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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.”

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Announces Official 2015 Film Selections

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its 50 Official Selections, to be screened May 21-25, 2015. BIFF, the “talk story” film festival is a celebration of films and filmmaking in a luxury resort setting.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

A busy five-day schedule includes free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, plus a new food event, “Taste of the Movies,” on Friday, May 22, to honor BIFF’s tenth anniversary with ten top chefs presenting movie-themed cuisine. At The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, film buffs enjoy daytime movies and nightly double features with no-host bar and pupus, plus celebrity social events, workshops and more. Closing night Best of the Fest features The Rough Riders in concert: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland—all three BIFF alumni.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

The lineup of new, independent narrative films includes 13 made in the state, six from Hawai‘i Island itself. Returning to BIFF with a new sci fi thriller, Cousins Brothers Productions of Honoka‘a will present “Hangar 52 ‘We Are Not Alone.’”
Hangar52

Kona filmmakers represent, with the new feature “Project Z” by Richard Gonzalez and the short family film “Lost Dog” by Rockwood; both longtime BIFF alumni and supporters.

“2015 is shaping up to be a great year for short films, as well as our usual fine crop of feature films. The quality is outstanding,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “A short film only has 30 minutes or less to tell its story. It is an art of filmmaking that requires special skills. It’s not easy to do.”

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Other Hawaii-made shorts include “Līhau’s Journey,” starring Leiomalama Solomon and directed by Ari Bernstein of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, set in the spectacular Waimea countryside, Willy Navarro’s new work “Projection” and, from Oahu, Erin Lau presents “Day Pass,” filmed on Hawai‘i Island. From Maui, Brian Kohne and the Believers of Nonsense present the world premier of their animated short, “Nothing Goin’ On But the Rent.” And, based on a story by Waikoloa author Catherine Tarleton, “The Fishing Club” by Shooters Productions is a short film starring Robert Kekaula and Keali‘i Reichel.

Keali'i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in "The Fishing Club" based on a book by big island author Catherine Tarleton

Keali’i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in “The Fishing Club” based on a story by Big Island Author Catherine Tarleton

Hawai‘i is well-represented in the family feature film category as well. One in particular, “Under the Blood Red Sun,” based on Graham Salisbury’s award-winning novel. Set on Oahu during WWII, two young boys grow up quickly after the raid on Pearl Harbor, and help each other deal with its impact on their families, Japanese and American. Directed by Tim Savage and starring Kyler Sakamoto, the film has already garnered numerous awards and accolades.

Under the Blood Red Sun

The Official Selections for BIFF 2015 are:

  • 34th Street Christmas
  • A Standing Still
  • Arthur
  • Bereave
  • BIRTHDAY
  • Butterflies
  • Captive
  • Day Pass
  • Demon Within…
  • Dig Two Graves
  • Dishonestly Yours
  • Flowers
  • Hamlet’s Ghost
  • Hands Off My Child
  • Hangar 52 “We Are Not Alone”
  • HoneyGlue
  • Hotwire
  • If The Trees Could Talk
  • I KNOW YOU
  • Jilel – The Calling of the Shell
  • Līhauʻs Journey
  • Listening
  • Lost Dog
  • Mother Earth
  • N. King
  • Nobody
  • Nothing Going On But The Rent
  • Our Father
  • Out of the Basement
  • Patterson’s Wager
  • Prick
  • Project Z
  • Projection
  • Seahorses
  • Sin Frontera (Without Boundary)
  • Substance
  • SURE THING
  • Take a Stand
  • The Cat’s Cradle
  • The Devil Goes Down
  • The Fishing Club
  • The Hit
  • The Lei Makers
  • The Less Fortunate
  • The Morning After
  • The Rabbit
  • The Story of M
  • The Sun Devil and the Princess
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Wildlike

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening. Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 25. An exciting closing night event, Best of the Fest will kick off with a concert by the Rough Riders: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. The evening includes a silent auction for Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a portion of each ticket sold goes to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

BIFF Leo on StageThe Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

 

Michigan Man Dies After Police Car Hits Bicycle – Cop Arrested

A Michigan man died early Sunday (March 1) from a vehicle-bicycle crash in South Kohala.

HPDBadgeHe has been identified as 63-year-old Jeffrey C. Surnow of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Police have determined that Surnow was riding a bicycle east on Waikoloa Road near the 11-mile marker when he was hit by a vehicle driven in the same direction by an on-duty police officer assigned to the South Kohala District. The officer who struck Surnow reported the crash around 6:25 a.m. Sunday.

