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Zonta Hilo’s Mele Spencer Recognized at Hawaii State Senate

On February 1, Mele Spencer was recognized at the Hawaii State Capitol for assuming the volunteer post of Zonta International District 9 governor for 2016-18. The ceremony was arranged by State Senator Lorraine Inouye.

Mele Spencer with recognition at the State Capitol with Hawaii State Senators and members from the Zonta Clubs of Hilo and Leilehua.

Zonta is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

“How super to have our state senators recognize Zonta International’s work to empower women across the world,” said Spencer. “What a personal honor for me. Big mahalo to Senator Lorraine Inouye for arranging.”

As governor, Spencer serves as the link between the district and Zonta International and administers affairs of the district, which is comprised of 25 clubs and 543 members in Hawaii, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. District 9 also includes seven Z clubs (high school) and six Golden Z clubs (college), one of which is at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Spencer is one of 31 governors worldwide and nine Zontians in the United States serving as a district governor this biennium. She has been a member of the Zonta Club of Hilo since 1998.

Hilo Casting Call for Extras in Major Movie

EXTRAS NEEDED! This Sunday – February 5 – 6:30am – 11:00am in HILO.

This is your last chance to be in this movie which is completely shot on Hawai’i Island!

RSVP to konasnowpictures@gmail.com

Hilo Community Supports State Efforts to Redevelop Banyan Drive and East Hawaii

Tonight at the Hilo Innovation Center in downtown Hilo business leaders, community leaders, tenants and lessees came together to listen to the Hilo Economic Development Plan presented by Jim McCully, spokesman of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association (KIAA).

Nearly 100 folks crowded the center and listened to presentations by McCully, HPM Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Jason Fujmoto and later on Senator Kai Kahele dropped in to say a few words.

SB1292/HB1479RELATING TO THE HILO COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DISTRICT.

Establishes the Hilo Community Economic District located in East Hawai`i and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawai`i Community Development Authority.

SB1184/HB1310RELATING TO THE WAIAKEA PENINSULA REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT.

Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee and Revolving Fund.

Jason Fujimoto opened the meeting explaining why the meeting was called together. Fujimoto stated, “I know to some that the words economic revitalization may sound big and scary but in my mind it really boils down to the definition of community and community is a place where we live, where we work, where we learn and where we play and all of the components that make that happen.”

Fujimoto turned the microphone over to Jim McCully who explained some of the history of Banyan Drive and why economic development throughout all of Hilo, especially areas like KIAA are so important.

Senator Kai Kahele was able to make the end of the meeting and he stressed how important it was for the community to stand behind all the bills introduced this session and to contact our State legislators that will hear the bills in committee. He also thanked the broad range of community members that attended and also thanked his fellow Hawaii Island Legislators, Hawaii County Council members as well as the County of Hawaii Planning Department for their support and collaboration.

Business Community to Host Meeting on Legislative Efforts to Revitalize Hilo and Banyan Drive

On Tuesday, January 31, a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on improving the East Hawaii economy will hold a community meeting to discuss legislative efforts that will guide in the revitalization of Hilo and Banyan Drive.

The coalition includes Kanoelehua Industrial Association (KIAA), Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hawaii (JCCIH) and Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB).

The public is invited to attend and hear from coalition representatives and area legislators on the various, proposed economic development measures that have been introduced this legislative session (see full list below). The measures are aimed at providing much-needed tools and mechanisms to attract investment and foster partnerships that will help revitalize the local economy while promoting a healthy environment where East Hawaii families can thrive.

  • When: Tuesday, January 31
  • Time: 4:30–5:30pm
  • Location: Hawaii Innovation Center, 117 Keawe Street in Hilo, Room #105 (corner of Keawe and Kalakaua Streets)
  • Parking: Street parking only

After the community meeting, the coalition will work with the public and the Hawaii Island delegation to advocate for the various proposed measures (full list and descriptions below, with links to download bills).

