Bitter Cold Closes Parks, Fills Warming Shelters

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APPLETON, WI –

      On a day when the mercury hovered around zero, the wind-chill dropped much lower, forcing workers off of ice skating rinks, and away from tubing hills. In Green Bay, both were shut down.

     “We want people to stay home and be safe,” urged Recreation Supervisor Jeremy Crees. “These cold temperatures, it doesn’t take long to be frost bitten, and we don’t want to put anyone at risk.”

Some took their chances, hitting the ice for a quick skate.

    “Normally I bring him to the ice rink and I drop him off and leave,” said mother Sherry Blindauer. “But today, I noticed in my car it says the temperature is only 4 degrees, so I thought I better hang out here for a little bit.”

But while many had a place to warm up, others did not, braving the elements until the Fox Valley Warming Shelter opened at 5:00.

     “I’m sure we’ll have a full shelter again tonight,” said Director Scott Peeples.

It’s been a busy few days for Peeples, offering a nightly escape from the cold.

     “Somebody came in without a hat, and I brought the hats up. We gave out a couple of coats again last night.”

He expects to be near capacity again Wednesday and Thursday night. If wind chills drop to negative 35, the shelter will remain open all day as well.

      “Typically if somebody is homeless, that means they’ve tapped all their other resources,” says Peeples. “Worst case scenario, people sleep under bridges and in parks, even in the winter. So that’s what we want to avoid, that’s why we’re here.”

Shelter officials say they are always in need of cold weather donations, including gloves, hats, and coats. http://www.foxvalleywarmingshelter.org/

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