NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 6, 2014

Wimps or safer? Residents give storm response mixed reviews

Wayne Dumas of Hampstead, N.H., said he has seen a big change in how people deal with big snowstorms.

“People used to come out in snowmobiles and sleds,” said Dumas, 63. “Now, everyone is inside. I yearn for the old days.”

As another significant storm hit Southern New Hampshire yesterday, many people remarked on how differently snowstorms are now viewed.

“We’re wimpy,” said Ray McGowan of Chelmsford, who was in Londonderry on his way to see his grandchildren in Hampstead.

They were home from school because of the snowstorm.

“When I was young, we walked to school in this,” McGowan said.

Ray Rentas of Derry, who was shopping in Londonderry, agreed people react more to snowstorms now, but he thought the school cancellations were a good idea.

“I think it’s necessary,” Rentas said. “You don’t want a bus crashing into anybody. It’s being safe.”

Dan Small of Londonderry said he thinks people are wimpier about snowstorms, but that the decision to cancel school made sense.

“They had a right to cancel. They knew what was coming,” Small said. “They made the right call.”

Timberlane and Hampstead Superintendent Earl Metzler canceled yesterday’s classes late Tuesday afternoon.

“We are usually ahead of the curve,” Metzler said. “I thought we’d be one of the first to cancel, but I stuck my head out of a budget meeting and lots of other schools had already canceled.”

He said it benefits parents to know the status of their children’s schools as early as possible.

“It gives the parents the opportunity to have childcare,” he said. “That’s really the driver for me.”

Although yesterday was clear cut, on more borderline days, Metzler said he will often hear from parents for and against canceling school.

“It’s mixed,” he said. “Some parents still have to go to work while their child doesn’t have to go to school. But they understand it’s not an exact science.”

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