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Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management Understaffed and Overworked – Appliances Stack Up

The recent Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island of Hawaii has had everyone on edge the last few months and both State and County officials have had their hands full dealing with this outbreak.  Thousands and thousands of tires have been disposed of since the county started accepting tires at the transfer stations.

Folks have been noticing that the Hilo Transfer station in general has had a lot of e-waste and appliances stacking up.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Recently Doug Arnott, from Arnott’s Lodge in Hilo, asked the following question in the Facebook Group Opala in Paradise to Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, Head of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Environmental Management:

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd can you give us an update on the ever growing pile of refrigerators and stoves at the Hilo Station…it seems that a good economy is causing old units to be dumped faster than they can be removed….or is this related to refrigerant removal or a slowdown in scrap metal buying by China…can we get an update please

Leithead-Todd responded:

We’ve had to pull manpower and equipment away to deal with tires and other dengue related clean ups. Earlier we had it pile up as we had a contract dispute and we could not move them until the contract issue was resolved at the state level. Now we are moving the white goods out but they seem to be coming back in as fast as we dispose of them. We hope to get ahead of it after we stop accepting tires.

Hawaii Commission Seeks Suggestions For Future Open Space Acquisitions

Do you know of a special property in Hawai‘i County that should be permanently preserved? The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) encourages the public to propose properties that should be purchased.

Click to view entire document

Click to view entire document

Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/Browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1 or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by June 30, 2016.

Commissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public. Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=71938&dbid=1

Past open space purchases total 1,287 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena, Pa‘o‘o and Hāwī Banyan Trees property in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Pohoiki Bay parcel in Puna.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues. The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties. A Maintenance Fund has also been established to provide stewardship assistance to community organizations to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is welcome.

If you need further information please contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101 at (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770.

Hawaii Police Officers of the Month: Daniel Kuwabara and Gregory Horton

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi on Thursday (April 28) recognized Hilo Patrol Officer Daniel Kuwabara as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for March and Puna Patrol Officer Gregory Horton as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.

Officer Kuwabara was honored for his efforts in a sexual assault case, leading to a suspect being taken into custody within an hour.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Last October, an adult female reported she had been sexually assaulted in Hilo. Meanwhile, officers responded to a report of a disorderly man at a nearby location. Officer Kuwabara relayed to the officers arresting the 34-year-old Hilo man for disorderly conduct that the descriptions of the two suspects were similar except for differences in the descriptions of their clothing. Kuwabara met with the sex assault victim and was able to obtain a better description, including that of a tattoo. As a result of that detail, police were able to charge the suspect not only with disorderly conduct but also with kidnapping, burglary and sexual assault.

Officer Horton was honored for providing field training to a police recruit that included drafting a search warrant and recovering evidence that led to felony charges.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Gregory Horton.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Gregory Horton.

On February 8, Horton and his recruit were conducting a roving patrol on Highway 130 near Orchidland when they made a 2 a.m. traffic stop on a sports-utility vehicle traveling slowly without any lights. While making contact with the driver, an assisting officer identified a partially concealed rifle on the passenger side floor mat within arm’s reach of the driver. Recognizing the seriousness of the case, Horton elected to work the case through to its completion with the recruit. Over a two-day period, they drafted and obtained a search warrant, leading to the recovery of a loaded rifle, loose ammunition, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The 20-year-old driver was charged with nine drug and weapons offenses and the officers initiated forfeiture proceedings on his SUV.

As “Officer of the Month,” both Kuwabara and Horton are eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

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

Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

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

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly 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,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

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

Roller Derby Triple Header – Waimea, Hawaii Pacific and Hilo Duke It Out

Paradise Roller Girls will host a full night of roller derby on April 30 including a round robin of bouts with Pacific Roller Girls and Waimea Wranglers Rough Rollers.

Roller derby triple header on April 30 will be held at the Civic at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5. Hilo Tavern will host the afterparty where the cover charge is waived if a bout ticket stub is presented.

Roller derby triple header on April 30 will be held at the Civic at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5. Hilo Tavern will host the afterparty where the cover charge is waived if a bout ticket stub is presented.

