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Mail delivery suspended in Olde Towne Mall

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
August 22, 2008

Until postal officials know more about “elevated levels” of mold indicated by recent air tests at the Olde Towne Mall, mail delivery to businesses at the mall has been suspended.


Postmaster Michael A. Baldocchi delivered a letter Thursday afternoon informing the mall’s 14 tenants and Jackie Wood, co-owner, of the decision.


“I’m just trying to keep everyone safe,’’ Baldocchi said.


The downtown postal service center in the Olde Towne Mall, 20 S. Main St., has been closed since last week while officials await results of air quality tests performed after postal workers got sick.


Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections collected air samples Aug. 14 in three areas of the mall and sent the samples to a lab in Florida.


“The samples were tested for multiple strains of mold spores, and only one strain of mold showed elevated levels,’’ Rob Kleinschmidt of the inspection company wrote in a Tuesday letter to Wood.


“The strain showing elevated levels is penecillium/aspergillus … This strain is considered a common indoor mold. It has a musty odor,’’ he wrote.


The test results are being reviewed by the postal service’s safety and health department in Milwaukee. Until the report is finalized, the downtown postal service center will remain closed, Baldocchi said. The report should be released today, a postal service spokeswoman in Milwaukee said.


Kleinschmidt said damage from recent flooding “likely caused mold-like growth on materials such as drywall. As cleanup continues, mold levels will likely continue to decrease.’’


Wood is organizing a meeting between Kleinschmidt and tenants so he can explain the test results and tenants can ask questions. She also will have the air tested again after cleanup is complete, she said.


Meanwhile, tenants will have to pick up their mail at the main post office, 1818 Milton Ave., until sometime next week when the postal service will install temporary mailboxes behind the mall.


“It’s good they’re doing that. It will help the tenants,’’ Wood said.


“We’re trying to not inconvenience them as much as possible,” Baldocchi said.


The stamp machine inside the downtown postal service center remains in operation, but the drop-off mail slot has been wired shut. The service window and post office boxes have been closed since last week.



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