EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 2, 2013

Granite Staters frustrated with government shutdown

Granite Staters express frustration with Congress


As a photo showing veterans defying the closure to visit the World War II monument in Washington circulated via social media, it touched readers.

“The monuments belong to the people,” Krista Tockey said on the Derry News Facebook page. “We should be allowed to view them no matter what the government is doing.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan was still assessing the trouble for the state.

“We’ve been meeting with the various state agencies regarding the potential impacts of the government specific to New Hampshire,” aide William Hinkle said. “Unfortunately, the National Guard will be the hardest hit. They have already dealt with furloughs and will now lack funding to pay technicians and utility bills.”

Some programs such as Medicaid are spared for now because of prior-year balances or because they are regarded as essential, Hinkle said.

“We will face challenges the longer the shutdown drags on and federal funds are exhausted,” he said, “but the state of New Hampshire will continue to operate.”

Federal disaster aid awarded communities in western New Hampshire for flooding is already obligated, but Hinkle said it could be slowed if fewer FEMA workers aren’t available to process the money.

“But as long as the shutdown doesn’t drag on too long, there won’t be a problem,” he said.

Federal agencies said they would be less social, reducing their Tweeting and Website updates or ceasing them.

The shutdown didn’t interfere with air travel or highway construction.

“There has been no disruption to airport operations,” said Thomas Malafronte, assistant director at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Flight controllers and baggage screeners both work for the federal government, but are deemed essential personnel.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that this remains the case,” he said, “and that a prolonged shutdown doesn’t negatively impact the airport, airlines or the traveling public.”

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