Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Dayton-area leaders are breathing sighs of relief as the proposed budget deal in Congress appears to be ending the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration.

“This deal would prevent the sequester for a 2-year period, and it also would give certainty to the Department of Defense,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio’s 10th district. He’s relieved by the outcome after a year of belt-tightening for lots of government bodies, including the Pentagon. With the proposed deal the Pentagon avoids $20 billion in would-be sequestration cuts.

Jerry Kenney / WYSO

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force says it’s ready to move ahead with a planned 224,000 square foot addition that will house the museum’s Presidential Aircraft Gallery and other exhibits.

Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C. landed the $35.4 million dollar contract to build the new hangar at Wright-Patt, though the non-profit Air Force Museum Foundation is privately financing the expansion.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is expected to privatize more energy and utility operations as it tries to offset steep cuts in the federal defense budget.

The base has already asked for bids to privately manage two water plants on the base that pump more than three millions of gallons a day out of an underground aquifer.

Base spokesman Daryl Mayer tells the Dayton Daily News that the Defense Logistics Agency also has asked for bids to maintain the base infrastructure for waste water collection and natural gas distribution at the state's largest single-site employer.

Jerry Kenney

Visitors to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton are getting a look at the inside the plane that carried John F. Kennedy’s body from Dallas to Washington, D.C through December 1st. Kennedy's Air Force One is getting extra attention as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Dayton-area officials held a public meeting Tuesday about the effects of sequestration, or automatic federal spending cuts, on the local economy. They say the outlook is gloomy if sequestration continues into 2014.

“Survival mode” and “devastation” were just a couple of the phrases tossed out at the event.

“As this goes downhill, the next thing’s gonna go downhill, and we’re gonna be in a world of hurt,” said Greene County Commission Tom Koogler.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is reopening two galleries on a limited basis due to popular demand.

The Dayton-area museum says the Presidential Gallery and the Research and Development Gallery will be open Thursday through Sunday beginning this Thursday. They closed May 1 because of federal budget reductions.

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

As the federal government shutdown drags into its third week, it has become a sort of background noise, present but not always noticeable. Unless you’re a federal worker, that is; Justine Kelly’s a case in point.

She works at the Social Security Administration, and has been working without pay for weeks.

“This is just so demoralizing,” she said at a Democratic party event in Dayton Monday. “I feel like nobody cares. I feel nobody’s listening, like this is all a game.”

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

The Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) has launched an initiative called the “Federal Retention Program” to protect and expand Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. But that effort is an uphill battle against federal fiscal instability.

Wright-Patt puts upwards of $4 billion a year into the Dayton region, and a major goal of the new initiative is to keep that money coming in. At the same time, DDC president Jeff Hoagland admits the outlook in Washington is a bit bleak.

Most civilian workers are back at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, although officials say normal operations will remain difficult during the partial government shutdown. But across the Dayton area, Wright-Patt isn’t alone in its woes since the partial federal government shutdown began Oct. 1.

 Nearly 9,000 civilian workers went back to work Monday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. That’s after the Department of Defense reinterpreted a new law in order to end furlough days.

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