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Short takes for July 9

July 9, 2010
Marshall Independent

Stamp rate increase

THUMBS DOWN: The United State Postal Service is facing a $7 billion loss in 2011. A proposed 2-cent rate increase on stamps will bring in an extra $2.5 billion, meaning it still faces a $4.7 billion loss, postal vice president Stephen M. Kearney said Tuesday. In addition to the 46-cent rate for the first ounce of a letter the cost for each additional ounce would go up a penny to 18 cents. The cost to mail a post card would go up 2 cents to 30 cents. So, what does this mean. For you, if you want to mail a letter, it will cost 46 cents. For the Postal Service, it will also mean more revenue to help offset billions of dollars of losses. But by no means is this a fix. In fact, it could ultimately backfire and push even more customers away from traditional mailing. More and more, the public is turning to email and the Internet to pay bills, purchase items, or simply correspond to family and friends. Those personal letters have become so antiquated that it's hard to believe anyone mails personal letters anymore. The USPS still needs to come up with other alternatives to right its ship - not just cost increases in a time when the average U.S. citizen is still feeling the effects of a recession. But we wonder what that solution is. Aside from raising rates, the USPS has cut 40,000 full-time positions and still lost nearly $4 billion the last fiscal year. Postal officials also have proposed eliminating Saturday mail delivery to cut costs, but that would require congressional approval.

Thirst for attention

THUMBS DOWN: During the last few weeks and culminating with a planned look-at-me live ESPN broadcast of his very own news conference to declare to whom he will grace his presence with - to whatever audience still cares - LeBron James has proven just how egotistical professional athletes can be; he's taken narcissism to a whole 'nother level. Doing his best imitation of Tiger Woods, James has managed to put himself above his sport in this summer's free agency frenzy. Not that the National Basketball Association cares. The NBA has transformed the game of basketball - a true team sport at the high school and collegiate levels - into somewhat of a one-man game, capitalizing on the marketability of a single athlete more than any other sport does, and James has replaced Kobe Bryant as its poster child. At times, it's as if the NBA is asking, "Who needs teamwork and role players with athletes like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant?" James' athletic prowess is outweighed only by his obsession for attention. Money, it seems, isn't enough for these superstar athletes anymore. The Benjamins will always be there waiting for players like James, who is known as the King in NBA circles and he'll cash in. But morally, this king has fallen.

Big weekend in Marshall

THUMBS UP: Planes, cars and bicycles are all part of a big weekend planned in the city of Marshall. The first-ever SkyFest festival begins Saturday and runs through Sunday and will include entertainment from high above the ground, as well as things to do and see on it. There will also be a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Lyon County Fairgrounds celebrating the bike trail to Wayside Park. Thousands of people are expected to attend these events and enjoy all the city of Marshall has to offer.



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