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"The Salt of the Earth..."

10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago December 03, 2015 Dec 3, 2015 Thursday, December 03 2015 December 03, 2015 4:15 AM in Pat Shingleton Column

My hometown paper, The Ellwood City Ledger, reported four years ago, that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, known as PennDOT, sold 80,000 tons of salt to municipalities throughout the state.  Smaller towns such as Ellwood City, Ellport and Perry Township were eligible to buy 2,000 tons of salt from PennDOT at $76.95 a ton. The price of road salt seems to have given the expression, "Worth its weight in salt," a new meaning.  Road salt has doubled with increases in Michigan up 50% and 60% in Indiana. A ton of salt in 2014 was $49 and is now running to $112 in that state. Wisconsin uses 500,000 tons of salt each year and Pennsylvania has increased its usage from 841,000 tons to 1.2 million tons this year.  The price increase is due to salt suppliers directing their stock to large contracts that prevent smaller bidders to compete. This is the same type of salt that we rarely use in Baton Rouge during those scarce episodes of ice accumulating on steps and sidewalks. Meanwhile, Boston accumulated 110.6 inches of snow last winter. In order to remove the snow, eleven "snow farms" were designated as dumping grounds for excess snow. One pile reached a height of 75 feet and the "melt-down" wasn't complete until early  Summer. What the snowplows picked up was uncovered after the snow melt with items that included bicycles, hubcaps, and newspaper boxes. The official "melt-date" was July 14th.

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