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The Yankee Express

Preparing for the holidays and the “S” word

By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
With the passing of Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving, is right around the corner.  The pandemic has certainly changed many things in our lives and certainly makes us appreciate the ability to gather. Take time to enjoy this time of the year and hopefully, we will all be able to enjoy the festivities and excitement of the Christmas holiday season soon.  
People who like to get a jump on their holiday purchases will be buying gifts now in preparation for the season. This may be even more prevalent this year, due to the continued impacts of the pandemic.  Shipping delays can also be a challenge. More and more people are shopping on-line. By doing this, they can avoid the crowds and lines at malls and simply shop from the convenience of home. This results in an influx of package deliveries. With thefts of packages left on doorsteps prevalent during this time of the year, I wanted to provide some safety tips as a reminder for everyone.
The number one goal of on-line purchasing is to receive your items in a timely manner. Packages should be delivered to your residence if you will be there or to a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor. Leaving items unattended outside your home can be risky. If the item is taken illegally, you may not be aware of this until long after the incident. The best method of ensuring your delivery arrives safe is to arrange in advance to have these packages delivered while someone is at home or to leave them with a person you know.
It is always important to track your packages while they are in transit. Most companies provide tracking numbers and have up to date information on where your package is located. Check this process early and often.  This can be done over the phone or on-line.  If you experience any problems or have questions, contact the company or person who is responsible for shipping your package. Safeguarding your investment is important to make sure your holidays are happy and not frustrating.
Speaking of gifts, and with the holiday season soon upon us, our department will once again be collecting Christmas gift donations for resident families in need. New unwrapped toys and clothing can be brought to the Dudley Police Department at 71 West Main Street. Of need in the past were gifts for children between the ages of 10 – 15 years old. Monetary donations as well as gift cards to area businesses are also accepted. Anything remaining is distributed locally (at places such as Webster/Dudley Food Share) for families on our two towns.  Checks should be made payable to the “Dudley Police Association” with a special note for the Holiday Drive.  Sergeant Marek Karlowicz, Officer Chandler Boyd, and Officer Luis Pacheco will once again lead this year’s drive. Their efforts are greatly appreciated. The Dudley Police Department thanks everyone in advance for their continued generosity. Despite what many may believe, people in our area have a need and, thanks to you, we have assisted numerous local families in the past.  Anything you can give will help bring some happiness to those who would otherwise go without during this holiday season.
On a side note, we have been experiencing some difficulties with our department Facebook page. We are working on this and hope to have this corrected shortly to be back on-line soon.  
The S word
Even though we have enjoyed some unusually warm weather recently, none of us truly believe this will last forever. This time of year, we prepare for the bad four-letter word that begins with S, Snow. Winter is just around the corner. Let’s hope for it to be uneventful. Before it begins in all its glory, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind residents of the winter parking regulations once again.  Plowing and sanding is always a concern of our local Highway Superintendent, Mr. Jeff Murray.  Many people are unaware of the difficulties involved in keeping the streets clear.  I hope to provide everyone with a little further information.
Article 280 Section 3 of Dudley’s By-laws authorizes the towing of vehicles interfering with snow removal.  When an emergency is declared, vehicles are not allowed to park on any Town controlled way if they interfere with snow or ice removal operations. The Superintendent of Streets may remove or cause to be removed any vehicle interfering with this operation.  For snow removal purposes, any accumulation can enact this provision.  In most instances, a prediction of two inches or more, will result in the parking ban.  Your vehicle can be towed.  We will make every effort to notify residents of the parking ban as early as possible.  This usually includes reverse “911” calls, social media posts, and media notifications.  People can also call our department at 508-943-4411, or check the web site, whenever there may be a question.
Street parking is not only an issue in densely populated areas.  During storms, it can be a problem on many dead ends or lesser traveled roads.  Some people will park cars on the street in advance of a storm, to have their driveway clear for their own plowing.  Ironically, the Town is trying to keep the roads free of vehicles for the same purpose.  When plow trucks are forced to plow around parked vehicles, it creates ice problems and other hazards.  The highway workers must return at another time to complete the operation.  This situation doubles efforts and wastes time, fuel, and money.  I am encouraging all residents to voluntarily comply with these restrictions and assist the Town employees with providing safe roads on which to travel.  The last thing anyone wants is their vehicle towed.  We wish to avoid this as well.  In addition, people do not wish to be responsible for an accident or injury. Your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.  
Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St. Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at [email protected]  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.