Summer Italian Food and Wine Celebration

The alluring Italian wines of Veneto, Sicilia, Toscana and Piedmonte are paired with the innovative cuisine of guest Chef Nick Mastrascusa Monday, Aug. 4 at Pueo’s Osteria’s Summer Italian Food and Wine Celebration. The fun and festive event is 5-9 p.m. at the popular Waikoloa Highlands Center restaurant. All food and wine specials can be ordered a la carte, in addition to the regular menu.

Rupert Billings

Rupert Billins

Certified wine educator Rupert Billins, southwest regional manager of Dalla Terra Winery Direct, will lead an engaging dialogue on the evening’s six fine wines that hail from four Italian regions. A native of England and resident of San Francisco, Billins has authored articles and taught classes on Italy’s vintages throughout the U.S. David Ellis “Waimea Dave” of Southern Wine and Spirits is joining in the fun.

Attendees can watch Chef Nick in the dining room at an exciting Bruschetta Action Station where he will prepare three different bruschettas available individually or as a trio of three. Enjoy Chef’s specialized cuisine created for the evening like Squid Ink Spaghettini with fresh, seared, wild-caught opelu and Kauai shrimp. Other tasty pasta dishes include Veal and Hamakua Mushroom Tortelloni and Braised Oxtail with kabocha pumpkin risotto.

“Chef Nick will combine fresh ingredients sourced from the weekend’s farmers markets with the finest Italian products we regularly use here at the restaurant,” details Pueo’s Executive Chef James Babian. “Rupert will introduce two new wines, including one using nero mascalese grapes from Mt. Etna.”

Mastrascusa is executive chef at Kukio Resort and former executive chef at Four Season’s Hualalai’s Beach Tree restaurant. He honed his culinary skills at Florida’s Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. Chef Nick grew up in Uruguay and credits his grandparents, who immigrated from Sicily and Spain, for inspiring his passion for cooking.

Pueo’s GM Kurt Umehara and Proprietor Christine Babian will serve as the evening’s hosts. Reservations are recommended by calling 808-339-7566.

Pueo’s Osteria is an Italian-inspired restaurant providing enticing regional, seasonal and artisanal cuisine in Waikoloa Village above the Kohala Coast. The menu focuses on the finest Italian products paired with seafood, produce and meats sourced from boutique farms, including “farm-fresh” products from Hawaii’s hard-working food producers. Pueo’s is open nightly, focusing on dinner and late-night eats served until midnight. Reservations appreciated, 808-339-7566. www.pueososteria.com.

Under the Blood Red Sun – 20th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, September 14, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor presents Under the Blood-Red Sun Day, a day to join author Graham ‘Sandy’ Salisbury for a family Sunday at the Museum to celebrate the 20th Anniversary Edition of this cherished childhood book and a film screening of the new movie of the same name.

Under the Blood Red Sun

Under the Blood-Red Sun is the story of a young Japanese-American boy’s struggles with wartime discrimination and the friends who stood by him, just after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The newly released film of the same name will screen in the Museum’s theater, also.

Salisbury’s 20th Anniversary edition of Under the Blood Red Sun, his new book Hunt for the Bamboo Rat, and new reprints of Eyes of the Emperor and House of the Red Fish will all be released Sept 14 and available for purchase and author signature at the Museum that day, as well.

Also join the movie’s director Tim Savage and actors Kyler Sakamoto (Tomi Nakaji), Kalama Epstein (Billy Davis), Chris Tashima (Papa Nakaji), Dann Seki (Grampa Nakaji) and many others, for a special showing of the newly released movie version of Under the Blood-Red Sun. Meet and greet the director and cast; bring your cameras. This story has been called a heart-warming experience for young and old.

Schedule of Events

  • 12:00 to 1:00pm – Book signing, Autograph Session, Meet & Greet the Author, Actors, and Director
  • 1:30 to 3:00pm – Screening of the movie, Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • 3:00 to 4:00pm – Author, Actors & Director Panel Discussion
  • 4:00 to 5:00pm – Book signing, Meet & Greet

Free with Museum admission and free to Museum members. For more information, 808-441-1007. Tickets and event information are available at PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Another special screening of the film will occur at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument on Saturday, September 20 at 6:15pm on the lawn at their “Movie in the Park” event. While the no bag policy is still in effect, families are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, blankets and food and beverages in clear, plastic bags for this presentation on the lawn. Contact: Amanda_Carona@nps.gov.

Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach Program

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is pleased to announce that it will begin its Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach “MDKEO” program on Hawaiʻi Island this Fall.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

Handpainted keiki output from the HWF workshop at the “GEMS” (Girls Exploring Math & Science) program in Keauhou last year. Photo by M Lamson/HWF

This program will bring two marine science mentors into 20 different elementary schools (K – 5th grade classrooms) to introduce topics like ocean circulation, marine ecology, and human impacts (like marine debris).  Mentors will work with receptive Hawaiʻi Island teachers to coordinate relevant student activities that meet the math and science benchmarks and “Common Core” standards for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education for each grade level.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point. Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

These in-class lectures will conclude with student presentations of potential solutions to reduce marine debris here in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Basin.

The program will culminate with a family “Beach Cleanup Day” at local marine debris hubs like Kamilo Point (Kaʻū), Pololu (North Kohala), Kānekanaka Point (South Kohala), Cape Kumukahi (Puna), Kaipalaoa (Hilo), and Oʻoma (Kona).  This MDKEO program began with financial support from a HWF t-shirt fundraiser and will now be sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

For more info about this marine debris prevention program or to sign up a classroom, please contact Catherine at spina.HWF@gmail.com; and for more info about volunteering for our next Kaʻū coastal cleanup event, contact Megan at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com  or 808/769-7629. Find additional resources and details about HWF’s ongoing conservation projects online at www.wildhawaii.org.

Blue Angels to Fly at “Wings Over the Pacific” Air Show

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam “Wings Over the Pacific” Air Show featuring the Blue Angels, U.S. Navy’s world-famous flight demonstration squadron.
blue angels
The Blue Angels flight demonstration will use the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, to exhibit the choreographed refinement of skills possessed by all naval aviators on Sept. 27 & 28, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Hickam Field on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The Leap Frogs, the United States Navy Parachute Team will also perform, and there will be demonstrations by Blue Angels C-130 Hercules support aircraft affectionately known as “Fat Albert” and a C-17.  “Wings Over the Pacific” will offer static displays of vintage and modern aircraft, food booths and an Xtreme Fun Zone for the kids featuring rides, games and more.  The show is free and open to the general public. Security restrictions will be in place.  For more information visit www.wingsoverthepacific.com.

Meet the Blue Angels
Navy Capt. Stan Keeve, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, said “On behalf of our Navy and Air Force community, I invite you to join our `ohana for this great event.  We think you will be entertained by the Blue Angels and other air show performers, and you will have an opportunity to see static displays of a variety of aircraft.”

“Members of our armed services are forward-deployed around the world today – dedicated to supporting our freedoms.  As you enjoy the air show, please keep this in mind as you witness firsthand the dedication, integrity and professionalism of your service members.”

Blue Angels

The mission of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and inspire a culture of excellence and service to country by conducting flight demonstrations and community outreach.  For more information: www.blueangels.navy.mil

Tonight at the Akebono Theater – Willie K and YOZA

YOZA and WillieK

State General Fund Ending Balance at $664.8 Million

The State of Hawaii concluded fiscal year 2014 with a $664.8 million ending balance, according to the preliminary close of 2014 accounts by the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). The Department of Budget and Finance is providing this release as an annual update to the budgetary ending balance concluding fiscal year 2014.
Dags“Our financial house continues to be on a solid foundation, due to strong fiscal management,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “In 2013, we posted an ending balance of $844 million. We have now posted a positive ending balance of $664.8 million for 2014, after contributing $55.5 million to our state reserves via the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund and setting aside $100 million for the state’s unfunded liability for retiree health care benefits.”

DAGS is responsible for reconciling all the revenues and expenditures for every state department.  Based on its calculations, the state ended with $1.1 billion in cash, with $394.3 million in accrued expenses for an unreserved fund balance of $664.8 million.

“The Department of Budget and Finance reviewed the report from DAGS along with data from the state’s Financial System and concluded that of the $664.8 million approximately $126.3 million came from lapses or unexpended appropriations from state departments while still meeting significant financial obligations of the State,” said Finance Director Kalbert Young.  “Our consistent vigilance and administration in ensuring expenses are kept in check with projected revenues has once again assured Hawaii taxpayers that the fiscal condition of the state is and will remain soundly in the black.”

