Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 13, 2004

Trash problem at Winsted Post Office aired

By Ryan Gueningsman

People not having a place to throw unwanted mail at the Winsted Post Office is causing concern with local officials following the recent absence of a trash receptacle in the post office lobby.

“This is the messiest post office lobby I’ve ever seen,” said Winsted City Council member Tom Wiemiller at Tuesday’s meeting.

Wiemiller has contacted the post office supervisor in Minneapolis and expressed his concerns to him. The supervisor said he would get back to Wiemiller, via mail, before Tuesday’s council meeting, but failed to do so.

“I’m just wondering what we can do as a council to address this,” Wiemiller said. “What kind of picture does that give to new residents when they come to the lobby and see a mess and stuff falling on the floor?”

City Administrator Brent Mareck has contacted United States Sen. Norm Coleman’s office about this issue. He hopes to hear back soon about the city’s options in this matter, and how to proceed forward about getting the issue resolved.

Winsted Postmaster Katie Olson said Wednesday she removed the trash cans as an attempt to train people to take their mail home with them and, if they do not want it, to throw it away or recycle it there. She added that she does not have funds or extra clerk hours for a recycling dumpster.

“It’s my job to deliver the mail – not throw it away for them,” Olson said.

Olson did place the trash cans back in the lobby, but said that people continued to throw mail onto the table and on the floor, so she again removed them.

“I’d meet them half way, and put the trash cans back, but people would still throw mail on the floor,” she said. Olson said she has found magazines people subscribed to left on the floor of the post office on more than one occasion.

She said that she has also found a lot of personal information thrown away, which she is concerned about due to the potential for identity theft. She has also had some people rip their names off of mail, take that piece with them, and throw the rest of the mail on the floor.

“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” she said.

Another concern expressed by Olson is the grief she gets about people having to use box numbers.

“If people want to dial a long distance phone number, they have to dial an area code,” she said. “Sending mail works the same way, with box numbers. That is for the good of the postal service because it is all machine sorted. Before long, mail won’t even make it here if it doesn’t have a box number on it.”

Olson said if people have questions regarding post office issues, they may contact her at (320) 485-2310.

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