October 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
48°F

Just another day in the office for trash collectors

From left, Josh Kerns, Bob Kugler, Dakota Rader, Jacob Stafinski and Duane Hladky of the Medina Sanitation Department warm up after battling subzero temperatures to collect trash Tuesday morning in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY ANDREW DAVIS)

From left, Josh Kerns, Bob Kugler, Dakota Rader, Jacob Stafinski and Duane Hladky of the Medina Sanitation Department warm up after battling subzero temperatures to collect trash Tuesday morning in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY ANDREW DAVIS)

Duane Hladky had a simple explanation why he and the other Medina sanitation workers were out on the streets as usual Tuesday while workers in other cities stayed warm indoors.

“They always say if the truck starts, we go,” Hladky said.

The department has not canceled a trash pick-up day in 17 years.

Medina experienced a record low of 11 degrees below zero Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The previous record of 7 below zero was posted in 1884.

The Sanitation Department employs seven part-time and 10 full-time employees.

Every day there are three trucks collecting residential trash throughout the city manned with three workers, two of whom, are outside of the truck the entire time.

The men of Truck 55 started their route at 5 a.m., when the wind chill was well below zero and ended their route just before noon when the actual temperature reached only a single degree above zero.

On Tuesday, their route took them through areas of the city around the Forest Meadows neighborhood.

The biggest challenge for the men was fighting the numbness in their feet and hands.

The men all agreed that it is much better working in the cold than in the rain because when it rains trash cans can flood with water, making it harder to empty them into the trucks.

Also when it rains and the temperature drops, rain freezes at the bottom of the cans, making it even harder for the men to empty.

“I’d rather be working today than last Saturday during all that rain,” Dakota Rader said.

City Service Director Nino Piccoli said in extreme weather the men are told to take a lot of breaks and be aware of any sensations that might be frostbite or hypothermia.

“They’re a really resilient bunch,” he said. “This is just a testament to their character.”

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or adavis@medina-gazette.com.