Video – Simulated Mars Mission Complete

The HI-SEAS Crew 2 had a live Google Hangout event today when they returned to “Earth” from “Simulated Mars”.  They have been living in a Mars simulation located on Mauna Loa for the past 120 days.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

Here is the video:

“The Feeding Leaf” – New Culinary Partnership Features Hawai’i Island Food From the Source

“He lau ma‘ona” is a Hawaiian expression that means “the leaf that feeds until satisfied,”referring to the kalo plant, a key food source from root to tip. As the new name for an up-and-coming culinary partnership, “The Feeding Leaf” means sharing food rooted in culture, prepared and served with a high level of artistry.

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi'o Valley.  Anna Pacheco Photography

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi’o Valley. Anna Pacheco Photography

The Feeding Leaf’s culinary partnership—Chef Scott Hiraishi and mulit-talented event planner Tracey Apoliona—make a strong team, cumulatively bringing decades of creative organizational and culinary skills to the table. Now working with clients on a variety of private parties and social functions, The Feeding Leaf focuses, almost exclusively, on Hawaii’s wealth of local foods.

The idea began with the Hawai‘i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai last March. Hiraishi was Executive Chef, and took a leadership role on the event, supported by Chef Sam. Working with partners in the agricultural and education community, the Ranchers Dinner promoted their joint mission to not only “grow farmers” by nurturing agriculture, but to “grow chefs” who will use these excellent regional foods in their restaurants.

Energized by the sold-out dinner’s success, Hiraishi and Apoliona began to think about a partnership of their own, while planning for the “Roast & Roots” event, collaborating with Hawai‘i Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools—Land Asset Division, and the Department of Agriculture. Held July 19 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Convention Center, Roast & Roots was the perfect stage to premier “The Feeding Leaf.”

“We want people to understand that there’s a real and significant difference between mainstream and local foods,” said Tracey. “We want the farmers and ranchers to be appreciated for the work they do. We’ve gone to their farms and ranches, and met the people behind the food.”

“Farmers know Scott, and they are understanding of his style of cooking,” said Tracey. “No matter where we go—for example when we went to farmers markets to do food demos—they bring their products and want to give him something to try in his recipes.”

A trip into Waipi’o Valley for a photo shoot turned into an education opportunity, as the crew ventured into the ancient lo‘i amdist centuries-old rock walls. “It was pouring rain and we were drenched, but it all kind of fell into place,” said Tracey. Traditional Hawaiian farmers believed water is life. “It was almost as if Waipi‘o was giving us water, trying to feed us so we could go back and feed other people… The Feeding Leaf is a very good vehicle to teach, not just others, but to teach ourselves,” said Tracey.

Already active in Hawaii’s culinary scene, Hirasishi has been invited to cook for Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s exclusive “Pā‘ina on the Pier” event on O‘ahu. And, The Feeding Leaf will participate in Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range, Friday, September 26, 5-8 p.m. at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Now accepting bookings for the holiday period and beyond, The Feeding Leaf looks forward to bringing Hawaii-raised food to a higher elevation for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Tracey Apoliona, (808) 960-3094 or Scott Hiraishi, (808) 987-9794, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

State, Federal, Private-Sector Collaboration Conveys Sign Of ‘Hope’ To Japanese Village

The people of Tanohata Village, in the Iwate Prefecture, on Japan’s northeast coast “are slowly, but surely walking on the path to recovery as a united body,”according to Tanohata Village Mayor Hiroshi Ishihara. The tiny village was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.

Tsunami two

Now, a sign being returned from Hawaii may provide further sense of hope and renewal.  Today, the large wooden sign from the village, which washed up on a beach near Kahuku, Oahu, was loaded into the cargo hold of a Hawaiian Airlines jet and shipped to Sendai International Airport. From there a delegation from Tanohata Village will transport it home.

“This small gesture, a result of cooperation between state and federal agencies, the government of Japan, and Hawaiian Airlines, symbolizes the concern the people of Hawaii continue to have for the victims of the 2011 tsunami,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “We hope, in some small measure, the return of this sign from the distant shores of Hawaii will further the healing and recovery of the people of Tanohata Village.”

Return of the Tanohata Sign from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

In a letter sent by Mayor Ishihara, he writes, “Thank you very much for finding and saving the sign –our village’s irreplaceable memento –which was lost during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, from a tremendous amount of debris items –we imagine as many as the number of stars in the sky –that ended up on Kahuku Beach on the Oahu Island. We are truly and deeply moved by the fact that you took the time to deliver the message to us, connecting many people and their compassion. Our village will treasure the memento that is coming back to our hands through your cooperation.”

