• 06 Dec 2014 /  commentary, letters


    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people in charge for opening the Pahoa Village Road and mowing the grass on Pohoiki Road!  

    I know that it is a challenging time for Civil Defense, the Mayor, Health Department and the Department of Education responding to Pele on our beautiful island.  In the spirit of love and caring for the residents of Pahoa affected by the actions of government in their response to Pele, I would like to remind those in charge that all the empty desks and chairs and stuff from school children sent to Keaau from Pahoa School are being stored in the Pahoa School gymnasium, and the children have not  been able to access and use their gym normally since that was done several months ago.  It is a sad reminder of their friends who had to move.

    Also, there is a health and sanitary disaster that is the dump in the middle of Pahoa.  It is absolutely revolting to the olfactory and auditory senses, not to mention the constant grinding of the compactors, the large trucks driving in and out, the fire trucks and ambulances moving in and out, the residents driving in and out, all of this happening right next to the skate park, swimming pool, county housing, farmers market, and through our narrow streets.  There is a plethora of empty land in lower Puna, please move the stinky maggot-ridden dump right away!

    The people of Pahoa deserve better.

    In Love,

    Sara Steiner


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  • 05 Dec 2014 /  Education, Island Events
    From Sherry Bracken:
    There is a significant need for higher education close to home in West Hawaii to serve the population between Waimea and Ka’u.  Recently, UH President David Lassner said there is no plan for the Palamanui Community College to be either a two- or a four-year accredited institution.
    On Thursday, December 11, at Kealakehe High School cafeteria at 5:30, Dr. Lassner will talk to the public about the vision for higher education in West Hawaii.  He will be joined by John Morton, head of the Hawaii Community College System,  UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney and West Hawaii’s head of the community college, Marty Fletcher, and Hawaii Community College chancellor Noreen Yamane.    University of Hawaii Regent Pete Hoffmann has arranged this meeting.
    The public is invited to come, listen, and ask questions.  If you have questions you wish to submit in advance, please send them to moderator Sherry Bracken,  preferably by Wednesday night, at jbkslb@kona.net

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  • 03 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Closures, Island Events, news

    From Mark Hinshaw:

    The P?hoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olau’lea takes place this Saturday, December 6 on P?hoa Village Road, starting at P?hoa High School at 9:30 a.m. and continuing to Post Office Road. Our theme is “P?hoa, Center of the Punaverse”. This year’s Grand Marshall is Mayor Billy Kenoi.
    Road closure for the parade route will occur at 9 a.m. so people are encouraged to get their cars parked before the closure if they want to be in the heart of the action. The County will open the parking lots at the Neighborhood Facility and the Swimming Pool at 7 a.m. There is no street parking available along the parade route.
    Immediately following the parade, there will be a Ho’olau’lea in the heart of P?hoa with a vendor fair, FREE Santa photos for all keiki, entertainment, the Sacred Heart Holiday Fair and merchant specials.
    MainStreet P?hoa Association is committed to helping our communities enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of P?hoa and Lower Puna. We are actively involved with the Mayor’s Office, Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the County Council and our state legislators as well as the Visitor’s Bureau.
    Come out and join us in celebration of P?hoa, Center of the Punaverse.

    CONTACT INFORMATION: MainStreetPahoa@gmail.com
    Mark Hinshaw 965-7403

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  • 03 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    The new lava flow front continues to advance and widen. As of 8:45 this morning, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, it was 2.5 miles from the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and the Pahoa Bypass, having come about 475 yards or .4 miles since the day before. The area continues to burn native forest, but no dwellings or other buildings are at immediate risk.

    “The flow is approximately 500 m from a point where several lines of steepest descent nearly converge due to flat topography. Until the flow passes this area of flat topography, the future flow path is uncertain,” noted the HVO report. HVO’s map of the flow, which has not been updated since December 1, shows the two most likely paths of descent. One would intersect the highway in the vicinity of Pahoa Marketplace, and the other would cross the highway between Pahoa and Hawaiian Paradise Park and then proceed toward the lower section of HPP.

