Some central Pennsylvanians might be feeling the U.S. Postal Service's pain as officials make cuts to dig the agency out of a financial hole.
The result is likely to mean a loss of jobs at a Duncansville processing facility and reduced hours at numerous rural post offices around the region.
Some residents might have breathed a sigh of relief by news earlier this month when U.S. Postal Service officials announced they were backpedaling on plans to close up to 3,700 rural post offices, including several in our region.
However, while they will remain open under the latest plan, these offices will operate for fewer hours a day. Some of those originally targeted for closure - including Dysart, Blandburg, Glasgow, Blairs Mills, Spruce Creek and Woodward - are to be open four hours a day instead of eight.
Others including Cassandra, Defiance, Chest Springs, La Jose, Morann, Dudley and Wood will operate only two hours a day.
But largely unnoticed is that the changes don't stop there. Instead of closing 3,700 offices, the Postal Service now plans to cut hours at 13,000 offices, including many in central Pennsylvania.
Tipton, Newry, Breezewood, Fishertown, Beaverdale, Colver, Loretto, Coalport, Gallitzin and Osterburg are among those in the area scheduled to see operating hours reduced from eight to six hours a day.
Others, including Fallentimber, Imler, Curryville, Hesston, Shanksville and New Paris are to be open only four hours a day.
Whether residents see the reduced hours of operations as a good trade-off for saving some post offices likely will depend on how the changes affect them. The reduced hours could make it inconvenient for residents, particularly those working or with limited transportation, to get to the post office or to pick up their mail.
Meanwhile, the area is poised to see a loss of jobs at the Altoona Processing and Distribution Center in Duncansville. It is scheduled to shrink under the first phase of a consolidation plan this summer.
How much the local distribution center will downsize has not been revealed. Affected employees are expected to be notified this year. But the shift of employment could be significant. About 110 people currently work in the facility.
In March, Western District Manager Charles McCreadie said under a consolidation plan at that time, the Altoona facility could shrink to 20 to 30 employees, while remaining a processing hub. The work from the Altoona facility is being shipped to Johnstown.
The Postal Service's financial problems and its declining mail volume have been in the news for some time, and it seems inevitable that cuts will be made.
Now we are getting a better idea of what those reductions might mean for area residents.
And, unfortunately, it doesn't look very positive.