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A tip of the hat to some very hard-working folks

Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014

* My connecting flight to St. Louis was cancelled Sunday night and I was told I probably couldn’t get on another plane until Wednesday. So, I rented a car and drove home from Atlanta yesterday, with side trips to pick up Oscar the Puppy and our luggage at the STL airport. I rolled into my driveway about 11:30 last night.

Interstate 64 down in Southern Illinois was relatively clean by the time I arrived, but there were tons of cars in the ditches. I saw a dozen or more off the road in one half-mile stretch alone. All those unfortunate souls had to literally be rescued because the temperatures were so low. This was a life and death matter for them.

My hat is off to everyone who has been working on the roads for the past few days, particularly the rescuers. From a press release…

Stories of heroism by rescuers continue to emerge as emergency responders work around the clock to assist those impacted by the extreme weather.

Personnel from the Illinois National Guard field maintenance shop in Mattoon coordinated with Illinois State Police troopers and Illinois Department of Transportation snow plow crews to assist motorists in approximately 375 vehicles backed up on I-70 and I-57 north of Effingham Sunday evening. The backup was the result of several vehicles and semi-trucks that were stuck in snow drifts, making it impossible for snow plows to clear the route for the cars to proceed. Illinois National Guard personnel used a wrecker to pull the stranded vehicles and trucks from the road, which allowed IDOT crews to clear the road and rescue hundreds of passengers.

“The men and women of the Illinois National Guard are again demonstrating their commitment to the safety and security of Illinois citizens,” Brig. Gen. Daniel M. Krumrei, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, said. “We train extensively throughout the year to be ready and on the scene to help our neighbors at a moment’s notice. Within two hours of activation, our Soldiers navigated dangerous road conditions in sub-zero temperatures to rescue stranded motorists.”

Conservation Police Officer Trent Reeves rescued seven people and two pets that were trapped by snow drifts along Route 47 north of Mahomet. Emergency vehicles could not reach the people, so Officer Reeves traveled by snowmobile and on foot to rescue the stranded individuals and deliver them to nearby emergency vehicles. All of those rescued, including the pets, are fine. Officer Jim Mayes assisted with the rescue, and himself used his truck to rescue six individuals who were stranded on Interstate 74 in east central Illinois.

Your experiences with Polar Vortex Snowmageddon 2014?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - Bruce Rauner - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    The champaigne in my limo froze last night.


  2. - MOD - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Big thanks to IDOT; they’ve had more than 3,000 people and nearly 1,700 vehicles running around the clock (in some places since the snow last Tuesday) and there’s more weather coming soon. Incredible effort to accomplish everything they’re doing


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I now know just how lucky my son was to have been able to get back to CA on 1/2/14. He had a flight out of O’Hare early that morning - so many other flights were cancelled but his got off only 90 minutes late. I’m sure he would not have been AWOL but he could have ended up in the Midwest even until today what with the backlog of flights being caught up. He would have been very upset to have missed any of his training. Ms dupage dan and I stayed warm and cozy over the weekend. She got her call to stay home on Sunday nite (Cook Cty has a proper phone tree). I don’t work on Mondays so missed out on the whole SNAFU that some of my co-workers experienced.


  4. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    This was my first winter in 30 years of law enforcement that I didn’t have to deal with it after retiring recently. I haven’t left the house since Saturday and encouraged people to stay off the roads. I have family and friends who had to work in those extreme conditions and they have my utmost respect and gratitude.


  5. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    post @ 11:48 am was mine.


  6. - Rauner's inner mono - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    oh puhleeze…these overpaid tax eaters sit around all day waiting for some hardworking taxpayer to need help, counting their cadilllac pension and health benefits. better to privatize those rescuer functions at $7.25 an hour


  7. - Sunshine - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    dd when you mentioned “…Ms dupage dan….” we vaguely, sort of, perhaps, maybe thought it just might be you!


  8. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    I would like to thank Karen Lewis for reminding CPS children should not be outside, walking to school, during extremely dangerous wind chills.


  9. - Irish - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Rauner’s inner mono@ 11:59 am - Put your username on your bumper so the overpaid tax eaters can pass you by to help someone worth saving.


  10. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    My college had the good sense to close, so I was able to stay home. A colleague of my, like Rich, rented a car (in Orlando) to drive back home. They reached I-57 in Southern Illinois and made 40 miles in four hours and ended up staying in a hotel in Effingham. Apparently the N-S interstates were much worse than the E-W ones.


  11. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Props to the DHS staff at the local offices who came in to open them as warming centers.


  12. - langhorne - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    my long driveway looked kinda hopeless, til a neighbor helped w a snow blower the size of a VW. good karma from the years i did his driveways.

    we had to get out to get medicine for the dogs. (poor planning, i know). drove around thru downtown. clear but almost completely empty.

    fortunately we didnt lose power. hats off to everyone who had to work w the ice. including bartenders.

    rauner’s inner mono–so silly you are almost funny


  13. - DuPage - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    11:48- That was funny! I was drinking a cup of coffee at the time and inhaled a little. I better stop coffee drinking while reading!


  14. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    My thanks to everyone who was out doing their jobs in the snow and cold.

    Special thanks to:

    the guys who shovel our parking area - it’s not their fault that an hour after they finished on Sunday morning it looked untouched!

    the maintenance guy from the building across the way who offered to help dig my car out Sunday afternoon

    the stove repair man who just fixed my burners

    the Trib’s delivery guy who gets my paper here bright and early despite the weather.

    I’m one of the lucky ones. Retirement means I get to stay inside with a pot of tea and my new kitties (they arrived on Saturday, before the storm).


  15. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    OMG - I just read about a disaster in the making - A Velveeta Cheese shortage!!!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/07/kraft-velveeta-cheese-shortage/4358509/

    Ok a little off subject, but I couldn’t resist.

    The IDOT District 3 and Woodford County Highway Department should be commended on how well they fought the snow. The roads I have driven on the past few days have been by and large clear of snow and very passable.


  16. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    They kept the Lincoln Park polar bear inside because it was too cold: http://chicagoist.com/2014/01/06/its_officially_too_cold_for_local_p.php

    We’ve been closed for 2 days but are open tomorrow. I watched all of Whitechapel from the BBC and my kitchen and bathroom have probably never been cleaner.


  17. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jan 7, 14 @ 5:26 pm:

    Each of my children is genuinely happy to be returning to school tomorrow. They have had enough play and want to return to learn.
    That was a pleasant surprise.


  18. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Jan 8, 14 @ 12:12 am:

    Practically constant snow removal it’s felt like–shovel and snow-blow, repeat, repeat, repeat. Car parts breaking down-fix in subzero temps. and get fixed, Vehicles not starting. Missing time at work. Transportation delays. Facing a bit of baby toe frostbite after spending a LOT of time trying to get 2 vehicles started with 39 below Zero Wind-Chill temps. blowing around outside–and fixing brakes…just a healthy slice of the crusty, old “pie” from my end in helping kick off some of the festivities over the last few days in the middle of my neck of the woods hunkerin’ down in the swirling, snow-drifting, ultra sub-zero Vortex of “Snowmageddon 2014″…!

    All I can say at this point is, that if the REST of 2014 is gonna be even SOMEwhat like how it’s started off, this New Year is gonna be a “Doozy”!!!


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