The Woodward News

Local News

February 6, 2014

City crews busy during cold weather

Woodward, Okla. — Picture this: It’s 14 degrees below zero wind chill and you are crouching in hole partially filled with water in the middle of a city street trying to repair a spraying water leak on a six-inch water pipe. You can’t go home even though it is dangerously cold, because homes and restaurants will be without water until you get the pipe fixed.

Yeah, it’s an ugly reality.

It’s one that City of Woodward and other regional city workers deal with every winter, said Woodward Director of Environmental Services, Ed Laird.

“A lot of people think that the city shuts down when something like this happens,” Laird said. “We still have to provide you with water, fire protection, police protection, and they can’t fight a fire with no water for the fire.”

The Woodward News caught up with Laird Wednesday as he handled multiple phone calls from department heads who were struggling to keep services going through this cold snap.

He was a little grouchy but not bad for a guy whose departments have been working some pretty long hours since early Monday morning.

“Oh, we had a water leak out there by Atwoods and it was a co-op deal since it was on the highway and so we got that asphalt cut and got in there Monday early because we wanted to get it done before snowmageddon hit,” he said.

It’s a good thing they got that project done, because Tuesday while being pelted by snow and wind, crews were out again working on another leak and that kept them out till after dark in the snowstorm, Laird said.

According to the National Weather Service of Norman, this icy, arctic front will remain in the region through Sunday, with the first chance of a warm up over freezing not predicted until Monday.

More snow could fall on Friday and Saturday and temperatures today are predicted to be negative 15 to 20 in the wind, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Wayne Ruff.

That means, if more water mains break, Laird's water department will still be on the job to make sure Woodward residents can take a warm shower.

It doesn’t stop there though, Laird said. Ice has to be dealt with at the waste facility so that system can still pull waste from sewer lines and trash can’t be allowed to pile up either so trash trucks are running, he said. Water meters must be read and roads must be cleared, salted and sanded, he said.

“The trash guys are out too and they are just taking turns on the back of the truck because you just can’t stay out there very long,” Laird says.

It’s kind of human nature to simply never think about things like water, sewer, trash until suddenly the service stops for some reason. Laird understands this.

But he wants to call attention to his “unsung heros” as he calls the city crews who work for him. He wants to shine a light on the work they do with little recognition.

“It’s my 40th year with city of Woodward and I have seen a lot of people come and go,” Laird said. “It takes someone special to get down in the hole with the water in these temperatures. But these guys love their work and I like to give them a plug now and then for the work they do.”

 According to Laird, the booming economy in Woodward has been reflected in the top quality equipment his workers now have available to fix problems with the infrastructure quickly and effectively.

On Tuesday alone, a special chainsaw with a diamond bit saved the workers more than two hours because the saw allowed them to cut through the broken line quickly and begin repairs, he said.

“Yeah, as the ex-old mayor, Bill Fanning likes to say, ‘It’s a good time to live in Woodward,’” Laird said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Board hears updates

    Woodward School Board members honored a group of Woodward FFA students for their service to the community during the board's monthly meeting Monday night.

    April 16, 2014

  • Red Cross sets open house Thursday

    Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross is holding an open house at its Woodward office, 1209 9th St.

    April 16, 2014

  • Commission hears communications presentation

    Woodward County Commissioners heard an informative report from Pioneer Telephone Special Projects and Engineering Manager JR Ools regarding new and emerging communications technologies being made available in the region.

    April 15, 2014

  • Extension Service important to state

    Recia Garcia remembers.
    She remembers how the lives of those she met through 4-H and through her work as a 30-year veteran with the OSU Extension Service changed her in ways she still sees today.

    April 15, 2014

  • Legislation targeting Okla. judiciary stirs debate

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For the first time since a bribery scandal rocked Oklahoma's Supreme Court 50 years ago, state lawmakers are considering tinkering with the way Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges are selected.

    April 13, 2014

  • Filing period brings some area races

    There will be a few races on the June 24 primary ballot and the November general election ballot in Northwest Oklahoma counties.
    The three-day filing period ended on Friday.

    April 13, 2014

  • walkerweb.jpg Walker promoted to Captain

    Stan Walker's father Samuel Walker was an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officer from 1942 to 1946 before taking on another career in energy where he spent the rest of his working days in Northwest Oklahoma.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reports, hires on agenda

    Woodward Board of Education members will take up a number of routine items as well as hire some teachers for the early childhood center at their meeting on Monday.

    April 13, 2014

  • Area school calendars

    School calendars April 14-19

    April 13, 2014

  • Red Cross recognizes local volunteer

    When Karen Daily, Red Cross volunteer and owner of Western Medical & Drug, gets up in the morning, it is with the purpose and understanding that she may need to offer some of her time to her community.

    April 13, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.