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Hawaii Department of Education to Expand Free Meal Program to 30 Schools on Six Islands

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from seven public schools to 30 across the state. 

School Lunches

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are pleased to be able to expand this program to more schools and include nearly every island with free meals,”stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve heard from parents in this year’s pilot project who say the program was a tremendous help for their families.”

The 23 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2016-17 are:

Kauai:

  • Kekaha Elementary

Hawaii Island:

  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary
  • Keaau Elementary
  • Keaau High
  • Keaau Middle
  • Keonepoko Elementary
  • Naalehu Elementary
  • Pahoa Elementary
  • Pahoa High

Maui:

  • Hana High & Elementary

Lanai:

  • Lanai High & Elementary

Oahu:

  • Leihoku Elementary
  • Maili Elementary
  • Makaha Elementary
  • Nanaikapono Elementary
  • Nanakuli Elementary
  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate
  • Olomana School
  • Pope Elementary
  • Waianae Elementary
  • Waianae High
  • Waianae Middle
  • Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate

The seven schools in the pilot program will continue participating next year, including:

  • Kaunakakai Elementary School, Molokai
  • Kilohana Elementary School, Molokai
  • Maunaloa Elementary School, Molokai
  • Molokai Middle School, Molokai
  • Molokai High School, Molokai
  • Mountain View Elementary School, Hawaii Island
  • Linapuni Elementary School, Oahu

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state. 

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.  

“Last year, we were able to launch this pilot project at seven schools to establish its impacts on finances and staffing,”said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson, Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “The response was positive and we are happy that this year we will be able to expand the program to all counties and include several new whole school complexes. This USDA program allows us to feed more students, for free, and do so in a way that does not increase the cost to the state.”

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

Dunkin’ Donuts Entering Hawaii Market

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. has signed a multi-unit store development agreement with new franchise group, Aloha Petroleum, Ltd., under which Aloha Petroleum will develop 15 new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (The Big Island) in the state of Hawaii.

dunkin-donuts

The first restaurant is scheduled to open in 2017 and will mark Dunkin’s foray into Hawaii.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to launch the Dunkin’ Donuts brand in Hawaii and look forward to opening our first location early next year,” said Richard Parry, president and chief executive officer of Aloha Petroleum. “This new business venture will complement our existing retail offerings throughout the islands and help us diversify our portfolio.”

The agreement would mark Dunkin’s entry into its 42nd U.S. state.

Statewide Family-Owned Business of the Year Named by the Small Business Administration

Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART.  Photo by Fletch Photography

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART. Photo by Fletch Photography

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations.  Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement.  Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.

“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.

Lobster and Kona Crab Season Closes May 1

If you love your fresh-caught local lobster or Kona crab, you’d best catch it quick because the season closes this Sunday.  The closed season for ula (spiny lobster), ula papapa (slipper lobster) and Kona crab runs from May 1 through the end of August.  During that time it’s illegal to take, possess, or sell these shellfish.

Spiny Lobster

According to Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, “These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable.”

Kona Crab

However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first obtaining a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

During the open season catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited.  Also, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.

The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.  Or go online to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/how-to-determine-sex-of-regulated-invertebrates/

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/  or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Set for Sept. 9

It’s where you can sample the rich flavor of numerous cuts of pasture-raised meat and talk story with the people who are producing our food.

Taste Shank

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. 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.

Time is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and outside at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—expertly prepared by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like chuck and ground beef, plus the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Local food producers will offer samples and displays at friendly booths. While “grazing,” attendees can enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

O‘ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason “J” Schoonover are teaming up to instruct the 2016 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Chef Hanney is the chef/owner of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. Chef Schoonover is the executive chef of 12th Ave Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Award-winning Best Restaurant of the Year. Both chefs regularly include pasture-raised beef on their menus.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 with sampling is $10 while a 1 p.m. class geared for culinary students and food service professionals is free.

Tickets go on sale online June 1 at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.  Purchase them at island-wide locations starting July 1: Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

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

For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

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 Gina at 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also 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 room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus 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, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Pour Some Fun at Ka’u Coffee Festival – Lobsterpalooza Planned

The delectable flavors of award-winning Ka‘u coffee is grounds for celebration! The Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks into its eighth season with activities May 13-22, offering many reasons to stay on the south side of the Big Isle. The festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s many award-winning coffees at numerous events, it also offers a host of unique and fun family activities.

coffee fest

“The festival highlights the efforts of our hard-working Ka‘u coffee producers, and also offers unique activities that showcase the heritage District of Ka‘u. Many events are only available during the festival,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer.

