Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

She saved lives

What's your worse case scenario?
For someone handling the mail, finding a suspicious parcel is perhaps the worst thing that can happen.

On June 29, 2005, Renwick, IA, Postmaster Lynne Zimmerman discovered a suspicious parcel left in the lobby at the Post Office. She knew it wasn't right based on her training.

Zimmerman correctly kept customers away from the parcel and notified the Inspection Service.

Inspectors examined the parcel using mobile X-Ray Unit and identified a 5” X 1” galvanized pipe bomb inside an antique radio. The Des Moines Police Bomb Squad rendered the device safe.

Thanks to some help from the Postmaster, Postal Inspectors eventually arrested the bomber. John Worman was arrested n April 10, 2008.

At the trial, a cool Zimmerman provided key testimony about her role in the investigation and presented herself in a professional manner, according to Postal Inspector Troy Raper. The trial took six days, but the federal jury found Worman guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

At the sentencing, the judge specifically credited Zimmerman for likely saving lives due to her alertness in intercepting the parcel.
Zimmerman has a word for fellow employees.
"Always remember your training," she said. "We are the first line of defense."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Postal employees have talent

I may be a great innovator, statesmen, inventor and Postmaster, but I'm no singer.

Mrs. Franklin deliberately leaves the house to "fetch eggs" whenever I start singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy." My old dog, King George, even leaves the room.
But thank goodness, some postal employees "got it" when it comes to singing.

The Spiritual Harmonizers — fresh from their performance earlier this month on America’s Got Talent — lost their bid for the finals last night. But they did us proud!

The group began singing 10 years ago in the break room at the Richmond, VA, P&DC during their breaks.

Click here to see the group’s performance on an earlier round of America’s Got Talent.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Listen to Your Postal Podcast, episode 14 for big news

The latest Your Postal Podcast is up for your listening pleasure. Hold on to your wigs, but you'll hear news that you haven't seen anywhere else. There's big changes coming to tracking and tracing and you'll hear it first here.

Also in this episode just what it will take to issue a Michael Jackson stamp.

You’ll also hear about the results of the Priority Mail ad campaign. Just how good is that Al guy?

And you’ll meet the owner of a unique coffee shop in Des Moines who relies on Click-N-Ship to perk up her worldwide business. We’ll also take you across the border and visit with Canada Post. It shares many of the Postal Service's same challenges — and yet still, they make a profit.

So if a 250 year-old-guy can listen to podcasts, so can you. So...Click here and listen to the 13-minute episode at your desk or your home. Or, you can subscribe to it in iTunes by clicking here.
It's okay. Trust me. And while you are at it, check out the previous episodes here, at

To read a transcript of episode 14, click here.

And finally, after you listen, comment here.

What do you think?

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Salute to the boss

A big Benny -- and U.S. Military -- salute goes out to Seattle District Retail Manager Jannine Young .

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recently gave her the "Above and Beyond" Award. The award recognizes American employers who provide extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees serving in military guard and reserve status. Young was nominated for the award by one of her employees who was called to active duty.

What do you think about USPS support for the Guard and Reserve? Click here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Free Postcards

In this day and age, free anything is a pretty good deal. So how about 50 free

USPS Premium Postcards are a great way to spread the news. If you have a
significant event to announce, a party invitation to send, family news, thank you notes or just a
fun idea to share, Premium Postcards are the answer. You can design, address and mail from
your computer desktop using your own photos or stock images.

And for now, the first 50 are free to new users. It’s as simple as going to and signing up with the source code USPS09. Sign up now, and tell
your friends, family and customers about this great deal, too, because it won’t last forever.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking outside boxes

One reader writes and suggests that the Postal Service take advantage of it's prime location by charging rental for news and information displays. For a small, modest fee, most would be willing to pay.

While I know some of these publications serve a "community purpose" for news, the fee would help our financial crisis.

What do you think? Good idea? How much should we charge?
Drop me a note here.

Heavy hitters

Ever wonder which Post Offices deliver the most mail? Well, here’s last year’s top ten Post Offices ranked by delivered volume











Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gift of life

Jim Dinelli, husband of Boise Retail Associate Sandra Dinelli, was in great need of receiving a liver organ transplant this year. Becoming increasingly ill, he needed a donor to match his transplant requirements.

Hearing of his plight from co-worker Sandra Dinelli, Boise Retail Associate Laurice Soule, after she was determined to be a good match, generously donated a portion of her liver to Jim in transplant surgery earlier this year. They are now doing very well.

For her wonderful act of giving, Boise Post Office Oregon Trail Station employees, along with Jim and Sandra Dinelli, honored Laurice Soule at a special presentation recently. Boise Postmaster Dan Frasier presented Soule with a special recognition letter from Postmaster General John Potter. The Boise Post Office also presented her with a special framed art piece of the Organ and Tissue Donation Stamp.

