|Government Shutdown Beards Are a Thing|
|By COLLEEN CURRY, RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell) and KATIE MOISSE (@katiemoisse)||Oct 7, 2013, 4:47 PM|
The effects of the government shutdown are showing up in unique and sometimes surprising ways.
The furloughing of government employes has hit agencies ranging from the national parks to the Pentagon and NASA. Those effects are being realized each day and impacting Americans is ways small and large.
We'll be keeping a list of some of the more surprising side effects of the shutdown.
With no jobs to go to and no meetings to appear presentable for, federal staffers furloughed during the government shutdown are keeping themselves busy by growing #shutdownbeards.
Men of the federal government have taken to tweeting photos of themselves with beards they refuse to shave until Congress ends the shutdown. For those counting, that's 10 days of beard growth. How soon until the politicians join in the facial hair fun?
An annual relay run from Oklahoma University to the University of Texas was cancelled this week because OU's Navy ROTC, which typically runs the event, was barred from participating because of the shudown.
Normally, Oklahoma University football coach starts the really by handing off the football on campus at Oklahoma University and sending it on its way - by foot - to UT Dallas.
But this year, the Secretary of the Navy nixed the event in the wake of the shutdown, and the teams and game ball will be driven, according to KOCO.
Campers looking to pitch their tents on Florida's Treasure Coast will have to keep searching for now - the federally-owned land at St. Lucie campground has been closed indefinitely due to the shutdown.
The Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the campground, apologized to campers and said it just doesn't have enough money to keep the campsite running right now, according to WPBF.
With the National Park Service hamstrung by furloughs, a South Carolina man took it upon himself today to do some grounds keeping at the Lincoln Memorial.
Chris Cox was pushing a lawnmower and toting a chainsaw on the north side of the monument, doing the landscaping work that Park Service employees would normally do.
"The building behind me serves as a moral compass not only for the country but for the world," Cox said. "And over my dead body are we going to let this deteriorate.
Cox felt the memorial should not be neglected.
"We got men coming here to see these memorials in wheelchairs carrying respirators. They had hand to hand combat with the Nazi's.Come on man, this is a no-brainer to keep this area clean for them," he said.
"I've emptied hundreds of trash cans. I've cut up branches that have fallen during storms in these handicapped access roads," Cox said.
The U.S. Park Police told ABC News that Cox was "told to leave and he left." Cox was not arrested or fined for violating the official closure of the monument, said Sgt. Paul Brooks. He did not finish moving the grass around the Lincoln Memorial, Brooks said.
However, many people who saw Cox at work thanked him for his efforts and even tried to pay him.
"I've had people walk by and hand me $2 here and $5 there and I say no I'm not homeless, I'm out here working," Cox said.
Employees of a little known Treasury Department agency that approves new breweries and beer labels have been furloughed, keeping up-and-coming craft breweries from entering the market. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has ceased issuing permits for new breweries. Established beer makers are safe for now, but small businesses say they're losing money everyday they can't get their suds on the shelves.
Many of the FDA's food safety inspectors have been furloughed, according to an agency memo. That means "routine establishment inspections… monitoring of imports… [and] and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform [the] public," has stopped, according to the Food and Drug Administration. According to a government report 90 percent of the ahrimp sold in the U.S. is imported from overseas. The FDA will continue inspections at US ports, but will not send inspectors abroad.
FDA furloughs have also affected food recalls. It took the agency five days to post Turkey Hill's ice cream recall after the company announced Friday that three of its flavors might contain metal shavings. "As a result of the shutdown, FDA is unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities," the agency said in a statement on day two of the shutdown, noting that workers are available for "vital activities" like high-risk recalls.
Will the shutdown ruin Christmas? Furloughed customs officials mean imports are piling up at the nation's ports, and goods might not be able to find their way to stores by Christmas if the shutdown continues, reports the Wall Street Journal. It takes retailers three months to get goods on to store shelves once they've arrived at an American port, and business owners are worried there won't be enough time.
Alaskan crabbing is one of the most dangerous and lucrative jobs in America. Given the stakes, the season is short and tightly regulated, but without federal employees to issue permits and enforce quotas, this year's season might never even begin. The season should start Oct. 15, but fisherman fear that without permits their boats will be left idle in port, costing them millions of dollars.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has furloughed 9,000 employees, making it unable to track infectious diseases like the flu. "We've gotten really good at trying to find outbreaks, but our strong network is getting weaker," CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said on day 1 of the shutdown. With its seasonal flu program on hold, the CDC is also unable to warn people most at risk, and its ability to create next year's flu shot might also be impacted, Reynolds said.