Christmas cards take winding path

News editor

Marion County sits at the intersection of the territories of three U.S. Postal Service sectional centers. This results in some in-county mail taking circuitous routes to its destination.

Kansas City, Mo., serves most of the eastern half of the county, with ZIP codes starting with 668. Wichita serves Hillsboro, Goessel, and Lehigh, with ZIP codes beginning with 670. And Tampa, Durham, and Ramona’s mail is processed in Salina, with the other ZIP codes beginning with 674.

Even mailing a Christmas card to someone in the same town, your card makes a much longer trip than if you took it to them personally.

A card mailed in Marion to someone in Marion goes to Kansas City before returning, making a round trip of about 300 miles. Mail within Hillsboro has a shorter trip, going to Wichita and back, but it still travels about 100 miles.

Christmas cards that pass through multiple sectional centers travel even farther, according to Brian Sperry, regional spokesman for the Postal Service. A Christmas card sent from Marion to Hillsboro goes to Kansas City, then to Wichita, and finally to Hillsboro, completing a trip of about 400 miles.

Mail that goes from the 668 area to the 674 area travels even farther, such as a card sent from Marion to Tampa.

“Mail is dispatched to Kansas City, Mo., and then sent to the Wichita plant, and then dispatched to Salina for finalization processing — sorted into delivery sequence,” Sperry said. “Mail is then dispatched from Salina to Tampa. This is a two-day service area for Marion.”

That is a voyage of nearly 490 miles, while a driver can get from Marion to Tampa in 24 miles, even while staying on blacktop roads.

 

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