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Rural postal cuts will continue for another year

Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio

Cutting hours at post offices in rural Wisconsin communities will continue for another year. So far the Postal Service says 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.

“We’ve adjusted,” says Janine Hahn, who works at Pine Cone Ole’s Restaurant nearby. “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 enough that I felt bad for those who used it a lot.”

Some of the people who used it a lot were older people who depend on deliveries of things like medicine.

U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki says more cuts are coming: They’re only two-thirds the way through the reductions. But he says 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,” says Nowacki. “That’s fair. We understand that.”

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

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

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