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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Post Office closure

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Bobstamp
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13 Nov 2016
10:24:03pm
I spent several years of my youth in the tiny community of Arenas Valley, New Mexico, near Silver City where I attended school. My experiences there were varied and formative: I hiked in nearby wilderness areas, camped out with friends, joined the Boy Scouts, hunted rabbits with my own .22, and (Eureka!) discovered stamp collecting. Much of my first collection was purchased at the Arenas Valley Post Office, which I have written about in my web page, Box 28.

The Arenas Valley Post Office was closed in 1986, four decades after it was opened. The first postmaster then was Olga Harper, mother of my best friend at the time, Ernest. At that time, the post office was in an addition that the Harpers had built onto the front of their home. That's my dad in this photograph:

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In the early 1950s, the physical location of the post office moved a few hundred yards up the road, and Joe Moore became postmaster.

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Joe soon died of TB, and his wife, Hazel, became Postmaster. It was Hazel who fostered my stamp collection.

Today in a Google search I found a U.S.P.S. document outlining the reasons for closing the Arenas Valley Post Office. The following excerpt casts some interesting light on rural post offices, so many of which have been closed in recent decades:

Quote:

"The Arenas Valley Post Office is operated by an officer- in-charge (OIC) and is open for four hours per day, Monday through Saturday. There are 60 post office customers. The Postal Service "fact sheet" shows for fiscal 1984, receipts at $2,623 and expenses at $10,620. The Central, New Mexico post office is 3 miles away, and the Silver City, New Mexico post office is 5 miles away.

The Postal Service describes Arenas Valley as a small and rural community with four businesses in the Arenas Valley Service area. There are no banks, churches or schools served
by the post office.

The Postal Service notes that there are no special permit holders, postage meter or bulk mailing customers of the Arenas Valley Post Office which average 10 transactions daily. The Postal Service points out that the HCR carrier will provide the same retail services provided by the Arenas Valley Post Office and that customers will not have to meet the HCR carrier but may leave a check and a note in their NDCBU [Neighborhood Delivery & Collection Box Unit] box for purchases. The Postal Service also states that bulk mailings, bulk mail acceptance, and post office boxes are available at the Central and Silver City Post Offices for Arenas V alley customers desiring those services.

The Postal Service found that the Arenas Valley Post Office is used as an informal meeting place, information center, and public bulletin board but points out that the Central and Silver City Post Offices and local businesses can provide these same services. The surrounding post offices and HCR carrier will provide government forms as well as give the elderly any needed assistance.

The Postal Service states that Arenas Valley customers will continue to use the name and ZIP code Arenas Valley, NM 88022 in their addresses despite the closing…. The postmaster position at Arenas Valley is vacant and there are no career employees at the Arenas Valley post office. The officer-in-charge is a temporary, noncareer employee who will be terminated following the closing…. The Postal Service estimates first year savings of $6,321 and annual savings of $10,320 in subsequent years. The Postal Service listed the advantages of the closing stating that time and energy will be saved by those customers who had to drive to the post office to pick up their mail; customers will no longer have to travel to the post office since the HCR carrier will provide retail services; and HCR delivery service will benefit older people, invalids and working customers who may have had difficulty picking up mail during fixed hours of operation; customers will no longer have to pay post office box rental fees; and customers will have 24-hour access to their mail. The Service cited as disadvantages the loss of retail service at a post office in the community; loss of the postmaster position in the community; and difficulty in meeting the carrier at the mailbox to transact business. However, the Service establishes that customers have the options of transacting business by leaving a request and check in their box or by going to another post office.

The Postal Service concluded that closing the Arenas Valley Post Office and substituting highway contract route delivery service so that mail will be delivered to Arenas Valley residents at NDCBUs and parcel lockers near their homes will enable the Service to continue to provide regular and effective service. The Service also found that the closing will result in a cost savings for the Service and will not have a detrimental effect on Service employees since no career employees are involved. The Postal Service determined that the closing will not result in the loss of community identity since the Arenas Valley name and ZIP Code will be retained in residential addresses."


It certainly made fiscal sense to close the post office, but I had to smile at the note that Arenas Valley residents could use either the post office in Silver City or the one in Santa Clara as an "informal meeting place, information center, and public bulletin board". I'm not sure that the Arenas Valley Post Office, at least as it was in my youth, ever served those purposes. The postmasters only worked part time; neither of the venues I knew covered more than a couple of hundred square feet, and the one that Hazel Moore presided over wasn't even heated! And Arenas Valley, at an altitude of almost 6,000 feet (1828.8 metres) could get very cold in winter. It's actually a six-mile (9.7 km) drive from Arenas Valley to the Silver City post office, not 5 miles, and traffic on the highway and within Silver City can be a pain.

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sheepshanks
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13 Nov 2016
10:57:08pm
re: Post Office closure

Quote:

"employee who will be terminated "


Bit drastic, could they not just sack him?

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ikeyPikey
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14 Nov 2016
12:39:31pm
re: Post Office closure

Quote:

"... "informal meeting place, information center, and public bulletin board". I'm not sure that the Arenas Valley Post Office ... ever served those purposes ..."



Even back in 1986, we had cut'n'paste.

You gotta figure that they did thousands of these reviews, and worked from a template.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
whitebuffalo
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14 Nov 2016
07:24:20pm
re: Post Office closure

Oddly enough, we have an official population of only 150 people and still have a fully functioning P.O. (although they no longer sort the mail) A few others around the area have closed over the past 5-10 years, but ours keeps pluggin' along. You can get a P.O. box, but basically it's still an RFD system.


WB

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
15 Nov 2016
12:11:52am
re: Post Office closure

It's time to shut down all these under-performing post offices and curtail services to folks way out in the boondocks. No reason to provide subsidized electricity or internet, either.

That's what they voted for. Give it to them.

Lars

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vinman
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15 Nov 2016
07:30:25am
re: Post Office closure

Is this where the moderators step in?Thinking

Vince

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ikeyPikey
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15 Nov 2016
11:19:55am
re: Post Office closure

A thread about rural post office closing brings a post about rural post office closings ...

... Larsdog seems on-topic, with a trick well-turned.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
malcolm197
30 Nov 2016
07:32:59am
re: Post Office closure

Lighten up - it was an ironic statement.

It is often said on this side of the pond that irony and subtlety in humour is lost on Americans. Please do not give that thought credence among the sceptical - I know it isn't true ! is it?

Malcolm

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vinman
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30 Nov 2016
10:54:04am
re: Post Office closure

Malcolm197,
I posted my response because there was a lot of crying over the election on this side of the pond, especially on this board. The world was going to end, the gays would be attacked,there would be riots if Donald lost the election. Well, lets see, Hillary lost and there were riots and now a recount by someone who only received about 1% of the vote. I think those losers ought to take their tears down south and help put out the fires in Tennessee.

I do have a sense of humor, I think the holier then thou like to dish it out and try to steer these threads into a political discussion pushing their agenda and don't like it when they are called on it. I find it funny people take their stamps and storm off because they disagree with another's opinion. Well actually it is sad, very sad that adults can be so childish.Happy
Vince

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
30 Nov 2016
04:43:37pm
re: Post Office closure

Let's cool it, folks.

Thank you.

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