Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holyoke Police Offer Holiday Safety Tips

The Holyoke Police provide the following “Holiday Safety Tips” in the hopes of preventing many of these situations during the holiday season. Shoppers may be so busy that they fail to be aware of their surroundings. Careless or unaware shoppers are easy pickings for purse snatchers and street robbers.

Scan your immediate area; don’t assume that you are secure because there are people around you.

Every good police officer is trained to read the environment. Likewise, you should ask yourself questions about your surroundings when you are out and about.

For example, when you are in a parking lot or garage, be alert to someone who appears to be standing around for no good reason. He or she might be waiting for someone - or that person could be an opportunist waiting to grab your shopping bags or your purse.


  • Always walk and park in well-lit areas. Park close to the entrance of the store or mall, if possible.
  • Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking through parking lots and streets. Your phone conversation is a distraction that makes you vulnerable to robbers. Keep your full attention on your surroundings. Also, your cell phone itself can be a tempting target to thieves.
  • Don’t electronically unlock your vehicle until you are within door opening distance. This helps stop a thief from getting into the car and waiting to strike when you least expect it.
  • If you are ready to leave the mall and feel uneasy about entering the parking lot or garage by yourself, stay in the mall and ask for a security escort.
  • Do not open your car door to anyone in a parking lot or garage. If you believe you are in danger, call 911 immediately.
  • Outside of the mall, stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets, walkways and parking areas for both walking and parking.
  • Don't flash large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry or clothing.
  • Carry a purse or shoulder bag close to your body, not dangling by straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket of your coat or front pants pocket.
  • Don't fumble for car keys. Have them in your hand, ready to use when you reach the car.
  • If you believe someone is following you, cross the street, switch directions, walk into a store or restaurant. If you are really scared, yell. Don't be embarrassed. Your safety is more important.

Vehicle Safety

  • Always lock your car, even if you are away for only a few moments.
  • Do Not leave valuables - gifts, cell phones, purse or clothing - in open view in your car. Take valuables with you, lock them in your trunk, or cover them in an unobtrusive way.
  • Thieves do their own form of window shopping. They look in parked cars for gifts and other merchandise, and will break through car windows to get at such valuables.


  • Always lock your doors and windows, even if you plan to be out for a short while.
  • Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals don't like bright places.
  • If you will be away from home for several days, make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.
  • When returning home after a shopping trip, be sure to have the house keys in your hand, ready to use when you reach the door.

Beware Of Purse Snatchers

The stores are putting up decorations, and purse snatchers are practicing their skills. The Holyoke Police Department wants everyone to be aware that thieves look forward to holidays as much as everyone else - maybe more so! The department asks shoppers to beware of purse snatchers; women carrying pocketbooks are easy prey. The thieves know that during the holidays, shoppers are distracted and are not as careful as they should be when out.
Here are some things that can be done to thwart the would-be thief.
  • Keep your purse close to your body.
  • If the pocketbook has long straps, shorten them.
  • If possible, avoid carrying a large purse when shopping. A fanny pack is compact and more difficult for a thief to grab and run.
  • Carry only the credit cards you intend to use, leave the others behind.
  • Use check cards or checks to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Use ATMs wisely. Have the card ready before approaching the machine, and use ATMs in high traffic areas.

Do Your Homework Before Donating To Charity

  • Be wary of any organization that sends unsolicited e-mail to ask for donations. Do not open any attachment associated with suspect messages.
  • If you want to give, find out how an organization accepts donations.
  • If you have doubts about a group, there are ways to access information on charitable organizations.
  • Give to organizations with a history of service and commitment to the community.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division by calling 617-727-2200 x2101or by email at
Know the organizations that come to them for donations. Charitable giving is noble, but beware. When approached by charitable groups, ask questions before you give. Your personal information, if you don’t safeguard it, can be used without your knowledge.

Happy (and safe) Holidays from the men and women of the Holyoke Police Department!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Holyoke ArtSalon

Wednesday December 7, 2016
6:30pm, Presentations begin at 7pm 
$5 Suggested Donation 
at The Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke

Presenting artists:
Amy Johnquest, John Calhoun, Alicia Renadette, Lyn Horan, Maryanne Benns and Joseph Krupczynski.

