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Are Cordova Residents Tired Of Shoveling Snow Yet?


Let's return now to the story we've been following in Cordova, Alaska. Talk about extreme weather, that small town was hit with more than 15 feet of snow since November. The bulk of that came earlier this month. It's twice the amount the town usually sees in an entire winter season. Just over a week ago, the newspaper editor in town told us that snow was everywhere you look.

JENNIFER GIBBONS: I mean, if you're shoveling out in front of your house, the piles are so high that you can't fling the snow up high enough to get on the pile. When you see an entire street filled two stories high with snow, you've got a problem.

GREENE: That's the voice of Jennifer Gibbons. She and her neighbors were shoveling multiple times a day. It was so overwhelming, the National Guard was called in to help them. We have Jennifer on the line again from her home near Prince William Sound.

And Jennifer, welcome back to the program. And has it stopped snowing yet?

GIBBONS: Well, last week, Monday morning, it was very exciting. It was sunny here. We had blue skies. It was very cold. The temperatures were down, minus 8, which is cold for us. And so we had a new problem at the beginning of last week, which was frozen pipes. The good news is by the end of the week, it warmed up. And then, of course, it started snowing again.


GREENE: And that's good news?


GIBBONS: Well, I'm trying to be philosophical about it at this point. I mean, we were so lucky over the past couple of weeks to get a lot of help. And we were able to avert some serious problems. I mean, we saved buildings. And the town really got out and worked hard. We're at the beginning of the month where we get the most snow, so I just think it's going to be a long winter.


GREENE: This is the beginning of your snow season. That's pretty incredible.

GIBBONS: Yes. Yes.

GREENE: Well, are schools open or libraries open? I mean, are things getting back to normal in any sense?

GIBBONS: I think this past weekend, it felt like we were getting back to normal. We had a couple teams in town for basketball games. The kids are back in school. So we do have that sense of normality, which is really nice.

GREENE: You're a newspaper editor. Have you been getting the newspaper out? I mean, can cars be on the roads delivering it to people?

GIBBONS: It's been an interesting experience to both report the news and struggle with the news. We had one week where the paper didn't come in. And so last week we had two papers we delivered at once. And then we sort of got back into a normal routine. But we're getting ready - the town's getting ready for our Ice Worm Festival. And we...

GREENE: Ice worm?

GIBBONS: Ice worm.

GREENE: What is an Ice Worm Festival?

GIBBONS: An ice worm is a unique little worm that lives in the ice. And, you know, a small town on the edge of the wilderness, we're always looking for ways to have fun. And so every February, we have an ice worm festival. We have parades. We have survival suit races in the harbor, where people put on these special suits and they jump in the freezing cold harbor and swim around. And we have a Miss Ice Worm competition. And it's a lot of fun.

GREENE: Sounds like you're a town that deserves a little fun and some smiles. All the shoveling, all the time out there doing this work, I mean, how have you gotten through it?

GIBBONS: Well, I actually now have a new secret weapon. I have discovered Justin Bieber, and I officially have Bieber fever. And I'm totally OK with it. And, boy, that guy was really helping me out there shovel all that snow. And if he wants to come to our Ice Worm Festival, he is cordially invited.

GREENE: Well, that invitation is officially out there. So that's what you're listening to while you're doing the shoveling.

GIBBONS: You got it.

GREENE: All right. Well, keep the Bieber fever going.

Jennifer Gibbons is the editor of the Cordova Times in Cordova, Alaska.

Thanks for joining us.

GIBBONS: Thank you.


JUSTIN BIEBER: (Singing) It's the most beautiful time of the year. Lights fill the streets, spreading so much cheer. I should be playing in the winter snow, but I'mma be under the mistletoe. I don't want to miss out on the holiday, but I can't stop staring at your face...

GREENE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.