Reducing costs to save the Postal Service

America needs a financially-stable Postal Service to best adapt to a changing marketplace and evolving mail needs. To preserve the long-term affordability of mail and return our organization to financial stability, we are pursuing a plan to significantly consolidate our national network of mail processing facilities — reducing the total number of facilities from 461 to less than 200 by the end of 2013.

Declining mail volumes and a rising percentage of fixed costs dictate that we take this bold action to preserve and protect the world’s leading Postal Service for our customers and our employees. From 1940 to 2006, the Postal Service oversaw a continuous expansion of processing and retail facilities to meet the growing demand for mail delivery. This expanded capacity was built to handle high volumes of mail as was the case in 2006 when volumes peaked at 213 billion pieces of mail for processing and delivery by the Postal Service. In 2011, 168 billion pieces of mail were delivered. In 2020, the Postal Service expects to deliver as few as 130 billion pieces of mail. By any standard, this is a steep percentage decline.

In just the past financial quarter, the Postal Service lost $3.3 billion dollars and is projecting steep losses for the remainder of the year.

No one is to blame. Times have just changed. So must the Postal Service. The fact is the American public and businesses are relying more on electronic communications. Bills are paid online. Friends and family interact through Facebook and Twitter.

Nevertheless, the demise of the Postal Service is greatly exaggerated. The Postal Service sustains a $900 billion industry that employs more than 8 million people. On any given day, we deliver to more than 151 million locations. And even in a digital world, mail remains a powerful communications, marketing and delivery channel.

As we reposition our operational networks, we are fully committed to ensuring a seamless transition for our employees and our customers. The realignment is contingent upon the adoption by the Postal Service of a final rule to change delivery service standards. In addition, in December 2011, the Postal Service agreed to impose a moratorium on closing or consolidating Post Offices and mail processing facilities until May 15, 2012, to give Congress and the Administration the opportunity to enact an alternative plan.

The steps we are taking now will put the Postal Service on a strong financial footing for decades to come.

— Lynn Smith

Greater Indiana

District Manager

U.S. Postal Service

Spring cleaning for Goodwill

The end of 2011 signaled a ray of hope for the economy. Unemployment was down slightly and holiday retail shopping was up. Yet, for millions of families out of work, the economic outlook for 2012 is anything but positive.

Did you know that the simple act of decluttering your closets, attics and other storage spaces this spring can make a difference to those who need to find jobs to support their families?

Spring cleaning is a win-win proposition. Your donations of gently used clothing and household goods will be sold in Goodwill retail stores and online at shopgoodwill.com.  The revenues will fund employment programs and community-based services that can lead to jobs and fresh starts for people who are unemployed in the area.

In 2011, more than 74 million people donated to Goodwill. The revenues generated by those donations helped Goodwill serve more 3 million people in the United States and Canada.

Please remember that by donating items you no longer need, you help fund programs that strengthen families, neighborhoods and our local economy.

To find a Goodwill donation site near you, visit the Goodwill locator at www.goodwill.org or go to www.wvgoodwill.org.

— Bill Tennis, exec. director 

Wabash Valley

Goodwill Industries

Superb time for vegetarian diet

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter when Christians would abstain from meat and dairy products in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of reflection before launching his ministry.

Devout Christians who still observe meatless Lent help reduce chronic diseases, environmental degradation, and animal abuse. In the past four decades, dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases.

A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented animals being raised for food under abject conditions of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, and manhandling.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Jesus’ powerful message of compassion and love for all living beings. To stop subsidizing disease, devastation, and cruelty. To choose a wholesome nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains and a vast array of meat and dairy alternatives. It’s a diet mandated in Genesis I-29 and observed in the Garden of Eden.

Entering “vegetarian lent” in your favorite search engine provides ample tips and recipes.

— Tommy Caton

Terre Haute

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