Public, private workers brave frigid weather

Staff Writer
Subzero temperatures and drifting snow closed many businesses and government offices on Monday. But private and public workers braved the frigid weather to offer much-needed services for area residents.
Public employees were out in force Monday, clearing the roads.
The Findlay Public Works Department sent out its crew of snowplow drivers after days spent preparing for the storm, said Superintendent Matt Stoffel.
Mechanics inspected and fueled city trucks so the vehicles could run nearly nonstop, Stoffel said.
“They basically never shut down until we’re done,” Stoffel said.
Blowing wind caused problems for the 25 drivers who worked in Findlay during the day Monday. But Stoffel said the light amount of traffic, fueled in part by closed businesses, helped crews clear city roads.
The weather prompted the closing of the Hancock County Sanitary Landfill on Monday, delaying garbage pickup, said Brandon Betscher of AE Curbside.
The company made its rounds in the villages of Arlington and Jenera, but the garbage collected from 4:30 a.m. through 8 a.m. remains in the trucks, Betscher said. Workers will empty the trucks and finish Monday’s collection when the landfill opens, he said.
Workers did not ride on the back of the trucks, and they wore Carhartt jackets and face masks to fight off the bitter cold, he said.
“It was bad, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen,” Betscher said.
Employees of Bridge Home Health and Hospice also had to brave the weather, said Nicole Debelak, a manager with the hospice.
The hospice assists about 300 patients across a nine-county region. About 40 of those patients require daily help that cannot be interrupted, she said.
Oxygen tanks require maintenance and many medications must be provided, she said.
Clinicians prepare for many different weather emergencies, she said.
“We’re here to serve our patients,” Debelak said.
In Findlay, Main Street Deli and Tony’s Restaurant opened as usual on Monday.
A “skeleton crew,” four of the typical 11 employees, served sandwiches, said Elaine Bruggeman, owner of Main Street Deli.
The customers who stopped in were grateful, she said.
At Tony’s, staff hoped to feed hungry customers including road crew workers, said Connie Tagliapietra, restaurant manager.
The restaurant served AEP Ohio employees during the June 2012 windstorm and ensuing heat wave. Management hoped to accommodate workers once again, she said.
The cold weather was more dangerous than it appeared, she said. Shoveling for more than five minutes was almost unbearable, according to Tagliapietra.
Josh Elchert, owner of AJ’s Heavenly Pizza in Findlay, said he made no promises to callers for delivery orders.
Elchert said he did not want to rush his drivers. The business would stop delivering when his drivers reported the weather was too harsh, he said.
“It’s all based on their comfort level, not what I want them to do,” Elchert said.
Even a few minutes outside, from AJ’s to the car and to the customer’s house, could cause frostbite, he said.
Elchert donned three pairs of pants, two shirts and a sweatshirt in preparation for his own deliveries, he said.
“Just trying to stay as covered as I can,” he said.
Dunn: 419-427-8417
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