Kona Historical Society to Close Store Museum in Preparation for Special Exhibit

The H.N. Greenwell Store Museum in Kealakekua is closing its doors from January 23 to March 27 as the Kona Historical Society prepares a special exhibit.

Sharing the rich history of coffee in Kona through the eyes of families and farmers who built the lucrative industry, Kona Historical Society will present the award-winning exhibit, “The Kona Coffee Story:  Along the Hawaii Belt Road.” The exhibit is slated to run March through November in the H.N. Greenwell Store Museum.

With the introduction of coffee to Kona in 1828, the development of Kona’s world-famous coffee industry experienced its highs and lows. Voices of hard working coffee farmers and community leaders can be heard through personal accounts, historic photographs and artifacts featured in this exhibit, all of which tell the compelling story of the early days of Kona coffee.

A product of extensive community collaboration led by the Kona Japanese Civic Association and the Japanese American National Museum, Kona Historical Society’s renewal of this world-traveled exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to be inspired by stories of Kona’s coffee pioneers and learn more about the deep roots of Kona’s coffee heritage and culture.

The H.N. Greenwell Store Museum’s regular programming is temporarily discontinued while Kona Historical Society Collections staff installs “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawaii Belt Road” and while this exhibit is running in the historic general store museum. Kona Historical Society apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closure may have caused.

As an alternative, Kona Historical Society encourages the public to explore its other historic site, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook, as well as participate in its educational programs such as the Portuguese Stone Oven Bread Baking Program and Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series. Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Māmalahoa Highway Roadway Improvements – Iona Court to Mana Road

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will begin resurfacing work on the Māmalahoa Highway beginning at Iona Court and proceeding towards Mana Road on Monday, January 23, 2017 to approximately Friday, February 3, 2017.  Work is scheduled approximately between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, weather and construction condition permitting, and it may be occasionally modified to facilitate the work.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles will be in the work zone.  Alternating lane closures will be in effect and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.  Special off-duty police officers will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaiian Electric Companies to Offer Discounted Medical Needs Rate

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will offer a special medical needs discount rate for customers of all three companies. This pilot is subject to Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval to go into effect on April 1, 2017 for two years.

Up to 2,000 customers dependent on life support equipment or increased heating and cooling needs due to a medical condition verified by a physician may save up to $20 a month on the first 500 kWh of energy use. Use above 500 kWh will be charged at regular residential rates.

“Everyone depends on electricity, but for some with special medical needs it can be a life or death matter,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “We believe most people will agree that providing a little financial relief for some of our neighbors is the right thing to do.”

Applications will be made available online, subject to commission approval, and will require a licensed physician’s signature. To qualify, a customer or a full-time resident in the customer’s home must be:

  • Dependent on life-support devices used in the home to sustain life or relied upon for mobility as determined by a licensed physician, including but not limited to: aerosol tents; apnea monitors; hemodialysis machines; compressors; electric nerve stimulators; pressure pumps; electrostatic nebulizers; and intermittent positive pressure breathing machines.
  • A paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic, multiple sclerosis or scleroderma patient with special heating and/or cooling needs.

Based on the number of applicants, the Hawaiian Electric Companies will determine whether to continue the rate after two years.

Residential customers with anyone in the home dependent on life support or emergency equipment are encouraged to inform their island utility of that fact by calling customer service today so they can be notified about future planned maintenance outages. However, because unplanned outages can occur, it is essential that customers with life support or emergency equipment needs make alternate plans should the power go out.

EPA Settlement with Matson Resolves 2013 Molasses Spill Into Honolulu Harbor

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Matson Terminals, Inc. over federal Clean Water Act violations relating to a September 2013 molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor. Matson has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $725,000.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Moore with the National Strike Force Atlantic Strike Team, handles a water quality instrument used to monitor depleted oxygen and pH levels in the Honolulu Harbor, Honolulu, Sept. 15, 2013. Personnel from the Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tested the water at various locations around Honolulu Harbor affected by the molasses spill. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

“Dockside facilities must ensure their operations do not pollute nearshore waters,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Honolulu Harbor spill affected marine life, coral reefs and kept residents and visitors from enjoying the city’s incomparable coastal environment.”

From September 8 to 10, 2013, Matson spilled approximately 233,000 gallons of sugarcane molasses into Honolulu Harbor during ship-loading activities. The spill occurred from a section of pipe that the Hawaii Department of Transportation found was leaking in 2012, and reported to Matson. The molasses discharge killed approximately 25,000 fish in the harbor and damaged coral reefs in the area. Matson no longer ships molasses from Honolulu Harbor.

Today’s civil action by EPA follows a January 2015 criminal action taken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office against Matson, in which Matson paid a $400,000 fine plus restitution of $600,000 after pleading guilty to criminal charges of unlawfully discharging molasses into Honolulu Harbor. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the restitution was divided equally between the Waikiki Aquarium to support coral reef programs and invasive algae cleanups and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to inspire local communities to care for coastlines through beach cleanups.

In 2015, Matson also reached an agreement with the State of Hawaii to cease transporting molasses through Honolulu Harbor, remove the molasses distribution system, pay for re-growing corals that were damaged or destroyed, and reimburse related cleanup costs.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival Names 2017 Venues, Artwork

The 24th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of free, multi-cultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus over 150 crafters and food booths 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at various venues sprawling through the town’s center—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and along Pukalani Street. Festival shuttles offer free transportation among most venues 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawaii, though walking is encouraged among venues.  A map of the shuttle route and festival venues is available in a detailed festival program available at each venue location on February 4.

Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s department of parks and recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to “cherry blossom viewing party.” After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in early February.

This year’s festival is dedicated to long-time event partner Roberts Hawaii and Guinness World Record holder Betty Webster of Waimea. Honorees will be recognized 9 a.m. on the main entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center. In attendance will be Governor David Ige, Mayor Harry Kim, Parks and Recreation Director Charmaine Kamaka and County Councilman Tim Richards. Awarding lei to honorees and dignitaries will be the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce 64th Cherry Blossom Festival queen and court.

The 2017 event artwork is “Mauna Kea Io and Cherry Blossoms” by Honokaa artist and nature enthusiast Pat Dinsman. The oil painting will appear on a limited number of collector posters available for $10 at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise).

Church Row Park

  • Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station. T-shirt sales.
  • Entertainment: Hawaiian hula, taiko drumming and more 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Browse Asian-themed collectibles, lanterns made from recycled beverage cans, cherry tree seedlings and cherry blossoms in mugs; plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, chicken bowl, nishime bento, chichi mochi, andagi and prune mui.
  • Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples 9 a.m. -1 p.m. Also, Waikoloa Beach Marriott (WBM) teams up with its sister property in Japan, the Tokyo Marriott (TM), when local boy and WBM Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa partners with TM Executive Sous Chef Takashi Ogawa in a memorable demo.
  • Origami at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hands-on fun for all ages

Parker Ranch Center- Hwy. 19

  • Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening 9 a.m. dedication ceremonies kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko and Kona Taiko, Christy Lassiter Trio, Lion Dancers, Enka Sisters, Darlene Ahuna, Aloha Kings & Poi Dawgz and Tai Shoji Taiko.
  • Craft Fair: Nearly 150 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot.
  • Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the Fireside Food Court starting 10 a.m.; samples.
  • Meet & Greet NHCH: Talk to medical staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital near Lilikoi Café and find out about job opportunities

Kahilu Theatre – Lindsey Road/Parker Ranch Center

  • Cultural Demos: Ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Performing Arts: Japanese and international music led by Annu Shoko Shionoya with vocalist Kauilani Trainer and Marius Stranger and dancer Shizuno Nasu; lyre harp by Miyuki Ikesue of Tokyo, flutist Yumi Kikuchi and vocalist Gen Morita at 10 a.m. Vocal and dance concert “Sakura Sakura” 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Art and Film: Contemporary art displayed by Susumu Sakaguchi of Volcano and “Hokulea: Malama Honua-The Voyager Exhibit.” Ikebana by Chikako Powers.

Mana Christian Ohana Church – (Former Kahilu Town Hall) Behind Parker Ranch Center

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s 22nd Biennial Hawaiian Quilt Show: Extensive quilt display with the theme “Honor Our Past” and craft sale; members offer a “learn how” area and pattern tracing.
  • New Car Display: Vehicle display by IK Dealer Group at Hamakua side of parking lot.

Historic Spencer House – (Next to Waimea Center) Hwy. 19

  • Koto Presentation and Japanese Collectibles: Koto player and instructor Darin Miyashiro of Sawai Koto Kai Hawaii and the Hawaii Koto Academy performs the national instrument of Japan at noon. View a vintage wedding kimono and collection of kokeshi dolls.

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents art with a cherry blossom theme, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages, ikebana, doll exhibit.
  • Waimea Senior Center: Cherry Baked Goods Contest with community entries due 9:30 a.m. for 11 a.m. judging. Goods sold after winners announced to benefit Waimea Senior Citizens Club.
  • Waimea Preservation Association: Waimea Outdoor Circle heirloom seed giveaway
  • Thelma Parker Gym: Craft fair

Waimea School Field-Enter Lindsey Road/Back of Post Office

  • Waimea Homestead Farmers Market: Pop-Up Yard Sale from Cars with a portion of proceeds benefitting Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parker School-Lindsey Road

  • Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Outdoor market with fresh produce, food and artisan booths open 7:30 a.m.-noon with drum performances by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Kohala-Waimea at 10 and 11 a.m.

Pukalani Stables-Pukalani and Ala Ohia Roads

  • Kamuela Farmers Market: Museum open house, farmer’s market, craft and food booths, cherry tree planting 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

W.M Keck Observatory Headquarters-Hwy. 19

  • Solar Telescope Viewing: Keck and the West Hawaii Astronomy Club sets up solar telescopes for public viewing and answers questions 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the front lawn. 

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Ginger Farm- (old Anderson Homestead) MM 55 across from Puu Nani St. on Hwy. 19

  • Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Craft: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese-style home and garden. Cherry tea is served and art students assist attendees to make a cherry blossom-hanging scroll. Petting zoo.

Kukio Hale Hawaiian Homes-MM 55 on Hwy. 19

  • Waimea Nui Farmer’s Market: 7 a.m.-noon

Waimea Country Lodge-Lindsey Road

  • Offering discounted rates on deluxe, superior and standard rooms, plus kitchenettes, during the festival weekend; ask for promo code “Cherry Blossom 2017,” 808-885-4100.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes-Hwy. 190

  • Free, self-guided tours of Mana Hale and Puuopelu from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Local Feather Hui offers feather displays and demonstrations.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by the park’s culture education administrator, Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, 808-961-8706.