New TripAdvisor Accolades for Waikoloa Beach Resort

TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, has ranked Waikoloa Beach Resort as 7th on its list of “Top U.S. Destinations for Vacation Rental Stays.” Based on TripAdvisor reviews, the luxury Kohala Coast resort bested Las Vegas, Nevada and two other Hawaii destinations.  Hilton 1

Along with the Top 10 list, TripAdvisor also published results of its recent survey of 1,800 travelers. According to that study, 59 percent of participants plan to stay at a vacation rental this year. Vacationers value cost-savings, space and quality amenities, and place a high priority on having a kitchen.

Hilton 2“Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as more travelers discover the outstanding amenities, comfort, and value a rental can offer,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With summer the most popular time for vacation rental stays, savvy travelers should book early for the best options.”  Hilton Waikoloa Village Skyview

With a wide range of vacation rental units within its 1,350 acre boundaries, as well as 30+ dining options, two shopping centers, two golf courses, two resort hotels and a full schedule of entertainment and activities, Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned recognition as one of Hawaii’s top destinations. Last December, the property was ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s list of “Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

“To be named on two significant TripAdvisor lists in such a short time is very exciting for us,” said Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “We have worked hard to create a Waikoloa Beach Resort experience that works well for visitors, island residents, resort homeowners and vacation rental guests as well.  This kind of recognition shows that offering a variety of excellent choices in dining, shopping, golf, activities and accommodations are a formula that works, that people enjoy and are happy to visit again.”

Groundbreaking Ceremony Begins Construction For New Hilo International Airport Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Station

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT), Airports Division, celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport.

ito fire department 2

The new two-story, 21,000 square-foot facility will include four drive-through truck bays, a fueling area, new training facilities, along with improved work and living quarters for firefighters.

“Our crews here at the Hilo ARFF station provide very specialized Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting responses that are unique to the airport setting,” said Ross Higashi, Deputy Director of the Airports Division. “Each of these improvements will supply our firefighters with the facilities they need to train and carry out operations.”

ITO Fire department

Nearly 87-percent of the $18.8 million total was provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  State funds covered the remaining $3 million. The new station will be fully compliant with FAA requirements and is anticipated to be completed by June 2016.

“The safety of our air travelers is always one of our highest priorities,” said Governor David Ige. “Each of these improvements will help to keep our firefighters better trained, better equipped and ready to respond when the need arises. We look forward to the work being completed on time.”

Shark Attack at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

A Kansas man suffered a shark attack Wednesday (March 18) at Hapuna Beach Park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

In response to an 11:46 a.m. call, South Kohala officers responded to Hapuna Beach and learned that a 58-year-old man from Overland Park, Kansas, had been snorkeling with family at the south point of the beach when a shark bit him on the arm.

He was assisted to shore and taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where he was treated for severe lacerations to his left forearm and injury to his left thigh.

Swimmers were evacuated from the waters.

Michigan Man Identified in Drowning Last Month

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a possible drowning in Kealakekua late last month.
HPDBadgeOn January 30, Kona Patrol officers responded to a 12:11 p.m. report of a drowning at Manini Beach, which is just south of Kealakekua Bay. When police and Fire Department personnel arrived, bystanders were attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Fire Department personnel took over attempts to revive the victim but were unsuccessful.

He has been identified as 72-year-old Anthony Lafata of Warren, Michigan.

The cause of death is being deferred pending additional forensic testing. Police do not suspect foul play. The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Lunch With Mayor Kenoi and Select Cabinet Members

Mayor Billy Kenoi and select cabinet members discuss opportunities and challenges for West Hawaii’s economy at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2015 Focus Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the annual luncheon offers a unique opportunity for the local community to meet with county department representatives in a casual setting.

Attendees have the chance to have lunch with members of a specific department as well as pose questions to the mayor and cabinet heads. Issues discussed may include update of the Keauhou Aquifer; the county’s solid waste management plan; and the quest to reopen the Kona International Airport international arrivals facility.