New to this year’s lineup of java-jumping fun is the Lobsterpalooza—a leisurely Sunday afternoon picnic on the lawn at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. On the menu of the May 15th spread is a variety of tantalizing skewered pupus, your choice of Kona Cold Lobster or charbroiled Spencer Steak, raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch, and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, a mouthwatering Ka‘u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka‘u coffee. Beachside entertainment is by the bluesy Larry Dupio Band with special guest Full Tilt Band from 2-6 p.m. Tix for $75 are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

This year’s Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers nearly $2,000 in cash prizes as adult and student contestants vie in pupu, entrée and dessert categories 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. The free event stages entertainment, a chance to meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee, tasty recipe and coffee sampling and a tour of the Ka‘u Coffee Mill and Farm. Contest entry and admission are free. The entry deadline is May 9. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com for more details.

The pinnacle of the 10-day lineup is the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Sat., May 21 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Learn the secret to brewing the “perfect cup of coffee” at the Ka‘u Coffee Experience where coffee professionals prepare Ka‘u coffee a variety of ways: hario pour-over, french press, toddy cold-brew, chemex and clever, plus prepared espresso beverages – 9:30 a.m. to noon and again at 1-3 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers and other local vendors and artisans at tented booths, many with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” local food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games and train rides.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during Ka‘u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, and numerous local sponsors. Most events are free while others carry a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, May 13, Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30-9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce, Hawai’i Farmers Union United and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 14, The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is 11 a.m. at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka‘u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting, entertainment and tours. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 14, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee, Jr. Miss Ka’u Coffee and Miss Ka’u Coffee Peaberry. Contestants compete in talent, speech and evening wear while participating in Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic contests.  Winners receive scholarships. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Fee is $10 at the door. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is marking its centennial in 2016 with special activities. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and May 19 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $45 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 20 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Learn how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 20 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. Enjoy a presentation on the history of Makanau, a summit sunset and the night sky via a guided laser beam tour of the stars. $45 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 21 tantalize your taste buds at the free 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Visit the Ka‘u Coffee Experience, where coffee professionals offer Ka‘u coffee prepared a variety of ways 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.  Ho‘olaule‘a entry is free; farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 22 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars by local and journeymen coffee industry experts and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Opening Food Trailer

Tomorrow, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council will proudly unveil their food trailer, Big Island Fusion as part of their Poʻokela Vocational Training Program.   The Food trailer will allow individuals to gain marketable skills and experience in food marketing, sales, business, and food preparation.

Bisac Food TruckBISAC has been providing aspects of vocational training for well over four years and has seen firsthand the positive aspects that training does to help individuals reclaim their lives and become positive citizens in the community. “We can already see the benefits this program has provided to our clients” says, BISAC’s CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “Connecting the food trailer to our therapeutic garden provides an array of skills and opportunities for our clients to explore their inner strengths while enhancing their recovery.”

BISAC’s food trailer also brings to life the farm to table initiative. The Big Island Fusion’s culinary and vocational trainer, Willie Leong is currently in recovery and brings both the experience and passion for culinary arts.   “With my years of experience I will bring passion, creativity, and love for the food in every plate that is created” says Willie. “I know how it is being in recovery. The struggle is real. This trailer will allow me to give these individuals the chance for success so that they are ready to return to the real world and work on their recovery.”

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

Lavalicious Fun at Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala

It’s a destination for delicious at the fifth Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5:30-9 p.m. Sat., May 14 at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate.

chocolate fountain

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Headlining the “erupting” entertainment is the Tomi Isobe Blues Band featuring Danny Taylor on drums and vocals. Also serenading guests will be Magic Strings with versatile violinist Ursula Vietze.

In addition to the Hapuna Beach and Guittard, culinary participants to date include the Mauna Kea Resort, Hualalai Resort, Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Hilton Hawaiian Village, The Grand Wailea, Amici Ristorante Italiano, Art of the Good Life Catered Events, Huggo’s/On the Rocks, The Fish Hopper, Sweet Eatz, Gypsea Gelato, West Hawai‘i Culinary-Palamanui, Padovani Chocolates, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Madre Chocolate, Valrohna Chocolates, Republica del Cacao, Michel Cluizel Chocolatier and the Cocoa Outlet with its signature, four-foot tall chocolate fountain.

