Roundup: And We’re Back

Some government data starts to flow, but other information may be lost • North Dakota oil spill could be worst on record • Illinois town named “best in world” •’s technical issues


Kevin Bacher

A park ranger opens the gate of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington after the federal government reopened Thursday morning. A Huffington Post report says the businesses that rely on park visitors for revenue around the country lost $30 million during the last two weeks.

Websites Reopen. Websites like the USDA Economic Research Service and U.S. Census are back online. The sites had been shut down during the fiscal battle that closed the federal government.

USDA Reports Delayed or Cancelled. Even though the federal government is back in business, the U.S. Ag Department says it will have to cancel or postpone several routine crop reports, the Des Moines Register reports. USDA said Thursday it will not be releasing the monthly crop production and supply and demand reports for October. Those would normally have come out last week. The next reports are would normally come out November 8.

USDA also cancelled crop progress reports for October 7 and 15 and postponed its monthly cattle-on-feed report that normally would have come out last Friday.

The agency said the National Agriculture Statistics Service, which produces the reports, has not been collecting data during the shutdown. Analysts are uncertain when they will be able to resume their normal reporting schedule.

The reports help farmers and others in the ag industry make decisions about sales and purchases.

North Dakota Oil Spill. North Dakota officials are reporting what could be the worst pipeline oil spill in U.S. history. The spill from a crude-oil line in the northwest part of the state leaked 20,000 barrels, though some say the estimate is low. The spill covered about seven acres.

Best Small Town in the World.  Kewanee, Illinois, has been named the friendliest small town in the world by map maker Rand McNally. The town of 13,00 is located about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. The judges said the town was selected because of its colorful murals, civic pride and good cheer.  Are you having trouble with ProPublica has a nice roundup of the various stories that have attempted to explain the inexplicable: Why the federal government’s health insurance exchange website has had so many technical issues in its first weeks online.