Woman in her 70s fined for not fully shoveling sidewalk

A woman in her 70s did her best to clear the snow from her sidewalks during the most recent storm in Boston, but ended up with a ticket after struggling to finish the job.

Ginny Hoey said she hurried to shovel the walkway to her front door after the last storm, risking physical pain in the process.

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"I skedaddled to do the front walk," Hoey said. "The oblique muscles here on the side, it hurt more than my back did, you know?"

Her neighbor also cleared the sidewalk in the front of her West Roxbury home, but it was the stretch of sidewalk on the side that she couldn't get to.

"I’m usually pretty good, but sometimes you let it slide, especially when you’re in your 70s," Hoey said.

When Hoey went back outside, she saw something stuck in the fence at her home.

"I saw a violation, and I'm like, 'Oh my God, did I go through a red light or something?" Hoey said.

The city ticketed Hoey $50 for not shoveling the sidewalk, as Boston property owners are required to clear snow, sleet and ice from sidewalks abutting their properties.

"I'm like, 'What am I going to do?'" Hoey said. "I don't know, I paced a little bit and stamped my feet."

Mayor Marty Walsh was asked about Hoey's ticket and other seniors' fines for not shoveling.

"When they're a senior, there's an opportunity to just call in or send in the appeal," Walsh said. "Certainly, we don't want to penalize seniors."

Walsh said Hoey won't have to pay the fine. He encouraged other seniors and disabled homeowners to make other arrangements to get sidewalks cleared.

"We shouldn’t have senior citizens out shoveling streets," Walsh said. "If you live on the street, if you’re a tenant or a homeowner and your next-door neighbor is elderly, we ask people all the time to help."

Hoey now plans to send her appeal to the city.

"That would be great, if I can find it," Hoey said. "I don’t know what I did with it. I was probably in a rage."

The city recommends property owners who aren't home or aren't able to shovel to pay someone to do it for them.

In many cases where seniors are on fixed incomes, the advice is to ask a neighbor for help.

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