Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve Safety Tips

New Year's Eve is a night to have fun and celebrate the coming year. However, safety is a must when participating in the festivities. Whether you're staying in and celebrating with friends and family, or you're traveling to a party, following a few safety tips will ensure that you're safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight, ringing in 2011!

1. If you're driving, be aware of your surroundings. New Year's Eve
is notorious for drunk driving, and the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe, is to know where you're at and be alert while behind the wheel.

2. If you're drinking, leave the keys with a designated driver. If you don't have a designated driver, call a taxi. If you're attending a party at someone's home, leave your keys with the host. If you're the hostess, provide a bowl at the door where guests can put their keys before the party begins. This way, you can ensure no one leaves your home while intoxicated. Also remember: buzz driving is drunk driving.

3. If you're burning candles,
incense or oil burners, remember to extinguish them before you turn in or before you leave the room they are burning in.

4. Be sure smoke alarms are working and batteries are up to date. If you are hosting a New Year's party, this is a safety measure that is essential, especially if you are cooking. Be sure you change the batteries a few days before your party so you are sure all smoke alarms are in working order.

5. If you're attending a party in a larger city, or where there are crowds, travel with a group or in pairs. With the festivities in full force around you, traveling with someone else will ensure you are never by yourself at any time. The last thing you want is to get lost in the midst of thousands of people and have to ring in the New Year by yourself.

6. If you are letting off fireworks in a residential area, be sure to practice proper safety precautions when using them. Let off fireworks in a field or other open area where homes and power lines are out of site. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and never try to re-light a firework that did not go off when first lit. Also, be sure pets and children are at a safe distance from where fireworks are being ignited.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Military Mail Volume Sets Record in 2010

Mail volume sent to troops in Afghanistan set new yearly and holiday records, according to the Military Postal Service. Since January 2010, more than 54.5 million pounds of mail was sent to Afghanistan. In 2009, troops received 34.4 million pounds and in 2008, service members got 19.2 million pounds. From November 1 to December 24, the total amount of U.S. holiday mail delivered throughout Afghanistan was 12.6 million pounds, nearly double the amount of mail sent to troops in 2009.

USPS Announces 2011 Stamp Program

The Postal Service yesterday officially presented images from its 2011 commemorative stamp program. From a former U.S. President to legends of Latin music to the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500-mile auto race, the 2011 commemorative stamp program has something for everyone.

The first stamp for 2011 will be the Lunar New Year: Year of the Rabbit stamp, to be issued Jan. 22. Almost 85 percent of the 2011 stamp program, including Lunar New Year, will be issued as Forever Stamps to use in mailing a one-ounce letter.

Regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used, no matter how prices may change in the future, Forever Stamps will always be equal to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price. It’s all part of the core USPS business strategy of improving the customer experience and making it easier for customers to do business with the Postal Service — meeting customer needs and adding convenience.

The 2011 program also honors former President Ronald Reagan, legendary author Mark Twain, award-winning actors Gregory Peck and Helen Hayes, and Latin music giants Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.

In addition, former U.S. Congresswoman from Texas Barbara Jordan is the 2011 Black Heritage stamp honoree. Stamps will be issued to observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 50th anniversary of America’s first manned spaceflight and a celebration of Disney Pixar movie characters.

New designs for the Purple Heart, Wedding and Holidays stamps will also be featured in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BSN and Customers Enjoy 'Forever Partnership'

BSN Representatives Iliana Valdes (L) and Vivian Plather (R) welcomed customers to an exclusive event at the South Florida L&DC.
BSN Representative Eddy Alvarez (seated) greeted customers at the registration table.

BSN Manager Lillian Castro (standing) thanked managed account customers for their "forever partnership."

BSN Representative Barry Stein (R) explained a Domestic Mail Manual reference to customers.

Logistics and Distribution Specialist Eddy Ares (background) shared the finer points of FSS processing with customers.
Photos: Barry Artiz and Juan Nadal

Earlier this month, the South Florida Business Service Network Team sent their customers an exclusive invitation to a special event in appreciation for their "forever partnership."

"Due to such an overwhelming response from our customers, the BSN hosted both morning and afternoon sessions," said BSN Manager Lillian Castro.

Lillian and her BSN Representatives Eddy Alvarez, Barry Stein, Vivian Plather, and Iliana Valdes welcomed customers to the exclusive event at the South Florida Logistics and Distribution Center.

In her opening remarks, Lillian told customers that just like the Forever stamp, BSN Representatives and their managed account contacts have established a "forever partnership." She further explained that the event enhanced the one-on-one partnership between the managed account contact and the assigned BSN Representative.

