Commentary – Saving The Ala Kahakai “Kings” Trail

We are asking for everyones support on this issue and make aware of what is happening here.

The Ala Kahakai “Kings” trail starts from the Puna district to the northern end of Kohala.  Part of this trail is the Ala Loa trail, meaning “long trail”.  The Ala Loa  trail was added to the National Register of Historic places as number 87001127 in 1987 and then to the State Registry of Historic places as site 10-10-11, 334 on January 14, 1989.

Ala Kahakai trail

This trail runs from Kiholo Bay to Kalahuipaua near Puako.  And Puako has already been bought out by the wealthy and non-Hawaiians.  The Kings trail continues further north by Upolu point near Mo’okini Heaiu, which my ancestors were the caretakers.

A section of  “Ala Loa” will be destroyed if we don’t say or do something.  Built by our King and our ancestors, this trail was made so that we may have access to our natural resources.  However, if we don’t do anything, we will have to ask permission from the developers to have access. It is currently our right to access this trail anytime.

Please take the time to read and understand why this has significant cultural concerns (including burial sites) and value regarding the Ala Loa trail on the moku of Hawai’i. This transaction by the County Council was deviant, intentionally hiding, not following the appropriate process, no community input and cultural archeological research conducted (locally).  When will it end?  Until we have nothing left?

There is a County Council meeting regarding Res. 140-13 on December 17, 2013 and would like your support to oppose the passage of this resolution.  The time for the hearing will be available on Thursday 12/12/13.  If you cannot attend, please submit your testimony at

Mahalo nui loa no ka mea a pau

L. Lahilahi DeSoto-McCollough

Resolution 140-13: Kohala Kai LLC threatens public and traditional ala loa use and should stay in Committee until the issues are addressed and resolved.  

FACT: The ala loa trail provides public access along West Hawaii’s shoreline and is a traditional, native Hawaiian resource.

THREAT:  If the County Council passes Resolution 140-13, a dangerous precedent in favor of exclusive, private coastal development will be set as Kohala Kai LLC is approved to destroy a segment of the ala loa trail. Your rejection of Resolution 140-13 must be voiced before  the Next  County Council meeting 12/17/13, send in testimony or testify in person at any satellite office

EFFORTS:  Representatives from the North Kohala Community Access Group, the NKCDP Action Committee, neighboring Kailapa homestead, and E Mau Na Ala Hele have all requested that public coastal access easements be located on the historic ala loa trail. Public testimonies before the Finance Committee on December 3rd unanimously disapproved of Resolution 140-13.


The Planning Department failed to identify the jeep road at Kohala Kai as the ala loa.

Kohala Kai LLC and the Planning Department apparently ignored the North Kohala Community Development Plan which calls for the ala loa and traditional trails for shoreline access.

Kohala Kai LLC’s public parking, supposedly “in close proximity to the mauka-makai trail,” is provided 100yds away from the trail and requires a 160ft walk along the highway.

Kohala Kai LLC constructed a shoreline trail away from the ala loa prior to a Public Access Plan and Planning Department review and approval, in violation of the SMA. Location of the trail lacked any public review.

The Planning Department allowed Kohala Kai LLC a private golf cart path over the known ala loa as well as a recreational center and canoe “hale” for exclusive residential uses, even though they are not included in Kohala Kai LLC’s permit applications. The proposed hale site is a known significant archeological site.

Trail maintenance responsibility was shifted from Kohala Kai LLC and its successors to the County and the size from “a minimum 6-foot wide walking area with a graded earthen surface” to “a cleared or constructed earthen surface.

No easements preserve reasonable access to cultural, historic and burial sites.


Survey of ala loa trail/jeep road alignment and registration with Historic Sites Preservation Division and incorporated into the Ala Kahakai  National Historic trail

Revision of Public Access Plan and subdivision plat maps for all three subdivisions to show the ala loa as the public access.

Revision of Public Access Plan to meet recommendations of the SMA permits and to include native tenant rights and traditional and customary practices, including ocean access at the canoe landing.

Withdraw approvals for golf cart path and private clubhouse.

