If HB1672 Becomes Law, Tax Evasion Informants Can Receive Monetary Award from State of Hawaii

The House of Representatives today passed a measure through its third reading that would award people who blow the whistle on those who fail to pay their fair share of taxes in the State of Hawaii. HB1672 models the whistle-blower program provided by the Internal Revenue Services.

If the information provided is the basis for a Department of Taxation administrative or judicial action for violations of tax laws, the whistle-blowers could receive 15 – 30 percent of the proceeds collected.

Criteria to receive an award are as follows:

  • In a case dealing with an individual, his or her income must exceed $200,000 for any taxable year subject to action taken by the Department of Taxation.
  • The amount in dispute for an individual taxpayer must exceed $500,000.
  • Information provided to the Department of Taxation is submitted under penalty of perjury.

HB1672 was introduced by Representative Isaac Choy. It will now crossover to the Senate for consideration.

House Advances Measure Designating October as Kalo Appreciation Month

In 2008, the Legislature designated the “kalo,” the Hawaiian word for taro, as the state plant. Today, the House of Representatives advanced a bill (HB2809) that would make October Kalo Appreciation Month. The measure will now crossover to the Senate for consideration.

The purpose of the bill is to promote kalo cultivation and appreciation, as it is a culturally significant plant to the kanaka maoli, Hawaii’s indigenous peoples, and to the State of Hawaii.

In testimony in support of the measure before the House Agriculture Committee, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs stated, “This would be an opportunity to showcase the kalo plant and perpetuate the historic cultural, spiritual and health-related importance of kalo. No other plant more suitably represents Hawaii.”

The measure was introduced by Representatives Faye Hanohano, Angus McKelvey and Jessica Wooley.

Hawai‘i Featured at World’s Largest Indoor Flower Show

It was 44 degrees outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Tuesday, but the inside has been transformed into a warm Hawaiian paradise, complete with waterfalls, palm trees and tropical flowers.

The theme of the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show is “Islands of Aloha.” A total of 11 vendors from Hawai‘i Island are participating in what is billed as the “world’s largest indoor flower show,” which runs through March 11. There are more than 150 Hawai‘i participants at the show. A list of Hawai‘i Island vendors is below

Big Island Delights Booth. (Photo by Desiree Cruz)

More than 10 acres of displays will highlight the show, which will also include cultural events such as hula, lei making, a lū‘au, Hawaiian music and other aspects of Hawaiian culture.  With temperatures hovering near freezing at night in the city, more than 60 downtown Philadelphia store windows call attention to Hawai‘i with tropical displays of flowers and produce.

The County of Hawai‘i is a sponsor of the event, chipping in $75,000 along with the state’s three other counties to defray the cost of shipping flowers to Philadelphia. It is expected that 300,000 people will attend this event, which is not just a display of flowers but a trade show that will strengthen Hawai‘i’s brand and distributor presence as well. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hawai‘i Food Manufacturers Association, four Hawai‘i counties and their visitors’ bureaus collaborated on this event.

“This is a marvelous opportunity for participating vendors to market their items to a huge trade show audience,” said Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This is also a wonderful chance for Hawai‘i’s visitor industry to show off the sights, sounds and smells of our beautiful state.”

For 182 years, the Philadelphia International Flower Show has enthralled visitors from around the globe with stunning displays celebrating the beauty of plants and the art of gardening.

Philadelphia International Flower Show General Store – Hawai‘i Island Vendor Information:

Big Island Bees – Flowers are to honey, as grapes are to wine, and nectar from Hawai‘i’s rare blossoms produce some of the most unique and flavorful honeys. Big Island Bees beautifully packaged single floral Hawaiian honeys are a delicious way to share and explore Hawai‘i. Beekeeping has been in the family for four generations and Big Island Bees has been tending bees in Hawai‘i since 1971. Big Island Bees maintain artisan standards, never heating or filtering its honey, thereby preserving its flavor and nutritional value. www.bigislandbees.com
EMAP Hawai‘i – EMAP and Mera Pharmaceuticals jointly make and market Kona Sea Salt, a hand-made, sun-dried natural sea salt made from 2,200-foot deep ocean water in Hawai‘i. It is the purest salt in the world and treasured by chefs and gourmets alike. EMAP is also a distributor of other products including the popular BioAstin, an algae-based product made from natural astaxanthin, a powerful anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. www.bigislandpure.com, www.nutrex-hawaii.com

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. – Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. takes pride in growing, processing, and marketing 100 percent Hawaii grown macadamia nuts. Part of their core mission is to support Hawai‘i’s workers, growers and their families as well as keep Hawai‘i green. The visitor’s center offers a variety of macadamia nut products including flavored, candy glazed, popcorn, and brittle. It also has chocolates, Ka‘ū and Kona coffees, preserves and other local products. www.hawnnut.com

