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USPS to continue Saturday delivery: Rural residents relieved

This fleet of United States Postal Service trucks, sitting behind the Dickinson post office on Wednesday evening, will still be on the road on Saturdays even after the Aug. 5 deadline to end Saturday deliveries. U.S. Congress stopped the proposal by the Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery.

The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday that it would not be suspending Saturday service in August as it had originally planned in an effort to cut its budget.

The plan was to deliver regular mail Monday through Friday and packages Monday through Saturday, but when Congress passed its continuing resolution to keep the government funded, it effectively stopped those changes.

Some local Postal Service customers were pleased with the announcement.

Rural Dickinson resident Mary Pavlish gets her newspaper through the mail, and wouldn't get Saturday's edition until Monday if the Postal Service went to five-day delivery.

"When they were first talking about it, I thought 'Oh my gosh, that's going to be such a long weekend,'" she said.

Sue Pavlicek, also of rural Dickinson, worried her mail carrier would lose hours if the Postal Service cut delivery by a day.

"I would hate to see us not have delivery on Saturdays," she said. "It's our contact to get our mail and it would be a loss to everyone."

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D, was pleased the Postal Service would continue Saturday delivery. She is on the committee that oversees the USPS.

"The U.S. Postal Service made the right decision today to indefinitely delay a five-day delivery schedule for mail," Heitkamp stated in a release. "I did not believe the Postal Service had the authority to make this decision on its own, and I am pleased the Board of Governors agreed with that interpretation."

Heitkamp also said in the release that the Postal Service is critically important to North Dakota and that she is committed to working with USPS leaders to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation to help the agency return to profitability.

The Postal Service's Board of Governors issued a statement Wednesday after the announcement, stating it "requires the flexibility to reduce costs and generate new revenues to close an ever-widening budgetary gap."

The statement went on to say that the Postal Service will continue searching for ways to trim its budget because of its current financial condition. It lost $16 billion last year.

"Delaying responsible changes to the Postal Service business model only increases the potential that the Postal Service may become a burden to the American taxpayer, which is avoidable," it said in the Postal Service's statement.

Some from southwest North Dakota were indifferent to the decision.

"It wouldn't affect me, it would other areas, but not me," said Deanna Erickson, who works as a store clerk at Farmers Union Oil in Rhame.

The Cenex affiliate is only open until noon on Saturday and doesn't use the mail much then.

"I think it's good if this country can afford it," said Elroy Heim, operations manager at Stallion Oil Field Service in Dickinson. "I think it's probably a good thing for most people."

His business is typical of oil field companies in that its offices are open Monday through Friday and doesn't utilize Saturday delivery.

"It's OK," said Linda Vigen of Grassy Butte. "I enjoy getting it, but if I don't get it, I won't die without it."

Out of Town, a clothing store in the Prairie Hills Mall, uses mail services minimally, so it too isn't much affected by either decision.

"We do more of our stuff through UPS and FedEx," manager Brooke Ouellette said. "It really doesn't affect us either way."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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