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Snail mail slowdown

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/28/2021 Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY
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U.S. Postal Service mail delivery is about to get permanently slower and temporarily more expensive. Will the government shut down this week? And Gabby Petito's family remains confident the FBI will find Brian Laundrie.

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A postman drives a United States Postal service (USPS) mail delivery truck through Washington, DC on August 13, 2021. © ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS, AFP A postman drives a United States Postal service (USPS) mail delivery truck through Washington, DC on August 13, 2021.

USPS mail delivery is about to get slower

If you've been frustrated with the slow service of the Postal Service since the beginning of the pandemic, you probably won't be thrilled to hear this: The service is about to get even slower. Starting Friday, the Postal Service will “implement new service standards for First Class Mail and Periodicals," meaning an increased time-in-transit for mail traveling long distances, such as from New York to California. The USPS said that “most first class mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected” by the changes. Additionally, starting Sunday through Dec. 26, the Postal Service will temporarily increase prices on all commercial and retail domestic packages because of the holiday season and its increase in mail volume. The changes to service standard times are part of USPS' 10-year strategic plan, which was announced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in March, drawing heavy criticism from elected officials. The USPS has been riddled with financial problems for years, and the coronavirus pandemic has only worsened the situation.

Congress scrambles as government shutdown looms

Congressional Democrats are scrambling Tuesday to extend funding for the federal government with less than 72 hours left to avoid a shutdown. A shutdown would happen Friday if a bill to fund the government doesn't pass both the House and Senate. Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to combine government funding with an increase in the amount the country can borrow. The debt limit, which the country is projected to reach in mid-October, is another pending crisis. Democrats contend it’s irresponsible to block an increase in the debt limit, but Republicans contend the Democrats must approve it on their own. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed Monday to vote on government funding alone, without an increase in the debt limit. But he needed unanimous consent to debate the proposal and Democrats objected. Catch up on the latest updates here.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 27, 2021, in Washington. The Senate is working on passing a funding bill for the U.S. government and an increase to the debt ceiling before a possible government shutdown at the end of the week. © Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 27, 2021, in Washington. The Senate is working on passing a funding bill for the U.S. government and an increase to the debt ceiling before a possible government shutdown at the end of the week.

What everyone's talking about

Petito family confident FBI will find Laundrie

The family of Gabby Petito, 22, whose death during a cross-country trip sparked global outcry and a search for her missing fiancé, is honoring her legacy through matching tattoos and by bringing attention to other missing people cases. Petito's family said Tuesday at a news conference that they are confident the FBI will find Petito's fiance, Brian Laundrie. Petito's mother and father shared that family members got tattoos matching their daughter's "Let it be" inked onto their skin beside a wave symbol. The family announced the Gabby Petito Foundation to help find other missing people, emphasizing that they all deserve the same level of attention Petito got. Laundrie was last seen nearly two weeks ago when he said he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve, a sprawling wilderness area near his home in North Port, Florida.

Gabby Petito's family announced they're setting up a foundation to help find missing persons. © Getty Gabby Petito's family announced they're setting up a foundation to help find missing persons.

Capital Gazette gunman gets more than 5 life sentences

A man who killed five people at a newspaper in Maryland was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole. Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Jarrod Ramos, whom a jury previously found criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette's office in June 2018. Ramos had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019, using Maryland's version of an insanity defense. Before announcing the sentence, the judge noted that Ramos showed no remorse for the crimes and even told a state psychiatrist he would kill more if he were ever released. Ramos, who sat in court wearing a black mask, declined to make a statement.

Real quick

Ghost town uncovered in Utah

A glimpse of history was recently uncovered in Utah in the form of a ghost town called Rockport. The foundations of Rockport are now above water as the Rockport Reservoir reaches its lowest levels since being filled 64 years ago, due to extreme drought. As of Sept. 1, it was at 29% capacity; it was at 82% capacity last year, according to the Utah Division of Water Resources. The drought in Utah has brought the ghost town back after years underwater. Just 27 families were living in the area in the 1950s when the federal government bought the land to build the Wanship Dam, which is now Rockport Reservoir, the Parks and Recreation Division said. The dam was built between 1954 and 1957, and the town of Rockport was then flooded and the reservoir was created. What's left of the ghost town? Old foundations of homes – and even a road – were seen in drone footage of the dry reservoir. Check it out here.

Old foundations show Rockport, a town that has been underwater for 60 years in Utah. © Devon Dewey Old foundations show Rockport, a town that has been underwater for 60 years in Utah.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snail mail slowdown

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