WBEZ | U.S. Postal Service http://www.wbez.org/tags/us-postal-service Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Ebony, Jet founder immortalized on U.S. stamp http://www.wbez.org/story/ebony-jet-founder-immortalized-us-stamp-95959 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-31/John Johnson_AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-30/John H Johnson.JPG_.crop_display.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 472px;" title="John H. Johnson founded Ebony and Jet magazines. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service) ">The U.S. Postal Service will have its turn commemorating the life of John H. Johnson, a Chicago entrepreneur who made an indelible mark on African-American history.</p><p>With a loan from his mother, Johnson founded <em>Ebony</em> and <em>Jet</em> magazines. The feat was pulled off in the 1940s and 1950s, a time when positive images of blacks were scarce.</p><p>The monthly and weekly magazines have been undergoing makeovers but continue to celebrate African-American life.</p><p>The U.S. Postal Service chooses one person a year to feature on its black heritage stamp series.</p><p>“It’s a very timely choice when we look at the state of the media industry and the state of black business it does call attention to the fact in a different time we saw someone build from scratch a media empire that did make money and was very profitable,” said Mark Reynolds, a Chicago district spokesman for the Postal Service.</p><p><em>Ebony </em>and <em>Jet </em>covered the civil rights movement and furthered America’s understanding of black people. The publications continue to underscore aspects of black life that are still ignored in mainstream media. Johnson was the first African-American to make Forbes magazine’s list of wealthiest Americans. Considered an astute businessman, Johnson also hobnobbed with and advised U.S. presidents.</p><p>The stamp will be unveiled Tuesday morning at Johnson Publishing Company headquarters on Michigan Avenue.</p><p>Johnson died in 2005.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ebony-jet-founder-immortalized-us-stamp-95959 Elderly expect brunt of postal closures http://www.wbez.org/story/elderly-expect-brunt-postal-closures-94620 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-05/photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. Postal Service announced that during the busy holidays it will take a break from a controversial plan to close post offices, but the issue is still stewing in some neighborhoods - especially among elderly residents.</p><p>Eleven post offices in Chicago are on the list of potential closures, nearly all on the city’s South and West Sides. Those are the communities where many say that older residents will bear the brunt of the hardship of having to travel farther to use a full-service postal facility.</p><p>Residents near those locations received letters over the summer notifying them of the proposal to close their local post office, and inviting comments. Dorothy Sumpter, a 73-year-old resident of the North Lawndale neighborhood, said as soon as she received the letter, she put the date of a public town hall meeting on the proposal on her calendar.</p><p>“People like me need the post office,” said Sumpter, “so that’s why I wanted to be in on it. I’m a citizen and I use every right that I possibly can.”</p><p>Sumpter uses the Otis Grant Collins Post Office, where revenue dropped $200,000 between fiscal years 2007 and 2010. Throughout the nation, post offices are seeing a decline in revenues and foot traffic, attributed to the shift to online bill-paying and correspondence. But Sumpter says she and many other elderly people like her aren’t part of the internet-using trend.</p><p>“I don’t feel comfortable using it,” she said. “I’m old-fashioned.”</p><p>Sumpter goes to the post office every week because she has a P.O. Box there, but also to buy stamps and mail her bills. She said she feels comfortable going there because it’s easy to access on foot and by bus, and she knows all the workers by name. If the Otis Grant Collins branch closes, the next closest post office would be in Cicero. “Which I don’t even know where the post office is in Cicero,” Sumpter laughed. “And I don’t really want to have to go over there just to go to a post office, because many times I can walk to the post office in less than 15 minutes.”</p><p>Sumpter said she fears that the elderly will become more isolated if they lose their neighborhood post offices, because many are less mobile to begin with, and sometimes walking to the post office is a crucial part of their social interaction and weekly exercise regime. Karen Schenck, Chicago District Manager/Postmaster, said many share Sumpter’s view.</p><p>“That was the largest concern. If you had to ask me what was the biggest concern of all the town hall meetings,” said Schenck, “was people were concerned about the elderly in their own community.”</p><p>The list of proposed closures came from USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C., said Schenck.</p><p>“Nobody took into consideration any other fact except for how much revenue,” she explained, “and if there was another post office within two miles close to it that could service the community.”</p><p>Schenck says the district office is now looking at population data to see how many elderly live near the post offices that may close. She says that’ll help them make a final decision. Schenck says of the 11 offices on the shortlist, some will be spared.