Early last week, about a dozen or so people protested outside the post office on East Patrick Street in Frederick.

Postal service has been in the national headlines the past few weeks, thanks in part to current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s appearance before Congressional hearings. Some news reports have pointed out the value of the post office, especially for both Americans in rural and urban areas during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Frederick News-Post recently traveled around the county to talk to residents about their mail service the past several weeks. Here is what some of them said.

Chris Frazier, WolfsvilleChris Frazier, who lives right down the road from Harne’s Store in Wolfsville, said he hasn’t noticed any change in mail delivery in recent months.

Much of the mail he gets is junk mail. But in a broader sense, he can see why some believe the post office has been mismanaged over the years.

That said, he doesn’t think the post office should dissolve, because of the argument some make: If the service is privatized, rural Americans might not be served. And that could be a problem for customers who need to deliver things or receive medication.

“It’s a valid point,” Frazier said of that argument. “I don’t necessarily want to have to get a P.O. box or a more centralized location [to ship/receive mail].”

Sam Leatherman, Myersville/Wolfsville areaSam Leatherman has lived on Harp Hill Road south of Wolfsville for decades. He and his dad, Ernest, use the mail mostly to pay bills but don’t get any prescriptions.

He was sympathetic to carriers who have to deal with the elements and long, rural routes. He had no complaints about his service, and appreciates those that deliver the mail every day.

“They have to deal with everything, and they have to deal with all the weather,” Leatherman said. “But that’s something you can’t control.”

Dave Savage, GracehamDave Savage has lived in Graceham, just east of Thurmont, for more than two decades.

There haven’t been any major issues in recent months, Savage said. His wife and daughter order packages, and they haven’t had problems there, either.

He believes there could be a market for DHL, FedEx and other companies to fill the void if the post office were to shut down. But he doesn’t want to see them shut down—it’s convenient for him to head right into Thurmont, whether he has packages or mail to send and receive.

There are also bigger impacts, he added.

“I hope they never get rid of them,” Savage said. “It eliminates jobs, it eliminates retirement [plans], and it impacts the entire economy.”

Elena Howell, north of WolfsvilleElena Howell said she just gets regular bills and junk mail in her mailbox each day.

As she was working outdoors last week, she said mail service has been “steady” for the past several years.

Even though rural carriers have to cover more ground, they might not have many properties to stop at, Howell said.

“Because it’s a small area [population], they might not have as large an area as some might in the city,” Howell said.

Frances and Gwin Wilt, LibertytownThe Wilts get their mail out of the town post office—nobody in the Libertytown proper area has a mailbox.

They particularly have had trouble shipping and receiving packages lately, outside of the usual bills and junk mail. Gwin Wilt said he could drive up to Pennsylvania to get products in two-and-a-half hours, like cigars. But it takes roughly seven days for that package to arrive by mail.

Issues really started when the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year, Frances said.

“If we would mail a letter or card, in two to three days, my daughter in Columbus, Ohio, would have it,” she said. “Nowadays, it sometimes takes 10 to 14 days.”

Richard Reaver, Johnsville

Richard Reaver has lived along Md. 75, across from the J Bar W Ranch since the 1960s.

His mail used to come in the morning, but about a year ago, the delays started, he said—sometimes, it doesn’t show up until 6 p.m.

Part of the problem, Reaver said, is carriers might need better vehicles for rough weather and when the roads get bad.

“A lot of them need better Jeeps than they have ... but a lot of times, I don’t think they can afford it,” Reaver said.

William Porter, Rocky RidgeWilliam Porter has lived along Md. 77 on the west side of Rocky Ridge for six years. He gets the usual bills, along with prescriptions in his mail.

He’s had two carriers in that time, and he said “they’re pretty good” in terms of service.

Like McIntyre, his opinion of whether the post office should continue to operate was simple: “I don’t want to see it go away, because you need your mail.”

Laura McIntyre, Catoctin Mountain areaLaura McIntryre has lived near Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church on Stottlemyer Road in the Catcotin Mountain area for decades.

The mail service has been solid in that time, thanks to good carriers, McIntyre said.

Her response to why the post office should continue to operate was blunt: “We wouldn’t get anything ... we need the post office to get our mail.”

Robert Eyler, Rocky RidgeRobert Eyler lives down the road from Porter, close to the main intersection where Md. 76 meets Md. 77.

He said mail service has been “up and down” in recent months, meaning sometimes it comes in the morning, and sometimes it comes in the evening.

One issue could be that the Rocky Ridge post office used to be the mail distribution point for mail locally—but now, it comes from Thurmont, he said.

