Monday November 30th, 2015 7:26PM

Americans anxious, irritated as gov't shuts down

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- For many federal workers, the partial government shutdown that began Tuesday meant no more paychecks as they were forced onto unpaid furloughs. For those still working, it meant delays in getting paid.

Park ranger and father-to-be Darquez Smith said he already lives paycheck to paycheck while putting himself through college and worried how he'll fare amid the shutdown.

"I've got a lot on my plate right now - tuition, my daughter, bills," said Smith, 23, a ranger at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Ohio. "I'm just confused and waiting just like everyone else."

A midnight deadline to avert a shutdown passed amid congressional bickering, leaving Americans unable to get government services ranging from federally backed home loans to supplemental food assistance for children and pregnant women.

From New York's Liberty Island to Alaska's Denali National Park, the U.S. government closed its doors as a budget impasse idled hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halted most non-essential government services for the first time in nearly two decades.

The impact of the shutdown was mixed - immediate and far-reaching for some, annoying but minimal for others.

In Colorado, where flooding killed eight people earlier this month, emergency funds to help rebuild homes and businesses continued to flow - but federal worker furloughs were expected to slow it down.

National Guard soldiers rebuilding washed-out roads would apparently be paid on time - along with the rest of the country's active-duty personnel - under a bill passed hours before the shutdown. Existing Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans' services and mail delivery were also unaffected.

Other agencies were harder hit - nearly 3,000 Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors were furloughed along with most of the National Transportation Safety Board's employees, including accident investigators who respond to air crashes, train collisions, pipeline explosions and other accidents.

Almost all of NASA shut down, except for Mission Control in Houston, and national parks closed along with the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo. Even the zoo's popular panda cam went dark, shut off for the first time since a cub was born there Aug. 23.

As the shutdown loomed Monday, visitors to popular parks made their frustration with elected officials clear.

"There is no good thing going to come out of it," said Chris Fahl, a tourist from Roanoke, Ind., who was visiting the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Hodgenville, Ky. "Taxpayers are just going to be more overburdened."

Emily Enfinger, who was visiting the Statue of Liberty, said politicians need to find a way to work together.

"They should be willing to compromise, both sides, and it discourages me that they don't seem to be able to do that," she said. "They're not doing their job as far as I'm concerned."

Joe Wentz, a retired federal employee from Lebanon, Va., who was visiting San Francisco with his wife, bought tickets to visit Alcatraz on Thursday - if it's open.

Wentz said he's frustrated that some politicians are using the budget to push changes in the Affordable Care Act.

"We've been disgusted a long time that they're not working together," he said.

The shutdown was strangely captivating to Marlena Knight, an Australian native visiting Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. She was confounded that the impasse focused on the nation's health care system - an indispensable service in her home country.

"We can't imagine not having a national health system," she said. "I just can't believe that this country can shut down over something like a national health system. Totally bizarre, as an Australian, but fascinating."

It turns out an institution as massive as the federal government takes some time to grind to a total halt: Many federal workers were being permitted to come in Tuesday to change voicemail messages or fill out time cards. But after that, they were under strict orders to do no work, even check their email.

With no telling how long the standoff will last, even programs not immediately affected could run out of cash.

Barbara Haxton, executive director of the Ohio Head Start Association, said its preschool learning programs would be in jeopardy if a shutdown lasted more than two weeks. Automatic budget cuts in March meant nearly 3,000 children lost access to services and there could be dire consequences if the budget standoff drags on, she said.

"It's not as though this is a throwaway service. These are the poorest of the poor children," Haxton said. "And our congressman still gets his paycheck. His pay doesn't stop and his health insurance doesn't stop."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 2 days ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 3 days ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 4 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )