Local News

Veterans Day snowstorm snarls leaf pickup in Blue Water Area

Record amounts of snow fell in the region on Veterans Day, making leaf removal difficult.
Record amounts of snow fell in the region on Veterans Day, making leaf removal difficult.

Some residents are irate

By Jim Bloch

The Blue Water Area was blanketed with around a half-foot of snow on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, hampering leaf pickup in Port Huron and Marysville.

Snowflakes are illuminated in the camera's flash at Marysville City Hall, Nov. 11.
Snowflakes are illuminated in the camera’s flash at Marysville City Hall, Nov. 11.

“Record Daily Maximum Snowfall of 8.5 inches was set at Detroit Metro Airport on Nov. 11, which breaks the old record of 4.1 inches back in 1984,” reported the National Weather Service. “The 8.5 inches also breaks the November daily snowfall with a previous record of 6.2 inches back on Nov. 15, 1925.”

Flint also set a record with 8.6 inches of snow at Bishop Airport.

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James Freed, city manager of Port Huron, sent out an advisory that some city services would be hampered by the snow. Freed forwarded an email from its garbage and yard waste hauler Emterra.

“Due to the unseasonable weather, we are experiencing difficulty with equipment and experiencing heavy delays in travel,” said Joshua Johnson, Emterra route supervisor. “Over the next 48 hours we anticipate some delays in residential pick up until we are able to be back on schedule. Currently we are working to complete yard waste pick up on Monday’s routes from Holland to Hancock. We have a truck working ALL of Monday to recover any yard waste that was not picked up yesterday. Recycling from Gratiot to the St Clair River from Holland to Hancock is also being picked up at this time. Due to the heavy snow conditions we are suspending leaf vac until weather allows for our machines to pick up and remove leafs from the curbs and boulevards. Attempting to do leaf removal under the current conditions will cause damage to the vacuum units.”

In Marysville, a number of residents were angry that their leaves were not picked up because of the snow.

“My department has dealt with 40 complete lunatics today,” reported Barry Kreiner, director of the Marysville Department of Public Works, at the regular meeting of the city council on Nov. 11.

Kreiner said that the DPW does not control the weather.

“This is not the first time it’s happened,” said Kreiner. “It will not be the last time.”

Snow fell before leaf collection could be completed in 2013 and 1999, said Kreiner.

A tree bends under the weight of snow at the Marysville Public Library.
A tree bends under the weight of snow at the Marysville Public Library.

“But for the way people were speaking to us today on the phone, and threatening to come to the council meeting to exclaim how horrible my department is — I wish half of them would have showed up because I would have really went off.”

Emterra also handles leaf pickup in Marysville.

In 1999, city crews went out with backhoes and dump trucks and collected the frozen leaves in Marysville.

“If that’s what has to happen, that’s what will happen,” Kreiner said. “But I’ve had enough of these people screaming about their leaves. We didn’t cause the snow. We currently have every truck we have out there working right now. We have a whole other shift change coming in at 11 p.m. and they’re going until 7 a.m. … We’re going to stay on it until the snow goes away.”

“My message to our resident is, ‘Patience is a virtue,'” said Mayor Wayne Pyden. “We all have to work together as a team on this.”

“We have the best DPW,” said Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman. “They’re working as hard as they can and they deserve our respect and patience.”

Jim Bloch is an award-winning freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. He writes about the environment, local politics, art, music, history and culture. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com.

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