Partial Government Shutdown Ends, Relieving Locals

KNWA

President Trump announces a deal to reopen the government on Friday.

From the very beginning of the partial shutdown, the impacts could be felt across Northwest Arkansas.

Over the last month, KNWA has spoken with many people whose lives changed overnight when a funding bill wasn’t signed before midnight on December 21st. 
 
“That is the light at the end of the tunnel is the end of the shutdown,” said FAA worker Rob Todaro.

Those are words coming from a federal employee just more than two weeks into the partial government shutdown after receiving his first blank paycheck.

“I have to give these guys a lot of kudos and thanks and gratitude because they have come to work every day, ” said XNA Airport Director Kelly Johnson.

The shut down lasted for more than a month which meant local federal workers went without paychecks for two weeks.

“Mortgages are due at the end of the month and some people have savings they can tap into, but some people aren’t as fortunate,” Todaro said. 

While federal airport security and safety employees were heavily affected by the shutdown, Johnson said others felt the pressure too.

“There are other government employees we are aware of in NWA that are not affiliated with aviation that it has affected as well as the park service and all kinds of different people,” Johnson said. 

Last week, Union members at both XNA and The Fort Smith Regional Airport called for the Government shutdown to end citing public safety and financial stress it has caused for families.

“We usually have a normal happy everyday demeanor around here. We’re a big family but the morale has started to go down since we missed our first paycheck,” said Union member Cherry Hooten, 

The impacts for federal workers were not only felt in their paychecks, but also in their pantries.

“We’re all this close from needing help and they’re just going to work like they regularly would. And no fault to theirs they aren’t getting a paycheck,” President and CEO of Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, Kent Eikenberry said. “We’re in a position where we can help out.”

With the partial government shutdown coming to an end, Federal workers can now expect to see a paycheck soon.

“This is really a God sent to see this at least temporarily stayed,” Johnson said. 

People who are still feeling the effects of the shut down are invited to Feed the 479 Food Pantry on Saturday.

The non-profit is opening its doors to make sure federal workers have access to meals in the meantime until they are paid. 

A Federal Employee who can present a Federal ID who has been affected by the shutdown can come and grocery shop at the Feed the 479 Choice Pantry Saturday, January 26 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm located in Springdale at 2407 S. Thompson.
 

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