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Mayor Kenoi’s Office Responds to Bayfront Tourism Signage Problem

The other day I posted a commentary from Sonia Martinez about the Bayfront area and when tourist get off the ships.  Sonia received the following reply from the mayor’s office:

Hike Into Hilo 2

Hi, Sonia,
Mahalo for the op/ed piece on Damon Tucker’s site, and thanks for all of those rides you have been giving to the wandering visitors.

We’re working on it. The county recently received a preliminary notice of award of a $345,743 federal grant from the National Park Service to complete another portion of the ongoing Hilo Bayfront Trails project that should take care of the problem. This section of the trail will link the canoe halau area at bayfront with the Mooheau Bandstand area, with a side loop through the mauka side soccer fields.

This will be a 12-foot wide, divided concrete trail (to allow for bikes as well as pedestrians) with signage and landscaping, and should be mighty hard to miss. The trail will cross the existing Kamehameha Avenue/Pauahi Street intersection, so it should pick up all of the traffic from the ships regardless of whether folks are walking along the shoreline or the highway.

It won’t happen tomorrow, though. We’re using a combination of contractors and volunteer labor to save money, and construction is expected to take 15 months, There have apparently also been some delays in obtaining final grant approval from the federal government. I’ll ask the parks team if it makes sense to post temporary signs at some strategic spots in the meantime.

Thanks again for your interest.

Kevin Dayton
Executive Assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi

Commentary: Signage Needed Along Bayfront Highway to Help Tourists “Fresh Off The Boat”

Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi,

I don’t know who else to contact as I have tried for the last several years to make this matter known to a few people I thought could help, but so far no one has been able to do anything about it. Hopefully you will know who can help with this matter.

Hike into Hilo
Every ship day in Hilo we see visitors walking into town in pairs or groups all the way from the port to downtown. Most of them follow the coastline after they cross the Wailoa River Bridge and continue hugging the shores of Hilo Bay on Bayfront Park.

When they reach Pauahi Street, there is no sign to direct them to Kamehameha Avenue so that they can approach downtown easily and most of them continue to follow Bayfront Highway, not realizing there is no access to downtown from Bayfront until they reach the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue.

Hike Into Hilo 2

There are several gates on the fence separating the downtown area all the way from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue, but the gates are locked.

Several times, (including this morning) I’ve picked up visitors, both young and elderly, especially when it is raining, as I drive back home towards Hamakua. After I pick them up, I continue on across the Wailuku Bridge and turn around at Pukihae Street by the Bay Shore Towers, so I can drive back to Hilo and drop them off wherever they wanted to go in downtown. In most cases, it was to drop them off at the Farmers Market.

I cannot believe that it would be such a hardship for the County, the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation (I’m not sure in whose jurisdiction this matter would fall) to have proper signage at the corner of  Bayfront and Pauahi directing them to Kamehameha Avenue and/or at least have the gates open along the fence so we can make it a little bit more welcoming and convenient for our visitors to reach the downtown area without having to walk all the way to the end of the fence.

It doesn’t seem like such a big thing to do and yet, I believe it would make a big difference and maybe visitors would try to stay a bit longer in the downtown area if they weren’t so tired from having to walk the extra few blocks.

Can you think of any other solution?


Sonia R. Martinez

Puna ‘Ulu Festival Seeking Original Recipes for Cooking Contest

A Cooking Contest at the Puna ‘Ulu Festival calls for original recipes that feature breadfruit as the main ingredient. The Puna ‘Ulu Festival will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 9 am – 3 pm at Ho‘oulu Lāhui, the site of  Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School at Pū‘āla‘a, adjacent to the ‘Āhalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna. The event is free and open to the public. The Puna ‘Ulu Festival features a cooking contest, breadfruit trees for sale, presentations on the cultivation and care of ‘ulu trees, poi pounding, tapa making, activities for the keiki, music all day and local food featuring breadfruit.

Ulu Tamales: The Puna ‘Ulu Festival will feature a Breadfruit Cooking Contest where the public enters their favorite breadfruit recipes. Pictured here are ‘Ulu Tamales cooked by the Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School students, who won an award at the September, 2011 Breadfruit Festival. Photo Credit: Sonia R. Martinez.