Cost for the luncheon is $46 for Chamber and Rotary members, $56 for non-members. No walk-ins allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 808-329-1758.

Japan Visitor Dies in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A 71-year-old male visitor from Japan died yesterday after suffering an apparent heart attack at Thurston Lava Tube in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Thurston Lava Tube

Acting Chief Ranger John Broward reported that the man was hiking out of the lava tube with a tour group, at approximately 1 p.m. After walking up the steepest section of the trail, the visitor felt fatigued, was short of breath, and sat down to rest.

Shortly after sitting down, he collapsed, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing. Several visiting nurses and a tour operator performed CPR until park rangers arrived with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. Rangers went through three cycles of CPR and AED analysis but the man’s heart was not in a rhythm the machine could detect.

County of Hawai‘i Medic 19 arrived and assumed care. After county medics completed their protocols, a doctor from the Hilo Medical Center pronounced the visitor dead through online medical control.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending further notification of his family.

Department of Parks and Recreation Receives $50,000 State Grant to Control Little Fire Ants

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation has received a $50,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to control little fire ants at specific park sites.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

The Department of Parks and Recreation is one of four Hawai‘i Island organizations selected by the HTA for a grant award under its 2015 Natural Resources Program. Funding will be used to pay the Department’s three-person team of little fire ant control technicians, purchase bait and subsidize other expenses related to the ongoing treatment program.

To meet the grant terms of improving both the visitor experience and resident enjoyment of Hawai‘i’s natural resources, treatment efforts will be conducted at Richardson Ocean Park, Lili‘uokalani Gardens and the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens through December 2015. The free sites are popular with visitors and residents.

Little fire ants are considered to be one of the world’s worst invasive species. They inflict painful stings that can cause welts in humans and blind animals.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which administers the grant program, for supporting its efforts to control little fire ants in the public’s parks. Treatment efforts are ongoing at 28 County recreational sites and facilities found to have the highest concentrations of little fire ants.

Hawaiian Host to Acquire Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut

Hawaiian Host, Inc. announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with The Hershey Company to acquire the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation.

Hawaiian HostHawaiian Host is one of Hawai‘i’s premier brands and the originator of chocolate covered macadamias with its history dating back to 1927. When the acquisition is completed, Mauna Loa will join Hawaiian Host as a subsidiary. Both companies will continue operating as two distinct, separate brands.

“This acquisition will create a great opportunity for both companies, our employees and the community. It brings Mauna Loa back under Hawai‘i ownership, joins together two strong, local brands, and lays the foundation for continued success,” said Keith Sakamoto, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Host. “We are excited to welcome Mauna Loa’s outstanding employees to the Hawaiian Host family. Both companies have a long history of operating in Hawai‘i and sharing our products with the world. And we remain committed to continuing to offer the same quality products our customers have grown to know and expect.”

In 1946, Mauna Loa planted its very first macadamia nut trees near Kea‘au, just south of Hilo, where its facilities and visitor center are currently located on 136 acres of land. Mauna Loa is one of the largest and most experienced macadamia nut processors in the world with the seasonal capacity to process approximately 40 million pounds of macadamias. They also produce chocolate covered macadamias and flavored macadamia nut products that are distributed locally, nationally and internationally. In 2004, The Hershey Company acquired Mauna Loa.

“Both Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa have a long history of supporting our local growers and farmers as well as our community. And with our more than 300 employees in Hawai‘i we will continue that legacy together,” added Sakamoto.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015. There are no immediate staff changes planned and details of the acquisition will not be released.

Hawaiian Host was founded by Mamoru Takitani, a third-generation Japanese descendent who dreamed of becoming a candy maker. After moving to Honolulu from the island of Maui, Takitani purchased Ellen Dye Candies, a local confectioner since 1927, and renamed it Hawaiian Host. Since then, Hawaiian Host has grown to become “Hawai‘i’s Gift to the World” and remains the leader in chocolate-covered macadamia products. Today, Hawaiian Host has more than 250 products that are sold in more than 23 countries around the world.