He hasn’t had any huge problems but understands the challenges mail carriers face, especially in rural areas.

“He’s got quite a lot of ground to cover,” Eyler said.

Sharon Garlena, FrederickSharon Garlena, of Frederick, attended a protest in support of the postal service last week at the post office in downtown Frederick.

Garlena said she noticed a slowdown in her mail service months ago.

“Then when all this came out, it was like, ‘That explains it,’” she said.

She said saving the postal service was important to her, since it’s how she gets and pays bills.

When the mail service is slow, she can sometimes get statements late, causing her payments to be late, she said.

Staff writer Ryan Marshall contributed to this report.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter:

@Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(42) comments

sue1955

Bosco, re your 3:23 P.M. post, you said it! :) Aren't you glad that we got in when we did? Have a great weekend.

LeonardKeepers

trump is not going to lose.

matts853

Len, refusing to lose when you actually did is not the same thing as not losing. Follow?

Greg F

Suckers and losers...is what trump called fallen troops. Loser is what he has been caught on tape and still denied saying. You must be one of those suckers to believe anything trump touts to be a truth.

Greg F

Jail DeJoy:

Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 778; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(B), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2146.)

awteam2000

Why is Trump destroying Voice Of America?

Stars and Stripes? Cut of funding of the military news.

The USPS?

Congress' Election security briefings?

Transcripts of his calls w/ Putin? Not questioning bounties on American soldiers.

Telling voters in N. Carolina to mail-in their vote then stand in line and vote again?

matts853

The macho man is being picked on and that’s not allowed in what used to be America. He can’t stand criticism or the inevitability of losing this election, so he’s going stark raving mad. And our constitutional liberties are paying the price for his temper tantrums.

sdm817

A check was mailed to me from Frederick on August 5th and I got it on the 19th. I waited for the mail everyday for it to come and some days the mail did not show up at all.

public-redux

Someone overnighted me a USPS envelope on Aug 26. As of yesterday, it was in Tallahassee, FL.

wran

I think the USPS provides exceptional service. I recently purchased an item on EBay from a store in England on a Thursday night, which was Friday in England. It was mailed via Royal Mail on the same day I ordered. It arrived at customs in NY on Sunday via Royal Mail, went through customs on Sunday, and was delivered to my house in Tuesday mail. Between Royal Mail and USPS tracking I could track the package and know exactly where it was and when it would arrive. I also ordered an item from Vancouver Canada recently. It was delivered to my house in one week. Another example, I had mailed an important financial document with a dead line to a bank in a small Louisiana town. The bank had a PO Box address. I called the bank to ask about my transaction and was told they had not received my document. I called the post office in the town and asked them about my mail. They told me they had put the mail in the bank's box 4 days prior. They looked at the box and told me that it was still in the box and the bank had not picked it up although the bank courier had picked up mail daily. She told me she would make sure the courier took the document on his next daily pickup. A few hours later she called and told me she made sure the bank courier collected all the mail. She saved me a lot of potential headache with the bank.

Now, I know that things do not always go smoothly, but the USPS handles a lot of volume. UPS screws things up occasionally too. A neighbor a block from me brought a package that UPS, not USPS, had left on his doorstep. It was my wife's refrigerated medicine that cost $1,000. He was not sure how long it had been sitting in the sun at his house.

Greg F

Royal mail pays USPS to ship and wants cooperation back when it sends things over there. They (meaning, Turnip-Trump and Goon DeJoy) don't give a rat's patoot of what happens domestically. The ranting racist right will just suck it up like candy and hum along blissfully while the lolipop stick is shoved where the sun don't shine by them.

Brookhawk

You should have asked me. I get my junk mail, but a friend of mine in Minnesota sent me a DVD by first class mail on August 7, and it hasn't gotten here yet. I suspect it's at the bottom of a pile in some closed sorting facility somewhere. Trump and his buddies are purposely killing the Postal Service - you don't appoint someone who has financial interests in private carriers to head the USPS and expect anything else to happen. People who don't care if we get what's been sent to us or not. People who want to skew the mail-in vote. The people I feel for are the terrified postal workers who delivered the mail through the worst (so far) of the pandemic only to find their jobs threatened by politics. I've talked to carriers. They are scared. They don't deserve to be treated like "human capital stock."

matts853

And you also don’t appoint someone with a vested financial interest in your political career. I’m referring to Trump mega donor and Johnny On The Spot political operative DeJoy. You can tell he’s a fraud by his sanctimonious, snarky and evasive manner in the House hearing a couple weeks ago.

