Author Archives: TOW-admin

New information Disaster Declaration, Disaster Assistance 09/15/13 14:33

Boulder County (and probably more Colorado counties eventually) has been declared a major disaster.

“Obama’s declaration makes federal aid available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Boulder County.

“That aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs or low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.”(1)

You can read more about eligibility, coverage, and the application process at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or to make a claim: Call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

(1)Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/322289-obama-signs-colo-disaster-declaration#ixzz2ezoUNJIs

 

Reassurance

Reassurance

Left Hand Creek in Ward September 13, 2013
Left Hand Creek in Ward September 13, 2013 becomes a raging torrent a mile downstream. Photo credit Karelle Scharff
Runoff feeding into the "headwaters" of Left Hand Creek in Ward
Runoff feeding into the “headwaters” of Left Hand Creek in Ward Sept 13, 2013. Photo Credit Karelle Scharff

 

Ward is fine. We’re at 9100+ feet altitude so we’re at the top of the flood.We’ve seen more water in our little branch of Left Hand Creek than even in the middle of the biggest snowmelt + thunderstorm. And even at that we experienced NOTHING compared to the horror that happened in Jamestown, Lyons and Salina and dozens of other communities in our little corner of the world. Our thoughts are with our fellow mountain communities that have been hammered by fire and now flood, and with communities, farms, families, ranches on the plains that are under water.

It’s times like this when all of us in Ward (and the “suburbs”) come out of the woodwork, I’ve met a whole new group of people I’d never met. We’ve helped each other with food, generators, sump pumps, batteries, you name it. We will be there to help our neighboring communities pick up their pieces too.

Left Hand Canyon above Rowena looking uphill. Photo credit Fred Morse.
Left Hand Canyon above Rowena looking uphill. Photo credit Fred Morse.

We are still stranded right now – every access to the plains is cut off except Clear Creek Canyon, 50 miles to the south, and that puts you in Golden, still 25 miles from Boulder. It’s going to be a while, months maybe, before our lovely Left Hand Canyon is drivable again. Nederland police estimate at least a month before Boulder Canyon is open again. All this is complicated by the imminent winter, with the first snows expected in just about a month.

I’ve been participating in Emergency Planning for over a year and while it’s been a pretty effective process, it’s clear that it never occurred to ANYONE that something this extreme could happen. I mean  how does one prepare for this?

Foothills Flood Relief fund

As a reminder: Foothills United Way has established a Fund for the victims of this flood.  The name of the fund is the Foothills Flood Relief Fund and that money will be used for housing and human services and will ALL stay local in our communities…just like our long term recovery fund for the fire.  Please do share this URL: www.unitedwayfoothills.org/floodrelief  or go to www.unitedwayfoothills.org and follow the links to donate.  PLEASE DO SHARE THIS INFO WITH ALL OF YOUR GROUPS!

2.)  2-1-1 has been activated.  If you know of anyone that has any questions about evacuation sites, routes, donations, road closures etc. they can call 2-1-1 in the Boulder area to get help.

09/14/13

09/14/13

These are images from Thursday and Friday on Left Hand Canyon, taken by Andrew Martinek (FYI, he’s a town marshall, therefore a part of emergency services – he’s both entitled and expected to risk such travel – DO NOT try this yourself.

Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek

 

 

Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek
Left Hand Canyon below Ward. Photo Credit Andrew Martinek

 

 

09/13/13 17:15

We’ve weathered the storms thus far. No reported injuries or serious house damage. As a community we are both lucky and blessed.

If the power goes out again, Ward does have a generator that can be used to charge necessary devices and keep freezers and fridges cold. Contact Pete Lawrence or Sequoia.

Land line phone service is spotty in town and appears to be limited to town to town land lines. Cell service is in the usual places.

There is food available for those who need it. Contact Rebecca or Apache.

The trash pickup that usually happens tomorrow will happen next Saturday (theoretically).