Six, off-island culinary professionals will judge the gala’s delicious offerings. Coming from the Mainland are Alicia Boada, American Culinary Federation approved certification evaluator and Barry Callebaut technician, and Derek Poirier, award-winning Ecole Valrhona pastry chef Western USA.  Judges from Maui include chefs Bruce Troyet of Four Seasons Resort at Wailea, Maui; Elizabeth McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery and Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; and Lincoln Carson, formerly of Michael Mina’s restaurants. Leading the Lavalicious booth judging will be Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.  Prizes will be awarded at the gala, plus winners will be announced for the event’s Friday college culinary competition.

General admission tickets to the gala are $75 presale $100 at the door.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Find ticket info, plus details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $396.20 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked through the Festival website under “Tickets.” Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events or calling 1-888-977-4622 and mentioning “Big Island Chocolate Festival Group Rate.”

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. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Michael Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market and The Wave 92 FM. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Investigative Reporter Jim Dooley Slated for Hilo Talk

The Big Island Press Club is delighted to have Jim Dooley, author of Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers and Corruption in the Aloha State, as our featured lunch speaker April 22. He’ll be signing books available for sale, and we’ll have a couple as door prizes as well.

Sunny Skies

Dooley is a take-no-prisoners kind of journalist. A longtime investigative reporter whose work led to the indictment of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi on bribery charges, Dooley has focused his career on digging deep into Hawaii organized crime and yakuza, government contracting fraud, Teamsters Union movie driver violence, Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools, police corruption and secret land ownership huis in Hawaii whose members included political, judicial and criminal syndicate figures.

There are major Big Island connections to his latest saga, so you won’t want to miss it!

Event is scheduled for Friday, April 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, across from the Circuit Courthouse. Tickets are $20 for BIPC members, $25 for nonmembers. Buffet lunch includes chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage.

Register and pay online at http://jimdooley.eventbrite.com

Pay with a credit card or PayPal (small surcharge applies) or send a check to reach BIPC by Wednesday, April 20, to Big Island Press Club, P.O. Box 1920, Hilo, HI 96721.

Hawaii State Department of Health’s Restaurant Inspection Website Goes Live

The Hawaii State Department of Health has launched a new online portal that lets consumers see how Hawaii restaurants and other food service organizations fare in food safety inspections, starting first with Oahu inspection data.

As of 4/11/2016, I was not able to access the site.

Access to data from food safety inspection reports, complete with descriptions of violations, gives consumers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at food safety and sanitation practices — or a lack of them — at the food outlets they frequent.

“We’re taking transparency to an entirely new level,” said Peter Oshiro, who manages the food safety inspection program. “Information from the inspection reports empowers consumers and informs their choices.”

The online portal, which has taken nearly a year to develop and refine, is a companion component to the Hawaii State Department of Health’s placard program, which was launched in July 2014. Under the placard program, food outlets are given a green, yellow or red placards, and are required to post them in visible location at their entrances.

The color-coded placards indicate whether a food establishment has passed its health inspection, received a conditional pass, or has been closed due to permit suspension. Restaurants are fined for not posting them.

“Data from the inspection reports give consumers the details behind the green, yellow or red placards, which many have become accustomed to seeing near the entrances of restaurants or other places that serve food,” Oshiro said.

“Our observant inspectors are capturing every detail for their reports using established science-based criteria,” he added. “With this degree of disclosure, we believe the online reports will make restaurants and other food service organizations pay closer attention to their food safety and sanitation practices.”

Just as the publicly-posted placards provide an incentive for restaurants and other food service organizations to rectify any food-handling or other safety issues, the publicly-available data from the inspection reports are expected to motivate restaurants to take a closer look at their own practices since these reports become a permanent, historical record accessible to the public.

“About 25 percent of the locations we inspect receive a yellow card. We hope to see this rate steadily decline with this new website,” Oshiro said. “We can now show what a bad inspection looks like on a public site. This should be a great catalyst for the industry to improve their food safety practices and make internal quality control a priority before our inspections.”

Oshiro’s team has manually posted all of the previous Oahu inspections to the public portal and currently has nearly 7,000 inspection reports in the database. This represents about 80 percent of all the inspections completed statewide since the program began in July 2014. Oshiro anticipates the remaining Oahu inspection reports will be uploaded by May 2016. Past neighbor island inspections will be uploaded by the end of the year. Going forward, all inspection reports from all islands will be posted in near real-time, depending upon the availability of secure, wireless access.