Logistics and Distribution Specialist Eddy Ares gave a tour of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) operation for customers to see firsthand, the latest technology used to process their flat-sized mail. On behalf of Mailing Standards Specialist Mary Ann Perez, Juan Nadal gave a presentation on the Intelligent Mail barcode.
"BSN managed accounts represent a significant amount of total revenue in our district," said Lillian. "Event participation validated the commitment and partnership between our customers and the Postal Service."

Flat Rate Products Take 'Priority' in New Year

A host of new flat-rate product innovations will be ushered in with the New Year when prices for Priority Mail, Express Mail, and other Shipping Services change January 2, 2011. The overall price change for all Shipping Services products, which are adjusted each January, is 3.6 percent.

Extending the popularity of its Priority Mail Flat Rate products, the Postal Service will introduce a legal-size flat-rate envelope measuring 15-by-9.5 inches and a padded flat-rate envelope measuring 12.5-by-9.5 inches, both priced at $4.95. All six types of Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes will be priced the same as the regular Priority Mail Envelope (12.5-by-9.5 inches) at $4.95, including the Gift Card Flat Rate Envelope, Window Flat Rate Envelope, and the Small Flat Rate Envelope.

Pricing for the Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope will remain unchanged at $18.30, but will be joined by a new Express Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope (15-by-9.5 inches) offered at that same price.

In addition to an overall price change of 3.5 percent for Priority Mail, new prices for Express Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International, Parcel Select, and Parcel Return Service will be effective January 2.

The popular Hold For Pickup service option — currently available for Express Mail only — will be extended to Priority Mail and First-Class Mail commercial parcels in 2011. Packages with the Hold For Pickup endorsement are shipped directly to a Post Office, instead of being left at a recipient’s address. Packages are then held at the Post Office until picked up during office hours, at a time convenient for the recipient.

And, for Commercial Base and Commercial Plus customers mailing regionally, a new Priority Mail Regional Rate Box — available in two sizes — offers zone-based pricing with the “If It Fits It Ships” concept. Volume thresholds for Commercial Plus customers have also been reduced.

Also available to Commercial Plus customers is another innovative product offering — Critical Mail. Critical Mail, a category of Priority Mail with First-Class Mail service standards, requires using USPS-supplied envelopes at a mailing cost of $3.50 for letters and $4.25 for larger, flat-size pieces.

EAP Offers Healthy Holiday Food Tips

Holiday gatherings overflow with eggnog, cookies and other treats loaded with fat and calories. Eating these goodies in moderation, maintaining healthy eating habits, and exercising will help you avoid weight gain and improve your overall well-being. Below are some guidelines for healthy eating:

Choose these foods

-- Low-fat, low-cholesterol foods like vegetables, fruits, rice, and pasta. They are high in fiber and carbohydrates, and they are filling without being high in fat.

-- Vegetable, olive and canola oils: These oils are relatively low in saturated fat, compared to palm oils, butter, or lard.

-- Low or non-fat varieties of products like salad dressing, cheese, mayonnaise and milk. Fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein.

In addition to choosing the right foods, try these tips:

-- Bake, broil, or steam your food. Frying with oil adds unnecessary calories to your meal.

-- Trim fat from meat, remove skin from chicken, and add fish to your diet. These are easy ways to cut fat from your food.

-- Eat smaller portions at a slow pace. This helps prevent overeating.

-- Try to eat well before your bedtime. This gives your body time to digest your food before you go to sleep.

Getting Help

If you'd like more info, contact EAP at 800-327-4968 or
TTY is 1-877-492-7341.

To find out what services are available, check your employee benefits or call your local human services agency. You also can talk with someone you can trust, such as a doctor or nurse, local mental health professional, or member of the clergy.

CFC at 97% of Goal; Still Time to Contribute

The South Florida District is at 97 percent of its Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) goal, and canvassers continue to solicit donations.

Miami Customer Services is at 129%. Hollywood Customer Services is at 119%. MPOO 330 is currently at 111% with Fort Lauderdale Customer Services is at 107%.

The plants also are doing an outstanding job: South Florida L&DC, 165%; Miami ISC, 141%; and Miami P&DC, 119%.

Working toward their 100% goal are Pompano Beach Customer Services, 86%; MPOO 334, 86%; Fort Lauderdale P&DC, 85%; South Florida P&DC, 83%; South Florida District Office, 80%; West Palm Beach City, 66%; Boca Raton Customer Services, 53%, and West Palm Beach P&DC, 49%.

New Year, New Service is 'Critical' (Mail)

The New Year will bring good news for Priority Mail Commercial Plus customers — a brand new product called Critical Mail.

This new offering is an attractive marketing tool that will help companies and organizations attract and retain customers.

