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Bellamy Young Receives 2016 Golden Honu Award From Big Island Film Festival

Last night at the Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, actress Bellamy Young was awarded a 2016 Golden Honu Award.

Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears and Bellamy Young after Bellamy received the Golden Honu Award.

Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears and Bellamy Young after Bellamy received the Golden Honu Award.

Bellamy has been at the festival since Thursday interacting with fans and enjoying the films being presented.

Actor Michael Gross and Bellamy at the Mayor's Reception.

Actor Michael Gross and Bellamy at the Mayor’s Reception.

Last night she also had a question and answer session with Variety Magazines Features Writer Peter Caranicas where she talked about her career and the current hit show “Scandal” where she plays the lead character of the First Lady of the United States, Melody “Mellie” Grant.

Bellamy talks about her career with Variety Magazine Features Editor Peter Caranicas

Bellamy talks about her career with Variety Magazine Features Editor Peter Caranicas

After the question and answer session inside the Fairmont Orchids Lehua Theater, Bellamy went outside where she met with filmmakers, producers, writers, and fans.

Bellamy was literally "blown" away by the guys that I have penned the Tiki Torch Guys.

Bellamy was literally “blown” away by the guys that I have penned the Tiki Torch Guys.

You can watch full episodes online of “Scandal” anytime here: http://abc.go.com/shows/scandal/episode-guide

This is the 11th year the Big Island Film Festival has entertained and promoted films from around the world and tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. there will be a silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center.  Auction items will be on display at the Tennis Pavilion of Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i while the legendary band HAPA will entertain folks.

Winning bids will be announced at 7 p.m. then at 7:30 p.m. the festival will show the Audience Choices for  Short and Feature Films. These films were selected by votes during the previous four days.

$45 general admission, $35 kama’āina, $10/5 keiki 7-12. All seats are $5 more at the door.

Purchase tickets online.

Films only: Adult $8, Keiki $5. All seats are $5 more at the door. (Doors Open 7 p.m.)

Hilo to Tanzania – Open Community Forum

The Rotary Club of South Hilo, in partnership with Short n Sweet Bakery and Café, and The Church of the Holy Apostles, is inviting the community to a free Open Community Forum presenting the experiences of four Peace Corps Volunteers and their time in Tanzania.  The forum will be on Wednesday June 8 at 5:00 pm at the Church of the Holy Apostles located at 1407 Kapiʻolani St., Hilo.

Returning Peace Corp Volunteers to speak at the Church of the Holy Apostles—1407 Kapiʻolani Street, Hilo

Returning Peace Corp Volunteers to speak at the Church of the Holy Apostles—1407 Kapiʻolani Street, Hilo

The featured speaker is Kanoelehua Ho along with three of her Peace Corp colleagues; Rochelle Latka, Sarah Munteanu, and Ginny Worley.  Their talk will focus on their experiences of being a Peace Corps Volunteer, and about Ho’s projects in Tanzania.

Ho a Kamehameha Schools Keaʻau alumna graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington in 2013.  In February 2014, she headed to Tanzania to start her assignment for the Peace Corps.  During her 27 month stay in Tanzania Ho has led numerous projects in her village including several funded with the help of a $3000 grant from the Rotary Club of South Hilo.  With the grant, Ho led a project that completed the village’s visiting physician house and completed a system bringing running water to its health clinic.

The project also brought 20 beehives to the village, to teach beekeeping and provide honey.  Besides providing income to buy HIV medication, the bees also will help pollinate a plant that can help treat HIV.  The grant also purchased two acres, where Ho and the villagers planted 300 avocado trees.  The avocado crop serves as another source of income.

“It’s truly amazing all of the lives Kanoe has been able to impact in her work with the Peace Corps.  The community is so incredibly proud of all she has done.  We are really looking forward to seeing and hearing about all she and her colleagues experienced in Tanzania,” said Rotary Club of South Hilo President Kim Arakawa.

The award winning Short n Sweet Bakery and Café will be providing light refreshments for the event.  For more information please contact (808) 741-1475.

UH Hilo’s Lam Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award

Carolina Lam, director of global education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Center for Global Education and Exchange, has received a prestigious Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) Award to visit South Korea.

Carolina Lam, Director, Global Education at UH Hilo

Carolina Lam, Director, Global Education at UH Hilo

The purpose of the program is to provide international education administrators an opportunity to learn about the host country’s educational system and network with Korean and U.S. cohort colleagues. Lam will spend two weeks in June traveling throughout South Korea, meeting with representatives from the country’s universities, along with selected government and private sector agencies.

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in this program,” Lam said. “I look forward to learning more about South Korea’s culture and educational system, and visiting with at least four of our 11 partner universities that are located there.”

The IEA award is part of the Fulbright Scholar program, which sends approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Fulbright programs are international education exchanges that are sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

For more information, visit http://www.cies.org.

Nēnē Class of 2016 Takes Flight

It’s springtime and nēnē have begun to reappear in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, after being less visible since fall and winter, when they hunker down to nest, raise goslings and grow a new set of flight feathers (molt).

