Crewmember Participants Sought for Space Exploration Analog Studies

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are seeking crewmembers for a new series of space exploration analog studies. The new studies aim to:

  • Test a hypothesis that group cohesion over the short term predicts team performance over the long term.
  • Observe how technical, social and task roles evolve over long-duration missions.
  • Establish baselines for a wide range of human cognitive, social and emotional factors over missions of varying durations.
HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

These types of studies are essential for NASA to understand how teams of astronauts will perform on long-duration space exploration missions, such as those that will be required for human travel to Mars. The studies will also allow researchers to recommend strategies for crew composition for such missions, and to determine how best to support such crews while they are working in space.

More Photos available through the HI-SEAS website.

More Photos available through the HI-SEAS website.

The upcoming missions will be conducted at the Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) site, an isolated Mars-like environment on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawai‘i at approximately 8,200 feet above sea level. Crewmember participants will live in the same modern geodesic dome habitat that successfully supported a NASA-funded Mars food study that garnered national media attention in 2013 ( for more information about that mission, please see

Food inventory by Sian

Food inventory by Sian

Key Dates (note that dates are subject to change):

Mission A: Feb 2014 – June 2014 (4 mos)
Mission B: Aug 2014 – Apr 2015 (8 mos)
Mission C: June 2015 – May 2016 (12 mos)

About the Study: 
The upcoming missions are focused on evaluating the social, interpersonal and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time. Researchers from outside of the space analog habitat will monitor each mission to evaluate the communications strategies, crew work load and job sharing, and conflict resolution/conflict management approaches that contribute to the success of a long-duration mission.

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

Like the astronaut mission specialists they will represent, each participant will be expected to bring a significant research project or other scholarly work of his or her own to complete while inside the space analog habitat – for instance, biological or geological field research, engineering design and technology evaluation, scholarly writing, or artistic endeavors compatible with the limitations of small living quarters in an isolated location with limited internet bandwidth.

Subjects will be compensated for their participation and for associated travel and housing costs. Successful applicants will be placed into a pool from which researchers will assemble three well-balanced teams for the various study periods.

Applicants must be between 21 and 65 years of age. They must be tobacco-free, able to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination, and able to understand, speak and write fluently in English. They must meet the basic requirements of the NASA astronaut program (i.e. an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering discipline, three years of experience or graduate study, etc.); in addition, they will be evaluated for experience considered valuable in the program, such as experience in complex operational environments. Pre-screening will be carried out by a panel of experts who are familiar with the astronaut selection process, but who are not involved in the rest of the study.

Candidates selected for further evaluation and screening will be contacted by e-mail to schedule a screening. There will be no charge to applicants for any screening procedures, and no risks in these procedures over and above those of daily life.

How to Apply: 
The deadline for applications is November 1, 2013. Instructions for applicants are posted at

For more information, visit:

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Leilani Estates Area of Big Island

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake just shook the Leilani Estates area of the Big Island.

36 Leilani

Hawaii Coaches and Athletic Directors to be Recognized

WHAT:  Recognition of Coaches and Athletic Directors participating in Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program

WHEN:  Monday, October 7, 2013, 9:30 A.M. 

WHERE:  Room 329, Hawaii State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street

WHY: The Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program, created by Futures Without Violence and implemented in Hawaii by the non-profit Ala Kuola, equips athletic coaches with strategies, scenarios and resources needed to build attitudes and behaviors among young male athletes that promote respectful, healthy relationships. Coaches have numerous opportunities to teach early and often that violence has no place in relationships. In addition October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the State of Hawaii.


WHO: Edwin K. Flores, Ala Kuola, Vice Speaker John Mizuno and the following coaches and athletic directors:

Athletic Directors: 

  • Blake Moritsugu (Aiea H.S.)
  • Mark Brilhante (Kalaheo H.S.)
  • Gregory Van Cantfort (Kalani H.S.)
  • Kelly Jack Sur (Radford H.S.)
  • Thomas Correa (Waiakea H.S.)
  • Sondra Lundvick (Hilo H.S.)

 Head Football Coaches:

  • Wendell Say (Aiea H.S.)
  • Greg Taguchi (Kalani H.S.)
  • Fred Salanoa (Radford H.S.)
  • Darren Hernandez (Kapolei H.S.)
  • Bryon Moku Pita (Waiakea H.S.)
  • David Baldwin (Hilo H.S.)