Per original agreement, Kohala Kai LLC be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the vertical and lateral public access areas.

Planning Dept. and County Council to work with the CDPs.


District 1: Valerie Poindexter  (808) District 6: Brenda Ford (808)
District 2: J Yoshimoto (808) District 7: Dru Mamo Kanuha (808)
District 3: Dennis Onishi (808) District 8: Karen Eoff (808) 323-4280
District 4: Greggor Ilagan (808) District 9: Margaret Wille (808) 887-2069
District 5: Zendo Kern (808)

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.


Two Teenagers Die in Two-Vehicle Crash in South Kohala

A 19-year-old Kamuela man and an 18-year-old Honokaʻa man died Sunday (May 6) from injuries they received in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and Kawaihae Road in South Kohala.

The men were identified as Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen, 19 of a Kamuela address and Rocky P. Pactol, 18, of a Honokaʻa address.

A memorial photo set up on Kauaheaheokaua Lactaoen’s Facebook page

Responding to a 12:16 a.m. call, South Kohala patrol officers determined that a 40-year-old Kamuela man was operating a 2006 Ford F350 pickup truck and traveling south on Kawaihae Road when it struck a 2000 Honda two-door sedan at the intersection being operated by a 19-year-old Paʻauilo man.

Officers are still trying to determine the direction of travel for the Honda but it appears it may have turned in front of the Ford truck.

The two dead men were passengers in the Honda and were ejected after impact. They were not wearing their seat belts.

Fire Department rescue personnel took the driver of the Honda, one of his passengers, and the driver of the Ford truck to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where Lactaoen was pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m. and Pactol at 4:23 a.m.

Police believe that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.

The driver of the Honda was arrested on suspicion of two counts of negligent homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and consuming/possessing intoxicating liquor while operating a motor vehicle. Because he was confined at North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital (in stable condition), he was released pending further investigation.

The driver of the Ford truck was also arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was also released pending investigation and was treated and released with minor injuries.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information about this crash call Officer Larry Flowers at 326-4646, extension 229.

These are the 13th and 14th fatalities on the Big Island this year compared with eight at this time last year.

Kohala Community Nonprofit Purchases Historic 27.5-Acre Coastal Property

The Kohala community nonprofit Maika‘i Kamakani ‘O Kohala, Inc. announced that it purchased more than 27.5 acres of undeveloped shoreline at Kauhola Point, located in Hala‘ula, North Kohala.

Making the $1.3 million purchase possible was a public-private partnership of the state Legacy Land Conservation Program under the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Trust for Public Land, Maika‘i Kamakani ‘O Kohala, Inc., Malama Kai Foundation’s Ocean Warriors Program, the Dorrance Family Foundation, the Freeman Family Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the HEI Charitable Foundation, the Hawaii Electric Light Company, The Trust for Public Land’s Advisory Council Member Edmund Olson, the Zirinsky family (a Trust for Public Land donor), and many community members and stakeholders.

The spectacular property encompasses the vast majority of the peninsula known as Kauhola Point. The property affords Kohala families a safe and beautiful place to spend quality time together and engage in healthy outdoor activities, is a recognized model of community stewardship, and connects the people of Kohala to their rich Hawaiian history.

Kauhola Point has been used as a community-gathering place from wā kahiko (ancient times) to present day. King Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands, rested here after warfare and focus on peacetime activities — recreation, marriage and agriculture. Kamehameha taught his most beloved wife, Ka‘ahumanu, how to surf in the waters of Maliu off the property’s shores. As noted on an 1893 Hawaiian government map, the property was the site of Kamehameha’s Taro Patches and Kamehameha’s Fishpond.

The remains of Mulei‘ula heiau, possibly Ohau heiau, and another unmarked sacred site, are thought to be places of worship of Kamehameha and other chiefly lines that existed prior to the Kamehameha dynasty.

During the sugarcane era, this was the official recreation area for plantation families, and the site of numerous company and ethnic organizations’ picnics and softball games. To this day, children in North Kohala grow up exercising with their kupuna (elders), fishing, swimming, and learning how to surf at “lighthouse,” a loving nickname given to the property and surrounding area due to the iconic Kauhola Point Lighthouse that once stood guard there.

