Hawaii House Votes to Move Bills to Conference Committees for Further Debate

The State House of Representatives voted on over a hundred-fifty bills today dealing with education, sustainability, the environment, revitalizing our economy, and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents.  The majority of bills will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will go through for final consideration.


“We look forward to meaningful discussions with our Senate counterparts that will lead to agreements on legislation important to our State and citizens. With just about a month left in this legislative session, I believe that the state budget that we developed and the bills that we crafted have met the objectives that the House set for itself when the session began.  We have engaged the community, developed sound public policies, and approached the state budget in a fiscally conservative manner,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki.

SB1082 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN Repeals various provisions relating to student transportation policy requirements allowing the State to have reasonable flexibility with school bus contracts.

SB1083 HD2 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN Exempts contracts from statutory requirements for wage certification, primarily base salaries for bus drivers.

SB105 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO HEALTH Requires the Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch to establish and maintain a statewide Fall Prevention and Early Detection Program to support the health and well-being of the elderly population.

SB102 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO THE ELDERLY Requires financial institutions to report instances of suspected financial abuse directly to the appropriate county police department as well as the Department of Human Services.

SB106 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO AGING Appropriates funds for programs and services that support the State’s elderly population and establishes a Task Force on Mobility Management.

SB1093 SD2 HD2 RELATING TO SCHOOL READINESS Establishes a School Readiness Program as part of the State’s Early Learning System.

SB1084 SD1 HD1 PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE X, SECTION 1, OF THE HAWAII STATE CONSTITUTION TO PERMIT THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR PRIVATE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the appropriation of public funds for the support or benefit of private early childhood education programs.

SB1095 SD2 HD2 RELATING TO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Establishes the Early Childhood Education Program. This bill is contingent upon the ratification of the constitutional amendment proposed in SB1084 above.

SB237 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOL LANDS Authorizes the Board and the Department of Education to facilitate the redevelopment of public school lands, by cooperating with private enterprises; the various components of federal, state, and county governments; and the public in order to generate income to improve public school facilities and infrastructure to meet the challenges of the twenty first century.

SB563 SD3 HD2 RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII Reconstitutes the form and processes of the Candidate Advisory Council to ensure the appointment of qualified individuals to serve as members of the Board of Regents and effectively lead the University of Hawaii. Several concerns have been raised as to the selection process, which has hampered the work of the Board of Regents Candidate Advisory Council, and this bill seeks to address those concerns.

SB9 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO ANIMALS Provides greater protections for animals by requiring that a person convicted of cruelty to animals in the first or second degree shall, in addition to any fine or imprisonment, be prohibited from possessing or owning any animal involved in the offense for a period of time.

SB978 HD1 RELATING TO THE PENAL CODE Increases protections for pet animals by making the offense of cruelty to animals in the second degree involving twenty-five or more pet animals in any one instance a class C felony.

SB635 SD1 HD3 RELATING TO ANIMAL CRUELTY Establishes felony and misdemeanor offenses for injuring or killing an animal engaged in law enforcement or corrections activities.

SB642 HD2 RELATING TO HEALTH The intent of the bill is to reduce the number of under aged individuals using tobacco products by requiring that tobacco products, including cigarettes, be stored for sale behind a counter in certain retail establishments. The bill also amends the Medical Marijuana Law to, among other provisions, increase the number of plants that can be grown, limits the “adequate supply amount” to 21 or less marijuana plants among registered patients and caregivers, and transfers the Medical Use Marijuana Program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.

SB655 SD2 HD2 RELATING TO HEALTH Protects public health by allowing health care professionals to provide Expedited Partner Therapy by dispensing or prescribing antibiotic medication.  Allows health care professionals to prescribe medication for partners of a patient diagnosed with sexually transmitted disease without first examining them.

SB548 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO TELEMEDICINE Exempts from the licensing requirement to practice medicine in the State any commissioned medical officer employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, who is credentialed by Tripler Army Medical Center to provide telemedicine support. This measure is necessary to ensure that service members who seek medical services at Hawaii National Guard armories on the neighbor islands will be able to receive telemedicine support by qualified medical personnel.

SB668 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO HEALTH Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder treatments.

