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EPA Conducting Pesticide Poisoning Training in Hawaii

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced upcoming trainings for health care workers on how to recognize and treat pesticide poisonings. The classes will be conducted by the Migrant Clinicians Network, with co-sponsors Hawaii Department of Health, the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated, with funding from the EPA.

“Quick and accurate identification of pesticide poisoning is important to provide immediate patient care,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These workshops will provide health care workers with the tools they need in such critical situations.”

The trainings are accredited courses that will focus on key decision points in the diagnosis of pesticide exposures and will highlight the usefulness of the EPA publication, “Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, 6th edition”. Copies will be provided to all participants. Through interactive case studies, this training will illustrate effective recognition and treatment of patients who may have been exposed to pesticides.

“The Department of Health is grateful for the partnerships that came together to bring this specialized medical training to the healthcare communities on Kauai and Oahu,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We urge health care professionals to take advantage of this important learning opportunity, and expect to see more offered in this area.”

The classes will be held:

Kauai – March 6, at 9:30 am and 1 pm at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, 4643 Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, HI, Conference Room AB. For more information and registration on the Kauai classes please contact Julie Sommers, (808) 338-9474 – jsommers@hhsc.org or Cheryl Tennberg, ctennberg@hhsc.org

Oahu – March 7, at 9:30 am at the AFFES Building, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI, 5th floor Conference Room. For more information and registration on the Oahu class please contact Amy K. Liebman, (512) 579-4535, aliebman@migrantclinician.org or Fenix Grange, (808) 586-4248, fenix.grange@doh.hawaii.gov

DLNR Announces Opening of 2017 Big Island Spring Bearded Turkey Season

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announces the opening of the 2017 Spring Bearded Turkey Hunting Season on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

The spring season will run for 46 consecutive days through Saturday, April 15, 2017 (with the exception of Unit E – Kipuka Ainahou that will run for 31 days). The spring season will be for bearded turkeys only, in locations identified below. The season length, bag limits, and hunting areas are those established in Title 13, Chapter 122, “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, Field Trials and Commercial Shooting Preserves.

Open Turkey Hunting Areas Special Conditions Season Dates Hunting Hours
Unit A – Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and GMA Mammal hunting will also be open above tree line for rifle, muzzleloader, handgun, and shotgun. March 1 – April 15, 2017        (46 consecutive days) One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
Unit G – Kaohe GMA Also open daily to mammal hunting for archery.
Unit F – Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve N/A
Private Lands Hunters required to have valid hunting license, current turkey tags and landowner permission.
Unit E – Kipuka Ainahou Also open to mammal hunting on weekends and holidays only. Archery only.

* Hunting is not allowed in DHHL lands in this unit.

March 1 – March 31, 2017 (31 consecutive days)

Bag Limits and Tags

The daily bag limit will be three bearded turkeys per hunter with a season bag limit of three.  All hunters are required to have a current unused turkey tag in their possession while hunting.  Tags are currently $5/tag for residents and $20/tag for non-residents.  Turkey tags are nontransferable and must be fastened with snaps and secured tightly around the neck or tarsus of any bird taken immediately after the kill.  Tags may be obtained from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry & Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.  Hunters must present current State of Hawaii Hunting License with a current Game Bird Stamp when obtaining tags.  Turkey tags are also required to hunt on private land.

Information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry & Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers:  Hilo: (808) 974-4221; Kamuela: (808) 887-6063 or the main office at (808) 587-0166.

Hawaii Delegation Introduces Legislation to Protect Drinking Water and Improve Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility

The Hawai‘i congressional delegation introduced legislation to ensure the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet their obligations to the State of Hawai‘i to protect drinking water and improve the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on Oahu.

Inside one of the Red Hill fuel tanks.

“The EPA, the Navy, and the State agree that protecting the aquifer that supplies Oahu’s drinking water is essential,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “Our bill firms up that commitment into federal law by making sure the agencies responsible for improving Red Hill have the federal funding they need to implement the actions that are agreed to.”

“Red Hill is critical military infrastructure and we want the Navy to succeed in successfully remediating environmental concerns associated with past fuel leaks above Oahu’s aquifers,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “Working together, this will be a win-win for military readiness and Oahu residents.”

“Completing the necessary infrastructure upgrades at Red Hill Fuel Facility will safeguard our water and environment, while also protecting a critical asset to our national security,” said U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i). “Providing budget flexibility and conducting strict oversight of EPA and DOD’s progress towards meeting their commitments is an appropriate way to stretch a short supply of critical federal dollars.”

