Derry’s Staff Offers Quick Relief - Mountain News : News

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Derry’s Staff Offers Quick Relief

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Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2011 10:30 am

How do you spell relief? For hundreds of snow-players caught in heavy traffic on Highway 18 in recent weeks, it's been "Carpet Station."

But for Jeff Grotewold, the store's owner, who has been besieged by countless mountain visitors frantically looking for restroom facilities, it's "Joseph Turner."

The combination of heavy snow, the closure of Highway 330 and a Highway 18 traffic signal that on weekends can back traffic from Lake Gregory Drive to Rim High and beyond has proved to be the perfect storm of impossible demand for Grotewold.

His carpet store, located on Highway 18 just west of the signal, has been the target in recent weeks of thousands of skiers and snow-players. Trapped in their cars while traffic crawls down the highway, he said, they've descended on his business in desperate need of a restroom.

"We have restrooms for our customers," Grotewold said, "but we're not equipped for the entire problem. We get hundreds of people a day coming in because nature calls. They have to go somewhere."


Unfortunately, on recent weekends that "somewhere" has been on Grotewold's property, with the effects of long, unanticipated waits becoming visible around his store. People meeting their biological needs has added an unpleasant side line to Grotewold's far more pleasant task of selling carpet.

That's where Joseph Turner, an aide to Supervisor Neil Derry, comes in.

"I called Neil Derry's office and I got Joseph Turner," Grotewold said. "He was very proactive."

Grotewold said Turner arrived at Carpet Station within 45 minutes. "He called Big Bear Disposal, and they donated two portable toilets," he said. "It was a great humanitarian thing they did. I'm impressed with what happened."

Grotewold said he placed the call to Derry's office on Feb. 24, and the portables arrived the next morning.

"I told him he's going to work himself out of a job," Grotewold said. "He gets things done too fast."

The portable toilets will be a boon to downbound traffic, Grotewold said, but people headed toward ski resorts are less fortunate, because there are no comparable facilities on their side of the highway.

"I wish somebody would buy the Cliffhanger" and install portables there too, Grotewold said.


Contacted for comment on Monday, Turner said he responded quickly to Grotewold's call for help-even though, according to a map on the county's website, Carpet Station is located in Supervisor Janice Rutherford's district-"because it's an issue that affects the entire mountain.

"I made a couple of phone calls," Turner said. He said he first called two companies that supply portables, but learned they don't operate on the mountain. One of them referred him to Big Bear Disposal.

Turner phoned Frank Forbes, the company's public relations manager. "He was awesome. He talked to the owner and it was a done deal, lightning fast," Turner said.

Forbes said Tuesday his company, which has portable toilets throughout the Crestline and Lake Arrowhead areas as well as Big Bear, will service the portables twice a week. The facilities will remain in place throughout the snow season, he said, and are provided free of cost.

Asked how it felt to be able to deliver relief to both Grotewold and the snow-players so quickly, Turner said, "it's pretty refreshing. We're used to the public perception that it takes forever to do a public project."

Turner said when Grotewold phoned him, "there was an urgency in his voice. My main thing was what I can do to get something done. What happened exceeded my expectations."

The area on the opposite side of the highway, where chain-control checkpoints are set up in bad weather, is state property, Turner said.

"We'll see what we can do in talking with Caltrans" to arrange for portable toilets there in peak winter demand periods, Turner said. "Obviously I can't guarantee anything."


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1 comment:

  • posted at 7:11 pm on Mon, Mar 7, 2011.


    Well, it appears Neil Derry's mountain Rep, Joseph Turner, really flushed out that problem!
    Way to go Supervisor Derry!