Surnow was taken to North Kohala Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers initiated a negligent homicide investigation and arrested the officer, 30-year-old Jody Buddemeyer, on suspicion of negligent homicide. He was later released pending further investigation.

The Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation as is standard practice in any officer-involved fatality. The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

Free Festivals at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to two exciting events in February: Polynesian Cultural Festival on Monday, Feb. 16, 5:30- 8 p.m. and Fortune Festival on Friday, Feb. 27, 5-8 p.m. Both evenings feature a variety of cultural activities, entertainment, food booths and family-friendly fun.

First up, the new Polynesian Cultural Festival is a monthly interactive event that offers a chance to experience the music and dances of Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa and Hawai‘i “up close and personal.”  Participants will be able to wear the fiercesome face-paint of Maori warriors while they pound Tahitian drums, and even take the Samoan fire knife for a spin. More peaceful pursuits like coconut leaf weaving, Konane (checkers) and hula lessons are available, plus poi ball twirling for the keiki.
Mauna Lani Fire Knife

The event is capped off with The Shops’ popular Polynesian Hula and Fire Knife Dance show by performing group Te ‘E‘a O Te Turama. With vivid costumes and vibrant rhythms from across the islands, male and female dancers bring island stories to life and ignite excitement with a fiery finale. The Polynesian Cultural Festival takes place at The Shops on the third Monday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m.

Later in February, the Fortune Festival honors the Year of the Goat with colorful Chinese celebrations, food, music and more.

Mauna Lani Lion Dance

A powerful hundred-foot Dragon will parade through the shopping center while firecrackers frighten off any evil spirits, and the traditional Lion Dance, with drums and cymbals, lets onlookers “feed” the Lion for good fortune in the year ahead. A Chinese fortune teller, martial arts demonstration, fire-blowing and costume contests for children and adults, plus Asian-inspired cuisine, crackling shrimp chips, and a beer and wine garden add to the festivities.

“We’re so happy that people are discovering The Shops as a fun and interesting place to be,” said General Manager Michael Oh. “In addition to our great stores and restaurants, these two festivals in February add a lot of excitement to the center, and we hope the whole community will come and enjoy. Bring the kids, kick off date night, meet friends for a pau hana—there’s a lot to like about The Shops at Mauna Lani.”

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Turns 20

Marking 20 years of celebrating Hawai‘i’s local products and the people who produce them, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Oct. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

While confirmations are still coming in for the nearly 40 invited restaurants and their chefs, the culinary lineup already reads like a who’s who of good eats. Headliners for the Taste evening gala to date include Bravo’s “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Sheldon Simeona of Maui’s Migrant Restaurant; Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Best Restaurant of the Year; and the host of TV’s “Family Ingredients,” Ed Kenny of Honolulu’s Town Restaurant.

Students at a workshop

Students at a workshop

Hawaii Regional Cuisine founders Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman will lead the pre-gala’s educational offerings, which are open to the public. Chef Yamaguchi of Roy’s instructs the 2015 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. while Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants offers an informative presentation geared for college culinary students at 1:30 p.m.

The time for this year’s Taste gala is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—prepared expertly by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

The line to get in

The line to get in

While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

Anniversary festivities will include honoring the event’s 20-year participants and others who have been major Taste supporters.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

“We had 16 participating restaurants at the first Taste,” shares Dr. Russell Nagata, event chairperson and administrator of Hawai‘i County Extension Services for the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). “We invited all of them, who are still in operation, to participate in our anniversary event.”

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10 while the 1:30 p.m. class is free. Tickets go on sale in July at island-wide locations and online. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Russell Nagata at 808-969-8228 no later than September 7.

 

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.

Big Island’s Best Artists Get Ready for 10th Annual Building and Design Expo

Renowned local artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Alex Gupton and Penny Gupton – winners of “The Best of The West” award for 2014 will be some of the high profile celebrity exhibitors showing off their best work at the 10th Annual Building and Design Expo put on by The Kohala Kona Chamber of Commerce.

Alex Gupton and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker show some of their art.

Alex Gupton and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker show some of their art.

This free open to the public event is being help at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. Starting this Friday evening from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m, Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tiki Shark Art Inc along with its partner Kona Oceanfront Gallery are cosponsors of this year’s Expo.