“These fuel storage tanks sit above aquifers that provide drinking water for up to 30% of Oahu’s residents,” said U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “It’s essential the Department of Defense commit the necessary resources to eliminate any threat these tanks pose to our most precious resource – water.”

The legislation, written and introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, ensures the Navy, DLA, and other federal agencies charged with protecting Oahu’s drinking water from fuel leaks follow a set of actions the agencies agreed to take following the January 2014 leak of jet fuel from the Red Hill facility. The Navy’s investigation of the January 2014 leak determined that it was the result of contractor error. In September 2015, the Navy, DLA, and EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent/Statement of Work (AOC/SOW) with the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Health (DOH). That agreement establishes a roadmap for how the Navy and DLA will protect Oahu’s drinking water from future fuel leaks by making improvements to Red Hill, including the fuel tanks. The bill requires the Department of Defense, which includes the Navy and DLA, and the EPA to include the necessary funding in their respective budgets to make the improvements identified in the agreement.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Kona Historical Society Offers A Tasty Tradition

Kona Historical Society will make its famous Portuguese cinnamon bread to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. This special bake will happen on February 28 at Kona Historical Society’s stone oven, or forno, located in the pasture below its main office and its historic general store museum in Kealakekua.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the public is invited to watch Kona Historical Society staff and volunteers create these sticky, sweet loaves of cinnamon bread. Attendees will also learn about the traditional art of Portuguese bread making and the contributions of the Portuguese, who arrived in Hawaii in the 1880s. While many of these immigrants worked in the sugar plantations, a fair number did find their way to Kona dairies and are credited for helping develop this industry.

Kona Historical Society makes cinnamon bread on Shrove Tuesday to pay homage to the days of the sugar plantations of the 1800s, when resident Catholic Portuguese would mark the day by eating richer, fatty foods and desserts before the ritual fasting of the Lent season, which lasts 40 days. They would often use up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas, the well-known and beloved Portuguese doughnut without a hole. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday.

Cinnamon bread loaves, each costing $8, can be purchased starting at 12:30 p.m. Bread sales are on a first come, first served basis and go until 4 p.m. or everything is sold out. Proceeds go toward supporting the 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.

For those who can’t make it to this special bake, consider joining Kona Historical Society staff and volunteers every Thursday at the forno for its weekly Portuguese bread baking program. During this free program, the crew bakes close to 100 loaves of white, wheat and sweet bread and the public is invited to lend a hand by helping roll the dough.

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.

Aloha Grown 2017 Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five (5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is once again giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Interested groups must complete an application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

Previous award winners have included Kohala Elementary School, Punana Leo o Waimea, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, and many more. Their sustainability programs and efforts have included community gardens, aquaponics systems, keiki farm stands, culinary programs, and outdoor educational “classrooms”.

All submissions are due by March 31, 2017. The five (5) selected recipients of the 2017 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund Awards will be contacted by April 28, 2017.

For more information on Aloha Grown or to see previous year’s Malama Honua Fund award winners, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Isles Water Company for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Isles Water Company for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the state’s Deposit Beverage Container law. The department found Hawaiian Isles Water Company delinquent for the monthly reporting period of July 1 – 31, 2016 and a penalty fee of $3,600 was assessed.

Hawaiian Isles Water Company complied with the department’s enforcement order by submitting its required corrective action plan and paying in full the entire penalty and late distributor payment.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly reports and payments to the Department of Health no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Hawaiian Isles Water Company received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

Since January 2005, Hawaii’s Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program has assisted residents to recycle more than 7 billion containers. Through recycling, consumers are helping to remove beverage containers from the waste stream and reduce litter in the community. The DBC program certifies independent recycling companies to operate Certified Redemption Centers (CRCs) statewide. CRCs provide Hawaii consumers with refunds of the five cent deposit fee that is paid for eligible containers. Beverage distributors submit payments and reports to the program each month for all HI-5 containers sold within the state.

Mayoral Luncheon March 2 Featuring Mayor Harry Kim, County of Hawaii Leadership and Business Expo

Mayor Harry Kim and select cabinet members discuss opportunities and challenges to West Hawai‘i’s economy at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) 2017 Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Thurs., March 2 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

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

Attendees will have the opportunity to have lunch with a specific county department, as well as pose questions to the mayor and cabinet heads. Issues discussed may include update on county priorities, roads and infrastructure, affordable housing, mass transit and opportunities for economic development in West Hawai‘i.

