Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letters to officials: sample

Riptonites have been sending many messages about the postal crisis to various officials. As a sample, here's one sent today:

July 2, 2008

Deborah Essler
District Manager
New Hampshire District,
Postal Customer Council
955 Goffs Falls Road
Manchester, NH 03103‐9990

Subject: Ripton Post Office temporary closure

Dear Ms. Essler,

I am writing about abrupt closing of the Ripton Post Office last Saturday (June 28, 2008) – something I gather you’re already well aware of. Ripton residents have been told weʹll be receiving a letter of apology from the US Postal Service ‐ and thank you ‐ but beyond that, we need our mail service restored to Ripton as soon as possible. Picking up our mail from the East Middlebury Post Office is not a ʺsafe locationʺ when it requires members of the community to travel down and back up a mountain (a minimum 6 miles RT, but for many ‐ longer) on a two‐lane mountain road still damaged from very recent flooding, ending with travel over a damaged bridge currently undergoing repairs for new guard‐rails.

You may have other options weʹre not aware of, but it seems to make the most sense to assign a USPS employee to the Ripton Post Office, where the mail can be sorted and placed in our boxes. Picking up the mail in East Middlebury is not working, and itʹs a huge burden on the remaining employee (is there more than one?) in East Middlebury. Apparently Sean (the E. Middlebury postmaster) is on medical leave, so with him gone, East Middlebury is already short‐staffed and not equipped to handle the additional burden of sorting Riptonʹs mail. (At our community meeting last night, some residents have reason to believe that the mail volume is even greater for Ripton than for East Middlebury.)

Ripton mail should be delivered to Ripton, sorted in Ripton, and placed in Ripton boxes because:
*Some Ripton residents work long hours and cannot get in to the East Middlebury P.O. during their window service.
*Some Ripton residents report showing up in East Middlebury for their mail, finding it hasnʹt yet been sorted, and have waited while the (undoubtedly stressed and overworked) postal employee searches the stacks for their mail.
*For residents who donʹt commute through East Middlebury on a daily basis ‐ this is an undue burden on them given the skyrocketing gasoline costs.
*On Saturday mornings ‐ there is probably no possibility of the Ripton mail being sorted in time for us to pick it up by 11:30am
*There isnʹt adequate parking at the East Middlebury Post Office, particularly for Saturday morning traffic.
*Hwy 125 is damaged from the recent flooding, and adding this much additional traffic creates a safety hazard and damages parts of the road further.
*Bridge work on the narrow bridge (Hwy 125( in East Middlebury (over a steep gorge) has resulted in that last stretch of road being narrowed to one‐lane only, with crews posted on either side. Additional vehicle traffic from Ripton is an unnecessary burden on the road crews trying to repair the bridge.
*The post office located in the Ripton Store allows us to pick up our mail 7 days a week, during the store hours (7am‐7pm M‐F, 8am‐6pm Sat & Sun). Many can walk or bike to the Store.

Many Ripton residents either work at home, or part time, or do not travel west on Hwy 125 in the course of their day. We cannot afford the extra costs in time, gasoline, and wear & tear on our vehicles. It makes no sense, when for years our mail is brought up to Ripton by a single vehicle.

With every passing day that our mail remains in East Middlebury, these issues continue unresolved and are posing a great burden on members of the community. I am sure there are even more factors I havenʹt addressed, but hopefully you can see my point! Some officials have claimed that closing the Ripton Post Office was an ʺemergency measureʺ. I consider the current situation something of an emergency ‐ and think ʺemergency measuresʺ need to be taken to restore mail to the Ripton Post Office ‐ as soon as possible.

Respectfully and sincerely,

cc: Cindy Mason, Manager of Marketing

Kathi Roy (via email), Manager of Consumer Affairs

Cynthia Thurston, Manager Post Office Operations, Rutland VT

Maureen Clark, Postal Co‐Chair (via email)

Ann Cousins, Preservation Trust of Vermont (via email)

Sally Hoyler, Ripton Town Clerk (via email)

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