The snow drought is officially over. The one-two punch of bitter cold followed by a couple weeks of heavy snow reminded us of how resilient people in Minnesota are. As I shake off a pinch of cabin fever, it’s a good opportunity to recognize people who helped get 2019 started off on the right note.

Dedicated snowplow drivers

This February turned out to be one of the snowiest on record. I’m glad we have committed snowplow drivers with the expertise to make our roads as safe as possible. I’m impressed that these drivers are able to clear a lot of miles of road in a short amount of time. We can’t expect these people to be miracle workers. Not every road can be cleared immediately and we know bridges will be icy, so we have to level-set expectations. Personally, I think they do an amazing job.

Skilled bus drivers

Growing up, I rode the school bus for more than an hour each day. Until a few years ago, I took a metro transit bus downtown every day for work. I have a lot of respect for bus drivers. They carry a huge responsibility on their shoulders when they get behind the wheel. Driving a bus can be stressful and even aggravating on a good day, and when you throw in the added challenge of snowstorms or other inclement weather, the job is even more daunting. Yet they maintain calmness and display pretty remarkable driving skills. The job is tough and demanding, but it shouldn’t be thankless.

Facility maintenance workers

It’s easy to take what these people do for granted, until we slip on an icy sidewalk. It’s nice to know there are people who get up before the sun to clear pathways and parking lots to make entrances into schools, clinics, and other essential buildings slip-free. It’s also reassuring to know there are teams of people working to keep schools warm, clean, and accessible.

Administrators who implemented CoLD

Cancelling school because of extreme cold or high snow volumes can be problematic. Administrators want to ensure safety, but also want to avoid tacking on extra days at the end of the scheduled school year. Connected Learning Days, or CoLD, seem like a good compromise. This allows students to optimize technology at home to complete their school work, eliminating the need for them to trek to school in potentially hazardous conditions.

Health care

workers who care

In health care, “compassion fatigue” can be a problem for caregivers who, after working with patients for long periods of time, lose the ability to sympathize with them. I had the opposite experience. I’ve had elevated blood pressure for several years. I chose to ignore it. Recently, I had some dental work done. The dental hygienist took my blood pressure on each visit. She was so authentically concerned about my hypertension that it motivated me to visit a physician and get it treated. It’s nice to encounter someone who doesn’t just check boxes on a form but instead takes a personal interest in my health and genuinely wants me to stay well.

Brett Martin is a community columnist who’s been a Shakopee resident for over 15 years.

South regional editor

Deena is the regional editor for Shakopee, Jordan, Prior Lake and Savage and is passionate about uncovering the truth. Deena also enjoys gardening, playing tennis and up-cycling furniture.


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