More than 10,000 food establishments statewide prepare or serve food and require a Department of Health permit to operate their business. There are roughly 6,000 such establishments on Oahu, 1,800 on Hawaii Island, 1,700 on Maui, and 700 on Kauai. This includes restaurants, hotels, caterers, food warehouses, markets, convenience stores, lunch wagons, push carts, and institutional kitchens for healthcare facilities, schools, adult and child day care centers, and prisons.

The Hawaii State Department of Health began posting color-coded placards as part of the state’s “Food Safety Code” (Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 50, Food Safety Code) adopted in 2014. The placards are posted after each health inspection is completed at every food establishment that holds a Department of Health permit.

The Hawaii restaurant inspection website is at http://hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii.

Friends of NELHA Debuts New Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) offers a new lineup of tours open to the public that can be conveniently booked online.

View the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant and find out how it works.

NEHLA MakaiDiscover how many aquaculture operations are utilizing deep, cold, nutrient-rich water and warm, surface water to farm our food at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)—and taste samples.

Learn about what HOST facilities are working to protect and restore our unique ocean inhabitants and why it’s important.

Morning tours are Mondays through Fridays. All tours start at the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center. The schedule includes:

FON Ocean Matters Tour: Offering an introduction to cutting edge green energy, aquaculture, desalination and research efforts underway at HOST the activity is 10-11:15 am Monday with options to also visit the OTEC tower at Keahole Point, Big Island Abalone and the Kanaloa Octopus Farm.

NEHLA Octopus

FON Ocean Conservation Tour: Fun starts with an overview presentation and continues with a visit to Ke Kai Ola, the monk seal rehabilitation center. Learn about the efforts to revive Hawai‘i’s declining seal population. Next stop is at the world’s first octopus farm to get up-close-and-personal with cephalopods before seeing the nearby OTEC Tower. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

NEHLA Tour

FON Sustainable Aquaculture Tour: Attendees hear about the challenges and successes of producing sustainable food in the ocean during a tour at Kampachi Farms. Next, see how Big Island Abalone produces feed, brood stock and market product before enjoying a delicious, grilled sample of the company’s premium ezo abalone. Stop at the OTEC Tower and overview presentation. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point . Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

ChefConnect: Hawaii – American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Central and Western Region Awards

Chefs, students and food service professionals from the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Central and Western regions gathered for professional development and culinary trend seminars at ChefConnect: Hawaii. The conference took place at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii, April 3-5.

Chef Connect HawaiiConference topics included honey varietals and beekeeping, Hawaiian poke, food pairings, beef trends and the processes behind growing vanilla. Attendees enjoyed hands-on workshops, culinary demonstrations and networking opportunities.

Presenters included Alan Wong, HHOF, renowned master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and owner, Honolulu-based Alan Wong’s Restaurants; chef Lee Anne Wong, owner, Koko Head Café, Honolulu;and Bryan Fujikawa, owner/chef, Sun Dried Specialties, Kealakekua, Hawaii. For a full list of presenters, visit www.acfchefs.org/EventSeries.

Regional awards were presented to Central and Western region chefs and students during the conference. The following ACF award winners have the opportunity to earn their respective national titles at Cook. Craft. Create., Phoenix, July 15-19.

ACF Central Region Chef Educator of the Year – Christopher Misiak, CEC, CCE, program coordinator/instructor, Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan; ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association

ACF Western Region Chef Educator of the Year – Cheryl Lewis, CCC, CCE, chef instructor, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, Las Vegas; ACF Chefs Las Vegas

ACF Central Region Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award – Thomas Elkin, CEC, AAC, culinary instructor, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis; Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc

ACF Western Region Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award – Bobby Moghaddam, CEC, CCE, AAC, director, hospitality and culinary arts, Riverside City College Culinary Academy, Riverside, California; ACF Southern CA Inland Empire Chefs & Cooks Association

ACF Central Region Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by Minor’s® – Kenneth Thompson, CEC, CCA, chef/instructor, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois; ACF Louis Joliet Chapter

ACF Western Region Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by Minor’s® – Anthony Danna, CEC, AAC, executive chef, Astor House at Springbrook Oaks, Newberg, Oregon; ACF Pro Chefs Oregon

ACF Central Region Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix – Students representing Kendall College, Chicago

ACF Western Region Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix – Students representing Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, Orem, Utah

ACF Central Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Patrick Mitchell, CEC, AAC, executive chef/culinary adviser, Ben E. Keith Foods, Fort Worth, Texas; Texas Chefs Association

ACF Western Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Lenard Rubin, CEC, executive chef, The Country Club at DC Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona; ACF Chef’s Association of Arizona, Inc.

