Shutdown -- are you affected?

2013-10-04T13:45:00Z 2013-10-14T21:44:29Z Shutdown -- are you affected?Times Staff nwitimes.com
October 04, 2013 1:45 pm  • 

Congressional gridlock not only has resulted in the shutdown of the federal government, it also has negatively affected the lives of region residents.

More than 60 eighth-graders from St. Mary's Catholic School in Crown Point hoped to be in Washington, D.C., on Friday as part of an annual four-day trip to the nation's capital -- but it was grounded two days ago.

And a Times reporter on the trip of a lifetime to see World War II sites won't be able to visit the cemetery at France's Normandy Beach, which has closed.

If you have been affected by the federal government's shutdown, contact The Times, at newstips@nwi.com, and tell us your story, as part of our ongoing local coverage of the shutdown.

The St. Mary's students and teachers watched the news Monday hoping for a compromise in Congress. When the shutdown became official, students were notified Tuesday morning their trip was canceled. Most of what they had planned to visit -- Smithsonian museums, White House, Capitol building, National Zoo and monuments and memorials -- are closed.

The Times reporter set to leave Friday for Europe was notified by Trafalgar Tours the trip would be modified because Normandy Beach cemetery in France is closed as part of the U.S. federal shutdown. Travelers can still visit the beach.

As for Chicago writer, Tammy Webber, the closing of California's Yosemite National Park was a disappointment not only to her and her travel companion but also to visitors from around the world, who had come to glimpse a vestige of America's once vast wilderness but learned Tuesday the U.S. is no longer open for business.

By Tuesday, everyone awoke to learn the government, indeed, had shut down, she wrote for The Associated Press. But the park hadn't quite yet. Those with reservations in the park had 48 hours to get out. They decided to make the most of it and drive to Glacier Point and do a long hike. But too late: The road to Glacier Point already was closed. Cars pulled in and stopped. People got out and started talking to one another.

A couple from Belgium were on the last stop of a three-week tour of the American West. They'd seen Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and now wanted to see Yosemite.

A young girl from South Korea said she'd come with her mother and aunt, getting up at 5 a.m. and driving all the way from San Francisco on Tuesday. She wasn't supposed to get into the park, but she said nobody stopped them at the entrance. They made a short loop around the valley floor, then were heading back out — bitterly disappointed.

"This is crazy," said the girl, Songyi Cho. "How can a whole government shut down?"

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