Guest Column — 2 The Point; The Kind Kidneys

“I had a test on my kidneys a few weeks back and found out I have two.”

— Liam Payne

By Kim Gitzel

And as ostensibly true that quote seems in our everyday thinking; in the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is actually not the case.  Welcome readers, let’s discuss today what your Kidney System is and how it helps give you the vitality that you need to thrive in life.

Okay, maybe I lied a little bit.  In TCM, it is believed that there are two expressions of the one Kidney energy – that of Kidney Yin and that of Kidney Yang .  This Yin and Yang is considered the foundation or “Primary” root for all other organ systems.  So how you nourish your Kidney Yin will impact your Spleen, Heart, and Liver systems as well.  The interconnected web of relativity in this medicine model is dizzying at times and yet hopeful because there is always more than one path towards helath and vitality – unlike allopathic medicine, which usually offers a pill to manage symptoms.  The key is to “listen” to your body’s imbalances and correct them before physiological change/dis-ease occurs.

So what are the Kidneys in charge of?  Good question.  Here’s a synopsis.

Store Essence and Govern Birth, Growth, Reproduction and Development.

The Essence I am talking about here is also considered our “Jing.”  It is a deep form of vital energy that resides in our Kidney System.  Some we are born with and some we cultivate through the choices of food, sleep, and other lifestyle activities.  A gluttonous “binge” oriented lifestyle can deplete your Jing, thusly making your golden years more of a challenge.  Think of your Jing as a savings account – an action you want to add more to, not take away from.  The Essence is the barometer for vitality.  If the Essence is strong, then a person has energy, is fertile, and has sexual strength.  If the Essence is deficient, there will be low energy, infertility issues, and low sexual draw.

Produce Marrow, Fill up the Brain, and Control Bones, Manifest on the Hair

“Marrow” in Chinese Medicine is a substance, which is the common matrix of bones, bone marrow, brain, and spinal cord.  Thus the Kidney-Essence produces Marrow, which generates the spinal cord and “fills up” the brain.”  Read more

Guest Column — Stand Up For LGBT Youth; ‘There Is Nothing Wrong With Us’

By Jerry Javier

One day, shortly after school let out, I walked up to a table full of high school, and middle school students all waiting to get picked up. As I gathered by belonging from the crowded table I caught the end of a conversation which, at first seemed to be of no interest to me. I listened as a boy from the junior class informed everyone else at the table about how little he actually knew about human sexuality. He stated, “Well, gay people choose to be gay.” At that moment I was hit with the sad reminder that some people still think that being gay is a choice. Stunned, I asked, “Do you honestly think people would choose to be treated like second class citizens?” He replied, “Well, I don’t know how gay people think.” Not wanting to spend the next few minutes arguing with ignorance, I called over a young middle schooler who I knew had gay parents. I asked him, “Alex, do think your two dads both chose to be gay?” He replied with a confused look on his face, “What? Of course not. My dads were born gay. Duh!” After that nothing more needed to be said.

I am sometimes astounded when I remember that some people still think being gay is a choice. It’s like a slap in the face. When you are surrounding by people who are fairly progressive it can be easy to forget that there is an outside world that is full of people who are ignorant, and/or hateful. To anyone who is gay, lesbian, transgender, using their ability to understand others, or anything in between, it is obvious that being queer is not a choice. Read more

Guest Column — Chinese Acupuncture: Qi

By Janice Dauw 

As a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, I see many patients who are very intrigued by both the experience and the efficacy of acupuncture.  During an acupuncture treatment, very thin sterile needles are inserted into the body.  Depending on the situation, the practitioner will either manipulate or stir the needles until the sensation of “qi” is felt or just let the needles be and allow the “qi” to come to the needle.  This sensation can be very slight and just feel warm and spreading, or can feel strong and even slightly electrical on occasion.  Acupuncture needles actually act as a conduit and allow the practitioner to connect with the patients qi so that the qi can be moved where it is blocked or accumulated and strengthened where it is weak or deficient.  This concept of “qi” is one of the great mysteries of TCM and goes completely unrecognized in western medicine.