LeftHand Canyon is absolutely impassible,  because of running water, debris, and washed out roads. Do NOT try to go up or down. If you absolutely have to, the best way out right now is to go west on the Peak to Peak to the Central City Parkway to I70, and that only if you absolutely can’t avoid it. The emergency services folks have enough to do without having to rescue someone who just needs cigarettes. Might be a good time to quit.

Foothills United Way has established a Fund for the victims of this flood.  The name of the fund is the Foothills Flood Relief Fund and that money will be used for housing and human services and will ALL stay local in our communities…just like our long term recovery fund for the fire.  Please do share this URL: www.unitedwayfoothills.org/floodrelief  or go to www.unitedwayfoothills.org and follow the links to donate.  PLEASE DO SHARE THIS INFO WITH ALL OF YOUR GROUPS!

2.)  2-1-1 has been activated.  If you know of anyone that has any questions about evacuation sites, routes, donations, road closures etc. they can call 2-1-1 to get help.

If you think friends and family might be concerned about you, you can use this website, Safe & Well, to check in, or to check for someone you haven’t heard from.

9:54 AM 09/12/13

Specific to Ward:

Left Hand Canyon is closed, from the Peak to Peak Hwy to Foothills Highway. Ward Marshal department has closed the entrance to Ward from the Peak to Peak Highway and they are allowing entrance on a case by case basis (ie if you’re going home IN WARD, they’ll let you, otherwise, no.

Not specific to Ward:

All canyon accesses are closed.

James canyon is closed both above and below Jimtown. One person has died in Jamestown. A house has collapsed, others are threatened. Jamestown is cut off too and those in homes that are threatened have evacuated to the elementary school.

Evac centers:

  • Lyons Elementary
  • Nederland Community Center
  • Jamestown Elementary
  • The Mapleton Y in Boulder
  • Highlands Presbyterian Camp in Allenspark
  • Silver Creek High School in Longmont

Here are some local links for LOCAL info:

Jamestown QT

Bar-K QT

Ward QT

 

 

Emergency information

For the duration of the flooding emergency, this will be the Ward, Colorado front page.

Here are some local links for LOCAL info:

Ward QT

Jamestown QT

Bar-K QT

Other links:

Here are some links:

  • Boulder County, along with a number of other Colorado counties has been declared a Federal Disaster area, making individuals and businesses eligible for federal disaster relief funds. You can find out more, and apply, at disasterassistance.gov
  • Foothills United Way has established a Fund for the victims of this flood.  The name of the fund is the Foothills Flood Relief Fund and that money will be used for housing and human services and will ALL stay local in our communities of Boulder and Broomfield counties… just like our long term recovery fund for the fire.  Please share this URL: www.unitedwayfoothills.org/floodrelief  or go to www.unitedwayfoothills.org and follow the links to donate.  PLEASE DO SHARE THIS INFO WITH ALL OF YOUR GROUPS!
  • 2-1-1 has been activated.  If you know of anyone that has any questions about evacuation sites, routes, donations, road closures etc. they can call 2-1-1 in the Boulder area to get help.
  • If you think friends and family might be concerned about you, you can use this website, Safe & Well, to check in, or to check for someone you haven’t heard from.
  • Also for resources you can look at Help Colorado Now. Please note this is helpcoloradonow.COM, NOT .ORG. The .org site is a squatter site. Don’t use the .org site.
  • Amy Hardy is the Boulder mountain resource coordinator and she will be working with the affected communities to assess the relief needs. Contact her at 303 895 3418 or ahardy@unitedwayfoothills.org

Ward Library Accepting Applications for Artist in Residence

Recognizing that the arts are vital to the culture and heritage of the town of Ward, the Ward Public Library is undertaking a leadership role in creating an environment in which the arts can grow. In fulfilling this role the Ward Public Library is committed to these fundamental principles:

  • Recognizing the integrity of artistic expression of all cultures
  • Encouraging artistic excellence
  • Working to increase public awareness and involvement in the arts

The Ward Public Library Artist in Residence program was founded in 1976 to stimulate art development in the town of Ward, and to assist and encourage artists and art and help make art more accessible to the Ward community.
The Artist in Residence program provides a residence studio space available for two years to a dedicated artist to explore their creativity and teach and/or present their art to the community. The artist provides unique experiences to the community by sharing themselves and their art.
The community sees through the artist’s eyes, watches the creative process and learns to integrate this process in their own creativity.

