WBEZ | mail http://www.wbez.org/tags/mail Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago letter carriers carry on http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-letter-carriers-carry-109469 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/letter carrier.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Victor Austin works fast. He&rsquo;s got his mail presorted into bundles, and he pushes his mail cart forcefully through the snow-packed sidewalks. Despite being weighed down by layers of clothing, Austin moves quickly from gate to gate on a side street in Chicago&rsquo;s Lakeview neighborhood on the North Side. A good thing too, since this is the city&rsquo;s coldest Jan. 6 on record.</p><p>&ldquo;I got a sweater on, and I&rsquo;ve got a little thing covering my chest, and this coat right here,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;My long johns, my pants, and then these things right here,&rdquo; he added, pointing to standard, blue windbreaker pants issued by the U.S. Postal Service.</p><p>While many employers urged their employees to work from home, and city officials urged Chicagoans to stay indoors to avoid dangerously low temperatures, that wasn&rsquo;t an option for Austin and his fellow letter carriers with the USPS. Their jobs require them to work outside &ndash; even in the most adverse weather conditions.</p><p>On Monday, the USPS tried to make things easier for its employees, knowing wind chill temperatures were 35 degrees below zero. &ldquo;They let us know beforehand (to) take as little mail as possible, like the first and second class and the priority packages,&rdquo; Austin said. Still, he anticipated that his route would take the usual 4.5 hours.</p><p>Austin said getting through tough weather is largely a mental battle. Instead of thinking about the cold, he&rsquo;ll try to focus on warm places, like Florida. If he starts to get too cold, he said he might wait in the heated entryway of an apartment building, or in a restaurant, for a few minutes until he warms up a bit. Most important, he says, is to keep moving.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really eat lunch &ndash; like, days like today I don&rsquo;t really eat no lunch until I&rsquo;m finished because as long as I keep moving, then my body (will) be warm,&rdquo; Austin said, not pausing as he continued moving between homes. &ldquo;Once I stop, then you have to start it back up again, then I&rsquo;m gonna be in trouble.&rdquo;</p><p>His advice to newbie letter carriers? &ldquo;Stay warm, dress in layers,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If you get cold, go get warmed up, don&rsquo;t try to be no hero out here. Basically just be safe, use common sense.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-letter-carriers-carry-109469 Chicago mail carriers protest proposed cuts of Saturday delivery http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mail-carriers-protest-proposed-cuts-saturday-delivery-105595 <p><p>More than 100 postal workers rallied in Chicago Monday to protest a proposed plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/postal-service-cut-saturday-mail-trim-costs-105372" target="_blank">announced the cuts earlier this month</a>, and has since gone head-to-head with members of Congress over whether the U.S. Postal Service is authorized to cut six-day service without congressional approval.</p><p>Postal carriers have responded with protests across the country. In front of a post office in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood Monday, mailmen spilled out onto the street holding signs and calling on Postmaster Donahoe to step down.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79829709" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of other cost-cutting measures they can try that they haven&rsquo;t even tried yet,&rdquo; said Janet Rendant, who has been a mail carrier for 25 years. &ldquo;At least give us a chance, give the public a chance.&rdquo;</p><p>She and others accused the post office of cutting union jobs before seeking out other savings, and said they don&rsquo;t believe cutting mail service will actually save the post office much money because it will also result in a loss of customers.</p><p>Mark Reynolds, who represents the postal service in Chicago, said they&rsquo;ve already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/postal-service-close-naperville-processing-center-96657" target="_blank">closed facilities</a> and consolidated rural post offices to cut costs.</p><p>&ldquo;Obviously these are very difficult decisions that we have to make,&rdquo; said Reynolds. &ldquo;But what we&rsquo;re trying to do is to maintain customer service to the extent possible.