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World of Magic at the Hilo Palace Theater

The Hilo Elks Lodge 759 will present its annual World of Magic show from 11am to 12:30pm at downtown Hilo’s Palace Theater on Sunday, December 6.

world of magic

This year’s special performer will be international award magician Bruce Meyers. Based in Hawaii and Washington, Bruce’s masterful stage presence and his warm, benevolent, and funny personality quickly connects with his audience, compelling them to become part of the fun, wonder and magic.

Together with wife and long-time stage partner Jennifer, the Meyers will fill Hilo’s Palace Theater with astonishing wonder. They will perform ancient magic from India such as the Basket of Immortality. It will feature aerial dancer Luna Sophia as she ascends from the basket to perform her beautiful aerial silk artistry.

During the show, Bruce may ask the audience to hold on tight to a solid oak table as it floats around the stage, shower them with real flowers, or, if they’re not careful, perhaps dozens of eggs.

“The noblest art is that of making others happy. That’s real magic. It’s what we do” said the Meyers. As the Magician of the Year by the Northwest Ring of Fire in Seattle, Comedy Magician of the Year in Vancouver, Canada, and 1st Place In Stage by the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians, Bruce and company will spread happiness and joy to remind the audiences that, despite all of its faults, the world is still a breathtaking, beautiful, and mysterious place.

At the end of the show, expect Santa to make a special appearance.

Sponsored by the Elks National Foundation and community members, admissions to this performance is free, and donations are welcome.

For more information, please contact Lily at the Hilo Elks 935-1717.

Big Island Company Recognized in OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015

Hawaii Forest & Trail is the only company from the state of Hawaii to have been selected as one of OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community.

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai.  Photo PF Bentley

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai. Photo PF Bentley

This prestigious recognition by OUTSIDE magazine as one of the best places to work across the country is truly an honor. When we started Hawaii Forest & Trail in 1992, my wife Cindy and I made a commitment to build our business around the concept of ohana, or family, where we foster connections between our co-worker ohana and the natural world. It’s what we strive for,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail President Rob Pacheco.

“The companies recognized in this year’s Best Places to Work list are the gold standard for stellar work environments that seek to empower their employees both in and out of the office,” said OUTSIDE Online Editor Scott Rosenfield. “The new categories in this year’s list serve to highlight outstanding workplaces in distinctive fields-making it all the easier for our readers to find their dream jobs.”

What Makes Hawaii Forest & Trail A Great Place to Work?

When Rob and Cindy Pacheco founded Hawaii Forest & Trail in the garage of their house, they never dreamed their tour operation would grow to have more than 50 employees at 3 locations on Hawaii Island. The secret to their success has always been finding employees who share their passion for the outdoors, for each other and their island home.

As the company continues to grow, Hawaii Forest & Trail emphasizes the cultivation of close personal connections and provides employees with new opportunities. Just recently Hawaii Forest & Trail launched its “Ohana and Natural Resources Department” where the primary focus is to develop staff education opportunities, conservation partnerships, and community involvement. Initiatives developed by this department include staff BBQs, group volunteer programs, ongoing educational lectures from natural and cultural experts, and an invitation to participate in community hikes. These opportunities for personal growth coupled with the company’s unparalleled access to some of Hawaii Island’s most beautiful natural sites make working at Hawaii Forest & Trail a dream job for many of Hawaii’s outdoor enthusiasts.

Hawaii Forest & Trail also believes in kuleana and acts on that sense of responsibility by providing a strong package of staff benefits that includes healthcare, a 401K matching plan, paid vacation time, and comp tickets on any of their adventures.

“We strongly believe that to be the best at what we do, we have to compete for the best candidates every time we hire,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Jason Cohn. With all their employee perks it’s no wonder Hawaii Forest & Trail has managed to retain their first full-time guide and first full-time dispatcher who both still remember showing up to clock-in at Rob and Cindy’s house more than 17 years ago.

To find the best places to work in the United States in 2015, OUTSIDE started by creating five company categories that reflect the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies. Outside’s Best Places to Work 2015 was driven by employee reviews of their workplaces, taking into account factors like corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop: companies that are empowering their employees to live bigger, better lives.

The complete list of Best Places to Work winners is featured online at www.outsideonline.com/dreamjobs

TOMORROW – Free Thanksgiving Luncheon For the People of Puna

A FREE Thanksgiving luncheon will be held for the Puna Community tomorrow at the Pahoa Community Center.