So today, lets explore the concept of “qi”. The exact definition of qi is very elusive.  The ancient Chinese texts will use words such as energy or vital energy, vital force, life force, moving power, or matter on the verge of becoming energy to define qi.  I often tell my patients that their qi is like their electrical system.  It is our qi that provides the energy for movement and change with in our bodies.  Qi can both disperse and condense and if the body is suffering from a deficiency, most often the qi will need to be condensed and strengthened and if the body is suffering from an excess (stagnation causing accumulation), the qi will need to be dispersed. Read more

Guest Column — Winespeak; Trust Your Trusted Retailer

  By Selene Alice Wayne 

I wanted to taste a new wine or two but I didn’t want to get burned. I was in the downtown Hilo neighborhood of Grapes: A Wine Store and decided to stop in. Randy, the visionary behind the store, was in. I told him my dilemma and my budget, and he went to work. The wines he chose for me may not be my new favorites, but the experiences divined from these two wines were well worth the visit, and this was a blind wine adventure I will treat myself to again.

Randy and I have gone to a couple wine tastings together, so I feel like I know him a little bit. At a big tasting with many tables and hundreds of wines, he is very focused. He has the map of tables organized with an order to make sure he tastes the wines he’s singled out as priorities. At the smaller, classroom style tastings, he is pure comic relief mixed in with a passionate drive to get the most out of every wine. He knows his stuff. No wine gets in the door of his store without first passing through his glass. I knew walking into the store that even though I didn’t know what I was looking for, he would find something worth tasting for me.

Grapes: A Wine Store is nestled in the strip of cool little shops on Kilauea Avenue between Ponahawai and Mamo Streets . It’s a small space, but it is positively full of wine cases. In a waterfall, bottles overflow from the walls to the aisles and back up into an island of wine. I went in with my kids and told him I trusted his palate. My only qualifier was that I didn’t want to spend more than $40 total on two bottles of wine. I could see the wheels start turning, and somehow I got excited about tasting them before I even knew what they were. Read more

Guest Column — An Introduction To The Big Island Chronicle Recycling Guide

(Editor’s note: Be on the lookout for the latest print edition of Big Island Chronicle circulating this week.  In the edition is a four-page recycling guide prepared by Recycle Hawaii in preparation for Earth Day.)

By Kristine Kubat

Chances are, as a reader of “Waste Not,” you already subscribe to the zero waste philosophy. In which case you may very well have already participated in a “zero waste” event and perhaps even manned a sort station or two in your personal quest to be the change you want to see in the trash bin.  Good for you (on either or both counts).  Now how about organizing a zero waste event, workspace or home all of your own?

It’s not hard.  All it takes is some determination. . . and maybe some gloves, depending on the volume and pace of discards you’re up against.  The key to success is understanding what’s in your waste stream and what resources are at your disposal.  First step, take an inventory of what kind of discards will be generated at your event or work or living space.  Second step, figure out where you can send those discards to turn them into resources (as opposed to trash). Most times you will be gathering box board, cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, metal (including aluminum foil), food scraps and some plastic/foil/ paper things that defy the previous categories.  Anything clean made solely with paper fibers is easy to recycle and can go to the mixed recycling bin at the county transfer stations.  Same goes for clean metal and glass.  The plastic is a bit more tricky. Check the resin ID code on whatever you collect and send the numbers 1,2, 4 and 5 to the mixed recycling bin; take the number 6 (including clean Styrofoam) to Mr. K’s on Kinoole Street in Hilo.  While the county doesn’t list #4 plastic on their placards by the bins, this is the stuff that plastic bags are made of and they do take it.   As for the stuff that’s not clean, paper contaminated with food scraps gets composted along with the food scraps.  The rest just has to get rinsed and processed as described above, except for the plastic/foil/paper things, which, sorry to say, have to get tossed in the landfill. . . unless you decide to do yourself and the planet a favor by giving up on the stuff that comes in non-recyclable packaging.

Enjoy the Hawaii Island Recycling Guide insert in this edition of Big Island Chronicle, gearing you up for Earth Day on April 22. The Hawaii Island Recycling Guide is chock full of latest information on how to process your discards. (Remember, there’s no such thing as trash in the beautiful land where we come from!).

(Kristine Kubat is a former Big Island Weekly editor who now works for Recycle Hawaii.)

Guest Column — Gourmet Gwen; Sweet, Sweet Avocado

By Gwen Edwards

For me there’s nothing better than a ripe avocado, a spoon and a sprinkle of sea salt. But there does come that time of year when you have a bowl full of ripe avocados on the table and a bucket full of unripe ones awaiting the table. Not a bad problem to have, but one can only eat so much guacamole. Thankfully, avocados are super versatile. They can be enjoyed as a savory component or a sweet treat.