SB1171 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO THE REVIEW OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROJECTS The purpose of this bill is to protect Hawaii’s historical and cultural heritage while providing flexibility in the review of construction projects. It authorizes the phased review of projects by the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division. The inability to phase review could affect complex multi-year and multi-phase projects.

SB535 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO LABOR Extends certain basic labor rights and protections to domestic workers by prohibiting an employer from discharging or discriminating against a domestic worker in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

SB930 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO THE PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SPACE CENTER FOR EXPLORATION SYSTEMS SUSTAINABLE CONCRETE INITIATIVE Appropriates funds to support the investigative stage of the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) sustainable concrete initiative.  Requires PISCES to provide reports to the Legislature regarding the Sustainable Concrete Initiative and other issues that would support economic development in Hawaii.

SB1256 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO THE PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SPACE CENTER FOR EXPLORATION SYSTEMS Appropriates an unspecified amount for operations, personnel costs, and the purchase of equipment required to support the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) activities. Requires PISCES to submit an annual report to the Legislature.

SB1221 SD2 HD2 RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION Appropriates an unspecified amount for each year of fiscal biennium 2013-2015 for a Program Coordinator and technical support staff member for the proposed international flight training center and associated proposed aeronautical training programs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College.

SB23 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS TO ASSIST A SEAWATER AIR CONDITIONING PROJECT Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds in an unspecified amount to assist Kaiuli Energy, LLC, with financing the planning, design, construction and other cost items of a seawater air conditioning district cooling facility and chilled water distribution system in and around Waikiki, on the island of Oahu.

SB1092 SD1 HD1 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION TO RECAPITALIZE THE HURRICANE RESERVE TRUST FUND Makes a general fund appropriation of an unspecified amount for fiscal year 2014-2015 to recapitalize the hurricane reserve trust fund.

SB1094 SD1 HD1 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION TO THE EMERGENCY AND BUDGET RESERVE FUND Makes a general fund appropriation of an unspecified amount for fiscal year 2014-2015 to recapitalize the emergency and budget reserve fund.

SB1194 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAX Repeals the additional Transient Accommodations Tax imposed by Act 61, SLH 2009 and reestablishes the tax rate at 7.25%. Repeals the daily tax on transient accommodations furnished on a complimentary or gratuitous basis imposed by Act 103, SLH 2011. Makes permanent the caps on Transient Accommodations Tax revenue distributions to the Tourism Special Fund and the counties beginning July 1, 2013.

SB98 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO TAXATION Reduces the tax liability for low-income taxpayers by creating a tax credit that will reduce a taxpayer’s income tax to a minimum amount if the taxpayer’s federal and Hawaii adjusted gross income falls below certain thresholds.

SB498 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES Appropriates funds out of the Emergency Medical Services Special Fund to establish and fund a twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week, special emergency medical response vehicle unit based in Maalaea, Maui.

SB524 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE Appropriates funds to support the objective of food security and self-sufficiency by establishing an agricultural development and food security program. Establishes state economic planning and policy objectives regarding increased demand for, to, and production of locally grown foods and appropriates funds to begin meeting these objectives.

SB606 SD2 HD2 RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII Appropriates an unspecified amount to the University of Hawaii to pay student employees at new or expanded worksites on each campus and for the University of Hawaii at Manoa student employment functions.

SB614 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO PUBLIC WORKS OF ART Requires the Comptroller and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to commission permanent works of art to honor the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and the late U.S. Representative Patsy T. Mink.

SB66 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO THE CODE OF ETHICS Makes the financial disclosure statements of members of certain state boards and commissions available for public inspection and duplication. Clarifies the fair treatment law by separating out certain limitations placed on task force members from those placed on legislators and makes clear that legislators are not prohibited from taking action in the exercise of the legislator’s legislative functions.

SB1357 SD2 HD1 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION Specifies that a government agency does not assume ownership or jurisdiction over a disputed road solely through maintenance activities. This bill would allow for government entities to repair disputed roads that would otherwise not be maintained.

SB19 SD1 HD2 RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY Exempts landlords and lessors who install renewable energy systems on their property and provide, sell, or transmit electricity generated from those renewable energy systems to tenants or lessees on the premises from the definition of public utility.

