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Puna Kai Shopping Center Breaks Ground

Today, ground was broken for the new Puna Kai Shopping Center that will be located in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

About 100 community members along with dignitaries from the county and the mayor’s office were in attendance.
Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa gave the opening pule (prayer) and blessing of the land while elected officials and company representatives did the actual groundbreaking.

Situated on 9.93 acres, and featuring more than 83,110 SF of retail, office, dining, and entertainment space, Puna Kai will become the community’s premiere shopping center.

Conveniently located at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road & Kahakai Boulevard in the town of Pahoa, on the Big Island of Hawaii.Puna Kai will be grocery anchored by 35,000 SF Malama Market (Malama Market name will be changed). Leasing opportunities are now  being offered from 1,000 SF to 5,540 SF.

Puna Kai, will provide a distinctive blend of daily services, specialty shops, entertainment, and eateries.
The building architecture will reflect the old Hawaii ambiance and charm, inspiring Puna Kai to be the gathering place in Pahoa that has something for everyone.

Kona Brewing Co. Debuts “Kanaha” Blonde Ale

Hawaii locals receive exclusive first taste of new blonde ale with tropical mango

Kanaha Beach, a world-renowned kitesurfing destination located on Maui’s north-central coastline, inspires the newest year-round beer from Kona Brewing Co., Kanaha Blonde Ale. To bring the spirit of Kanaha Beach to life, Kona’s brewing team created a refreshing light blonde ale featuring a distinctive tropical flavor with real mango that weighs in at less than 100 calories. Kanaha Blonde Ale, is the perfect beer – whether celebrating an epic kiting session or relaxing at the end of the workday with friends. Kanaha Blonde Ale will debut exclusively in Hawaii in October before rolling out in 6-packs and draught on the mainland.

Of the new brew, Kona Brewing Company Innovation Brewmaster Ryan McVeigh says, “What better inspiration for our liquid aloha than the famous trade winds and free spirit of Maui’s kiteboarding mecca?” With its light tropical flavor and aroma, Kanaha Blonde Ale pairs well with grilled seafood and salads.

Starting this week, the new brew is available on tap at the two Kona Brew Pubs located in Hawaii Kai on Oahu and in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii and other restaurants and bars throughout the islands prior to a U.S. mainland roll out in bottles and draught later this year.

The beer debuted with a launch celebration at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa on October 5, 2017. The launch celebration was in support of Maui non-profit, IMUA Family Services . Kona Brewing Co. is proud to support IMUA’s work with local families facing challenges with developmental disabilities on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Photos of the check presentation and launch party are available at this link.

Kona Brewing Co. has a long-standing history of supporting groups that make a positive contribution to the community through service, education and preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique environment and culture. Kona Brewing Company donates more than $120,000 annually to non-profits like IMUA Family Services. Through its Makana program, the company celebrates non-profits like Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, Waipā Foundation, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Easter Seals, Sustainable Coastlines, Surfrider Foundation, Malama Maunalua, and Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

Kona Brewing Co. Kanaha Blonde Ale:

  • OG: 8.1°P
  • Apparent Extract: 1.26°P
  • Alcohol by volume: 4.2%
  • IBU: 18
  • Color: 5˚L
  • Malt: Pale Malt, Caramel Malt
  • Hops: Millennium, Mosaic, Amarillo
  • Adjuncts: Mango
  • Calories: 99

Kona Brew Pubs are located at:

  • Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Hawaiʻi Kai, Oʻahu
  • 74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaiʻi

For more information, visit KonaBrewingCo.com

Commentary – Were Pahoa High and Intermediate Lunch Times Shortened Because of a Fight?

Yesterday, KHON2 News ran a news story about Pahoa’s lunches being shortened.

…Changes to the lunch program at a Hawaii island school prompted parents to reach out to us, saying their kids are being rushed to eat.

Their kids go to Pahoa High and Intermediate School, which recently started a pilot lunch program.
High school students eat during the normal 30-minute lunch break, but intermediate school students eat during recess, which is just 15 minutes long…

I received the following message on Wednesday indicating that this change in policy may have stemmed from a fight on campus… but didn’t discuss it further with the person sending me the information until tonight:

Aloha Damon, I wanted to bring something to your attention that maybe you could do some investigative reporting. Apparently Pahoa High and Intermediate administration has decided to have Intermediate student only eat lunch during first recess which is 15 minutes while the high school eats during regular lunch which is 30 minutes. When I complained to the principal she stated it was due to decreasing tardys to class during lunch time. An insider told me they did it because of a fight that occurred between a Intermediate kid and a high schooler.

