Sequestration nation: Thousands of Americans forced to take unpaid leave

Flights are being grounded, scientific research cut, military operations scrapped and welfare schemes curtailed by Barack Obama's cuts. David Usborne details the consequences from state to state

Click graphic to enlarge

1. Los Angeles, CA

The sequester landed at America's airports this week, as the Federal Aviation Administration began implementing the furloughs (unpaid leave) mandated by the cuts. The air regulator has been forced to furlough 47,000 employees, who will lose one day of work every other week. The first round was implemented at the weekend and earlier this week, reportedly causing delays at Los Angeles airport. Although some delays were also attributed to bad weather, among other things, the lack of air traffic control staff as a result of the furloughs was thought to have a played part in delays at various airports, including those in the New York area, Washington DC and Baltimore.

2. Los Angeles, CA

Straight to voicemail. Anyone wanting help from the US District Court in Los Angeles – the biggest federal court in the country – should know that the clerk's office will be offering reduced services only on seven of the 19 Fridays between now and the end of August.

3. San Diego, CA

In April, the US Navy delayed the deployment from San Diego of two ships in its Pacific Fleet, the USS Rentz and USS Jefferson City. Another vessel, the USS Thach, deployed in January for six months on a drugs-trafficking patrol, was ordered back to port.

4. Marshall Islands

The Pacific islands, which rely on the US government for 60 per cent of their national budget, are braced for trouble. Already, word is out that 15 per cent of employees at the Reagan Missile Test Site on the atoll of Kwajalein may be laid off.

5. Fairbanks, AK

There is no volcanic eruption in Alaska that goes unnoticed and ash-wary civil aviation is grateful for it. But the Alaska Volcano Observatory says it is being forced to cut back on its real-time monitoring of the Little Sitkin, Ukinrek Maars and Ugashik-Peulik volcanoes.

6. Sitka, AK

A "closed" sign will soon be hung at the Bill Brady drug and alcohol rehab centre in Sitka. "Taking this away is going to make it difficult," said spokesman Michael Jenkins. "Here, alcohol and drug abuse has a very high incidence."

7. Reno, NV

Opening hours at the largest adoption centre for wild horses, near Reno, are to be cut. Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Centre represents the best hope of a new home for wild horses saved from western ranges.

8. Connell, WA

Tents should already be springing up on campgrounds in Scooteney Park, near Moses Lake in central Washington state, but not this year. The park, which gets 45,000 visitors a year, says it cannot open the grounds because it cannot pay staff.

9. Libby, MT

A Montana county west of Glacier National Park is being asked to return $1.14m of federal money it has already received that was meant to maintain roads to rural schools. Washington says it cannot afford to pay it after all.

10. Rapid City, SD

There will be no air show at Ellsworth Air Force Base this year. Even though it draws 30,000 visitors the show, called Dakota Thunder, usually costs the base more than $200,000 to stage.

11. Stillwater, OK

The Mission of Hope homeless shelter expects federal support to drop by 5 per cent. All over the country, programmes for the poor and vulnerable are set to suffer. In Maine, for instance, charities warn that meals-on-wheels for the elderly will be cut back.

12. Columbus, OH

Steve Nolder, the chief of the public defenders' office in southern Ohio, has resigned to save others at the start of their careers from being axed. He has run the office since 2005. "It's the right decision to make," he said.

13. Shanksville, PA

Want to visit the memorial to victims of United Flight 93, the plane hijacked and deliberately crashed into a field on 9/11? Check the website first. Summer hours that were meant to start three weeks ago but have been delayed until 1 May. Interpretative programmes at the site have been curtailed.

14. New York, NY

A judge has delayed until next January the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, charged with conspiring to kill Americans because of his alleged role as al-Qa'ida's chief propagandist. The public defender's office is not ready because of furloughs.

15. Long Island, NY

Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider beneath Long Island, a similar facility to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, could be eviscerated or even shut, threatening not just scientific progress but also 900 jobs.

16. White House, DC

Even the executive branch is not protected. Staff attached to the Office of Management and Budget have been told curtail use of subscription internet hotspots, while some will be asked to take 10 days at home without pay between now and September.

17. West Virginia

A national programme set up in 1965 to combat poverty is set to lose nearly 600 staff positions. Hardest hit will be West Virginia, whose rural communities will suffer most.

18. Roanoke, VA

Homes in parts of rural southern Virginia and Tennessee may soon be deprived of Downton Abbey and other shows on PBS, the public service television, because two transmitters must be shut down.

19. Fort Bragg, NC

Army brats celebrate – across the US, some 84,000 children who go to school on military bases may soon be on four-day weeks. Worst affected would be Fort Bragg, which educates roughly 5,000 children from military families at the base near Fayetteville.

20. Orangeburg, SC

Currently on its spring tour, the famous US Army Band was due to perform on 30 April at a high-school gymnasium. Now it's skipping it. Where there is no money, there will be no music.

21. Pensacola, FL

The entire 2013 season of the Blue Angels, the US Air Force aerobatics team, has been cancelled. Thrilling crowds since 1946, the prestigious team of pilots has never before been grounded. Air shows around the country may also be cancelled because of their absence.

22. Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida at Gainesville has grown fat on funding, most of it federal, for its array of research projects in areas as diverse as food industry innovation to health sciences. Now the university is bracing for the first drop in funding in years, maybe by 10 per cent.

23. Orlando, FL

Cities that sell themselves as convention destinations are suffering as government trade shows are scrapped. A federal training expo set for Orlando in May with 7,000 attendees has been axed already. Some venues say government events provide two-thirds of their revenues.

24. Miami, FL

No overtime for customs officers meant four-hour queues for international passengers arriving at Miami Airport one recent weekend. Two hundred who missed connections had to sleep in the terminal.

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