Worthington News

Coping with the cold

Not everything was closed Jan. 6, 7


The coldest temperatures in nearly two decades closed schools and some businesses Jan. 6 and 7, but others braved the elements to carry on as usual.

At Rivage Atlantique in downtown Worthington, owner Brett Holland kept a kettle of chili warm for anyone brave enough to endure the cold. Across the street at the Old Bag of Nails, business was slow, but the doors were open.

Other businesses along High Street were closed, but the Shops at Worthington Place was open to give people a place to go and relax and let their children play at the indoor play place.

Schools remained open during the snow of Thursday, Jan. 2, but closed because of the cold the next day and remained closed Monday and Tuesday.

Superintendent Thomas Tucker said a few inches of snow might not close the schools, but dangerously low temperatures would.

He and George Sontag, director of transportation, and George Joseph, executive director of administrative services, meet at 4:30 a.m. when weather is bad. They head off in different directions to check streets, sidewalks and school entryways to make sure all is safe and accessible to students and staff.

"I am out there with them making the decisions," Tucker said. "I have a kindergartner in the district. I want to make sure my son and the 9,000 other students in the district are safe."

Worthington Libraries stayed open during the cold, as did the Worthington Community Center. Because it is between seasons at the Community Center, only a few classes were scheduled, and they were not canceled.

The Griswold Center stayed open so people could gather or use the fitness room, but programs were canceled Tuesday, Jan. 7.

As of Monday night, Jan. 6, people had been staying safe, Worthington Fire Chief Scott Highley said.

"Except for some falls on the ice, so far we have not really had any cold emergencies," he said.

His biggest concern during such extreme cold is the loss of power, he said. It would not take long for the department to have to go into crisis mode if people have no heat, he said.

Space heaters and fireplaces also pose threats, he said.

He urged people with space heaters to keep them far from combustible materials and make sure they are not knocked over.

People using fireplaces need to make sure any smoldering ashes are placed in a metal container and taken to a spot far from the house. Never place ashes in a plastic bucket or place them in the garage or next to the house, he said.