The coalition thanks the hard working East Hawaii Caucus that introduced the bills: Representative Mark Nakashima, Representative Richard Onishi, Representative Joy San Buenaventura, Representative Christopher Todd, Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senator Kaialii Kahele, and Senator Russell Ruderman

List of 2017 29th Legislature bills promoting East Hawaii’s economic interests introduced by members of the East Hawaii caucus:

HB 575 / SB 274 – Authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend state land leases when the lessee makes qualifying substantial improvements to leased public lands. Download HB 575, SB 274.

HB 1310 / SB 1184 – Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee, and Revolving Fund. Download HB 1310, SB 1184. 

HB 1469 / SB 1185 – Establishes procedures for designating public land redevelopment districts, planning committees (including powers and duties), district redevelopment plans, and designated revolving funds. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Download HB 1469, SB 1185.

HB 1479 / SB 1292 – Establishes the Hilo community economic district and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. Establishes a revolving economic development fund and designates a percentage to be transferred to the special land and development fund under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Download HB 1479, SB 1292.

Kojo Couture, 19th & Whimsy to Headline Zonta Fashion Frenzy

The Zonta Club of Hilo presents Zonta Fashion Frenzy, Hawaii Island’s premier fashion event, February 9-11, 2017, headlined by Maui’s Koa Johonson of Kojo Couture and Oahu’s Lauren Hayashibara of 19th & Whimsy. More than 60 local designers and businesses will participate over the course of the three-day event.


Fashion Frenzy puts the clubs mission – empower women through service and advocacy – into action by creating a venue for local designers and women-owned businesses to showcase their unique talents and products.

The event kicks off Thursday, February 9 with Dine Like a Diva at 6:30 p.m. at Wainaku Executive Center. Jasmine Silverstein of HeartBeet Catering and Casey Halpern of Café Pesto will prepare a locally-sourced, fashion-inspired menu. Each pupu will incorporate a fashion element by a participating designer, from garment silhouette and fabric texture/color to collection theme. For dessert, attendees will enjoy a chocolate fountain with fresh local fruit and cookies, and Kau coffee and espresso. Tickets are $65, which includes food and wine bar curated by Kadota Liquor.

On Friday, February 10, the community is invited to attend the Friday Night Market from 5:30-9:00 p.m. at Sangha Hall. The night market features nearly 45 fashion, art and food pop-ups, specialty cocktails, craft beer and wine, live music, fierce photo booth and mini fashion shows on the hour. There is no cover charge and all ages are welcome.

The finale Runway Fashion Show takes place Saturday, February 11 at Imiloa Center and is a showcase of Hawaii’s leading and emerging designers. Headliners Kojo Couture (Koa Johnson, Maui) and 19th & Whimsy (Lauren Hayashibara, Oahu) are joined by Alohiwai, Wehi Designs, Colors of Life, Simply Sisters, Hana Hou Hilo and Vested Interest Hawaii from Oahu. Tickets are $60 and includes fashion show followed by a pupu reception and exclusive shopping experience with designers. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 6:00 p.m.

All event proceeds go to the Zonta Club of Hilo Foundation to support local service projects including “Pay it Forward,” a program that provides micro-grants to women starting or expanding a business; scholarships for young women furthering their education in STEM, business and nursing; and a “Dress for Success” program to benefit Hawaii Island women in need.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.ZontaFashionFrenzy.org. Event sneak peeks available on Facebook and IG @ZontaHilo; find posts using #ZontaFashionFrenzy.

Fashion Frenzy 2017 is made by possible by Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company, Crush Skincare, Markham Insurance, A3 Telecom, Aloha All Natural Cleaning, Edward Jones, Day-Lum Rentals & Management, Mary Begier Realty, Altres Staffing, GUM Design, Mermade Spa, HeartBeet Catering, Cafe Pesto, Kadota Liquor, OK Farms, Big Island Delights and Kau Coffee Specialty.

Third Circuit Seeking Applicants for Independent Grand Jury Counsels

The Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (Hawaii) is seeking applications for Independent Grand Jury Counsels (Hilo and Kona).  The compensation shall be as provided by law.
Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of the state of Hawaii establishes that whenever a grand jury is impaneled, an independent counsel shall be appointed as provided by law, to advise the members of the grand jury regarding matters brought before it.