Download the residency application here

Baxter St. Fire Fund

On Sunday, March 4th, 2012, a house on Baxter Street in Ward, CO was completely destroyed by fire due to an apparent propane leak and subsequent fire.  The residence is a total loss.  Three adults and two children (boys) ages 7 and 9 have been impacted by this event. Thankfully there were no serious injuries.

In response we (Ward Citizens) have created a fund through the Union Congregational Church of Ward to ease the loss/burden for those affected. The monies collected will be used to purchase/replace:

  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Furniture

Because storage for actual donated items is a problem with no immediate remedy, the people affected are requesting that no actual items be donated at this time. Because of this it would be easier to establish a monetary fund that the victims can draw from as they are able to replace and utilize their property.

Donations can be made to:
Union Congregation Church of Ward
Baxter Street Fire Fund
P.O. Box 304
Ward, CO 80481

Please make checks payable to UCC of Ward, with a notation to direct funds to the Baxter Street Fire Fund.
Thank you in advance for your tax deductable donation.  Tax information will be given upon request.

We live in a proud and wonderful community that helps its own in time of need!

House fire on Baxter Street

Shortly after 8PM on Sunday night there was an explosion and fire at a home on Baxter Street. One adult was slightly injured, the 2 children emerged unharmed and the dog was slightly singed. The house was extensively damaged.

The cause of the fire has not been officially determined, but is suspected to be a propane leak.

And yet one more time we are deeply grateful to our firefighters for their quick and effective response. We’d also like to thank both Allenspark and Gold Hill for their indispensable aid.

Colorado Senators Urge Senate Leadership to Consider Rural Communities in Postal Service Reforms

UNITED STATES SENATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 7, 2011
CONTACT:  Tara Trujillo – 202-224-4334
Michael Amodeo – 303-249-5286

Bennet, Udall Urge Senate Leadership to Consider Rural Communities in Postal Service Reforms

Washington – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, along with Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are urging Senate committee leaders to consider western states and rural communities when exploring potential reforms to the U.S. Postal Service.

“We think a long-term viable postal service must be placed on a secure financial trajectory while protecting the important role that USPS plays in rural America,” the Senators wrote in the letter to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the subcommittee dealing with the Postal Service.

“While it is imperative that we address current structural dilemmas facing the USPS such as the mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits and overpayments into the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), we must set the Postal Service on a new course that embraces innovation and creative business practices and protects the millions of Americans who depend on this longstanding institution regardless of sleet or snow, six days a week, year after year.”

In the letter, the Senators outlined priorities for reform that encourage innovation, take creative approaches to existing assets and maintain the competitive edge.

In June, Bennet and Udall sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General expressing concern over USPS location closures and consolidations that could make it more difficult for Coloradans to send letters and mail packages.

In September, they sent a letter to Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, urging the Postal Regulatory Commission to carefully consider the effects of possible postal service closures on rural areas and small towns in Colorado and across the country.

Full text of the letter is included below.

Dear Chairman Lieberman, Ranking Member Collins, Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Brown,

As the Committee and Subcommittee explore potential reforms to the United States Postal Service (hereinafter, USPS or the “Postal Service”), we encourage you to value the essential role that it plays in western states and rural America as a whole. USPS delivers to 308 million locations daily, bringing in $67 billion annually at zero operating expense to American taxpayers. From personal banking services to retail advertising, both public and private sectors rely upon USPS to facilitate contact with rural communities and markets that might otherwise lack connectivity.

In fact, private sector enterprises often rely on USPS to provide final destination deliveries to many of these remote locations that would otherwise be deemed unprofitable. It is critical that any changes to the USPS do not undermine current law to provide maximum access to postal services for both urban and rural Americans.