“This is the first time we are participating at this event” commented Abbas Hassan Senior VP at Tiki Shark Art Inc “I am sure the artists will add a certain flair that the attendees will certainly enjoy” he added.

“I am putting my best artists to work as a team this weekend” said Mark Hanna – Owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery. “Its not very often this kind of talent comes together to put on a show for the public….it’s going to be an event not to be missed!”

Be sure to stop by Booth Number 26 and 31, say Aloha to the Artists and let your imagination run wild! Plus pick up some limited edition art made available especially for this event for your home, office or the special someone for Valentine’s Day!

For more information and details of the event, please contact: Jill Weiss – Kona Oceanfront Gallery, 808 334 0037.

10th Annual Building and Design Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th annual Building & Design Expo February 6 – 8 at the Keauhou Convention Center at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.Building and Design ExpoFriday evening the expo is open to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and includes a musical performance by Randy Ressler. Saturday expo hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Visit over 40 exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating; fine art; windows and doors; flooring and window treatments; kitchen and baths, home energy products and more. The booths will present products, services and information relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Enter to win giveaways and drawings at vendor booths.

Attendees can also enter to win a grand prize: a 2-night stay at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

For additional information regarding the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Building & Design Expo, go to www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 329-1758.

Lion Dance, Taiko Drums Launch the New Year at Asian Fest

Queens’ MarketPlace invites the community to kick off the Year of the Sheep with a driving beat, delicious food and dramatic color, Friday, Feb. 6 at Asian Fest, 5-8 p.m. The complimentary event features high-energy Lion Dancers, Filipino dancers, food tasting and powerful Taiko drums.

 PHOTO: Courtesy Queens' MarketPlace


PHOTO: Courtesy Queens’ MarketPlace

“We’re so lucky to have these great performers at our Asian Fest,” said Sales & Operations Manager Margo Mau Bunnell. “It’s an exciting opportunity for everyone to hear three different drumming styles from Japan and Okinawa—with thundering drums that will literally launch the New Year with a big bang.”

Hundreds of mini-firecrackers ignite about 7:20 p.m. at Island Gourmet Markets to wake up the spirits and send off good luck wishes as the lively, fabulously-costumed Lion Dancers hop, skip and jump from one end of the shopping center to the other. To the beat of rattling Chinese drums and clanging cymbals, the Lion will hungrily “eat” red envelopes, (lycee) which onlookers fill with donations for good luck in the year ahead. (Lycee provided by Queens’ MarketPlace).

Throughout the shopping center, tasting booths will feature various samplings of Asian food culture, such as Mango Sticky Rice from Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Teriyaki Pork from Island Gourmet Markets, Orange Chicken from Lemongrass Express, plus ice cream, green tea frappuccino and much more.

Asian Fest is a complimentary event provided by Queens’ MarketPlace and its businesses as a celebratory start to the new year. For more information, please call 886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.net

Asian Fest Entertainment Schedule:

  • 5 p.m., Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (Okinawan Style percussion and dance group)
  • 5:55, Hawaii Lion Dance Association: Meet & Greet
  • 6:30 p.m., Kona Daifukuji Taiko
  • 7 p.m., Visayan Club (Filipino Dancers)
  • 7:30 p.m., Hui Okinawan Kobudo Taiko
  • 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Lion Dance Association: Lion Dance (Start point at Island Gourmet Markets)

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Last Chance to Enter Films and Screenplays for 2015 Big Island Film Festival

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) invites filmmakers and screenwriters to enter their project before the final deadline, Feb. 1, 2015. Complete rules and submission guidelines are available at www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com, for entering by mail or online via www.FilmFreeway.com.

Known as the “talk story” film festival, BIFF takes place May 21-25, 2015 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, and presents a full slate of new, narrative feature-length and short films in a luxurious oceanfront resort setting. Specializing in narrative films, as opposed to documentaries, BIFF provides a perfect complement to Hawai‘i Island’s film festival circuit and much-needed opportunity for filmmakers locally and internationally.

