Local News

Saturday, Oct 06 2012 08:00 PM

Community readies for Obama in Keene

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

La Paz. Keene. Tehachapi. The people of this national monument, town and city are abuzz as they prepare for President Obama's visit Monday to dedicate the Cesar Chavez National Monument.

We know the president will fly into Meadows Field at about 9 a.m. Tight security and occasional road closures along Highway 58 are of course expected.

Here's some of the activity observed in the area Saturday. It might just shed a bit more insight on the plans.

* A helicopter with similar markings to Marine One was seen circling over La Paz Saturday morning.

* A high-level member of the Kern County Fire Department was seen driving through the La Paz complex in a convoy that included a battalion chief truck and a department air command truck.

* A truck with the outline of Half Dome was seen driving through the area, possibly belonging to a state or federal parks service.

* Staff at La Paz said some members of the Chavez family must drive to Tehachapi and take shuttles back to La Paz. Guests at the dedication will be shuttled from a staging area north of Tehachapi by bus.

* Folks are still stopping by the National Chavez Center to see if they can snag tickets. Nope. Last week the public could go to United Farm Workers union and Cesar Chavez Foundation websites to sign up. That registration's shut down, with a foundation spokesman noting Friday "we are already way over the capacity."

* Keene Cafe, a focal point for the community, will be closed Monday morning, but will open at 1 p.m.

Paul Chavez, Cesar Chavez's middle son and president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, was spotted eating breakfast at the cafe Saturday morning, and seemed to be at ease. The waitresses? They were excited about Monday's event.

-- Californian reporter James Burger contributed to this report.

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