After 16 days, the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge has reopened after being shutdown by the government.
Virginia Rettig manages the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway Township, and after the government shutdown began 16 days ago, she, along with the rest of her federally funded staff were furloughed. Rettig told NBC40, "Well, we are very, very happy to be back to work. We have been waiting for quite a while and it's great to be back." Retting also said, "It isn't necessarily a break to not be able to go to work. I know that everybody here, maybe everybody likes a day or two off, but we were very eager to be doing our jobs."
After Congress approved a budget late Wednesday night, federal employees throughout the country got the news they would be going back to work on Thursday.
The furloughed employees weren't the only ones that were eager to get back. Refuge visitors and volunteers say it has been a long 16 days, but they are just glad that the refuge has finally reopened.
Becky Hedden is a regular visitor and a volunteer at the refuge, who said, "We are thrilled to have the refuge back open. This morning I was not sure if it was open or not but I drove down here in the hopes that it would be and I was thrilled to find the gate open."
At the start of the shutdown, the 177th Fighter Wing, the U.S. Coast Guard Cape May, the FAA Tech Center, and the all reported furloughed employees. The 177th Fighter Wing and the Coast Guard gradually brought back their furloughed employees over the last two weeks.
But on Thursday, the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, and the FAA Tech Center, both reopened.
The FAA Tech Center was not immediately available for comment on Thursday, but Stavros Gavrilis, an intern at the FAA Tech Center, explained what it was like inside the Tech Center by saying, "The atmosphere seems to be pretty relieved. You can definitely tell there is a little chitter-chatter going on in the cubicles - but everything seems to be really good."
The deal that Congress agreed on only funds the government through January 15th, and requires negotiators to report on a more permanent deal by December 13th.
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