Local areas seeing affects of partial shutdown

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photos by Linda Gallagher

Currently shuttered due to the partial shutdown of the federal government is the Bellaire office of the USDA's Farm Service Agency, which has had all of its employees furloughed due to the shutdown. Across the hall, the Antrim County office of the Soil Conservation Service is also facing closure. Other federal agencies in the region, such as the National Weather Service, have employees working without pay. The shutdown is now in its fourth week. 

 

REGION - Antrim and Kalkaska counties don’t have any national parks, federal courts, commercial airports, federal prisons, Coast Guard stations or a national zoo, all of which have been seriously affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its fourth week.

But the region does have a USDA office, Soil Conservation office, national fish hatchery, and National Weather Service radar station, all of which have employees which are either classified as "furloughed," making the employees eligible for unemployment benefits, or employees working without pay who will have their wages reimbursed once full federal government operations resume.

At the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery near Elmira, manager Roger Gordon said that while seven employees are still working with pay, two employees have been furloughed, and one is working without pay.

"Facilities normally open to the public at the hatchery, such as the rest rooms and public hatchery viewing areas, are closed," said Gordon. "We just don't have the people to maintain those services."

He added that all of the employees still working are struggling to operate at a normal level.

"Basically, we're just feeding the fish and making sure everything is working as it should be," he said. "Let's hope this doesn't go on much longer."

All of the employees in the Bellaire USDA Farm Service, which assists farmers and manages federal farming/ranching-related programs, as well as timber and tree assistance programs, are currently furloughed, which has closed the office.

Across the hall, operations are continuing as usual at the Soil Conservation Service, which offers erosion control and pollution abatement programs, as well as a variety of its conservation programs, the Service's Pepper Bromelmeier said, "At least until Friday. I really don't know what's going to happen after that."

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