Feature — A Celebration Of Art And Culture

imageby Dawn Morais

The power of native arts was present and palpable at the Pacific Club on May 8 as the board of the national organization, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, (NACF) gathered with friends and well-wishers for the first time in Honolulu.
Board Chair Marshall McKay, also the chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, spoke of the arts as “a way of remembering.” He recalled watching his mother, renowned basket-maker Mabel McKay (Pomo/Wintun), at the table weaving and learning through her what was going on in the community. The arts, he said, are “like a layer of sediment in the mountain, always telling a story, helping us understand our differences and our similarities.”

Recognition of that vital function of Native arts and cultures, said McKay, is what prompted the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to step up and support the work of the Native-led foundation from its inception. Another NACF board member: Chandra Hampson (Ho-Chunk/Anishinaabe), a
consultant and former Senior Vice President in Community Development Finance and Banking.
President and CEO, Lulani Arquette spoke of the excitement of bringing the NACF board to Honolulu on the eve of the launch of the Hokule’a on its epic voyage round the world . She pointed out that a visionary artist, Herb Kane, was one of the designers, builders, and first captains of the original Hokule`a in 1975. Through his over 400 paintings, many of which were historic depictions of ocean-going canoes, Kane’s creativity and artistry helped inspire appreciation for Polynesian navigation and care of the ocean. An extraordinary Hawaiian cultural revival and renewal of pride sprang forth that informed and inspired future leadership that continues to this day.
Arquette announced that NACF had provided over $350,000 in grants to Native Hawaiian awardees. Each of the NACF Fellows then spoke to those present at the gathering either in person or via a video message. It was “show and tell” of the kind to which the only appropriate response seemed to be “Wow!” Micah Kamohoali`i, sprang to the podium with a promise: “I will tell you who I am!

And then this recognized artist who traces his genealogy to the Pele clan and the shark people of Waipi‘o Valley, proceeded to tell everyone who he is through a powerful chant. He also unfurled a piece of the kapa that his family still makes the traditional way, pounding it out painstakingly and coloring it with natural plant dyes.

The closest the audience could get to Kaili Chun’s large scale installations that night was through the images flashed on screen. But she was present to express her
appreciation for how the NACF award has helped sustain her efforts to help
us all be more mindful and better stewards of the constantly changing world we live in.

Slack key master Keola Beamer was not there in person. But his presence on-screen, as he spoke to the audience apparently from “behind bars” in a mock jail, drew laughs, even as he spoke of freeing himself through music to contribute to the voyage of aloha around the world. “Malama Ko Aloha” (Keep Your Love) is a lesson learned from his mother, “a way of being in the world” –and the title of the album that the NACF award allowed him to take on tour.
Read more

Hawaii News — ‘A Tale Of Toads And Men’

