Saturday, June 28, 2008

Post Office protests on June 28th

Today was the last day of the Ripton Post Office, and the first day of our community protest against its closure.

We gathered at the General Store, as per email and blog planning. We picked up our mail for the last time, bought coffee and snacks from Sue and Dick, listened to Bonnie finish her final sorting, and shared information about the latest developments.

Things were still unclear. When would the boxes be hauled down the mountain? Was this whole mess supposed to still be temporary? Could we volunteer to staff the Ripton office? We heard that some folks only learned last night that their box, their community post office was to be closed. Par for the course of this affair, as the USPS communicates poorly to us.

Learning that Bonnie was to drive the key to our office down the mountain, rather than an East Middlebury office come up to us, we drove down route 125 together, a sprawling caravan. We arrived at the East Middlebury Post Office during the last half-hour its lobby was scheduled to be open, and... tried to check our mail. And stood around, smiling at the somewhat terrified, somewhat confused locals.

Why were the locals confused? Because this move, this drastic increase in the amount of work their post office was to do was news to them. Did I mention bad postal service communication?

At 11:30 the East Middlebury office closed up for the weekend, as per schedule, and we headed back up the mountain.

What next? Apparently various postal officials are meeting on Monday. Definitely the community is meeting on Tuesday. Our boxes will be moved... Monday? It's unclear. Also on Monday, we're to start getting our mail down the mountain. So we'll begin our daily caravan rides, burning a lot of carbon, paying more for gas, adding to the East Middlebury's office's work, and missing that one point of Ripton community we used to hold.

Bravo to everyone from Ripton who participated in today's event.

More images, stories, and conversation coming in this spot.

(last photo by Joanna Shipley; previous three by Bryan Alexander)


maiden said...

While we sort this out, we plan to patronize the Ripton store AT LEAST AS MUCH as we did when it contained our post office. This is one community resource that is responsive to our needs, and we can keep it by using it.

Jerry and Lindi

Anonymous said...

Find out if you can get rural carrier coverage. A rural carrier.