  • Cal K. Lee, Assistant Football Coach, Kalani H.S.
  • Bronson Leafa, Junior Varsity Head Coach, Radford H.S.
  • Keala Pule, Sr., Hawaii Football Club, Big Island

Big Island Police Locate Puna Man Wanted for Robbery, Kidnapping, First-Degree Terrorist Threatenting and Other Crimes

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 26-year-old Michael Dwayne Carvalho, who was wanted on warrants and for questioning in an unrelated case.

Michael Dwayne Carvalho

Michael Dwayne Carvalho

Carvalho was arrested at noon Wednesday (October 2) in Puna and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation into a robbery, assault and terroristic threatening incident in June.

At 2:30 p.m. Thursday (October 3), Carvalho was charged with first-degree robbery, kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening, attempted unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and two counts of second-degree assault . His bail was set at $140,000. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday (October 4).

The charges stem from an incident the evening of June 9 at a home on Cook Street in Kalapana. On that date, Carvalho reportedly held a 29-year-old male acquaintance at knife point, assaulted him, threatened him, demanded his car keys and attempted to steal his vehicle.

Man In Custody After Shots Fired From Car in Panaewa Area

Hawaiʻi Island police have have a man in custody in connection with a report of gunshots in Hilo on Monday afternoon (September 30).

HPDBadgeAt 1:54 p.m. Monday, Hilo patrol officers responded to a report that a man had fired several rounds from a red Mazda Miata in front of a house on Elama Street in the Panaʻewa area.

On Thursday (October 3), police found the car and the driver in a vacant lot on Lehua Street in the Fern Acres subdivision in Puna. Kevin Kuhia, 34, who has no permanent address, was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangering. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Backpack Drive Raises Over 300 Backpacks

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is pleased to announce that families throughout the island donated more than 300 backpacks for children in need during a backpack drive between July and September.

Hope Services Hawaii workers pick up backpacks from Officer Jason Grouns, Chief Harry Kubojiri and Officer Patrick Menino at the Hilo police station, one of eight collection sites around the island.

Hope Services Hawaii workers pick up backpacks from Officer Jason Grouns, Chief Harry Kubojiri and Officer Patrick Menino at the Hilo police station, one of eight collection sites around the island.

During the backpack drive, all police stations around the island doubled as drop-off points. This was the fifth consecutive year the Police Department has worked in partnership with HOPE Services Hawaiʻi (formerly known as the Office of Social Ministry) and From Kids For Kids in the collection and distribution of these items.

In addition to the backpacks, thoughtful citizens donated numerous boxes worth of school supplies.

Police Chief Kubojiri said he is grateful for the community’s participation. “It is heartwarming to see the outpouring of compassion year after year,” Kubojiri said. “It is particularly rewarding to see how the number of donated backpacks has grown since this project began five years ago.”

Hope Services Hawaiʻi provides a continuum of homeless and transitional programs from outreach to emergency shelters, including permanent supportive housing placements.
From Kids For Kids was founded in 2006 by Big Island resident Nani Welch-Keliihoomalu, then 10, who was responsible for distributing backpacks containing books, clothing, art and school supplies. Now 17, Welch-Keliihoomalu raised an additional $450 in cash donations for the project this year through her school, Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy.

Kama'aina Motors employees display a truckload of backpacks their company collected after payroll clerk Ashley McCollum-Ranne (at far left) heard an announcement on the radio.

Kama’aina Motors employees display a truckload of backpacks their company collected after payroll clerk Ashley McCollum-Ranne (at far left) heard an announcement on the radio.

Another $250 was donated by the Ikitagawa company, parent company to Kamaʻaina Motors, Napa Auto Parts, Kamaʻaina Nissan and Kona Auto Center.

Iktagawa also collected 132 backpacks and several bags of school supplies after Ashley McCollum-Ranne, a payroll clerk at Kamaʻaina Motors, heard an announcement on the radio and approached General Manager Ivan Nakano about collecting backpacks from employees.

Other large contributors were HFS Federal Credit Union, which donated 75 backpacks, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Papaʻikou, which donated 12 backpacks.