NewMarketParent

@matts853

Yet they always scream "Drain the swamp!". Like how is that draining the swamp?

Greg F

You can tell because of the big fat pay check he gave trump via donation and his payoff of a job he was not remotely qualified for, even as a janitor at USPS.

NewMarketParent

@Brookhawk

It is a pretty crappy thing to do to people, IMO. I guess cruelty is the point with this administration.

DickD

Most of the time we get mail in the early afternoon now. Before the mail was later and from what I can tell it was because the route delivery sorted the mail that day

Now it seems they sort it the previous day causing more time for delivery. And junk mail comes in batches, which makes me think that junk mail is only sorted occasionally. Not that it makes any difference.

Another delay is mail now has to go to Baltimore to be sorted and then shipped back.

Like Bosco, we do banking on line, but we do get a paper monthly statement, which usually is a week after the statement date.

Greg F

It’s easy to see what is happening. Trump wants to be elected again. Hires a major donor with zero qualifications to destroy the system that delivers ballots by mail that doesn’t favor him. Trump now has a scapegoat for things that go badly. Trump’s hired goon now removes mailboxes and sorting machines before election and still hasn’t put them back....even though they were functioning well to “save money” and simultaneously cuts overtime that covers for workers out with Covid. Another convenient excuse to “save money” so now there aren’t enough workers that are paid and unpaid sorting machines that could have made up for absentees....out due to a pandemic he denies and ignores. You want this to stop? Vote that orange monster out.

Alisha

My carrier in downtown Frederick state she is so sorry about my late packages and an important document. She said they are being told to slow the mail down. It's not a thing that is just happening because of logistics she said. She is very concerned and thinks the tampering with delivery is far beyond anyone's knowledge.

Greg F

If your carrier acts on this, they are guilty of a felony. DeJoy should be charged with a felony, and every mail carrier told to slow down mail should be vocal and file a complaint with the state attorney general and their state representatives:

Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 778; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(B), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2146.)

Alisha

I recently had a package in transit from Alabama for 23 days. It was a priority package from a small business. All others have arrived 2-3 days late.

Brookhawk

I'm still waiting for a first class mail a friend sent me on August 7. One of my friends sent out her credit card payment in plenty of time, but it was delivered late and she was hit with late fees and interest charges. People are getting meds late. There are real consequences to this behavior on the part of Trump and his appointee with financial interests in private deliverers, but they ignore what happens to you and me. Sometimes I feel like they wish the COVID death toll was getting higher and higher so we down here in the trenches would get out of their way.

LeonardKeepers

the bank i deal with i have it set up in a thing called bill pay,my rent check is sent to the place where i live and the post office cannot even deliver it on time,it has been a week since i received an e-mail from the bank saying it had sent the check and it has not yet arrived to where i live,and they want us to vote by mail i would say no to voting by mail.

Greg F

Three weeks and counting for a golf club shipped Priority Mail. Had to put in a missing mail case for anyone to do something, and evidently it woke them up to find it because it then was scanned again at Baltimore within the day. It’s still at Baltimore now 2 days...and counting...yet to scan in Frederick or be delivered. Thanks Trump and his goon DeJoy.

rickleelittle

We all know these types of issues of lost packages only started 3 months ago, right?

Greg F

I ship every day rickets. Only in the last month has it been delaying shipments. I get things every day, rickets....and only in the last month has something arrived late, in the past 10+ years. Did you get your knowlefge from Fox about delays? I ship as part of a business. You don’t.

Greg F

Arrived today. Package cracked wide open...

lynnemezzo

I live in a condominum community where the mail is misdirected all the time. If I receive someone else's mail, I will put a note on the envelope, and stick it back in my mailbox. I shudder to think about valuable pieces of mail that are delivered to the wrong mailbox and then are possibly thrown away.

bosco

We've gone paperless for incoming statements and we do our banking online. If there is a statement that I need a hard copy of for some reason, I download it and print it. So far, everything has gone well.

We've eliminated unwanted catalogs in our box by registering with catalogchoice.com

Now we are down to magazines we want and junk mail.

[ninja]

Greg F

Great for you. Many people don’t have internet or decent, if any, computers to do that. Can’t get your meds via digitizing them or beaming them to your house.

bosco

I'll bet just about veryone has a cellphone and there are banking apps. I use the cellphone to take care of business through the apps often. If they don't have internet, use the cellphone.

Meds - they're on their own there.

