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January 27, 1998


By Kathy Gibbons and Marta Hepler Drahos

There are some things you can recall with absolute clarity. Like where you were when John F. Kennedy was shot. The day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. And, if you lived anywhere in northern Michigan, the Great Blizzard of 1978.

For two days in January, the snowstorm raged on, dumping 30 or more inches of snow in some areas and paralyzing traffic. Winds gusted to 50 miles an hour, closing all major and secondary roads in several counties, and wind chill factors fell to 30 below.
Photo courtesy of Brenda Case
Brenda Case holds a young Andrew inside the family’s Beulah garage in the storm’s aftermath.

Gov. William G. Milliken declared a state of emergency and called out the Michigan National Guard to aid stranded motorists and local road crews. Michigan State police pronounced Traverse City "unofficially closed" and warned area residents to stay home and weather the storm.

Businesses were closed, cars were abandoned where they got stuck and people holed up in their homes, offices and hotel rooms while drifts the size of small sand dunes piled up outside their windows and doors. Mail deliveries were almost non-existent as drifts covered most of the trucks.

In Traverse City, between 22 and 28 inches of snow fell between 10 a.m. Jan. 26 and 10 a.m. Jan. 27. An 11-year-old girl was killed when she fell through ice in a creek. An elderly Greilickville man died of a heart attack while shoveling snow.
Photo by John L. Russell
Covered with tons of ice, the 140-foot training vessel Allegheny capsized in her berth at the Northwestern Michigan College Maritime Academy.

Covered by tons of ice, the 140-foot training vessel Allegheny capsized in her berth at the Northwestern Michigan College Maritime Academy. Cherry Capital Airport was closed as planes froze up and instrument landing systems were knocked out because of cold temperatures and high winds.

In Leelanau County, the sheriff's department delivered emergency prescriptions, fuel oil and even food to homebound residents. Volunteer snowmobilers shuttled Leelanau Memorial Hospital staff to work.

In just two days, the blizzard accounted for about a third of the month's total snowfall of 63 inches in Grand Traverse County.

Several weeks ago, the Record-Eagle asked readers to share their memories of the worst snowstorm in recent history. The stories poured in, painting a picture of a battle of sorts. It was man against nature. And, it seemed that for the most part, nature won. People were stranded. Isolated. There were struggles to get home. To get to town. To get food. To get help. A common theme involved people helping people - strangers coming to the aid of strangers, neighbors coming together and sharing what they had.

Viola Kellogg of Buckley wrote that she sure can remember the Blizzard of '78.

On the morning of Jan. 28, her husband, Marion, was called by the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and asked to plow a road east of Karlin so that several pick-up trucks full of workers could get out of an oil well site they'd been stuck at for two days. Marion set out at 8 a.m. in a big loader. The conditions outside? Snow six to eight feet deep on the level, and drifts 10 feet or higher, she said.

"I could only see the peak of our garage when standing on the sofa," she said. "I was feeling shut in, so went to the north window and could see my daughter's house across the road. I felt better."

Marion didn't make it to the oil site until 5 p.m. He plowed the workers out and cleared a pass to the Karlin store. But his work didn't end there.

"Frank Sarna came out and said there was a lady west of Grant that was out of heart medicine, and it had been brought there from Interlochen," Viola said. "Marion said he would deliver it."

It was 11 by the time Marion arrived home that night - "tired, hungry and cold," Viola recalled. It snowed until 10:30 the next night.

"Marion passed away on July 4, 1991," she said. "I remember that blizzard very well, and many more times he helped people.

"I will always have the memories, and hope we don't have another."

Pam Jamieson Yarwood of Frankfort said her family weathered the storm just fine, thanks to the fact that they lived on the same farm they do now on Upper Herring Lake.
Photo by John L. Russell
While homes and businesses were barricaded by drifts, some reveled in the snow.

"We were socked in for many days, but didn't suffer at all," she said. "We never lost electricity, we had wood heat, milk from our goats, eggs from our chickens, a freezer full of rabbit meat and garden vegetables, and home-canned goods in the root cellar."

Her daughters, 12 and 10 then, had fun playing outside, making caves in the hillsides, digging tunnels and sledding nonstop.

When the big double-engine V snowplow finally came through in the storm's aftermath, the Yarwoods went out to take pictures and movies.

