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Hours unchanged at Dickinson post office; Dunn Center USPS facing hour reduction

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Hours will remain the same although Dickinson post office officials say they have experienced an increase in business as the population has grown.

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The increased traffic will keep window hours at the Dickinson office at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The same cannot be said for the post office in Dunn Center, which will remain open with its normal hours for now. But according to the U.S. Postal Service, the window hours will definitely be reduced after another public meeting this fall.

"It will be after Labor Day before we schedule meetings in those communities again and determine their post offices' hours of operation," said Richard Watkins, USPS spokesman for the Sioux Falls-based Dakotas District. "Those post offices won't close, but it is too early to determine if they will be open for two, four or six hours a week. A lot of that will be determined by work flow."

It will take time to schedule meetings with the impacted towns, Watkins said.

"We need to find times, locations and dates that work for the most people, but we will not cutback the hours at post offices right now," he said. "We won't do that until we've had our meetings with the communities."

The post office in Manning closed June 30 and mail service is now being handled in Killdeer. Killdeer Postmaster Mary Lou Armbrust declined comment.

There will be 13,000 post offices nationwide impacted by a reduction of window hours later this year, said Peter Nowacki, USPS regional spokesman.

"There will ultimately be a permanent reduction of their window hours," he said. "When fully the reduction in hours at the offices takes full effect in about two years, it will result in a $500 million in savings for the postal service."

Whatever decisions are made about hours, Watkins said it would hopefully alleviate the financial burden the service has been under for the last several years.

"Most people are probably aware that mail volume is down," he said. "Between 2006 and 2011, there were 2 million fewer visits to the post offices nationwide. That was a more than $2 billion loss for the postal service. People have found it more convenient to go to grocery stores or to hop online to do a lot of the services that are also provided at the post office, but that means that that is revenue that is not spent at traditional postal offices."

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