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Area commuters, businesses plow through winter storm

by David Pferdekamper

Otherwise hot hearts might have been frozen this past Valentine’s Day thanks to the snowstorm that hit North Carolina in the middle of last week.

Though road conditions are now back to normal, the snowstorm forced many people off the road.

When snow started falling on Wednesday, Elizabeth Dzugan, who commutes between Greensboro and Winston- Salem, left work early.

“It took me two hours and 40 minutes to get home,” Dzugan said. “It took me two hours just to get out of Winston and onto I-40. People were getting stuck on the ice and abandoning their cars. It was like the zombie apocalypse without the fire.”

Many motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles. The NC Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Patrol moved cars blocking travel lanes to either the shoulder of the road or another safe location.

Wednesday afternoon alone saw more than 122,000 power outages across the state.

Several casualties resulted from the storm. According to Governor Pat Mc- Crory, five people died since Thursday statewide.

“Unfortunately, the final hours of this storm turned out to be the most deadly,” McCrory said. “Despite our preparations and tremendous efforts, five more people have died in winter-weather related incidents.”

In Greensboro, multiple agencies worked to provide a coordinated response.

“Our primary concern is the health and safety of people who may be outdoors,” said Police Chief Ken Miller. “This includes our homeless population and stranded motorists.”

Emergency crews worked day and night in the city to make roadways safer.

Business owners also felt the effects of the storm. Mark Wingfield, owner of Empire Books, was forced to close his business on Thursday.

“I knew a lot of people wouldn’t be walking around deciding they need used books,” Wingfield said. “So I didn’t open. I went to the park with my dog, and he chased snowballs. Luckily, I sell online, so those sales are still going to happen regardless of doors open or not.”

Wingfield said that the weather af fected his business.

“It’s been slow, even today (Friday),” Wingfield said. “I’ve had two customers in three days, so certainly (it’s affected my business). Without a doubt.”

Tracy Wilson, owner of Blossoms by Stroud Florist, did not have the luxury of closing, due to Valentine’s Day.

“We were delivering on Thursday,” Wilson said. “My father-in-law came in with his four-wheel-drive and helped me deliver. We were here until midnight.”

The inclement weather presented challenges for Wilson, but orders had been placed months in advance and had to go out no matter what.

“We found a way around it and pushed through,” Wilson said. “I had to park at the bottom of my driveway on Wednesday and Thursday so I could get out and go to work. We’re honestly kind of used to it. You just have to go slow and be careful.”

Wilson said that her business was not set back in any major way by the weather.

“I don’t think it was terrible,” Wilson said. “A Friday Valentine’s Day is different for a florist, because people go on dates or go out of town instead of flowers. This year was really on par with other Friday Valentine’s Days. I’m not disappointed at all.”

Wingfield also said that the weather was not as bad as it could have been.

“It was a big storm,” Wingfield said. “I definitely anticipated a significant slow down for sure. I think things actually went relatively smoothly, considering the magnitude. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of problems, honestly.”

WARNER: ‘Okay, so my plan needed some tweaking.’

getting ridiculous. I felt overcome by disappointment; I sulked around in the shame of my own failure. I was never going to be a journalist. I guess I was just too foolish, too hopeful, and too stupid.

As you read my writings, I want you to see that my words speak for those who cannot. I never want these words to be about my anger with society, my advice to the government, and my displeasure with everything else that doesn’t go my way. I want these words to bleed in the inspiration I perceive from someone else who is seen as merely a footnote in the rudely impatient flow of life.

My destiny led me here for a reason and even though it has deviated from my original plan, I am happy with where I stand. I’m a Psychology major and Human Development and Family Studies minor, I am on the Dean’s List, and I am a professional peoplewatcher with hopes of stumbling across someone extraordinary to write about in my next article. Perhaps a struggling mother, a fighter of cancer, or a Liberty Tax guy dancing on the side of the street simply because he is glad to be alive.

The plans for our destinies can often deviate from the reality of life itself. I had planned to become a Tar Heel, but I am a Spartan and quite proud of that. As far as my ten-year plan goes… well, I ripped that up a while ago.

Life often times expects us to adapt to ridiculously high expectations. Make perfect grades. Have a perfect career. Plan everything and follow through with it. What happens when we cannot fulfill these harsh expectations?

We aren’t just numbers at a university and we aren’t just employees at a job. There’s some aspect of beauty that thrives deeper in the core of us all, and test scores and paper trails can’t determine our worth. The only problem is we have been conditioned to think in a way that leaves us believing we are what we seem on the surface. As I build up my experience and my knowledge in life, I am becoming discontent with the trend of thinking that deems us prisoner to our failures. !

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