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Sen. Coleman fights to save Halma P.O.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., has sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General to call attention to the closing of small-town post offices in Minnesota and the dwindling number of qualified postmasters in the region.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., has sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General to call attention to the closing of small-town post offices in Minnesota and the dwindling number of qualified postmasters in the region.

Coleman referenced the "emergency suspension" of the Halma, Minn., post office, which took place Tuesday. The U.S. Postal Service alerted residents of the suspension two days after the town's only postal employee tendered her resignation.

District postal officials have said that there are no qualified replacements in a 25-mile radius of Halma to keep the post office running. A lengthy process to close the post office for good would be the next step, according to Gloria Hauge, a regional postal service manager.

Coleman became aware of the Halma situation after talking to Halma Mayor Shane Olson.

"I fully understand the importance of this matter to the community," Coleman said.

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The senator wrote, in a letter to Postmaster General John Potter on Thursday, "It is my understanding the residents of Halma are deeply frustrated by this (suspension) designation, and it will negatively impact local businesses that rely on the traffic the post office brings to town."

Coleman continued, "I urge you to use all the resources at your disposal to find or train a qualified replacement postmaster or officer-in-charge for the post office in Halma, Minnesota."

Coleman also said he's concerned about the loss of postmasters in the region and he asked what the postal service is doing to address the trend.

About 20 people from Halma packed into the town's post office Tuesday to vent frustrations about its impending closing.

Representatives from the offices of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn., attended the meeting in Halma.

An hour after the meeting started, mail operations ceased in the community and were transferred to nearby Karlstad, Minn. Residents of Halma now are served by a rural mail carrier originating out of Karlstad.

Halma is about 90 miles northeast of Grand Forks in southeastern Kittson County.

The post office in Pisek, N.D., also is slated to have its operations suspended. A meeting in that community, northwest of Grand Forks, is set for next Friday.

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