Emerson helps deliver post office to Millersville

Friday, April 1, 2005

Neither rain nor snow nor the agonizing crawl of government bureaucracy will keep Millersville residents from getting their post office back.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's office announced Thursday that residents in this small Cape Girardeau County community will have their post office up and running again within two weeks.

The U.S. Postal Service could not come to lease terms with the previous land owners. In a pinch, the postal service decided to temporarily locate the post office in a convenience store. There, residents who had post-office boxes could pick up their mail, but they couldn't buy stamps or receive other services.

Meanwhile, upset Millersville residents searched for solutions, and found some. Residents came up with four possible locations where people were willing to lease space. But they couldn't get any answers from the postal service, said Roger Moyer, owner of the convenience store where the post office is located. Residents were told that the Millersville post office might even be closed. So residents petitioned Emerson to save their post office and expedite the local post office's return.

Emerson said at one point, postal service officials in Kansas City, Mo., said it might take more than two years to get the post office running again.

So she went above Kansas City and talked to an official in Denver, she said.

"On Thursday, I just went over there [to Millersville] to look at this and I walked around," she said. "And I was just so angry for this disservice to the folks in Millersville. I got on the phone to the big guy in Denver and told him what I saw. It was absolutely ridiculous. We had a perfectly good place, we can get it at a reasonable price and there was no reason for people to have to pick up their mail next to the liquor counter."

Emerson said the post office wanted to come out and do real estate evaluations. She said the details haven't all been worked out, but the lease will be similar to what the postal service paid earlier.

"The bureaucracy was so absurd," she said. "It showed government at its worst."

A real-estate official with the postal service in Kansas City did not return a telephone call left at her office Thursday afternoon.

Several residents didn't like the fact that they had to pick up their mail at the same place that sold alcohol.

Moyer was one of several in the Millersville community who called Emerson to help.

"I think if Jo Ann Emerson was not involved, nothing would have changed," he said. "I have a sense that she rattled some cages."

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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