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Last minute preparations being made for Obama’s Friday visit to Iowa City

Vanessa Miller, CR Gazette –

Streets surrounding the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest have been closed and buses have been parked to create a barricade to the Old Capital lawn along Clinton Street in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s appearance in Iowa City later today.

Obama is scheduled to speak at 5:20 p.m. on the Jessup Hall Lawn on the north side of the UI’s Pentacrest. Temporary orange fencing has been wrapped around the Pentacrest’s perimeter, keeping away the thousands of students who typically cross the lawns on their way to class.

The city and school buses lining the west side of Clinton Street between Washington Street and Iowa Avenue are blocking a view of the Old Capital Lawn and keeping pedestrians from walking along the sidewalk, which has been closed for the day.

Local authorities and secret service agents are stationed at numerous points around the Pentacrest as final preparations are made for tonight’s appearance, which comes just hours after Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president and gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.

As secret service agents, who are clad in dark sunglasses, talk on their phones, local police officers wave away students trying to pass on any of the closed sidewalks or streets.

The town is packed this weekend as the Hawkeyes prepare for the annual intrastate rivalry with Iowa State University in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The annual pep rally for Hawkeye fans called FryFest also is scheduled to draw more than 20,000 people in Coralville at the same time Obama is scheduled to be in Iowa City.

According to the National Weather Service, showers are likely this afternoon. With mostly cloudy skies, the chance of precipitation is 70 percent, according to weather service.

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