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franklin county times

Mayor heads to Washington

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Sept. 19, 2001
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith is scheduled to leave today for Washington for an Amtrak board meeting that is almost certain to revolve around enhanced security issues.
Maureen Lofton, spokesperson for the mayor, didn't know if the Amtrak board will discuss security procedures in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks. An agenda for the meeting was completed before the attacks, but Smith's spokesman, Maureen Lofton said that discussing security "would seem a very prudent thing to do at this point in our American life." She said the Amtrak board is likely to discuss the company's willingness to help during the terrorist crisis.
Amtrak trains began transporting people, supplies and equipment to disaster sites last week, providing free transportation for volunteering firefighters. Amtrak also honored airline tickets, she said, transporting people who couldn't or didn't want to fly.
From Washington, Smith will fly to Gary, Ind., on Friday to speak at a Midwest high-speed rail conference. The mayor is expected to be back in Meridian by the weekend.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.