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North Kona to Receive Funds for School Construction Projects

Part of the more than $7.48 million of funds released by Governor Neil Abercrombie to the state Department of Education (DOE) for various Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) will benefit schools in North Kona.

“The improvements along Mamalahoa Hwy in Holualoa will help to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and the whole community,” said Representative Denny Coffman (District 6 -North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau).  “The release of funding for special education is needed and appreciated.  I wanted to acknowledge and thank the governor for releasing this funding.”

Representative Cindy Evans (District 7 – North Kona, South Kohala) said that this release of CIP funds is “much needed because there is much growth in the area,” and stated that “we’re in discussion with the Department of Education to build a new Elementary School in North Kona.”

  • $1,000,000 – Special education renovations at various schools statewide – Special education portable classrooms at Pa’ia and Makakilo Elementary Schools, and trailer classrooms at Kihei Elementary School, Waipahu Intermediate School, and Kealakehe High School, as funding permits.
  • $280,000 – Holualoa Elementary School, Hawai’i Island – Design for a pedestrian buffer to ensure the safety of students and staff on campus.

Hawai’i County Drought Conditions Warrant Natural Disaster Designation

Federal Relief Offered to Area Farmers and Ranchers

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Hawai’i County as a primary natural disaster area resulting from ongoing drought conditions. The Governor last month applied for the designation, which clears the way for Hawai’i Island farmers and ranchers to apply for available federal relief.

“By designating Hawai’i County a natural disaster area, President Obama and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have recognized that the island’s farmers and ranchers have endured enough,” said Governor Abercrombie. “Even today, Big Island residents continue to experience drought conditions ranging from severe to extreme. The USDA’s assistance will help hard working families recover losses and see it through until conditions improve.”

“A drought can be as catastrophic as a hurricane or flood to a farmer or rancher,” said Russell Kokubun, chairperson of the Hawai’i Board of Agriculture.  “This disaster assistance is a lifeline for many of our agriculture producers who have been dealing with severe drought conditions for over six years. We truly appreciate this support from the USDA.”

Hawai’i County was formally designated a natural disaster area on Jan. 18, 2012. Qualified farm operators in the designated area are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to cover losses. Eligible individuals have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply. FSA considers each loan application on its own merits. Additional information is available online at

According to the National Weather Service, leeward slopes of Hawai’i Island continue to receive little rain. As a result, a classification of “extreme drought” persists in the South Kohala District and Pokakula Region of the Hamakua District. Increased rainfall has resulted in recent improvement from extreme drought in other areas, but the Ka’u and North Kona Districts remain within severe drought parameters. Moderate drought remains over parts of the South Kona District. Pastures and general vegetation from Kawaihae to Pohakuloa are described as being in “very poor” condition, and brush fires continue to be a concern.

September Specials on the Big Island

Don’t let the end of summer get you down – it’s summery year-round on Hawai’i, the Big Island. A slew of special offers, new direct flights, and a cornucopia of fall specials make it easy to fall for Hawai’i’s biggest (and best) island, in a big way.



Alaska Airlines Adds More Nonstop Flights to Kona International Airport! New daily nonstop flights from San Jose and Oakland, CA are en route to Kona, as Alaska Airlines increases its airlift to Hawai’i starting Mar. 12, 2012. Currently, the airline serves Kona with three flights a week between Oakland and Kona, and four flights a week between San Jose and Kona. Savvy travelers can fly for as little as $179 each way if they act fast: book by Sept. 3 for travel from Mar. 12 – June 9, 2012. A complete list of fares and daily routes is available at or by calling (800) 252-7522.

Vote for Hawai’i Island! To celebrate its 30th anniversary, ISLANDS magazine is having a cover contest! Log onto,5 and cast your vote for Hawai’i, the Big Island today! The island with the most votes will be featured as the cover photo for the December 2012 issue. Hurry, voting ends on Sept. 21. The Big Island graced the February 1991 cover, and it’s time to do it again!