In addition, attendees can also learn about new and existing KKCC businesses at the Chamber’s annual Business Expo, which precedes and follows the banquet. Times are 10 -11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2 p.m.

General admission is $68; Chamber and Rotary members $58. RSVP by Monday, February 27; no walk-ins are allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office, 808-329-1758.

HDOA Quarantines Coffee Plants on Kauai That May Have Been Shipped from Oahu

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is investigating the source of coffee plants found at a Home Depot on Kauai earlier this week. Coffee plants from islands infested with the coffee berry borer (CBB) are restricted from being transported to uninfested islands, such as Kauai. Hawaii Island, Oahu and Maui have established populations of CBB.

coffee berry borer (CBB)

Eight coffee plants were found at the Kauai store by HDOA Plant Pest Control specialists conducting pest surveillance on Monday. Since then, HDOA personnel have been working to determine where the plants came from and, at this point, it appears that the plants were transported from Oahu. Coffee berries on those plants have been examined by HDOA entomologists in Honolulu and no CBB have been found. Those plants have been quarantined and will be destroyed as a precaution. HDOA has asked the retailer to provide information on recent plant shipments. Also as a precaution, anyone who purchased coffee plants from that store is encouraged to contact HDOA on Kauai at (808) 241-7132 or the State’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).

“The department is taking this matter very seriously and is working with the store and nurseries to determine the exact source of the coffee plants,” Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, said while attending a conference on the Mainland.

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in Sept. 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In Dec. 2014, it was discovered on Oahu and was reported on Maui in Dec. 2016.

This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Since its detection in Kona, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down and minimizing yield loss to about five percent of the average coffee crop yield.

CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America. It is still unknown how CBB made its way to Hawaii Island and how it got to Oahu and Maui.

Hawaii has strict importation rules that require fumigation of all green coffee beans imported into the state to rid the beans of pathogens and insect pests. Coffee plants and plant parts are also restricted from being imported into Hawaii under Plant Quarantine rules.

After the discovery of CBB in Hawaii, HDOA issued a quarantine order that requires certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping interisland. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment.

For more information on CBB in Hawaii go to the HDOA CBB webpage at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/ and the UH-CTAHR webpage at: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/CBB.aspx

16th Annual Feed-A-Thon Begins February 8th

Caring for Hawaii Island’s hungry has always been a challenge once the holidays have passed, as food donations slow down.  Fortunately, Kahikina Ching — the founder and organizer of the 16th Annual Food Basket Feed-A-Thon, has scheduled 10 days this month where residents and visitors may continue to help families in need.

Supported each year by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU), this unique food drive will be held at HCFCU branches from Honoka`a to Kealakekua, and at select KTA Superstores around the island.

Food items and monetary donations will be accepted at all HCFCU branches Wednesday, February 8th through Friday, February 17th.  HCFCU staff will also sell special ribbons with all contributions going directly to the Food Basket.  See below for branch locations and hours.  For more information, please contact marketing@hicommfcu.com or 808-930-7700.

“Every day during the Feed-A-Thon we see our members and staff donating money and canned food. Whether it’s just one can or one dollar, every donation helps,” said Tricia Buskirk, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union President  & CEO.  “It’s so uplifting to experience these type of activities that strengthen our community as we show compassion, caring and understanding for one another.”

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching collecting food at the 2014 Annual Feed-A-Thon. The Food Basket photo.

Kahikina Ching will be at every KTA Superstore location during the dates and times below thanking people for their donations. Food and monetary donations are equally welcomed, because money donated is used to purchase food from KTA at wholesale prices.  According to Ching, “I can feed six people for just $2!”  To date, the Feed-A-Thon has provided more than one million pounds of food since the event began in 2002.

According to En Young, The Food Basket’s Executive Director, “Kahikina’s Feed-a-thon has always been a perfect complement to the services of The Food Basket. Through his activities we can continue to provide food for those who aren’t currently in a position to provide for themselves.”