An adult pair of nēnē in pūkiawe bush near Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

An adult pair of nēnē in pūkiawe bush near Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

Nēnē have started to flock, and younger nēnē are taking their first flights. Drivers are reminded to slow down and watch out for the native geese on roadways in and out of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Two young fledglings were killed last Saturday on Crater Rim Drive, between Kīlauea Overlook and Jaggar Museum, by an unknown motorist. The young birds, which were around six months old, were discovered by a park ranger.

“Young fledglings test out their wings and explore new territories this time of year,” said Wildlife Biologist Kathleen Misajon, Manager of the Nēnē Recovery Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “The park uses nēnē crossing signs to alert motorists to key areas, however, until the young birds learn the ropes from their parents, the areas they choose to land can be unpredictable. It’s so important to be extra vigilant when driving so these kinds of accidents don’t happen,” Misajon said.

Nēnē, the largest native land animal in Hawai‘i, are present in the park and other locations on Hawai‘i Island year-round. They blend in with their surroundings and can be difficult for drivers to spot. They are federally listed as endangered.

Nēnē crossing signs posted throughout the park call attention to roadside areas frequented by nēnē. These include Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road, and sections of Highway 11. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nēnē crossing areas, and to obey posted speed limits.

A young nēnē fledgling tests its wings in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

A young nēnē fledgling tests its wings in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

By 1952, only 30 birds remained statewide.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s.  The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 nēnē exist statewide.

Wild nēnē, the world’s rarest goose, are only found in Hawai‘i and are the last survivor of several other endemic geese. Their strong feet sport padded toes and reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows them to traverse rough terrain like lava plains. Most nēnē fly between nighttime roosts and daytime feeding grounds. Watch this short Public Service Announcement for more information. To report nēnē on the road in the park, call 808-985-6170. Outside the park, call 808-974-4221.

Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank

judiciaryThe Kona Drug Court has selected The Food Basket, Inc., “Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank,” as the focus of its 2016 National Drug Court Month community service project, to give back to the charity that provides for Big Island residents in need, including children from low-income or homeless families, elderly, veterans, and many addicts in the early stages of recovery.

The Kona Drug Court asks the West Hawaii community to help support The Food Basket, Inc., by dropping off donations of non-perishable foods to Drug Court volunteers, who will be dressed in red t-shirts, in front of the KTA Super Store in Kailua-Kona.

For more information on Friday’s food drive please contact Grayson K. Hashida, Hawaii Island Drug Court Coordinator at (808) 443-2201.

  • WHAT: Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank
  • WHO: The Kona Drug Court
  • WHEN: Friday May 27, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:    KTA Super Store Kailua-Kona, in the Kona Coast Shopping Center,  74-5594 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


Big Island Film Festival Offering Educational Component

The Big Island International Film Festival will present an educational component at this year’s 11th annual event. The festival is again showcasing outstanding indie cinema, music, culinary events and the world class hospitality presented by the Fairmont Orchid Resort.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

The Big Island International Film Festival is hosting two special industry workshops on Friday May 27, 2016. These added value events are free and have appeal to all emerging filmmakers, entertainer’s, students and cinema lovers alike. The seminars take place at the Fairmont Orchid Hawai’i, and there will be daytime film screenings, indoors at the Lehua Theatre and evening movies under the stars at Plantation Estate.

First off, at 9:45 a.m., Jen Grisanti will be presenting, “TELLING AND SELLING YOUR STORY”.

Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti

She will illustrate proven techniques to raise the elements of a screenplay and increase your opportunities for marketability. A longtime television programmer, Grisanti will highlight how to bring emotion into your script.

At 4:30 p.m., Raymond Rolak, veteran sports producer and content provider, will be speaking on, “THE HARMONY OF MUSIC AND CINEMA”.

Ray RolakRolak will also showcase new trends in product placement, trans-media and the important implications of IRS Section-181 for indie investments.

The BIIFF will have 58 films, with seven from the State of Hawai’i and three produced on the Big Island. Speaking at a recent announcement of the festival Executive Director Leo Sears said, “I am so impressed with the quality of films this year.” He added, “Picking the Official Selections was very difficult. The features are excellent, and the shorts are so good that we added an extra film block so we could show six more. This is a great selection that any movie-lover will enjoy and we hope everybody will come and support indie films with us.”

There are also receptions with featured guests Bellamy Young and Michael Gross. Also there are free children’s films at, The Shops at Mauna Lani. A host of events can be accessed thru the BIIFF website. http://www.bigislandfilmfestival.com/wp/

The BIIFF concludes with a “Best of the Fest” concert featuring HAPA on Memorial Day, Monday, 5-7 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Plantation Estate, near the Tennis Park. It will be followed by the Best Short Film and Best Feature, chosen by audience votes. There’s also a silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center.

Puna Film Green Lake Selected for Big Island Film Festival

The Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, which celebrates independent narrative filmmakers and their movies, has selected Green Lake as part of its slate of films. Only 58 short and feature films from around the world were chosen for its tenth year of the Festival.

Green Lake

Green Lake draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawai’i, but also from B-Horror/Monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It’s a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock, shot entirely in remote areas on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  The film was directed and produced by Derek Frey from a screenplay by Leah Gallo.  It features a multitude of Big Island talent, including cast members RaVani Flood, Thom Durkin, Valery Nuttall and Carmen Richardson.  The score was composed and performed by Matthew Reid with original songs from Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies.