For the first time, BIFF’s script contest will open the door for one winning screenplay to be considered for representation by the Paradigm Agency, one of the industry’s best, with divisions in Beverly Hills, Monterey, Nashville and New York. The contest is open to all completed narrative film scripts that meet submission guidelines.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Attended by returning visitors and independent filmmakers from around the world, as well as local residents who love movies, BIFF also hosts notable workshop leaders, such as NBC story consultant Jen Grisanti and screenwriter Ron Osborn of “West Wing” fame, among others.  Last year’s celebrity  honorees were Portia Doubleday of “Carrie,” and “Twighlight” series star Jackson Rathbone who enjoyed interacting with island audiences during in-depth interviews and informal garden receptions.

One of BIFF’s many success stories last year is Best Hawai’i Feature and Audience Choice Feature, “The Haumana,” by Keo Woolford, now available on DVD after an unprecedented multi-national fesitval tour.  The intriguing sci-fi hit “Time Lapse” has continued to garner  prestigious festival awards internationally, and the haunting drama of homelessness, “3:13” (now in distribution) received accolades from the film industry as well as mental health and homeless advocate organizations.  “Druid Peak,” a drama about a young man’s relationship with wolves, is just being released in theaters after winning numerous festival laurels.

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014.  (Photo Kirk Aeder)

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014. (Photo Kirk Aeder)

BIFF 2013 winner “Chasing Shakespeare,” directed by Norry Niven, and starring Graham Greene and Danny Glover, is now in distribution as “From Above.” Hawai‘i-made BIFF alumni films include wildly-popular comedy “Get A Job” by Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne, GB Hajim’s animated sci fi love story “Strange Frame” by HawaiiCon’s G.B. Hajim, and the poignant “Land of Eb” about South Kona’s Micronesian coffee worker community.

A celebration of narrative filmmaking, the complete BIFF experience includes not only film screenings for grown ups at The Fairmont Orchid Hawai‘i’s beautiful outdoor Plantation Estate, but free family films under the stars at The Shops at Mauna Lani, numerous networking and celebrity social events, feasts for foodies, screenwriting workshops and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a top-rated Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by the audience from Festival entries.  “Golden Honu” Awards will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawai‘i and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 25.

BIFF would like to thank sponsors  The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, County of Hawai‘i, Dept. of R&D: CPEP Grant/Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Kona Brewing Company, and others.

For detailed information visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com, find them on Facebook, or 808-883-0394.

Dr. Kenneth Graham Named President of NHCH

The Queen’s Health Systems (Queen’s), corporate parent of The Queen’s Medical Center (QMC), named Kenneth D. Graham, MPH, RHIA, FACHE, as permanent President of North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH).

Dr. Kenneth Graham

Dr. Kenneth Graham

“Ken has demonstrated professional expertise and leadership while serving as Acting President of NHCH over the past year,” said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen’s Health Systems. “His significant healthcare management experience and commitment to advancing both Queen’s and NHCH missions are great assets to serving in this role.”

“It is truly an honor to join such an extraordinary team of medical professionals and to serve Queen’s, NHCH and the North Hawaii community,” said Graham. “Our hospital has incredibly talented staff and physicians; strong levels of support from dedicated volunteers and donors; and a commitment to meet the healthcare needs of our community. I look forward to building upon the legacy of the Founders of The Queen’s Medical Center and NHCH, who shared a common vision and passion to provide the best health care for the people of Hawaii.”

For the past year, Graham has served as the hospital’s acting president as the facility officially entered into an affiliation with Queen’s on January 15, 2014. In the agreement, NHCH became a corporate entity under Queen’s, similar to The Queen’s Medical Center and Molokai General Hospital.

Previously, Graham served as System Integration Advisor in the office of Queen’s President and CEO Art Ushijima, supporting hospital planning, clinical integration, corporate alignment, and neighbor-island health. He is the former President and CEO of El Camino Hospital, a 542-bed, district-owned not-for-profit hospital in Silicon Valley, as well as former CEO at Overlake Hospital Medical Center (337 beds). He held various executive positions with the Daughters of Charity Health System West (2,400 beds), Grossmont District Hospital (426 beds), and Long Beach Community Hospital (350 beds).

He is professionally certified in medical record administration (RHIA) and healthcare administration (FACHE). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Masters in Public Health, both from UCLA.

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Waikoloa Area of the Big Island

A 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Waikoloa area of the Big Island this afternoon.

32 waikoloa

 

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.

3.4 Magnitude Earthquake Registered Off Kona

The Big Island of Hawaii has been having quite a bit of small earthquakes in the last few weeks.

