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Begich Thanks Postal Service for Santa Letter Reconsideration

Letters to Santa at North Pole will continue to be answered

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich Nov. 20 praised the U.S. Postal Service for deciding it will permit a program to continue in Alaska that allows volunteers to answer "Dear Santa" letters that come from across the country each year to the post office at North Pole, Alaska.

The USPS had earlier said the program would be discontinued due to safety concerns over the identities of children, but has now decided to go forward with the program with stricter guidelines in place.

"We are so pleased that after hearing from our office, other Alaskans, and Santa lovers everywhere, the Postal Service has agreed to continue this program," Begich said. "This is a perfect Christmas present for Alaskans and children across the country who love to write to and get a letter back from Santa."

Sen. Begich's Alaska staff met with Postal Service officials earlier this week and Begich joined Rep. Don Young in a letter asking the USPS to reconsider plans to stop the program.

According to Postal Service staff who contacted Begich's office today, the children's full names and addresses will be redacted before volunteers can receive the letters to answer. The measure provides increased security for children as required by new security measures adopted by the USPS.

The Postal Service also said the North Pole post office will still be able to hand cancel small batches of cards and letters with the "North Pole" stamp, but large quantities of mail will be sent to Anchorage for processing on high speed equipment and the postmark will still read North Pole.

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