Hawaiian Host supports the Mamoru & Aiko Takitani Foundation which provides grants to numerous community organizations and provides academic scholarships for higher education to benefit the young people of Hawai‘i. Since its inception, the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation has provided more than $2 million dollars in scholarships to students from every eligible high school in Hawai‘i.

For more information, visit www.hawaiianhost.com.

 

Unidentified Object Closes Kua Bay

Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with staff from the DLNR Division of State Parks, closed the Kua Bay section of Kekaha Kai (Kona Coast) State Park today after an unidentified object was found in the water.

Kua Bay

State Parks Administrator Dan Quinn said, “High winter surf brings a lot of surfers to this park and we feel it is best to close the park and not allow surfers and others into the water, for their own safety, until we can identify this object.”

A U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) expert is planning to gather photographs of the object this afternoon in an effort to determine exactly what it is. A representative from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) will accompany the EOD expert. The Navy is working closely with DLNR to assess the item and appropriate response actions.

The object is approximately two feet in diameter and is estimated to weigh 150 pounds. There has been a history of unexploded ordnance found in the waters of this region.

As soon as the object is positively identified and removed if necessary, staff from the DLNR Division of State Parks will determine when Kua Bay can be reopened.

 

Big Island Police Investigating South Kohala Drowning

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a possible drowning over the weekend in the South Kohala District.

kona drowning 2

At 9:35 a.m. Sunday (December 28), South Kohala officers responded to report of a male swimmer in distress at Wailea Beach in Puakō. A kayaker had found the swimmer motionless in the water and had taken him to shore.

Efforts to revive the him with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation were unsuccessful. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The victim has been identified as 53-year-old David Green Thompson of Seattle.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday (December 30th) to determine the exact cause of death.

DLNR Conducts Undercover Operation – Arrests Two Guides for Leading Illegal Lava Viewing Tours

Two guides who were involved in leading tours into the state Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve were arrested by Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers on Monday..  The charges were for prohibited entry into closed areas and for engaging in illegal commercial activities on DLNR-managed lands.

Matthew Hoeflinger

Matthew Hoeflinger

DOCARE officers conducted an undercover operation which resulted in the arrest of Matthew Hoeflinger, 50, of Keaau, and Christa Nicholas, 23, of Mountain View. Hoeflinger and Nicholas were charged with the following:

Reckless endangering in the 2nd degree;  conducting illegal commercial activities within a forest reserve; entering a closed area within a natural area reserve; and conducting illegal commercial activities within a natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses. They are also being charged with trespassing in the 2nd degree; entering a closed area in a forest reserve, which area petty misdemeanor offenses. 

Hoeflinger and Nicholas were transported to the Pahoa Police Station for booking and were subsequently released on their own recognizance.

Entry into closed lands is a violation of Hawaii Administrative Rule Sec. 13-221-4 and Hawaii Revised Statute 171-6, and is subject of penalty up to $5,000 for the first offense.

“DLNR intends to prosecute any trespassers who willfully violate the closures and place enforcement officers and emergency personnel at increased risk,” said William J. Aila,Jr., DLNR chairperson.

Signs have been posted at various access points warning the public of the hazardous conditions.

Reopening of Pahoa Village Road Begins Tomorrow

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Sunday November 23rd at 8:00AM.

This morning’s assessment shows that the upslope breakouts remain active.  The breakouts are located approximately 3.6 miles upslope of the Apa’a Street area and consist of surface breakouts and breakouts along the edges or margins of the flow pad.  Presently, all breakout activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and the flow activity will continue to be monitored.

Residents in the down slope areas will be kept informed of any changes and the flow status and advancement.

The Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and the Post Office Road will remain closed and limited to area residents only.   Access to the businesses and commercial areas of the Pahoa town can be made through the Pahoa Village Road at the intersection of Highways 130 and 132 and the Post Office Road.  We apologize for any inconvenience the road closure may be presenting with and remind everyone that the Pahoa town center and businesses are open and accessible.

Pahoa Village Road

The reopening of the Pahoa Village Road will be initiated starting tomorrow Monday November 24th and may take a few days to complete.  Utility crews will begin to remove the protection placed around the utility poles and this work will require the road to remain closed while equipment is operating in the area.

Civil Defense and public safety personnel will continue to maintain close observations of flow activity.

Additional updates will be posted as conditions change.

We would like to thank everyone for your patience and understanding and your  cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Works with CDC to Ensure Hawaiʻi Can Screen for Ebola In-State

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard yesterday announced a collaboration resulting in Hawaiʻi having the ability to quickly and effectively test for Ebola in-state.  Previously, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) would need to send patient samples to mainland laboratories to test for the deadly Ebola virus.

A few weeks ago, the congresswoman met with Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Toby Merlin, Director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Bill Gallo, Associate Director for Insular Area Support at the CDC, to discuss the global challenges related to the Ebola virus, and the necessity for a properly equipped Hawaiʻi testing facility. They resolved to supply the Hawaiʻi Department of Health with resources to test for Ebola, supporting State Department of Health and medical personnel with a quicker testing turnaround time.

Today, the DOH State Laboratories Division received and validated the U.S. Department of Defense-developed, CDC-deployed real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test for 2014 outbreak-associated Ebola Zaire Virus.

“The safety and well-being of Hawaiʻi residents is my highest priority, and it’s important that our state be equipped with the resources needed to quickly and effectively test those who may be suspected Ebola patients,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “Ensuring our medical professionals are given the tools they need to protect themselves, and to serve the public at large, is of the greatest importance, and I’m glad to see that we were able to bring this testing capability to our islands.”

Lava Flow Emerges From Crack – Continues Advancing East

June 27th lava flow front emerges again from ground crack, continues advancing eastward

Click to enlarge

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with lava at the flow front issuing from a ground crack and advancing through thick forest, creating dense plumes of smoke. The farthest lava this afternoon was 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. This forest reserve boundary is at the western boundary of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, a portion of which is visible at the bottom of the photograph.

This view looks east at the far end of the June 27th lava flow. In the center of the photograph is an isolated pad of lava which came out of ground crack last week. Further movement of lava within ground cracks has enabled the flow front to advance farther east, with lava issuing from a ground crack in the upper left portion of the photograph, where plumes of smoke mark the location of lava burning forest. Click to enlarge

A closer view of the flow front, looking west. It is difficult to see the active lava surface through the thick smoke. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen in the upper left portion of the photograph, partly obscured by smoke.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

One small portion of the flow front was quite vigorous, with an open stream of lava moving through the forest.

Click to view movie

This Quicktime movie shows activity at the front of the June 27th lava flow. The flow front continues to advance eastward, with lava issuing out of a ground crack and spreading through dense forest, creating thick plumes of smoke. The farthest lava this afternoon was 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve.

Public Forum To Reduce User Conflicts In Oahu Surf Breaks

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is hosting a public forum to generate discussion about a management concept designed to reduce user conflicts in specific surf breaks in the waters off of Oahu.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Jefferson Elementary School cafeteria at 342 Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki, Oahu.

SafeSurf

Proponents of the concept, representing a movement called “Safe Surf Hawaii,” are suggesting the creation of a framework for separating user groups competing for waves in the same surf breaks with the ultimate goal of improving safety and reducing user conflicts.

What’s being proposed:
A one year pilot project, in which, during a limited number of time periods each week (i.e., Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, from 3 to 9 p.m.), standup paddleboarders (SUPs) would not be permitted in the surf zones located between the entrances of Ala Moana / Ala Wai harbor and Kewalo Basin harbor.
(excerpt from http://www.safesurfhawaii.com).