Taking place in the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, the first bout between Waimea and Pacific is scheduled for 2 p.m.. Pacific will then battle PRG at 4:30 p.m. and end the night with PRG playing Waimea at 7 p.m.

“This bout is our first home game of the season and we are pumped to have people come cheer us on,” Kelli “Kellfire” Bolger, Paradise Roller Girls skater, said. “We’ve been working really hard in preparation.”

Between each sanctioned bout will be a junior derby game where PRG’s junior skaters will be skating against each other during a 10 minute mini bout.

Vendor, sponsor, and merchandise booths will be on site. Hilo Tavern will host an after party with no cover fee if a ticket stub is presented upon entry.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under the age of 5. Tickets can be bought at Jungle Love, CD Wizzard, Mt. View Video, Kadota Liquor, Lucy’s Taqueria, at the door or from any of the Paradise Roller Girls.

Volcanoes National Park Reopens Nāmakanipaio Campground

Nāmakanipaio Campground in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has reopened. Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, which manages the campground under a concession contract for the park, is taking reservations immediately.

Volcano Cabins

The popular campground has been closed since last September for the removal of large, falling and hazardous non-native eucalyptus trees in the area.

“We mahalo the public for their patience while we ensure the campground is safe again,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are delighted to reopen ahead of summer,” she said.

Nāmakanipaio is popular with local residents and visitors, and is nestled near the summit of Kīlauea volcano at 4,000-feet, off Highway 11. Established in the 1960s, today the campground features drive-in campsites for tent camping, restrooms, showers, barbecues, and 10 rustic one-room A-frame cabins. The cabins feature bunk beds and can sleep four.

Campsite rates for tent camping are $15 a night, and the A-frame cabins start at $80 a night ($50/night for Hawai‘i residents). To make reservations for Nāmakanipaio campsites or cabins, contact Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company at (808) 756-9625, or visit http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/cabins-campsites/.  Park entrance fees apply (good for seven days).

Now that the hazardous eucalyptus trees have been removed, native tree species, including ‘ōhi‘a and koa, can flourish. The campground has a fresh light and open look during the day, Mauna Loa is again visible, and at night, campers can enjoy a wider view of the sky, illuminated by stars and the glow from the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The Jaggar Museum observation deck, the closest vantage point to this eruption site, is an easy half-mile hike from Nāmakanipaio.

YWCA Honoring Rose Bautista, Barbara Hastings as Remarkable

The YWCA of Hawaii Island will honor local immigration lawyer Rose Bautista and public relations professional Barbara Hastings as its 2016 Remarkable People.

Barbara Hastings

Barbara Hastings

The pair will be honored at the eighth annual Remarkable Person Luncheon Thursday, June 2, at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Ballroom.

Rose Bautista

Rose Bautista

“The YWCA is proud to recognize Barbara and Rose for their achievements and leadership,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA of Hawaii Island. “These glass-ceiling-breaking women have inspired those around them with their raw dedication in business and commitment to helping women, children and community.”

For more than a quarter century, Bautista has helped immigrants with legal matters, and is a tireless advocate on their behalf. Hastings, a former newspaper journalist and founding partner of Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company (H&P) has provided thought-leadership and support to clients and community groups across Hawaii.

There are a limited number of tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Naomi at the YWCA of Hawaii Island office at 930-5705 or via email: tuyemura@ywcahawaiiisland.org.

Bautista was born in Sinait Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She immigrated to the United States at age seven and was raised in North Kohala. Bautista received her bachelors in political science from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1983. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor in 1989 from the Seattle University School of Law, formerly the University of Puget Sound School of Law. In 1990, she opened the Law Offices of Rose Y. Bautista in Washington State and practiced immigration and personal injury law. Bautista was appointed immigration specialist for Hawaii County in 2001. She was instrumental in bringing the Honolulu Philippine Consulate General to Hawaii Island for the first Consulate on Wheels service, and initiated the county’s first Citizenship Day celebration.

Bautista’s experience of immigrating and adjusting to a new country served as a foundation for her understanding, empathy and zealous advocacy for immigrant communities.

