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W.Va. town stuck in postal limbo

November 09, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

GLENGARY, W.Va. - In a sometimes heated meeting Tuesday night, Glengary residents pressed U.S. Postal officials about the future of their postal service now that the town's postmaster has decided to retire.

For more than 20 years, Elsie DeHaven has operated the town's post office out of her general store at the corner of W.Va. 45 and Route 7.

But this past August, DeHaven announced that she is retiring from her job as postmaster, meaning the town will have to find another way of getting its mail.

A meeting was held at the Back Creek Valley Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday night to determine how mail service should be continued in the village about 10 miles southwest of Martinsburg.

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Many residents said they want a new post office in town, but U.S. Postal Service representative Sherry Mars said a new facility is not called for in the department's five-year plan for the region.

Some business owners complained that they will not be able to get packages and other postal supplies if there is not a post office in town.

To others, it is a personal loss.

"This community is losing its identity. That in itself is a disgrace," said Bill Berryhill.

Although there are post offices in nearby Gerrardstown and Hedgesville, residents can still keep a Glengary address, Mars said.

Mars gave the estimated 100 people at the meeting two choices for mail service. They can have "cluster boxes," where everyone's box would lined up along W.Va. 45 across from Elsie's. Ronnie DeHaven, who owns the property where the boxes would be located, has agreed to have a shelter built over top of the boxes to protect patrons from the weather, Mars said.

The second option is for each town resident to put up a mailbox in front of their home, Mars said.

Among the two options, most preferred the cluster boxes. Postal officials say they will begin making plans for the boxes.

Mars said someone in town could construct a building and lease it to the post office, but he said it would not be a very profitable venture for the person who owns the building.

Del. Larry Faircloth, R-Berkeley, was at the meeting and asked Mars what town residents need to do to in order to request a new post office. He said sometimes Glengary residents are treated like "second-class citizens."

Mars told residents they could call U.S. postal officials at 304-561-1149 to request a new post office.

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