Sidewalks Need Cleaning, Too

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The second round of winter has not packed the same punch as last week's blizzard, but the nuisance snow was living up to that name on Thursday.

This snowfall may be covering most things, but it can't cover up some of the problems left over from the last storm. Public works is responsible for the streets, but homeowners and businesses are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their places.

Bill Gansel has been with the U.S. Postal Service for the past nine years and says for the most part, property owners on his route do a good job of clearing a path for him. "Take into account that you have elderly people that can't get to it and then wait for a family member. It's frustrating at times, it really is."

But Bill trudged on because he understands that some people are physically unable to shovel snow from their walks. That's where people like Calvin Dunn Jr. come in. As owner of Asphalt Maintenance, Dunn has to scramble to find work in the off-season, but so far this winter he's had two working days. Thursday’s job was for friends.

"I'm helping out of the kindness of my heart, they give me a little beer money sometimes. I don't drink, but I take the beer money and run with it."

While the boss cleared a driveway, Willie Nixon of Asphalt Maintenance was chipping out the sidewalk. Homeowners are responsible for keeping the sidewalk clear even if plows cover up what they've already shoveled.

"When the state comes through and cleans the streets and put it all in front of your driveway, go out and do it then while it is still fresh. Don't let it get hard." If it does freeze, it make it that much harder to shovel. "I think everybody should get together, if they're property owners or just live at a residence, to come out and at least get their sidewalks."

The Lopez kids were clearing the walk in front of their home because they were bored. Their parents say they want to stay inside all summer long, but love the snow and cold temperatures. "Yes, they are doing this for fun," said Ambrocio Lopez. "The snow is falling and they just want to be out in it. School is out and it is something fun to do."

It also helps mom and dad out and clears the way for people walking in the area.

There are resources available for people who are too old or physically unable to clean their sidewalks. Church groups are a good place to start as well as the Eastern Nebraska Office On Aging, which will shovel for those age 60 and older. You can contact ENOA to become a part of the program by calling 402-444-6536 or visiting

If the walks are not cleared, the city may contact the homeowner. Officials do try to work it out, but if a city crew clears the walk the property owner will be billed.

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