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Eau Claire Postal Official Unhappy With Pro-Packer Messages

January 10, 1996

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) _ An Eau Claire postal official said he’s a Green Bay Packers fan too, but he can’t let pro-Packer messages continue to go on mail.

``We’re just opening ourselves to litigation,″ said Eau Claire plant manager Jim Hauger. ``At what point do we stop? Do we back abortion? Do we back a political candidate?″

For a few days this week and last, much of the mail canceled in the Eau Claire post office was labeled with the tiny message supporting the Packers, who are in the NFC championship game for the first time since the famed Ice Bowl of 1967.

Other post offices across the state also have placed pro-Packers messages on mail. In Wausau some mail has been tagged with, ``GO PACK GO. TO THE SUPERBOWL.″ And in Oshkosh mail has been stamped with the message, ``GB PACKERS NFC CENTRAL DIVISION CHAMPS.″

But Hauger said his bosses in the St. Paul (Minn.) Postal Service office told him only postal messages could be placed on mail. Hauger said he’s trying to find the person who is responsible for the messages.

``Somebody put that on, and they could be in trouble,″ Hauger said. ``Apparently it was put on last week while I was gone.″

The messages were printed in black and white computer lettering just to the left of the canceled stamps on letters and cards that came through the Eau Claire office.

Hauger said the Oshkosh and Wausau offices may operate under different rules because they are governed by a different office. Wausau and Oshkosh have a district office in Milwaukee. Calls by The Associated Press to the St. Paul office were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Edward Krueger, plant manager of the Wausau Processing and Distribution facility, said he hasn’t heard of such a regulation.

``I did it for the Badgers when they went to the Rose Bowl, and we do it for ... Valentines Day and for Christmas and New Year’s,″ Krueger said. ``We do it for a number of different things and I know of no regulations that say we can’t do that. ″

``I have not been told that there’s any problem with this,″ said Greg Robinson, plant manager in Oshkosh. ``We’re having fun with this.″

``There might be an awful lot of Minnesota Vikings fans over there,″ Robinson said, laughing. ``You can’t please everybody.″

In defense of his decision to stop the message, Hauger said it seems improper to place personal, political or sports-related messages on mail. But even as Hauger vowed to investigate the origin of the messages, he wanted people to know where his allegiance lies when the Packers take on the Dallas Cowboys at 3 p.m. Sunday.

``I wish I could (put messages on the mail) because I’m a die-hard Packers fan myself,″ he said.

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