When discussing this with friends on Facebook, one person posted a picture from the Pahoa Cafeteria:

My kids say they don’t even bother eating when this is what they are serving at Pahoa. ~VW

“This was what they call Baja fish taco SMH. This was on Wednesday when we went to school for student of the month luncheon I was In Shock when he came to the table with this…Home lunches from now on!!!” said Valerie Walsh.

Got Baja Fish Taco? I don’t know if I could swallow this in 15 minutes… less yet an hour!!!

Senator Hirono Secures Federal Funding for Clean Energy Research and Development in Hawaii

Kampachi Farms and Makai Ocean Engineering Receive $1.5 Million to Harness Power of Seaweed as Potential Energy Source

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that two Hawaii businesses will receive $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to develop offshore seaweed as a potential clean energy source. The funding was awarded through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) program.

“These grants recognize the innovative work being done in Hawaii to research and develop renewable energy resources,” said Senator Hirono, member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “This funding will assess the viability of developing seaweed as an energy source, and explore how to use local resources to meet Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.”

Under the grant, Kampachi Farms in Kailua-Kona received $500,000 to develop an offshore seaweed production farm and test harvesting techniques for future use in renewable energy production.

“Marine agronomy – the culture of limu (seaweed) in oceanic conditions – offers potential for increased production of food, feeds and fuel,” said Neil Sims, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Kampachi Farms. “Using the power of the ocean’s primary production, we can increase availability of healthful food for people, feeds for fish and other animals, and biofuels for a carbon neutral planet, with minimal use of land, freshwater or artificial fertilizers. Offshore culture of limu connects innovative aquaculture with Hawaiian culinary traditions. It also offers – in our estimation – the only possible means of harnessing entrepreneurial resources to create incentives for countering ocean acidification.”

In addition, Makai Ocean Engineering in Honolulu will receive $995,978 to create a model that simulates the ocean to help researchers determine the proper design and estimate costs of offshore seaweed farming systems.

“Makai is thrilled to be selected for award alongside Kampachi Farms by ARPA-E under this innovative program,” said Duke Hartman, vice president of business development at Makai Ocean Engineering. “In addition to advancing the state of the art in macroalgae cultivation, Makai will be strengthening our expertise in technologies with many other applications, such as autonomous and underwater robotics, biological and oceanographic numerical modeling, and offshore engineering. This project builds on our 44 year track record of developing cutting-edge technologies and bringing high-paying, high-tech jobs home to Hawaii for our kamaaina.”

Senator Hirono continues to advocate for ARPA-E funding. Earlier this year, she wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging for continued funding for ARPA-E after the President threatened to slash the program by $20 million in an effort to wind it down.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Reformats for 2018

The island’s largest agricultural showcase is returning in 2018 with a new twist at a different location.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range will be Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Mana Christian ‘Ohana (Old Kahilu Town Hall) and the adjacent YMCA Minuke Ole Park in Waimea. The 2018 Taste will offer all-day agricultural-themed fun and educational activities before culminating with an evening tasting event showcasing locally produced food.

“We’re changing up the Taste to share info with families about our local agriculture,” says event co-chair and rancher Jeri Moniz. “We will still have our popular, evening food tasting event to showcase pasture-raised meats, but will also offer earlier activities geared for the general public, including keiki.”

Daytime fun will include agricultural-themed activities and exhibits at the YMCA Park, with plans for horseback rides and viewing of livestock animals complete with educational displays. Community school groups and organizations will be invited to provide food concessions for daytime attendees. Admission to the park exhibits is free.

Also planned are tours at local farms to see firsthand where some of our locally produced foods come from. Ag-related classes and the annual Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 will be offered during the day inside the classroom building adjacent to Mana Christian’s Hall. Chef Edwin Goto of Waimea’s Village Burger and Noodle Club will lead the popular cooking class with sampling.

Featuring about 20 culinary stations, the evening Taste will be both inside and out of the hall and open to 500 attendees. Tickets will go on sale next summer both online and at select islandwide locations.

In its 22nd year, Taste of the Range is changing its focus to share the importance of all types of Hawai‘i agriculture while acquainting keiki with farm animals and how agriculture is the science, art and practice of producing food.

“In the past, Taste was geared to inform chefs and attendees on the benefits of using grass-fed beef, while encouraging ranchers to produce it,” explains Dr. Russell Nagata, co-chair and retired CTAHR Hawaii County administrator. “Our committee has been meeting all year to come up with a new event emphasizing agriculture in a more broad and comprehensive way. We want to share how our local ranchers and farmers take pride in producing our high-quality food.”

