Updated Map Pinpoints Further Big Island of Hawaii Dengue Cases

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Monday, December 14th at 2:45 PM.

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak. As of 1:00 PM today the Department of Health had reported three additional confirmed cases since Friday, December 11th and bringing the total number of confirmed cases to date to 149. These cases include 132 residents and 17 visitors.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hawaii Community Foundation Makes Available $4.5 Million in Scholarships

The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) invites applications for post-secondary student scholarships, making available in excess of $4.5 million through more than 200 scholarship funds to benefit Hawaii residents. A single application, which must be submitted online, will match high school seniors and college students to all the scholarships that they are eligible to receive.

Hawaii Community Foundation

“There is a greater need than ever for financial assistance to enable higher education in Hawaii, empowering students to achieve their dreams,” said Kelvin Taketa, president & CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation. “Owing to the generosity of our donor community, we are able to offer scholarships to make it possible for thousands of students to take the next step toward reaching their full potential.”

To make the application process easy, HCF offers a portal through its website at www.HawaiiCommunityFoundation.org/scholarships that allows applicants to search available scholarships, fill out and save their application, and track their progress.

Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria defined by the donor when the fund is established, and may require additional questions or documentation. General criteria that apply to most scholarships include:

  • Residence in the state of Hawaii
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Attendance at an accredited two- or four-year college or university within the United States as either an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Status as full-time student as determined by the institution (typically 12 credits undergraduate; 9 credits graduate)
  • Minimum 2.7 GPA (unless otherwise stated)

Applications submitted by the early deadline of January 29, 2016 will be reviewed to ensure that all required supplementary materials are valid and have been properly submitted. The final deadline for applications is February 18, 2016 at 4:00pm HST.

In 2014, HCF distributed over $4.5 million in scholarships to deserving students, making it the third largest private provider of post-secondary scholarships in Hawaii.

Hawaii State Department of Health Completes More Than 10,000 Inspections of Food Service Establishments

Consumers can have greater peace of mind this holiday season. The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Sanitation Branch, which launched inspections of food establishments with a color-coded placard system in July 2014, recently completed inspections of virtually all of Hawaii’s more than 10,000 food establishments statewide to ensure they are in compliance with the rules of the state’s food safety code.

This covered about 6,000 such establishments on Oahu, 1,800 on Hawaii Island, 1,700 in Maui County, and 690 on Kauai. The food code requires inspections of restaurants, hotels, caterers, food warehouses, markets, convenience stores, lunch wagons, push carts, and institutional kitchens for healthcare facilities, preschools, elementary schools, adult and child day care centers, and prisons.

A total of 45 Hawaii Department of Health inspectors completed the inspections. On Oahu, there are currently 30 Hawaii Department of Health inspectors in the field; seven on Hawaii Island; four for Maui County; and three on Kauai.Health Department Placard“Consumers now look for the green placards posted as validation that their favorite eating spots are protected from foodborne illnesses and other health hazards,” said Peter Oshiro, who oversees the Hawaii Department of Health’s inspection program. “The good news is that the majority of Hawaii’s establishments are in compliance with the state’s food safety code.”

Green placards are issued for those establishments with no more than one critical violation that must be corrected at the time of inspection; yellow cards are issued to those with two or more critical violations; and red placards are used for those food establishments that need to be immediately closed because they pose an imminent health hazard to the community.

Of all the establishments that were inspected since the program began, the Hawaii Department of Health has issued only three red placards with monetary fines – all on Oahu – that required the suspension of their permit and were ordered to temporarily close their operations.

The Department of Health issued 2,105 yellow placards or conditional passes that require the establishments to address violations. “We’ve found that those establishments that received yellow placards are motivated to address any shortcomings and change their practices to come into compliance,” Oshiro said. “The average time for corrections is two to three days.”

“There has been a voluntary compliance rate of over 99.8% for those food facilities that were issued a yellow placard. This confirms that the placarding program has been a huge success in terms of influencing rapid and voluntary correction of food safety violations,” Oshiro said.

“The Department of Health has long recognized that litigating solutions through permit suspensions and the levying of fines is counter-productive and time consuming when compared with voluntary compliance, which is truly a win-win-win outcome for the regulatory agency, the food facilities, and most importantly public health, by reducing the public’s exposure to food illness risk factors,” Oshiro added.