Food and monetary donations may be brought to any HCFCU branch:

  • Kaloko: 73-5611 Olowalu St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Kailua-Kona: 75-159 Hualalai Road, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700;
  • Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Kealakekua: 81-6631 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Kohala: 54-396 Union Mill Road, Kapaau, HI 96755; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Honoka’a: 45-690 Pakalana St., Suite A, Honoka’a, HI 96727; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

KTA Super Store locations and dates are:

  • February 8-9: KTA – Kailua-Kona  (Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Road, (808) 329-1677).
  • February 10-11: Waikoloa Village Market (Waikoloa Highlands Center, 68-3916 Paniolo Avenue, Waikoloa Village (808) 883-1088).
  • February 12-13: KTA – Waimea Center (65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, (808) 885-8866).
  • February 14-15: KTA – Puainako (50 East Puainako Street, Hilo, (808) 959-9111).
  • February 16-17: KTA – Keauhou (Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Ali`i Drive, (808) 322-2311).

Health Department Issues Notice of Violation and Order Against Oahu Sushi Restaurant for Intentionally Camouflaging Placard

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp. (dba AFC Sushi @ Safeway #2747) for $6,000 for intentionally camouflaging the posted yellow or conditional pass placard and for food safety violations.  AFC Sushi @ Safeway #2747 is located at 888 Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu within the Safeway Supermarket. The company may contest the notice and has 20 days to request a hearing.

“Tampering with a health inspection placard is a serious violation with substantial consequences because this act compromises the public’s trust and their right to know when violations occur during an inspection,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager. “Fortunately, these types of incidents have been rare since the start of the placarding program and this is only the fourth incident with more than 14,500 inspections completed. Overall compliance with Hawaii’s food industry has been excellent.

”On Jan. 19, DOH conducted a routine inspection of AFC Sushi located in the Kapahulu Safeway and a yellow placard was issued for three major food code violations. AFC Sushi was cited for improper hot holding temperatures, improper cold holding temperatures, and failure to properly label discard times on perishable food items kept at room temperature. On Jan. 23, a health inspector conducted a follow-up inspection and observed the yellow placard was not clearly visible to the public and appeared to have been removed, turned around and reposted. During the inspection, the inspector determined that two major violations were still outstanding and the yellow placard was re-posted.  DOH conducted another follow-up inspection on Jan. 24 and all outstanding major violations were found to be corrected. A green or pass placard was issued and is currently posted at the facility.

Since the start of the state’s Food Safety Placarding Program, DOH has conducted more than 14,500 inspections and issued more than 3,000 yellow placards or conditional passes that require the establishments to address violations. To date, only three have resulted in red or closed placards due to non-compliance. Green placards are issued for those establishments with no more than one critical violation, which must be corrected at the time of inspection; yellow cards are issued to those with two or more critical violations; and red placards are issued to those food establishments that need to be immediately closed because they pose an imminent health hazard to the community.  Major violations are those conditions known to cause foodborne illnesses as recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only authorized DOH agents may post or remove a color-coded placard indicating the compliance status of a food establishment.

“There has been an impressive 99.8 percent voluntary compliance rate for Hawaii food facilities that are issued a yellow placard, with the time for correction averaging just two to three days,” said Oshiro. “We commend the restaurants, hotels, retail and food manufacturing industry in Hawaii for doing an amazing job in embracing the new Food Safety Placarding Program.”

The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawaii residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine health inspections of food establishments where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed, or sold. The branch also investigates the sources of food borne illnesses and potential adulteration of food products; and is charged with mitigating foodborne outbreaks and/or the prevention of future occurrences. Health inspectors work with business owners, food service workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

The public may access food establishment health inspection results online at http://hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii/. For more information on the department’s restaurant placarding program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/san/.

Lions and Taiko and Chefs – Celebrate Asian Fest at Queens’ MarketPlace

Queens’ MarketPlace is getting ready to crow on Friday, February 3, 2017 from 5-8 p.m., as they welcome the Year of the Rooster during the annual Asian Fest. The free event is a unique and popular way to experience and enjoy the music, cuisine and customs of China, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and other Asian cultures.
According to the Chinese zodiac, a Rooster year is supposedly full of patience and passion, bravery, some bravado, and hard work to reach success. Its motto is “Always higher, always going on,” appropriately for Queens’ MarketPlace, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Goings on at the shopping center ring in the Rooster Year in style, with great food, nonstop entertainment and a spectacular Lion Dance.

The centuries-old tradition, essential to New Year’s festivities in Hawai‘i, the colorful Chinese Lion Dancers perform acrobatic feats and leaps, interacting with the audience and parading through Queens’ MarketPlace from door to door. Participants young and old can “feed” the Lion small donations in red envelopes called lycee (provided) to bring good fortune in the year ahead.

