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Commentary – Mayor’s Administration Has Taken Action Against Me

Mayor Harry Kim ran on a platform of transparency, and restoring trust in county government. Nonetheless,  his administration has taken action against me, which goes against those campaign promises.

The problems started on February 6th, 2017 when the Department of Public Works director Frank DeMarco sent me an official e-mail stating that I cannot communicate with anyone in the Department of Public Works going forward. Mr. DeMarco also states all further inquiries from me have to be sent to the mayor’s office through postal mail. This e-mail was disseminated to all DPW managerial staff, and to the mayor’s secretary.I was able to get  that  part rescinded, so I could go through DPW’s public information officer for any future inquiries. This somewhat addressed the issue at hand, but not completely. This directive made it impossible to provide feedback about future county highway projects.

In addition,  I still couldn’t communicate with front line engineers,  or division heads. I’ve established relationships with these individuals that  have lasted ten or more years in some cases. These individuals have always appreciated my efforts to report traffic signal and pothole issues, along with my assistance with getting various highway projects completed.

DPW Director DeMarco has painted a different picture of my efforts, which he stated in recent testimony to the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee on April 11th. He stated that I was making too many inquiries with DPW staff, which was causing issues for DPW and other county departments.

This statement doesn’t make any sense whatsoever based upon the positive feedback I’ve received from public works  staff over the years. This is why I believe  this directive is smokescreen for the real reason why I’ve been treated this way. Mayor Kim simply doesn’t welcome, or want, feedback from from community.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Draft Environmental Assessment Public Meeting Ali‘i Drive Culvert Replacement Project

A public meeting on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be held on Monday, May 1, 2017 at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center’s Community Meeting Hale (Bldg. G), 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM to:

  • Allow individuals to comment, ask questions, and discuss concerns regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA).
  • Discuss the County’s plans to replace the double-cell culvert bridging the Waiaha Drainageway on Ali‘i Drive; adjacent to the Kona Tiki Hotel.
  • Present the project’s description, history and scope of work, to construct a new bridge structure that has a wider stream flow opening, a longer span and wider lane bridge above.

A Draft Environmental Assessment was released on April 8, 2017, and can be obtained and viewed by selecting the April 8, 2017 edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) Environmental Notice at http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/.  A copy can also be viewed at the Kailua Public Library.  Comments on the project and its Draft Environmental Assessment are due on May 7, 2017.

If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid and/or services to participate in this meeting (i.e. sign language interpreter, large print) or for more details on the meeting, please call Barett Otani, Department of Public Works, Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 42-Year-Old Kona Man

Big Island Police are searching for a 42-year-old Kona man who was reported missing.

Steven Marinelli

Steven Marinelli was last seen on March 6, 2017 on Kaiwi Street in the Kailua-Kona area. He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 180 pounds, with a bald head and blue eyes. He is also known to frequent Pāhoa and the Puna district.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Officer Bryan Ellis at 326-4646, ext. 253, via email at Bryan.Ellis@hawaiicounty.gov, or to call the Police Departments non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kona Historical Society and Ke Kai Ola Present Free Monk Seal Lecture

Kona Historical Society is pleased to partner with The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola: The Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital to present “A Natural History of the Hawaiian Monk Seal,” the April installment of the 2017 Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series. The lecture is free to the public and is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 5:30pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center.
 
During their presentation, Ke Kai Ola’s outreach and rescue staff will explore the natural history of the Native Hawaiian Monk Seal, including the historical and cultural significance of this endangered species. Hawaiian Monk seals are native to Hawaii and are not found anywhere else in the world; they are also the most endangered animal species in the world. In 2014, The Marine Mammal Center opened “Ke Kai Ola” (“The Healing Sea”) a hospital and education center dedicated to caring for injured, ill, and orphaned Hawaiian monk seals and returning them to the wild.
For the past six years, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. It is a gift from the Society to the community that has supported it for so long and it is presented in cooperation with the County of Hawaii. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Kicks Off Statewide Town Hall Tour With 500 Kona Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) kicked off her statewide Town Hall Tour in Kona last night, where nearly 500 residents of West Hawaiʻi packed the Kealakehe Intermediate School cafeteria to hear from their congresswoman and discuss issues affecting the people of Hawaiʻi, our country, and the world.

