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Government Shutdown Worries

POTTSVILLE — Worried, concerned and frustrated. Those are some of the emotions in Schuylkill County regarding the government shutdown.

Some of those feelings are coming from officials of the Head Start program in Pottsville.  This is where preschool children play and learn.

There are 82 fewer kids here than there used to be.  Officials say federal budget cuts due to the sequester earlier this year FORCED those children out.

On top of that, Karen Koppenhaver said 16 members of the staff were laid off.

“It really upsets me and makes me angry that our government can’t work together and solve issues that need to be solved.”

Some federal money funds Head Start. Now with a freeze on the cash because of the government shutdown, there is more concern.

Mary Ann Devlin said she worries about more cuts if the politicians don’t come up with an agreement in the next few months.

“It’s very frustrating to know that there’s children and staffs and jobs hanging in the balance while they try to work this out.”

Despite the government shutdown, all 12 employees at the Social Security Administration office in Pottsville are working without pay. That includes Elizabeth Metzger.

“I have bills to pay like everyone else, but again, we’re servants to the public and we feel they need to be paid,” Metzger said.

Will Ouelette, the office manager, said that’s because his staff has a good work ethic.

“Our employees are working because they are dedicated and they don’t know when they’ll be paid at this time.”

Some say it’s a waiting game now, waiting to see how long the government shut down will continue.


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