This Just In: January 14 - 21 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This Just In: January 14 - 21

Pushing the Envelope(s)

Summary: Portrait of a Bloomfield letter-carrier. Reporter: Alan Jennings, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 1 minute, 25 seconds on Jan. 8 Visuals: * An example of a "safe" walkway, cleared of snow and ice.* A postal officer bravely crunching through the frozen tundra of Pittsburgh, with Jennings at his side. Highlights: * When our carrier sums up the dangers he faces every day: "Snow. Slipping and falling. Steps. And painted porches. Painted porches are the real killer sometimes." * When Jennings invites us to "[m]eet Steve Kamienski. He's taken on Pittsburgh's toughest winters for 17 years. We wanted to show you what it's like to walk a mile in his shoes. Oftentimes, [Kamienski's] slip-and-fall dangers increase when residents haven't shoveled their walks, like this one on Edmond Street. Or when city plows fail to show up. Last year, Steve took a tumble." * When Kamienski tells of his fall: "I was crossing the street of all places. I went, and it was snow-covered ice -- I slipped, went down." * When Jennings assures us, "Fortunately, he wasn't hurt." * When Jennings catches a resident on his front porch: "And how about [this 85-year-old man]? We found him salting his walk to make sure he gets his mail." * When Jennings suggests to Kamienski that letter-carriers have a tough job, and he responds, "We do. It's nice in the summer. Everybody lets us know that, too. No shorts today. ... Yes, in fact, long johns." * When Jennings adds, "You know, by the way, folks here love their letter-carrier's sacrifice." * When a woman orders Jennings, who is apparently interviewing her in the middle of the street, "Watch, here comes a car." She then laments, "People pay their bills on the Internet? Uh-uh. Send it through the mail. 'Cause these guys need their jobs." What We Learned: Painted porches are the real killer sometimes. Unanswered Questions: How much weight does the mailman typically carry? How many stops does he make each day? How many steps does Kamienski have to climb? This story -- especially the part where the 85-year-old man implies that he has to keep his sidewalks clean for the mailman to get through -- actually made the job look too easy, which defeats the purpose. News Value: 3. It's nice to pay homage to the mailman, but this story doesn't do him justice. The lady who told Jennings to move his ass was a hoot, though. (That's Bloomfield!) Next time, Alan, I want to see you trotting along with the carrier who does the South Side Slopes. He or she has got to have calves of steel.