With identity theft on the rise and congressional insistence on budget cuts for the U.S. Postal Service, one reader was disturbed to learn from his postal carrier about a theft from a mail truck delivering from the Sugar House office just before Christmas.
The carrier said two trays of mail from the locked postal van were taken. It raises the question: How secure are letters going out that contain personal and sensitive information about the sender?
Postal Service spokesman Robert Vunder told me the customers were notified about the loss and that the Postal Service has a 98 percent conviction rate of perpetrators who steal mail.
But the same reader said about a year ago he had deposited a number of checks from his business in a postal collection box at the downtown station. When his vendors did not receive the checks, at first he thought the mail was just slow until the awful truth finally set in.
Thieves were able to get enough information from the checks to steal personal I.D.s, then used the account numbers to print new checks. His company had to change about 10 accounts and print new checks. The banks and credit unions, he said, took a substantial loss.
He learned that there is just one key in Salt Lake City for all collection boxes.
Vunder said the policy of maintaining just one master key for all the boxes has to do with control. If something goes wrong, the accountability goes right to the person with the key. He said in the theft my reader described, a key wasn't used. The box was broken into.
That should make everyone feel better.
Shoot-out at the OK Corral? • The recent push to arm teachers in the classroom reminded a former Republican legislator about an incident several years ago, when the state Capitol was being renovated, and lawmakers held the legislative session in temporary facilities on Capitol Hill.
One day, during the session, the Legislature was honoring the Utah Jazz, so as members of the Utah House convened for business, the Jazz Bear entered the chamber and shot off a confetti gun that he is famous for deploying in the crowd during the games.
According to my former legislator source, several House members sitting in front of him, presumably concealed weapon permit holders, crouched down and reached into their jacket pockets, ready to defend America against a terrorist attack.
The Jazz Bear just doesn't know how close he came.
A Christmas carol? • One of the employees laid off a week before Christmas by the new owners of KTVX-Ch. 4 was a vision-impaired woman named Linda Holladay, who was the night receptionist at the station for 30 years.
She was a part-time employee and answered the telephones and greeted station visitors in the evening. As a station greeter, she got to know senators, members of Congress, governors, legislators and business leaders who came to the station for interviews.
It was said that her warmth and infectious smile left lasting impressions with the community leaders who came to the station and met her.
So much for that.
What's the password? • Mark Panos recently sent emails to Utah's members of Congress, lamenting "the insanity" of letting the U.S. economy go off the fiscal cliff just to make a point.
His email was accepted by Reps. Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz, but his attempt to reach Rob Bishop was rejected with the notice on Bishop's website that only those residents with a ZIP code within Bishop's district could leave him an email.