She is founder of Ating Bahay, a group dedicated to addressing domestic violence in the immigrant community, and is a representative to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Bautista is an active member of the Washington State Bar Association and a member of many law associations. She is the Children and Youth Group coordinator of Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha and sits on the boards of St. Joseph School and Micronesians United Big Island. Bautista is past president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce and for years has volunteered with Filipino associations around the island. In 2013, she received the Purple Ribbon Award in recognition for her work in domestic violence prevention. Bautista lives in Hilo and is married to Steve Bader. They have two college-age children, Sam and Alexa.

Hastings has been a public relations professional in Hawaii for a quarter century. She has been a newspaper journalist and professional communicator for 40 years in Honolulu and on the Mainland. As a journalist, she worked as both editor and reporter, and for a time specialized in energy and science reporting. She has received local and national recognition for her writing, campaign strategy and crisis management.

Hastings was the communication director for the Hawaii Department of Health in the early 1990s, and helped the Office of Hawaiian Affairs with communication strategies in the mid 90s. She worked for the Honolulu Advertiser, Trenton (NJ) Times and earned a fellowship to Stanford University for her energy writing.

H&P, which has offices in Honolulu and Hilo, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. In 2007, Hastings and partner Barbra Pleadwell received the Small Business Administration’s Champion of Women in Business Award for Hawaii and Region IX.

Hastings is deeply involved with organizations that advance community wellbeing. She sits on the boards of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii, Hawaii Public Radio, the Lyman Museum and Zonta International District 9. She is area director for Zonta’s Hawaii Clubs and is past president of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Hilo Bay and Zonta Club of Hilo. Hastings is married to retired journalist Mike Middlesworth. She has one daughter, Rhea Olsen, and two grandsons, Logan and Brendan.

Milestone Reached in Hawai‘i Island Dengue Fever Outbreak

With no reports of recent incidences of locally acquired dengue fever in 30 days, the state and County of Hawai‘i announced a significant milestone in the Hawai‘i Island outbreak that began in October. While the outbreak seems to have come to a halt, Gov. David Ige, along with other state and local officials caution the public not to let their guard down in the fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit.

Mosquito Bite

The state and Hawai‘i County are standing down certain emergency response activities related to the dengue fever outbreak after 30 days of no new locally acquired cases. This decision rests on the fact that three periods of the maximum human incubation period of ten days have passed. The final day of the infectious period for the last reported case was March 27. However, as per routine operations, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) continues to immediately investigate all travel related cases and conduct mosquito assessments and/or treatment of potential areas of mosquito exposure.

“This milestone could not have been reached without the diligent efforts and teamwork by the Department of Health and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency,” said Gov. Ige. “While this outbreak seems to be ending, our statewide response to mosquito-borne diseases must continue. We must remain vigilant in our mosquito prevention and abatement practices, be ready to respond to the Zika virus, and continue working together as a state to ‘Fight the Bite.’”

Since Oct. 28, 2015, DOH and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency (HCCDA) have been actively investigating and responding to locally-acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawai‘i Island. Dengue is not endemic to Hawai‘i, but it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. As of April 27, 2016, 264 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever have been confirmed on Hawai‘i  Island with illnesses occurring as early as Sept. 11, 2015.

“By no means are we out of the clear,” said Darryl Oliveira, administrator of the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency. “Cooperation and collaboration between the state and county have been exemplary but we continue to identify actions and efforts that we can improve on in the future. We appreciate the tremendous initiative shown by the community in assisting with mosquito abatement and encourage everyone to continue taking proactive measures around their homes and neighborhoods to keep our state safe.”

Over the course of the outbreak, DOH’s Vector Control team surveyed a total of 523 private properties and 310 public spaces. Of that count, 220 private properties and 65 public spaces were sprayed and/or treated for mosquitoes. A total of more than 1,900 reported potential cases were evaluated and/or tested by DOH disease investigators and State Laboratories Division staff.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “The fight against mosquitoes is far from over and we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our communities from the risk of mosquito borne diseases. We continue to receive and investigate reports of travel-related suspect cases of dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya on all islands. As Zika continues to spread rapidly overseas, we must take precautionary measures to prevent any locally acquired cases from taking hold in our state.”