"When they finished, they had succeeded in clearing a very narrow 1«-story tunnel," she recalled. "When the neighboring school district resumed classes the next day, we went up the road again to see if the bus would make it. It inched its way, and just barely squeezed through.

"A day or so later, our own school started up again, and by then I was ready to pack everybody up and out of the house."

Pam and Dale Davis of Traverse City were living in a rented cabin on Bass Lake that winter.

"My husband and his friend had gone in to their jobs in town in the friend's truck," Pam said. "They stopped at the grocery store on the way home, but they couldn't get down Boone Road. They caught a ride with some snowmobilers.

"They stuffed as many of the groceries as they could in their clothes. They hadn't worn hats so they put the grocery bags over their heads."

It was five days before the plows got through to free the Davises. Being newlyweds, though, they didn't mind being snowed in one bit, she said. And they didn't stay indoors the entire time. One day they went cross-country skiing, gliding right over a car.

Also newlyweds that year were Nancy and Lyle Wilson of Traverse City. They were living in a basement apartment and couldn't see out their windows, which were covered with the heavy, deep snow.

"At that time, we never planned meals or did grocery shopping ahead of time," wrote Nancy. "Guess what? We didn't have any food to speak of, but being adventurous, we bundled up and thought we'd drive to the Barlow Superette a couple blocks away."

They thought again when they found the cars in the parking lot completely buried in snow, and walked instead.

Eventually, they got cabin fever, joining neighbors in shoveling the parking lot and trying to free cars, one after the other. Then some snowbound friends who live near Timberlee called, asking for help. The Wilsons decided to go to their aid, returning to the store to stock up on more food first.

"We made it through the downtown area, which had snow piled so high in the center you couldn't see over it," Nancy reported. "The plows had been clearing the lanes and pushed it the length of the two main blocks, it looked like two very long tunnels. Snowmobiles seemed to be the main mode of transportation through the downtown area."
Photo by John L. Russell
Between customers buying up extra supplies and delivery trucks being unable to get to stores because of the storm, bare grocery shelves became a common sight in those last days of January 1978.

The couple went on, getting stuck several times on the way.

"We finally made it to their house loaded down with food," said Nancy. "We ended up getting snowed in there for another day, but it was more fun spending time with others and not feeling so confined to our little apartment. It was definitely a winter to remember, our first together."

The winter of 1978 was Jean and Fred Watkins' first winter as "perma-fudgies" - Jean's word - living in northern Michigan. Jean recalls having friends over to their Leland home the night it began to snow nonstop in late January. After the friends got stranded in a snowdrift, Fred decided to drive them home. The 20-minute round-trip took about an hour-and-a-half.

"We were snowed in for two full days and managed to ski out on Friday and went about a mile on M-22," Jean writes. "It was a beautiful world and we can still picture it."

Georgette Henriet of Kalkaska was also new to the area that year, moving to Bear Lake Township with her three teen-agers in August 1977. She didn't realize that her new home was smack in the middle of the snowbelt. But she learned, fast, from the January snowstorm she described as "a real dilly."

She recalled her son and his friend climbing on the roof to clear away snow, fearing it would cave in otherwise.

"Before they were done, they would have fallen off three times in a large snowbank," she said. "Luckily, they were not injured."

Henriet said that M-72 was closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles, since authorities were struggling to keep even one lane open. Her own road was completely closed for three days.

'On the second day, my son decided he had to visit his girlfriend nine miles away," she said. "The only way to travel was the snowmobile, which would end up in a huge snowbank a mile short of her house. It stayed buried for several days before we could get to it. Climbing a six-foot snowbank and a treasure-finder in hand, we did find it, not knowing exactly where it was."

True love also motivated Michael Witkop of Traverse City to get his 1978 Pontiac Firebird out of the garage and set out for his girlfriend's house in Interlochen near the end of the storm in 1978. He found the main roads were plowed as far as Interlochen Arts Academy, but that was still two miles shy of Laverna's house.

"Sitting on the road I decided that I had made it this far, I would not be turned back," Witkop said. "In my trunk I went to get the shovel and proceeded to dig a `garage' into the bank on the side of the road. After over an hour of digging, I had managed to carve out a hole that I hoped would protect my red Firebird from damage from the plow trucks."