All Critical Mail envelopes must be automation compatible, which means letters cannot exceed 3 ounces or ¼ of an inch thickness and flats cannot exceed 13 ounces or ¾ of an inch thickness. Mail is charged one price across all destination zones regardless of weight — $3.50 for letters and $4.25 for larger flat-sized envelopes. Optional electronic Delivery Confirmation service is included for free.

To qualify, customers must have a customer commitment agreement with the Postal Service and mail 5,000 or more Critical Mail letters and/or flats during a calendar year. USPS-produced Critical Mail envelopes, which have an attractive design that drives an “open-first” behavior, must be used. The envelopes are available to authorized customers only by calling USPS Expedited Packaging Supplies at 1-800-610-8734.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Save $5 on Miami Circus Tickets

There is still time to get great discount tickets for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show coming to the American Airlines Arena in Miami on January 7- 17. You could save $5 per ticket!

For your convenience you can order tickets for this show online; visit and use the promotion code "FGS", or for more information, contact Joe Lloyd at 1-866-248-8740 x 102 or by E-Mail at

January 2011 Career Milestones

45 YEARS: Robert W. Kuhl, Miami P&DC

40 YEARS: Humberto M. Coipel, Hialeah Post Office; Joseph A. Kelly, Fort Lauderdale P&DC; Ann H. Tobin, Pompano Beach Main Office; Alfred R. Winn, West Palm Beach P&DC

35 YEARS: Lloyd Bryant, Miami P&DC; Jeffrey R. Cohen, Tamarac Branch; Stevie Cooper, Southboro Station; Oscar J. Navarro, Sunset Branch; Richard J. O’Neal, Palms Central Carrier Annex; Julian L. Perez, Milam Dairy Branch; Maurice A. Sanders, Miami ISC; Charles W. White, Snapper Creek Branch

30 YEARS: Damaris Agrait, South Florida District Office; John A. Batic, Miami P&DC; Jack L. Bridges, Fort Pierce Main Office; Abraham J. Diaz, Miami P&DC; Lee T. Fullen, South Florida P&DC; Robert E. Ham, Miami P&DC; Robin H. McKie, West Palm Beach P&DC; Deborah A. Nowak, Key West Post Office; Kenneth R. Roberts, South Florida P&DC; Lorraine E. Smith, Sunrise Branch; Brian J. Ter Horst, Boynton Beach Main Office; Debra A. Vanner, North Miami Branch; Samuel B. Weaver, Spanish Isles Annex

25 YEARS: Ruben Abella, Father Felix Varela Branch; Annmarie C. Bordis, Spanish Isles Annex; Laurie A. Borges, Tamarac Branch; Jose R. Brito, South Florida P&DC; Alfrazier M. Brown, Carol City Branch; Richard D. Burns, West Palm Beach P&DC; Mary L. Carden, Kendall Branch; Marianne E. Carstens, Atlantic Branch; Judy F. Cohens, Flagler Station; Joseph M. Colaianni, Oakland Park Branch; Raymond J. Collins, Jr., Boca Downtown Station; Atanasio Del Oso, Quail Heights Branch; Jose L. Del Oso, Sunset Branch; Gloria J. Elamin, Jupiter Post Office; Debra A. Falzarano, South Florida District Office; Richard Fermo, Boynton Beach Main Office; Betty A. Fletcher, Inverrary Branch; Pedro S. Fonte, Promenade Branch; Claudia F. Gay-Reddick, Key Biscayne Branch; Sylvia George, Flamingo Branch; Hector L. Gonzalez, West Palm Beach P&DC; Angela L. Grayson, Plantation Branch; Priscilla A. Grimsley, Quail Heights Branch;
Calvin D. Hall, Carol City Branch; Tommie R. Harrell, Jose Marti Station; Janet L. Harris, Plantation Branch; Steven A. Hernandez, Quail Heights Branch; Andrew D. Iannaco, Plantation Branch; Brett L. Israel, Westside Branch; Linda L. Jenkins, Everglades Branch; Alison C. Kennedy Davis, Quail Heights Branch; Steven S. Levine, Boca Raton Post Office; Brenda G. Lewis Bellinger, Coral Springs Branch; Gide Lezeau, Port St Lucie Branch; Jessica M. Mann, Buena Vista Station; Diana Marema, Oakland Park Branch; Jack A. McNulty, Deerfield Carrier Annex; Francis P. Meehan, Boynton Beach Main Office; Patricia D. Mobley, Kendall Branch; Louis Mongilia, Coconut Creek Branch; Frederick Motto, South Florida P&DC; John T. Neal, North Lauderdale Annex; Gary G. Nelson, Hollywood Main Office; Jackie Y. Ng, Stuart Post Office; Bonnie S. Nichols, Quail Heights Branch; Gregory J. Onischuk, Boca Rio Branch; Jeffrey D. Pease, Coral Springs Branch; Richard Perez, Fort Lauderdale P&DC; Willow J. Perkins, Miami ISC; Gary Pierce, North Ridge Annex; Patricia Preston, Fort Lauderdale P&DC; Tracy L. Raiford, Southside Station; Blanca E. Romero, South Florida P&DC; Lucinda L. Roushar, Plantation Branch; James A. Sabin, Fort Lauderdale Main Office Carrier Annex; Roy J. Sanchez, North Miami Branch; Dixey M. Schaus, Palm Beach Gardens Branch; Stanley B. Shelton, Lauderhill Crossroads Annex; Kimberly R. Sherrod, Fort Lauderdale P&DC; Anthony Shinhoster, Carol City Branch; Pamela Y. Starkey, Carol City Branch; James G. Streb, Sunrise Branch; Jeffrey S. Thomas, North Ridge Annex; Priscilla Thomas, Fort Lauderdale P&DC; Jesus R. Vega, Miami P&DC; Ricardo Veiga, Coconut Creek Branch; Janice A. West, Weston Branch, Stephen J. Whiteman, Plantation Branch; Lila J. Woolston, Miami P&DC

