COLUMN: Heard here and there

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One of my not always small list of faults is a tendency to not put on paper the comments I hear from readers when outside the office. Whether phone calls, e-mails I receive at home or comments heard when I’m out and about, I am the happy recipient of regular ideas, tips, complaints and suggestions for stories, features and, on occasion, this column. I just don’t always remember them or jot them down, so I will.

As I worked last week to clear my desk and e-mail boxes before a weeks’s vacation, I penned these quibbles heard here and there.

• Please use your vehicle’s headlights when they’re needed. A local man who often ventures out early in the morning to check and maintain oil tanks and oil pumping systems says too many drivers don’t use their lights when venturing out in the morning. I expect the same could be said of people driving in late evening.

Many, if not most, cars and trucks have lights that remain on at all times but some don’t and as I remember from driver’s-ed class, we’re more prone to being in an accident if other drivers can’t see or don’t see us in time.

So, if venturing out in the morning, make sure your lights are on. Just about all vehicles today emit a warning noise if you leave the lights on after turning off the ignition.

Turn-signals, too. I might throw in a reminder to please not consider your car or truck’s turn signals an optional tool.

Too many drivers fail to signal their turns and it’s not only dangerous, but slows traffic and makes your fellow drivers frustrated. I’m one of them.

• Pullover blitzes aren’t anything but moneymakers for police.

I have heard more than a few people grumble about the pullover blitzes area police agencies conduct throughout the year. Some people think officers taking part only do it for the money and that’s why they pull over 10, 20 or even 30 people in a few hours.

If not for the extra money, they wouldn’t be looking for seatbelts and the driver who doesn’t fully stop at the four-way stop intersection.

My view? It’s true police officers get paid extra for working those enforcement blitzes and there are expectations of how many stops or “contacts” officers should make.

But I give police credit for having a genuine interest in keeping people safe. That means always buckling up and obeying other rules of the road.

• Don’t litter. This is a repeat from columns and editorials already published on this page over the years. Several people talk often about the amount of trash on local roads and still regularly see people toss fast-food trash and other debris out of their windows in broad daylight.

Nothing says you don’t care about your own home community than being a litterbug.

My suggestion? If you see someone littering, get the license and call police. Don’t dial 911 but 547-7068. If you’re adamant enough to help stick it to a litterbug, give officers your name and tell them you’re willing to be a witness in court.

Speaking of 911, don’t dial it unless you have an emergency. Local dispatchers field 911 calls every day that aren’t even close to emergencies. Examples are general power outages or someone illegally parked in a handicapped area or firelane. Those aren’t emergencies.

Don’t tie up operators’ time and perhaps keep a bona fide emergency call from getting through. Call the police department at 547-7068.

I’ll work at hanging on to the comments I hear. Unlike anonymous complaints or those found on message boards where people can post anonymously, I appreciate people willing to speak their minds to me. So, keep it up.

Chapel Open House

Remember you are invited to Saturday’s chapel open house near New Boston. Mass is at 5:30 with an open house all day Saturday and Sunday. There will be a rosary procession and pilgrimage walk at 2 p.m. Sunday. Take a covered dish and lawn chairs. There will also be music Saturday evening during and after dinner. It’s the start of summer, the longest day of the year and a full moon, so spend part of the weekend on the farm.

Watch for signs on the north side of New Boston.