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      Sachuest Point reopens after government shutdown

      It was just as peaceful Thursday at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown as it was for the past 16 days.

      The first visitors in two weeks were on the grounds, and they didn't even know the place has been closed.

      "We just thought it was state-run and didn't know it was federal," said Joanne Cannata of New Jersey. "If it had been shut down since we came here, I would be a little disappointed. But again, if I planned my vacation, suddenly to have to cancel things, I'd be pretty upset."

      There are 540 national wildlife refuges around the country, and while the animals like the piping plovers probably aren't aware of the dispute in Washington, the workers at these refuges are.

      "So, it was my absolute pleasure to be able to give them all a call this morning and say, 'Hey, we're open for business, come on back,'" said Sarah Lang, a volunteer coordinator at Sachuest Point.

      That must have been the same feeling for 800 or so workers at the Naval Station in Newport, who found out partway through the shutdown that they were working -- though they weren't getting paychecks.

      That also goes for the 300 or so Rhode Island National Guard members and the federal contractors working with them.