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      Quincy postal distribution center will close

      The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that the Quincy-based distribution center will close by February 2013.

      The service's regional spokeswoman Valarie Hughes said that starting this month, Illinois mail in the â??623â?? zip code will be processed in Springfield, Ill.

      In February 2013, mail in northeast Missouri zip codes starting with â??634â?? and â??635â?? will be processed in Columbia, Mo.

      The Associated Press reported earlier this week that with cash running perilously low, two legally required payments for future postal retirees' health benefits â?? $5.5 billion due Wednesday, and another $5.6 billion due in September â?? will be left unpaid, the mail agency said Monday. That leaves the agency nearing default.

      The fate of the Quincy distribution center has been the subject of on-again, off-again talk of closure leaving employees there wondering whether they would continue to work in Quincy or whether they will have to relocate to continue working with the agency.

      â??Right now, those are the plans,â?? Hughes said. â??Everything's fluid and we have a nationwide distribution that includes transportation and other things that have to fit together to make sure the mail delivery is timely. I can't predict the changes.â??