The day will include a Breadfruit Cooking Contest in which the public can enter recipes in the categories of Appetizer, Main Dish/Entrée and Dessert. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of these categories and for Healthiest Choice and Best in Show. Breadfruit Cooking Contest rules and entry forms can be found at www.breadfruit.info.

Dishes can be dropped off at the Puna ‘Ulu Festival on Saturday, March 3, 2012 between 8:00 am and 10:00 am. Contest entrants must submit an Entry Form with recipe(s)—pre-registration is appreciated, but not required. Contestants are asked to bring dishes two ways—a plated 10” to 12” (or an 8 inch bowl for liquid dishes such as soups and curries) dish for presentation and judging, and a larger platter (approximately 9” x 13”) for public sampling.

In addition to displaying and sampling the cooking contest entries, cooking demonstrations will be held throughout the day featuring Chef Casey Halpern from Café Pesto, Shirley Kauhaihao, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner from Kona and the students of Kua O Ka Lā PCS. There will also be a locally sourced buffet lunch which features breadfruit.

The Puna ‘Ulu Festival is sponsored by Ho‘oulu Lāhui, Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School, Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network, the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kamehameha Schools. The Puna ‘Ulu Festival is a part of a larger statewide effort to revitalize breadfruit for food security called Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu. Learn more about the Puna ‘Ulu Festival by visiting www.breadfruit.info or call 965-5098.

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Results of The Second Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge

The Second Annual Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge culminated in the Public Tasting at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on Wednesday, September 14.  At the event, the public was treated to a special demonstration of encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, by John Matsushita of Volcano.

The Challenge has been sponsored two years in a row by the Big Island Beekeepers Association to promote the quality honeys produced by state beekeepers.

This year, the public was invited to sample forty-three entries from around the state to select the “People’s Choice” award.  Earlier in the week the samples had all been evaluated at a “Formal Judging” at which five judges selected for their interest in honey and discerning palate evaluated the entries by four criteria within two separate categories (solid and liquid).  The winners of the Formal Judging as well as the People’s Choice were announced at the end of the Public Tasting.

The results were:

  • Overall winner in the liquid category was a  Christmas berry, wild flower honey from Pahoa submitted by Ron Hanson, Best Big Island Bees.
  • Overall winner in the solid category was a  Ohia Lehua flower honey from Volcano submitted by Henry Iucker, Daddy’s Stolen Honey.
  • Winner of the People’s Choice Award was a Ohia Lehua honey from Glenwood submitted by John Hanson.

Runners up in the individual categories were:

  • Best appearance (liquid): a honey derived from multiple fruit blossoms (citrus, passion flower, avocado, various  fruit trees, beginning Jacaranda) from Upcountry Maui  submitted by Michael McCoy, Ainalani Farms.
  • Best appearance (solid): a Ohia Lehua honey submitted by Shawn Harris, Wao Kele Farm.
  • Best aroma (liquid): a macadamia, tropical flower and citrus honey from Kalaheo, Kauai submitted by Joyce Takahashi, Miki Macs.
  • Best aroma (solid): a mixed wild flora honey from Mountain View submitted by Patrick Weder, Lotus Buddhist Monastery.
  • Best texture (liquid): a albizia, citrus, palm and guava honey from Lower Puna submitted by Jen Rasmussen, Paradise Nectar.
  • Best texture (solid): a Ohia Lehua honey from Glenwood submitted by John Hanson.
  • Best taste (liquid): an albizia and palm honey from Kurtistown submitted by Cary Dizon.
  • Best taste (solid): a mango honey from Kalapana submitted by Ron Hanson, Best Big Island Bees.

Judges for the sweet competition were: Danielle Downey, State Apiary Specialist; Stephen Coffee, a food enthusiast working as a science instructor in local schools; Jane Horike, a  Hawaii County Economic Development Specialist who grew up with bees and a passion for local foods and products; Hope Johnson, raw food advocate and food writer;  and, Sonia Martinez, cookbook author and freelance food writer.