SB623 SD2 HD3 RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY Replaces the current renewable energy technology systems tax credit with tax credits for solar energy property and wind energy property. Requires the Department of Taxation and Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to report tax credits claimed under the renewable energy technology property tax credit and make recommendations to the Legislature.

SB1087 SD2 HD3 RELATING TO GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE Establishes a regulatory financing structure that authorizes the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) low-cost loans for green infrastructure equipment to achieve measurable cost savings and to meet Hawaii’s clean energy goals.

The House also passed two bills that will go to the Governor for his consideration and approval.  They are:

SB120 SD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES Authorizes the public utilities commission to establish a policy to implement economic incentives and cost recovery regulatory mechanisms to induce and accelerate electric utilities’ cost reduction efforts, encourage greater utilization of renewable energy, accelerate the retirement of utility fossil generation, and increase investments to modernize the State’s electrical grids.

SB1040 RELATING TO ELECTRIC SYSTEMS Directs the Public Utilities Commission to consider the value of implementing advanced grid modernization technology in the State.

Biennial Condominium Association Registration Starts with New Look

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) is kicking off the 2013-2015 Condominium Association registration period with the introduction of a redesigned website and enhanced access.

Registration is available through May 31, 2013 via the upgraded website at https://aouo.ehawaii.gov.

More than 1,650 condominium associations are registered with the DCCA’s Real Estate Branch. Those associations cover more than 157,000 condominium units and their owners in Hawaii.  “We’re pleased to provide upgraded services for Hawaii’s condominium associations and managing companies,” DCCA Director Kealii S. Lopez said. “The new design is clean and user friendly, making the registration process quick and easy, even from a mobile device.”

The website upgrade is part of the Abercrombie administration’s Information Technology (IT) Transformation Initiative, as set forth by the state Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT).

Click for more information

Click for more information

The design elements of this online service follows the new State of Hawaii website template, optimized for touch screen technology and smart phone interfaces by providing larger text, buttons designed for touch response and custom layouts for smaller screens.  They were developed through the eHawaii.gov program, a largely self-funded public-private partnership between the State of Hawaii and Hawaii Information Consortium LLC (HIC), a Hawaii corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment firm NIC Inc. (NASDAQ: EGOV).

Big Island Water Resources Meeting Addresses Freshwater, Coastal Water Resources

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo recently hosted over 40 researchers from universities, local and federal agencies, as well as natural resource managers and community planners to share information about their past, current, or future projects regarding freshwater and coastal water resources on the Big Island at the 2nd Big Island Water Resource Meeting held March 25th on the UH Hilo campus.


Effects of climate change, invasive species, development, and pollution on Big Island water resources, as well as cultural and traditional Hawaiian management use and practices were discussed by presenters, specifically ecohydrology, hydrology, ecology, and biogeochemistry of freshwater and coastal resources.

“This meeting was a great opportunity for the water resource community to share information about their ongoing projects and brainstorm on collaborations that will allow us to more effectively manage and protect our island’s water resources,” said Dr. Tracy Wiegner, associate professor of marine science and event chair. “We hope to make this meeting an annual event.”

UH Hilo, Hawaiʻi EPSCoR, and Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) funded and provided logistical support for the meeting.

Highlights of the presentations can be found at: http://www.epscor.hawaii.edu/content/big-island-water-resources-conference-ii.

Lahaina Receives Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant

he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $11.2 million in competitive grants to 15 states for projects to support recreational boating through the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.  The Fish and Wildlife Service will also release approximately $2.4 million to 25 states, commonwealths, and territories willing to match a smaller, non-competitive grant program known as “BIG Tier 1” funding.

Fish and Wildlife

Grantees use Boating Infrastructure Grant funds to construct, renovate, and maintain facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 10 days or less) that are 26 feet or more in length and used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.

“These grants, funded by fishing and boating enthusiasts, have helped communities across the nation build and enhance recreational boating facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  “This program is a win-win situation for recreational boaters, conservation initiatives and job creation.”

“The BIG Grants have major impacts – not only do cruising boaters get the benefit of facilities that they help to pay for, waterfront communities and their small businesses also get an economic boost from visitors who enjoy boating,” said Thom Dammrich, chairman of the Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and president of the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association.

