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Government Shutdown Sows Confusion among Drivers, Workers

Elaine Thompson
Associated Press

The partial government shutdown has some in Washington wondering what's open, and what's not.  The National Park Service is working to sort out confusion among drivers as state officials are advising workers seeking unemployment benefits.

State highways crossing federal land remain open to through traffic. Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold gave an example of what that means at the park.

“State Route 410 and 123 remain open. Those are state routes—through routes that go through the park. However, all the trails in the park are closed. So the trails along that roadway are all being posted with closure signs, along with all the other trails accessible from outside the park,” she said.

Washington state's Employment Department says furloughed government workers may apply for jobless benefits. But the agency sent out a reminder stating that applying for unemployment these days is done via the Internet or a phone hotline. Some federal workers are mistakenly showing up at WorkSource job counseling centers, according to the agency. They no longer accept unemployment applications there.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.