Hawai‘i Island Gourmet Products – Atebara/Hawai‘i Island Gourmet, Hawai‘i’s first chip company, was founded in Hilo at the height of the Great Depression. In 1941, Atebara/Hawai‘i Island Gourmet became the first chip company in Hawai‘i to produce taro chips. The company specializes in value-added products including macadamia nuts, cookies, candies, and chips utilizing exotic tropical grown produce found right here on our island. In addition to operating its own farm, the company also works with 15 other island family farms. Hawai‘i Island Gourmet Products’ collection of “Made in Hawai‘i” and “Grown in Hawai‘i” products will tempt your palate with exotic and unique flavors. www.hawaiichips.com

Kampachi Farms – Kampachi Farms is a Hawai‘i-based mariculture company focused on expanding the sustainable production of the ocean’s finest fish. Through innovative research and application of the best available science, Kampachi Farms will remain on the cutting edge of healthy, environmentally responsible seafood. Kampachi Farms aims to further develop offshore technologies that will facilitate the expansion of responsible mariculture in the United States and globally, such as deepwater mooring and farm site automation capabilities. Ongoing research into alternative feeds is focused on reducing mariculture’s reliance on wild-caught fishmeal and fish oil, replacing them with more sustainable American-grown agricultural products. Kampachi Farms is showing that it is possible to responsibly grow delicious, healthy, high quality fish in the open ocean. www.kampachifarm.com

Kona Coffee and Tea – Coffee Review magazine rated Kona Coffee and Tea coffee a perfect 10 for both aroma and flavor. Why is Kona Coffee and Tea coffee unique? The perfect rich volcanic soil of our farm, perfect elevation, perfect clouds, rain and sun. And of course our perfect roasting by our master roaster, always by hand, and always in small batches, to create that perfect taste and aroma you expect from our coffee. Our family farm is located at the 2,600-foot elevation near Holualoa. Our retail showroom offers taste samples of our famous award-winning Kona coffee. You can witness coffee being roasted daily in our in house roaster- the aroma is intoxicating. www.konacoffeeandtea.com

Kona Joe – Here is the secret of Kona Joe Coffee: We grow our 100 percent pure Kona Coffee on a trellis using the same techniques as the world’s finest vineyards. The coffee tree is trained to grow along the wires of the trellis. This training requires years of meticulous pruning and tying to open the tree over the trellis system. The result is a coffee tree which grows sideways and upwards. The tree develops with more uniform sun exposure resulting in more even ripening of the coffee cherry. Dissolved sugars in the coffee bean and cherry are enhanced. Overall flavors are richer with better texture. www.konajoe.com.

Paradise Meadows – Paradise Meadows is a 75-acre farm located in Nā‘ālehu. A truly diversified farm, it features cattle, aquaponics, beekeeping, citrus orchards, coffee and macadamia nuts. In striving to keep the farm organic, Paradise Meadows makes its own fertilizer using micro-nutrients gathered from the soil. Its products are marketed under “The Local Buzz” brand, and has been in business since 2007. www.paradisemeadows.com

Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee – Rusty Obra had a big dream: Turn Hawai‘i’s Ka‘ū District into a celebrated coffee region. After his death, his wife vowed to fulfill his vision. In doing so, Lorie Obra has become one of the world’s leading artisanal coffee farmers. She is the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s 2010 Outstanding Producer, as well as Grand Champion of the Hawaii Coffee Association’s 2011 and 2010 cupping competitions. www.rustyshawaiian.com

South Swell Bakery – South Swell Bakery, DBA Kona Gold Rum Co., produces Macadamia Nut Rum Cakes, Macadamia Nut Kona Coffee Cakes and Macadamia Nut Pineapple Rum Cakes. The cakes are all made with 100 percent Macadamia Nuts from Hawai‘i Island.  They are drenched with either a premium dark rum sauce or a coffee liqueur made from 100 percent Kona Coffee.  The cakes are vacuum sealed to maintain freshness. This family-owned company takes pride in the quality of their rum cakes which many consider are “broke the mouth.” www.konagoldrum.com

Volcano Island Honey – Volcano Island Honey Company is a small artisan apiary in Hawai‘i.  We produce the world famous Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey. National Geographic Traveler magazine said Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey is “…some of the best honey in the entire world.” Hand-harvested at precisely the right moment, it is smooth, thick and creamy… with the delicate, tropical flavor of Hawaii’s kiawe tree blossom.  Prized by chefs the world over, it was featured by Wolfgang Puck on his cooking show. All of the honeys produced by Volcano Island Honey Co. are certified organic, unheated and unfiltered, leaving all natural enzymes intact. www.volcanoislandhoney.com

17th Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

Friday, Sept. 21 is the date of the 17th Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival. Sprawling again inside and out of Hilton Waikoloa Village, the annual event showcases the isle’s grass-fed beef industry while bringing together local ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and eager eaters to celebrate a bounty of locally produced food.

