OUR VIEW: Postal news not quite as good as it seemed
Many readers of The Daily Republic were probably pleased to learn Thursday that the U.S. Postal Service, under intense political pressure, had decided to scrap its plan to close thousands of rural post offices and instead will propose reducing ho...
Many readers of The Daily Republic were probably pleased to learn Thursday that the U.S. Postal Service, under intense political pressure, had decided to scrap its plan to close thousands of rural post offices and instead will propose reducing hours at about 13,000 rural locations.
The announcement will apparently save post offices in Canova, Carthage, Dimock, Fulton, Gann Valley, Hamill, Herrick, Letcher, Olivet and Spencer, which were the 10 post offices in the Mitchell trade area that were listed for possible closure.
Good news, right?
Maybe not. Yes, the Postal Service plans to keep those post offices open with reduced hours, but a whole host of other post offices have been added to the list for potentially reduced hours.
In the Mitchell trade area alone, we count 47 post offices on the list, from tiny enclaves such as Hamill to sizable towns such as Armour. Statewide, there are a whopping 222 post offices that could suffer reduced hours.
Forgive us if we're not celebrating this latest news. In fact, we're still trying to figure out if reducing hours at a slew of post offices is better than closing a small number of tiny ones.
Whatever happens, it's clear that rural America will be the loser, as it seems to be all too frequently.
In rural areas throughout the great center of South Dakota, schools are closing or have already closed. Businesses and people are fleeing. A reduction of hours at the local post office certainly won't help.
Yet we know the federal government has a responsibility to put the Postal Service back on sound financial footing, and we respect that.
We only hope that as rural post offices suffer, other federal government programs to aid rural areas -- such as rural development loans and grants -- will be bolstered.
Just because we live in a rural area out here, that doesn't mean we're lesser citizens who deserve fewer services than our urban counterparts.