    Given the new flow front’s continued advance, Mayor Billy Kenoi has proclaimed another 60-day extension of the State of Emergency in Puna, which has been in effect since September 4 of this year.



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  • 03 Dec 2014 /  Uncategorized

    From  Ashley L. Kierkiewicz
    Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company

    (HILO, HAWAII, DECEMBER 3, 2014)— More than 45 of Hawaii Island’s top officials in government, business, construction, academia and the non-profit sector gathered last week in Hilo to discuss the Puna lava situation and its effects on the island’s housing market.

    The emergency housing forum, hosted by HOPE Services Hawaii, Hawaii Island Realtors, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and Day Lum Rentals & Management, included roundtable discussions that focused on short- and long-term housing planning, legislative policy and expanding community resources.  

    The November 24 forum is intended as the beginning of a larger conversation focused on building more affordable housing on Hawaii Island. An action plan that outlines next steps and leverages private and public partnerships is being created by the forum’s hosts and expected to be complete by first quarter 2015. The plan will identify short and long-term solutions, which will help inform possible legislative policies and provide the basis for maximizing community resources.

    During the forum, agency heads discussed what organizations are experiencing as a result of the lava breakout, which started in late June,  has traveled to the edge of Pahoa since, and is now moving downslope on a different path, threatening Pahoa Marketplace and possibly lower Hawaiian Paradise Park. Some presented ideas to alleviate the demand for housing outside of Puna, noting, however, that today’s quick fixes should complement the island’s long-term housing and development plans.

    “No one is pretending to have all the answers,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “There’s no lava flow manual, so many policy decisions are being made with the best information available. What we’re facing as a community is significant, but the challenges are not insurmountable. The County has been and will continue to be all hands on deck, ready to collaborate, and to share information as it becomes available to lessen anxiety and uncertainty.”

    Brandee Menino, chief executive officer for HOPE Services Hawaii, said that while HOPE primarily helps homeless and at-risk individuals and families transition off the streets and obtain stable housing, her office has been getting calls from families displaced by Tropical Storm Iselle and potentially isolated by the lava. She noted that even before this year’s natural disasters, the need for rental units had been identified.

    “A 2011 Housing Planning Study prepared for the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation revealed that Hawaii County would need 1,753 rental units by 2016 in order to meet the growing demand for housing,” said Menino. “This report was done in 2011, when lava was not a concern, so we must make a concerted effort to prioritize creating more affordable housing opportunities for Hawaii’s families.”

    Paul Normann, executive director of the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP), a resource for distressed families, said Puna has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the State. “Because of the disruption caused by Iselle and the active lava flow, NPP has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families seeking assistance. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, July through October, NPP has already served 106 families. To put that in context, over the course of the entire 12 months of the previous fiscal year, NPP served a total of 130 families.

    Nancy Cabral of Day-Lum said that some families wanted to get ahead of the lava and had moved from the area. But Cabral is concerned with those who haven’t. “There are a lot of residents who have not been preparing for what’s coming. It seems they are waiting for government to step in and rescue them, so we really need to take steps to ready the housing market.”

    Cabral offered solutions to stave off a potential housing crisis including working with hotels to temporarily rent out rooms, helping families to move their houses to vacant lots and lobbying the State to relinquish control to the County of affordable units such as Lanakila Housing, since the county may be able to move faster to make the units available to those looking to relocate from Puna.

    Mark Kimura, an economic geography researcher at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who conducted an informal survey of Puna residents, said almost half reported they had no one to rely on or place to go if they needed to move. Fourteen  percent said they have already left the area or are preparing to leave and 25 percent said they could move-in with family or friends on-island. He said many don’t want to give up their homes because they are still paying mortgages, have farms, can’t afford to move or have difficulty finding places that are pet-friendly or retrofitted for people with disabilities.

