Johnnie St. Vrain: Post office step is on a lengthy to-do list

Dear Johnnie: For more than four months now, the main post office on Coffman Street has had half of the entrance leading up to the post office blocked with yellow tape. For safety reasons alone, how can a public building block access for this long? We sure couldn’t do it! — Just Curious

Dear Just Curious: I’ve investigated the damaged steps you spoke of and have spoken to the lead maintenance supervisor at the post office.

There is both another set of undamaged steps beside the damaged ones and a side ramp walkway that leads to the same front entrance. Thus the tape blocks only one of three pathways to the front door. Additionally, a side entrance with double doors is 50 feet away from the main entrance.

In my estimation, there is not a significant safety hazard from having half of the front steps blocked off.

If there was an actual emergency, my guess is that the yellow tape would be as effective a barrier to exit as a cheerleader poster the local high school football team smashes through before a home game. Only the first step is partially broken off, and even that wouldn’t be much of a hazard to traverse if the tape wasn’t there.

Cliff Konold, the maintenance supervisor for the post office, told me that a work order has been pending since the step was broken. He said he is handicapped by the fact that all work orders must go through the main post office maintenance office in Denver, which already is dealing with current and looming budget cuts.

He added that if the steps were an immediate danger to the public, they would be a priority for repair and fixed with all haste, but so far, the post office has received very few complaints in person.

Konold’s response, to me, is reasonable given the reality of budget issues he must work with and the fact that there is no immediate danger to the public by having only one step partially broken.

“I’ve had someone leave a note that said ‘You’ve got three parking lot lights out,’ as if I didn’t know it,” Konold said. “We had one of our couriers save a life here the other day by administering mouth-to-mouth in the parking lot, and did anyone hear about that? No. Some people think we don’t care how we do business here, but that isn’t the case.”

Just Curious, if you feel this is insufficient, my recommendation is that you speak personally to the leadership of the post office. In my view, this is a minor issue that will take care of itself in time.

Dear Johnnie: I noticed that this year there was no Dexter. Why? Or did I just miss him? — Still Looking

Dear Still Looking: Very, very few things last forever, and Dexter wasn’t one of them.

While we’re thankful for the joy that he brought us over the years, Dexter required a lot of care — from planning to promotion to putting on the hunt. And he couldn’t lay eggs. So, it was determined that Dexter should be retired.

You can keep Dexter in your heart, but you can quit looking.

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