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Snow removal program to inform locals, visitors

It’s comin’ round again

And I ain’t seen my driveway since

I don’t know when



I see that plow a-comin’

It’s been five times today



And I wish that big ol’ snowplow

Would take my snow away.

-lyrics from “Snowplow Blues” by the Berm Brothers (sung to the tune of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”)

Does this sound familiar to you? You spend over an hour clearing your driveway of snow after a big storm, and then, just as you are finishing up, the snowplow comes by, leaving a two-foot berm in front of your house.

“We get complaints about things like that all the time,” said Thom Ravey, senior maintenance worker with the Town of Truckee Department of Public Works.

To help address some of the complaints and answer many of the questions that visitors and residents have about the snow removal process, members of the town’s snow removal crew put together a 12-minute video that explains why the snow removal crews do what they do.

“At times, the snow removal process can be a little adversarial,” Ravey said, “so we wanted to make it fun and kind of funny and try to explain some of the reasons why we do what we do. We thought this would kind of put a face to those people driving the snow removal machines around, instead of just some faceless machine berming people in every day.”

The video, which airs on channel 6 in Truckee, aims to educate the public about what to do and what not to do during snow season, thus hopefully making it easier for the snow removal crews to do their jobs safely and effectively.

“It gave crew members a sense that at least we were trying to do something to help educate the public, because sometimes there is some frustration with repetitive things you see on the road when you’re trying to do your job,” Ravey said. ” Like garbage cans – getting out of your snowblower and removing garbage cans all through your route – and stuff like that. It gets a little frustrating, so this gives crew members a sense that we’re trying to do something to educate people.”

Many of the guidelines laid down in the video may seem obvious to seasoned veterans of Truckee winters. For example: Don’t park your vehicles on the streets in the Town of Truckee right of way; don’t allow children to play in areas where snow removal equipment is operating; and keep garbage cans behind the berm. But sometimes people just forget, and people who don’t live in snow country often aren’t familiar with Truckee’s snow removal procedures.

“Especially with the second homeowners and our tourists, there’s a lack of understanding of snow removal operations,” Ravey said. “So anything we can do to enhance that is a benefit to everybody. People just don’t know what to do. It’s not anything evil; it’s just a lack of understanding.”

The soundtrack that accompanies the program lends a touch of humor to the information. Created by three members of the Department of Public Works’ snow removal crew – Ravey, Steve “Gunny” Lindroth and Johnie “ie” Naney – along with Danny Toft who plays with local band The Deck Heads, the soundtrack features parodies of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies.

The four men call themselves The Berm Brothers, and so far their songs have seen airplay on Truckee’s radio station KTKE, as well as on the video.

“The three of us (who work for the town) get together in the garage from time to time and play bluegrass stuff just for fun. So we thought with the video, we’d make our own soundtrack,” Ravey said.

Naney wrote and sang the lyrics for the “Snow Plow Blues” (featured above), sung to the tune of Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” while Lindroth wrote and sang the lyrics for the “Snow Storm Ballad” (below), sung to the tune of “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” from the Beverly Hillbillies.

The guys said they hope their humorous songs help convey the messages the video was made to get across. Plus, they just had fun doing it.

“The guys are already writing parodies for new stuff,” Ravey said. “Johnie and Gunny, they’re hard at work now. We’re thinking about making a snow removal based album.”

Members of the public who would like more information about Truckee’s snow removal operations can pick up the free Winter Information Guide produced by the town at Truckee Town Hall or at many property management firms around town. Much of this information is also available online at http://www.townoftruckee.com/snowremov.html. The Town of Truckee also maintains a snow removal hotline at 587-6917 that people can call to get more information about when particular streets will be plowed.

If you go and park your car out on a snowy road,

Well you’re going to get a ticket, and you’ll probably get it towed.

‘Cause if we call the cops, and they have it hauled away,

When you go to get it back well you’re going to pay and pay,

Lots of money, big bucks and it just ain’t worth it.

-lyrics from “Snow Storm Ballad”

(sung to the tune of “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” from the Beverly Hillbillies)


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