12:55 p.m. update: Many federal workers are required to work without pay today, including air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration workers at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. An airport spokeswoman said operations were normal, and there have been no effects from the shutdown.
11:55 a.m. update: On Saturday morning, families strolled up to the visitor’s center at the Martin Luther Ling Jr. National Historic Park in Atlanta, only to find a darkened building and a sign that said “area closed.”
“Because of a lapse in federal appropriations, this national park facility is closed for the safety of visitors and park resources,” the sign said.
Javaris Green Sr. of St. Petersburg, Fla., read the sign, confused. He and wife Kenya were driving their five children to Tennessee, and hadn’t heard about the government shutdown.
“When we come through Atlanta, we always try to stop at the King Center,” Javaris said. He pronounced the shutdown “stupid” and criticized elected officials.
“I think they’re being pretty catty,” he said. “They get their feelings hurt, and it affects everybody.”
Paul Braga brought his family from Brazil for skiing in North Carolina and other adventures. He stopped in Atlanta because he wanted to teach his children about King.
“They were so excited about it,” Braga said.
They settled for a stroll around the grounds and a few pictures.
Doug and Joanna Christiansen of California also were caught off guard by the shutdown. They were driving to Charleston to visit his mother and decided to visit some historical sites along the way.
“I knew it was coming,” Doug said of the government shutdown. “I was just thinking it wouldn’t affect this.”
Original post: Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is officially closed due to the partial federal shutdown that took affect at midnight, but you wouldn’t know it at a glance.
Hikers, runners and dog walkers are out enjoying its nearly 3,000 acres just like they do on any nice Saturday. The parking situation is impacted slightly and anyone needing to make a pit stop is out of luck.
Brian Jory showed up a little before 8 a.m. and found a traffic jam as cars tried unsuccessfully to pull into the main entrance.
“It was a little chaotic,” he said. There’s room in the overflow lot around the corner, but the park’s visitors center, where people could usually stop it to get a drink or use the facilities, are closed.
Jory reacted with a shrug, a little disappointed but not terribly shocked that lawmakers couldn’t reach an agreement Friday night.
“There’s too much division and hatred in politics,” he said.
Georgia’s nine military bases and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t be impacted much, as Congress previously passed spending bills for the Pentagon and Department of Health and Human Services.
Fitness-minded history buffs could be out of luck, though.
The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains reported it would close in case of a shutdown, canceling weekend walking tours. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change temporarily shuttered the last time the government shut down. Its Facebook page shared thoughts from CEO the Rev. Bernice King:
Dispute over border security led to the shutdown, with President Donald Trump insisting on funding for a wall on the border with Mexico and Democrats rejecting it.
“OUR GREAT COUNTRY MUST HAVE BORDER SECURITY!” the president said via Twitter on Friday night.
Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become U.S. House speaker next month, tweeted her take as well: “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, all of which include funding for strong, sensible and effective border security — not the president's ineffective and expensive wall.”
As for security at the officially closed Kennesaw Mountain, things aren’t exactly battened down. The “Do Not Enter” sign at the main lots is somewhat undermined by the wide-open walkway just beside the gates. Jory said he passed some park rangers on his way in, and asked if it was OK to proceed.
“Don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to,” one of them responded, and he went on in.
Return to AJC.com for updates today.
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