We entered the weekend with no official word on how President Trump will arrive in Lima on Wednesday.
President George W. Bush could give him some advice. Bush came here twice, on April 24, 2003, and August 28, 2004.
Bush’s first visit, like Trump’s, was to the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center. Bush flew into Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton aboard Air Force One and then took the presidential helicopter — Marine 1 — to JSMC, where he toured the plant and held a rally inside. Unless you were one of the workers or a member of the public lucky enough to score a ticket, it wasn’t overly exciting.
More people had a chance to see Bush during his second trip. He took a campaign bus through west central Ohio, swinging through towns like Sidney, Uniopolis and Wapakoneta before stopping at the newly opened Lima Senior High School, where a packed gymnasium awaited him. When leaving Lima for Toledo, Bush had the bus stop outside Cairo at the home of Doug and Teresa Page, which had a big Bush for President sign in their yard.
So how should Trump arrive?
Should The Donald call me, I’d suggest he ditch the helicopter and instead get behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 pickup (engine made in Lima). He could jump on Interstate 75 for a little highway driving then get off at the state Route 65 exit and wiggle his way over to the JSMC. It certainly would give Trump something to talk about: an interstate clogged with semi trucks, and city streets fighting a losing battle with pot holes — plenty of teeth-rattling potholes. It may even provide the impetus to revive talks of that transportation bill Trump favored during the election, you know, the one that was going to help make America’s roads great again. Wouldn’t that be something?
Now don’t laugh.
Stranger things have happened.
It was just over six years ago when President Obama held a campaign rally at Lima Senior High School. When the Obama motorcade tried to leave town on Bellefontaine Avenue, the president learned even the commander in chief runs the risk of his route being altered by a train in our city.
As the front of Obama’s 15- to 20-car motorcade approached the intersection of Bellefontaine Avenue and Elm Street, a train whistle sounded, along with the alarm at the crossing and the gates went down on the tracks. Authorities stopped the train, which was moving slowly. The motorcade continued through the crossing and never had to stop as volunteers helped by holding up the arms of the railroad gate.
Lima Public Works Director Howard Elstro remembers that well. He had been working for years to find funds to build an underpass at the intersection. His sales pitch even pointed out the train crossing is a detriment to ambulances heading to nearby Lima Memorial Hospital. Still, nothing happened until Elstro started flashing a Lima News photograph of citizens holding the train gates open for the Obama motorcade.
Today, that underpass is finally being built.
All that Elstro knows is, “I’ve shown that picture 25 to 30 times when making presentations. It’s a good example of why we need to make common sense road repairs.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden makes way for an arts and craft show.
Rose: To Elida Elementary School teacher Nicole Oen and the fourth-grade through kindergarten students at the school. They raised $5,000 for the Stars program by hosting a craft show, which featured 90 booths plus concessions and attracted more than 1,000 people. The Stars program teaches students about self-control, teamwork, attitude and success.
Rose: To the late Margery Wood, who passed away Wednesday at age 91. She lived a life of giving and was the person who started the Lima Community Foundation as well as Allen-Lima Leadership.
Thorn: The yellow brick church at 201 S. Union St. — a century-old downtown landmark — is slowly falling apart due to age. It soon will be demolished and is in such bad shape that no one is allowed to enter to rescue historical items.
PARTING SHOT: Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
Citizens hold up a railroad gate at the intersection of Bellefontaine Avenue and Elm Street in Lima so President Obama’s motorcade can pass through. Obama was coming from a campaign rally at Lima Senior High School on Nov. 1, 2012. File photo — The Lima News
By Jim Krumel
This article provided by NewsEdge.