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Pictures | Tue Feb 14, 2012 | 3:50pm EST

Special Report: Towns go dark with post office closings

Cindy Riesselman (L) and Deborah Meiners discuss the effects that the closing of the local post office would have on their town, in Dedham, Iowa, January 31, 2012. Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - most of them without broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Many of the 4,200 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows.  REUTERS/Brian C. Frank

Cindy Riesselman (L) and Deborah Meiners discuss the effects that the closing of the local post office would have on their town, in Dedham, Iowa, January 31, 2012. Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest...more

Cindy Riesselman (L) and Deborah Meiners discuss the effects that the closing of the local post office would have on their town, in Dedham, Iowa, January 31, 2012. Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - most of them without broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Many of the 4,200 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
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Judy Ankenbauer poses in front of the post office in Templeton, Iowa, where Dedham residents would need to go if the their post office closes, on January 31, 2012. Postal officials were blunt in December when they stood before dozens of residents of Dedham, Iowa, to tell them why their town's post office was likely to close. The Internet, officials said, was killing the U.S. Postal Service.  "Well, I have no Internet,"  Ankenbauer said at the meeting, according to a video obtained by Reuters. Ankenbauer, like many of Dedham's other 200 residents, said she still relies on the post office to buy stamps and send letters and packages.  REUTERS/Brian C. Frank

Judy Ankenbauer poses in front of the post office in Templeton, Iowa, where Dedham residents would need to go if the their post office closes, on January 31, 2012. Postal officials were blunt in December when they stood before dozens of residents of...more

Judy Ankenbauer poses in front of the post office in Templeton, Iowa, where Dedham residents would need to go if the their post office closes, on January 31, 2012. Postal officials were blunt in December when they stood before dozens of residents of Dedham, Iowa, to tell them why their town's post office was likely to close. The Internet, officials said, was killing the U.S. Postal Service. "Well, I have no Internet," Ankenbauer said at the meeting, according to a video obtained by Reuters. Ankenbauer, like many of Dedham's other 200 residents, said she still relies on the post office to buy stamps and send letters and packages. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
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Betty Terry walks past a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Betty Terry walks past a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than...more

Betty Terry walks past a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A woman walks into a post office which is due to close in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. Picture taken January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A woman walks into a post office which is due to close in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its...more

A woman walks into a post office which is due to close in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. Picture taken January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A man walks past the dilapidated sign of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A man walks past the dilapidated sign of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other...more

A man walks past the dilapidated sign of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Notices are seen on the window of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Notices are seen on the window of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products...more

Notices are seen on the window of a post office which closed its counter services four years ago at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A post office which closed its counter services four years ago is seen at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses by about $20 billion by 2015 and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. Picture taken January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A post office which closed its counter services four years ago is seen at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer...more

A post office which closed its counter services four years ago is seen at the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2012. The Postal Service, which relies on the sales of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has limited alternatives for shoring up its finances. The agency says it needs to reduce its operating expenses by about $20 billion by 2015 and has outlined an aggressive plan that would involve closing post offices and processing facilities, renegotiating labor contracts and eliminating thousands of jobs, ending Saturday mail delivery, and restructuring its health and retirement programs. Picture taken January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A Dedham sign sits inside a park in the Iowa town, January 31, 2012.  Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - most of them without broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Many of the 4,200 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows. Picture taken January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank

A Dedham sign sits inside a park in the Iowa town, January 31, 2012. Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - most of them without broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the...more

A Dedham sign sits inside a park in the Iowa town, January 31, 2012. Dedham is not alone in its dependence on the Postal Service. Some of America's poorest communities - most of them without broadband Internet coverage - stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Many of the 4,200 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows. Picture taken January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
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