Local News Politics

Yarmuth: Congressional Help for Postal Service is a Long Shot

The U.S. Postal Service is on the brink of defaulting on its employee pension obligations and is asking congressional leaders for assistance, but U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says lawmakers may have too much on their plate to help the ailing agency.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told a Senate committee Tuesday the agency was likely to run out of cash before the end of the month. The Postal Service faces a $10 billion deficit for the fiscal year and must make a $5.5 billion payment to retiree benefits due on Sept. 30.

Donahoe warned the agency could shutdown next year unless Congress approves a long-term financial solution.

Congressman Yarmuth say lawmakers could help the ailing agency by refunding nearly $7 billion in overpayments to the federal employee pension system. But he says the agency faces some tough choices due to changing technology that has made mail delivery almost obsolete.

“The postal service does face some structural and long-term problems and that basically comes from the business that they’ve lost because of the Internet. This would not serve their long-term problems, but it certainly would solve their short-term obligations and again this is not money that would cost the taxpayer anything,” he says.

Local News

USPS to Conduct Area Efficiency Studies

By Alan Lytle, Kentucky Public Radio

The U.S. Postal Service is conducting a study of the efficiency of its Louisville and Lexington hubs.

Spokesman David Walton says the study will determine whether some of the duties handled in the Lexington Processing and Distribution Center could be performed more efficiently at the Louisville facility. The USPS is doing similar studies in many other cities.

“Sometimes they have these studies and they say, hey, it’s not going to be worth it to proceed. In other cases they do,” says Walton ” Once we do reach that point, though, if we do decide to move ahead we will have a public meeting where we can get our stakeholders and customers’ comments. We’d like to hear from them because that is very much a part of this study.”

Walton says the Postal Service is on track to lose 6 billion dollars this year so examining all forms of consolidation is necessary.

“We have to do this because to have redundant processes going on at plants it’s really not much of a cost savings,” he says “so, if we can do the same thing in the Louisville plant that we are doing in Lexington, we’re going to go for it.”

The USPS is still trying to overcome the effects of the economic recession, and the agency projects another 6 billion dollar loss this fiscal year. The service is also considering closing some branches.
Walton says a public meeting will be held before any consolidations occur.

Local News

Louisville Ranked 4th in Postal Worker Dog Bites

According to the United States Postal Service, 40 letter carriers in Louisville were attacked by dogs in 2010. That makes us 4th on the list of cities with the most attacks. The Postal Service says 5,669 postal workers were attacked nationwide in 2010.

The announcement coincides with National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 15-21).  The annual event seeks to raise awareness for attack prevention and responsible pet ownership. Around 4.7 million Americans are bitten annually, most of them being children.

Louisville Postmaster Richard Curtsinger says dog attacks are not just a postal problem, but are a nationwide issue.

Local News

Postal Service Celebrates King, Displays New Stamp

A new but still unreleased postage stamp was on display in west Louisville Friday morning as part of an annual Martin Luther King Day celebration.

The stamp commemorating Barbara Jordan was featured in the Oak and Acorn ElderServe center. Jordan was the first African-American woman from the south elected to Congress. The stamp is part of the Black Heritage series.

“This is the 34th stamp in the series. Usually we try to have a theme stamp for this event. Last year, for example, we had the Negro League Baseball stamp that we had on display here,” says Postal Service spokesperson David Walton.

Lucius Morrow is the manager of King Post Office, which is down the street from the center. This was his first time attending the King celebration as manager.

“It’s just a sense of pride and going back and remembering that everything we have now, we didn’t get for free. It was a struggle,” he says.

The event was not an official unveiling of the Barbara Jordan stamp. It will go on sale in September.

Local News

Exemption Will Allow Tobacco To Be Shipped To Soldiers

A law that blocked tobacco from being sent to American soldiers serving in combat zones will soon be revised.

The PACT Act took effect in June. It was meant to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors and required anyone mailing tobacco products to send them through tracked and confirmed Express Mail.

But Express Mail cannot go to many foreign combat zones. Postal service spokesperson Greg Frey says the rules will be changed later this month so tobacco can be sent to soldiers through a different type of mail.

“We have made an exception at this point to allow for priority mail with delivery confirmation because of the sensitive nature of serving those brave Americans that are defending our liberties overseas,” he says.

The exemption takes effect on the 27th. Frey says it only affects mail to soldiers and not civilian-to-civilian packages.

State of Affairs

The U.S. Postal Service: What's Next?

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Or used your local post office for business purposes? The United States Postal Service sure wishes you would. In a society where “snail mail” is swiftly becoming replaced by fast-paced Internet technology, the United States Postal Service is working to ensure that it remains an integral part of everyday American life. Join us Thursday as we discuss the past, present, and future of the United States Postal Service, an iconic American tradition.   Listen to the Show

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Local News

Economic Woes Could Mean USPS Service Cuts

The U.S. Postal Service may have to cut back more services in the face of mounting economic pressure.  The service has been ordered to pay billions for retiree health care, and it’s asking Congress for some relief from those payments in order to maintain service.  But spokesman David Walton says the postal service is also facing external business pressure.

“First class mail has been declining, mostly due to electronic diversion. In the area of shipping, we face tremendous competition from several world-class competitors.  And then also mailers have been cutting back as well because of their own financial challenges and because of the rising costs of basic inputs, like paper,” says Walton.

Walton says the service has offered thousands of employees early retirement and frozen executive salaries.  If Congress does not approve scaling back retiree health care benefits, Walton says the service may reduce mail delivery to five days a week temporarily.

Local News

Postal Service Slowly Returning to Normal

Fifty six post offices are still without power throughout Kentucky.  And three are still closed.  That’s down from nearly a dozen offices closed earlier this week, and well over a hundred without power. But mail service is slowly returning in the Commonwealth. Still, postal service spokesman David Walton says some offices have fallen behind.

“There is mail that has backed up at some offices, just about a day or two, and we hope to have that delivered as soon as we can,” says Walton.

Walton says some streets have been declared too dangerous to enter, and so homes on those streets will have to wait until it’s safe for letter carriers to return.  He says the postal service is working around the clock to return delivery to normal.

Local News

Postal Service Changes Routes in Louisville to Save Money

The U.S. Postal Service is making some changes, and Louisville is no exception. Louisville spokesperson David Walton says the national recession has sparked a rapid decline in first-class mail. Therefore, they’re revising their routes to make them more efficient. Walton says route changes aren’t that unusual.

“These particular route adjustments will be completed by February,” says Walton “So right now, in the Louisville area, there are some of these route adjustments that have caused us to make some changes.”

Changes have already taken place.

“The Lyndon and downtown stations, those have already gone into effect,” says Walton. “And starting this Saturday, there will be some changes at Hikes Point, Iroquois, and Valley Station offices.”

Walton says the rest of the adjustments will be in place by the end of this month, but residents shouldn’t notice a change in service, other than perhaps delivery times.