More than 30,000 viewers tuned in via Facebook Live for the first of seven Town Halls that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is hosting during the April District Work Period on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress and the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that affect Hawaiʻi communities, including legislation to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and to combat invasive species like the coffee berry borer, macadamia felted coccid, albizia trees, coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fire ants, and the fungus that causes rapid ohia death. She also highlighted her bills to support local farmers, small businesses, the agriculture industry, and sustainability efforts.

The congresswoman spent the majority of the meeting answering questions from the audience on topics including ending the counterproductive regime change war in Syria, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, Trump’s recent attack on Syria, federal spending, civil liberties, healthcare, education, military issues, and veteran services.

The next stops on Tulsi’s Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Lānaʻi – Thursday, April 13th, 4:45 – 6:30 PM, Lānaʻi Senior Center, 309 Seventh Street Lānaʻi City, HI 96763
  • Oʻahu – Saturday, April 15th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Kainalu Elementary School, 165 Kaiholu Street Kailua, HI 96734
  • Molokaʻi – Monday, April 17th, 4:30 – 6:00 PM, Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa Street Kaunakakai, HI 96748
  • Hawaiʻi Island – Hilo, Tuesday, April 18th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Waiakea High School, 155 W. Kawili Street Hilo, HI 96720
  • Kauaʻi – Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Tropical Plantation, 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy Wailuku, HI 96793

Hospice of Kona Seeks Community Volunteers

Families of a loved one with a long-term illness or who are grieving a loss appreciate the range of supportive services provided by the Hospice of Kona (HOK) volunteer team.  West Hawaii residents wanting to help their neighbors and give back to the community can become a Hospice of Kona “Stars of Service” volunteer by attending the mandatory trainings that will be held at the HOK offices (75-5925 Walua Road, Suite 102) from 8:30am to 4:30pm on April 11th and 12th.

To register, please contact Adriana DeGress, Director of Volunteer Services/Events, 808-443-2936 or adegress@hospiceofkona.org.  Attending both meetings is mandatory to become a Certified Hospice Volunteer. Please bring a brown bag lunch; beverages and dessert provided.

“We have volunteers of all age ranges, from teenagers to retirees,” said Adriana.  “They’re the heart of our organization, because they extend their hearts to families and friends of patients with life-limiting illnesses.”

Volunteer positions include massage therapists, hair stylists, patient companions, bereavement support, Reiki therapists, musicians, and many others. Volunteers may have specific roles within the home setting or assist Hospice of Kona in other areas.

Kona Brewing Company and Lavaman Triathlon Celebrate 20 Years of Aloha – Traffic Advisory

Kona Brewing Co. will celebrate a twenty-year partnership with Lavaman Triathlon on Sunday, April 2, 2017.  Starting as a founding partner of the Lavaman Triathlon in 1997, Kona Brewing Company’s partnership with the local event has continued and evolved — the Lavaman Triathlon has grown more than 20-fold, from 83 participants to more than 1,800, and Kona Brewing Co. has become a fan favorite and the #11 craft beer sold in the U.S., growing 3x faster than other beers in the craft beer category. (source Nielsen, Total US xAOC FY 2016)

“Both brands started with big dreams and we’re now making big waves in our respective industries. We attribute this lasting partnership to our common goal of giving back to our community and are proud to have kept our joint slogan ‘Celebrate the Sprit’ alive for two decades,” said Gerry Rott, Lavaman Race Director.

The 51.5k mile race kicks off at the Waikoloa Beach Resort and ends with the annual Lavaman Awards Beach Party, where competitors and more than 600 volunteers celebrate the day by toasting with Kona Brewing Co.’s liquid aloha.

In addition to its support of the Lavaman Triathlon, Kona Brewing Co. is committed to social responsibility and donates more than $120,000 annually to a variety of local non-profit organizations which range from environmental protection, to cultural and community organizations.