“The department was asked by Safe Surf Hawaii to solicit comments from the general public and gauge acceptance of this plan to limit use of SUPs in this waterway,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR chairperson. “If the concept gains wide support, the department may consider rulemaking as a way to formalize the plan. However, the support would need to be nearly unanimous among all users.”

Representatives of Safe Surf Hawaii will be given an opportunity to present their plan before the floor is opened to discussion.

DLNR faced a similar challenge when user groups asked for the department to ban the use of SUPs in the waters of Ala Moana Lagoon. Instead of creating a rule, the department elected to install a series of buoys and suggested a voluntary separation of the conflicting uses in 2010.

“Our goal at that time was to reduce the user conflicts and create a safe environment for all users, but without a formal rule change that would have prevented access to these high-value ocean waters for a specific user group.”

“In our opinion, the Ala Moana Lagoon decision was very successful,” Aila said. “Once we installed the SUP corridor, complaints stopped coming in. No one was prevented from accessing the resource. What we are hoping is that discussion and understanding can again help us resolve a growing problem.”

The department encourages all ocean users to comment on the proposed plan and/or suggest other solutions by attending the meeting in person or by sending comments to DLNR’s generic address for receiving comments at dlnr.HarReview@hawaii.gov.

The meeting location is disability accessible. If special needs are required (i.e., large print, taped materials, sign language interpreter, etc.), call Clifford Inn on Oahu at (808) 587-1972 at least three business days prior to the public forum.

Mainland Law Firm “Fears for Their Safety in Hawaii”

I mentioned a few months ago about a lawsuit that local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker had filed against CafePress for copyright infringements.

Illegal  “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Illegal “knock off” Slippers with “Forbidden Island” original art by Brad Parker.

Looking at a motion filed in Honolulu Federal Court last month, it appears that Greenburg Traurig LLP,  one of the largest law firms on the planet “fears for their attorney’s safety due to threat of violence against them in the State of Hawaii, especially in Kona!”

What the heck… this isn’t the Christopher Deedy trial or anything like that.

With over 35 offices and employing 1700 + attorneys globally, Greenburg Traurig is a massive law firm who is currently defending the highly publicized copyright infringement lawsuit filed against their client Cafe Press by Big Island based Tiki Shark Art Inc.

“It is astonishing to see what legal maneuvers these big law firms pull out of their hats to try to outspend a small company like mine when money is no object”  Brad Parker Owner and Artist at Tiki Shark Art Inc. said.

Brad at Capital

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker at the Capital

“However, for the sake of all my fellow artists who Cafe Press has ripped off, I feel obligated to see this case to its end to the best of my company’s financial ability” Parker told me.

Despite several unsuccessful legal tactics used by the Mainland law firm to move some of the motions to Los Angeles – California, the case is set for a jury trial in Honolulu in February 2015.

Public Information Meeting on Planned Improvements at Hapuna Beach

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks will hold a community information meeting on its planned improvements at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. The meeting will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in the dining hall in the mauka section of the park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

State Parks staff will describe and seek community input on proposed repair and renovation improvements of existing facilities in various park locations that include: roadway and pathway improvements, new foot showers, new rinsing shower, pavilion and barbecue facility improvements, comfort station repairs and renovations, improvements to picnic areas on the south end, stairway and pathway improvements at the Waialea section of the park, and related improvements to comply with current regulations and requirements, including the Americans with Disability Act.

“DLNR is committed to improve our facilities and management of Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, said State Parks Administrator Dan Quinn. “We are implementing these planned facility improvements and interested in community input to assess options to improve this park for residents and visitors.”

(To get to the dining hall, take Old Puako Road from Queen Kaahumanu Highway, then turn mauka, across from the makai entry to the beach and follow the road past the A-frame cabins to the dining hall at the top of the hill. There is a small parking lot for the facility and also ample open space parking in the unpaved areas of this section).

