Wednesday, November 30, 2011

North to Alaska

Alaska Post Offices hold several records. Post Office Fun Facts listed on include several benchmarks that are located in Alaska including the following:

Westernmost in US — Wales, AK

Northernmost in US — Barrow, AK

Coldest — North Slope area of Alaska, including Barrow and Wainwright

Highest Zip Code - 99950 in Ketchikan, AK

Most isolated — Located in the farthest reaches of northern Alaska, the Anaktuvuk Pass Post Office is the only link to the outside world for the 300 residents who live there. There are no roads; everything must be flown in.

But one Alaska Post Office is just like several others around the nation. It holds memories of the local history.

In Wasilla, AK, the original Post Office was recently salvaged and saved at a new historic park. Several residents commented on how fond they are of the old building and the many memories it holds for them. It certainly can't compare with the newer location. So what makes it such a fond rememberance?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ben Franklin Kringle

This may look like Chris Kringle, better known as Santa Clause, but it's actually me, Benjamin Franklin aka Benny the Blogger. 

I'm getting in the holiday spirit and wanted to check out what's going on at the North Pole Post Office.

I found out you can once again send someone a special holiday greeting this year with the North Pole postmark on it.

To receive the special holiday postmark, customers should affix the correct postage to addressed envelopes and cards; then pack them in a larger envelope, box, Priority Mail or Express Mail package and send them to:

North Pole Holiday Cancellation
4141 Postmark Dr
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

To ensure delivery by Christmas, all requests must be received in Anchorage by December 10. The service is provided at no cost.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hard Time

The former owner of a Carlstadt, New Jersey, mailing company was recently found guilty of conspiring to defraud 130 clients of $4.5 million.

The company billed clients for hundreds of mailings that were missing or delayed. It was found that some were presented to the Postal Service over 60 days later than customers were told, while others were only partially or even never at all mailed. When clients had complained about the mailings, the owner and his employees blamed the Postal Service.

When sentencing the owner, the judge emphasized how his conduct had tarnished the reputation of the Postal Service and damaged its relationship with customers. The convicted mailer was sentenced to almost six years in prison and three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to make full restitution to the Postal Service.

One thing that more visibility and scanning can do is prove when items really are "in the mail."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Americana Icons

Mailboxes are everywhere.

Not only working ones that still get mail delivered in them, but also some that have been reinvented for other purposes or even as works of art. What have you seen mailboxes used for?

They may be one of our favorite Americana icons. Start noticing how many times they are in paintings, in the background in movies, or given new life working some other way.

What does their popularity mean? Maybe Americans are so fond of mail boxes because they like getting mail. Or maybe they bring fond memories because they are a symbol of everyone's home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here's the Scoop

Here’s the scoop… Le Mars, Iowa is the "The Ice Cream Capital of the World". Officially designated as such in 1994 because more ice cream is produced there than in any other one city in the world.

So you see things like the large ice cream sundae that sits out in front of the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Headquarters. There are also ice cream cones appearing all over the city as part of a public art project.

Presently, there over 20 cones in places ranging from the elementary school to the truck wash. And now there is one at the Le Mars Post Office.

Photo of cone appears courtesy of KTIV News 4.

This cone was created by the family of longtime carrier Pat Holton who died earlier this year. Pat carried the mail along rural routes for 37 years. His son painted the cone the color of a drop box, and gave it great detail.

Pat's wife Karol said, "I just want people to know how much he loved his work, and the community."

To see more including a video of the postal ice cream cone visit:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Postal Merit Badge

When you think of Boy Scout merit badges, Camping and Emergency Preparedness may be the topics that first come to mind. But there has been a Stamp Collecting badge for some time now.

New in 2012, the Postal Museum Education Department will offer Boy Scouts the opportunity to work toward the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge with the museum. What better way to learn stamps than through their collection?

Boy Scouts completing the merit badge through the Smithsonian program will be real philatelic experts. According to the requirements, they must define topical stamp collecting and show examples of everything from overprinted stamps to first day covers. The final project can include showing a collection of over 200 stamps or a map-based display of international stamps.

This opportunity won't just be for scouts. If you are interested in this program you may contact Erin at for information on how to participate.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Owney Goes to School

Everyone loves Owney the Postal Dog. Now he's going to school and helping students to meet reading, writing, math, social studies, science, and art standards.

The National Postal Museum has developed a 60-page full-color curriculum guide that uses the four different units of maps, jobs, tags, and personal stories.

