Niagara Gazette

January 25, 2014

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: More than snow piling up this winter

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Meteorologists — You think YOU’RE cold? We haven’t been out of the house for so long, we’ll need GPS to locate the end of the driveway. How cold is it? Well, when the couple who walk the schnauzer every day went by the house on Monday, the lady was carrying the critter. Hope she had a waterproof parka.

The depth of the snow is tolerable, but we’re buried in newsprint. Abitibi Paper Co. has several of those yellow & green recycling bins — “paper retrievers” — nobly intended to raise funds for churches, schools and clubs. A Mainland church dropped out of the program when the collection trucks did more damage to the driveway than the papers were earning.

Over here, there’s been no such evidence for quite a while. Attracting newspapers and catalogues like cat hair, we’re major contributors, and swung by a church the other day to find its bin gushing papers into the wind.

It’s a small church, and perhaps understaffed, as its website hasn’t been updated since summer, so we suspected they just hadn’t gotten around to calling in, but then we found four others filled to the brim — so full that Doug was able to pluck from the top a discarded paperback romance, something with “Montana” in the title and a beaut on the cover.

Abitibi’s website urges retriever hosts to keep their areas plowed, but every one we checked was right down to the pavement, more circulars than snow. Abitibi needs to either pick up or get off the plot. Otherwise, we have to go back to tossing them into the trash. It’s just getting too crowded in here and we’ve done all the crossword puzzles.

On a less grouchy note, Doug gritted his chattering teeth and paid the property tax bill this week. It seemed a little less painful than previously. We checked with a very nice lady at Town Hall who confirmed that since the recent reassessment, which almost doubled our property value, the tax itself had gone down by about 10 percent. Lower taxes? Today? The underworld must have frozen over. No wonder it’s cold here.

Meantime, our Town Council is grappling with language to keep order at gatherings of more than 200 people (frankly, we could use a group hug); the Vets’ soups, six in all, did indeed still the chill last Saturday (but we haven’t been up to see if Polly won the 50-50), and a touching e-mail from Josh Smith confirms that Serene Gardens is ceasing, or at least sharply curtailing, its restaurant operations.

Come visit. Bring a blanket.

Email Polly and Doug at pollyndoug@hotmail.com

Email Polly and Doug at pollyndoug@hotmail.com