No Tears for this Priority Mail Clown!

The clown doll with a dark side that first appeared in a 2009 television commercial to promote Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes as a convenient way to return gifts is back. The commercial airs through January 17.

The ad aims at customers looking for reliable, cost-effective solutions for returning holiday gift merchandise. Customers returning holiday gifts from friends and family also can rely on
Click-N-Ship to pay for postage, print shipping labels and request package pickup. And they’ll receive an online discount for postage and free Delivery Confirmation service on Priority Mail and Express Mail packages.

Large shippers also have returns options, good for the holiday season or any other time of year. Information is available at Returns@Ease on and includes:

Merchandise Return Service, which provides shippers the flexibility to offer customers package-return options using First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or other package services.

Parcel Return Service, providing qualified high-volume business mailers with convenience and cost savings through a workshare discount program.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thanks to WPB Employee Generosity, Holidays Will Be Brighter for Local Needy Children

L-R: Marcia Kolp, Lisa Albu, Marine Jessi Rodriguez, Marine Gerson Chavez, Paul Hill and David Snell.

Marcia Kolp (L) and Lisa Albu (R) help load a truck full of toys.

Marine Jessi Rodriguez (L) and Paul Hill (R) were pleased with this year's volume of toy donations.

L-R: Marguerite Goulet, Paul Hill, Gerson Chavez (Marine), Ken Gryb, Jessi Rodriguez (Marines), Ken Goodrich, Lisa Albu, Sergio Valencia, and Marcia Kolp take a moment to pose for the camera.

L -R: Marguerite Goulet, Paul Hill, Marine Gerson Chavez, Ken Gryb, Marine Jessi Rodriguez, Ken Goodrich, Lisa Albu, Sergio Valencia, and Marcia Kolp pose with 25 bicycles donated by employees.

WPB P&DC’s employees purchased 25 bicycles, plus hundreds of toys were collected by the Plant and 334-349 area offices and sent to the WPB P&DC for the “Toys for Tots” Campaign.
Today the Marines picked up the bikes and toys. Assisting Marines Jessi Rodriguez and Gerson Chavez load the U-Haul were Lisa Albu, Marguerite Goulet, Paul Hill, Marcia Kolp, and David Snell.

Special thanks to Lisa Albu who was the WPB P&DC coordinator, Joann Goodrich, Customer Relations Coordinator for assisting with the Toys for Tots Program, and Kenneth Goodrich, Manager, Maintenance for his support. Ken enlisted the assistance of his staff to help the Marine’s load the trucks. Goodrich also thanked employees for all their hard work in making this year’s Toys for Tots a success.
“Lisa Albu & Marcia Kolp were instrumental in making it happen,” stated Goodrich. "You and the West Palm Beach area employees did an awesome job which will reflect in the smiles of many needy children on Christmas morning."
Contributor: Joann Goodrich

HR Recognizes Retirees at Celebration

Manager, Human Resources Jann Miller (L) congratulates soon-to-be retiree Cary Riusech (R).
Manager, Human Resources Jann Miller (L) thanks Jacinto "Ace" Acebal (R) for 45 years of service.

On Friday, December 17, the Human Resources Department celebrated the retirements of two of their long-time employees, Jacinto Acebal and Cary Riusech.