Taiko also plays an essential part of Asian Fest, and the thundering drums of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko of North Kohala kick off the excitement at the Coronation Pavilion. Their high-energy style of taiko brings movement and music together for a dramatic performance that captivates audiences of all ages.

Throughout Queens’ MarketPlace, chefs will provide food samples (while they last) from Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ, Island Gourmet Markets, Lemongrass Express, Paradise Pizza & Grill, Sansei Seafood, Steak and Sushi Bar, Sushi Shiono’s, Waikoloa Beach Marriott, A-Bay’s Island Grill, Roy’s Waikoloa, Mai Grille, Tropics Ale House and Dairy Queen.
Asian Fest is a complimentary event provided by Queens’ MarketPlace and its businesses as a celebratory start to the new lunar year. For more information, please call 886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.net

Asian Fest Entertainment Schedule:

  • 5:00    Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko
  • 5:55    Hawaii Lion Dance Association
  • 6:30    Kona Daifukuji Taiko
  • 7:00    Visayan Dance Group, Filipino Dancers from University of Hilo
  • 7:20    Lion Dance begins at Island Gourmet Markets and proceeds door to door

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in the Waikoloa community, 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.

Invasive Beetle Species in Hawaii Can Now Be Identified Faster With New Genetic Test

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a new genetic-testing method for identifying the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle, which promises to be much faster than existing physical identification methods. The new tool, reported in the Journal of Economic Entomology, could be a significant step toward keeping the species–a damaging pest to coconut palm trees that was first seen in Hawaii in 2013–from becoming widespread.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle and a similar species, oriental flower beetle, are nearly indistinguishable until they’ve grown to their later life stages, which makes early detection difficult. Currently, egg or larvae samples from the field had to be raised in a lab until their third life stage, which could take several weeks, before insect scientists could determine which species they were looking at.

However, a genetic testing method known as a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, can be used to identify the species with genetic material extracted from samples of the beetles’ eggs, larvae, or excrement. Researchers Shizu Watanabe, Ph.D., and Michael J. Melzer, Ph.D., of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, at UH identified genetic markers in the beetles’ DNA that can be used for differentiation via the test. Once samples are received in the lab, the PCR assay can be conducted in just a few hours, Melzer says.

The new method will help “ensure that eradication efforts are being directed at coconut rhinoceros beetle and not oriental flower beetle. This assay will help to prevent any misidentification in the field,” Melzer says. “Such misidentifications might result in resources targeting oriental flower beetle, or worse, ignoring a coconut rhinoceros breeding site because the specimens discovered were identified as oriental flower beetle.”

“For species that require highly technical expertise for identification, molecular assays represent a reasonably straight-forward approach for identification, either as stand-alone assays or in parallel with morphological identification,” Watanabe and Melzer write in their article. “For pests of regulatory concern, rapid and accurate insect identification is essential, and molecular assays can address these needs.”

Food and Drug Administration Issues Warning Letter to Hawaii Company

Following inspections, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter that was recently made public to a Hawaii company that produces tuna sandwiches.

Hawaiian Ono Services Inc., Honolulu has 15 days to respond to FDA the warning letter in writing. FDA has not yet issued a closeout letter for the company as of this post.

Click to read warning letter

In a Jan. 10 warning letter to owner and president, Sung Cha Ku, the FDA cited “serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation” in the Federal Code. An FDA inspection on dec. 8-9, 2016, revealed the problems.

“… your refrigerated ready-to-eat tuna salad sandwiches, containing cooked tuna, are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” according to the warning letter.

Violations included failure to have a HACCP plan to “control the food safety hazards of histamine, pathogen growth, allergens and metal inclusion;” employees’ failure to follow proper hygiene practices while handling food with their bare hands; and using a sanitizer solution that didn’t have any sanitizer in it.

“Similar observations of poor employee hygienic practices have been made during our previous inspections of your facility,” the warning letter states.

“We may take further action if you do not promptly correct these violations. For instance, we may take further action to seize your products and/or enjoin your firm from operating.”

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Safeway, Inc. for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against SAFEWAY, INC. (Safeway) for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the state’s deposit beverage container law. Safeway was delinquent for the monthly reporting period of Aug. 1-31, 2016.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly distributor reports and payments to DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Safeway received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

DOH has assessed an administrative penalty against Safeway of $2,800 for its failure to comply with deposit beverage container requirements.

