Story last updated at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, December 19, 2002

Snow, reopened DOT station good for area
Homer-area residents awoke to a beautiful blanket of white Tuesday morning as the winter's long-awaited first significant snowfall covered the ground just in time for Christmas.

And just in time for the first significant snowfall, the office of Gov. Frank Murkowski announced the reopening of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities station in Ninilchik. A victim of state budget cuts during the last legislative session, the DOT station closing immediately raised concerns among resident of the lower Kenai Peninsula. Those concerns gathered momentum during the October and November floods, when safety issues underscored the need for the facility.

The reopening is another example of responsive government, and elected officials such as Rep.-elect Paul Seaton, R-Homer, outgoing Rep. Drew Scalzi, R-Homer, outgoing Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof, Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, and Murkowski deserve our thanks for their willingness first to listen, then to act.

While the extra DOT station will go a long way in keeping roads safe, it is not the cure-all for winter safety woes. Vigilance and personal responsibility are still in order for all who drive or recreate in the snow.

Some things to remember:

* It is illegal and unsafe to clear snow from driveways into streets;

* Snowmachines and sleds are prohibited on roadways;

* Safety gear, such as helmets, eye-protection and adequate clothing are not.

It's all about common sense. Safety is a community effort. Let's keep winter fun.