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Rural Alaska

Western Alaska village in ‘dire need’ of a postmaster

BETHEL - Residents in the Western Alaska village of Napakiak are getting desperate for mail because the village postmaster has been on maternity leave for two weeks.

A view of Napakiak on the Kuskokwim River. (Scott McMurren)

The village post office has been closed and the U.S. Postal Service has yet to find a replacement postmaster, KYUK-AM reported Tuesday.

"You might say we're in dire need for a postmaster," Napakiak City Administrator Leo Kusayak said.

Residents can’t pay bills through the mail or get checks to pay for basic needs, he said. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. in Bethel last week employed alternative means of delivering medicine to Napakiak.

The Anchorage USPS headquarters tried to fly out replacement postmasters from other villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, but bad weather canceled those trips, Kusayak said.

A postal service spokesperson said they were trying to get a replacement out on Wednesday.

"We will continue to do so twice a week, weather permitting, until our staffing is back to normal," the spokesperson said in an email.

Kusayak said it is unclear when Napakiak residents will be able to get their mail.

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