High Point Enterprise Newspaper Archives Mar 28 1976, Page 53

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High Point Enterprise (Newspaper) - March 28, 1976, High Point, North Carolina By Lee Mortimer Enterprise staff writer Greensboro a the postal services new computerized automated bulk mail distribution centers have come under heavy fire in congressional hearings which got underway in Washington last week. Investigators Are looking into charges that the billion Dollar mechanization program is Long on Complex gadgetry but is destroying an unprecedented number of parcels that pass through its 21 centers throughout the country. The postal service is seeking to offset Adverse publicity by opening the doors of its centers such As the one in Greensboro to members of the news Media. Area news Media have toured the Greensboro Center and were asked to examine for themselves for evidence of mishandling of parcel mail. The Greensboro bulk mail Center Bic covers eight acres of floor space on a 57-acre tract of land on Wendover Avenue began operation in May of 1975,the third in the country after the new York and Chicago Bic s. The facility was the first in the nation to reach too per cent of its production capacity reaching the Mark in August according to general manager Nick Carr. During a cursory tour and examination of the Center one afternoon last week the Enterprise did not observe any of the kind of abuses discussed in congressional testimony. Carr conducted the tour explaining How parcels and paper bulk mail Are received sorted and shipped out for delivery almost totally automatically. Some 125,000 parcels pass through the Bic daily on their Way to final destinations Carr said. Five Miles of conveyor belts and a mile of floor Tow Chain carry parcels from receiving docks through sorting areas and on to outgoing trucks. An average of too truckloads per Day Are unloaded at the Center. Of the total Only a minute percentage is damaged and that damage results from improper wrapping of parcels by senders Carr contended. Of All parcels handled Only about vie of one per cent is damaged half of which has already occurred when the parcels arrive at the Center Carr said. A the real problem is at the postal window when the clerk has to decide whether to Tell mama the package she wrapped with scotch tape has to be done Over a he commented. But the congressional committee staff report states a despite postal assertions that most damage results from insufficiently wrapped packages., the Clear evidence was that most of the damage was done to Well packaged subcommittee chairman rep. Charles h. Wilson has charged that a millions of damaged parcels Are backing up at every Post at Greensboro Between 8,000 and 10,-000 parcels per Day cannot be handled automatically and must be sorted by hand. Those include irregularly shaped items like tires or exhaust pipes Glass items and parcels too heavy to pass on conveyor belts or chutes. About 70 to 80 parcels each Day find their Way into a bin reserved for packages either damaged or missing addresses Here Carr said they Are re wrapped if torn from their wrappings and re addressed if destinations can be determined parcels without visible addresses Are held for 60 Days and postal officials assist owners in relocating their lost items Carr said. If the item can to be reunited with its owner the parcel is sent to the dead letter office and the contents auctioned Carr said. Congressional investigators have charged that items Are auctioned with Little attempt to find the sender or that Many parcels simply find their Way into the trash. Carr insisted Only refuse leaves the Greensboro Bic As trash. Greensboro was one of 12 by cd a visited by congressional investigators during six months of investigations. Perhaps the most sensitive criticism to postal officials is the a sack shakeout mechanism a system used to lift sacks of parcels and dump their contents investigators said the machine was responsible for considerable damage Labelling it a the epitome of needless and wasteful columnist Jack Anderson reported that parcels fell As far As five feet from upturned sacks causing certain damage to breakables Carr apparently shared the sensitivity to deficiencies in the sack shake out device. He failed to include it in the tour until reminded at the end that visitors wished Tovy new it. As observers looked on a package of shelled nuts fell from an upturned sack bursting at the seams when it hit the ramp below. Many other packages appeared to hit with Strong Impact after falling from a height of about 18 inches. Carr said Only about to per cent of the Greensboro Bic volume passes through the sack shake out system. And that proportion is diminishing and will eventually be phased out As individual stacking in trucks supplants transporting in sacks he said. Wilson who has called the Bic system a a management Blunder of the first magnitude paid an unannounced Midnight visit to the Detroit Bic where he said he discovered thousands of parcels damaged by the new machines. Packages unloaded from incoming trucks Are placed on conveyor belts and taken to sorting stations. There one worker turns face up and a second punches the zip code number on a computerized routing device. The conveyor is then synchronized to slide the parcel onto a moving tray which transports and deposits it in the Correct outgoing bin High Point sunday morning City March 28, 1976 amp Enterprise Section d area sack shake out is most controversial device Greensboro mail Center counters critics computer panel to screens Monitor five Miles of conveyor belts the Greensboro Bic serves North and South Carolina about half of Virginia a portion of West Virginia and some of Eastern Tennessee. Every zip code destination in the Region is covered by a bin by divid Itig All 2,000 zip destinations into seven routing the computerized scheme system permits routing in much less space than if each zip had a separate bin. Carr said. From bins the packages and sacks Are loaded onto carts and a computerized zip code marking is placed on the Side. As it travels along the floor Chain mechanisms along the route beam a laser on the marking and direct the cart to the Correct outgoing loading Dock. The entire system is regulated through the computer control room television screens and computer panels Monitor All areas and identify trouble spots in the system. Control room personnel have instant communication with areas of the Plant enabling fast Clearing of tie Carr said the screens reveal that much of the time a Light volume of parcels passes along the conveyor belts. But Carr said the extra capacity is needed to handle the volume of mail during the Christmas season. Carr refused comment on the congressional assessment though he said he is allowed by his superiors to say publicly whatever he wants a fall in a trying to demonstrate is the