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a beach park, with restrooms, picnic pavilions, picnic tables, lodging, trash cans, drinking water, and payphone. There is hiking along the Ala Kahakai coastal trail. It is located on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19), 2.3 miles south of Kawaihae.

DLNR Opens Some Areas After Arrival Of Iselle Storm System

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces limited openings of its state-managed park and forest lands in the wake of the Iselle storm system.

Lava Tree State Park

Some areas will remain closed as a precautionary measure for public safety until personnel can assess the areas for damage such as downed trees and make any necessary repairs. Status updates will be provided as soon as they are available.

AREAS REMAINING CLOSED:

All areas managed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, forest hiking trails, and game management areas, until further notice

  • County of Hawaii – Lava Tree State Monument and MacKenzie State Recreation Area
  • City and County of Honolulu – Aiea Loop Trail
  • County of Kauai – All state parks remain closed

ALL OTHER STATE PARKS ARE OPEN

DOFAW and the Division of State Parks continue to suspend issuance of camping permits for state forest and park campgrounds.

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) small boat harbors remain open.

The public is asked to remain cautious. Storm impacts continue to affect the islands, including flooding, high wind, wave actions, and muddy trail conditions.

Pacific Edge Magazine Announces New Gala Date and Updated Nomination Deadline

Hawaii’s best and brightest companies and business leaders to be honored at red-carpet awards gala on September 25

Pacific Edge Magazine (PEM) announced today it has moved the Fourth Annual Pacific Edge Magazine Business Achievement Awards to September 25, 2014. Element Media, Inc., Hawaii’s premier custom publishing firm, will host the exclusive red-carpet soiree to recognize the state’s most influential business leaders, organizations and non-profits while celebrating the company’s eighth anniversary.

pacific Edge

Local business and community leaders are encouraged to submit nominations for the Fourth Annual Pacific Edge Magazine Business Achievement Awards by August 14, 2014 at www.pacificedgeawards.com. Self-nominations are encouraged.

“Since our very first issue in 2005, we’ve been passionate about highlighting the individuals, companies and organizations that inspire and innovate our local business community through our monthly networking events, in-depth articles and online presence,” said Jamie Giambrone, co-founder of Element Media, Inc. and co-publisher of Pacific Edge Magazine. “This awards gala will provide the opportunity to shine the spotlight on those most deserving of their achievements, while also celebrating the eighth anniversary of Pacific Edge.”

Nomination categories include:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Young Professional of the Year
  • Business Executive of the Year
  • Educator of the Year
  • Commitment to Green Award
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Award
  • Best New Business
  • Best Family-Run Business
  • Best Social Media Campaign

All submissions are evaluated by an independent panel of judges comprised of respected local community leaders.  Detailed information about the gala and award nomination submissions are available at www.pacificedgeawards.com.

Last year’s gala attracted an esteemed crowd of more than 350 guests in which the following individuals, businesses and organizations were recognized:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Mel Tanioka, Founder & President, Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering
  • Young Professional of the Year Award – Ina Chang, President, Aloha Data Services
  • Business Executive of the Year Award – Shelley Wilson, President & CEO, Wilson Care Group
  • Commitment to Green Award – Oceanit
  • Educator of the Year Award – Matt Lawrence, Teacher, Waikiki Elementary School
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Award – Pop-A-Lock of Honolulu
  • Best Social Media Campaign Award – W.M. Keck Observatory
  • Best Family-Run Business Award – Kamaka Hawaii
  • Best New Business Award – Mojo Barbershop
  • Best Non-Profit Impact – The Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery

Inquiries about corporate sponsorship or nominations can be directed to Jamie Giambrone at (808) 737-8711 or Jamie@elementmediahi.com

Receive updates and the latest awards news by following Pacific Edge Magazine on Twitter at @PacificEdge and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PacificEdge.

Summer Italian Food and Wine Celebration

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

Rupert Billings

Rupert Billins

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

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

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

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

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

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