“The world watched stunned and heartbroken by the devastation the tsunami caused in terms of  loss of life and property,”said William J. Aila, Jr., the chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). “My department has worked closely and in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to track and recover Japan tsunami debris believed to have washed up in Hawaiian waters,”Aila explained. “Debris that makes its way to Hawaii is usually returned at the owner’s expense; however, Hawaiian Airlines volunteered to ship the sign back at no charge.”

The Tanohata village sign is one of fewer than 20 items that have been positively identified as arriving in Hawaii as a result of the Japan tsunami.

Kyle Koyanagi, regional coordinator for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program in Hawaii said, “The websites both NOAA and DLNR established for people to report possible tsunami debris has resulted in numerous small vessels (skiffs) and other items being recovered. People are asked to provide specific information about where they find debris and to take pictures. Based on this information a determination is made about whether further investigation is necessary to prevent the introduction of invasive species or other things that could damage Hawaii’s environment.”

Some of the Tanohata Village sign’s lettering broke off during the tsunami or during its open ocean voyage from Japan to Hawaii. Koyanagi was instrumental in coordinating with the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu to try and identify the origin of the sign.

Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, Toyoei Shigeeda said, “The lettering on the sign, 「しまのこし村営住宅, means “Shimanokoshi village housing.”The people of Tanohata village wanted it returned for an exhibit and to serve as a useful reference for future generations to learn about and understand the tsunami disaster of March 11, 2011. We’re all excited that now, more than three years after the tsunami, this sign can be returned as a reminder and symbol of what was lost.”

The sign was wrapped and crated by DLNR staff before Hawaiian Airlines cargo personnel loaded it onto HA 441 for the direct flight to Sendai. Tim Strauss, vice president of cargo for Hawaiian Airlines, remarked: “We deeply value our relationship with the people of Japan, and it is our great honor to do our part in returning this precious piece of cargo to the people of Tanohata.”

To report large quantities of marine debris, debris with living organisms on it, or debris too large to remove by hand, call (808) 587-0400 and then email any photos to:

DLNR.marine.debris@hawaii.gov  and DisasterDebris@noaa.gov

For more information on marine debris visit: (Hawaii) http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/marine-debris/ or (nationally) http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/

Boaz Johnson Investigator Honored as Officer of the Month

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Detective Robert Almeida as “Officer of the Month” for June and Officer Eddie Cardines as “Officer of the Month” for July in a luncheon ceremony Thursday (July 24).

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Detective Robert Almeida.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Detective Robert Almeida.

Almeida, who is assigned to the Area I Criminal Investigations Section, was honored for his work as lead investigator of a high-profile murder case. Cardines, a Puna Patrol officer, was honored for helping to save the life of a choking woman.

From the onset of Almeida’s investigation into the strangulation death of a woman whose body was found floating in the ocean off Kalapana, he was able to accurately evaluate the facts supporting his theory of the crime. While the case was still under active investigation, it received nationwide news coverage, much of which contained misinformation and false speculation. Ultimately, scientific and forensic analysis corroborated Almeida’s findings.

According to Lieutenant Gregory Esteban, Almeida’s “unwavering commitment” was instrumental in resolving the case, leading to a Grand Jury indictment.

“Detective Almeida received well-deserved praise from the victim’s family members, his peers, and superiors,” Esteban said. “He is an excellent example of a resourceful and proficient investigator who continues to enhance his skills through application.”

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Eddie Cardines Jr.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Eddie Cardines Jr.

On April 26, Officer Cardines was sent to a home in Mountain View, where a 23-year-old woman was choking and had stopped breathing. When Cardines arrived at the scene, the woman’s frantic mother said her daughter was dying. The victim was lying on her back with a weak pulse and turning blue.

Officer Cardines immediately went into action, taking steps to clear her airway and perform chest compressions. He continued his efforts for four or five minutes until Fire Department personnel arrived and rushed the woman to the hospital.

According to Sergeant BJ Duarte, Officer Cardines considered his response just part of a day’s work as a patrolman and sought no recognition.

