5 strange side effects of the government shutdown
You know about the obvious impacts of the government shutdown — federal workers idled, offices closed, funding disrupted for all sorts of activities.
But some of the impacts are less obvious, more outrageous or a little bit of both.
Here’s a sampling of some of the spin-off effects of the showdown in Washington:
The shutdown could make its way to your seafood dinner plate.
Without federal employees to set rules and quotas for the fishing season, crab fleets in Alaska are in limbo — unsure whether they’ll be able to head out in pursuit of lucrative crab that bring in millions of dollars each season.
A delay of even a few days could be costly, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Washington, said in a House speech last week. Her district includes home port for some of the fleets that fish for Bering Sea crab.
“A delay could mean they’ll miss out exporting to the all-important Asian holiday market when demand is at its highest and most lucrative,” she said.
That could cost the industry millions, dealing it what she called a “crippling blow.”
One fishing captain told KIRO that the delay threatens what they call the “Super Bowl of crab fishing.”
“We think of a lot of other things besides the government affecting our fishing — weather, boats, crew,” said Capt. Moore Dye of the fishing vessel Western Mariner. “This has really caught us off guard.”
Move along, nothing to see
No, the Obama administration has not deployed helicopters to hover in front of Mount Rushmore National Monument with a giant, view-obscuring sheet, as the rumor-busting site snopes.com debunked last week.
But federal officials did — for a time at least — put traffic cones up at a pull-off where people stop to view the carving from a distance. Depending on whom you ask, the cones were either to block motorists from pulling off or to guide them into viewing areas.
“They won’t even let you pull off on the side of the road,” the Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, quoted state Tourism Department Secretary Jim Hagen as saying. “I just don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish.”
The newspaper said park officials told the state the cones were meant only to channel motorists into viewing sites. They went up Oct. 1, the day the shutdown began.
Federal officials removed the cones for at least a while after a snowstorm hit and crews needed to plow the roads, the newspaper reported.
“Once the snow’s off the ground, we’re going to be keeping an eye on how the cones go up,” the newspaper quoted the governor’s chief of staff, Dusty Johnson, as saying.
Don’t go in there
The area around the Grand Canyon is a ghost town. It’s no different inside, and park rangers are working to keep it that way, according to The Republic newspaper in Arizona.
Park officials have written about two dozen citations for people trying to sneak into the park. Some have been caught at the canyon’s South Rim, others on trials or attempting hikes, the newspaper reported.
According to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper of North Andover, Maine, tourist Pat Vaillancourt said National Park Service Guards held her tour group under armed guard in a Yellowstone National Park hotel and brusquely told tourists who had filed off their bus to take pictures of bison that they weren’t to “recreate.”
The tour guide argued to rangers that the tourists — some of them from overseas — weren’t “recreating,” just taking pictures.
“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” the newspaper quoted Vaillancourt as saying.
A message to the park’s media relations office, which is only intermittently staffed because of the furlough, was not immediately returned Wednesday.
And stay out!
A Nevada couple said they were kicked out of their home in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, KTNV reported.
Retirees Joyce and Ralph Spencer own a cabin on federal land, and were told last week they had 24 hours to clear out and stay out until the government reopens.
Park officials gave KTNV a statement saying overnight stays are not allowed in the park until funding is restored, but said owners can visit their properties to retrieve belongings.
While the decision has angered some commenters on KTNV’s story — some of whom suggested the decision to kick out property owners was made out of spite and encouraged the couple to sue — Joyce Spencer said they’re taking the situation in stride.
While they’d like to be allowed back in their home, the worst impact has been that she had to buy her husband new clothes they forgot while packing up to leave their cabin.
“We’re not hurt in any way except it might cost me if I have to go buy more pants,” she told KTNV.
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