For example, a BIG grant of nearly $1.5 million, matched with nearly $1 million in non-federal funding, will enable the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to partner with the Bucks County Riverfront Program to install 25 new day slips on the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. The ADA-compliant project, part of a larger effort to improve the waterfront in Bristol Borough, will also include new educational signage, lighting, and breakwater structures to protect the facility.

And in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a grant of nearly $1.3 million, matched by nearly $3.9 million in non-federal funding from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the City of Chattanooga, will go toward the construction or extension of guest dockage at four prominent locations along the south shore of the Tennessee River. Each location will include up to 10 slips, for a total of 40 new slips for eligible vessels.

Funding for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.

Projects receiving competitive grants are:

  • Shoal Bay Marina Redevelopment, Logan County, Ark. – BIG grant: $1,215,841; non-Federal match: $721,175; total project cost: $1,937,016
  • City of Rio Vista Guest Dock, Rio Vista, Calif. – BIG grant: $225,000; non-Federal match: $75,000; total project cost: $300,000
  • Thamesport Marina Transient Docks, New London, Conn. – BIG grant: $1,430,975; non-Federal match: $502,775; total project cost: $1,933,750
  • Gulfport Casino Dock Redevelopment, Gulfport, Fla. – BIG grant: $112,613; non-Federal match: $268,137; total project cost: $380,750
  • Madeira Beach Municipal Marina Redevelopment, Madeira Beach, Fla. – BIG grant: $322,516; non-Federal match: $499,550; total project cost: $822,066
  • Lahaina Roadstead Offshore Mooring Installation, Lahaina, Hawaii – BIG grant: $248,500; non-Federal match: $248,500; total project cost: $497,000
  • Belfast Harbor Waterfront Rehabilitation, Belfast, Maine – BIG grant: $120,897; non-Federal match: $120,897; total project cost: $241,795
  • Annapolis City Dock Improvement, Annapolis, Md. – BIG grant: $1,500,000; non-Federal match: $2,703,478; total project cost: $4,203,478
  • Seaport Landing Marina Transient Boat Access, Lynn, Mass. – BIG grant: $267,700; non-Federal match: $100,000; total project cost: $367,700
  • Port Austin State Harbor Dock Renovation, Port Austin, Mich. – BIG grant: $747,250; non-Federal match: $747,250; total project cost: $1,494,500
  • Ironton Riverfront Boat Ramp and Docks, Ironton, Ohio – BIG grant: $636,000; non-Federal match: $212,634; total project cost: $848,634
  • Port of Arlington Marine Fuel Station and Utility Upgrade, Arlington, Ore. – BIG grant: $190,191; non-Federal match: $129,809; total project cost: $320,000
  • Bristol Borough Waterfront Improvement, Bristol, Pa. – BIG grant: $1,492,195; non-Federal match: $999,355; total project cost: $2,491,550
  • Ann Street Public Pier Project, Newport, R.I. – BIG grant: $740,000; non-Federal match: $260,000; total project cost: $1,000,000
  • Downtown Chattanooga Transient Docks, Chattanooga, Tenn. – BIG grant: $1,285,868; non-Federal match: $3,857,607; total project cost: $5,143,475
  • Deltaville Marina Transient Pier, Deltaville, Va. – BIG grant: $743,891; non-Federal match: $261,367; total project cost: $1,005,258

For more information on each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIG_Funding.htm

“Plants of Hula: Na Mea Kanu o Ka Hula” in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

On Saturday, April 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia and Tim Tunison lead the field seminar “Plants of Hula: Na Mea Kanu o Ka Hula” in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia (seated) is the kumu hula (hula teacher/master) of Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu. On Sunday, April 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Valencia and botanist Tim Tunison team up for a cultural and scientific exploration of the plants used in hula.

Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia (seated) is the kumu hula (hula teacher/master) of Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu. On Sunday, April 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Valencia and botanist Tim Tunison team up for a cultural and scientific exploration of the plants used in hula.

“Please join us for this exciting program, following on the heels of the Merrie Monarch Festival, in which a kumu hula (hula teacher/master) and botanist team up for a cultural and scientific exploration of the plants used in hula,” stated Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Elizabeth Fien.