“Knowing the dengue fever outbreak has been halted is welcome news for Hawaii’s tourism industry, especially for the travel partners, employees and residents who rely on its continued success,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Travelers considering a visit to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months can make their plans with confidence and without the hesitation that dengue may have been causing them.”

On April 11, Gov. Ige signed a supplemental proclamation to extend the state’s emergency period for mosquito borne illnesses. Under the extended emergency proclamation, DOH and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), with input from county partners, will continue ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive response plan detailing appropriate actions and measures dependent on the state’s current risk associated with mosquito borne diseases. A statewide public awareness and education campaign will kick off this year to ensure people understand the risks of mosquito-borne diseases and how to best prevent these illnesses in Hawai‘i.

Pregnant women need to take special precautions against the Zika virus and should avoid travel to areas where Zika is actively circulating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly in newborns, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with other babies of the same sex and age. CDC has also confirmed that Zika can be spread from an infected man to his sexual partners. It is still unknown how long the virus can be spread in this way after the infected male’s symptoms have cleared.

For additional information about Zika virus and precautions, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/. For travel information and advisories, visit CDC’s website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Hawaii Senate Confirms Ching Nagata to Hawaii Third Circuit Court

Members of the State Senate today confirmed Darien W.L. Ching Nagata to serve as a district court judge of the Third Circuit, State of Hawai‘i.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Ms. Ching Nagata was born and raised on Oahu, attended Iolani School, and graduated from Santa Clara University.  After studying in Shanghai and Singapore, she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i, where she was a Student of the Year and served as president of the Student Bar Association.

Ms. Ching Nagata joined the office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawai‘i in 1998.  Currently, she oversees litigation in the district court and family court, including domestic violence and juvenile cases. Her career has also included serving as the Violent Crimes Unit Litigator, and Circuit Court Unit Supervising Attorney and Litigator. She has been cross-deputized since 2008 to serve as a Special Assistant to the United States Attorney’s Office to assist with their Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

“Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Darien Ching Nagata has shown patience, compassion, diligence and a willingness to put in the long hours necessary to seek justice for the people of the Big Island,” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D 5th District), chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.  “I have no doubt that the Third Circuit Court as a whole and the district court to which she has been nominated will benefit greatly from her experience, energy and dedication.”

Ching Nagata was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Barbara T. Takase. Ching Nagata will serve a term of six years.

Puna Geothermal Warning System TEST TODAY

The Puna Geothermal Venture plant will be conducting a test of their facility emergency warning system to include the sounding of the drill rig warning siren today, Wednesday April 27th at approximately 11:30 a.m.

PGV

This is only a test that is necessary to ensure the proper working order and function of their warning system.

Residents in the immediate area and communities of Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, and the upper Kapoho and Pohoiki areas may hear the siren and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this may cause.

Again, this is a test of the facility’s emergency warning systems and no action is needed.

Update on Response Activities for Big Island Dengue Fever Outbreak – Health Department Daily Web Site Updates End

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

What: The State and County will announce the status of the Hawai‘i Island dengue fever outbreak and a new phase of response activities

Who:             

  • Governor David Ige
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawai‘i
  • Darryl Oliveira, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health
  • Maj. Gen. Arthur “Joe” Logan, State Adjutant General and Director of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency
  • George Szigeti, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President & CEO

When: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. 

Where: State Capitol, 5th floor, Governor’s Ceremonial Room

We plan to live stream the event through the governor’s website.

End of Dengue

2016 Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Into Town

Honoka‘a Western Week rides into town May 23-30, 2016, kicking off with Monday’s Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread cookoff and winding up with Friday night’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party on Mamane Street, with the 60th Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo over the weekend.

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Mamane Street will close for the Parade and Block Party, and roving Sheriffs will be on the lookout for attendees not wearing the commemorative HWW buttons. Buttons may be purchased to show support for the festival, and to automatically enter the “lucky number” drawings during the Block Party. Although not required for admission, buttons will keep attendees from being thrown into “jail” (all in good fun).

