Postal Woes

I listened to Postmaster General Patrick Donohue talk about his plan for 5-day mail service while I was at the National Newspaper Association’s Leadership Summit  March 21 in Washinton, DC.

Even using his numbers, the cut in service is not the answer to the economic problems of the post office.

Donohoe showed us a slide show on first class mail volume. From 2007 to the present, that volume has been in steady decline. The difference is a loss of 37 percent.

Those of us who use first class mail to receive checks and send out invoices know that service has declined in that same five year period and the cost of mailing has increased. Remember the price of sending a first class envelope was 39 cents at the start of 2007.

So with a decline in service and increasing cost, would you stay with a vendor if there was a good alternative?

Donohoe asked the publishers in the room, how many pay their bills on line.

After he basically said he would not work with us on keeping 6-day service or allowing mailbox  use for other carriers if delivery service were discontinued on Saturday, more than one publisher in the room began talking about using an alternate to first class mail for invoices and checks.

Blessing New Life

My third grandchild will be born sometime next month.

On Feb. 16 a group of my daughter-in-law’s friends gathered to celebrate her emerging motherhood. You see this is Annie’s first child. My other two grandchildren belong to my daughter.

The gathering of female friends was a ceremony of blessing and joy. Annie, whose middle name is Miracles in Botsawna’s native tongue, married my son three years ago. He wasn’t invited to the blessing shower but we did let him into the circle of love before the end of the day.

My son and his wife are living in a Buddhist community in New Hampshire. They live a peaceful simple life and want to nurture their family in this woodsy setting by a pond.

Annie has spent the past eight months getting ready for the next phase of her life. She is ready to mother her child. I know that this phase lasts a lifetime. My two children have been adults for many years and I still wish I could keep them safe.

Knowing when to let go is such an important part of motherhood.

Tonight Annie holds her child safe, away from the rest of the world.

Soon it will be time for the child to emerge into the world. On that day and every day afterwards, the child will move toward independence. Watching the circle of life brings out strong emotion. Watching Annie accept the love and support of her circle of women friends leaves me tearful, remembering another time – other friends – and such amazing support.

No child can be healthy and happy without the support of community.

The blessing of new  life, the circle of continuation – miracles, certainly. I feel extraordinarily blessed to be within driving distance of this new branch of my family.

Expanding Family Relations


Hayley & Des

The world is a chilly place today in New England. But my two grandchildren enjoy their family and their electronic toys.

Soon I will have a third grandchild who will live only two hours from my home. The two grandchildren who are already part of family live in the Great North Woods – four hours from my home on a day with light traffic.

It seems as if it were yesterday when I was a young mother, wondering whether the children I cared for would find a better world than the one I was born into.

The jury is still out on the answer to that question.

But my youngest child, now a man and almost a father, is building a good foundation for his young family. The frame is strong and it envelopes his niece and nephew without locking them down.

Our New Web Space Expands

For the past few months the staff of the Milton Times has been working on a new project – an arts and entertainment website for the South Shore.

It is called South Shore Happenings – it is reached at

So far the site holds promise and more than a slight bit of interest from people in the region.

Will it grow or will it wilt? Only time will tell. We have tried other projects to supplement what we do at the Times. A few years ago we tried a shopper, delivered monthly to every home in Milton. It failed before a year was out.

It was the wrong time to start a new project that required new capital.

For our new website, we are keeping costs down and giving it a strong push.

Do people want to know about the restaurants and night spots from Plymouth to Milton? We’ll find out and let the rest of the world in on the secrets.

Out of the Darkness

Two years ago I was handed a cancer diagnosis. And it changed my life.

I stopped blogging on a regular basis because I had more I needed to say to people in person. Oh, from time to time I would write something about my daughter’s wedding or my company’s move from one space to another. But my life slowed down.

Of course the plus side is my personal life has improved – my son and his wife are building a house only two hours from where I live.

The world is good.

