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Two inches of snow, where are the plows?


November 11, 2013

Sunday, during our first major snowfall of the season, it was brought to my attention that the city of Havre was responding to phone calls about snow removal and the hospital hill being closed by saying, “Well, we aren’t going to do anything until it stops snowing.”  This statement completely baffled me. Having lived in Havre most of my life, I know what an average Montana winter can entail.

Unlike other communities or states that would simply declare a natural disaster with the conditions we live in, Havre’s small community usually goes right on running without missing a beat. The below-zero wind chills and inches of snow the community sometimes faces rarely slows it down.

As parents, we bundle our children up and send them off to school. As employees, we brush the snow and ice off our cars, leave a little earlier and go to work. Why are we able to do this? Because, in the past, the issue of snow removal was addressed as it occurred. If we had waited until the snow stopped, we would have faced quite a few more obstacles while attempting to achieve these tasks. I realize it would be more convenient if it only snowed Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, but that certainly isn’t the Montana I was raised in. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our community does not stop living because winter has hit so, therefore, the city not maintaining the roads until the snow stops is unacceptable.

Safety in our community should be the number-one priority. I realize to some members of this community it makes more sense, to spend the limited amount of funding the city has available, on repeatedly rebuilding the courthouse stairs when in reality the money could be used for more practical services in the community. Not once while I drove around Havre yesterday did I see a sanded street or street corner. I did however see people sliding all over the streets and a four-wheel drive Jeep that was unable to get up an icy hill. Most people in this day and age are aware of the benefits associated with prevention. Doctors don’t wait to treat a bleeding trauma patient until the bleeding stops nor do they wait until a patient has a heart attack to treat their heart disease. The lack of prevention that the city showed, by not addressing the issue of our first snowfall properly, was an injustice to the citizens of the community.

If there was a more logical reason for the city to wait for the snowfall to stop before they began its removal that I somehow missed, please excuse my letter. There are always two sides to every story. On the other hand, if you are like me and completely baffled by the whole situation, please feel free to voice your thoughts.            

Christina Petersen



Reader Comments


awalken writes:

there should b more snow removed from streets and sidewalks n sanded better..when a person has to walk n the property owner dosent shovel the walks i have to walk in the street n ppl dont see u or slow down when they are driving.people should get a warning to clear their sidewalks or be fined..i like to be safe when i have to walk and walking in the street is not safe

HiLiner writes:

I can't help but shake my head at the rude, ignorant, insulting individuals that grace the comments section regularly. I do not necessarily feel that a plow is required when there is only a couple inches of snow. HOWEVER, I do have a major problem with the City's philosophy that we can't put dirt on intersections until it stops snowing. Traffic doesn't stop, and as far as being careful, I've seen vehicles barely moving that still cannot stop on pure ice.

2smart4u writes:

Hey, Einstein. The City has nothing to do with the Courthouse. You obviously know nothing about the separation of local governments, how local government budgets operate, or the Courthouse steps issue. Why not do some meaningful research first instead of popping off an uneducated rant? Most cities DON'T start plowing until the snow stops, this includes Helena. But, I guess if you want the entire road budget spent on snow plowing, don't gripe because the potholes aren't getting filled!

Getreal writes:

Granted there are only so many dollars available for snow removal per fiscal year. All departments have to prioritize. But I know other similar sized cities have a regular schedule for winter street clearing. I would be interested to know how the city prioritizes the funds for snow control every year. That was a good letter Christina. Maybe talking to your City Councilperson would help if you live within the City limits. Express your concerns to him/her.

moosemt writes:

Yes thankful for our law enforcement officers. Drive safe out there!

Bill writes:

Hey get a clue, you are one rude individual. How dare you criticize and call someone lazy for voicing their opinion. First of all it's absolutely unacceptable that the city can't maintain the streets when they're as dangerous as they were yesterday. I even witnessed police officers spreading dirt by hand on the hill behind NMH last night when it was incredibly slippery. If only public works had that kind of dedication to our community. It's not the budget it's the lazy public works staff!!

Notamused writes:

you know the budget goes to daily dumping water in the streets during the spring/summer/and fall so that the dirt stays down. Everyone would rather get stuck in snow and slippery ice and get in accidents than have their car get dirt on it the rest of the year! Its been this way from what I have seen for years. I have rarely seen most streets I have to drive on daily get plowed. I have even seen snow routes that are marked get ignored for days straight.

unusedsnowplow writes:

Its november. us snow plows are allowed time off ya know. I only work from january to april!

CLP writes:

I would like to thank get a clue for their mature response. How nice of you to attack me anonymously for voicing my opinion. Not once in my letter did I say I had a solution for all of the community's budget shortfalls. I did call it as I saw it and if that makes me a lazy, whiner I do apologize. I guess the next time the snow starts flying, I should go to the major streets in town with my snow shovel. Yes that will show them I am not lazy. If the issue affects us half the time it is not small.

fishermn writes:

I agree strongly. The city of Havre has a never cleaned the streets. I have lived in Havre for over thirty years and I feel in those thirty or so years Havre city workers can not plow streets or sand them. how many people wreck their cars,or get hurt, because of slick streets. I wonder what the city would do if Havre residents started sending the city the Dr.bills and the bill to have new mufflers put on or to geta new car because of snow packed streets.

Getaclue writes:

Maybe, Christina, you should take a look at the city budget and figure out how much was allocated to snow removal, instead of being lazy and whining. People in Havre need to learn how to drive-IT SNOWED, PEOPLE, SLOW DOWN! You people spend 6 months on icy roads and should know better! If you still think you're so great, run for city council and solve all of our problems for us! I guarantee it takes more than a fake magic wand to do so! It's only NOV and at least 5 more months of this!

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