Oshiro said there may be some mobile food service establishments or others that have not yet been inspected. If the public does not see a placard at an eatery, they are encouraged to inform the Hawaii Department of Health so that an inspection can be scheduled at that site. The public can notify the Department of Health about these sites at 586-8000.

There is more good news: The online portal that will allow the public to access the inspection results is targeted to be operational in the first quarter of 2016. The system, which also allows food establishments to apply and pay for permits, is also scheduled to be ready in the new year. These functions are now being tested before they are officially launched in 2016, Oshiro said.

Castle House or Puppy Mill – Resident Threatens to Release 30 Dogs in Seaview

The “Castle House” in the Kalapana-Seaview area of the Big Island has had their share of problems in the last few years.

Many years ago I blogged about the illegal scam they were running by inviting folks to “Pay $100 to write an Essay” to possibly win a brand new house.  That scam pretty much fizzled out with no one winning a house and a bunch of folks out $100.00.

Castle House
Now a resident that is staying at the Castle House has threatened to release approximately 30 dogs that apparently are staying at the Castle House into the Seaview area if folks don’t start to adopt them.

Castle House resident Morgan Birdwell posted the following on Facebook:

“Hey want a puppy or 5 with great genetics? Come to the Castle we have about thirty of them!”

MorganThe Facebook post immediately drew the attention of one person who posted:

That is a joke right?

The post also caught Kalapana Seaview Neighborhood Watch member Mark Hinshaw’s attention and I’ll just post what was said between the two of them:

Mark Hinshaw Interesting info for the Humane Society….

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell No this please help these puppies find a home or they will be free range puppies running around seaview

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Morgan, are you saying the Castle has 30 puppies that are going to be released as “free range puppies running around Seaview” if you can not adopt them out?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell They’ll replace all your chickens

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Dogs have more meat than chickens anyways

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw That is about as irresponsible as one could be. Call either the humane society or the other animal shelter. I will be contacting Humane Society tomorrow morning and advising them that you intend on releasing 30 puppies that have not be fixed into our community. Thanks for the heads up.

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell You really want all these. Puppies to be crammed into one cage there I’m trying to find good homes for them and they’re free so what’s the problem

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Because you advised that unless these puppies are adopted that “they will be free range puppies running around seaview”

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Nothing like a pack of hungry dogs running around. #CujoAtTheCastle

Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Morgan Birdwell do you live at the castle? what’s the rent? How many folks are staying there now? How many runaways are there?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Like five people live there right now and no runaways

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker What’s the rent?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell im tired of all these questions good night

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Yep… people get tired of being questioned when they know that they are involved in doing something wrong. Mark Hinshaw you call the Humane Society yet?

3 More Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 149.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 14, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 132
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 149

Of the confirmed cases, 132 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
116 cases have been adults; 33 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/7/15.

As of today, a total of 571 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 9, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE.  (Updated December 2, 2015)

U-Haul Opens First Store on Hawaii’s Big Island

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul Moving at Kailua-Kona at 74-5484 Kaiwi St. is located in the Old Industrial Park, previously called Gold Coast Business Centers. U-Haul closed on the property in December 2014 and opened for business last month.

“We have two U-Haul store locations on Oahu, and we’re excited to be able to offer our products and services on the Big Island at our new Kailua-Kona location,” U-Haul area district vice president Doug McIntier said.

The highlight of the store, once build-out plans and renovations are completed, will be the 164 climate-controlled indoor storage units. Air conditioning with be pumped into the units throughout the facility to keep your possessions cool at a low cost – a luxury that is difficult to find on the Big Island.

“We’re one of only two locations in Kona that will offer climate-controlled storage,” U-Haul Company of Hawaii president Kaleo Alau said. “From everyone we’ve talked to, this is a big deal. People have to drive miles and miles to find climate-controlled storage.”

Five buildings are included in the acquisition. Multiple restaurants and bars, retailers and other tenants will share the property with U-Haul. The primary building was last occupied by a coat upholstery shop and a mechanic business.

General manager Cerise Huihui and her team are pleased to currently offer truck and trailer rentals, towing equipment, boxes and moving supplies and U-Box portable moving and self-storage containers. There are 15 U-Haul trucks available at the facility. A hitch bay will be added for easy installations.

It’s a huge undertaking to open a store in Hawaii since each piece of U-Haul equipment is shipped from the mainland to Oahu by barge – and shipped again if its destination is another island. U-Haul boasts 246 box trucks, pickup trucks and cargo vans across the state. U-Haul is moving toward a goal of 400 or more trucks in Hawaii one day, McIntier added.

