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The City That Works...in Cold Weather

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The City That Works...in Cold Weather

Tire-shop worker Julio Delgado loads flat ones into a van in the city’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)

Chicago-area residents have had chilly commutes to work this week. But some people have had to stay in the cold all day long. We report from our bureau in the city’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Megan Bentzel pedals her three-speed down the street as if it were 70 degrees out.

MITCHELL: What the heck are you doing on a bike?
BENTZEL: Working! I walk dogs, so I’m going between walks.

She manages to stay warm.

BENTZEL: Let’s see, I’ve got three pairs of socks, boots, four layers, long underwear, tights...

A half mile north, 53-year-old Julio Delgado stacks flat tires.

MITCHELL: You’re out in the cold most of the day?
DELGADO: It’s cold for us. We’re out here freezing. But it’s good for business, not only us, but all the tire shops.

Delgado says that’s because car owners don’t want to do their own repairs when it’s this cold.

Ambi: Air Drier.

The employees of this hand car cash technically aren’t outside. But a layer of ice covers any water bucket they haven’t stirred in awhile. And Pablo Suárez struggles with his hose.

SUAREZ: It’s freezing. Everything is freezing.

A few blocks west, Hardy Cheatham has a different challenge. Cheatham uses a ladder truck to fix neon signs. Right now he’s in the bucket, 20 feet in the air.

MITCHELL: What are you doing up there?
CHEATHAM: I’m letting the truck off the boom right now. When it’s so cold, the hydraulics don’t want to work, so it’s going real slow.

Cheatham says he wishes he could move around more to stay warm.

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