Incline children learn about snow removal |

Incline children learn about snow removal

Members of one of the 15 classes at Incline Elementary School pose by the county roads equipment at last Friday's event.
Courtey photos |

Last Friday, members of the roads division of the Washoe County Community Services Department conducted a community outreach program with more than 200 students at Incline Elementary School.

The event was done in conjunction with “Walk To School Fridays,” a campaign promoting exercise by walking to school, organized by Michael Smith, the physical education teacher at IES.

The kids started the day by meeting at several areas in Incline and walking to school in a group. They were greeted by North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District personnel, who had hot chocolate with them in the school’s multi-purpose room.

The day’s activities were a collaboration among Smith, Tia Rancourt of NLTFPD, and Ross Heppe of the Incline division of the county roads department.

Heppe and other roads employees brought two of the department’s Caterpillar vehicles that are used on Incline street (one was a plow, the other a large snow blower).

Throughout the day, 15 different IES classes spent 20-30 minutes with the roads staff, talking about being safe near the streets when the plows are working. Students also were allowed to climb on and in the equipment.

“I think the kids really appreciate the size of this equipment when they see it up close, and they were able to look at the TV screen in the cab to see what we see behind us,” Heppe said.

Heppe said he developed the program with help from the city of South Lake Tahoe, which conducts a similar event each year at South Shore elementary schools.

“I talk to the kids about watching out for the plows when they are waiting for the bus or walking to school, about where to play, make snowmen and (how to) dig caves, as well as keeping their pets and snow toys safe,” Heppe said. “It has been really well received by both parents and teachers, and we think it is a valuable tool in educating the kids about being safe.

Heppe said Washoe County intends to make the Incline event an annual one.

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