Postal service defaults on loan, keeps plan to cut rural post of - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Postal service defaults on loan, keeps plan to cut rural post office hours

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The U.S. Postal Service will shorten hours of rural offices, not close them entirely like once thought. The U.S. Postal Service will shorten hours of rural offices, not close them entirely like once thought.
People in the Heartland said they would rather the offices stay open for their full hours, but prefer shortened hours over closing completely. People in the Heartland said they would rather the offices stay open for their full hours, but prefer shortened hours over closing completely.
OLD APPLETON, MO (KFVS) -

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Postal Service defaulted on its loan from the treasury.

The Postal Service missed a midnight deadline Aug 1, 2012 to pay $5.5 billion to the government. That money is required to pay future retirement benefits for postal employees.

Richard Watkins with the US Postal Service told Heartland News that default will not impact the service to customers or employees.

Watkins said it also won't affect the plans for the rural offices throughout the country. In May, the service announced it will shorten hours of rural offices, not close them entirely like once thought.

People in the Heartland said they would rather the offices stay open for their full hours, but prefer shortened hours over closing completely.

"I think shortening the hours is OK, people will work around that and rework it in their schedule," said Sharon Penrod of Pocahontas.

"I'm tickled to death they're cutting down hours and not closing down totally because it's handy to have, it's just nice to have in hopes that the town will keep growing," said Larry Hull of Old Appleton.

"I'd rather it stay open even for four hours as opposed to being closed down," said Rashanda Sanders of Old Appleton.

Towns like Pocahontas, Daisy, and Old Appleton will see hours cut in half at each of their post offices. They're just a few of the locations that will see shortened hours as part of the postal service's plan to save money.

Some people said they're worried about convenience.

"They'd like to keep the hours they have because parents work different hours, they can't you know come in if it's just a few hours during the day, a lot of people work," said Sanders.

But for the most part, people said they're glad their post offices aren't closing completely.

"The post office is really a vital place in this community," said Penrod.

"From what I know, that's one of the main things that keeps a town living and hopefully if you've got a post office, maybe things will come in," said Hull.

Sanders said she likes the convenience of the post office right next door.

"There's a lot of mail going in and out, in and out, so driving everyday to somewhere else would not be convenient," said Sanders.

Sanders said the post office helps deliver more than mail to businesses in town.

"People that just drive to pick up their mail might say oh wait I need a gallon of milk," said Sanders.

Hull owns the trucking company in Old Appleton. He said they spend about $300 to $400 a month at the post office in stamps, and see about 50 pieces of mail each day.

"Just a lot of things that come in and out here, just a lot of mail that goes through here," said Hull.

He said he doesn't mind the shortened office hours, again just as long as it stays open.

"We're flexible as to where we can go and come as the mail gets there and not because were so close," said Hull.

Penrod is a new business owner in Pocahontas. She just opened the Pie Safe. She said she depends on the post office there for more than mail.

"I really rely on the post office to bring me foot traffic," said Penrod.

Penrod said again she's glad it's not closing down, just shortening hours.

"I have my post office box in Pocahontas because that way I can say the Pie Safe in Pocahontas, because if I didn't you know I'd have to say the Pie Safe was in Jackson, and that would be really confusing," said Penrod.

Watkins said the Postal Service will begin holding community meetings after Labor Day, and through September 2014. He said at those meetings people in the community can voice what time of day they will want their post office open.

You can see a list of all the post offices schedule to see shorter hours here.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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