"What Laurice did was extraordinary," said Postmaster Dan Frasier. "She represents the true spirit of giving and caring about others. We are proud to have her as a Boise postal employee."
Added Sandra Dinelli, "Jim, myself and our family will always be tremendously grateful to Laurice, who was very humble and self-less in doing this. She deserves our highest recognition and thanks."

Boise Retail Associate Laurice Soule (holding stamp framed piece) was honored by the Boise PO as well as her co-worker Sandra Dinelli (l.), transplant recipient and husband Jim Dinelli, and Postmaster Dan Frasier (far right).

Monday, July 20, 2009

A big leap

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and the National Air and Space Museum have launched an online exhibit, One Giant Leap For Mankind: Celebrating NASA & Apollo 11 Through Stamps.

The exhibit includes space-related objects from the collections of both museums, highlighting a timeline of NASA accomplishments leading up to the Moon landing and beyond. Discover the numerous storylines of the Apollo Space Program and NASA, along with dozens of objects from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and the National Air and Space Museum in this online exhibit. Click here to view the exhibit.

(thanks to Postal Link for this story)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Penny Postcards: Remember when?

Remember when postcards cost a penny to mail? There is a great website with copies of penny postcards mailed from all the different States of the Union. It is great to check out. The link to this website is:

Do you remember penny postcards? If so, drop me a note.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Deal Art

A reader on vacation sent this beautiful depression-era mural found in the Crawford, NE, Post Office.

The artist, Glenn Newell, was 70 years old when he painted "The Crossing at Crawford" in 1940.

Your office might have one of these murals and I would love a photo of it. Mail it here along with any details you can gather.

The Depression era fine arts inventory owned and controlled by the United States Postal Service was commissioned during the 1930s and 1940s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Did you know there is a registry for new deal art? Go to and register your artwork and read about this fascinating bit of American history.

The Postal Service maintains a site here. And we even have a curator for New Deal Art -- contact him here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

National Folk Festival envelopes

The Big Sky District and the Butte, MT, Main Post Office are offering souvenir envelopes with a special pictorial postmark for sale from the 71st National Folk Festival held in Butte recently.

There are 3 postmark dates: July 10, July 11 and July 12.

The envelopes are priced at $5 each. To order by mail, send your check or money order for amount of envelopes requested, along with the desired postmark dates, to:

National Folk Festival Envelope
Butte Main Post Office
701 Dewey Blvd
Butte, MT 59701-9998

Buffalo Bills

This photo was taken by Keystone SD Carrier Tom Piersol.

What do you think about it? Tell me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Waste not, want not

With the decline in volume there is probably also a similar decline in the need for recycling and garbage services.

Paul Charlton at the Everett, WA, Post Office was tasked with paying bills. He started looking at what the trash and recycling companies were charging the Postal Service. He was surprised to see that we were paying more than $27,000 per year.

He started asking questions. “I wasn’t sure we needed them to come every day and pick up,” he said.

They didn’t, as the receptacles were rarely full.

So Charlton changed the frequency of the trash pickup to just a couple times a week, saving $5,500 a year.
He wasn't content with that. He then looked around for a better recycling deal. He found a recycler that uses larger bins and picks up less frequently, saving another $10,600 a year.
This is a great example of my famous saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” What do you think? Click here.
Photo of Paul Charlton by J.D. Kirk

Monday, July 13, 2009

Five day delivery -- Many Americans like the idea

A Gallup poll published recently found 95 percent of Americans believe it is vital for USPS to remain in business, with two-thirds of respondents saying it’s very important to them for the Postal Service to survive.

Americans also prefer the Postal Service’s proposal to reduce mail deliveries to five days a week as the most acceptable step toward meeting the financial challenges facing USPS.
  • The poll asked Americans about nine possible remedies to help USPS financially.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents favor the plan to reduce mail deliveries by a day, with 33 percent opposed to the idea.
  • The same percentage of respondents said reducing to five the number of days local Post Offices are open as the best option, with 32 percent opposed.
    Respondents were evenly divided on federal funding for USPS, with 48 percent supporting each side.

So what do you think? Leave a comment here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Caption contest -- NDCBU goes to the dogs

Got a suggested caption for this photo?
Photo courtesy of Brian Wade, Tolleson, AZ

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Carrier helps foil check-washing scheme

When a rural carrier at the Hugo, MN, Post Office retrieved some damaged pieces of mail from a NDCBU collection compartment, she turned the mail over to Officer-In-Charge Colleen Rieck.

Rieck noticed some opened letters and called the customer, along with the Postal Inspectors. She told the woman that she had found a payment coupon for a credit card account, but no check to go with it. The customer said that she would contact her bank immediately.