?By Robert Duerr

Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, gave his talk “Silent Spring to Silent Night…A Tale of Toads and Men” at UHH which detailed the adverse affects of Atrazine a herbicide commonly found in water wells in Hawaii.
?His speaking engagement was sponsored by the Hawaii Center for Food Safety and Hawaii Seeds. Hayes brought the full capacity audience through the history of his peer reviewed, published and internationally recognized amphibian studies on the popular herbicide Atrazine.
?Hayes calls Atrazine an endrocrine disrupter that demasculinizes and feminizes male frogs. Atrazine’s master chef is Syngenta, a Swiss global chemical and GMO behemoth. Hayes’ published studies in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” and “Nature” have been actively disparaged by Syngenta.
?Hayes’ studies claim that the chemical Atrazine in extreme parts per billion low doses deforms cells in amphibians. Hayes furthers his anti-Atrazine testimonial by stating that peer-reviewed and published works of other scientists around the world have proposed that the chemical is also damaging reptiles, birds, rats and human cells.
?Hayes began his work with Atrazine in 1997 working for consultant EcoRisk Inc. At the time Atrazine was owned by Novartis another pharma-chem leviathan, since swallowed by Syngenta. Hayes was one of a panel of scientists testing the herbicide for Novartis.
?When Hayes’s work hinted at toxic effects, Novartis dropped his funding from further research. Hayes went rogue and replicated studies in 2002 with African clawed frogs and leopard frogs that showed the same negative results as the EcoRisk Inc. study.
?African clawed frogs ae important Hayes says because at the time they were used for human pregnancy testing. In 2007 as a co-author his lab work showed that Atrazine is implicated “in complete feminization and chemical castration. ” It is now that he sees a ecoepidemiological link between frogs and humans and postulates that Atrazine at low doses causes damage in humans.
?This link Hayes calls a “tale of toads and men.” Hayes believes that Atrazine alters aromatose and estrogen production which is implicated in frog and human disease. Hayes further claims that Syngenta is now a “one stop shop” with unit Novartis selling Letrozole a prominent cancer drug which offsets Atrazine’s aberrant estrogen production.
?“I’m a boy that just loves frogs,” Hayes says repeatedly but this frog love has Syngenta writhing. A class-action lawsuit in 2014 uncovered an orchestrated professional and personal smear campaign by the chemical company against Hayes. Hayes’s work and others were used in a $105 million dollar settlement for water companies to pay for filtering of Atrazine. Syngenta settled denying wrongdoing
?Atrazine is the second most popular herbicide in the United States with 76 million pounds used each year. According to a 2013-14 joint study between the Hawaii Department of Health and Department of Agriculture Atrazine “was the most commonly found pesticide in the study. Of the sites tested 80 percent had atrazine detections.”
?Fenix Grange Hawaii Department of Health environmental cleanup supervisor told the Hawaii Tribune Herald that the highest amount detected in the island was .075 parts per billion. Safe drinking limits set are 3 ppb while Hayes conducted many of his experiments at 1 ppb.
?Hayes told GMO advocates in the audience that his main objection to GMO crops is their dedicated pesticide uses. He fears that the regulatory process has been corrupted by government, business and university collaborations that bias against safety and collaborates for profits and funding.

Robert Duerr is an outdoor writer and member of Outdoor Writers of America. He writes monthly about Hawaii land and sea public policy in Hawaii Fishing News. He is the first Hawaii writer to call for a breakup of DLNR forcing a separation of the state’s land leasing syndicate from natural resource management.

***Commentary*** We Need More Recreational Opportunities For Our Children

imageI am among dozens of parents, grandparents and guardians, standing in line to get our children signed up for swim classes at the Pahoa Community Aquatic Center. This long lines and conversations we are having as we wait are reminders that we are in desperate need for recreational opportunities for our children in Puna and Pahoa. We, and our children especially, are so disenfranchised. This is supposed to be a two-day sign-up process, and all of the classes are filling up before we can even get through this particular line. I feel so sorry for our children, really. — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

***Commentary*** Remembering The Brittany Jane Royal Murder Case

imageIt was Memorial Day one year ago when the parents of Boaz Johnson told Big Island Chronicle they last spoke with their son. It was the day after Memorial Day that fishermen discovered a woman’s strangled body  off the coast of Kalapana.

In the year since, we learned that woman was Brittany Jane Royal, and that she was early on in a pregnancy with a boy she told family members she wanted to name ‘Io.

We learned in the last year that Johnson strangled Royal before hanging himself in a forest bordering Kalapana’s lava field. For six months, however, Johnson’s decomposing body was yet to be discovered, and the community here and beyond -/- this became an internationally recognized story — wondered who killed Royal and where was Johnson. Speculation was rampant and the accusations were paramount. Online forums were active in slandering people and their businesses. Then a hiker happened upon Johnson’s remains in the trees mountainside of Kalapana. Near his body was a composition notebook wrapped up to protect it from the elements. Johnson, in a three-page manifesto, described himself, Royal, and the circumstances that led them to camping together in a tent on the lava. He also described how and why he committed the crime against Royal and the unborn child and why he chose to end his life. At a press conference in February, police referred to Johnson’s manifesto, but said the writing would not be released while the case remained active. To date, police have not announced that the case is closed. In January police expressed an interest in pursuing leads related to Johnson’s phone activity following the time his family publicly stated they last heard from him.  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Guest Column — Craving Change; Seeking Support

