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Donegal area residents adjust to new post office hours

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
The revised hours on display at the U.S. Post Office in Donegal. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
The U.S. Post Office in Donegal Borough. The office recently began operating under reduced service hours based on a decision by the U.S. Postal Service. A similar service reduction at the post office in Norvelt may occur, according to an article which appears on Page 6. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal

The U.S. Post Office in Donegal Borough began operating under reduced service hours at the end of January.

Since that time, some in the area aren't very satisfied with the results.

At a public meeting in December, U.S. Postal Service officials presented a proposed outline of reduced hours in lieu of earlier rumors of closure.

“We listened to the people, and we are not closing any post offices,” said William Battles Jr., USPS Post Office Operations manager, at the time. “There was talk of us closing post offices last year, but we listened to the people and to their concerns.”

The new hours of operation are 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for window service.

The lobby is open 24 hours from 8 a.m. Monday through noon Saturday, an option that many were opposed to at the December meeting.

“They knew exactly what they were going to do before they even had that meeting,” said Sarah Harkcom, president of Donegal Borough Council. “I honestly think that meeting was a waste of everyone's time.”

Harkcom said she feels there is enough traffic and business to have kept the post office at its original hours.

“I don't like the reduction in hours,” Harkcom said. “I feel that we could sustain our post office here full-time, but they wouldn't even listen to us.”

Donegal resident John McCue said he is not really concerned over the change in hours but the reduction in hours could have been scheduled better.

“I think that they could have staggered the hours better,” McCue said. “For instance, (the postal service could) have the post office here in Donegal open in the mornings and then maybe another one open for the afternoon hours.”

Kris Enberg, executive director of the Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce, said although the consensus of area residents would have been to retain the Donegal post office full-time, she is happy they still have their own facility there.

“I really would have liked for the post office to have remained open full-time, but I understand why they did what they felt they had to do,” Enberg said. “The most important thing is that there is still a community identity for Donegal, which is the Gateway to the Laurel Highlands. I'm just happy that, with the economy, the post office didn't close altogether.”

However, the fact that the lobby is open around the clock from Monday through Saturday gives Harkcom cause for concern, she said.

“Now there could be break-ins where people could do a lot of damage,” Harkcom said. “I just think a 24-hour lobby is a ridiculous idea, and we told them that, but they knew what they were doing long before they had that meeting. That meeting was nothing but a joke.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.