Townships scramble to change gears from leaves to snow

WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --- There’s a wall building in front of the Bear residence.

“A wall of leaves,” says Jim Bear.

He said a total of eight hours of raking between he and his wife this week built up the wall of leaves, ready to be taken away.

Then, a fall-edition of winter brought snow to the area Thursday.

“It’s a shame that township couldn’t get out and pick up earlier but they do a fantastic job. They really clean up everything in the township and we’re always grateful that they do this,” said Bear.

Andrew Stern, West Hempfield Township manager, said like other municipalities, they need to convert the leaf collecting trucks into snow treatment trucks.

It's a process that takes a minimum of two hours for each of their seven total trucks.

Stern said a perfect scenario is when the leaves fall off before the snow starts so they can plan and do maintenance to the trucks, if needed.

Thursday morning started with leaf pick-up and ended with snow plows.

“Years like this though, we’re kind of a little more in a scramble. We try to wait for the very last minute,” said Stern.

Stern is asking anyone with a pile of leaves to try and stay as patient as possible as they tend to a quick punch from winter.

“We certainly didn’t decide when leaves fall or when the snow falls, we don’t have those powers. So we work with what we can,” said Stern.

The wall of leaves in front of the Bear’s house stands tall for another day.

“We’ll be grateful when it’s gone, let’s put it that way,” said Bear, with a laugh.

Stern said based on how Thursday’s conditions turn out, they hope to be back to leaf collection as early as Friday.

He also put out a request for anyone with appropriate equipment that is interested in helping with major snow events to contact the West Hempfield Township office.