This month’s ArtSalon will be at The Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. The evening begins at 6:30pm with mingling and light refreshments, and presentations start at 7pm. Food and drink will be provided by Ellie's Oils and Abandoned Building Brewery.

A brief Q&A period with the artists follows the presentations.

The ArtSalon is a dynamic social evening of engaging presentations by established and emerging artists in the Pioneer Valley. The ArtSalon provides an opportunity for artists and designers of all mediums to present their work and ideas in a format called Pecha Kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha) of 20 slides x 20 seconds each. Come meet and join the artists, creators, critics, and collectors in a friendly, social gathering of conversations about the arts in our community.

This program is supported in part by The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and Fierst, Kane and Bloomberg.

Holyoke Medical Center Named a Top Hospital

The Leapfrog Group announced today Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has been named a Top Hospital for the second time in three years. Widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious distinctions a hospital can receive in the U.S., the recognition showcases HMC's commitment to patient safety and quality.

"It is with great pride Holyoke Medical Center accepts the Top Hospital award for the second time. Being one of only two hospitals in Massachusetts to receive this distinction demonstrates how truly hard our team is focused on providing high quality care in a safe environment, close to home. I extend my sincere gratitude to the exceptional staff of HMC for their dedication and focus," said Spiros Hatiras, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems, Inc. 

HMC received a Top General Hospital distinction, and was one of 115 Top Hospitals recognized across the country. The list includes:

9 Top Children's Hospitals 

56 Top General Hospitals 

21 Top Rural Hospitals 

29 Top Teaching Hospitals

The selection of Top Hospitals is based on the results of the 2016 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, maternity care, and a hospital's ability to prevent medication errors. The rigorous standards are defined in each year's Top Hospital Methodology

"Being acknowledged as a Top Hospital is an incredible feat achieved by less than three percent of hospitals nationwide," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. "With this honor, Holyoke Medical Center has established its commitment to safer and higher quality care. Providing this level of care to patients in the Pioneer Valley requires motivation and drive from every team member. I congratulate the board, staff and clinicians, whose efforts made this honor possible."

To see the full list of institutions honored as 2016 Top Hospitals, please visit

Monday, December 5, 2016

20th Annual First Night, Jr.

Celebrate the New Year with family-friendly fun at the 20th Annual First Night, Jr. presented by the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Children’s Museum at Holyoke. On Saturday, December 31 from 10 AM to 4 PM children and families will enjoy indoor and outdoor activities including unlimited rides on the Merry-Go-Round, admission to the Children's Museum and Volleyball Hall of Fame, dancing, crafts, and live music. Laugh with Maggie the Clown, discover something new with Mad Science, don special glitter tattoos, and visit with Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Captain America! See, touch, and learn about animals with Forest Park Zoo on the Go, watch an ice sculptor create his masterpiece, and ring in 2017 with Holyoke’s Mayor Morse and a ball drop reminiscent of Time Square. Roger Tinknell will provide live music to accompany the festivities.

Tickets for First Night, Jr. are $8 per person and can be purchased at the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Children’s Museum leading up to and on the day of the event.

The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of First Night, Jr.: Peoples Bank, Holyoke Gas & Electric, Hampshire Towing, Holyoke Parks & Recreation, Marcotte Ford, Racing Mart Fuels on Main Street, Bresnahan Insurance Agency, Inc., State Representative Aaron Vega, and State Senator Don Humason.

Holyoke Heritage State Park is located on 221 Appleton Street and borders Dwight Street in Holyoke. The Park offers family-oriented cultural and recreational programs. The eight-acre site contains the Park Visitors’ Center, Holyoke Children’s Museum, Volleyball Hall of Fame, and the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round.

For more information, call 413-538-9838, visit, or find us on Facebook.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holyoke Public Library Strategic Planning Survey

The Holyoke Public Library is updating the long-range plan that will guide future development of the Library. To reflect your ideas and interests, we are seeking your input on a variety of issues, and ask that you take a few minutes to fill out this survey. Your response will help us greatly in our planning process.