“Giving back to our local community is in Kona Brewing Company’s DNA and we will continue to support the islands for years to come” said Eric Chang, Kona Brewing Co. Senior Market Manager. “Our roots and respect for the Islands run deep with two brew pubs and a 22 year history brewing beers in Hawai‘i.”

April 2, 2017 also marks the one-year anniversary of bottling Lavaman Red Ale, Kona Brewing Co.’s malty brew with caramel notes.

For more information, visit KonaBrewingCo.com and Lavamantriathlon.com.

Kona Family Fun Day Celebrated

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Kona.  The Kona Family Fun Day, was an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.  Over 15 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities.  In true style, BISAC had carnival games, bouncers, giveaways, family activities, an arm wrestling exhibition, and lots of good tasting food.  Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive change and helps individuals and their families reclaim their lives.  The Kona Family Fun Day was made possible by Hawaii County Council members: Karen Eoff, Maile David, and Dru Kanuha.  “This event was very successful and we will continue to provide these types of outreach events in the future” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.  “Our next annual event, Summer Jam is scheduled for July 28-29th and we hope to see you all there.”

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

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Construction Begins on Terminal Modernization Project at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division marked the start of construction on the Terminal Modernization Project Phase 1 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of an improved facility that will enhance the customer experience for those traveling to and from Kona.

From left to right: Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division; Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Governor David Ige; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc.

The $75 million investment will focus on reorganizing the existing layout of the airport in an effort to streamline operations. Improvements will be made to the security screening area, holding rooms, concession area, and restrooms.

More than three million passengers use KOA annually. Currently, the North and South Terminals are operating as two independent terminals, requiring passengers to go through security again when exiting one terminal and entering the other. The renovation will allow passengers to freely move between terminals to promote shopping and dining in the additional retail space that will be created.

Governor David Ige speaks about the upgrades that will be made at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Instead of two separate security screening stations, there will be one centralized security area. The new 6-lane passenger screening checkpoint building will expedite the processing of outbound passengers and reduce the time spent in line. Baggage screening will also undergo improvements as the new inline baggage handling system will employ an Explosive Detection System for baggage screening which will improve work efficiency for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport operations.

Additional features include new restrooms in both the public area before screening and in the terminal areas. The project also includes two covered bag drop areas for added convenience.

“The upgrades to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport are a key component in the statewide Modernization Program,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Joining the two terminals will boost the airport’s operational efficiency and will offer permanent solutions that will have lasting benefits for the State of Hawaii for years to come.”

“In December 2016 we were thrilled to welcome international flights from Tokyo back to Kona and we expect passenger volumes to continue to soar,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Our goal is to provide each and every passenger with an enjoyable experience which will leave a positive impression with our visitors and residents.”

From left to right: Kahu Brian Boshard, Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc., Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Governor David Ige; Representative Nicole Lowen; Representative Cindy Evans; Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division.

The project is scheduled to be completed within two years. The lead contractor is Nan, Inc. and the design team is led by KYA.

The Terminal Modernization Project at Kona International Airport at Keahole is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is improving facilities at airports statewide.

March “Tiki” Madness Event to Help The Food Basket, Hawaii Islands Food Bank

Renowned local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Kona Oceanfront Gallery is holding a “March Tiki Madness” event this Friday March 24 from 6PM to 9 PM.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

Part of sales proceeds generated from this high profile event will be donated to The Food Basket, Hawai’i Island’s Food Bank, one of Parker’s favorite charities.  “The Food Basket is very excited to be working with Brad ‘Tiki Shark’ Parker for another gallery event,” said Jamilia Epping, Director of Public Relations and Events at The Food Basket. “We are appreciative of his efforts to aid in the elevation of hunger as an issue in our community. The Food Basket is unable to survive without the generous support of the community, including businesses and individuals such as Brad. Mahalo!”

Parker and Kona Oceanfront Gallery Owner Mark Hanna

“If you ever wanted to own a Brad Parker piece of art, this would be the time to get one” quoted the artist.  Mark Hanna the owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery has agreed to consider “all and any offers on Brad artwork as long as a generous donation of canned food items are brought along that evening to be donated”.

