Clinton Visit
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President Bill Clinton
will visit Harrison County on May 22
and will hold a national town meeting on education

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Early dismissal for Co. schools
But students get extra 'homework'


Harrison County students are getting a half-day off because of President Clinton's town hall meeting on education in Clarksburg.

But they won't be fishing, playing ball, roller-blading or hanging out at the mall Thursday afternoon.

The president's visit also means an extra homework assignment, Superintendent Robert E. Kittle said Monday.

Students must watch the televised forum "and take notes so they may participate in follow-up classroom discussions," Kittle said. Classes will be dismissed at about 11 a.m. following an early lunch period.

But Robert C. Byrd High School students will have a full day of classes because that will give them an opportunity to meet the president, he said.

Classes have to be let out early because county school buses are needed to provide a free park-and-ride service for the public between Meadowbrook Mall and Benedum Airport.

There will be no public parking at the airport Thursday.

The president is tentatively scheduled to make a brief speech at 2:55 p.m. before flying back to Washington.

Free tickets for the airport speech will be distributed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Heritage Bank, 140 West Main St., Clarksburg, and the new Bridgeport Middle School, 413 Johnson Ave., Bridgeport.

Residents who want to attend the airport speech must show a valid photo ID and sign a receipt for their tickets. At the airport, they must pass through portable metal detecting screens before being allowed into a secure area to hear the president speak.

Meanwhile, attendance at the Education Forum will be limited to 160 carefully screened state residents, many of them drawn from the ranks of public and higher education, as well as parents and students.

The public school bus shuttle service to the airport from the mall will begin about 11:15 a.m.

Clinton's military version of the DC-9 is tentatively scheduled to arrive at Benedum at 11:50 a.m.

The Education Forum is set to begin about 12:45 p.m. and last for about 75 minutes. The West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority is going to televise the event live from the RCB gymnasium on the state's public television stations.

A feed for commercial television stations will also be available, but it's unlikely any of the nation's television networks are going to pick it up.

But with the help of NASA computer experts at the agency's "Classroom of the Future" at Wheeling Jesuit College in Wheeling, the event will be carried globally on a new World Wide Web page.

The new high school web page will feature live video and audio for computer users on the Internet.

The online address should be available later this week, officials said.

Each county school will get 50 tickets for a delegation of teachers and students to attend the airport speech.

Participants should pack a sack lunch, dress comfortably and be prepared to spend several hours waiting for the president and his party to arrive at the airport for the 2:55 p.m. speech, Kittle said.

In addition, one busload of 50 students and teachers will come from each of the following counties: Doddridge, Marion, Monongalia, Taylor, Barbour, Upshur, Lewis, Preston, Gilmer, Randolph and Tucker.

Tentative Presidential Schedule

__11:50 a.m.-Arrival at Benedum Airport via Air Force One12:45 p.m.-Town hall meeting at Robert C. Byrd High School
__2:55 p.m.-Addresses public at BenedumAirport
__4:15 p.m.-Departs from airport via Air Force One.

Updated May 20, 1997
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Town-hall meeting is hot ticket


Want to attend the president's nationally-televised town hall meeting Thursday afternoon at Robert C. Byrd High School's gym?

Don't call Bill or Hillary for an invitation.

Seeking to correct an error in a Friday story that the White House is involved in the delicate task of deciding who's in and who's out for the state's hottest ticket, a member of the president's advance team said yesterday security and logistics "are the only thing we are doing."

"Everything else is up to the local people," she said.

That means Harrison School Superintendent Robert E. Kittle, U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, Gov. Cecil Underwood and state Democratic Party leaders.

While politically savvy aides for those officials will spend the weekend feverishly preparing their "A-list" of people they want in the audience, Kittle, his staff and the advance team will continue their planning sessions.

The goal, as it is any time the president travels, is to build a minute-by-minute schedule.

"Every thing comes down to security," RCB Principal Leon Pilewski said. "We get a part of the schedule done here and then done there, but then something changes _ usually because of security concerns _ and we have to go back and start all over."

The schedule likely won't be ready until Tuesday, Kittle said late yesterday.

But he did release the following details:

_ To solve the limited parking problem at Benedum Airport for the public campaign-style event marking Clinton's return to Washington, county school buses will run a free shuttle service between Meadowbrook Mall's vast parking lot and the airport beginning several hours before his scheduled takeoff.

_ Clarksburg Publishing Co., the parent firm of the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram, will print as many as 10,000 tickets for the airport departure event at no cost to the county school system. The donation is typical of the support the presidential trip is attracting from individuals and firms across the state, Kittle said.

_ The free tickets for the airport event will be handed out at several still-to-be-decided outlets _ one in Bridgeport and one in Clarksburg _ sometime next week. Residents will have to show a photo ID when picking up their tickets and go through portable metal detector screens at the airport before being permitted into a secure area for a brief presidential speech.

_ Bell Atlantic-West Virginia will be installing extra telephone lines at the high school for the press corps. In addition, the phone company's computer experts have already started working on getting the best possible link to the Internet to relay the high school event on the World Wide Web.

_ The White House advance team, consisting mainly of security experts, swelled in size to more than 20 people Friday.

