Thank you all for the wonderful support at the meeting with the US Postal Service on Tuesday, Sept 6 at the Ward Union Congregational Church. It was a dark,cold, rainy Ward mountain evening and we especially thank all the attendees from out of town who traveled long distances come to our meeting.
Thank you Nederland Mountain Ear for the great editorial. We had TV coverage on Channels 4, 7 (nterveiws about the Post Office Closing) and 9 (coverage of our re-enactment of the 1863 Horseback Postal Delivery) and radio news coverage on KGNU, KCFR and KOA radio. Thank you David Grimm for the telephone interview with KOA.
Marela Rivera and two other Postal Service representatives attended. Marcela spoke to the Postal Services financial issues, their legal responsibilty to pre-fund employees health care/retirement for 75 years which Congress can overturn, and the criteria by which Post Offices were chosen for the “discontinuance study.” She indicated that the USPS proposal would be posted at our Post Office and spoke about the process that would be used for final determination, the opportunity for continued customer input, and the appeals process.
Colorado State Senator Jeanne Nicholson, a mountain resident who understands life at this high altitude, spoke opposing the Post Office closing on our behalf. She knows what the roads are like in the winter. US Senator Michael Bennet’s Legislative aide, James Thompson attended and spoke of a letter Senator Bennet was sending opposing closing of remote, high altitude Post Offices in Colorado. US Congressman Polis’s aide Danielle Henry attended, as did representatives from the Ward Town Council (Fountain, Grimm, Schraff, Lawrence), Ward Town Clerk Bakke, the Ward Fire Chief, Chair of the Ward Water Board, and Chairman of the Board of the Indian Peaks Fire Protection District.
Smitty, Chair of the Board of the Indian Peaks Fire Protection spoke of the negative economic impact on the all volunteer Fire Protection District’s small budget if the local Post Office was closed, as did Pat Marrocco on behalf of the Ward Water Board. George Lewis spoke to the history of the Post Offiice , Amber and Rebecca Hawk on behalf of children and families (Amber, age 13 has us in tears); Barbara Monroe about the hardship that would be caused to rural box holders in losing retail services at the Ward Post Office, Mark Graff and Pat Marroco about the economic loss to small businesses; Cynthia Bakke, Ward Town Clerk, about the need for the Post Office for mailing referendums, town business, and hardships that would be created for low-income, elderly and those who walk, ski, snowshoe to the P.O..; Ed Martinek who recentlly retired from the Boulder County Road Commission after plowing roads for 30 years reinforced the danger of driving our roads in the winter; and Mike Parker of the Ward Area Rural Poets spoke of the many local artists and jewelers who economically depend on the local Post Office and gave an empassioned poetic plea for the post office as the center of our community, Many other Ward Post Office customers and box holders spoke opposing the P.O. closing and many written comments were delivered at the end of the meeting.
I read the Petition opposing the closing and opened the mailbag that Derek Stevens, our Pony Express re-enactor delivered to the Church steps. I presented Marcela Rivera of the Postal Service with 13 signed petitions, and copies of the more than 400 postcards and letters sent in opposition to the closing, including a letter from Columbine Family Practice, Dr. Cameratta’s office in Nederland who recently cared for two elederly, end-of-life patients at home in Ward and which addressed the clinic’s dependence on the Ward Post Office for contacting patients who had no telephone or internet. I also spoke of the various organizations who operate camps, retreats, confernce centers in the Ward Postal area and who signed the petition including the Seventh Day Adventists (Glacier View Retreat and Conference Center), Boy Scouts of America (Camp Tahosa and Tahosa High Altitude Base Camp), American Legion Post #32 Beaver Resorvoir Camp/Recreation area, Boys and Girls Clubs of Denver Gates Camp,and Phonstuk Choling Buddhist Study Center.
A Statement of the Boulder County Commission opposing the closing, a copy of a letter opposing the closing sent by our Colorado State Representative Claire Levy to the Postal Service, and a letter from the Boulder Historic Society opposing the closing were included. State Senator Nicholson will be forwarding a copy of her letter to the Postal Service to us.
Thanks to Becky Martinek, Christina Zahn, and Karelle Scharff of the Board of the Ward Union Congregational Church for their work in setting up the Church for their meeting, to Christina Zahn, Amy LaRue, David Grimm, Ann Gillis, J.J.Whittaker Cal of the Brainerd Lake Campground Hosts, Apache, and our esteemed Postmaster, Becky Malle for appearing/speaking to t.v. reporters.
Thank you Flip for coordinating that ride with the TV cameramen. Thanks Ann Gillis for directing parking, thanks Barbara, Brenda and all who brought cookies, thanks Danny, Nigel and JJ for their wonderful Colorado Coffee Roasters coffee. Thank you customers of the Ward Post Office for standing on the Church steps and cheering for our Pony Express rider and, most of all, expressing your opinions. Thanks Barbara Monroe, Shelly Rose, Ann Gillis, Justine Sanchez, Becky Martinek, David Grimm, Germaine Pierre, Brenda Thompson for circulating the Petition and postcards, and thank you to the people and businesses in Nederland, Gold Hill, Jamestown, Allenspark, Estes Park, and Boulder who supported us.
A special thanks to Smitty who braved the Church stairs while still recovering from his terrible accident to speak on behalf of our Fire Protection District and to George Lewis, our cherished community elder speaking of his grandfather, R.D. Ward, the Switzerland Trail Ward Stationmaster, who often had to brave hours of winter winds by horseback to retrieve the mail when the train got stuck, and for talking about what our Ward Post Office has meant throughout the years.
Thank you David Grimm for all your calls to legislators and the media — for your strategic planning and for moderating the meeting. We did it folks — started on time — done by 8:30 and the community delivered a powerful message to the Postal Service. We oppose the closing of the historic Ward Post Office.
It’s still not over; this was just Act I — we have got to keep letters and calls going out and ask that our US Congressional Representatives specifically request the Postal Service to remove the Ward Post Office from the Closing List, as did Alaska Congressmen were able to have 12 remote Alaskan Post Offices removed. We expect nothing less from our Colorado Congresssional Delegation.
Now that we have support letters from our State Senator, Representative, and County Commission, Historical Society, we would hope that Governor Hickenlooper would send a letter as well.
We are also investigating information from the Colorado State Historical Society regarding a legal mandate for all federal agencies to initiate a review under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 before action is taken than will affect properties on the National Register of Historic Places.
Thank you Colorado State Senator Jeanne Nicholson, Colorado State Senator Claire Levy, Boulder County Commissioners, and Boulder Historical Society for your clear opposition to closing the historic Ward Post Office.
Please keep sending your ideas and concerns. Together we can only get better. I am so proud to be a member of the Ward area community.
Save The Historic Ward Post Office