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Editor's blog, snowbound at home
Updated on: 12.26.12

Like most other places in Brown County, the Brown County Democrat office is essentially closed today thanks to last night's snowstorm. But newsroom staff are still working from home and from our neighborhoods, calling around to get updates on road conditions and closings and gathering storm stories from the Blizzard of 2012. You can contribute to our coverage by sending email to newsroom@bcdemocrat.com with photos, your observations of conditions in your area or comments about how you're spending your day. We'll be reporting all day on this site and on our Facebook page.

Stay warm and be safe.

-- Sara Clifford, editor

Editor's blog: Dec. 26, 2012

4:30 a.m. Awake already. Climb the stairs to the living room and peek through the blinds. Yup. Forecasters were right. Under the dusk-to-dawn lamp outside I can see it swirling, probably at least 3 inches right now. Not looking forward to the hike-then-drive into work.

6 a.m. Alarm goes off. Decide I'm not getting up to hike down our hill and find my car. My husband was born during the blizzard of '78, and my mom made several false-labor trips in the snow with me in '80. Not anxious to have a similar story to tell my second child, who's not due for seven more weeks.

7:45 a.m. Roll myself out of bed and walk to the back hall door. In the haze of snow and dawn, the ground is glowing blue-white. “Mom?” calls my 5-year-old from his top bunk. He scrambles down on the word “snow” and rushes to the window with me. “Humassive!” he declares about the accumulation. Nice word, my boy.

7:55 a.m. Post weather warnings received in my inbox so far. County travel status is “watch,” meaning “don’t go out unless you really have to.” I dig my boots out of the closet, don my Michelin Man coat over pajamas and robe, and root around the junk drawer for a ruler. “Iris,” our boxer/cattle dog, bounds out the front door with me and my camera. Initial inch count: 5 on the porch railing. The driveway has disappeared, and all is silent, except for the sting of flakes hitting my face.

8:05 a.m. Indoors, my husband is up grinding coffee, our son is clamoring for help with his Christmas gifts, and the dog is still swirling and snorting from her first encounter with real snow. “Working from home” is going to take some real work.

8:25 a.m. Over a bowl of Cheerios, I start getting texts from other staff who've made the same decision. We split up tasks as we set up our kitchen workstations. A day off for others means a day in overdrive for us.

9 a.m. Suit up to follow my husband around with a camera as he's making his rounds on ranch chores. Discover that coveralls weren’t made for third-trimester maternity wear. By the time I find something that fits, he’s shoveled a path from the porch, and off we go. The back pasture has never seemed so far away. In places we’re sinking nearly up to our knees.

9:10 a.m. The herd greets us with snorts, impatient whinnies and clouds of breath. Derek unburies the four square bales he’d set out last night and throws flakes of green over the fence. The horses mutter and bump each other like teenage boys in a lunch line, baring their teeth as they stake out their piles. Iris darts and snaps at their hooves, playing hall monitor.

9:45 a.m. It is freezing out here, and of course, the gloves I’d grabbed have holes in the right index finger and thumb. While Derek looks for fence breaks, I start back to the house on a trek that has seemed uphill both ways. He catches up to me near the dam and we check on the chickens, all snug in their coop, if a bit confused as to why we’ve locked them up for once. Porch ruler snow measurement: 8 inches.

9:50 a.m. Back in and warming up while our son watches “Ice Age.” Call the newspaper office and talk to the intrepid Keith Fleener, the only staff member of six who’s managed to make it in. There’s nothing going on in town, he reports, except for people like our neighbor, Bruce Gould, out shoveling. Even Keith is going to be trekking back home soon.

10:30 a.m. “I can hear things popping and cracking out there,” my husband reports after checking the rest of the grounds, and he’s not talking about his back this time. A limb came down under the weight of the snow and punctured a hole in one of the canvas tipis on our ranch. Derek still thinks he wants to camp out there tonight. I predict he will be sleeping alone.

11 a.m. The police scanner is crackling to life. Fruitdale responders are reporting vehicles sliding off all over the place on 135 North. Wreckers are being called to Lanam Ridge, Three Story, Brownie’s and 45. “I’m trying,” the wrecker driver answers dispatch. “I’ve been off the road more than I’ve been on it.”

11:30 a.m. Breakfast for lunch. The whole house smells like bacon, and the boys and the dog are happy.

Noon First photo gallery of the day posted. Readers send in snow pics from Nineveh, Monroe Lake, Lick Creek and Nashville. “View from my porch” and “ruler in snow” shots are the most popular. Highest snow drift reported so far: 24 inches at Lori Haggard’s home on Ford Ridge Road.

12:15 p.m. Make contact with Brown County Democrat reporter Kevin Lilly, who’s trekked a mile down Three Story Hill to Fruitdale Market on foot with a camera, a notebook and hope that he can still get a gallon of milk and some toilet paper. Success, on all fronts, he reports. He talked to some stuck drivers, took photos at a slide-off and has been hanging out at the market, waiting to see who walks in. Highway department crews are out, he says; he just saw one about 10 minutes ago on Three Story.

1 p.m. Bundle my son up like the kid on “A Christmas Story” and send him out to make a snowman with Daddy. The snow isn’t packing quite right yet, my husband reports, but that doesn’t stop our son from making a bunker in the 3-foot-high pile by the front porch.

