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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 10, 2011, 09:20 AM

This year's wicked winter leaves some people in LaMoure County stranded

Jud, ND (WDAY TV) - We pride ourselves in being hearty here in the Great White North. At times, we even take pride on our wicked winters. Winter this year is no laughing matter in Jud, North Dakota. High winds and continuous snow have left some people in LaMoure County stranded.

Near Jud Township, snow drifts reach as high as 8-feet, making some roads impassable. The township contracts the county to clear the roads, but the county can't get caught up this winter.

ARLEN ELHARD - Mayor, Jud Township: “I got to bring my loader into town to help open up the roads, and other farmers come in to open up the streets to get out.”

On more than 1-occasion, the Nitschke family has been forced to stay in their hunting ahack because they can't get home. They have animals to feed, but can't reach them either and the counties and townships say they have little money left to clean the roads.

Country Road 35 into Jud Township is coated in ice. It may have a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit, but this winter, 20 is a safer bet. That's only the beginning. This is as close as Suzie Nitschke can get to her home, still miles away.

Susie Nitchke: “Leave from home and then you come back at night and you are not able to get home. Roads are blocked immensely. We have four different ways to get to our house and we have not been able to get home.”

Fence posts as tall as a grown man, buried by Mother Nature.

For the second time in as many weeks, Nitschke and her husband can't get home to care for their animals.

Nitschke: “Our horses need hay and we can't feed them so we need to get home to get that taken care of.”

As you can see behind me, even the roads that are cleared, many have eight-foot high snow banks on either side. But right now the county says there's nothing else it can do.

Keith Heidinger: “The issue is it snows every day and it blows every day. You get your cuts open and they keep on filling in and filling in and you try and open it up. It's to the point where it's so much snow that you just can't stay ahead of it anymore.”

With counties and townships strapped for cash, people in LaMoure believe its time for someone else to help. In 1997 the National Guard was needed to clear the roads, and Nitschke says the state needs to step up again.

Nitchke: “You know if they want to live in our shoes for just a few days, they would realize exactly how much this is taking away.”

Right now legislators are debating on a 19-million dollar emergency fund to be distributed to counties, cities and townships in North Dakota, but only time will tell if the bill passes and if that help comes too late. The county is also concerned if the snow isn't removed before the melt, it could mean severe flooding.

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