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Postal Customers Asked To ‘Respect The Mail’
Escalon Postmaster Ken Crandal and Rural Route 2 carrier Amelia Grajeda look over the mailbox requirements, with local postal customers being asked to make sure the boxes are in good shape with numbers clearly visible. Marg Jackson/The Times

Rural carriers for Escalon postal customers have seen a bit of shifting around, settling in to some new routes following the recent retirement of a longtime employee.

Now, Postmaster Ken Crandal said that has brought to light some concerns with mailboxes along some of those routes, which are either in need of repair or better signage.

“There are lots of miles to cover on routes one, two and three,” Crandal explained of the true rural routes outside the city limits. “Routes four and five are half city, half rural.”

With the same carriers along the bulk of the rural routes for years, Crandal said they got to know the customers and could typically deliver the mail even without clearly visible numbers on boxes. But, with the ‘changing of the guard’ in some areas, he said the local office is asking customers to make sure the path to their roadside mailbox is clean and even, the numbers are easily visible and the mailbox is at the specified height from the Postmaster General guidelines – about 41 to 45 inches off the ground and about six to eight inches from the curb.

Support posts for mailboxes should also be secure and safe but the use of supports such as heavy metal pipes, concrete posts or farm equipment such as milk cans filled with concrete are discouraged.

Crandal said with the shuffling of carriers, the local Post Office was able to welcome Donna Finch as a Rural Carrier Associate.

“I hired her as a custodian 16 years ago,” Crandal said, with Finch patiently biding her time and eventually becoming first in line for the RCA opening.

“She finally has a full-time career, she’s set,” Crandal noted.

He also praised the work of his carriers, rural and city, pointing out that most are able to handle any issues that arise along their routes.

“They give excellent service,” he said. “They make my life easier.”

He is asking for the public’s help, though, in addressing some of the issues they are finding, such as overhanging branches and trees over mailboxes, some of the boxes in states of disrepair and, especially, the lack of numbers on the mailbox.

“When people call and say that they have a missed delivery, I ask if they have numbers on their box,” Crandal said.

The goal of the carriers is to get the mail to their customers in a timely fashion but Crandal said the customer must also help make that possible.

To that end, routine mailbox checks are recommended, with the homeowner asked to replace any loose hinges on the door, repaint rusty or peeling parts, remount the post if it’s loose and replace any missing or faded house numbers.

Crandal said it’s all about “respecting the mail,” something he and his carriers have learned to do over the years.

The local Post Office is also hiring; there are positions open and those interested in learning about them can stop by at 1854 Coley Ave., Escalon for more information.