Mail Delivery: The changes don't look good 2013.02.13

Written by David Green.

The vast majority of Observer readers prefer newsprint over the digital version of the paper. The majority of those newsprint readers live in an area of fast mail delivery where their paper arrives on Wednesday and in a few cases Thursday.

For the rest of you, there's bad news on the horizon. Actually, some bad news may have already begun.

We're sure you've heard the news that Saturday mail delivery is scheduled to cease in August. Those of you who generally receive your Observer on Saturday will have to wait until Monday. Those of who find a paper in their mailbox the following week will soon have to add yet another day as the mail wends its way to your house.

The U.S. Postal Service aims to continue Saturday delivery of packages, but the value of other mailed items is shrinking. Our costs to mail the paper continue to rise as the Postal Service raises prices sometimes more than once a year. We will soon lose a day of service, but will our mailing prices decrease? Of course not.

The so-called "snail mail" offered by the Postal Service has taken a heavy blow through the growth of electronic communication, but a 2006 decision by Congress accounts for about 70 percent of the Postal Service's financial woes. The agency is the only one overseen by Congress that was required to pre-pay employee benefits to such a far-reaching extent. The Postal Service was given 10 years to cover benefits for the next 75 years—for employees not even yet hired.

We're not suggesting that everything in the postal system is run efficiently—far from it—but it's no surprise that financial troubles would arise from Congress's mandate.

We mentioned earlier that another delivery problem might already be underway. A significant change was made last month that re-routes mail to a large facility in Detroit for initial sorting. Until last week, we sent a bag of papers for the west side of the state to Grand Rapids for sorting. Another bag covered the east side of the state and another was separated for a portion of Florida.

Now it all goes straight to Detroit in one container. That might be good, but our guess is that further delays are ahead. Big is not always better, and we wonder if there will be more of an opportunity for bags of newspapers to remain off to the side waiting their turn to enter the mail stream.

It seems that the Postal Service is only hurting itself further with each big change that it makes.

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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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