Storm Stella and not so stellar conditions

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  • Accumulations were not as high as predicted, but high enough By Laurie Gordon

  • Plowing the roads By Laurie Gordon

  • Gene Chammings of LC Service on the job By aurie Gordon

  • Ashley Gordon of Stillwater makes the best of the storm By Laurie Gordon

  • Stella comes to Sparta By Meghan Byers

  • Saint Mary's of Sparta By Meghan Byers

  • Happiness By Meghan Byers

  • Neighborhood near Lake Mohawk By Liam Donovan

  • Lake Mohawk section By Liam Donovan

  • Stella says hello By Liam Donovan

By Laurie Gordon

Eight-year-old Shane Wright, who lives in Stillwater and is a student at the Northwest Christian School in Newton, perfectly summed up the weather conditions on Tuesday morning:

“I feel like we're in a snow globe and someone is shaking it real hard.”

Ann Paterno works for Thor Labs in Newton. She had to go into work on Tuesday and said, “I made it to work at 5:30 a.m. and only 11 of 400 plus are here so far. Just spoke to the nice FedEx lady in Fort Lauderdale who informed me no service today. So now I get to drive home in 20 inches of snow.”

Winter Storm Stella, pounded the Northeast with heavy snow, swirling winds, some accumulating ice in the lower portions of the state and led to major travel disruption. Schools and government offices were closed throughout the county, as were many businesses. Blizzard warnings persisted throughout the day on Tuesday and continued for parts of many states in the Northeast, spanning from Pennsylvania to Maine.

Gene Chammings owns LC Service in Stillwater. He and his crew are in charge of clearing many of the roads in Stillwater and they were out with multiple vehicles to do so on Tuesday.

“We take a lot of pride in our work and I'm happy to say that our roads are better than the township roads right not,” Chammings said.

Going beyond the call of duty, Chammings even helped people trying to clear their driveways by plowing the ends by the road for them.

Perry Maio, of Maio Construction, left the house at 10 pm on Monday night to orchestrate plows and sidewalk clearing for his many accounts. Maio employs about 35 high school and college kids in addition to his regular crew when it comes to snow. With accounts all over three counties, Maio and his crew worked for over 24 hours to clear the snow.

Predictions called for up to 30 inches of snow, but the actual totals ran a little shy of that. The Sussex County town with the top snowfall reading was Vernon, which came in with 20.3 inches. Wantage was a close second with 19.8 inches and Highland Lakes charted 19.5. Sussex Borough had 17.5 inches, Lafayette, 17, and Newton reached 15 inches.

The preamble to the storm was mayhem at local grocery stores as people scrambled to stock up on rock salt, food, water, batteries and other supplies. Late morning, on Monday, Shop Rite of Newton was so crowded, it was a challenge just to enter the parking lot much less find a space. Workers inside did a great job restocking as fast as possible.

Across the street, at AC Moore, a peculiar product was flying off the shelves: glue. Cashier Tammy at AC Moore of Newton said on Monday night, "The rush at Shoprite and at Home Depot it for food and for rock salt but here it's for slime materials."

A new fad of tween and teen kids all over the area making slime from glue, saline solution and a dish soap has had the store struggling to keep glue on their shelves. "With snowstorm coming parents have been coming in to get supplies so the kids will be busy during the storm."

Stella may have not had a stellar reception with many, but the kids loved getting out and making not only snow men, but it was deep enough to even build an igloo. Most people in the county did not lose power. Now the challenge is digging out and cleaning up.

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