March 17, 2010: Help save the Big Indian Post Office

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To The Editor:
I am writing this letter in desperation, in hopes that you can help save the identity of the hamlet of Big Indian in the Town of Shandaken. I am the owner/landlord of the Big Indian/Oliverea Post Office located on state Route 28. The lease is expiring June 30. With exhausting attempts to renegotiate with the USPS, I find myself reaching out to you for help.
It has become clear that the USPS will try to close the facility by suspending service and/or stating eviction by the landlord, which is clearly not the case. A special docket number has been created by the Postal Regulatory Commission concerning these so-called evictions, (Docket PI 2010-1) which has been happening all across America. The Closing/Consolidation of Post Offices’ Committee are currently involved and fighting at the government level.
The total cost of operating all the rural post offices (Level 11) in the entire United States is only one percent of the total operating cost of the USPS.
Also a special appraisal was ordered by the USPS which depicted a 50 percent decline in fair market property values in our area in the past three years.
Losing such an important component of our rural community will have everlasting effects and create such hardships on the local economy that would never fully recover. Our local post offices create a lifeline for residents during bad weather and times of local disasters and the obvious reasons of day-to-day life.
Why should small rural America pay for the years of mismanagement by the USPS? As a USPS landlord for the past 21 years and a resident for 25, I have become very sympathetic for needs and wants of the facility and the local community, examples: supplying propane gas for heat and lighting for the USPS during times of emergencies, opening my property for local events such as Shandaken Day, Big Indian Car Show and Native American festivals. Without your help and the support of local government the facility will close within a blink of an eye, and be lost forever! And which one would be next?
Please help! Write to: Nicholas J. Menchise, Contracting Officer, United States Postal Services, 80 County Road – 3rd Flr., Jersey City, NJ 07097-9800. 201 714-7423,

Jeffrey P. Laskow,
Big Indian