Puna News — ‘Spooktacular’ In Its 5th Year, And Promising To Be More ‘Startling’ Than Ever

Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (HAAS) Theater Arts Director Maiva Blaisdell inside the “Monster Madness” haunted house that opens officially on Thursday night. The HAAS Spooktacular, which includes a Keiki Karnival, is open Thursday through Saturday this weekend and next weekend. Photos by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

Turns out, people really like their haunted houses.  Five years ago, “Spooktacular” at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (HAAS) Public Charter School started out as a fundraiser for the Behind The Scenes Drama Club. The annual event has become such a hit it has helped the drama club evolve into a bona fide Theater Arts program at the Puna charter school.  Spooktacular is no longer about raising money for drama kids to take trips to see broadway plays or build a theater, it’s about providing a safe environment to celebrate Halloween, according to Maiva Blaisdell, the HAAS Theater Arts program director who first thought of the event.

Blaisdell spends hundreds of hours watching researching other haunted houses.  She watches a lot of YouTube videos, looking at set design and special effects, trying to figure out how she and her students can incorporate some of the ideas used elsewhere.  Their challenge is that the space they use on the HAAS campus does not have electricity, so their special effects have to be battery operated.

“You’ll see this year — we’ve added to this one.  It’s very, very scary. Startling,” Blaisdell said.

Blaisdell hails from Hollywood and both her parents were in the entertainment industry. Having grown up around movie sets, danced from 3 to 18, started “costuming” and applying makeup on the neighbor kids at 8, Blaisdell never imagined how much of that would prove useful in her life — that is, until she went back to school at 34.  At the University of Hawaii, she started out in political science, then moved to English and finally settled on theater performing arts.  She worked at the costume shop at UH and Keaau High School part time as the drama teacher before joining HAAS seven years ago.  HAAS Spooktacular has evolved into the Theater Arts Program’s fall production.  And next school year she hopes the Theater Arts Program will add a spring production.

Pressed to offer a sneak peak of this year’s haunted house, Blaisdell escorted this reporter and a couple handfuls of students past a blood spattered chain saw and a the words “help me” scratched into one of the false walls to a room Blaisdell said is reserved for a “troll.”  A cage consisting of pvc pipes filled the small room.  It was seemingly benign until Blaisdell got inside the cage and demonstrated how the troll would be situated inside.  Suddenly the reporter became aware of the green glow of the room, and started to get a sense of the eerieness that Blaisdell and her students have sought to create.  The reporter suddenly had the urge to vacate the premises.

Visit Spooktacular from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  Those with small children can visit Keiki Karnival in another area of campus than the haunted house. A $6 donation for both the Monster Madness Haunted House and Keiki Karnival is requested. Bring a canned food item for Hawaii Food Basket.  HAAS is located at 15-1397 Homestead Road in Pahoa.  Locals know the road as “Post Office Road.” The school is located on the makai side of Highway 130. Call (808) 965-3730 for more information.

Keiki — About ArtUprising Mobile Art Enrichment For Kids

ArtUprising Mobile Art Enrichment For Kids, is a Big Island based
community outreach program focused on exposing kids of all ages to
creativity in art.  Now in it’s third year, ArtUprising, currently
services children across East Hawaii.

ArtUprising was created by Hopper Sheldon, owner of Hopper’s Art, and the
Magic Bus. “Turning trash into treasure” is one of the goals Hopper has in
bringing art to the kids.

ArtUprising currently offers FREE art classes the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of
every month at Village Toy Shop, 235 Waianuenue Ave. in Hilo. Read more

Letters — SPACE Needs Your Help

Dear Friends and Supporters of Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (aka “S.P.A.C.E.”),

We are writing to you today with an urgent plea for help. Our financial situation has become dire, and we need immediate assistance for our legal defense fund. We are so grateful for our friends and benefactors; so many of you wrote wonderful testimonial letters on our behalf to the Planning Commission. Thank you for supporting us, and please consider this opportunity to further contribute.

