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Crisis in rural America

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By Jay Miller

The U.S. Postal Service study on closing some 3,700 post offices in the nation poses a real crisis for rural America.
The problem is an $8 billion budget deficit. New Mexico has 54 of those target post offices. Hearings currently are being held to determine which offices should be cut.
Rural post offices are more than just a place to pick up mail. They are locations to congregate and see your neighbors at the appointed time when the mail truck is scheduled to arrive.
Driving to the nearest open post office can take hours and be impossible in the winter.
The only thing worse is losing a school house. School closings began in New Mexico in the late 1940s.
World War II changed much about our culture. Increased industrialization and a how-do-you-keep-em-down-on-the-farm syndrome weakened small towns.
New Mexico had more than 600 school districts at the time. That was pared down to 90 districts over a decade. Since that time, many remaining districts have had to close rural schools. It hasn’t been pretty.
During the time that more than 500 districts were being closed, the elected state Board of Education was the villain.
The board members really didn’t see themselves in that light.


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