&rdquo;<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79853510" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The U.S. Postal Service ended its 2012 fiscal year nearly $16 billion in the hole, and they say cutting Saturday delivery will save them $1.9 billion annually. The <a href="http://deliveringforamerica.com/" target="_blank">National Association of Letter Carriers</a> believes Congress can address the deficit by getting rid of a requirement that the postal service pre-fund its pension obligations.</p><p>A Congressional mandate that requires the post office to deliver mail six days a week expires March 27, but the cut to Saturday delivery would not go into effect until August. Delivery to PO boxes and package delivery would continue on Saturdays. Still, some <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/saturday-mail-delivery-cut-is-subject-of-senate-hearing.html" target="_blank">congressmen think the postmaster general is outside of his purview</a>, claiming any change to delivery days must be approved by Congress.</p><p>Mark Osier, a postal carrier for 38 years, attended the Chicago protest because he was concerned about younger postal workers&rsquo; jobs &ndash; and about his postal customers.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7033_002-scr%20%281%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 310px; width: 310px;" title="Mark Osier has been a postal carrier for 38 years. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>&ldquo;People look forward to the mailman coming,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Especially older people. It&rsquo;s their day&rsquo;s event.&rdquo;</p><p>The postal service paid for <a href="http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_024.htm" target="_blank">a survey</a> in February that found that 80 percent of Americans favor cutting mail delivery to five days a week.</p><p>But Osier said six-day postal delivery is symbolic. He and others at the protest say they believe cutting Saturday service marks the beginning of the end for postal workers, and for a long-standing tradition of unionized postal delivery jobs.</p><p>&ldquo;This is an institution, this is as American as apple pie,&rdquo; Osier said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gotta keep it going.&rdquo;</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter.</a></p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 16:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mail-carriers-protest-proposed-cuts-saturday-delivery-105595 You've got mail, Dr. Jones http://www.wbez.org/news/youve-got-mail-dr-jones-104370 <p><p>UPDATE: 12/17/2012 - <a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/post/38163049522/uchicagoadmissions-mischief-managed-for-those">The mystery has been solved</a>!</p><p><img align="middle" class="alwaysThinglink" src="http://s4.thingpic.com/images/Qe/QutL8eUbtxvzPieTeAK8UiZT.jpeg#tl-335870279513276416;626328886" style="width: 600px;" title="" /><script async charset="utf-8" src="//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js"></script><br /><span style="font-size:11px;"><em>Hover over the picture for fun facts about the mystery package (Tumblr/University of Chicago Admissions)</em></span></p><p>When a crinkly manila envelope addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr. arrived at the University of Chicago&#39;s admissions office few days ago, no one paid much mind.</p><p>It&#39;s prime time for them: college hopefuls will find out their admission statuses next week. And busy times mean lots of mail.</p><p>&quot;We get the wrong mail a lot and so we thought it was just something meant for a professor,&quot; said Senior Admissions Counselor at University of Chicago Grace Chapin. &quot;But when one of our student [workers] looked up the name, he just came back and laughed at us and said, &#39;You know this is Indiana Jones, right?&#39;&quot;</p><p>The office often gets art and research projects that students send as part of their application. Garrett Brinker, Director of Undergraduate Outreach (and a <a href="http://uchicagoadmissions.tumblr.com/post/36733584282/see-there-is-a-benefit-to-reading-all-the-way-to" target="_blank">Jedi Knight</a>), said it was their first thought, but it seems this is a well-done replica of a real movie prop.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re baffled by how much work has gone into this,&quot; Chapin said.</p><p>Brinker said they determined the package was dropped into a mail bin on campus. Further research turned up an e-Bay listing of another prop replica similar to this one, but there are key differences from the one they got.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s clearly trying to attempt to be this journal from &#39;Raiders of the Lost Ark&#39;,&quot; Chapin said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tumblr_mevtbcBvWC1r0p8d9o2_1280.jpg" style="height: 300px; float: left; width: 300px;" title="(Courtesy of University of Chicago Admissions)" />And someone put a lot of work into it. The package included a teal, bound journal belonging to Abner Ravenwood (though the handwriting inside isn&#39;t real), copies of Pan Am tickets, pictures, fake money, maps and fake stamps from Egypt on the envelope. And there&#39;s no return address.