Today off the coast of Kona they had a 3.4 magnitude earthquake:
34 kailua

New Screenplay Contest for Big Island Film Festival

Long before the lights and cameras come to life, movie action starts on paper, with a fine-tuned craft of screenwriting. In celebration of the screenplay, Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its first feature film script contest, with top entries saluted at the tenth annual festival, May21-25, 2015. The winning script will be submitted to the Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Some of the winners that were present to receive their awards.

Some of the 2014 Big Island Film Festival award winners.

With a signature focus on narrative films, BIFF has nurtured the art of storytelling, both on the big screen and off, presenting screenwriting and filmmaking workshops, networking and social opportunities, and audience feedback in a casual, creative setting. The new screenplay contest is a natural outgrowth of inspiration and education planted over the last decade.

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

“Because we have writers who come to our workshops every year, we know that their film ideas are taking shape, if not actually completed,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “This could give the right motivation to actually sit down and polish, fine-tune, give your project its best shot. Paradigm is one of the top five talent agencies in the business, and, although we can’t guarantee anything, just to have them consider representing your script is a tremendous opportunity; it’s priceless.”

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the "Golden Honu" award at the 2010 BIFF

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the “Golden Honu” award at the 2010 BIFF

Scripts must be submitted no later than February 1, 2015, and must be between 60 and 140 pages in standard screenplay format. Professional readers will screen all submissions, by reviewing the first ten pages, to select nine semi-finalists. Of those, three finalists will be evaluated by veteran screenwriters, instructors and consultants and one winner selected.

Saturday Night Live's Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

Saturday Night Live’s Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

All semifinalists will receive filmmaker passes to BIFF 2015 and finalists will receive a Golden Honu Award plate and listing on Variety.com. Only the winning screenplay, announced at the Awards Brunch on May 25, will be submitted to Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Films may be submitted by mail or email, or on line via www.FilmFreeway.com, an easy and affordable entry service for screenwriting contests and film festivals. Deadlines are January 1, 2015 (Early Bird) and February 1, 2015 (Regular). Complete rules, fee information and entry forms are available at www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25, 2015. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.  For more information, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Opens One Hour Earlier

Fresh and nutritious Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Friday, Sept. 26 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

This year’s annual event that promotes agricultural sustainability is 5-8 p.m. to offer an extra hour for grazing among tasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays. The fun sprawls both inside the Hilton’s recently renovated ballroom and outside on the scenic Lagoon Lanai.

Pre-sale tickets are available at a dozen islandwide locations and online for $45 through September 25; they are $60 on event day. Details: www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

New this year, seven of the 30 culinary stations will showcase a chef using local products from a specific rancher and farmer out on the Lagoon Lanai. These stations will identify those who contributed to the dish for attendees, as well as the meat cut used. In addition, participating ranchers and farmers are also invited to talk story with attendees at each station. Event chair Jeri Moniz says the purpose for the pairings “is to foster more communication between food producers and chefs,” one of the event’s goals.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

Each Taste chef is assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. All the beef cuts are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

In addition to “grazing” on prepared top round or Rocky Mountain Oysters—aka bull’s testicles—attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view compelling educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Pasture-Raised Beef Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s guest presenter is Peter Abarcar Jr, executive chef of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, who is preparing Chinese Style Oxtail with Radish and Salt Fish Fried Rice plus Grass-Fed Chuck Steak Pipikaula with “Killachurri” Sauce The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tix available online or at the door.

Also open to the public is a free 1:30 p.m. seminar, “A Primer on Local Beef” by local livestock extension agent and long-time researcher, Glen Fukumoto. “A Primer on Local Beef” will delve into the history of the beef industry in Hawai‘i and look at the product’s supply and demand issues. Fukumoto will also examine meat quality for the grass-finished market through the years, based on his 30 years of research.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of fresh, local cuisine can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, September 26, 2014. The kama’aina special includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i State ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel accommodations start at $149 per room, per night, based on availability. To book the exclusive package, (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or call 1-800-HILTONS.

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

A free parking and shuttle service to Taste is available from ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay noon-10 p.m. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

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

Repairs To Begin At Keauhou Small Boat Harbor On Remaining Tsunami Damage

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on Wednesday, Sept. 3, will begin construction at Keauhou Small Boat Harbor on repairs to the last remaining areas damaged by the 2011 Japan tsunami.

Kailua-Kona-Pier-Repair

Construction is scheduled through Jan. 7, 2015.Project contractor is Drayko Construction, Inc. The total cost of this project is $428,000.