“Officer Cardines’ actions and quick thinking on this call likely were key contributing factors in saving the victim’s life, assuring family members that every effort was being made to do so,” Duarte said. “He later learned that the victim was able to make a full recovery from this incident.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Detective Almeida and Officer Cardines are each eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Participates in “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce participated in the first-ever Hawaii on the Hill initiative July 22 and 23 at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Co-chaired by Senator Mazie Hirono and the rest of the Hawaii delegation, this event highlighted the State’s businesses, food and culture on Capitol Hill. The two-day affair included a Hawaii Policy Summit, tours of the White House and Capitol, and concluded with a “Taste of Hawaii” reception with over 700 invited guests experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of Hawaii.

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Over 30 Hawaii businesses and organizations were welcomed on the “Hill.” Hawaii Policy Summit discussions included Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Director Patricia Loui with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director for Export Promotion Leila Aridi Afas, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Margaret Cummisky. Hawaii attendees were able to share issues and concerns, as well as promote Hawaii as a place to do business.

Senator Hirono asked the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii to spearhead this event, with neighbor island chambers and statewide industry associations invited to participate. The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the County of Hawaii and Tiki Shark Art represented the Island of Hawaii in Washington, D.C. Products offered at the KKCC/County table for the “Taste of Hawaii” reception included ohia lehua honey from The Big Island Bee Company, Spirolina and BioAstin samples from Cyanotech, over 600 anthuriums from Green Point Nursery, chocolate samples from Kona Mountain Coffee Company, and macadamia nuts from Mauna Loa. Tiki Shark Art shared their unique, local Hawaiian style art designs and beach apparel by Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker.

Brad holding his original art piece "Forbidden Island".

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker holding his original art piece “Forbidden Island”.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce provides leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawai‘i. The result of KKCC’s work is a community of choice as reflected in our quality of life, business and individual opportunity and manifest respect for our culture and our natural resources. For info, 329-1758 or visit kona-kohala.com.

Tahiti Fete of Hilo Returns to the Big Island

The drums will be pounding and hips will again be gyrating as the Tahiti Fete of Hilo returns to Hawaii Island on Saturday and Sunday July 26 and 27, thanks to founding producer Pua Tokumoto. “The last year we did it in Hilo was 2008 and so many performers and audience members kept asking us to bring it back, I just decided we’d try again,” said Tokumoto.

tahitiTahitian halau and individual performers are invited to sign up for the dance competition for this year’s event that takes place at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Several halau have already signed up from around Hawaii, the mainland and Mexico with a few inquiries from Japan so residency in Hawaii is not mandatory. “We have fantastic prizes that attract very high quality performers,” said Tokumoto.

Tahiti2

At the fete, it isn’t all about the dancers and drummers. To help create the right festival atmosphere, arts, crafts, food and product vendors are also being sought.

With over two decades of producing the much larger Tahiti Fete of San Jose (largest of its kind in the US), Tokumoto brought the fete to Hilo in 2000, where she and award-winning steel guitarist husband Dwight Tokumoto call home. “There is such a wide interest in and connection to Tahitian culture in Hawaii, it was a natural to start a fete here,” she said. “Actually Tahitian culture is global and since we started the Hilo fete, we established a smaller No Te Here i Tahiti Mexico in Mexico City that includes workshops on ori (Tahitian dance) and hula” as well as a mini-fete.

Tahiti3

Sponsors are being sought to help to keep ticket prices reasonable and insure quality prizes while providing experiential marketing opportunities for corporations and businesses. Benefits of sponsorship include branding in advertising materials, logo placement in the program and VIP seating at the fete, among others. For general information go to FACEBOOK: Tahiti Fete of San Jose & Hilo or to www.tahitifete.com. For more sponsor or vendor information or to sign up for the dance competition, contact Pua at 935-3002 or pua@tahitifete.com.

Pāhoa District Park Project Groundbreaking to Be Held July 31

A public groundbreaking ceremony for the Pāhoa District Park project will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the park.

Pahoa Park Rendering

Join Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council members Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, Parks Director Clayton Honma, and other dignitaries as they signify the start of the biggest recreational project in Hawai‘i County history. The $22.3 million, yearlong construction project will more than double the size of Pāhoa Park and deliver increased recreational opportunities to one of Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.

Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site on August 4. During the following 12 months, it will construct a covered play court building, two lighted baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, one of which will be lighted for nighttime use, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas.

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing 15 acres of developed recreational facilities that include a 50-meter swimming pool, community center, senior center, and skate park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Resource Caregivers Receive Increased Board Payments

Families that care for children placed with the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Service (CWS) Branch will receive a foster board pay increase, effective July 1, 2014. Called resource caregivers, families will receive their first increased payment in August.

