Archive for Monday, January 11, 2010

Lawrence doesn’t have enough volunteers to help those who need their sidewalk shoveled

Program can’t keep up with requests for sidewalk clearing

With nearly 60 snow shoveling service requests from senior citizens, Senior Services could use some help from able-bodied volunteers.

January 11, 2010


A program the city has been touting to match volunteers with residents who are physically unable to shovel their sidewalks has been unable to keep up with a record level of requests.

About 30 people who have requested a volunteer snow-shoveler through the program have not been accommodated, said Matthew Leiste, who administers the program for Douglas County Senior Services.

“We have people calling us from all over town,” Leiste said.

A total of 60 people have signed up for assistance through the program, which is about 40 people more than normal, Leiste said. This year’s number likely would be higher, but Douglas County Senior Services stopped accepting new requests last Tuesday after it became clear that there already were more people needing help than there were volunteers.

That situation has City Commissioner Aron Cromwell concerned about the fairness of the city’s recently-strengthened snow-shoveling ordinance. The ordinance requires people to have public sidewalks on their property cleared of snow within 48 hours after a snowfall or else face fines and fees of $72 per violation.

“It would be horribly hypocritical of us to say everybody has to shovel, and then not have a vibrant program in place for people who really shouldn’t be out there shoveling,” Cromwell said.

Cromwell said he also wants to take steps to ensure that people who have signed up for the service but haven’t received it aren’t given a ticket under the city’s ordinance.

“It would be really, really cruel to give those folks a ticket,” Cromwell said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the city has been ticketing individuals who fall into that category.

The program — called Safe Winter Walkways — is designed to help the elderly and others with physical issues that make it difficult for them to shovel their own sidewalks, and also don’t have the financial means to hire the job done.

Although the program is not accepting new requests for service, it is still accepting new volunteers. People can volunteer by calling Leiste at 842-0543.

Cromwell said that after he heard about the shortage, he signed up himself and his son to serve as volunteers in the program.

“I just want everybody to realize that there is a huge need out there,” Cromwell said. “We need more volunteers before the next snow.”

Leiste said his office is trying do several public presentations about the program to increase awareness, and also is approaching several civic groups about volunteering as part of a group project.


BigPrune 7 years, 9 months ago

The people who said they'd pick weeds so Parks & Rec would stop using herbicides, but then they reneged, make them volunteer to shovel instead.

maxcrabb 7 years, 9 months ago

Many people have to walk on the sidewalks. Get over yourself.

somedude20 7 years, 9 months ago

this would be a great chance for the people who use social services funded by taxpayer dollars to pay back some of what has been paid forward to them

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

Imagine that!!!!!! I would say it would be a better article if it read "Lawrence does not have enough manpower to plow its streets" We could replace the fines with a service fee and make this a paid position. Also why is the bus stop at 23rd a Louisiana not plowed? busy street busy bus stop unsafe bus stop

onrywmn 7 years, 9 months ago

The bus stop at 23rd by Taco John's is closed and not plowed. They want people to use the bus system and then they don't shovel and clean the bus stops so people can use them. Doesn't make sense.

workinghard 7 years, 9 months ago

Here's your chance Eride to put your shovel where your mouth is. I have shoveled other's sidewalks besides my own, pitch in and help.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

If they will wait just a few days the solar snow & ice control program that Topeka has used for years, will kick in. Then people won't have to shovel their sidewalks. Thank you, Lynn

salad 7 years, 9 months ago

  1. Shovel yer dang side walk ya lazy -bleeeeeeeeeep-ers!!
  2. Can't maintain yer property? Can't get help to maintain yer property? Can't afford to pay to maintain yer property? Maybe it's time to give up home ownership and move into an apartment or other maintenance-free living environment.

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

ya right salad, the major question is what if you cant get this done before the city.

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

I would say we pass a city law that lays out no more than 2" snow falls per week and that these snow falls must take place between late June and early August. If we did so, and change the shovel ordinance to read that you have a 5 day grace period, there would be enough sun to melt the snow. Eliminate the need to shovel, eliminate the need to complain, and eliminate the need for volunteers

livetocook 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-Haw Salad! We should just take yer dang advice and gets to shovelin' all that there dang snow.

John Hamm 7 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to know the demographics of those requesting "assistance." Are they actually people without the ability to shovel or slackers?

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 9 months ago

I think somedude20 has an excellent idea. I used to see Douglas County Jail inmates washing squad cars, why not put some of them to work shoveling. Or maybe the Parole officers who have unemployed parolees could put them to work shoveling also and take some of the amount of outstanding fines off their books. Able bodied welfare recipients is a great start!

jmadison 7 years, 9 months ago

Would this qualify as a "shovel ready project"?

