In case your phone was blowing up this weekend with APEC-related text message alerts from the city, some good news: The city is going back to its normal programming starting now.
The city Department of Emergency Management sent out more than 40 messages to more than 7,000 Honolulu residents signed up for the service.
The messages advised motorists about freeways closures and openings, and occasionally sought calm and patience — with gratitude.
And with that…Civil Beat heads back to our regular programming too.
First Lady Michelle Obama assured military personnel and their families at Hickam Air Force Base this afternoon that “America does have your back.”
"As my husband has said, no one who has fought for their country abroad should have to fight for a job when they return home," she said.
FLOTUS also welcomed the return of the USS Hopper to Pearl Harbor. “That’s good news, that’s wonderful news,” she said. “Hopefully by the year’s end there will be a lot more of that kind of good news all across the country.”
Obama also heaped praise on Honolulu and the “phenomenal job” the city and its people did in hosting the APEC summit. “I can say personally that the world leaders were so incredibly impressed with the people, food, culture and hospitality,” she said. “So, you should all be very proud.”
FLOTUS now heads back to D.C. to be with Sasha and Malia.
— Chad Blair
Military personnel, spouses and keiki have turned out in droves at the Officers Club at Hickam Air Force Base this afternoon. More than 200 people braved the hot sun for an appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama, who is running a few minutes late.
FLOTUS is here to advocate for one of her pet issues — veterans.
In conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Obama has been promoting job fairs on bases to hire veterans returning from overseas deployment. It’s a big issue as American war efforts wind down.
Fittingly, the bands hired to entertain the crowd include a R&B-soul outfit and a country band. No Hawaiian music here.
— Chad Blair
President Obama’s motorcade wended across the island before entering Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam this afternoon, where Air Force One and the backup planes were parked.
Pool reports show the president’s fourball at the Mamala Bay Golf Course includes his longtime friend Robert “Bobby” Titcomb who was arrested and pleaded no contest in May to soliciting a prostitute. The charge was stripped from his record about two weeks ago.
It sure shows Obama’s a loyal friend.
Rounding out his golfing party are White House Trip Advisor Marvin Nicolson and White House advance man Pete Selfridge.
President Barack Obama has enjoyed his trip to Hawaii — and plans to come back for Christmas again this year, he told a crowd this morning at a Ko Olina fundraiser.
“It is great to be home – great to just feel that aloha spirit,” he said. “Michelle and the girls will be back shortly for Christmas vacation, as we do every year. We’ll see if Washington gets its business done so I can get here in time.”
Dressed casually in light slacks, a white shirt and a dark blue blazer, Obama was introduced at 11:11 a.m. this morning to loud applause.
The crowd of about 200 people included Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Entertainment included Hawaii singer John Cruz, who also performed at one of POTUS’ inauguration events in 2009.
"It is wonderful to see so many who actually knew my parents when they first met at the University of Hawaii," he said.
He ended his talk at 11:37 to a standing ovation and a singular chant at back of the room calling for “four more years.”
Afterward, POTUS was spotted by reporters walking back in the direction of Ihilani wearing sunglasses, chewing gum and with jacket slung over his shoulder.
— Pool reports
Still no “all clear” from the University of Hawaii, where a suspicious envelope closed several buildings and rerouted traffic on Monday morning.
“The appropriate authorities are on campus addressing the situation,” Campus Security wrote in an update. “We expect that afternoon classes/activities in those affected buildings (Hamilton Library, Paradise Palms, Ag Engineering, Moore Hall & St. Johns) will be held as scheduled.”
UH says the suspicious envelope was found at Paradise Palms Cafe.
The media pool following President Obama has made the 5-minute walk from the Ihilani Resort to the neighboring Disney Aulani Resort & Spa in Ko Olina in sunny, hot West Oahu.
They are holding fort at a resort restaurant because POTUS “is scheduled to deliver remarks at a campaign event later this morning,” according to the White House pool report.
The report, filed by the Star-Advertiser’s B.J. Reyes, observes that the $800 million resort opened in August with rates starting at $399 per night.
