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Snow buries Fruitdale, but market welcomes travelers
Updated on: 12.26.12

Editor's note: Brown County Democrat reporter Kevin Lilly trekked out on foot to get this story, from the Fruitdale Market, today. More snow stories will be reported in the Jan. 2 paper (delivered Dec. 31).

FRUITDALE – Jimmy Fox, the guy behind the counter at Fruitdale Market, offered folks who braved the unplowed roads a hot, caffeinated beverage free of charge.

“I mean, I’m not going to sell it,” he told customer Joe Matthew. “I might as well give it away.”

Matthew and Fox were among the few residents of northern Brown County who fired up their vehicles and drove to work Wednesday, as the cold wind blew snow sideways into waves of white.

Not everyone made their intended destination.

The bottom of the first hill from State Road 135 North on Three Story Hill Road collected a tow truck and car before noon. The tow truck, out of Martinsville, eventually got free, with the help of at least two passing motorists driving 4X4 trucks. But it could not move the car, which partially blocked the road.

On farther west, a Jeep sat sideways off the south side of the road. Marks in the deep, unplowed snow showed the Jeep had spun 180 degrees before coming to a rest.

To prevent further use of the road, a Brown County sheriff’s deputy ran yellow caution tape across the aptly named Three Story Hill at the highway entrance. The tape remained in place until a Brown County Highway Department plow truck blazed a path through the deep snow at about 1 p.m.

Fox said he made the two-mile drive from home to work with only the occasional spinning tire. That was at about 4:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, the skies poured snow. By noon, about 12 inches blanketed northern Brown County, like much of southern Indiana, according to numerous reports from Indiana State Police.

At about 10:30 a.m., the agency issued a snow emergency, which limited travel to only emergencies and public safety personnel.

Matthew said he had no choice but to travel. He had several driveways to plow and people to help. His truck with plow out front rolled on oversized tires and blasted through the snow. Instead of riding the brakes, he used the manual transmission to slow the truck while going downhill.

“Once I’m moving, I’m fine,” Matthew said.

Lori Williams of Lori's Ton O Fun Daycare in Fruitdale opened Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. as usual and got breakfast ready for the children, but no one showed up. She waited until 9:30 a.m. to go home.

Before deciding to close, she put her truck in four-wheel drive and crept down 135 to Fruitdale Market for a second cup of coffee. Just before pulling into the gas station, she realized she had been going south in the northbound lane.

“I couldn’t see,” she said. “It was just total whiteout.”

Fox contemplated the possibility of spending the night inside the store like he did during the last major ice storm. He had not seen an Indiana Department of Transportation plow truck for several hours, and wind had blown large amounts of snow back into the travel lanes.

“I’ll be here as long as I can,” he said. “I may be here ‘til dark. I don’t know.”

More than one customer, including a family member, offered to drive Fox home. With a number of 4X4 offers, he figured he would sleep in his own bed Wednesday night rather than among the coolers of drinks and shelves of canned goods and toiletries.

By Wednesday evening, authorities reported road conditions were improving, but still cautioned people about driving on the “slick and hazardous” roads.

Throughout the Three Story Hill neighborhood, a few people deployed shovels, snowblowers and plows to clear snow from sidewalks, driveways and vehicles, but the most common sound was wind howling through the trees.

-- Kevin Lilly, Brown County Democrat

  • April 27
    BC Alcoholic Beverage Board
    11 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 28
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • April 28
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • April 28
    BC Area Plan Commission
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 28
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 29
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 29
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • April 29
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7606 State Road 45, Unionville
  • April 29
    BC Sheriff's Merit Board
    4 p.m. Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement Center, 55 State Road 46 East
  • April 30
    Go Club at the library
    4 to 6 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 30
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 30
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • May 1
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 1
    Antique tractor, engine and machinery show at the fairgrounds
    7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • May 1
    'Back to the Future' at the Playhouse
    7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 2
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 2
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • May 2
    Morel Mushroom sale & festival at state park Nature Center
    10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • May 2
    Antique tractor, engine and machinery show at the fairgrounds
    7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • May 2
    Spring Blossom Festival dance planned
    6 to 10 p.m. The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • May 2
    Spring Blossom Parade and food drive downtown
    11 a.m. downtown Nashville
  • May 3
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 3
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    Noon to 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • May 3
    'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • May 3
    Antique tractor, engine and machinery show at the fairgrounds
    7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • May 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • May 5
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • May 6
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • May 7
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 7
    Quartet featured with gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • May 7
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • May 8
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 9
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • May 9
    Open house conducted at New Song
    9 to 11 a.m. New Song Mission, 7202 Keith Donaldson Road, Freetown
  • May 11
    BC Election Board
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • May 13
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • May 14
    Local Coordinating Council
    8 a.m. Comm. Corrections Office, Suite B, lower level of Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane,
  • May 16
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • May 16
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • May 16
    Historic site hosts outdoor art contest
    7 a.m. to 4 p.m. TC Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Belmont
  • June 20
    Pollinator Awareness Day at state park Nature Center
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)