Laverna was shocked when she answered the knock on the door to find Mike standing there. The phone lines had been out, and she had been "devastated" that they hadn't been able to talk, let alone see each other, for days.

"I knew it had to be true love for him to risk and do all that he did," she said. "Twenty years later, we have been happily married for more than 18 of those years. We have two kids and own the Witkop family farm on M-72."

Jean Radin of Traverse City said she and her husband, Bob, had just settled into their new centennial home complete with leaky windows and virtually no insulation when the storm hit.

"We will never forget the amount of snow that fell that winter," she said. "One Sunday, our driveway was completely drifted over to a depth of almost three feet. Bob started shoveling at one end and I started at the other. Five hours later we met in the middle, totally exhausted.

"The next day we went to Sears and bought a powerful snowblower."

Sylvia and Dan Muir of Traverse City spent the blizzard holed up in their house north of Buckley with a cat that was in heat.
Photo by John L. Russell
Snow removal crews created a tunnel-like effect as they tried to clean downtown Traverse City streets.

"Every once in awhile, we threw her out in the snowbank to cool off," Sylvia said.

When the storm ended, the Muirs' driveway was filled with nearly six feet of snow.

"We snowshoed over across the road to check on a widow who lived alone, to make sure she was OK," Sylvia said. "She opened her door and yelled that she was fine, and to please be careful to not break off the antenna of her car. It seemed we were standing on our snowshoes on top of her car."

Exactly nine months after the blizzard, the Muirs welcomed their first baby.

"We resisted the urge to name her 'Storm,' which was suggested by more than one friend," Sylvia said.

One reader e-mailed his account of how the several miles of roller coaster-like roads leading to his family's Leelanau County home were filled with snow - 12 to 14 feet drifts in some spots.

"After three days of wondering if the road commission forgot about us, I ventured out with my dad's old (snowmobile) to see progress of the plows. Echoing in the distance, I could barely hear the 'ka-whummp' sound of the X-wing plow as it continually buffeted a hill of snow," he remembered. "Vain in its efforts to free us, the plow drove around to the other side of the road via better-traveled roads which ran north and south.

"I by then let my curiosity get the better of me and edged closer and closer to the plow. When I realized that this beast was making headway, I knew I was sitting in the wrong spot - sled in the middle of the road. Snowmobiles, especially the hogs we rode on back then, weighed a ton. Maneuvering the sled in a 180-degree turn took forever, and I knew the plow needed to maintain a great deal of speed in order to make any headway whatsoever when dealing with that next hill. Knowing I'd surely get stuck if I took the sled into the ditch or field, I raced back home ahead of the now roaring plow, not once looking behind me, vowing never to try that stunt again.

"Please don't mention my name if you use this in your story. My kids would try it."

George Hayes of Traverse City wrote to say that his wife was scheduled to fly out of Cherry Capital Airport one morning during the blizzard. After calling to verify that the flight was still on, they set out from their farm 12 miles west of Traverse City.

"We encountered several whiteouts on our way into town," he said. "There were no cars on the road, which was a good thing, for in several places, M-72 had only one lane open."

At the airport, receiving assurances that the plane would in fact depart, he said good-bye to his wife and endured a "white-knuckle drive" home. Two hours later, his wife called. The flight had been canceled after all.

"In the meantime, the radio announced that the county was pulling its plows off the roads and drivers were cautioned not to drive under any circumstance," Hayes wrote.

His wife took a shuttle to the Holiday Inn. It was two days before he could get back to town to bring her home.

In 1978, Sylvia Kievit and her family were living in Elk Rapids across the street from the bay. The winds were intense as they blew at the Kievits' front door. Their side yard patio was engulfed in snow, spilling out into the alley behind their home.

"The most beautiful snow sculpture formed like a great snowy white bird in flight," she said. "It was truly a work of art produced by Mother Nature and enjoyed for its beauty by all the brave souls who ventured out."

The storm also left memories, she said, of "good times and good friends."

"Along with two other neighbor couples and their children, we pooled our food supplies and shared a delicious dinner with some good wine, lots of conversation and plenty of laughs," she said.

Jackolyn Hill and her husband went to a dinner and a show for their fourth wedding anniversary in late January 1978. When they came out of the theater, it had started to snow. So they went right home.

They woke the next morning to a world of white.

