Snow pro

When the AccuWeather Network wanted to talk to a winter expert recently, producers knew exactly where to turn — a postal worker.

Carilla Hayden, a letter carrier at Englewood Station in Chicago, appeared on the TV channel to discuss how to keep ice and snow cleared from mailbox paths, sidewalks and stairs.

“It was such a wonderful experience,” Hayden said of the interview. “It’s an important story to tell because it affects so many carriers across the country whose jobs require navigating snow and ice.”

Emmy Victor, an AccuWeather reporter, interviewed Hayden during the segment, which aired as part of the channel’s “AccuReady” series.

Hayden, who has worked for the Postal Service for 15 years, is no stranger to television. She has appeared three times in USPS holiday commercials — mostly recently in a 2018 ad.

She said she enjoyed doing the interview because it allowed her to stress the importance of winter safety.

“We really need customers to clear the stairs to the walkway from property line to property line,” Hayden said. “Every winter, letters carriers experience slips, falls because we were trying to walk on surfaces that weren’t safe. There’s ice under the snow that you might not be able to see.”

Magnetic stripes

The Postal Service will release Year of the Tiger, the third in its Lunar New Year series of stamps, on Jan. 20.

The Year of the Tiger begins Feb. 1 and ends Jan. 21, 2023. The Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian cultures and has become a popular observance in the United States, as well.

As with the first two stamps in the series, Camille Chew created the artwork and Antonio Alcalá provided art direction.

The color orange predominates in the stamp, which features a Bengal tiger face mask decorated with relevant symbols. Orange, blue and gray are considered lucky colors for people born in tiger years.

The Forever stamps will be issued in panes of 20. Gold foil images of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac grace the white pane.

The stamps will be available at Post Offices nationwide and at usps.com.

The series kicked off in 2020 with Year of the Rat, followed in 2021 with Year of the Ox.

This is the third Lunar New Year series of stamps issued by the Postal Service. The first ran from 1992-2004 and the second from 2008-2019.

Word games

Passwords are widely used to control access to online accounts, but they aren’t always secure.

Using powerful software that runs through millions of word and number combinations, thieves can easily decipher commonly used passwords in seconds.

For instance, it only took hackers one second to figure out 123456, a password used by more than 2.5 million users throughout the world, according to an ABC News report.

Similarly, eight-character words containing no special symbols or uppercase letters were also a piece of cake to decipher.

“Password,” a password used by more 360,000 users, was cracked in one second, the report noted.

Instead of passwords, experts recommend using passphrases that combine multiple words and are longer than 15 characters.

To create a passphrase, the CyberSafe at USPS team offers these tips:

• Select an easy to remember phrase, such as Be CyberSafe.

• Change specific letters into special characters or numbers to increase security: B3_Cyb3rS*f3.

• Next, add a unique identifier to further differentiate your passwords across your other accounts, B3_Cyb3rS*f3_w0^k)

USPS password policies are detailed in Handbook AS-805, Information Security.

The CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages have more cybersecurity best practices.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 96.94 percent during the week ending Jan. 14, up 0.08 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected Jan. 19.

Central led the four areas with a rating of 97.23 percent, while Atlantic ranked last with a 96.59 percent rating.

Among the 50 districts, Washington, part of WestPac Area, ranked first with a 97.9 percent rating, while Puerto Rico, part of Southern Area, ranked last with a 94.50 percent rating.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.” Postal Service employees must request Informed Visibility access through eAccess.

Delivery data. From Jan. 1-7, the Postal Service delivered 90 percent of First-Class Mail on time when compared with the organization’s service standard, according to data released last week.

During the same period, USPS delivered 91.7 percent of Marketing Mail and 81.1 percent of Periodicals on time, the figures show.

Passport info. Postal Bulletin’s Jan. 13 edition features an overview of USPS passport services, along with the latest updates to the organization’s policies, procedures and forms.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.