Kohala Canopy Adventure Swings Into Action. Hawaii Forest & Trail and Kohala Zipline present a new, exciting adventure, the Kohala Canopy Adventure. Kohala Zipline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hawaii Forest & Trail, opens Sept. 3. Built on Hawaii Forest & Trail’s 18 years of experience, this nature-based elevated inspiration is perched amongst the trees of Hālawa Gulch and features suspension bridges, soaring tree platforms and thrilling ziplines. Exclusive features, such as WhisperLines™ and smooth-stop braking, ensure guest safety and comfort and deliver an unforgettable experience. Visit

Zoom and Smell the Flowers! Botanical World’s new Segway of Hawaii tours let riders glide silently through the lush rainforest, waterfalls and exquisite gardens at its World Botanical Gardens north of Hilo. Certified Segway guides train and assist visitors to ride the stand-up, two-wheeled electric transporters, with 30-minute to two-hour-plus tours available. Combine a Segway Botanical Tour with a Zip Isle Zip Line tour and double up on fun and save on admission. Reservations recommended, visit or call toll-free (888) 947-4753 for information. 

Ocean Sports announces its newest “twist” in water fitness activities: Aqua Hula! Under the guidance of an expert kumu hula (instructor), you’ll learn and perform authentic hula dance moves in this easy-to-follow, no-impact, shallow-water workout. Routines are set to lovely, lively Hawaiian music, and no experience is required. Classes offered daily at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Mon.- Fri. For information or reservations, call (808) 886-6666, ext. 103, or visit

Hawaii Island Retreat in North Kohala is expanding the natural spa services at its new Maluhia Spa. The new Papaya Delight body treatment is a highly exfoliating and healing treatment that begins with roasted ground papaya seeds to exfoliate and polish the skin, followed by a mask of fresh organic papaya, goat yogurt, honey, and geranium oil.  Once the mask is removed, a massage with papaya-pineapple lotion leaves the skin silky smooth and dewy fresh.  Call (808) 889-6336 to schedule an appointment.

The Spa Without Walls at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i introduces two new treatments from Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals, the Hiwahiwa and the Kane which incorporate lotions and essences drawn from flowers from Hawai’i Island. The 50-minute treatments, tailored specifically for The Spa Without Walls, are being offered for $159 in any one of the award-winning Spa’s waterfall or oceanfront hale.  Offer is exclusive of tax & gratuity and valid until Dec. 21, 2011.  Call (808) 887-7540 for more information and reservations.

Sportfishing Charter “Super Saver” Upgrade Offers. Book a half-day fishing charter with Kona’s Humdinger Sportfishing, and get upgraded to a ¾ day fishing charter, plus take an additional $100 off. This special price of $500 saves anglers $300! Or, book a ¾ day, get upgraded to a full-day charter, and receive $100 off for a total of $700, saving anglers $300. Six-passenger maximum, payment due in full at time of booking, and charter must be taken by May 15, 2012. For details, visit, or call (808) 325-3449.

Big Island Eco Adventures II is now open and ready to rock! Experience breathtaking mountains and gulches of North Kohala and soar on eight exhilarating zipline runs, ranging from 700 to 2,000 feet. Test your courage on a 200-foot suspension bridge overlooking a beautiful fern grotto. Enjoy light, local snacks at the Mango Hut, and zip out to finish the tour with views of Waianaia Gulch and the Pacific Ocean. Call (808) 889-5111 or visit

Five-hour O‘ahu-to-Big Island Private Airplane/Helicopter Adventure. Private parties from one to six people start their day on O’ahu by boarding a private airplane with Makani Kai headed for Hawai’i, the Big Island. After arriving, they climb aboard with Paradise Helicopters to enjoy flightseeing over Hawai’i’s biggest island, with highlights like Kīlauea volcano, and landing in a secluded valley on the Hāmākua Coast for a Hawaiian-themed picnic lunch. Contact Rob Payesko, (808) 329-6601, or email

Manta Mama. A manta ray fondly called “Big Bertha” recently gave birth. Her underwater courtship and 13-month gestation period was chronicled by Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides’ videographer James L. Wing. Big Bertha’s underbelly markings and her 15-foot wing span make her easily recognizable among the giant rays often observed during Fair Wind’s nighttime Manta Snorkel and Dive adventure just offshore from Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. Watch the video at and learn more at

