Southeastern Minnesota beginning to feel effects of shutdown - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Southeastern Minnesota beginning to feel effects of shutdown


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As the federal government shutdown grinds on into its third day with no resolution in sight, parts of southeastern Minnesota are beginning to feel the effects.

State budget leaders have identified more than 3,000 state employees in Minnesota that have jobs that are at least, in part, federally funded.

They include health and welfare workers and those who help carry out school lunch and education programs. And, they're employees at risk of joining so many who have to sit out their jobs right now-- or work for no pay.

A big source continues to be the National Guard. The National Training and Community Center in Rochester remains closed. The Minnesota National Guard says up to-20 military personnel that work at this facility are furloughed.

And across the state, more than 1200 military technicians for the state's National Guard are also being furloughed until further notice.

It's a similar story in Iowa, where more than 1,000 full-time federal technicians with the Iowa National Guard have been furloughed. That figure includes about 45 civilian federal government employees.

Officials say drills scheduled through October 10th, as well as and community outreach missions have also been canceled until shutdown resolved

At this time, the Iowa National Guard is authorized to expend funds only for "excepted" activities like deployment or protection of life or government property.

Meanwhile, meat inspectors at Hormel Foods in Austin are also feeling the pain. Since the government shut down, only a select group of USDA food inspectors are still working-- and they're not getting paid. Yet, any time off is considered A-WOL.

And since these employees are still going to work, they aren't eligible to apply for unemployment, as furloughed inspectors in other markets are.

The Department of Agriculture's Service Center in Rochester is also impacted. The hallways inside the building are empty as the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service have been closed because of the shutdown.

The only office remaining open in the U-S-D-A building is the Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District.

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