We are supportive of your recent efforts to introduce postal service reform legislation, and would ask the Committee to consider the following standard as you seek to move forward. We think a long-term viable postal service must be placed on a secure financial trajectory while protecting the important role that USPS plays in rural America.

Encourage Innovation

The USPS must transform itself to meet the demands of 21st century consumers and businesses. The Postal Service has a long tradition of adapting to changing technology and it must do so again with the ever increasing prevalence of the internet. The USPS has to work quickly to identify and adapt to new markets such as digital mail services and build stronger partnerships with the private sector to strengthen and expand its business.

Creative Approaches to Existing Assets

We are also concerned with plans to close a number of post offices serving rural areas. Small and remote communities especially in rural and mountain regions, often depend on the local post office for their mail service and as an accessible representation of the federal government. Additionally, the possible closure of post offices on Indian reservations would place a significant burden on residents, many of whom live in remote areas and lack reliable transportation.  Reservations post offices perform a critical service where many residents rely on their post office to engage in commerce, access to government services and pay their bills. We believe that there are considerable opportunities for the USPS to reassess its existing capital assets and maximize their unique role in rural communities. For example, the Postal Service should be encouraged to work with other government agencies to explore housing multiple government services through existing post office centers. We are also supportive of efforts to identify potential post office locations whose services could be housed elsewhere in local communities such as markets and banks. Proposals such as these offer opportunities to save costs, promote efficiency and strengthen accessibility for the general public.

Maintain Competitive Edge

Some proposed reforms to the USPS include eliminating Saturday delivery to institute a shortened delivery week. By doing so, the Postal Service would be relinquishing a significant portion of its market share for relatively nominal savings. A number of businesses that depend on the USPS for Saturday delivery such as banks, retailers, and periodicals would turn elsewhere for Saturday service leaving the USPS at a competitive loss. Similarly and as mentioned above, the Postal Service provides a unique product to thousands of rural and remote communities that would otherwise lack the same access to the broader marketplace. We do not believe that it is in the Postal Service’s best long-term interests to forfeit these considerable components to its overall business portfolio.

While it is imperative that we address current structural dilemmas facing the USPS such as the mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits and overpayments into the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), we must set the Postal Service on a new course that embraces innovation and creative business practices and protects the millions of Americans who depend on this longstanding institution regardless of sleet or snow, six days a week, year after year.

We appreciate your consideration on these matters.

# # #

More Postal Service inaccuracies challenged

So you have the same info I do, if you want, download the pdf of the Proposal to close the Ward Post Office, and the pdf of the budget information.

Based on the info in those two docs (and one other letter that’s quoted in my response), I wrote the following letter.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been reading over the proposal to close the Ward Post Office and subsequent correspondence, again, and I have some more observations and questions to which I’d like answers. I have not seen answers to these questions yet