</p><p>But concern for the elderly may be loudest in Chicago’s Chinatown. Of the zip codes where offices may close, Chinatown’s is the one with the greatest portion of residents over age 65, with several senior housing high rises in the immediate vicinity of the post office. Chinatown’s elderly also say they have an unique need - a place where people are bilingual.</p><p>“The employees, they don’t speak Chinese,” said 60-year old Harry Wong.</p><p>Wong is like many elderly Chinese immigrants in Chicago who speak limited English. He uses the Chinatown post office because if there’s a language barrier, he can turn to other customers in the store for help translating. That’s the reason that many elderly Chinese who live in other places will often bypass a closer post office to go to Chinatown’s.</p><p>Chinatown organizers have gathered hundreds of handwritten letters from residents to protest the potential closure of their post office. USPS is still accepting those comments, and says no post offices will close before March.</p></p> Tue, 06 Dec 2011 23:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/elderly-expect-brunt-postal-closures-94620 Sen. Durbin says proposed cutbacks to postal services hurt Illinois http://www.wbez.org/story/sen-durbin-says-proposed-cutbacks-postal-services-hurt-illinois-94627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-06/AP111205113389.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago area is bracing for cutbacks to the U.S. Mail service, following news of proposed cuts from the cash strapped U.S. Postal Service.</p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said proposed cuts to the U.S. Postal Service will hit Illinois too hard.</p><p>The agency has proposed closing several facilities around the state, including three in the Chicago-area, as part of an effort to save $3 billion by 2015.</p><p>Durbin said significant changes are coming to the way the post office works, but he urges a more thoughtful implementation.</p><p>"Honestly, the postal services as we know it today is going to change. We want to do it in a way that will not jeopardize the best postal service in the world," Durbin said.</p><p>He said he is open to ending mail service on Saturdays-- although some businesses depend on Saturday delivery. First class mail will likely arrive later than usual because of the proposed cutbacks.</p><p>The U.S. Postal Service spokesperson for the Chicago District, Mark Reynolds, said proposed changes, if approved, will not take effect until March of 2012.</p><p>"We are facing a very severe loss in volume over time and we have to obviously make some adjustments to some long series of multi-billion dollar losses and get back to profitibility, while maintaining the level of service that our customers expect from us," Reynolds said.</p></p> Tue, 06 Dec 2011 00:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sen-durbin-says-proposed-cutbacks-postal-services-hurt-illinois-94627 Chicago residents react to potential post office closures http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-residents-react-potential-post-office-closures-89735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/post office2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. Postal Service <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-26/your-post-office-closing-usps-studying-shuttering-3700-locations-89678">announced Tuesday</a> that it will be evaluating whether to close 14 Chicago-area post offices over the next few months&nbsp;because of a lack of revenue. More than 200 offices in Illinois are on a list that includes <a href="http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/statelist.htm">3,700 locations nationwide</a>. The majority of the Chicago offices slated for closure are on the South and West Sides of the city.</p><p>Tanny Terrell worked near the Haymarket Post Office in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, but recently lost her job in commercial real estate. She'll be looking for new work come next week. "Technology is pushing a lot of us out of work...but I think there's still enough old school that like to mail letters and have the personal touch that institutions like this, if it were to go away, it would be a shame," said Terrell.</p><p>Cathy Hodges lives on the South Side, but she has kept a P.O. Box at the Haymarket office near where she works for ten years. She said she doesn't trust her mailbox at home, which is outside, and so she comes to the office frequently. "I work in the legal profession, and we still mail everything," she said.</p><p>Post office spokesman Mark Reynolds said the threatened locations are all in low-traffic neighborhoods or have another office relatively nearby, but that it's too soon to tell how many jobs will be affected by the closings. He said USPS wasn't worried about crowding at the remaining locations, and is adding what they call "Village Post Offices" to grocery and convenience stores. Those locations will sell stamps and basic post office products.</p><p>"Crowding at other post offices would be a wonderful problem to have," said Reynolds. According to the USPS, 35% of its revenue is unrelated to the local post offices.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 21:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-residents-react-potential-post-office-closures-89735