Thanksgivng 2015Sponsors and members from Hope Services Hawaii, Aloha Lehua Cafe, Kalapana Mauna Kea Church and Puna New Hope will be providing free thanksgiving dinners from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

1,000 Desks Donated to South African Schools on Behalf of the Worldwide Voyage

Hokulea crewmembers and a delegation of Hawaii students, teachers and families visited St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School near Cape Town, South Africa to present 50 Tutudesks featuring artwork inspired by the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. An additional 1,000 desks will be delivered to township schools in the Durban, South Africa area in early 2016. The donation of desks will support the campaign’s goal to provide 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2020.


“These Tutudesks will help students have space at home to do their homework. Even in the   classroom, it’s going to help teachers do individual work with each child,” said Vuyiswa Lebenya, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Following the presentation, Ke Ka o Makalii – a group comprised of teachers and students from Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School – offered hula and mele celebrating the past voyages of Hokulea. Students from St. Mary’s then followed with their own local songs and dances before inviting the Hawaii delegation to participate.


“When I saw them dancing together, that is what global peace looks like. It’s finding that rhythm that’s down deep inside that allows us to be completely the same, to be respectful and caring of everyone,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hokulea crewmembers and the Hawaii delegation are in South Africa this week as part of Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.


The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign provides portable school desks to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance.

Chief Justice Recktenwald Honored with Peacemaker Award

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald was honored by the Kuikahi Mediation Center, in partnership with the Hawaii County Bar Association (HCBA), at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015, in Hilo.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku'ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the 'Peacemaker Award' at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku’ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the ‘Peacemaker Award’ at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

“This year Kuikahi is giving our ‘Peacemaker Award’ to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Recktenwald is nationally recognized for his leadership and commitment to increasing access to justice,” said Judge Andrew Wilson, Kuikahi’s board president. “He has been a strong supporter of alternative dispute resolution and has forwarded our efforts in the courts with programs such as the Hilo Self-Help Center and the Foreclosure Mediation Program.”

Under the Chief Justice’s leadership, Self-Help Centers were established in six locations statewide, including in Hilo and Kona.  More than 3,860 individuals, who otherwise could not have afforded legal representation, have been assisted on the Big Island, alone.  Statewide, the volunteer attorneys at the Self-Help Centers have assisted more than 10,000 people.

“More than half of our clients are at or below the poverty level,” said Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Kuikahi Mediation Center.  “The Hawaii State Judiciary has made tremendous strides in increasing its access to justice for all by increasing its services both in the courts and online.  We applaud Chief Justice Recktenwald for his vision and continued efforts.”

In addition, mediation services are available at the Hawaii State Judiciary’s district, circuit and appellate courts.  Chief Judge of the Third Circuit, Ronald Ibarra said: “The Chief Justice has always recognized the value of conflict resolution and conciliation methods and has supported programs, such as our Third Circuit Foreclosure Mediation Program, Family Court’s Ohana Conference, and our Court Annexed Arbitration Program.”

The Chief Justice has also helped expand services such as the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project, a divorce mediation program on Kauai, and a paternity mediation pilot project on Oahu.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Kuikahi Mediation Center and the HCBA,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.   “It is because of our community partners like the Kuikahi Mediation Center that we are able to expand programs that encourage litigants to use mediation, so that they can attempt to resolve their conflicts on their own terms and at less cost.  We are grateful for this partnership and their continued support.”

HCBA also recognized Attorney Addison M. Bowman, who is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and an appellate mediator for the Hawaii Supreme Court, for his many years of service.

Kamehameha 6th Grader Earns National American Miss Hawaii Title – Heads to Mainland for National Pageant

Kamehameha 6th Grader Jordanna Takaki, daughter of Kori Takaki and Derek Kalai, has earned the prestigious title of 2015 National American Miss Hawaii through her successfully scored events in the local pageant.

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

She will be attending the National Pageant to be held at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week, representing Hawaii, where she will have the opportunity to win her share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Jordanna is on the “Principals List – Honor Roll” at Kamehameha School Hawaii Campus and is active in the Drama Club while also dancing Tahitian for Merahi Productions. She enjoys swimming and was recently involved in the Hilo Palace Theater production of Mary Poppins.
Jordanna at Life Care Center
Jordanna volunteers at the Life Care Center of Hilo where she enjoys singing and dancing for the patients.

The pageant will be held on November 28th at Disneyland.

Hilo Photographer Receives Second Award at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Today

Bruce Omori, co-owner of Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery in Hilo, received the Windland Smith Rice International Award for his lava photo titled “Ribbons in the Sky,” which will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s annual exhibition which opened on October 24, 2015.

