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Changes coming for postal service

Posted: December 14, 2011 - 1:03am

A few years ago, our family moved temporarily from one house to another in the same neighborhood. We’d sold our home and were living in a rental while our new home was under construction.

Naturally, one of the issues of moving from one place to another is getting the mail properly routed. That happens all the time, of course; it’s not a big deal.

Except, in this case, we had two things working against us.

First was the happenstance that the homes, while on different streets in that neighborood, had the same house number: 4141. Add to that built-in confusion our discovery that when mail around here is forwarded, it gets routed through Macon.

That means if someone sent a letter (or a bill) to our old address, it would arrive at the local post office, bump into the forwarding order, get sent to Macon, and then get re-sent – to a house barely 200 yards from the previous residence.

It took weeks to get all that sorted out, and by then we were ready to move again. Lucky us.

I was reminded of those frustrating times when I saw the notice recently that said, in a head-to-head comparison of postal sorting facilities, Augusta lost. That means postal authorities are getting ready to shut down Augusta’s mail-sorting operation and send all that work elsewhere. They’ll eliminate about 100 jobs in the process.

For those in Augusta’s ZIP codes, most mail will be routed through Columbia. But lucky us, again: Mail for all of Columbia County’s ZIP codes will be rerouted through Macon.

That’s not final yet, but it might as well be. They’re going to hold a public information meeting on the topic Thursday at the Kroc Center in Augusta to talk about it. Probably very few people will show up, other than postal union representatives and the media, and I doubt many will make the trip from Columbia County.

They’ve already said the change to Macon will delay the mail by about one more day. Based on my brief experience of all my mail being forwarded from one house to another in the same neighborhood, by way of Macon, I’d expect the change also to result in more mail being sent to the wrong address.

Still, I suppose it could be worse: Columbia County could have one of the 3,653 post offices being shut down around the country. The closest ones to us are Camak, near Warrenton, and Modoc and Parksville, in South Carolina. At least we’ll still have all five of our post offices.

Incidentally, for those who don’t know, Columbia County is like many other Georgia communities that once had far more post offices than now exist.

The communities of Leah, and Phinizy, and Winfield, and Sawdust, and Campania, and many more, all once had small post offices.

The automobile cut down on the need for so many. Now, the Internet is eliminating more of them.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

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