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Politics & Government
Tue October 1, 2013
The Shutdown's Reach Into North Carolina
Thousands of federal employees in North Carolina are at home today after the government entered a partial shutdown.
In Durham, most of the 2,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency's office have been furloughed. Kevin McLaughlin is a communications specialist there. He says he went into work long enough to record his outgoing message and shut down his computer before he left.
"I've met up with a few fellow federal employees. We are enjoying the beautiful day. I think I'll do some yard work. I'm actually going to go volunteer," McLaughlin said Tuesday.
"We want to do what we can to stay positive even though the politics of everything have gotten in the way of us going to work today."
McLaughlin says he saved some money in anticipation of the shutdown, but he hopes it ends quickly.
The shutdown is affecting more than 800,000 federal employees across the country. Governor Pat McCrory told the Council of State Tuesday thousands of state employees could also face furloughs. As many as 4,500 workers with the Department of Health and Human Services are totally or partially funded by the federal government.
Officials at Fort Bragg said nearly half of their 14,500 civilian employees were also sent home.
Meanwhile, the closure of National Parks in North Carolina could cut into tourism revenue if Congress takes days or weeks to reach a budget deal.
"We're still early in our fall travel season, but if this turned out to be a prolonged absence, that could have a big impact on us and cost communities around the state lots of tourism dollars, which bring lots of jobs with them," said Wit Tuttell, director of tourism marketing at the Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is still open for drivers who go to the mountains to see the autumn foliage, but rest areas along the way are closed. Tuttell says Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell remain open, but the National Park Service has closed National Seashores along the Outer Banks, where the fall fishing season is popular.