The renowned Volcano Art Center presents “Dia De Los Muertos: Grievin’ and Groovin’ Fiesta, Procession and Art Exhibit,” Nov. 1-2. This two-day celebration honoring the dearly departed represents art, writing, and movement based on mortality and the passage of time. Based on the actual dates of the traditional celebration, it will close in a full fiesta on the evening of the second day. Visit for details, or to participate, contact Anne at

Looking for more to do? Click for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island happenings throughout 2011, like the 41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival:

Praised for its fine, aromatic and memorable taste, Kona coffee is celebrated at the 41st annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Nov. 4-13. The award-winning, 10-day festival is recognized as the oldest and one of the most successful food festivals in Hawai’i, honors Kona’s cultural heritage and recognizes the accomplishments of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans.


Mark your calendar for the 2011 Kona Surf Film Festival happening Dec. 2 and 3 at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. The Fest is an epic weekend of international surf films, live music, local art and design and awesome food and drinks.  The weekend will benefit the Seathos Foundation, which promotes education and awareness of the human impact on the world’s oceans. Enjoy special festival room rates starting from $199 a night. For more information visit

Guests at the Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff have a new evening activity to enjoy: movies under the stars. Every Thursday, between 7:15 and 9 p.m., the resort offers “Movie Night Under the Sea Cliff Stars” with movies either filmed in Hawai’i or about Hawai’i. Recent viewings have included Lilo and Stitch, The Ride, Soul Surfer, and Blue Hawaii. There’s even a concession stand with freshly popped popcorn and M&Ms to enjoy. Find out more at

Vacation Homes for the Holidays. Need a holiday getaway? Hawaii Vacation Rentals, Inc. has availability in Puakō during the holidays in beautiful beach cottages and luxurious homes. Puakō is a charming residential beach community on the sunny Kohala Coast, nestled between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Lani resorts. Visit  or call (800) 332-7081.

Enjoy the warmth of Hawai’i Island at Prince Resorts Hawaii with up to $100 daily resort credit used toward dining, golf, spa and more. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is offering $399 per room per night for mountain view accommodations with $100 daily resort credit. Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering a $199 per room per night for terrace accommodations with $50 daily resort credit. Offers valid Oct. 1 – Dec. 17, 2011. For reservations or information, call (866) Prince-6 or visit

Hale Makamae Bed & Breakfast in Puna offers warm hospitality, classic aloha spirit, plus a fall special! Enjoy a 10 percent discount for new bookings, valid now through Nov. 15, 2011, and mention the 2011 Fall Special. Comfortable, spacious suites are surrounded by two acres of serene tropical gardens. Families welcome, gourmet breakfast included, free Wi-Fi. Ten minutes to the lava flow, 30 minutes to Hilo and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, five minutes to Pāhoa. Visit for more info.

Hilton Waikoloa Village has a new name for its children’s program: Club Keiki. Club Keiki (formerly known as Camp Menehune), prides itself in providing a safe and fun environment for children five to 12 with day and night camp activities.  Each day includes themed crafts, games and water activities. Club Keiki counselors tell stories of the islands and teach children about Hawaiian culture. For information, call (808) 886-1234, ext. 1202 or visit

Castle’s “Fall for Hawai‘i” Sale. Let Castle Resorts & Hotels help you Fall for Hawai’i for the first time, or all over again! Castle’s fall specials offer 55 percent off select hotels and condominium resorts on Hawai’i, the Big Island. Castle’s outstanding collection offers properties with full kitchens, washer/dryers, oceanfront swimming pools, restaurants, fitness centers and more. Visit, or call (800) 545-3510 to learn more.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is ideal for families, romantics, ocean lovers and island adventurers. It is also ideal when booking a room now through Dec. 23, 2011 at rates starting as low $129 per night. The “Book Now & Save” rate is non-changeable, non-refundable and subject to availability at time of booking. Applicable state taxes and daily resort service fee not included. Book online at