Backpacks have been identified as the most requested non-food item for charities in Hawaiʻi. The donated backpacks are being distributed to women’s shelters, homeless shelters and transitional housing around the Big Island.


Representative Awana Steps Down as Majority Floor Leader

Speaker Joseph M. Souki announced yesterday that Representative Karen Awana has resigned her position as Majority Floor Leader of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

capitalYesterday, Representative Awana submitted a letter resigning her position to the Speaker’s Office stating that she was grateful for the opportunity to serve on the House leadership team, however under the circumstances she did not want to distract from the important work of the body.  Her offer of resignation was accepted by Speaker Souki.

“I appreciate all that Representative Awana has done for the House and after much consideration I have accepted her resignation so that she may focus on rectifying her situation.  It is my hope that we can move ahead so that we may name her Chair of the newly created Committee on Culture and the Arts & International Affairs in the upcoming legislative session,” said Speaker Souki.

Big Island Police Seeking Information About Robbery at Hot Ponds – Victims Threatened With Machete

Hawaiʻi Island police are seeking information about a reported robbery at a Puna park in July.

 ‘Āhalanui Park Hot Ponds

‘Āhalanui Park Hot Ponds

A 51-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were reportedly approached by three unidentified men at 2 a.m. on July 28 at the pavilion of Ahalanui Park, also called “Hot Pond.”

After demanding the victims’ wallets, one of the suspects got into a physical altercation with the male victim. Another suspect then reportedly threatened the victim with a machete. The suspects fled with cash and the victim’s cell phone.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2871 or

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

West Hawaii Legislators Encourage Public to Attend Healthcare Forum

Officials to Answer Questions About Major Upcoming Healthcare Changes

Community Enterprises, a community group dedicated to holding informative, educational and interactive forums for Kona area residents, is hosting a community health care forum in Kailua-Kona.


State officials and West Hawaii legislators will be in attendance to answer questions on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Participating House Legislators include Health Committee Chair Della Au Belatti, Representative Denny Coffman (Naalehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona), Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala), and Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau).

In a joint statement the lawmakers said, “Over the next year, we will see many changes to the healthcare system and these changes will affect residents throughout Hawaii. This forum will be an opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how its enactment will impact them collectively and individually. We encourage people to take the time to attend the forum.”

Tom Matsuda, Implementation Manager of the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, and Coral Andrews, Executive Director of the Hawaii Health Connector, Hawaii’s new online health insurance marketplace, will be the main presenters. They will also participate in a panel discussion with Senator Josh Green. Representatives from the West Hawaii Community Health Center, Hope Services Hawaii, and the HIV AIDS Foundation who have been trained as Marketplace Assisters regarding the ACA will also be available to provide personal assistance.

The program will be moderated by Sherry Bracken. Pupus and beverages will be served.

WHO:  Representative Denny Coffman, Representative Cindy Evans, Representative Nicole Lowen, Representative Della Au Belatti, Chair of Health Committee

WHAT: West Hawaii Community Healthcare Forum

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 15, 2013,  5:30 – 8:00 P.M.

WHERE:  Makaeo Pavilion (Old Airport Park)

New Traffic Signal at Ane Keohokālole Hwy and Kealakehe Parkway

The new traffic signal at Ane Keohokālole Hwy and Kealakehe Parkway in North Kona is scheduled to be operational Wednesday, October 9.  Flashing lights will prepare motorists for the new signal the day before.

Approaching Ane Keohokālole Highway intersection from Kealakehe Parkway on the North

Approaching Ane Keohokālole Highway intersection from Kealakehe Parkway on the North

Wireless detectors embedded in the roadway surface will detect cars and trucks approaching the intersection and program the traffic signal to optimize traffic flow.

Ane Keohokālole Highway runs parallel to and about a mile mauka of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Hina-Lani Street in Kaloko.  The Highway funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act opened to the public in June 2012.

Puna Sustainability Expo Next Saturday


Puna Sustainabilty Expo

Missile Hits Another Target in Test Off Hawaii

Sailors on the cruiser USS Lake Erie scored another hit Thursday off Hawaii, intercepting a ballistic-missile target over the Pacific Ocean for the second time in about two weeks.