All in the community are encouraged to come out and participate in a night filled with Art, Entertainment and Charity.  Brad will be in attendance to autograph, personalize and talk story with his patrons.  Kona Oceanfront Gallery is the premier gallery on the Big Island that carry’s all of Brad’s latest art.  The Gallery is centrally located on Ali’i Drive next to Bubba Gumps; free validated underground event parking will be available.  SEE YOU THERE!

Kona Family Fun Day

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) is hosting their 4th Celebrating Our Community event in Kona on March 25, 2017, 11:00am to 2:00pm.

BISAC has successfully provided family friendly events in the last three years which include our Summer Jam, Puna Fall Fest, and Splash Bash events.  In continuation of bringing these types of events into rural communities, BISAC’s Kona Family Fun Day is another free fun-filled event which will be held at the Kailua Kona Park Grounds.

This free Family Wellness event will bring resources to the community; promote anti-drug and health and wellness messages.   The event will feature a health and resource fair made up of community organizations, games, food, bouncers, and an arm wrestling tournament.   There will be many free giveaways: bikes, razors, iPods, cameras, beats, etc.    Come out and meet our MC, Kona’s very own and 808 Viral celebrity Kona Kaipo.

Hawaii Hosts Economic Summit with Leaders from Japan in Kona

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit educational organization, announce the first ever Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit to be held in Kona, Hawaii from May 9 to 11, 2017.

The summit seeks to accelerate regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections with Hawaii.

“Hawaii and Japan have a unique and significant relationship,” said Gov. David Ige.  “We continue to look for ways to develop programs and initiatives with our global partners, as we strive to achieve new models for economic development, energy cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, youth, and education.”

Summit attendees will discuss shared issues and opportunities spanning business, tourism and energy, and will help forge connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

“The relationship between Japan and Hawaii continues to have a tremendous impact on Hawaii’s economy,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This summit provides us with a chance to bring key leaders together to explore new opportunities to grow our economy and create new jobs.”

“Japan and Hawaii have a partnership that has been built and nurtured over generations. USJC supports strengthening ties through people-to-people relationships and public-private connections for the benefit of Japan, Hawaii and the continental United States,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council.

Governors, vice-governors and businesses from Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Ehime, Shizuoka, Okayama, Oita and Nagano prefectures have been invited. These include prefectures that have sister partnerships with the state of Hawaii or are part of USJC’s Governors’ Circle, an initiative that promotes bilateral economic collaboration at the state-prefecture level. The Summit will also be attended by the Governor of Hawaii and other dignitaries in Hawaii, as well as assembly officials, academia and distinguished executives from the continental United States.

Hawaii is recognized as an ideal location for Japanese companies interested in pursuing global business activities. A number of success stories will be discussed at the summit. Hawaii companies interested in the Japan market will also have the opportunity to hear about trends and opportunities to help them launch their products and services in Japan.

Summit Discussion Topics:

  • Business Bridges: Crossing the Pacific to Global Success
  • Innovations in Education: Sparking Global Awareness
  • Tourism 2.0: Strategies to Engage the Next Generation Visitor
  • Governors’ Circle Panel
  • Food Fortunes:  Overcoming Challenges and Building Brands Overseas
  • Puu Waawaa Ranch Pavilion

For more information, and to register for the event, please visit: www.usjapancouncil.org/japan_hawaii_economic_summit.

About the U.S.-Japan Council

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific. The Council cultivates an international network of members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow members to engage with their counterparts in the United States and Japan. The Council promotes people-to-people relations as crucial to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. The Council was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Washington, DC, with staff in Hawaii, California and Tokyo.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages.  DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens.  Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

Commentary: Mayor Harry Kim… I Wasn’t Being Overly Vexatious

Dear Mayor Harry Kim,

I received your response to my letter dated February 8th, 2017 regarding the Department of Public Works directive issued against me. I have a very good memory of what happened over the past two months since you began your term. Most of my inquiries went through the DPW public affairs officer, but I did e-mail the highway and traffic division heads about highway and traffic signal issues. Both individuals have repeatedly told me how appreciative they’re of my efforts. In addition, I e-mailed Ben Ishii about an issue with the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass.

