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Coal patch residents may get home delivery

| Sunday, June 29, 2003

Within the next few weeks, residents of the German Township coal patch Palmer may only need to go a few feet -- instead of a few miles -- to get their mail.

The U.S. Postal Service is looking to extend rural delivery to Palmer, which, for the people who live there, is a big deal. Since mid-April, residents have been driving about seven miles to Masontown to send and pick up their mail.

The Postal Service closed its Adah office, which served Palmer and other places, April 15 because of leasing issues between the federal agency and the couple who owns the post office building.

The Postal Service wanted the couple, Tom and Christy Karpency, who live in Palmer, to make repairs to the building, which they said they couldn't afford.

So when the Postal Service shut down the office, it diverted all the Adah mail to its Masontown office.

That posed an inconvenience, especially for many of Palmer's senior residents who either don't drive or don't like to drive far. But it's a problem that could be resolved soon. Within the next week or two, Palmer residents will be receiving letters asking whether they want rural delivery -- they can opt to continue to go to Masontown -- and advising them how to go about setting up a mailbox.

Patsy Marano, 52, said he is happy that he'll be able to get his mail at the curb.

"It's a win," he said.

Another Palmer resident, Dolores Koval, said she, too, is glad about the prospect of her mail coming to her house.

"We're all for it," said Koval, who has been getting her mail about once a week. "That would be great to have it in front of the house."

Calvin Masters, one of the community's older residents, isn't sure what to think. But he wants the post office to reopen, something he thinks could have been done already.

"To do all this running around the mulberry bush is ridiculous to me. If (the Postal Service) wanted to do something bad enough, they would do it. They're just giving us the old run-around."

Technically, the post office isn't closed, at least not permanently. It's been suspended, in post office parlance. It could reopen sometime in the future, though no decision has been made, said Diana Svoboda, a Postal Service spokeswoman.

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