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Michael Connor, Starkweather, N.D., Published April 05 2013

Letter: Geography lessons for USPS

I have figured out the problem with the U.S. Postal Service, and it will be easy to rectify, service will improve and income will skyrocket for USPS. Provide a class in Geography 101 for all postal service employees, especially in the Grand Forks facility.

In the past two weeks (Monday-Saturday), the Grand Forks Herald (which we subscribe to) has not been delivered to our rural post office box six times. Each day there is no delivery, I call the Starkweather Post Office and verify the Grand Forks Herald “bundle” for Starkweather did not show up.

One day they did have a bundle of Heralds meant for the Tolna Post Office, on two occasions they had bundles that should have been delivered to the Munich Post Office, the other days none. Then one or two days later, our Herald shows up; once it was stamped with the Munich stamp and once with the Rock Lake stamp!

The most obvious reason for this ongoing foul-up is the postal service closure of the Devils Lake sorting office. Now when we mail a card or letter to a neighbor, even in the Starkweather ZIP code, the mailed piece is picked up by our rural carrier, hauled to Grand Forks that night, sorted for a Starkweather address and hauled back to Starkweather (hopefully!) for delivery the next day. The Heralds, instead of arriving in Devils Lake for distribution to the various local post offices, are now delivered to Grand Forks for sorting. At the USPS “information meeting” held recently in Starkweather, I asked the regional representative why the Starkweather postal worker could not simply take a letter from our box (or worse yet left at the Starkweather post office window) cancel the stamp and place it ready for delivery or put it in the patron’s office box (3 feet away). The postal worker told me, “You do not understand how this works.”

If this is an example of “improved service” from the USPS, I am worried that if it gets any better, we will never see the Herald again. And, of course, we all can look forward to getting the Saturday Herald (and the rest of our mail) on Monday if the Postal Service has their way and cancels Saturday deliveries. As U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, stated on July 26, 2011, “The fact is, maintaining our nation’s rural post offices costs the Postal Service less than 1 percent of its total budget and is not the cause of its financial crisis.”

Maybe geography lessons won’t help the U. S. Postal Service, but reducing its poor service to rural America won’t help either.