[ninja]

Greg F

I also ship eBay USPS...and it is taking longer for shipments to get where they are going. Been able to trust drop and run without a receipt until now. Now it doesn’t get scanned even if I drop at the counter like before for years and it gets scanned. Now I wait for a receipt which I’d rather not have to to in a dinky little crowded counter area.

bosco

GregF, I ship eBay as well and print the postage with tracking right here at home. The carrier picks it up and scans it at my roadside box before he drives away. Most items go out either priority or maybe first class parcel if it's under 15 ounces. I keep an eye on the delivery times and the only problem I've had was several months ago a package destined for Connecticut ended up stuck in Aurora Colorado. It was scanned at the Baltimore sorting facility on its way, so that's where it got tossed into the wrong cart.

Off topic but related: I remind myself that the quality of the civil service applicants for federal jobs decreased when the government abolished the civil service exam in the 1970s. I noticed the effects first-hand about a decade later when the personnel office told me that I couldn't give a typing test to applicants for a secretarial position in an office where we produced reports and correspondence for an agency director. We were still using IBM selectrics and I was supposed to accept their word that they could type - even if their 171 application was filled out with a pen or even a pencil. Yeah,right.

[ninja]

Lemmy

The USPS could process mail-in voting if every citizen chose to vote by mail. The USPS was adequately funded through August of 2021 before Wash-N-Go Nancy gave them more money in a theatrical performance. This is more faux controversy by simpleton liberals.

bosco

Lemmy,

One thing left out of most of the hand wringing is that the postmaster general has no control over the states boards of election and the deadlines they set for absentee or vote-by-mail ballots to be returned. He said that during the recent hearing. He also said that if everyone voted by mail and sent in their ballot on the same day, it would represent about two percent of their daily volume.

Those points were missed or glossed over by the Democrats and their propaganda arm CNN and MSNBC.

The Dems also demonstrated that the hearing was another witch hunt when one of the Dems asked the postmaster general if his intention was to get a pardon like Roger Stone. The look on the postmaster generals face was priceless as it dawned on him what he was really there for.

[ninja]

NewMarketParent

@Lemmy/bosco

Why do you guys always post information that is provably false? What is in it for you? Is your interest in seeing the country burn?

matts853

So Lemmy, you’re willing to accept the election results when Trump loses?

bosco

Lemmy, did you watch the postmaster general's testimony?

[ninja]

sue1955

Bosco, I'm just reading your 7:08 A.M. post. Re your second paragraph; yes, I've been there. As I got into somewhat in my earlier post, the workers (both the carriers and people working in the offices) have caused the problems to a large extent. This has been going on for decades. And, forget trying to notify Baltimore. They couldn't care less. Not to mention; like any business, there have been and continue to be investigations where workers have dumped large volumes of mail because they didn't feel like dealing with it and other crimes.

Re the Federal Government, I'm sure that we would have plenty to talk about. I worked in the Federal Govt from 1973 to 2010.

I will say that I did work with a good supervisor at the Frederick post office; i.e., the last one that I dealt with. To reiterate what I stated previously, that location not answering the phone is a huge problem.

bosco

Sue1955, I'm sure we could share some stories. Besides the can't have a secretary applicant take a typing test, another thing that I had to wrestle with was fighting having to accept a low bidder just because they were the low bidder - especially if their proposal matched the RFP word for word with no evidence of past performance. I told a contracting officer one time that I could contract to build a space shuttle with that criteria.

Livin' the dream now on the CSRS.

[ninja]

Greg F

Lemming, nothing Nancy does passes without dumps signature.

sue1955

I can relate, lynne. I've had so many problems with the post office over time that I could write my own article on my experiences. To make a long story short, the problems (in my instances) were carrier error in not doing their job correctly. There are x number of carriers who are now contractors of the USPS. They are not USPS employees. The old concept of the Norman Rockwell-style of the jolly mailman going through sleet, snow and rain is essentially dead. I have so many cases of "gaming" of the tracking system, inputting of my information into the USPS system that I moved when I did not (and have been at the same address for five years), my mail delivered all over town, and additional situations. All were a major effort to get straightened out. I have had to go to the toll-free number of the USPS since the main office in Frederick does not answer the friggin' phone. This is well documented in reviews (elsewhere online) of this specific office.

I was also informed on one of my problems that these contractors/carriers do not have to deliver right to your door. They have their prescribed protocols and one of them is that they can leave a package on your sidewalk.

I do a lot of online ordering. If I can help it (based on the merchant's policy on which shipping companies they choose), I avoid the USPS like the plague. UPS is fabulous. Those guys bring my packages right to my door and are totally professional and personable. Their tracking system is great, too. I receive e-mails with the delivery progress, etc.

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