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Alaska freight costs US Postal Service dearly

Agency lost US$2.5b over 3 decades on federal system

Published Tue, Jul 1, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[HOOPER BAY, Alaska] In the soggy, unforgiving tundra on the shores of the Bering Sea, Royala Bell defrosts a rack of beef ribs for dinner in a kitchen that doubles as a bedroom for six of her seven children.

A dead owl lies on the floor, ready for her husband, Carlton, to defeather it for a headdress. Fish dry on a line out back, for the larder in winter. On a small counter are some of the groceries the Bells consume from the Lower 48: Sailor Boy Pilot Bread, potatoes, Kool-Aid, Aunt Jemima pancake mix and a can of Coca-Cola.

The US Postal Service paid to ship the items on a turboprop bush plane to this small settlement of Yupik Indians on Alaska's western edge. The Be…

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