Pisgah Inn Owner: "What A Crazy World We Live In"

11:00 PM, Oct 5, 2013   |    comments
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WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- The clock keeps ticking as billions of dollars are spent, and hundreds of thousands of government employees stay home another day without pay.

But the unwelcome and unpaid vacation might end for the Pentagon's civilian employees.

The Pentagon has 400,000 civilian employees and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagal has ordered "most" of them to come back to work.

READ: Furloughed Pentagon Employees Ordered Back To Work

Furloughed employees might be headed back to work, but National Parks, including stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, are still closed.

Bruce O'Connell owns the Pisgah Inn in Waynesville. His inn is on federally-owned land and he was told to close his place by Thursday.

He followed orders at first but re-opened his Inn, restaurant, and gift-shop Friday morning only to be shut down by law enforcement two hours later.

READ: NC Innkeeper Defies Shutdown For Two Hours

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke to O'Connell by phone on Saturday.

"Just, scream, scream, scream, scream and don't take it anymore," said Bruce O'Connell, owner, Pisgah Inn.

O'Connell decided to re-open his inn on Thursday, despite federal orders to close.

"The rangers appeared at our parking lot entrance ramps, all three of them, rangers parked their cars there, turned on their lights, and started blocking visitors from entering our parking lots," said O'Connell. 

"That was Friday at 12:30 - as we speak now, the Rangers are still there in full force."

He added, "My reaction to it is - what a crazy world we live in."

O'Connell has called his congressional leaders, local sheriff, and the acting superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway but they haven't been able to help.

"The reason we are impacted is political expediency period. There is no other answer it's ridiculous. The road is open, we're closed it makes no sense. Period," said O'Connell. 

October is the busiest time of year for the Inn -- and it's booked throughout the month. 

O'Connell says guests with reservations' deposits will be returned and there will be no fees because of this shutdown. 

He says his next step is to call a federal magistrate on Monday to file an injunction against the National Park Service.

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