- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2001

Postal officials yesterday said delivery could begin "within 24 to 48 hours" of mail from the Brentwood Road Mail and Processing Distribution Facility in Northeast, which was closed Oct. 21 after being contaminated by an anthrax-laden letter.
The Brentwood mail was transferred to Lima, Ohio, for irradiation. Postal spokesman Gerry Kreienkamp said the treated mail would be in bulk and would have to be sorted upon its arrival at another distribution facility in Washington.
Brentwood is one of four stations in the nation that remain closed since anthrax was found. No date has been set for reopening Brentwood, the Pentagon Station, a Trenton, N.J., station and the Stamp Fulfillment Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Some residents and businesses in the Brentwood delivery area have complained about nondelivery of checks and bills. The Social Security Administration, for instance, reported that 245 persons have complained they have not received monthly pension or disability checks the past month. In a typical month previously, fewer than 100 complaints were received.
The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority changed its policy for cutting off water because of nonpayment of bills. Some customers said they had sent payments that the authority apparently did not receive. Under the new policy, water will be cut off only to customers who have not paid since June.
Today, U.S. postal officials are expected to ask Congress for millions more dollars because of a decline in postal revenues since the anthrax scare began. Officials said revenues through Oct. 8 were $300 million less than had been projected before September 11, when suicidal terrorists crashed airliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
The anthrax scare came soon afterward. It came in hand-printed letters to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat; Tom Brokaw at NBC television, and the New York Post. Those letters were processed through a postal station at Hamilton Township, N.J.
Soon afterward, 17 persons were found to be infected with anthrax. Ten of those were inhalation anthrax, the most critical, and four died, including two men who worked at the Brentwood station. Seven patients were diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax, which infects the skin.
The condition of three local inhalation anthrax victims was upgraded yesterday to "fair." Two other men who worked in the Brentwood station have been in Inova Fairfax Hospital since Oct. 21. A mailroom employee at the State Department has been in the Winchester Medical Center in Virginia since Oct. 24.
Yesterday, $250,000 was added to a $1 million reward offered by the Postal Service and FBI for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person or persons responsible for the anthrax attacks and threats. So far, the reward has resulted in more than 165 promising leads.
The investigation has been hampered by hoaxes and threats, postal officials say. So far, there have been 11,767 incidents reported, 429 postal facilities have been evacuated, 26 persons have been arrested, and five suspects are under intensive investigation.
"We have not ruled out whether this was an act by an individual or a collective act, or whether it was a domestic or a foreign source," Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said in a press conference yesterday at the White House.
The irradiation procedure at Lima can process 28,000 pounds of mail, equal to about 750,000 pieces, each day. Postal officials said mail service has become normal and smooth throughout the nation, except in the Washington metropolitan area, New York and New Jersey.
Information to help in the investigation may be called into "America's Most Wanted" at 800/CRIME-TV, or 800/274-6388.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.


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