Try adding avocado chunks to a simple pasta dish of olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, and parmesan. Enjoy it smashed and spread on toast for your morning meal. Avocado is the perfect pal to bean or grain based salads. Or add it to your favorite poke recipe.

One if my favorite way to mix things up is to make dessert using avocados. Read more

Guest Column — Kitchen Diva; Plantains

By Sofia Wilt

  Most of us lucky enough to call Hawaii home annually eat our weight in bananas (OK sure, I totally just made that statistic up, but you get the point — we eat a lot of bananas). Yet most of us pay little attention to the banana’s lesser known relative, the plantain. Frankly, plantains have always kind of mystified me, they look like a regular banana, but need to be cooked and I’ve had little experience with them in my haole East Coast food heritage. Many of the transplants to Hawaii from tropical places such as Samoa, Tonga, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico all have culinary traditions using the plantain. In a recent kitchen experiment I discovered how fantastic plantains can be.

All bananas including plantains are native to the South East Asia and belong to the Musaceae family. Early Hawaiians traveled with them in canoes to ensure this valuable food would be readily available when they began making a home in Hawaii. The plant played a significant part in ancient Hawaiian culture and was considered a food of the gods. Oddly in ancient Hawaii, it was bad luck to dream of bananas, although one questions how bananas showed up in dreamtime in the first place. Women were forbidden, or it was considered kapu, to eat nearly all varieties of plantains and bananas.

There are dozens of varieties of plantains, and each can be used in different ways. You can make them into breads, pasteles (a kind of tamale that uses plantains instead of corn masa), fry them and serve them alongside black beans and roasted pork, essentially they’re extremely versatile. A rule of thumb is the greener the less sweet and more firm, and the more yellow/brown the softer and sweeter the flavor. Read more

Guest Column — Cooking With Sally June; Pad Thai

A dish of stir-fried rice noodles is thought to have been introduced to the ancient Thai capital city of Ayuthaya by Viet traders, and was subsequently altered to reflect the Thai flavor profile.During the late 1930s and 1940s, the dish was made popular in Thailand during World War II. Thai fascist government Plaek Phibunsongkhramnamed pad Thai as part of campaign to promote Thai nationalism and centralization, seeking to reduce domestic rice consumption. The Thai economy was heavily dependent on rice exports, and the prime minister hoped to increase the amount available for export by encouraging Thais to make and sell rice noodles from street carts and in small restaurants. Read more

Hilo News — Police: Murder At Ululani Apartments

(Media release) — Hawai?i Island police are investigating a murder Wednesday (March 26) at a Hilo apartment complex.

At 7:32 p.m. Wednesday, police responded to a reported disturbance at an apartment complex on the 100 block of Ululani Street. Upon arrival, police discovered the lifeless body of a 59-year-old man in an apartment unit. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, were he was pronounced dead.

Police arrested 52-year-old Rhonda Faris and 63-year-old Elsworth Hulihee at the scene on suspicion of second-degree murder. They are being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

The victim was identified through fingerprints. His identity is being withheld pending notification of his family.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at935-3311 or contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 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.

Guest Column — A Better Choice: Non-Toxic Personal Care

By Patti Hatzistavrakis

Over the last few decades, the personal care industry has become big business. There are thousands of products on the shelves, all claiming to help you be your best, youngest, or most vibrant self. Manufactures spend billions of dollars to ensure the popularity of their items. It seems that all of this advertising is paying off; recent research suggests that the average person (including men) uses nine personal care products each day. Some, use as many as 15.

I was no exception. For years I had monthly salon appointments. I purchased all the products “experts” suggested for me and then waited for the miraculous results. Guess what? They never came. That is, until I ditched it ALL. Two and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I immediately began to research all of the ways I could control the amount of synthetic chemicals and hormones entering my system. Processed foods were the first to go, but I was hesitant to believe that my beauty regime could have anything to do with the disease.

The truth is that our skin, from head to toe, is the largest and most permeable organ. It quickly absorbs any product that is applied, including body wash, lotions, perfumes and other airborne chemicals like hairspray. Once the product’s ingredients enter the skin, they get delivered directly into the blood stream and the internal organs without being filtered. In contrast, food and drink start getting broken down by saliva and then further filtered out by our digestive system. So, products we apply to our skin have a more direct effect on our overall health.

The personal care industry is largely unregulated and the US government doesn’t require any mandatory testing for safety. Manufacturers are able to use a variety of natural and manmade chemicals in their formulations. They are also responsible for their own testing and claims processes. So, terms like “hypoallergenic” and “natural” can be misleading due to the lack of industry standards.  Read more

Guest Column — Regarding the Landlord-Tenant Law In Hawaii

By Jill Raznov Wedgwood

Landlord-Tenant (L-T) law in Hawaii includes both residential and commercial leases.  The focus here will be residential leases of dwelling units in the State, which are governed by the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Chapter 521 (L-T Code).  A residential lease is a contract by an owner or possessor of real property for another’s use and occupancy in exchange for rent or some other consideration (such as services).  In Hawaii, both oral and written leases are recognized.  However, verbal leases are construed as being month-to-month only and shall not be for a period longer than one year.  HRS §521-22 and §666-4.  Verbal leases also tend to be more susceptible to ambiguity, which may hasten a dispute or hinder its resolution.  Residential agreements are usually between strangers, Landlords and Tenants who meet perhaps once in an interview and then contract for an extended term, which necessarily entails a type of working relationship where Landlords entrust valuable real property to another, and Tenants expect quiet enjoyment and security of safe and fit habitation. Having a basic understanding of residential leases and the obligations, rights, and remedies provided in the L-T Code for both Landlords and Tenants will foster more successful agreements and assist in resolving or preventing disputes.

When contemplating renting a residence, it is helpful to first answer some basic questions.  Landlords might consider general background checks of potential renters to ascertain rental history, income requirements (to afford the rent), and other relevant criteria, using a standard application, following up with references and holding interviews.  Keep in mind that Hawaii law prohibits housing discrimination based on: race, color, national origin, religion, familial/family status (make up of the family, including size, number of children, and pregnant women), disability/handicap, sex/gender, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or preference, marital status, and HIV infection.  Discrimination includes refusing to rent entirely or requiring different or special conditions or terms.  In addition, people with disabilities are specially protected in requesting reasonable modifications or accommodations.  Tenants might consider their ability to pay the rental amount, size and location of unit, proximity to school or work, and any particular terms which could pose a foreseeable problem.  Always review a written lease, including any attached rules or exhibits, carefully and fully, clarifying ambiguous or incorrect terms or provisions.  Read more

Letters — Library Access: A No-Brainer

Our public library is a bright spot in a poor rural community such as Pahoa. It should be a no-brainer that this most delightful of American institutions should be well-funded, supported, and thriving.  At the February 25 talk-story session held at the Keaau Girl Scout Center, Senator Ruderman announced, “It is my understanding that Senator Tokuda is putting in a request to the DOE budget for a feasibility study for a new Pahoa Library.  The study would cost $300, 000.” A new library tops the list of legislative priorities for the upcoming year. It would take five to seven years before Pahoa would see a new library.

The tiny library on the Pahoa High and Intermediate School campus is off-limits to its students and serves as a community library, instead.

For five years, our community library has failed to serve students.

Most parents don’t know that their children can’t access the library during school. Most students jump onto buses soon after the end of the school day. Checking out books, returning them on time, and all the other rituals inherent in library use go by the wayside if one does not step inside a library. This is part of growing up in a democratic society. Early respect for books means respect for writers, for scholarship itself. Being a habitual library user can help in all kinds of situations. Much the center of activity in a community, a library is a like a business, or the post office, except that it is free.

It would seem the solution to this five-year plus problem would be simple and straightforward.  It is not. Instead, the needs of Pahoa students have conveniently been ignored—enormous amounts of funds are spent all in the name of standardized testing.  Why not use some of that money to fund our library, allow students access, and therefore raise literacy by nurturing critical thinking.

Who should put the brakes on this blatant abuse? President Obama has shown concern for the disparity between rich and poor.  Rural communities in Hawaii continue to be ignored, just as ground will be broken for the Obama Presidential Library on Oahu. Why is there no equivalent library resource here in Pahoa? Why shouldn’t this extend to our library and to our students?

More visitors have guest cards than do resident children. This seems unbalanced.

Perhaps with a resolution by Senator Ruderman this idea could be kept alive:  everyone and especially Pahoa students really do need access to universal resources that our library system provides. Stay tuned for exciting updates.

  Susan Kay Anderson and Virginia Brautigan Aste

Volcano News — Volunteers Sought For Stewardship At The Summit April Through June 2014

Himalayan ginger in bloom_mrez(Media release) — Protect the Hawaiian ecosystem from invasive, non-native plant species by volunteering for “Stewardship at the Summit” programs in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Stewardship at the Summit begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. The dates from April through June are: April 5, 12, 18, 23 and 30; May 9, 17, 23, and 30; and June 6, 13, 20, and 27.

Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at K?lauea Visitor Center at 9 a.m. on any of the above dates. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply. Read more

Politics — Submit Questions For A US Senate Candidate Forum In July

(Media release) — Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce is the primary sponsor of a Candidate Forum for U. S. Senate on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Sangha Hall in Hilo.   The Forum is being held in advance of the Primary Election, which is on August 9, with walk-in voting beginning July 28 and absentee ballots mailed out around July 14.   Participating candidates include U. S. Senator Brian Schatz and U. S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.

The forum will be moderated by Hawai’i Public Radio news reporter and LAVA 105.3 fm/KKOA 107.7 fm program host Sherry Bracken.  The public is invited to attend the forum at Sangha Hall.  The forum will also air live on LAVA 105.3 fm.  It will also be live streamed with assist from Hawaii 247.comfounders  Baron Sekiya and Karin Stanton, with large screen viewing for the public at Kona Old Airport Makaeo Events Pavilion, courtesy of Kona Community Enterprises.
Other sponsors include the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Island Contractors’ Association, Hawaii Island Realtors, Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, and Kanoelehua Area Industrial Association.
  • J The public is invited to submit questions for consideration to Miles Yoshioka at the Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce at and to Sherry Bracken   Questions should be submitted as soon as possible

Guest Column — Chiropractic Stories; Neck Pain

By Dr. Jenni Clear  

Aloha Big Island residents and visitors.

This column’s topic is Neck Pain, which includes mysterious migraines and headaches. I hope to bring you some helpful information which may relieve some of the symptoms, or better yet, alleviate them altogether. We’ll explore causes, treatment options, and prevention of neck pain.

Neck pain can range from simple musculoskeletal discomfort to extreme migraines. Causes of neck pain can vary. Stress and tension, motor vehicle accidents, poor posture, dehydration, food allergies, and musculoskeletal imbalance can all induce neck discomfort. Sometimes neck pain will progress to a headache.

There are 129 different types of headaches, according to the International Headache Society. Three of these are most common: migraines, tension-type, and cervicogenic (from the neck). Migraines effect about 11 million people; tension headaches (180 headaches/year) effect about 9 million people; and cervico-genic headaches effect about 7 million people. Way too many people are suffering with headaches.

Headaches can range in location, frequency, and symptoms. Some people experience unilateral (one-sided) pain, while others may feel pain behind the eye or at the base of the skull. Some may see flashes of light, some become nauseous, and some even vomit. Read more

Letters — Time For Accountability At The University Of Hawaii

Once again the University of Hawaii appears to be on the verge of a scandal. This time it involves cost overruns and a scathing audit report centered around the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex which looks to be $3 million over budget with millions more possible.

Both the University Athletic Department and the Board of Regents were unaware of many of the delays and cost overruns and that is exactly the problem at the university, the leadership is unaware and nobody is held accountable.

The Ching complex delay is just another of in a growing list of failures facing UH. The Stevie Wonder blunder, the MRC Greenwood conflict with the Regents, and others that have cost UH millions in legal fees and buyouts.

While the Regents have failed to stop the fiscal bleeding, tuition has continued to rise, in fact it rose over 100% during Greenwoods tenure at UH.

The University has even failed to maximize the earnings potential of the athletic program. Recently UH chose to renew a contract with Oceanic Time Warner cable to broadcast games on a pay per view basis. The university failed to even listen to other offers that would have in fact proved more lucrative for UH. Hawaii News Now was poised to offer a package that would have allowed games to be broadcast to every home in the state without a pay per view component.

The university seems to have forgotten that it is in fact already funed by the people of this state.

What has been consistent at UH is ineptness, failure, and a lack of accountability for the people whose failures are being paid for by the people of the State of Hawaii and at the expense of the students in the UH system.

Now more than ever the university needs strong leadership. Someone with the power to hold the people in the system accountable for their failings, someone that can fire the people that need to be fired, and bring in people to get the job done.

The solution is very complicated. The university does not in fact answer to the legislature or the Governor. It’s time for that to change.

Our elected leaders need to take control of this situation. The Regents have demonstrated that they are in over their heads and unable to change the course that UH is on.

If you agree that legislative action is needed and that The University of Hawaii needs to be saved from itself I encourage you to contact the legislature and ask for action.

Steven Offenbaker