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November 27, 2012 05:09 PM

Post Office Reduces Hours To Keep From Closing

Keystone, SD

Tuesday evening, people in Keystone are discussing changes coming to the town's post office.

It's one of 225 South Dakota postal branches that will be reducing its hours.  But it's a sacrifice most people are willing to make to keep its doors open.

Just like in countless other rural communities, the people of Keystone rely on their local post office.

"I depend on picking up my mail there.  I depend on getting my Social Security through them.  I depend on hearing from my family through them," Keystone resident Johnnie Trussell said.

The Postal Service sent more than 400 mailers out to customers of its Keystone branch, giving them the option of keeping the post office with reduced hours or closing it all together.

"Nobody wants to lose their post office and there's a lot of animosity about that.  And jobs are hard enough to get, so we don't want to put anybody else out of work," Trussell said.

"I really hope that they decide to keep the post office open.  If they decide to cut the hours, everybody can work around that," Keystone resident Deb Dargatz said.

It's a consensus that was confirmed by the postal service.  Of the nearly 200 returned questionnaires, 87 percent opted to keep the Keystone post office open.

Even though the city of Keystone has less than 400 full-time residents, folks say that number doesn't accurately represent the number of people who depend on the post office here.

"Three million people pass through our town every year.  If they close that, not only is it going to inconvenience the tourists, but it's really going to hurt the businesses," Dargatz said.

The Keystone post office will end up being open for just 30 fewer minutes a day, Monday through Friday.  For its customers, the reduction beats the alternative.

The people in Keystone aren't alone.  There are 225 post office branches across the state that will undergo changes in their hours.

It's part of an effort to keep around 13,000 offices open around the country while trimming more than a half-billion dollars from the postal service's annual budget.

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