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Dunn Center Post Office to close, could be permanent

Due to an inability to fill the postmaster position in the Dunn Center Post Office, services there are suspended indefinitely, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

It's unclear what will become of the post office, said Pete Nowacki, spokesperson for USPS.

"At this point, we're not looking at closing the office permanently," Nowacki said, adding a permanent closure is possible.

There are 74 post office boxes being used in Dunn Center, said Mary Armbrust, Killdeer postmaster.

"The office is on a temporary suspension, meaning there's no window service there," Nowacki said. "Right now, we're still putting the mail the post office boxes."

However, those who have post office boxes will have to use a mailbox or open a post office box in Killdeer by Tuesday, Nowacki said.

"We are working closely with the people affected and there will be service provided for them," Armbrust said.

The existing route in Dunn Center will be altered and mailboxes will be set up along that route, she said. To find out where each person should place their mailbox or for other inquiries, contact Armbrust at 701-764-5367.

USPS hopes to be delivering mail to new mailboxes in Dunn Center by Tuesday, Nowacki said.

"We do understand that there will be circumstances where people aren't able to meet that deadline and we're flexible on that," Nowacki said. "We plan on working with people on that. It's not like people aren't going to get mail service because that box isn't right up, but that's the day that we want to switch over the delivery."

Those affected will have to change their address to a street address or a new post office box number, he added. They will also need to file a mailing forward with USPS, Nowacki said.

USPS will hold a community meeting at the Dunn Center Post Office on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. to give information and receive feedback.

Ruth Granfor, who has a Dunn Center post office box, wishes she was better informed about what is to become of the post office.

"I'm angry," Granfor said, adding she doesn't know where to put a mailbox.

She wishes the community meeting would be held before the Oct. 12 deadline to have mailboxes up.

"I mean that's just plain ridiculous," Granfor said. "I just hope that when they do have this meeting on Oct. 14 that they can answer some of these questions and we can move forward that way."

The employee who serviced the Dunn Center Post Office, whose name was not released, resigned, which suspended service Oct. 1, Nowacki said.

"On a couple of different occasions we've tried to find a qualified, available and willing employee who lives within commuting distance to take the position and there's no one available," Nowacki said. "We're in a hiring freeze at this point. We can not hire career employees from the outside."

The freeze is due to financial struggle tied to a drop in mail volumes, he added.

There was a 19 percent drop in mail in the Dakota District between 2006 and 2009. That district services North Dakota, South Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

"That continued to drop this year," Nowacki said. "We don't have final numbers, but it was down about 6 to 7 percent nationwide this year, too."