Oklahomans face hurdles in federal government shutdown

Many Oklahomans are running into roadblocks when seeking basic services from federal government programs as the state begins feeling the effects of the government shutdown brought on by Washington's inability to pass spending legislation.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: October 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm •  Published: October 2, 2013
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After waiting for close to an hour for the Oklahoma City Social Security Administration offices to open, Marsha Johnson left less than a minute after she walked through the glass doors inside Shepherd Mall.

She told a long line of people outside that if they came for a new Social Security card they might as well leave now.

“They said that they couldn't accommodate that because they are shut down,” said the 53-year-old Johnson. Johnson, who is new to the Social Security disability program, said she was told she would not be able to get a replacement card until the shutdown is resolved. Johnson said she needs her card to ensure she can receive benefit services.

She is one of many Oklahomans who are running into roadblocks when seeking basic services from federal government programs as the state begins feeling the effects of the government shutdown brought on by Washington's inability to pass spending legislation.

A little over an hour south of Oklahoma City in Sulphur, park rangers at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area closed gates and hung signs on hiking trails telling visitors the park is closed until further notice.

The park is a major part of the local economy. The recreation area hosts close to 3,500 visitors each day in October and stands to lose $2,000 per day in lost campground fees during the shutdown, according to a news release from the park.

Shelly Sawapzky, executive director of the Sulphur Chamber of Commerce, said her office has been receiving calls from disgruntled citizens hoping to visit the park's campgrounds, natural springs, and bison overlook. Sawapzky said the shutdown is even affecting local hunters.

“One of the things that the park is popular for this time of year is hunting, and yesterday was the first day of archery season for deer,” Sawapzky said. “This is the first year in several years that bucks can be taken in the park, and so the hunters are a little outraged.”

The park's website is not being maintained, and the majority of its workers started furlough Wednesday.

Concerns for troops

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch he went on to cover the Oklahoma Senate for eCapitol before joining the...
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