Preparations underway for Obamas' Hawaii vacation

Preparations underway for Obamas' Hawaii vacation
Published: Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:04 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 at 4:50 AM HST
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Lisa Kats
Lisa Kats
Bethany Weeden
Bethany Weeden

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The gunboats and Coast Guard Zodiac dive boats in Kailua Bay are a strong sign that the First Family is headed back to Hawaii this holiday.

As they've done in years past, President Obama and his family are planning to stay at a beachfront home on Kailuana Place -- if enough progress on the so-called "fiscal cliff" budget talks in Washington, D.C.

"That's a big tradition for us," First Lady Michelle Obama told NBC News.

"That tends to be our gift to each other-- the president and I. We don't exchange gifts. We say: 'We're in Hawaii. Happy-- merry Christmas.'"

The Coast Guard is setting up a temporary security zone around Kailua Bay starting Friday and through Jan. 6.

Federal officials also are again instituting a no-fly zone around the Kailua residence.

Federal and state officials also met today with members of the local aviation community at Honolulu Airport to discuss the controversial ban on flying with the ten mile radius.

They are also restricting flight the area 20 miles beyond the no-fly zone to training flights and pre-approved tour flights.

Some Kailua residents say the hassles are worth seeing the President back in the isles.

"There's some people that are not happy about it but the rest of them are. So it's give and take," said Lisa Kats, who takes care of some of the upscale beachfront homes in the neighborhood the Obamas are staying.

"Kailua in general it gets really busy because they know the president is in town, which brings business to Kailua which I think is really wonderful," she said.

Kailua resident Bethany Weeden said she's also looking forward to the Obama's visit.

"I really hope he enjoys his time here as much as we do. It's such a beautiful area," she said.

Like last year, the First Lady and her daughters may arrive first and could be here as early as Saturday. The president will follow but the timing of that will still depend on how budget talks go.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.