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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.

Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries Management Area Will Close to Fishing for Year Starting Jan. 1, 2017

The Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries Management Area (SFMA), O‘ahu, will be closed to fishing for one year, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017.

The SFMA encompasses the nearshore waters between the ‘Ewa wall of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium and the Diamond Head Lighthouse, from the high-water mark on shore to a minimum seaward distance of 500 yards, or to the edge of the fringing reef if one occurs beyond 500 yards.  The area is closed to fishing during odd-numbered years.

“The periodic closure of Waikiki-Diamond Head SFMA to fishing is intended to give fish a temporary break from fishing pressure,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources.  “Waikiki-Diamond Head is the only area in the state where this management approach is used, and we are in the process of re-evaluating its effectiveness in rebuilding fish populations over the long term.”

Fishing is not allowed at any time in the adjacent Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD), which extends from the ‘Ewa wall of the Natatorium to the Kapahulu groin (jetty).

Copies of statewide fishing regulations are available at the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) main office, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 330, Honolulu, all neighbor island DAR offices, at many sporting goods stores, and on the DAR web site at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar.

To report violations of any fishing regulation, please call the DLNR enforcement hotline at (808) 643-DLNR (643-3567).

Local Foods Sales Reach $84.4 Million in Hawaii

Hawaii local food production sales reached $84.4 million, according to the 2015 Local Foods Marketing Practices Survey report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Of the $84.4 million in total local food sales in Hawaii, $69.5 million were from produce such as vegetables, nuts and fruit, while $14.9 million were from value-added products such as jams, meat, and cheese.

Most farms selling directly to consumers sold through outlets such as farmers markets and on-farm stores. Value of sales directly to consumers in Hawaii, including value-added products, was $22.8 million. The remainder of local food produce and value-added products were sold to supermarkets, restaurants, institutions, and wholesalers.

There were 2,423 operations involved in the sales of local foods in the state, representing 3,512 farm operators. Of those operators, 1,287 were female operators.

This report contains the results of the first Local Foods Marketing Practices Survey conducted. The Local Foods Marketing Practices Survey is part of the larger Census of Agriculture program. It is the first survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service to measure the effect of local foods on local economies.

Nationally, the top five states for value of direct food sales were California with $2,869 million, Michigan with $459 million, New York with $441 million, Pennsylvania with $439 million, and Wisconsin at $431 million.

Access the full Local Foods Marketing Practices dataset at NASS’s Quick Stats database: https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Local_Food/index.php

Food Certificate Program Classes Coming to North Kohala

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) is accepting enrollment for classes in the Master Food Preserver Certificate Program to be held in North Kohala. Classes will be held on January 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and February 2 and 3 from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Kohala Institute’s GRACE Center at 53-580 Iole Road in Kapa`au. Tuition is $200.

Individuals interested in developing their own jams and jellies, canning acid foods, pressure canning low acid foods, pickling and fermenting, drying, freezing, and the art of charcuterie are encouraged to become certified Hawaiʻi Master Food Preservers.

Luisa F. Castro

Instructors are Luisa F. Castro, a certified Master Food Preserver who has taught agricultural professionals about food safety on the farm and is a Program Coordinator for professional development courses at CCECS; and Kalen Kelekoma, a certified Master Food Preserver and Special Projects Manager with the Waipa Foundation. Both have taught the program on Hawaiʻi Island and Kaua`i.

Private and non-government employers/businesses may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver through the State’s Employment & Training Fund (ETF). Visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/go/2z for details.To register, or for more information, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

Kohala Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project Develops Recipes with More Fresh Food

The Lieutenant Governor’s pilot project for the Farm to School Initiative is well underway in the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) Kohala Complex on the island of Hawaii. Chef Greg Christian, president and founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners has been selected to work with Cafeteria Manager Priscilla Galan and her staff to bring delicious local, fresh scratch-cooked food to students.

Chef Greg with Cafeteria Staff

Chef Greg and Cafeteria Manager Galan have been working to develop recipes that incorporate more fresh food that kids both love and are familiar with into the daily menu as well as revamping favorites such as pizza and kalua pig with cabbage.

Taste testings on the experimental menu based on recipes co-created by the cafeteria staff and Chef Greg are conducted daily at the Kohala Complex schools. Some dishes that a number of classes have taste tested include a new pizza recipe, pork adobo with ulu/garlic crisp, chicken adobo sliders with green papaya, and more. Produce for the experimental menu is being sourced from various local farms and markets.

“We are excited to be working with the Kohala Elementary, Middle, and High schools in bringing more local home-style cooked meals into the cafeteria,” said Chef Greg.

