It's week 3 of the government shutdown. Here's a roundup of its local impact
Hector International Airport
There have been reports of airport security workers not showing up to work at airports across the U.S., resulting in longer security line waits.
But that's not the case in Fargo, Hector International Airport's executive director told Forum and WDAY reporters on Tuesday, Jan. 8. "I think this issue has been overblown," Shawn Dobberstein said.
Dobberstein said he talked to about 20 different airports over the course of the week and they were reporting normal wait times in security lines. As for paychecks, he said TSA workers eventually will get paid. Of course, the question remains as to when that will happen.
Food banks worried they won't meet demand if SNAP benefits run out
Funding for food stamps could run out if a partial government shutdown continues into March, and a local food bank said that could place a strain on their supplies.
More than 50,000 people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in North Dakota, according to the Great Plains Food Bank. Funding for those benefits will last until the end of February. The Great Plains Food Bank is concerned more people may rely on food banks for the bulk of their food needs if funding runs out.
It's still unclear how many people would need to use food banks or how long supplies would last, the food bank said. Great Plains Food Bank relies on donations from local grocery stores for most of its supplies.
Possible impact on federal housing assistance if the shutdown persists
North Dakota's Housing Finance Agency said low-income renters and home buyers aren't yet feeling the shutdown's impact, but people who get federal housing assistance could soon be impacted if the government shutdown drags on longer. If the partial government shutdown continues into March, landlords who rely on federal subsidies could be put in a tough spot.
"It's going to be the owners of those properties that are going to be mostly financially affected," said Jolene Kline, executive director of the state agency charged with distributing federal housing dollars.
Federal housing authorities anticipated the shutdown in early December and set aside backup funds, Kline said. But concerns are growing that it could last much longer than expected. There are more than 20,000 North Dakotans who rely on federal housing subsidies.
A government shutdown can highlight just how involved federal agencies can be in certain day-to-day business activities. Fargo craft beer maker Drekker Brewing Company told WDAY on Thursday, Jan. 10, that it can't distribute two new beers because of the government shutdown.
Before the brewery can send shipments of recently added beers Blueberry Lemon Brain Squeeze and Royal Bee to liquor and grocery stores, their labels must be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The two new beers can still be served at Drekker's tap houses.
Local bank says it will help unpaid federal employees
Gate City Bank said it will lend a hand to unpaid workers while they wait for the government to resume normal activities. North Dakota has 6,000 federal employees, and 2,000 of them are furloughed or working without pay. The bank said it would offer solutions for overdrafts and payment extensions for loans.
The bank recommends reaching out as soon as possible to take advantage of benefits, said Kim Settel, Gate City Bank's executive vice president of retail banking and lending. "Time is of the essence, and we want to make sure that we're getting things addressed early," she said.
Business owner offers cash to unpaid federal workers
The owner of a Moorhead electrical business is offering cash to federal government employees who won't get a paycheck because of the government shutdown. Grace Cummings Pas, owner of Grace Electric, is offering $200 to any federal workers who aren't getting paid who have been her customers in the past.