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Students left adrift

Snowy sidewalks blamed for school delay

Misael Rivera, 12, of Southbridge shovels snow outside his home after the Dec. 9, 2009 storm. DPW officials remind building and homeowners that they are required to clear sidewalks in front of their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. Police are issuing tickets for failure to comply, which carry a $25 fine for first offenses rising to $50 and then $100 for subsequent violations. File photo/ Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
January 05, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — On Monday, Southbridge students found themselves with a slightly longer holiday break, when school officials opted to delay the start of school by two hours because of snow concerns.

But nobody from nearby towns had similar delays.

The real issue wasn't the snow itself, but unshoveled sidewalks and equipment breakdowns, according to DPW Director Kenneth Kalinowski and school Maintenance Director Michael Comeau.

"None of the sidewalks had been touched, or if they had, the wind had drifted snow all over them again," Comeau said of his perusal of the situation around 3:30 a.m. Monday. He said he called Superintendent Dale Hanley to recommend the delay around 4:45 a.m., after talking to DPW Operations Director Ron Trudeau.

While the roads themselves were generally clear, Comeau said he was afraid students would have to walk in those roads downtown "in the dark" to get to school. From his own drive in, he said, those roads were slushy and slippery, causing his car to slide farther before he could stop.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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