Safeway may request a hearing to contest the alleged facts and penalty.

Steve Ueda Named President of Suisan

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

Steve Ueda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Annual Global Tea Innovation Symposium

The launch of a Hawaii tea co-op, the first not for profit consumer cooperative tea business in the world will happen on February 1st, 2017 at 10am – 4pm at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, in Volcano, Hawaii.

Presenters scheduled:

  • Nigel Melican, Chairman,TeaCraft Ltd. (U.K): A global business development consultant to the leading world tea businesses.
  • Chairman, Kawasaki Kiko Ltd. (Japan): leading manufacturer of automated tea farming and tea processing equipment.
  • Jason McDonald, Founder of The Great Mississippi Tea Company and Co-Founder/Vice President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).
  • Grif Frost: Co-Founder/President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).  Expert in not for profit consumer cooperative development.
  • Takeshi Akatsuka, Vice President, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, the site of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.

Purpose: Provide A-Z, tea business development services, for Hawaii Tea enthusiasts.

Mission: Develop a model, which can be replicated, to help other tea enthusiasts worldwide, work together, to sustainably grow their tea businesses.

Services to be offered:

  • Propagation services: contract growing of the ideal tea plants, for specific geographical locales in Hawaii.
  • Farm Design services: contract selection and design of tea farm sites, suitable for automated equipment use.
  • Minimum tea farm acreage: 1 acre. There must a minimum of 10 acres of Co-op contracted tea farms, within a 5-minute driving radius.
  • Farm Site Preparation services: contract preparation of sites for automated tea planting services.
  • Planting Services: contracted automated tea planting services.
  • Growing Services: contracted automated pruning, pest control and fertilization services.
  • Harvesting Services: contracted automated tea plant harvesting services.
  • Processing Services: contracted processing services to prepare harvested tea for consumption
  • Sales Services: contracted sales of packaged tea
  • Research and Development Services: contracted research and development related to Hawaii tea community development.

50 seats available to people interested in participating in the development of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.  Price $250 ($200 may be applied to the purchase of Hawaii Tea Co-op shares). A tea and food pairing lunch will be served.

How to order: visit www.HawaiiTea.Coop to reserve your seat.

Gyotaku Demonstration at Suisan

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

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

An exhibit of Brandon Tengan gyotaku

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

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

Brandon Tengan and a tako catch

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

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

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

6th Big Island Chocolate Festival Celebrates the History of Chocolate

With the theme, “Worth Its Weight in Gold: The History of Chocolate,” the sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is April 28-29 with events headquartered from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in the alluring, rich taste of chocolate—in both its sweet and savory forms—while participating in delicious, fun and informative chocolate-themed activities.

The “must-attend” festival gala—featuring food booths, unlimited wine and beer pours, silent auction, dancing and more—is 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Early Bird and VIP tickets are on sale now at http://www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com/buy-tickets/.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds annually benefit a variety of local non-profits yet to be selected for 2017.

“Chocolate has an amazing history and it will be fun to share it at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar.

The two-day chocolate extravaganza includes a cacao plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29 with the indoor-outdoor festival gala—enjoy a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners. Fun chocolate activities include a live chocolate sculpture and chocolate body painting.

Culinary participants will depict this year’s historical theme at their booths and be judged on originality. Chocolate hails from Meso-America where cacao beans were brewed to make a drink or fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Highly valued, the bean was used as currency. The Mayans and Aztecs believed cacao was divine, including it in rituals. Once fashioned into a bar, chocolate became valued in America. During wartime it was included in soldiers’ rations and went to the moon with the Apollo astronauts.

Culinary stations will also be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs: “best” bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert and Hawaiian cacao. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for two People’s Choice Awards: Best Savory and Best Sweet.

General admission tickets to the gala are $79 presale and $100 at the door.

