Snow angel

Nellie Aguilar

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

You'd think with all the media attention to this approaching snow storm, all the Facebook updates and letters home from the Washoe County School District, the University of Nevada, Reno would have been ready with plows and snow shovels and salt for the steps. Not so, and snow was melted and refrozen long before the administration sprang into action. One hardy grounds worker was ready, scraping sidewalks in front of the journalism building so we less-than-hardy journos could make it into the building before we busted our butts.

So what are you going to do to clean up all this snow?

I work for Grounds. I’m a maintenance worker for Grounds. What we do with the snow is we have Gators with the plows. [Gators are the green six-wheeled utility vehicles seen on campus.] We have the mowers with the plows. We have the trucks, and we have the sand. So we’ll be able to take care of the students and not have them slip on all this snow. We have to keep all these roads clean. We have to shovel and do everything we can.

What time did you get here to start this cleanup?

Five in the morning.

Do you think it’s going to be a big snow?

I think so. It’s coming. It’s coming pretty quick.

I can hear you have an accent. Where are you originally from?

I’m Hispanic.

Do you come from a place that had snow?

No, I don’t. See the thing is, I was born here in America. I lived in California, and now I’m in Reno. So it’s hard, you know, because it snows here, and it’s cold. But I like it, and I’m used to it.

Me, too. My son, though—today will be his first day driving home from school in snow.

Yeah, that’s going to be a trip for him.

What advice do you have for kids who have to walk through this snow?

One good, good thing is once we clear one path, we want them to walk on that path so they don’t slip, so they don’t have an accident. We usually try to make a salt on the side of the snow, so don’t try to get some of that [on your shoes]. Try not to step on it. It usually gets hard, and it will hurt your legs.

What will be the next thing you do to clean off all this snow?

I’m going to grab the squeegee right now because somebody else is going to get the Gator with the plow. I’m going to grab the squeegee to just make a path right down the middle so the kids won ’t slip on it. I’m also going to do the major things with the handicap ramps and all the access for the buildings.

Now let me get your picture.

Oh my god, I didn’t brush my hair. [Laughs.] Man, I didn’t bring my snowboots because I didn’t think [it] was going to snow. It was so nice this morning.