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Yesterday and today

Sometimes the way we remember something isn't exactly how it really was.

But people who grew up here are entitled to their recollections about the city's snow-plowing zeal and efficiency years ago. If they say it was great, I'm in no position to challenge that. I wasn't here.

I think there's another dynamic at play, though, when it comes to the often-voiced dissatisfaction with Spokane's response to snow storms.

My theory: There are quite a few people here who grew up in other northern locales. They remember how the city of Syracuse, N.Y., got after street-plowing in 1979 or how Mankato, Minn., handled it in 1984.

And these folks can't resist comparing the efforts of 2012 Spokane's crews to the way it was done back in the old hometown. That's just natural.

But here's the thing. I'll bet a lot of those other northern cities have experienced budget cuts and possibly reduced performance when it comes to clearing the streets. Maybe those bastions of plowing excellence aren't all that perfect anymore.

So perhaps, in some cases anyway, Spokane is being held up to a standard that exists mostly in the haze of memory. 


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Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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