Snow-den, Sno’den, more snow, then, snowed in

Dave
Dave White
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Are any dreaming of a green Christmas this year?

In Bay of Islands as anywhere else, fluffy white comes a real and imagined theme with the official start of winter still two days out. Snow, then, more snow.

In the news, United States-declared fugitive Edward Snowden is himself already looking to warmer climes. He is now seen courting Brazilian government refugee status as his one-year free pass in cold Russia moves closer to expiry. It seems spies are everywhere.

You can follow the U.S. spy agency whistleblower’s story in CBC media, along with the artists-inspired holiday television specials, international family movie favourites, and all the hockey pucks you can chew.  All good if you’re snowed in, we suppose. Pucks are a bit tough.

Yes, with the Sochi Olympics, too, CBC has it all this winter. I am allowed to say that because, as a taxpayer and inherent stakeholder in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I am, indeed. You, too.

Closer to home, if only by way of Upper Canada, television weatherman Ryan Snodden can hardly be expected miss in his meteorological prognostications of late.  Flurries, snow, snowsqualls and more snow, then some. Seems all there is. Besides, even with his name spelled correctly, he is still no Bette Davis, yet.

Road safety real issue

Meanwhile, with faith in God and love of family their guiding lights, winter working commuters, local freight and rural mail handlers and, for now, school bus drivers hauling a more precious cargo, necessarily continue making daily, even nightly, passages along the Route 440 and Route 450, the rural north shore and south shore Bay of Islands highways.

In addition to local, provincial and national weather reports, police warnings to avoid unnecessary travel on many sections of the road throughout western Newfoundland during the first fortnight of December testify, in part, also to an inability by powers-that-be to cope with forecast weather conditions.

Drivers, particularly on the north shore, are especially concerned this season as winter stakes it claim early. Morning and evening shift workers have repeatedly encountered hazardous conditions coming and going to and from where they have to be to keep life economical up the harbour, down the shore and out Bay of Islands way. Some who have already ended up with their vehicles in the ditch or were left teetering on guardrailing may well agree 440 is not as well looked after this winter. They press on. Or, otherwise, stand compelled to stay home for the holidays unless things change.

Not that there is much anyone might do about the weather, except keep an ear to the forecasts, something to which provincial Highways caretakers seem lesser attuned this time out, for some reason.

For decades, Route 440 was thought by people here to be one of the best-maintained winter roads in the western Newfoundland region. Through a time when operators were stationed in the outer reaches of coastal highway and made their snowclearing runs west to east and back, it was so. With recent retirements, though, both the early and late commutes have become suspect at best. Newer provincial hires to those jobs are seen plowing and salt sanding later in the morning, originating the service from the Wild Cove Highways Depot, now going in the opposite direction over which most people go to work. As the snow kept coming down, late-night passages have been only marginally better.

Bits and pieces

By most accounts, the fall herring fisheries in Bay of Islands and beyond have enjoyed successful seasons. Final production runs and post-process cleanups come just in time for Christmas 2013, holidays well deserved for those employed in helping feed the world.

One timely note is a high quality home-engineered Christmas music CD put together by hobbyist Gord Payne of Cox’s Cove and Templeton Academy music teacher Derek Watton. Now for sale at local retail outlets and by request directly from the artists themselves, the album debuts a number of locally-composed instrumentals and well-known lyrical favourites.  Portions of the proceeds will be directed to charitable and community causes.

The locally produced, “Meaning of Christmas” CD, as well as a “Some Shockin’ Good Recipes” cookbook made right in Bay of Islands, appearing as great stocking stuffers to loved ones and serving as a seasonally-appropriate gift in support of community volunteer initiatives in the region.

Do be safe and have a special and Merry Christmas!

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at  688-2003, or email at: davidjwhite@columnist.com.

Organizations: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Wild Cove Highways Depot, Cove and Templeton Academy

Geographic location: Bay of Islands, United States, Russia Newfoundland

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