Ala Moana Hotel Announced as the Official Hotel for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards – After Party Announced

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (“HARA”) is proud to announce that Ala Moana Hotel – The Kamaaina Favorite, is “The Official Hotel of the 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and Music Festival,” happening May 25-27, 2012, at the Hawaii Convention Center. The Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (“Hokus”) is the culminating event of the month-long Mele Mei 2012, celebrating the unique music of Hawaii.

The celebration will continue as the Ala Moana Hotel’s Pakele Lounge hosts the Hokus After-Party on May 27th, from 10 p.m.~midnight, immediately following the 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Ala Moana Hotel is extending special Na Hoku Hanohano room rates starting at $109 in the Kona Tower for anyone who is attending the Hokus or Festival, making the hotel not only convenient, but also an excellent deal.  To qualify for the rates, available May 23-30, 2012, guests must simply show their I.D. badge, ticket or receipt for any of the events to the front desk before checking out.  Room rates are nightly for single/double occupancy, plus tax. Rooms are subject to availability.

“Ala Moana Hotel is proud to be the official hotel sponsor of this prestigious event,” said Marty Milan, Director of Sales and Marketing for the hotel staff is excited and looking forward to extending our hospitality to honorees and the many fans, friends and ohana who will stay with us and extend their support.  I hope they don’t mind if we’re ‘starstruck’.”

“We are extremely honored and grateful to have the Ala Moana Hotel, once again, as a valued partner of the Na Hoku Hanohano Music Festival and Awards,” said Kuuipo Kumukahi, HARA president.  “We all love staying there – not only for its convenient location, but also for its well-appointed rooms and the gracious hospitality of its staff.”

Ala Moana Hotel was the original home of the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 1978.  The big winners that year were Melveen Leed and Cecilio & Kapono.  The Brothers Cazimero, Palani Vaughan and The King’s Own, and Herb Ohta were also winners.  Eventually, the Hokus grew too large for the Ala Moana Hotel.  Its current home is the 35,000 square foot Kalakaua Ballroom at the Hawaii Convention Center, across the street from the hotel.  The Ala Moana Hotel enjoys this renewed relationship with the Hokus – a kind of “homecoming,” returning to its roots.

Applications for Hawaii Island Advisory Council Positions Announced

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupahoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i Island.

Laupahoehoe Advisory Council

LAC members are expected and encouraged to provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua District (Laupahoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve). On the windward side of Hawai‘i Island, this includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both Forest Reserve land as well as a Natural Area Reserve.

The LAC consists of 14 members with two members representing each of the following categories:

Cultural Resources, Natural Resource Management, Recreation (including hunters), Education, Laupahoehoe Community, Hawai‘i Community at Large, and Scientific Research. Members of the LAC serve a 2- or 3-year term (staggered within each category).

Applicants are now being sought to fill the open scientific research seat. These applicants should have a background in forest ecology or other natural resources related research field and an interest in serving  the Laupahoehoe community as a representative. The LAC meets bi-monthly in Laupahoehoe on Hawai‘i Island from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of odd months.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council

PAC members are expected and encouraged to provide guidance to DLNR for state lands in North Kona, including the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Bird Sanctuary, Kīholo State Park Reserve, and the makai lands of Pu‘u Anahulu. Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a is on the leeward side of Hawai‘i Island on the northern flank of Hualalai and includes tropical dry and wet forests, grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds. The greater ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a is 40, 711 acres of state land and includes the Forest Bird Sanctuary, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, and Kīholo State Park Reserve.

The PAC consists of 14 members in the following categories: Natural Resource Specialist and Recreation Use Specialist (three members each, including hunting interests), Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu Representative and Grazing Specialist (two members each), Cultural Expert, Neighboring Landowner, Business/Ecotourism Specialist, and Grant Writing Expertise/Coastal Zone Management (one member each).  Members of the PAC serve for a 2- or 3-year term.

Applicants are being sought to fill two positions, one of each in the following categories 1) neighboring landowner, and 2) grazing specialist. All applicants should have an appropriate background in the category area as well as an interest in representing community stakeholders related to their respective categories.

