Federal government shutdown hits north coast

Hundreds of North Coast federal employees prepared to stop work Tuesday morning as a result of the government shutdown that furloughed some 800,000 federal workers nationwide.

Non-essential employees were given until noon Tuesday to clean up their offices and leave outgoing voice and email messages.

At the federal building in Santa Rosa, which houses about 150 government workers, employees in casual attire cleaned out refrigerators and packed potted plants not knowing when they would be back at work.

About a third of those workers, who are with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the agencies designated to shut down, are legally barred from working and will not get paid during the furlough.

The Santa Rosa office is a hub for NOAA's fisheries restoration efforts, Endangered Species Act enforcement and oil spill clean up.

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