THIS AND THAT –
It's a cold fact now, says Courtney Obergfeal of the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana, which serves the Lima region. Last week's snowfall pushed the Lima region ahead of the amount of snow we received during the infamous Blizzard of '78. As of Friday, we were at 26.3 inches of snow this year, compared to the 25.3 inches in January 1978.
Of course, most of the snow during the blizzard came at one time, and with it, were hurricane-force winds.
We were digging out of that blizzard 36 years ago today. It arrived at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 26 — a Thursday morning. By the time it ended, snow was drifted to the tops of houses, burying cars and trucks underneath of it. All transportation stopped, with the Ohio Turnpike closed for the first time in history, and Interstate 75 closed for three days. The Ohio National Guard was called in to look for bodies in stranded cars, and hundreds of people were put up in storm shelters.
This year's bitter cold is a minor inconvenience compared to the Blizzard of '78. Still, people keep asking and the weather experts don't know when we are going to get a break from the cold. It's not expected to get above zero on Tuesday, but is predicted to be in the high 20s this weekend — maybe even the mid-30s Sunday in New York, where the Super Bowl will be played in an outdoor stadium.
Oh well, there's just seven weeks and three days until spring arrives. …
•Any buyers? On Sunday morning, the cheapest Super Bowl tickets available on Stub Hub were upper endzone seats for $1,547. The highest priced ticket was $686,720 — you read that right — to an undisclosed luxury box, and there was only one of those left.
•No immunity: There's no such thing as congressional immunity when it comes to burst waterlines from frozen pipes in your home, take relief in knowing the same things happen to members of Congress. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan found himself waiting on busy plumbers when the pipes froze and broke in his Urbana home.
•Denny McLain: With the crowds slowed by snow late Saturday, former Detroit Tigers pitching great Denny McLain spent a lot of time telling stories and talking with baseball fans at the sports memorabilia show at the Lima Mall.
Stan White, of Lima, surprised McLain when he told McLain he was the “clubhouse boy” at the Minor League game in Lynchburg, Va., when McLain had his first pickoff of a runner at first base.
“Paul Blair,” McLain quickly shouted out. The two then went into a story about how Willie Horton, a teammate of McLain's, ended up being thrown out of the game and threw a tantrum in the clubhouse.White, then 15 years old, ended up having to repair all the damages.
T.J. Shellenbarger, 9, of Lima, was McLain's favorite that day. T.J. was with his father, Ty, who, as owner of Lima Sports Collection, was working in the same area as the Tigers pitcher. Throughout the late afternoon, T.J. and McLain would go back and forth trying to trade memorabilia.
“That little guy really knows his stuff. He's got some memory for statistics,” McLain said. As for T.J., “Denny McLain was really cool. He wanted to trade for my Brett Favre football, but we couldn't work it out. He then autographed a ball for me and wrote all of his stats on it, making it a one-of-a-kind ball.”
Former Cincinnati Reds slugger George Foster walked down to McLain's table, telling him he would have had more home runs if McLain had pitched in the National League. That set off a friendly exchange, with Foster ending it by telling McLain there will never be another 30-game winning pitcher in baseball, something McLain accomplished in 1968 with a 31-6 record.
As for that hot dog McLain wanted me to buy him, he pulled off most of the bread when he ate it and refused a Pepsi, noting he's lost 137 pounds.
ROSES AND THORNS: A tow truck driver, a cheerleader and 23 cases of beer find their way into the rose garden.
•Rose: One guy who actually is enjoying the snow is Nick Wireman, 29, of Big Daddy's Towing in Lima. “I'm the guy who will wench out a car and then go do a snow angel. I love working in the snow. … It beats the heat when you're scraping yourself up crawling under cars.”
•Rose: Julia Pohlman, a graduate of Delphos St. John's High School, was a cheerleader during Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pohlman has been a cheerleader for the Indianapolis Colts for three years and was the captain of the squad last year.
•Rose: Some people may have thought they came across a gift from the heavens if they found 23 cases of beer spilled on the roadway. A Lima motorist, however, alerted police Wednesday. The beer had fallen from an Anheuser-Bush truck, which had a faulty lock on the door.
•Rose: Members of the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office and the Grand Lake Task Force kept a “substantial amount” of heroin from hitting the streets when they stopped Scott Neace, 41, of St. Marys, on routine traffic stop. Investigators say the drugs were being hauled from Dayton.
•Rose: To Tierra Oliver, 18, a 2013 graduate of Shawnee High School who received a scholarship from the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice to further her studies in architecture. She one day hopes to design subdivisions with parks and green space for children, in hopes it will keep them out of trouble.
•Rose: To Tony Cox, who was appointed the new superintendent of Elida schools. Cox brings with him experience at the elementary, middle and high school levels in the Elida school system.
•Rose: You may take this as a thorn, but we'll give him a rose for the many columns he has written for the newspaper. Either way, Bart Mills will no longer be writing a column for The Lima News. He says he's too busy to be sarcastic anymore.
•Rose: Inmates at Allen Correctional Institution made 180 pairs of mittens for the Lima Rescue Mission to help keep residents warm.
•Thorn: Robert Smith III, of Lima, was found at 2:50 a.m Friday walking on East Elm Street with his clothes frozen to his body. It turns out Smith had driven his car into the icy Ottawa River. Police officials said they believe alcohol may have been involved.
•Thorn: Hit, but don't tell. That was the motto of two motorists given Thursday's icy road conditions. A woman slid into a car awaiting to turn on Pine Street, then sped away as she puffed on her cigarette, eluding the other driver who attempted to get her license plate number. In another instance, a car slid into the Lima Lumber building, but the driver didn't bother to stick around and sign any autographs.
PARTING SHOT: “Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want, but you can spend it only once.” — a sign on the cash register of Advantage Cleaners on Cable Road.