Despite what the Crawford Chamber of Commerce might lead us to believe with its media barbecues and dances, not everyone cheered the satellite trucks driving into town for President Bush's vacation.
Local parent Terry Bukowski addressed the school board earlier this summer demanding the eviction of press packs from the elementary school gym where journalists hang out when the President comes to chop cedar and fish for genetically enhanced bass. She expressed security concerns and criticized reporters for smoking on school property.
Apparently, Bukowski didn't realize there's no such thing as a local issue when the White House is involved. Although she initially granted interviews to the local press, she later balked at talking to national reporters.
"We took the concerns seriously, said school board president Ed Jones, although district leaders saw little evidence that anyone shared Bukowski's journophobia. "The vast majority don't see a problem. The positives outweigh the negatives."
One of the pluses this year is a new air conditioner the heat-sensitive, out-of-state reporters bought for the little-used gym. Paying $25,600 to permanently install the AC made more economic sense than renting one like they did last year, Jones said.
Addressing Bukowski, the White House issued new badges emblazoned with Bush driving his pickup into town, and set up a smoking tent just off school grounds. New rules for reporters were also instituted, governing things such as parking, video cables, and student contact.
While Crawfordites probably take security more seriously than most communities of barely 700, Jones isn't too concerned about safety. When an unau-thorized aircraft strayed over Bush's ranch, military jets flew over the site within four minutes. "We're one of the safest communities around, Jones said.