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|10-23-02: Local students doing well
|By MARGIE WUEBKER
The Daily Standard
The chilling message apparently left by a Washington-area sniper during
the weekend has struck close to home for area parents whose children are or soon will be
touring the nation's capital.
Police in Rockville, Md., revealed Tuesday a message left at a
steakhouse, the scene of a Saturday night shooting, warned "Your children are not
safe anywhere at any time." They believe it was left by the person responsible for a
string of 13 shootings that have claimed 10 lives since Oct. 2.
Eighth-grade students in the Coldwater and Minster school districts
Sunday night on tours hosted by K & K Tours of Celina. They are expected back early
Plans call for a delegation from the Marion Local school district to
depart Monday morning.
Richard Seas, junior high principal at Coldwater, has been in contact
with tour coordinator Chuck Riethman and some of 28 chaperones accompanying the 107
"Things are going real well," Seas said. "The tour is
filled with such wonderful experiences that students do not not have an opportunity to
watch television or read newspapers."
Seas does not know whether students are aware of the latest fatal
shooting or the warning.
"Everything has been positive as far as they are concerned,"
"Unfortunately, there is concern here at home."
Some parents have shared their concerns with school officials.
There are no plans to shorten the trip, although some changes in the itinerary could
result in the three charter buses arriving back in Coldwater ahead of schedule Friday
The students were supposed to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial Thursday
night. The visit to the well-lit memorial, located off by itself near a wooded area, has
been rescheduled to daytime hours. Seas does not know at this point whether the buses will
leave earlier than planned Thursday night. Parents will be notified regarding the expected
Minster Junior High School Principal Mike Lee is in Washington, D.C.,
with students. Calls regarding the tour were referred to Superintendent Halver Belcher,
who was not available for comment this morning.
Greg Puthoff, assistant principal and trip coordinator at Marion Local,
confirmed plans are still "a go" at this point.
Students will be permitted to bring cell phones this time in order to
call their parents as designated. Cell phones were banned on previous trips. Additionally,
Puthoff or a designated representative will call back to school daily to report any
"Parents will be able to call school and find out what's going
on," Puthoff explained. "We will keep them updated."
Two parents visited Puthoff this morning to talk about their concerns
the wake of the latest shooting. However, they do not plan to keep their children home.
Tour operators Dave and Kathy Macwhinney reported last week extra
precautions have been implemented in the wake of the shootings. A nighttime ghost tour in
Alexandria, Va. was dropped from the schedule.
The Macwhinneys reported there has been heightened security throughout
the nation's capital, particularly at freeway entrances and exits. Their son, Kraig, is
currently accompanying the Coldwater delegation.
The sniper attacks have taken place in outlying suburbs as far as 20 to
50 miles away from the national landmarks, and the hotels used by K & K Tours are
located out in the suburbs. However, extra precautions are in place when the chartered
buses pull into hotel and restaurant parking lots.
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The Standard Printing
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