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First winter storm puts the freeze on Marysville

Snow covers Cedar Avenue in Marysville Nov. 22.  More snow and freezing temperatures over the next couple of days forced many closures in Marysville. - Scott Frank
Snow covers Cedar Avenue in Marysville Nov. 22. More snow and freezing temperatures over the next couple of days forced many closures in Marysville.
— image credit: Scott Frank

MARYSVILLE — The first snowfall of this year’s winter in the area forced many Marysville residents and business owners to take unscheduled “stay-cations” at their homes in the days before Thanksgiving.

Kuhnle’s Tavern in downtown Marysville closed early on the evening of Nov. 22, at 11 p.m. instead its regular closing time of 2 a.m. the next morning.

“I’m supposed to start work at 10 a.m. but I couldn’t get here until 4 p.m. on Monday,” said Kuhnle’s Tavern employee Tanya Buttke, who lives in Granite Falls. “Fortunately, somebody was able to give me a ride into work on Tuesday or else I wouldn’t have made it in at all.”

Buttke reported that Kuhnle’s Tavern was also forced to cancel its popular pool league night on Nov. 23, which typically draws four teams of players.

“Tuesday is usually our busiest night because of the pool league,” Buttke said. “That really hurt us.”

Lake Stevens resident Curt McDaniel, a regular patron of Kuhnle’s Tavern, feared for his safety on the roads when the first snow fell, as much because of his fellow drivers’ behavior as because of the road conditions.

“I pulled out of my driveway, then pulled off the road and went right back home,” said McDaniel, who canceled a doctor’s appointment on Nov. 22. “I’ve driven more than a million miles in 18-wheelers, but I wasn’t going to play bumper-tag with other drivers in that sliding ice. We need to teach people that they can’t be tailgating in ice and snow. It’s just crazy.”

Around the corner on Marysville’s Third Street, Marja Oosterwyk recalled how the snow turned Nov. 23 into a dead day for business at the Dutch bakery that bears her name.

“Two of my girls couldn’t even get out of their driveways, so I was down to half my staff on Tuesday,” Oosterwyk said. “We were mainly here to answer the phone, because we had 57 customer cancellations that day.”

Oosterwyk noted that all those customers returned on Nov. 24, but she added that the nature of her business requires daily customer traffic.

“Everything I sell is perishable,” Oosterwyk said. “I’ve got to get my customers in the door to buy my goods, but most of them are seniors, so they’re not going to be able to brave the snow. I’m happy to see these old gray streets again. I love the look of snow, but I’d rather see it on the days of the holidays themselves. It cripples our business otherwise.”

Marysville resident Kevin Humann is one of Oosterwyk’s customers who returned after the worst of the snowfall had been cleared away. As a Seattle Boeing employee, he already plans for a 45-minute morning commute and an hour-long return trip in the afternoon each day, but when his work shift ended on Nov. 22, he found himself stuck on the road for more than three hours.

“I live up the hill from the Cedarcrest Golf Course, so it’s always an adventure to navigate those roads in inclement weather,” Humann said. “I have front-wheel drive, but I didn’t have any chains on my tires, so after I discovered that various routes were blocked, I just parked on a side street and walked the remaining half-mile home. The next day, the snow was melted enough that I could retrieve my car, but it wasn’t safe enough for me to drive to work, so I took a vacation day on Tuesday.”

Just across Third Street, Nicole Walker and Janna Mitchell of Marysville Floral expressed pride that they’d only closed half an hour early on Nov. 23 and had missed none of their scheduled deliveries during the week.

“We weren’t able to make it out onto the roads in our floral van, but Janna was able to make all the deliveries in her Subaru,” Walker said. “It didn’t really affect us all that much.”

Mitchell was forced to leave early on Nov. 22 since she lives in Arlington, but Walker held the fort and kept the shop open until its regular closing time that day. Walker was more concerned with making sure that her house, located in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a hill in Marysville, wasn’t flooded out when the snow melted.

“My husband cleared the leaves out of the streets and shoveled paths to the gutters so that there would be a good flow,” Walker said. “We got a mix of rain and snow, and a UPS truck that made a delivery on our street got stuck at the bottom of the hill. The driver had to chain up before he could get out.”

Perhaps the one Marysville business that benefitted from the snow was Carr’s Hardware on Third Street, where owner Darlene Scott assured customers that her staff had already restocked in-demand items such as snow shovels, faucet covers, ice melter and toboggans.

“We went through two cases of faucet covers,” said Scott, who concurred with Walker that this year’s first snowfall hit much earlier than she could remember it doing in previous years. “People should make sure their hoses are disconnected, their water is turned off when it’s not in use, and their faucets are covered. I left one faucet uncovered and wound up with water all over Wednesday night, until one of my wonderful neighbors came by to fix my broken faucet. We all think we’re so prepared, but it’s a matter of keeping in mind the simple things that you were already aware of in years past.”

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