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 9 months ago

It might help if these kinds of things were advertised. I didn't even know this program existed.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

Eride didn't know about the program existing?

Obviously, I'm-so-proud-of-filing-25-snow-complaints Eride doesn't even read the LJW articles he/she posts on.

I believe all people have the moral and civic responsibility for reading the text of articles before posting on-line. Stop being lazy and exercise that mind and those eyes! Now if we can get a fine for this, I can be as imperiously indignant.

workinghard 7 years, 9 months ago

Eskimos have those snow shoes that look like tennis rackets. Hmmm. What about golf shoes, hmmm.

gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

Jeez, if your next-door neighbor is physically unable to shovel, do it for them for heaven's sake. Why does there have to be a city program? I've hardly ever talked to the grumpy guy that lives next door, but I always shovel his walk because he's old, lives alone, and probably can't do it himself. Takes five extra minutes. Are people so lazy and/or selfish that they can't spare 5-10 minutes to help a neighbor?

Dateable_Shelter_Dude 7 years, 9 months ago

I doubt eride would help or they're the type that wouldn't participate in a program unless there would be some recognition for doing it. The chance for a photo or a list of those who participated in the paper to comment to others about, a certificate of thanks from the city or the senior center,maybe a cookies and coffee recognition night. ITS ALL ABOUT ERIDE .

LadyJ 7 years, 9 months ago

Wait a minute, Eride is a woman? Well I owe all the men in Lawrence a huge apology, sorry guys I just assumed.

monkey_c 7 years, 9 months ago

We need more Americans like Hydra! More people willing to protect and defend our freedoms and stand against tyrany. And, bus stops remaining uncleared at this point is absolutely inexcusable.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

Not to worry, tomorrow the solar snow/ice melting protocol will kick in. This will make shoveling sidewalks a thing of the past for this snowstorm. Thank you, Lynn

Lenette Hamm 7 years, 9 months ago

What I found interesting one Saturday was seeing a young man - 20 something maybe? - standing around smoking, and watching two folks (man & woman) in their late 50's to mid-60's shoveling a drive. Not just any drive - the one he was standing in. He COULD have offered to assist, but the thought never crossed his mind. Those two "older" folks put in a good 5 hours straight that day to clear apartment sidewalks for a conscientious property management company.

Hand shovels to the "guests" at the Lawrence Community Shelter, to help repay this town for all the freebies they've handed over to them!

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

This group should run in front of eride and shovel a path to run on. This would get the area cleared and reduce the amount of time eride has to stop running. NO more complaints in his area

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 9 months ago

$72 for 200 pax, we might want to think about using this money to pay for people who volunteer..

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

It is a wonderful idea to not demand physical services from those unable to provide them. I sure would like to know the criteria to establish that you do not need to shovel? But wait a minute, there is no provision in the law to make such a distinction. So, how come a member of our commission who passed this ordnance without any such provision appears to be trying to ignore it? The law is the law. Our commissioners are elected to uphold the law. Are they above the law?

Passing an ordinance in a fit of pique sure does make a mess. Maybe the commissioners can get it right the next time? Of course they are only part time. Our full time city manager sure dropped the ball on this one. Ten thousand citizens are forced to shovel the full walk on a short schedule regardless of their physical condition, the environmental conditions, the location within the city, actual sidewalk use, actual presence and so on. I thought Lawrence was filled with intelligent and caring citizens. If we are going to push the envelop on the constitutional rights of a minority of our citizens at least we could do it with elegance and to only the minimum really necessary.

Family_of_3 7 years, 9 months ago

My husband called earlier this week to volunteer to shovel. He had to leave a message because the person in charge of the volunteer program was unavailable. He has not yet received a return call. I wonder if this is because 1) they have enough volunteers now, 2) the snow is melting, or 3) the person in charge of the program doesn't return calls?

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

salad (Anonymous) says… And others

The cry of the mob! I want what you have because you were lucky and do not deserve it. Does KU teach this drivel???

Jason Bowers-Chaika 7 years, 9 months ago

With over 25,000 able bodied 18 to 20 somethings attending KU, there is a shortage of volunteers? Unbelievable! Don't the fraternities and sororities have public service in their charters any more? Are there still Boy Scouts? What about church groups? Hell, in my day, I went door to door and made a stack of spending money by shoveling snow. Kids today...

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