Our view: Members of Congress, please work on mail delivery issues, sooner than later
A recent photo showed dozens of newspapers in a recycling bin; the person who took the photo apparently witnessed a USPS driver discarding the unopened bundles.
In late 2019, the United States Postal Service investigated irregularities with delivery service, especially related to newspaper delivery. Editions of the Dickinson Press were being thrown in dumpsters behind the post office.
In a report in the Dickinson Press — which, like the Herald, is owned by Forum Communications Co. — the postmaster there acknowledged the investigation and said the issue appeared to be wider than just newspaper delivery.
Fast-forward to 2023, and slide a finger across the map to northwest Minnesota, where a similar problem has become public in Roseau. A recent photo showed dozens of newspapers in a recycling bin; the person who took the photo apparently witnessed a USPS driver discarding the unopened bundles.
Roseau Times-Region Publisher Jodi Wojciechowski and Northland Trading Post Publisher Kathy Krause told the Herald they have been receiving complaints about delayed delivery or newspapers not being delivered at all.
“It’s gotten just terrible,” said Wojciechowski.
So many words have been uttered in recent years about postal reform, but so many issues remain. Newspapers — many of which now rely heavily on mail delivery — are witnessing it firsthand, and now news stories are emerging about disregard for products placed in the mail by companies that spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for this service.
At the Herald, we sure hear about it.
This came on Feb. 2, from a rural subscriber: “No Herald yesterday, but that’s not the worst. No mail at all. Did I miss another federal holiday? Ha! Oh well. I can look forward (hopefully) to holding yesterday’s news in my hot little hands today.”
On Jan. 6, from an East Grand Forks subscriber: “I know it’s the mail service, and not your problem. But the mail has not come through again, and that means we don’t get a paper. It’s very irritating. I just paid my bill for the Grand Forks Herald for three months. Just wanted you to know. No paper, again.”
All we can do is apologize, urge these readers to visit our website or e-edition, and hope they don’t jump ship as inconsistencies continue with the USPS. We have reached out to the USPS with complaints about service in our region; notably, we feel that things have improved lately. But that’s just here; elsewhere, troubles remain.
Perhaps bringing these issues to light will add some sort of urgency to efforts to improve mail service. It’s not just newspapers that are showing up late or not at all, but also checks and medicine.
Some lawmakers are taking notice.
“We’re seeing the grave concerns that are negatively affecting our families across (the) Northland,” U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn., said in a story by our sister publication, the Brainerd Dispatch. “No. 1, it’s unacceptable. And No. 2, we’re working on it.”
In Crow Wing County, county board members have heard horror stories about delivery troubles. One commissioner said some people in that area have, at times, gone more than a week without any mail delivery.
And a Jan. 15 report on Twin Cities-based TV station WCCO noted that “if you are having trouble with your mail, you are not alone. Communities across Minnesota are reporting delays and days with no mail showing up at all.”
Members of Congress, please work on this, sooner than later.
And to those subscribers of newspapers that are arriving late in the mail, all we can say is this: Please, bear with us. We’re trying.