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Letters to the Editor - March 28

March 28, 2012

Winter Street students deserve our greatest effort

To the editor:

My grandson is a student at Winter Street Elementary School. I have never witnessed a community or students more in need of a community-based school in walking distance to their homes.

There are no buses dropping off students; everyone walks or is dropped off by parents. More families of the students at this school are living at or near the poverty level than at any other school in the county.

Closing Winter Street, taking away one very stable and safe environment from these kids and families in their neighborhood, will be another difficult obstacle and source of discouragement for these families. 

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These students need to be able to go to after-school tutoring and after-school activities without requiring a parent with a car to pick them up. Many of these families don’t have access to that luxury. These kids need a school they can walk to, one that doesn’t include having to catch a bus. How many kids who miss a bus won’t be able to go to school that day? 

Evening school activities that require families to drive will become less attended by the families with students who need the events the most. These families have difficult lives, and they need help. But they are proud, and often will not accept charity. 

Buying property and building a school in an urban environment such as Winter Street will be expensive and difficult. Mixing these kids in with rural students might raise the school average and might look good politically, but it won’t help these kids. 

If we can justify the dollars spent for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and for the International Bacculareuate program, then we surely can justify the money needed to work with the kids at risk at Winter Street Elementary. They are the ones who need and deserve our greatest effort.

Sam Tolbert
Hagerstown


Postal Service manager pledges customer service

To the editor:

I am writing in response to recent articles that have appeared in the HagerstownHerald-Mail concerning mail delivery issues in the Hagerstown area.

I want to begin by thanking all of our postal customers in the 217 ZIP code delivery area for their patience and understanding while we completed the transfer of mail processing operations from the former Frederick facility to Baltimore. During the transition four months ago, we faced some initial challenges. We’ve taken steps to address them and I’m pleased to say we are back on track.

And our customers have my word that we will stay on track.

But it’s important that everyone understand that the reasons behind the USPS decision to consolidate the Frederick facility haven’t changed, and that those reasons are substantial.

The Postal Service is facing a projected $16.5 billion loss this year, driven by a steep decline in mail volume that has resulted in a larger-than-needed infrastructure that’s too costly to maintain. We also are under a congressional mandate to prefund our retiree health benefits — something no other federal agency is required to do. Only much-needed legislative action on the part of Congress can change that requirement.

We also have seen a significant loss of First-Class Mail volume — nearly 25 percent since 2006 — contributing greatly to the excess capacity across our entire network. As an example, the Baltimore facility routinely canceled 1.5 million letters in a single weeknight in 2006. Recently, Baltimore canceled 600,000 letters on one weeknight — and that included the mail from Frederick.

The Frederick consolidation allowed us to reduce costs and better utilize the obvious excess capacity we have in our system. Our declining mail volumes, substantial fixed costs, and mandated universal delivery dictate that we take this bold action to preserve and protect the world’s leading Postal Service for our customers and our employees.

We care about all of our customers — residential, retail and business. My team and I meet regularly with business mailers to make sure we are meeting their expectations. Our Business Service Network department works with mailers to make sure that we receive, process and deliver all commercial mail in a timely manner and in accordance with our delivery standards. Postal Customer Councils pair USPS experts with local businesses owners to provide information and best practices for cost-effective and profitable mailing.

These collaborative efforts are just a few of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to providing the best possible service to our customers in the Hagerstown area, and we look forward to serving all of our customers for many years to come.

If a customer has an issue with his or her mail delivery or service, we ask that they please contact their local postmaster or call us at 1-800-ASK-USPS so that we can help resolve it.

Kevin McAdams
Baltimore District Manager


Better to help others than to build great cathedrals

To the editor:

I heard on the news the other day that the Crystal Cathedral in California was going bankrupt.

This made me very sad, as I helped to build the two large organs for them when I worked for M.P. Moller. It made me so proud that I could work on an organ of this magnitude. And besides the main organ, a second one was built for the balcony. Watching the choir perform on television before that great organ was uplifting.

They often advertised that they had 12 or so ministers to care for their congregation, but they were also asking constantly for more money. The place was too large. They discovered they couldn’t pay their bills, and the cathedral lost most of its congregation, as it was not affordable anymore.

I’m sure God didn’t want this to happen this way. There are so many people who need help, and it’s time we help them instead of financing larger-than-life churches. That would be a better way to honor God.

Ellis Duffey
Hagerstown

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