An SM-3 Block 1B interceptor is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. The Lake Erie-launched missile successfully intercepted a complex short-range ballistic missile target. (U.S. Navy photo) Click to Enlarge

An SM-3 Block 1B interceptor is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. The Lake Erie-launched missile successfully intercepted a complex short-range ballistic missile target. (U.S. Navy photo) Click to Enlarge

A Standard Missile-3 launched from the cruiser destroyed the target with its kinetic warhead, according to a Friday news release from the Missile Defense Agency. It’s the fifth-straight successful test for the Aegis ballistic-missile defense system; Lake Erie hit the mark in a Sept. 18 test, while the destroyer Decatur was part of a successful Sept. 10 test alongside an Army missile-defense system.


It’s the 28th successful Aegis BMD test out of 34 tries, according to the MDA release. The system hasn’t missed since a joint Oct. 25, 2012, test that engaged five targets at once — sailors on the destroyer Fitzgerald hit a low-flying cruise missile, but the Aegis system’s interceptor missed its target.

Health Department “Heated Pond DOES NOT Have Unsafe Levels of Bacteria”

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will reopen ‘Āhalanui Park after verifying that the park’s volcanically heated pond does not have unsafe levels of bacteria.

‘Āhalanui Park will reopen Friday morning

‘Āhalanui Park will reopen Friday morning

Swimmers will be welcomed back into the Puna park starting at 7 a.m. Friday, October 4.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health collected water samples from the hot pond and has determined the bacteria levels to be normal for safe swimming areas. The Department of Health has found no evidence to suggest that the pond water is contaminated.

After learning September 26 of media reports that the swimmer was hospitalized, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clayton Honma took immediate action to close the park to ensure the public’s safety. The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks swimmers, park users and the general public for their patience and understanding while the temporary closure was in effect.

The Department of Health wishes to remind the public not to go swimming with an open cut. Signs posted in ‘Āhalanui Park warn against this activity. Open wounds, according to state health experts, should be kept clean, dry and covered to prevent infection, which can come from anywhere, including from bacteria that lives naturally on the human body.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or


Captain Cook Woman in Custody in Connection With Theft of Car

A Captain Cook woman is in police custody in connection with the theft of a car from Kealakekua.

The Acura Legend sedan was removed from Māmalahoa Bypass Road on September 12.

Randi-Keli Banagan

Randi-Keli Banagan

Police investigation led to the arrest Wednesday afternoon (October 2) of 22-year-old Randi-Keli Banagan, who was already in custody at the Kona police cellblock on a contempt of court charge.

Criminal Investigations Section detectives charged her at 1:05 p.m. Thursday with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. Her bail was set at $2,000. She remains at the cellblock pending her court appearance scheduled for Friday (October 4).

Tips From Public Lead to Arrest of Four During Burglary in Progress

Tips from the public Monday (September 30) led to the arrest of a man and three women during a burglary in progress in Hilo.

At 2:45 a.m. Monday, South Hilo patrol officers responded to a report of a suspicious truck at a home on the 2000 block of Ainaola Drive.

Responding officers found a 36-year-old Keaʻau man, Raylad Brown, and three women, 37-year old Linda Kamahele of Hilo, 38-year old Lorilei Brown of Keaʻau and 39-year old Jeraldine Brown of Keaʻau, with a pickup truck containing items from the property and the house.

All four were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock.

Lorilei Brown

Lorilei Brown

Tuesday night, police charged Lorilei Brown with first-degree burglary and third-degree theft. Her bail was set at $51,000.

Kamahele was released pending further investigation.

Raylad Brown and Jeraldine Brown also were not charged in connection with Monday’s burglary pending further investigation.

However, Raylad Brown was charged with shoplifting in an unrelated case. His bail was set at $1,000. Jeraldine Brown was charged with theft and contempt of court in connection with outstanding warrants. Her bail was set at $12,500.

The three Browns were held at the cellblock until their initial court appearances on Wednesday.

Police commend the public for their diligence in reporting suspicious activities in their neighborhood.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Tweets Live During Lockdown as Shots Fired Outside US Capitol Building

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and her office were put on lockdown as gunshots were fired outside the US Capitol Building today in Washington DC.

