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Shutdown an ‘emotional ride’
Oct 03, 2013 | 768 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WORK ON THE F-35 fighter jet continued at Hill AFB, Tuesday, but thousands of employees were sent home as emotions ran high among many.          Photo courtesy of Hill Air Force Base
WORK ON THE F-35 fighter jet continued at Hill AFB, Tuesday, but thousands of employees were sent home as emotions ran high among many. Photo courtesy of Hill Air Force Base
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BY TOM BUSSELBERG

Managing Editor

BOUNTIFUL—  Anger, uncertainty, frustration, feeling “freaked out.”

Those are all sentiments that weighed heavily on those who work at Hill AFB, Tuesday as the federal government shutdown took effect.

“I’m OK for now,” said sheet metal mechanic Jody Rose, who works in the maintenance division at the base. She lives in Clearfield, a stone’s throw from the base.

She was at work because funds for her job are tied to the F-35. The funds aren’t dependant on passage of a federal budget, which was still being debated in Washington, D.C. ,Tuesday afternoon.

The situation was different for Rose’s friends who work in another area of the base.  With jobs funded under a different revenue stream, they were sent home after four hours.

“We’re on edge,” Rose said. “We’re very unhappy.”

Rose didn’t even know if she could get off work to see her son Devin, in the Army, who she hadn’t seen for more than 2 1/2 years. He was in Kuwait Tuesday awaiting a flight home.

Her emotions turned to a “freaked out” period after being told she might not be able to take off to see her son – although the leave had previously been approved.

The impact of the federal government stretches to a score of defense-related contractors, including Boeing’s North Salt Lake plant.

Rose’s husband, Dave, who works on Boeing 787 vertical fins, is safe.  Contracts from foreign governments are funding his and other projects.

“I haven’t seen a whole lot of reaction just yet,” said Mark Ramboz, a manager at Cutrubus VW Audi, of customer reaction or traffic. The Layton dealership is only miles from the base gates.

“We have a lot of customers off the base. As of right now, it’s been too soon to really affect what’s going to come,” he said.

Many Davis County residents who aren’t directly affected by the shutdown have relatives furloughed.

“My mom and dad, Pat and Gary Smith, both work for the IRS,” said Susan Beecher of Syracuse. “They were told they won’t even get back pay. They’re nervous about what’s going to happen.”

Both could retire, but are continuing to work due to the economic downturn.

“It’s really a scary time for them. This will affect their retirement. It’s very scary and very serious. We’re keeping our heads high, hoping for the best,” she said.

The shutdown is a result of the deadlock in Congress between Democrats and Republicans. It boils down to a disdain by a majority of Republican legislators for the implementation of Obamacare.  

 “I have consistently supported efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare,” said Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Farmington. “Not only does the law run contrary to our basic American principles of personal freedom and limited government, it is already hurting our economy and will be even more destructive as it is implemented,” he said in a press release issued by his office.

Rep. Rob Bishop also has strongly opposed  Obamacare’s implementation.

“...Few Americans are ready for the implementation of one of the most intrusive and expensive policies to have ever been signed into law,” he said in a press release issued by his office.

Due to the federal shutdown, spokespeople for Congressional offices were among those told not to report to work.

What will be affected:

• All National Parks are closed.

• Internal Revenue Service is closed and all employees furloughed.

• Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) ended at end of day Wednesday, Oct. 2.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reduce staff. The influenza program has been shut down.

• The Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake is open for the next 10 business days. If shutdown continues beyond that date, furloughs will begin.

• All federal government websites  are shuttered.

• Loan applications for small businesses, college tuition or mortgages will be affected.

• All federal workers will not be allowed to work.

What won’t be affected:

• The Head Start Program will continue.

• Antelope Island State Park will remain open. The park is state funded and operated.

• U.S. mail will continue to be delivered.

• Social Security and Medicare will continue.

• Active duty military will continue to be paid.

• Air-traffic controllers continue to work.

• Federal law enforcement officials and emergency/disaster assistance are still available.

tbusselberg@davisclipper.com
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