Bougainvillea Bed and Breakfast in Ocean View offers a room, restaurant offer and three nights for two people at $89/night. Try the new eatery, Rock Island Roadhouse, with a $25 coupon, and enjoy remarkable food and reasonable prices in a pleasing, enjoyable setting. Offer valid now through Dec. 15, 2011. Call (808) 929-7089, and visit

Aston Hotels & Resorts offer the Sweet Suite package for golf enthusiasts. Package includes two rounds of golf, plus cart, at the Waikoloa Beach Golf Course (Beach or Kings Course) and accommodations at the Aston Shores at Waikoloa with starting rates from $234 per night or Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas starting at $243 per night. Visit or call (866) 774-2924.

Four Seasons Resort Hualālai to Plant 500,000 Trees. Four Seasons Resort Hualālai at Historic Ka’upulehu, the first and only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort on Hawai’i Island, has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods in planting up to 500,000 “legacy” koa trees in native Hawaiian forests. This initiative is part of a global effort of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to plant 10 million trees around the world, in recognition of the company’s 50th birthday. More information available at


Wine Grapes Grown With Ocean Water? The innovators at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i (NELHA) in Kona are successfully growing Isabella-variety wine grapes with ocean water, and have been since 1997. Deep cold ocean water is used to create 24/7 condensate drip irrigation and nurtures three crops per year. This unique, patented technology was developed at NELHA, and has also been used to grow a variety of temperate crops in the tropics. Visit these one-of-a-kind wine grapes at the Gateway Center at NELHA,

AKA Sushi is a new little eatery in Waimea, located in the Waimea Shopping Center in the heart of town. Kyaw Mo and his wife Akiko are the proprietors of this 22-seat sushi specialty restaurant. Traditional nigiri sushi, sashimi, special rolls and hand rolls are all part of the menu; rice bowls and salads with somen noodles, too. Open for lunch and dinner, Tues.-Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., (808) 887-2320. Email:


Hawai’i Island Is #1! In its August issue, the readers of Travel +Leisure voted Hawai’i, the Big Island the top Hawaiian Island, and ranked the island No. 7 on the list of Top Islands Overall in the World’s Best Awards 2011 readers’ survey. Hawai’i Island is also home to the top resort hotel in the state: the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai is ranked No. 1 on the World’s Best Awards 2011 list of Top Resorts in Hawai’i! We’re still celebrating, and if you missed the news, read all about it here:

Mountain Thunder Has Done It Again! Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earned two gold medals at the Kona Coffee Council’s prestigious Cream of the Crop competition in August, one for “Chef’s Choice,” and the other for “People’s Choice.” On Sept. 4, Mountain Thunder will again be crowned Best of the West by readers of the West Hawaii Today newspaper. Visit the family-owned Cloud Forest Kona coffee plantation and mill for a free tour, or schedule a VIP tour and call (808) 345-6600. Japanese tours on Tuesday and Friday. Visit

A Back Door Tour of the Hilton Waikoloa Village

Last weekend we stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village and I mentioned that we got to see the Legends of the Pacific Luau on Sunday evening.

On Monday morning, I got to go on a “Back Door Tour” of the facility and that was very interesting.

I met with the director of public relations at 9:00 in the resorts lobby and the two of us began the tour by going downstairs to where the Japanese had their own guest services center.

One of the nice things about the property is that upon arrival you can simply hand your luggage off to the folks at the front and they literally take away your luggage underground and deliver it to your rooms.

If this looks familiar to folks in Kona… its because this came from the Old Kona Airport!

Employees access all areas of the  resort on these “Tuggers” and there is about 1.4 miles of underground tunnels that they can drive.

Once the tugger gets loaded… it’s then trucked underground to your room.

There are about 1230 workers on hand at the place and during peak occupancy the wardrobe department tracks over 25,000 pieces of uniforms.

The employees are lucky in that they simply where their street clothes to work and then they check into the wardrobe department to pick up clean clothes and they don’t ever have to worry about washing their uniforms.

And they are pretty styling uniforms!

At peak occupancy, the Laundry Department handles over 35,000 lbs of linen!

My wife would so love to have one of these washing machines!

