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Meetings set to discuss postal hours

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

BROWNELL -- The U.S. Postal Service is ringing in the new year with a new round of community meetings across northwest Kansas.

They will be delivering a message no one wants to hear, but communities are accepting it because it's better than the alternative -- the loss of a community post office altogether.

Thursday's meeting in Brownell likely will be a much quieter affair than when USPS last year said it was planning to shutter the community's post office.

This time around, the financially strapped postal service will be reducing window hours in Brownell, from eight to four.

Brownell Mayor David Ford said he thinks the community "is OK with it going down to just four hours."

There's mixed feelings, he said, about when those hours should be, either in the afternoon or morning.

Likely, those hours already have been decided, and will be announced at the 1 p.m. meeting in the American Legion building.

Brownell's response to the reduced hours is little different than what's been shown at other communities in jeopardy of losing their office.

"This way here, we won't lose all of our service," Ford said. "That's the big thing the community was up in arms about."

Keeping the office, even with reduced hours, he said, "we can live with it."

"At least we are getting to keep our post office," Ford said.

A second meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the VFW Hall in Ransom. Its post office also is scheduled to become a four-hour office.

While meetings are planned across the state during the next few weeks, the next round in northwest Kansas won't come until the last full week of the month.

Meetings are set for both Damar and Gorham on Jan. 22. Both are slated to become four-hour offices.

The noon meeting at Gorham will be in the Senior Center while the 2:30 p.m. meeting in Damar will be at the Community Center.

The reductions are all part of a plan to save money for USPS, which is losing $25 million a day, already has defaulted on $11.1 billion for required retirement payments and has exhausted its borrowing authority with the federal government.