Doing business in the snow in Havre
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The open sign at Norman's Ranch and Western Wear wasn't lit Sunday. "Because there was no way people could even get in in front of the store," owner Scott Young said. "People just can't get around," he said. But the store is open again, after Young hired a company to clear the parking area Monday. Once the streets are cleared, he said, business should pick back up. It already has with the work done Monday, he said. Business elsewhere was down as well. "Our traffic in here is probably one-third of normal," said David Shaw, a co-owner of the Atrium Mall. "It's not good," he said about the streets. "A lot of cars are getting stuck and stuff." But "the city's doing what they can," he added. He said he expects traffic to pick up once the streets are cleared. In the meantime, "we've got some diehards that came in anyway," he said. Not as many people went to the movies, either, said Cottonwood Cinema 4 Manager Priscilla Jiron. "It's actually been pretty down this weekend because of the snow," she said, adding that while she didn't have any set numbers, the difference was drastic enough to be noticeable. "I truly understand," she said, "because I wouldn't want to go anywhere." She thanked the moviegoers who braved the weather and said that more should start coming out again once things are clearer. "I hope the city clears off the snow in front of the theater, not just the theater, but everywhere," she said. And that's exactly what the city has been busy doing. The snow routes have been cleared along with much of 3rd Street. Havre Public Works Director Dave Peterson said that workers have been out since 4 a.m. today blading snow into the middle of streets in the downtown area. A front-end loader will then transfer the piles to a dump truck which will take the snow to various city-owned properties for disposal, he said. Generally, it would take an hour to clear a street, Peterson said, but that depends on traffic in the area. It's inconvenient to people to have streets blocked off temporarily, but it makes the department's work more efficient and better in the long run, he said. If people in residential areas are having problems with drifting snow, they can call the Public Works department at 265-4941. The department does minimal work in alleyways because of the confined space, Peterson said. If the garbage trucks can't get through, then the DPW crews will work in them, he added. "We really don't go into alleys unless it's absolutely necessary," he said. People blowing and shoveling snow from sidewalks and driveways should not put it out into the streets, Peterson said, since doing so makes it more difficult to clear them for the city. When downtown roads are difficult to traverse, people can travel on the snow routes, which are cleared f i rs t , Peterson said. "Hopefully the snow starts letting off, and we can look forward to getting a little warmer weather," Peterson said. "But we will keep on going after it as long as we keep getting it."