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No business like snow business

With any substantial snowfall, Maynard and Sylvia Falk work day and night to clear parking lots at many of the businesses, as well as some private residences in New York Mills. Photos by Kevin Cederstrom/HERALD1 / 2
The blade of a snow plow cut close to a row of mailboxes as the snow continues to pile up along Otter Tail County Highway 67 and South Main in New York Mills.2 / 2

For a New York Mills couple, plowing snow is an enjoyable winter activity and small business at the same time. Sometimes though, as is the case this winter, there's only so much fun a person can have when it comes to pushing snow into big piles.

For the past 30 years, private snow removal contractors Maynard and Sylvia Falk have helped clear the way in New York Mills. This winter has been plenty busy.

"Lately, as often as it has been snowing, it is kind of taking the fun out from it," Maynard said. "There's hardly any time left to fish and snowmobile."

Maynard, who retired a few years ago after working 40 years for Co-op Services, has been plowing snow part-time for over 30 years. Sylvia, a farm girl from Butler, enjoys the outdoors and 20 years ago joined Maynard in the part-time business. Sylvia worked for Homecrest for almost 20 years. When the snow falls, this husband and wife team works around the clock in a pair of payloaders - one Ford, the other a John Deere - clearing parking lots at businesses, churches, apartment buildings, and private residences in town.

From when the Falks first started plowing snow over 30 years ago to now, the equipment has changed many times. Maynard points out how its gone from tractors to loaders to jeeps with plows.

"Now we use a couple payloaders, which are both old enough to vote," Maynard said. "But we keep them in top condition."

The latest snowstorm on Saturday dumped another five inches on the over two feet already on the ground. City crews hit the streets quickly Saturday night to clear the primary roads and continued to work Sunday to open up the city in preparation for Monday.

An estimated 35 inches of snow has fallen in New York Mills so far this winter. And as much as 45 inches reported in rural areas just outside of town. Maynard figures this is the most snow he's seen since 1997, when he recalls there was so much snow he helped farmers clear paths to hay bales in the fields.