MATTOON -- Jeff Derixson used the opportunity of the snowfall this weekend to start crafting an igloo in his front yard along Lafayette Avenue in Mattoon.

"I used to do this when I was a kid whenever we had a lot of snow," Derixson said. He was helped Sunday afternoon by his own children, 9-year-old Maggie Bialeschki and 4-year-old Lux Derixson, as well as by other youths from their neighborhood.

Derixson and his helpers shoveled snow into a plastic tub to shape their building blocks of snow. He then carved each block into shape and pushed it into position on the igloo. Derixson said this project had the added benefit of clearing the snow off of the sidewalks in their neighborhood.

The center of the igloo was occupied by a snowman, with a hotdog nose, crafted by Lux. Snowmen popped up in the front yards of homes and some businesses throughout town on Saturday and Sunday as Mattoon residents utilized the wet, sticky snow.

Other residents headed to local favorite sledding hills behind the Cross County Mall and along DeWitt Avenue near the railroad bridge. Krista Burrell of Mattoon supervised as her sons, 10-year-old Elliott and 8-year-old Aden, and their friend Cooper Carlen took turns racing down the DeWitt hill early Sunday afternoon.

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"We had so much fun (on Saturday) we came back for more," Burrell said.

Sharon Godwin of Mattoon said she and her family planned to go sledding at the DeWitt hill after they finished shoveling late Saturday morning in their neighborhood along Lafayette Avenue.

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Godwin and her husband, Robert, and their son, Nick, shoveled driveways and front walks for themselves and several of their older neighbors. Robert Godwin said this work has become a family tradition for them every time it snows.

"We come out and help each other," Godwin said.

Property owner Mark Coleman of Mattoon used a tractor late Saturday morning to plow the parking lots around the Trinity Tower apartment building, 1613 Charleston Ave. Coleman said he figured he would wait until the snowfall let up a little bit before he came out and attacked it with his plow. He said the work was still a challenge.

"It is wet snow. It doesn't want to move very well. I have to kind of chip away at it," Coleman said.

U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Kelly Gillis trudged through this thick, wet snow late Saturday morning as she made her rounds along Lafayette Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood.

Gillis, who lives in Lovington, said she left home early in order to drive to her work in Mattoon. She wrapped up in a snow suit, boots, and other layers of winter clothing to stay warm.

"We definitely got our exercise today. You burn more calories walking through this snow than at any other time," Gillis said.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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