Newellstown Diner opens doors as crews pull all-nighter
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — First responders and road crews answering the call of duty during the heavy snowfall at the start of the week had some warmth and refreshments, courtesy of concerned local business owners.
The Newellstown Diner at 145 W. Main St. had opened its doors to the public to provide food and fellowship on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the business again opened Sunday night and Monday morning to those out working in the cold.
“We opened the doors about 9:30 p.m.,” Terra Butler, councilwoman and co-owner along with T.J. Stewart, said. “We had some guys in there when we were getting ready to leave at midnight, so we just left it open and told them they were welcome to stay and be in and out as they needed.
“Just opening our doors to people that might need it, and that goes for anyone at the holidays,” she said, adding the service might be especially needed for first responders and workers during the snowfall. “I figured a lot of gas stations would be closing, and other places. …
“It was a simple thing we wanted to do. … We knew they were going to have a long night and probably a long day.”
Butler estimated a dozen workers and responders stopped by throughout the night to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, hot dogs and doughnuts.
“We had street guys in, and we had some first responders in,” Butler said. “Throughout the night it seemed they did just fine. They were maintaining and everyone was kind of minding the weather.”
On the Newellstown Diner Facebook page, two posts alerting people that the doors were open were shared thousands of times.
Officer Greg Clark said the diner was a welcome warm spot for first responders and others. Clark frequently works with area seniors delivering supplies and groceries and performing check-ins. The police dispatch can be reached at 740-695-0123.
“People can give us a call if they need to,” he said. “Elderly people, they know. A lot of them have my personal cellphone number. They can call me if they need anything.”
He said he had not heard of any power outages in the area or the need to seek out a warming shelter.
Clark is also a Richland Township trustee and gave an update on the state of the roads.
“All our crews have been busy. They was out (Sunday) night and all through (Monday) morning. They’re still out trying to keep up with all of the roads,” he said. “We got a lot of snow, probably around 10 inches from what we saw. It came down pretty good. They pre-treated the roads (Sunday) night and the crews are out now. It was a lot of snow and it takes time to catch up on all the roads.”
He said Richland Township workers faced a few added difficulties.
“The snow’s pretty thick. We had one of our trucks get a flat tire (Monday) morning, so that delayed things,” he said. “They’re working as fast as they can and as safely as they can most of all. Safety’s first.”
“It just shows in St. Clairsville we care about our people, we really do. We take care of our citizens,” St. Clairsville Mayor Kathryn Thalman said.
“They had guys from the road crew in … our policemen stopped in for coffee and rolls,” she said. “I made a big crockpot of chili and took it down (to the Newellstown Diner). … Because they were going to be down there all night.”
In other matters, she said the temporary above-ground waterline on Reservoir Road has held up. The city is preparing to replace an older main waterline from the treatment plant with new permanent waterline later in the year.
She said other infrastructure is also in good shape.
“We had a little bit of concern because it started out as ice, and I had some concerns about the electric going out, but as far as I know, no place in the city lost power. That was a worry,” Thalman said.
“I think anything that could have been done was done. Our street guys went out and brined the streets on Saturday and Sunday morning…to try to help it start melting,” she said. The utility department also issued a Code Red notification to every resident who had signed up for the service, reminding them of the city ordinance requiring people to move their parked cars from the street when there is more than two inches of snow.
“So they can plow, and people are very good about that,” Thalman said. “The street was completely bare of cars. … Behind the scenes, prior to the snow, there was a lot going on to make sure it went as smoothly as possible.”