Cary Dizon, President of the Big Island Beekeepers Association thanked the judges for their hard work in carefully evaluating the forty-three entries which took over five hours to complete.  The judges were rewarded for their effort with gift baskets which included honeys from four of the best known apiaries on the Island:  Volcano Island Honey  Company, Big Island Bees, Mo Bettah Honey, and Weo Kele Farms plus Honey and Mele Macs from Big Island Princess.  These sponsors are the contest’s major contributors
to whom the contest organizers owe a special debt of gratitude.  The contest organizers also deserve recognition for all their work especially the contest registrar, Catarina Zaragoza and the other members of the Challenge Committee, Vo Collins-Toribo, Pat Chu, Cary Dizon, Sonia Martinez, Jen Rasmussen, and Wendy Westlake.  Others who lent a hand include: Maria “DiDi” Diaz, Margarita “DayDay” Hopkins, Mike Klungness, and Frankie Stapleton.

For more information about bees, honey production, and BIBA activities, visit the association website: bibahawaiibees.org.

Results from the Big Island Beekeepers Association’s First Hawaiian Honey Challenge

Media Release:

Jenny Bach of Papa’aloa’s Bee Love Apiaries dominated the competition Tuesday in the Big Island Beekeepers Association’s first Hawaiian Honey Challenge, with 89.5 of a possible 100 points. Held at Hilo’s Komohana Extension Service Ag Building. Bach’s solid honey from fruit, citrus and palm flowers in lower Puna outpaced all other competitors in judging based on aroma, appearance, taste and texture. A commercial beekeeper with eight years’ experience, she maintains 34 colonies on the Big Island.

Image(s) from when the bees were removed from my house

Winner in the liquid honey division was Francis and Joyce Takahashi of Lihue, Kauai, with an entry gathered from bees dining on mac nut, citrus and tropical blossoms harvested in the Kalaheo area. The Takahashis have been beekeeping hobbyists for the past two years and have a total of five colonies. Their honey label is Miki Macs.

Shawn Harris of Hawaiian Acres’ Wao Kele Farm captured the Peoples’ Choice award with a liquid lehua and dragon fruit honey. A commercial beekeeper of five years’ experience, he and his brother Michael Harris maintain more than 50 colonies of bees.

Runners-up in the individual categores were:

Best aroma (liquid): John Hanson’s honey from Kapoho-area blossoms

Best aroma (solid): John Hanson’s ohia blossom honey from Volcano

Best appearance (liquid): A 2-way tie between Steelgrass Farms of Kapa’a, Kauai, and Hilobees.com of Hilo. The Kauai honey came from palm blossoms in Kapa’a while the other was a Hilo blend.

Best appearance (solid): Wao Kele Farm’s kiawe and coconut blend

Best taste (liquid): A 3-way ties between two of Wao Kele’s honeys, the Peoples’ Choice lehua and dragon fruit and a liquid kiawe and coconut blend, and Dona Willoughby of La’akea Community’s ohia, tremia and garden plants blend

Best taste (solid) : Henry Iucker’s Daddy’s Stolen Honey of Hilo with a lehua honey gathered in Volcano

Best texture (liquid): Ruby Piano’s Puna wildflower blend

Best texture (solid): Paul Patnode of Volcano with his lehua honey gathered from Fern Forest

Judges for the sweet competition were Margarita Hopkins of Hawaii County Department of Research and Development; Hope Johnson, raw food advocate and food writer; Sonia Martinez, cookbook author and freelance food writer; Sandra Barr Riveria, former chef of Merriman’s Restaurant and currently teacher and writer; and Richard Short, beekeeper since the age of 10 and  manager of the UHH Agriculture Farm Lab.

Cary Dizon, newly elected BIBA president, said she appreciated the judges’ hard work and difficult task in judging 33 different honeys. She also expressed her thanks for the professionalism, patience and dedication of emcee Ken Hupp, UHH University Relations Public Information Officer.

For more information about bees, honey production, and BIBA activities, visit the website bibahawaiibees.org.