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PA postmaster sentenced for embezzling post office funds

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A Murrysville man will spend six months on home detention for embezzling $13,255 from an Armstrong County post office, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Lawrence F. Stoken III, 47, of Murrysville, pleaded guilty in December to misappropriating postal funds. The postmaster at the Rural Valley post office between October 2011 and March 2013, he pocketed money customers paid for stamps and money orders, prosecutors said.

Read more: Rural Valley postmaster sentenced for embezzling post office funds | TribLIVE.

West Virginia letter carrier rescues woman from creek

From USPS News Link:

Wheeling, WV, Letter Carrier John Smith was delivering mail when he saw the driver of a car hit a patch of ice and lose control. The car hit a tree and swerved into a frigid creek.Without hesitation, Smith drove to the scene. Disregarding the freezing temperatures, he waded into the water to see if the driver was OK. The 18-year-old driver appeared dazed and injured from the impact of the air bag and seat restraint.Since the driver’s door was jammed, Smith had to pull the young driver through the passenger-side door. Then, he carried her through waist-high water to safety.Smith kept the girl warm in his LLV until emergency responders arrived.

Advisory council says USPS should stop selling off historic post offices

Washington, DC – Responding to a specific requirement placed upon the agency by the 2014 congressional appropriations bill, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) today issued PRESERVING HISTORIC POST OFFICES: A Report to Congress. The report finds that significant improvements to United States Postal Service (USPS) planning and compliance for its historic preservation and disposal programs are needed.

The report results from congressional concerns that the USPS may not be fully meeting the requirements of Section 106 and other sections of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) when closing and disposing of historic post offices. Section 106 requires all federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions or undertakings on historic properties and seek ways to avoid, lessen, or mitigate any potential adverse effects.

Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of the ACHP, notes that in preparing the report the agency found that “…the preservation community and the public have significant concerns about the potential closure of these historic facilities, including the loss of public use of the buildings, the risk posed to the integrity of historic buildings and the artwork they contain, and the potential loss of public access. The limited consideration of the historic values of these iconic buildings along with the lack of transparency in Section 106 consultation further exacerbates these problems.”

The ACHP, which has a long history of working with the USPS as well as other federal agencies, makes 15 findings in the report and provides recommendations for addressing each of them. Notable among them are the following:

 Congress should clarify that the NHPA and its implementing regulations apply to all programs of the USPS, in order to remove any doubt that the USPS is legally obligated to comply with Sections 106, 110, and 111 of the NHPA.

 The USPS should suspend any further actions to relocate services out of historic postal facilities and dispose of these historic facilities until such time as it fully implements the recommendations of this report.

 The USPS should initiate Section 106 consultation at the time relocation or cessation of services at a historic postal facility is considered, rather than waiting until disposal is proposed.

 The USPS should expand and reorganize its historic preservation program.

To view all of the recommendations and comprehensive information on the USPS disposal of historic post offices, the full report can be accessed at www.achp.gov.

About the ACHP: An independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation promotes the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of our nation’s diverse historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that affect historic properties. For more information, please visit www.achp.gov.

 

Video: APWU President discusses Staples deal on The Ed Show

A new partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and corporate giant Staples could be detrimental to union workers. Ed Schultz and Mark Dimondstein discuss the impact.

That’s not ‘easy,’ at least not for unions | MSNBC.

Video: Robber steals Florida letter carrier’s master key

Investigators hope surveillance video will lead them to the man who robbed a postal employee.

Thousands of mailboxes may be in jeopardy after a robber stole a valuable postal key from a mail carrier Monday in Lauderhill.

The robbery happened about 5 p.m. Monday as the letter carrier was delivering mail at the Continental Apartments, 1761 NW 46th Ave, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Read more: Robber steals Lauderhill mail carrier's postal key – Sun Sentinel.

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Read more: Surveillance video released in postal robbery | News – Home.

Wisconsin rural carrier sentenced for stealing mail

A former Janesville postal carrier was sentenced Tuesday for stealing mail, according to a state Department of Justice release.

Kristy Hollibrush, 43, was sentenced to two years’ probation and $1,225 in restitution for the theft, officials said. Hollibrush pleaded guilty to the charge Nov. 13.

Hollibrush worked as a rural letter carrier with the U.S. Post Office in Janesville since 1999, according to the release. From late 2011 through September 2012, Hollibrush took items from the mail that she was supposed to deliver.

Read more: Former postal carrier sentenced for stealing mail | Crime | Rock County News.

TV reporter claims PANIC AT THE POST OFFICE! as Salinas PO closes at normal time on tax night (just like it did last year…)

With 90 percent of Americans filing their taxes electronically, the days when post offices were beehives of tax night activity right up until midnight are a distant memory- but not, apparently, in Salinas California.

A California television station claims hundreds of Salinas residents “panicked” last night when they discovered their local post office wasn’t open until midnight. Reporters claimed that it was the first time in “recent memory” that the office wasn’t open late on tax night, and showed customers insisting that the office was always open until midnight on April 15.