They also are real proud of their recycling program and since 2005 they have recycled more then 227,000 aluminum cans, more then 250,000 bottles, more then 237,000 plastic bottles and they average three to four 500 pound bales of cardboard each week.

Through the creation of a food waste program, the hotel provides a clean and reliable food source of food for local pig farms and reduces the amount of wet waste that goes into the trash compactor.

In just three months, a total of 186,280 lbs of food waste was diverted with this program and the local farmers really appreciate it.

Not only do the employees get free laundry service… each day they get a free meal at the Lava Rock Cafe that is hidden downs stairs and only available to employees.

I bet they don’t have to leave a tip either! :roll:

The Swiss made trams that travel through-out the property cost $3 million each and the Disney engineered boats cost $250,000 each!

We came out from some door downstairs at the end of the tour and all of a sudden we were at the ballrooms where I had tried out for the Wheel of Fortune in 2009!

The tours like this used to be advertised… but I didn’t see anything mentioning them this last time I stayed there so I had to personally inquire about taking the tour… so if you want to take the tour… I guess you will need to inquire if they are still available.

Related Articles

Lighthouse Delicatessen Opens in Downtown Hawi

Friendly city-style eatery offers highly anticipated options to Kohalans and visitors

Media Release:

The community of North Kohala is now home to an attractive new dining experience. Located next to Lighthouse Liquors in the Kohala Trade Center, Lighthouse Delicatessen offers delicious sandwiches & specialties, munchies & desserts, meats & cheeses by the pound, as well as beer and wine by the glass.

“It’s a perfect place to crush a sandwich and a beer,” said Chris Scelza, one of four friends who also opened neighboring Lighthouse Liquors almost a year ago. “It’s a city-style deli with a Kohala twist.”

Lighthouse Delicatessen is named in honor of the recently demolished Kauhola Point Lighthouse, and is the offspring of four North Kohala residents – General Manager & Chef Chris Scelza, local yoga instructor Bobby Hoyt, marketing manager Marci Elizondo, and carpentry guru Rick Klaus. With recipes inspired by the women in Scelza’s Italian family, a cozy ambiance highlighted by the same wooden flooring, beautiful sapele mahogany accents and deep red walls that adorn Lighthouse Liquors, this deli provides a tasty and charming new option for hungry patrons…
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County Of Hawai‘i Acquires Pāo‘o Partnership With State and Trust for Public Land Conserves Shoreline Kohala Land

Media Release:

The County of Hawai‘i, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the State of Hawai‘i Legacy Land Conservation Program announced today the County’s successful acquisition of Pāo‘o, a 10.67-acre coastal parcel in Kohala near the County’s recent Kaiholena acquisition.

“With the acquisition of Pāo‘o, in addition to our earlier purchase of Kaiholena, we are putting together the largest and most significant shoreline access park in the state, rich in local historic and cultural significance, and with tremendous recreational opportunities for the benefit our Hawaii Island families,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “I’m extremely pleased that our partnership with the Trust for Public Land and state Legacy Land Conservation Commission has resulted in this acquisition of Pao`o, which demonstrates our commitment to work closely with state and private agencies to preserve our important lands for future generations.”

The property at Pāo‘o includes over 27 cultural and historical sites that are part of an extensive series of traditional Hawaiian fishing villages located along the Kohala coast, including the villages at the nearby Lapakahi State Historical Park listed on the State and National Historic Registers. The Hawai‘i County Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) ranked this property #2 on its priority list for acquisition. The property is also located along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, a network of trails stretching 175 miles along the coastline of the island of Hawai‘i.

Funds for the $1.89 million purchase price came from the State of Hawai‘i Legacy Land Conservation Program administered by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the County PONC fund. $945,000 of the purchase price came from the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, which was created in 2005 and sets aside 10% of the state conveyance tax for real estate sold in Hawai‘i for land conservation. $945,000 of PONC monies were tapped for the County’s purchase. The PONC fund was created in 2006 and sets aside 2% of real property taxes for land conservation.

