Column: Students take charge to clear sidewalks

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During the last snowstorm on Feb. 4, it seemed that life returned to normal pretty quickly. I credit the hardworking and effective Carmel Street Department.

Many Carmel businesses, including mine, were pleasantly surprised to be able to open the following day, avoiding yet another lost revenue day.

Across the city once again, neighbors were helping neighbors. In the eastside Brookshire Lakes neighborhood, Judy Gilday reported that the mail carrier’s truck became stuck during his attempt to deliver the mail as promised, regardless of the weather conditions. Fortunately for the letter carrier, six Brookshire Lakes neighbors came to the rescue and not only freed the vehicle, but then proceeded to fan out and help deliver the mail.

With all of the snow produced so far this winter, the Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council spotted a problem that the members decided deserved action. Their latest project, called Say No to Snow, assists their fellow students by helping them to get safely to school when snow is a factor.

The council, which is made up of high-school students, identified two issues surrounding their school building and winter weather, and decided to solve both.

The first is that when a snowplow clears the road, the snow has to go somewhere. That somewhere is the sidewalk. While this ordinarily might not be a huge problem, it becomes an issue when students are walking to school from the surrounding homes. The council members observed that many students who were taking to the streets surrounding Carmel High School were using an unsafe alternative.

The second problem they identified is that many of the surrounding homes were occupied by older residents, who might not be able to get out to clear the walkways.

So George Gemelas and Neil Shaw became the project managers for Say No to Snow.

Neil said, “We see this as a community enhancement project. By working with all homeowners in an identified area around CHS, we can generate the manpower to clear their walk if they so choose.”

The council has partnered with Carmel High School Key Club using an intricate system of web-based alerts and reminders in the days leading up to a storm to get manpower committed and in place to attack as soon as it is safe.

The free Say No to Snow project is in the sign-up and legal disclaimer phase. If you live near CHS and would like to learn more, contact cmyc.saynotosnow@gmail.com.

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