The PAC meets quarterly at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve in North Kona on Hawai‘i Island.

Individuals who are interested in serving on either the Laupahoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils may submit an application. Applications will be reviewed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected Advisory Council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

Applications must be received by May 30, 2012. Application forms including submittal instructions can be found at Hard copy applications are also available at the Hilo DOFAW office.

For more information on either the Laupahoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils and the application process, please contact DOFAW Branch Manager Roger Imoto at (808) 974-4221.

Public Invited to the Mele Mei 2012 Opening Luncheon and Concert Performances

The public is invited to the Opening Luncheon for Mele Mei 2012 at the Willows Restaurant on Friday, April 27th from 11:00 – 3:00.

General Admission is $60.00 and  $52 for HARA Members.

County of Hawaii to Roll Out New Electric Fleet Tomorrow

The County of Hawai‘i is ready to roll out its new electric vehicle fleet. Mayor Billy Kenoi will have the honor of plugging in one of the five 2012 Chevy Volt Hybrid Electric Vehicles at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24 at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. The vehicles will be blessed during this event.

2012 Chevy Volt Hybrid Electric

These plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a great fit for Hawai‘i County, where trips can be as long as 200 miles one way. For trips under 30 miles, the vehicles can run solely on battery power charged by the West Hawai‘i Civic Center’s photovoltaic array. A gasoline-powered generator with a nine-gallon tank will allow an additional range of 300-400 miles, depending on topography.

Based on their past usage of County vehicles, it is anticipated that the new vehicles will be issued to the Departments of Parks and Recreation, Planning, and the Office of Housing and Community Development. The other vehicles are scheduled to be assigned to the Mayor’s Office and available for official use by any department. These vehicles are black and feature electric-vehicle license plates. They will be marked with the required County seal.

While each vehicle costs $47,000, the County will offset that price with a $4,500 credit per car through the state’s EV-Ready rebate program. The cost of each vehicle also includes a bumper-to-bumper warranty for seven years.

Hawai‘i Island pays some of the highest fuel costs in the United States. In fiscal year 2011, the County’s transportation fuel bill was $7 million. These prices are likely to rise in the future, so making this transition to more efficient vehicles will help control these escalating costs.

Prior to purchase of the vehicles, the county received a grant from Better Place Inc. to have three charging stations installed at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. Each charging station can handle two electric vehicles at a time. The Chevy Volt typically takes 3.5 hours for full charge. Available charging stations will be open for public use during regular business hours.

The photovoltaic array at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center has the capability to provide energy to the building and charge up to 30 EVs or 60 PHEVs. It is anticipated that additional charging stations will be added to maximize the use of the 250 kW photovoltaic array.

An October 2011 report issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Evaluation of West Hawai‘i Civic Center’s Transportation and Energy Use,” supports with economic analysis the integration of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles into the County fleet. The County has also worked with HELCO to coordinate vehicle deployment as well as charging station infrastructure.

Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community Implements Program to Help Practices Transition to Patient Centered Medical Homes

Starting this month, the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) is implementing a physician practice redesign program to transform up to 30 independent Primary Care Physician practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).

Melinda Nugent, clinical program manager for HIBC, will lead the effort and collaborate with quality improvement coaches from the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii (NKFH). Other partners in the program include North Hawai‘i Community Hospital and the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA). Practice transition to the PCMH model is tied to a new strategy for health care reimbursements. The program will use a curriculum developed by TransforMED, an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) company.

“Introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967, the PCMH model has become the national standard for primary care delivery,” said Susan B. Hunt, MHA, project director and CEO of HIBC. “HIBC aims to help physicians fast-track the transformation of their primary care practices at no charge. The PCMH includes the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and is designed to improve care quality and efficiency, help people take an active role in improving their own health and reduce costs in the long term.”