Click to read newspaper article

The only other communications involved e-mailing Frank DeMarco and Allan Simeon. I e-mailed Frank twice; once with a list of of eight projects I’d like to see happen in North Kona, the other was a letter to the editor I submitted regarding Highway 11 issues (This was the same day he issued that directive against me). I also tried to get in touch with Allan Simeon regarding Ane K. Highway Phase III since I didn’t get a favorable response from Frank DeMarco.

This is why I called up Roy Takemoto, your executive assistant. I expressed my desire to help your administration to get roadway projects completed, along with my desire to get Ane K. Highway Phase III started. The latter is why I also e-mailed the county planning director since the Kona CDP Action Committee had omitted this project from a list of desired North Kona CIP projects.

As you can see I wasn’t being overly vexatious with my inquiries with DPW, so it was really hurtful what you said in that newspaper article. I felt like the bus ran over me several times after reading what you said. Its like your administration doesn’t want feedback from community, especially from me.

I’ve developed a strong rapport with several public works employees over the years. As a result of this directive, I can’t talk to them any further. They were equally shocked this directive was issued against me, especially in light of my positive track record. As it stands now, all my inquiries have to go through the DPW public affairs officer going forward.

The offer I made to Roy Takemoto to assist your administration with various highway projects in North Kona still stands, despite the events of the past month. I want to work with your administration to make these projects a reality.

Sincerely,

Aaron Stene

Call for Entries: 47th Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Seeks Signature Art

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawaii’s oldest food festival, announces its Call for Art Entries for the official image of the 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Local artists are invited to submit original Kona coffee art in all art forms including fine art, graphic design and photography. Artwork should reflect the Festival’s mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique nearly 200-year coffee heritage.

The winning design will become the official image of the 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and will be featured on all official Festival merchandise including the Festival button, event poster and retail merchandise. The winning design will also be featured on the Festival’s magazine cover, website and other promotional materials.

Artists of traditional media including oil, acrylic, tempera, watercolor, illustrations as well as computer graphics and photographers are invited to participate. Artists are encouraged to be inspired by Kona’s nearly 200-year coffee heritage. Typography should not be included within the art. There is no entry fee to participate and the competition is open to all Hawaii Island residents 18 and older.

Ownership of entry copyright: By submitting artwork into this contest, the winning artist agrees to assign all ownership rights and copyright of the art to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival for the 2017 Festival.

Artwork submissions are due by Friday, April 14, 2017 and should be delivered to Malia Bolton at the Kona Coffee & Tea Company located at 74-5588 Palani Rd, or entries can be submitted electronically via email to maliabolton@gmail.com. Be sure to include “Festival Submission” in the subject line with electronic entries.

Kona Patrol Officer Chandler Nacino as “Officer of the Month” for March

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Kona Patrol Officer Chandler Nacino as “Officer of the Month” for March in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (March 1) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Chandler Nacimo

Nacino, who has been with the police department since August 2013, was honored for his efforts that led to the arrest of an individual for several drug offenses and the discovery of evidence in numerous open financial crime investigations.

On August 20, Nacino was checking what he knew to be hangouts of a man who was wanted for abuse, when he spotted the suspect driving and stopped him for traffic infractions and then arrested him for the abuse. While investigating, he made what Sergeant Mekia Rose described as “crucial observations” that led Nacino to recover the vehicle, ultimately resulting in the recovery of numerous drugs and items of drug paraphernalia, as well as personal information belonging to victims of financial crimes.

In nomination papers, Sergeant Rose said it was “encouraging and inspirational” to see Nacino “performing police work at a level usually associated with seasoned veterans.”

Nacino was previously named “Officer of the Month” in June 2015. As “Officer of the Month” again, he is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Kona Historical Society Announces Name Chosen for Baby Donkey

Kona Historical Society has something to sing about. The nonprofit has given its new baby donkey a name: Mele. The name announcement occurred March 1 after Kona Historical Society conducted a three-week-long voting contest on its website and at its Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook.

