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Shutdown’s lingering effects still hurting some locals

SEATTLE — Local residents are glad the federal government shutdown is over, but it may take a while before everything gets back to normal.

“We were really sad about the shutdown because we live in Ballard, and we come to the Locks almost every day,” Wendy Jensen said Wednesday. “It really impacted our morning walks.

boat“It’s definitely time to get people back to work,” J.J. Jensen said.  “I think that was the big thing for me, all those people out of work.”

Some non-government workers will remain out of work for at least a few more days. The Alaskan king crab fishing season started Tuesday, but local boats can’t head out on the water until they get their federal quotas.

“The applications have been in for several months,” said Mark Gleason, who represents Bering Sea crab fishermen. “The National Marine Fisheries Service knows exactly what the quotas should be.”

But Gleason has been told it could take three to five days to process the paperwork.  Meanwhile, fishermen are losing at least $80,000 a day, he said.

“I’m very hopeful that when the government opens, the agency will make it a top priority to get that crab quota issued.”

Waiting is also hard for researchers at the University of Washington. They were about to start a clinical trial for breast cancer patients, but they couldn’t get the final approval from the National Institutes of Health during the shutdown.

“There’s real people being affected,” research coordinator Jennifer Childs said. “Weeks and months in an advanced breast cancer patient can have a big impact.”

They also hope they’ll be a priority with federal offices reopening.

But some locals say it’s going to be hard to recover from this shutdown, not knowing if another one could be around the corner. The budget measure approved by Congress Wednesday night only funds the government until Jan. 15.

“It’s fantastic that we finally found some common ground,” Tyler Yost said. “But it seems like it’s just going to keep happening over and over again.”

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