Mana Christian ‘Ohana is located behind Parker Ranch Center at 67-1182 Lindsey Road. For more event information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com and stay connected via Facebook at TasteoftheHawaiianRange and at @TasteHI on Twitter and Instagram.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Volunteers and sponsors are welcomed; contact Dr. Russell Nagata at rnagata@gmail.com

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Taps Annual Industry Award Winners

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) named the recipients of its annual appreciation awards during the recent 27th Hawaii International Fruit Conference. Given to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry, the four 2017 recipients are Eli Ednie of Choice Mart supermarket, Catarina Zaragoza of the Locavore Store, Sweet Cane Café and Xavier Chung.

Inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award winner Xavier Chung with HTFGʻs ED Ken Love

Chung, a junior at Konawaena High School, received the inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award. The new service accolade remembers the late Hilo fruit and vegetable grower who was an avid supporter of Hawai‘i agriculture.
“The HTFG board instituted the new Lesley Hill Service Award to honor Lesley, who served numerous terms as an HTFG officer and enthusiastically contributed to the health and growth of our organization,” shares HTFG executive director Ken Love.

Chung was cited for orchard maintenance assistance at HTFGʻs Kona repositories, two of five throughout the state. The repositories serve as locations for propagation of fruit trees to make cuttings and scion for HTFG members.

In addition to volunteering with HTFG, Chung helps out with the National Park Service in West Hawaii, Na Maka O Papahanaumokuakea and the UH Sea Grant college program.

Recognized for a dedication to promoting locally grown tropical fruit at the Kealakekua Choice Mart, Ednie also volunteers at the HTFG Kona repositories.

Also cited for promoting local fruit was Locavore Store co-founder Catarina Zaragoza. Located in downtown Hilo, the store not only stocks a wide variety of local fruit, but also provides information on varieties and origins. The detailed labeling informs the buyer on the differences of fruit choices so purchasing can be done more accurately.

“This attention to detail is important when introducing consumers to new and different fruits like mamey sapote,” notes Axel Kratel, president of HTFGʻs East Hawaii chapter. “We want buyers to have a good experience, not just so they buy the fruit again, but also so they can better recognize what fruit variety best suits their taste and needs.”

Sweet Cane Café was recognized for serving locally grown fruit in value-added products. The Hilo business grows sugar cane in Onomea using Korean Natural Farming methods. After juicing the cane, the company features it in a line of beverages, slushies, smoothies, elixirs and drink shots served at its two cafes. Sweet Cane also uses a wide variety of fruits in its menu offerings.

“The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Love. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Hawaii Receives $427,000 in Federal Grants for Agriculture

Hawaii has awarded 11 projects to eligible non-profit and for-profit entities totaling more than $427,000 through the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal program, funded by the Farm Bill, provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

Click for more information

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) submitted the application to the USDA in June 2017 and will be administering the program. The approved projects support activities for research and increasing production of specialty crops, including cacao, taro, mango, cucumber, banana, legumes and Christmas trees. The projects funded include farmer education and agricultural marketing programs. A list of the projects funded by the SCBGP is attached.

The USDA SCBGP has awarded more than $60.5 million nationwide for this coming fiscal year. The grant period runs from September 2017 to September 2020.

For more information on the USDA SCBGP, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards

Big Island Burritos Bring ‘Fresh Kitchen’ Flavors to Queens’ MarketPlace

The only Food Court on the Kohala Coast is about to serve up the tasty new flavors of Big Island Burritos, scheduled for opening in October. The new eatery will offer more than the expected stuffed tortillas, with their innovative “Fresh Kitchen Pacific Island, Mexican fusion restaurant concept.”

A variety of ‘fresh kitchen’ Mexican fusion cuisine will be offered at the new Big Island Burritos in Queens’ MarketPlace food court.

The menu will feature signature island style gordo burritos, loaded rice bowls, local farm salads, and fresh soft tacos, prepared in multiple styles and with a variety of flavors to choose from.

“We are thrilled to become a part of the prestigious Queens’ MarketPlace community,” said Hawai‘i restaurateur Pat Kashani. “From our chefs and culinary experts to our operations team, we will truly be honored to add our name alongside all the other excellent food and beverage names that serve the Queens’ MarketPlace and Waikoloa community.”

Kashani operates Auntie Pasto’s restaurants on Oahu, My Big Fat Greek Restaurants in Arizona, and two Hawai‘i Island establishments: Tropics Ale House in Waikoloa Beach Resort and Tropics Tap House in Keauhou.