ACF Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter – Jan Lewandowski, CEPC, lead baking instructor, Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas; ACF Central Arkansas Cooks Association

ACF Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter – Andrew Corrao, CCC, CEPC, banquet/pastry chef, Bambara Restaurant, Salt Lake City; ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

ACF Central Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary® – Shayne McCrady, sauté cook/line cook, The Gatesworth at One McKnight Place, St. Louis; Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc

ACF Western Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary® – Michelle Stephenson, student, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah; ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

ACF Central Region Student Team Regional Championship, sponsored by Vitamix – Students representing ACF Greater Kansas City Chefs Association that attend Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas

ACF Western Region Student Team Regional Championship, sponsored by Vitamix – Students representing ACF Bay Area Chefs Association of Oregon that attend Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, Coos Bay, Oregon

ChefConnect: Hawaii award recipients in ACF’s Central and Western regions listed below were recognized for their outstanding contributions to ACF, goodwill in their communities and/or culinary excellence.

ACF Central Region Chapter of the Year – ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association; Bolingbrook, Illinois

ACF Western Region Chapter of the Year – ACF Pro Chefs Oregon; McMinnville, Oregon

ACF Central Region Chapter Achievement Awards –

  • ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana; Schererville, Indiana
  • ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association; Bolingbrook, Illinois
  • Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc; St. Louis

ACF Western Region Chapter Achievement Awards:

  • ACF Pro Chefs Oregon; McMinnville, Oregon
  • ACF World of Thanks
  • ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association; Kailua Kona, Hawaii
  • ACF Central Region Cutting Edge Awards, sponsored by Friedr. Dick Corp.
  • Michael Vlasich, CEC, AAC, executive chef, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis; ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
  • Jack Mix, owner/chef, Comfort’s Catering, St. John, Indiana; ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana

ACF Central Region Achievement of Excellence Awards:

  • Alpine Inn; Hill City, South Dakota
  • Redstone American Grill; Minnetonka, Minnesota

More than 350 chefs, students and foodservice professionals attended ChefConnect: Hawaii. The conference was part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities for culinary industry professionals and students. Learn more about the conference atwww.acfchefs.org/EventSeries, on Twitter @ACFChefs, #ChefConnect or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ACFChefs.

Sponsors of ChefConnect: Hawaii were: Custom Culinary®; Minor’s®; Unilever Food Solutions; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc; Plugrá® European-Style Butter; Vitamix; Ecolab; Allen Brothers; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; American Technical Publishers; Don Miller & Associates, Inc. (DM&A); Par-Way Tryson Company; The Beef Checkoff; Jones Dairy Farm; and Valrhona.

About the American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning nearly 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org. Find ACF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ACFChefs and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

12th Annual Hilo Huli

The Rotary Club of South Hilo will be celebrating its 12th Annual Hilo Huli on May 1, 2016 on Coconut Island from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The Hilo Huli is the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s main fundraising event, with over 1000 people in attendance every year.

hilo huli

“The club brings together the cuisine of local chefs, award winning music, as well as a variety of wine, beer and mix drink offerings to create an all you can eat event that helps raise much needed funds to support our local community. It’s a fantastic way to have a really great time while helping uplift the life of our community,” said Rotary Club of South Hilo President, Kim Arakawa.

To date the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli has raised over $200,000 used to serve needs in our local community, as well as international projects.

The money raised from this year’s event will help the Rotary Club of South Hilo support a variety of community projects throughout East Hawai‘i including the Obstetrics & Pediatric Unit Renovations (Hilo Medical Center), Hospice of Hilo’s Children’s Bereavement Program and Hilo Bayfront Trails.

“We’re so grateful for all the work the Rotary Club of South Hilo does to make sure our community is a great place to live, and we are so honored to be chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Hilo Huli,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO, Brenda S. Ho.

Tickets for the event are $50.00 in advance and $65.00 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online or from Aiona Car Sales, The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo, Short & Sweet, and any Rotary Club of South Hilo member, www.hilohuli.org or call 808-930-3609.

Hawaii Robotics Teams Receive $45,000 From McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii donated $45,000 to the Hawaii robotics teams participating in the 2016 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Hawaii Robotics Regional Competition, which took place on April 1 and 2 at the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center in Manoa.