Please donate to our Legal Defense Fund here

As you may know, our recent meeting with the Windward Planning Commission on May 3rd was a success. The revocation of our Special Use Permit was deferred pending a follow up meeting in December. This will allow us time to submit an amendment to our permit so that we may resume events and activities that serve the Puna Makai community.

(For more information about the May 3rd meeting, click on these articles from the Tribune Herald:  www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/sections/news/local-news/space-plead-its-case-today.html and http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/space-given-second-chance.html.

What you may not know is that the Special Use Permit (SP) process is an arduous and expensive one, especially when there are unforeseen challenges along the way. Because our budget is limited, we worked on this process for two years on our own, without legal assistance. However, we finally got to the point where we realized it was taking too long and we were not qualified to continue without the help of professionals. We hired attorneys that specialize in the SP process. They are the same attorneys that the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (“HAAS”) used to successfully get their SP.

Even though our attorneys are giving us professional courtesy discounts due to our non-profit status, we are still facing hefty legal bills. Our legal costs for this process are estimated to exceed $15,000, which is 17% of last years tight annual budget ($88,000). So far we have raised $4,600 but, with a shortfall of about $10,000, we now need to reach out to all our supporters to ask for help. Payroll to our limited staff is now also becoming severely compromised. Another debilitating challenge that we are facing right now is our inability to host performances and other fundraising events at our performing arts center, as ordered by the Planning Commission.  Read more

Hawaii News — Apply for $5,000 Cooke Foundation Award for Campus Beautification Projects

(Media release) — The Cooke Foundation will present three $5,000 awards, to be given to one elementary school, one middle school and one high school, who have completed projects that beautify their school environment and add significantly to the overall appearance and ambiance of their school.  All public schools, including charter schools, in the state are eligible to apply. Read more

Hawaii News — Police: Beware Of Serving Alcohol To Minors

Image courtesy of rootsofpromise.org.

(Media release) — Hawai?i police officers have responded to several reports in residential areas of large parties with fifty or more juveniles drinking alcohol within the last week. In Waikoloa a 17-year-old male juvenile and a 19-year-old male were arrested after acting disorderly, challenging police officers to a fight, and refusing to leave the area. Both were found in possession of alcoholic beverages.

Police are reminding the public about the laws relating to promoting intoxicating liquor to a person under the age of twenty-one. Hawai?i law chapter 712-1250.5 prohibits a person from permitting persons under the age of twenty-one to posses intoxicating liquor while on property under their control. The law further prohibits anyone from knowingly giving to a person under the age of twenty-one intoxicating liquor.

Hawai?i law chapter 281-101.5 prohibits anyone under the age of twenty-one from possessing intoxicating liquor.

In addition to the criminal laws, Hawai?i state law 663-41 holds any person twenty-one years of age or older, responsible civilly for; owning, occupying or controlling premises on which alcoholic beverages are consumed by persons under the age of twenty-one and who knows of alcohol consumption of persons under the age of twenty-one and who reasonably could have prohibited or prevented such alcohol consumption.

Police are requesting anyone hosting large parties be aware of the consequences if there are persons under the age of twenty-one found consuming alcoholic beverages at these parties.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.) 

Kohala News — Teen Anatomy Lab Intensive a Success; Encore Dissection Workshop to be Offered July 10-11

(Media release) — Students from Kohala, Waimea and Waikoloa increased their knowledge of anatomy and physiology by leaps and bounds on June 8-9. 
Maureen Combes, BA and Kristin Wohlschlagel, RN facilitated an intensive college-prep anatomy lab workshop for 12 eager learners examining both form and function of major organs and systems. Students from 12 to 18 years of age worked hard, laughed and absorbed tremendous amounts of information via hands-on dissection, instructor demonstration, hardcopy and electronic resources, and individual instruction. Read more

Laupahoehoe News — David Rizor Will Head New Public Charter School

David Rizor

(Media release) — Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School (LCPCS) has named David Rizor, Ph.D., director of operations. He begins July 1.