Bruce Omori standing with his image "Ribbons in the Sky" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Bruce Omori standing with his image “Ribbons in the Sky” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Omori with his family by his side traveled to Washington, DC to be honored amongst all the other recipients in a formal ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on November 12, 2015. His winning photograph was selected from almost 20,000 submissions from photographers in 46 countries.

“It’s such a tremendous honor to receive this award again, as many previous WSR winners are the very photographers who have been my source of inspiration over the years…   I’m truly grateful for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and humbled to share this experience with so many other talented photographers in this competition as well.” Omori said.
Omori’s winning entry in the Art in Nature category, “Ribbons in the Sky,” is a wild airborne abstract created by a huge lava bubble explosion at the ocean entry.  “Lava bubbles are definitely one of my favorite aspects of volcanic activity, as its infrequent and unpredictable nature make it difficult, yet exhilarating to shoot.


The bursts are so spontaneous, there is no way to plan for a precise composition, and this 50 to 60 foot wide bubble was no exception.  The early morning light gave a perfect balance to the expanding ribbons of lava against the contrasting background for a one of a kind image.  And, about being in the right place at the right time…  I’m just so thoroughly blessed to have the opportunity to witness, let alone photograph, this incredible living and breathing planet we dwell on, from this perspective…  at home, here in Hawaii!”

Navy Rethinks Pacific Training that Endangers Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Life

The US Navy today said it plans to prepare a new environmental impact statement for training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean from December 2018 onward, including the use of sonar and explosives that threaten widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and imperiled sea turtles. The move follows a March 31 federal court ruling that the Navy illegally failed to consider restricting military exercises in biologically important areas within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area to reduce harm to marine mammals.

USS Lake Erie

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the areas that are particularly important for whales and dolphins.”

The Navy’s current five-year training plan was overturned after a legal challenge in federal court by Earthjustice, representing Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ocean Mammal Institute. In a September 2015 settlement, the Navy agreed to put important habitat for numerous marine mammal populations off-limits to dangerous, mid-frequency sonar training and testing and the use of powerful explosives during the remainder of the five-year plan, which expires in December 2018.

“The science is clear.  To avoid permanent injuries and death to whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, it is vital to keep Navy sonar and explosives out of the areas these animals need for essential activities like feeding, resting and caring for their young,” explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represented the conservation groups in the federal court case.  “When it voluntarily agreed to the settlement, the Navy made clear that it can both perform its mission and stay out of important marine mammal habitat.”

“We urge the public to get involved and tell the Navy its new study needs to examine ways to keep destructive training out of vital marine mammal habitat,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

The public comment period on the new environmental impact statement ends January 12, 2016. The public can submit comments online at http://www.hstteis.com. The public can also attend one of three scoping meetings: December 1 in San Diego, CA; December 3 on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i; and December 5 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Despite the March ruling and September settlement, the Navy continues to conduct military exercises that can injure and kill marine wildlife. On November 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it is investigating the death of two dolphins that washed ashore near San Diego after Navy ships were using sonar in the area.

“The bottlenose dolphins that died last month off San Diego likely came from a population that numbers less than 400,” said Susan Millward, executive director at the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We need to keep up the pressure on the Navy to do more to protect these highly intelligent and vulnerable animals.”

Ocean mammals depend on hearing for navigation, feeding and reproduction. Scientists have linked military sonar and live-fire activities to mass whale beaching, exploded eardrums and even death. In 2004, during war games near Hawai‘i, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i.

The Navy and Fisheries Service estimate that, over the current plan’s five-year period, training and testing activities will result in thousands of animals suffering permanent hearing loss, lung injuries or death. Millions of animals will be exposed to temporary injuries and disturbances, with many subjected to multiple harmful exposures.

A video on the effects of Navy sonar training on marine mammals is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gDk29Y_YY

Hawaii Is the State with the 3rd Lowest Uninsured Rate Post-Obamacare

With the third open-enrollment period for health insurance upon us and 11.7 percent of the U.S. population still lacking coverage, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015’s States with the Highest & Lowest Uninsured Rates.

Click to view entire list

Click to view entire list

For the second year in a row, WalletHub’s analysts drew upon the most reliable data to estimate the rates of uninsured pre- and post-Obamacare for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For a broad perspective of those rates, we broke the national figures down to the state level and other categories, including age, race and income level.

Health Insurance Coverage in Hawaii:

  • Obamacare reduced the children’s uninsured rate by 15.29 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • Obamacare reduced the adult uninsured rate by 35.52 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • The uninsured rate for whites is 1.51 percent lower than that for Hispanics.
  • The uninsured rate for higher-income households is 57.03 percent lower than that for lower-income households.
  • The rate of publicly insured is 30.61 percent.
  • The rate of privately insured is 69.39 percent.
  • The rate of employer-based health insurance coverage increased by 8.03 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • The uninsured rate pre-Obamacare was 7.89 percent and has fallen to a current rate of 5.27 percent, with 31,653 persons gaining health insurance coverage.

