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Is your mail coming late? Two new employees take Dickinson routes, may help to ease delay

Dickinson city carrier Dan Bahley delivers mail in east Dickinson on Thursday. Mail carriers have been stretched thin as of late leading to later deliveries for some residents, USPS spokesman Pete Nowacki said. Two carriers have been training this week and will start Saturday.

Dickinson residents have noticed their mail has been coming later in the day, but with two new postal carriers taking on their own routes Saturday, some of the delay may be relieved.

For Jan Myran, who lives in west Dickinson, her mail was already being delivered mid- to late-afternoon -- around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. -- but a couple of months ago, she noticed that it was being delivered in the evening, more like 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.

"Oh, I hate it," she said. "It's so inconvenient and sometimes you forget about it, and Lord knows if we'd get rain it would get wet. It's just very inconvenient. I don't like it at all."

The delays were caused by growing mail carrier coverage areas, Minneapolis-based U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said.

"What happens is the territories grow as more and more houses pop up, as more and more mailboxes pop up, there's just more deliveries to make, more mail to carry," he said. "That makes it difficult to keep up sometimes."

When asked if the post office explained why the mail was delivering later, Myran said, "Nope."

There are two carriers training this week who will start Saturday, Nowacki said.

"It's simply a really, really competitive job market," he said. "That's something that's going to make it tough. When everybody else is hiring and everybody else is paying well, there's a lot of competition for the people who are available."

The addition of the new carriers will not only decrease the amount of time it takes to deliver the mail, but will alleviate stress from some of the existing carriers, Nowacki said.

"Anytime there's more staff on board, you can spread that work out among more people," he said.

Several Dickinson businesses called Thursday said they were not affected by late mail, either because they drop and pick-up their mail themselves, or they use a third-party service for the pick-up and delivery of mail.

Consolidated Communications hasn't had any mail-related issues with their billing cycle, Public Relations Manager Rhonda Dukart said.

Myran said she preferred to get her mail in the afternoonso it wouldn't be forgotten about during her evening routine.

"It's easier to plan earlier in the day than at night," she said. "There's just too much going on at night. You're getting ready for the next day."

The closing of small town post offices in the area should not have contributed to delayed deliveries, Nowacki said.

"Those offices that closed in a lot of cases didn't serve that many deliveries," he said. "So if those deliveries were being put into another office -- it's more, there's no doubt about that -- but in most cases, it's really dwarfed by just the natural growth."

If there are any concerns with mail delivery, Nowacki said customers can call 800-275-8777 or send an email through to report issues such as non-delivery. If mail is delivered in large bunches a few days a week instead of every day, this is considered a non-delivery.

"Any kind of service issues, we want to know about," he said.

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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