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Mascot Makes Special Appearance at Stamp Ceremony

Arizona Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter helped Mesa Postmaster Yolanda Stenson unveil the 1-cent Bobcat U.S. Postage Stamp.

Arizona Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter helped Mesa Postmaster Yolanda Stenson unveil the 1-cent Bobcat U.S. Postage Stamp.

On Sat. 21, Arizona Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter helped Mesa Postmaster Yolanda Stenson unveil the 1-cent Bobcat U.S. Postage Stamp during a brief First Day of Issue ceremony at the Arizona Federation of Stamp Clubs’ ARIPEX Stamp Show. The bobcat on the stamp bears a striking resemblance to the Diamondbacks mascot and D. Baxter gave his cheers of approval at the event.

First issued in 2012, the 1-cent Bobcat stamp, reissued Saturday, depicts the Bobcat or Lynx rufus, a proficient hunter that stalks its prey with patience and stealth. Bobcats are common throughout Arizona at all elevations, including in the outskirts of urban areas.

Stamp illustrator Nancy Stahl used photographs of bobcats as the basis for her highly-stylized design. Among the other stamps featuring her illustrations is 2011’s Save Vanishing Species semi-postal stamp and its portrait of an Amur tiger cub.

The new stamp is available nationwide at usps.com or by clicking here.

Year of the Ram

Ram stamp3

Celebration, treats and noise often marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. A wooden candy tray, known as the chuen-hop or Tray of Togetherness, highlights the 2015 Year of the Ram stamp, the eighth in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Ram begins on February 19, 2015, and ends on February 7, 2016.

In the United States and elsewhere, the occasion is marked in various ways across many cultures; parades featuring enormous and vibrantly painted paper-mache dragons, parties, and other special events are common. Many families set out a candy tray, like the one depicted in the stamp art, to provide guests with an assortment of dried fruits and candies for a sweet beginning to the new year. Drums are played to celebrate this time of renewed hope for the future, with drumsticks sometimes painted red for luck. Firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes (hong bao) containing money are given as gifts to children and loved ones.

The Year of the Ram Forever Stamp is now available by going to usps.com or by clicking here.

Printing Gifts at the Post Office

SingPost1

In many parts of the world, 3D printing technology is expanding rapidly. From large businesses to libraries, the popular machines are increasing in popularity for their versatility and convenience. Royal Mail recently introduced a version of the handy printers to its customers, but the Post is not alone. Another Postal Service also introduced the technology within a handful of its modern stores, and demand has thus far been encouraging.

SingPost, Singapore’s Post Office, has modified a number of its retail facilities to integrate enhanced technological capabilities to appeal to the diverse needs of its customer base. Besides offering conveniently located parcel lockers and terminals with services similar to a USPS self-service kiosk such as label and stamp printing, customer can peruse available stamps and other products at stations equipped with tablet devices. They can also print small, 3D objects.

The new printers aren’t capable of printing everything a customer might desire, but expanded options are a possibility in the future. For now, the devices can replicate figurines and small accessories such as pendants. Customers can also have their faces scanned to customize the figurines before purchase.

SingPost intends to adapt more of its offices to the 24/7 auto-lobby concept going forward. The move will help provide convenient access to many services offered by the Post at a time that’s convenient for customers.

Wizarding World Still Ignites the Imagination

Harry Potter framed art

Released in November 2013, this collection of Harry Potter forever stamps reignited the magic and wonder of a wizarding world creatively crafted by J.K. Rowling.

This special collection of first-class character images from the movie series is only available for a limited time, so pick up a copy today before the opportunity disappears forever.

Potter stamps1Potter stamps2

Low Gasoline Prices May Not Last

Low gas prices may not last

Since June 2014, oil prices have plunged precipitously, causing a rapid decrease in gasoline prices. Various factors have contributed to the decrease including tapering demand in various countries and increased production in the United States and Canada. While low gas prices are currently enjoyed by consumers, the situation may not be sustainable long-term.

Expensive oil extraction techniques in the U.S. and Canada are less financially sustainable than more traditional drilling methods. The longer oil prices remain below the cost of extracting oil via fraking and other higher cost techniques, the less economically viable the production operation. As a result, oil production in the United States has decreased in recent months. The longer oil prices remain below the cost of production, the fewer drilling operations are likely to commence as existing wells exhaust their supply. This has the potential to translate into lower state income and reduced employment needs in oil production operations.

