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Open for business after government shutdown

After being closed for two weeks because of the partial government shutdown, the St. Charles office of the Kane-DuPage Soil & Water Conservation District was able to reopen Thursday after Congress approved a bill Wednesday night to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling temporarily.

“We’re glad that this disruption is over and that we can get back to serving our customers,” said Paige Buck, public information officer for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Illinois.

The district works with communities and farmers alike to protect soil and keep water clean, Buck said.

Fermilab public events and tours have resumed.

In addition, production of Fermilab’s online publication, “Fermilab Today,” resumed Thursday.

No Fermilab employees were furloughed during the shutdown. Fermilab employs about 1,700 people.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, cast the sole “no” vote in the Illinois delegation on the bipartisan agreement to fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

“The Senate and president have chosen to add $1 trillion to our debt for an agreement with no teeth, all the while ignoring our massive debt that threatens our economy and our future,” Hultgren said in a statement. “The debt crisis is not make-believe, and I was not elected to stand by while we sacrifice our children’s future for short-term political gain.”

His colleague, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, voted to support the measure.

“It is my hope that President Obama and Congressional Democrats join us in combating the almost $17 trillion debt that is holding back our economy and diminishing the future prosperity of our children and grandchildren,” Roskam said in a statement.

Roskam said he will “continue to fight for fairness for all Americans under the president’s health care law, work to protect individuals from the worst parts of the law and seek solutions to create a patient-centered, cost-effective health care system that does not put bureaucrats between individuals and their health care providers.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, also voted to support the bill.

“We cannot continue to govern from one manufactured crisis to the next,” Foster said in a statement after the vote. “Now it is time for moderate Republicans and Democrats to come together and work out a long-term budget agreement that builds on the economic recovery we’ve seen since the recession.”

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