Heading the kitchen is Donn Rodriguez of Waimea, who is also Chef at Tropics Ale House, and has cooked for top quality restaurants, most recently at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Burritos will be open in the Queens’ MarketPlace Food Court from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.bigislandburritos.com or call (808) 479-0620.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call (808) 886-8822.

Pahoa Scholars Feast Fundraiser Update – Scholarships Available

This past Saturday, on September 30th, hundreds gathered to support the Pahoa Schools Booster Club and Scholarship Fund on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church. Following this past weekend’s successful event, the organization has announced that $5,000 will be available for the Class of
2018 scholarship awards.

The Pahoa High School Girls’ Volleyball Team joined the Boys of Youth Challenge and dozens of community volunteers in creating and delivering an awesome Vegan Lasagna and Ribeye Steak meal to over 350 hungry supporters.

Our most heart-felt thanks to everyone, including the generous contributions from Island Natural Foods, Malama Market, Tin Shack Bakery, Kalani Honua, Ning’s Thai Cuisine, Stratos Pizzeria, Black Rock Café, Pahoa Auto Parts, Paul’s Repair, Boogie Woogie Pizza, Sustainable Island Products and Bananarama Bakery.

Under the leadership of organizers Mark Hinshaw, Nancy J Kramer CPA, Aaron Ferreira and Aunty Madie Greene, a good time was had by all!

The original Scholarship Endowment was established by the family of former Hawai’i County Council Member Richard G Edwards after his passing. As a former Puna Lion’s Club member, his family chose the Lion’s Club to administer the scholarship over the years.

This past year, responsibility was passed on to Mainstreet-Pahoa Associations’s Pahoa Schools Booster Club, under the financial guidance of Nancy J Kramer CPA. The initial endowment that was transferred to the Booster Club was $21,000 and thanks to the generous contributions this year by Kaleos Bar and Grill of $5,000 and the new Puna Kai Shopping Center of $5000, the current Endowment sits at $31,000. The current 2020 goal is $50,000.

Class of 2018 Scholarships also received significant contributions. Puna Geothermal Ventures provided of $1,000, local businessman Vernon Lindsey and Lava Shack $500. Former Pahoa High School Guidance Counselor Nancy Seifers has stepped up to create the “Aunty Nancy” Scholarship of $1,000.

This year’s work on the selection process, amounts to be awarded, and application tools will begin in November. The intention of the Pahoa Booster Club is to distribute the awards among all three area schools, HAAS, Kua O Ka La and Pahoa High School, to graduating Seniors with B average or better grades, who are choosing to continue their education at a university or community college.

The Class of 2018 specific award amounts and criteria for each award will be announced when the application materials are made available at the end of the year. All three schools are encouraged to participate in the application process.

Anyone wishing to obtain further information on contributing to the Scholarship Fund should contact us at PahoaBoosterClub@gmail.com or call 965-7110.

We are most encouraged at the success of this year’s event and we are already in the planning stages for next year’s Scholars Feast, the last Saturday of September in 2018.

I mua Pahoa!

Tomorrow – Mainstreet Pahoa Associations Scholars Feast

Update on North Kona Water Restrictions

The Emergency Water Restriction for North Kona remains in effect. Over the past few days there has been a water level decline in the tanks that service the general area between the Mākālei Fire station to just south of the Palani Road and Māmalahoa highway junction.

These areas include, but are not limited to, Mākālei Estates, Kona Hills, Palisades, Wainani / Lokahi Makai, Kaiminani Drive (including all side streets), Kona Acres, and Hina Lani Drive (including all side streets). Without everyone’s continued cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes).

The Department appreciates the community’s continued efforts to restrict water use during this time. As such, limited hand watering of precious plants, on occasion, is still acceptable using the following best practices:

  • Water at night to reduce evaporation.
  • Use of County’s free mulch to preserve moisture around plants. Visit the County’s website at: http://www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/greenwaste/ for more information.
  • Use of rainwater from downspouts for plants.
  • Do not over-water plants.
  • Use of sprinklers (manual or automatic) for lawns and grass areas is still prohibited. This restriction also prohibits the draining and refilling of swimming pools, hot tubs, water fountains, etc.

Customers should take appropriate measures to reduce the loss of existing water in swimming pools and hot tubs, such as checking the pool for leaks and consulting a pool supplier for appropriate pool covers.  In addition, customer should ensure proper operation and maintenance of pool pump equipment.

The installation process has begun for both the Hualālai and Palani Deepwell repairs. Contractor has two (2) crews working on both repairs concurrently. At this time, the anticipated completion of Hualālai Deepwell repair is this weekend, with Palani Deepwell repair to follow shortly thereafter.

