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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

Obituaries
See Full List »

Carol Ann Spencer-Thomas, 73, Brown County
  Wife of Charles R. Thomas of Brown County

Robert 'Bob' F. Melton, 80, Brown County
  Husband of Annabelle Melton of Brown County

The Rev. John S. Honeay, 89, Greenwood
  Member of Unity Baptist Church and father of Barbara Ranard (Harvey) of Brown County

  • January 30
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • January 30
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • January 31
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • January 31
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • January 31
    Live band at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • January 31
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • January 31
    'Psycho' party at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 1
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 2
    Gnaw Bone Sewage District
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 3
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 3
    Bean Blossom Regional Sewer Board
    7:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Women's Bible study offered
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 4
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District annual meeting
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • February 4
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 4
    Van Buren Township Advisory Board
    7 p.m. Van Buren trustee's office, 4748 Christianburg Road
  • February 4
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • February 5
    Go Club meeting Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 5
    Jackson Township Board
    6 p.m. Jackson Fire Station, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • February 6
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 7
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • February 7
    Karaoke at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 7
    Cabin Fever Concert features local music
    7 to midnight The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Washington Township Trustees
    7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Reservation deadline for Valentine's tea at local shop
    Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 10
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 10
    Van Buren Fire Department
    6 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • February 10
    Peaceful Valley Heritage Preservation Society meeting set
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    BC Genealogical Society meeting slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 11
    East Hill Cemetery meeting slated
    7 p.m. Morgantown Community Center, 269 W. Washington St.
  • February 12
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 13
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North.
  • February 13
    Daddy-daughter Valentine's dance Friday the 13th
    6:30 p.m. Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 14
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 17
    Hamblen Trustee Board annual review
    6:30 p.m. 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 19
    Woodlands project dinner, meeting slated
    6 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 20
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • March 7
    Meet 'Wilderness Plots' author at the library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    'Wilderness Plots'-themed concert planned
    4 p.m. BCHS, 235 School House Lane
  • March 8
    Brown County bridal tour slated
    10 a.m. to 6 p.m. various locations
  • March 10
    Soil & water conservation district to celebrate 62 years
    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • March 21
    Venders needed for Jackson TFD yard sale
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jackson Township Fire Department, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • April 26
    County history center dedication slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould