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February 9, 2012     Times
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February 9, 2012
 

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PRC supports NNA recommendations for better selection criteria for post office closings Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has recommended that the U.S. Postal Service take another look at its approach to dosing post offices, supporting many criticisms made by National Newspaper Association (NNA) in its fall 2011 testimony. The PRC released its opinion in the USPS proposal to close retail offices, laid out in the case Retail Access Optimization Initiative. The Postal Service is required to seek the PRC's input whenever it embarks upon major service changes. NNA participated in the case to argue that although it did not cat- egorically oppose small post office changes, the selection of offices to be dosed and the manner in which USPS sought public feedback were flawed. The PRC agreed with NNA and strongly suggested that USPS revise its plans. PRC Chair Ruth Goldway was particularly critical in a sepa- rate opinion, saying the proposals "reveal a pattern of inaccurate and overly optimistic economic savings calculations and of careless disre- gard of community concerns." NNA President Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News in Benson, MN, said NNA had achieved its goals through evidence offered to the commission. "We said at the outset we were not opposing post office closings, but that we saw major gaps in the Postal Service's approach. Through the expert testimony of our Postal Committee chair, Max Heath, we pointed out flaws. We are gratified that the commission was able to use our information in its final opinion. Now we hope to support the Postal Service in a more rational approach to this problem," Anfinson said. Among the problems were: USPS decision to count only front-counter stamp and package sales as incoming revenue when deciding whether an office is unprofitable, while ignoring the bulk business mail revenue essen- tially coming through that office from newspaper, shopper and direct mail business. Inadequate development of plans to allow newspaper mail to be entered at alternative facilities being developed as post offices closed, such as the much pub- licized "Village Post Offices" intended to replace some post offices in rural areas. Poor transparency in conduct- ing community meetings before a closing. Heath said the PRC unani- mously found problems with the USPS analysis of the effect of dos- ings. Among other things, USPS was charting the new distances involved for consumers to reach remaining post offices through "as the ow flies" measurement rather than driving distances. "I was particularly gratified that the commission takes such a tough line on transparency," Heath said. "Through NNA's testimony and our ongoing dialogue with USPS headquarters Vice President of Corporate Communications Sam Pulcrano, we had already secured a commitment that com- munity meetings before a closing would become open to photogra- phers and audio recordings. The initial meetings had produced quite a few complaints from our members about poor treatment of reporters and observers who wished to record the event for sto- ries and for historical record. As a journalist, I found the practices ill- advised, and was grateful that Mr. Pulcrano made a promise to me to reform that aspect. But there is more to transparency than allow- ing reporters in. These meetings need to be better publicized and more con- veniently scheduled. The comm/s- sion agrees, and I applaud its strong mandate for openness." The case formally involved 3,750 post offices on the hit list for closure, but USPS had said it intended to close more after the current round ends. Intervention by Congress as well as the com- mission's recommendations may affect those plans. The 2012 federal spending bill passed by Congress in December contains a rider prohibiting the clos- ing of small and rural post oJces. POIiceReport By Mike Lakin Chief Freer stopped the motorist. A computer check showed the driver was suspended. The driver told Chief Freer he didn't have his license with him and added, "It's suspended and we are on our way right now to the DMV to pay the reinstatement fee". While checking the motorist's driving record, Logan County notified the Chief the driver might be in possession of drugs. Dudng the arrest for driving suspended, Chief Freer asked the motorist if he had anything illegal in the car. He didn't respond. The motorist was obviously bothered by the questions. Finally, the driver replied, "My gearshifter, reach down inside the hole and there is a bag in there". Chief Freer checked, and there was a "Ziploc" bag with that well- known green leafy substance. After "de-nugging" the gearshift, the motorist was transported to the county jail where charges were filed. "When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer 'present' or 'guilty.' Theodore Roosevelt 12 POliceReport PAUL MEYERS came across this. By Mike Lakin Officer Wil Gilmer stopped the motorist. Her license plates had been suspended. She told Officer Gilmer, "1 already paid that ticket two months ago". Officer Gilmore explained the plates were suspended for a mandatory insurance violation. A further computer check showed the motorist's license was also suspended. The motodst was arrested. The motodst could not get her head around why she was arrested. Officer Gilmer spent the travel time to the county jail repeatedly explaining the arrest was for driving suspended and had nothing to do with paying the ticket. The explanations did not register for the hapless motorist. Perks of Getting Older You can eat supper at 4 PM. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room. You sing along with elevator music. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. Not a perk, but never, under any circumstance, take a sleeping pill, and a laxative on the same night! Nit. Pulaski Times These tires are manufactured by Michelin in South Carolina and are expected to be available this August. .............. :E: The tires are airless. No more air valves. No more air compressors at gas stations. No more repair kits. No more fiats. BOB METZ came across this. Clearance signs at overpasses are there for a reason. Bob noted, "Nothing pushes like a Deere ". Thursday - February 9, 2012