She tweeted the following during the incident (read in reverse order for chronological sequence):

Gabbard Tweets
Here is a video of the chase that lead up to the shooting:

At a 6:00 pm ET (22:00 GMT) press conference, officials confirmed the car chase suspect is dead and that a child, approximately a year-old, was recovered from the suspect’s vehicle. The female suspect attempted to “breach” an outer-perimeter checkpoint to the White House just prior to a pursuit by police.

Miriam Carey

Miriam Carey

Washington reports the driver has been identified by law enforcement as Miriam Carey.

Coast Guard Establishing Evacuation Plan for Hawaii Islands in Case of Large Tsunami

If a large tsunami ever is about to hit Hawaii, like the one that hit Hilo in 1946, the Coast Guard is implementing an evacuation plan that would ensure the safe evacuation of boats and vessels from Harbors around the state.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Emergency Operations Coordinator John Broward (left) and Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno (right) were instrumental in helping the park achieve its  TsunamiReady/StormReady designation.  NPS Photo/Stephen Geiger

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Emergency Operations Coordinator John
Broward (left) and Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno (right) were instrumental in
helping the park achieve its TsunamiReady/StormReady designation. NPS Photo/Stephen Geiger

There are no public meetings planned by here is some general information on the plan:

The Coast Guard is proposing to establish a permanent regulated navigation area (RNA) and to enforce this proposed regulation only when a tsunami warning is issued for the Hawaiian Islands by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Tsunami warnings require the evacuation of a large number of vessels from their respective harbors. Following the evacuation, these vessels must remain offshore until the emergency situation has passed and the harbors have been deemed safe for reentry.

Past tsunami warnings have created potentially dangerous offshore traffic congestion between commercial and recreational vessel traffic. Because of this, designated vessel traffic staging areas are necessary for a safe and orderly evacuation of Southern Oahu ports.

DATES: Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before November 4, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket USCG-2012-0080. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. The following link will take you directly to the docket:!docketDetail;D=USCG-2012-0080. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For more information click here: Coast Guard Evacuation Plan

Workshop Helps Increase the Appetite for Breadfruit

On Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm the Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will be held at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona. 

Breadfruit Festival

Photo credit: Angela Tillson, Courtesy of the Breadfruit Institute

Sponsored by Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture, the half-day Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will assist Hawai‘i’s breadfruit growers in supplying grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets with high quality breadfruit, and help chefs become more familiar with breadfruit handling and preparation in the kitchen.

Backyard growers and home users of breadfruit will also find the workshop pertinent to home and community use of breadfruit.

Due to the sales and distribution of thousands of breadfruit trees in Hawai‘i, the production of breadfruit is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years—representing millions of dollars in potential retail sales of breadfruit in the next 5-8 years. Breadfruit can also play an increased key role in island food self-sufficiency, as it has been a primary staple food in the Pacific for thousands of years. The workshop teaches how to properly harvest, handle and utilize breadfruit to fully realize its commercial and community value.

Topics and speakers include: “Working with Variety”—an introduction to the three most common breadfruit varieties in Hawai‘i, presented by Dr. Diane Ragone, Director, Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. “Tree to Table”—harvesting techniques, tricks and tools, and postharvest handling, presented by Ian Cole, Collection Manager, Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. “Beyond Sticky”—preparing breadfruit for use in a variety of dishes or for storage, presented by Shirley Kauhaihao, Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu.  “Some Like It Sweet”—making gourmet dishes from ripe breadfruit, presented by John Cadman, Pono Pies. “Going To Market”—marketing and value added products, presented by Andrea Dean and Craig Elevitch, Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network and Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu project. “Food from the Gods” —Breadfruit and the cultural importance in the Pacific Islands, presented by Ku‘ulei Keakealani, Educational Coordinator, Ka‘ūpūlehu Interpretive Center at Kalaemanō.

The Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will be followed by music and a locally grown lunch prepared by volunteers from the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, Hua o Ke Ao, and the West Hawai‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program.

Breadfruit—From Tree to Table is presented by Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden and the Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu—Revitalizing Breadfruit project and is cosponsored by Kamehameha Schools and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. The workshop is $12 per person and lunch by donation.  To register please visit To volunteer at the workshop, to donate breadfruit or for general inquiries, please email or call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.

Federal Worker to Eat Cow Ball for Charity During Government Shutdown

The following post first appeared on the HuffPost Hawaii Site:

After moving to Hawaii in 1993, I’ve had chances to eat things many folks don’t get an opportunity to on the mainland.

