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Cedar, Woodston told of reductions


CEDAR -- It was a familiar refrain as residents of Cedar and then Woodston were told their post office window hours will be cut to two hours each day.

Dan Taylor, manager of post office operations in Salina, made quick work of it, spending only 15 minutes in Cedar -- about a minute for every resident of the Smith County community -- and nine minutes in Woodston.

Unlike earlier meetings in Gove and Healy, Taylor wasn't there to solicit information. He was there to deliver the news.

"Yes, that's correct," he said when asked if a decision on the hours already had been made.

The handouts Taylor offered residents said otherwise, detailing "potential retail operating hours" and the "likely" hours.

"We will take into account all information received at this meeting before making a final decision," the information handed out said.

The meetings are supposed to solicit information, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Brian Sperry.

"We want to hear from the community," he said, as well as share the results from surveys. "A decision is not made until a week after the meeting."

In the case of both Cedar and Woodston, Taylor said, the new hours will take effect Jan. 12.

But he sought to lighten the message.

"Today, I'm here to tell you the post office is going to stay open," Taylor told the half-dozen Woodston residents showing up at Woodston City Hall. "I just want to be clear on that."

Taylor visited Woodston earlier this year to conduct a public meeting on the possibility of closing the post office.

After taking considerable heat when they explored the possibility of closing approximately 4,000 mostly rural post offices, the U.S. Postal Service revised its plan and now is looking to reduce window hours at nearly 13,000 offices across the nation. Most, however, are in small, rural communities.

In Cedar and Woodston's case, both of which were targeted for closure, the hours will fall to the shortest time frame possible -- just shy of closing them altogether.

Cedar's window will be open from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours, from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m., won't change.

Woodston will be open from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and won't be open Saturday.

Also this week, USPS announced it had approved the reduced hours for both Dorrance and Sylvan Grove.

Dorrance will be open from 8 a.m. to noon, while Sylvan Grove will be open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

New hours will take effect Jan. 12 in both Dorrance and Sylvan Grove as well.

Community meetings will be Tuesday in Agra and Gaylord. Agra is destined to be a four-hour office, while Gaylord will be open just two hours a day.

USPS has set meetings for noon Nov. 27 at the Waldo Senior Center and at 3 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Bunker Hill Lion's Club building.

Waldo would be a two-hour office, while Bunker Hill would be open four hours a day.

No community meetings will be conducted the week of Thanksgiving.