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Rural postal cuts get lukewarm review, more to come

Cutting hours at post offices in rural Wisconsin communities will continue for another year. So far, the Postal Service said people are grudgingly accepting it.

The cuts began a year and a half ago, and included the small post office in Herbster along Lake Superior’s shore. Hours were cut in half, and the service window is only open in the morning now. Janine Hahn works at Pine Cone Ole’s Restaurant nearby.

“We’ve adjusted,” Hahn said. “It doesn’t mean they like it. I know a lot of people complained about it and others just didn’t care. I did care. I felt bad for those who used it a lot.”

Like older people who depend on deliveries of things like medicine.

U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki represents northwestern and western Wisconsin. He said more cuts are coming. They’re only two-thirds the way through the reductions. But he said given the choice between closing or reducing hours, people are accepting the reductions.

“You know anytime you’re doing something like this, you’re going to have situations where it might not work best for an individual’s schedule and they’re going to have concerns,” he said. “That’s fair. We understand that.”

Town Clerk Bruce Lindgren said the post office is more than mail in small towns like Herbster.

“Well, it is. You know, it’s a gathering place for people too,” Lindgren said “They run into their neighbors and friends and acquaintances and they have brief chats about whatever happens to be on their mind.”

Still, some say the reduction in hours is better than just closing the place?

“Oh, absolutely. Much better than just closing it,” Lindgren said.

The Postal Service hopes to be finished with reducing post office hours in a year.