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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 22, 2011, 06:52 PM

Delivering news of postal closures a tough job

Borup, MN (WDAY TV) - The United States Post Office is in trouble, losing billions over the last few years. One option is to eliminate hundreds of rural post offices. But what's it like to be the man tasked to answer the most glaring question head on: Why?

The United States Post Office is in trouble, losing billions over the last few years. One option is to eliminate hundreds of rural post offices. But what's it like to be the man tasked to answer the most glaring question head on: Why?

It's not the most glamorous of duties for Peter Slabik; Holding town meetings in rural communities where their post office could be no more.

Peter Slabik – West Fargo Postmaster: “I like to do it, I don't like to close their offices, but I don't mind doing these meetings.”

Slabik has been visiting dozens of communities in North Dakota and Minnesota. Thursday he stopped in Borup, Perley and Georgetown. The attitude is almost always bleak, and the emotions high. But for Slabik, it's a job he says is necessary.

Peter Slabik: “You listen to it and you listen to their stories and you don't take it personal and you hope we can do a good job of conveying their feelings forward.”

There's no doubt the job of messenger can be a difficult one. But for the people of these small towns, Borup, Perley and Georgetown, they say it's hard to feel sympathy when their livelihood is at stake.

Ann Manley – Mayor of Perley: “There's other places to cut, they don't have to close a community.”

Right now 40 post offices in Slabik's district in the Red River Valley are on the chopping block, and the clock is ticking as many offices have less than four months until closure.

Ann Manley: “You know, you lose that and it's like what's the point, a couple more years it will be something else. It seems like we're fighting the fight all the time.”

That fighting spirit will have to continue if any of these small towns hope to have a post office at this time next year. If a post office is closed, the town can appeal the decision.

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