GREEN LAKE – Teaser Trailer from Derek Frey on Vimeo.

Filmed over a grueling nine day and night shoot, the core group of six cast and crew played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera.  They weathered the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Frey says the Green Lake shoot was his mini-Apocalypse Now. “It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result.” Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the terrifying consequences.

Film Director Frey wrote:

The Big Island of Hawai’i has been a great source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the unique opportunity to become friends with many artists and musicians on the island. These friendships have led to a number of music video and short film collaborations. Many of these projects showcase the beauty of the land and the mystical power that surrounds it.

I’m fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island titled The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicts the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.

I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai’i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rain forest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the largest of only two lakes in Hawai’i. Apparently Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake was almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people that live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though it’s beauty and power is incomparable.

My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. It’s dark water and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below.  Looking into the history of the lake I came across a legend directly associated with it.  The ancient Hawaiian legend says that Green Lake was guarded by a female Mo’o that had never been conquered and anytime a chief got close to doing so she transformed herself into a beautiful woman and distracted him. Upon reading the legend something clicked and a story started to form in my head.

From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double up as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.

A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island band’s Technical Difficulties as well as the Delight Talkies provide the songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep!”

The Big Island Film Festival runs May 26–30 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and The Shops at Mauna Lani on the beautiful Kohala coast. The festival also includes food and beverage events, celebrity guests, an awards brunch, filmmaker/audience interaction, screenwriting workshops, Hawaiian music and culture. Green Lake will screen Saturday, May 28th at 7.30pm outside The Shops at Mauna Lani in Waikoloa.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Biggest Little Airshow Coming Up

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s popular remote control Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii sponsored by Aloha Petroleum is back for its ninth year Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, 10am to 4pm. Guests will be able to drive on to Ford Island for this event, or take the free shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Parking is free. A family favorite, the Airshow features open cockpits, hangar tours, restored World War II aircraft, and remote control flying by some of the best pilots and aircraft from the Mainland.

2015 Airshow

For two days, Ford Island will come alive with remote-control flying, static aircraft and full-size aircraft on display, “candy bombings” over historic Ford Island Runway for the keiki, hands-on modeling stations, a Kids Zone with rides, food, drinks, retail, music, entertainment, activities and – new this year – snow. Open cockpits and access to Hangar 79 to see the Museum’s many aircraft exhibits and the Swamp Ghost and Nakajima Kate in restoration will add to the event.

This year the Airshow welcomes Warbirds West, an award winning team of pilots from around the country flying giant-scale remote controlled aircraft. A dazzling T-33 Thunderbird opening act kicks off the show followed by multiple performances featuring the A10 Warthog, F14 Tomcat, F9 Panther and the impressive F100 Super Saber flying at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Tribute flights will include a Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber, two Japanese A6M Zero fighters matched with a pair of “Flying Tiger” P-40E Warhawks, and two Chance Vought F4U Corsairs. In an epic display of air-to-air combat simulation, Republic P47 Thunderbolts will duel with Focke-Wulf 190 fighters. Multiple North American P51 Mustangs will demonstrate precision flying, and a Stearman biplane will perform aerobatics.

The Warbirds West performance will include Alan Szabo flying one of his explosive helicopter aerobatic routines in a circus-like aviation performance. The performances will focus on innovative aircraft, which are rooted to the U.S. armed services and their defense of our nation’s freedom. On the ground, spectators will be able to explore static aircraft displays and interact with pilots and crew members.

Talented local performers will also join award-winning Mainland pilots from the Academy of Model Aeronautics with their 1-to-4 scale planes to perform remote-control aviation feats. Specialty acts will feature: Pattern, 3-D fixed wing and helicopter aerobatic flights, aerobatics performances, South Pacific battles, “Candy Bomber” drops, and Skycam drone helicopters. Remote control aircraft on static display will include jets, helicopters, Viper Jets, Warbirds, B-17s, B26Bs, P-47s, a Zero, P-38s, Corsairs, OV-10s, and more.

“We’ll have spectacular airplanes and dog fight action that’s sure to have the crowd on its feet,” said Michael Fetyko, Warbirds West Team Captain. “Combining pilot and engineering skills with the technology required to pull off these breathtaking demonstrations supports our mission to inspire youth toward educational opportunities in science, engineering and mathematics along with a deep appreciation for our rich American history.”

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Entrance Fees Increasing

On June 1, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees will increase, as part of a three-year incremental plan to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities.

Sunrise glow above Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Sunrise glow above Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

The 2016 per-vehicle fee will change from $15 to $20 and the pass will remain valid for seven days. The per-person fee (the rate bicyclists and pedestrians pay) will increase from $8 to $10, and the motorcycle fee will increase from $10 to $15.

One significant modification to the new fee structure was based on public input. The annual Tri-Park Pass, considered by many as the kama‘āina, or residents pass, will remain at the current rate of $25 for 2016, and will increase to $30 in 2017. Based on public input, the park proposed a $30 fee for the Tri-Park Pass, instead of the national standard of $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass is available to all visitors and allows unlimited entry for one year to three national parks: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.