Below are the proposed dates and affected areas of the harbor. Dates are subject to change due to weather or other factors.

Boat Launch Ramp and Wash Down Area work to be done:

Sept. 3 –Oct. 31, 2014: Contractor to remove existing asphalt pavement/install new concrete pavement and drainage improvements on mauka side of boat launch ramp and wash down area. During this time the trailer parking next to the boat ramp and the boat wash down area will be closed. Both lanes of the boat ramp will remain open.

Oct. 6 –Dec. 3, 2014: Repairs to the rock revetment, loading dock, fenders and cleats on the left hand side of the boat ramp; and removal of existing asphalt paving and installation of new concrete pavement fronting the left hand side of the boat ramp. The left hand lane of the boat ramp will be closed. The right hand lane of the boat ramp will remain open.

Dec. 4, 2014 –Jan. 2, 2015: Removal of existing asphalt paving and installation of new concrete pavement fronting right hand side of boat ramp. The right hand side of the boat ramp will be closed. The left hand lane of the boat ramp will remain open.

Mauka Parking Area / Bulkhead:

Nov. 12-19, 2014: Removal and replacement of existing asphalt paving on mauka parking area/bulkhead (where Fairwinds, etc. load/unload passengers). Vessels may use the loading pier to load/unload passengers during this time.

Nov. 24-25, 2014: Striping at the mauka parking area/bulkhead. Vessels may use the loading pier to load/unload passengers, etc. during this time.

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.

“The Feeding Leaf” – New Culinary Partnership Features Hawai’i Island Food From the Source

“He lau ma‘ona” is a Hawaiian expression that means “the leaf that feeds until satisfied,”referring to the kalo plant, a key food source from root to tip. As the new name for an up-and-coming culinary partnership, “The Feeding Leaf” means sharing food rooted in culture, prepared and served with a high level of artistry.

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi'o Valley.  Anna Pacheco Photography

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi’o Valley. Anna Pacheco Photography

The Feeding Leaf’s culinary partnership—Chef Scott Hiraishi and mulit-talented event planner Tracey Apoliona—make a strong team, cumulatively bringing decades of creative organizational and culinary skills to the table. Now working with clients on a variety of private parties and social functions, The Feeding Leaf focuses, almost exclusively, on Hawaii’s wealth of local foods.

The idea began with the Hawai‘i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai last March. Hiraishi was Executive Chef, and took a leadership role on the event, supported by Chef Sam. Working with partners in the agricultural and education community, the Ranchers Dinner promoted their joint mission to not only “grow farmers” by nurturing agriculture, but to “grow chefs” who will use these excellent regional foods in their restaurants.

Energized by the sold-out dinner’s success, Hiraishi and Apoliona began to think about a partnership of their own, while planning for the “Roast & Roots” event, collaborating with Hawai‘i Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools—Land Asset Division, and the Department of Agriculture. Held July 19 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Convention Center, Roast & Roots was the perfect stage to premier “The Feeding Leaf.”

“We want people to understand that there’s a real and significant difference between mainstream and local foods,” said Tracey. “We want the farmers and ranchers to be appreciated for the work they do. We’ve gone to their farms and ranches, and met the people behind the food.”

“Farmers know Scott, and they are understanding of his style of cooking,” said Tracey. “No matter where we go—for example when we went to farmers markets to do food demos—they bring their products and want to give him something to try in his recipes.”

A trip into Waipi’o Valley for a photo shoot turned into an education opportunity, as the crew ventured into the ancient lo‘i amdist centuries-old rock walls. “It was pouring rain and we were drenched, but it all kind of fell into place,” said Tracey. Traditional Hawaiian farmers believed water is life. “It was almost as if Waipi‘o was giving us water, trying to feed us so we could go back and feed other people… The Feeding Leaf is a very good vehicle to teach, not just others, but to teach ourselves,” said Tracey.

Already active in Hawaii’s culinary scene, Hirasishi has been invited to cook for Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s exclusive “Pā‘ina on the Pier” event on O‘ahu. And, The Feeding Leaf will participate in Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range, Friday, September 26, 5-8 p.m. at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Now accepting bookings for the holiday period and beyond, The Feeding Leaf looks forward to bringing Hawaii-raised food to a higher elevation for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Tracey Apoliona, (808) 960-3094 or Scott Hiraishi, (808) 987-9794, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.