President Obama planning annual Hawaiian holiday
Posted: Dec 03, 2013 10:57 PM EST
Updated: Dec 05, 2013 2:12 PM EST
The White House hasn't officially announced their plans yet, but Hawaii News Now has learned the Obamas will vacation here over the holidays. This will be the First Family's sixth Christmas in Hawaii since he was elected president, and keeping with tradition they are expected to spend it in Kailua.
Every year the Obamas have rented a few houses on Kailuana Place – creating quite the buzz in the beach side community.
"It's exciting. It's really an honor to have him here, and when he's around – actually the place is super safe because we have all this security around," said Lanette Hayashi, who lives in the neighborhood where the Obamas are expected to stay again this year.
"We go through two security points and so the second one, we have to get out of our car. We have to be searched ourselves, plus our car has to be completely searched," described Madeline, who has lived on the same street where the Obama's have been renting for more than four decades.
Norman Asing has been working in the neighborhood for years, and is already preparing for the First Family's anticipated arrival.
"One time they stopped me – they opened up my gas cap to look into the lawn mower," Asing described with a smile.
He says the heightened security is to be expected and he simply works around it.
"One time I was doing the lawn and security walked with me up and down the lawn," he recalled with a laugh.
"It's one thing that you got to put up with until he leaves and then everything goes back to normal, but other than that people are excited when he's here, you know?" Asing said.
When the President visits, the canal running through the Kailuana Street neighborhood is off limits. During his stay, it's patrolled by Navy seals and a Coast Guard cutter is positioned in the bay. It's just one of the many security measures put in place, including military blockades on the beach and security checkpoints along the street where he stays.
"I understand he's the President and so he needs his security, but I'd like for him to pick next year another spot. This would be really nice," said Madeline. "At first it was exciting, but now it's no longer exciting. It's maddening."
"The Presidential family is a family also – they're people, and I think they need their Holiday away from the hustle and bustle of everything," said Hayashi, who only has to go through one security checkpoint when he's in town. "I always run out when I know he's coming by with his family or any other time, so for me, no – it's not an imposition, whatsoever. It's merely just a matter of protocol that they have to go through so I don't feel bothered at all."
Employees at Island Snow, where the President likes to pop in for shave ice, say they look forward to his visit.
"For us, we just kind of cross our fingers and hope that he stops by," described Richard Whaley, who has served the President and his family the last few times he's come in.
"They [security] just kind of show up and start putting up a perimeter and checking the store and checking any cars around the area. After that and it's cleared, he comes through, stops in, gets shave ice, goes outside shakes hands and then he's on his way," Whaley explained.
The first family is expected to arrive around December 20 and is scheduled to return to Washington D.C. on January 5