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, The Hāmākua Farm Bureau and the Hāmākua Lion’s Club, Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Steinlager, and others, celebrating Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend. Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. For more information, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or visit www.honokaawesternweek.org.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  Subject to change.

  • May 20. Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests. For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777 or check out the website.
  • May 23-30. Celebrate Honokaʻa Western Week with Honokaʻa Business Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style, visit Honoka‘a town merchants, and enjoy different paniolo-themed activities every night.
  • Monday, May 23, 5-7:30 pm Portuguese Paniolo Night hosted by the historic Andrade Building’s ‘Ōhi‘a Lānai, with Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread contests. Attendees can buy $5 tasting tickets, and vote for People’s Choice. Hot dogs, chili and rice available for sale, and the event includes music, Portuguese dancing and line dancing. For more information call Marlene Hapai 966-9894 or email mhapai@aol.com.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. Stick Horse Creation at Hāmākua Youth Center (HYC). Kids are invited to come and make their own mounts for the Stick Horse race on Friday. Limited to the first 30 applicants to turn in registration forms at HYC. Please call 775-0976 for more information.
  • Wednesday, May 25. Munch popcorn and cheer for the heroes of Western movies at the Peoples Theater. At 5 p.m., the animated feature “Home on the Range,” followed by “Traditions and Family Values: A Blueprint for our Community, Pa‘auilo Mauka Kalopa.” At 7 p.m., “8 Seconds,” the story of Lane Frost, 1987 PRCA Bull Riding World Champion.
  • Thursday, May 26. 4-6 p.m., Historic Honoka‘a Talk Story with authors Dr.Billy Bergin, “Loyal to the Land,” and Laura Ruby, “Honoka‘a Town,” at the Honoka‘a Public Library. Meet the community’s successful writers and learn what inspires and motivates them. This event coincides with the library’s Summer Reading program kickoff.  6:30 p.m., Hāmākua Ranchers Branding at The Landing restaurants. Local ranchers are invited to BYOB (Bring Your Own Branding iron) and brand a special wall display.
  • Friday, May 27. 3 p.m., Stick Horse Races 4 p.m., Paniolo Parade down Mamane Street, with mounted and marching units, pā‘ū riders, gleaming vintage cars and more. 5-10 p.m., Block Party, Steak Fry, Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests, great music and dancing in the Street. New this year, a free “Keiki Corral” for the kids from 5-7 p.m., with carnival-style games. Vendors interested in booth space for the Block Party may email Sue Dela Cruz, westernweekhonokaa@gmail.com, or download forms from the website.
  • Saturday, May 28- Hamakua-Kohala Health 50th Anniversary Health Fair, 10 am – 2pm Honoka‘a Gym Complex.  A free, family style celebration with beautiful Hawaiian music and hula, a healthy lū ‘au, helpful information from AlohaCare, HMSA, Aloha Insurance (Medicare) and Hale Ho‘ola, and much more. The ‘ono menu includes kālua turkey, pork laulau, chicken long rice, fernshoot salad, sweet potatoes, hapa rice, fresh fruits and haupia.
  • Saturday, May 28-Monday, May 30, Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo. Tickets $7 in advance $9 at the gate.

Hawaii Electric Light Conducting Aerial Line Inspections

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company is conducting aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Tuesday, April 26, to Friday, April 29, 2016.

Helicopter Line Inspection

The islandwide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruptions this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

‘Scandal’ and ‘Tremors’ at Big Island Film Festival

In a good way, celebrity guests at Big Island Film Festival may stir up scandal and create tremors over Memorial Day Weekend at the Fairmont Orchid Hawai’i.

Bellamy Young

Bellamy Young

Acclaimed actress and singer Bellamy Young currently stars as “First Lady Mellie Grant” on ABC/Shonda Rhimes’ Peabody Award-winning series, “Scandal,” which Rolling Stone Magazine described as “the most badass first lady in TV history.” Young’s TV credits include CBS’ long-running series “Criminal Minds,” “CSI: Miami,” “Scrubs,” and the long-running NBC soap opera, “Another World.” A talented singer, her debut album Far Away So Close is a collection of contemporary covers influenced by her North Carolina roots.

