Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 12-19-11 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 12-19-11

When I was a senior in high school way back in 1970 South Dakota schools underwent a mandatory reorganization.

Our little school districts were gobbled up by a larger one. The parents in the small district had been raising money and planning to build a gymnasium for a few years. The money was in the bank and the residents knew if they didn’t build it before the reorganization took place, the money would be transferred to the larger district, never to be seen or benefitted from again. The gym was constructed and is still in use, though now it is the volunteer fire department truck garage. All it would take to use it for recreation would be to remove the trucks. It was a smart move to build it. Within the next couple of years the small district had sudden “losses” of science equipment – we knew it had been absconded with and taken to the larger school, but nothing could be done as it was now one district.

Over the next several years there came a pattern of about five year intervals; the large school wanted to close all small, rural schools. Saving money was the excuse but it was known that the town teachers could not stand to think that rural teachers had few students in their classrooms – never mind each room also contained four grade levels. After years of nagging, basically, the district finally prevailed and there are no more rural schools in the county. The gobbler got them.

Now rural post offices are under the gun. It’s the same story, close them and look at how much money can be saved! Upon closer inspection, those savings listed are over 10 years. There has been talk of eliminating delivery of mail on Saturdays. The post office announced first class mail will now take longer to be delivered, yet the post office doesn’t seem to get it that e-mail is instantaneous and of course it is used more than snail mail.

Instead of raising rates for first class or hammering rural post offices, how about raising the rates on “junk mail?” I have not heard of that being discussed, though perhaps it has been. I suppose this tells us that the junk mail is such a revenue generator that the post office would rather pander to politicians and election materials and Publisher’s Clearing House type mailings. Isn’t that backward? Remember when first class meant better treatment? Apparently not any more.

It seems that the structured reorganization of the post office is not efficient. If I mail a letter in town that is to be delivered to that same town, the letter is bagged and travels 60 miles, one way, to be sorted, and returned to the recipient’s mailman who can then deliver the letter. That is bad enough but now the 60 mile trek has been increased to 380 miles, one way, on Saturdays. I guess it is practice for what is coming. Gobble, gobble.

Peggy writes from the farm in southwestern South Dakota where

she lives five miles from one the threatened rural post offices. She can be reached through

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