Forever friends

Women stand on ferry in ocean

Gigi Davin and Kris Grahn have been friends for 50 years — a relationship sustained almost entirely through letters.

“We grew up together through the mail,” Davin said.

The women, both 60, live about 1,300 miles apart: Davin is a lifelong Mainer, while Grahn has always resided in Wisconsin. Their schools matched them as pen pals when they were 10 years old, and they’ve been writing to each other at least three times a month ever since.

When they were girls, Davin and Grahn discussed their shared interest in art.

Over the years, the letters have covered their college experiences, getting married and having children, the joys of having grandchildren and the challenge of caring for ailing parents.

“Our letters are about anything and everything — except politics,” said Grahn, who sometimes will begin her notes with a friendly bit of advice: “Go get a cup of coffee and sit down.”

The women also ship Christmas and birthday gifts to each other: Davin has sent blueberry jelly from Maine, while Grahn has sent Wisconsin cheese and locally made Wigwam socks.

The duo have met twice: once in 1976, when Grahn graduated high school and took a trip to Maine, and again this year, when she took a ferry trip from Maine to Nova Scotia and stopped in Portland to meet up with Davin — a  reunion covered by the Press Herald newspaper.

While Davin and Grahn did resort to a little texting and emailing for planning logistics, the pair don’t plan to give up letter writing.

“Everybody thinks it’s amazing,” Davin said. “‘Keep on writing,’ they say. There’s not too many people who have a pen pal for so many years.”

Yes vote

Colorful mailboxes on rural road

Hawaii is on its way to becoming the fourth state in the nation to conduct all elections by mail, beginning in two years.

Colorado, Oregon and Washington are the other states that hold all elections by mail.

“Hawaii is taking action to improve voter participation in the political process and stimulating our democracy by ensuring all voices have equal opportunity to be heard,” Corie Tanida, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, a nonpartisan organization, said in a statement.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed legislation this month to switch to a universal vote-by-mail election system, a process that will start with a pilot program during the 2020 elections.

Studies show that allowing people to vote by mail boosts turnout, especially during lower-profile elections.

The Postal Service works with election officials across the nation — including secretaries of state, county election directors and others — to ensure Election Mail and Political Mail requirements are met each year.

USPS also educates employees on procedures to accept, process and deliver Election Mail and Political Mail.

Need to know

Postal Bulletin cover showing U.S. flag waving

Every vote counts. The Postal Bulletin’s July 19 edition features an Election Mail communications plan.

The materials include background information; a list of important dates; explanations of Election Mail, Political Mail and Franked Mail; key messages; label and tagging requirements; guidelines for customers in the military; and more.

The publication also includes updates to USPS forms, policies and procedures.

Get Informed. Employees can sign up for Informed Delivery, a free feature that provides users with digital previews of their incoming mail, at informeddelivery.usps.com. Sign-up is voluntary.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

News quiz

Smiling people stand on stage with Scooby-Doo costumed performer

Here’s Link’s latest “News quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Fill in the blank: Postal Service employees collected (blank) pounds of food during the 2018 Stamp Out Hunger drive.

a) 42 million
b) 71.6 million
c) 75.3 million
d) 1.6 billion

2. How did “Sandy,” the letter carrier highlighted in this week’s Hatch Act story, violate the law?

a) She used Facebook to broadcast a political endorsement while sitting inside a USPS vehicle
b) She made political posts on social media while on the clock
c) She placed a political candidate’s sign in a USPS vehicle’s window
d) She wrote “corrections” on political mailpieces

3. True or false: Customers who want to renew a passport should use the Retail Customer Appointment Scheduler to make an appointment online.

a) True
b) False

4. Where in California does Ronald Fitzgerald work as a Business Mail Entry Unit clerk?

a) San Diego
b) San Francisco
c) San Luis Obispo
d) San Pedro

5. What does the new Scooby-Doo stamp show him doing?

a) Eating a Scooby Snack
b) Peering through a magnifying glass
c) Riding in the Mystery Machine with his friends
d) Watering a blossoming plant in a flowerpot

Answers: 1) b. 2) c. 3) b. 4) a. 5) d.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at uspslink@usps.gov.