Michael Gross

Michael Gross

Michael Gross, “Burt Gummer” of the “Tremors” movies will also attend the festival as an honoree. Perhaps most familiar as “Steven Keaton,” Michael J. Fox’s dad on the long-running sitcom “Family Ties,” Gross’ 40-year career spans a remarkable range of characters, including recurring roles on the Drew Cary Show, ER, How I Met Your Mother, USA Network’s Suits, Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, and YTV Canada’s The Stanley Dynamic. Gross stars in the BIFF Official selection “Last Call at Murray’s,” a new, indie film about an unlikely gathering of folks stranded in a snowbound karaoke bar.

Michael Gross and Michael Worth with BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears at last year's fest.

Michael Gross and Michael Worth with BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears at last year’s fest.

BIFF will honor Young and Gross at a special Salute & Reception in their honor on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Audiences will have a chance to participate in an in-depth interview with the star led by Peter Caranicas of Variety magazine, then join in a sunset cocktail reception with elegant pupus in the Wailana Gardens. Salutes & Receptions are open to the public and tickets may be purchased by May 25 at www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.

Now in its eleventh year, Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 26-30. Major sponsors include the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

Tribute to Bruddah IZ at Kahilu Theatre

Kahilu Theatre presents two May Day weekend concerts as a tribute to the great Israel Kamakawiwo`ole, featuring Hōkū Zuttermeister and band, as well as Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, and Halau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, on Saturday April 30 at 7pm, and Sunday May 1 at 4pm.

Hoku Zuttermeister

Hoku Zuttermeister

Hōkū Zuttermeister’s first album “‘Āina Kūpuna,” won six 2008 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards including Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Hawaiian Language Performance, Most Promising New Artist and Liner Notes. Just released in early April 2016, “Ku’u Pua Sakura,” is Hōkū’s second album release and features many songs that are near and dear to his heart.

Hōkū’s voice is deep and resonating, yet when he switches to the crystal-clear highs of falsetto, to the delight of his listeners, he shows the enormous vocal range that he has worked so hard at perfecting. Hōkū will sing some beloved IZ favorites such as “La Elima,” “Kaleohano,” “Pupu O Ni’ihau,” “Henehene Kou Aka,” “E Ku’u Morning Dew,” and the nahenahe “Kainoa.” He will also showcase new songs from his album, by storied Hawaiian music writers such as Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Al Makahinu “Pops” Barcarse, and Chad Takatsugi. He will share mele spanning the islands, from “Kaulana Ni’ihau,” to the haunting mele of “‘Ōhelo Beauty,” celebrating Hawai’i island’s natural beauty.

Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett is a much beloved kumu hula, composer, singer and chanter – with over 50 years of living and teaching the legacy of hula and ho`ola. Initially a student of kumu hula Emma de Fries, Kawaikapu then played and danced with Olomana, with Aunty Genoa Keawe, and Palani Vaughn. He was a member of the “E Ho`o Hawaii Kakou” which was instructed and mentored by Hula Master Iolani Luahine. He also studied ‘olelo and chanting under Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole. He has recorded 10 CDs, and his music has been recorded by many of Hawaii’s greatest entertainers – including Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and the Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau.

Hula dancers from Halau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani and their kumu hula Nahoku Gaspang, 2016 Merrie Monarch winners of hula kahiko wahine, will join Hōkū and Kawaikapu for these special May Day weekend concerts. The Theatre encourages concert-goers to make a lei, bring a lei, and give a lei!

The chance encounter of two truant schoolboys (Israel and John Koko) at the beach was the beginning of a band everyone soon would know as the Mãkaha Sons of Ni’ihau. The Makaha Sons and IZ went on to record 21 albums, win many Na Hoku Awards and change Hawaiian music history.

IZ2

In 1993, following a successful run as one of the members of the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, IZ decided to venture out on his own. He reached out to Jon de Mello of Mountain Apple Company because of his success as a producer of contemporary Hawaiian music giants like the Brothers Cazimero, Brother Noland, Rap Reiplinger and many more. The meeting would set the stage for the rest of Israel’s career – the first release was his remarkable solo CD “Facing Future.”