As is the norm with the news media these days, however, the “reporters” didn’t bother to do any research to back up their claims- if they had, they’d have discovered that this was the second year in a row that the Salinas office closed at its normal time on tax night. According to a 2013 press release from the USPS, the Salinas PO closed at 5PM on tax night last year, although the office did accept returns at curbside until 8 PM. Two years ago the office was open late, but only until 10 PM, not midnight. This year, the USPS issued a press release announcing that post offices in the area would be open normal hours on tax night with the exception of San Jose and Oakland.

As for the “PANIC” people were supposedly experiencing, the TV station’s own web site had previously carried a story pointing out that the tax deadline is pretty much meaningless if, like most taxpayers, you’re expecting a refund. (Late filing penalties are based on the amount you owe the IRS- if you’re getting a refund, there’s no penalty).

Never let the facts get in the way of a snappy headline!

SALINAS, Calif. –Hundreds of people failed to file their tax returns on time in Salinas Tuesday, showing up at the post office and expecting it to be open late, only to find it closed at 5 p.m.

The post office on Post Drive is known for being open late on tax day. In past years postal workers have been out here in the parking lot collecting and post marking the returns until midnight. However for the first time in recent memory, hours were not extended, much to the surprise of all those who showed up.

Read more: Panic at the post office as hundreds fail to file taxes on time | Local News – KSBW Home.

USPS introduces same day delivery service in New York City

The Postal Service has introduced Metro Post — a new option for New York businesses that need same-day package delivery service in the city.

New York is the second test market for Metro Post, which began in San Francisco in 2012.

In New York, businesses pay a fee to have packages picked up in the afternoon and delivered anywhere to customers in Manhattan by that evening.

New York District Customer Services Supervisor Jesse Garrett supervises five City Carrier Assistants who handle pickups and deliveries.

“Franklin Delano Roosevelt Station Post Office is excited to be at the forefront of the Postal Service’s newest innovation that blows our competition out of the water,” Garrett said. “Everyone is working hard to meet customer and operational expectations with the new service.”

Metro Post is part of the Postal Service’s strategy to grow its package delivery business. USPS said its package business increased 15 percent during the holidays. It also delivers packages on Sundays to Amazon customers in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas.

Postal workers alliance sends letter to Issa opposing latest reform proposal

The four unions representing rank and file postal workers have sent the following letter to Darrel Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member:

alliance

Dear Mr. Issa and Mr. Cummings:

We write to share our views on the hearing held on April 8, 2014 on the President’s proposals in the FY 2015 budget regarding the U.S. Postal Service. We write on behalf of nearly 500,000 postal employees who live and work in every Congressional District in America and who belong to our unions. We respectfully request that this letter be included in the record of the hearing. Read the rest of this entry »

New Royal Mail stamp issue chronicles the history of Buckingham Palace

buck_634x323Royal Mail today launches a ten-stamp issue that celebrates the history of Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of The Queen.
Six stamps explore the different appearance of this iconic building over the centuries while a four-stamp miniature sheet celebrates the opulence of its interior.

Royal Mail commissioned the artwork used for the 2014 stamp. The watercolour of the present day exterior of the Palace was painted by the artist Chris Draper.

The stamps are available from www.royalmail.com/buckinghampalace Opens in new window, by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK

ASBPlargeBuckingham Palace is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world today and provides the setting for ceremonies and formal entertaining, as well as the Prime Minister’s weekly audience with The Queen.

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail spokesperson, said; “This stamp issue illustrates the development of Buckingham Palace from the private house built by the Duke of Buckingham 300 years ago to one of the most iconic buildings in the world.

“Buckingham Palace is one of the most recognised landmarks in the UK and is a source of pride to the nation; it forms a huge part of our heritage, so it’s fitting Royal Mail has been able to dedicate a stamp issue to this most famous of addresses.”

MZBPlargeThe history of Buckingham Palace can be traced back to the early 17th century, when a mulberry garden was established on the site to breed silk worms. A house built near the garden for Lord Goring in 1633 was replaced, after a fire, on a larger scale by the next occupant, Henry Bennet, Secretary of State to King Charles II and later first Earl of Arlington. In 1698, Arlington House was acquired by John Sheffield, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1703.

It was the Duke of Buckingham who transformed the site by demolishing the existing building and erecting an ambitious brick house with a three-storeyed central block and flanking pavilions.

This basic plan of Buckingham House formed the core of the future palace and dictated all subsequent development. Facing the Mall – the grand tree-lined avenue running along the north side of St James’s Park – and with a large formal garden at the back, it was an impressive residence benefitting from an excellent location and magnificent views.

In 1761, King George III bought the house as a private residence following his marriage to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz. However, it did not make for a comfortable home. By this time, many features of Buckingham House were out of fashion. To adapt the house to his tastes and needs, King George III put architect Sir William Chambers in charge. After Queen Charlotte settled in the upstairs rooms in 1775, the residence was known as the Queen’s House and became the centre of royal life.

The main developments by John Nash in the early 19th century to transformed it into a Royal Palace, and Queen Victoria’s expansion of the building created a new front facing the Mall.

The 20th century saw King Edward VII set about redecorating much of the interior in its distinctive white and gold décor.

- See more at: http://www.royalmailgroup.com/new-royal-mail-stamp-issue-chronicles-history-buckingham-palace#sthash.mLRCfsgC.dpuf