 stand up for LGBT youth By Jerry Javier

Having been born in Puna, and raised here for most of my life, I have come to yearn for the opportunity to leave the island. At the age of nine my family moved to California, only to move back to Hawai‘i a year later. After getting back to Hawai‘i at the age of ten my overall goal from that point on was to leave the island, return to the mainland and experience what the rest of the world has to offer. I feel fortunate that I was given the chance to live in another state and see a little more of the world before I got older and my love for island life solidified and made it more difficult for me to be receptive to change. My out of state trips had given me the chance to recognize that there is more than island life, and that new experiences are good, especially for young people still discovering the world. Finally, my life has reached a point where the change I have been longing for is close to becoming reality.

At the age of thirteen I began to crave social connections. However, in my case, the kind of social connections that I desired were of other members of the LGBT community, which I was now understanding I would be a part of.

Growing up in an isolated area like Puna, and going to a small charter school in Pahoa did not help. Knowing that outside of Puna there were many people just like me, my desire to leave Hawai‘i became even stronger. And as my desire to leave the islands grew, so did my disdain for “paradise”. Though I didn’t know why I felt so much resentment for the place that I have lived in for most of my life. I now know that I felt that way because I was isolated, and it took time to identify the feeling. The isolation that I experienced was social; and, the social aspect was something that I needed very much, just as any youth does in the complicated time of their life when they are discovering themselves. Read more

Letters — Seeking The Community’s Support

juniper ozbolt greyDear Pahoa and Hilo community members,

My name is Juniper Ozbolt and I am a freshman at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, public charter school. I have lived in Puna since the age of 2. I have recently been the great opportunity to attend Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine. Coastal Studies for Girls is a semester school that focuses on science and leadership in sophomore girls. I have applied to attend from February, 2015 to June, 2015. I am so excited for this opportunity to expand my mind and horizons, learn new things, and find myself. I have participated in many environmental science and marine science programs including Manowai O Hanakahi, the USC Summer Marine Lab for High School Students 2013, have volunteered at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hooulu Lehua, and many others. I am a constant leader in my school and many extracurricular, so after my experience at Coastal Studies for Girls I will be able to inspire other young women and men to pursue their dreams while teaching them the things that I have learned through my experience.

The tuition of the school was previously $19,750 along with travel costs. My family has applied for financial aid and received a generous donation, bringing the tuition down to a cost of $9, 876, plus travel costs. The travel costs will average more than $1,200. This is an enormous difficulty for me and my family, but I don’t want the problem of money to hold me back from my dream. Read more

Guest Column — The Virtue Of Farmers’ Markets

imagesBy Dena Smith

One of the ways that we pay the price for living in paradise is the sticker shock at the grocery store. And if you eat organic, the cost is even more alarming. Besides other obvious reasons, this is an excellent motivating factor for taking advantage of the optimal growing climate here in Hawaii by cultivating your own food. However, even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can promote a green lifestyle by patronizing any of the many local farmers’ markets around the Big Island. Markets are a cornerstone of sustainable community development. Besides lowering your food bill, farmers’markets host a plethora of other benefits.

Selling direct to customers allows small farms and business owners to lower their overhead and increase their profits. It also promotes self-sufficiency as dependency on distributors and retailers is eliminated. It creates a direct relationship between farmer and consumer, which in turn strengthens the interconnected fabric of community.

