January 17, 2011


UPS delivery man Ken Ledoux of Nashua hustles through his stops Thursday
 after having an unexpected day off during the storm.
Union Leader Correspondent
This mailbox on Derry’s Bypass 28 didn’t
 survive Wednesday’s cleanup effort
DERRY -- Despite their best efforts, the United States Postal Service was not able to make it to every New Hampshire mailbox during Wednesday’s blizzard.
They tried.
But hey — it’s not like their
 unofficial motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is etched in stone. 

Well, OK, so maybe it is — those particular words are chiseled into the granite edifice of the historic New York City Post Office on 8th Street. 
But it’s mostly there as a poetic inspiration to mail carriers everywhere, according to the USPS official Web site. It was never adopted officially as a motto. 
The snow came so fast and furious Wednesday that it was hard for road crews to keep up, said Tom Rizzo, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Northern New England District. 
“Every day, 100 percent of mail is attempted to be delivered by your letter carrier, and last week’s blizzard was no exception. To be sure, it was a major challenge to our carriers, to those transporting mail between postal facilities, and to clerks and maintenance employees,” Rizzo said. 
Every post office in New England was open Wednesday and every mail carrier left that day with a plan for regular delivery of the mail. Still, there were some exceptions, including neighborhoods in Nashua and Manchester, where hilly terrain and unplowed roads made it virtually impossible. 
“In some cases, carriers were held in the office until the worst of the storm had passed or municipal plows had a chance to clear the roadways. Generally speaking, we are seeing many more issues this winter among municipalities in all three states which are having difficulties keeping up with large snowfalls.” 
Rizzo said. 
Downed mailboxes 
In cases where street access was impossible, mail was returned to the post office for next-day delivery, which also happened in cases where curbside mailboxes were downed by snow plows. 
Derry Public Works Director Mike Fowler said while residents are generally satisfied with the job the town does in keeping roads drivable, downed mailboxes are actually one of the more frequent complaints. 
And it’s one of the reasons behind the new online publication, “A Resident’s Guide to Winter Snow Removal Operations,” on the town website, which provides an overview of what residents can do to help the town help them. 
“It covers everything, including the things that inflame residents the most, like having their mailbox knocked over or having a plow driver make a final pass and push snow across the driveway they just shoveled,” Fowler said. 
Rizzo said when mailboxes are lost in drifts of snow, mail carriers will return undelivered mail, which is held temporarily at the local post office. Customers can come in to their local branch or make an online request at www.usps.com to put a hold on their delivery for up to 30 days. 
And because it’s awfully tough to drive a new post into the frozen ground to fix a fallen mailbox, the Postal Service allows customers to create a temporary fix, using a bucket buried in the snow to hold a mailbox post. 
Playing catch-up 
It’s not just mail carriers who have to contend with the elements during New England’s extended snow season. 
On Thursday, United Postal Service delivery driver Ken Ledoux, of Nashua, was hustling through his appointed rounds in Derry, trying to play catch-up from the day before. 
“Yesterday was the first time that I haven’t worked in 10 years because of the weather,” said Ledoux, who was making tracks up and down Grove Street — literally — in driveways where snow hadn’t been completely shoveled. 
“I’m used to it,” said Ledoux, taking some giant steps over snow mounds and dashing up some steep icy concrete steps with an armful of boxes. “For the most part, people do pretty well keeping things clear.” 
Ditto the lack of Wednesday deliveries for FedEx, according to the company’s corporate spokeswoman, Paula Bosler. 
She said according to the company’s Web site, updated frequently during regional bouts of bad weather, Manchester proved the most challenging terrain in the aftermath of the storm. In general, the company’s delivery schedule was back to normal by Friday. 
A friendly reminder 
Rizzo said the U.S. Postal Service likes to remind property owners this time of year to keep steps and walkways clear of snow and ice so that carriers, whose usually have their arms full of mail, can deliver or collect mail safely. 
Keeping shovels near the front door and bags of salt or sand near paths is just common sense, he said. 
“Curbside mailboxes must have an approach that is snow- and ice-free so drivers can deliver or collect mail without having to leave their vehicles or even to lean far outside their window, which is dangerous, especially in wet weather. They also need enough clearance to safely depart from those boxes,” said Rizzo. 
“It was a tough storm. Most of our guys hit the street by 9 a.m. on a normal day. 
Wednesday there were plenty of towns in the region that didn’t get plows out until much later than that — if at all,” Rizzo said. 

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