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Politicians, public to rally Monday in effort to save Duluth postal center

State and community leaders and a local citizens group will converge Monday on Duluth's Federal Building in an effort to protect the city's mail sorting facility from being closed.

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State and community leaders and a local citizens group will converge Monday on Duluth’s Federal Building in an effort to protect the city’s mail sorting facility from being closed.

Gov. Mark Dayton, Rep. Rick Nolan, Mayor Don Ness and others are scheduled to speak in support of “Save our Post Office,” an effort by the Concerned Citizens of Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The group is urging the United States Postal Service to reverse its decision to close the center. 

If the mail processing center on the 2800 block of West Michigan Street is closed as it is scheduled to do sometime in 2015, the Concerned Citizens said in a statement, “All mail from this area will be collected and sent to the Twin Cities to be sorted, and then sent back to the Northland.”

Advocates for the center call the plan “misconceived” and say it will add delays of up to two or three times federal postal service standards.  

“Postal patrons pay 49 cents postage for a first-class letter and should get the same overnight service whether they live in the Duluth area or the Twin Cities,” said Concerned Citizens spokesperson Scott Dulas. “This may affect seniors and veterans more severely. This is not just a severe service disruption, but an economic blow to businesses.”

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All members of the community are invited to attend the rally that’s scheduled from 4-5:30 p.m.

In September, Nolan renewed his call to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to visit the Duluth postal sorting facility. The facility is scheduled for closing as part of a nationwide program to cut costs at the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe had previously promised Nolan to review the case in support of salvaging Duluth’s mail processing center.

“Make no mistake, keeping this state-of-the-art Duluth facility open will be a tough fight,” Nolan said. “But Senator (Al) Franken, Senator (Amy) Klobuchar and I are determined to keep pressing the Postal Service to do just that.”

Iowa-based USPS spokeswoman Stacy St. John said in August, “There is no additional review undergoing.”

Seventy or more jobs would be affected by the center’s closure. It is not known how many would be given the opportunity to transfer.  

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