Department of Human Services

To ensure that resource caregivers receive the funds necessary to provide safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children awaiting permanent placement, the DHS requested a legislative appropriation of $8,502,936 in 2014. The budget request was passed in its entirety as part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s 2014 executive budget package.

“Hawaii’s rate increase is based on the DHS’ review of foster care rates and practices in 46 other states,” explained DHS Director Patricia McManaman, “and the benefits that Hawaii resource families currently receive in addition to tax-free monthly foster care payments.”

Children enter and exit the foster care system throughout the year. They can remain in resource family homes for days, months, or years in some cases. While siblings are often placed together, resource families also may care for two or more unrelated children.  In 2013, the average number of children per month in resource homes was 1,096.  In June 2014, a total of 1,156 children were in foster care across the State.

Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, was a strong supporter of increasing foster board payments.  “The bill is a huge step forward to help support the foster families that are integral members of our communities.”  Her Senate counterpart, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland agreed.  “I am very happy with the passage of this legislation and am grateful to the Department of Human Services, Governor, Legislature, advocates and foster families for this team effort!”

The increase in basic board payment also applies to families eligible for adoption assistance, permanency assistance, youth receiving higher education board allowance payments, and to young adults who choose to enroll in DHS’ new program of extended Voluntary Care to Age 21.

Foster board payment rates vary across the nation. Hawaii based its new rates on an age-tiered system indexed to documented costs contained in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families annual report.   The monthly per child payment to Hawaii resources caregivers has been increased from a base rate of $529 to $575 for 0-5 year olds, $650 for 6-11 year olds, and $676 for children aged 12 and above.

Similar to other states, Hawaii’s resource caregivers also receive QUEST health insurance benefits for their foster children, difficulty of care payments, and a clothing allowance. Difficulty of care payments are provided to resource caregivers that support children who require more intensive physical, emotional, psychological or behavioral care and supervision, as determined by a treating professional.

Resource families also are eligible to receive special circumstances or events payments, designated transportation costs (school bus fare or private car mileage, local bus fare) that effect child placement or promote family reunification, and $500 per child per year for extracurricular activities, social activities, hobbies, and camp funds.

Reimbursable costs include attendance at authorized meetings, respite care and child care coverage, limited liability insurance training, and  enhancements necessary for the child’s growth and development (e.g. Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, community soccer, community baseball, community swimming, Boys and Girls Clubs).

To learn more about becoming a resource care giver or attending one of the statewide informational briefings, please visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/ssd/home/child-welfare-services/foster-and-adoptive-care/ 

Ni’ihau ‘Alilea Shell Workshops at Lyman Museum

For the very first time ever, men (and women too!) will have the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind Ni’ihau shell lei that traditionally is made and worn by men for very special occasions such as a wedding, or a hula hālau performance.

Lei created from 'alilea shells.

Lei created from ‘alilea shells.

At the Lyman Museum, Kele Kanahele of the Island of Ni’ihau will teach the authentic creation of these rarely seen pieces of Ni’ihau heritage for the first time anywhere, twice in August on Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16, from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

On either day you may learn how to make an18-inch necklace/lei ($380 for Museum members, $410 for nonmembers), or a pair of earrings for ladies ($105 for members, $130 for nonmembers)—or more than one piece, as long as you sign up for specific pieces in advance.  All pieces will be created in the pikake style, using ‘alilea ke’oke ‘o shells (white).  The ‘alilea is known as the large dove shell because it closely resembles but is slightly larger (about ¾ inch long) than the better-known momi or dove shell.  Such lei are rarely made because piercing is very difficult due to the thickness of the shell.  For the earrings, much smaller shells will be used to create pieces appropriate for ladies.

Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.  Reservations must be made, pieces specified, and the workshop fee(s) paid by Friday, August 8, to ensure your place and the availability of shells.  Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.