Voting contest generates $1,254 in donations for nonprofit

Mele was the top contender, generating a total of 640 votes. The name was nominated by Cindy Wittemore, Ashley Chamberlain, Donna S. Starr and Jiraphon G on Kona Historical Society’s and the farm’s Facebook Pages. “Many Kona coffee farmers used Mele as their name for female donkeys,” says Miki Izu, a local kupuna, long-time coffee farmer and Kona Historical Society volunteer. Mele also refers to the chants, poems, and songs of Native Hawaiians. For Kona Historical Society staff, the new donkey’s braying song reminds us of Kona’s rich traditions.

In addition to Mele, the public was given four other options, including Shizu (262 votes), Florence (174 votes), Lucy (160 votes) and Manini (18 votes). Each vote was a dollar donation. Voters helped generate a total of $1,254, which will be used for the support and care of animals at the historic 5.5-acre farm, as well as for supporting Kona Historical Society’s educational programs and other needs.

“We’re excited to name our new baby donkey Mele, which would have been a traditional name for a female donkey on an early 20th century Kona coffee farm. This traditional name fits perfectly with our commitment to preserve and share Kona’s stories,” said Farm Museum Manager and Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director Gavin Miculka. “We’re also grateful for everyone who voted and donated. We look forward to using the money for Charlie and his new bestie Mele.”

The 7-month-old female donkey arrived Jan. 31 at the Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm and was the result of a crowdfunding campaign, which sought a companion for the historic farm’s approximately 30-year-old donkey, Charlie, and upgrades to his home. Kona Historical Society plans to eventually use Mele to demonstrate some of the jobs Kona Nightingales performed on coffee farms, such as hauling coffee and other farm goods. Mele is currently undergoing training. Until Mele is deemed ready, she will mostly serve as Charlie’s companion and visitors to the farm will be able to observe the budding friendship from afar.

“Charlie and Mele have been getting along well,” said Assistant Farm Manager Joel Pearson. “We’ve noticed Mele is sweet and very smart. One of her favorite things to do is to chase the chickens out of the farm pasture.”

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

Details about the “Charlie Needs A Bestie” crowdfunding campaign and project are available at www.razoo.com/story/Charlie-Needs-A-Bestie. For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

United Airlines Adding Denver/Kona Route

Flights from Kona/Denver to begin this summer

United Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for customers in both domestic and international markets. Subject to government approval, the carrier will add a seasonal route between San Francisco and Munich for the first time ever, and one of the carrier’s daily flights between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, Israel will be upgauged with the new Boeing 777-300ER. The airline is also growing its domestic network, adding even more connections and additional service to 30 destinations across the U.S.

“Starting this summer we’re offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we’ll be getting you to the moments that matter most – relaxed and ready to go.”

United is also introducing daily summer service in six markets. Flights to Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, Tucson and New Orleans not previously offered in the summer, will now move to year round service.

Zumba at The Shops – Yoga at the Farm

The Shops at Mauna Lani premiers Zumba Fitness on Sunday afternoons starting March 5, 2017, in partnership with Dance 4 Action. Dance 4 Action combines Zumba and fundraising for community nonprofits on Hawaii Island. Their August 2016 Zumba event raised $3,500, which were much needed funds for the West Hawaii Domestic Abuse Shelters.

Photo: Courtesy Dance 4 Action

The Shops is proud to partner with Dance 4 Action, and to offer creative physical fitness activities for residents and guests of the Kohala Coast.  Participants are encouraged to wear sneakers, bring a water bottle and towels. The cost of the class is $10 for adults and children are free. Check-in and registration begins at 3:30 p.m., class takes plance 4-5 p.m. at Center Stage.

For more information, contact Ronnie Claveran, 222-7103.

Discover a whole new way to start your Fridays. Kona Historical Society invites the public to its Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook, where yoga instructor Elizabeth “Liz” Aschenbrenner guides guests every Friday morning through a series of uplifting stretches, toning poses and peaceful meditations during Yoga On The Farm.

These “drop in” outdoor hatha yoga classes strive to benefit the minds and bodies of beginners and experts alike. Each class, participants greet the sun with sun salutations, as well as enjoy a variety of poses, including the warrior series, cat, cow, downward dog and child’s pose. Aschenbrenner is a certified yoga instructor who has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. Her style of yoga aims to help you connect with your breath while developing strength, mobility and stability. Her classes are truly accessible to all, regardless of age, body type or fitness level. Still, Aschenbrenner advises participants to first check with their doctor before starting something new, including yoga.