    Amanda Donaldson, President of NARPM’s East Hawaii chapter, which is made up of about 20 local residential property managers, said members get nearly a dozen additional calls a day from families looking for housing outside the lava zone. She said NARPM agents are willing to add addendums that allow individuals in the lava impact zone to break their lease once lava hits.

    Kehau Costa of Hawaii Island Realtors championed a “one-stop-shop” rentals Web site where interested renters can view available units on the island, which would speed up house hunting. Costa also suggested a “new landlord resource fair” because of the increasing number of individuals asking how they can convert part of or their entire home into a rental.

    Additional ideas that came out of the forum include exploring commuter housing, house sharing, prepping lands for modular housing, fast tracking County building permit processes as well as County take over, repair and rental of foreclosure homes.

    Any individuals or organizations interested in taking part in future discussions may contact Brandee Menino at bmenino@hopeserviceshawaii.org or .

  • 02 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Lava Reports, news

    The lava has taken off in a new direction–and the path of steepest descent on Hawaii Volcano Observatory’s latest map leads straight to Pahoa Marketplace and the head of the Pahoa bypass.

    The new map shows a long, narrow  extension of  the flow taking off on a more northerly route, while the leading edge that burned one house, nearly inundated the transfer station and threatened Old Government Road (Pahoa Village Road) continues to cool.  The “path of steepest descent,” marked by a dotted blue line, marks the steepest gradient  ahead of the flow and the path that the flow is projected as most likely to follow.  But it should be kept in mind that the steepest gradient is not always that path that lava follows.  It can build its own dams, cut down to older  lava tubes–or get cut off by a tube system blockage or breakout further uphill,  as happened with the flow that nearly reached the road last month. HVO notes that with the current lava tongue,  two possible paths of steepest descent nearly converge at one point in a relatively flat area where the lava could easily meander.  If it diverts to the second path, that could take it even further north, toward Hawaiian Paradise Park.

    If this new path becomes the main flow–and Civil Defense is already calling it the “new flow front”–then that could substantially alter the county’s disaster planning.  The good news is that there might not have to be parallel facilities for “North Pahoa” and “South Pahoa.” The bad news is that the lava flow could be even more destructive,  threatening the the newly built up area around the intersection of the bypass and the old road, with its shopping centers, the new police and fire stations, and the area’s largest supermarket–and could cut off  a an even larger population.

    As of this morning, both HVO and Civil Defense placed the flow 2.9  miles above the junction of  Old Government Road and the bypass at the Pahoa Marketplace.  The current leading edge of the flow was within about .6 miles of the flat area where the possible paths converge.  ” Until the flow reaches this area, it is not clear which path it will eventually follow,” notes this morning’s HVO report.  HVO did not give an estimated speed for the flow this morning, but Civil Defense reported that it had advanced about 400 yards since yesterday.





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  • From Hawaii Police Department:

    Hawai’i Island police have identified the body found in Waipio Valley on Sunday as 22-year-old Lindsey Nickerson of Kailua-Kona.

    An autopsy conducted Tuesday (December 2) determined that she died of asphyxia due to drowning.

    Nickerson was last seen alive Saturday afternoon (November 29) when she separated from a group of 25 persons during a hike in Waipio Valley.

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  • 02 Dec 2014 /  BULLETINS, Crime, news

    From Hawaii Police Department:


    Danielle Kaneao

    Hawai?i Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating suspects of a reported attempted car theft Sunday (November 30) in Hilo. At approximately 4:45 p.m., a man and woman attempted to remove a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck from the parking area of an office building located off Ponahawai Street.

    Police want to question 29-year-old Danielle Kaneao of Hilo and an unknown man. Kaneao is described as 5-foot-2, 130 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. The man is described as Caucasian, about 20 years old, 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds.

    Kaneao is also wanted on an outstanding warrant.

    Police ask anyone with information about her whereabouts or the identity of the male suspect to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or cdavies@co.hawaii.hi.us.