The bright colors, lively sounds, and delicious scents of a fresh air market can be a pleasant departure from cavernous, fluorescent-lit, homogenized corporate stores. In most cases, food sold at farmers’ markets is grown locally and, as a result, is often fresher, healthier, and tastier. In addition, food costs are usually lower than grocery stores. Farmers’ markets can also save consumers money by reducing transportation costs, especially in rural areas. Read more

Editorial — Transitioning

Aloha faithful readers,

As you can see with the latest edition, the main editor’s note is coming from Alan McNarie.  The story behind the story with that is that I have officially decided to seek public office — I am running for Hawaii County Council District 5.  I’m making a very conscious effort to keep business, business and to keep politics and campaigning in their rightful place.  So, you’re not going to read much about my campaign here, unless I prepare myself an advertisement.  (You can follow my newly created campaign website at www.tiffanyedwardshunt.tumblr.com.)  In the hopes that I will prevail in the Aug. 9 primary election, I am transitioning away from having editorial control of this newspaper.  Alan McNarie is currently the contributing editor of the newspaper, which means that he is going to have more say in what is published in these pages.  He will continue to write, but his editorial leadership is going to be paramount.  In other related news, I have found a student at Hawaii Academy of Art and Sciences Public Charter School who has a compelling enough interest in learning the fundamentals of newspapering to effectively serve as a BIC intern.  She has introduced herself to you, but I will tell you that her name is Sage Brand.  She can write, but she is also very artistic and keen on learning computer programs such as Photoshop. There are a couple of ads in this edition that she specifically designed  I’m excited for her to see them in print.  Hopefully it will inspire her to delve deeper into learning the program and all the possibilities she has with design.  You can keep track of her as she uses Big Island Chronicle for her laboratory.  And feel free to contact her to design an ad for you.  Hopefully you enjoyed the print edition, particularly Alan’s piece on our homeless challenges here on Hawaii Island, and also my coverage of State House District 4. You may have noticed in the print edition my coverage on the May 17 Pahoa Spirit Parade.  We are celebrating our student athletes, and the fact that the Hawaii State Legislature approved a grant in aid request for $92,000 for 8-man football at Pahoa High and Intmediate School.  This parade is really our effort to show our community spirit and town pride.  Other things to be proud of: the Legislature approved $80,000 in grant-in aid funds for the planning of a Puna library in Pahoa.  And $750,000 will go toward the planning of a new enmergency room in Pahoa, thanks to a grant-in aid request approved for the Puna Community Medical Center.  More on those in another edition.

A hui hou,

Tiffany

Administrative Notes — BIC Has A New Intern

Sage Brand(Editor’s note: BIC has a new intern, and following is her introduction to readers.)

My name is Sage Brand, I am a sophomore at Hawai’i Academy of Arts and Science Public Charter School. I have a passion for horseback riding.  After high school I hope to get my masters degree in Waldorf education.  I am serving as Big Island Chronicle’s intern. Email me at sagebrand123@gmail.com to design an ad or to help you with a BIC submission.

Editorial — Homelessness Is Close To Home

By Alan McNarie My story this month on Hawai‘i County’s attempts to come to grips with the problems of the homeless struck a little close to home. About 16 years ago, in the wake of a bankruptcy and a divorce, I was house-sitting to save money by while I got back on my feet. But a house-sitting job went sour, and my remaining possessions—about 40 boxes of books, papers, dishes and mementos, and three pieces of heirloom furniture—ended up in an open shed. Fortunately, some friends rented me a shack for $120 a month, and I slowly clawed my way back. But if one more thing had gone wrong, I could well have ended up on the street myself.

Thousands of Big Island families today hover on that same brink, a paycheck or less from disaster. Our safety net, frankly, is overwhelmed. Thousands languish on the waiting list for Section 8 rental assistance. The numbers of folk needing treatment for substance abuse or mental illness exponentially exceeds the beds available in treatment facilities. On an island where it’s far more lucrative to build luxury subdivisions than working-class homes, one social worker told me that 20 percent of the island’s homeless were working poor who simply couldn’t find housing they could afford. Without some re-ordering of society’s priorities, the homeless situation here could easily get much, much worse.

Also in this issue, we begin election coverage with Editor Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s interviews of declared candidates for State House District 4. Since Tiffany is herself running for a District 5 Council seat, I’ll be handling all coverage of County Council races to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, at press time, word had just come that House Bill 1481, the Clean Elections Bill, made it all the way through both houses, only to die when a powerful conference committee chair chose not to schedule it for discussion. In the absence of meaningful election reform, good election coverage is even more essential. In upcoming months, we’ll look not just at the candidates’ statements, but at who’s financed them and, if they’re incumbents, at their committee positions and voting records. We’ll ask hard questions on hard issues such as energy policy, pesticides, GMOs, waste management and, yes, homelessness. We hope you’ll do the same.

