Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Something to crow about

“It’s a plane.”

“No it’s a bird.”

Well, actually, it’s a lot of birds on a lot of planes.

McFarlane Pheasants of Janesville, WI ships live bird hatchlings throughout the U.S.

Sometimes, they send more than 100,000 birds in a single week.

Shipping hatchlings is tricky business. The baby birds are very delicate. Efficient transportation is important so that they may receive needed care from their new owners.

McFarlane Pheasants and other hatcheries rely heavily on the Postal Service to ensure that birds arrive alive and in good shape.

The farm makes a 600-mile round trip to the Local Distribution Center (LDC) at the Twin Cities Airport.

On a typical Tuesday, McFarlane personnel begin pulling, sexing, sorting and boxing chicks for shipment early in the morning. By they are ready to go, arriving at the LDC by in order to make afternoon flights. This allows McFarlane to achieve overnight or 2-day service to many parts of the country.

It’s no bed of feathers, but hard work for everyone according to McFarlane Logistics Coordinator Brad Lillie.

“We’re not only depending on our staff, but also the dedication of the U.S. postal team,” he said.
“We’re fortunate to have access to a live airmail facility and we know that this gets our birds to our customers as quickly as possible at a reasonable cost."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Real Rural Roads

The following photos were taken after a wet stretch in Rich Hill, Missouri.

According to Postmaster Larry Hacker, the pictures show what challenges carriers face to deliver "every piece every day." 

What's the worst road you've ever had to drive to deliver mail? Got a bad experience you want to share? Email me here or post your comment here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Are postal employees smarter than average?

Forbes magazine recently printed an article called  "Keep genuises out of the Post Office." It's a rambling piece on capitalism, government control of assets, and properly using resources.

The author of the article says this, "A friend of mine is a psychologist who has done extensive IQ testing on postal employees. His testing found that the average intelligence of postal employees is significantly higher than the public at large with some in menial jobs having genius level IQs. This is not by accident, it is because the post office has high admission testing standards that select the best and brightest."

So, what do you think? Are we the best and brightest of society?

You can comment here, but remember to be nice!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All torn up

The Long Prairie, MN, Post Office is the site of major street repair around the office. The mail truck and rural carriers have been navigating some tough roads, just to get to the dock.

Photos courtesy Lorna Hunter

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to save a life

Phoenix Manager of Distribution Operations Frank Allen was at the P&DC making sure the mail was moving, when he was summoned to the cafeteria. There he found an employee choking, despite two attempts to clear the employee's airway.

Frank Allen saved a coworkers life
He stood behind the employee, who was turning blue from a lack of oxygen, and performed the Heimlich Maneuver, which resulted in a dislodging the food in the employee’s throat.

Breathing again, the paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and gave first aid treatment to the grateful employee.

Do you know how to do the Heimlich? You never know when you might need it.

Click here for simple instructions.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Caption contest

What's your best caption for this photo?

Click here to add your wit!

Photo courtesy Lisa Nystuen, Fairfield, WA.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Office Depot + Post Office = Opportunity?

In case you missed it, Office Depot is now selling postal products and services at 1,100 of it's stores.

They will offer Priority Mail, Express Mail and postage stamps. Office Depot is already a FedEx and UPS shipper.

What do you think about this arrangement? Will it bring in new business?  Comment here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A collusion of the calendar

Brightwood, OR, Postmaster Aaron Campbell takes the oath of office from Post Office Operations Manager Michael McGuire. The day was special on many levels. It was the town of Brightwood's 100-year anniversary since its founding. It was also Campbell's birthday. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Employee send-off is a salute to all who serve

Topeka Kansas Data Collection Technician, Lee Smith got a little extra when he was at the Wichita P&DC for training.

Smith who is also a Staff Sergeant in the Kansas Army National Guard 778th Transportation Squadron, will soon be departing for his second tour in Iraq in September. He was given a surprise sendoff at the plant by the American Legion Riders who arrived on their motorcycles bearing US Flags.

The riders presented Smith with a "We Support Our Troops" banner signed by Legion Riders and Postal Employees to take with him to Iraq. Smith was also given a Rider challenge coin for appreciation for his service. "It was very nice" said Smith, "I plan to send photos back of the banner hanging in Iraq."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drive-through Post Office

Fortunately, no one was hurt in this accident in Winnemuca, NV.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Postmaster weighs record hailstone

We talk about penny, marble and golf-ball sized hail. How about softball-sized hail?

That's what Leslie Scott scooped up after a massive hailstorm hit Vivian, SD.

Scott put the stone in a cooler with some dry ice,  and then later, went with a news crew down to his local Post Office where Postmaster Linda Perry weighed the stone.

The scale said 1.9375 pounds, a new world record. Additionally, the stone measured 18 and 1/2 inches around, also a world record.

The hailstone was later transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Friday, August 13, 2010

One bright spot

The third quarter report showed one bit of good news: Standard Mail volume increased 4.2 percent compared to last year. This was the second consecutive quarter of increase.

Total mail volume, however, continued the trend of declines. So far this year, volume is down 6.6 billion pieces.

