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Slick roads for county travelers

January 10, 2011

A second round of winter weather slammed Catawba County on Monday, bringing snow, ice, closings and travel delays for Catawba County residents.
 
The North Carolina Highway Patrol station in Newton reported 82 calls for service in the patrol's 10-county service area throughout western North Carolina. No serious injuries were reported as of Monday morning.

Most of the crashes were one-car accidents because of slick road conditions. 

For Conover, the biggest problem was tractor trailers. 

"Most of what we've had is tractor-trailers that get stuck on inclines," said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer. 

Brewer said the trucks have difficulty getting up inclines in the roadways, and crews have to make the truck mobile again. 

Brewer reported no serious crashes, and he said Monday's incidents were typical of a winter storm event in the county.
 
Crashes were also reported Monday in Hickory, but those incidents weren't serious. 

Majority of the incidents in didn't require police reports, said Hickory Police Sgt. Robert George. 

"Most of what we've had is people sliding off the roads," he said. 

The incidents were single-vehicle crashes where drivers hit slick spots in the roadway and slid off the road or into other property. Crashes with minor damage often don't require police to file reports of the incident. Hickory Police filed about five reports Monday morning.
 
To prevent additional crashes, Catawba County Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools canceled classes Monday at about 5 a.m. 

Catawba County Schools Public Information Officer Carleen Crawford said representatives from each of the county's three school systems traveled roads from the five feeder districts about 4:30 a.m. 

Crawford said administrators and transportation directors jointly decided to cancel class to prevent dangerous travel on roadways by school buses and other vehicles. 

NCCS Superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond was part of the crew who decided to cancel classes, and he said the decision was made in the best interest of students, parents, teachers and staff. 

Monday's snow day, however, must be made up, and Crawford said there are several possibilities to make up the missed school day.
 
She said the system will make every attempt to make up days in January.

That attempt, however, could be complicated because high school students are scheduled to start end-of-grade testing Thursday and continue that testing through next week.
 
Another possible complication in re-scheduling the missed day is costs associated with Saturday school. 

Because of expenses incurred in operating school six days a week, Saturday school must occur during a week with a holiday scheduled or a missed school day.
 
"The next two weeks, we do have that scenario," Crawford said. 

Schools have a holiday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as well as two teacher workdays in January. One of those days is protected, Crawford said, and cannot be used as school makeup. 

Crawford said officials from the county's three school systems work together in determining the make-up day in an attempt to make the schedule routine among all districts. 

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