1:30 p.m. Brown County Democrat temp reporter Suzannah Couch, snowbound on Lick Creek Road, reports in with an interview with Brown County Highway Superintendent Claude "Smokey” Presseau. His basic message: “Stay off the roads. … ... I can't do a road when there's a car sitting sideways in the middle of it." He says the goal today is to get all paved roads plowed both ways. With at least a foot of snow on the ground, "that's going to be a miracle, but that's our goal."

2 p.m. I hear the tractor running and come outside to a snow pile six feet deep in the front yard. My husband and son are making a snow fort. 

2:30 p.m. The boy clomps in, hat and gloves caked with snow. "I need to warm my bones up," he says. Cocoa break for him; coffee break for Mom.

3 p.m. The little one is asleep with his head on Dad's lap, snuggled up with the electric blanket.

3:20 p.m. The National Weather Service cancels its blizzard warning; it appears the snow may be over. County government offices will still be closed tomorrow, though, and travel is still restricted to emergency traffic. On the scanner, volunteer firefighters are out assisting with downed trees and slide-offs; even a highway grater has had to call for a wrecker. 

5:15 p.m. Finally caught up posting readers' snow photos, plus more than a dozen from downtown Nashville from BCD advertising salesman Keith Fleener. A snow story arrives in my inbox from reporter Kevin Lilly's Fruitdale neighborhood. Sounds like it's still pretty bad out there; the highway crews are in for a long night.

7 p.m. Cabin fever has set in. My husband is reorganizing everything in the kitchen cabinets.

8:50 p.m. Sent revised plans for next week's paper to all staff. Because of the New Year's holiday, we're supposed to be producing this one early, which means we now have two days to do it. While the boys play cards on the living room floor, I'm still stuck to my chair. Eyes blurring. Energy waning.

9:30 p.m. Following my son to bed. Planning to actually get up with the alarm tomorrow morning so I can be on the road to a 10:30 a.m. Bloomington doctor's appointment by 8. I'll post video from the drive if I can make it down Schooner Hill in one piece. Happy blizzard recovery to all, and to all a good night.

 

8:47 a.m. Thursday: Mom, you'll be happy to know that after crawling into town on 46 East, I decided to reschedule the doctor's appointment. You can stop worrying now.

  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 7
    'Joy' at the playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 7
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 7
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 8
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 8
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 9
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities Development
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 9
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 9
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. BC Community Foundation, 209 N. Van Buren St.
  • February 9
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 9
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 9
    Van Buren VFD
    6 p.m. VBVFD station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • February 9
    B.C. Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 9
    BC Health Septic Review Commission
    10 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 10
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • February 11
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 11
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 11
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 11
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Jackson Township Advisory Board
    6:30 p.m. Jackson Fire Dept., 4831 Helmsburg Rd.
  • February 12
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 12
    Dave Miller at sports bar
    6 to 8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 13
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 13
    Farm-to-Fifth tours at distillery
    11 a.m. to 5 p.m. hourly Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 13
    Quaff N Brew beer school at brewery
    11 a.m. Big Woods Brewery, 60 Molly's Lane
  • February 13
    Church breakfast free to community
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 13
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
    BCHS boys basketball
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 13
    Widowed group
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 14
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 14
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 15
    Nashville/Brown County Government Offices CLOSED
  • February 15
    BC Public Library Board of Trustees
    6 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 15
    Countywide summit on children scheduled
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 15
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 16
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 16
    CSCD Board of Directors
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • February 16
    Brown County Council
    6:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 16
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 16
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 16
    Hamblen Township Board
    6:30 p.m. Hickory Ridge Community Center, 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 16
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 16
    Nashville Police Merit Commission
    6 p.m. Nashville Police Station, 200 Hawthorne Dr.
  • February 17
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 17
    BC Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees executive session
    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 17
    B.C. Election Board
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 18
    BC Corrections Advisory Board
    4 p.m. Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane
  • February 18
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 18
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 18
    Helmsburg Sewage Board
    7 p.m. BC Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • February 19
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 20
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 20
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 20
    'Bourbon Experience' at distillery
    10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 20
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 21
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 21
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 22
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 22
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 23
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 23
    Family history workshop offered at the library
    1 to 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
    Live music at sports bar
    8 p.m. to midnight Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 23
    BC Area Plan Commission
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 23
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 24
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 24
    BC Parks & Rec Board
    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • February 24
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 25
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 25
    Brown County/Purdue Extension Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 26
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 26
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 27
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 27
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 28
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 29
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 29
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 1
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 1
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • March 1
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 1
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 2
    BC Soil & Water District
    5 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 2
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 2
    Nashville Main Street Committee
    9:30 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 2
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • March 3
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • March 3
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    6 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 3
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees executive session
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
    4-H Council
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
    Gnaw Bone Sewage Board
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 8
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 8
    B.C. Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 9
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • March 10
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 10
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 10
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 15
    BC Board of Health
    7 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 15
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • March 16
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • March 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 23
    BC Parks & Rec Board
    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • March 23
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 4
    Gnaw Bone Sewage Board
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 5
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • April 5
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • April 6
    BC Soil & Water District
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 6
    BC Local Emergency Planning Committee/Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • April 6
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane