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Impact Of Government Shutdown Felt In North Texas

Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - As the federal government struggles with its shutdown, people in North Texas are feeling the impact as well.

Some workers sent home, a Presidential library closed and some local parks are on the verge of shutdown as well. Among them, Hickory Creek Park on Lake Lewisville. It’s run by the U-S Army Corps of Engineers and campers there have until 8 o-clock Wednesday night to leave.

“We’re going to try to find another place close by if we can,” said Eric Grest of Livingston, Texas, as he loaded firewood into the bed of the pickup truck he tows behind his coach sized RV. Grest is pulling up stakes after just two days here. He and his wife planned to stay two weeks. But the shutdown forced them out.

Deanna and Clint Blackmon got the news today from apologetic park officials. “I’m sad we can’t stay here until Friday,” Deanna told CBS 11 News adding, “we’re enjoying the weather and the beauty and birds, but that’s the way it is.”

The shutdown takes unpredictable twists.  Not all Corps of Engineers parks will close, only those run by the Corps.  Some parks have agreements with private agencies to run select parks, and those will remain open to the public.

Additionally, the  George W. Bush Presidential Library is closed. But its gift shop and the ’43 cafe are open. Disappointed visitors blame an uncompromising Washington.

“Absolutely,” said Paul Veenstra of Plano as he guided his mother’s wheelchair out of the museum gift shop. “Anybody, Senate, House. Whatever it takes. Shut it down for 100 days if we have to, it doesn’t matter.”

Kevin Weaver of Prosper agreed. He took an out-of-town visitor to the State Fair Monday and hoped to go to the Bush Library on Tuesday. “I think we ought to get rid of all those clowns up there and get some people up there that know what they’re doing and keep things running efficiently.”

Uncertain times, too, for federal workers in Dallas, some of whom say they have already worked 47 unpaid furlough hours due to the sequester…now this.  “I will go home and just do what I can. I’m not going to be able to do a whole lot. I’m not getting paid,” said Dana Braden, who works for the Dallas office of the EPA. “We had short paychecks a couple of pay periods,” echoed Janet Adams, also of the EPA. What does she do until she is recalled? “Be frugal and spend as little as possible,” she said.

But essential, life saving federal services remain functional. Air traffic controllers are working to keep planes in the air, though some FAA inspectors are off the job. The National Weather Service remains up and running, as does VA Health Care and the VA Hospital. WIC, or the Women’s Infants’ and Children’s programs for the young and their mothers were spared for at least 30-days. It’s an important resource for first-time mother Cyndi Segura, who admits her inexperience as a mom scared her. “So people here help you and they could answer any questions you have regarding your pregnancy. And it’s really important for you.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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