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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Blue Collars Brave the Cold

T.J. Butkus loads his wood furnace to try to keep warm during the winter. (contributed)

WOODBURY — Winter is here, and it is cold. For the ones working inside in the heat, there is typically no change, but for the ones outside in the elements, it’s the worst time of the year.

Many blue-collar workers outside have to bundle up just to stay warm enough to work. Marcus Jamiyl-Spain, also known to friends as “Hood,” is a construction worker who has a strong reaction to the cold. 

“Damn, man,” Jamiyl-Spain said.

Jamiyl-Spain’s hatred for winter amuses coworker Dan Rybinski.

“Hood is bundled up more than Randy from ‘A Christmas Story,’” said Rybinski, a junior at Nonnewaug. “He has his corduroy pants like he’s Gladys Knight and the Pips.”

Construction can be difficult, and workers sometimes even pause certain jobs for the season due to the cold and the snow.

But when it comes to a job that can’t just take a day off, such as farming, are they using their farm-strong mentality to keep them going through the winter.

“I’m a farmer, I don’t mind,” farmer Tony Butkus said. “I do what I have to do to get my work done. I do prefer the warm.”

Kevin Comerford, a senior at Nonnewaug, landscapes during the winter by moving long rocks to expand a plot into the forest. (contributed)

Some farmers have to change their operation to keep their animals healthy and production going. What may they do to keep up when it’s cold?

“Animals eat more hay in winter,” Butkus said, “so we use more hay and have to feed more. Not only that, but we have to keep the water from freezing, and that’s a pain.”

The winter may affect some indoor jobs, but not necessarily because of the temperatures. Mechanics and repair workers have their own kind of challenges when winter comes.

“Colder weather certainly does affect work quality and repair time,” said mechanic Ben Lafferty, a 2021 Nonnewaug graduate. “As rain, snow, and the road salt makes parts rust in place as well as affects functionality of certain tools and my hands even. 

Other jobs that may not change as much and the cold doesn’t really change their operation. Electricians say they don’t do much things differently.

“I wouldn’t say we change much other than how we layer up,” electrician Dylan Anderson said. “We’ll probably stop more frequently to warm up for a few.”

The more common change when the cold comes is just layering up and staying warm. Unless a blue-collar job is season-dependent, many blue-collar workers have the same mentality and work ethic in the cold.

“Working in the cold sucks,” said plumber Brady Cordova, a senior at Nonnewaug. “I hate it, but money is money.”

About the Contributors
T.J. Butkus '24
T.J. Butkus '24, Reporter
T.J. Butkus is a writer for the Chief Advocate. He lives on a farm in Bethlehem. As a first-year reporter, writing stories seemed interesting to him, which is what caused him to join.
Noah Zupan '26
Noah Zupan '26, Reporter
Noah Zupan is a sophomore at NHS and is a writer for the NHS Chief Advocate. He is from Seymour and is a part of the ag program. As a staff writer, Noah likes to write about the ag program and the outdoors.
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