After going without postal service for two weeks, residents of Wainwright finally got some relief when the U.S. Postal Service reopened the village's post office.
The situation, however, has already caused plenty of confusion and headaches for residents of the community which is 90 miles from Barrow and located along the Chukchi Sea.
Residents said they do not understand why a lifeline to the community was shut down to begin with.
As a subsidized service of USPS, everything from food to goods comes through the building.
"We have repair parts for the school that have been shipped by mail," said Robert Grimes, principal of Alak School.
Grimes said that is why the past two weeks have been hard for the community of about 500 residents. They have no idea why the post office doors have been closed.
"My understanding is, and it's only rumor, the postmaster was told to turn his keys in and not to report to work and that they said they would call him back when it’s time to go back to work," said Grimes.
Residents said the waiting game has been a burden because they do not have medical or hunting supplies that come in the mail.
"There are people who are breaking medication in half to make the medication last because we don't have them," Grimes said, "It's a matter of their life right now, they can't go up river and to do their hunting, they are not going to have food for the winter."
USPS would not comment on specifics about the Wainwright postmaster beyond saying the office was closed due to administrative issues.
The plan is to have a couple of clerks on duty from Barrow in the office so customers can pick up some of their mail. The federal agency said it is confident the backlog will be caught up in a few days.
The USPS said the Wainwright post office will be open Tuesday for a few hours so residents can pick up high priority items and on Wednesday it’s expected to be open longer.
Notification of mail will come through a local Citizens' Band radio network. And while the postmaster job is up for hire, Wainwright residents who want to apply for postmaster relief should call 261-5450.