_ The president can expect a warm greeting when he arrives at the airport from students from Harrison and surrounding counties. Plans call for each of the county's schools to have a delegation at the airport. Surrounding counties will also send at least one busload of students.

Updated May 19, 1997
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NASA experts lend
hand in putting
town hall on-line


Computer experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are working this weekend to put President Clinton's town hall meeting Thursday in Clarksburg on the World Wide Web.

Internet users around the world will be able to see and hear the president and a carefully-selected audience of state residents discuss American schools in real time.

The new Robert C. Byrd High School web page being designed at NASA's 'Classroom of the Future' at Wheeling Jesuit College will also permit computer users to submit questions for the president.

The school, like nearly all schools in the state, has a web page. But it lacks the necessary computer power to generate a live video of the event.

Meanwhile, Harrison School Superintendent Robert E. Kittle said yesterday a number of decisions will be made Monday following hours of nearly non-stop planning by his staff and a White House advance team.

RCB's 975 students will have classes Thursday, he said. And they and their 65 teachers, as well as anyone else in the school that day including the audience for the education forum, will also have to pass through metal detectors.

But there will be some school schedule changes to accommodate county students and teachers because of the presidential visit, the superintendent said. Those changes will be announced Monday.

But the schedule for the high school forum _ which will also be telecast live in-state by public television _ and a presidential stump speech at Benedum Airport before Clinton returns to the capital won't be known until late Tuesday or Wednesday, he said yesterday.

About 10 more guests have been added for the town hall event in the high school's 2,500-seat gym.

That increases the size of the audience invited by Kittle, U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, Gov. Cecil Underwood and the state Democratic Party to 160.

"We're going to start notifying people Sunday night," Kittle said.

Planners have also identified one of the two sites for the distribution of free tickets to the public for the airport departure speech and ceremony.

The new Heritage Bank of Harrison County at 140 West Main Street in Clarksburg will be one ticket outlet. Residents will have to show a photo ID when picking up their tickets and go through a portable metal detector at the airport before being allowed into a secure area to see Clinton's farewell remarks.

The time and date of the airport event ticket distribution will be announced by Tuesday, planners say. The other ticket outlet, planned for a location in Bridgeport, is still undecided.

To solve the parking shortage for a huge crowd at the airport, county school buses will run a free park-and-ride service from Meadowbrook Mall to the airport.

About 10,000 tickets for the airport event will be printed early this week by Clarksburg Publishing Co., the parent firm of the Clarksburg Telegram and Exponent.

Bell-Atlantic West Virginia crews began installing additional telephone lines and a beefed-up communication system for the computer video link as early as last Friday, a top telephone company official said yesterday.

"There's a consortium of talent from around the state working together to make this event come off," said Don Molter, Bell-Atlantic's area manager.

"We're just happy to be able to do our part. Our guys have been working 24 hours straight to run the extra fiber-optic lines for the additional phones," which will be used by the presidential party and the press.

The phone company is also installing a Litespan 2000 communication switching system for the event.

The Litespan system will be removed after the event but the additional telephone lines will remain, Molter said.

"There's going to be a lot of nice benefits in this for the school," he said.

Updated May 19, 1997
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Teacher hopes to
cover Clinton for
Disney web site


A Harrison County teacher and two of her students hope to cover the president's visit for a national news network and web site.

"We were asked by ABC News and the Disney web site to cover local stories that might have national interest," said Jackie Romeo, a fourth grade teacher at Simpson Elementary School. "Little did they know when they asked us that the president would be coming to town."

Romeo said they are presently waiting for press passes from the ABC affiliate office in New York. She explained that she and her class volunteered to be part of the project ABC is developing with Disney, which will be incorporating local stories on an Internet web site.

"What we are hoping is that we get our passes and are able to cover President Clinton's visit from the beginning to the end," she said.

The all-subjects teacher said she has been using the Internet in her classroom since 1993. She belongs to several list servers, one called Classroom Connect, that told her about the chance for students to report for ABC.

"I applied for a grant in 1993 and got part of the money to buy a computer for the classroom. The rest we raised from bake sales, faculty senate funds and donations," she said. She recently received $8,000 from a grant to upgrade and buy more computer equipment for her students.

The Bridgeport teacher said she sees the Internet as an invaluable tool that can be used in any classroom to enhance studies.

"We recently studied volcanoes and were able to see where the active ones are. When we study the ocean, we might do a project on water with some other schools.

"And of course it's very motivating for languages arts. These kids want to get their spelling and punctuation correct when they know it is going on the Internet."

Romeo would like to be able to do video-conferencing, but the classroom would need re-wired for that.

"Our goal is to have every classroom wired. Right now we have a computer lab and five Internet sites there, but we want to bring this to all the classrooms."

She said she would like to see every teacher have his or her own web site so it could be used for communication with students and their parents.

"We could use it to grade papers and could also show parents what their children are doing at school. It will eventually change the way schools do many things, from class participation to grading homework."

Romeo said she plans to take students Jason Brown and Amy McGrew to Robert C. Byrd High School Thursday to be the ABC reporters.

"I think it's thrilling that the president is coming to town. It says so much for the quality of our educational system in West Virginia and especially for Harrison County," she said.

Updated May 19, 1997
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