Plows continue to clear snow but it’s been a slow go as plows were pulled from the roads yesterday with zero visibility during the height of the unexpected amount of snowfall. With the amount of snow, downtown Northfield parking is at a minimum. The City uses a large snowblower and semi trucks to remove it during the early morning hours but with more snow expected, tomorrow could be worse. Bottom line is to be careful, call ahead or just stay put if possible.
Rice Co. Sheriff’s dept. works OT, tow trucks and blinding snowfall
Tow trucks were swamped yesterday as people drifted off the roadways in the blinding snow. Rice county Sheriff Troy Dunn said there were no serious crashes and he was happy to see that many folks had emergency kits in their cars. Tow truck companies had to halt travel as the visibility was zero. Dunn said the hotels were busy as some folks just chose to stay put. He
kept his day shift deputies on till nearly 9 o’clock last night and called in the night shift early. They had several medicals of people falling but nothing serious. Northfield Deputy Chief Mark Dukatz said that Northfield, “did alright”. Rice Co. was busy and the Interstate was (and still is) but the people of Northfield “were smart”, they stayed put or just went home and didn’t go out driving. Duke added that there were also folks who called to complain about a parking problem, turns out it was someone stuck in front of a driveway and others who called to say they were stuck and didn’t want their vehicle tagged. They did NOT tag anyone last night but Duke reminds everyone that it makes it very difficult for snow plow drivers to maneuver around those cars. Check 511mn.org for road conditions. And prepare for more issues overnight.
White knuckle ride
Many on social media sites reported white knuckling it home and saying it’s the worst they’ve ever driven in. The Northfield City Council cancelled their regular meeting last night and Daiken Applied in Faribault cancelled their 2nd and 3rd shifts! The good news is there were plenty of folks helping each other out with a push out of a ditch or helping shovel or snowblow someone’s driveway.
Beleaguered buses and school districts
Northfield school buses had a difficult time yesterday afternoon as the predictions of snowfall were far less that what we really have. Superintendent Matt Hillmann commented on calls for an early release yesterday, “if I had the information at 11 yesterday morning or 10:30 that I had at 4 o’clock, that’s exactly what we would’ve done. But we didn’t. The snow came much more quickly than expected and came in a ton more than what was anticipated and so we made the best decisions that we can at the time and just looking last night and making the decision to close today, we believe some areas got a foot of snow”. With that much snow, they knew side roads and rural areas would not be cleared, and they weren’t. The visibility yesterday was at zero at points and the ice under the snow is problematic. Hillmann said most kids were home by 6:15pm. He gave kudos to Benjamin Bus and patient parents. This afternoon and overnight tonight there could be another 4 to 8 inches of snow. Keep it tuned to KYMN.
Lippert leads with Family leave
Paid family leave is a hot item at the Minnesota Legislature and House Representative Todd Lippert is at the forefront saying that it’s like a “social insurance program”, much like Unemployment insurance. He said “employers pay in just a little bit, employees pay in just a little bit”. Then when there’s a need, such as caring for a dying parent or going through cancer treatments or a new baby, you could take up to 12 weeks. The conversation is just beginning and there’s a lot to discuss. Lippert says the costs will be kept low with a statewide pool. He added for the “median employee the cost would be about $2 a week or $100 a year”. He said, “what we’ve been hearing from small business owners is that cost is much much less than the struggle of finding a replacement worker when a key employee needs to take leave and there’s really no choice about it”. He says small business owners see this as a way to retain employees and he believes, it’s the right thing to do. If you’re a very small business owner, most cannot go without a “key” employee for 3 months.