Laura Thielen, Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which administers the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, stated, ” It is part of DLNR’s mission to protect Hawaii’s unique natural, cultural and historic resources; as a funding partner in this acquisition, the State has helped to place the lands in the hands of a partner that will work with surrounding community to steward and protect these resources..”

In cooperation with the County, the TPL secured private financing and purchased the property in April 2010 from the private landowner, Aloha Properties, LLC, in order to take the property off the market and ensure that the County would be able to acquire the property. TPL also assisted the County in applying for $945,000 from the State Legacy Land Conservation Program. TPL’s Hawaiian Islands Program Director, Lea Hong, stated: ” Pāo‘o is an amazing cultural legacy for the Big Island and the entire State of Hawai‘i. The Trust for Public Land was happy to work with the landowner, the County, and the State Legacy Land Commission, to voluntarily conserve Pāo‘o where the public can enjoy continued access to the shoreline, and where important cultural sites can be treasured and conserved. We look forward to continuing to work with the County and the State to conserve special places throughout Hawai‘i Island.”

North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition Welcomes in New Program Coordinator and Seeking Leadership Team Members

The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition (NHDFC), a project of Five Mountains Hawaii, recently appointed Ms. Deanna Kackley as Program Coordinator, a position previously shared by Jan Sears and Lori Eldridge, who served NHDFC since 2007.  Kackley, originally from Kauai, has lived on Hawaii Island for more than twenty years.   She spent the last five years developing the “About Face!” program for the Hawaii National Guard Education and Health Programs. “About Face!” focuses on skills training for youth aged 13 to 17, in a variety of essential life skills for interpersonal relationships, critical thinking, health, fitness, leadership and employability. The innovative program has been successfully established in numerous U.S. states, Washington, DC and Guam.

Kackley’s early career work included Hubble Space Telescope at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Division, and she holds a degree in Engineering from the University of the Pacific and graduate degree from Stanford.  A busy mom in addition to her vocation, Kackley has three sons attending or graduates of Kamehameha Schools East Hawaii Campus.

“We are so fortunate to have Deanna join our NHDFC team,” said Five Mountains Executive Director Robin Mullin.  “She has a unique professional perspective and strong relationship skills from over twenty years of active community involvement. I am confident she will be an excellent support and liaison for our developing Leadership Team as we move forward into the 2010-11 year.


Continuing Coalition Leadership Team Members, Seated: Robin Mullin, Sherry Davis, Sharon Williams. Standing: Jeani Navarro, Richey Riggs, Joel Cohen, Doug Andrews


The Leadership Team, a group of qualified volunteers representing twelve community sectors, works within the North Hawaii neighborhoods of Hamakua, North Kohala, Waimea and Waikoloa to facilitate programs designed to reduce underage drinking, provide alternate activities for youth, share resources and raise public awareness to encourage smart choices about drugs and alcohol.

In the past year, the 24-member Leadership Team actively accomplished important milestones, furthering significant goals and projects.  They were able to help Roots Skatepark and Waikoloa Skatepark move forward, support the efforts of Hamakua Youth Center, From Kids For Kids, Hawaii Island Health Alliance, Children’s Research Triangle and other community organizations.  In addition, NHDFC distributed resource cards to 14,000 homes, raised awareness with appearances at public events, radio and print advertising and monthly education column, “U Need 2 Know.”  They also helped provide professional evaluation training to nonprofit organizations through Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

“We are extremely grateful to Jan and Lori, and to the 2009-10 Leadership Team,” said Mullin.  “Their talents have helped to move our mission forward, and they will be sorely missed.  My hope is that their excellent example will inspire others to step up to help the community and make a difference.

“NHDFC is actively seeking new Leadership Team members in the areas of Youth, Parent, Business, School, Media, and Law Enforcement,” Mullin said.  “The commitment level and meeting schedule are manageable for this advisory group that guides the coalition decisions.  We advocate for each other’s projects and brainstorm to address emerging issues challenging our shared vision for a drug free community.  In the final three years of our grant, we plan to refresh our approach using environmental strategies and have fun together as we  help make our Island an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

For more information about the Leadership Team opportunity, please contact Deanna Kackley, at NHDFC, 887-0756,  For more information about our program, see our website at