L-R: Stephanie Steuri, Robotics Competition emcee; Glenn Waki, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Lenny Klompus, Friends of Hawaii Robotics president; Shannon Scott, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii marketing consultant; Ed Yamamura, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Rafael Zayas, Robotics Competition emcee.

L-R: Stephanie Steuri, Robotics Competition emcee; Glenn Waki, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Lenny Klompus, Friends of Hawaii Robotics president; Shannon Scott, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii marketing consultant; Ed Yamamura, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Rafael Zayas, Robotics Competition emcee.

During the competition’s opening ceremony on Saturday, April 2, McDonald’s owner/operators presented a check for $45,000, which will be divided among the 26 competing Hawaii robotics teams. The five (5) Hawaii schools (Baldwin High School, Iolani School, Kapolei High School, Kealakehe High School, Waialua High School) that will be advancing to the FIRST World Championship competition in St. Louis, Mo. in April each received an additional $1,000 from McDonald’s.

“We are honored to continue our support of Hawaii’s robotics teams,” said Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. “We are dedicated to helping our communities thrive, so it’s great to be able to lend a hand to help our local schools. To watch the students’ creativity and innovation come to life in these competitions is inspiring. Congratulations to all the schools that competed this year.”

The money was raised through a statewide fundraiser that ran from March 21 to 27 where McDonald’s donated $1 from every Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight sandwich, and Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight Extra Value Meal sold between 5 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Additionally, throughout the fundraising period, Hawaii teams conducted robot demonstrations at selected McDonald’s restaurants across the state. This was the fifth consecutive year that McDonald’s was the FIRST in Hawaii official breakfast sponsor, providing breakfast sandwiches to all participating teams.

“We are so very thankful for the overwhelming generosity of McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii in supporting the FIRST in Hawaii Robotics Regional Competition,” said Lenny Klompus, president of Friends of Hawaii Robotics. “This is the fifth consecutive year that McDonald’s has not only brightened our students’ morning with a delicious breakfast sandwich ahead of the competition, but most importantly they have helped our local robotics teams excel as a result of their ever-growing monetary donation. McDonald’s unwavering impact with this donation enables a generation of young leaders in our state to build innovation today, for tomorrow.”

FIRST is a national organization that joins students, teachers and mentors to inspire youth interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to pursue careers in these fields. Students are able to work directly with professionals, gaining first-hand knowledge of the industry. FIRST combines the competitiveness of sports with the rigors of science and technology to engage young people to solve problems in an intense and competitive way.

Agriculture Workshops Offered in West Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers two agriculture workshops with Zach Mermel this month at the Hawai’i Community College Palamanui campus in Kailua-Kona. Both workshops will be held in Room B-125.

edible plants
The Secrets of the Soil series is held on Saturday, April 23. Part 1 meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will explore the basics of soil biology. Topics include soil formation, types of soils found on Hawaiʻi Island, the dynamics of the soil food web, and fundamentals of soil testing at the homestead and farm scale. Part 2 will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. This hands-on session will teach participants how to make a high-quality compost and includes constructing a biologically active compost pile. The cost is $40 for Part 1, $30 for Part 2, or $60 for both sessions.

Edible Landscaping will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn how to transform their land into an abundant oasis of edible and multifunctional plants. Mermel will cover edible landscaping and provide hands-on experience in creating a basic landscape plan. Participants should bring an aerial photo or TMK map of their land as well as colored pens and pencils. Tuition is $55.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/ccecs/.

Super Slam Finished on Big Island of Hawaii, 49 States… 49 Turkeys

A Pennsylvania man flew to the Big Island of Hawaii for one and only one reason… to kill a turkey.

After missing a gobbler earlier in the morning during a hunt in Hawaii, Hudak connected later in the day to achieve the U.S. Super Slam.

After missing a gobbler earlier in the morning during a hunt in Hawaii, Hudak connected later in the day to achieve the U.S. Super Slam.

Tony Hudak of Noxen, Pennsylvania set out to kill a turkey in every state in the United States (except for Alaska where there are no turkeys), becoming only the fifth person to do what is known as the Super Slam..

According to the Times Leader, he was successful!

…But Hudak set out on the morning of March 19 hoping to find the final gobbler in his quest.

At 6:30 a.m. a gobbler sounded off from its roost from far away. Hudak began to maneuver into position when another bird gobbled. It was closer and Hudak focused on the second bird instead.