New fees are also slated for all backcountry and front-country campsites, including Kulanaokuaiki Campground, and will be $10 per site per night. Backcountry campsites will have a stay limit of three consecutive nights, while the front-country campsites will have a stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

In addition, entrance fees will increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $8 per person to enter the park. The commercial per-person entrance rates will increase to $10 on June 1; and $12 in 2017 and will remain at $12 through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person entrance fees will increase under the proposed schedule.

Recreational entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.

The current National Park Service (NPS) fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. Projects funded by entrance fees at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park include ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, picnic tables, and more.

The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fee-funded project. Entrance fees also protect the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native ungulates like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.

An NPS report shows that 1,832, 660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100

Hilo Orchid Show Gala Preview Party Information

On June 2, the Hilo Orchid Show kicks off with a gala Preview Party from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.  Ticket proceeds benefit the non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.

 The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 64th Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The gala Preview Party on Thursday evening, June 2, gives ticket holders a sneak preview of the lush displays and the first chance to buy orchids, plants, and related products. Photo by Andy Kahili

The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 64th Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The gala Preview Party on Thursday evening, June 2, gives ticket holders a sneak preview of the lush displays and the first chance to buy orchids, plants, and related products. (Photo by Andy Kahili)

“The evening gala is a truly a ‘fun’-raiser.  People eat, drink, socialize, and have the first chance to shop for colorful, exquisite, and rare orchid plants,” said party chair and Ku‘ikahi board member Cody Frenz.

The benefit party features a selection of beverages, catered food, live music, and orchid pre-sales.  The event is zero waste, with eco-friendly eating utensils, plus recycling/composting stations.

Each party-goer receives an etched wine or beer glass, in order to enjoy the libations and take home after the event.  A wide variety of fine wines, beer on tap from Kona Brewing Co., gourmet juices, and coffee from Hilo Coffee Mill are served.

Pupu, dinner, and dessert buffets feature tasty treats by Island Naturals Market & Deli and AJ & Sons Catering.  AJ’s chefs are Dean Shigeoka and Audrey Wilson, the food columnist for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

On the menu are mantou buns with three filling options: tofu, pork, and teriyaki chicken; free range chicken tandoori with turmeric rice and raita; free range turkey meatballs with sweet and sour sauce; Thai beef salad with glass noodles; various types of sushi including vegetarian, house made poi chips with sun dried tomato hummus; purple sweet potato and Ka‘u orange salad; and hearts of palm with lilikoi dressing.

“We’re happy to be back at the stadium where the Merrie Monarch is held,” Frenz noted.  “With cool breezes, exquisite views, and shorter lines for food service, we’re all set for a fabulous gala on June 2.  We hope the community will come out to enjoy a fun party and support our cause of ‘Finding Solutions, Growing Peace.’”

Tickets for the Preview Party are $65 ($25 of which is tax deductible) and may be purchased in advance from Hilo Coffee Mill, The Most Irresistible Shop, Day-Lum Properties, and Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.  For reservations, contact Jenifer at (808) 935-7844 x 1 or jenifer@hawaiimediation.org.  Tickets are also available at the door.

NELHA and Hawaii Tourism Authority Receives President’s “E” Award

Today in Washington, DC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in awarding two ‪#Hawaii companies—Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and Hawaii Tourism Authority—the President’s “E” Award.

HTA AND NELHA

The “E” Award is the highest honor the United States Government can give to an American exporter and export service provider. Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority were two of 123 U.S. companies and organizations recognized at today’s ceremony.

This year marks the 54th anniversary of the “E” Awards presentation. For the first time in the award’s 54-year history, winners represent every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Of this year’s 123 honorees, 105 are small and medium-sized businesses, and 64 firms are manufacturers.

In 1961, President Kennedy created the “E” Awards to recognize companies supporting the expansion of U.S. exports. The President’s “E” Award recognizes persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports. The President’s “E Star” Award affords continuing recognition of noteworthy export promotion efforts. More information on the awards can be found at: http://export.gov/exportawards/

Big Island Chocolate Festival Names Winners

Culinary entries from Maui and the Big Isle were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival gala. A sold-out crowd of 600 attendees sprawled inside and out of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel for the fifth annual fundraiser.

Volcano made of 40 pounds of fine chocolate by the Guittard Chocolate Company

Volcano made of 40 pounds of fine chocolate by the Guittard Chocolate Company

“Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” was the festival theme and the event gala sported booths decorated with sugary lava, chocolate volcanoes, orchids and faux flames. The culinary station by Sweet Eatz was judged “Best Decorated” by HVNP’s Cindy Orlando, park superintendent and Jessica Ferracane, public affairs specialist.

Chefs, chocolatiers and college students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges at competitions during the two-day festival.

Big Island Choclate Festival gala and culinary student winners with judges.

Big Island Choclate Festival gala and culinary student winners with judges.

Winning the most culinary awards was Hilton Waikoloa Village led by Chef Dayne Tanabe for Best Savory and Chef Anna Hohenberger for Best Bonbon. The Hilton team also tied with Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for Best Sweet People’s Choice by Hilton Chef Eddie Enojardo and Hualalai’s Kalani Garcia.