In accordance with Hawaii Revised Statutes (§612-51 to §612-57), the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court appoints grand jury counsel for the four judicial circuits of the state, selecting from among those individuals licensed to practice law in Hawaii who are not public employees.

If you are interested in being considered for a one-year appointment to either Hilo or Kona, please submit a letter indicating your interest and resume by April 15, 2017 to:

Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra
Keakealani Building
79-1020 Haukapila St.
Kealakekua, HI  96750

Also, please fax a copy to:

Lester Oshiro, Chief Court Administrator
Fax No. 808-961-7577

VIDEO: Senator Kahele Announcing the “Hilo Community Economic District” Bill

Senator Kai Kahele announces the “Hilo Community Economic District” Senate Bill that he is about to introduce during the 2017 Hawaii State Legislature.

Building on the work of the Banyan Drive Hawai‘i Redevelopment Agency, this bill will expand the application and scope of their effort and move toward crafting a master plan of all state lands in the Hilo urban core, including Banyan Drive, Wailoa State Park, Kanoelehua Industrial Area, the Hilo International Airport and Pier, and other nearby state lands.

“This initiative combines the strengths of the public sector, private enterprise, and the community to conduct long-range planning and community building unlocking the economic potential of East Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. Kahele. “This is truly a game-changer for Hilo. With this kind of synergy, we can build a Hilo for the future. A Hilo that our children can thrive in.”

County of Hawai‘i Planning Department Releases the Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan for Public Comment and Announces Community Meeting

The County of Hawai‘i Planning Department announces the release of the Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan (DHMMP) Public Review Draft and the kickoff of the public review period, which runs through March 6, 2017.

The DHMMP Draft can be downloaded online at www.hawaiicountycompletestreets.com. Written comments may be sent by e-mail to downtownhilo@hawaiicounty.gov, or by mail to the County of Hawaiʻi Planning Department at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720.

A community meeting is planned for February 15, 2017 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue. The event will include open house displays and a presentation on the DHMMP Draft at 5:00 pm. Discussion and input are encouraged.

Please contact Melissa White at (808) 628-5861 or mwhite@ssfm.com if you wish to request an auxiliary aid or service, other reasonable modification, or language interpretation to access this meeting no later than February 10, five days prior to the event, to arrange for accommodations.

ABOUT THE DHMMP

The Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan (DHMMP) has its roots in EnVision Downtown Hilo 2025: A Community-Based Vision and Living Action Plan, which set a community-defined and shared vision for Downtown Hilo as a vibrant, sustainable, safe, healthy, and active community.  Action item number 6.1 of the EnVision 2025 Plan is: “development of a master plan to include traffic circulation, parking, and pedestrian streetscape.” The County of Hawaii Planning Department initiated the DHMMP to fulfill this action item and craft a plan that can be implemented to achieve the community’s shared goals.

The Downtown Hilo Multimodal Master Plan was developed over a two-year period and refined through more than 15 community events, from focus groups with Downtown users, landowners, and businesses to a community event that included activities and demonstrations of complete streets concepts. Input indicated strong support for making Downtown Hilo more walkable, bike friendly, and vibrant for people of all ages and abilities.

Eight major themes emerged as part of the community outreach process that represented important needs and issues to be addressed through multimodal improvements.  These became the DHMMP’s organizing themes:

  • Improve Downtown Hilo’s multimodal environment and connectivity to key destinations;
  • Celebrate and elevate Keawe Street’s identity as Downtown Hilo’s “Main Street”;
  • Improve multimodal connections between Downtown Hilo and the Bayfront;
  • Highlight Kamehameha Avenue as a retail and visitor destination by improving the pedestrian-friendly environment along the building frontage and adjacent mauka-makai streets;
  • Make bicycling attractive and safe, with a more complete bicycle network and supporting facilities;
  • Calm traffic to slow speeds through Downtown and direct through-traffic to alternate routes to achieve a more walkable environment;
  • Incorporate parking and transit solutions that make it easier to “park once and walk” to destinations in Downtown Hilo;
  • Ensure improvements preserve and enhance Downtown Hilo’s character and charm and make it more inviting and safe.

