2008.03.12 Will anyone remember the lame "Blizzard of 2008?"

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

So, did you get all of last weekend’s snow shoveled yet? Like me, did you change your previous plans and stay home while virtually nothing happened weather-wise, certainly nothing like the “death by snowstorm” predictions we had heard for days?

Folks in Michigan were probably luckier as there wasn’t a widespread prediction of calamity, but news outlets in Ohio were prepped for a blizzard and did their best to cover one, whether it occurred or not.

Maybe I watch too much television, but every time there is a prediction of measurable snow, all of the Toledo television stations seem to flock to the Ohio Department of Transportation garage and talk to the same people and report the same thing: the snowplows are ready to hit the road when needed and will work around the clock if necessary to return the roads to safe conditions. What’s more, they have an ample supply of salt on hand and can borrow more from nearby sources should they happen to run low.

Is that really news? It seems to always come as a surprise to our television friends, but it really is someone’s job to keep salt ordered and plows running when needed. Now, if that person allowed the salt to run out and let all the plow drivers take the winter off, then they’d have some news. Fortunately, that never seems to happen. “PEOPLE DO THEIR JOBS” just doesn’t have that headline quality television is looking for.

By Saturday morning, it was becoming obvious that this was no blizzard of 1978. Way back then, my Plymouth Duster, which had been parked in the yard, was covered in snowdrifts higher than the door handles. After way more shoveling than I care to remember, I finally managed to free the car from its snowy prison. The piles of snow around the car were now higher than the car itself. If I had just thrown a tarp over the piles, the Duster would have had its own little snow garage, at least until warmer weather.

To top things off, I somehow managed to lose my car keys while I was shoveling. Luckily, I had an extra set because they didn’t turn up again until most of the snow melted in the spring, along with the Plymouth’s little winter home.

This “blizzard,” however, was so mild that I never had to touch a snow shovel. The early Saturday television newscasters were making their usual big deal out of the weather. Granted, there was a fair amount of snow east of Toledo, but for many of us, virtually none. One newscaster even commented that viewers in Williams County probably wondered what the big deal was. This viewer in Fulton County was thinking the same thing.

Just as I was leaving home Saturday morning to run some errands, a friend called. I promised to call back later and when I did, they were surprised that I was able to leave home at all. Ohio was apparently in the national news for its “record-setting snow storm.” I contradicted that report by saying that not only did I not have to shovel, I didn’t even have to use my windshield wipers to clear the glass.

By Saturday night, even the television news people were cutting down on their hype, although I did get a laugh out of the weather map which showed Fulton County with a “Storm Total” of 7.5 inches of snow, roughly 7.48 inches more than I had.

Speaking of hype, I loved the quote from Ohio governor Ted Strickland in one of Sunday’s newspapers. “We will get through this,” said Strickland, adding, “The snow will stop, the wind will cease, and the sun will shine. But until that happens, we need to be smart, take care of ourselves and attempt to be helpful to others.” 

This struck me as quite a serious statement by someone who has been rumored as a possible vice presidential candidate if Hillary Clinton receives the Democratic presidential nomination. He seems to be practicing up on his natural disaster speaking abilities.

To be fair, Columbus broke its record for snow in a single storm, receiving about 20 inches, but come on, Governor Strickland. The bottom line is, it was a snowstorm—a huge one, certainly, but predicted well in advance and anyone following advisories to stay home had little to fear. What would you had said if it was a surprise killer tornado?

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    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
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    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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