We will update you throughout this installation process as more progress is made and/or more information becomes available.

For your use, potable water can be obtained from a portable water tanker located on Hina Lani Street below Anini Street as well as water spigots along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe High School and Palani Road. Please bring your own drinking water containers to fill. We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For more information visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. To report any observed wasteful use of water, call 961-8060 during normal business hours or email dws@hawaiidws.org. For after hour emergencies call us at 961-8790.

Baby in Puna Catches Rat Lungworm Disease – Hawaii Department of Health Confirms 17th Case of Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii for 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed an additional case of rat lungworm disease in an infant from the Puna District of Hawaii Island. This is the tenth laboratory-confirmed case of rat lungworm disease contracted on Hawaii Island this year, bringing the statewide total to 17 cases in 2017. After a detailed investigation, DOH learned the infant became infected likely after accidentally consuming a slug or snail.

“Kane’s slowly getting better but it will take time. He had RAT LUNGWORM for 9 DAYS & i took him to his doctor, urgent care & hilo medical center MULTIPLE TIMES before they finally listened to me & did a blood sample on him. Can you imagine if my baby would have died from this? & Me knowing that i did my best to tell doctors to check his blood because in my gut i could feel that it wasn’t the flu or him teething. I hope you guys feel real dumb for ignoring my instincts, i am glad that i was firm because the ER wanted to SEND US HOME AGAIN WITHOUT A BLOOD SAMPLE, but i refused to let that happen a 2nd time around. Any ways, i am grateful that he is a fighter & i am positive that he will make a full recovery.” Santini N Dylan Tauanuu

“This is an extremely unfortunate incident, with the infant currently hospitalized and receiving care,” said Aaron Ueno, Hawaii Island District Health Officer. “While the department is unable to provide specific information on this individual case, we can take this time to remind parents and caregivers about the importance of preventing infants and young children from putting slugs, snails, or other items in their mouths. We know that slugs, snails, and rats in all counties carry the parasite that can cause rat lungworm disease, so watching over young children is especially important.”

He added, “The Hawaii Island District Health Office is making a concerted effort to reach parents and caregivers of infants and young children by providing education and resources about rat lungworm disease prevention to our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Early Intervention Services clients and our partners, including pediatricians and other healthcare providers.”

DOH recommends all parents and caregivers of infants and young children take extra precautions, including:

  • Watch infants, toddlers, and children carefully while they are playing and make sure they are not picking up slugs, snails, or other objects from the ground and putting those into their mouths.
  • Help children properly wash their hands after playing and/or on the ground using running water and soap.
  • When consuming food and drinks, close and seal containers when not in use to prevent slugs and snails from crawling inside, especially when left on or near the ground.

The public is urged to take the following precautions to prevent rat lungworm disease:

  • Carefully inspect, wash, and store produce in sealed containers, regardless of whether it came from a local retailer, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.
  • All fruits and vegetables should be washed and rubbed under running water, especially leafy greens, to remove any tiny slugs or snails.
  • Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease. Eliminate slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens.
  • Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

Rat lungworm disease (angiostrongyliasis) is contracted when a person becomes infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This happens when a person accidentally consumes raw or undercooked infected slugs, snails, freshwater shrimp, land crabs or frogs. The most common symptoms include severe headaches and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain, and severe disability.

More information about the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm disease may be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/ and https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2017/01/RLD-rackcard-version1_06152017.pdf. The first in a series of public service announcements about rat lungworm disease prevention is posted on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rat-lungworm-information/.

Hawaii Representative Ing to Introduce Bill to Lower Beer Tax

Representative Kaniela Ing plans to introduce a bill during the next legislative session that would cut taxes Hawaii residents pay for beer by more than half, from 93 cents a gallon to 42 cents a gallon.

“While it may appear that beer is taxed at a lower rate per gallon when compared to wine or spirits, if you break down the amount of alcohol per average gallon of beer versus wine or spirits, beer drinkers are taxed at a much higher rate,” said Rep. Ing. “The goal here is to level out the taxes so that each type of alcoholic beverage is taxed equitably.”

Ing says that his proposed tax cut is not to encourage drinking, as he rarely drinks alcohol himself. Rather, Ing says, his proposal is a matter of class fairness.

“Working people tend to drink beer more often than other types of alcoholic beverages. But today they are taxed more per ounce of alcohol than someone drinking wine. When you look at it that way, the current system is incredibly unjust.”

Compared to other states, Hawaii’s alcohol taxes rank second for beer, 11th for wine, and 23rd for spirits.

