Mass. historic sites close under federal shutdown

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October 1, 2013, 6:27 pm
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(NECN: Mike Cronin) - As we mentioned, all national parks and federally-run historic sites across the country are closed. In Boston, tourists hoping to see Old Ironsides in the Charlestown Navy Yard were turned away with a simple sign reading "closed."

In all, 35 national parks and historical sites in New England are closed. The most by far are located right here in Massachusetts, where 18 sites have been locked up.

One of those Bay State locations is the Blackstone River Valley, where rangers who manage its historical sites don't know when they'll be back on the job.

“The dysfunction in congress is just outrageous,” says Donna Williams.

The Blackstone River Valley National River Heritage Corridor's website wasn't working Tuesday. The national park affiliate has affected by the federal government shutdown. And some 13 employees associated with the park are being furloughed.

“Everything's down. They can't take calls. They can't use their email, so they're at home,” Williams says.

She is chair of the park's commission. She heads up a non-profit, which won't be impacted by the shutdown but says federal employees like park rangers are out of work.

“This is just a symptom of the way a system should not work,” Williams says.

“Operationally it causes us some issues,” says Rich Dinges, president of Northpoint Mortgage in Sturbridge.

He says the dysfunction in Washington could affect home buyers and sellers. He says new loans need to have tax transcripts but says people can't access them because the IRS is closed.

“You will have home buyers who we cannot get their tax transcripts, therefore we have to delay some closings until those transcripts come in,” he says.

While there's no immediate impact to veterans who receive assistance from Veterans Inc., marketing manager Justin Martin says that could change.
“Certainly if this shutdown was to go on for two or three weeks, then that could really impact us here and our ability to help our veterans.”

Martin hopes the shutdown is resolved quickly. He says many veterans rely on checks from the department of veteran affairs.

“For their service, for their pension, for reimbursement for medical expenses and certainly if they don't have money, then our veterans won't have the money or access to the benefits that they earned while serving our country.”

Tags: National Parks, government shutdown, Mike Cronin, blackstone river valley, historical sites, donna williams, national river heritage
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