Over 30 of the state’s top chefs dazzle diners 6-8 p.m. with delectable dishes using grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

Chef James Babian

Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of grass-fed beef—everything from tongue to tail—prepared expertly by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

While “tasting,” festival goers can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at gaily decorated vendor booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. Taste also affords local food producers the opportunity to hookup with isle chefs, wholesale buyers and consumers.

Learn how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef at a 3 p.m. informative culinary activity: Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101. This year’s guest presenter is James Babian, executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The presentation includes sampling.

Tickets prices for the evening Taste and Cooking 101 demo will be conveniently sold at http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com starting June 1. Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door, while the fee for the cooking demo is $10. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 as soon as possible and no later than Sept. 14.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.


Hawaii House Passes Hawaiian Immersion Testing Legislation

House Bill 2875, requiring assessments administered to students in the Hawaiian language immersion program to be developed originally in the Hawaiian language, passed through its third reading in the House and will crossover to the Senate.

Originally launched in the 1980s, the Hawaiian language immersion program is now offered at twenty-one public schools and educates more than two thousand students in kindergarten through grade twelve.

English is not introduced in the Hawaii language immersion program until the fifth grade. As required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), third and fourth grade students are subject to assessments in reading, math, and science. Since the 2005-2006 school year, immersion students have been administered assessments that were developed in the Hawaiian language, specifically for the program.

This year, the Department of Education began administering assessments to immersion students that were developed in English and translated into Hawaiian. The problems associated in administering an assessment that has been translated from one language to another are numerous and well-documented.

NCLB mandates performance-based pay for teachers, which will use student performance on assessments as a factor. In addition, the Act calls for schools that fail to make improvements on assessments to be subject to punitive measures, including withholding of essential funding. The change in assessments puts Hawaiian immersion students, teachers, and schools at a severe disadvantage.

The Hawai’i State Constitution recognizes the Hawaiian language as the official language of the state, alongside English. The federal Native American Languages Act of 1990 also recognizes the nation’s responsibility to ensure the survival of Native American languages.

House Bill 2875 requires reading, math, science, and other assessments administered to students in grades three through six of the Hawaiian language immersion program to be developed originally in the Hawaiian language.

Entry Deadline March 9th for the Sam Choy Poke Contest

“Let’s bring on the competition!” challenges celebrity Chef Sam Choy. March 9 is the deadline to enter the first annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest on Sunday, March 18 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa’s Convention Center.

Open to both amateurs and professional chefs, competition is in four poke categories: traditional, spicy, cooked and with soy sauce. Entry forms are at www.keauhouresort.com.

Doors open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 18 for culinary activities, Hawaiian entertainment, a Hawai‘i Island Marketplace and a presentation on sustainable aquaculture.

Poke critiquing begins 10 a.m. by a panel of judges including Carla Tracy, dining editor of the Maui News, and Fanny Au Hoy, retired Hulihe‘e Palace curator. Contest awards, followed by public tasting, are at 12:30 p.m. Event emcees are radio personalities Kimo Kahoano of Honolulu and Ke’ea Alapa‘i of KAPA.

Headlining the entertainment lineup is The ROOKI’s:  Don Kauli‘a on slack key, Russell Paio on guitar, Keola Grace on electric bass and Pomaika‘i Brown on a “frypan” steel guitar. The Hawaiian group’s name is an acronym for the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.

More culinary fun includes a Celebrity Poke Cook-off with surprise guests at 11:30 p.m. Don’t miss when celebrity chef Sam Choy shows “how it’s done” during the 1:30 p.m. demonstration, “How to Make Poke by Sam Choy.” A TV host, cookbook author and founder of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, Choy put poke on the culinary map with his delicious recipes using cubed fish. Pronounced poh-KAY, poke is typically raw or cooked fish seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt, spices and sesame oil, and then accented with seaweed, nuts and other ingredients.

Event attendees can also browse for locally produced foods at the all-day Island Marketplace, which will feature produce and value-added products by local food purveyors and farmers. Guy Toyama, of Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority, presents “NELHA: a Catalyst for Sustainable Seafood Production” at 10:30 a.m.

Public admission to all contest activities is $3 at the door (keiki 12-and-under are free) and proceeds benefit the future culinary facilities at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui. Free shuttle will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) to the contest from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 16-18 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Spa, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Aloha Shoyu and Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company.

Coming Up – 2012 Montessori Country School Ho’olaule’a