Free Festivals at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to two exciting events in February: Polynesian Cultural Festival on Monday, Feb. 16, 5:30- 8 p.m. and Fortune Festival on Friday, Feb. 27, 5-8 p.m. Both evenings feature a variety of cultural activities, entertainment, food booths and family-friendly fun.

First up, the new Polynesian Cultural Festival is a monthly interactive event that offers a chance to experience the music and dances of Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa and Hawai‘i “up close and personal.”  Participants will be able to wear the fiercesome face-paint of Maori warriors while they pound Tahitian drums, and even take the Samoan fire knife for a spin. More peaceful pursuits like coconut leaf weaving, Konane (checkers) and hula lessons are available, plus poi ball twirling for the keiki.
Mauna Lani Fire Knife

The event is capped off with The Shops’ popular Polynesian Hula and Fire Knife Dance show by performing group Te ‘E‘a O Te Turama. With vivid costumes and vibrant rhythms from across the islands, male and female dancers bring island stories to life and ignite excitement with a fiery finale. The Polynesian Cultural Festival takes place at The Shops on the third Monday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m.

Later in February, the Fortune Festival honors the Year of the Goat with colorful Chinese celebrations, food, music and more.

Mauna Lani Lion Dance

A powerful hundred-foot Dragon will parade through the shopping center while firecrackers frighten off any evil spirits, and the traditional Lion Dance, with drums and cymbals, lets onlookers “feed” the Lion for good fortune in the year ahead. A Chinese fortune teller, martial arts demonstration, fire-blowing and costume contests for children and adults, plus Asian-inspired cuisine, crackling shrimp chips, and a beer and wine garden add to the festivities.

“We’re so happy that people are discovering The Shops as a fun and interesting place to be,” said General Manager Michael Oh. “In addition to our great stores and restaurants, these two festivals in February add a lot of excitement to the center, and we hope the whole community will come and enjoy. Bring the kids, kick off date night, meet friends for a pau hana—there’s a lot to like about The Shops at Mauna Lani.”

Pahoa Lava Flow Community Meetings Suspended Until Further Notice

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira announced the regularly scheduled Pahoa lava flow community update meetings are being suspended until further notice.

Pahoa Community Meeting on the Puna Park

“We appreciate the excellent turnout and response from the community at each of these meetings, which the county first began holding last August,” said Chief Oliveira. “We expect we will need to call additional meetings in the weeks and months ahead, but right now we want to give the community and our volunteers a break during this period while the active lava flows are some distance from populated communities.”

Chief Oliveira thanked residents for their understanding and cooperation, and said the county will resume the community meetings when additional briefings are necessary to keep the public informed.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

Puna Representative San Buenaventura Announces 2015 Package of Bills

First-term Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura has introduced a slate of Puna related bills, in the aftermath of last summer’s Hurricane Iselle and in response to the ongoing lava flow from the Pu’u O’o vent.

Joy San Buenaventura“The residents of Puna face distinct issues that require us to take special action,” says San Buenaventura.  “By working together we can take on these problems and build a better and more vibrant community.  That’s why I’ve introduced these measures addressing a broad range of issues that Puna faces collectively and individually and will continue to face in the aftermath of this current flow activity.”

The following bills relate to the Puu Oo lava flow:

  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.
  • HB1106 CIP; 4th Representative District.  Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates moneys for capital improvement projects in the 4th representative district.
  • HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.
  • HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.
  • HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.
  • HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
  • HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.
  • HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.
  • HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

 The following bills relate to Puna and the Big Island in general:

  • HB1107 Bookmobile; Big Island; Educational Materials; Department of Education; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that shall serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii.
  • HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities. Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.
  • HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.
  • HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.
  • HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.
  • HB1134 Judiciary; Third Circuit; Ho‘okele; Appropriations.  Appropriates moneys for equipment, supplies, and salaries for Ho‘okele legal self-help service centers in Hilo and Kona.
  • HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

 The following bills relate to overall state issues:

  • HB87 Process Server; Criminal Trespass.  Shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties.
  • HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.
  • HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.
  • HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.
  • HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.
  • HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.
  • HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.
  • HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax
  • HB834 Check Cashing; Deferred Deposits.  Requires the written agreement for the deferred deposit of checks to also state that all cumulative fees charged for deferred deposit transactions shall not exceed an annual percentage rate of 39%.
  • HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.
  • HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.
  • HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

 The public is also invited to a community meeting later this month at the Pahoa Community Center on Feb. 27, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The community is welcomed to stop by to voice their concerns and to receive a legislative update from Rep. San Buenaventura.

Anyone wishing to receive information and updates via email can join Rep. San Buenaventura’s email list by sending a request to sanbuenaventura1@Capitol.hawaii.gov.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Turns 20

Marking 20 years of celebrating Hawai‘i’s local products and the people who produce them, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Oct. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

While confirmations are still coming in for the nearly 40 invited restaurants and their chefs, the culinary lineup already reads like a who’s who of good eats. Headliners for the Taste evening gala to date include Bravo’s “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Sheldon Simeona of Maui’s Migrant Restaurant; Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Best Restaurant of the Year; and the host of TV’s “Family Ingredients,” Ed Kenny of Honolulu’s Town Restaurant.

Students at a workshop

Students at a workshop

Hawaii Regional Cuisine founders Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman will lead the pre-gala’s educational offerings, which are open to the public. Chef Yamaguchi of Roy’s instructs the 2015 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. while Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants offers an informative presentation geared for college culinary students at 1:30 p.m.

The time for this year’s Taste gala is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised 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.

The line to get in

The line to get in

While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

Anniversary festivities will include honoring the event’s 20-year participants and others who have been major Taste supporters.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

“We had 16 participating restaurants at the first Taste,” shares Dr. Russell Nagata, event chairperson and administrator of Hawai‘i County Extension Services for the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). “We invited all of them, who are still in operation, to participate in our anniversary event.”

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10 while the 1:30 p.m. class is free. Tickets go on sale in July at island-wide locations and online. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

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 Russell Nagata at 808-969-8228 no later than September 7.