Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 14, 2013

Editorial: Three cheers


The Andover Townsman

---- — Thumbs up to the overall attitude around town to the Blizzard or, depending on who you talk to, Barely Blizzard of 2013.

While some may not have appreciated the heavy-handedness of the statewide travel ban, with its threats of jail time and substantial fines, people took the warning to heart and stayed off the roads during the worst of the blizzard. This meant that the police and fire departments had only a few medical emergencies to respond to -- no major accidents during the height of the storm -- and public works crews were able to focus on clearing the roads.

It was a nice change from the panicked runs to the grocer for six months of soup and bottled water we sometimes see at the first sign of a snowflake. The people we ran into during and immediately after the blizzard seemed to approach this storm like real New Englanders, which is to say that most simply took the weather event in stride. The high snowbanks, unshoveled sidewalks and other issues during the first few days didn’t seem to deter people from going out and doing their business on Sunday and Monday. If the skies are going to dump two feet of snow on ya, there’s only so much you can do. Grab a shovel, and start digging out.

Speaking of snow, cheers to Mother Nature for at least timing the blizzard to have maximum effect for those who enjoy snow sports. The storm was over just in time for Andover residents to share a laugh, a hot dog, a sled and a snowshoeing adventure at the Winter Fun Day at the Charles W. Ward Reservation off Prospect Road.

The day is a chance to remind people or introduce them to one of the many beautiful open-space reservations available, for free, to residents.

The Ward Reservation has 14 miles of trails, views of Boston, and one of the better sledding hills in town where kids can go without being chased away.

“People have a tendency to take that 700 acres for granted. For years, I’ve tried to get people to imagine what it would be like if it wasn’t the Ward Reservation,” said resident Al French, who knows a thing or two about how to use land for public good. “It’s high and it’s dry and the family could have cashed in if they wanted to. People need to think of the alternatives [developments that might have been]. Those trails wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the foresight of the families.”

Here’s hoping current and future generations continue to preserve such special places.

We appreciate tradition. We also appreciate people who find new ways to entertain. So kudos to the Andover High community for bringing back the Mr. AHS competition, but with a new element.

The 20-year-old contest for high school males returned this year after a two-year hiatus. With its return came the introduction of a fan favorite winner, decided by votes made that night on people’s smartphones. That helps bring the fun of the 1990s event to today’s high-schoolers, while bringing Mr. AHS a bit more into the modern age.