Political Notebook

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Doubling down in severe weather

Steuben and LaGrange counties are not the same place, although Political Notebook briefly wondered whether they were Monday.

At 7:54 a.m., Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer issued a five-paragraph advisory that the county’s emergency snow warning was extended indefinitely.

At 9:51 a.m., the LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin issued a six-paragraph alert that its emergency travel warning was extended.

The headings might have been different, but the texts of the warnings were identical save for the name LaGrange in one and Steuben in the other. And LaGrange did split Steuben’s first paragraph into two paragraphs.

For instance, each county’s highway department “has reported difficulty with heavily drifted snow and visibility due to blowing snow in their attempts to remove from roadways,” according to the separate warnings.

Each missive even contained the same grammatical error: “We are also asking that if you are removing snow from your driveway to NOT place the shoveled/plowed or blowed snow in the roadway.”

That should be blown snow.

LaGrange’s Martin did add an instruction to the end of his warning: Please refrain from driving.

The warnings were emailed by nixle.com, which transmits text messages and email for public safety agencies. We assume there is a something of a boilerplate form for such communications, allowing county governments to worry about plowing snow and responding to emergencies rather than fretting over the wording of a news release.

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