioned something that really surprised me.  He was concerned that residents would call the police if he worked too late into the night.  He continued and told me a story that last winter, while working to clear snow from our neighborhood sometime after 8:00pm, the Washington County Sheriff pulled-up to his machine and asked him to stop working.  Apparently, the Sheriff's Department had received multiple phone calls complaining about the noise his snow blower was making.

I fully understand that we live in a neighborhood where people call all hours of the day or night "bedtime". What I don't understand is how someone would reach the annoyance breaking point so fast and decide calling the Sheriff on the snow blower guy was the best option available.

The City of Hugo's plows work through at all hours of the day and night.  They go where and when they're needed.  It's a safety issue.  If ambulances or fire trucks get stuck, as happened as recently as last Sunday in Minneapolis, consequences can be severe. If fire hydrants aren't cleared, as was the case in a St. Paul fire last night, response time is delayed and firefighting is more difficult.

Our neighborhood's snow removal contractors should be afforded the same understanding that the City of Hugo's plow crews are given. We count on them all. If our contractors believe that working past 8:00pm (or 3:00am for that matter) allows them necessary time to clear streets, alleyways, fire hydrants, or sidewalks then I'm OK with that.

Workers are still trying hard to catch up with last week's record storm.  It’s clear that there’s still more to be done, and it looks like they'll have new inches of snow to clear over the next few days. I hope that instead of calling the cops, our neighbors can show a little patience and understanding- especially for the people who make living here a little easier and safer.

- Mark