Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Here in the mountains of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, we realize the importance of having a community post office.
That’s why area residents must speak up again — in a unified voice — to a new postal plan that seeks to significantly scale back operating hours at small postal facilities across our region. Public hearings on the reduced operating hours have been scheduled by the U.S. Postal Service for the Kimball, Glenwood, Rock, Roderfield and Montcalm communities in West Virginia and for post offices in Virginia including Ceres, Rocky Gap, Eggleston and Narrows. And additional public hearings are expected to be announced by the postal service in the weeks ahead.
In total, the postal service has proposed reductions in hours for 10 post offices in Mercer County, 26 in McDowell County, 10 in Tazewell County, two in Bland County, four in Giles County and two in Buchanan County. Operating hours at small, rural post offices across the region will be dramatically reduced under the restructuring plan. Some postal centers will only be open two or four hours a day — creating a hardship on those residents who depend upon regular post office window hours for access to stamps, money orders or related services.
Cathy Yarosky, a spokesperson with the U.S. postal service, says the new postal strategy includes modified retail hours to match customer use at rural facilities. Access to the retail lobby and actual post office boxes will remain unchanged, and the town’s zip code and community identity will be retained. The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year period and would not be completed until September 2014.
The first round of public hearings get underway on Thursday, Oct. 18 for the Kimball Post Office at the Kimball Memorial Building at 5:30 p.m. The meetings continue on Monday, Oct. 22, with hearings on the Ceres Post Office at the Ceres Ruritan Community Center at 5 p.m.; Montcalm Post Office, Montcalm Elementary School, 7 p.m.; Rock Post Office, Montcalm Elementary School, 5:30 p.m.; and Rocky Gap Office, Elbert Munsey Lodge, 5:45 p.m.
The hearings continue on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for the Glenwood Post Office at 4 p.m. at the Glenwood Church of Christ and for the Roderfield Post Office at the Roderfield Fire Department at 7 p.m. Another round of hearings will be held on Thursday, Oct. 25, for the Eggleston Post Office at the Eggleston Volunteer Fire Department at 3 p.m. and the Narrow Post Office at the Narrows Fire Department at 4:30 p.m.
If you are concerned about the future of your rural community post office, now is the time to speak up. Attendance at the upcoming public hearings should be considered mandatory for those citizens who still depend on their community post office to mail a letter, purchase a stamp or buy a money order.
Reducing the operating hours of rural post offices to four hours a day and, in some cases, two hours a day, will create an undue hardship on many in our region.
That’s why we must remain vocal. We must fight to keep our post offices open for extended hours. Please attend the upcoming public hearings. Be vocal. Continue the fight.