For instance, Unit 2 is Jobs. Students will be able to understand that community workers are human resources who produce goods and services. Students will identify specialized workers, like postal employees, within a community.

Other resources include companion sources for special education classroooms, a Standards of Learning guide, student worksheets to accompany lessons, and even U.S. Topography rubrics.

Teacher resources include this recommended book list:

• A Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot by Dirk Wales
• Delivering Your Mail: A book about mail carriers by Ann Owen
• The Post Office Book: The Mail and how it moves by Gail Gibbons
• Tales from the Rails e-Book by Jerry Rees and Stephen Michael Schwartz

For more information visit

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Show Me" Sales in MO

It could be "show me the money" or just plain show some breast cancer research support for Ellington, MO, Postmaster Marla Shipman.

Marla, a breast cancer survivor herself, is among the most ardent supporters of the Breast Cancer Research (BCR) stamp. This year her office led the nation by selling more than $39,000 worth of BCR stamps during October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The employees of the Carl Junction, MO Post Office and the Glenstone Branch of the Springfield, MO Post Office also contributed to the cause by selling more than $25,000.

In addition to using stamps to commemorate people, events and places, the Postal Service issues semipostal stamps to help fund causes mandated by Congress. The BCR semipostal was issued in 1998, and was the first semipostal in U.S. history. Sales of more than 919 million BCR stamps have raised $72.7 million for research.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dumb, Dangerous, and Illegal

It sounds like dumb, dumber and dumbest except it's also dangerous!

Doctors and medical experts are concerned about a new trend taking place on Facebook. Parents are talking about trading live viruses in order to infect their children.

Parents use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox. Or they offer to send spit and lollipops that infected children have used. Experts say such lollipops could carry more dangerous viruses including hepatitis. Two people on the Facebook page were even looking for the much more serious measles, mumps, and rubella.

Medical experts say the most troubling part of this is parents are taking pathogens from complete strangers and deliberately infecting their children. "I could never feel good about purposely infecting a child with a disease like that," said Elizabeth Jacobs from the University of Arizona College of Public Health.

Another big concern is that they are advising readers to send the virus through the mail.

It is illegal to send infectious substances through the mail, except between very specialized and authorized parties who meet specific requirements. U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin was quoted as saying it is a federal crime to send diseases or viruses across state lines period.

The United States Postal Inspection Service has a Dangerous Mail Investigations program that can conduct aggressive investigations of individuals who violate federal laws, and Postal Service rules and regulations with a prohibited mailing. Their objective is to secure the nation’s mail system and ensure public trust against any substance that may cause harm to Postal Service employees, or Postal Service customers.

Refer to the Domestic Mail Manual for mailability regulations.
Section refers to infectious substances.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post Office for Sale

Post Office for Sale!

A new website lists both commercial buildings and land parcels for sale.

The sale of some real estate should help the bottom line for USPS.

Who would be interested in buying these? What should they be used for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home Sweet Capitol

Nothing quite says "home" like having your mail delivered.

This snapshot was taken at the Occupy Denver location where a mail box was set up along Broadway in Civic Center Park.

According to a story on the Westword blog, mail was getting delivered to this mail box. But a check with area Post Offices guaranteed that no carriers have delivered mail to this make-shift box. The address painted on it is not in the USPS database.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dining with the President

I have been quoted as saying, "Eat to live, not live to eat."

Although I do relish food and often suffer from gout for overindulging.

Part of what I meant was that meals can often times be more than they appear. In my many different roles I have had meals with several dignitaries, and it is often more enlightening than just taking in subsistance.

Recently, President Obama's re-election campaign offered the opportunity to engage with him over dinner as part of a promotion to boost contributions. The campaign paid for flying donors from Arizona, Colorado, Indiana and Minnesota to Arlington, VA. It included one night in a hotel, along with the dinner held at the Liberty Tavern.

The donors, described as ordinary voters, included USPS Carrier Ken Knight of Chandler, AZ. Obama and Knight were heard to chat about spring training and the Chicago White Sox, the president's favorite team.

But alas, they all declined to have dessert.

For more on my thoughts about food visit:
For more on President Obama and food visit:

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Veteran Post Office

Out of the 108 employees at the Bremerton, WA, Post Office - 51 are Veterans.

The Bremerton Post Office honored it's many Veteran employees on 11/10/11. They served desserts, and unveiled a display of photos from those employees who wanted to participate.

The banner above the American Flag says, "Honoring those who served. Thank you."