Yoga On The Farm participants practice yoga barefoot and on the farmhouse lawn. Kona Historical Society has a couple of yoga mats for newcomers to use, but if you plan to attend regularly, please consider bringing your own mat. After class, all participants enjoy a complimentary cup of 100 percent Kona coffee.

Yoga On The Farm supports Kona Historical Society’s education and outreach efforts. It is a membership benefit and free for all Kona Historical Society members. Classes cost $10 each for nonmembers. Annual Kona Historical Society membership starts at $35 and information is available at www.konahistorical.org/index.php/khs/membership. Reservations are not required to attend Yoga On The Farm.

The Yoga On The Farm schedule for March is as follows:

  • March 3 – from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
  • March 10 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 17 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 24 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 31 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

Local Divemaster/Photographer Member of 1st Place Team USA at World Shootout Underwater Photo Grand Prix

Kona Honu Divers divemaster and popular local photographer Jeff Milisen joins two other photographers on Team USA at the World Shootout Underwater Photo Grand Prix. Milisen, along with Renee Capozzola and Ron Watkins took home the first place prize in the National Team category, which included a trip to Papua, New Guinea.

Seahorse has an octopus on its head. Photo by Jeff Milisen

“We’re not surprised Jeff was part of a winning team, because he’s won so many other photo competitions,” said Byron Kay, owner of Kona Honu Divers where Milisen works. “He’s such a pro we asked him to once again host our 2nd Annual Kona Underwater Shootout which will be held May. Jeff’s willingness to put himself in situations that make most people squeamish allows him to capture the action up close and personal”.

Milisen specializes in “blackwater” photography of small marine creatures that rise to the surface of the ocean at night, and was the Overall Grand Prize winner in the 2015 Ocean Art photo contest.  Milisen, a biologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa studying coral reefs, is also a divemaster for Kona Honu Divers and the Director of the annual Kona Underwater Shootout. Check out Milisen’s photos at http://www.iphotograph.fish.

Byron Kay owns Kona Honu Divers, a SCUBA diving, Manta Ray watching and snorkeling activity company and equipment shop.  He also owns Kona Freedivers. Kay is a certified SCUBA and Freediving Instructor who’s a valuable resource for information about Hawaii’s ocean life. He’s also a founder of the Kona Underwater Club, an organization dedicated to local research, education, and cleaning up the debris on the coastline and in the ocean.

Kona Historical Society Celebrating Girls’ Day with Dolls, Mochi Pounding

Hina Matsuri, better known as Girls’ Day Doll Festival, is a Japanese holiday still observed in Hawaii, even amongst multiethnic families. Visitors to Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook on Friday, March 3, will have the opportunity to participate first-hand in some of the beloved traditions.

Inside the historic farmhouse, the public will see a display of elaborate dolls, generously provided by Kona Historical Society members Anne Harvey and Paul Schneider of Holualoa. This doll set is called hina ningyo and represents the Japanese emperor, empress and their court, all in traditional costume and often seated on tiers. Families with young daughters display these doll sets starting in late February. The dolls are immediately taken down after March 3 to avoid a superstition. Some people believe dolls left on display too long delay the marriage of the family’s daughters.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm visitors can also make their own paper dolls. In addition, the public can help Kona Historical Society staff prepare mochi, smooth white sweet glutinous rice cakes often associated with holidays. During Hina Matsuri, Hishi-mochi, a pink-colored mochi, is often placed with the doll sets. The farm will have Hina Arare, sweet bite-sized rice crackers, for visitors to eat as a snack.

Kona Historical Society, a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii. The Society celebrates Hina Matsuri because it’s an opportunity to reflect on the rich, unique traditions the Japanese brought to Hawaii.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. The award-winning historic farm tells the stories of Kona’s coffee pioneers during 1926-45 and early Japanese immigrants. It is the only living history coffee museum in the U.S.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.