Ing believes this proposal makes sense from an economic and business standpoint as well. “Hawaii’s beer industry is growing and has resulted in hundreds of new jobs, diversified tourism, and a stronger economy,” he said. “If you look at other states, this local industry has a lot of room to grow. We should encourage the growth of local business to allow them to compete in the national marketplace.”

Public Hearings Scheduled on Proposal to Increase Commercial Marine License Fees

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has scheduled statewide public hearings on proposed administrative rule amendments that would increase the annual commercial marine license fees from the current $50/year to $100/year initially, then to $150/year on January 1, 2018. This date may be delayed until later in the year, depending on when the rules are approved. The proposed rules also would establish a reporting deadline for dealers who buy marine life directly from commercial fishers.

Click to view proposed amendments

Bruce Anderson, DAR administrator said, “Commercial license fees haven’t increased in nearly 20 years.  We’re updating the fee schedule to reflect current and future needs.  Increased revenues from these fees will offset losses in revenues from non-resident fees for on-going operational expenses and to add new on-line reporting and licensing options to our website to better serve the fishing public.”

The hearings will be held at the following times and locations:

Thursday, September 28, 2017
MOLOKA‘I – Mitchell Pau‘ole Center Conference Room, 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Friday, September 29, 2017
O‘AHU – Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria, 1202 Prospect Street, Honolulu, 6 to 9 p.m..
LANA‘I – Lana‘i High/Elementary School Cafeteria, 555 Fraser Avenue, Lana‘i City, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
HILO – Hawai‘i County Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 101, Hilo, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
KONA – Honokohau Harbor Big Game Fishing Clubhouse, Kailua-Kona, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
MAUI – Maui Waena School Cafeteria, 795 Onehe‘e Street, Kahului, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 5, 2017
KAUA‘I – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria, Lihue, 4431 Nuhou Street, 6 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
KAUA‘I – Kapa‘a Elementary School, 4886 Kawaihau Road, Kapa‘a, 6 to 9 p.m.

All interested persons are urged to attend the public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider. Persons unable to attend or wishing to present additional comments, may mail written testimony by Friday, October 13, 2017 to the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Anyone with a hearing impairment who desires to attend the public hearing may request assistance of a sign language interpreter. The request may be made in writing (to the DAR address in the preceding paragraph), or by calling 587-0100 (voice or TDD) in Honolulu. The request will need to be received at least seven days before the hearing is scheduled to start. Additional information or a copy of the proposed rules will be mailed at no charge upon receipt of verbal or written request to the DAR address.

To view the draft rule, go to the Division of Aquatic Resources website at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2017/08/HAR_13-74dr.pdf

Update On North Kona Emergency Water Restriction – Another Failure

The Emergency Water Restriction for North Kona remains in effect. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes).

This restriction also prohibits the draining and refilling of swimming pools, hot tubs, water fountains, etc. Customers should take appropriate measures to reduce the loss of existing water in swimming pools and hot tubs, such as checking the pool for leaks and consulting a pool supplier for appropriate pool covers. In addition, customer should ensure proper operation and maintenance of pool pump equipment.

Recent well failures at Kohala Ranch Water Company (private water system) has left their community without an operating potable water source. As such, it was essential for the Department’s pump contractor to relocate equipment and respond to their critical situation. This will push back the completion of the Department’s Hualālai and Palani well repairs by approximately a week and a half.

Updates on well repairs can be found at www.hawaiidws.org.

Due to a significant level of overall compliance, water levels in the tanks have remained stable. The Department appreciates the community’s efforts to restrict water use during this time. Therefore, limited hand watering of precious plants, on occasion, is still acceptable using the following best practices:

  • Water at night to reduce evaporation.
  • Use of County’s free mulch to preserve moisture around plants. Visit the County’s website at: http://www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/gr eenwaste/ for more information.
  • Use of rainwater from downspouts for plants.
  • Do not over-water plants.
  • Use of sprinklers (manual or automatic) for lawns and grass areas is still prohibited.

For other unique situations, please contact the Department to discuss possible options. Without everyone’s continued cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, potable water can be obtained from a water “buffalo” located on Hina Lani Street below Anini Street as well as water spigots along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe High School and Palani Road. Please bring your own drinking water containers to fill.

For more information visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. To report any observed wasteful use of water, call 961-8060 during normal business hours or email dws@hawaiidws.org. For after hour emergencies call us at 961-8790.

29th Annual Christmas with the Chefs

Sugarplums will dance in your head Saturday, Dec. 2 at the festive Christmas with the Chefs. The annual holiday gala returns to the seaside grounds of Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel from 5:30-8 p.m.

