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Ashley Post Office still at risk of closure

The Ashley Post Office remains on a list of those facing possible closure.

The U.S. Postal Service has narrowed the list to 413 offices from nearly 700 as it struggles with a sharp decline in mail volume caused by the recession and the movement of traditional mail to the Internet. Postal officials say the agency could have a deficit as large as $7 billion this year.

Currently the post office has about 37,000 retail outlets across the country, and Postmaster General John Potter has said he wants to keep as many open as possible.

The new list of possible closures, released Wednesday, also includes an office in Dickson City, Lackawanna County, and 19 others in Pennsylvania.

Last week the Postal Service announced that it would go ahead with plans to move mail processing and distribution operations from the Wilkes-Barre Processing and Distribution Facility on South Main Street to its Scranton and Lehigh Valley facilities beginning in October.

The Wilkes-Barre Post Office employs about 230, said John Kishel, president of Local 175 of the American Postal Workers Union, and at least 100 of the workers could be moved out of the city to other locations. Kishel said he has not been told how many jobs will be moved out of Wilkes-Barre.

The Ashley office, a substation of Wilkes-Barre, employs only one person. It contains about 150 mailboxes and provides counter service, but no carrier delivery. The office is open 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is closed for lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.

The Postal Service said it will publish an updated list of targeted offices in early October.

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