Please click here to complete the survey, by Friday of next week. If more than one member of your household would like to fill out the survey, please do. Additional surveys are available at the library or online at

Surveys completed by Friday, December 9th online or dropped off at the library receive 2 tickets for our upcoming concert “Parranda on Main Street” for December 10th at 7pm at the War Memorial.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holyoke Contracts with Action Ambulance Service Inc.

After an extensive public RFP process, the city of Holyoke has awarded its EMS Ambulance contract to Action Ambulance Service Inc. This is the first time Holyoke has made a change to its ambulance service in over 10 years.

“Today, I am happy to announce Action Ambulance as Holyoke’s new EMS provider. Action has a forward-thinking approach to providing emergency medical services and has made a commitment to modernizing the city’s dispatching capabilities.” said Mayor Alex Morse. “I’d like to thank the members of the advisory committee for their commitment and due-diligence during the selection process.”

Though not required under state procurement laws, the city opted to follow a public RFP process to provide transparency. This consisted of a public opening of the bids and interview process.

The selection committee was made up of Fire Chief John Pond, Police Chief James Neiswanger, Purchasing Director Lori Belanger, Assistant City Solicitor Paul Payer, and Chief of Staff Rory Casey.

Action Ambulance will be replacing AMR as the city’s main EMS provider.

“I would like to thank AMR for their years of service to the city and look forward to a smooth transition as we move to a new provider.” stated Mayor Alex Morse.

Founded in 1977, Action has been a leader in the EMS field for close to 40 years. Based in Wilmington, Mass, Action is the EMS provider for over a dozen communities, including Pittsfield and Hadley.

“We look forward to providing the City of Holyoke with an Emergency Medical Service system that will be solely based within the city which will be focused on collaboration, support and quality patient outcomes." said Michael Woronka, CEO of Action Ambulance Services, Inc.

One of the innovative approaches Action will take is how its vehicles will be deployed. Rather than being located in one central location, as is the current practice, Action will place its Ambulances and EMT’s throughout the city.

“I am excited about the opportunity to partner with Action Ambulance to provide an enhanced level of care to the residents of Holyoke. By strategically deploying our EMS resources, along with fully integrated dispatching, we will be able to see improved response times.” said Chief John Pond.

As part of the agreement, Action will install GPS tracking equipment, proprietary dispatching software and other modern technologies in the city's PSAP located in the Police Department.

"Action's ability to employ state of the art technology on day one, combined with enhanced data management, will allow efficient police, fire and EMS communications during critical times.” said Police Chief James Neiswanger.

Holyoke Medical Center will continue to provide medical direction to the EMS System, ensuring that EMT's and Paramedics are fully trained and up-to-date on emergency procedures.

“It was important that our partnership with Holyoke Medical Center continue. They are a key asset not only to the city but to the region.” said Mayor Alex Morse.

"I thank AMR for the many years of dedicated service to our patients and community. Holyoke Medical Center supports the new direction the City of Holyoke is taking and we will work with all parties towards a smooth transition. We are looking forward to a close and productive relationship with Action Ambulance for the benefit of our patients." said Spiros Hatiras, CEO of Holyoke Medical Center

In addition to providing traditional EMS services, Action plans to introduce a Mobile Integrated Healthcare system to the city.

“Action EMS and the City of Holyoke in coordination with Holyoke Medical Center will be on the forefront of developing what we believe will be a best in the nation Mobile Integrated Health platform to support the most vulnerable members of the community." said Michael Woronka.

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians defines Mobile Integrated Healthcare as using patient-centered, mobile resources in the out-of-hospital environment. It may include, but is not limited to, services such as providing telephone advice to 9-1-1 callers instead of resource dispatch; providing community paramedicine care, chronic disease management, preventive care or post-discharge follow-up visits; or transport or referral to a broad spectrum of appropriate care, not limited to hospital emergency departments.

"The Holyoke Fire Department looks forward to working with Action to adopt this innovative approach to EMS delivery." said Chief John Pond.

Action Ambulance will begin providing EMS service in the first quarter of 2017.