Mr. Ferebee goes to Washington to fight for Valley Post Office

"It's just an accident waiting to happen," Ferebee said.

The supervisor encourages town residents to send public comments regarding the post office situation to the USPS and to him, so he can hand those concerns to Rep. Gibson.

"The Postal Service welcomes comments from the public," said Postal Service Public Affairs Specialist Maureen Marion in a phone interview.

Comments to the USPS may be sent in the form of recommendations or testimonials as to the impacts on Keene and Keene Valley. The 60-day public comment period comes to a close at the end of March. At that time, the Postal Service managers will sift through the collection of comments and make a formal recommendation to USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to Marion. There is no timeline for a decision from D.C., but it could take several months.

"It is always difficult," Marion said. "We know that communities and post offices have a very strong bond."

At the same time, the Postal Service must look at their operations through a "business lens," she said. As USPS officials face revenue shortfalls due to the public's increasing use of electronic mail over snail mail, they are looking to streamline postal operations throughout the nation.

Part of those cost-savings measures will include phasing out post offices that are no longer needed. For example, postal regulators announced last week that they were shutting down the Delaware Station Post Office in Albany because there are post offices nearby (five post offices within a 1.7-mile radius) that can offer the same services. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the USPS is looking to close upwards of 2,000 post offices in 2011. But that doesn't mean the USPS has issued a mandate to close a certain amount of post offices, according to Marion, and any closure process takes time. That number reflects what the USPS could do; it is not a goal.

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