Shutdown impacts ripple through area

By Dallas Heltzell, Ken Amundson

Impacts of the partial federal government shutdown continue to roll in, with some businesses, social service agencies and nonprofits taking steps to help displaced workers. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported that Larimer County was among the most-impacted counties in terms of unemployment claims. The county ranked third in the state for claims filed by federal workers in Colorado, according to figures released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Eleven percent of the 1,642 claims filed since the shutdown began came from Larimer, CDLE said. By Monday, that total figure had risen to 1,826, the department said. Estes Park puts capital projects on hold Especially impacted is the town of Estes Park at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is feeling the impact both from the park’s furloughed workers and a decline in visitation to the park, which is closed to vehicular traffic. At a meeting Tuesday morning of the Estes Valley Partners for Commerce board of directors, Town Manager Frank Lancaster said the town has put all of its capital projects on hold. Jon Nicholas, president of the Estes Park Economic Development Corp., said the town’s decision was made because it doesn’t “want to find out later that we’ve had a sales-tax revenue impact and aren’t prepared for it.” Nicholas also said this is the first week in which businesses in the tourist town are starting to feel more visible impacts from the shutdown. Several businesses in the town are offering the park’s furloughed workers a helping hand. Antonio’s Real New York Pizza donated a $500 gift card to provide food for those in need, and is inviting other businesses to contribute to it. Furloughed workers can get a free coffee drink at Kind Coffee; You Need Pie! Too café is offering discounts on food; Rock Cut Brewing Co. is providing free beers; Rocky Mountain Health Club is offering free classes; and Affinity Massage and Wellness Center is offering discounted 30- and 60-minute appointments. Nicholas said Adam Shake, vice president of the Estes Park EDC, is setting up a Facebook page as an outreach to local businesses to help the workers from the national park and surrounding U.S. Forest Service. Federal labs in various stages of closure Federal labs, depending on their mission, are in various stages of shutdown. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with a lab in Boulder, is part of the Department of Commerce and posted this on its website: “Parts of the U.S. Government are closed. This site is being updated, however, only with furlough-related information to support NOAA employees; NOAA websites and social media channels necessary to protect lives and property are also being maintained.” Federal employees on furlough are also advised, according to ethics guidelines posted on government websites, that they can’t take temporary employment in their fields if the employer has dealings with the agency. That includes temporary employment with universities that might have need for similar skills or experience. Farmers impacted by USDA closure […]

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