District Hispanic Programs Specialist Jacinto Acebal was awarded his 45 year service award. Better known as "Ace" to co-workers and friend, he has combined Military and Postal Service years , dating back to 1965. Ace was a highly-decorated veteran of the Viet Nam War. In fact, he is the most decorated Cuban American serving in Viet Nam. After leaving the service, Ace was hired by the US Post Office in 1968, where he has worked ever since. As Hispanic Programs Specialist, Ace has worked closely with the Cuban community in the South Florida District, along with local politicians, to address issues and generate revenue for the Postal Service.

Cary Riusech was presented her retirement certificate also at the celebration luncheon. Cary began her career in 1979 and has served as a postal employee over 31 years. She worked for many years in the Personnel Department. Just recently, she worked for the Miami P&DC, then returned on detail to the Labor Relations Office to end her career.

Please join the Human Resources Department in congratulating both Cary and Ace for their admirable and dedicated years of service and wish them both a long and happy retirement.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Managing Compulsive Shopping, Spending

People who "shop 'till they drop" and run their credit cards up to the limit often have a shopping addiction. They believe that if they shop they will feel better. Compulsive shopping and spending generally make a person feel worse. It is similar to other addictive behaviors and has some of the same characteristics as problem drinking (alcoholism), gambling and overeating addictions.

Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety, and loneliness during the holiday season.

It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely, and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.

How Can You Tell If You Are a Compulsive Shopper?

Shopoholics, when they are feeling "out of sorts,” shop for a "pick-me-up." They go out and buy, to get a high, or get a "rush" just like a drug or alcohol addict. Shopping addiction tends to affect more women than men. They often buy things they do not need. Holiday seasons can trigger shopping binges among those who are not compulsive the rest of the year. Many shopping addicts go on binges all year long and may be compulsive about buying certain items, such as shoes, kitchen items or clothing; some will buy anything.

Women with this compulsive disorder often have racks of clothes and possessions with the price tags still attached and have never been used. They will go to a shopping mall with the intention of buying one or two items and come home with bags and bags of purchases. In some cases, shopoholics have an emotional "black out" and do not remember even buying the articles. If their family or friends begin to complain about their purchases, they will often hide the things they buy. They are often in denial about the problem. Because they cannot pay their bills, their credit rating suffers, they have collection agencies attempting to get what is owed, and may have legal, social, and relationship problems. They sometimes attempt to hide their problem by taking on an extra job to pay for bills.

How Do You Cure This Condition?

It is recommended that shopoholics seek professional counseling or a self-help group to deal with their problem. Addictive behaviors tend to congregate, so if you have an eating disorder, a problem with drugs or alcohol, or gambling, you may be a candidate for shopping addiction. Many communities have credit counseling centers that will also help with shopoholism.

How Do I Prevent Shopping Binges?

-- Pay for purchases by cash or check.
-- Make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.
-- Destroy all credit cards, except one to use for emergencies only.
-- Avoid discount warehouses. Allocate only a certain amount of cash to spend, if you do visit one.
-- "Window shop" only after stores are closed. If you do "look" during the day, leave your wallet at home.
-- Avoid phoning in catalog orders. Avoid watching TV shopping channels.
-- If you're traveling to visit friends or relatives, have your gifts wrapped and call the project finished; people tend to make more extraneous purchases when they shop outside their own communities.
-- Take a walk or exercise when you feel that urge to shop.
-- If you feel out of control, you probably are. Seek counseling or a support group.


More Letters to Santa

“I cannot believe if you are real. Are you some guy in an office reading this letter? You need to tell me what category I am in --- is it naughty or nice?”

“Thank you for taking up your time to make my presents. I am very thankful for your gifts and how you make them by hand. That is amazing. I am making your favorite sugar cookies.”

“I want some stuff for Christmas. I want some new crayons and a Mickey Mouse booth. And the last thing I want is for my family to have a good Christmas Day.”

“I just want to know how your reindeers are doing. And how are you and Mrs. Claus and the elves? I just want to say you are my best friend.”

“I have good news. My brother believes in you.”

“Dear Santa. I am very excited that it is Christmas once again. You know I have been patiently waiting for a boyfriend for so long. I would appreciate it if he could be cute and presentable so I could go out with him in public. I would like him to be nice and know how to get along with others. I would prefer that he has hair.”

“I wish there was one day where nobody was called names in the school hallway, and no one was talked about behind closed doors. I wish nobody was looked over as if they didn’t exist and I wish that for once kids wouldn’t get picked last for P.E. basketball. I don’t exactly know if you could do this Santa or if your elves could somehow manifest a bag of get-along-powder and put it under my tree. But if you could, I bet it would make everyone’s day a little bit brighter.”

