211 busy with calls about snow shoveling help

11:30 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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ROOSEVELT PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- The snow has stopped falling, leaving behind sidewalks covered with deep snow. While one lakeshore community tells its residents not to worry about the snow, another requires its residents to clear the snow.

In Roosevelt Park, city workers clear sidewalks for residents. "We just purchased a new trackless side walk plow last year," said city manager Anthony Chandler. "We can get through the entire city in one day."

City leaders believe the service is important to continue. "This is a service that they have been doing here for a long time and I do not see any end to it in the near future," said Chandler.

But in Muskegon the work is the responsibility of residents.

William Oakes shoveled his side walk early Thursday morning, but around the city, many sidewalks are still covered in deep snow.

"Some people do not shovel and you have to walk into the street," explained Oakes.

In Muskegon if you do not clear the snow from your sidewalk police will issue you a warning, then the city may even hire someone to do the work for you and send you the bill.

"Since the storm we have been getting calls from people with frozen pipes, with full driveways, with full sidewalks," said Susan Howell-Stuk, the executive director at 211 Lakeshore. The 211 helpline is a great at connecting people with community resources, but when it comes to sidewalk clearing, there's no simple answer.

"It is hard that we do not have a formal place to send them right now," said Howell-Stuk. That leaves 211 operators reminding callers that it is OK to ask for help from others they know. "We try and do some problem solving with them-- ask them if they have asked their neighbor yet. Have they called their church or their family? Sometime people do not want to be a burden and ask their neighbors for help," said Howell-Stuk.

Three neighbors asked William Oakes for help and he shoveled their sidewalks too.

211 in Kent county says there are volunteer groups helping the elderly and sick shovel their sidewalks, however at this time, those groups all have long waiting lists.

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