Over 20 members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Association will delight attendees with plates of expertly prepared savory cuisine and delectable holiday treats—all accompanied by handcrafted ales, choice wines and 100 percent Kona coffee.

The Bill Noble Trio jazzes up the evening for dancing under the stars fronting historic Kamakahonu Bay. A silent auction will tempt would-be Santas with an array of holiday gift ideas while supporting local businesses.

In its 29th year, the annual fundraiser benefits local culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College—Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs wanting to further their education.

Tickets are $90 presale, $95 at the door and available online at www.konakohalachefs.org. Tickets are available at Westside Wines, Kona Coffee & Tea, The Spoon Shop and Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Tables of 10 are $1200—which includes reserved seating, table-side service and select bottles of wine—and can be purchased online.

The host hotel is offering a special event room rate starting at $159. Phone 808-331-6330 and ask for the “Christmas with the Chefs” room rate.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association: ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts; www.konakohalachefs.org.

Kona Historical Society’s Farm Festival to Feature Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm will be hosting the annual Farm Fest Open House at their historical coffee farm in Captain Cook on Saturday, September 30 from 10am to 2pm. The public is invited to attend this free community event that shares Kona’s rich farming history. Shuttles, generously sponsored by Hawaii Forest and Trail and Roberts Hawaii, will be running between the parking area of Kealakekua Ranch Center and the Kona Coffee Living History Farm from 9:30a.m. to 3p.m. since parking will not be available at the Farm.

At this year’s celebration, the theme is “From Farm to Table” in honor of Kona’s cultural heritage, and promises a day filled with fun-for-the-family activities that revolve around all the amazing sustainable foods that are made here in Kona. Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be exploring the vegetable gardens and fruit trees on the farm, and using what he finds, he’ll prepare a delicious dish and beverage. Sandy’s Drive In will be returning to the farm for this annual celebration to cook up a traditional plantation era dish: Chicken Hekka.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm, homesteaded by Japanese immigrants, reveals the story of Kona’s coffee pioneers in the 1925-1945 era. The coffee mill and farmhouse will be open to tours where guests can experience the domestic life of Kona’s coffee farmers. Visitors enter the kitchen where rice simmers on a traditional open-hearth stove before they remove their shoes to walk on tatami mats throughout the house. Outside, they learn to pick coffee and see how it was processed in the kuriba (mill) and dried on the hoshidana (drying platform), and explore the gardens where traditional vegetables are grown, or visit with the chickens, or Kona Nightengale Donkeys, who were an important part of the economy of Kona coffee farms.

Throughout the grounds of the Farm, historical interpreters, cultural practitioners and volunteers will be hosting “Hands on History” activities where guests can practice the art of lauhala weaving, Japanese calligraphy, medicinal gardening and pan roasting coffee, among others. The Songbird of Milolii, Diana Aki, will also return to the farm to perform local music on the lawn. Kona Historical Society will be displaying a new pop up exhibit featuring Kona’s history of growing and gathering food sustainably and sharing meals with our diverse, multicultural community.

This event is generously sponsored by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Candy Sargent, and Farm & Garden.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii. The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is the only living history coffee farm in the nation. This award-winning, historic farm that tells the story of Kona’s coffee pioneers during the early 20th century.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Department of Health’s Choose Health Now Campaign Launches in 7-Eleven Hawaii Stores Statewide

Today, the Department of Health (DOH) launched its Choose Healthy Now campaign in all 7-Eleven Hawaii locations throughout the state. As the department’s newest partner in the campaign, 7-Eleven is increasing consumer access to healthier foods and beverages and highlighting these better choices in some of the most visible areas of their 64 stores.

First Lady Dawn Ige honored 7-Eleven for their participation in the state’s campaign at a press event held at their Moanalua location, followed by a taste test of the healthy items that are offered in 7-Eleven Hawaii stores. Among the food items tested was a new creation, “Mrs. Ige’s Chicken Cilantro Sandwich,” which will be available for sale to customers later this year as part of the Choose Healthy Now campaign.

“We are honored and excited to be part of an initiative that provides our customers with an easy and quick way to make healthy food choices,” said Greg Hanna, President and CEO of 7-Eleven Hawaii. “The Department of Health provided the expertise to make all the changes needed to highlight healthier options for our customers. We encourage other businesses to join us.”

Through Choose Healthy Now, 7-Eleven customers will be able to easily identify and select foods and beverages that meet nutrition guidelines set by the Department of Health. Customers are prompted to choose these healthier snack and drink items through signage and point-of-decision prompts, which enable the customer to make a quick but informed decision. Product placement and price incentive strategies are also used to encourage the selection of healthier items.