The Kailua-Kona store adds to U-Haul Company’s expanding presence in Hawaii. The two Honolulu stores, along with the neighborhood dealer locations and self-storage affiliates on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and the Big Island, give U-Haul 28 locations statewide.

“Our new store has a wonderful staff,” McIntier said. “Cerise is an outstanding manager who worked for a huge storage facility on the island and we brought her to U-Haul.”

“I’m very excited and thankful U-Haul is here in Kailua-Kona,” Huihui noted. “People are excited. The community has given welcoming responses to our surveys, knowing they can count on a family-owned business with local Aloha.”

The acquisition of U-Haul Moving & Storage of Kailua-Kona was driven by U-Haul Company’s Corporate Sustainability initiatives: U-Haul® supports infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint. Our adaptive reuse of existing buildings reduces the amount of energy and resources required for new-construction materials and helps cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.

Contact U-Haul Moving at Kailua-Kona at (808) 374-2049 or visit the store. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-3p.m. Sunday. Reserve equipment online and find additional locations at uhaul.com or contact U-Haul Reservations at 1-800-GO-UHAUL.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Fest Taps Two Honorees

The 22nd Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 6 honors long-time contributing festival organizations Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club and the Waimea Arts Council; both community groups are celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2016.  These busy, productive organizations will each be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m. on the entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.

Club members (seated) Ruth Dick and Bob Abdy offer plant advice help an attendee with a bonsai plant during last year’s Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.  Photo courtesy Waimea Bonyu Kai

Club members (seated) Ruth Dick and Bob Abdy offer plant advice help an attendee with a bonsai plant during last year’s Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival. Photo courtesy Waimea Bonyu Kai

Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club

The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club celebrates its 60th year in 2016. The club has a long and somewhat special relationship with the Cherry Blossom Festival as the club’s longtime sensei (teacher), the late Isami Ishihara, propagated the cherry trees planted in Church Row Park that eventually became the signature element for the annual festival. The club has participated in all festivals.

Bonyu Kai means “friendship club” and some of the club’s current members have been active members for over two decades and pass along what they learned from Mr. Ishihara throughout the years to newer members at meetings and events.

The practice of bonsai has a long tradition grounded both in artistic form and science. Club President Bob Male explains, “It is a continuous sharing and learning experience about the relationship and interaction we humans have with not only the plant kingdom, but all other elements of our environment (including other people).”

Club members have bonsai plants that range in age from a few years to more than 50. Many of the plants can be traced back to other bonsai masters, while the plants change every year due to their ongoing relationship with the environment and the perspective and care of their current trainer.

The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club functions as a dynamic artistic, scientific, social experience that club members continue to embrace and practice. Club membership is open to all; for info email WaimeaBonsai@gmail.com.

Waimea Arts Council

Marking its 40th year, the Waimea Arts Council (WAC) is one of the state’s oldest arts organizations and made up of North Hawai‘i residents from all walks of life who are supportive of the arts: educators, business owners and artists. The all-volunteer council was founded in 1974 and designated a non-profit organization in 1978. WAC sponsors a variety of programs, exhibits and visual arts education, plus supports local artists with services.

The Firehouse Gallery is the most visual project of the Waimea Arts Council. Housed in South Kohala’s former fire engine garage and bunkhouse, the gallery is strategically located in the heart of Waimea at the Historic Corner where Mamalahoa Highway 19 becomes Highway 190 at Lindsey Road.

With exhibits changing monthly, The Firehouse Gallery serves as a venue for Big Island artists by providing educational and creative opportunities for sharing work. Artists donate a percentage of any sales to the organization. Staffed by artists and local volunteers, the gallery offers a variety of mixed media from watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings to glass, woodwork, photography and jewelry.

On of the original participants of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, the gallery annually presents a cherry blossom-themed art display and invites attendees of all ages to get creative with chalk on the sidewalks winding through Waimea’s Historic Corner.

Regular hours of gallery operation are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and Sunday, plus 9 a.m-3 p.m. Saturday. Visit www.waimeaartscouncil.org.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival annually celebrates the Japanese tradition of viewing the season’s first blooms, called “hanami,” which literally translates to hana, “flower” and mi, “look.” Held the first Saturday of February, the festival includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations sprawling from Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs, a large quilt show and food booths. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.