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Hailey’s Plow-Men are Ready to Go
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Like powderhounds, Jaimey Johnston and his plowers-in-arms--Wyatt Thompson and King West--can’t wait for the first big snowstorm of the season.

It’s a chance to hit the road with their big yellow plows and snow-consuming machines. Given that the Kodiak snow remover sits on tires measuring 5 and a half feet from the pavement to the top, they feel as if they’re sitting on top of the world as they make first tracks through snow in the early morning dark.

“The first storm is great. Then we’re ready for summer,” quipped Johnston.

Johnston and his fellow plowers were on hand at last week’s inaugural Meet the Fleet event to show off their Kodiak machine, which plows through snow berms on middle of street, blowing it into dump trucks.

The event brought out dozens of trucks ranging from experimental aircraft to a fire truck whose 100-foot-long aerial ladder exceeds the top of any building in the Wood River Valley.

A map laid out on a table in front of the Kodiak showed Hailey’s plow routes, color coded for different trucks.

The city plows about 66 miles of roadway, said Wyatt Thompson. But drivers rack up much more mileage as some of those routes, such as Hailey’s Main Street, have to be plowed multiple times.

“We have to hit Woodside Boulevard four times because it’s so wide,” Thompson said, noting that four smaller plows take care of the side roads.

Hailey doesn’t typically get as much snow as its neighbors further north. But West recounted back-to-back storms that dumped 33 inches on Hailey three Marchs ago. One year the city tallied 116 inches during the month of February.

“We worked every night that month,” he said.

“It’s fun to be out there—it’s peaceful because everyone’s sleeping so we have the road to ourselves,” said Johnston. “Then we go home and wait for everyone to wake up and complain about the plowing.”

After children like JP and Henry Zondag had climbed all over the trucks, taking their places behind the steering wheels, they found another purpose for the trucks—the snowplows especially.

They grabbed free burgers and hot dogs served up by the Kiwanis Club and retreated under the snowplow blades eating them in the shade.

Members of Wood River Fire Protection District, meanwhile, were on hand to talk about the upcoming $17 million bond vote to build a new firehouse for the department. The department is tasked with providing service from Greenhorn Bridge to Baseline Road, not including the cities of Hailey or Bellevue.

To learn more, visit https://woodriverfirebond.org/#video

 

DID YOU KNOW? The Kiwanis Club supports a number of activities in the valley.

It recycles aluminum cans to upgrade play ground equipment in local parks, sponsors youth T-Ball, basketball and soccer teams in BCRD leagues, supplies Koats for Kids, along with boots and snow pants, sponsors the Senior Bash at Wood River High School and Carey, reads to kindergarten kids in the 5B Reads Program and assists the Blaine County Education Foundation to provide school supplies and help with student projects.

To learn more, visit www.kiwanis.org

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