Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2005

Clearing the way

December 22, 2005

For many people, this is a busy time of year, full of gift-shopping and party-planning.

Roger Vinzant's work as a public works maintenance employee at the Lansing Streets Division also picks up at this time of year. He's one of the eight Lansing employees who clear snow from the city's streets after snowstorms such as the one Dec. 7.

"We worked all that night," Vinzant said, for 12 hours.

Vinzant said he didn't let the workload stress him out.

"We did pretty good," he said, as the city received no complaints that he knew of. "We got a lot of waving and thumbs-up from drivers" especially in high-traffic areas such as De Soto and 4-H roads.

Vinzant moved into his present line of work from that of a prison guard by transferring from the federal Department of Corrections to the Kansas Department of Transportation, where he began clearing snow off interstate roads.

Roger Vinzant

Roger Vinzant

He applied for a job in Lansing, he said, because the city offers better benefits than the state. After plowing interstates, clearing the streets in Lansing is easy, Vinzant said, though for a novice it might be difficult at first.

The only difficult aspect for him now in clearing streets, he said, is the occasional parked car obstructing the way of his truck's 12-foot-wide plow. In those cases, a Lansing Police officer usually visits the home to ask that the vehicle be removed, he said.

Even when there's not snow on the ground, there's plenty of work to keep Vinzant and his coworkers busy in the winter. They're in charge of replacing street and traffic signs that have been knocked down, maintaining and repairing ditch drainage tubes and maintaining the department's equipment.

In the summer, they're in charge of repairing asphalt and concrete, mowing rights of way and weed-trimming.

For the latter kind of work, the department employs two inmates from the Lansing Correctional Facility. New inmates start every few months, as such work is given to those who have a relatively short time left to serve in their sentences.

"It works well," Vinzant said. "They like getting out."

Vinzant said what he liked best about his job is "the way we all work together - the team aspect."

Name: Roger Vinzant

Occupation: Public works maintenance employee

Family: wife Lynette; sons, Tyler and Dakota

How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Since 1997. I moved here to work for the Lansing Correctional Facility.

What do you like most about Lansing? The small-town community and atmosphere. I'm not much into big cities.

What do you do for fun? Hunt and fish.

What would surprise people most about you? My easy-go-lucky outlook on everything.

What's the best advice you've ever received? From a lieutenant at the federal prison in Larned: "Take life day by day; deal with it as it comes along."

What organizations or clubs do you belong to? The Kansas National Guard.

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