Earning Best Plated Dessert was the Ke‘olu Bake Shop at Hualalai Resort and Huggo’s took home People’s Choice Savory. Other accolades were won by Madre Chocolate for Best Bean-to-Bar, Nine Fine Mynahs Farm for Best Cacao and Likao Kula for Best Criollo Bean.

The student team of Yi Song and Diana Maciel Hernandez of the University of Hawai‘i-Maui College took first place in the Friday student competition. Taking second place was Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville of Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui while third place went to Alicia Alcain and Tomi Salinger of Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui.

Second place student culinary winners Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville with HCC-Palamanui instructors Fernand Guiot and Mark Johnson.

Second place student culinary winners Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville with HCC-Palamanui instructors Fernand Guiot and Mark Johnson.

“Students performed at a really high level and we’re hoping to have more participation throughout the UH culinary programs next year,” said Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, program coordinator for UH-Maui College. “We want to make it viable for all the schools to come and compete.”

Heading the team of chef judges for the two competitions were Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, Derek Poirier of Valrohna Chocolate, Elizabeth McDonald of B3 a Beach Bunny Bakery, Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; Steven Arakaki of Kukio Resort, Douglas Paul of Sodexo UH-Maui College, Pam Williams of Ecole Chocolat, Jacques Dahan of Michel Cluizel, Lincoln Carson, Yoshikazu Kizu of Rita Carlton Kapuala, Krista Garcia of UH-Maui College and Shurilla.

The real winners of the annual festival are two beneficiaries: the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations by chocolate industry experts.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Guittard Chocolate Company, Michel Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, The Wave 92 FM and Dole/Wailua Chocolate. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Centennial Events for June

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, and continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public in June.

All ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Hawaiian Language Opera: Hā‘upu. Kamehameha Schools Hawaii will present the Hawaiian language opera, Hā‘upu, based on the legend of Hina and her son, Kana.

The cast for Hā‘upu, the Hawaiian language opera presented by Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i. Courtesy photo.

The cast for Hā‘upu, the Hawaiian language opera presented by Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i. Courtesy photo.

This all-school production tells the story through beautiful and powerful mele (song), oli (chant) and hula (dance). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., June 7 at 7 p.m.  Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Make a Hū Kukui. In old Hawai‘i, children played many simple games now largely forgotten. Help revive the practice of making and playing the traditional Hawaiian top, hū kukui. Join park rangers and staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and let’s see whose hū kukui can spin the longest! Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., June 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Lili‘uokalani at Washington Place.  Jackie Pualani Johnson performs an amazing, one-woman show taken directly from the writings of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the queen’s family and other historical sources. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., June 14 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hālau Nā Pua o Uluhaimālama. Hālau Nā Pua O Uluhaimālama, from Hawai‘i Island, is dedicated to perpetuating the culture and the art of hula. Led by kumu hula Emery Aceret, a student of the revered kumu hula Ray Fonseca, the hālau has participated in many notable hula competitions, including the Merrie Monarch Festival. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

When: Wed., June 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Find Your Park on the Big Screen. Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau is where ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers and defeated warriors once found sanctuary; today the park provides a sanctuary for Hawaiian culture. Hawai‘i Volcanoes invites everyone to watch two films that highlight Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park: John Grabowska’s 16-minute film Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau: Place of Refuge and Brad Watanabe’s 12-minute documentary HiStory: Hawai‘i Island’s National Parks.
When: Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m. (Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park’s cultural festival is June 25). Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Calling keiki 17 and younger to join park rangers for a fun day of discovery in the park’s Kahuku Unit. Participants will hike a new trail, and learn to weave their own lei.  Call (808) 985-6019 to register and sign up for a free lunch by June 2. Bring water, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

When: Sat., June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Where: Kahuku Unit

Weave a Tī Leaf lei.  Join park rangers and learn to weave a tī leaf lei. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., June 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Centennial Series After Dark in the Park: The Evolution of Landscape Restoration at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since its establishment in 1916, various attempts to conserve and protect the park’s rich biological resources have been made by the Territory of Hawai‘i, the National Park Service, and citizen scientists – with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1970, park staff adopted a systematic park-wide approach to managing species and habitats which continues today. Join Chief of Natural Resource Management Dr. Rhonda Loh to learn more about these Special Ecological Areas, or SEAs, and decades of successful restoration in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

When: Tues., June 28, 2016 at 7 p.m.  Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

After Dark Out of the Park: The Evolution of Landscape Restoration at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since its establishment in 1916, various attempts to conserve and protect the park’s rich biological resources have been made by the Territory of Hawai‘i, the National Park Service, and citizen scientists – with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1970, park staff adopted a systematic park-wide approach to managing species and habitats which continues today. Join Chief of Natural Resource Management Dr. Rhonda Loh to learn more about these Special Ecological Areas, or SEAs, and decades of successful restoration in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

When: Wed., June 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.  Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

Centennial Hike: Kīpukapuaulu, the Park’s First Special Ecological Area. Dr. Rhonda Loh leads an easy 1.2-mile hike through the park’s inaugural Special Ecological Area (SEA), Kīpukapuaulu. This forested area is considered a “hot spot” of biological diversity, with more native tree species per acre than any other forest in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The essence of this treasured habitat is captured in its name: kīpuka (island of ancient vegetation surrounded by a sea of younger lava flows), pua (flower), and ulu (growing)—a fertile oasis of flourishing plants. Sturdy footwear, water, light raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. About two hours.
When: Sat., July 2, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.  Where: Meet at the Kīpukapuaulu trailhead

2016 is the centennial anniversary for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the year-long Centennial After Dark in the Park & Hike Series. To find out what’s happening throughout 2016, visit the park website. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. To find centennial events at other national parks, visit FindYourPark.com.