For the full report, please visit:

Operation Compassion Collects Over 70 Kits for Abused Children and Victims of Domestic Violence

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita and her daughter, Deannah Che Preston worked for two months on project, Operation Compassion to help collect therapeutic kits for abused children and victims of domestic violence.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

High School senior, Deannah Che wanted to make a difference in children’s lives.  “It really saddens me when children have to experience abuse, especially alone.”  Her purpose was to show them that they are not alone and that people care.  Together, they have seen the outpouring of support.  “We are so fortunate to live in a community that everyone pulls together to inspire change and we are humbled and grateful for all the support” says, Dr. Hannah.

Due to this support, BISAC will continue this as an annual campaign to benefit the Children’s Justice Center a program which provides support to abused children and victims of domestic violence.

Since 1964, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives.  “These kits will continue our mission and hopefully make a difference in our community” says, Dr. Hannah.    If you want to donate please contact 969-9994 ext. 827.

Sam Choy Introduces New Kitchen Line at the Royal Kona Resort

Saturday evening at the Royal Kona Resort, Celebrity Chef Sam Choy partnered up with Tiki Shark Hawaii by hosting a party and introducing the world to Choy’s new line-up of kitchen items.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O'Brien and his girlfirend with Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker in front.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O’Brien and his girlfirend with Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker in front.

A large crowd filled Don the Beachcomber Bar downstairs of the Royal Kona Resort for a concert that culminated with 13-year-old YouTube sensation Aidan James and John Cruz on the stage together.

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Sam Choy mentioned about the hard work that was done putting together this new line of kitchen products and spoke with Professional Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien about doing a YouTube show from their respective houses.

Sam Choy "In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien???

Sam Choy “In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien”???

You can click here to view Sam Choy’s In the Kitchen clips.

While Sam Choy signed many autographed copies of his book’s, partial proceeds from the evenings event went to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Hilo folks will have the opportunity to check out Aidan James at the Hilo Palace Theater next Saturday Evening November, 14th at 7:00.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

The product line will be available at his restaurants as well they will begin showing up in various gift shops around the island.  They can currently be found at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive in Kona.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

First Humpback Whale of the Season Spotted by Body Glove Cruise

Today I had the opportunity to go out on Body Glove Hawaii’s 65 foot Catamaran with folks affiliated with Body Glove.

World Champion Surfer Jamie O'Brien was one of the guests invited on the cruise.

World Champion Surfer Jamie O’Brien was one of the guests invited on the cruise.

On our way out to a snorkeling spot along the Kona coast we came across both Spinner Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins .

Spinner Dolphins

Spinner Dolphins

We spent about 2 hours at the snorkeling spot where we had lunch and drinks on the boat.  Some folks jumped off the high platform of the boat, others slid down the boats slide… and others simply socialized on board.

Tiki Shark Agent Abbas Hassan, Surfer Jamie O'Brien and Artist Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker talk story about things.

Tiki Shark Agent Abbas Hassan, Surfer Jamie O’Brien and Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker talk story about things.

After a few hours in the sun, the boat turned back for Kona.  On our way back to the pier… a Humpback Whale BREACHED about 100 yards from the boat.  The captain of the boat said that this was the first sighting of a Humpback Whale that they have seen (this year)!  Of course it only breached once and so I wasn’t able to capture a picture of it… but many of us on the boat saw it as well as the captain as he slowed the boat to a gentle crawl.

Folks enjoying themselves in the water

Folks enjoying themselves in the water

Mahalo to the folks at Body Glove Hawaii for making this trip possible.  I highly suggest folks give this a try if you are staying in the Kona area.  They have both a morning snorkeling cruise and an evening dinner and dancing cruise!

The boat departs from the Kona Pier.

The boat departs from the Kona Pier.

You can visit the Body Glove Hawaii website here:  Body Glove Hawaii

Big Island Comes Out for Sam Choy, Brad Parker and Aidan James

Kona Oceanfront Gallery kicked off, in high gear the first day of a two day long festivity to celebrate the debut of the Sam Choy Hawaiian Kitchen Accessory line.

Some of the Sam Choy and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker kitchen items.

Some of the Sam Choy and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker kitchen accessories.

A second night of partying is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday Nov 7th 5:30 PM at the Royal Kona Resort.

Hawaii Representative Nicole Lowen with Brad Parker, Aiden James and Sam Choy.

