If the post office in Parryville closes it may cause financial and fiscal hardships to the residents, one county commissioner said.
During the Carbon County Commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, addressed an item under correspondence regarding the possible closing of the Parryville post office. The correspondence included nearly 30 letters from Parryville residents asking for the county's help in opposing the closing of the office.
O'Gurek said he spoke with representatives of the offices of U.S. Sen. Robert Casey and Congressman Tim Holden earlier this week regarding the situation.
"I think everyone knows that the post offices are going through a restructuring of sorts regarding their financial dilemma," he said, adding that officials are not sure if they can do anything to help the people of the town.
Holden's representative, Bill Hanley, told O'Gurek the congressman is dealing with the potential closure of six post offices in his district in Schuylkill and said he would look into the status of Parryville's post office.
"I feel bad for the people of Parryville," O'Gurek said, adding that of the 525 residents, nearly 50 percent are senior citizens.
"They are opposed to the closure for a lot of reasons," he added, "but the most important one is the financial and fiscal hardships that would be presented to the people down there.
"I will continue to work and see if our federal lawmakers can do something to help Parryville."
O'Gurek said that he plans to forward the letters of opposition that the county received to the federal government.
In other matters, Randall Smith, county administrator, updated the board on the possible scam that the county warned seniors about last week.
Smith said that he had received word from Cheri Santore, administrator of the county Area Agency on Aging, stating that the attorney general's office has responded to the inquiries and said that the Senior Advisory Center in Harrisburg is a legitimate company which is charging seniors $39 to process the property tax/rent rebate checks.
In an email sent to Santore by the attorney general's office recently, David P. Shallcross, senior community liaison for the attorney general, explains, "This particular scenario is not a scam, although seniors do not need to pay a fee to apply for this benefit, but just as you could pay a tax preparer to file your taxes rather than filing on your own, this is another service type of business. The way in which it is marketed is slightly misleading as it appears to look like an official form."
Smith noted that if any Carbon County senior citizen would like assistance processing the rebate checks, they can have it done free of charge at any Area Agency on Aging by calling the office's toll-free number, 1-800-441-1315.
The county also voted to enter into an agreement with Language Services Associates of Horsham to provide interpreting services for foreign languages, face to face or by telephone.
O'Gurek explained that the agreement gives the company the green light to find the county an interpreter who speaks Dhuluo, a dialect of Swahili, used in Kenya because a murder trial with a potential witness from Kenya is slated to begin in Carbon County in January. The case is against Ernest Troy Freeby, who is accused of killing his wife, Edwina Atieno Onyango, a Kenyan immigrant whose body has yet to be found, on Dec. 9, 2007.
Aileen Cassidy, assistant court administrator, said that she contacted the Kenyan Embassy in Washington D.C., in the hopes of finding an interpreter, but the embassy has yet to return the call.
O'Gurek added that the county is required to provided an interpreter for the witness. Costs for interpreting services could be over $2 per minute.