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Kona Charter School Feeds Community

When the only federally-certified food vendor in West Hawai‘i closed down, putting area residents at risk for hunger, a Kona charter school stepped forward to serve.

Kona Pacific Public Charter School (Kona Pacific) in Kealakekua has taken on the challenge of providing a critical community service – feeding impoverished and disadvantaged West Hawai‘i residents. The school’s innovative new program, which has gained statewide attention, offers delicious meals prepared with healthy whole foods and totally free of refined grains or sugars.

WHOLE Food Service lunch serves up smiles at Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

WHOLE Food Service lunch serves up smiles at Kona Pacific Public Charter School

The new program was inspired by an unexpected urgent need in West Hawai‘i.

In late September 2012, Kona Pacific and other community support organizations in West Hawai‘i received a letter from the Hawai‘i County Equal Opportunity Council (HCEOC) stating that HCEOC was ceasing operations as of October 26. The abrupt termination of the HCEOC’s food service, the only federally approved nutrition program for West Hawai‘i, created a significant crisis for the 200 residents dependent on HCEOC for a substantial portion of their day’s nutrition.

These residents included disadvantaged students enrolled at Kona Pacific and other area schools, low-income elderly citizens served by Meals on Wheels and other programs, and young children served by Head Start and Early Head Start.

Without a nutrition program, all of these residents – primarily children and elderly, were suddenly at risk of food insecurity and the resultant health problems and academic challenges.

The administration at Kona Pacific responded by taking over the program in its entirety. With an expedited timeline of only 10 days, the school, with assistance from food service consultant Carleton Gillenwater, had the new program up and running.

“We couldn’t let these most vulnerable members of our community, impoverished children and elders, go hungry,” says Chris Hecht, the executive director of Kona Pacific. “So we took on this program, with a pledge to make it better, healthier and more responsive to the needs of our community.”

The new program, WHOLE (West Hawai‘i Ono Local Eats) Food Service, utilizes some components of the former HCEOC operation, including leasing the same kitchen facilities and hiring existing staff members that bring years of experience, USDA training and certification, and willingness to serve the community.

In addition to those resources, Gillenwater, who serves as a key project consultant, has 24 years of experience – most recently with Crestwood Behavioral Health, where he established a sustainable high quality whole food program for people with severe mental illness

Kona Pacific, which offers a rigorous academic program inspired by Waldorf education and firmly rooted in the land and culture of Hawai‘i, is located on 40 acres of prime agricultural land mauka of Kona Community Hospital. This unique school site is also a major WHOLE Food Service resource, as Kona Pacific is currently developing a biodynamic farm that will be integrated with the food service program to ensure the program’s ongoing access to affordable and high-quality produce.

The WHOLE Food Service program utilizes the standards and regulations of the USDA National School Lunch Program, My Plate, and the Hawaii Department of Health to bring fresh local cuisine to school, health care facilities and community service organizations at a minimum price point.

“We’re also using a lot of creativity in the program to make our food fun,” says Gillenwater. Regular offerings include plate lunches, adobos and curries, tacos and enchiladas, Asian cuisine and vegetarian options.

The new program took on most of HCEOC’s existing clients, and is in the process of expanding the client base, in hopes of serving all of West Hawaii’s at-risk populations with high-quality fresh local food.

To schedule a nutritional presentation explaining the program for your students or clients, or if you are farmer seeking to become a program supplier, please contact:
Chris Hecht
WHOLE Food Service program coordinator
Kona Pacific Public Charter School

Navy’s First Littoral Combat Ship to Make Stop in Hawaii

The U.S. Pacific Fleet announced today that the Navy’s first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) will depart her homeport of San Diego on March 1 and deploy to the Asia-Pacific region.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans/Released)

Making good on a pledge made initially by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Freedom will deploy to Southeast Asia and Singapore for approximately eight months. Marking the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western Pacific for the new LCS platform, Freedom will conduct maritime security operations with regional partners and allies.

“Freedom’s maiden deployment is another clear signal of the Navy’s enduring commitment to maintain security and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific region,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Rotationally deploying our new littoral combat ships improves our warfighting capability and directly supports the Navy’s rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific.

“Even in the face of potential budget cuts, there should be no doubt that the U.S. Pacific Fleet remains on watch and that we will continue to deploy our most capable units forward to operate with our allies and partners.”

After making initial port visits in Hawaii and Guam, Freedom is expected to participate in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore and in select phases of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series in Southeast Asia.

During the first-ever LCS deployment, Freedom will demonstrate her operational capabilities and allow the Navy to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans. Fast, agile, and mission-focused, LCS platforms are designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom will be initially manned by her “Gold” crew of 91 Sailors to include mission package personnel and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter.

“We are genuinely excited about our deployment,” said Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, Freedom’s Gold Crew commanding officer. “The men and women of Freedom have worked extremely hard to get us to where we are today, and I couldn’t be prouder. We’re ready to get out there, work with regional navies and show the world what this ship can do.”

Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Midway through Freedom’s deployment, a crew-swap will be conducted with her “Blue” crew, commanded by Cmdr. Patrick C. Thien.