— Alan McNarie

Hawaii News — Homeless In Hawaii; County Offers Small Solutions For A Big Problem

By Alan D. McNarie

 

Most of you who read this live in a home.  Look around it now. You’re probably surrounded by hundreds of possessions: cookware, dishes, silverware, appliances, canned goods, furniture, clothing, tools, books, CDs, DVDs, photos, artwork, mementos, hobby equipment, documents. If you have children, there are probably toys and games, maybe diapers and formula. What if you had to reduce your possessions to fit into a single shopping cart? What would you take? What would you sacrifice? Your birth certificate? Your grandmother’s teapot? Your family photo albums? The drawing your daughter created in the fifth grade? How would you live without your stove and dishes, without your documents, without your Internet connection?

Welcome to the world of the homeless. Usually, it’s more than a home that they’ve lost.

At an April 15 meeting of the County Council’s Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation, a bill was debated that many saw as a threat to what little the homeless had left. Bill 193, “Relating to Unlawful Storage of Personal Property on Public Property,” would allow the County after a 24-hour notice to confiscate to confiscate personal property found in, say, a public park.  The county could then  charge storage costs or, if the property is not claimed and fees paid, to sell or destroy the property.

“This bill wasn’t intended to focus specifically on the homeless,” Kona Councilor Drew Kanuha maintained, expressing “disappointment” with a newspaper article that had portrayed it in that light.

But when county officials were asked the justification for such a law, they cited the case of a homeless man who left assorted personal belongings under a tarp next to the driveway of a county base yard.

“There was no ordinance available on how to deal with it,” explained Senior Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela, who said the items had to be removed because they constituted “a safety issue.”

Fifteen people testified against Kanuha’s bill, none in favor—and all of the testimony focused on the homeless. Testifiers included social workers, veterans, kanaka Maoli, at least one homeless person and various outraged residents.

“When you went home, you had a nice dinner to spend your time with your family, you slept in a comfortable beds, you got up and had your breakfasts, drove your car to sit and pass judgment on us,” said one testifier, who identified himself as “Abraham the Messiah.”

David Carlson of American Legion Kona Post worried that the bill would “seriously affect our disabled veterans, who are among the most vulnerable of all that we have. They have the highest rate of suicide, and most of them are affected by PTSD, and they become self-medicating with drugs and alcohol…. We’ve got to be careful not to be too rough on these people because they just can’t handle it.”  He concluded that “This kind of thing, of taking the vulnerable veterans and taking away their prized possessions, as minimal as it is, is not helpful.”

Ike Pono Payne, former Housing Coordinator for the Institute for Human Resources on O`ahu, also noted the damage that the proposed law could do to already-fragile psyches. Many of the homeless, he said, already perceived that “People don’t see them as being of worth, and by taking their possessions and trying to make them pay for them—it’s just deplorable.”

Aside from the moral and psychological objections about taking homeless people’s stuff, testifiers raised several practical problems with the bill. Brandy Manino of Hope Services, for instance, noted that homeless people could have problems proving that items were theirs. Another testifier pointed out that given the island’s bus schedule, which doesn’t have same day service from Kona to Hilo and back again, 24-hour notice might not be enough.  Read more

Hawaii News — Regarding Homelessness; Where To Go To Get Help Or Give It

A very incomplete guide to some of the major service organizations for the homeless on this island.  

Hope Services Hawaii

http://www.hopeserviceshawaii.org

935-3050

Operates a variety of services for homeless, mentally ill and other “at risk” persons around the islands, including The Friendly Place in Kailua Kona (see below), as well as housing programs, prison support services, and a financial management program for mentally ill individuals,

The Friendly Place

See Hope Services, above. A “point of contact for homeless and at-risk homeless persons/families needing assistance in the West Hawaii area. Provides registered clients with mail, emergency food, emergency supplies, phone, computer and fax usage, counseling and case management. Meals, showers and laundry services are also available Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

745593 Pawai Place, Kailua-Kona

933-6042

Under His Wings Ministry  

New Hope Church’s Hilo food pantry and ministry for the homeless.  Offers showers, free meals, fellowship.