</div><p>Chapin said she has no idea why someone would send this.</p><p>One connection, she said, is that Indiana Jones mythology has him <a href="http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/University_of_Chicago" target="_blank">attending the University of Chicago </a>(and his roommates were Eliot Ness and Jack Shannon). That was where Jones studied under Ravenwood, before their work was strained by romantic liasons between Jones and Ravenwood&#39;s daughter Marion. Ravenwood was fired by the university over his obsession with the Ark of the Covenant.</p><p>Chapin also said the building that houses admissions and the economics department used to be the geography and geology building.</p><p>&quot;There are stone carvings that say &quot;Dig and discover,&quot; so it&#39;s possible someone latched on to the fact that this building used to be that kind of purpose and theorized that he may have worked here,&quot; she said.</p><p>Admissions hopes the Internet can come to their rescue with an answer, posting to its <a href="http://uchicagoadmissions.tumblr.com/post/37809971913/indiana-jones-mystery-package-we-dont-really" target="_blank">Tumblr</a> about the mysterious package. There&#39;s also an email address, in case anyone has tips or theories: <a href="mailto:indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu?subject=Indiana%20Jones%20Journal">indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu</a></p><p>If it is a student project, Brinker said it would be a &quot;wonderful way to have a little fun with the [admissions] process.&quot;</p><p>Although, he added, there&#39;s no need for every prospective student to send one.</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/youve-got-mail-dr-jones-104370 U.S. Postal Service in Chicago avoiding layoffs amid closings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-06/us-postal-service-chicago-avoiding-layoffs-amid-closings-94637 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-06/(AP PhotoMatt Rourke, File).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ's Odette Yousef <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/elderly-expect-brunt-postal-closures-94620" target="_blank">heard from</a> local residents worried about losing their local post office. Now, we turn to the letter carriers. Officials at the <a href="https://www.usps.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Post Office</a> said they were not planning to lay off postal workers; instead, they will be reassigned. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> caught up with Chicago mail carrier Barbara Gannon Monday to hear her reaction to the service cuts. On Tuesday, Chicago District spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, Mark Reynolds, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>to discus how the expected closings will affect customers and carriers alike.</p><p><em>Music Button: Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms, "Diesel", from the album Spacer, (Delmark)</em></p></p> Tue, 06 Dec 2011 14:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-06/us-postal-service-chicago-avoiding-layoffs-amid-closings-94637 How the U.S. Postal Service can make up the $5.1 billion it lost this year http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-11-17/how-us-postal-service-can-make-51-billion-it-lost-year-94137 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-17/3371759372_d1c7a23b0d.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-17/3371759372_d1c7a23b0d.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 254px;" title="U.S. Post Office 62536 in Glenarm, IL (Flickr/Randy von Liski)"><i>"The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday that it lost $5.1 billion in the past year." — <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hv9pbUPEvHMIYp9HeTwptUJqX1Rw?docId=f23e5c50acda4a2ba6456d1a3c04c467">Associated Press</a></i></p><p>How the U.S. Postal Service can make up the $5.1 billion it lost this year:&nbsp;</p><p>•&nbsp;Raise price of stamps to $5.1 billion for one year. Get one extremely wealthy person in America to send just one letter.</p><p>•&nbsp;Sell&nbsp;<em>The Definitive Map to the Stars’ Homes</em>&nbsp;on street corners in Beverly Hills.</p><p>• Drive efficiency by giving all postal workers e-mail addresses instead of stubbornly making them use U.S. mail to coordinate meetings, exchange files, etc.</p><p>• Cancel mail on Saturdays. Also remove “sleet” from that poem about conditions mail carriers will work in.</p><p>•&nbsp;Don’t let people get away with that "writing DON’T BEND on envelopes" crap. (Note: This won’t save money but may boost morale.)