IZ

That CD focused on Israel’s stunning voice and launched his incredibly   successful solo recording career. “Facing Future,” was followed with the release of another five remarkable recordings, “E Ala E” (1995), “N Dis Life” (1996), “IZ In Concert: The Man and His Music” (1998), ““Alone In IZ World”” (2001) and “Wonderful World” (2007). “Facing Future,” remains the top selling Hawaiian music album in the world.

Tickets are priced $20, $47, $58 and $68, and are available from www.kahilutheatre.org and at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, open from 9am to 1pm Monday through Friday, at 885-6868. The coffee table book IZ – Voice of the People, a collector’s item, is also available for sale, while supplies last, at the Kahilu Theatre box office now.

In Dis Life is presented by special arrangement with the Kamakawiwo`ole family and Mountain Apple Records, and it is sponsored by Marsha and Tom Kerley.

Right Turn Lane Being Installed on Kuauli Road

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works will be installing a right turn lane on Kuauli Road where it intersects the Volcano Highway (makai side) heading towards Keaau.  Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, April 26th, and is estimated to be completed by Friday, May, 20th, weather and construction conditions permitting.  There will be no roadwork on weekends or holidays.

kuauli

Motorists are advised to expect delays and drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

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

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Set for Sept. 9

It’s where you can sample the rich flavor of numerous cuts of pasture-raised meat and talk story with the people who are producing our food.

Taste Shank

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

Time is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and outside at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—expertly prepared by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like chuck and ground beef, plus the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Local food producers will offer samples and displays at friendly booths. While “grazing,” attendees can enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

O‘ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason “J” Schoonover are teaming up to instruct the 2016 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Chef Hanney is the chef/owner of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. Chef Schoonover is the executive chef of 12th Ave Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Award-winning Best Restaurant of the Year. Both chefs regularly include pasture-raised beef on their menus.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 with sampling is $10 while a 1 p.m. class geared for culinary students and food service professionals is free.

Tickets go on sale online June 1 at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.  Purchase them at island-wide locations starting July 1: Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Gina at 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Hawaii House and Senate Budget Conferees Agree on Funding to Increase Vector Control Staffing – Concern for Dengue and Zika Drives Need

House and Senate conferees on the state budget today agreed to provide $1,270,120 to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease.

Mosquito Bite

Hawaii Island’s recent outbreak of dengue fever and the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which are spread by mosquitoes, have highlighted the continued importance of vector control, and House and Senate conferees want to ensure that the state is prepared to adequately short circuit, monitor and respond to any future outbreaks.

“This funding will help re-establish the vector control branch, which has been reduced over the past few years by furloughs and budget cuts,” said Sylvia Luke, chairperson of the House Finance Committee.  “In making these appropriations, the department will be able to add 20 new positions to monitor populations of vectors such as mosquitoes and rats, and to respond appropriately when a threat arises.”

Before the dengue fever outbreak in October, 2015, the state had 25 vector control positions, but 8 were vacant. With the added 20 new positions, there will be a total of 45 people in vector control when all positions are filled.

“Infectious disease has been and will continue to be one of our key challenges in a world made smaller and more connected with modern day air travel,” said Jill Tokuda, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  “The state’s recent slow response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island was a wake-up call for all us.  We must be more vigilant in anticipating and responding to such outbreaks spread by mosquitoes and other vectors.”

In addition, the budget items agreed upon today included:

  • $6.9 million for public school transportation services;
  • $5.2 million for utilities for public schools;
  • $2.5 million for new fire trucks, firefighter equipment and fire retardant suits to ensure airport safety;
  • $1.5 million to fund a U.S. geographical survey study on Hawaii streams;
  • $1.4 million for port security and safety boats to reduce impact of natural disasters;
  • $1.25 million for maintenance and replacement of equipment at UH community colleges;
  • $400,000 to support beach restoration and protection projects and studies;
  • $180,000 for hydrologist and project development specialist positions for public land management for the disposition of water rights lease management and oversight; and
  • $162,354 for physician salary increases for better access to medical services for the Department of Public Safety.

The agreements were part of House and Senate conferees continued negotiations on a final version of HB1700, the state budget bill.  Earlier in the session, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget.

