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County of Hawaii Sponsors a Family Financial Empowerment Day in Kona On Friday

From the Mayors Office:

The County of Hawai’i invites Hawai’i Island communities to attend the Family Financial Empowerment Day in Kona on March 25th from 10am to 3pm, at the West Hawai’i Civic Center.  This no-cost event will feature presentations and one-on-one counseling sessions on free tax preparation, credit, budgeting, federal student aid (FAFSA) application, financial wellness, and a variety of resources.

Today, Hawai‘i residents face significant life challenges:

  • 25% of Hawai’i County Household lives in asset poverty
  • 25% of Hawai’i County Household are enrolled in food stamp program (SNAP)
  • 54% of Hawai’i County Residents have subprime credit scores
  • 49% of Hawai’i County homeowners are cost burdened (pay more than 30% of their income)

Hawai’i has one of the lowest annual wages and highest living cost in the nation.

According to RealtyTrac, Hawai’i Island reports a total of 2,535 family homes going through foreclosures.  Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has reported that over $40 million in tax credits went unclaimed by Hawai`i families in 2008-09.

The Family Financial Empowerment Event will provide the opportunity to help local families claim earned income tax, child tax, and education credits, mobilize resources to address foreclosure and receive free credit counseling, begin financial planning f or post-secondary education and small business start-up, and learn about credit reports, bankruptcy, financial wellness and unemployment resources and much more.

Ka Hana No’eau, Partners in Development Foundation held a Financial Empowerment Day at the Kohala Intergenerational Center in February.  “I came [to the event] because members of my family want to go to college, and college costs a lot of money,” said Jeffrey Coakley from Kapa`au.  “After sitting down with the FASFA specialist, I found out that this was possible.  It’s a financial relief to know that [my son] can go to college.”

“We appreciate the help.  It’s a one-stop-shop!” said Deirdre and Jason Ahsing from Kapaau.

This event is sponsored by the County of Hawai’i , Department of Research and Development, in partnership with the Ho`owaiwai Asset Building Network members and the Hawai`i Alliance f or Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED).

Hawaiian Cultural Experts Offer Insights To Hospitality Industry Managers and Employees

Presented April 6-7 by the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA).

Media Release:

Hawaiian cultural experts Peter Apo, Margo Harumi Mau Bunnell, Kumu Keala Ching, and Donna Wheeler, will present valuable insights into Hawaiian culture for hospitality industry managers and employees at the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) Ola Hawai’i workshops April 6-7.

The speakers will share knowledge on a range of topics including “Understanding Hawaiian Values” and “Where to Find Real Hawaiian Culture.”

  • Peter Apo is a songwriter-musician, President of Mamo Records and a Trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He was a founding member of NaHHA and was Special Assistant on Hawaiian Affairs to former Governor Ben Cayetano.
  • Margo Mau Bunnell is the Sales and Operations Manager for Queens MarketPlace at Waikoloa Beach Resort and CEO of the Moku O Keawe Foundation.
  • Kumu Keala Ching is a Hawaiian cultural educator, composer and spiritual advisor to Hawaiian organizations. He is fluent in the Hawaiian language and is Kumu Hula for Ka Pa Hula Na Wai Iwi Ola.
  • Donna Wheeler has over thirty years of experience in the Hawaii hotel industry having served in operations, sales and marketing capacities, representing over 60 hotels and resorts on the Hawaiian islands of O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Hawai’i Island and Moloka’i; as well as New Zealand, Guam, Saipan, and Thailand.

The two-day learning experience will explore the value of hosting, managing visitor information and sales and marketing strategies with a special focus on Hawaiian traditions and culture.

Also speaking at the workshop will be:

  • Veronica Puanani Claveran – Director of Rooms, Keauhou Beach Resort
  • Owana Wilcox-Likiaksa – Human Resources Coordinator, Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Joann Nanea Perreira-Machiguchi – Catering Sales Manager, Hawai`i Prince Hotel
  • April Ke`ala Kadooka – Learning Manager, Four Seasons Hualalai

The Ola Hawai’i workshop will be held on April 6-7 from 9am – 5pm at the Keauhou Beach Resort, Keauhou , Hawai’i Island.

Enrollment is limited and participants need to register by March 28. The cost, which includes lunch on both days, is $60.

For more information, visit nahha.com

For registration or questions, contact Pamela Davis-Lee at 808-628-6375 or pam@nahha.com

The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) is dedicated to the promotion and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture and traditions. Its mission is to promote Hawaiian culture, values and traditions in the workplace through consultation and education, and to provide opportunities for the Native Hawaiian community to shape the future of tourism.

Big Island Construction Workers Needing Employment Scammed

Media Release:

Big Island police are warning the public about a scam that preys on construction workers who need employment.

Orlando J. Paez aka Kimo Manu

Police know of three victims on the Big Island. In those cases, the suspect put out the word that he had jobs for persons willing to travel to the mainland. He asked for advance payment for union dues and air transportation, promising the victims that they would receive a cash advance and start working as soon as they arrived. The job offers and airline reservations turn out to be bogus.

Police want to question 44-year-old Orlando J. Paez, also known as Kimo Manu. He is described as 5-foot-9, 260 pounds with a tan complexion, dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. His last known addresses were in Honolulu and Oregon but he may be recruiting victims on other islands.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts or anyone who received a similar bogus job offer call Detective Jason Berryhill at 326-4646, extension 275, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Councilwoman Smart on Tonight and Tomorrows Community Meetings

Media Release:


This is a friendly reminder that the District 6 Matters meetings are coming up soon tonight and tomorrow and we will be having discussions on Hawai‘i Island’s solid waste issues with special guest Terin Gloor, Hawai‘i Island’s Chief Engineer for the Solid Waste Division for the Department of Environmental Management, at the following times and places:

Topic: Solid Waste

  • March 23 – 7:00 PM – Ocean View Community Center
  • March 24 – 7:00 PM – The Cooper Center, Volcano

I look forward to seeing you all soon!


Brittany Smart – District 6 – Upper Puna, Ka‘ū, South Kona

Wordless Wednesday – Ho’olaule’a and Rumble in the Jungle

Pahoa is gonna be happening this Saturday! Montessori Country School’s annual Fundraiser Hoolaulea in the morning:
And then a “Rumble in the Jungle” at the Pahoa Skate Park in the afternoon: