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Post office problems and smoke from wood-burning fire pits

Smoke from outdoor wood-burning fire pits concerns a

Smoke from outdoor wood-burning fire pits concerns a reader.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Post office disarray appalls ex-carrier

As a letter carrier for 32 years on Long Island and now retired, I am appalled at the general disarray the post office is in ["Speed of LI mail service not letter perfect," News, July 25].

I always took pride in my work, making sure I correctly delivered the mail, got misaddressed letters to the proper recipients and tried to give good service. It now seems the United States Postal Service has taken the word "service" out of its name.

When I talk to former co-workers, I hear of mail being left behind for days, routes not delivered, forced overtime and a general disregard for service guidelines.

If I was still on the job, I don’t know if I could have the same pride in my work as I used to, knowing that my employer has little regard for delivery standards.

It seems to me that Louis DeJoy was appointed U.S. postmaster general to screw up mail delivery to help make the argument of voter fraud in the presidential election. It is time to put the service back into the post office.

— Brian Bies, East Meadow

I have worked 33 years with the post office, 10 as a letter carrier and 23 as a distribution window clerk. Everything nowadays is automated, and this is a major problem.

Automation is needed, but it slows the speed that mail moves. Wrong barcodes are applied on mail at an alarming rate. Machines constantly send packages addressed correctly to wrong installations. Mail is then handled manually and corrected by me. Many times, these same pieces of mail come back to me at my small North Shore post office the next day with the same error. Even fixing this manually does not always ensure that the piece of mail will be on its way correctly.

Everything is driven by data and analyzed. But the number of errors is out of control. The problem is as an industry we are top-heavy in management and rely too much on useless data.

— Lawrence Levine, Westbury

Mail called "first class" used to imply priority, the first to be delivered. Parcel delivery apparently has become the new priority, the new first class, with marketing mail (junk mail) second class and the rest being "snail mail."

This re-sorting is part of the process of commercialization of a public utility. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s "holistic" view exemplifies this debasement and slow privatization of a primary, unifying national service.

This process is abetted by our government representatives whose indifferent responses — "It needs to adjust" and "had some bad impacts" — do not reflect the concerns of Long Island’s postal patrons.

Review, refocus and reform are in order, but it may take new people to do it.

— Brian Kelly, Rockville Centre

What happened to praise for essential workers?  The USPS is the only entity that served every address in the country for six or seven days a week through this pandemic. Many people sat home  ordering more things to be delivered to them  for business or personal reasons, or even  safety reasons.

This tremendous influx in package delivery greatly impacted carriers, who had to fit   the equivalent of a United Parcel Service or FedEx route into the normal delivery of their own route, managed by postal officials, in a typical eight-hour day. I’m sure this was done in severely shorthanded offices, too.

It seems to me, once again, as during the Ebola, H1N1 and anthrax scares, that USPS workers have been taken for granted and, even in   the article, chastised for the declining delivery scores.

I ask you this: How many post offices have you seen close during the pandemic?

— Anthony Perri, Baldwin

The writer retired after 35 years with the USPS as a clerk, mail carrier, processing supervisor and express mail manager.

Beware the dangers of wood smoke

The smoke from the wildfires out West has negatively affected air quality here on the East Coast ["Clearing up questions about the recent poor air quality," News, July 22]. But there is something closer to home that more directly and negatively impacts our health and creates poor air quality — outdoor wood-burning fire pits, especially during the summer.

The smoke emitted from these pits is closer to us, sometimes thicker, and affects not only those sitting around them but also those who live nearby.

Wood smoke, no matter the source — from far away as the West or from nearby pits — can irritate eyes and throats and can contribute to breathing difficulties.

Long Islanders would be better off if they stopped using wood fire pits. With the worrisome Western fires, there is no need for us to add fuel to the fire.

— Gina Florentino-James, Huntington Station

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