National Parks Losing Money During Republican Government Shutdown

Nothing to see here, folks.

The government shutdown that started nearly three weeks ago has cost the National Park Service nearly half a million dollars in entrance fees and tens of millions of dollars in visitor spending each day, according to a group representing the agency’s retirees.

The Coalition of National Park Service retirees estimated that the park system has missed out on about 715,000 visitors daily, based on October 2012 attendance numbers, according to a statement last week from the organization.

The group calculated that the tourism drop off has cost $450,000 each day in fee collections and $76 million per day in lost visitor spending.

One caveat for those numbers: They came out Thursday, which was one day before the Department of the Interior decided to reopen a dozen parks for between six and 10 days with funding from the states where they are located. That means the amount of lost revenue is likely to decline, at least while those parks remain open.

The five states that reached agreements with Interior are likely to seek reimbursement once the shutdown ends, but Congress would have to authorize the payments, according to a Post article.

The New Yorker Cover Sums Up Washington Shutdown

Sums it up for all of us.

“I’m really frustrated with the inability of Congress to do its job,” says Mark Ulriksen, the artist behind this week’s cover, “Haunted House.” “Boehner and Cruz—these politicians are only after the perpetuation of their own power. There are spider webs growing in the Capitol, bats haunting it, and all this legislation that’s just dying because these guys can’t do anything. The main sign of life is that black cat. If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be worth laughing at.”


Madison’s Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood Featured On Front Page Of Today’s Wisconsin State Journal


The neighborhood that James and I call home is featured on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal.  The Williamson-Marquette neighborhood won a national honor as one of the Great Neighborhoods for 2013.   There is much to be proud of when it comes to the vibrancy of this part of Madison, as I noted when the honor was first made public.

There is no doubt that this neighborhood cares about issues, both local and national, and makes a point for clearly spelling out where we stand.  When it comes to politics some of the wards in this area have the most liberal voting records in the state.  (I am proud to live in one of them.)  On local issues there is a continuing push back when it comes to senseless development at the expense of quality of life issues for those who call this place home.

I have been most impressed with the local interest in a wide variety of issues that turn people out to the local Marquette Neighborhood Association meetings.  During board discussions it is most common to have feedback from locals who sit around the room, adding perspective and at times emotion to the matters up for a vote.  Since this area is really a destination place both to live and play the development issues at times have become more heated, but the resolve of the community to make sound decisions never falters.

It is another feather in the cap of Madison that one of its neighborhoods has national recognition.  It makes for smiles to see this story make the paper, as so many have worked to see this area thrive and become even more dynamic.

Eclectic, engaged and evolving, the Williamson-Marquette neighborhood on the  Near East Side has long been known by Madisonians as a special place.

Now, the neighborhood that once prevented a freeway from passing through its  core and still sponsors some of the city’s most popular summer festivals is  getting national recognition.

The American Planning Association has designated Williamson-Marquette  one of ten Great Neighborhoods for 2013, joining places including San  Francisco’s Chinatown, Downtown Mason City, Iowa, and the Historic District of  Beaufort, S.C.

Williamson-Marquette was chosen for its location, walkability, revitalization  efforts after decades of decline and strong community engagement.

“Everyone in Madison knows of the Marquette neighborhood,” Mayor Paul Soglin  said in a statement. “It is our SoHo. It has the beauty of the lakes, the vibe  of new, emerging business risk-takers and a home for persons from all walks of  life.”