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Post office faces cash shortage by end of year

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					Page 2A - STAR - FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011


Post office faces
cash shortage
by end of year
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Re-           pay about $5.5 billion annually
publican-controlled House opened        into an account to fund future re-
the envelope of postal finances on      tiree medical benefits.
Wednesday and what it pulled out            The requirement was imposed
wasn’t pretty.                          in 2006, and since then the post
    Unless things change, the post      office has paid $21 billion into the
office will run out of money by         fund and, during the same period,
the end of the fiscal year in Octo-     has had a net loss of $20 billion,
ber, Postmaster General Patrick R.      explained Ruth Goldway, head of
Donahoe told the House Oversight        the independent Postal Regulatory
subcommittee on the postal ser-         Commission.
vice.                                       “Prefunding health benefits is
    Donahoe said that as of Sept.       an incredible burden,” Donahoe
30 his agency will owe the federal      said. “In 2007 and 2008 we would
government a payment of $5.5 bil-       have had net profits except for the
lion to fund medical costs, in ad-      prefunding.”
vance, for future retirees, and in          The problem has come before
November it will need to make a         Congress in the past, with proposals
$1.3 billion payment for worker’s       to reduce or eliminate the prepay-                                                                                                                                           Photo by Brandon Hicks
compensation.                           ments.                                                                             No serious injuries in three-car wreck
    “The Postal Service will not            However, since the post office is    A three-vehicle accident on Thursday caused only minor injuries. Officer Doug Combs of the Elizabethton Police Department said
have the cash available to make         not part of the federal budget, but     the accident on northbound Highway 19E at Broad Street was caused when Ilene Clawson, 75, of Abe Lincoln Drive, Elizabethton,
both of these payments. We need         the accounts that receive its retire-   driving a Buick Lesabre, rear-ended a red Honda Civic, driven by 18-year-old Andrew Chambers of Siam Road, Elizabethton.
legislation this year to address that   ment payments are, that money           Chambers’ vehicle then pushed into a Honda Ridgeline, driven by Jeffrey Street of Johnson City. Clawson was charged with drivers
fact,” he said.                         counts as income for the federal        exercise due care.
    If it does come down to crunch      government. That means that
time, said Donahoe: “We will de-
liver the mail.” Employees will
be paid, as will suppliers, he said.
                                        reducing or eliminating the pay-
                                        ments would appear to increase the
                                        federal budget deficit.
                                                                                Wis. governor warns of layoffs, talks to Democrats
“The thing we will not do is pay the        The dire finances notwith-              MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Thou-           day and ordered the state to grant        could because I do not want to           crats in contempt and allowing
federal government.”                    standing, Donahoe also sought to        sands of Wisconsin state workers         greater access to the public by next      have layoffs,” Walker said.              the chamber’s sergeant at arms to
    Without some important              be upbeat, saying that challenges       were bracing for layoff notices today    Monday.                                       While Walker said he is actively     use police force to detain them if
changes to the law the post office      can be recast as opportunities to       as Republican Gov. Scott Walker              “We decided it would be best for      working with some of the Demo-           necessary. Senate Majority Leader
“cannot survive as a self-financing     make the post office more market-       and absent Democrats remained            our image to leave tonight peaceful-      crats in hopes of striking a deal,       Scott Fitzgerald says his orders are
entity,” Donahoe said.                  responsive.                             in a standoff over a budget balanc-      ly and come back tomorrow,” said          he told The Associated Press in an       binding only if the senators return
    While the post office has been          “We think there is plenty of        ing bill that would also strip public    Matt Rowe, 21, of Madison, carrying       interview Thursday that he won’t         to Wisconsin.
battered by the recession and the       growth available in standard mail,      workers of their collective bargain-     an armful of blankets after he left       compromise on the collective bar-            Sen. Chris Larson said they
movement of mail to the Internet,       in the package market” and other        ing rights.                              the building.                             gaining issue or anything that           hadn’t done anything illegal and
it has also cut costs sharply by re-    new products, he said. In addition          Walker said he would issue               The protesters’ dramatic depar-       saves the state money.                   couldn’t be arrested.
ducing its work force by 240,000        the agency is exploring electronic      1,500 layoff notices today if at         ture capped a day full of develop-            “I can’t take any of that off the        “There are so many police
people in recent years. Last year it    opportunities, he said.                 least one of the 14 Senate Demo-         ments, including Walker’s threat          table,” he said. “We cannot tear         supporting us, they might have a
cut costs by $3 billion and expects         The agency is also seeking to cut   crats doesn’t return from Illinois       of massive layoffs he said would be       apart this budget. We cannot put         hard time finding one to bring us
to reduce spending by another $2        costs by closing or consolidating of-   to give the Republican majority          needed to make up for savings not         this burden on local governments.        back,” said Miller, one of the AWOL
billion this year, Donahoe said.        fices and has proposed eliminating      the quorum it needs to vote. Sen-        being realized in the stalled bill.       But if there are other ways they are     Democrats.
    But, alone among federal agen-      deliveries on Saturdays, while of-      ate Republicans voted Thursday               Walker says the bill is needed to     willing to work with us to find a            The Wisconsin Professional Po-
cies, the post office is required to    fices would remain open six days.       to hold the missing Democrats in         ease a deficit that is projected to hit   pathway back, I think that’s what        lice Association, a union represent-
