TO: February 10:1977
When folks complain about all the snow that winter brings us, we can be very thankful for our open winter thus far this year. It hasn't always been that way and the following account found in the Feb. 10 Sentinel, written by Alwyn C. Newton, who was my editor, back in those days. His office was in Mayville, therefore the account describes the blizzard as it was there.
"A very gracious hostess is the way several persons who were snow-bound in Civil Defense Fall Out Shelter described by Mrs. Wanda Gustafson, county CD director early last Friday morning ... Mrs. Gustafson had take charge of 22 motorists who wee marooned in Mayville as a result of the blizzard. The marooned motorists were from all parts of the county.
"As the drivers arrived at the shelter after being halted by firemen and barricades. Mrs. Gustafson prepared for their overnight stay ... Furnished cots and bedding ... And then went one step further, she prepared and served what one motorist told us was a 'delicious spaghetti dinner.'
"Much credit should be given to the dozens of Chautauqua County firemen who, without hesitation manned the many traffic points in the county where they had been asked to stop traffic, both because of highway conditions, lack of visibility and highway accidents ... Most highways in the county were closed as safety precautions for a good portion of last week ... Many firemen took rater abusive treatment from a few drivers who wanted to temp fate and proceed over the impassable roads ... At the traffic signal in Mayville were caught going up Academy Street and entering Portage through the corner of Maple Drive West ... A few of them didn't make it without experiencing difficulty later on.
"When you stop to analyze it, it wasn't the snow that actually caused all the trouble in Buffalo ... It was largely the obstinate motorist who would not use the public transportation services of the city, but blocked up the snow covered streets when they became stuck and were unable to proceed further.
"We want to commend the snowplow drivers who practically had to feel their way around the highways and were able to get the roads open to traffic moments after the storm subsided ... Mayville area snowmobile owners who came forth with their machines to help ferret out stalled automobiles and to insure the motorists were taken to shelter or otherwise cared for ... Sheriff John Bentley said there was quite a number of them who put in a good many volunteer hours to help out.
"The kindness shown by many area residents who welcomed stranded motorists into their homes ... Sometimes for only a short time and other times for overnight.
"A lot of credit should be given to the employees of the Mayville Public Works Department who did such a marvelous job with our streets and highways ... The roads were not as good as in the summer, but most of them were not too far from it. And those heavy machine operators and truck drivers who kept at the high banks surrounding the fire hydrants in case of a fire. Many truck loads of snow were carried away and those men are to be thanked."
Sherman experienced the storm in the same way and many folk opened their homes for people stranded. We kept two snowplow drivers overnight and my brother-in-law walked home from our house which was over a mile.
I recall how our fire department worked diligently whenever we have had bad storms. They especially check on people that live alone to see if they have heat and food. Many others volunteers help in some way and a the snowplow drivers work diligently trying to clear the roads. Certainly we should all be thankful for living in a community that constantly works to provide safety for all.