The following headlines have been featured on the front page of the Devils Lake Journal so far this year “Post Office listens to Devils Lake Residents” from Jan. 5, January 19 “Post Office input deadline approaches” from Jan. 11, “Sign the petition” from Jan. 19, 20, 23 ..., “Devils Lake to lose mail processing center” Feb. 24 and finally on May 18 “Devils Lake Post Office processing center to close.”
Things have already begun to change at the Devils Lake Post Office. Efforts are being made to make what they do at the local hub more efficient.
The two sets of blue mailboxes standing on the curb for drive-through mailing used to be reserved for local mail and all other mail. Now, however, they are designated for stamped mail and metered mail. Same for the slots inside in the lobby of the Post Office, itself.
Why is that?
According to Devils Lake’s present Postmaster Jeff Olson that’s to cut down on how many times a piece of mail needs to be handled. The metered mail is already cancelled, so it can go right on for sorting, but mail with stamps on it needs to be cancelled before sending on.
Someone needs to do that, in other words, a post office employee.
That is just one tiny step out of many the U.S. Postal Service is making in an attempt to become more efficient and, in the end, save money.
Olson said that the mail processing has already moved to Grand Forks essentially, so the changes seen in the Lake Region through the next few months shouldn’t effect local customers all that much.
He is leaving, Olson said. After serving as the Devils Lake Postmaster for four years he will be leaving in July to serve closer to his home and family in Jamestown. Although he has maintained an apartment here in the city, the long commute to and from his home in Jamestown was sometimes difficult thanks to the road conditions on Highway 57. “Some mornings it was a real nightmare,” he admitted.
The position of Devils Lake Postmaster will most likely remain open for a period of time before the postal service searches for his replacement.
Olson had little to add to the information provided by the U.S. Postal Service regarding the fates of numerous small post offices around the region like Starkweather and Tolna. He said rather than closing, many of the smaller places would be going to reduced hours, but that had yet to be worked out.
The Devils Lake Post Office employs 27 workers, 23 of them are full time. According to the information provided at the listening session held in Devils Lake back in January only three positions in Devils Lake will be lost and none of them will be laid off. That information is still current.
Page 2 of 2 - Go to www.devilslakejournal.com for a photo gallery to accompany this story.
Let your opinion be heard in our poll about the future of the post office on our website, as well.