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Residents have ties to inauguration

January 18, 2009

Three local tractors will pull parade floats

Through geographic and business connections, a Washington County equipment dealership is scheduled to be part of Tuesday's presidential inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.

Landmark Equipment on Cearfoss Pike, near Hagerstown, is providing three John Deere tractors.

Dave Quirple, the company's vice president and manager of the Washington County dealership, said his friend Peter Perini was his link to the parade.

Perini is working with Hargrove Inc., the official general contractor for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Perini suggested Landmark Equipment, which also has dealerships in Chambersburg, Pa., and Carlisle, Pa.

One tractor is to pull the float representing Illinois, President-elect Barack Obama's home state.

Quirple said a John Deere tractor was sought because the company is based in Moline, Ill.

Another tractor is to pull an American flag float.

The third is to pull a float carrying a horse-drawn fairy-tale carriage and Miss America, sponsored by the USO.

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Quirple said he'll drive one tractor and Dan Place, Landmark's president, will drive another.

"It's exciting, and also an honor and a privilege to be able to help out with something like this," Quirple said.

D.M. Bowman to tow Alaska's float with 2009 Volvo truck

Alaska's float in Tuesday's presidential inaugural parade will be towed by D.M. Bowman, a Washington County trucking business.

Greg Hunt will drive a 2009 Volvo truck with a 48-foot flatbed attached, said Dave Wine, vice president of sales for D.M. Bowman.

Wine said the Alaska float is supposed to feature some dancers and a whale.

The D.M. Bowman decal will be visible on the door, he said.

Hunt, a longtime D.M. Bowman driver, had to go through an extensive background check by the U.S. Secret Service, Wine said.

D.M. Bowman was chosen because of its past working relationship with Fandango Productions of Baltimore, which worked on the float, Wine said.

AMVETS Post 10 to participate in Medal of Honor celebration

Today is the Medal of Honor celebration that AMVETS holds each time a U.S. president is inaugurated.

The celebration will include the honor guard from Washington County AMVETS Post 10 in Hagerstown, which also is the AMVETS national honor guard, according to Rusty Baker, guard captain and local post commander.

It will be held at the Hilton Washington on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Classes to be abbreviated so students can watch Obama

Classes at St. James School, south of Hagerstown, will be abbreviated Tuesday morning so students can watch Barack Obama be sworn in as president.

"We're making it a St. James communitywide event," said Michael L. Straley, the school's director of communications.

Straley said the school has about 228 students.

They will get out of morning classes early, at about 11:45 a.m., in time to see the swearing-in and speech around noon.

They'll watch the ceremony until about 1 p.m.

Straley said the school thought it would mean more for students to watch together than separately in their dorms.

"We wanted it to be special," he said.

Straley said several St. James students will attend the inauguration through their families' political connections.

-- Andrew Schotz

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