Craig Donna Sherwood is among a group of Craig residents upset about slow and too often damaged mail. And she's pointing her finger of blame at an automated system in Glenwood Springs that Craig is now using.
Sherwood said she received a bill March 15 that was mailed Feb. 27. Because the bill was late, her payment was, too.
Sherwood told her neighbors about her problems with the mail and realized she wasn't alone; they, too, were concerned about late arrivals.
Glenwood Springs' automated system began operating in September, and can sort 40,000 pieces of mail an hour at full speed.
"(The post office of Glenwood Springs) is the 816 sectional center; we handle the mail for all areas with an area code that begins with 816. The automated system was put in to order the mail for carriers, saving time for the carrier," said Glenwood Springs Postmaster Jon Dunbar.
Dunbar admitted there are nights that the machine breaks down and delays service, but he said the delays rarely add more than one extra day to delivery.
"(The system) is like night and day when compared to October. The automated system is much better and faster now," Dunbar said. "Of course, the machine does chew up some mail, but the percentage is very small. Based on the number of pieces that it runs, what is damaged is a very small part of that."
Craig Postmaster Rick Ryan backed up Dunbar.
"Considering the thousands of pieces that are dealt with, the percentage (of damaged mail) is rather small, obviously not to the person whose mail is affected, but overall it's a small part," he said.
All of Craig's mail is sorted in Glenwood Springs, even local mail because the automated system is more efficient, Ryan said.
The automated system organizes and boxes mail so carriers can just grab their sorted routes and go.
Sending the local mail along with out-of-town mail does not slow service, the postmaster said. Mail is picked up at 4 and 5 p.m. and is returned to Craig between 7 and 8 a.m. the next morning.
Ryan admitted there are occasions when mail arrives extremely late, but he said that also occurred when the Craig post office sorted it manually.