Obama stayed at Bloomington Sheraton, employee at neighboring business tells us

Categories: Obama
Obama pic by Steve Cohen for City Pages
-- Update and more photos at bottom --

April Clark McDonald, an employee at Lifetouch photography, was reminded about where President Obama was staying during his overnight trip to the Twin Cities the hard way yesterday morning.

Driving to work, McDonald was stopped at a makeshift barricade by a Bloomington cop. "Where are you going?" he asked.

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That barricade was just outside the entrance to the Bloomington Sheraton -- formerly the Hotel Sofitel -- the luxury hotel at the intersection of Interstate 494 and Highway 100 that Obama stayed in last night, according to McDonald.

Once she got through the barricade, McDonald snapped this pic, which she later posted to Facebook:

April McDonald
McDonald's caption: "So President Obama is staying at the hotel next to my work. That made it extremely hard to get in today. Not cool Mr. Pres, not cool. Blocked off EVERY road."

"They started blocking off things [Wednesday]," McDonald tells us. "They took buses and parked 'em in a line about halfway around the building, and police and security are blocking off streets to get up to my building."

McDonald said she arrived at work at 7:30 a.m., many hours before the president's arrival, and initially parked in the Sheraton lot. But since it was already filled with "20 different police cars," she decided to park elsewhere and avoid the inevitable end-of-day hassle.

"I decided to move because I didn't want to get blocked in," McDonald says. "At that time the Secret Service was coming out and walking around the building and stuff."

Asked how she knew all the fuss was for Obama and not somebody or something else, McDonald says Lifetouch employees were told by one of their bosses during a meeting on Tuesday that the president would be staying at the Sheraton. But she figured as much earlier that day, as it was clear unusual security preparations were already underway outside the hotel.

We tried to confirm Obama's presence at the Bloomington Sheraton with a manager at the 282-room hotel -- an $8 million renovation of it got underway last fall -- but he tells us that as a general practice, hotel staff doesn't comment on specific guests.

For more photos of the barricade and an additional anecdote from McDonald, click to page two.

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