  1. Marcela, in your letter to Pat Cypher of October 28, 2011, you state:
    “The projected 10-year savings from the discontinuance of the Ward Post Office is $655,139. This amount includes the postmaster salary and fringe benefits. The postmaster salary and benefits for the last fiscal year was $83,675.”
    The latter number, multiplied by ten ($83,675 X 10 = $836,750), would be $181,611 MORE than the former number, which should be the total savings from closure, and BOTH are different from the number actually quoted for “EAS Craft and Labor” in the economic savings breakdown in the proposal, $899,639. So what does this discrepancy mean? How do we trust your (ie the postal service’s) “savings” calculations, when the numbers seem to shift at will?
  2.  In looking at the POD Financial Summary, under Investment there is a line item: Construction/Renovation, with a negative figure: ($14,000). To what does this refer? Farther down, in the column, 10-year Operating Variance, there is another negative number, ($92,859). To what does this refer? Further, I don’t understand the two figures: Total 10-year operating variance: $855,476, and the “POD 10-year NPV, $655,139.” Please explain the difference.
  3. In the proposal, one of the advantages (and disadvantages) you note is “The loss of a retail outlet and a postmaster position in the community. Retail services may be provided by the rural or contract delivery carrier.” I’m pretty clear how this is a disadvantage, please explain to me how this is an “advantage.” I will point out that the same conditions that make travel to Jamestown impractical (it’s a steep, curvy road that’s often snowpacked and/or icy in the winter) also make the carrier’s route timing somewhat less than predictable. So you want us to stand out in below-zero, high-wind (80mph is NOT uncommon), or blizzard conditions, to meet the contract carrier? Or drive an hour+ round trip in dangerous conditions to do our postal retail business? We’re pretty tough, but that’s asking a lot.
  4. Your proposal suggests providing delivery services by highway contract route, I presume using CBUs (Is this government acronym speak for Cluster Box Units?) Who pays for the boxes? Their installation? Their maintenance? The snow plowing necessary to keep them open in the winter? The locksmith to come and unfreeze the (100+) locks when we get one of our common sub-arctic systems? Heck, where are you going to PUT 100+ boxes? Private property? Government property? Who pays the rent on the land? Who pays to reinstall when the snowplow driver can’t see them in the 6 foot drifts and drives over them, or the out of control pickup truck slams into them, and scatters mail from here to Timbuktu? Who gets to go back to banks, billing companies, clients, and the senders of all the other important mail we receive and tell them, “Sorry, I didn’t receive your check, bill, notice.” For instance, I have an FCC Amateur Radio Operator’s License. The FCC is very clear – if they can’t reach you by mail, your license is revoked. If you are caught transmitting on a revoked license, that’s a felony. FYI, there are 7 Ham Radio licensees in the Ward Post Office area.
  5. In the “advantages” section, item #2, “Customers opting for carrier service will have 24-hour access to their mail.’ In point of fact, we have 24-hour access to our mail right now, in a semi-warm (ie not below freezing), protected-from-wind-and-snow, lighted location right this very instant. So that is by NO means an advantage – it’s decidedly a downgrade and a distinct DISadvantage. Item #4 suggests that CBUs and parcel lockers add security and convenience. Already have it, so please keep your CBUs, they are NOT an advantage. None of this addresses how “access” to a CBU will work for the elderly, sick, disabled. Please address this, particularly for our problematic winter months.
  6. Enquiring minds want to know: who decided what was convenient for Ward or what would “adversely impact” it? Have they ever visited Ward, even in summer, much less in winter? Why not?
  7. Item 3 states that “Savings for the Postal Service contribute in the long run to stable postage rates and savings for customers.” In response, some observations and suggestions: from what I’ve seen of the investigations into USPS finances there are several issues that would go a long way to fixing the PO financial woes. The first is to either eliminate the requirement to pre-fund the 75 years of retirement or to extend it over a 40 year period. I know that’s legislative, but that should have been explored first, before putting forth community-destroying proposals. Same with the $6.9B refund. From what I’ve been able to find out, if the USPS were to close each and every one of the rural post offices, it would amount to less than 1% of the USPS budget. That implies to me that the cost “savings” to the PO will be nowhere near enough to actually fix the Postal Service’s fiscal problem.