"There was a drift across our backyard about six feet high that cut off our access to the garage and our vehicles," she said. "The drift extended from across our entire yard to across the street and into then neighbors' yard. The side street has a steep hill about where our driveway to the garage started. There were also deep drifts on both sides of the house."

Friends who could get out called on the second day that the Hills were snowed in to see if they needed groceries. When they came back with milk for the Hills, however, they couldn't get to their house.

"My spouse had to walk between the house and the drift on the north side of the property and down and across the ditch to get the milk," she said. "He decided to try to come back the side street. My spouse being over six feet tall was still not long-legged enough to get through the depth of the snow. He had to crawl hand over hand (hanging onto two gallon jugs of milk) to get to a place where he could find his way, wading in waist-deep snow to get to the house. Watching from the house, I couldn't help giggling at his attempt to master the snow."

Plows didn't get to the Hills' street until the third day. The family shoveled. And shoveled. And shoveled to clear a path on their driveway and dig out a full-size van that was immersed in snow to its roof line.

"It was a storm to remember," Hill said.

Personal recollections

'Forever in my memories'

My memories of the Blizzard of '78 are neither good nor bad, but ones that will be with me forever, as vivid as they have been with me the past 20 years.

It was my first year out of high school and I had so many plans, none of which were working out. I was supposed to be in college, meeting new friends and old ones. It was supposed to be happy-go-lucky times forming my career directions.

In real life, I had dropped out of college and was spending 24 hours a day of quality time with my mom, who was dying of cancer. It was one of the most trying and growing times of my life that I wish had never happened, but feel very fortunate for those long 24-hour days that we had.

We had to have a front-end loader standing by at the end of the driveway in case we had to get mom out to the hospital. She died at home on Feb. 13.

The Blizzard of '78 will forever be in my memories.

-Sheila Dinger Pierce

'My wooden plow and the Blizzard of '78'

My wife Deb and I had just been blessed with our second son, Tom. We were living in our first home on Vance Road in Grawn, and I was working at the local lumberyard in counter sales for close to minimum wage. Needless to say, extra money was scarce.
Photo by John L. Russell
Records show that between 22 and 28 inches of snow fell in 24 hours starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 26, 1978.

I had shoveled snow for the last three winters and didn't want to perform this task another winter, but couldn't afford a snowblower.

During the fall of '78, for $250, I had purchased an old 1965 Ford pick-up with a lot of rust and posi-traction. The blue Ford had been previously owned by a fellow named Cecil Edgecomb and he had rigged it up to push a plow. In fact, it still had a plow brace and support rack on the front of the frame.

I had a "brainstorm" one Saturday that fall and started building a snowplow out of scrap wood from the lumberyard where I worked. I built several designs before coming up with the finished product which would serve as my "wooden plow."

As you might imagine, when the snow began to fall in the winter of '78, and I started to use the wooden plow, I soon became the laughing stock for the residents of Grawn and the Vance Road area, including my next-door neighbor, John. The story of the Polish fellow with his wooden plow soon became a good laugh for many local residents at their places of employment and the local restaurants and taverns.

Well, it finally came. The Blizzard of '78. It snowed and I plowed. It snowed and I plowed some more. If my memory serves me properly, this went on for about four days and nights. When the storm finally ended, the depth of the snow can only be described by a '90s term - AWESOME. My family and I were fortunate that I had my wooden plow because I had been able to keep my driveway clear, including a small portion of Vance Road. When the huge tandem V-plows finally opened up the roads, I was able to access the roadways almost immediately.

A short time after I had busted the mouth of my driveway out, I received a call from my neighbor, John. He said he was snowed in and couldn't even open his outside doors. He continued, saying he had seen me out on Vance Road in my Ford with my wooden plow.

After I dug John's door out so that he could exit his home, he paused and looked out at my wooden plow and said, "I know that I've laughed at you and that silly plow, but would you suppose you could plow me out?" As John watched in wonderment, the wooden plow cleaned out the snow from the Blizzard of '78 in about 10 swipes. I believe that before the sun set that day, the wooden plow had cleaned out six driveways along Vance Road.

From that day forward, I don't remember too many people laughing about my wooden plow. In fact, I gave the design to many people and the wooden plow became a popular alternative for snow removal by several residents of the Grawn area in the winters of '78 and '80 - including my neighbor, John.

