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Michigan, N.D., Post Office closed ... again

The post office in Michigan, N.D., is closed while a smell is being investigated. Ann Bailey / Grand Forks Herald
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Michigan, N.D. -- After briefly reopening in late January, the Michigan (N.D.) post office has been closed for about a month.

The reason for this round’s closure is the same as the last: complaints of a strong odor, said Lauri Rysavy, Michigan mayor.

The post office initially closed in the town about 70 miles west of Grand Forks on Jan. 4. After the closure, multiple tests were conducted on the room in the Michigan mall that houses the post office, and the air quality was deemed good, she said.

The post office was reopened Jan. 23, but closed again a couple of days later, Rysavy said. The room and mall have thoroughly been checked and there has not been anything found amiss, she said.

For example, a representative of the Michigan Mall Association had the post office water fountain removed and capped, and checked to make sure the sewer pipe was not frozen and also checked it for pin holes, she said. Meanwhile, a plumbing company removed the toilet and replaced it with a new flange and wax ring. Ceiling tiles in the back entry also were replaced and the furnaces on top of the building were checked by a heating and air conditioning company, Rysavy said.

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Other furnaces in the mall also were checked and found to be in proper working order, she said. Earlier air quality tests revealed no propane, mold or sewer issues, Rysavy noted.

Despite all of that, the U.S. Postal Service maintains that there is a hazardous odor in the post office, Rysavy said.

Rysavy expressed frustration that the post office is closed.

During the closure of the Michigan Post Office, Michigan residents have had to drive to Petersburg, N.D., about 6 miles east of Michigan on U.S. Highway 2, to pick up their mail. The Petersburg hours have been extended to 7 a.m. to 2 p..m., but mail isn’t actually available for pick-up until 11 a.m. The narrow window of time makes it especially difficult for Michigan business owners to get their mail, Rysavy said.

“It has been an extreme hardship,” she said.

Rysavy, a former postmaster, also is exasperated about the lack of communication by the U.S, Postal service to the public. The only notice residents have received about the closure is a sign on the Michigan Post Office door with a number to call, she said. Meanwhile, there have not been any updates posted and meetings she requested with postal service representatives have been canceled.

“I’m getting phone calls, and the community is disgusted,” Rysavy said. “If you’re in public service, it’s your job to provide the best service you can and not leave people on the back burner.

“I’m trying to stay positive, (but) I’m pretty disgusted with the lack of cooperation,” Rysavy said.

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Calls by a Grand Forks Herald reporter to the U.S. Postal Service public information spokesman were not returned.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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