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Obama won't be visiting at UMW
Obama apparently isn't coming here

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Date published: 10/12/2011



President Barack Obama is apparently not coming to Fredericksburg.

But Gov. Bob McDonnell would like him to visit earthquake-hit Louisa County.

Obama associates notified University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley yesterday that there are no plans for the president to visit the university any time soon, according to UMW spokeswoman Brynn Boyer.

Reports last week indicated that Obama would stop in Fredericksburg as part of a three-day bus tour through Virginia and North Carolina.

A meeting between Fredericksburg Police and the Secret Service was planned to discuss a potential visit, but Patrol Division Commander Capt. Rick Pennock was notified yesterday that the meeting was canceled and the visit postponed to some unknown future date, according to police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe.

She wrote in an email that the visit had been planned for somewhere on the UMW campus, and the police department was contacted to act as a supporting agency in the management of the event.

While Obama may not be coming to Fredericksburg, the Virginia tour in general has been confirmed by White House sources.

And while he's here, McDonnell would like him to see some of the earthquake damage that the federal government has refused to help pay for.

Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Virginia's request for assistance for individuals whose homes, businesses and other property was damaged by the magnitude-5.8 earthquake that hit in August. The earthquake caused about $15 million in damage in Louisa, where it was centered, including two schools that are now closed for repairs.

McDonnell wrote Obama a letter yesterday, inviting him to tour Louisa's earthquake damage during his tour next week.

"It is an impact that is devastating, and readily apparent to all those who visit to see it with their own eyes," McDonnell wrote.

"You undoubtedly felt the tremors in Washington, D.C. but you cannot truly understand the magnitude of the impacts at the epicenter of this historic event until you have seen them firsthand. It has been seven weeks since the initial earthquake, and very few repairs have been made as homeowners have no means to pay for the significant damage, which is largely uninsured."

McDonnell wrote that a tour would let Obama see "how the community's recovery will be hindered as a result of FEMA's denial of important emergency relief funds."

He called FEMA's denial of individual assistance "shocking," and said he plans to appeal.

Chelyen Davis 540/368-5028
Email: cdavis@freelancestar.com