In an attempt to find ways to save money, the U.S. Postal Service is studying 3,700 mostly rural post offices for potential closure along with proposing to eliminate as many as 120,000 workers.
According to reports, the U.S. Postal Service is facing harsh economic realities. In the last five years, mail volume has declined 20 percent, and its biggest money maker, first class mail, is down 25 percent, most of it due to e-mail and online banking.
Because of this, facilities like the one in Parshall, Colo., not far from Rocky Mountain National Park, is facing possible closure.
Not surprisingly, locals are not very happy about the possible loss of their post office.
For local business owner Sherry Amos Helmichi, the closure would mean an hour commute to the next closest post office. Other residents agree. Curt Gullen, who already has a long trek from his home to pick up his mail, would have to travel even further to get to a post office.
"The cost, as far as having to drive that extra distance, you know, an additional 20 miles, whereas as even from here, it's -- it's about 10 miles for me just to make it to here," he said.
According to reports, the post office says it won't abandon its rural customers. In fact, it says mail delivery won't change much at all. They have a new concept called the village post office, which will look a little like today's automated centers. The agency will contract with local businesses to take over things like stamp sales and flat rate packages. But they would provide fewer services than full-fledged post offices.
"We don't want to close the post office. We realize the importance that post office is, especially to many of the smaller communities and across rural America. And it's just something we're having to do. It's the financial fiscal reality." Al Dessaro, postal service spokesman.
"If you think about it, in many small towns today, you've got a post office, you've got a store and a gas station. And now -- and many of these general stores are hanging on for dear life out there, just with the -- the recession and a lot of the other issues that they face." -Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.
"The small town post office is and has been an emblem of local American towns since the very beginning, really. When you're -- especially when you're looking at frontier towns and as we started expanding as a nation, the very first essence of the town was that you had a post office..." - Nancy Pope, curator of the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.
1. What is a layoff? Do you know anyone who has experienced a layoff?
2. What does the term rural mean? Do you live in a rural or urban area?
1. Why are post offices facing tough economic times?
2. Do you believe that closing rural post offices will help the U.S. Postal service save money?
3. What are some other ways the U.S. Postal service can save money?