Hudak called, the bird answered and then things happened quickly.

“Apparently he was rushing in because the next time I called he was just 50 yards away over a little hill,” Hudak said. “I got against a koa log and the bird came around a knob in full strut, 30 yards away.”

The gobbler lifted its head and Hudak shot.

And missed.

And that’s when Hudak began having doubts.

“I was thinking that I just flew 6,000 miles to get here, and all these years of traveling to every state and it comes down to this and I blow it. I whiffed,” Hudak said. “It took me an hour to get my wits back after that ordeal.”

At 8 a.m. another bird gobbled but Hudak couldn’t get it within range, and that’s when Big Island of Hawaii posed another unique challenge.

Fog.

“Turkeys clam up when it gets foggy,” Hudak said.

The fog rolled in thick from the ocean, forcing Hudak and John Sabati – the ranch manager for where he was hunting, to retreat to a lower elevation. All he could do was cover ground and call with the hope a gobbler was out there somewhere.

Finally, at 3 p.m. Hudak spotted a gobbler in a cow pasture in full strut. The bird walked back-and-forth along a fence, unaware it was being watched.

Hudak would get a second chance.

“Once I saw what he was doing I tried to get on one end of his strut zone and cut him off,” Hudak said. “He came to about 60 yards, walking right to me, then turned around and walked away 100 yards, still strutting.”

Sabati suggested sneaking below the gobbler, so Hudak made a wide loop and came up to the fence. The gobbler was there, and still unaware.

Hudak clucked once with his mouth call and the gobbler turned and walked right into range. Hudak shot and this time he didn’t miss…

You can read the full story here: Tony Hudak achieves US Super Slam

Hawaii County Council Candidate Madeline Greene Hosting “Wing-Ding Bash” Fundraiser

Madeline (“Auntie Madie”) Greene, long-time Puna resident and business owner, will officially kick off her campaign for Hawaii County Council, District 4, at the “Wing-Ding Bash”, a fundraising event to be held at the Nanawale Estates Community Center, on April 23, 2016, from 5p.m. – 8p.m.   The event is open to the public, and will include sushi, poke, and salad bars, as well as chicken wings served with a variety of island sauces – $20 – all you can eat!

Madie Greene in Van

Auntie Madie’s run for Council continues a long-standing family commitment to public service, which began when her great grandfather, John Kepookapukamohoalii Punini, served as the first Sheriff of Puna.

Her own volunteer work in Puna includes:

  • Past President, Vice-President and Treasurer of Mainstreet Pahoa Association;
  • President of Nanawale Community AssociaM
  • Member of Pahoa Regional Town Center Plan Steering Committee, the Drug Coalition, and Puna Watch, and a founding member of the Pahoa Schools Booster Club;
  • Honorary Kupuna for the Men of Pa’a.
  • In 2009, she was selected for the Hawaii County Women’s Hall of Fame;
  • In 2010, she received the Hawaii County Achievement Award.

Issues Auntie Madie looks forward to tackling on behalf of District 4 citizens include mass transit, GMO food labeling (you have a right to know!), geothermal risks, homelessness, emergency evacuation route(s), road improvements and linkage in lower Puna, and jobs.

Come to Nanawale and meet your candidate for Puna. Tell her what is most important to you. Enjoy the food!

Wing DingsFrom Pahoa take Hwy 132 towards Kapoho at the stoplight, South 1 mile to Nanawale Blvd, Turn left and go 1 mile to the 4-way stop, take a right and you are there.

Hamakua Springs Offering Free ‘Thank You’ Bananas this Friday

Hamakua Springs Country Farms will be giving away 300 boxes of bananas from its final banana harvest this Friday, April 1, 2016 (no fooling). That’s 12 thousand pounds of bananas – about 30 thousand bananas – so there’s definitely enough for everyone who’s interested.

Hamakua Springs bananas

Hamakua Springs bananas

Bananas will be available for people to drive in and pick up at Kumu Street in Hilo. (Turn off Kamehameha Avenue onto the short Kumu Street, which is just past Ponahawai St. at the soccer fields.)

Hamakua Springs owners Richard and June Ha, along with other family members and workers, will be at the Hilo soccer fields from 10 a.m. Friday morning.

“It’s our way of saying thank you for the community’s support over all these years,” said Richard Ha. The company, first as Kea‘au Bananas, then Mauna Kea Bananas and most recently Hamakua Springs Country Farms, was in business for 35 years.