“The integration of locally produced foods into the lunches of area schools is a wonderful way to connect students with their farming community,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “When students are exposed to Hawaii’s farm fresh agricultural products and learn to appreciate the taste and freshness, they will help the State grow the demand for local agricultural commodities.”

Along with creating a menu, Chef Greg, and his team are also collecting data, analyzing costs, inventory and purchasing systems as well analyzing kitchen staff efficiencies versus inefficiencies, among other things.

“This is a significant step forward for the Farm to School Initiative,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, who spearheads the initiative. “It took many years to get to this stage, especially for our many community stakeholders, such as The Kohala Center, who had already been working on bringing more local food to our school menus.”

The goal of the initiative is to positively influence the relationship our keiki have with their food and the aina by increasing breakfast and lunch participation, boosting the purchase of locally grown food for school meals, and cultivating connections between our schools and local agricultural communities.

In early November, Lt. Governor Tsutsui, HIDOE, Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), State Procurement Office (SPO) and The Kohala Center (TKC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to allow for policy to be created to guide Farm to School activities in all HIDOE schools, including but not limited to purchasing locally grown food and ingredients, menu modifications, kitchen staff training on scratch-cooking, food waste, and growing food for cafeteria use, among other key components. This pilot program tests localized purchasing and seeks to change the way food is purchased, prepared and delivered.

“This pilot is an exciting opportunity for the Hawaii State Department of Education where we prioritize purchasing local products as a food resource,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We look forward to learning from this collaborative initiative that is focused on our Kohala schools in hopes of bringing it to more schools across the state.”

While executing farm to school strategies that improve student nutrition, supports local businesses and expands agricultural career opportunities for our students, the pilot project will serve as a learning laboratory that conceptualizes a statewide farm to school program within the DOE by December 2018.  This project reaffirms the state’s commitment to improving student wellness and aims to further invigorate Hawaii’s agricultural communities.  The next phase of the project will begin next school year in a larger school complex area on Maui island.

“The pilot project is an opportunity to test innovations in school food preparation, menu development, and buying fresh, local food to improve child nutrition,” said Anna-Lisa Okoye, chief operating officer of The Kohala Center. “By transitioning to student-approved, scratched-cooked meals, the pilot will enhance the quality, nutrition, and taste of school meals while also supporting local agriculture. We appreciate the farm to school advocates from the public and private sectors who have made this pilot possible.”

Across the nation, farm-to-school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from. Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

The Farm to School Initiative is a public-private partnership with the Lt. Governor’s office, HDOA, Hawaii State Department of Health, HIDOE, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawaii Appleseed, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, The Kohala Center and Ulupono Initiative.

For more information, go to http://ltgov.hawaii.gov/farm-to-school-initiative/

Hawaii Ranks First for Health in the Nation

Hawaii is ranked as the healthiest state according to the United Health Foundation’s 2016 America’s Health Rankings®: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities released today. This year is the 27th anniversary of the rankings, which provide a state-by-state analysis of available health data to determine national benchmarks and state rankings. During the 27 years in which the rankings were conducted, Hawaii’s rank has varied from first to sixth place.

“The department is pleased with Hawaii’s top ranking which reflects our state’s focus on maintaining healthy lifestyles and protecting our environment,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “However, while our state scored well among most of the report’s measures, we must remember that some health areas and population groups are not always captured in the data. We need to pay attention to groups that aren’t enjoying good health status so that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy and full life.”

Recent health improvements in Hawaii described in the report include a 4 percent decrease in drug-related deaths over the last two years, and a 38 percent increase in vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) among girls 13 to 17 years old in the last year. Hawaii also has low percentage of population without insurance with only 5 percent (or about 1 in 20 people) lacking health insurance, compared with over 10 percent nationally.

While Hawaii has fared well compared to other states, the report is limited by available data, such as low screening rates for some health conditions. According to the report, diabetes is said to have decreased by 13 percent over the last year, however the data reflects only diagnosed cases of diabetes. When including undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, it is estimated that more than half (54 percent) of Hawaii’s population has type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

“We are only now beginning to understand the pervasiveness of type 2 diabetes in our state,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division.
“As we improve screening rates, we expect to see a sharp increase in the number of people living with diabetes and prediabetes.”

Highlights of Hawaii’s health ranking include a low prevalence of obesity at 23 percent compared with 30 percent nationally. However, when including those who are overweight, more than half of Hawaii’s adult population (57 percent) is overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of preventable chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes.  Among some population groups, Hawaii data shows a high correlation between obesity rates and diagnosed diabetes and prediabetes rates, with Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) and Filipinos having the highest rates. More than 61% of Hawaii adults—or 3 in 5—are living with at least one chronic disease or condition such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.

