us postal service

The SIRWT tank on top of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant
Mark Savage / Entergy

There is a magic to the act of putting pen to paper and writing down one's thoughts and wishes.

Writing a letter.

You can save that letter. And no matter when you open the letter, there you are - right in the moment with the emotions of that moment - connecting with the person to whom you were writing.

That magic certainly touched a Niles man recently.

Bob Rodgers.

The postmaster of New Carlisle Indiana knocked on Bob's door, and handed the 79-year-old man a very special letter.

It was a letter Rodgers had written on June 13, 1953 to his wife Jean. He was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in basic training with the Army's  503rd Airborne Infantry.
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Bob Rodgers joined us now from Niles, Michigan.

You can listen to the interview above.

Detroit EM begins job today

"A bankruptcy lawyer and turnaround expert tasked with reviving Detroit's beleaguered finances could be greeted by a crowd of protesters when he arrives at work today. Kevyn Orr plans to spend his first day meeting with some city officials who for months fought against creating his job," the Associated Press reports.

National parks face cuts

"Visitors to national parks in Michigan this summer could see limited hours and scaled-back programs because of the automatic reduction in the federal budget. Parks in Michigan are already feeling the pinch of budget cuts affecting the National Park Service," the Associated Press reports.

Postal workers protest over plans to cut Saturday delivery

"Hundreds of postal workers who oppose plans to cut home delivery from six days to five picketed outside U.S. Postal Service offices in Michigan on Sunday. . . The Postal Service has been facing rising deficits. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe last month announced plans to cut Saturday delivery, saying it would save $2 billion a year," the Associated Press reports.


Postal workers protest end to Saturday service

Mar 24, 2013
usps.com

Hundreds of postal workers who oppose plans to cut home delivery from six days to five have picketed outside U.S. Postal Service offices in Michigan.

The Detroit News says about 600 people marched in protest Sunday at a post office in suburban Southfield.

MLive.com says about 100 postal workers from around the state demonstrated Sunday in Grand Rapids. They carried signs and waved at passing cars.

The signs included the messages "Save America's Postal Service" and "5-Day Is the Wrong Way to Save the Postal Service."

The U.S. Post Office is now looking into the hundreds of undelivered absentee ballots in southeast Michigan.

A spokesman for the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General says it’s directed its special agents in Michigan to contact city clerks in Auburn Hills and Roseville to ask about the undelivered absentee ballots.

The U.S. Postal Service is paying homage to the world of poetry with ten new commemorative stamps.

Two Michigan poets will be featured on the new Forever stamps: Theodore Roethke, a Saginaw native and Pulitzer Prize winning poet; and Robert Hayden, a Detroit poet, and the first black poet laureate of the United States.

An ailing U.S. Postal Service is preparing to close and consolidate processing facilities across Michigan as the state in turn emerges from its own economic woes. The agency's planned actions affect operations in and around Gaylord, Iron Mountain, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Saginaw.

The moves affect 475 jobs, though officials say that number includes an undetermined mix of layoffs, transfers and retraining.
    

Ed Morykwas / River of Time Photography

U.S. mail processing centers in five Michigan cities could close this May.    The U.S. Postal Service says the closings are necessary to help the struggling mail service with its mounting budget deficit.

Mail facilities in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Saginaw and Iron Mountain have been on the bubble since the postal service announced last year that it wanted to shut down more than 260 processing centers.   The reason?  Postal officials believe closing the processing centers will save a billion dollars.  

The Postal Service had agreed to put the final decision on hold until May to give Congress time to work out an alternative.   But the chances of a Congressional solution appear increasingly dim.

John Marcotte is the president of the Michigan Postal Workers Union.     He says there’s still time for people to demand Congress and the postal service stop the closing plan.

“Get on the phone.  Tell’em you don’t want this," says Marcotte,  "Tell them you want the jobs in Michigan…you don’t want the mail slowing down."

Marcotte says if the mail processing centers close first class mail delivery will slow dramatically in Michigan.

Ed Morykwas / River of Time Photography

WASHINGTON (AP) - With no financial relief in sight, the Postal Service is pushing ahead with cuts to more than 260 mail processing centers around the nation.

It's part of a billion-dollar cost-cutting effort that will slow delivery of first-class mail.

In a statement, the cash-strapped agency says it completed a review of closings to mail processing centers that were announced last fall. Based on community input and other factors, the post office says it will move forward, beginning in mid-May.

The consolidations are expected to result in a loss of roughly 35,000 jobs.

The agency described the move as a necessary cost-saving measure. Mail volume is declining as people and businesses switch to the Internet in place of letters and paper bills.

DETROIT (AP) - A trial is getting under way in Detroit in a corruption case involving the repair of mail trucks.

Four U.S. Postal Service employees have pleaded guilty, but Greg Gorski of Canton Township is going to trial Monday. He's accused of accepting cash, sports tickets, a minivan and other payoffs from the owner of Metro Diesel in exchange for sending mail vehicles to the Detroit garage.

The indictment also accuses Gorski of receiving $500 in monthly gift cards for restaurants and gas stations.

Postal workers plan to fight a proposal to close mail processing centers in Michigan.    

Postal Service officials confirmed this week they plan to move forward with closing more than 200 processing centers nationwide next year. That includes facilities in a half dozen Michigan cities, including Lansing, Jackson and Kalamazoo.   