From kumu hula Valencia, learn about hula plants as kino lau, manifestations of Hawaiian deities in plant form (as his Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu understands them).

“There are plants for the hula altar, the kuahu, which include maile, ‘ie‘ie, ‘ilima, lehua, and halapepe.  Plus, there are adornments—mele hula plants that are worn by the dancers—which include maile, ‘ilima, and lehua, plus palapalai, ‘a‘ali‘i, pukiawe, and ‘olapa,” Valencia explained.

Participants meet at the Kilauea Visitor Center.  The day begins with a welcoming oli (chant), followed by a short walk to the kahua hula—the hula platform that overlooks Halema‘uma‘u Crater, home to the volcano goddess Pele.

Next the group will drive to Kilauea Overlook to discuss cultural protocols used when picking plants—and to walk among native species in their natural environment, with scientific information and insight shared by botanist Tunison.

“After lunch, we’ll visit Tunison’s property in Volcano Village, where he is restoring the land to its native ecosystem.  We’ll get a hands-on lesson in native plant propagation, plus receive plant seedlings to grow at home,” said Valencia.

Valencia was born and raised in Honolulu, though his ‘ohana (family) was originally from Hilo.  He established Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu in Honolulu in 1991, and currently maintains his halau (school) in Honolulu as well as Volcano.

Tunison worked for the National Park Service for over 30 years.  He was a Botanist at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park from 1982-1994 and Chief of Resource Management from 1995-2006, when he retired.  Since then, Tunison has taught field botany, native plant propagation, and forest restoration.

This event is presented by the Hawai‘i Volcanoes Institute, a program of the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a non-profit organization.  Program cost is $45 for Friends members and $65 for non-members.  Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are $25.  Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.

To register for the “Plants of Hula” field seminar, call 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or reasonable modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should email institute@fhvnp.org or call 985-7373 as soon as possible, but no later than 5 days prior to the program start.


Big Island Police to Hold Community Meeting in Honoka’a Next Week

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will hold a community meeting on Tuesday, April 16, from noon to 2 p.m. in the conference room at the North Hawaiʻi Education and Research Center in Honokaʻa.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss police-related concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in the Hāmākua District.

The Hāmākua event continues district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific community concerns, they ask that participation in this meeting be limited to persons who live or work in the Hāmākua District.

Those interested in participating but unable to attend may e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

For more information, you may call Captain Richard Miyamoto at 775-7533.


New Activities Offer Unique Fun at Ka’u Coffee Festival

Three new adventures join a lineup of coffee-related activities at the 2013 Ka’u Coffee Festival April 26-May 5. They include a Ka’u Mountain Water System Hike, a Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation and Ka’u Star Gazing atop Mt. Makanau.

The Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike is 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 and explores flume systems of the sugar cane era and development of hydroelectric power in Ka’u. John Cross, former operations manager of the Ka’u Sugar Company, leads the moderate-to-difficult hike that covers “undulating and rocky terrain” with an elevation gain from 3,100 to 3,500 feet. It also traverses suspension bridges.

Water flume system photo by Andrew Hara

Water flume system photo by Andrew Hara

“Participants will see the horizontal ash bed irrigation tunnels unique to Ka’u that were bored in the 1920s to bring water down the mountains to the sugar cane fields,” notes Cross. “These tunnels are now being renovated to serve coffee and agriculture under cultivation in the Wood Valley area.” Cross adds that the area is home to a variety of native birds: oma‘o, ‘i‘iwi and ‘apapane. The hike is limited to 30 and lunch is provided for $35. Register at 808-928-0550.

Coffee & Cattle Day is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, May 3 and includes an all-you-can-eat buffet at Aikane Plantation. Attendees will see how this Pahala-area agricultural operation grows coffee, grass-fed beef, protea, fruit, taro and more.  Aikane traces its coffee history back to 1894 when J.C. Searle planted the first coffee trees in Ka’u—which are still alive and used to propagate offspring. Admission is $25 and limited to 100. Register at aikaneplantation@hawaii.rr.com or 808-927-2252.

