Dora residents mad over mail

Mike Linn

A group of Dora residents are afraid the local postmaster is inking up the “Return to Sender” stamp, and may start using it frequently in the near future.
Dora resident Elmer Reed gathered 13 signatures opposing a new post office policy effective Sept. 6 that would return mail back to senders if they don’t include the recipient’s correct mailing address, which may be different than their physical address.
Reed said he doesn’t have a mail box at his home, so even if the letter has his correct street address he won’t receive it in his P.O. Box.
“This has gone on for years and I agree that you should have the right box number, but when we shop out of town and write a check they want our physical address that we have here in Dora,” Reed said. “So businesses will send a letter to my street address, but the mail lady doesn’t think she should put that in my box. She knows who that belongs to; I’m the only (Elmer) Reed in Dora.”
Officials at Wal-Mart in Portales said a physical address is more important when accepting checks than a P. O. Box number, because a physical address acts as a better tracking device.
Dora Postmaster Susan Parker said she has been more than lenient with Dora residents.
“First off, it’s against the law (to put wrong addressed mail into somebody’s box) but that’s not how I play the game down here,” Parker said. “I mark the mail requesting that the customer change his address with his correspondent and then I put it in their box.”
As of Sept. 6, however, Parker said she will send all mail addressed incorrectly back to the sender.
“This takes the responsibility out of the receiver’s hands — since they haven’t gotten the job done — and puts it into the sender’s hands for correcting the address,” said Parker, who took over as postmaster a few months ago after the old postmaster retired.
Charlie Carmichael, who has a P. O. Box at the Dora post office, said a group of people aren’t happy with the current situation, but noted that Parker is simply following the rules.
“She is a very nice, friendly lady, but she believes in doing it like they tell her to do, and she’s new at this,” Carmichael said. “The rules say if it is not addressed properly to the box she’s not to put it in there. And she started doing it that way and has caught a lot of flack for it.”
One option that would buy Dora residents one year is to forward all mail addressed to their street location to their P.O. Box number, Parker said.
Parker said some residents have used this option; and at least one resident has refused to.
Even more importantly, Parker said mail recipients should learn to fill out address cards properly.
“I strongly urge people to use four-line addressing: your name, your physical address, and your mailing address if different from your physical address,” Parker said.
But Reed says businesses will drop the P. O. Box number and attempt to send mail to the physical address.
Becky Fraze, the Dora Village Clerk, is also having problems with the local post office.
“We get so much correspondence to the Village of Dora from people who don’t know our box number, people just writing the city to find out information,” Fraze said.
“Most of my letters are being sent, but have (postmaster) stamps on them that basically say ‘this is it,’ not any longer,” Fraze said.