Hawaii Representative Nicole Lowen with Brad Parker, Aidan James and Sam Choy.

With over 300 + guests in attendance including several high profile State of Hawaii dignitaries and members of local, mainland and international business elite came out to view and celebrate this historic day with the dearly liked Chef Sam Choy.

Sam Choy, Brad Parker and Aiden James 039
“Wow what a crowd” exclaimed the local celebrity chef.  “I have been to many big events on our island but never with this many folks from around the world. Usually I am the biggest celebrity in the room, but not this time!” Choy added.

Tomorrow night the celebration continues at the Royal Kona Resort – Don The Beachcomber at 5:30 PM with a star studded roster to include entertainment by teenage sensation Aidan James and legendary singer John Cruz.

Aiden James jamming at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery

Aidan James jamming at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery

World Champion Surfers Jamie,  Brian and Anthony Walsh are also scheduled to be in attendance to show their support for Chef Sam Choy.

The event is free and open to the public at the Royal Kona Resort this evening.

Two Hawaii Island Properties Added to the National Register of Historic Places

Two well-known and popular community locations in Honokaa, Hawaii were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places:

Hotel Honoka‘a Club

The Hotel Honoka‘a Club, dating to about 1927, is a two story-wood frame commercial building located at 45-3480 Māmane Street in the historic plantation town of Honoka‘a. It is an example of “plantation” style of architecture and method of construction, with a main floor, a rear second story addition, and basement.

Hotel HonokaaThe hotel/club functioned as a local gathering place that provided guest accommodations for travelers and temporary sales space for the display of commercial samples and wares by traveling salesmen. It includes a dining room and bar facility which has served numerous local social occasions from the 1920s to the present.

It began as a social gathering place for large numbers of unmarried males seeking entertainment after a long day’s work. It became U.S. Department of the Interior hotel accommodations, resting place and headquarters for sales personnel/drummers who traveled the island peddling their wares. Its bar operations were boosted by lack of liquor establishments in nearby Waimea town, and the alcohol needs of World War II soldiers. Wedding receptions and high school gatherings at the Club have knit the Honoka‘a community together for generations.

Honoka‘a People’s Theatre

The Honoka‘a People’s Theatre also fronts Māmane Street, the main street traversing Honokaʻa, a town of almost 3,000 people. The classical revival building is characterized by its symmetric facade with pilasters, cornice and false front parapet.

Honokaa Peoples Theater Historic

It sits on a concrete foundation, which is raised toward the rear, and has a corrugated metal, front facing, gable roof with overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails. The Honoka‘a People’s Theatre has been a center of community life since its opening in 1930. Its ability to accommodate both live and moving picture entertainment has led to extensive use as a multipurpose facility. Generations of audiences and performers have here experienced ethnic dances, music festivals, plays, and cultural exhibitions. The theater has been a venue for political/economic speeches and rallies. Its size and facilities, as the largest theater on the island outside of Hilo, attract people to Honokaʻa.

These two properties were added to the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places in May this year. The Hawai‘i Historic Places Review Board at that time recommended that they be nominated for inclusion in the National Register.  Properties are eligible for inclusion in the Hawaiʻi register because of their association with broad patterns or events, or individuals important in the history of Hawai‘i. Inclusion in the National Register signifies that they also meet the requirements for national recognition. Places included in the registers are usually significant in architecture and design, or are likely to yield important information, and their features retain their qualifying integrity.  On October 16, 2015, the National Park Service did add the two sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

For additional information, please contact:  Megan Borthwick, 808.692.8015

Free Entry to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Veterans Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park joins national parks across the country in waiving entrance fees for Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

“The men and women who have served our nation have sacrificed much to protect our freedom,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We invite everyone to honor their service and experience the American heritage by visiting their national parks at no charge this Veterans Day,” she said.

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff.   NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has dozens of veterans among its employees and volunteers. Active duty U.S. military can obtain a free annual Military Pass at the park’s entrance station all year. For more information on the free Military Pass, visit the park website.

The park, which is open 24 hours a day, offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails and many opportunities to appreciate the volcanic landscape, native ecosystem and the Hawaiian culture that define this World Heritage Site. More than a dozen free interpretive programs are offered daily, and special events, including ‘Ike Hana No‘eau cultural workshops, After Dark in the Park presentations, and Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” concerts, are ongoing. Check www.nps.gov/havo for information for all events.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i.  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge Veterans Day weekend. There is no admission charged for Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Information on special offerings at parks nationwide is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

27th Annual Christmas With The Chefs Holiday Gala

A stellar lineup of Big Isle chefs will be wowing attendees for the 27th annual Christmas with the Chefs holiday gala Saturday, Dec. 5. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Association fundraiser is again on the balmy, seaside grounds of the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel from 5:30-8 p.m.

