Save the rural mail carrier: Fix dilapidated mailboxes

To the editor:

Rural mail carriers would really appreciate your help.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Although it has no official status, that motto is recognized around the world as belonging to the United States Postal Service.

The USPS delivers more items in a day’s work than all the other parcel services combined! That would include as much as half of Amazon’s packages, plus a bunch of FedEx’s and UPS’s!

I recently learned that it is against the USPS rules (law) to run around the neighborhood, putting things in mail boxes that have not had the proper postage applied. I discovered this recently when I ran around me neighborhood, delivering 140 neighborhood watch notices...sans postage!

The local post office contacted me, and set me straight. We corrected things and I promised them I will NEVER EVER do it again. It was all good. However, in the process, I discovered something that is NOT so good.

A significant number of the mail boxes in the greater rural West Plains area are in absolutely terrible shape, and in dire need of maintenance, repair, or total replacement. The most prevalent evil I noticed were boxes that are tipped backwards, leaning back away from the road.

Having played “mail man” for the afternoon, I can tell you that it’s no simple task getting mail delivered. If the box is dilapidated or leans back 10 or 15 degrees, or isn’t attached to the post properly, it poses a real challenge, requiring some amazing athletic feats by the carriers.

I can tell you first hand that it’s really difficult to deliver mail when the mail box leans to and fro, the box flops around on the post, the post flips back and forth, the door won’t latch, etc.

It’s tricky enough getting the mail in a box that’s well maintained, not to mention a dilapidated, unkempt box. We rural resident postal patrons have a responsibility to provide a decent mail box for the carriers to deliver mail to.

Postal regulations provide that if a box is unfit to safely receive mail, the USPS can notify the box owner that delivery will cease until said unfit box is fixed.

If I were a carrier, I would be sending out a bunch of notices very soon. I’m absolutely amazed that the WP rural carriers continue to work with all the unfit boxes I see. The rural carriers risk their risk their lives six days a week traveling Missouri’s narrow, dusty, hilly, dangerous rural back roads getting our mail to us.

So give your carrier a little help. If your box is not up to snuff, straighten it up, give it a healthy dose of TLC, and make your carrier’s life a little safer and easier. If your box is in good shape, I can assure you that your carrier very much appreciates you.

Here are some interesting facts about a day in the life of the USPS, and what your carrier participates in every day. They process and deliver 187.7 million pieces of mail each day, 297.1 million pieces of mostly junk mail, totaling 484.8 million total pieces each day.

On average, they process 20.2 million pieces each hour, 336,649 each minute, and 5,611 every second. Over 4,000 addresses are added to their delivery network every day, plus 121,452 address changes. More than 75,000 letter carriers drive to neighborhoods, and then deliver the mail on foot.

Nearly 7,000 carriers deliver entirely on foot — the USPS “feet fleet.” Mail is even delivered by bicycle on select routes in Arizona and Florida, reducing emissions and saving fuel. Each day, the USPS generates $234 million in revenue, and pays out $165.6 million in salaries and benefits, with no tax dollars being used or involved.

The $70 million difference is not profit, though, as there’s still vehicle, equipment and brick and mortar expenses to cover. The 2018 USPS deficit was $3.9 billion.

Ted Bailey


To the editor:

Local city, county, and school officials in Missouri and Arkansas are due special appreciation for taking action to help protect their resident citizens from the COVID-19 virus. Business and industry leaders also deserve our thanks for their efforts.

Who doesn't deserve thanks is Gov. Mike Parson who, as I write this, has not ordered statewide closures. Missouri is among only six states that have no statewide measures in place. By contrast, Ark. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is on the ball.

The Missouri Legislature is not moving with deliberate speed to help Missourians, but then we are used to members'  lack of interest in their constituents.

Wake up, Jefferson City.

Thank you,

Frank L. Martin

Peace Valley

Giving thanks for a successful trivia night

The fourth annual “Are You Smarter Than A Preschooler?” Trivia Night for Friendship Circle Ministries was a huge success!

Thank you to everyone around the community who came out to support our preschool. We wanted to send out our deepest appreciation to those generous supporters, sponsors, and donors! Without you our Silent Auction would not have been possible. 

Thank you to the parents of the 3-year-old and 4 year-old-preschool classes, Aaron Hicks Visuals, Allison Merrill, Armstrong Flooring, At Home Market, Auto World, Circle C&K, Colton’s, Berry Sweet Moments, Blue House Sugar Cookies, Bootleggers BBQ, Corn-Fed Rascal, Country at Heart, Cutting Warehouse;

Dairy Queen, Dennis’s Meat Market, Domino’s Pizza, Duke Boyz, El Charro, Fish Shack, Finish Line Printing, Flora Bloom Market, Friendship Circle Child Care Families, Fringe Salon, Gary’s Tire & Automotive, Glass Sword, Great Scrubs & More, Halli King, Healthy Smiles Dental, Higher Grounds Coffee Co.;

Hirsch, KIKO, Holiday Inn Express & Suites (WP), Howell County Rural Fire, Itty Bitty City, Ivy Fox, LA Nails, Landscape Legends, Little Caesars, MSU-West Plains, Maggie’s Farm Pet Boarding, Mary-Louise Tollenaar, Megan Dobbs, McDonald’s, Monty’s Outdoors, Morlan-Shell Ford, Nikkilaine Photography;

Ozark Café, Pink Barn Boutique, Posey Patch, Radosevich Family, Rasor Chiropractic (Shawn Marvin), Ray’s Barber Shop, Real Wood Floors, Rebecca Pruett, Revive Salon, Rustic Rose Boutique, Sara Inman, Sight & Sound Theatre, Silver Dollar City, Shelly Collins, Show Boat Branson Belle, South Howell County Ambulance;

Springfield Cardinals, St. Louis Cardinals, Sugar Lilly Bakery & Floral, Taco Alejandros, Teckton, This Chic’s Embroidery & More, Toyota (WP), Veda’s Tumbling, WP Police Dept., WP Fire Dept., Walmart, Wayward Son Productions, Wendy’s, West Plains Bank, West Plains city pool, West Plains Green House, Zizzer Athletics, and The Friendship Circle Ministries Board.

God Bless You and we will see you next year! 

Amy J. Murphy

Director of Friendship Circle Ministries

First United Methodist Church

West Plains

Panic-buying hurts families

To the editor:

Dear Americans,

It's time that we all stick together whether we are black, white, Democrat or Republican, man or woman. We need to stick together.

There is a difference in being prepared and hoarding. You don't need a year's worth of toilet paper and food to survive this virus. When you panic and buy up all the paper products, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, then start in on all the food you can stockpile, you are causing others to go without.

Somewhere there is a family that is going without food and products to help them fight the virus because you stockpiled a year's worth of products, and it's hard for the stores to restock when you empty all the shelves.

If we all bought responsibly, then there would be enough to go around — but when you go into the store and panic, then all of those around you see it and panic as well.

Please start acting like the adults you are and be responsible. And if you are one that has stockpiled more than you need, do the right thing and share with those that didn't get any.

Jacob Schmitt

West Plains

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