    I understand there are 67 District Offices across the US and seven Area Offices that bring in $0 (zero dollars). How many people work in the Area and District Offices for the zip code 80481? What are their salaries? Why are you eliminating offices with revenue and not offices that solely administer and never touch the mail, and don’t make a cent for the USPS? So here’s another suggestion: close the District and Area offices. If there are Post Offices where you’ve determined that there isn’t sufficient workload, assign them some of the work the Area and District Offices do now. Post Offices stay open, postmasters stay busy, and you eliminate administrative costs, building rental, utilities, salaries at both the Area and District Offices. What valid reason does the Postal Service have for not considering these kinds of notions before going straight to “screw the customer?” If, in my business, I did that, yeah I’d be out of business in pretty short order too.
    I’ll say this here, from my discussions with my constituents (I am a member of the Ward Town Government), no one that I’ve spoken to, not even the most raging anti-government among us, is even okay with, much less happy with the idea of losing our Post Office. And all to whom I’ve spoken would be okay with the idea of a shortened work week, which would dramatically lower the cost of operation. We’ve talked about half days, 5 or 6 days a week, or only 3 or 4 days a week of window service. We’re not intransigent, but we’re absolutely opposed to the total closure of the post office.
  8. Item #5: “Customers opting for carrier service will not have to pay post office box fees.” $44 per year saved hardly makes up for potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in increased costs of doing business with the post office in a town an hour (RT) away, or waiting for the driver by the highway, especially for those of us depending on the US Mail for some part of our small, home-based businesses.
  9. Item #6: “Saves time and energy for customers who drive to the post office to pick up mail.” And increases time and energy for customers who have to drive to the CBUs (especially in bad weather) to pick up mail. Depending on where you would put the CBUs, it’s probable that it would increase the number of people who have to get in their cars and drive to the boxes, and it would certainly increase the number of people who have to get in their cars to do PO business, even if one can transact with the carrier, even if you’re not physically present. (Let me ask you: would you leave cash in a box by the highway, say for a money order, or for insurance on a package that you want to send? Yes lots of folks in this town not only don’t have a car, they also don’t have bank accounts, and so operate with cash.) At best that “advantage” is a wash.
  10. Among the disadvantages, you mention changing the mailing address, but that the community name will continue to be used. I run a small business, one of 30+ small businesses, government agencies, and non-profits in the Town of Ward (a list is attached). I am here to tell you that that could be devastating – I’ve had thousands of customers over the years and though most contact me by phone or email, some still contact me by mail, and many pay me by mail. Matter of fact, probably half of my income is from big clients whom I invoice and who pay me by mail. I also get some residuals and royalties for work done long ago – always nice to walk to the Post Office and find a surprise check. I would have almost no way to contact those payees to inform them of an address change. I’m resisting exaggeration, but the potential for loss is staggering, and I’m not completely sure my business would survive it. I know that other business owners here feel the same. That’s not to mention the family/friends/ acquaintances who have my address from the 20+ years I’ve used this post office. Another loss of time and money to me. Additionally you say “the Zip Code is not expected [italics mine] to change.” Boy that leaves a hole you could drive a Postal Service 18-wheeler through.
  11. Factual errors: Ward IS an incorporated community. It is administered politically by the Ward Town Government, consisting of 6 elected council members and a mayor, not by Ward Town Hall. Ward Town Marshall provides Police Protection, not Boulder County. The Ward Post Office building IS listed as an historic landmark (115+ years old), and even though the Postal Service has been operating from that building for only 37 years, we’ve had postal service in this community for 148 years. Why do you not count the years we’ve had postal service, only the years it’s been in that building? You’re not changing buildings, you’re looking to eliminate the service altogether, in this town. Why have you not corrected these factual errors?
  12. Over the past 4 years, only one year has seen a decline in revenue, and the September year-to-date in 2011, still shows an increase in revenue over September ytd 2008 (from the historical figure in the financial reports), and that is in a general economic downturn that has affected our community as much or more than many others. In evaluating the mail volume sheets, I notice that the numbers show both ups and downs, not a consistent or steady decline in most categories, as your justification states. So effectively, though the revenues/volume are not high, by your own figures they are NOT steadily declining, as stated in paragraph 2 of the justification. (You even note in paragraph 3 that there has been a slight INCREASE in revenue over the last few years. Please. Make up your mind.

