As a late-season snow began to fall, Jessica, a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service, sped down a country road in upstate New York toward the next mailbox along her route. Her left hand steadied the wheel of her nearly 10-year-old Jeep Compass as she slowed in front of the mailbox. With her right, she grabbed a few magazines and slid them into the box. Accelerating again, she checked the bank of the road to make sure it wasn’t too rough or muddy: She’s gotten stuck in ditches and suffered flat tires before, and there’s no cell-phone service on these roads.
I watched from the back as Jessica steered her car down hilly, unpaved roads, keeping her pace even as hail began to fly through the car’s open windows. She’s one of four mail carriers for a small town a few miles from the Canadian border. The town, and the ones around it, have seen better days: The mills closed decades ago, and the county’s sole remaining factory has threatened multiple times to outsource jobs. Most of the retail in the area is gone too; at the closest mall, about a half an hour away, there are fewer than a dozen stores still open, and the next closest shopping center is a two-hour drive.
Read full article: In Rural America, the Postal Service Is Already Collapsing | The Nation