Ka’u Star Gazing atop Mt. Makanau is 5:30-10 p.m. Friday, May 3 and led by John Cross and Shawn Laatsch, planetarium manager of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. Attendees will enjoy a guided interpretation of the night sky from the 1,800-foot summit above Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. Participants will also be privy to panoramic views of the Ka’u region extending to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and learn about the area’s history and astronomy’s relevance to Hawaiian culture.

Stargazing photo by Andrew Hara

Stargazing photo by Andrew Hara


Stargazing includes four-wheel drive transport up to the summit from Ka’u, coffee, snacks and a souvenir laser light pointer.  Limited to 35 participants, admission is $35.  Phone 808-928-0550 to signup.

Debuting at last year’s festival, Simply Elegant: the Ka’u Farmers Table is 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at The Inn at Kalaekilohana. Featuring Chefs Kenny Joyce and Patty Fujimoto, the multi-course dinner showcases Ka’u’s agricultural products. The menu includes ahi tartare, Caprese salad with homemade mozzarella, Mala‘ai Ratatouille, Pahala corn polenta, Kuahiwi Pelehu beef, coffee shortbread tart, Ka‘u coffee ice cream, Ka‘u coffee espresso caramel and Ka’u estate coffee.  The $75 admission includes a commemorative coffee cup. Advance reservations only at 808-939-8052, visit www.kau-hawaii.com.

Also in its second year, the Triple C Recipe Contest returns to Ka’u Coffee Mill in Pahala with competition in cookies, candies and crackers, all made with Ka’u coffee. Contest fun is 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 28 and includes free coffee tasting, entertainment by Keoki Kahumoku and the ‘Ukulele Kids and tours of the Ka’u Coffee Mill. Recipe judging is 2 p.m. followed by tasting. The contest offers a $500 grand prize and other cash prizes. Entry info is posted at www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550. Pick up at entry form and free coffee for your entry at the mill, 96-2694 Wood Valley Road.

Java-jumping festival fun culminates the weekend of May 4-5 at the Pahala Community Center. On Saturday, enjoy the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, coffee tastings and farm tours. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience coffee tasting is $5; farm tours are $20. On Sunday, learn about the coffee industry at the annual Ka’u Coffee College. Admission is free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

A popular hometown event opens this year’s festival, the Miss Ka’u Coffee Pageant at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 26 at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. Advance tickets are $10 by calling 808-928-8558.

Ka’u Coffee Festival

Founded in a coffee tradition hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of sugar employees who lost their jobs in 1996—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin. Serving as an economic stimulus for the rural Ka‘u region, the festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow the Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and Twitter or call 808-929-9550.


Big Island Police Searching for Folks Responsible for Stealing Iron Materials in North Kohala

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for stealing iron materials in North Kohala or for information about the location of the stolen goods.
Iron Goods
Sometime between the beginning of February and the second week in March, the items were stolen from a farm in Kohala Estates. Taken were 50 18-foot-long pieces of galvanized angle iron weighing roughly 200 pounds each and six spools of quarter-inch galvanized cable. The value of the stolen materials is estimated at $6,200.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Officer Julie Edmondson at 889-6540 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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.


Earth & Ocean Family Health and Fun Fair – Kona

The Earth & Ocean Family Health and Fun Fair is a free event for the whole family designed to showcase and explore our unique island treasures.  Discover how you can support our native habitats, eat healthy and increase our island sustainability through fun, interactive games and crafts, traditional Hawaiian cultural practices, health screenings, keiki identification registration and more.

Al Harrington

Al Harrington

Enjoy locally made food and entertainment. Meet Al Harrington, original Hawaii Five-O cast member (Det. Ben Kokua) and spokesperson for Aloha Care.  Bring the whole family to the Fair on Saturday, April 20th from 10 am to 3 pm at Kealakehe High School Gymnasium and Grounds.

Presented by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, West Hawaii Community Health Center , Kealakehe High School and University of Hawaii Sea Grant College. Sponsored by Fair Wind, AlohaCare , Hawaii Forest & Trail and West Hawaii Today.  Free to the public. For more information, call 808.329.1758, email info@kona-kohala.com, or visit www.kona-kohala.com.



KSBE Hawaii Campus Students of the Month

Proud parent moment!