183 Keawe St., Hilo

next to Spencer’s Gym

969-3094

Hawaii County Office of Housing and Community Development

959-4642

Rental subsidies through Section 8 and other programs; low cost and senior housing programs

The Food Basket, Inc.

Distributes food through dozens of soup kitchens and food pantries around the island. See Website for locations.

www.foodbaskethi.org

Hilo Warehouse

40 Holomua St.

Hilo, HI 96720

Phone (808) 933-6030

Fax (808) 934-0701

Kona Warehouse

79-1016A East Honalo Rd

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Phone (808) 322-1418

Fax (808) 322-7373

Bay Clinics

Bay Clinics offer medical and dental services pro-rated according to income.

www.bayclinic.org

(compiled by Alan McNarie)

Puna News — Brian Jordan Is Seeking The State House District 4 Seat For The Fourth Time, But The First Time As A Democrat

brian jordanBy Tiffany Edwards Hunt

This is the fourth time Brian Jordan has sought the State House District 4 seat.  But its the first time running as a Democrat.

“I was a Democrat before, I grew up in an AFL-CIO home, said Jordan, a Maryland native. What led him to the Republican Party in Hawaii was Linda Lingle.  But Jordan grew disenchanted with her and ultimately switched parties.

Jordan “would like to see the education system teaching skills that kids can actually use,” like the skills taught in Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science Public Charter School, HAAS, STEM program. “If you look at HAAS, they have laser cutters, engravers, band saws, chop saws.” Jordan teaches shop safety to the students in the HAAS STEM program.

“The difference between a charter school and a regular high school, when you go to a regular high school, you hear foul language, and there really isn’t an emphasis on discipline…” Jordan noted.

Jordan believes there should be more vocational training in the schools.

“I think we send kids to college to support an academic system.  But not every kid should go to college.  In Europe, they cull them at 16, they split them in vocational or academic…”

“Right now, Faye is advocating reopening the prison,” Jordan says, referring to the current representative, Faye Hanohano.  “If they’re educated, they’re not going to probably end up in prison.  That’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy. ‘Well, we’re going to fail, so let’s build more prisons’…”

Jordan is a proponent of vocational training, but he is also an advocate for more “moral integrity” in all the schools, in the DOE, and in government as a whole, he says.

Medical marijuana, what is Jordan’s position?

“The Coalition of Christians asked for people to go to Ainaloa Longhouse, and I guess nobody wants to touch hot topics, all different denominations, LDS, Catholics, and Baptists, I was the only one who showed up,” Jordan said, noting the Christians asked him about marijuana.  Read more

Puna News — An Interview With State House District 4 Candidate Joy SanBuenaventura

joy for puna(Editor’s note: Following is an interview Tiffany Edwards Hunt conducted with Joy SanBuenaventura, a local attorney who is seeking the State House District 4 seat in the upcoming election.)

 

Tiffany: What led you to run for public office?

Joy: People asked me to run.  They have been disappointed with their representation and some of them are my strongest supporters.

And as an attorney for 30 years, people come to me with their problems that just cannot be solved with our current laws.  And I have asked our representatives to push certain bills through to help them, especially with recession.

Specifically Sen. Kahele to introduce certain bills which I believe are necessary in 21st century for Hawaii to catch up with laws in other states.  I presented the problems of working poor.  In Puna, a lot of people who are middle income have been put into poverty.  I presented in the Hawaii County Democratic Convention, and people were just amazed that Hawaii is so far behind, like other states, like California, that have laws on the books… California has an anti-deficiency law that prohibits creditors from attaching assets, from going after assets other than the deficiency.  For instance, people are getting foreclosed on… you probably know a whole bunch of them and so do I, they come into my office.