The report shows that other areas where Hawaii can improve include higher-than-average rates of excessive drinking, a recent increase in violent crimes, and high rates of Salmonella infection. Details of the determinants and outcomes that make up Hawaii’s top ranking are available at www.americashealthrankings.org.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union Donates $23k+ to Hawaii Food Basket

Through the heart-felt efforts of the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) staff, and the generosity of HCFCU members and local small businesses, more than $23,000 was raised and donated to The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s Food Bank,  during HCFCU’s annual “Market Days” events.

Top Row: L-R: Back Row: Davelynn Esperanza – HCFCU Kaloko Branch Member Service Specialist, Robyn Naihe – HCFCU Support Services Coordinator, Flora Gomes – HCFCU Senior Dealer Center Officer, Kristy Akao – HCFCU Youth Services Coordinator.
Middle Row: Lorrie Gomes – HCFCU Kailua Branch Senior Teller: Sue Miskowic – HCFCU Administrative Specialist, Jecoliah Pacatang – HCFCU Kailua Branch Teller II.
Front Row: David Miyashita – HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Rosette Freitas, HCFCU Kealakekua Branch Loan Processor II , En Young – The Food Basket Executive Director, Jason Ayers – HCFCU Asst. Vice President & Loan manager.

Held annually in October at all HCFCU branches, Market Days is a multilevel event during which businesses are invited to sell such items as baked goods, food, clothing, jewelry and home products, donate produce to sell, and provide valuable items for silent auctions. Additionally, HCFCU employees held work lunch fundraisers and sold ribbons to raise additional monies for The Food Basket.  All event proceeds were donated to The Food Basket.

David Miyashita, HCFCU’s Marketing Coordinator, spearheaded the events, which included leading branch and department team captains, supervising the various vendors and activities, and keeping HCFCU’s mission of feeding Hawaii County’s hungry a top priority.

“I am extremely proud of David and the entire HCFCU staff!” said Tricia Buskirk, credit union President and CEO. “Our annual Market Days are successful because our employees are committed to supporting The Food Basket.  Our members, businesses and community have huge hearts and are always there to support our families in need.”

 

The employees of HCFCU collectively nominate and vote on a “Triennial Social Responsibility Partner” to which they focus their Market Day fundraising for three years, making a true difference for the organization.  With their enthusiastic dedication to that one organization during that time, the organization experiences additional supportive hearts and hands, which in turn helps make a true impact for many on Hawaii Island.

This is HCFCU’s second of three years supporting The Food Basket and last year’s Market Days event generated a $20,000 donation.  Answering the need for their critically needed services, The Food Basket just opened a new Kona facility located within the Ulu Wini Housing Project.  Contact info@hawaiifoodbasket.org to learn more about supporting The Food Basket.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services and youth programs, and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents.

Six Culinary Scholarships Awarded

The ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association awarded six scholarships Saturday at the Christmas with the Chefs gala on the grounds of Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Pictured with their scholarship envelopes are from top left: Angeli Aoki, Taylor Neufeld and Hokuao Umiamaka with Associate Professor and Palamanui Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Paul Heerlein, CCC, CCE. Bottom from left: Brittney Badua, Jenna Shiroma and Leila Lewis.

Recipients are all local culinary students attending Hawaii Community College-Palamanui and volunteered at the event. In addition, HCC graduates served as chefs at three of the 20 culinary stations: Ash Danao at Daylight Mind Coffee Company and Café, Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf and Darcy Ambrosio of A-Bays Island Grill.

In its 28th year, the annual fundraiser benefits culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College—Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs wanting to further their education. Mark your calendar for next year’s benefit on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

$3,000 Raised for the Food Basket at Taste of Mauna Lani

The 7th Annual “Taste of Mauna Lani” fundraising event to benefit Hawai‘i Island Food Basket raised 50 percent more than the 2015 event.

shops-at-mauna-lani
The Taste of Mauna Lani is held during three weeks in September, with participating restaurants offering specially discounted three-course prix-fixe dinners.  A portion of each sale is donated to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar at The Shops at Mauna Lani contributed over $1,000 from sales during the event.

Other participating restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani included Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Monstera Noodles & Sushi.  CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalow was the second highest contributor with over $500 donated to the charity.  A new participant this year was Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid.  In addition, The Shops at Mauna Lani made a 20% matching contribution to all funds raised by the restaurants.

“With everyone’s participation in this event, a total of $3,000 was raised by ‘Taste of Mauna Lani,’ which is a significant increase over last year’s amount.” said General Manager Michael Oh. “We are always looking for ways to give back, especially to the Food Basket, who works so hard all year round to help the people who need it most in our community.”

To make a donation as an individual or business, visit www.hawaiifoodbasket.org.