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USPS changing hours, service; stamp costs rising

1/27/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Four more community meetings to talk about reducing hours of operation have been scheduled for February in northwest Kansas.

Meetings are set for Feb. 5 in both Jennings and Lenora and Feb. 12 in Kanorado and McDonald, according to the U.S. Postal Service, which is reducing hours at hundreds of small Kansas post offices -- thousands nationwide -- in an effort to save money.

Despite that, USPS continues to record debilitating losses and just recently has been instructed by its board of governors to accelerate its cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures. Those measures were not identified.

In fiscal year 2012, USPS defaulted on $11.1 billion in mandated payments to the U.S. Treasury, leading to a loss of $15.9 billion for the year. Without the retirement contributions, however, the loss would have been just $2.5 billion.

As well, the price of a first-class stamp is increasing -- effective today, to 46 cents apiece.

USPS also will be offering a new first-class international forever stamp with a price of $1.10 each.

In addition to all that, all mail-sorting responsibilities in Colby and Hays will be changing during the next two months.

Colby's sorting responsibilities will move to North Platte, Neb., effective Feb. 26, according to USPS spokesman Brian Sperry.

Hays will shift all of its sorting duties to Wichita effective March 9.

The Hays shift will mean changes in pickup times, moving forward to 3 p.m.

Currently, the last pickup is shortly after 6 p.m., already dropped back after some of the mail-sorting duties shifted to Salina.

As for the reduced hours, the Jennings meeting will be at noon in the Masonic Hall while the Lenora meeting will be at 2:30 p.m. in the Community Building.

Lenora is scheduled to become a 6-hour office while Jennings will be a four-hour office.

Kanorado's meeting will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 12 in the senior citizens center. McDonald will be at 5:30 p.m. in the senior citizens center there.

Both Kanorado and McDonald will be four-hour offices.

Reductions already have been made at Gove, Healy, Dorrance, Sylvan Grove, Cedar, Woodston, Weskan, Winona, Agra, Gaylord, Bunker Hill, Waldo, Brownell, Ransom, Damar and Gorham.

Meetings are still planned for Alexander, Almena, Alton, Bazine, Bird City, Bison, Bogue, Brewster, Catharine, Collyer, Edson, Gorham, Grainfield, Grinnell, Herndon, Kensington, Kirwin, Lebanon, Logan, Lucas, Luray, McCracken, Morland, Natoma, Norcatur, Palco, Paradise, Portis, Prairie View, Rexford, Rush Center, Selden and Utica.

Most of the reductions are taking local post offices to four-hour windows, but there are some reduced to just two hours, mostly those previously targeted for closure.