Rural customers must fight for post offices

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 16, 2011

On Oct. 11, more than 100 Scottown residents met with representatives of the U.S. Postal Service (Ross Crego and Christie Giardino) to hear about the current USPS situation, causes of that situation, the feasibility study being conducted for possible closure, and suggestions of what residents can do.

There are 3,667 post offices across America on the list for study and possible closure. Scottown is one of the post offices on that list, with the majority being small and rural facilities.

Each of the post offices listed will go through a process. Key parts of that process include receipt of the proposal to closure and a 60-day period of “fact-finding.”

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After that period, the information gathered will be compiled into a report by Crego and Giardino, along with recommendations; these will then be forwarded up the USPS chain.

The closing of a rural post office can often yield a devastating blow to the community. Residents here are quite concerned and frustrated at that possibility.

After an emotionally charged discussion, we were told that in order for our post office to survive, we must be able to show why closing of our post office is not a viable option and to provide specific reasons.

Postal customers play a significant role in the “fact-finding” process.

Each household and P.O. Box customer received a questionnaire from the postal service; it is important that those be completed and returned.

Secondly, there is a form for “additional comments” (you have to specifically ask the postmaster for it); these need to be completed and returned back to the postmaster.

Next, residents are encouraged to write or call their elected officials and ask for their help and to write a letter opposing the closures.

Probably the most important thing you can do is to write a personal letter to the postal service and cite specific reasons why closing the Scottown Post Office (or another community post office on the list) will not work, how it will cause a hardship for the community and for you personally…remember they must be specific.

These letters should be returned to your community contact person (for the Scottown community, send them to me at P.O. Box 45, Scottown OH 45678).

We must take an active role in this process and it must be a communitywide effort.

Additional information and/or assistance with your letters are available at the former Scottown General Store in Scottown. This service is available on a limited, part-time basis. Beginning Oct. 24, assistance will be available on Monday (12:30-4 p.m.) and Tuesday/Thursday (10 am- 4 p.m.) until Nov. 17.

Please get involved.

Linda Trollinger