MADISON (WKOW) --- Those who depend on the federal government in the Madison area are slowly processing the end of the budget shutdown and resuming work, and other endeavors, tied to Washington's revenue stream.
Executive Director Mike Wollmer of the Cross Plains-based non-profit group Ice Age Trail Alliance says the group's management of the trail in the National Park Service hinges on volunteer help. During the sixteen day shutdown, federal liability insurance for volunteers was suspended, grounding them.
Wollmer says a major trail project is planned next week for Gibraltar Rock in Lodi. He still wonders if those plans will come to fruition.
"It's kind of like a street light," Wollmer tells 27 News.
"You throw a switch on, and it flickers and flashes, and when does it go to full power? When does the VIP, Volunteers in the Parks program, become effective?"
During the shutdown, the doors of Madison's USDA Forest Products Laboratory were closed. Researchers Carl Houtman told us of the frustrations of being unable to continue scientific projects, and the potential impact on student researchers and their academic tracks.
The Laboratory reopened, but Houtman's telephone extension at work still contained a voice mail message telling callers "...I will respond when I'm allowed to come back to work." Houtman later left a 27 News reporter a voice mail message about a work meeting he was attending Thursday night.
Programs important to the local real estate industry, such as the USDA home loan program, were unavailable to qualified, potential buyers during the shutdown.
Madison realtor Luke Bruckner tells 27 News some buyers also experienced hiccups obtaining credit scores during the shutdown.
Bruckner says Madison's real estate market weathered the shutdown, and has been strengthening. But Bruckner says the next end-date for federal government funding in January causes some concern, even though some congressional leaders are already maintaining another shutdown will not be an option.
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