Post Office taketh then giveth back!

Kelly Olson-Jessen, Post Master Relief for Lime Springs and Chester, in front of the post office.

Kelly Olson-Jessen, Post Master Relief for Lime Springs and Chester, in front of the post office.

By Marcie Klomp
Generally speaking when the powers that be take something away it never comes back. Well, that is not the case with the reduction in hours for Lime Springs and Chester Post Offices.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 Lime Springs will go from the window being open four hours per week day to being open six hours. Chester will go from two hours to four hours.

In order to slow the hemorrhaging of money, in July 2011, the Post Service announced the implementation of the POStPlan, where about 3,750 offices were slated for closure. In that first round of discussions, Chester was on the closure list. That was later updated, and Chester went from eight hours to two hours on April 6, 2013. Lime Springs went from eight to four a month later, on May 4, 2013.

Since then, PMR (Post Master Relief) Kelly Olson-Jessen updated the numbers, finding the offices were busier than first reported.

Being a rural state, Iowa was hit hard by closures and reduction of hours. “One of the unforeseen consequences of the POStPlan was that carrier returned to empty offices,” said Olson-Jessen. Without an office person on hand, packages and miscellaneous items could not be handled in a timely manner, although the local carriers did their best.

The numbers are reviewed yearly. This time Lime Springs and Chester came out on top, adding hours to their window time.

Ridgeway and Protivin stayed the same at four hours and Elma stayed at six. Riceville will have a reduction of hours from eight to six in the near future.

Again, starting Oct. 4 window hours in Lime Springs will be 7:30-11:30 and 1-3. Chester will be open noon-4. Olson-Jessen, who has been working at both offices will now be dedicated to Lime Springs with Chester being staffed by local PMRs.

The future of the local Post Offices is all revenue-driven. The more business done in the small towns, the more they can stay open. As with all business, it should be local first.

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