Chocolate Fountain by The Cocoa Outlet

Chocolate Fountain by The Cocoa Outlet

Culinary participants to date include the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Kailua Candy Company, Pueo’s Osteria, Huggo’s, The Feeding Leaf, Lava Lava Beach Club, Red Water Cafe and Habaneros Bar & Grill along with new participants Kohala Burger & Taco and Mai Grille by Chef Allen Hess. Host property Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel will also be decking the halls with a special culinary offering.

In addition, the holiday gala offers handcrafted ales by Kona Brewing Company, Mehana Brewing Company and Big Island Brewhaus; fine wines and 100 percent Kona coffee.

Attendees can enjoy live music by the Bill Noble Trio, dancing under the stars and an exciting silent auction.

Christmas with the Chefs benefits local culinary students attending Hawaii Community College-Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs who want to further their education.

Tickets are $85 pre-sale or $90 at the door. Charge tix by phone at 808-329-2522, online at www.konakohalachefs.org or purchase with cash at Kailua Candy Company, Kona Wine Market, Westside Wines Kona, Kamuela Liquor and Bentley’s in Waimea. Reserve VIP table seating for 10 for $1000 by phoning 808-329-2522.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association: ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts: www.konakohalachefs.org.

Lily Kahumoku Speaks Out About Coach June Jones Allegations

In 2008 there was a rumor floating around that Coach June Jones had impregnated UH Volleyball player Lily Kahumoku.

Lily and her family

Lily and her family

The rumor floated around long enough that I finally asked readers on my website on whether they believed it was true or not and amazingly 75.1% of the folks that replied… believed the rumor to be true.

Lily Poll

A few years after Lily graduated from the University of Hawaii, I received the following email from her:


Hello Damon,

My name is Lily, it used to be Kahumoku, but now it’s Olteanu. I’ve seen your site. I commend you for your passion and the work that you’re doing. I also have blog and I know how much work it is to maintain.

The reason I’m writing to you is, I would like you to remove your survey about regarding June Jones impregnating me. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, the rumors and lies spread about this affair are ridiculous. It never happened, but  do to the timing of my sabbatical, June Jones accident and Dr Joel Fischer, I understand how the creation of this false narrative came to life. And it’s tragic, that people truly believe it happened.

I never let these rumors get to me, because I knew it was bullshit. Unfortunately, due to rather recent events in my life, I’ve become a bit more fragile and sensitive to this topic, specifically because I am reproductively challenged and am still mourning the loss of my children, my suns, Keali’ikauila Cristian and Kahekili Alexandru Olteanu. They passed away on December 9, 2010, in Tours, France. The law France prohibited their incubation and neonatal assistance and they both died shortly after the birth. 

Well, I didn’t about this survey until recently when my husband googled my name and saw it. He was very disturbed. It simply isn’t fair that my family has suffers over something like this. I know life’s not fair, and that you’re work is to provide news and information to the people of Hawaii. However, I think you’re a reasonable person and I would like to ask you, as a courtesy, to please remove the article/survey regarding this nonsense.

I made a tribute site for my children at: www.lilyolteanu.com, there is a section called Mommy’s journal, you can go to the archives to see all of my entries. It’s not perfect, it’s full of errors and it’s sloppy places. But it’s real, it’s from my heart and has been my savior.

Anyway, I hope this message finds you well.

Mahalo for your cooperation and time.

Lily Olteanu

Now with June Jones applying for his former position with the University of Hawaii after Norm Chow has been released… I felt it was time to clear the air with this alleged rumor and Lily does too as she sent this to me yesterday after I asked her if I could post her side of the story:


Hello Damon,

I really appreciate your message and for that I have no problem with you sharing my email. For years, these rumors have hurt my family and loved ones. On countless occasions I thought about “clearing the air” on my own forum in one of my blogs. But I never did, it’s a Catch 22. If I say it never happened, which it didn’t (I don’t even know Coach Jones personally), there will be crazies out there who will still think whatever they want.

When I sent you the email I was a emotional wreck. In the last four years, I lost two more little boys, twins again, Kainoa and Kekoa, they lived for 6 and 10 days before passing away due to complications with their prematurity. I also had a life-threatening ectopic scar pregnancy in which I did two rounds of chemotherapy in Romania and England, because it was too dangerous to remove the fetus.

However, after this hellacious journey to and through motherhood I am proud to say my son Lucian is almost one year-old. The journey to get him almost got the most of me, but he was/is definitely worth it. HAPPY ENDINGS DO EXIST. Mahalo again for the notice. Here are a few pictures.