Mayor Kenoi’s Statement On New Haneda-Kona Route

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is thrilled by today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the application by Hawaiian Airlines to provide passenger air service to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport from Honolulu and Kona International Airports.
Kona tokyo

“Our economy is uniquely tied to air service,” said Mayor Kenoi. “Thousands of our working families depend on the visitor industry, not only at resorts and hotels, but also at attractions, activities, restaurants, and retailers. This is great news for our state, and especially for Hawaiʻi Island.”

Entrepreneurs on Hawaiʻi Island who specialize in agriculture and aquaculture niche markets will also benefit from added market opportunities since this flight will be able to carry air cargo. “These products no longer have to be sent to Honolulu before being flown to Japan,” said Mayor Kenoi. “This increases freshness and reduces cost.”

The new route will bring a regularly scheduled international flight to Hawaiʻi Island for the first time since 2010, the last year Japan Airlines offered service between Kona and Tokyo’s Narita airport. Hawaiian Airlines will start flying directly into Kona from Haneda three times a week by Jan. 29, 2017.

Assisting in the restoration of this route has been a priority of the Kenoi administration ever since Japan Air Lines ended its service. “The County of Hawaiʻi has done everything it could to support Hawaiian Airlines’ application for the flight, including discussions and communications with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Department of Homeland Defense Secretary Jeh Johnson regarding Customs and Border Protection in Kona.”

Mayor Kenoi thanked Hawaiian Airlines for never giving up its pursuit to expand its Hawaiʻi-Japan routes, significantly the direct flight into Kona. “Our residents are keenly aware of the great economic impact this will have for the entire island,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This is also a win-win as it strengthens the competitiveness of Hawaiian Airlines in this market, and fulfills a U.S. Department of Transportation mandate to strengthen smaller carriers.”

First Annual Waipi’o Kalo Festival Coming Up

The first annual Waipi‘o Kalo Festival will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Koa‘ekea, near the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Presented by the grassroots state-recognized nonprofit, Hā Ola O Waipi‘o Valley, the free event is a tribute to kalo (taro), Waipi’o, and the kupuna and others who live, work, and find inspiration there.

Waipio Valley Taro Festival

The Kalo Festival is designed to be educational as well as entertaining, and will include much that Hawai‘i Island loves: live music and hula, craft vendors, games and great food. In addition, there will be displays and talk story sessions about the region’s rich history, and its significance in Hawaiian culture.

Central to Hawaiian culture, kalo is considered the “older brother” of all Hawaiians. Legend says that a child named Hāloa was born to deities Wakea and Ho‘ohōkūkalani. Hāloa died at birth and was buried in the garden, where soon shoots of kalo plants began to grow. Their next child was named Hāloa in his honor, and to forever acknowledge the familial tie between people and nature.

Waipi‘o was home to many deities and notable ali‘i, and at its peak, the thriving agricultural community may have supported a population as high as 10,000 people. Waipi‘o is also a storied wahi pana, sacred place, site of seven important heiau (temples) including  Pāka‘alana, a pu‘uhonua, “place of refuge.”

The Kalo Festival is designed to be educational as well as entertaining, and will include much that Hawai‘i Island loves: live music and hula, craft vendors, games and great food. In addition, there will be displays and talk story sessions about the region’s rich history, and its significance in Hawaiian culture.

Every aspect of the Kalo Festival is connected to the Valley in some way. Presenters may come from multigenerational kalo farmers on ancestral lands; cultural practitioners appreciate its vast resources; artists and musicians, even chefs, are inspired by Waipi‘o for their creations.

Hands-on ku‘i kalo gives festival-goers a feel for the art of poi pounding, and other cultural activities like lei-making, lau hala and lau niu weaving are available. More competitive attendees can enter the Taro Team Relay, a fun obstacle course with a simulation of a typical taro farmer’s jobs.

On the scholarly side, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations offer a chance to learn about varieties of kalo and how they are cultivated, its preparation as food and nutritional/health benefits. Displays from USDA, DLNR, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), North Hawaii Education and Research Center (NHERC) and others cover a broad range of related topics, from healthy soils, to agro-forestry, the importance of water, and more.

For the foodies, a Kalo Cookoff offers prizes to home chefs who bring their best kalo pupu, main dish or dessert for a friendly competition with prizes. Any part of the kalo plant may be used in the dish. (To enter, please bring at least five portions for judges to taste. Kalo must be an ingredient.) Kalo Contest Winners will be announced after the Relay, and receive a Makana Basket and a Gift Certificate.

In addition, homestyle Hawaiian plate lunches will be available for sale, with kalua pig, laulau, squid lū‘au, chicken long rice, sweet potatoes, fernshoot salad, haupia, kulolo, poke and of course, poi.