While oil prices have risen slightly in recent weeks, it is unclear if it’s a sustainable move. Reduced output at production facilities and increased gasoline demand might have prompted prices to move somewhat higher. Global output is also a key factor in future price direction. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could decrease output at some point to nudge prices in a desired direction. Turmoil in other oil producing countries could also impact output.

Whichever direction oil prices follow long-term, the short-term decrease has improved gasoline affordability and has allowed consumers to operate their vehicles for $1 less per gallon than one year ago. Reduced costs have the potential to increase demand, however, and as consumers expand their driving, demand for mass transportation and alternatively fueled vehicles might experience a slight decrease that lasts as long as fuel prices remain low.

Oil and Gasoline pricing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil and Gasoline pricing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

A Special Trip for a Special Stamp

Photo by: Jim Schoenherr.

Photo by: Jim Schoenherr.

Many who send wedding invitations through the mail often choose a stamp design that offers the perfect message to recipients. For one individual in Grand Lake, CO, the acquisition of that special stamp involved a unique form of transportation.

Amber Valez and her fiancé identified the perfect stamp to accentuate their wedding invitations to friends and loved ones. Rather than set off in a mechanized form of transportation, Amber opted to venture out to her local Post Office via horseback.

The distinctive mode of transportation faithfully waited outside the office while Amber picked up a collection of Love stamps. Grand Lake Postmaster Diane Mahoney was thrilled to have the special visitor at her office waiting for its owner.

“I thought it was a great example of us here in the Wild Wild West!” said Mahoney.

Ailing Boy’s Love of Mail Swamps Post Office

Bubby Everson and his mother look over the mail for Bubby at the Graham, WA, Post Office.

Bubby Everson and his mother look over the mail for Bubby at the Graham, WA, Post Office.

It’s never easy to accept the diagnosis of a terminal illness of a loved one, particularly when a child is involved. For one young boy in Graham, WA, the severe effects of his illness are partially mitigated by the outpouring of love and support from strangers across the world through a familiar medium.

Bubby Everson contracted the Cytomegalovirus at birth. The virus has caused many severe forms of illness for Bubby, and his doctors have said it’s only a matter of time before the virus takes its deadly toll. While Bubby struggles with the effects of his illness on a daily basis, he continues to receive a daily source of joy from the mail. When his parents turned to social media to ask people to send mail to Bubby for his ninth birthday (Feb. 11), the response was overwhelming

The family rented a Post Office Box at their hometown Post Office in Graham, WA, about 40 miles southeast of Seattle to handle the increased volume. Cards, letters and packages have poured in from across the United States and around the world, accounting for as much as 70 percent of the office’s total daily mail volume.

Bubby has been delighted with the outpouring of support and will enjoy opening his special birthday messages for some time to come.

The back of the family vehicle full of mail for Bubby Everson.

The back of the family vehicle full of mail for Bubby Everson.

Robert Robinson Taylor

Robert Robinson Taylor

The 38th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors architect and educator Robert Robinson Taylor (1868-1942). For more than three decades, Taylor supervised the design and construction of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama while also overseeing the school’s programs in industrial education and the building trades. He is believed to have been both the first black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the country’s first academically trained black architect. Through his calm leadership and quiet dignity, he earned the admiration of colleagues and students alike while expanding opportunities for African Americans in fields that had largely been closed to them.

This stamp features a photograph of Taylor taken circa 1890, when he was around 22 years old and a student at MIT.

In 1892, after graduating from MIT, Taylor accepted an offer from educator and activist Booker T. Washington to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he soon set about shaping the appearance of the burgeoning school. Over the course of nearly 40 years, Taylor designed dozens of essential buildings, including libraries, dormitories, lecture halls, industrial workshops, and a chapel, transforming a makeshift campus on an abandoned plantation into a state-of-the-art institution.

Taylor’s work as a teacher and administrator was equally vital to the Tuskegee mission. While overseeing programs to train skilled artisans, he also established a curriculum with a certificate to help graduates enter collegiate architecture programs or earn entry-level positions at firms. His work furthered Booker T. Washington’s dream of fostering not just African-American builders and carpenters, but architects who could plan the buildings as well.

The Robert Robinson Taylor Forever stamp is now available on usps.com or by clicking here.

Happy President’s Day!

Presidents Day 02162015

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