Lily and babyAloha,


Native Plant Enthusiasts Invited to Annual Arbor Day Plant Sale

The public is invited to an Arbor Day plant sale on Friday, November 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Kamuela State Tree Nursery, located at 66-1220-A  Lalamilo Rd. in Kamuela.

State Tree NurserySale items will mostly feature native plants such as koa, ohia, native hibiscus species, sandalwood, cypress and pines.  Dibble tube seedlings will start at $1 each, and bigger trees in pots are also available. A two-gallon pot will run up to $11.

For more information call the nursery at (808) 887-6061.

Zonta Service Project Presents $10K to Neighborhood Place of Puna

The Zonta Club of Hilo organized a Halloween party—“Halloween Madness”—for more than 125 individuals at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) on October 24.

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna.  Photo by Jenna Roussy

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna. Photo by Jenna Roussy

“Halloween Madness” was done as part of The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program, which gave the Zonta Club’s chosen non-profit $10,000 upon completion of a sweat equity project. The Halloween-themed event was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s 2015 project.

Hilo Zontians kicked off the event with direct work activities including installing curtain rods and curtains to help cut glare in NPP’s multipurpose room, and creating 20 holiday readiness cleaning buckets as well as 200+ personal hygiene kits for families in need.

Following the work session, 25 client families with four to six children ranging in age from months to 12-years-old, were invited to make healthy snacks including a vegetable witch’s broom and Oreo cookie spider; visit the craft station and create monster magnets, decorate trick-or-treat bags or fold origami; and select an outfit from the costume closet. Target Hilo donated $400 worth of Halloween costumes to help fill the closet.

“It was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s absolute pleasure to support the good work Neighborhood Place of Puna does to empower area families with knowledge and resources,” said Julie Tulang, organizer for event. “Hilo Zontians and volunteers found it very rewarding to be able to interact with the families in the spook-tacular spirit of Halloween.”

After the morning’s work and Halloween activity sessions, Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presented a $10,000 grant award to NPP Executive Director, Paul Norman, to support Neighborhood Place of Puna’s “Kamalama Parenting Project,” a parenting curriculum to help area families raise healthy children in a safe, stable home environment.

Queens and princesses from Lehua Hawaii Productions (LHP) were on-hand to volunteer at “Halloween Madness.” Prior to the event, LHP in partnership with Zonta Hilo, hosted a costume and personal care items drive to secure donations.

For the last 17 years, the Zonta Club of Hilo has taken part in The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program.

Historic Conservation Agreement Forever Preserves North Shore Coastline

Land conservation history was made today as Turtle Bay Resort and a collaboration of entities led by the State of Hawai‘i, completed an agreement to preserve in perpetuity almost 630 acres of open space along O‘ahu’s North Shore coastline. The transaction was recorded in the State’s Bureau of Conveyances as Escrow No. 210-15066667.

“Today marks the formal beginning of a partnership that will forever preserve this precious stretch of land for generations to come,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige signed into law Senate Bill 284 on June 12, 2015, following the initiative of the Hawai‘i State Senate and the State House of Representatives which created legislation supporting this historic agreement. The details of the agreement were approved by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources on September 25, 2015.

The property protected by this conservation agreement covers more than four miles from Kahuku Point to Kawela Bay and represents nearly four percent of O‘ahu’s coastline.

The agreement between Turtle Bay Resort, the State of Hawai‘i, City and County of Honolulu, U.S. Army and The Trust for Public Land is supported by a host of community groups and stakeholders, including the North Shore Community Land Trust.

North Shore Community Land Trust

The land acquired by the City and County of Honolulu under its Clean Water Act grant funding is located in Kawela Bay near a 4.9 acre site that will be dedicated as a public park for recreational use by residents and visitors.

 “Today is a victory for everyone who believes in private public partnerships and the ability to find solutions that fairly and wisely balance the interests of landowners, the environment and the community. We are very grateful to Gov. Ige for his leadership and partnership, and are thankful for all the support from our state and county lawmakers and community residents. This settles decades of disagreement on the future of Turtle Bay Resort. Everyone wins with this conservation agreement,” said Drew Stotesbury, chief executive officer for Turtle Bay Resort.

The U.S. Army, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, contributed $2.5 million toward the conservation agreement via the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB), which preserves land around military installations. The Army’s Kahuku Training Area is its largest on O‘ahu and is used by all of the military services for ground and aviation training.

At the grassroots level, the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) was vital in providing Turtle Bay Resort officials with both perspective and guidance from the Ko‘olauloa and North Shore communities on the need to reach an agreement acceptable to residents’ interests.

