Some schools, county offices stay open despite arctic blast

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by Lane Kimble

MEQUON -- Sub-zero temperatures and whipping winds forced plenty of schools to close down Monday, but the parking lots and classrooms at Homestead High School were filled.

"We use the threshold of a wind chill warning to distinguish if we're going to close school or not," Mequon-Thiensville Superintendent Dr. Demond Means said.

Dr. Means relies on the National Weather Service when deciding on cancellations.  So far, classes here have been canceled twice this winter, leaving one built-in 'weather day' for the district to use up.

"[Monday] was a wind chill advisory," Means said.  "Therefore we have, in the past, and we will continue to have school under  those conditions."

That will change overnight.  The district already decided to cancel classes Tuesday because the advisory will  become a warning.

Things stayed busy at the Milwaukee County courthouse as well.  County Executive Chris Abele kept all offices  open Monday, but decided to shut down non-essential services for Tuesday.

""We're getting paid by your tax dollars and if I can keep work going, I do," Abele said.  "My decision is always going to be the best balance of safety, best balance for your dollar."

Milwaukee County buses, law enforcement and the airport will all stay open, but the courts will miss a day.  Anyone with a scheduled date needs to show up at the same time in the same courtroom Wednesday.

"Generally they've got a date on their calendar that they work their work schedules around and often it's an  important moment in their life," Abele said.

Having already closed the courthouse once this winter, the County Executive hopes this is the last time this season.

"It gets cold here, buck up, let's get to work," Abele said.  "And if I know I'm not endangering safety, I'd rather apologize for people being a little cold when they get here."

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