Kane, follow in the footsteps of generations of Ni’ihau men by creating and wearing this classic lei on important occasions of your own!  And wahine, these pieces will look just as lovely on you … or you can give your special someone a treasure of Hawai’i that shows everyone he’s a treasure too!  For more information or to register, please call 935-5021 or stop by the Museum’s Admissions desk.  The Lyman Museum is located at 276 Haili St in Hilo and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

Meet Lava – Hawaii’s Tweeting Two-Colored-Faced Cat

Ok… well every once in a while I come across something pretty strange.  Tonight I think I out did myself.  Meet “Lava” the Tweeting Two-Colored-Face Cat from Honolulu, Hawaii:

Lava's Twitter "Profile" picture

Lava’s Twitter “Profile” picture

Lava tweets about everything a normal cat would… things like the thing she tweeted today:
Lava Tweet 1Lava bills herself as a “Hot Hawaiian Adventure Cat” and seems to live quite the lifestyle:
Lava Tweet 2The owner of the cat said that she named her “Lava” because she looked like lava pouring.  You can check out her entire series of tweets here @ohmylava.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

She is only followed by 54 folks at this time… but I expect her to soon beat out Justin Bieber for followers… LOL!

Senator Schatz Lobbies FAA to Support Hawaii’s Ban on Aerial Advertising

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that Honolulu’s aerial advertising ordinance remains valid.

Aerial Banner

The mainland-based company Aerial Banners North has been flying aerial banners over Oahu in violation of Honolulu’s ordinance banning aerial advertising, while ignoring citations from the Honolulu Police Department. The company has argued that its FAA certificate of waiver preempts the Honolulu ordinance and allows it to fly aerial banners over Oahu. In Washington, DC this week, Senator Schatz reached out to the FAA at the request of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and received a written response that the Honolulu ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising remains valid.

“This is great news for Oahu residents who don’t want to see their skies cluttered from mainland companies. One of the things that makes Hawai‘i beautiful is that we have well-thought out rules governing signage,” said Senator Schatz. “This letter from the FAA makes it clear that this rogue company is violating our law and we expect and hope that this clarification will cause them to stop what they’re doing.”

In the 2002 case of Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2002), the Ninth Circuit ruled in support of Honolulu’s view that its prohibition on aerial advertising is not preempted by federal law. The FAA confirmed in writing today that the precedent from the Skysign case remains the FAA’s position and that Honolulu has the right to prohibit aerial advertising.

HCA Taps Statewide Cupping Winners at 19th Annual Confab

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrated its 19th Annual Conference and 6th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition July 18-20 at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay located in the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.

Cupping

The HCA divided more than 82 entries assembled from across the state into two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 lbs of the entered coffee is available for sale as of April 15.

In the Creative Division, four of the top 10 coffees hailed from Ka’u, including the top two: Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee earned a score of 88.7 out of a possible 100; followed by FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5

In the Commercial Division, five of the top 10 coffees were proudly grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earning a score of 87.0.

The HCA also presented awards to the highest scoring coffees entered from each of the eight growing districts from across the state. These include Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i.

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the finest coffee sampled from that verdant district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawai‘i district tallying a score of 87.2. Kauai Coffee Company captured the top spot for that origin and Kona Mountain Coffee was judged as the premier entry from Kona with a score of 87.4. The award for the highest scoring coffee from Maui was Keokea Farms with their organic entry of Typica, Kent and Caturra varietals with a score of 88.4.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Complete results can be found at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

“I am very impressed with the quality of the coffees coming out of all of the districts. It just keeps getting better”, said David Gridley of Maui, HCA’s Cupping Committee chair. “I applaud all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts”

Veteran cupper Warren Muller said “The competition was very close” noting an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees. “But some just jumped off the table” referring to the outstanding quality of this year’s crop. He remarked that the upward trend signifies continuous improvement and that experimentation was evident in new varietals and processing methods.

The HCA also hosted a Reverse Trade Mission designed to expand markets in Canada. Inbound missionaries included buyers, brokers, industry media and professionals.

HCA members elected a new Board of Directors to include two new representatives in Big Island Coffee Roasters of Mountain View and Isla Custom Coffees of Pahala.

Outgoing two-term President Greg Stille of Maui was replaced by incoming President Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company in Honolulu.

The HCA Annual Conference was followed on Saturday by the inaugural Roast & Roots event hosting nearly 1,000 attendees. This new event featured notable local chefs participating in culinary demonstrations and competitions and included a People’s Choice coffee tasting won by Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee of Pahala. Roast & Roots represents a partnership between the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i’s Department of Agriculture through its ‘Buy Local it Matters’ campaign.

Sunday’s activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers.  The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference has continued to grow each year and has gained increased international attention.

For more information visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i, and how the NPS works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.