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Public invited to sign petition for better mail service

Newspapers in North Dakota are inviting users of the U.S. Postal Service to sign petitions asking the postal service and the state's Congressional delegation to re-examine plans to reduce postal service in the state.

Newspapers in North Dakota are inviting users of the U.S. Postal Service to sign petitions asking the postal service and the state's Congressional delegation to re-examine plans to reduce postal service in the state.

"Deliver the Mail! North Dakotans for Timely Mail Delivery" has been established to allow people to let postal officials and elected representatives know timely delivery of the mail is economically important.

The petitions will be available at newspapers throughout the state, including the Herald, 375 Second Ave. N. It is available the Front Desk, inside the main entrance.

Under plans recently delayed until May 2012, the postal service had designated more than 75 North Dakota post offices for closure and the closing of mail processing centers in Devils Lake, Jamestown, Minot and Grand Forks. The postal service also wants to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, according to Roger Bailey, executive director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

"Putting all of those actions together will ultimately create a huge backlog in the mail stream," he said. "We're hearing constantly from newspapers and newspaper subscribers of mounting delays in newspaper delivery. We've already seen the elimination of the mail processing centers resulting in undelivered newspapers gathering dust in the corners of the new combined mail processing centers."

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The elimination of Saturday delivery will only compound the problem as mail stacks-up over the weekend placing additional stress on the mail stream throughout the week, Bailey said.

"Some might argue the end of postal service as designed by the founders of the country is a foregone conclusion," he said. "But there is a solution if only Congress will step into the matter and realign the unrealistic pension prepayment provisions USPS faces," he added.

"Bottom line, reducing services is not a good business model for fixing the postal service's problems. And closing the post office at Robinson, North Dakota, isn't going to make a dent in the postal service budget dilemma. It will only provide an inconvenience that the first postmaster, Benjamin Franklin, would never approve," Bailey said.

The deadline for signing is Jan. 25.

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