-Bob Schramski
Traverse City

`It's still snowing...'

Winter of 1978 found us living 10 miles south of a town a few miles from the "Big Mac" bridge, then 1 1/2 miles west of the main highway. My husband and I were remodeling a one-room schoolhouse situated on a corner acre of ground to accommodate our family of three children. The nearest neighbor was half a mile away.

The storm started on Friday, the same night the county road crew went on strike. By Sunday afternoon, just the rounded dome of the mailbox top was visible to distinguish the edge of the road. To the west was a pasture unbroken by any tree lines. The wind deposited inch upon inch, foot upon foot of snow into the road, yard, everywhere you looked.
Photo by John L. Russell
A narrow path for pedestrians was all that remained after snow from streets and sidewalks was piled along roadsides.

By Sunday evening, a daring neighbor had made one pass from his house down to our corner, then out to the main highway with his personal plow on a pick-up truck. Several neighbors from every direction had made arrangements to commute to work with "outsiders." They rode snowmobiles or skied to our house, car-pooled to work, then snowmobiled or skied back home. It was like Grand Central Station, with phone calls to remind Joe, Russ, Ed, whoever "to bring home bread, milk, etc."

But most unforgettable was a determined and dedicated father of several children who lived nearly two miles north of our corner. He had been "laid off" his regular job at the mill and was supporting his large family on unemployment and odd jobs. His youngest child was still a baby and had become very ill with a cold.

We couldn't identify the strange noises we heard outside on Monday, mid-morning. Lo and behold, here was our neighbor driving a team of farm horses pulling an empty flatbed wagon. The snow was deeper than the horses' bellies. The boys and dad would shovel a few feet, using the top of the fence posts as a guide, then urge the horses onward.

He was a man on a mission. It was the day for his unemployment check, which meant food and medicine. They didn't have the luxury of a snowmobile, so he used horsepower in its purest form.

Many hours later, they came back past, headed for home with groceries and items for his neighbors at the end of that road. I called his wife to let her know they were all okay and coming home.

The county settled their strike a few days later. By the time they had plowed out the roads and cleaned up our corner, the banks were piled so high we couldn't see the school bus after our children boarded and he headed out on his route. As we ventured out for the first time in days, it was like driving through snow tunnels. Absolutely unforgettable!

-Terry Redloske
Traverse City

'The great celery quest'

A plow hadn't been by for three days now and spirits were beginning to drain somewhat with the hopelessness of impending boredom. The puzzles had been put together, games had been played, and in this pre-cable and satellite dish era, TV didn't have the variety that it does today. Living in this rural setting with neighbors spread far apart only added to the growing isolation.

My solution to this dilemma was to make a pot of venison soup. Yes, that would be the ticket. I could entertain the family with my culinary skill along with comical quips as I worked.

The venison was thawed and the cupboards were checked for the key ingredients. Tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, green peppers . . . it was all there, all of it, except the most obviously key ingredient: fresh CELERY. We were out, and - in my mind at least - this was a grocery shopping lapse of monumental proportions.

My wife offered up her canned stewed tomatoes complete with peppers, onions AND celery. But no, this would not do for this greatest of all venison soups.

With ever increasing indignation, I bundled up for a 3/4-mile trek to M-22, where I could hitch a ride to town five miles to the north. Out the door I rushed, slamming it behind me to make sure that the Mrs. knew of the raging inferno welling within my being.

Mumbling and grumbling as I went, I crossed the yard and reached the road, heading west toward the salvation of the highway and my glorious celery. In my infantile pout, I didn't notice that as I walked, my footfalls were much higher than usual - about six feet above road level, to be exact.

Less than 50 yards into my walk, I broke through the hard, icy crust and went down to my waist in snow. I struggled back on top and commenced to continue my trek, only to break through again 20 steps later. Like a postman making his rounds, I thought, no mere blizzard-dumped snow was going to stop this intrepid shopper. That is, until my third plunge into the depths of a snowdrift.

It was here, standing up to my chest in frozen crystals that the once all-important celery began to lose its value to the venison stew. Struggling once again to the top of the drift, I turned eastward and headed home, tail between my legs. My entire trek had taken me a mere 150 yards from the house.

Again crossing the front yard I glanced up to the living room window and here were my four children and wife watching the whole journey, wondering what daddy was trying to do. And maybe laughing a bit at his silliness.

