For Mike and Michelle Locke of Rock Island, the government shutdown has become personal.

The Lockes are in the process of closing on a new home. Because it is located in Andalusia, they qualified for a rural development loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But loan processing has been halted because of the shutdown, leaving the Lockes and other Quad-City buyers not sure when — or if — they will be unpacking their belongings in new homes.

The USDA program is the only government loan program to be shut down, Todd Tholl, branch manager of Equity Loans, Davenport, said. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA and VA loans are still going through. He was told that is because USDA funding was not allocated before the shutdown.

The Lockes' closing originally was scheduled for Oct. 18, but was moved to Oct. 31. That is the day they need to vacate the house they rent. If the shutdown is not over by then, Michelle Locke said, they are not sure what will happen.

"After the 31st, we have not fulfilled that part of our contract," she said. "And if the shutdown ends, I do not know if they will rush (the loans) on through."

The loan does not require them to make a down payment. Instead, they put up $1,000 in earnest money that could be lost if the deal falls through.

"I never would have guessed that I would be affected by the shutdown," Mike Locke said. "Now, I am thinking how weird that something like this would affect me.

"If it gets to the point this is not going to close, I will see if the seller can wait for us and work with us, if he would be willing to rent the house to us for a month or two months.

"This is something beyond my control, and I don't like that," he said. "It is the lack of control that causes the most stress."

Their real estate agent is Dan Metzger of Keller Williams Realty Greater Quad-Cities, Davenport. He is hopeful things will work out for the Lockes and others facing the same shutdown-related problem.

"We will have to wait another week until we know what we need to do," he said. "I talked to the listing agent today and discussed that possibility (of renting). This is new ground, new territory. But she thought the seller would be agreeable to keep the deal going."

Tholl, of Equity Loans, said he has 11 other buyers facing problems similar to that encountered by the Lockes.

"The tricky part of this, everybody is in limbo," he said. "When people go back to work and get these loans going again, we don't know how long it may take. It could be that for every day the government is shut down, it puts the government behind a day.

"I've got about a dozen of these pretty much in same situation as the Lockes," Tholl said. "We already have negotiated extensions for some. But they are still in limbo. I am not getting much sleep either because my phone is ringing off the hook. They want answers."

The Lockes are from Grand Rapids, Minn. Mike served in the Marines, and Michelle worked 14 years as an X-ray technician. About 18 months ago, Mike was transferred to the Quad-Cities. They have three children: Hunter, 10, Peyton, 8, and McKenzie, 4.

Michelle said that 6 1/2 years ago, she fell on ice and has had three shoulder surgeries since. Eventually, she will have shoulder replacement surgery. In the meantime, she is unable to work. So the two-income family became a one-income family, but they still found their perfect home.

"We had been looking seriously since last March and more seriously this summer," she said. "It took a while to find what we were looking for ... three-bedroom, nice, finished basement, a nice backyard for the kids and dog and close to the Quad-Cities so my husband did not have so much of a commute.

"We both knew right away that we were going to live there. It was such an exciting feeling and I don't want to lose that. If it was just Mike and I, that would be one thing. But when you have three kids, it's scary, and it is stressful. There are so many emotions that go with it."


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Scare Tactics! Top US banker Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase warned Saturday that the United States needs to avoid defaulting on its debt, saying the possible repercussions are unfathomable. “It would ripple through the world economy in a way that you couldn't possibly understand," he said at a discussion held by the Institute of International Finance, a leading forum for the world's banks. What do you mean “you couldn’t possibly understand”! Bahahaha! Scare tactics! Just another example of just because you’re a banker you think you know everything. I tell you who understands…our Republican Party understands! They understand they better not raise the debt ceiling otherwise they will be primaried! And you know who really loses if obama’s America defaults? Not us Americans….but China and Japan! They are the two largest US creditors, holding nearly $2.5 trillion in US Treasury bonds between them. Honestly, do you really care if China and Japan gets caught holding the bag! Hahaha Serves them right! Yes, I know, when we TeaPublicans force Obama's government to default on its debt, some of you might lose a large share of your 401k retirement. But honestly folks, that’s just the price Americans are going to have to pay to save OUR America! “P n P” in 2016 ! Perry n Palin taking back OUR America!


I truly feel sorry for the Locke family. It is a true shame we would treat our faithful military families this way. I hope all Quad Citians will make a difference and learn a lesson because of this shut down. The Democrat party has refused to do their legal duty and has not passed a budget for over 4 years. Then they spend our grandchildrens and great grandchildrens money. Finally, they try to blame the Republican party for refusing to let them continue this irresponsible overspending. While the GOP usually acts just like the liberal Democrats, they finally decided to do the right thing. In the next election vote out every Democrat and we can get some fiscal sanity back and hard working Americans like the Locke won't be short changed for the Democrats political game playing.


Just remember readers, in 2014 and 2016 to make sure the GOP becomes the party of the past.

And, should be listed in the history books, as the party that fulfilled Ariel Durant's quote.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”


Obama is the one that does not want to negotiate with anyone. He is willing to negotiate with the terrorist state of Iran but not with the Republicans? That is what I call a "radical".

Do you remember when George Bush was in office and Barry Obama voted against the debt ceiling raise? Do you remember that he called anyone that voted for the debt ceiling raise "un-patriotic". I'm sure you don't. The fact is that he DID NOT vote for the debt ceiling raise but is now demanding for the debt ceiling RAISE while he is in office. That is what I call another uneducated dumb masses voter for Obama.


If you actually had a brain, then you’d know that the domestic terrorist (ayn rand libertarians) had vowed not to work with Obama on any issues from the onset of his presidency.

And, that their only goals were to make sure he was a one term president, at the expense of the citizens having to endure more pain, because of their childish ways!

So, now tell me why he should negotiate with morons like that?


The GOP believes life is sacred from conception thats good enough to get my vote year after year.


Make sure to thank Chuck Grassley and the other GOP and Tea Partiers for putting you in this situation. Remember to vote in the mid-terms!


Not A republican...every one of them that voted for these idiots...Everyone who marked R on their ballots deserves to be blamed for this mess...every last one of them.


This coming from someone that voted for Obama? Too funny. Obama is willing to negotiate with Iran but not with his own fellow Americans? That is what I call an ignorant American!


well you can thank a republican for the shutdown


Really? Do you research! How many bills have been put forth by the Republicans only to have the Democrats turn them down? How many bills are on Harry Reid's desk only to have him not take them up for vote?

Another ignorant comment made by another uneducated dumb masses member of the Obama party.

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