Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1112165

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 30, 2014

Feeling Old Man Winter

By Xiomara Levsen | Feb 06, 2014
A bus sits in front of St. James School this morning bringing children in two hours late due to the weather. Since the beginning of winter, the school district has had four snow days.

It’s only the beginning of February. However, businesses and the Washington Community School District (WCSD) have felt winter’s effects for a while now.
Randy Pierce, of Pierce Auto Body, has three people working for him full time. He said this time of year work does back up a little bit because it’s so busy.
“This year it’s been a really busy winter,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the people who are driving and end up in a ditch or have small fender benders, but it’s because of the weather my business has been better.”
The work people have contacted Pierce about ranges from small fender benders to major damage to the vehicle’s body, Pierce said. He suggests if someone has been involved in an accident or in a ditch to have the vehicle looked at right away.
“It never hurts to get them in and get them checked,” Pierce said.
Andy Ross, owner of Ross Auto & Muffler Inc., said he has seen different reactions from people this winter when it snows compared to the colder temperatures.
“What affects our business is the snow,” he said. “If it’s supposed to snow a lot, people will call and cancel their appointments.”
There are some benefits for his shop this winter from the colder weather.
“Our regular customers have very few problems with this cold weather,” Ross said. “But we have picked up a few new customers because we’ve helped them out and got them going again.”
Some of the complaints he has received from customers include heaters not working, fuel mileage decreasing, cooling systems not working, and vehicles not starting as well.
“The paramount is to keep your vehicle in shape,” Ross said. “Don’t let a small problem turn into a bigger problem.”
He said the easiest thing for people to do when they feel something is wrong with their car is to bring it in.
“We can’t diagnose anything over the phone,” he said. “We can talk in generalities and give some examples of what the problem might be but shouldn’t really try to diagnose a problem over the phone.”
Dave Waite, store manager at Fareway, said business has increased during the day. Usually, he sees customers shopping during their lunch hour or early evening right around 5 p.m. when people get off from work.
“People are definitely shopping more during daylight hours because they don’t want to come out at night when it’s colder,” Waite said. “People are also eating in more and shopping for groceries more.”
Another busy time for the store is when school is canceled because of snow, Waite said.
“When the kids are out of school parents tend to stay home with them,” he said, “and they bring their kids to the grocery store and go shopping.”
He has been the store manager for seven years. Business has been fairly average this winter except for days like today.
“It’s just so extremely cold this year,” Waite said. “Days like today it’s pretty slow.”
The school district has had school canceled because of the cold and snowy weather and late starts this year.
“We’ve had four snow days so far,” said WCSD superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen. “I haven’t kept track of the late starts, but I think we’ve had three to four of those.”
Right now the district’s last day of school would be Monday, June 2, which is only if there aren’t any more snow days, Jorgensen said.
“Invariably, you always end up with a late February or early March snowstorm,” he said.
This is the coldest winter Jorgensen remembers as a superintendent, but it isn’t the snowiest.
“The year before I came here, the winter of 2009 to 2010, the school district I was at had 12 snow days,” he said. “This winter would probably equal to No. 2.”



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