Family makes snow day fun

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Dimity Lowell and her daughter, Cassidy, work together on a game of Sodoku this morning. In the background, John, right, and Andrew Lowell sort through instructions to assemble a dart board. Today’s school cancellation meant a day of home activities for the Lowell household.

Snow day is truly a family affair at the home of John and Dimity Lowell.
Not only did the couple’s six children get a day off from school today, but both John and Dimity found themselves idled because of the wintry weather.
John is a contractor who stayed home from working outside in the bitterly cold temperatures, intending to field any calls from folks with frozen water lines.
Dimity, meanwhile, works at the ANW Special Education Cooperative Day School in Humboldt, which also was closed because of the weather.
The Lowells, of rural Iola, found a number of projects to keep the children busy this morning:
— Guiseppe Mangrella, a first-grader at Jefferson Elementary School, occupied himself with a game of chess.
— Cassidy Lowell, a Jefferson second-grader, worked with her mother on a Sodoku board game.
— Caressa Lowell and Patricia Haner, in the seventh and eighth grades, respectively, at Iola Middle School, challenged each other in a game of pool.
Who’s the better player?
“I am,” they responded simultaneously.
“You may have opened a can of worms with that question,” John told the inquiring reporter.
— Andrew Lowell, a freshman at Iola High School, assisted his father as the pair read through instructions to assemble a dart board. If successful, the dart board was certain to occupy the afternoon, John Lowell said.
— The oldest, Savannah Haner, wasn’t technically affected by the snow day declaration. She’s a sophomore at Allen County Community College, which doesn’t resume classes until later this month. And as collegians are wont to do on cold winter mornings, she stayed in bed while her young siblings stayed busy.
Nearby was a Nintendo Wii videogame system, which was certain to see plenty of activity.
Adding to the din of activity were the family pets, dogs Peanut Butter and Prince, cats Pumpkin Hunter and June Bug, and Bethany, their pet rabbit, sauntering about the house hoping for any attention they could receive.
“We got the message from the school district at 6 o’clock that school was canceled,” John said. The news was greeted with a raucous cheer from Guiseppe, the youngest of the brood.
“He’s usually the hardest one to wake up, but it was easy getting him out of bed today,” the father said with a laugh.
Cassidy, however, slept through the announcement.
“She woke us back up at 6:30, and she was dressed for school,” Dimity said.
The children had hoped to do a few outdoor activities — a nearby hill is perfect for sledding — but the sub-zero wind chill changed those plans.
“I won’t let them go out on a day like today,” John said.

SCHOOL WAS canceled today because of a combination of drifting snow and bitterly cold temperatures, USD 257 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig Neuenswander said.
“If was just the snow, or just the cold, we’d probably still be able to have school,” Neuenswander said. “But if you get stuck on a day like today, all it takes is a few minutes to be in some trouble.”
Neuenswander said he would monitor road conditions throughout the day to decide, preferably by tonight, whether school would be back in session Friday.
“The problem is that it’s so cold and so windy, that they can clear some roads just to have the snow blow back on a few minutes later,” Neuenswander said. “At this point, I’m not optimistic that we’ll have school Friday.”