Valley feels effects

Though it was less than 24 hours into the partial shutdown of the federal government, the Mahoning Valley already was feeling its effects Tuesday.

In Trumbull County, the voicemails set for civilian employees at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station announced their indefinite departure, while a banner across the station’s website informed it too would not be updated in light of the shutdown.

The 400 civilian workers at the station – one of the Valley’s major employers – were in the midst of wrapping up the 11 sequester-driven furloughs they were forced to take off, mostly on Mondays.

The base will continue to operate safety and security measures. Non-essential operations, such as the web page, will fall by the wayside.

Two U.S. Department of Agriculture offices in Cortland, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, are feeling the impact of the shutdown, too.

Although those offices are closed, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio State University Extension Office, also at the county agriculture center, are open.

The ripple effect hasn’t fully reached a project in Kinsman to replace septic systems with sewer lines that’s largely funded with federal grant and loan dollars. But a groundbreaking ceremony for Oct. 9 has been postponed.

”That’s the only little fly in the ointment that we have received,” said Rex Fee, executive director of the county Sanitary Engineer’s Office. ”We haven’t gotten any indication that it (the shutdown) is going to cause real issues with the funding.”

The bulk of the $10.6 million project is being paid for with a $4.5 million USDA loan and a $3.8 million USDA grant. Other federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant should not be effected, Fee said.

The shutdown also is expected to mean delays in government-backed mortgages, other reduced government services and trimmed congressional staffs.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, states in a news release he would donate the amount of his accrued salary during the shutdown to charity, which he did following the 1995 shutdown when in the House.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican who represents the southern portion of Mahoning County, said if his pay is directed to an escrow account, he would donate it to charity.

”I refuse to profit from the stupidity and mule-headed culture of modern-day Washington, D.C.,” Johnson states in a release on his website.

Elsewhere in the state, The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron both closed.

More than 1,800 Ohio National Guard employees joined 8,700 air base workers on unpaid leave in Ohio as a result of the shutdown. There are more than 15,800 Ohio National Guard employees statewide.

“While this is a significant hardship, we are very clear to let Ohioans know that we still have the capability to support this state if a time of need comes into play,” said Guard spokesman James Sims.

Shannon Marino, 33, a bar manager from Maple Heights, set off on an 18-mile bike ride Tuesday morning before rangers began locking restrooms at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visitor centers also remained closed.

“I feel like the park system helps people to relax and find peace of mind in today’s society, so it’s an important part to have this area open for everybody,” Marino said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.