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Postal Service returns mailbox near St. John's apartment

August 29, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Mildred St. John said she nearly burst with joy on Monday when the U.S. Postal Service returned the blue mailbox that it previously had removed from near the intersection of East Avenue and North Mulberry Street.

The Postal Service recently had removed that postal box, which is a few yards from St. John's apartment, along with 12 others in the city to reduce fuel costs associated with mail collection, USPS spokeswoman Yvette Singh said last week.

St. John, 81, said the Postal Service's decision to remove the mailbox made it difficult to send letters because she and her neighbors, who also are senior citizens and find it hard to get around, couldn't walk to the nearest mailbox a few blocks away.

"We're very glad it was put back," St. John said. "That's better than a nice Christmas present ... One woman said she wanted to kiss the man who returned it."

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St. John said she wasn't sure why the Postal Service decided to return the mailbox, but suspected the reason could be traced to a letter that her neighbor wrote to U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

"I was getting ready to write (Mikulski) as well," St. John said.

The mailbox at East Avenue and Mulberry Street was removed as part of a density study of 2,900 mailboxes in the Baltimore Postal District, Singh said. Of those 2,900 mailboxes, 290 - including 13 in Hagerstown - were removed because fewer than 25 letters per day were posted in each. The Postal Service determined the boxes were underutilized and too costly to service, she said.

Singh was out of the office Thursday, but her colleague, Freda Sauter, answered a few questions as to the reason that the mailbox was returned.

Sauter said she wasn't certain why the mailbox was put back, but the Postal Service typically returns removed mailboxes when several people call or write to complain.

"If it's needed, we will put it back," Sauter said. "We take any comments and complaints seriously."

Sauter said that to her knowledge, only five of the 290 mailboxes that were removed had been replaced - the one at East Avenue and North Mulberry Street and four in Baltimore City.

"We don't have any plans to return any others," Sauter said.

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