Snowzilla not popular with homeowners

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) ­- Snowzilla may be a smash hit with shutterbugs, but the towering snowman has detractors closer to home.

Some neighbors of the two-story high snowman say they’re fed up with the hordes of gawkers clogging their street.

“When you get 20 people out there in their cars, now the whole street comes to a stop and nobody can get through,” said Anthony Bahler, who can see Snowzilla from his front window. “They just stand out there, in the middle of road, talking about a snowman.”

Bahler’s neighbor, Billy Powers, supervised construction of the original Snowzilla last year. Through the Internet, it became a media sensation, drawing crowds of visitors and TV crews from Japan and Russia before it melted in the spring.

This year, Powers resurrected the snowman and its giant hat made from tomato cages, corncob pipe and beer-bottle eyes. At 22 feet, the new Snowzilla is six feet taller than its predecessor.

Once again, traffic is streaming through the neighborhood.

“Everybody likes it,” Powers said. “That’s the reason I do it, really, I like the smiling faces.”

Mike Schmitz, whose family lives next door to Bahler, would prefer if Snowzilla were somewhere else.

“If it’s such a public thing, you’d think the community could get together and find a place to do it,” he said.

Cleaner roads, less salt in N.H.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire’s Transportation Department is using a new approach and new equipment to use less salt to clean two major roads.

Four new German-made spreaders are being used on Route 101 through Manchester and Bedford and on Interstate 93 from the Massachusetts state line to Manchester.

Road salt is mixed in the truck with a salt water solution, allowing the wet salt to cling to the pavement better and dissolve more quickly. That means salt isn’t wasted by bouncing off the road. The spreaders also allow road crews to cover more of the road surface, without having to ride near the center of the road.

Blast kills work at coal-fired plant

BEVERLY, Ohio (AP) – An explosion at a coal-burning power plant killed a worker delivering liquid hydrogen and injured nine others Monday, authorities said.

Officials weren’t sure what caused the blast outside the Muskingum River Plant, said Vikki Michalski, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power.

“It was real strong,” said Doug Burke, who was operating a front-end loader about a half-mile from the plant. “I felt it inside my loader, and I looked up and saw smoke and then fire, and then after that steam.”

Although hydrogen gas is highly explosive, it is used to cool steam generators at the plant because it has a high capacity for heat and is more efficient than using air.

Nine workers were treated at local hospitals for injuries, mostly cuts and bruises, authorities said. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

There was no major damage to the plant, where 210 people work, officials said.

There are just a handful of homes and businesses near the plant.