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Plumbers staying on standby

Frigid temperatures didn’t necessarily translate into business for local plumbers.

“The calls will come when the pipes thaw,” said a woman at Mr. Plumber Inc. on Union Chapel Road. Besides, the woman said, the company is in a rural area and couldn’t get out.

Robert Sheets Plumbing on Ardmore Avenue had received about three calls, but no one was working Monday, said Doug Roth, a partner in the firm. He also said that most calls would come when the pipes thaw.

“People have so many bathrooms that they don’t know if it’s frozen,” Roth said. “I’m sure they’re (calls) gonna come.” When temperatures hit 6 below a few days ago, the company got 60 calls about frozen pipes in one day.

Roth recommended letting your water run just a trickle to prevent freezing.

At Adam Plumbing, Jeff Coe said frozen pipe calls are uncommon and occur mostly in vacant houses with no heat. He said he had only gotten one call about frozen pipes on Monday. “But when it gets this cold,” Coe said, “all bets are off.”

Judge stayed busy

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull spent her snow day doing much of what she did Sunday: shoveling.

She shoveled five times on Sunday and four times by noon on Monday. As gusting winds continued to put the snow back across her driveway, Gull figured she’d keep doing it throughout the afternoon.

The courthouse is controlled by the Allen County Commissioners, so when they decided to shut down county government, the wheels of justice also ground to a halt.

With courts closed, the judge and her colleagues would have to work Monday’s docket into their calendars during the week.

“We’ll just have to make allowances,” she said.

Since they expected to resume work today, Gull said no one would be kept in custody too long or had their due process rights violated. The constitution requires those arrested be brought before a judge within 48 hours for an initial appearance.

“The 48 hours is a priority, but if the sheriff says it’s an emergency … ” she said. With judges reviewing arrests on the weekends, though, those arrested late Sunday evening would still be able to be before a judge before the time expired.

“I’m not worried about it.”

Not a day for play

On a snow day, going out to play in the park might seem a natural.

But Monday’s weather kept even the snowiest of snowbirds indoors, said Al Moll, Fort Wayne’s director of parks and recreation.

Parks, he said, were virtually deserted. “Typcally, we would have people out cross-country skiing and hiking and sledding, but because of the bitter cold, we haven’t seen anybody,” he said shortly after noon Monday.

That was a good thing, he said. “We don’t encourage that (going out) in this weather.”

Moll said parks staff were busy plowing parking lots and clearing walkways Monday.

Park ponds, including those at Lakeside, Reservoir and Swinney parks, were already closed to skating because of thin ice, he said.

That’s because snow acts as an insulator and the ponds can’t be cleared safely, he said. “Red-flag warnings will continue,” Moll said.

However, the ice rink at Headwaters Park downtown will likely open when the city opens again for business, he said.

Regional state parks were similarly quiet. Gov. Mike Pence declared all state facilities would be closed Monday and only those employees deemed necessary in an emergency were to report to work.

Staff writers Frank Gray, Rebecca Green, Rosa Salter Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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