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Published October 19, 2012, 02:41 PM

Thompson Plans Rally for Local Post Office

It’s another Friday night rally in Thompson, only this one isn’t for a football team or a political candidate. It’s at the Post Office. It’s for the Post Office.

By: Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald

It’s another Friday night rally in Thompson, only this one isn’t for a football team or a political candidate.

It’s at the Post Office. It’s for the Post Office.

In an email distributed Wednesday night to residents of the Grand Forks County town of about 1,000 people, Mayor Karyncq Hippen urged an all-Thompson turnout for a meeting scheduled at 5 p.m. Friday to discuss the local office’s future.

“The more people we can get to show up, the more support it shows for our post office,” she wrote.

“If you value having our community supported by the U.S. Postal Service, having our very own Post Office rather than being served by a bigger, further away entity, come out and show your support!”

Under the latest U.S. Postal Service plan to reduce costs, about 13, 000 small post offices — including those in Hatton, Emerado and several other area towns — likely will see their office hours reduced between now and September 2014. The plan was developed as an alternative to an earlier plan that had targeted many smaller offices for closure.

Janet Dolleslager, who has worked at the Thompson Post Office for a little more than three years and acts as relief for an ailing postmaster, said that residents received a letter earlier this year from the U.S. Postal Service laying out options for the local office.

Those options range from reducing weekday window service from eight hours a day to six, to closing the office and contracting with a local business or routing business to a post office in a nearby community.

Post office hours already hamper residents who work those same hours, Hippen said Thursday, so it’s “very important” the service not be reduced.

“We’re a bedroom community, and there are other things we rely on Grand Forks for,” she said. “But this is a vital part we don’t want to let go. It would feel like a step backwards when everything else is moving forward.”

Dolleslager declined to comment on the options, bit she said she’s heard from “a lot of people voicing concern,” and she expects the meeting Friday to be “overflowing.”

In an email sent to the local office last week, the Postal Service scheduled the community meeting and said officials would share results of a survey on post office use and answer questions about the reorganization plans.

“The Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding this office until after the public meeting,” according to the email. “This will enable the Postal Service to obtain all community input and opinions, from both the surveys and the meeting, before making a final decision.”

In her email to residents, Hippen said that Thompson has been “a strong community for 130-plus years.”

“Our school has thrived, our community has grown, and we have a lot to be proud of,” she wrote. “We haven’t fallen victim to the epidemic of rural North Dakota towns shrinking. … We are strong. We have heart. We can make it into another 130-plus years if we all band together and make the bigger entities notice our support, our community spirit.”