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Digging into good stuff

After digging out Takoma Park, public works crews get to dig in

After two recent snowstorms closed the federal government and schools across the region, people began digging out. The season's snow tally in D.C. reached 55.6 inches Wednesday -- more than the last record of 54.4 inches, set in 1898-99.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams looked out his window Tuesday night and had a thought.

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"Our crews had been on 12-hour shifts since noon Friday,'' Williams said. "They were close by and probably missing their families and a home-cooked meal."

So he dashed off an e-mail to his City Council colleagues and a few others. Within minutes, he said, they responded. "They said, 'I've got beef stew,' 'I've got extra chili,' " Williams said.

Thus was born the Takoma Park Public Works Department Potluck.

Williams set out to pick up food donations Wednesday morning. Dishes soon filled the cab of his truck, he said, and the men and women who'd been plowing 'round the clock were feasting on beef stew, macaroni and cheese, and more -- some of the casserole dishes had thank-you notes taped to them -- at their department's headquarters by noon.

Williams was home by 2 p.m. but continued response to his call had him preparing for more pickups just in time for dinner.

"Takoma Park is that kind of place,'' resident Patricia Stephenson wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post. "People pull together to help each other whenever somebody has a major life event of some sort. So this is no big deal for us."

Perhaps not. But the workers, Williams said, were delighted.

-- Lori Aratani

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