Richard Ha and family at Hamakua Springs Country Farms. From left: Richard Ha, his mother Florence Ha, Richard’s wife June Ha, son-in-law Kimo Pa and daughter Tracy Pa.

Richard Ha and family at Hamakua Springs Country Farms. From left: Richard Ha, his mother Florence Ha, Richard’s wife June Ha, son-in-law Kimo Pa and daughter Tracy Pa.

The primary reason they stopped farming bananas, Ha explained, was that Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) was found on the farm. “We had experience with BBTV at our banana farm in Kea‘au, and we knew that if the disease became imbedded in the gulches it would become a constant source of infection,” he said. “That’s the main reason we decided to stop bananas.”

Another factor is the rising cost of oil, which has significantly driven up farm costs such as fertilizer, plastic, and other items with oil petroleum costs embedded in their price. When the oil price dropped recently, those costs stayed up. “We know the oil price will go back up again, and anticipating that we had to make a decision,” he said. “It’s not that we’re going bankrupt – we’re not. We just needed to do what we had to do before it got to that point.”

The former banana acreage has been leased to another farmer, and other possibilities are being investigated for the farm land and hydroelectric system.

“Hawaiian Style Cafe” Expanding to Tokyo

“Ready or not, the pancakes are coming,” says Hawaiian Style Cafe – Hilo’s owner, Guy Kao`o, when describing his restaurant’s Tokyo debut.

Hawaiian Style

With a newly-built location set to debut in Japan’s famous Ginza shopping district, Kao`o is intent on making a big splash using his establishment’s signature plate-hogging flapjacks.

Although Tokyo diners aren’t exactly famous for “super sizing” their meals, Kao`o felt it was important to preserve the restaurant’s core identity, and to promote its homespun appeal.  “It’s right there in our name,” explains Kao`o.  “We plain on giving the people of Japan the most authentic taste of Hawaiian home cooking that they can get.”

Ginza, Japan

Ginza Shopping District

Hawaiian Style’s monster pancakes actually helped open the door to the new location, having been continually splashed over social media and restaurant review sites in recent years.  Indeed, Kao`o’s Japanese partner in the venture discovered the restaurant in part thanks to its wide-spread internet presence.

“I got a call one day, just out of the blue, from a guy wanting to open a local-style restaurant there,” he explains, adding, “within days we were sitting down across from each other.”

Hawaiian Style Pancake

An agreement was made between the two men, followed by a two year search for a high-profile location and test kitchen trials.  “We cooked over there to see what works,” says Kao`o.

To his delight, the most well-received items on the menu included island staples like Kalua Pork with cabbage.  “Home-style cooking really seems to strike a chord in Japan these days,” Kao`o explains, adding, “it’s almost like, the simpler the better.”

Ginza, Tokyo is one of the world’s most heavily trafficked urban locations.  Kao`o, who will be on hand for the restaurant’s opening, feels that the frenetic setting is perfect for making a big splash.

After their Tokyo debut, Kao`o is set on expanding Hawaiian Style’s reach to the U.S. mainland.  “We’re actively scouting locations in California,” he says, adding, “it’s gonna be a busy year.”

Hawaiian Style Cafe’s Ginza, Tokyo location will hold a soft opening on March 27, followed by a grand opening celebration on March 31.

Established in the town of Kamuela, Hawai`i in 1993, the Hawaiian Style Cafe has been serving local portions of local food (with aloha) for over 23 years.  Their Hilo location opened in 2012 and will be followed in 2016 by a location in Ginza, Japan.

Big Island of Hawaii 2016 Spring Bearded Turkey Season Opens

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the opening of the 2016 Spring Bearded Turkey hunting season this week.

During the 2009 spring wild turkey season, Jon Sabati State President of the Hawaii National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a spring wild turkey hunt.

During the 2009 spring wild turkey season, Jon Sabati State President of the Hawaii National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a spring wild turkey hunt.

The spring season will run for 46 consecutive days through Friday, April 15, 2016. 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 treeline for rifle, muzzleloader, handgun, and shotgun. March 1 – April 15, 2016 (46 consecutive days) One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
Unit G – Ka‘ohe GMA Also open daily to mammal hunting for archery.
Unit F – Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve N/A
Private Lands Hunters required to have valid hunting license, current turkey tags and landowner permission

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 Hawai‘i island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.  Hunters must present current State of Hawai‘i hunting license with a current game bird dtamp when obtaining tags.  Turkey tags are also required to hunt on private land.

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