The celery adventure was not long in the past, but the lessons that it taught have lasted these 20 years. After summing up the courage to apologize and admit defeat, I proceeded to make the venison soup using, of course, my wife's canned stewed tomatoes. And you know, to this day, it has been one of the best venison soups I have ever made.

-Milton F. Whitmore

A blizzard diary

(Ed. note: Ormond Danford of Williamsburg kept a diary of the goings-on at his Broomhead road home during the Blizzard of '78. He and his wife, Madge, have copied it and given it to their grandchildren. Here are some excerpts.)

Thursday evening, Jan. 26, 1978
It is blowing! Office patio doors are plastered shut. Visibility down to seeing only the three maples out in front.

Radio stations are active. Full of emergency chatter. WLDR opened its phone lines to calls and put everything on the air. It made for an interesting afternoon and was a wonderful respite from 1) country music by folks in New York, whose only knowledge of the West and of Country is a label on a Coors beer can and 2) from shouting repetitious disco groups who assault both ears and intelligence.

Jimmy Johnson is now working for one of the mud outfits serving the oil rigs....he's on emergency duty at Williamsburg fire hall tonight, taking in stranded locals and motorists who can't get home or move along the closed trunk lines and county roads.

Oh well, only 60 days til a bit of warmth will fuss around making for nicer days, although for the last week, every day and every night with a full moon has been beautiful.

Friday, Jan. 27, 1978
(9:30 a.m.) Sitting in the office and despite the white daylight outside, I have the lamp on at this desk. Why? The snow has piled up against the patio glass doors so high there is just about two feet of dim daylight coming through. Awakened this morning to a subdued early daylight and it was still - so quiet - such a contrast to the howling buffeting wind last night when we retired. Told Madge, "Storm is over; can't wait to get up for me sausage and egg and toast and coffee and grapefruit." Sat up. Looked out bedroom window. Could see nothing...then I realized that there was just as much snow, just as much wind, just as much storm, but the drifts around house had built so high that the wind was scooting up the outside of the drifts and over the top of (not against) the house.

Going outside.

(11:15 a.m.) Back inside, my God. That environment out there is as hostile as outer space. Opened back (east) door. Snowdrift four feet high against it, square cut where garage door went up. I struggled to the tool shed. Sank so deep in soft snow I had to lay on the shovel and inch my way along. Couldn't lift legs high enough to make headway. Anyway, did shovel the snow away from the patio door windows and the back bedroom windows to let the light in. It surely made a difference in the house to get rid of that dull gray light.

Saturday morning, Jan. 28
Winds have dropped but are springing up again. Snow still blowing and drifting. All roads, except U.S. 31 from Manistee to Petoskey, are closed. Dr. Frank Power died trying to get to hospital on his snowmobile. Little 11-year-old Sandra Schaub died in an "avalanche" (so-called by news media) of snow when bank broke loose and swept her into Kid's Creek. Her brother survived. The 250 Snowmobile Race was called off today. Why? Too much snow....New Ice Age is upon us.

Sunday, Jan. 29
Clear. Snow falling a bit, scattered, big cottony plow relief in sight. Mom making coffee and toasting nut bread. Then I'm going to try to open front driveway. (Dozer is in shop, of all times, with tooth out of rear drive gear.) Doug skied up yesterday from shack to have lunch with us. He helped me "blow" from back entry door of tool shed to back door of garage by cutting down snow with shovel so blower could chew it up. When done, he laughed and said, "First time I ever saw a road going from nowhere to nowhere."

(10:30 a.m.) Hey, snowmobile just fought its way down Broomhead. First movement since Wednesday night.

Monday, Jan. 30
Schools still closed. M-72 now open with big state-owned rotary. Rumor says our road will be cleared Wednesday? Thursday?

Tuesday, Jan. 31
(8:30 a.m.) Snowing again. Dozer is ready but Cole Bros.' big equipment truck broke down. Otherwise they could drop dozer at M-72 and I could go down with snowmobile to get it. Then I'd drive dozer home, opening Broomhead Road. Most schools still closed except Traverse City. TV this a.m. says hope to have most roads open to double lane in 10 days.

(10:21 1/2 a.m.) Big loader-type four-wheel-drive V-plow just growled by. We are no longer snowbound.

End of saga.

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