Federal Shutdown Impacts Local Agencies

Federal Shutdown Impacts Local Agencies

The government shutdown is shutting doors across the area from military personnel sent home at Rosecrans Memorial Airport to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge closed to the public and more.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The government shutdown is shutting doors across the area from military personnel sent home at Rosecrans Memorial Airport to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge closed to the public and more.

"Basically the refuge is closed. Everything is closed. The headquarters is closed. Everything is closed," said Squaw Creek Manager, Ronald Bell.

Squaw Creek is in its busiest time of year right now, but it is not accepting visitors because it's blocked by the government shutdown.

Congress and President Obama couldn't agree on a spending bill, so non-essential government agencies have been shut down.

Bell says the refuge really can't afford to turn people away.

"We average about a quarter million people here throughout the year. Of course spring and fall are our busiest times and we're just starting in the fall, and just starting to get ducks and geese showing up," said Bell.

The employees at Squaw Creek can't afford not to work.

"Of course nobody likes it, because we're not getting paid. We would like to have the money. For several of my employees, this is going to be difficult if we go very long with a shutdown," said Bell.

Squaw Creek is just one of the agencies suffering.

At the 139th Airlift Wing, nearly 200 of the 225 uniformed civil servants have been furloughed.

"We executed an orderly shutdown. They had 4 hours to shut down their offices, send out of office notifications, and finalize anything that needed to be saved- those types of things," said Col. Mike Pankau of the 139th Airlift Wing.

Those employees will be called back only if there is a state of emergency.

But other than that, they're playing the waiting game.

"I'm concerned about our junior employees and how they're going to take care of their families without a paycheck coming in. Our civil servants are a main concern of mine," said Col. Pankau.

The 139th Airlift Wing will keep a skeleton staff made up of active duty employees, technicians for aircraft maintenance, air traffic controllers, fire crews, and the security police force.

All public programs and activities at Squaw Creek in Mound City are also on hold as long as the government shutdown continues.
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