feasibility of the system. You can see for yourself that it s working and you can see that it s a viable he said he commended the a Little people a the clerks and mail handlers for being the Lifeblood of the system and the key to its Success the Bic employs 500 workers worker loads parcels and sacks from rows of bins onto cart there s Joy in not running for president by Saul Pett a special correspondent Washington a suddenly a Nan wakes up one Fine morning and eels free to be himself. Suddenly he no longer has to Wear a perpetual smile a Blue shirt for the a ooh tube a look of spontaneous in Erest in Dull strangers an impossible Elmeanor of humility and dignity while King for Money an expression of Ood cheer in the path of lethal darts rom the reporters a look of instant Leasure at the sight of yet another amort another Dandy Motel another reamed Chicken another Midnight conference of strategists arguing Over tie magic formula. Finally he is free drop his look of eternal unflappable Risdom despite a severe shortage of answers sleep rest food or a moment breathe think reflect find a respective or somehow remember toy he wanted to be president in the rat place. The Joys of not running for president i the United states Are varied and keep. So say eth Hubert Humphrey George in Golem Barry Coldwater Edmund Luskie Adlai Stevenson Walter Mon ale William Scranton Terry san ird Lloyd Bentsen Harold Stassen and Alf Landon. Richard Nixon was not mailable for comment. But most of the Irv ivors of the presidential virus of in past 40 years were. And they Reed 1 running for president has its a wards in exhilaration and ego. 2 but the whole Long process of Section is better suited As a route to in funny farm than the White House. After 200 years the worlds oldest Imo Cracy has yet to devise a rational Levant Way of choosing its leaders tort of the rack says this special alumni club of seven . Senators and four former governors. A the process now makes it almost impossible for the fittest to survive a says Adlai Stevenson Iii of Illinois whose father tried twice. The son briefly considered running himself this year but decided in favor of sanity his own. Humphrey of Minnesota a after a while you ask yourself can i shake one More hand at one More factory Gate by now your hand is a Frozen stump and a handshake becomes not an act of Friendship but an act of Mcgovern of South Dakota a you get so tired you begin to hate Goldwater of Arizona a the Campaign becomes As phony As a three Dollar Muskie of Maine a you become an absolutely frenetic Sanford of North Carolina a getting attention to the vital issues is like swimming upstream and raising Campaign funds is like trying to swim the Atlantic Bentsen of Texas a there has got to he a better _ his sentiment echoes that of virtually every Man who tried before him. Like Sanford Bentsen gave up Early this year among the latest to Exchange the great american dream that any red blooded american boy can grow up to be president for the greater reality not everyone has to. A Man running for president May think he has something to say if Only he can be heard on the issues his Superior qualifications will become apparent to his countrymen. Instead of issues of real debate or meaningful dialogue he runs into a blur of non Stop motion in Pursuit of the Money he needs to raise the Money he needs a whirl of to pick the democratic candidate for vice president How much was a vice president Worth Mcgovern said that conversation like the first was not allowed to get to specifics but the contribution would have been four years later Mcgovern was Able to joke about the matter barely. A maybe a he began a i might be been better off letting him pick the Mcgovern s Choice sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri lasted is Days before the lights went out Hubert Humphrey s experience with quid pro quo contributors was the reverse he said the big givers knew better than to ask for anything while the $500 Guy might one did. He allowed As How he would t mind being ambassador to Israel a for this kind of Money i told him. He get into the county courthouse Quot Humphrey has run three times for the presidential nomination once As the vice presidential nominee once As his party a Choice for president and from that Vantage Point the running est Democrat of them All concludes that raising Money especially in the Days before Federal Matching funds was a the most debilitating damning discouraging and disgusting experience in a Man s political also phony a you re led into the hotel suite and you pour your heart out. A i be just got to have your help a you say. You never say you need their Money Only their help. You make your pitch and then someone leads you into the bedroom so you Don t see who a contributing what in the parlor. You re not supposed to be there during the horrible act. But of a there a a Joy on 2d draining irrelevancies and Small bakeries. And so Barry Goldwater remembers the new Hampshire primary of 1964 with particular distaste. A there we were All of us candidates making 12, 13 speeches a Day spending millions of dollars in a state no bigger than the county i live he remembers that his wife Peggy came up to Campaign with him wearing a a Beautiful Gray Mink Quot and a Large Diamond ring he had Given her years before. Neither the Mink nor the Diamond would set Well among the simple Folk of new Hampshire the local nabobs told the visiting candidate. A but that s the Way we live a he remonstrated. Goldwater lost the argument. Reluctantly his wife got into a dark cloth coat. Sheepishly she turned the ring around with the Diamond out of sight. A it was about that time she told me a Barry you know what you can do with your Campaign a Quot it was All so phony a said the Republican nominee for president in 1964 a the thinking i guess was that the candidate and his wife should look poor and unsuccessful. Hell the Way i feel if you got it Wear among the Joys of not running for president one that ranks highest among former runners is not to have to hit friends and strangers for Money. The verb most commonly used was George Mcgovern particularly recalled How he dreaded going Back to a a Friend who had already Given $10,000 and asking him for another five. But you had to do surprisingly he said in his two years campaigning for the 1972 election he ran into few obnoxious types and Quot Only two people who asked for something for both men were terribly Rich. The first made it Clear he would make a Large contribution for a Small favor he wanted to be surgeon general of the United states. Sen. Edmund Muskie in 1968 Campaign straining to hear questioner at school the second fat cat identified by Mcgovern Only As a a sort of philanthropist a indicated he was ready to contribute handsomely on one condition. All he wanted was the Power a

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