The resort’s website states, “The Hawaiian culture is incorporated into the theme of this hotel in many different ways. For example, there is a bar in which the employees must all speak the Hawaiian language, and the furnishings in the rooms have Hawaiian motifs/designs.”
— Chad Blair
Folks are already gathered to meet President Barack Obama at a fundraiser.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is among those waiting. Hawaii supporters have been invited to donate up to $35,800 for photo-op and pre-reception meet-and-greet.
An “early brunch” hosted in Disney Aulani’s main ballroom by Ko Olina developer Jeff Stone and others was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. The guest of honor is scheduled to speak around 11:15 a.m.
Obama is likely coming from the J.W. Marriott Ihilani next door.
Secret service are all in place — stationed on rooftops.
Tori Richards CEO Josh Feldman said that the 21 aloha shirts that his company created for APEC leaders were hand-sewn with cotton lawn fabric, mother of pearl buttons, french seams and custom labeling that says, “Exclusively for APEC 2011 Made in Hawaii USA by Tori Richard,” with President Barack Obama's signature woven into the label.
Take a look at the shirt, and read more about how Tori Richards handled the project.
The University of Hawaii sent out a campus security update on Monday morning about a suspicious envelope found at Paradise Palms Cafe near the corner of East-West Road and Maile Way.
Traffic is being rerouted away from Maile Way as a result. Paradise Palms and Hamilton Library are closed, as is Moore Hall, St. John’s and Ag Engineering buildings, according to campus security.
Officials in Honolulu are promising some sense of normalcy on the roads by Monday afternoon, but no such luck yet.
Here’s an update from the city’s public information Twitter account:
President Barack Obama is hosting a fundraising brunch at Kapolei’s Aulani Disney Resort on Monday morning. Ticket prices reportedly began at $1,000 per person.
The event kicks off at 9 a.m., and the president is expected to give remarks at 11:15 a.m., according to the White House.
The U.S. State Department released a brief recap of President Barack Obama's meeting with Peru President Ollanta Humala in Hawaii on Sunday.
The presidents followed up on issues they discussed in a July bilateral meeting at the White House, including Peru’s attempts to address poverty and inequality in that country.
From the State Department: “The two presidents underscored their commitment to continue partnering on an agenda that prioritizes social inclusion and reiterated the importance of close coordination to address security challenges in Peru and throughout the Americas.”
Journalists at the convention center said APEC in Honolulu wasn’t much different from other international events they’ve covered — but they miss the free food.
Harris Pilang, with TVRI in Indonesia, said it was the small niceties that made APEC 2010 in Yokohama, Japan, superior to Honolulu’s conference.
“They served food for free there. And we can print there,” he said.
But in terms of security, Honolulu was a breeze compared with the G20 in Pittsburgh, Hong Kong Commercial Radio reporter Joana Yu said.
Security was so tight that reporters needed an escort just to get to the conference center. “You had to take the shuttle to the media center,” she said.
What APEC and the G20 have in common, The Australian’s Brad Norington said, is organizers’ careful choreography when moving journalists from event to event.
“It’s all very controlled,” he said. “There’s just so much dead time involving security checks and waiting to get on buses.”
— Nick Castele
More than 1,100 journalists are filing their last stories on the APEC summit. But for many, Hawaii isn’t much more than a dateline.
Journalists who spoke with Civil Beat at the Hawaii Convention Center said they’ve focused on their homelands — not ours.
Hong Kong radio reporter Maggie Ho has been covering Chinese President Hu Jintao’s agenda, and following President Barack Obama’s comments on Chinese currency valuation.
Hawaii isn’t making its way into much of her coverage, she said.
Same goes for Brad Norington, the Washington correspondent for The Australian. He’s here to look for news on trade relations and renewable energy.
That doesn’t mean either of them hasn’t enjoyed their time here.
“I want to say — like, forever,” said Ho, who leaves tomorrow.
Norington said he’ll put Hawaii on his list of possible vacation spots.
“Because of APEC, I haven’t really had much of a chance to enjoy Hawaii,” Norington said. “I’m bringing my family back here.”
— Nick Castele