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Extreme Cold Means Miserable Work Days For Some in Louisville

You won't likely get rich working at the tire repair shop at 18th and Market Street. But in this weather you're sure to get cold.

Mike Troutman puts in eight hours a day and said he earns $40 for his work, along with a full set of frigid finger tips.

For Troutman, the cold, even this brutal cold sweeping through the city, isn't anything to skip work for.

"Got to pay bills," he said, wielding a tire iron Wednesday afternoon.

For countless area residents, this week's cold snap presented a fair share of challenges, from shoveling and snow-covered roads, to school cancellations and fears of frostbite.

For his part, Troutman, wore two pairs of socks and grocery bags beneath his sneakers. He had fingerless gloves in order to tackle tricky lug nuts.

"You do what you can do," he noted, kneeling in a parking lot covered in slush and snow. He doesn't want to become one of the nearly 30,000 unemployed in Louisville.

Other Louisville residents find themselves without a paycheck when snow builds up and temperatures plummet like they have this week.

James Hill is a carpenter,whose work site is buried under snow.

"You're stranded, you just can't do what you're used to doing," he said.

Hill spent Wednesday working on minor repairs around his home on Garland Avenue in the Chickasaw neighborhood with his cousin, Steve Hill.

Steve Hill said the weather doesn't really bother him.

"It's mother nature, what can you do," he said.



On her walk to the bus stop at 28th Street and Garland Avenue, Shawntrell Varner performed a delicate dance of dodging snow drifts and slush piles.

The street was mostly cleared of snow, the sidewalks weren't.

"That is an issue, there are cars in the street, where are we supposed to walk," she said.

City officials say it is the responsibility of property owners to clear snow from sidewalks. The city is responsible for the roads.

Back at the tire repair shop, Mike Troutman, counted down the cold hours till quitting time.

"I can't wait to get off," he said, rolling a flattened tire through a trough of water to find the leak. "I'm going straight to the heat."


Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.