Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Launches New Artist-in-Residence Program

In conjunction with the National Parks Arts Foundation, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will launch its first Artist-in-Residence program in May. The debut artist will be Master of Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas.

Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas and Uncle George Na‘ope

Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas and Uncle George Na‘ope

The artist, whose bold and beautiful feather work is currently on display at the Volcano House, will provide an After Dark in the Park exhibit and discussion about his artwork on Tues., May 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Admission is free, but park entrance fees apply.

The Artist-in-Residence program continues the legacy of the famous volcano-inspired artists, and provides a creative setting in the park, said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

San Nicolas grew up in Hawai‘i, and is founder of the George Na‘ope Hula Festival. He was recently bestowed with the title of Ke Kumu Hulu Nui, “Master of Hawaiian Featherwork of Old Hawai‘i” by another celebrated cultural icon, kumu hula Kaha‘i Topolinski. Aunty Doreen Henderson, Hawai‘i’s famous kumu of lei hulu, has also honored San Nicolas with the title of Master Featherworker.

Courtesy photos provided by Rick San Nicolas, showing his Lei Hulu Niho Mano, or feathered lei with shark's teeth

Courtesy photos provided by Rick San Nicolas, showing his Lei Hulu Niho Mano, or feathered lei with shark’s teeth

“We are thrilled to offer Rick the mutually beneficial opportunity to cultivate his creativity in the remarkable setting of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The arts are an integral way to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and its deep connection to this sacred landscape,” she said.

The non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation developed the Artist-in-Residence program as a way for artists to be inspired and appreciate the fascinating past – and present – of our national parks, while giving back to the National Park Service. The NPAF programs are proposed for 15 locations in national parks and World Heritage Sites in the U.S. For information, visit the NPAF website: http//www.nationalparkartsfoundation.org.

Does Chocolate Grow on Trees?

Does chocolate grow on trees? Not exactly!

Cacao Pods

Cacao Pods

Find out how to best grow the bean that makes chocolate—cacao—from an international expert and Kona farmer at seminars and activities offered during the three-day Big Island Chocolate Festival May 1-3.

Take a tour of a working cacao farm and learn how organically produced soap using cacao is made from 9-11 a.m. Thursday, May 1 with Greg Colden of Kona Natural Soap Company. Fee is $25.

Seminars move May 2-3 to the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i. At 2:30 p.m. Friday, “Selecting Cacao Cultivar for Flavor” is presented by Ed Seguine, a 45-year cacao veteran and consultant with Seguine Cacao, Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors. Learn the segregation of agronomic and flavor traits in seed-grown cacao. Examples of breeding for flavor will be shown and tasting evaluated, plus techniques for small-scale micro-fermentation. Fee is $50.

At 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Colden discusses “Cacao as a Value Added Product for Business.” The Kona entrepreneur shares non-chocolate uses for cacao. Fee is $30.

Buy tickets online or at the door, www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Hawaii State Judiciary Grateful for Kona Judiciary Complex Funds

Members of a House-Senate conference committee today announced that they have included $35 million in the judiciary’s budget to fund construction of the West Hawaii judiciary complex.


The recommended budget will be submitted to the full legislature next week. “We appreciate the support of the conference committee for this vitally important project,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “This courthouse will ensure that the judiciary can fulfill its mission of providing justice for the West Hawaii community in a secure and efficient venue.”

Administrative Director of the Courts Rodney Maile expressed appreciation for the strong support of Big Island legislators, as well as the leadership of Senators David Ige, Clayton Hee and Michelle Kidani and Representatives Sylvia Luke, Karl Rhoads and Kyle Yamashita.

Maile also expressed appreciation for the strong support of Mayor William Kenoi, the West Hawaii Bar Association, particularly President Robert Kim and Carol Kitaoka, as well as the Hawaii County Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Prosecuting Attorney Mitchell Roth, and Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida.

If the judiciary budget is approved next week, a total of $44 million will have been set aside for construction of the courthouse and for other judiciary capital improvement projects. The total expected construction cost of the Kona Judiciary Complex is $90 million. The judiciary will seek the remaining funds needed during the 2015 session of the legislature.

Students Sue UH Hilo for Violations of Free Speech on Campus

The University of Hawaiʻi was informed on April 24, 2014 that two students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that the University violated their free speech rights on campus.

Anthony Vizzone

Anthony Vizzone

Merritt Burch

Merritt Burch

A copy of the complaint can be found here: hilo.hawaii.edu/documents/Burch_v._UH.pdf . The

Click to read the lawsuit

Click to read the lawsuit

University has issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

“The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is committed to free expression and the open exchange of ideas. This case involves the application of specific campus policies that were implemented to protect those values while preserving the educational environment for all students. UH Hilo has initiated a review of the policies involved and the manner in which they were enforced. We will make any changes that are needed to ensure that free expression and First Amendment rights are fully protected.”

Legislature Approves Funding for Pharmacy Building at UH Hilo

State House and Senate Budget conferees have reached final agreement on a proposal to fund a building to house the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP).

UH Hilo Moniker

The agreement totals $33 million, including $28 million in Government Obligation or G.O. bonds and $5 million in Revenue bonds.

“This project has been a collective effort from the very beginning and we want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this outcome possible,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “We’re especially grateful for the support we’ve received from the House and Senate, beginning with the efforts of our Hawaiʻi Island delegation.”

The DKICP was established in 2007, awarded its first degrees in 2011, and will graduate its fourth class in May. A site has been selected for a permanent facility, which has already been planned and designed.