Lawmakers will continue to meet to iron out differences between the two versions through April 29, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.  A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state and judiciary budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2016budget.aspx

The conference committee is scheduled to reconvene on Friday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. in room 309.

Pour Some Fun at Ka’u Coffee Festival – Lobsterpalooza Planned

The delectable flavors of award-winning Ka‘u coffee is grounds for celebration! The Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks into its eighth season with activities May 13-22, offering many reasons to stay on the south side of the Big Isle. The festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s many award-winning coffees at numerous events, it also offers a host of unique and fun family activities.

coffee fest

“The festival highlights the efforts of our hard-working Ka‘u coffee producers, and also offers unique activities that showcase the heritage District of Ka‘u. Many events are only available during the festival,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer.

New to this year’s lineup of java-jumping fun is the Lobsterpalooza—a leisurely Sunday afternoon picnic on the lawn at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. On the menu of the May 15th spread is a variety of tantalizing skewered pupus, your choice of Kona Cold Lobster or charbroiled Spencer Steak, raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch, and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, a mouthwatering Ka‘u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka‘u coffee. Beachside entertainment is by the bluesy Larry Dupio Band with special guest Full Tilt Band from 2-6 p.m. Tix for $75 are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

This year’s Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers nearly $2,000 in cash prizes as adult and student contestants vie in pupu, entrée and dessert categories 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. The free event stages entertainment, a chance to meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee, tasty recipe and coffee sampling and a tour of the Ka‘u Coffee Mill and Farm. Contest entry and admission are free. The entry deadline is May 9. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com for more details.

The pinnacle of the 10-day lineup is the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Sat., May 21 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Learn the secret to brewing the “perfect cup of coffee” at the Ka‘u Coffee Experience where coffee professionals prepare Ka‘u coffee a variety of ways: hario pour-over, french press, toddy cold-brew, chemex and clever, plus prepared espresso beverages – 9:30 a.m. to noon and again at 1-3 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers and other local vendors and artisans at tented booths, many with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” local food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games and train rides.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during Ka‘u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, and numerous local sponsors. Most events are free while others carry a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, May 13, Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30-9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce, Hawai’i Farmers Union United and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 14, The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is 11 a.m. at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka‘u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting, entertainment and tours. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 14, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee, Jr. Miss Ka’u Coffee and Miss Ka’u Coffee Peaberry. Contestants compete in talent, speech and evening wear while participating in Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic contests.  Winners receive scholarships. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Fee is $10 at the door. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is marking its centennial in 2016 with special activities. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and May 19 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $45 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 20 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Learn how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 20 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. Enjoy a presentation on the history of Makanau, a summit sunset and the night sky via a guided laser beam tour of the stars. $45 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 21 tantalize your taste buds at the free 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Visit the Ka‘u Coffee Experience, where coffee professionals offer Ka‘u coffee prepared a variety of ways 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.  Ho‘olaule‘a entry is free; farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 22 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars by local and journeymen coffee industry experts and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Opening Food Trailer

Tomorrow, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council will proudly unveil their food trailer, Big Island Fusion as part of their Poʻokela Vocational Training Program.   The Food trailer will allow individuals to gain marketable skills and experience in food marketing, sales, business, and food preparation.

Bisac Food TruckBISAC has been providing aspects of vocational training for well over four years and has seen firsthand the positive aspects that training does to help individuals reclaim their lives and become positive citizens in the community. “We can already see the benefits this program has provided to our clients” says, BISAC’s CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “Connecting the food trailer to our therapeutic garden provides an array of skills and opportunities for our clients to explore their inner strengths while enhancing their recovery.”

BISAC’s food trailer also brings to life the farm to table initiative. The Big Island Fusion’s culinary and vocational trainer, Willie Leong is currently in recovery and brings both the experience and passion for culinary arts.   “With my years of experience I will bring passion, creativity, and love for the food in every plate that is created” says Willie. “I know how it is being in recovery. The struggle is real. This trailer will allow me to give these individuals the chance for success so that they are ready to return to the real world and work on their recovery.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse. They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.