Alternatives and final recommendations for six multimodal transportation components were developed and refined with extensive input from the community and key stakeholders: 1) circulation patterns; 2) pedestrian improvements; 3) bicycle facilities; 4) parking; 5) transit; and 6) streetscape design. The DHMMP includes phasing recommendations for implementing the proposed improvements.

For additional information, please contact Hans Santiago at (808) 961-8288 or downtownhilo@hawaiicounty.gov.

Steve Ueda Named President of Suisan

Steve Ueda will assume the role of president and CEO of Suisan Group, Inc., Suisan Company, Ltd. and Suisan Properties, Ltd. on January 16, announced Glenn Hashimoto, chair of the Suisan board, current president and CEO.

Steve Ueda

Ueda will be Suisan’s eighth president. He is the grandson of Rex Matsuno, the former longtime president, CEO and chairman of the board of Suisan. The board, which includes members of the Matsuno family, carefully considered the succession plan over several years. Hashimoto was instrumental in recruiting Ueda to return from the mainland ten years ago to eventually assume Suisan leadership.

Ueda will take over the 110-year-old food distribution business from Hashimoto, who will stay on as executive advisor. In his new role, Hashimoto will oversee Suisan’s business development and assist with executing the company’s strategic vision.

Ueda has been with the family company since 2007 and held numerous positions including distributor sales representative, buyer, sales manager for the company’s retail market segment, and most recently, vice president of sales.

Steve Ueda, Rex Matsuno, Christine Matsuno (Rex’s youngest daughter), Leslie Ann Sumitani (maiden name Kohashi, Christine’s daughter), and Esther Ueda (Rex’s eldest daughter, Steve’s mother) taken in 1983 at the grand opening of “Super Jumbo 1,” Suisan’s first cold storage warehouse expansion.

“Steve understands Suisan’s mission of making a difference by contributing to the success of our customers,” said Hashimoto. “Over the years, he has applied his analytical skills and data-driven expertise as an engineer to increase operational efficiencies. I am confident that under Steve’s leadership, Suisan will continue to thrive and provide value to the community.”

Ueda, son of Esther Ueda, Rex Matsuno’s first daughter, is a Honolulu native and graduate of the University of Hawaii–Manoa in mechanical engineering. He earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in business administration from University of California–Irvine.

Prior to Suisan, Ueda worked throughout the United States and United Kingdom as a product and systems developer for companies such as Ford, Visteon and Altia Automotive.

“Under Glenn’s leadership, Suisan adapted to the times while remaining competitive and continued the company philosophy of taking care of the customer. Glenn has been a great mentor. As Suisan celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, I am focused on keeping the company relevant and invested in the community. I am deeply humbled to continue the family legacy of leading Suisan,” Ueda said.

Ueda is second vice-president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii, where he also chairs the economic development committee. He is a member of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and Hawaii Food Industry Association, and a community leader for the Blue Zones Project.

Banyan Drive Art Stroll Schedule of Artists, Demonstrations and Entertainment Announced

The Banyan Drive Art Stroll on Saturday, January 14, runs from noon until 6 p.m. Art exhibits are open at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, and Banyan Gallery. People’s Choice ballots may be cast at the Grand Naniloa until 6 p.m.

