Schools, businesses cope after winter snowstorm

March 16, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers and Monica Norton | Carol L. Bowers and Monica Norton,Staff Writers Staff writer Joanna Daemmrich contributed to this story.

Ten-year-old Kate Stepp, who had been down a Pleasantville hill with her friend Laurie Gray about 20 times by noon, wouldn't answer questions about how good the sledding was yesterday.

"You have to experience it," she said, fixing a reporter with a stern look. "Come on, I'll go down with you."

Carrying two, Kate's sled careened down the hill in seconds, a brisk breeze blowing as it flew over the snow ramp and skidded to a halt.

"Now you can write about it," Kate said with satisfaction, trudging back up the hill.

It was fun, exciting, far too short -- and oh, to be 10 again.

There's nothing like snow to bring out the kid in you -- whether you're 10 or a grandparent or somewhere in between.

Even area businesses got into the fun of it: Tony Marques, owner of the Glen Burnie Lawn Mower Shop on Ritchie Highway, took a break between snow-blower repairs this weekend. With help from four of his friends, he built an 8-foot-tall snowman on the shop's front lawn.

But while it was safe enough for sledding and building snowmen, school officials were worried about sidewalks, and closed schools yesterday and today.

"The sidewalks are not clear. The [parking] lots are not clear," said school spokeswoman Jane Doyle. "We just didn't feel good about having the kids who walk [to school] get around on some of the side roads. And in some cases the bus turn-arounds would be impossible."

Neighborhood sidewalks, too, remained piled high with snow and ice, and having students stand in the middle of the street to wait for school buses was not acceptable, Ms. Doyle said.

The good news for students is that the extra snow day won't lengthen the school year. The school system had built four snow days into its calendar, and one remains after today.

The snow closed Anne Arundel Community College for a day. Even Midshipmen got an extra day off when the U.S. Naval Academy realized many were snowbound. Midshipmen were allowed to return from their weeklong leave by 4 p.m. yesterday, instead of 7 p.m. Sunday. Staff reported to work two hours late yesterday; faculty did not return to campus because there were no classes.

Students at St. John's College in Annapolis also were "returning with great difficulty" from their two-week spring break, said Nancy Osius, a college spokeswoman. She said about one-third of the college's students were in class yesterday, an unusual event at the school that is "scrupulous" about attendance. Ms. Osius said she believes out-of-state students may have been stranded by the snow.

But for all those who got a day off, there were others who were working 'round-the-clock, coping with the aftermath of the Blizzard of '93.

County road crews have been working 24 hours a day since the snow hit, depositing 1,965 tons of salt on streets and exhausting the county's $280,000 snow budget.

Fred Glaeser, chief of county road operations, said the crews "have 80 percent of the secondary streets plowed, and now we're trying to get to the areas we haven't reached, like dead-ends and cul-de-sacs."

If you still needed help getting your car out, there were always the tow trucks.

"Nuts," summed up Ronnie Dermota, owner and general manager of Blue's 23- 1/2 hr Discount Towing and Road Service in Glen Burnie. "It's been nuts. We probably pulled in about 30 [vehicles] this morning [Monday]. And, we probably pulled in about 40 to 50 over the weekend."

Mr. Dermota said his shop generally tows about 10 vehicles a day.

"It's just been a mess," he said. "I should be in Florida, or Bermuda. Yeah, Bermuda's better."

At Tauber's Service Inc. towing company in Linthicum, workers did most of their towing over the weekend, said receptionist/dispatcher Pat Colbert.

"We pulled in about 12 cars over the weekend," she said.

Business was back to normal for area retailers yesterday after a bizarre weekend. Marley Station closed at 10:40 a.m. Saturday out of concern for shoppers', tenants' and employees' safety, said Ed Ladd, general manager of the mall.

"We lost a day of business, but in those kinds of situations that's not what's important," he said.

"We reopened at noon on Sunday," said Mr. Ladd, adding that yesterday "was a heavy traffic day. I think a lot of people got cabin fever. We had a lot of people coming to the mall to go to the movies or get a bite to eat."

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