I tell this snippet today as the TV news continues to go over the craziness of the school shootings in Connecticutt because I know that after the darkness, there can be light.

Balancing Can Be Tricky

The Milton Times is tucked into its new headquarters at 3 Boulevard Street, near the edge of East Milton Square and we continue to change.

One of the main features of our new space is a 150 gallon aquarium that is being cared for by John Blackadar and his band of fish sitters. Friday they brought us an angel fish. The rest of the fish in the tank are called starter fish, according to John.

We have two yellow-tailed devil fish, named Hayley and Desmond for my grandchildren. Then there is one domino, I think we need to call that one Milton, for the community. We also have three clownfish.

Our fish bring us peace amid the craziness of our weekly deadline schedule.

The whole operation has been slightly off track since we moved. Everything has been put away but we aren’t positive where we stored all the many pieces. Just last week we ran out of deposit forms for our bank account. We’re coping and somehow I think we’ve tucked them away…

Moving Ahead

For the past 13 years, the Milton Times has made its home on the second floor of 480 Adams St.

When the paper moved to this location at the edge of East Milton Square, there were three people working in the office. (Of course, that was because our writers worked from their homes.)

For three years before moving to Adams Street, we were tucked in a small office on High Street in Milton Village. At that time our circulation manager sat in a closet with used PC.

Much has changed in the course of the years.

We are still the newspaper of record for the community. We have added a new technology to bag of communication tools we use.

In 2010 the Milton Times began posting on its own Facebook page. Soon after a Twitter account was set up for the Times.

This year we added an e-edition which is an online version of the paper that sits behind a pay wall. Last week we had a chance to update our e-edition, adding a new page when the Selectmen decided in a closed session they would not renew the contract of Town Administrator Kevin Mearn.

We are working on an email database to let people know when we add to the e-edition due to breaking news that happens outside our regular cycle.

So we are on the move in many ways.

The latest move for the paper is coming up some time in August.

The new home of the Milton Times is 3 Boulevard St. We’ll be on the ground floor.

We are still working out the details of the move but we know we will be in the new space before Sept. 1.

The item that is up in the air is the telephone system.

We are still looking into the possibility the new space may be wired for broadband already.

We will be able to access our telephone messages during the move so please leave information in voice mail.

We know the move will be disruptive. We expect we will be closed for one to two days.

As we prepare for the move, we are ruthlessly tossing out old files and old papers.

We need anyone who has left a photo in our office to pick it up before Aug. 1. That’s our deadline for recycling unneeded materials.

We are hoping to reduce our use of paper as we make this move. We plan to sift through old materials.

Mother of the Bride Relaxes


For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to relax and bring perspective to my daughter’s wedding.

It was a day of joy. A day for family solidarity and connections.

My daughter, June, married her sweetheart, Jeremiah, with her two children standing as witness to the union. My son, Ambrose, who is ordained in the Unified Buddhist Church, officiated at the ceremony.

The most amazing part of the day was my grandson who made us all tear up with his moving acceptance of his new father.

Now the family is moving forward.

And I am back to work. Tomorrow I’ll be taking photos at a fair at First Congregational Church in Milton.

Back from DC


Sen. Scott Brown and Pat Desmond talk about Milton.

Earlier this month I spent a few days in Washington, DC, with the leadership of the National Newspaper Association.

I planned to write about the trip right away – but I came back to Milton to find I needed to step up and handle the day-to-day editing of the paper.

The man who handled that work for the past three years, Mike Whalen, is no longer at the Milton Times. He will be missed. So it has taken a week before I can tell the world how interesting the political scene in DC happens to be.

First all politics is local. I had a chance to meet with Congressmen Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano as well as Sen. Scott Brown.

It was wonderful and amazing to see that they all care about Milton and its 350th anniversary celebration.

There is much more to say but today is the day the MHS hockey team meets Burlington at the Boston Garden in the state finals.