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number 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.

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  • 02 Dec 2014 /  commentary, letters

    Dear Editor,

    Mortgage Lenders can be as bad as Ice Meth Dealers.
    There is an epidemic sweeping this country and depriving people of their homes, their life savings and their personhood. No it is not crystal methampetamine (bad as that is), but the greed of bank corporations and wall street gangsters “hereinafter called BANKSTERS”.
    Their latest scam is “force placed insurance policies.”  Most often, mortgage escrow accounts are inflated with unneeded insurance policies demanded by your mortgage company, sold to you by an complicit  insurance company, who inflates the cost of their policies and sells them to your mortgage company. The policy I was forced to buy cost 7 times what we could get on our own.
    We have been victimized, until we fought back in court. Hundreds of other homeowners across the nation are also successfully fighting back.
    This is a practice done on Hawaii Island and throughout the state. We know some have already lost their homes because they could not afford proper legal representation, or did not know how to fight off this malevolent, greedy bankster action.
    There is free legal advice and good attorneys who know how to foil this greed.
    Nelson Ho


  • 01 Dec 2014 /  Missing People, news

    From Hawaii Police Department:

    Hawai`i Island police are investigating whether a body found in Waipio Valley on Sunday is a 22-year-old hiker who was reported missing on Saturday.

    Lindsey Nickerson of Kailua-Kona was last seen Saturday afternoon (November 29) when she separated from a tour group of 25 persons during a hike in Waipio Valley.

    At 2 p.m. Sunday, Fire Department personnel searching for the missing hiker reported that they found a female body near the Tea House after locating the missing hiker’s belongings near the Hi?ilawe River.

    Police are attempting to make positive identification of the body. They do not suspect foul play. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

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  • 29 Nov 2014 /  health and wellness, news

    From  Renee Siracusa:

    “To provide readily accessible health care to the residents of and visitors to Puna” is the mission statement of the Puna Community Medical Center (PCMC) that operates the urgent care clinic in the Pahoa Marketplace. This was put to the test when the board of directors was faced with the imminence of lava bisecting the town of Pahoa. How to ensure continued accessibility for those residents south of the flow? The “how” of the equation was especially troubling to PCMC’s accountant, but the board decided that the commitment to the community was a higher priority than fiduciary responsibility to a tight budget. Indeed, PCMC has operated on the edge with a tight budget for 5 three fourths of a year and even so has managed over 30,000 patient visits.
    Clinical Programs Director Daniel DiDomizio and President René Siracusa started looking for an appropriate location to set up a south-of-the-flow annex. They investigated more than six possible sites whose owners offered either free or low rent. Finally they settled on the recently vacated space that had been occupied by Neighborhood Place of Puna. Owner Heather Hedenschau repainted, installed a new security door, and offered a reduced rental fee. The site is centrally located across from Pahoa High, Intermediate and Elementary Schools and has ample parking.
    Then wonderful things started to happen. First, Dan Brinkman, CEO of Hilo Medical Center, arranged for some spare medical equipment to be loaned to PCMC for the annex; and the Lions Club volunteers helped to move it to the new site. Then councilmen Kern and Ilagan offered some financial assistance from their contingency funds. The Hilo DownTown Improvement Association., which was closing its Hilo office, donated office furniture and equipment. Cathy Emory, who was consolidating some of her vacation rentals, donated furniture for the waiting room. Clarysse Nunokawa  of the Mayor’s office contacted Diane Chadwick of Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which resulted in a $20,000 grant from its Kukio Community Fund. Also, Eileen Lovell of the Gamma Psi-at-large (Hawaii Chapter) of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing arranged for a donation of $5,000. AlohaCare sent in a $5,000 donation. And more private donations and offers of volunteer assistance started pouring in.
    A huge surprise was the extremely generous donation of a 2012 Lifeline Mobile Medical Van, originally valued at $358,000, by Kona Community Hospital so that PCMC could “continue to provide the high quality, readily accessible, health care services that are much needed in the immediate Puna community,” according to CEO Jay E. Kreuzer. Kalani Honua has eagerly agreed to allow the van to use space on their property once PCMC is ready to do patient outreach to the outlying coastal communities.
    Paying for the costs of operating the annex and the van in addition to the original urgent care clinic are problematic at this point, but Mayor Kenoi, Chief Darryl Oliveira and Sen. Russell Ruderman have all offered to do what they could to arrange for disaster funding to help with operational support. State Representative Elect Joy Sanbuenaventura and Council 5 Elect Daniel Paleka have also offered help. Everyone, working together, is doing their utmost to make sure that South Puna residents will not lack for medical care. Pahoa has been granted a reprieve, but that may only be temporary. If and when it is threatened again, we will be ready.
    The annex will open when lava crosses Highway 130 and will be open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The current urgent care clinic will continue staying open its normal hours of Mondaythrough Saturday, with Sunday and holiday hours of 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (closed for lunch). To donate or volunteer, email renesiracusa@hotmail.com. Have a healthy holiday season. Mahalo nui loa,

