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Freistatt Post Office is one of many on list for possible closure

The community hopes to show the U.S. Postal Service how much they rely on their own post office

August 18, 2011|by Lisa Rose and Cliff Erwin, KY3 News | cerwin@ky3.com

FREISTATT, Mo. -- The United States Postal Service is considering closing almost 4,000 post offices nationwide in an effort to cut costs.  In the Ozarks, about 35 are on the hit list for possible closure, including the one here, where residents feel that post office is an essential part of everyday life.

Freistatt is a town of nearly 200.  At the corner of 3rd and Main, you'll find the hub of this small community, which is halfway between Monett and Mount Vernon.

"It's been in business, I think, since 1884," City Clerk Deborah Schoen said.

"It's part of the commuity.  You go down to pick up your mail and 20 minutes later and it's like,'Oh, I've got to go,' because you're visiting with your neighbors," said Ryan Buchmueller, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.

The post office here is at the core of Freistatt, because people in town don't have mail boxes at home. They come here to send and receive mail.

"All our correspondence comes here to the local post offie and during the day we do general bussiness," lifelong resident Roy Obermann said.

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"It's very important to us because we have a lot of documentation that we have to mail," said Carole Kleiboeker, principal of Trinity Lutheran School.

Now that the U.S. Postal Service has put Freistatt on a list of small town post offices to be closed, a lot of people are scrambling to defend its necessity.

"Honestly, I think it would be a travesty and a hardship for everybody here in town," Schoen said.

Trinity Lutheran Church relies on the post office every day, but especially on Tuesday when it ships Brail versions of the Bible internationally.

"We print them here and we mail them from here and a lot of folks, when they see the Freistatt post office markings, they know they have something good," Buchmueller said.

It's disturbing news to people in and around Freistatt and, with the always popular Ernte Fest coming up this weekend, it's a sobering thought that this small town could soon lose its only post office.

"If you lose a business in a town or a post office like that, it,s just that much harder on that town to stay viable and exist," Obermann said.

The Postal Service will be holding a public meeting at 5 p m on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the community building in Freistatt to get public feedback.
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