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Friday, May 24, 2013
The Postman May Never Ring, Again.Posted Saturday, May 19, 2012, at 2:19 PM
We need to watch our Post Office (PO) and its viability. It's certainly obvious that the government is carefully watching. Many small towns around us are losing their POs, so we must make sure we don't lose ours.
How do we do that? It's easy. USE the building on upper Spring Street. Buy stamps, send packages and letters. Mail checks to pay bills and consider it another social club besides Hart's.
When we first moved to Eureka, it was a social meeting ground for Carl and me. We lived in town then and used to walk to the PO several times a week. It was part of feeling included in the town's business plus the uniqueness of being within walking distance of our mail handlers. It was part of the ambiance of small town living which was new to us.
I had an uncle who was employed by the Minneapolis Post Office his whole working career, so I grew up understanding how important the postal service is to our nation. His wife, my aunt by marriage, also worked for the post office until she retired. They both enjoyed their work and they were good at it.
However, now the postal system seems like everything else in our country. It must turn a profit or it's not worth anything. No wonder so many PO employees dislike their jobs. My Uncle Gene must be turning in his grave, not to mention his hero and the first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin.
As I understand, Post Master Franklin never envisioned the postal system to make money. I understood that he considered it a governmental service which all our citizens could use. It was part of running a successful and organized nation. All he cared about was a timely, efficient, self-sustaining department that could deliver messages back and forth across our nation and the world.
But, and here I'm going to get in hot water with some of my readers, sometime during Bush "the 43rd's" administration, a bill was passed that the post office needed to show a profit. In that bill, there was also a health benefits' fund as part of the PO's retirement package. This portion of the law made the benefits' fund good for some seventy years in the future! The payment is 11.1 billion dollars annually. The Post Office has not been able to make last year's payment and they probably will renege on this year's payment, as well. Because the PO can't make the payments, they will have to lay off 220,000 employees. That's the reason for the closings. In fact, if just that part of the law would be rescinded by our congress, the government wouldn't have to close any POs.
Let's call our senators and representatives and tell them we want a change in the law concerning the nation's post offices. Tell them that Eureka Springs is worried it might be the next PO on the chopping block. Remind them that Eureka Springs is one of the most popular vacation destinations in NW Arkansas. People from the five state area surrounding Arkansas flock here every weekend for ten months of the year. While here, they use our Post Office to send cards and gifts. That's a lot of business for our PO to handle. Our tourism based economy could not survive without our Post Office and "Big Brown" couldn't possibly take up the slack.
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I'm Enid. No, not the town in Oklahoma, but a transplant to Eureka Springs from Minneapolis fourteen years ago. I'm a writer, journalist and sometime artist. My real love is expressing my opinions on almost any subject, as you have seen in my many letters to the Editor of The Lovely County Citizen over the years. Now, I'm happy to say that I will be writing a blog titled In a Twist for your amusement, amazement or commiseration. Thanks for giving me a read.