    René Siracusa

    PCMC President

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  • 28 Nov 2014 /  Island Events

    Zach Mermel will be teaching a  class on how to cultivate mushrooms tomorrow at Kumukoa House, 1314 Kumukoa St., Hilo, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Participants will gain hands-on experience inoculating mushroom kits as well as logs, which which they can take home at the end of the workshop.  The $65 fee for the course includes $25 worth of mushroom growing materials. A minimum of 8 students is required for the course to “make.” Those interested can sign up here.

    Instructor Zach Mermel has been “collaborating with fungi” for nearly a decade.


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  • 26 Nov 2014 /  Uncategorized


    Honolulu Advertiser heir and musician David Twigg-Smith has gone missing.

    Police have issued a call for information in an effort to locate 27-year-old Twigg Smith, who is described as 5-foot-11, 185 pounds with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He may have a beard. He has a physical condition that requires medication, and has often been seen at Kona area beaches. He was last seen by his family October 10 in Kailua-Kona.  Twigg-Smith grew up in Holualoa, where his family has a large house.  He’s posted a number of You Tube videos of himself playing his songs, including this one.

    The Twigg-Smiths, who trace their ancestry back to missionary Asa Thurston, controlled the Advertiser until it was sold to a subsidiary of the Gannett Corporation for $250 million in 1993.


  • 26 Nov 2014 /  Island Events

    From Alice Moon:

    HILO — The Hilo Makery celebrated its first anniversary during downtown Hilo’s Black & White Night this November and invites the public back to continue the merrymakingDecember 5th during Red & White Night’s First Friday Art Walk. The community is invited to party at the Gallery & Gift Shop Open House from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. when visitors will be treated to festive family fun including ornament making, refreshments and live music.

    The Makery is a collection of tools, machines, materials, and know-how that empowers individuals to turn ideas into tangible products. It’s mission is “to empower people to create, manufacture and sell valuable products while adhering to the philosophy of made in Hawaii, by people who live in Hawaii, using environmentally responsible materials and processes.”

    The Makery is becoming a model for a self-funding community-driven vocational training and incubation facility that prepares people from within the community for jobs that either already exist within the community or that need to be created to make the community more self sufficient.

    The gallery gift shop has become a popular stop for strollers during Hilo’s First Friday Art Walk. “It’s a gathering place well-known for the good food, interesting art and fun people. We remind people that the gallery and gift shop are open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. so they can always come back to shop,” said volunteer marketing coordinator Alice Moon.

    With special guest musicians joining in on Red & White Night Dr. Neil Scott, owner and founder of The Makery will play a Hawaiian steel guitar that he designed and manufactured. While adults mingle and enjoy the music, keiki of all ages are invited to decorate an ornament at the worktable. Koa boxes, cutting boards and jewelry, steel guitars, animal kits, puzzles, lamps, and more designed and manufactured by artists and volunteers at The Makery will be available for holiday shoppers in the gift shop.

