Rural post offices face scaled-back hours

Cuts, but no closures
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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Rural customers of the U.S. Postal Service don?t seem to be worried about cutbacks in window time that could be coming to the Dutch Flat and Gold Run post offices. They?re just relieved talk has turned away from closing them completely. ?We?re thrilled they?re keeping it open,? said Chyrol Seipert, officer in charge at the Gold Run post office. Seipert has filled the position since October 2011, when Charles W. Mapa retired after 15 years of service as postmaster. Customer Lynn Oliver, of Gold Run, also voiced approval of a plan by the Postal Service to offer rural residents the new option of keeping post offices open, but with reduced window hours. Earlier plans would have closed 3,700 unprofitable post offices nationwide and eliminated Saturday mail service. Dutch Flat Postmaster Shelley Willsmore has been with the Postal Service for 29 years and said she ?loves? the job she has always wanted and is pleased her office could stay open, even if it means cutting back from eight to four hours daily. Under the revised plan, the Gold Post office would also operate four hours daily, instead of eight. But Dutch Flat resident Marilyn Barham has another opinion about where cutbacks should be made. She doesn?t think rural post office customers who get their mail at post offices should experience cutbacks so that customers in large cities continue have door-to-door delivery, especially on Saturdays. ?I?m very frustrated,? she said. ?Why should we suffer?? Dave Moller, of Ugly Bug Pest Control in Dutch Flat, is fine with the reduced window hours. ?Sometimes I skip a day. My big day is Monday, that when I get here,? to pick up checks, he said. The changes may take up to a couple of years to go into effect, according to Gus Ruiz, spokesperson for the Sacramento District of the U.S. Postal Service. Ruiz, said before any changes to the hours go into effect at more than 13,000 rural post offices across the U.S., a series of public meetings in each community will be held. ?It?s going to take at least two years to get through this whole process nationwide,? Ruiz said. ?It?s not eminent and it?s not tomorrow and it?s not next week and it?s not even next month.? Gold Country Media?s Sara Seyydin contributed to this report.