Affects of shutdown seen locally
REGION-With the government shutdown that went into effect on Tuesday, federal workers and agencies are taking the heat, even in your own backyard.
"We have around 24 employees who were affected," said Sean McGuinness, superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a unit of the National Park Service located in Beach Lake. "With the shutdown we now only have five park rangers for emergency services that could stay to protect the buildings."
He said that the Zane Grey Museum, the lots at the Robeling Bridge and all of their offices are closed.
"The programs we were supposed to have were canceled," McGuinness added. "We can't do any of them."
The shutdown also affects the water quality monitoring they were supposed to do.
"It's all on hold," he stated. "We also provide visitor and resident services and are part of the economy, which are now put on hold because of furlough."
McGuinness added that all of the National Park Service sites, such as the Grand Canyon and Gettysburg, also had their events cancelled.
"All of the parks were notified that we can't do any events unless things change," he said. "We're not even supposed to use our phones and e-mails since the funds aren't there."
Their website is currently down, along with many other federal agency websites.
Lisa Champeau, public relations manager for the Wayne Memorial Health System, said that the hospital "isn't directly affected."
"The Medicaid and Medicare programs are still running like normal too," she said. "Business is pretty much as usual. We're like every other American who is frustrated with what's going on."
Lu Seagraves, director at the Hawley Senior Center, stated that nothing is affecting the center as of yet.
Steven Daniels, assistant community office manager for Wayne Bank stated that "as of now" they aren't being affected.
"It hasn't really hit home yet," stated Mark Graziadio, vice president of the Honesdale National Bank. "I imagine people are planning for what they'll do if they don't get a paycheck. We're not here to make it tough for them. We will be their ally and work with them."
He added that it's somewhat early to tell the impact this might have on their customers – both individuals and businesses.
"We hope that they [the government] will come to their senses soon, rectify their differences and get everyone back to work," Graziadio stated. "If we have customers that are affected, we'll attempt to help them/work with them – unlike their employer - until they get reinstated. It may entail offering interest only payments or extensions on loans or other options to get them through this period.
"Whenever there has been a crisis – weather related, or a situation like this – we find that being an ally to our customers is the absolute best course of action."
Gary Beilman, president and CEO of The Dime Bank, stated that the shutdown doesn't affect them either.
"Thankfully it doesn't affect us," he said. "We are still being run with business as usual. All of the services we offer are still available."
Robert Sibello, an officer within the federal prison system, said that they have to go to work but "are not getting paid."
"Everything is in the air right now but as of right now we are not being paid," he said. "That could change day to day."
He added that it "may or may not" be retroactive.
Other services, like Meals on Wheels, have not been affected as of yet.
"Nothing has been affected that we have seen," said Alex Mosher of the Area Agency on Aging. "We haven't received any correspondence" indicating a break in services.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, announced that they will "temporarily continue full operations despite a lapse in federal funding." They also stated that the following recreation parks in Pennsylvania will remain open: Raystown Lake, Tioga-Hammond-Cowanesque Lakes, Alvin R. Bush Dam, Aylesworth Creek Lake, Foster J. Sayers Dam and Stillwater Lake.
President Obama issued the following statement yesterday:
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United States Government:
The Federal Government is America's largest employer, with more than 2 million civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military who serve in all 50 states and around the world.
But Congress has failed to meet its responsibility to pass a budget before the fiscal year that begins today. And that means much of our Government must shut down effective today.
I want you to know that I will keep working to get Congress to reopen the Government, restart vital services that the American people depend on, and allow public servants who have been sent home to return to work. At my direction, your agencies should have reached out to you by now about what a shutdown means for you and your families.
Today, I wanted to take a moment to tell you what you mean to me-and to our country.
That begins by saying thank you for the work you do every day-work that is vitally important to our national security and to American families' economic security. You defend our country overseas and ensure that our troops receive the benefits they deserve when they come home.
You guard our borders and protect our civil rights. You help small businesses expand and gain new footholds in overseas markets. You guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glory of America's national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Statue of Liberty. And much more.
You do all this in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay freeze, harmful sequester cuts and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet, you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion, professionalism and skill.
None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands.
Public service is noble. Public service is important. And by choosing public service, you carry on a proud tradition at the heart of some of this country's greatest and most lasting achievements.
In fact, more than 50 current or former Federal employees have received the Nobel Prize for their efforts. It was grants from the Department of Energy that helped businesses unlock new sources of renewable energy, and from the National Park Science Foundation that helped entrepreneurs like the founders of Google change the world. It is your efforts that will help this country meet the great challenge of our time-rebuilding an economy where all who work hard can get ahead.
So while the budget fights in Washington are too often partisan, your service to the country must never be. As one of my predecessors, President George H.W. Bush, once said, "There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that is what our system of self-government depends on."
This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened. And the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate's lead, and funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process..
Hopefully, we will resolve this quickly. In the meantime, I want you to know-whether you are a young person who just joined public service because you want to make a difference, or a career employee who has dedicated your life to that pursuit-you and your families remain at the front of my mind.
Your agency leaders and I will continue to defend your work at a time when that work has rarely been more important. We will continue to work with your agencies to keep you and your families apprised and informed of what is happening.
And I will continue to do everything in my own power to get the House of Representatives to allow our Government to reopen as quickly as possible, and make sure you receive the pay that you have earned.
Thank you, again, for your service, your sacrifice and everything you do every day for this country we love so much.
The following is a statement from the U.S. Attorney Peter Smith that was issued yesterday:
Operations of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Middle District Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Scranton, and Williamsport) are affected by the partial shutdown in effect since midnight today, October 1, 2013.
Criminal litigation and related work will continue without interruption as activities deemed essential to the safety of human life and the protection of property.
The United States Attorney's Office will continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement on criminal matters, as well as with federal law enforcement agencies.
Due to the appropriation lapse and partial shutdown, much of the office's staff working on civil litigation is being furloughed.
All civil litigation in which the office is involved will be curtailed or postponed to the extent possible without compromising public safety or the protection of property, and always subject to the direction of the federal court.
Due to the effects of the appropriations lapse on activities of the U.S. Department of Justice's headquarters components, the United States Attorney's Office will not be able to respond readily to media inquiries.
Press releases will be limited to urgent matters involving public safety. The office's website will not be updated and social media accounts will not be managed actively during the shutdown.
The office will continue to be able to receive communications from the public via mail, email and/or telephone.
For additional information from the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the effects of the appropriations lapse and partial shutdown, please contact http://www.justice.gov/jmd/publications/doj-contingency-plan.pdf.
Photo: Visitors wanting to visit the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River in Beach Lake will find it closed until the government shutdown is over.