Financial problems are mounting at the U.S. Postal Service, and that's going to have repercussions on Americans' daily lives. For one thing, you won't be able to assume - or even hope - that a stamped letter will arrive at its destination the next day.   

That's because the Postal Service is looking for ways to save money, even as it awaits possible assistance from Congress.

 Postal workers delivered a message at more than a dozen rallies across Michigan today.   

Postal workers say they have a solution to the multi-billion dollar budget deficit that is threatening the future of the U.S. Post Office.  Postal officials say they are looking at closing hundreds of local post offices and mail processing centers as a way to reduce the red ink.  

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You have to admit, this has been a very odd year in Michigan, and things seem likely to get odder. We have a governor who happily calls himself a nerd, almost never wears a tie, never ran for office before, and has been phenomenally successful at getting the legislature to pass whatever laws he wants.

His only failure so far has been to get them to accept a bridge which wouldn’t cost anything, would mean ten thousand jobs and two billion free dollars from the federal government.

gophouse.com

 Mail delivery could become even slower in Michigan under a plan announced  today.    The U.S. Postal Service wants to close most of its processing centers, including a half a dozen in Michigan.   

Postal Service officials are considering closing mail processing centers in Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo,  Jackson, Saginaw and  Iron Mountain.    All the state’s mail would be routed through three other locations.   

A Postal Service spokesman says he does not expect any mail processing centers will close before next Spring.

Gov. Rick Snyder

UPDATE  1:45pm

The leader of thousands of rural mail employees says she’s worried about a U.S. Post Office proposal that could close many small town post offices.  The national postal officials say they need to make cuts to reduce red ink.  The postal service lost eight billion dollars last year.  

Cindy Opalek is the president of the Michigan Rural Letter Carriers Association.   She says closing small town post offices will hurt rural communities. 

“The people who work there get a little more connected…a little more bonded with the people that they serve.   That will be a shame if they lose that.    Does the (U.S.) Post Office care?   I couldn’t tell you." 

ORIGINAL POST: 1:05pm

The U.S. Postal Service has released a list of 62 Post Offices in Michigan that they're studying for closure.

The potential closures could affect smaller cities like Kingsford, Baron City, and North Star. And they could also affect bigger cities like Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing.

In a statement, Postmaster General Patrick Donahue said closed offices could be replaced by "expanded access locations" - similar to how some pharmacies are now located in your grocery store:

“Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service’s retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7. Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business.”

The U.S. Postal Service currently operates 32,000 retail offices (the largest retail network in the country). It's studying the potential closure of 3,700 offices.

The USPS suffered $8.5 billion in losses in 2010.

Is your city on this list? How would you feel if your local post office was closed?

Five United States Postal Service supervisors were indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday in Detroit for conspiring to take bribes from  a private contractor in exchange for directing over $13 million in maintenance work on Postal Service vehicles.

From the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan:

The USPS maintains Vehicle Maintenance Facilities around the country, including in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Akron, Ohio. The five Postal Service employees charged today worked at these facilities, and they had the responsibility to decide whether work on Postal vehicles would be performed by USPS employees or sent out to private contractors. They also had the responsibility to decide which private contractor would be used for work sent outside of the USPS.

Between 2004 and 2010, during the course of the conspiracies between the private contractor and the five USPS employees indicted today, the private contractor charged the USPS over $13 million for maintenance and repair work.

The bribes included things like tickets to sporting events, prostitution, drinks and lap dances at a strip club, Levitra (erectile dysfunction) pills, auto repair work, cars, and cash.

“U.S. government employees hold positions of public trust, and they are responsible for managing public funds," said United States Attorney Barbara McQuade. "Federal employees who personally profit by taking bribes in exchange for official acts will prosecuted.”

Photo by Mary Hollinger, NESDIS/NODC biologist, NOAA

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the U.S. Postal Service is hoping to close a series of post offices around the country to save money. From the article:

A mail processing center in Flint may be slated for closure next month. The United States Postal Service may move the city’s mail sorting and processing to Pontiac.

Shannon LaBruyere is with the U.S. Postal Service. She says if the closure goes through, 113 jobs will be affected; half would be relocated to Pontiac, half would be offered other positions likely outside of Michigan.

"They will be the people who bear the brunt of the change. Our customers, from our preliminary assessments, won’t see any change in the service they receive."

USPS will hold a public meeting to discuss the possible Flint closure on March 23 at the city's Holiday Inn Gateway Centre.

The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last fiscal year and plans to close 2,000 post offices nationwide this year. LaBruyere says USPS would save "$6.5 million dollars per year" by moving Flint operations to the Michigan Metroplex in Pontiac. 

A Washington Post article in February says President Obama's 2012 budget recommends about $11 billion in relief to help stem losses at the Postal Service:

The losses stem in part from hefty personnel costs not borne by other federal agencies. One is a requirement, imposed by a 2006 law, that it set aside money each year to cover the costs of future health benefits for its retired workers.

In the Obama administration's first substantive attempt to address the Postal Service's fiscal woes, the budget would allow the agency to pay $4 billion less toward future retiree health benefits than otherwise required. The mail agency would have to pay about $1.5 billion of those costs in fiscal 2012 and make up the difference in later years.

The budget proposal also adjusts the size of the annual payments by taking into account the size of the workforce, which has shrunk to about 583,000 full-time employees since the law passed in 2006.