Column by Echo Menges, Editor
Last week, I had a very nice telephone visit with Wilma Lewis of Carson, IA. Lewis is a lifelong Sentinel reader and looks forward to receiving her weekly newspaper. I hope the US Post Office will get the mail delivered her way. She’s getting her weekly newspaper about a week late, sometimes later, and, unfortunately, we hear stories like this more and more often.
Wilma, if you’re reading this, we’re going to do everything we can to get the post office to deliver you paper in a timely manner. Unfortunately, they’re not nearly as timely as they once were, and the government “solutions” to these problems have, from my perspective, just created more problems.
It’s frustrating for us because our newspaper relies on the US Post Office to deliver the news to our readers, which we pay for – handsomely – and those prices are about to go up.
We have gotten word on some sharp increases to postal rates in the very near future, which we’re not given a choice on paying. It would be nice if we were.
It would also be nice if the service got better as the prices went up. Alas, I can speak for at least the last 11 years of working at the Sentinel, and I can say without a doubt mail delivery has gotten much, much slower. The Pony Express of the old days may be a drastic improvement today.
In researching some of the issues of the last few years, we discovered the newspapers were taking a wildly long trip from Edina to Columbia, St. Louis and then back up to places like Knox City. Yes, that’s about a 400 mile journey to land in a mailbox about ten miles from Edina.
In just the last week, we fielded calls from subscribers in O’Fallon, Gibbs, Springfield and Monroe City who were wondering why the mail hadn’t delivered their newspapers on time. We’re also wondering about that.
A few subscribers in Missouri and elsewhere have reported missing a newspaper one week, getting the next weeks fairly timely and the missing one coming in a week after that. We can’t make heads or tails of it either.
We have a new Postmaster in Edina and he’s doing what he can from his end, which we appreciate, however, the postal dilemmas we are facing are systemic. Thanks for supporting us, Chris.
We’re working around as much of the nonsensical as we can by delivering papers directly to several local post offices ourselves, and with the help of dedicated community members. (Wanda, Stan and Mike, that’s you. The people of Novelty, Knox City, LaBelle, Lewistown and Memphis have you to thank for the timely direct post office drop-off of their news.)
All of our newspapers are dated for Wednesdays and we like it when people get their papers on Wednesday, especially those in Northeast Missouri. We send our papers out for delivery on Tuesday mornings without fail. The few times I can remember those drop-off days altering were for holiday post office closures only. There have only been a handful during my tenure at the Sentinel.
If your paper isn’t being delivered in a timely manner, please let us know so we can make sure the hiccup isn’t happening on our end, and also please let YOUR Postmaster know. While we do have a handful of subscribers who lapse and see a disruption in mailing, the vast majority of late delivery is due to the USPS system.
If you’re open to looking at the paper online, print subscribers can do that by hitting the “subscribe” button on edinasentinel.com and using the code NEWS2020. You’ll be directed to set up an account and you’ll have unfettered online access to the most current news, including the digital versions of our weekly papers. For those who do not have a subscription, you can easily subscribe online, and, for the time being, online only access is available for $25 for one year.
For those who are getting an untimely delivery of the Sentinel, please help us by letting your post office and Postmaster know that you want your paper in a timely manner. It probably wouldn’t hurt to contact your US representatives either.
The USPS has a thing called a “postal watch” which can be activated once a piece of mail is excessively late. We have tried this option in the past, and we may start up a list of postal watches to be addressed on a case-by-case and regular basis.
To everyone reading this, thank you for being a subscriber to The Edina Sentinel and helping to keep local independent journalism going. We appreciate you! If anybody has any genius ideas, pull me over sometime in passing and lay them on me. I’m open to suggestions.