What do you see in your office? On your route? What is volume doing in your town? Comment here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Orphaned" postcards find homes

Bonnie Jeanne who runs the PostMuse website, was a postcard collector for many years. But she realized that all those postcards without stamps, addresses and messages were missing something.

"For years I collected unwritten postcards. Envelope after envelope of the things arrived and I'd duly sort them into categories and file them away," said Bonnie. "A while back I looked at the huge collection and wondered why I ever thought collecting blank postcards would be fun. There is absolutely no connection to the person who sent them to me"

So what she did is gathered the thousands of postcards she had, and found people across the world who would "adopt" a postcard. Bonnie then sends the card in an envelope, where the receipient writes a message and mails it back. The card and the message are displayed on her website.

What do you think about this project?

Thanks to PostMuse for this great postcard from the past,
used as part of her Orphaned Postcard Project 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Postcard revival

Sending a postcard to friends while you are travelling is a time-honored tradition that is rooted in the desire to share experiences. Today there are other options, like e-mail or the telephone, but there's nothing like an old-fashioned postcard.

The postal-loving people over at Postcrossing have taken postcards one step further. They promote sending postcards to random strangers. It's sort an pen-pal system, powered by the Internet. In just five years, Postcrossing has facilitated more than 4.7 million postcards sent by more than 190,000 members to about 200 countries.
The service is free. Once you join, you put your address into a secure database. When you are ready to send a card, they will give you an address somewhere around the world. At the same time, your address will be given to someone else who will send you a card.

It's an interesting way to teach geography and help international affairs.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Representative proposes "mail holidays"

Congressman Jason Chaffetz has introduced H.R. 5919, which would grant the Postmaster General the authority to implement up to twelve “postal holidays” per year to reduce USPS operating costs. Mail wouldn't be delivered on those days.

These would be floating holidays that the PMG would select when mail volume is historically lower than normal.

If there would be a way to work around the current schedules, would this save us any money?

Comment here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Village nabs world record for sending most postcards

Residents in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, England addressed, stamped and mailed more than 8,000 postcards in a single day, claiming a Guiness World Record. The whole project was completed in a mere three hours.

The previous record for mailing cards from one location in 24 hours was 5,217, held by a village in India.

The postcard project was part of a fund-raising project to build a children' spark.

The cards were sent addresses around the world, as the residents of the town mailed them to friends, family and even strangers.

This was a most interesting effort. It used the mail to connect people. What a novel idea! Care to comment?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Interesting Postcards

Postcards are the talk this week and I know you've seen plenty in your day.

It seems like postcard are the ultimate compliment; "wish you were here," they shout. Or they might be a form of victory; "we finally had the money to travel!"

Some are just simple expressions. Some are elaborate works of art.

What's been the most interesting postcard you've ever seen or received? Comment here.

Probably NOT commissioned by the Arkansas Department of tourism

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's your secret?

Benny here.
Yesterday, I listened to Your Postal Podcast and heard the story of Frank Warren, who is the creative force behind the Internet sensation called Post Secret.
Warren's project solicits people to send him anonymous postcards, bearing their deepest, darkest secret.

That got me to thinking. I have some deep, dark secrets. Like the time I secretly left a rotting sausage under the porch of that rascal Alexander Hamilton. Or how about the time I hid Jefferson's wig in the chamber of John Adams.

I have a "postal secret," too. Although I was the big shot Postmaster from Phildelphia, I must admit that I travelled quite a bit. It was actually Mrs. Franklin who ran the show most of the time for me. She created a orderly place of business, gave it charm, and helped organize the place.

If she were in charge today, I wonder what we would be?

What's your "postal secret?"  Care to share? You can share anonymously by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This Old Post Office is now a scrapbooker's dream

When the Creston, IA, Post Office moved to fancier digs in 1976, the majestic Old Post Office on Maple Street sat empty for nearly 30 years.

But what others saw as just another old building, six sisters and their mother saw as a dream come true.

The partners bought the old Post Office and moved their growing scrapbook company, Maple Street Memories into it.

Maple Street Memories carries a wide variety of supplies, including albums, accent papers, stamps, die cuts, stickers, rub-ons, embellishments, storage units, and much more.

They carry more than 3,500 items on eBay and of course, they use the Postal Service for their shipping.

They were featured on KCCI television. Watch it here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Listen. Do you want to hear a secret?

Imagine getting a half million postcards delivered to your mailbox, and every one of them bears a secret, sent anonymously.

That's the life of Frank Warren, the force behind Post Secret. Hear his story on the latest edition of Your Postal Podcast.

Also on this month’s show: A look at how letter carriers deliver in the middle of summer heatwaves, plus details on the new stamps honoring Negro Leagues Baseball.

For a transcript of the program, please click here.

Be sure to catch up on previous shows below. All of the podcasts can also be downloaded free at the iTunes store or via any other RSS feeder. Please click here to share your comments and ideas for future podcasts.

What do you think about Post Secret? Good idea? Why do people feel the need to share their lives? Comment here.

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