Weekly Feature



2014-11-26 / Front Page

Storm misses Ken-Ton, but area still affected

by NAOMI SPENCER
Ken-Ton Editor


Tonawanda resident Gideon Kemp dons a winter hat and sunglasses as he waits for the bus on Nov. 18 at Delaware Avenue and Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda. While much of the area received record snow, the Ken-Ton area was cold but with blue skies that day. 
Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Tonawanda resident Gideon Kemp dons a winter hat and sunglasses as he waits for the bus on Nov. 18 at Delaware Avenue and Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda. While much of the area received record snow, the Ken-Ton area was cold but with blue skies that day. Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The lake-effect storm that walloped Western New York last week with a historic amount of snow skirted Ken-Ton, leaving the area largely unscathed.

While the Southtowns battled snow that rose in some places higher than 7 feet, residents in the Northtowns, including Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda, had only a few inches to shovel off their cars and driveways.

On Tuesday, the day the Southtowns got hammered with the heaviest snowfall, the sun shone brightly in Ken-Ton, and the streets were clear, dry and — very much unlike those in nearby communities — completely drivable.

Many residents could only witness the devastation just a few miles to the south via the media, where they saw scene after scene, photograph after photograph of cars and houses that appeared swallowed by monstrous snow.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo reports on flood preparation efforts in Western New York on Sunday. He has since moved his entire cabinet to the Buffalo area to monitor recovery efforts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reports on flood preparation efforts in Western New York on Sunday. He has since moved his entire cabinet to the Buffalo area to monitor recovery efforts. Although Ken-Ton escaped the clutches of a storm given a variety of names on social media — including “snowpocalypse,” “snowmaggedon” and “snowvember” — the area still felt its effects.

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District canceled school on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, not because of bad weather, but because of staffing. Around 30 percent of its teachers live in areas where the driving bans were in place, said Dawn Mirand, superintendent of schools.

Although many factors go into canceling a school day, on these days, the issue was primarily staffing, she said.

“Although we had blue skies and a sunny day [Tuesday],” the decision was reluctantly made to close,” she said, “because our attendance tracking system revealed that we had many more absences than we’d be able to fill with substitutes.”

The school district allots five days for snow days, and three of those days have now been used. With the official start of winter almost a month away, it’s likely the district will have to use more of its snow days. If it uses more days than what it planned for, there is the possibility that spring vacation will be shortened, said Mirand.

Also affected was the Town of Tonawanda Highway Department. The department sent not only a lot of equipment but also manpower to help battle the snow burying the Southtowns.

Since last Tuesday, nearly 25 employees have been helping in the Southtowns in areas such as Depew, West Seneca and Cheektowaga, said Highway Superintendent Bill Swanson, who spoke to this newspaper on Friday. Some of the employees, the ones who went to Depew, got there on Tuesday and couldn’t return to Tonawanda until Friday, said Swanson.

In addition to manpower, the department also sent seven plows, a big snow blower, four front end loaders and six trucks.

Swanson said his employees were “more than willing” to go help. “If the storm hit the north instead of the south, it would be reversed. Everybody tries to help each other. It’s Buffalo. Neighbors help neighbors.”

Swanson said his department will be back to picking up leaves. He asked that residents be patient with the leaf pickup this year.

“We’re trying to do that,” he said, “plus help our neighbors.”

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