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Shutdown having an impact in county

A government shutdown that took effect on Tuesday, Oct. 1 is having an impact locally.

The shutdown took place when Congress could not come to terms on an agreement to continue funding the government.

Federal offices in Paris operated by the US Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture remain closed. The Post Office is open.

Logan County Judge Gus Young got an e-mail last week that said anyone seeking Title II grant reimbursable money for federally funded projects would be waiting a while because there was nobody to process the requests.

That is somewhat of a problem for Young because he had a project slated to end today (Wednesday) and the vendor will want to be paid. Young said the county would likely pay the vendor and await the resumption of work by the government. The vendor is owed just under $30,000 and Young said paying it will not cripple county government.

Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said last week the government shutdown will have no impact on city government.

The shutdown also caused concern for area senior citizens, according to Linda Cox, director of the senior citizens center in Paris.

“Our seniors are wanting to know if we’re going to stay open,” she said. “We are and will continue providing services. But, about 66 percent of our budget comes from the federal government. The rest comes from local and state government support, funds from our meal program, donations and fund raisers.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has notified landlords that housing assistance payments to them could be delayed. However, families utilizing the service are strongly urged to continue paying their portion and have been told landlords cannot demand more than their typical rent share stipulated by the program.

The shutdown is affecting fishing and hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in Arkansas. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is reminding anglers, hunters, hikers, campers and others that the federal shutdown could change their plans.

AGFC Director Mike Knoedl said the federal government shutdown could influence people’s outdoor recreation plans in Arkansas.

“If you’re heading for federal wildlife refuges to scout, hunt or fish, that activity is prohibited,” Knoedl said. “Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lands will remain open and our officers will be on duty,” he added.

USFWS land and facilities are closed due to the lapse in appropriation for 2014. For more information on the shutdown, go to http://www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm.

If there is not a resolution before next week, there will be no hunting allowed within the Buffalo National River boundary. That could possibly affect the elk hunt for next week.

Gates to all U.S. Forest Service use areas will be locked where applicable and use areas will be closed. However, the forests will remain open to public recreation.

Knoedl said boat ramps may also be closed, which impacts access to Corps lakes. “Closures may include visitor centers and gates on all access points,” he said. Wildlife management areas leased by the AGFC on Corps property will be open and managed by the AGFC. Boat launch ramps inside Corps campgrounds will be inaccessible. All other launch ramps will be open.

Before heading out to your favorite Arkansas Corps lake, go to http://www.usace.army.mil/ or call 501-324-5551 to find out about public access.

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