Dr. Rizor, a former director of the successful charter, Volcano School of Arts and Sciences, has extensive experience in teaching, administration, curriculum development, fostering partnerships, and professional development. He earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming. Read more

Letters — A Testament To NHCH’s Family Birthing Unit

(Editor’s note:  Following is an open letter that Lark Willey wrote to North Hawaii Community Hospital CEO Ken Wood, regarding her granddaughter’s birth.)

With thanks and gratitude to the outstanding team at N.H.C.H. Birthing Unit and the Waimea Womens Center.  TO: KEN WOOD CEO North Hawaii Community Hospital
A New Grandmothers perspective: N.H.C.H. is so lucky to have such a competent, caring and loving team at the Waimea Womens Center!
My daughter and her partner lived in Hilo when she found out she was pregnant.I drove from Waimea to Hilo to be with them for their prenatal visits. The visit was with Dr. Helm at the Hilo Bay Clinic. His bedside manner was fine, but my daughter felt he was not thorough enough. Our second visit was with Dr. Fredrick Nitta. This is where the nightmare began. His office was so crowded with very young families that we had to wait outside for a very long time before being seen. Finally my daughter was taken in by the nurse to determine her due date, after she already had an ultra sound with Dr. Helm. We were then told to go to Dr. Nitta’s office who  was on the phone cursing to whomever he was speaking with. When he hung up, he proceeded to yell at his nurse in front of us. This was way more serious than him having a “bad” day. He finally directed his attention to us. The expression on my face must have been true horror. He then said to me, if we didn’t want to use him as our doctor that was fine with him. He also stated that he was the best OBGYN and that we should trust him. Ha!
My daughter and I left his office in tears! I drove back to Waimea very upset. She was already on her second doctor’s visit, without a due date and the care she rightfully deserved. In the mean time, I felt compelled to do something regarding Dr. Nitta’s behavior. I spoke with Ted Jenkins at Hilo Hospital. Who seemed kind and empathetic. Unfortunately Mr. Jenkins could do nothing since Dr. Nitta is contracted out by the Hilo Hospital. I did follow up with the Better Business Bureau and made a formal complaint against Dr. Nitta.
With all that said our family (we also have a younger daughter) willingly made many sacrifices to bring our daughter and son-in-law up to Waimea permanently. Our daughter’s prenatal care was outstanding at N.H.C.H.! Read more

Waimea News — Facilitated Discussion About NHCH Women’s Center Maternal Care Program Tuesday

(Media release) — Waimea and North Hawai’i residents are invited to a facilitated discussion about the future of North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s Waimea Women’s Center and its maternal care program at 5:30 p.m., Tues., May 1, 2012 at Parker School Theatre.

Coordinated by Waimea Community Association, the meeting will begin with Friends of the Community Hospital ‘Ohana, a grass-roots community organization, who will address community and health provider concerns about the future of the Center and also highlight the positive impact the Center has had on Big Island women’s healthcare over the last several years.

Then, Ken Wood, NHCH’s Chief Executive Officer, and other members of the hospital’s administrative team will present data from their recent examination of the benefits and costs of the Center and its maternal care program.  Read more

History — A Page From Puna’s Past

Editor's note: The excerpt above about midwifery in Puna in the early 1900s commences Big Island Chronicle's history section and is from the book,  Pāhoa Yesterday, by Hiroo Sato.  Pāhoa Yesterday is available at Jeff Hunt Surfboards, 15-2883 Pahoa Village Road in  Pāhoa (Open Monday through Saturday, 10-5, Sundays, 11-3; Call (808) 965-2322 or visit www.jeffhuntsurfboards.com), or at the Hawai′i Japanese Center, 751 Kanoelehua Ave. in Hilo (Open Monday mornings while under renovation for most of this year; Call (808) 934-9611 or visit www.hawaiijapanesecenter.org)

Guest Column — Regarding SPACE And The Need For A New Process For Permitting Community Service Groups

Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education image courtesy of the Daily Flow

By Graham Ellis

On March 16th the director of County Planning sent a letter to SPACE  stating that due to complaints regarding the Bellyacres 25th anniversary celebration and the Farmers Market she had suspended the existing Special Permit and ordered SPACE to cease and desist all non agricultural activities. This meant closing down the HAAS Public Charter School,  the SPACE Farmers Market, and all performance arts programs held at SPACE. We were also ordered to attend the May 3rd Windward Planning Commission meeting to answer to the complaints.

The SPACE Board decided to continue our community service activities. We decided not to evict 36 school kids and their team of dedicated teachers, to keep the Farmers Market open to ensure that our community did not suffer from the loss of essential economic and social benefits, and to keep running our HICCUP circus performance arts programs that have served large numbers of children and adults in lower Puna for over 20 years.

The Planning Director sent us another letter on April 5th  (it arrived here on April 8th) correcting her previous order by informing us that activities allowed under our existing permit could continue until May 3rd, but that we had to close down the SPACE Farmers Market.

Our Farmers Market, our public charter school, our performance arts programs and related performances are currently attended and supported by hundreds of community residents. This is pure people driven, rather than permit driven development. This is the people telling the government what services they want in their neighborhoods and providing them for themselves. SPACE has had no financial assistance from the county or state administrations, yet provides more services for more residents than the Pahoa Community Center, which costs taxpayers $11,000 monthly. Read more

Kona News — Spring Garden Tour At B.H. Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden Saturday

Image courtesy of Charles Flaherty

It’s spring and you are invited to a very special tour of the youth agriculture program, “Hua O Ke Ao,” which happens every week during the school year at the Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook.

The Hawai’i Island School Garden Network is coordinating tours in 18 School Gardens on Hawai’i Island in the month of April.  The youth agriculture program at Amy Greenwell is very special.  Students from around the Kona community attend on Wednesday afternoons, and have the unique opportunity to work with the botanical gifts that are part of the garden.  Mark your calendar for noon, Saturday, April 21 for this special tour given by Garden Educator Kamuela Naihe and her students.  Then, if you would like, stay for a Hawaiian-style lunch. Make a reservation with Cortney Hoffman at The Kohala Center via email at  chofffman@kohalacenter.org.  The cost of the lunch is $15.  All funds collected will go directly to the children’s afternoon program.
This site on the grounds of the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden offers 15 acres of rich agricultural history of Kona and is well developed with hundreds of native Hawaiian plant species. Its purpose is to make traditional agricultural and native plant conservation education available to interested youth and their families while meeting different community needs.

This year, the program has 20 youth in grades 4-12 enrolled from four South Kona schools. Meet these young caretakers of the land and enjoy the meaʻai (food) they cultivate with Aloha.

Please meet us at the new educational center across from the Manago Hotel on April 21.

(Submitted by Charles Flaherty.)

Puna News — Family-Focused Cultural Arts and Crafts Day At the Maku‘u Farmer’s Market April 21

Kalo Leaf by Caren Loebel-Fried

Join local practitioners as they share their knowledge of cultural arts and crafts at the Maku‘u Farmer’s Market Saturday, April 21.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., explore the native garden and have fun on a scavenger hunt.

Call (808) 985-6019 to reserve a space and lunch for your ‘ohana. Children of all ages welcome. This free event is sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, Maku‘u Farmers Association and Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center. — Jessica Ferracane

Guest Column — Charter Schools Face The Financial Axe — Again

By Poochie Harrington

Senate Bill 2115 has now passed through both houses without opposition and will be heard by the Finance Committee this Thursday (March 29th) at 5:30pm.

What is SB2115 I hear you ask? It is a bill relating to charter schools which the Hawaii Legislature website describes as “Establishes a new chapter governing charter schools based on the recommendations of the charter school governance, accountability, and authority task force established by Act 130, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011. Repeals chapter 302B, HRS. Maintains the charter school administrative office until July 1, 2013. Transfers all funds in the charter schools account established pursuant to section 302B-12(i), HRS, to the general fund. Makes housekeeping amendments. (SB2114 HD1).”

To make sense of that, this will take the power and funding AWAY from charter schools, dissolve the CSAO, and create a new advisory body on Oahu, using those much needed funds.

The State budget is discussed at the Finance Committee hearing and it is crucial to make the point that charter students should not be discriminated against when it comes to funding and facilities. In fact, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clearly states that you cannot create subclasses in education. Read more

Hawaii News — Nominate Students For Sustainability-Inspired ‘Malama Award’

(Media release) —  The Office of Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi is pleased to announce the Student Malama Award, the first Hawai‘i Island student sustainability award to highlight and celebrate youth led stewardship and sustainability initiatives on the Big Island.  Outstanding student leaders in this field will be awarded $500 scholarships.

Individual students and student groups from public, charter and private schools, as well as for-profit or non-profit youth organizations are eligible to apply.

Projects may include, but are not limited to topics such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, agriculture such as school gardens and local foods; resource management such as zero waste, community-based volunteerism, social and community service, and environmental projects such as conservation and preservation of the ocean, land and forest.

Scholarships will be awarded to winners in K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade categories.  An awards ceremony luncheon with Mayor Billy Kenoi will be scheduled for the end of the school year.

Nomination applications may be found on the Office of the Mayor’s website at www.hawaiicounty.gov/office-of-the-mayor/categories/SMA.  The nomination deadline is April 15, 2012.

For more information contact Barbara Kossow at (808) 323-4448 or Lisa Robertson at (8080 961-8211.

(Submitted by Desiree Cruz.)

Politics — Supporters Of Waimea Midwives Stage Hospital Protest

Photos by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

About 40 people supportive of midwives at the North Hawaii Community Hospital turned out Monday afternoon to protest rumors that hospital administrators want to gut the maternal health care program.  NHCH Chief Executive Officer Ken Wood has denied that administrators want to dwindle the amount of midwives in the Family Birthing Unit from three to one, but has said that they would like to see Kona and Hilo “replicate” Waimea’s midwifery model.  As it stands now, the Waimea Women’s Center and Family Birthing Unit at NHCH are so popular islandwide, there are an ever increasing number of women bypassing the island’s two state-supported hospitals to give birth or have annual well-women checkups at NHCH.  Documents prepared by Wood have circulated NHCH and beyond, which indicate administrators intend to reduce the amount of staff at the Women’s Center at in the Family Birthing Unit and turn away women with addresses bearing zip codes outside of the service area.  Since last week when at least one of Wood’s memos made its way to the press, Wood has tried to assure the public that there will not be a staff reduction in the maternal health care program, he just wants to start the dialogue with Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital to make their facilities more attractive to pregnant women.

News of the possible staff reduction of NHCH has rippled throughout the island in the last week, and many women, both young and old, with varying gynecological needs, have been calling the Mayor’s Office to express their outrage and concern, according to Karen Teshima, executive assistant to the mayor.

Those who wish to provide input on the maternal health care program at NHCH should call Wood at (808) 8850444 or email him at ken.wood@nhch.  They can also email NHCH Chairman Robert Momsen at robert.momsen@nhch.com, or NHCH Chief of Staff Doug Hiller at doug.hiller@nhch.com.

Meanwhile, protestors in support of midwives are planning to demonstrate on the front lawn of NHCH between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday, March 22.  They also intend to paint their vehicles with messages favoring the midwifery model of maternal care as an ongoing protest.  Facebook “Waimea Midwives.”