</p><p>•&nbsp;Somehow convince Bed, Bath &amp; Beyond to mail out more 20%-off coupons.</p><p>• Compete with airlines by letting people put themselves in boxes with holes on top and then mail themselves to their destination.</p><p>•&nbsp;Cancel this year’s Postal Service holiday party featuring Led Zeppelin reunion.</p><p>•&nbsp;Set up a meeting with AOL to discuss working together again.</p><p>• Promise same-day delivery. Apologize later.</p><p>•&nbsp;Replace rude woman behind counter at my local post office with rude robot.</p><p>• Eliminate mail carriers. Drop off mail at one person’s house on every block, let people pass mail down the street until everyone gets theirs.&nbsp;</p><p>•&nbsp;Do a better job getting the word out about Sweetest Day.</p><p>•&nbsp;Let people mail weed.</p><p>———</p><p>More ideas to recoup the $5.1 billion? Let me know in the comments.</p></p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-11-17/how-us-postal-service-can-make-51-billion-it-lost-year-94137 Postcard: Detroit's floating post office http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-31/img_1542.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="384" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25048736?title=0" width="577"></iframe></p><p>Twenty percent of the earth’s fresh surface water is contained in the five Great Lakes. From industry to recreation, the lakes affect life in the Great Lakes region. That connection is the focus of a new WBEZ series called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a>.</p><p>Over the next several weeks the series will be examining critical issues centered on water. The first installment takes a look at how the lakes affect our lives.&nbsp;</p><p>In the banks of the Detroit River, there sits the J.W. Westcott. The ship is only 45 feet long.&nbsp; But believe it or not, it has its own zip code.</p><p>Since 1874, the J.W. Westcott Company has served the Great Lakes Waterways,&nbsp; delivering mail and freight to cargo ships on the Detroit River.</p><p>Zak Rosen provided an audio postcard for <em>Front and Center</em> - Chicago Public Media’s new series about the Great Lakes.</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 06:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office-0 Postcard: Detroit's floating post office http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-31/img_1542.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25048736?title=0" width="577" frameborder="0" height="384"></iframe></p><p>Twenty percent of the earth’s fresh surface water is contained in the five Great Lakes. From industry to recreation, the lakes affect life in the Great Lakes region. That connection is the focus of a new WBEZ series called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a>.</p><p>Over the next several weeks the series will be examining critical issues centered on water. The first installment takes a look at how the lakes affect our lives.&nbsp;</p><p>In the banks of the Detroit River, there sits the J.W. Westcott. The ship is only 45 feet long.&nbsp; But believe it or not, it has its own zip code.</p><p>Since 1874, the J.W. Westcott Company has served the Great Lakes Waterways,&nbsp; delivering mail and freight to cargo ships on the Detroit River.</p><p>Zak Rosen provided an audio postcard for <em>Front and Center</em> - Chicago Public Media’s new series about the Great Lakes.</p></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2011 18:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office Postal Service looking to close offices, but not likely in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/mail/postal-service-looking-close-offices-not-likely-chicago <p><p>Post offices around Chicago are bracing for major cutbacks. The United States Postal Service is planning to close more than 2,000 post offices around the country.</p><p>Mark Reynolds is a spokesman for the U-S Postal Service in Chicago. He said there isn&rsquo;t a list of specific post offices closing their doors yet- but there is a small finance office on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side that will be folding into a larger office.</p><p>&quot;We are, obviously, in a situation where we've got to make some serious changes and some business decisions just like any other company has had to do in the face of this economy, plus all of the other business factors that have affected the postal service over the last few years,&quot;&nbsp;Reynolds said.</p><p>Reynolds said rural post offices are in more danger of closing than urban locations.</p><p>He said legislators in Washington, D.C. are still in discussions about ending mail service on Saturdays.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 24 Jan 2011 20:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/mail/postal-service-looking-close-offices-not-likely-chicago