From noon until 3 p.m. painters will be in Lili`uokalani Gardens. In addition to en plein air, the following schedule of demonstrations will happen in the square roof pavilion near the red bridge: 12 noon Valentina Montoya, 12:45 p.m. William Wingert, 1:30 p.m.  Peter Heineman, and at  2:15 p.m.  F Scott Cahill

  • Noon to 1 p.m. Christy Lassiter Trio (Christy Lassiter, J.J. Ahuna, and Kyle Kaaa) plus hula will perform at Grand Naniloa. Copies of the CD “Le`ale`a” will be available for purchase.
  • 2 p.m. Paradise Helicopters will award grand prize in the calendar contest at Banyan Gallery
  • 2 to 3 p.m. Puna Taiko will play at the old sumo area near the tea house.
  • 3-4 p.m. Brandon Tengan will demonstrate gyotaku (fish printing) at Suisan Fish Market.
  • 3-4 p.m. Puna Taiko will play outside Banyan Gallery, pupu will be served.
  • 4:00 p.m.  Ken Charon drawing demo at Grand Naniloa.
  • 4-5 p.m. Desmon Haumea and Bambu will play at Hilo Hawaiian, pupu will be served. Copies of the CD “Des and BAMBU – Maui Style will be available for purchase.”
  • 5-6 p.m. Desmon Haumea and Bambu will play at Grand Naniloa, pupu will be served. Copies of the CD “Des and BAMBU – Maui  Style will be available for purchase.”

The Banyan Drive Art Stroll is the first in a series of events to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens. For further information, see the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook or contact K.T. Cannon-Eger by email kteger@hawaii.rr.com or cell phone (808) 895-8130.

$65,000 Settlement in Hilo Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) Executive Director William Hoshijo today announced the settlement of a complaint brought by an employee against a Hilo business, alleging that her employer failed to reinstate her after a pregnancy-related disability leave, denied her a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy-related disability, and terminated her because of her pregnancy.

The employee claimed that after she informed her immediate supervisor that she was pregnant, her manager made negative and derogatory comments about the inconvenience caused by her pregnancy.  She was told by her manager that the company could not hire temporary employees to accommodate her need to take pregnancy-related leave.  Approximately 1½ weeks after beginning unpaid pregnancy-related disability leave, she was told to remove her things from the workplace to “make room” for two newly hired employees.  After giving birth and after being released to return to work by her physician, the company refused to reinstate the employee and terminated her employment.

Click to learn more

Hawaii’s fair employment law protects pregnant employees by requiring employers to provide leave for an employee who has a pregnancy-related disability, with or without pay, for a reasonable time to be determined by the employee’s physician.  State law also requires reinstatement to the pregnant employee’s original job or to a position of comparable status and pay when the employee is released to return to work after pregnancy-related disability leave.  Finally, state law prohibits termination because of pregnancy.

Employers are allowed to require a pregnant employee to obtain medical verification of her inability to work due to pregnancy-related disability.

Under the terms of settlement, the employer agreed to pay $65,000 to the employee, adopt a non-discrimination policy, and provide non-discrimination training for its supervisors and managers.  The case was settled in conciliation, after a determination that there was reasonable cause to believe that illegal discrimination occurred, but before litigation and before a final decision was issued by the Commission.

“Although the identity of the parties is confidential at this stage,” explained HCRC Executive Director Hoshijo, “the settlement serves as an important reminder that pregnancy discrimination is unlawful.” Hoshijo added, “We used to see more pregnancy discrimination complaints, but now see fewer as employees and employers learn more about their rights and responsibilities under our civil rights laws.”

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded services.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment because of your sex, based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related disability, contact the HCRC at:  telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov.

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, go to the HCRC webpage at:  http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/files/2013/01/INFOpreg1.pdf.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8866

Hawaii Wood Guild 31st Annual Exhibition

Hawaii Wood Guild will have the opening and reception for its 31st annual show on January 14th at Isaacs Art Center from 5pm to 7pm.  The show will run through February 24th.  Isaacs Art Center is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Every Saturday several artists will sit at the show to give you an opportunity to ask questions about all the different aspects of woodworking or to meet some of your favorite woodworkers.
This year they have invited 20 Master woodworkers to exhibit in Joinery, Turning, Sculpture and any combination of skills working in the medium of wood. The show will consist of 58 works that will please all that enjoy the many different ways of creativity expressed through wood. 

Everyone will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece in selecting the winner of the people’s choice award. The winner of this award will be announced on the Hawaii Wood Guild Facebook page at the end of the show.