Koa‘ekea (the former Rice property is located at 48-5546 Waipi‘o Valley Road, and event parking will be available at Kukuihaele Park, with free shuttles provided. No parking at the Lookout.

The schedule for the day includes:

  • 9 a.m. Gate opens. Opening Pule and Oli at 9:05 a.m.
  • 9:10 a.m. Hālau Na Lei Punahele, Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade
  • 10 a.m. Larry Miller and Jeff Quinn
  • 10:50 a.m. Hālau Kou Lima Nani E, Kumu Hula Iwalani Kalima
  • 11:50 a.m. Sons of Keawe
  • 1-1:50 p.m. Kalo Team Relay/Kalo Cookoff
  • 2 p.m. Rubbah Slippah Productions, Ryan Hiraoka
  • 2:50 p.m. Masoe ‘Ohana
  • 3:50 p.m. Closing Pule and Hawai‘i Aloha

The Kalo Festival is sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the County of Hawai‘i and other generous supporters. Friends of the Future and Pōhāhā I Ka Lani both serve as the fiscal sponsors for this project. For more information about the Kalo Festival, email HaolaoWaipioValley@gmail.com or follow Hā Ola O Waipio Valley on Facebook.

Hawaii State Urges Consumers with Sports Authority Gift Cards to Redeem Unused Balances Immediately

Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, is urging Hawaii consumers who may be holding gift cards, certificates or store credits from Sports Authority to redeem their balances as soon as possible. Consumers are also urged to return unwanted merchandise immediately for a refund or exchange.

sports authority gift card

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March of this year, and initially had received approval from the bankruptcy court to proceed with business as usual. The company has since announced plans to begin liquidating its business throughout the United States, including its operations in Hawaii. Change is expected in the coming weeks, with an auction scheduled for late May, making the future of the company uncertain.

“An important guideline with gift cards is to use them as soon as you can, because if a store closes or goes bankrupt, there may be little to no recourse for a consumer to recover an unspent balance,” said Executive Director Levins. “If you currently have a Sports Authority gift card, you should use it immediately to avoid losing whatever credit it contains.”

Sports Authority operates eight stores in Hawaii, in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kaneohe, Kapolei, Lihue, and Waikele.

Winner Announced for 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Senior Essay Contest

All senior year students from West & North Hawaii’s schools were invited to participate.  This year’s student winner is Simon Ellis from Konawaena.  He wins a $1000 cash prize.

Konawaena Student Simon Ellis was the 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Essay Winner

Konawaena Student Simon Ellis was the 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Essay Winner

Mr. Ellis’s essay, titled “Eclectic Election,” discussed how the current presidential race is generating a conversation amongst teens through social media and its potential impact on topics of teens’ interests. He chose not to write about one particular party but how, more than any other time, teens are actively getting involved in the political arena and how their involvement can make a difference.

An excerpt of his essay follows:

“In school, it has never been uncommon for students to discuss politics in Social Studies and History classes.  These days it’s not uncommon for students to discuss them electively in their free time.  The lunch room talk has moved away from “who’s her boyfriend” to “what is her stance on foreign policy.” I think that one reason teens are so much more involved in the democratic process this year in particular is that social media gives us the ability to discuss the issues like never before. Not only do we talk about current events at school, but we can also talk about them at home and immediately voice our ideas to the rest of the world.  This open dialogue is not only attractive to teens who want to have their voices heard, but also to those of us who want to learn more and see other people’s point of view.”

The full essay is posted on the Auto Body Hawaii website; www.autobodyhawaii.com.

 

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset’s 2016 Awards Banquet

About 100 folks filled the Akebono Theater in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii last night as the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset had its 2016 Awards Banquet.

Mark and Alan

Mark Hinshaw and Alan “Santa” Lakritz

This year’s honorees for their outstanding service to the community were Mark Hinshaw for the Individual Award and the Corporate Award Recipient went to Bay Clinic Pahoa and the CEO Harold Wallace.

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Elected dignitaries in attendance were State Senator Joy SanBuenaventura, Councilman Greggor Ilagan and Councilman Danny Paleka.  Also in attendance were County Council Candidates Madie Greene and Eileen O’hara.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

A silent auction was held with items donated from Pahoa Ace Hardware, Photographer Alan Lakritz, Aloha All Natural Cleaning Service, Bank of Hawaii, Photographer Charlene Meyers, Christian Robinson’s Bamboo Zoo, Craig Watkins, Deborah Nichols, Geo Pacific LLC, Glen & Fran Calvert, Hilo Coffee Mill, Holly & Bob Johnson, Island Naturals, J Attig Anthuriums, Jungle Love, Kalani Retreat Center, Kua O Ka La Charter School, Lex Brodies and Pahoa Auto Parts.

Luquin’s Restaurant set up a taco bar for attendees and “The Gone Country Band” provided entertainment throughout the evening and the theme for the evening was “Cinco De Mayo x 2” (May 10th).

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Mission Statement:

“In the spirit of Rotary’s 4-Way Test, our mission is to serve the local and global community and our club members by implementing dynamic programs that address current and emerging needs.  Our goal is to achieve meaningful results in an atmosphere of fun, fellowship, and aloha.”

