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Digging out and diggin' it

Snowstorm draws all ages to the outdoors

Snowstorm draws all ages to the outdoors

December 10, 2005|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY -

First, there was work. Then came play.

With her right arm curled around a snowboard and the end of a dog leash in her left hand, 14-year-old Schuyler Feiser was headed for Funkstown's "Suicide Hill."

This was her way to enjoy the region's first substantial snowfall this season, which plopped more than 5 inches on Hagerstown, according to weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site.

All around, people shoveled, bundled, trudged and sighed on Friday as they regrouped and recharged after the overnight storm.

About 1 p.m., Schuyler said she had just finished nearly 15 hours of helping to clear snow. She had worked overnight with her brother and his friend, who owns a snow removal business.

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As she walked with her springer spaniel, Babies - named for behaving like a baby - Schuyler said she would rather ride her snowboard than take a nap.

The snowstorm caused Tri-State-area schools to take a day off on Friday.

The Hagerstown Public Works Department started clearing streets Thursday at 11 p.m. and expected to continue until Friday at 11 p.m., said Jason Rodgers, a traffic control supervisor.

He said the toughest period was from midnight to 5 a.m., when snow came down at a rate of one inch per hour.

Charles "Turk" King started shoveling his driveway off Pennsylvania Avenue, near Fountainhead Plaza, north of Hagerstown, about 10 a.m.

Two hours later, King was chopping the last stubborn snow chunks, at the foot of the driveway. He stopped every so often for a break.

"I had trouble with my nose running," King said.

In the 400 block of Guilford Avenue in Hagerstown, Judy Faulders spent an hour clearing snow in the morning. She came back out mid-afternoon, wrapped in a winter coat and hood, to do more.

Faulders said she doesn't put chairs or other markers in the street to save parking spaces, but others in her neighborhood do. Sure enough, on other blocks, people had set out plastic chairs, a table and a sawhorse.

John Lestitian, the city's chief code enforcement officer, said "the vast majority" of property owners had cleared their sidewalks, or else the minimum: a path at least 4 feet wide.

The city requires this so sidewalks don't ice up with frozen snow, he said.

Lestitian said the city did not issue any notices to violators on Friday.

The system gives violators 24 hours from the time they get warnings to clear sidewalks. After that, a company hired by the city is called in to do it.

For the first offense, there's no fine, Lestitian said, but for the second offense, after another snowstorm, the fine is $200.

Lestitian said the city has eight people signed up as volunteer shovelers; all are matched with residents who need help. Another six people, though, have asked for shoveling assistance, but the city has no one to help them.

Lestitian said people can sign up to help or ask for help by calling him at 301-739-8577, ext. 195.

"It would be nice to have 15 to 20 people," he said.

At City Park, snow was not a nuisance to be pushed aside, but a means to slippery fun.

Doug Cline of Funkstown and his daughter, Chelsea, 6, who was with him for the day, rode the hills in plastic sleds.

South Hagerstown High School classmates and friends James Jordan, 14, and Teresa Musick, 14, tried snowboarding on a hill near the lake, then moved to a spot near the Mansion House Art Center.

Upon waking up first thing in the morning and hearing that school was closed, James said he "just rolled back over."

Schools, roads, shoveling - none was of any concern to Zachary Aaron Miller, who, at almost 2 years old, was relishing the first time his parents let him romp in the snow.

His parents, Aaron Miller and Carrie Cambron, escorted him down the road to the Hagerstown YMCA. Wearing a purple-and-blue snowsuit and a furry hat, Zachary took baby steps as he tossed snow and grinned. Aaron Miller took pictures.

"I want to teach him how to make a snow angel," Cambron said.

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