Bush#039;s travel through county excites many

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The President is coming! The President is coming!

Just like with Paul Revere and his last ride, the news of President George W. Bush's plans to drive through Lawrence County with a possible stop at the courthouse spread like wildfire through the community Thursday.

Whether or not he is actually going to stop today as he makes his way from Huntington, W.Va., to Portsmouth on his 16-stops in six states Opportunity tour, remains to be seen because White House press liaisons were tight lipped Thursday.

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Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton would not comment on the matter but said his department was working with the U.S. Secret Service to prepare for any situation.

Still, no one is counting out the possibility. City workers were scrambling Thursday to put up 300 flags downtown while county crews trimmed the courthouse lawn.

"I believe the President will come through the county and Ironton," said Ray T. Dutey, co-chairman for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in southeastern Ohio, adding that the President will at the very least drive by the courthouse on Fourth Street.

The decision to stop will not be made until the President arrives in Huntington, Dutey said.

"If the President does come to Ironton, it would be historic, " he said.

The historical significance was not something that was lost on Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance. The Ironton City Schools sent permission slips home Thursday that would allow the students to go to the courthouse if the President does plan to stop.

"If I receive notification that President is going to stop, then I feel it will be a history lesson or at least a memorable event for the children," Nance said. "It would be an educational opportunity for the children. There is no political connotation to it. He is the Commander in Chief."

Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon told the City Council Thursday that they should expect a visit.

"What you are hearing is true about the Presidential motorcade," Runyon said. "The motorcade will be moving through our area and proceeding to Portsmouth."