Scott McCormack, vice president, Turtle Bay Resort noted that the resort’s remaining development rights – 725 units, or 20 percent of what was allowable before this agreement – represent an opportunity to create much needed employment for area residents, while also conserving massive amounts of open space. Moreover, gaining approval of this residual development plan from key stakeholder groups was key to the agreement.

Reactions to the closing

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

“This is a victory for the community that has fought for so long and so hard to ‘keep the country country’. More than 600 acres of conservation land will be preserved in perpetuity. This historic agreement is the result of a collaborative effort by many to reach a resolution on the future of one of the last undeveloped coastlines on Oahu. I thank Governor Ige, Mayor Caldwell, other State, City and County officials, and conservation leaders who came together to protect the natural beauty of Kawela Bay. This agreement ensures the availability of healthy coastline that is home to monk seals, sea turtles, whales and other fish and wildlife unique to our state. It also provides community access to the area so that it can be enjoyed for generations.”

U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, member of the Senate Armed Services and Energy and Natural Resources Committees

“The preservation of nearly five miles of coastline along O‘ahu’s north shore ensures that this open space will be enjoyed by future generations. Today’s agreement reinforces the value of public-private partnerships coming together to find meaningful solutions that benefit the community. I appreciate the work of the Ige administration, City and County of Honolulu, Turtle Bay Resort, the North Shore community, and the U.S. Army through its program to protect habitat and buffer training.”

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard

“This collaboration between state and local government, the North Shore community, and private businesses is what made this historic agreement possible.  The preservation of one of our most iconic and precious resources – O‘ahu’s North Shore coastline – is something that current and future generations will benefit from.”

U.S. Representative K. Mark Takai

“I would like to applaud Governor Ige, Turtle Bay Resort, the City and County of Honolulu, US Army, The Trust for Public Land and the North Shore Community Land Trust for their work on securing this public-private venture that is good for the community, good for conservation efforts, and good for the U.S. Army. This is a win-win deal that allows the Hawaii tourism industry to thrive, allows the Army to continue much-needed training, all while protecting and preserving the natural beauty for those that live in the community and that attracts many to vacation in the Turtle Bay area.”

Gil Riviere, Senator, District 23, O‘ahu’s North and Windward Shores

“The people of Hawai‘i and our visitors will forever enjoy the beautiful Kawela Bay and miles of pristine coastline because of this landmark agreement. The Senate is pleased to have helped make this land conservation plan a reality under the leadership of Governor Ige and with the cooperation of so many diverse parties.”

Joseph M. Souki, Speaker, State House of Representatives

“This is a day to celebrate. Kawela Bay is now preserved for future generations thanks to the efforts of the many who recognized its importance to the community.”

Kirk Caldwell, Mayor, City and County of Honolulu

“This is the successful result of an effort that has spanned decades, with the kokua of government, the private sector, and community organizations. The fact that over 600 pristine acres are being preserved forever is a testament to the North Shore community and a tremendous gift to future generations of residents and visitors. This historic agreement is proof that great things are possible when everyone works together with aloha.”

Ernest Martin, chair, Honolulu City Council

“The Honolulu City Council, which committed the first investment in this endeavor through a $5 million budget appropriation in 2014, is very pleased with the result. The recordation today concludes a long and complex process. The real winners in this are the people, who can now rest assured that this land will be forever preserved and protected in its near pristine form. Future generations will be able to experience this unique area in the same manner as we are able to today. The City looks forward to its role in this historic partnership and develop the planned park and recreational area for all to enjoy.”

Col. Richard Fromm, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai‘i

“For the Army, these kinds of partnerships are a necessity. We have to preserve our soldiers’ ability to train, and ACUB projects allow us to do that in a way that benefits the community and the military.”

Gregg Takara, chair of The Trust for Public Land’s Hawaiian Islands Advisory Board

“Conserving this land would not have been possible without the North Shore community’s decades long commitment, the strong support of our congressional delegation for buffer funding, and the U.S. Army Garrison Hawai‘i’s coordination with public agencies and community organizations on its buffer program. Mahalo to the governor, the legislature, the mayor, the city council, the landowner Turtle Bay Resort and the thousands of people who made phone calls, sent emails and testified in support of saving this land for our children and generations to come.”

Doug Cole, executive director, North Shore Community Land Trust

“The community is forever grateful to everyone who helped us preserve one of the island’s only remaining undeveloped shorelines. This is a wonderful example of how much can be accomplished when government, community and the private sector all work together. Thanks to this excellent collaboration, future generations will enjoy this special place forever!”