Change of Address: Residents in south part of county up in arms over plan to give them Yantis addresses
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Sept. 1, 2004 -- For more than half a century, families living along and near the Hopkins-Wood County line near Yantis have received their mail through the Sulphur Springs Post Office.

That piece of history will change Saturday, according to a letter received by residents on HC 01 in the Seymore and Reilly Springs area.

A letter dated Aug. 21 from the United States Postal Services to those residents told them their physical residence was outside the Zip code boundary of Sulphur Springs delivery and their mail service will be provided by the Yantis Post Office.

For Janis Crist, the Zip code change will affect more than just her address.

Janis suffers from a seizure disorder and brain damage as the result of a fall from an airplane in 1988. She has been under the care of a medical specialist in Dallas since the time of her injury and the care of a Sulphur Springs physician since 1991. A change in Zip code numbers would mean a change in medical care.

"Right now, I'm OK," she said. "But my husband's insurance changes every January and HMO and PPO [insurance] go by Zip code to determine where you can go to doctors at."

If Janis' Zip code changes to that of the Yantis Post Office, her insurance will require she go to doctors in Tyler that are not familiar with her medical condition.

Even though she has a serious medical condition, Janis said she was concerned about her neighbors, "the old folks that live at the end of the road."

A petition bearing signatures of 47 residents affected by the sudden Zip code change has been submitted to postal officials as well as Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap, who serves on the executive board of directors for the Ark-Tex Council of Governments, the agency responsible for establishing 911 addresses.

Millsap contacted L.D. Williamson, executive director of the council of governments, who said he would look into the abrupt change.

"He [Williamson] contacted me back and said he would look into it," Millsap said. "He said, 'We [Ark-Tex COG] did not make any decision that would displace anybody with a Zip code. What happened was the two postmasters, in Sulphur Springs and Yantis, got together and came up with the idea they wanted to change up some of the routes in the southern part of Hopkins County would be in a Yantis Zip code.'"

The council of governments will be calling for a meeting with the affected residents and the two postmasters to further discuss the plan.

United States Post Office spokesperson Polly Gibbs in Dallas said she was not aware of the issue and promised to look into the question before providing any official Post Office response.

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