Saturday, December 20, 2008

Obama Off To Hawaii Reporters, Staff, Secret Service in Tow

I guess this is what vacation is like now as president. Obama and his friends and family are expected to stay in Kailua for 10 days. He has no public events planned.
NYT: Mr. Obama, joined by his wife and two daughters, did not wave to the cameras as he ran up the steps to a United 767 plane. Several friends from Chicago also are spending the holidays with the Obama family in Hawaii, where they have rented beachfront houses in Kailua, but they are traveling separately.

A handful of reporters, staff and Secret Service agents were aboard the nine-hour flight for Honolulu.
Hawaii is prepping for Obama's visit:
Pearl Harbor Elementary School third-grade teacher Dawn Kadota and student Anthony Toloumu assembled a lei of some 3,300 paper pledges sent to the school by students from 18 schools statewide. The lei will be presented to President-elect Barack Obama.
More from the Honlolulu Advertiser:
And so, when many small pieces of inspiration come together at once, it reminds us that all is not lost, and there is hope for a better Hawai'i, America and the world.

That's the encouraging conclusion of an effort started early last month when Dawn Kadota's third-grade students at Pearl Harbor Elementary School were discussing President-elect Barack Obama's Nov. 4 victory speech.

Obama asked everyone to "summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other," Kadota recalled.

And that's when student Anthony Toloumu, 8, asked the four-word question that kick started what would evolve into Hawai'i's Keiki Yes We Can! Project.

"What can we do?" Toloumu wanted to know.

That's when the discussion shifted into overdrive. It was decided that students could pledge to help make Hawai'i, America and the world a better place, each in his or her own small way.

Joshua Garcia, 8, for example, "pledged to not litter or do other bad things that could be harmful to the environment."
Kailua preps
HA: As workers cut grass, brought in poinsettias and cleaned the beach yesterday at the upscale Kailua enclave where Barack Obama will arrive this afternoon to spend the holidays with family, neighbors and those who frequent the stretch of shoreline were abuzz over the prospect of catching a glimpse of the president-elect.

"We're very, very excited. It's amazing," said Richard Myerscough, 43, of Vancouver, British Columbia, who is vacationing with family in a home two doors down from the compound the Obamas are renting. Myerscough, who was enjoying the beach fronting his rental yesterday despite overcast skies and brownish, murky water from recent rain, added that he and his family will give Obama his space.

"We're certainly going to give him his peace and quiet," he said.

Linda Friend, of Melbourne, Australia, who was walking on the beach in front of the Obama vacation home yesterday, said she is also looking forward to seeing the president-elect in person.

"There is definitely a buzz in the air" about his visit, said Friend, who is staying with family in Kailua. "I'm probably going to look for him," she added, with a laugh.
Obama and his family are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu today about 3:25 p.m. They will spend their 10-day break in the Islands in a sprawling, beachfront property on the far-end Kailuana Place, which apparently will be cut off to all but local traffic during his visit.