Walmart Expands Solar Installations in Hawaii

Kahului, Kailua-Kona and Kapolei Walmart stores now receive solar power

Walmart and SunEdison today announced the completion of new solar power installations in the islands at three Walmart stores in Kahului, Kailua-Kona and Kapolei, doubling the total number of stores in Hawaii powered by renewable solar energy. The installations contribute to the company’s broader aspirational goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy. Similar installations are already in operation atop the Honolulu Sam’s Club and Mililani Walmart on Oahu, and the Lihue Walmart on Kauai.

Walmart Kona

During the first full year of production, the 311 kilowatt solar power rooftop system on each store will produce more than 400,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar electricity. Each rooftop system will eliminate 320 metric tons of CO2e annually. That means the three systems combined, over a 10-year period will eliminate 9600 metric tons. One year of operation for each rooftop system is equivalent to removing 67 cars off the road for one year. That means the three systems combined will remove the equivalent of 2,010 cars over a 10-year period.

‘We are committed to making decisions that are not only good for business and the environment, but also allow us to pass on savings to our customers,’ said Rey Armijo, Hawaii Market Manager for Walmart. ‘We’re excited about the expansion of our solar program in the islands and this important step towards our goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy.’

‘Fantastic!  I congratulate Walmart for making this wise decision to reduce their electricity bills and do good for the environment through solar PV,’ said Senate Energy & Environment Committee Chair and State Senator Mike Gabbard.

Learn more about Walmart’s commitment to sustainability at The Green Room and follow us on Twitter (@WalmartGreen) to get updates about sustainability efforts and milestones. Additional information about our commitment to renewable energy is also available on our website.



Wordless Wednesday – Video of Big Island Girl Brittni Paiva Playing With Carlos Santana Last Night

Yesterday, Big Island girl Brittni Paiva got the surprise of her lifetime when she was asked to come up on stage and play with Carlos Santana at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Brittni posted the following on her Facebook page last night:

Brittni Paiva

21st Annual Hawaiian Family afFair on Saturday

Nā Pua No`eau, the Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children, presents its 21st annual Hawaiian Family afFair on Saturday, March 2, from 9-3 p.m. on the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Campus Center Plaza. The event is free and open to the public.

Na Pua Noeau

The theme of this year’s event is Ke Ola Mau (perpetuating our families through health and wellness) and honors Aunty Edna Baldado. Kaho`okele Crabbe will emcee with special guest emcee, former Nā Pua No`eau student and television news reporter, Mileka Lincoln.

Exhibits will highlight the various services available in the areas of health, education and social services such as free health screening and workshops. Participants can also dance for fitness to Zumba, Hip Hop or hula, enjoy live entertainment and visit a variety of food, arts and crafts booths. Children’s activities include a Keiki Fitness Center for ages six months to six years.

The event is produced in partnership with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center, Hui Mālama Ola Nā ‘Ōiwi, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Civic Club of Hilo, INPEACE Keiki Steps, Hawaiʻi Community College, UH Hilo-Kipuka and the UH Hilo Minority Access and Achievement Program.

For more information, call the Nā Pua No`eau office at (808) 974-7678.

National Park Tourism in Hawaii Creates $278 Million in Economic Benefit

Part of $30 billion impact that supports 252,000 jobs nationwide

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 4.7 million visitors to national parks in Hawaii spent $278 million in communities surrounding those parks.  This spending supported 3,330 jobs across the state.

The US Navy provides a free ferry to and from the USS Arizona Memorial

The US Navy provides a free ferry to and from the USS Arizona Memorial

“The national parks in Hawaii are great places to learn about America’s story,” said NPS Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “We attract visitors from across the U.S. and around the world who come here to experience these parks and then spend time and money enjoying the services provided by our neighboring communities and getting to know all that this state has to offer.  The National Park Service is proud to have been entrusted with the care of America’s most treasured places and delighted that the visitors we welcome generate significant contributions to the local, state, and national economy.”

To download the report – which provides park-by-park information – visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2011.   The national parks in Hawaii included in this study are: Haleakala National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohua National Historical Park, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

The information is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service.  For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.  That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)

To learn more about national parks in Hawaii and how the National Park Service works with communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide local recreation opportunities, go to www.nps.gov/hi.

Creating Effective Marketing Publications Workshops Presented by Experienced Educator Mililani Hughes at Hawaii TechWorks

Learn to be your own marketing designer using software readily available on your computer!

Tech Works

Hawaii TechWorks, a program of the East Hawaii Community Development Corporation (EHCDC), is sponsoring a series of three Effective Marketing Publications workshops that will each build upon each other:

  • Workshop 1: Designing a Postcard Reminder, March 6, Wednesday 1-4, $30
  • Workshop 2: Designing Eye-Catching Flyers, March 13, Wednesday 1-4, $30
  • Workshop 3: Designing an Effective Brochure, March 20, Wednesday 1-4, $30

Participants may register for the Workshop events online at: http://easthawaii.org/hawaii-techworks-creating-effective-marketing-publications-workshops/

The workshops are being held at Hawaii TechWorks at 230 Kekuanaoa Street, south of Hilo Shopping Center, in Hilo.

Attendees are encouraged to bring jump drives so that they may take their final products with them, for publishing or printing.

This Workshop series is being presented by Mililani Hughes, an educator with 20+ years of teaching experience who currently resides in Volcano.

For more information, participants may email community@easthawaii.org or visit http://easthawaii.org.