Q. Under what circumstances may the U.S. Postal Service open and inspect a properly sealed package bearing the correct amount of postage? I recently received such a package with a stamped message on the exterior, "Opened For Inspection by the USPS." I asked my carrier about it, and he assured me it was not opened in Davenport. — Robert, Davenport

A. We contacted the Postal Service to find out. Michael J. Haase, supervisor, customer services, for the Postal Service in Davenport, said, "Anything other than first class, priority or express mail is subject to inspection." He said the main reason is that people attempt to send items such as tools or other items that are not classified as media mail because of the lower rate. It is basically a way to make sure customers are paying the appropriate postage for the items they are shipping. If the item is not media mail, the Postal Service forwards it on with postage due.

Q. Out of curiosity, when a person is selected for a game show (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, etc.), do they get any expenses such as travel, food, lodging paid for by the show? — Bob, Davenport

A. We contacted Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! because those were the specific shows you mentioned. Wheel of Fortune has not responded as of the time of publication. The Jeopardy! team responded: "For Jeopardy! regular contestants must pay for their own travel, but the $1,000 3rd place and $2,000 2nd place monies are usually more than enough to cover expenses. Returning champs receive airfare. We cover all expenses for tournament contestants. I couldn't tell you about any of the other shows."

Q. I would like to know if there is a place or organization that recycles no longer needed dentures (false teeth) or somewhere fairly close in the Quad-Cities that will take them. — Jack, Bettendorf

A. We contacted the Iowa Dental Association to find out. Lawrence F. Carl said he contacted a board member in the Quad-Cities area and received the following response: 

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"Basically, dentures and partials are not recyclable.

"A denture or a partial would not fit another person, they are custom fit to all of the characteristics of one person's mouth. The bacteria on and into a denture or a partial could not be eliminated, as sterilization would involve temperatures that would melt the acrylic. The acrylic cannot be melted down and used again, as the chemical nature would not permit it to be formed to a usable substance.

"As far as the teeth, most denture and partial teeth today are acrylic, so all of the sterilization and melting down again would not be a usable option. Porcelain teeth would not melt in sterilization, but the labor to get the teeth out of the denture or partial would cost more than buying a new denture tooth. The metal of most partials is not worth much to recyclers, most recyclers will not take a partial."

Ask the Times appears on Thursdays and Saturdays. You can call 563-333-2632, email ask@qctimes.com or write Ask the Times, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801.


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