Grain elevators across the street from the Danvers, Minnesota post office Wednesday August 3, 2011. Danvers is one of the post offices in Swift county scheduled to close. Photo by Glen Stubbe
DANVERS, MINN.-Kim Schuerman lives only a couple of hours from the city. But daily life in the world around her seems light years away.
The county jail gets down to one inmate, and the sheriff wonders aloud whether it's worth the expense to keep it open. Folks with family buried in the cemetery are asked to take care of the grounds. An 83-year-old retired farmer drives a scooter down an empty street to water and deadhead the petunias in the city park.
In this serene but increasingly lonely landscape, the news that the Postal Service wants to shut down three post offices within a few minutes' drive, as part of a statewide hit list of 117, draws not so much outrage as a weary "here we go again." And Friday it revealed it is proposing cutting 120,000 U.S. postal jobs.
"Since I've moved here," Schuerman said, "we've lost the grocery store. We've lost the café." Standing alongside beautifully crafted post office boxes whose dials have been turned by leathery farm fingers for generations, she softly added: "This is one of the last things we had." Read more about A rural reckoning: From post offices to airports, many small Minnesota cities are faltering.