Pences back in town for wedding

Staff Reports

Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Columbus area this weekend for a family wedding.

Pence’s son, Michael, is the groom.

The younger Michael Pence married Sarah Whiteside in December in a small ceremony at the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis, when Mike Pence was governor.

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But an Instagram post from Oct. 9 by Charlotte Pence, one of the vice president’s two daughters, indicated that the couple would be celebrating again.

The wedding celebration is planned for Brown County State Park in Nashville, inside the Abe Martin Lodge, park officials confirmed.

State Park Property Manager Doug Baird said the vice president’s visit should not have much of an impact on visitors or on traffic around the park, however.

“The (Abe Martin) Lodge will be operating as normal, though the public won’t have access to areas immediately around the VP,” he said.

“(There’s) not a big number attending, so I don’t expect a great impact traffic-wise.”

Mike Pence was a frequent visitor to Brown County State Park when he was governor. The Aynes House, a historic cabin off the main park road, is known as “Indiana’s Camp David,” a retreat spot for the governor.

This week is typically a busy one for the park, with peak season for the changing colors happening in mid- to late October. Lodging at the park was nearly full this weekend except for a few rustic cabins, according to the park’s reservation website.

Asked whether Pence would be in the Columbus area this weekend, “Unfortunately, that’s not something our office is going to comment on,” said Alyssa Farah of the vice president’s staff in a Friday morning email to The Republic.

By that time, however, Air Force Two — the Boeing jet that transports Pence — had already arrived at Columbus Municipal Airport.

The plane came in about midnight Thursday, and remained on the tarmac at the airport as of Friday afternoon, Airport Director Brian Payne.

Payne said he couldn’t tell who was on board, however.

Once the plane arrived, his staff was instructed to go inside and was not permitted to be around the plane, Payne said.

Airport staff are limited in what they can do when the vice president is scheduled to arrive by airplane, he said.

“We just make sure the runway is safe and do a sweep of the runway. Other than that, we’re very hands-off in the process,” Payne said.

The airplane is being guarded, but not by airport staff, Payne said.

Two temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) are in place for the airspace around Columbus Municipal Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Notice to Airmen system.

One started at 3 a.m. Friday and runs until 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The other starts at 12:45 a.m. Saturday and ends at 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

When a TFR is in place, it restricts travel to and from the airport by any aircraft, Payne said.

However, when the vice president is not on the ground at the airport, the TFR follows his location, Payne said. That meant planes could fly in and out of the airport Friday afternoon since Pence was not at the airport at that time.