Again, if decline in workload is an issue, we are open to a reduced hours compromise. Has this even been discussed? Why not?

If this proposal had used accurate information, that supported your justifications, then the conclusion might be more reasonable. However in my industry we have a saying: GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out, ie you can’t make a good decision based on faulty information.

Additionally, nowhere in any of these documents do you speak to the intangibles of what happens when you shut down the heart of the community; that’s not listed in the “disadvantages,” but to the community it’s an overriding consideration. Closing the Ward Post Office would devastate our community. I have seen what happens to communities, isolated to begin with, that lose their post offices. “Adversely affected” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

For the third time, we are open to alternative ideas for how to keep our Post Office open.

Thanks for the detailed and accurate answers I expect you to provide in answer to these questions.

Yours truly,

Karelle Scharff

Small business owner

Member of Ward Town Council

 

 

National Survey Affirms Public Support of Post Offices

A new national consumer survey conducted by the American Consumer Institute (ACI) concluded that the vast majority of Americans continue to oppose post office closings. In addition, the polling data substantiates NAPUS’ arguments before the Postal Regulatory Commission against the Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI), relating to the American public’s use of post offices.
The survey, which was released on Thursday, found that 72% of Americans are opposed to the planned closing of the RAOI-targeted post offices. This data is consistent with past survey results conducted over the past two years by Gallup and the Washington Post. In addition, the survey results conflict with USPS assertions about the rarity of customer visits to post offices; the ACI survey found that the average person visits the post office more than once a week, and that the visit is not just to purchase stamps. In fact, according to ACI, 68% of the public visit the post office to ship parcels, 53% to send priority or express mail, and 50% to weigh packages or envelopes. Another crucial finding is that nearly half of those surveyed stated that they would have to travel more than seven miles to the next nearest post office if their post office was closed.
The cross-tabs on the survey (i.e., the detailed data) provide some fascinating insights relating to rural post office customers. Approximately twice as many rural customers use post office boxes, as compared to non-rural customers. Within the context of NAPUS’ cross-examination of the USPS at RAOI hearing, the USPS witness conceded that USPS does not collect data to record post office visits relating to post office box mail retrieval. Also, approximately twice as many rural customers visit a post office multiple times a week, as compared to non-rural customers. And, 64% of rural postal customers would have to travel in excess of seven miles if their post office was closed. Hence, as NAPUS pointed out at the RAOI hearings, rural postal customers would suffer a disproportionate decrease in postal access if their retail facility were to be closed. Another interesting finding in the survey is that 68% of postal customers who identified themselves as Republicans oppose post office closings, 69% of Independents oppose closings, and 81% of Democrats oppose closings. Simply stated: a bipartisan and overwhelming majority of Americans oppose post office closings.

What YOU can do

If you use the Ward Post Office, EVER, you need to write to the Postal Service department that’s coordinating closures. There are comment forms in the Ward Post Office on the bulletin board, along with partially addressed (I didn’t want them to look like they all came from me) stamped envelopes. Then call your Colorado senators. Their website contact pages are listed to the left. Tell them that it’s a hardship to you for the PO to close.

You can also download a copy of the comment form by clicking here. Fill it out and send it in, preferably from Ward, but that’s a little less important.

Ideas for a letter, use what’s appropriate, or other information if that’s appropriate:

  • Impracticality of an hour round trip to the next nearest PO (either 26 to Jamestown or 28 miles to Ned, RT),
  • negative social impact on the community
  • impact on local businesses
  • impact on the town – budget (PO pays rent to the town), town mail pick-up, especially on a more limited budget
  • impracticality of CBU (cluster box units) in bad weather, especially with regard to locks freezing, ice, wind, snow and its plowing
  • Might mention how this might impact the elderly and disabled who often don’t drive or don’t feel comfortable driving in winter conditions, but need to get their SS check, or their meds through the mail, and frequently don’t have a computer, or an internet connection, and maybe not even a bank account.

Address it to:
Marcela Rivera
7500 East 53rd Place
Rm 224
Denver, CO 80266-9998

Please go to our Facebook page and like it: http://facebook.com/SavetheWardPostOffice

Go view the youtube videos:

Becky’s new song:

and the KGNU interview (starts the same as the song):

Continue Reading

Bennet: USPS ‘Time-Out’ Provides More Time to Evaluate Effects of Potential Post Office Closures? Maybe yes, probably no.