Each of the 30 Hawai‘i Island practices participating will receive, at no charge:

  • A baseline practice assessment
  • A customized practice transformation plan
  • Access to 10 webinars that cover topics such as pre-visit planning, care coordination, and data recording and documentation
  • Admission to quarterly collaborative learning sessions with other participants
  • Recognition as a PCMH upon successful completion of the program

Enrollment is on a first-come basis. As of April 23, spots are still available. Primary Care Physicians interested in signing up may contact Melinda Nugent at (808) 933-8559 or

Continue reading

RedBull Air Drop – Largest Stunt of Its Kind In History

The RedBull Air Drop has begun!  Of course Hawaii will be left out of this stunt.

Red Bull is giving wings to millions of students around the world—the largest stunt of its kind in history.

Wings Worldwide – 400 campuses, 55 countries, 6 continents…1 day.


Related Links:

Volcano Rain Forest Tours to Begin

Are you looking for an informative weekend activity aimed at revealing the splendors of Hawaii’s rare natural resources? Volcano Art Center (VAC) announces the addition of Saturday Ni‘aulani Rain Forest guided tours beginning May 19, 2012, from 11 am to noon at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road in Volcano Village.

A visiting nature enthusiast strolls along the Ni‘aulani Nature Trail, examining a natural arbor formed by fallen and merged endemic Hawaiian tree ferns

These new Saturday tours are formatted the same as the Monday Ni‘aulani Nature Walk, running strong since 2006. The weekend option is geared toward better accommodating residents’ schedules and visitors driving from the leeward side of the island. The 1/7-mile Ni‘aulani Nature Trail is an easy stroll. Bring your rain jacket, as mist is characteristic in the area. No reservations are required, but are requested for groups of five or more people.

Attendees learn of the historic importance of the Ni‘aulani Rain Forest, designated a Forest Reserve in the 1920’s in order to protect the rare old-growth native tree canopy. Volunteer guides help visitors understand the basics of Hawaiian rain forest ecology as well as the evolution and traditional uses of native plants and animals within them. Also shared are VAC-led efforts in successfully bolstering the biodiversity of Ni‘aulani, marking the unique setting as a tangible example of native forest restoration.

Come and see why VAC received the 2011 Betty Crocker Landscape Award, and why the Ni‘aulani Rain Forest now has a Warrior Marker signifying it as a place of significant scenic importance in the state of Hawai‘i.

These walks are a part of a collection of programs which help perpetuate the Ni‘aulani Rain Forest and are funded in part by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Natural Resources Program and a restoration grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If you need more information, please contact Volcano Art Center at 967-8222 or

Ka‘ū Coffee Festival Starts Local, Thinks Global

Small businesses join event providing new activities, mainland coffee experts coming to the Big Island.

Everyone wants a piece of it, or more appropriately, a cup of it.

The continued success of Ka‘ū coffee—whose attributes continue to garner worldwide and statewide coffee awards—is attracting small, local business to expand the 2012 festival by hosting additional events. It’s also bringing coffee industry experts to the remote community of Pahala to meet Ka‘ū coffee growers, tour their operations and offer advice during the 4th annual Ka‘ū Coffee Festival, May 5-6 and 12-13.

The festival's reverse trade mission enables Mainland coffee experts to meet and mingle with local growers during the ho"olaule"a on May 12 and Coffee College May 13 at the Pahala Community Center. Photo by Fern Gavelek.

Local Bizs Key to Expanding Festival

Seven Big Island businesses with Ka‘ū roots are expanding the festival to an additional weekend by presenting coffee-themed events May 5 and 6. While the festival has enjoyed the financial support of local businesses in the past, festival organizer Chris Manfredi notes “this year marks a turning point, with businesses becoming official festival venues and entrepreneurs actively promoting Ka‘ū through direct participation.”

During the Coffee Experience on May 12, U.S, Barista Champion Pete Licata will offer guided coffee tastings. Photo by Fern Gavelek.