Banks can go after other assets to make up for deficiency.

For working people, they cannot make mortgage payments, they get into foreclosure… When wages are attached, they go further and further into poverty.

There are exemption laws that create a safety net so people will have basic assets from which they can start over again.

What is considered assets is outdated, going back to the ‘70s, and Hawaii hasn’t caught up.  These are technicalities that are necessary that people assume are there… unless you are a lawyer, you don’t see the problems.

Protection of working poor in debt is part of platform. I’m trying to get people to realize the laws in state of Hawaii that work against those in poverty.

That is the main reason (Joy is seeking the State House District 4 seat).  That, as well as people have come to me saying they don’t feel they are represented.  I guess it is because of the incumbent’s remarks in the press.  And because of that I am running.

Since I’ve started to run there are basic problems in Puna that people have told me haven’t been addressed for a long time, such as education equality, for lack of a better term.  Rural schools, because the funding for the state of Hawaii is based on a per student basis, Oahu schools, which have more students, get a lion’s share of the funding.  That is why the Pahoa schools, and you know because you are part of Pahoa Booster Club, get the short end of the stick.  Charter schools have to come up with facilities funding and the teacher’s pay is affected.

Just because we are poor does not mean that we should have less-than-equal services.

Tiffany: What have you learned in running? Any epiphanies?

Joy: Not only education, it’s also the infrastructure.  People have considered Puna, I guess because we have one of the lowest per capita incomes, second only to Waimanalo on Oahu, one of poorest districts in state.  It doesn’t mean we should have less services, less infrastructure.

Puna was allowed to have all these subdivisions without basic infrastructure and, because of that, we have a few bad roads. Read more

Guest Column — Zero Waste On Earth Day And Every Day

By Kristine Kubat 

As the largest secular holiday in the world, Earth Day has much to offer anyone who cares about the future of our planet.  Earth Day celebrations are usually a mixed bag of things that matter and things that don’t. . . with many of the things that don’t matter downright harmful to the environment.  When I first started working at Recycle Hawaii, I made up my mind that it didn’t matter much to sit behind a table and shout at kids who were being herded along a maze of tables while loud music played in the background. So I took a position by the trash cans and have been happy ever since.

This year marks my third managing a zero waste operation for the University of Hawaii’s Earth Day celebration.  The event was back up at the UH-Hilo campus, against my advice to keep it at Hawaii Community College where the scale and centrality of the layout gives a village feel and makes it actually possible to commune with the thousands of kiddies who attend. It also makes it possible to capture nearly everything people want to throw away, whereas at UH-Hilo, where activities are spread out over the Library Lanai and the Student Center Plaza (with all kinds of other traffic in between) handling event discards is a nightmare.

Capturing the vast majority of the 2013 Earth Day discards at HCC made the resulting 98% diversion achievement a true thrill.  This year’s 99.9621% rate for the UH-Hilo event was fun, but it comes with an important qualifier. . . that’s what we diverted from what we collected.   Read more

Features — How Sean O’Phelan Paid For His Upcoming Vacation: He Planned A Harmonica Workshop

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Sean O’Phelan, 33, of Hilo, is going on vacation in June.  He is putting on a harmonica workshop June 26 – 29 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The workshop was inspired by his love for the harmonica and his desire to take a vacation.

“Living in Hawaii and being a harmonica player makes it tough, because there’s not a lot of harmonica in Hawaii.  Generally I will go to the mainland to learn harmonica, but it’s very expensive to take a trip there.  And the workshops that are available nowadays are pretty expensive, they’re in a location that is not convenient to get to, they make it very hard to be able to go to them and experience the workshop.  So, the one I would normally go to, they canceled the last two years.  So, I decided, if they are not going to have their event, I need to have one myself.”

O’Phelan’s last workshop was in 2012, and he immediately was motivated by the people running the event and by the teachers.  He decided he would look into doing it himself.  He started to plan a workshop in Hawaii, participated in the Puna Music Festival last year as a teacher of basic harmonica, and it was very cool. Read more