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Clinton returns to Shepherdstown

January 06, 2000

Clinton returnsBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - President Clinton arrived in Shepherdstown Thursday for the third time this week to assist in the peace talks between Syria and Israel, and he was immediately driven to the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center for a briefing on the process, U.S. State Department officials said.

cont. from front page

A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter carrying Clinton landed on Shepherd College's baseball field about 4 p.m.

A black limousine crossed the infield to meet Clinton, who was dressed casually in a black bomber jacket. He was taken out of the west campus and toward the four-way stop sign in town.

Reporters, photographers and local officials watched the motorcade go up W.Va. 480, thinking the president's car might make an impromptu stop, as it had Monday, but it continued to the Clarion.

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Monday evening, the limousine carrying Clinton stopped in town, and the president climbed out for a brief handshaking session with area residents.

Clinton arrived on the fourth day of the talks, which are being held at the Clarion and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center.

Clinton has been in and out of town for the talks, while U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has remained here the entire week.

Albright has been seen several times in town this week during breaks from the negotiations, and she took a stroll through town again Thursday afternoon, according to town officials and merchants.

"There's been a lot of press walking around town today, too, so it must be boring up there today," said Patti Hedges Foss, owner of The Skin Care Shop on West German Street.

Police said operations surrounding the talks went smoothly Thursday and there were no demonstrations.

Town officials began making arrangements Thursday in case the talks continue into next week, which is when Shepherd College students return from Christmas break.

Mayor Vince Parmesano said he thinks the town will be able to handle Shepherd's student population and the peace talks at the same time, but some changes would have to be made.

Currently, Clarion employees working at the hotel during the talks are required to park their cars at a Shepherd parking lot near White Hall. After parking their cars, they have to walk through a metal detector, then board a bus to be taken to the Clarion.

When classes resume at Shepherd next Wednesday, town officials will have to find another spot for Clarion workers to park their cars, Parmesano said.

Town officials discussed finding another parking area Thursday, but have not come up with an answer, Parmesano said.

"We're just trying to stay a couple days ahead," he said.

Clinton was in Shepherdstown past 9 p.m. Thursday, but U.S. State Department officials said it was unlikely he would spend the night.

It was unclear whether Clinton would return today, State Department officials said.

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