“You know … I’ve been good this year! I helped around the class a lot and my parents. I have also given food for soldiers and the animal shelter. I do have a few things on my wish list, but it’s not too much or too expensive.”

“I have a lot of reasons to get a phone. 1. I have been very good this year. 2. I wouldn’t have to complain to my Mom and Dad that I am bored. 3. I would use it to keep score of my sister’s game and put it online. 4. I would only use it when I should and not too much. 5. I won’t lose it. Santa, if you don’t think I should have something, please send me a letter so I know and won’t be so sad. If you can’t get me something, it is OK. I will just try for my birthday or next year. Thank you.”

“I want a lot of money and a large pizza with pepperoni and sausage.”
“Take the laptop to my Dad’s house. Take the games to my Mom’s house.”

“Hey, Santa. What’s up? How have you been? Make sure you get a lot of sleep because you are going all around the world to give gifts to us. Merry Christmas, Santa.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Postal Trivia

How many packages will the Postal Service process this holiday season? We expect to process and delivery about 152 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day — this includes an expected 5% increase in Priority Mail packages.

How many packages were processed last year during the holidays? Last year's holiday season we processed and delivered nearly 145 million packages.

How many countries does the U.S. Postal Service ship packages to? Holiday packages will be shipped to 215 countries around the world.

What is the shortest distance an international package travels from NYC? The shortest distance a package will travel to a major city from New York City is Montreal, Canada. The distance it will travel is 330 miles.

What is the farthest distance an international package travels from NYC? The farthest distance a package will travel to a major city from New York City is Perth, Australia. The distance it will travel is 11,625 miles.

What is the cargo capacity of an LLV? The cargo capacity of an LLV is 120 cubic feet, with a cargo carrying capacity (in addition to the driver) of 1,000 lbs of mail.

What is the average daily and weekly fuel use for an LLV? LLVs (138,679 vehicles) average 1.77 gallons of fuel daily and 10.7 gallons of fuel weekly. (This LLV figure does not include the CNG and LNG vehicles – total LLV fleet count is 142,000)

What is the average daily and weekly fuel use for all delivery vehicles? All delivery vehicles, including LLVs, FFVs, and Carrier Vans (Windstars, Caravan, Uplanders (181,749 vehicles) average 1.76 gallons of fuel daily and 10.5 gallons weekly.

What is the average daily and weekly fuel use for the entire postal fleet? The total postal fleet (215,739 vehicles) average 2.3 gallons of fuel daily and 13.7 gallons weekly.

How does the Postal Service handle such a large volume of packages? How much more time does it take? Handling packages differs only slightly during the holidays because of the number/ volume of packages being delivered daily. Carriers may spend more time loading their vehicles than normal due to the increased volume and also spend more time actually delivering packages simply because they have a greater number to deliver. Time spent actually delivering the package itself is unchanged because of the holiday crush since there are no changes to the process i.e., scanning or signature confirmation, etc.

How does the increased package volume fit in the postal vehicle? Specific to a route and their vehicle, it's infrequent that the number of parcels on a given route exceeds the capacity of a Postal LLV or Windstar. However, in the event of that happening, managers use the flexible or supplementary workforce to address each situation on that day. Managers will combine routes in need of such assistance by having dedicated parcel runs that leave in the morning to affect delivery. Service standards still apply to these packages and must be met as if delivered by the regular carrier on his/her route.

It's a West Palm Beach Holiday Tradition!

West Palm Beach Officer-In-Charge Robert Weiser has invited the public to sing along to holiday tunes as they ship their seasonal greetings and packages to loved ones on Friday, December 17.

At 6:30 pm, Myra’s Music Studio will present a holiday program for customers in the retail lobby. It’s a 16-year holiday tradition at the West Palm Beach Main Post Office located at 3200 Summit Blvd in West Palm Beach.

(Employees are reminded that their attendance is an off-the-clock activity.)

EAP: Keeping Holiday Stress at Bay

Some people look forward to the holidays all year while others see the holiday season approaching and are overcome by a sense of dread. Will life become so hectic that I can't enjoy the holidays? How will I buy what I need to buy and not overspend again this year? How will I ever get everything done that I need to do? How many pounds will I gain this year? Will the family get along? The list could go on and on, but all these questions, if left unaddressed, lead to the same thing: STRESS! Try these tips for managing the stress that seems to be built into the holiday season:

Set Priorities
We tend to get wrapped up in trying to create perfection at this time of the year. Set reasonable goals for what you will do to celebrate. Decide in advance what is most important to you and your family, and focus your celebrations around those things. Try to avoid replicating everything your parents did when you were young. Hang on to meaningful traditions, but avoid doing something solely because it is what your mom or dad did. Don't over-schedule! Both you and your kids need downtime to enjoy this special time of the year. Be careful to choose activities based on what you want to do rather than what you think you must do.