 

For more information, contact the gallery at 885 5884 or email  marcuscastaing@aol.com.

Gyotaku Demonstration at Suisan

Brandon Tengan has a love affair with the ocean as a surfer, fisherman, and fish print artist.

He will demonstrate gyotaku, the art of fish printing, at Suisan Fish Market on Lihiwai Street, Saturday January 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. as part of the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

An exhibit of Brandon Tengan gyotaku

As stated on his web site, Prior 2 Pupu Productions, “The Japanese Art of Gyotaku…most simply translated as “gyo”—fish, and “taku”—rubbing or impression; a technique developed to accurately record a fisherman’s prized catch, prior to eating it.  Fish are caught, painted with a non-toxic ink, and imprinted on shoji (rice) paper.  When peeled back, the paper is left with an impression yielding the exact size, shape and ultimately – the fisherman’s story.  The prints are then painted, remembered and shared.  Most importantly, the fish is then washed clean and prepared as a meal.”

Tengan was raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He said his, “love and passion for the ocean first began with surfing.  However, when the surf got flat, he slowly took up diving and fishing and once he started…he got hooked.  Brandon considers himself blessed and fortunate to have been taught by many skilled fisherman and dive partners, continuing to learn each time he heads out.  Initially taught gyotaku by a family friend, what started as a small backyard hobby is now a fun business endeavor.”

Brandon Tengan and a tako catch

Locally Tengan’s work is carried by Banyan Gallery, located near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Banyan Gallery will feature an exhibit of photographers’ images selected for a calendar of Lili`uokalani GArdens during the Banyan Drive Art Stroll.

The event is free and open to the public, children welcome.

This is the first of a series of events to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens, which is bounded by Lihiwai Street and Banyan Drive on the Waiakea peninsula in Hilo.

Banyan Drive Art Stroll – Montoya Recognized with Juror’s Choice

Valentina Montoya’s art work was selected for Juror’s First Choice by art competition judge Dick Nelson of Kula Maui. The watercolor, pen and ink, image will appear in the Banyan Drive Art Stroll on Saturday, January 14, from noon until 6 p.m.

Original art by Valentina Montoya

Montoya is a graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz with a BA degree in visual Arts. She moved to Hawaii Island in August 2016 and, “I was struck by the beauty of Lili`uokalani Gardens. When I moved here, I connected with the art community through the UH-Hilo art club page on Facebook. I learned of the Banyan Drive Art Stroll competition through that connection.”

All art work that met the criteria of the theme “Celebrating Lili`uokalani: the Queen and her Legacy” will be on display at the Palm Room in the Grand Naniloa Hotel, lobby level, and will be available for voting for People’s Choice awards on Saturday.

Of Montoya’s art work “Queen Lili`uokalani and her Gardens,” Nelson said the artist depicted “a regal queen in a setting of unabashed color fitting for any garden celebration and created with aesthetic competence.”

Other exhibits will be in the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and Banyan Gallery. Demonstrations of painting will be in Lili`uokalani Gardens from noon until 3 p.m. Gyotaku demonstration with Brandon Tengan will take place at Suisan from 3 to 4 p.m.

The Banyan Drive Art Stroll is the first 2017 event in a series to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens. The land was dedicated in honor of the Queen in early 1917 and construction on the Japanese-style landscape began in the fall of 1917.

For further information, see the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens Facebook page.

Punahele Street Closed for Road Construction Project

Starting on Monday, January 9, 2017 through Saturday, January 21, 2017, roadway reconstruction work will be done on the mauka (western) half of the intersection at Komohana Street and Punahele Street.   Work is scheduled between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Due to construction activities, Punahele Street will be closed (24 hour closure) to thru traffic from Komohana Street to Punawai Street.   Only local traffic will be allowed in and out of this section of Punahele Street (near Punawai St.).

The County of Hawaii and the Contractor apologizes for any inconvenience and request that all drivers use caution when traveling through the area.  Should there be any comments or questions, please contact the County of Hawaii, Department of Public Works at (808) 961-8321 or Yamada and Sons, Inc. at (808) 933-8434.

