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Federal Shutdown Rolls Across Kansas

The federal government shutdown is showing its effects across Kansas, from shuttered national parks and Farm Service Agency offices to charities that rely on federal money.

Since the shutdown began early Tuesday, signs have been posted at Farm Service Agency offices statewide, telling visitors the agency will reopen once Congress restores federal funding.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase County is also among the nation's national parks that are now closed because of the lack of appropriations, as are the Cimarron National Grassland in far western Kansas and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Kansas.

At Fort Larned National Historic Site, Chief Ranger George Elmore said only he and one other staffer are working. Everyone else on the 16-member staff is on furlough.

Catholic Charities Inc.-Wichita Diocese will assume the financial responsibility to keep its doors open and its programs and staff in place for now, said Michael Burrus, the charity's executive director. But he said that if the shutdown lasts longer than a couple of weeks, the agency might have to close programs.

Nutritional support for low-income women and their children also could be in trouble if the shutdown doesn't end soon. That's according to Heather Peterson, a dietitian for Reno County's Women, Infant and Children program. Peterson said the program has enough funds to cover two weeks of operations.