by Sue Deyoe ~ July 29th, 2011
Post offices in Skwentna, Platinum, Circle, Shageluk and Kaltag are among 36 post offices in Alaska tentatively slated for closure under a federal money-saving plan.
The U.S. Postal Service Tuesday announced it is considering closing about 3,600 offices nationwide. That’s about 11 percent of its local offices. Most are in small communities.
Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski calls the offices, quote, “necessity, not convenience.” She says many of the affected communities have no road access to another post office.
Skwentna postmistress Norma Delia is concerned and says she was told to do a survey of customers. She’s hoping to get the Skwentna community’s input soon. That post office is an essential part of people’s lives, she says. Everyone gets their groceries and boat parts by mail. The only way to get to the post office is via the river.
She says the mail plane itself is an essential service to the 48 box holders there.
Diane and Tom Payton along the Yentna River say the Delias are legends and can’t imagine seeing the log post office go away. Diane says they rely on the mail plane as much as the mail service. Others are weighing in on the decision as well and have voiced deep concern.
The closures are not for certain at this point.
Postal officials say outlets on the list receive minimal traffic. They plan further review the lists before taking any action.
This is a continuing story, check back for updates.