Akron OH

No go in Ohio: Judge wimps out

June 20, 2011

It would have been big.  For only the second time in history, a city took the Postal Service to court to stop it from closing a post office.

Last week, the city of Akron requested  a temporary restraining order to stop the closing of the Goodyear Heights Post Office at the end of the day on Friday.  But on Friday morning, Judge John Adams of the US District Court for Northern Ohio (a Bush appointee in 2003) denied a preliminary injunction, saying he didn't feel he had the authority to make such a ruling.

The closure has been appealed to the Postal Regulatory Commission, but its opinion won't be announced until September.  According to Akron News Now, ciity officials have been frustrated in their efforts to get a copy of the Postal Service's study justifying the closure, but the PRC has ordered the Postal Service to share the report so the city can examine its validity.

The first city to go to court to stop a post office closing was in February of this year, when Tuscaloosa, Alabama requested an injunction, to no avail.  The city's brief stated that the Postal Service had classified the East Side postal facility as a "station" instead of a full-fledged "post office," so that it did not, in the Postal Service's opinion, need to follow the extensive, formal review required by law for a closing.  Tuscaloosa argued that the post office was a post office. 

About half of the population in the Goodyear Heights neighborhood is senior citizens, and the nearest post office is four miles away.  A spokesperson for the Postal Service said they were pleased with the judge's decision. 

(Photo credit: Goodyear Heights p.o.)

Now playing: "Save the Post Office"

June 14, 2011

The East Akron postal station in Goodyear Heights, Akron, Ohio, is due to close this Friday.  The city is seeking a temporary restraining order to bar the U.S. Postal Service from shutting it down.  

According to Ohio.com, the Postal Service announced in April that it was closing the post office to save money.  Since it's officially a "station" rather than a "post office," the Postal Service did not have to go through the long process of study required by law for regular post offices. The Postal Regulatory Commission has challenged the Postal Service on the validity of this distinction, but in the meantime, the Postal Service is consolidating stations, i.e., closing post offices.

The citizens of Goodyear Heights have held a rally, gotten 2000 signatures on a petition, set up a Facebook page, worked with government officials, and filed an appeal with the PRC.  The appeal process is expected to last through September 8.   But that would be almost three months too late, hence the latest step of seeking the restraining order.

According to Fox19, "Akron is only the second city in the country to go to court to try and stop a post office from closing. The first was Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the city lost."  (A pdf of the Tuscaloosa legal complaint is here.)

While "Save the Post Office" is the main feature this week, the co-feature at the Linda, "Legend of the Guardians," is worth seeing too.  It's about a young owl whose peaceful life with his family in the forest is shattered when he is abducted by an evil Owl army.  Only the legendary Guardians can stop the menace. 

(Photo credits: Post office; Movie theater; SOS sign)

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