Make a Plan
Once you have decided what your priorities are for holiday celebrations, plan how you will organize yourself to get the important work done. Make a calendar and include all important dates on it (the school play, the neighbor's open house, the drive through the neighborhood to enjoy the holiday decorations, etc.) You may even want to schedule time for any shopping, decorating, baking, writing cards, or other holiday traditions that your have decided will be part of your holiday. Carefully plan your menus and do your shopping in an organized fashion, with a list. You will be much less likely to forget important ingredients and eliminate the last minute running that leaves you exhausted and frazzled.

Keep Expectations Realistic
It is not your responsibility to be sure that everybody has a perfect holiday so don't put that demand on yourself. Holiday joy is something that comes from within a person; you cannot create something that is not there.

Make a Budget and Keep It
If gift buying is part of your holiday celebration, decide, in advance, what you can afford to spend this year. Create a list of all the people you will shop for and allocate a portion of your total holiday budget to each person. That is the easy part. The hard part is sticking to the budget you create! Try to think of less expensive gift options --- a baking mix, a nicely-framed photograph of a shared memory, or the gift of your time. Overspending during the holidays is a major source of stress so be careful. Remember that all the gifts in the world cannot buy happiness.

Care for Yourself and Your Family
During the holidays, when stress can really take its toll, we tend to neglect doing those things that reduce stress. We may overindulge in food and drink and leave such things as rest, relaxation, and exercise out of our daily lives. Make it a goal to change that this holiday season. Be realistic about the types and amounts of foods you choose. Avoid sugary and fat-laden snacks that may give you a quick boost, but will be followed by a drop in energy. Get outside for a brisk walk and take the kids. Think about what is causing your stress, and make a plan to change the pressures you may be putting on yourself. Rest, relax, and reflect on the meaning of the season. Peace!


Cute and Cuddly for a Cause

The results are in!

It was a close call, but cute and cuddly for a cause -- Animal Rescue: Adopt A Shelter Pet -- took the title of Readers’ Pick for 2010. See the story at

15 million panes were printed -- they went on sale April 30 -- as of today 13,382,448.3 million panes of stamps have been sold, valued at $117,765,545.04.

Operation Santa: Have You Written Yet?

While Santa is busy supervising toy production at the North Pole, his temporary employees at the South Florida Division are addressing postcards to children who have sent their wish lists to him. (Clockwise): Madelyn Rodriguez-Paris, Kelly Levy, Rose Mannisto, Mirtha Uriarte, and Paula Andino.
PHOTO: Debra J. Fetterly

If you’re planning to write to Santa, you’d better hurry, and send your wish list addressed to the North Pole (and remember to affix a First-Class stamp)! Santa’s helpers at the South Florida Division are addressing postcards to those who have written. Here are some letter excerpts:

“Dear Santa. The other day I looked up and I saw an elf on the ceiling. We played with it and we turn the lights off. We put the elf up high on the shelf. When we turn on the lights the elf was under the bed!! Did you send an elf to my house?”

“I miss my elf and the joy and fun with him and the times that were glad and Santa I wish my elf was with me. PS Hurry because I am going to Texas on Tuesday.”

“My elf is not coming to life anymore. Something is wrong. Please write back.”

“If you don’t mind I would like a pocket elf so it can stay with me for the whole year until it gets older. Thanks again and if you can send the elf before Thanksgiving that would be swell.”

“I want a sea monkey and a real love bird yellow on the head and stomic (sic) and pink on the rest.”

“Thank you for getting presents for every boy and girl in the world. Don’t forget about me.”

“I have been a very good girl. Sometimes I may have been yelled at. Sometimes I can’t help it. I’m never really greedy. I try not to show off. Sometimes I am mean. I hope I get everything on my list.”

“Can you bring an elf to me? We have an elf hanging in my classroom but we’re not allowed to touch it. The teacher said if we touch it the magic is gone.”

“Santa, thank you. You do so much for me every year. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate it. I hope this Christmas with Mrs. Claus and your reindeer is great. What are you bringing me this year?”

“Ma says this is the last year that you are coming to my house because I am getting older. I want to thank you for twelve wonderful, magical years. This year I want you to pick out my gifts.”

