Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 26, 2001

Want all the PO Box addresses in Winsted?

By Patrice Salmon

Handling mail through the U.S. Postal Service is changing.

Mail that used to be hand-sorted is now being sorted by machine. The automated sorting is aided by the use of post office box numbers, as opposed to street addresses.

The machines in the Minneapolis Post Office, which process most of Winsted's mail, treat letters differently if they are addressed with a PO box or a street address.

If mail is supposed to be delivered to a post office box, and only a street address is used, the machine won't know where to send it. The mail then gets sorted by hand.

Incorrect or incomplete addresses can lead to delays in mail delivery. Some letters will end up in the dead-letter section if the postal workers are unable to decipher where to send mail.

Years ago, before automation, and when postal employees often knew many customers personally, addressing mail properly was less critical.

Cities have grown, faces change in the post office, and with multiple names on post office boxes, it's often difficult to properly deliver the mail, commented Mary Trnka of the Winsted Post Office.

Switching from street addresses to post office box numbers isn't without its own set of headaches.

That's what Gene Hausladen of Winsted is trying to tackle.

The local telephone directory lists street addresses, but not post office box numbers.

Hausladen has compiled a list of the post office boxes of those Winsted residents listed in the most recent TDS TELECOM telephone book.

Hausladen obtained the box numbers through the post office. While it is perfectly legal to obtain the numbers of people listed in the phone book, the post office personnel can not reveal the box numbers of people not publically listed. Hausladen explained.

The booklet he created is the same size as the phone book, and is designed to fit inside the book.

Hausladen hopes to provide the post office box listing as a service, and promote the Winsted Lake Watershed Association at the same time.

In order to recoup the cost of publishing the booklet, Hausladen is charging $4 each.

To promote the lake association, a group which he strongly supports, anyone who joins the association (for a $4 annual fee) will also receive a booklet.

Hausladen hopes to raise money for the association to purchase a new black swimming curtain, and two more aerators.

The black curtain which surrounds the swimming area is worn, and in need of replacement.

Those fishing on Winsted Lake this winter have been catching crappie and northern pike, but the sunfish are missing.

When there isn't enough oxygen in the lake, the sunfish are the first to die, Hausladen explained.

The association would like to purchase the necessary items, get the lake to the point where it's nice to swim in, and would like to see a healthy population of northern pike, crappie, and sunfish in the lake.

For more information about the Winsted Watershed Lake Association, one may contact Hausladen at (320) 485-2662, or write to the association at PO Box 577, Winsted, MN 55395.

A bulk mailing of 1,200 letters explaining his project has been sent by Hausladen to local residents.

"The little progress that we (the lake association) is like one quarter inch at a time," he said.

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