Find ticket info at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $375 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked at http://www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com/buy-tickets/ and through the Festival website under “Tickets.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Feature Commentary: A ship, a crew, the sea and a $7 billion fishery

U.S. Coast Guard photos and story by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers

The sea and sky are dark. One fades into the other. The bright deck lights of a foreign fishing boat are the only horizon reference. Roughly 70-feet in length, at two miles away, the boat appears as a dot. “Set LE Phase 1,” rings out over the 1MC, the ship’s on board intercom system.
I’m aboard the mighty warship Sequoia, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam – America’s westernmost territory. Out in the Philippine Sea, standing on the buoy deck I can feel the ship roll gently under my feet as we transit toward the fishing boat.
It’s 2000 hours, the sun has long since set, but I can still feel residual heat from the metal decks and bulkheads of the ship radiate up at me. The moist sea air wraps around me in a wet bear hug and I can feel my body armor secured over my t-shirt cling to me. Droplets of sweat escape from my hairline under my helmet. We’ve been over the plan, briefed the evolution, attempted to hail the vessel master in Mandarin and English, done our risk analysis to assess complexity and overall safety and now it’s time to go.

The sound of the water is interrupted by the unmistakable mechanical hums and chirps of outboard engines. The cutter’s small boat, piloted by a boatswain’s mate, comes alongside the buoy deck prepared to take us aboard and transport us to the fishing boat.

One by one the boarding team goes over the side: four Coast Guard members and an Australian Fisheries Management Authority officer; Lydia Woodhouse. The ship is running nearly dark. A faint red glow can be seen on the bridge. The running lights of the small boat wink at me red and green. It’s my turn. Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan Petty, who runs the deck force, stands next to the Jacob’s ladder. A flashlight in his hand with a red lens lights the flat orange rungs of the ladder as they knock against the black hull and leads to the water and the small boat more than 10 feet below.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brett Malone, a damage controlman and boarding team member, part of a joint boarding team from the buoy tender USCGC Sequoia (WLB-215) commence a horseshoe around the longline fishing vessel Chi Chih Ching No. 21 to conduct boarding in the Palau exclusive economic zone Sept. 5, 2016. The boardings were conducted under a U.S. Coast Guard and Palau bilateral agreement with additional support from the Marine Forces Pacific and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

I step gingerly onto a bitt on Sequoia’s deck just below the gunwale, adjacent to where the ladder is secured. I heave myself over the side and onto the ladder, a vice-like grip on the top of the gunwale. “Snaps, over the side!” calls Petty into his radio up to the bridge. The small boat rises and falls with the swell beneath my feet. Nearly to the bottom, the boat drops just as I let go of the ladder. The hand of a boat crewman and engineer, Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Peterson, grabs the loop of my backpack. “Snaps in the boat,” calls Petty.
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Hawaii Partnership Aims to Teach Kids Importance of Dental Hygiene

In an effort to provide oral health services for students who need it, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the Hawaii Dental Association (HDA) are joining forces. The agencies have established a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to promote oral health by teaching students proper dental hygiene techniques and providing information about access to free dental health services.

Click to read memorandum

Dentists will be visiting HIDOE first and second grade classes on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island from Jan. 16-Feb. 28, 2017, which coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month in February.

“When students do not get the health care they need we find that it affects their performance in school. This partnership is a huge step to provide services to many children who are not getting proper oral healthcare,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “As we work towards closing the achievement gap, we must look at the whole child and that includes their experiences outside of the classroom. We’re grateful to the Hawaii Dental Association for making this opportunity available for students.”

In October, the Hawaii Department of Health released “Hawaii Smiles,” a statewide report that showed a need for oral health improvement for Hawaii’s children. A few of the key findings included:

  • More than 7 out of 10 third graders (71 percent) are affected by tooth decay;
  • About 7 percent of Hawaii third grade children are in need of urgent dental care because of pain or infection;
  • Children from low-income families, as defined as those who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, have a disproportionate amount of tooth decay (about 31 percent of children eligible for National School Lunch Program have untreated tooth decay compared to 13 percent who are not eligible).

These efforts are also part of a national initiative from the American Dental Association to bring preventative education and dental services to underserved children, which include 92,000 economically disadvantaged public school students in Hawaii.

“The goal of this partnership is to educate children from a young age on the importance of proper dental care. We also want to raise awareness about services that provide free dental care so their families can encourage and foster these new habits,” shared Melissa Pavlicek, president, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates who coordinated the MOA on behalf of HDA.

In ensuring that students come to school healthy and ready to learn, Superintendent Matayoshi has made the health and wellbeing of public school students a priority. She has worked on other innovative partnerships and programs that range from proper nutrition to healthcare access. In 2014, HIDOE launched the “Hawaii Keiki” program with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The program builds school based health services that screen for treatable health conditions; help prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems; and provide emergency care for illness or injury.