Skip to comments.Crawford turns on Texas charm
Posted on 08/10/2002 4:03:03 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP
Crawford turns on Texas charm
'We want to do what we can to make y'all feel welcome here'
CRAWFORD, Texas - Forget that little school board flap. Crawford has rolled out the welcome mat for the White House press corps.
The school gym where the media works has been air-conditioned, and the Crawford Chamber of Commerce threw an appreciation barbecue to show the media that most folks don't resent it when the satellite trucks roll in for extended periods.
"We know there's not much to do here. It can be boring if you're stuck here for a month at time," said chamber president Teresa Bowdoin as she served up sweetened tea at the Old Amsler Building, an almost century-old structure that once housed the town's grocery store and now is a party hall on Crawford's main street.
Townspeople turned out to mix and mingle with reporters, photographers, producers and technicians, and listen to country music as they ate brisket smoked by Gary Bowdoin, the chamber officer's husband and a member of the Crawford school board.
"We want to do what we can to make y'all feel welcome here," Ms. Bowdoin said.
There was some question about the hospitality after parent Terri Bukowski complained to the school board earlier this summer that media use of the gym put her children's safety at risk because anyone could pose as a reporter.
That problem was settled by a special badge distributed by the White House that says in big letters, "PRESS FILING CENTER ACCESS." It also features a photo of President Bush driving his pickup and a road sign into Crawford, pop. 706.
Then there was the problem created by a few media smokers on the school yard. A smoking tent has been erected a few yards away from school property.
Whenever the president is at his ranch, about 50 members of the press corps camp out in the gym (more if there's a big international visitor), paying a nominal fee for their makeshift bullpen workspace. Networks broadcast from tents adjacent to the school, against the rural background of haystacks and an old wagon or farm outbuilding.
School Superintendent Kenneth Judy said nobody wanted to give the media the boot. "We want to be good neighbors," he said.
But to make sure everybody gets along, members of the media were given a list of nine press corps rules that range from where to park to which bathrooms to use. Reporters are restricted from interviewing students without permission from teachers or administrators when school starts Aug. 19.
More pros than cons
Mr. Judy and chamber leaders said the advantages of having Mr. Bush and his entourage in town far outweigh the disadvantages, and cited the opportunity for students and townspeople to see the president and foreign dignitaries.
And the school will benefit from the $26,500 gym air conditioning that the press corps paid for. As for daily gym usage, he said the press corps' $200-a-day fee will be increased to $250 or $300 to pay for increased cost of utilities from the cooling system. The fee also covers gym maintenance.
There is no cost to the taxpayer, but neither does the school district make a profit. "We don't want to gouge anybody," Mr. Judy said.
Meanwhile, shop owners in the two-block downtown appreciate the increased traffic brought by the president's entourage. Some are planning special activities this month.
Author Liz Carpenter will sign her latest book, Start With a Laugh , on Aug. 18 at Crawford Country Style, a gift shop on the town's main street owned by Norma Nelson Crow and her cousin Larry Nelson.
"She wanted to come and be a 'yellow dog Democrat' in Crawford," Ms. Crow said about Ms. Carpenter, a former speechwriter for President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Also appearing at the noon to 4 p.m. event will be Sarah Jane English signing her book on wines and chefs in Texas, and the G-BATT Singers from Austin.
David Meyer and Todd Harcastle, who recently restored Amslers, have scheduled a public dance there on Saturday night featuring the Heart of Texas Road Gang and the Gringo All-Stars. Members of the media found an invitation to the dance under their hotel room doors in Waco.
Crawford Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Vannatta said folks in Crawford want to "build some relationships" with the media and staged the barbecue Thursday night "so we could get to know each other."
Chamber leaders, in fact, solicited ideas from reporters about special press activities they might sponsor.
Who knows what might be on tap next year. Volleyball, anyone?
Ahem...a repost of your "Hillary as Dale Evans" work might be in order here......the stage is set.
It would be so easy to laugh her off as a pathetic joke if wasn't for the fact that she has some pathetic jokes who vote for her.
Regarding the Crawford students -- The Waco Tribune Herald runs a "Teen" section with teen writers once a week. Last week one of the writers was a Crawford high school student reflecting on the ups and downs of having the President as a neighbor. After 9/11 there is apparently a little safety anxiety among some of the students which I thought was sad.
Has to be murder on those big city boys.
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