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Residents at mobile home park dig out

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By Tris DeRoma

Three major snowstorms that raged through Los Alamos last week not only dropped 22 inches of snow, but it also apparently frayed nerves in the process at the Elk Ridge Mobile Home Park on East Jemez Road.

At the park, residents were snowed in for days after the complex’s only maintenance man suddenly left. 

One resident, who did not want to be identified, said it all started when the park’s plow truck broke down.

“Yeah, with the truck being down everyone was calling him and he just got tired of it, at least that’s what I was told he said. There was no bad blood or anything, he just got tired of everybody calling him,” the resident said. 

 Park management put out appeals on Facebook for help but it wasn’t enough. 

At one point during the storms, residents living on a cul de sac in the park tried to take matters into their own hands. They pooled their money together for an outside company to come in and dig them out. But, because of liability issues, the park’s management, Yes! Communities, initially barred them from coming in. 

However, after some negotiation, the company, Leroy’s Excavation, was allowed to come in Monday and help them out, and Yes! Communities paid for it.

According to Yes! Communities Property Manager Tina Jones, the work will continue until all the roads in the park are clear. 

Jones said she tried to get a plow company in as soon as they could. 

“At some point, plowing just wasn’t enough. It just wasn’t clearing enough of the ice that got packed down and through several attempts to get someone to get up here to work for us, it just didn’t happen,” Jones said.

Doreen Gunkel, one of the main organizers of the dig out, said times were roughest soon after the maintenance man left. 

Gunkel said she managed to get the owner of plow truck to clear a path down the middle of the cul de sac. From there residents were able to shovel paths to the path in the cul de sac.

“That’s how we actually got out,” Gunkel said about last week’s storm. 

One woman in the crowd, who declined to give her name, gave thanks to the company digging them out.

“It’s been a lifesaver, especially for people are homebound our might need an ambulance or something. That’s what scared me the most, because nobody could get in here. The first few days they couldn’t get out.”

Jones  had sympathy for the residents, but also said everyone involved, including herself, was the victim of a series of events that no one had control of. 

She said at the height of last week’s storm, their maintenance man was doing the best he could, doing everything from clearing snow off the roofs, fixing pipes and plowing. 

“No one man, I don’t think two guys with two plows could’ve kept up with the snow falling,” Jones said. “It was quite a bit, and he was literally plowing his entire shift, plowing, shoveling, getting calls at 2 a.m. to get snow off the roof.” 

The county could not plow the roads because the park is a private property.

Jones said she could not speak about the incident that led to his sudden departure, or say what the exact reasons were for his leaving last week. She also said she was dealing with a death in her family that made things even more complicated. 

“What a lot of the residents don’t realize is things are happening, even though they aren’t here,” Jones said. “They’re at home, they’re at work. They’re doing whatever they’re doing. What I can do, I can do, but lot’s of things were out of my control, like the weather.”