Snow that slammed East Lansing has ripple effects

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By Savannah Swix
Entirely East Lansing

Snow storm in East Lansing has ripple effects

Sunday, Feb. 1, was the biggest day of the year for professional football as the top teams took the field for the Super Bowl. Fans nationwide gathered to celebrate the event with friends and family over a spread of chips, dips and party foods. In 2015, though, some festivities were sidelined in East Lansing as Michigan endured the third-largest snowstorm it has ever seen.

Megan Birdwell, an advertising senior from Michigan State University, said she was absent for some of the game helping her friend, Kaitlyn Piazza. “I missed part of the Super Bowl because she got stuck and we had to spend 30 minutes shoveling for her to even get into our alley,” said Birdwell.

The snow, which began early Sunday morning, led to an overwhelming accumulation on streets and sidewalks. Nearly a foot of snow powdered the area leaving many stranded or struggling to maneuver the roads.

Sheldon Little, Assistant Manager of H & H Mobil on Haslett Road, said that demand for towing and vehicle maintenance services tripled this week.

“This week most of the shifts are seeing about 30-40 calls per shift, probably averaging around 80 per day,” said Little. “We tow 24 hours, so these calls can be at any time of day. The guys that work after hours have been out pretty much all night.”

While snow means an increase in demand for towing and plow services, other businesses missed out. Super Bowl Sunday has been habitually linked to a rise in business for fast food and delivery services. But with the severity of the snowstorm, expected orders fizzled.

Cottage Inn Pizza modified its system Sunday to accommodate staff and customers.

“We turned off our phones at 7:30. We turned off all of our outside delivery. We were on track to have a record day, but with our drivers’ cars getting broken and other variables, we just weren’t able to keep up with the volume that we had.”
Jeffery Kimber, assistant manager, Cottage Inn Pizza

The weather did not stop Cottage Inn drivers from delivering all the orders they could before shutting down their services for the night.

“People were really understanding and really cooperative. Very appreciative of the drivers who were willing to go out there and do it,” said Kimber.

Cottage Inn Pizza remained open for in-store orders but ultimately closed around 1 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. as a result of decreased traffic.

Some East Lansing residents avoided activities involving the outside world all together.

“We purposely didn’t order food because we didn’t want to have anyone drive in that,” said Birdwell.

Birdwell and her neighbors gathered outside their homes off M.A.C. Avenue on Monday morning, shovels in hand, to move the snow and get to their vehicles for afternoon classes.

MSU senior, Megan Birdcall addresses the leftovers of Sunday's storm.

MSU senior, Megan Birdwell addresses the leftovers of Sunday’s storm.

Michigan State University announced Sunday evening that Monday morning classes and activities would be suspended.

As the group worked to uncover their cars, they discussed that not only were they clearing the snow to get to class but also by demand of the City of East Lansing.

“You can get fined for not shoveling the sidewalk immediately,” said Birdwell.

This is a consequence of a new ordinance passed in October. According to cityofeastlansing.com, it states that when major snowfall accumulates on the sidewalk before noon, it has to be removed by midnight. Similar instruction applies to accumulation after noon, which must be removed by the following midnight. Snow that occurs on more than one consecutive day is to be removed within 48 hours.

Piazza, a senior communications student at MSU, argued that clearing the snow from Sunday’s storm was too much for students with academic and financial responsibilities.

“They expect college students to shovel,” said Piazza. “There’s no way for us to pay to hire somebody to shovel for us or get the snow plowed, and our cars are stuck in the driveway. It’s hard.”

As the week comes to an end, it appears that winter in East Lansing might just be getting started. The Weather Channel reports that snow showers will continue into the weekend, with a prediction of an additional 1-3 inches on Sunday, and a possibility of flurries early next week.

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