We send a "Thank You" to all the USPS employees who have served their country in the military, as well as those actively serving now. And we honor all the Veterans across the country on this Veterans Day, 2012.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mail That's Out of This World

China opened a new post office on Nov. 3 with a street address that is 213 miles (343 km) above the Earth. The new space post office even has it's own postal code that extends into orbit: 901001.

The opening of the new "China Post Space Office" coincided with the first ever Chinese docking in space between the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft and Tiangong-1 space lab module. The post office is located both on the ground in the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center (BACC), and, at least virtually, on board the newly established orbital complex.

The office will process letters, and e-mails, making it possible for the public to write Chinese astronauts, or "taikonauts," on the ground and in space. It will offer domestic and international delivery as well as philatelic collectibles. The first souvenirs offered are cancelled envelopes, or "covers," celebrating the Shenzhou 8 and Tiangong-1 docking complete with a commemorative postmark.

Russia has operated a makeshift post office on its space stations since the 1970s. The Russian space office continues to operate on the International Space Station. It consists primarily of a postmark device that is only used in space to mark letters and postcards as having flown in orbit.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Everyone Loves Getting Mail

If you pledged to write one letter a month, and maybe you even picked someone from the previous list, but now you're not sure what to say or how to say it. Here are tips for letter writing.

How to write a letter.

Below are some topics worth writing home about:

Thank you notes
Letters of appreciation
Your city and your favorite things to do there
Short stories or poems
If you could go anywhere in the world...
Who or what inspires you?
A person or event that has changed your life
Forgive someone, or apologize
Announce a milestone, or addition to the family
Congratulations on a noteworthy event
Share memories of days past

Whether you participate in this letter writing campaign or not, keep the ideas in mind. Everyone loves geting mail, so make someone happy and remember them in the future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Would You Write One Letter a Month?

Have you pledged to write one letter a month? Or just occasionally will try to write more often? Who should you write to? Here's a list of ideas:

The love of your life
Your long lost friend from high school
Your parents, from the perspective of their new grandchild
Someone newly diagnosed with cancer
Deployed soldiers
A pen pal on the other side of the world
The teacher who helped shape who you are
The employee who went out of their way for you
Your favorite author/athlete/musician
Representives in Congress
A loved one who's away to college
Your cousin in another state
Your grandchild

For ideas on how to find some of these types of recipients, visit the website:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Americans Love Letters

Everyone loves getting letters. But in order to receive you need to give. There is a website that promotes "helping to save the USPS" with a unique idea. It encourages readers to pledge to write one letter a month.

Ok, we know that as digitial communication grows, the art of letter writing fades. Maybe we even buy that a world without letters may quickly be upon us. Many of us are skeptical, however, that a letter writing campaign can solve the USPS financial problems. Many of you wrote comments about this on a previous post on September 29th.

But consider what this website proclaims that letter writing is a part of our heritage, and keeping the mail going will help keep a part of our history alive. What will the historic letters of this generation be?

It further states that handwritten words of intimacy conquer any distance or length of time. What letter do you keep tucked away to be read over and over?

Whether it will help save the Postal Service or not, maybe we should not lose something so important as hand written or hard copy letters.

Would you be willing to write one letter a month? If so, visit the blog tomorrow for some letter writing ideas.

Friday, November 4, 2011

House of Cards

Greeting cards and gift cards are two new items the Postal Service is utilizing to raise more revenue. They are currently only available in select Post Offices.

Have you purchased either of these items? What did you like about them? What would you improve?
If they were available at your office would you purchase them?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day of Caring

Nancy Donovan, a Postal Service employee, is shown organizing 240 volunteers early one morning for the Day of Caring in Great Falls, MT.

The work of the volunteers is instrumental in making it possible for about 40 senior citizens and people with disabilities to continue to live alone in their homes.

United Way of Cascade County administers the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and organizes the annual event. USPS employees play a crucial role.

The CFC is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year, and the campaign will run through December 15th.

Click here to view a 50 year celebration video:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Harvest Remembrance

Gridley, KS, Postmaster Paula Raaf retired one year ago.

Gridley rural carrier Doug Kraft still thought about her this year and designed this mailbox display for her.

At this thankful time of year are there dedicated fellow employees you remember?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Keeps on Going

Congratulations to Mariano Gonzalez, Review Clerk at the Seattle P&DC, who was recently honored by co-workers for his 50 years of postal service - all served in Seattle. Mr. Gonzalez also served eight years of military reserve duty which he completed while working for the Postal Service. He has no plans to retire.

In the photo, from the left, Seattle District Manager Yul Melonson, Mariano Gonzalez, and Seattle Sr Plant Manager Don Jacobus.