2016 Christmas Baby at Hilo Medical Center

Hilo Medical Center’s first Christmas baby of the year, Hallie-Ray Castro, arrived at 5:48 am weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Her mom, Zashalyn Adrian-Rapoza, says Hallie-Ray came 6 weeks early: “We were wrapping gifts at midnight and I started feeling contractions. By 2:00 am they were nonstop and I was like ‘Seriously…on Christmas!'”

Each of this year’s Christmas babies received a baby bag of supplies and a gift card from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Keaau. The Eagles donated the Christmas bags in memory of Karen Snare, former Eagles President, who passed away this year. Each bag was accompanied by a knitted baby blanket donated from a community member and a bear from Kay Jewelers.

Hawaii Comedian Returns Home for the New Year

Meet comedian Kermet Apio. The Oahu native has been living in Seattle over the course of his 3 decade comedy career and is returning home for three comedy shows.

He has appeared on Comedy Central, National Public Radio, and Sirius/XM Radio. He has showcased at comedy festivals in Aspen, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Grand Rapids, and he was the winner of the Great American Comedy Festival, a national competition which takes place in Norfolk, Nebraska, Johnny Carsons home town.

He is also a past winner of the Seattle Comedy Competition. He has performed in 47 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and as far as Israel and Hong Kong.

As a comedian who performs squeeky clean, family friendly material, Kermet has been performing in front of sell-out crowds in theaters across America, as the opening act for Brian Regan.

Kermet Apio returns to Hawaii to HEADLINE his own three show comedy tour, as Bud Light & KMA Productions Presents the Kermet Apio Stand Up Comedy Show.

The Hilo show featuring Simon Kaufman, Anthony Silano, & Jose Dynamite is Thursday January 5, 2017, at Hilo Town Tavern, 168 Keawe St.  Doors open at 8pm and the show begins at 9pm,

AGE: 21+ General Admission $20 advance or $25 at the door

TICKET OUTLETS: CD Wizard, Hilo Town Tavern or online at www.brownpapertickets.com

Komohana St. Reconstruction Project Update

Reconstruction work will continue this week at the Komohana Street and Waiānuenue Avenue intersection between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.  No work will occur on the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend.

The intersection will remain open and the contractor will work on one approach at a time with Special off-duty police officers directing motorists around work area.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

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 call Yamada and Sons, Inc. at (808) 933-8434 or Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo Featured on New U.S. Postage Stamp

The Postal Service announced more stamps to be issued in 2017 and one of them features Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

“The new year is shaping up to be exceptional as the Postal Service continues to produce stamps that celebrate the people, events and cultural milestones that are unique to the history of our great nation,” said Mary-Anne Penner, U.S. Postal Service Director, Stamp Services. “We are very excited to showcase these miniature works of art to help continue telling America’s story as we add to the lineup of 2017 stamps announced earlier.”

Lili‘uokalani Gardens (Priority Mail)
This Priority Mail stamp is being issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Built on land donated by Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838–1917), the last Hawaiian monarch to govern the islands, the gardens were dedicated in 1917 and named in her honor. Hilo’s Lili‘uokalani Gardens are Japanese in style with influences of Hawaiian remains of lava flows, plantings of tropical trees and flowers, and a view of the Mauna Kea volcano — Hawai‘i’s highest point. The stamp art features one of the gardens’ most iconic structures, the red wooden shelter on a stone bridge spanning a portion of the pond. The bridge is surrounded by three stone lanterns and lush tropical plants. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.

Road Closed to Thru Traffic on Haihai St. Between Iwalani St. and Laula Rd.

Haihai St. between Iwalani St. and Laulā Rd. will be closed to thru traffic beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 22, 2016 to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6, 2017.  Only local and golf course traffic will be allowed access.

The purpose of the closure is to install a new box culvert and waterline tie-ins for the Haihai Fire station project, weather and construction conditions permitting.  This closure is necessary to complete the installation in a timely manner and for the safety of the traveling public.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid the work area. Special off-duty police officers will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

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

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