Kalaekilohana Bed and Breakfast on South Point Road in Na’alehu is the location of the inaugural Ka‘ū Farmers’ Table: A Feast for the Senses 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 5. Ka‘ū resident Chef Morgan Starr of Mi’s Italian Bistro in Captain Cook will prepare a locally sourced, five-course dinner, followed by a coffee and dessert bar featuring Ka‘ū coffee prepared four different ways. The event is sponsored by Hana Hou restaurant in Na‘alehu and the new Mi’s Wine and Cheese Shop in Kailua-Kona. Tickets are $100 and just a few seats are available at press time.

The inaugural Triple C Recipe Contest is 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6 and hosted by the Ka‘ū Coffee Mill on Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The event coincides with the mill’s grand opening for its visitor center. Professional, amateur and student entrants can vie in cookie, cracker and candy categories to become a signature Ka‘ū Coffee Mill product. The event is free to entrants and attendees, with limited tastings, and co-sponsored by Pahala Plantation Cottages, OK Farms and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.  Details:

The Coffee College on May 13 is geared for growers and offers expertise in roasting, marketing, trade standards and dealing with the coffee bearer borer. Photo by Ralph Gaston.

“If we can continue to develop partnerships like this with businesses in our district, it will help make the festival sustainable,” adds Manfredi, of Ka‘ū Farm and Ranch Co.  “Like the success of Ka‘ū Coffee, the festival has grown every year. These new partnerships are a reflection of that growth.”

Reverse Trade Mission

In its second year, the festival brings specialty coffee industry leaders to the state’s largest agricultural district to “taste and see” what Ka‘ū coffee is all about. First, they will experience Ka‘ū coffee during community festival activities Saturday, May 12.

“These representative from the Mainland coffee industry will take farm tours, get in on guided coffee tastings with U.S. Barista Champion Pete Licata and also meet and visit our individual growers at friendly, festival vendor booths,” explains Manfredi. Open to the public, these activities are 9 a.m,-4 p.m. and headquartered at the Pahala Community Center.

Among the growers offering festival booths will be the 2012 Coffee of the Year winners by the prestigious Specialty Coffee Association of America: Will and Grace Tabios with their Rising Sun coffee, Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee and Francis and Trinidad Marques of Ali‘i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee.

On Sunday, May 13, visiting coffee experts will share “invaluable insight” on roasting, packaging and marketing coffee to Mainland and international consumers during the 9 a.m.-noon Ka‘ū Coffee College. The educational sessions, which will include a presentation on direct trade standards and an overiew of Starbucks, are geared to Ka‘ū coffee farmers at the Pahala Community Center.

The College is also tackling agricultural concerns. Dr. Robert Hollingsworth, research entomologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, will present strategies for optimizing the cost effectiveness of Beauveria bassiana for controlling the coffee berry borer.

“This year’s reverse trade mission participants include Midwest native Anthony Carroll, manager of Coffee Quality for Starbucks, and Jeff Taylor, founder of PT’s Coffee Roasting Company in Topeka, Kansas,” details Manfredi.

Carroll, who taste-tests up to 100 cups of coffee per day, ensures consistency of Starbuck’s core coffees and seasonal favorites. He also develops new coffee blends and seeks out rare and exotic single-origin coffee to add to Starbuck’s exclusive Reserve Program. Last fall, Ka‘ū coffee was featured in New York City and select markets through Starbuck’s Reserve menu.

A former award-winning photojournalist, Taylor is known as one of the top micro-roasters in the nation. His PT Coffee Roasting Company was recently selected to represent the U.S. in the World Roasting Championship. Each spring, Taylor travels to coffee-producing areas to personally select the finest coffees available for roasting and selling throughout the U.S.

For details on all four festival events, visit and follow the Ka‘ū Coffee Festival on Facebook and Twitter at kaucoffeefest.

The Ka‘ū Coffee Festival is designed to raise awareness of Ka‘ū and its growers as a world-class coffee growing origin. Ka‘ū burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous awards over several years. These awards highlight the unique combination of people and place that help make Ka‘ū coffee a favorite across the globe. For more information, visit or call 808-929-9550. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. The Festival is supported in part by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.