                                                                                contempt and force police to bring       $137 million by July and $3.6 billion     people want.”                            ing 11,000 law enforcement offi-
Final TVA energy plans for next                                                 them back to the Capitol.
                                                                                    The legislation has led to nearly
                                                                                                                         by mid-2013. His proposal comes up
                                                                                                                         with the money for this year in part
                                                                                                                                                                       Democratic Senate Minor-
                                                                                                                                                                   ity Leader Mark Miller confirmed
                                                                                                                                                                                                            cials from across the state, released
                                                                                                                                                                                                            a statement from its director, Jim
                                                                                three weeks of protests — some           by forcing state employees to pay for     there were talks with Walker, but        Palmer, slamming the resolution
two decades to be announced                                                     attended by tens of thousands
                                                                                of union supporters — in and
                                                                                                                         half the cost of their pensions and
                                                                                                                         twice their current health care pre-
                                                                                                                                                                   he did not think they were close to
                                                                                                                                                                   reaching a deal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            to go after the Democrats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                “The thought of using law
    CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The              units could be idled and nuclear        around the state Capitol, which          miums — concessions equivalent                The statewide teachers union         enforcement officers to exercise
Tennessee Valley Authority will         units may be added as early as          was completely cleared of demon-         to an 8 percent pay cut.                  and state workers unions have said       force in order to achieve a politi-
release its final plan today for        2018.                                   strators late Thursday for the first         With the labor bill stalled,          they would agree to the benefit con-     cal objective is insanely wrong and
meeting power needs in the next            The plan will next go before         time in 17 nights after a judge          Walker said he has to issue layoff        cessions — as long as they retain        Wisconsin sorely needs reasonable
two decades.                            the TVA board.                          ordered the building closed during       notices starting today so the state       collective bargaining rights.            solutions and not potentially dan-
    A draft assessment suggests            TVA, the country’s largest           non-business hours.                      can start to realize the $30 million          But Walker argues that move          gerous political theatrics,” Palmer
the plans will likely include more      public utility, supplies power to           The final 50 or so protesters left   savings he had assumed would              is necessary to deal with $1 billion     said.
nuclear power production and            about 9 million people in Ten-          peacefully about two hours after         come from the concessions. The            in cuts to school districts and local        A memo provided by private at-
less reliance on coal.                  nessee, Alabama, Mississippi,           the judge’s order, which also said       layoffs wouldn’t be effective for 31      governments that he proposed sep-        torney Jim Troupis, who was hired
    The draft plan, released in         Kentucky, Georgia, North Caro-          the state unconstitutionally limited     days, and Walker said he could re-        arately as part of his budget plan for   by the Senate Republicans and
September, said more coal-fired         lina and Virginia.                      access to the building since Mon-        scind them if the bill passed in the      the next two years. He says schools      often works with the GOP, said the
                                                                                                                         meantime.                                 and local governments would have         state Constitution gives them au-
                                                                                                                             All state workers, except those       a tough time making the necessary        thority to act to compel attendance
                                                                                                                         at prisons, state hospitals and other     cuts if they have to negotiate with      under its rules.
                                                                                                                         facilities open around the clock,         unions.                                      Once the senators do return,
                                                        &                                                                would be potential layoff targets,
                                                                                                                         he said.
                                                                                                                                                                       The Republican leader of the
                                                                                                                                                                   state Senate signed orders Thurs-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fitzgerald said they could face
                                                                                                                                                                                                            reprimand, censure or even expul-

                                                        &
                                                                                                                             “I pushed it off as long as I         day finding the 14 missing Demo-         sion.


                        ELIZABETHTON VFW BANQUET HALL
                                                                                                                         Family Dollar board rejects investor takeover bid
                                                                                                                            MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) —                  that would significantly dilute          his stake in the company last
                                                                                          TH                             Family Dollar Stores Inc. on              shares if a takeover attempt pro-        summer, saying the stock was
                         SATURDAY, MARCH 5
                        ELIZABETHTON VFW BANQUET HALL                                                                    Thursday said its board rejected          ceeds.                                   undervalued. He said he met with
                                                                                                                         a takeover bid by an activist in-            Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund in          senior management to discuss
                              12 - 3 PM
                         SATURDAY, MARCH 5TH                                                                             vestor, saying it “substantially
                                                                                                                         undervalues the company.”
                                                                                                                                                                   February offered $55 to $60 per
                                                                                                                                                                   share, or about $6.99 billion, for
                                                                                                                                                                                                            the company’s direction. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trian Fund bought more Family

                                                12 - 3 PM
                                              HOSTED BY
                                             SPONSOREDBY                                                                    The discount retailer also ad-
                                                                                                                         opted a shareholder rights plan,
                                                                                                                                                                   Family Dollar.
                                                                                                                                                                      Peltz, Family Dollar’s largest
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dollar shares in January.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Trian owns large stakes in a
                        THE ELIZABETHTON VFW
                               SPONSORED BY
                                                                                                                         commonly called a “poison pill,”          shareholder, started increasing          variety of major American busi-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            nesses including upscale jew-
                                          with live entertainment by                                                                                                                                        eler Tiffany’s & Co., food com-
                                                                                                                              HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY TODAY TO
                                              in conjunction with
                    THE ELIZABETHTON VFW                                                                                                                                                                    pany H.J. Heinz Co. and fast-food
                                                                                                                                 TAMMY ELIZABETH
                The Watts Dancers, BloodKin and JB & Friends.
                 CARTER CO./ELIZABETHTON                                                                                                                                                                    chain Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.
                        in conjunction with

                                                                                                                                   PETERS MOORE
                                                                                                                                                                                                            It owns about 8 percent of Family
            ANIMAL SHELTER BUILDING COMMITTEE                                                                                                                                                               Dollar shares.
                 CARTER CO./ELIZABETHTON                                                                                                                                                                        Family Dollar’s board said
                                 THE AUCTION
            ANIMAL SHELTER BUILDING COMMITTEE                                                                                 A SWEET & WONDERFUL WIFE, LOVING DAUGHTER,
                                                                                                                                      WONDERFUL AUNT AND FRIEND
                                                                                                                                                                                                            that pursuit of a sale is not in
                                                                                                                                                                                                            the best interests of shareholders,
        Browse the collection of fine items donated by area merchants & private
                                 THE AUCTION
                 parties. Register your bid and take home a treasure.
                 Items with a retail value over $250.00 will be sold by “ LIVE AUCTION ”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            and that the best way to deliver
                                                                                                                                                                                                            value to shareholders is to con-
        Browse the collection of fine items donated by area merchants & private                                                                                                                             tinue implementing the com-
                 parties. Register your bid and take home a treasure.                                                                                                                                       pany’s strategic plan announced
                               CHILI DINNER
                 Items with a retail value over $250.00 will be sold by “ LIVE AUCTION ”                                                                                                                    in September.
               Have a bowl of homemade chili, a hot cup of coffee or cold tea.
                               CHILI DINNER
                           $5.00 Tax Deductible Attendance Fee                                                                                                                                                 AGE 65? YOU NEED
                                                                                                                                                                                                                A HEARING TEST
                         ALL PROCEEDS WILL hot cup of coffee
               Have a bowl of homemade chili, a BE DONATED TO or cold tea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              CALL
                           $5.00 Tax Deductible Attendance Fee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dr. Daniel R.
                    THE CARTER COUNTY/ELIZABETHTON                                                                                                                                                                             Schumaier
                         ALL PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO
                      ANIMAL SHELTER BUILDING FUND                                                                          MAYNARD & SHARON, RICK, CHRISTY,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                & Assoc.
                    THE CARTER COUNTY/ELIZABETHTON
                          www.newshelterforcartercounty.com                                                                BETH, ALL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS &
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Audiologists
                      ANIMAL SHELTER BUILDING FUND                                                                                  THE APPLE OF YOUR EYES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               106 E. Watauga Ave.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Johnson City
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     928-5771
                                  www.newshelterforcartercounty.com                                                                    McKinley & Malana                                                                      www.johnsoncityhearingcenter.com

				
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