Rotary Club of Pahoa

The Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Meets each Tuesday at the Akebono Theater.  Social “half” hour begins at 6:00 pm and the fun starts at 6:30 and all are welcome.  You can visit their website and “like” them on Facebook:  http://www.pahoasunsetrotary.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/Rotary-Club-of-Pahoa-Sunset-109607602431709/

Big Island Chocolate Festival Begins Friday

chocolate fountain

While VIP and general admission tickets are sold out for the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the following ticket options are still available at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel:

  • A Chocolate Lovers One-Day Pass for May 14 that includes three culinary demonstrations with sampling 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., followed by general entry into the 5:30-9 p.m. gala. Price is $125.
  •  Fifty gala tickets will be sold at the door for $100 each starting 4:30 p.m. May 14.
  • Cacao agricultural seminars, focusing on farming cacao and its fermentation are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May. 13. Price is $40 in advance or $30 each at the door.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

This year’s gala theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.” Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines, handcrafted ales and cocktails, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, entertainment and a silent auction.

Find ticket info, including details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com.

Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Michel Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, The Wave 92 FM and Dole/Wailua Chocolate. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

State Budget Includes Over $389 Million for Capital Improvement Project Funding on Hawaii Island

Under the state budget passed by the Legislature last week, Big Island representatives secured more than $389 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the biennium of Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 for various projects across Hawaii County.  Hawaii lawmakers were also able to secure $8.5 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Big Island nonprofit organizations.

Capital

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $126 million for Kona International Airport improvements
  • $55 million for construction for a new Kona Judiciary complex
  • $33.5 million for Keaukaha Military Reservation projects
  • $21 million for Hawaii Community Correctional Center for a new housing and a support building
  • $15 million for Highway 130 repair.
  • $12.5 million for a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $9 million for Hawaii Community College renovations
  • $8.5 million for Workforce Development to build a multi-purpose center
  • $8 million for Mamalahoa Highway, Ninole Bridge rehabilitation
  • $7.9 million for Hilo Harbor improvement.
  • $7.6 million for Saddle Road Maintenance Baseyard improvements
  • $7.1 million for Hilo International Airport improvements
  • $6.7 million for Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center Improvements
  • $5.5 million for improvements at the Research Campus at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $4.2 million for improvements at Kawaihae Harbor
  • $4 million for the improvements to the lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements
  • $3.2 million for Hawaii Belt Road improvements
  • $2.9 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $2 million for Haaheo Elementary School to design and build a covered playcourt
  • $2 million for Hilo Forest Reserve land acquisition
  • $2 million for Hilo Intermediate School for Building A renovations
  • $1.6 million for Youth Challenge Academy upgrade and improvements
  • $1.5 million for Honokaa High and Intermediate School for restrooms in the auditorium
  • $1.5 million for Zero Waste Conversion to develop biofuel and animal feed in Keaau
  • $1.5 million for Kapiolani Elementary School to build a covered playcourt
  • $1.5 million for a Kohala water study
  • $1 million for Puu Waawaa structure improvement and dam compliance
  • $1 million for a Kamuela vacuum cooling plant
  • $830,000 for Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School
  • $800,000 for the Pohakuloa Training Area construction
  • $735,000 for Mountain View Elementary School improvements
  • $660,000 for extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway
  • $600,000 for Keaukaha Elementary School for cafeteria equipment and improvements
  • $511,000 for Waikea Intermediate School for electrical upgrades and other improvements
  • $500,000 for a feasibility study for a new university hospital in Kona
  • $450,000 for Waiakea High School to build a baseball batting cage
  • $355,000 for Kahakai Elementary School road safety improvements
  • $335,000 for Konawaena High School improvements
  • $300,000 for Kealakehe Elementary School improvements and parking
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Community College at Palamanui for office space and storage
  • $300,000 for Pohoiki Boat Ramp repairs
  • $290,000 for Naalehu Elementary School repairs and maintenance
  • $200,000 for Pahoa Elementary School improvements
  • $200,000 for Keaau Elementary School improvements
  • $150,000 for Kau High School improvements

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hawaii Island community:

  • $1.2 million for Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School to plan, design, build and equip a community food kitchen
  • $1 million for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce to design and build an education facility
  • $1 million for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan design and build a health facility
  • $1 million for Lai‘i‘opua 2020 to desing and build a community center
  • $1 million for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $800,000 for Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council to build and complete the Milolii Community Enrichment Historical Center
  • $535,000 for Ho‘oulu Lahui to build a commercial kitchen in Puna
  • $500,000 for Lyman House Memorial Museum to build a new island heritage gallery exhibit
  • $315,000 for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Island Community Development Corp. to build a new adult day care facility in Hilo
  • $285,000 for Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences to plan, design and build a certified kitchen
  • $250,000 for Hamakua Health Center to design and build and equip a modular building addition to the Kohala Clinic
  • $150,000 for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan and design the Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center
  • $100,000 for Hawaii Wildlife Center to fabricate, install and operate exhibits
  • $88,000 for Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company to construct a volunteer apparatus garage
  • $35,000 for Holualoa Foundation for Art & Culture for repairs at the Donkey Mill Art Center