U.S. SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET
Member: Agriculture, HELP, Banking and Aging Committees

CONTACT: Michael Amodeo – 303-249-5286
Laura Brandon – 202-573-5350

Bennet: USPS ‘Time-Out’ Provides More Time to Evaluate Effects of Potential Post Office Closures

Announcement Comes on Heels of Several Bennet Efforts to Ensure USPS Reform Recognizes Impact on Rural Communities

Washington, DC –Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that the USPS has issued a temporary “time-out” on post office closings that will provide more time for the Agency to examine potential effects of these closings on local communities and help Coloradans avoid frustrating and needless holiday season service interruptions.

This month, USPS issued a notice to all Area Vice Presidents, directing them to temporarily suspend all Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) implementations and post office closings beginning November 19, 2011 through January 2, 2012. While districts may proceed with the post office discontinuance process, the physical closing of a post office or the physical relocation of routes will be temporarily suspended during this window.

“Although we are not out of the woods yet and reforms to place the Postal Service on a more secure financial trajectory are absolutely needed, this temporary ‘time-out’ ensure that the USPS can step back and more closely evaluate the potential effects of post office closures on local communities,” said Bennet. “We have worked hard to communicate the important role post offices play in rural communities, and we hope the USPS uses this time-out to take a closer look at the potential effects of these closures on Colorado communities.”

This announcement comes on the heels of several Bennet efforts to ensure USPS reform takes into account potential impacts on rural communities.

Earlier this month, Bennet and Senator Mark Udall wrote a letter to Senate committee leaders urging them to consider western states and rural communities when exploring potential reforms to the U.S. Postal Service. In the letter, the Senators outlined priorities for reform that encourage innovation, take creative approaches to existing assets and maintain the competitive edge.

In June, Bennet and Udall sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General expressing concern over USPS location closures and consolidations that could make it more difficult for Coloradans to send letters and mail packages.

In September, they sent a letter to Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, urging the Postal Regulatory Commission to carefully consider the effects of possible postal service closures on rural areas and small towns in Colorado and across the country.

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Moratorium on Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) Implementations and Post Office Discontinuances Announced

From NAPUS.org truly good news. However this is respite, not victory. Please continue to contact your elected representatives about Senate Bill SB 1719 and related house bills. Also continue to fill out the comment forms and send them to Marcela Rivera in Denver, at USPS 7500 E. 53rd Pl. Denver, CO 80202.

Moratorium on Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) Implementations and Post Office Discontinuances Announced

The Postal Service has issued a notice to all Area Vice Presidents, directing them to temporarily suspend all Delivery Unit Optimization(DUO) implementations and post office closings beginning November 19, 2011 through January 2, 2012.  Postal officials said the moratorium was issued in an effort to avoid service interruptions or logisitical challenges. Districts may proceed with the post office discontinuance process, including community meetings and related actions required prior to closing, but the physical closing of a post office or the physical relocation of routes from one office to another (DUO) will be temporarily suspended beginning November 19, 2011 through January 2, 2012.

NAPUS President Bob Rapoza, who sent a letter to Senate Committee leaders last week requesting the inclusion of a moratorium on post office closings as part of S. 1789, applauded the action by the Postal Service.  It should be noted that the NAPUS advanced amendment was included in yesterday’s markup of S. 1789. Under the Moran Amendment, the USPS must take into account proximity to customers, demography (age and population density), and transportation and climate challenges in remote areas in setting standards. Moreover, the amendment requires a moratorium on post office closures, pending the implementation of the retail standards (i.e., 6 months from the date of enactment).  Also, the standards would apply to communities that suffered the loss of their post office, during the time period one year prior to enactment (e.g., post office subject to the Retail Access Optimization Initiative).  The amendment carried the bipartisan sponsorship of  Senators Moran, Tester, Collins, Begich (D-AK), McCaskill (D-MO)  and Landrieu (D-LA); it was approved by 12-4 vote. The only Senators voting no were Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK),  Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Rand Paul (R-KY).