When the customer called her bank, they were able to flag the account. The flag showed up later, when a man showed up trying to cash the check in question. The check had been washed and then made out in the man’s name for $1,000 more than the original amount. The teller stalled the man, telling him that she would need to check to see if funds were available. Instead she called police, who arrived and placed the would-be check casher under arrest.

In this case, justice prevails!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mate!

Another Benny salute goes out to the boys and girls down under, as the Australian Post celebrates its 200th birthday.

The service was launched by ex-convict Isaac Nichols, who was appointed the first postmaster of the colony in 1809.

His mission was "to bring order to the chaos, and reduce the theft of mail from ships."

The first Post Office was established on Kangaroo Island when the first colonists settled there in 1836.

Pictured is the smallest Australian Post Office, Rock Valley, where Postmaster Daniel Seed serves.

If you have any pictures or comments about foreign postal operations, send them to me here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Clean Sweep

“Out with the old, in with the new.”
That’s the approach the Postal Service is taking in restocking the retail products it sells in Post
Office lobbies across the country.
What this clean sweep means to customers are some big-time discounts on select in-stock USPS-branded merchandise such as matted and framed artwork and stuffed animals.
Discounts on select Postal Service-branded items are available until August, when discontinued items will be removed from sale.
Later this fall, customers will find enhanced product displays and a different mix of merchandise in Post Office lobbies.

Some of the sale items include:
• Mailing and shipping supplies, such as ReadyPost boxes, mailers, tape and bubble wrap.
• Mail-related merchandise, such as scales and stamp dispensers.
• U.S. Postal Service-branded and promotional merchandise, such as passport holders.
• Philatelic products, including stamp yearbooks, stamped postal cards and stationery.
Many items are for sale at 50 percent off right now and some will be reduced to 75 percent off in July

Monday, July 6, 2009

Plugged in -- an electric fleet?

Commissioner Ruth Goldway, who serves on the Postal Regulatory Commission, really likes the idea of an electric future for postal vehicles.

Her office recently gave these stats:
The USPS fleet has more than 200,000 vehicles, 142,000 of them dedicated to daily local mail delivery. Most of them are the Long-Life Vehicles and were placed into service between 1987 and 1994 with a projected service life of 20 years.

Thanks to good maintenance and a pretty good product by Grumman (and maybe some bailing wire and gum), these vehicles are hanging in there. But they won't last forever.

The primary issue concern with LLVs, besides their age, is the fuel efficiency. The 2.4 liter engine only gets between 8-10 MPG -- which works out to about 25 cents a mile, depending on the cost of fuel.

Goldway wants to change that and is pushing for the LLVs to be replaced with electric models. Her office states that even with amortized cost of replacement batteries and depending on the local cost of electricity, a battery-powered LLV should cost between 8-12 cents a mile to operate.
And regular maintenance of electric vehicles is only 40 percent of gasoline models.

What do you think? Comment here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Postmaster is a hit

She did it.

As I told you a couple of weeks ago, Eastpointe, MI Postmaster Kate Brooks was nominated for national recognition for her good works.

Hundreds of thousands of votes propelled her and she is among 30 national winners of the “All Stars Among Us” contest, sponsored by PEOPLE magazine and Major League Baseball. She was the top vote-getter among three finalists to represent the Detroit Tigers and will be honored July 14 at the MLB All Star game in St. Louis.

Brooks has been pitching the benefits of joining the “Be The Match Registry” for the past two years, and as district coordinator for the Postal Service’s Delivering the Gift of Life campaign.

She has recruited more than 1,000 potential marrow donors for the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry.
Tell me what you think? Click here.

A pink camo stamp?

Modesto, CA, Rural Carrier Darlene Carey sent a pattern she created for clothing -- and thought it would make for an interesting stamp.
Pink camouflage is a -- unique -- idea. And why not use something unique for our letters?
(By the way, I would never wear pink, although I do look dashing in salmon-colored shirts. I even have a chartreuse scarf, but I only break that out for special occasions.)
Any other budding artists want to add your own stamp design?

Send it to me here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Midnight gardener, daytime carrier

Long Beach, CA, Letter Carrier Scott Bunnell has a secret job off the clock. He carries mail by day, but by night he welds a shovel and seeds and attacks unsightly traffic medians and other public spaces.

He is part of a effort by stealth gardeners who plant flowers and trees and bushes along neglected open spaces, beautifying the community. The unofficial movement even has a bad-boy name -- "guerrilla gardening."

Bunnell is the man responsible for beautifying 10 different intersections in his city. He plants flowering cacti and succulents and other low maintenance plants along these public spaces.

For many years, he was an unknown, silent sentry of the garden spot. But the L.A. Times outed his efforts -- and many are hailing his work.

"I see this as my responsibility, to make my community better," he told the newspaper. "When I see an open area of land, I envision a garden."