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76-Year-Old Woman Fined $200 for Not Shoveling Snow Fast Enough – Fights Back

by Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project:

Boston, MA — A 76-year-old woman must pay $200 for the oh-so-serious transgression of not shoveling snow fast enough for the whims of the City of Boston.

“I don’t think it was fair because it was icy and it was difficult to get up,” South Boston resident Lorraine Walsh told a local CBS News affiliate.

Walsh did, in fact, attempt to remove the snow from the sidewalk in front of her residence — even going so far as to apply an ice melter on areas she was unable to clear — but subfreezing temperatures and unforgiving winds soon forced her to retreat.

“Really windy if you remember,” the elderly woman, who incidentally says she enjoys shoveling, continued. “Fifty-five miles an hour all the next day.”

But the city does not want to hear excuses — Boston expects residents and businesses to shovel snow, or hire someone else to do it, within a short time frame following a major storm.

“The rules are, three hours after a snowstorm we’re asking residents to shovel their sidewalks and businesses to shovel their sidewalks and if you can’t shovel it, get somebody to shovel it for you,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh — no relation to Lorraine — flatly stated.

While the city’s policy indeed pertains to safety concerns, the mayor did not offer an explanation for the obvious personal safety concerns the elderly face shoveling snow amid treacherous winter conditions.

Worse, though a resident would normally be fined a still-outrageous $50 for failure to clear snow, Walsh garnered a business fine of $200 because her family runs a small insurance business from the home.

More than 500 Boston residents and businesses were fined last week for failing to meet the city’s strict ordinances regarding snow removal — and city officials aren’t the least bit apologetic for doling out those fines.

Chief of Streets Chris Osgood, responsible for overseeing the effort to keep streets and sidewalks clear of snow and ice, says city workers are “constantly encouraging neighbors to help neighbors” ensure each other’s snow is removed to the satisfaction of the ordinances.

“The last thing we want to do is penalize people and write fines,” the mayor continued, ignoring that officials wrote hundreds of tickets last week and suggesting Walsh could file an appeal, “but if we don’t, we won’t have people shoveling sidewalks and we’ll have situations where people can’t get passed [sic] on the sidewalk.”

Walsh affirmed she will fight the ridiculous $200 charge, saying, “I do intend to call and I will write an appeal letter. We’ve never had a ticket like this before so I don’t know how strict they are with it, and whether I have a chance of appealing it or not, but I hope.”

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