    Paintings by guest artist Joe Kalima, well-known for his work on Merrie Monarch Festival poster designs, will be featured in the gallery. Born and raised in the Keaukaha Hawaiian Homesteads, Kalima’s works are inspired by music and hula, traditions passed on to him from his large and talented family and perpetuated through his art and his four children. The community is invited to meet and talk story with Kalima during the open house, his works will be on display through the month of December.

    “Downtown’s subsequent Art Walk event will be held January 2nd, the First First Friday of the New Year and a great time to come celebrate Hilo’s newest hidden treasure at The Makery,” said Moon.


    For more information about The Hilo Makery call or visit the Facebook page “The Makery”.



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  • 24 Nov 2014 /  Education, environment
    From Robert Petricci:
    The second PPA and HSCA Alternative Energy Forum is this Wednesday November 26th from 1-4pm at Kalani Honua in lower Puna, .

    The panelists are Henry Curtis of Life of The Land in Honolulu, Hawaii State Senator Russell Ruderman, Mark Glick the Administrator at the State Energy Office, Will Rolston Hawaii County Energy Coordinator, Tom Travis  PPA, Lorn Douglas HSCA, Kawaiki Stevens Off Grid Solar, and HELCO’s alternative energy spokesperson. We are very grateful to have such knowledgeable experts and dedicated panelist come to Puna to discuss the future of energy in one of the most sustainably progressive communities in the state

    Last year the forum was well attended and we had an informative and interesting discussion, with everything that is happening in lower Puna, in Hawaii, and around the planet at the PUC, and legislature in Honolulu, energy wise, we hope this year will be even better.

    For more information call 936-5239

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  • 24 Nov 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Hawai`i is known for its high cost of living.  But its consumers are among the nation’s thriftiest. The 808 State ranked 44th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in a survey of “states with the biggest spenders” by the economic Web site Wallet Hub. The survey looked at a number of different facets of consumer spending, as well as other factors such as the number of car per household and the amount of auto and credit card debt, and then adjusted for income level and cost of living in each state. Despite the state’s high priced gas and electricity, Hawaii consumers ranked 51st in personal spending on gasoline and “other energy goods”–perhaps because it’s tough to take a long car trip on any island but the Big Island.  Hawaii residents also ranked 51st in personal spending on health care and in the “All Other Consumption” category, 50th in average home size, and 49th in auto and credit card debt.

    Hawaii does rank Number One, however in one unfortunate category: percentage of residents who spend more than they earn.

    The top state for big-spending consumers, surprisingly, was relatively impoverished Mississippi, followed by Idaho, New Mexico, Alabama and Utah. Total consumer debt as of June, noted Wallet Hub, stood at $11.63 trillion.

    The raw figures tell a different story, however.  Before being adjusted for income and cost of living, Hawaii ranks in the middle of the pack, in a four-way tie with Louisiana, Rhode Island and New Mexico for 28th place.

    Wallet Hub noted that a recent spate of good economic news had enhanced what economists call the “wealth effect”: consumers spend more when they perceive that they are making more money.  Perhaps, in Hawaii, the opposite is happening: the high cost of living here leaves us with less to spend and makes us more aware that we have to spend it wisely.

    Hawaii’s adjusted rankings in various categories:

    • 43rd – Personal Expenditure on Food & Beverages
    • 51st – Personal Expenditure on Gasoline & Other Energy Goods
    • 26th – Personal Expenditure on Housing & Utilities
    • 51st – Personal Expenditure on Health Care
    • 51st – Personal Expenditure on All Other Consumption
    • 33rd – Number of Cars per Household
    • 49th – Auto & Credit Card Debt
    • 47th – Annual Consumer Savings Account Averages
    • 50th – Average Home Square Footage