“Do you always leave your shoes at my house? All I want for Christmas is peace on earth!”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blake Promotes 'Free Carrier Pickup' at School

Kendall Letter Carrier James Blake took an authorized break from his appointed rounds to visit with children at Three C's Preschool in Palmetto Bay. This was a very special free "carrier pickup." James picked up 500 Santa letters written by every child in the school and made sure that they were delivered to the Miami Plant for processing to the North Pole.
Children line up in the school auditorium to personally hand their Santa correspondence to Kendall Letter Carrier James Blake. They were fascinated with the story of how mail gets processed and delivered, especially during the holiday season. (And if they only knew ... they'd appreciate Rose Castro for personally assisting Santa with his responses so that he could concentrate on toy production at the North Pole.)

Kendall Letter Carrier James Blake appreciates the school invitation from Celi Camacho, Director of the Three C's Preschool in Palmetto Bay.

Photos: Rose M. Castro

USPS Inspector Applications Open Dec 13-17

For one week only (December 13-17), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is accepting job applications.

The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to support and protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers; enforce the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail.

As one of our country’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies, founded by Benjamin Franklin, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a long, proud, and successful history of fighting criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and misuse it to defraud, endanger, or otherwise threaten the American public. As the primary law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is a highly-specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.
Eligibility requirements include:

-- Be a U.S. citizen between 21 and 36½ years of age.
-- Possess a conferred, four-year degree from an accredited college or university.
-- Have no felony or domestic violence convictions.
-- Be in good physical condition.
-- Write and speak English clearly.

To submit your application, go to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website:

"Operation Santa" Comes to Town

Dalila De La Torre, Manager, Customer Service (L), shares a laugh with customer who recently returned from military duty. The customer shared the importance of mail to military men and women serving overseas and signed up for "Operation Santa" to help local children have a brighter holiday.
Dalila De La Torre, Manager, Customer Service, Miami GMF Postal Store, sings along with the celebrity artists on the "Let It Snow" CD during "Operation Santa." Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower (L) signs up for "Operation Santa." Back L to R: Rose Mesenger-Mannisto, Supervisor, South Florida Retail Unit; Mirtha Uriarte, Secretary to the Senior Plant Manager, and Sandy Bliven, Secretary to the Manager, Operations Programs Support.

Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Tashia Romano-Kravitz (R) encourages customer to read (and check the list twice) "Operation Santa" regulations that protect the privacy of children.
SSA Sonya Owens of the West Palm Beach Main Office always has a smile for her customers ... and during the holiday season, sports her reindeer antlers as well.

Customer Lee Dascott, Supervisor/Customer Service Jackie Brady, SSA Sonya Owens and Customer Elam Patterson want to brighten the holidays for less fortunate children in West Palm Beach and the surrounding area. Not a creature A collective "awesome" rang out for the decorative gypsy cart display coordinated by Supervisor/Customer Service Jackie Sager (not pictured).

SSA Sonya Owens (L) and West Palm Beach O-I-C Robert Weiser await customers await the customer rush to sign up for Santa letters in the West Palm Beach Main Office lobby.

L to R: Postal elves Mirtha Uriarte, Scott Bower, and Sandy Bliven take a break from the "Operation Santa" routine to pose for a holiday postcard.
PHOTOS: Rose Castro, Debra Fetterly, JoAnn Goodrich, Tashia Romano-Kravitz.

Postal employees and customers throughout the district may fulfill the wishes of needy children in the South Florida community through “Operation Santa” this holiday season. For more information, contact one of these coordinators Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm:
Fort Lauderdale Coordinator: Tashia Romano-Kravitz at 954-527-3281

Miami Coordinator: Rose Castro at 305-470-0386

Pembroke Pines Coordinator: Rose Mesenger-Mannisto at 954-443-6527

West Palm Beach Coordinator: JoAnn Goodrich at 561-697-2145

Employees and customers may complete an application to select a child’s Santa letter, which will become available at a later date. To protect children and their privacy, individuals who sign up for a Santa letter will receive a photocopy, which will have personal information, including name and address, blackened out. Individuals will purchase their gifts and bring them back to one of the above locations to pay for the postage to have items shipped to recipients. Holiday packages must be returned to an above designation before 5 pm on Wednesday, December 22.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Office Depot Coupons for Office Depot Only

Office Depot has been promoting their partnership with the Postal Service through the Approved Shipper Program. This promotion consists of ads on their website, as well as print ads in weekly flyers as newspaper inserts.

Currently, Office Depot is providing a 25% off coupon offer. This offer applies to packages shipped through USPS or UPS. The offer is only available at Office Depot store locations. The coupon is co-branded with the USPS and UPS logo.
Customers may be confused and bring these coupons to the Post Office. If this occurs, the SSA should point out to the customer that this is an Office Depot coupon and to take the coupon to an Office Depot location, if they wish to receive the discount.

Contributor: Charisse Nadal, A/Retail Manager