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Big dig begins

February 18, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Youngster Derrick Martin called the more than 2 feet of snow in front of his downtown Hagerstown home on Monday a "kid's dream," but some of his older neighbors felt trapped in a nightmare.

About a dozen residents of the 200 block of South Potomac Street battled the elements to dig their vehicles and sidewalks out from under the heavy snowfall.

"I'm not enjoying this at all," said Deena Worden, 28, who spent about two hours trying to pry her Pontiac Grand Am from a roadside snow bank. "Every time I start to get dug out a snow plow comes along and piles more snow next to my car. I'm exhausted - and I can just about get to my car door."


Worden and some of her neighbors struggled to find space for their shoveled snow without piling it on sidewalks or tossing it back onto the street.

"Where are you supposed to put it?" asked John Moore, 63. "The only thing I can figure is to carry the snow up to the bathtub to let it melt - and I'm not doing that."

Alden Clark, 15, worked to move about 3 feet of snow from the side of his home to his backyard so he'd have room to pile more snow from the sidewalk, he said. His younger brother, Derrick Martin, helped - well, sort of. Derrick, 10, spent about as much time jumping in the snow pile as he did shoveling from it.

"This is a kid's dream," said Derrick, 10. "I don't mind working outside because it gets me out of cleaning the house."

Mom Elizabeth Hicks occasionally peeked out the front door to check on her children's progress and to toss them such needed provisions as dry hats.

"Today it's nice to have boys," Hicks said.

Or neighbors like Dave Hose, John Cole and Mark Younker.

The men put their snowblowers and shovels to work on Monday, clearing sidewalks and digging out vehicles free of charge for fellow residents up and down South Potomac Street.

"This is a friendly neighborhood and we try to help each other out," said Hose, 27.

Younker, 28, rented a snowblower early Monday so he could help friends on his block, he said. Younker's brother, Herb, also volunteered his services as a "snow angel," he said.

Cole's efforts weren't 100 percent charitable.

"I just got bored in the house so I thought I'd help my neighbors," said Cole, 39, who used a broom to sweep snow from nearby cars and a shovel to dredge a path down the sidewalk.

John Stotelmyer and two helpers from Hagerstown Property Management loaded a snowblower into the back of a pickup truck after clearing sidewalks in front of rental properties on South Potomac Street Monday afternoon.

"We had 33 properties to do, plus everyone's asking us to do their sidewalks," Stotelmyer said. "We're tackling the battle - and we'll be back tomorrow."

Nikki St. Germain measured 27 inches of snow in front of an ARC of Washington County residential facility on South Potomac Street, where she and co-worker Laura Speis labored to dig out a company car.

"That's a Taurus under there," St. Germain said.

The woman didn't hesitate to gesture for help from passing snowplows, which could swipe a good portion of snow from the driver's side of the ARC vehicle.

"We're flagging them down, playing the damsels in distress," said Speis, 21.

Next door, Tanya Faith toiled to uncover her car, again. Faith, 29, said she removed snow from her Toyota on Sunday only to find it covered again Monday morning.

"I don't mind the snow until you have to do this," she said.

Faith's children, Michael, 11, and Tiffany, 4, didn't seemed to mind the white stuff at all. Michael made snowballs and Tiffany licked an icicle as they watched their mother labor in the snow.

Around the corner at Potomac Towers on Baltimore Street, a red-faced Scott Huff spent about 30 minutes digging out his neighbor's Ford Taurus. The snow was heaped above the car's bumper when Huff, 37, began shoveling it out on Monday afternoon, he said.

Car owner Randy Ericson, who has steel rods in his legs, said he appreciated his friend's effort.

"I need to be able to get out in case there's an emergency," said Ericson, 57. "This is nuts."

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