“The state’s new partnership with 7-Eleven will make a huge impact on peoples’ ability to make fast, easy, healthy snack choices,” said Lola Irvin, Chief of the DOH Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division. “With the addition of 7-Eleven’s important commitment to health, Choose Healthy Now can now be found in grocery and convenience stores, hospitals, cafeterias, and snack shops at more than 145 locations statewide!”

The Department of Health has also produced new Choose Healthy Now television commercials that began airing today; these ads encourage customers to look for snacks and drinks labeled Choose Healthy Now, and ask other stores and retail locations to join in the effort. Aloha Island Mart and KTA are also partners in the campaign since 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Poor nutrition contributes to obesity and chronic disease. More than half of adults in Hawaii are overweight or obese (57.2 percent); similarly, over 50 percent (58.5 percent) have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Annual direct healthcare costs for obesity among adults in Hawaii has been estimated at $470 million and an additional $770 million for diabetes. These numbers are expected to continue to rise in conjunction with national rates.

Programs like the state’s Choose Healthy Now campaign are effective at increasing access and availability of healthier foods and beverages. “The time to address obesity and chronic disease is now,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “Partnering with retail locations allows us to reach Hawaii residents where they make their everyday food choices.”

Choose Healthy Now first began as a partnership between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Ho‘opono Vending Program. It launched in May 2014 with six snack shops in state and federal government buildings on Oahu. Today, more than 145 retail locations across the state are promoting Choose Healthy Now.

Visit ChooseHealthyNowHawaii.com to view the full list of participating stores, watch the commercials, and download print materials for use in retail locations, snack shops, or other venues that sell food.

Mayor Kim Issues Emergency Proclamation Regarding North Kona Water Emergency

Mayor Harry Kim issued an Emergency Proclamation on Wednesday regarding the North Kona water emergency.

His statement is as follows:

“The Emergency Proclamation which was officially signed today was initially intended to be completed in August.  The purpose of this Proclamation is to ensure that all administrative readiness is established by the County in the event that assistance will be needed from the State government.

This Proclamation also allows County government to bypass certain procurement policies in the event that emergency purchases must be made. This also includes the use of emergency funds for the use of the Department of Water Supply’s needs.”

Click on the link to access the Emergency Proclamation:

http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/doc/89509/Page1.aspx

Suisan Celebrates 110th Anniversary – Hosts Poke Takeover Featuring Top Chef Finalist, Sheldon Simeon

Rooted in local values with an eye always to the future, Suisan celebrates 110 years in business.

To commemorate this milestone, Suisan is hosting a birthday event at its fish market on Lihiwai Street on Thursday, September 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Hilo’s own Top Chef finalist, Sheldon Simeon.

Simeon has five creative poke combinations that are available for this one day only, including Singulaw, ahi garnished with fried pork belly, coconut vinegar and coconut milk; Da Lox, salmon three ways mixed with cream cheese, onion, ikura and dill; and Bam Bam, chunks of tofu and watermelon seasoned with nuoc cham and a mixture of fresh herbs, peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.

The birthday event also features pop-ups by local chefs from Seaside Restaurant, Ponds Hilo and Cousins Seafood & Bento, who will prepare samples using an array of products Suisan distributes.

Throughout the month of September, Suisan will give away 110 poke bowls via social media contests.

“It is humbling and gratifying to be part of Suisan as it celebrates 110 years of service to Hawaii Island,” said Stephen Ueda, president and CEO. “We would not be here without the support of our hardworking and dedicated employees and our loyal customers. We look forward to another century of innovation and growth, while always taking care of the customer.”

Suisan celebrates 50 years in business. Photo taken in 1957 at the site where Suisan’s fish auction was once held.

Founded on September 7, 1907, Suisan has grown from a fish market cooperative to Hawaii Island’s premier broadline food distributor. Over the last 110 years, Suisan faced many challenges including two tsunamis and having its property seized in World War II and its principal, Kamezo Matsuno, sent to an internment camp. More recently, Suisan suffered a fire that claimed its main office and warehouse in 2014.

Despite these setbacks, Suisan has moved forward and thrives. Its growth has been predicated upon anticipating community demand. In the 1950s, Suisan expanded its product mix to include frozen food. In the 1970s, it established a Kona warehouse and office to better serve its customers.

Today, Suisan employs 185 and has a fleet of 33 refrigerated trucks. It inventories more than 5,000 products and serves more than 1,000 wholesale customers including restaurants, schools, healthcare and government facilities, resorts and institutions islandwide.