Unfortunately, I have a very weak stomach and I don’t take advantage of all the great foods that Hawaii has to offer. Whether a common food, such as raw fish, or a staple such as poi, I just can’t seem to stomach them.

Cow balls getting ready to be cooked.

Cow balls getting ready to be cooked.

The last few years I’ve been invited to the Big Island of Hawaii’s premier food and agriculture event, the Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, where I’ve been able to sample and eat every part of a cow so far, except for, well… it’s BALLS, otherwise known as Rocky Mountain Oysters.

I don’t know why I’ve been so fearful of eating this part of a steer other then the thought of it pretty much disgusts me and churns my stomach. I’m sure I’ve probably had a few cow balls mixed in to my regular hamburger meat at times… it’s just I wouldn’t have known it.

I’ve always believed that if you have a fear of something, you should tackle that fear head-on. Why continue to live in fear of something when you can get over your fear and move past it?

I asked the following question to my friends on Facebook:

1. Have you ever eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters and what did they taste like to you?
2. If you had the chance to eat them in the past…. and didn’t eat them… why didn’t you?

Most of my friends said they tasted like chicken, but then I got this one comment from Leilehua Yuen: “I’ve eaten them prepared very well – tasted a bit like a cross between sweetbreads and brain. And I’ve eaten them prepared poorly – very salty and overcooked so they were too hard to chew. Both times, they had been breaded and deep-fried. Ono (good) with beer!”

Yes, Leilehua said, “BRAIN”!

As I said before, I have to move past my fears and I figured this year at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range I would volunteer to eat a Rocky Mountain Oyster if folks would pitch in for a non-profit charity. I will videotape my tasting and put it on my website.



I didn’t know what type of response I would get but then the offers to watch me choke down a cow ball started coming in. The local automobile magazine, Hawaii Motorhead was the first to pitch in so I offered them the opportunity to pick the non-profit and they have chosen The Food Basket, Inc. (a network that provides food for low income and homeless folks here on the Big Island of Hawaii).

After just a week of posting my offer to swallow down a cow ball and through generous contributions from Hawaii Motorhead, Craig Watanabe, Lucy Denise K. Mossman, Chris Henry, Dustin Acdal, Matt and Kehau Sproat (who don’t want to see the video as it’s too gross for them), Laura Kinoshita of Kinoshita Communications, Mahealani and Kevin Dayton as well as Mark Hinshaw I have now raised over $300 for the island’s food bank.

At the 18th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range, between 6-8 p.m. October 4, is where I will be filmed eating this cow ball… and yes, I will have a big glass of water next to me to wash it down. Wouldn’t it be funny if I actually ended up liking the “oyster”?

Thankfully Rocky Mountain Oysters are not the only thing on the menu as the “Taste” will offer 35 restaurants preparing numerous cuts of grass-fed beef–plus lamb, mutton, goat and feral and domestic pork.

And for all you vegetarians out there who I may have completely disgusted with this post, the Taste of the Hawaiian Range is not all about meat, although to this meat lover it seems like it at times but there will also be over 40 agriculture and educational booths for folks to peruse.

So I ask… how much money would it take for you to eat a Rocky Mountain Oyster?

Want to pitch in on this challenge?????

Kona Crime Prevention Committee Honors October Officer of the Month

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Caroldeen “Nalani” Freitas as “Officer of the Month” for October in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (October 2) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Caroldeen “Nalani” Freitas

Officer Caroldeen “Nalani” Freitas

Freitas, a 10-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department, was honored for her tireless off-duty work running a non-profit organization that helps people in need.

Fifteen years ago, Freitas founded Kaʻanalike, which means “sharing,” and she spends her off-duty hours providing food, clothing, furniture, money and other items to families in need. Sergeant Grad Elarionoff, who nominated Freitas for the award, said Kaʻanalike perpetuates the Spirit of Aloha.

“Nalani chooses to serve the public while on duty and she chooses to serve the public while off duty,” Elarionoff said. “Just the daily efforts of receiving donations and dispersing them to the needy can be overwhelming but for 15 years Nalani has pushed forward, growing her network and providing needed services.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Freitas will be eligible for the next “Officer of the Year” award.