Hold cold is it? Garbage trucks shut down

SALEM – Republic Services/Allied Waste won’t be picking up garbage today, adding to the lengthy list of closings and shutdowns due to the extreme chilly temperatures.

“We typically don’t close when it gets cold out, but they’re calling for such arctic temperatures, we’re closing for the safety of our drivers,” said Mona Rance, customer service manager for the Salem office.

She explained that customers can expect a one-day delay for the rest of the week, with no pick-up today and services resuming Wednesday. She said they’ll catch up on Saturday.

Closing down operations isn’t something they do very often. It has to be bad for the company to call trucks off the road, but with the drivers in and out of the trucks all day, she said they want to take care of them.

All area schools closed again today, along with the Salem and East Liverpool campuses of Kent State University, all Mahoning County libraries and the Leetonia Community Library, as of Monday night.

For anybody who needs a place to get warm, the Salvation Army on North Ellsworth Avenue in Salem will open at 9 a.m. as a warming station and serve lunch at 11:30 a.m., with plans to remain open until 4 p.m. or later.

“We are just worried there may be some people who don’t have adequate heating,” Lt. Kristin Price said.

She said there are also homeless who live in Salem, with some who live in their cars. They refer people to shelters in other areas, but most of the shelters are full at this time. She said there aren’t a lot of places for people to go. The Salem Ministerial Association has an arrangement with Barnett’s Hotel for a night’s stay, but that’s only if there are rooms open.

Price said they still have some adult coats and some for older children if people are in need. They also have a limited number of space heaters available.

Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the department works with the ministerial association on getting rooms at Barnett’s for any homeless people they come across and also try to get them a meal at McDonald’s. He also said the room arrangement only works when there are rooms available.

Officers will be watching out for people in the cold and Panezott said they’ll do what they can to keep people safe.

“We’ll find some place for them to go to keep out of the weather,” he said.

He suggested that residents stay put and not go out unless its absolutely necessary. If there’s a problem, he said they can call the police and officers will do what they can. He described the conditions as dangerous. With the extreme temperatures come concerns for frostbite.

“Our frontline health care providers are trained to accommodate increased numbers of patients who may come to us with many different types of illnesses and injuries. Salem Regional Medical Center has an emergency preparedness plan in place that guides our staff in managing any type of crisis situation that may occur in the communities we serve. However, we strongly encourage people to avoid exposure to these extreme temperatures if at all possible,” SRMC Director of Public Relations Michele Hoffmeister said.

“For those that do go outside, they should be on the lookout for early signs of frostbite, as the very young and the very old are most susceptible. The danger of frostbite and injuries related to slips and falls on the ice are very real at this time of year and can have devastating, long-lasting effects,” she said.

Another consideration for the city will be any problems with water pipes. Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said they’ll take care of whatever comes along, responding only for emergency calls and service calls. He said residents should be wary of any drafts near their pipes and keep them insulated or covered to keep them from freezing.

“We hope this will pass through and life will get back to normal,” he said.

City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said city crews salted heavily on Monday because salt doesn’t work in single digits, relying on the friction from tires. The salt is mixed with grit, but they used more salt since it was a little warmer during the day on Monday. He said city crews worked overtime from Thursday through Friday morning, logging 32 hours straight and covering 1,400 miles trying to keep the roads clear.

For the cold weather today, he said “we’re just going to wait it out now.”

Temperatures are expected to rise back up on Wednesday.