Hula dancers from around the State of Hawaii participated in the Macy Day parade on Thanksgiving in New York. We know some parents that accompanied the group and so we eagerly watched the parade on TV. Unfortunately, the dancers didn't get a lot of coverage by NBC. In the short time they were on national TV they looked cold but danced beautifully.
MAUNA KEA ON THANKSGIVING DAY
HAWAII ISLAND FOOD BANK
We visited the Big Island's Food Bank in Hilo today. We are familiar with the Second Harvest foodbank in Santa Cruz county which has a warehouse filled with canned goods and huge freezers making it look a lot like a Costco. It is a very different story here on the Big Island. With only a room of shelves for cans and packages, the food bank is in great need of food and money donations.
The volunteers were sorting the cans of food available. At a recent community event, double the number of families showed up needing food. And so there was not much left.
If you can, please help the hungry on the Big Island by donating time, food or money. Here is a link to the Food Basket.
CHRISTMAS TREES ARRIVE IN HILO
Christmas trees were unloaded from refrigerated Matson boxes in KTA shopping center's parking lot.
Here are the prices.
Some of them are flocked.
TRADE WINDS ARE BACK
The trade winds restarted this Sunday evening slowly moving the vog out of Hilo. The vog obscures the view and makes the sea look gray. It makes us feel punchy, like a bad hang over. We are lucky that we haven't gotten close to as many vog days as the rest of the island, but with the reduced number of tradewind days in the winter we will be having many more days of vog than we did this past summer. Since the heavy volcanic gasses didn't start up until this past March, no one really knows what impact Hilo will have from vog this winter.
UH INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK ASTRO TALK
An AstroTalk was held during UHH's International Education Week by Wayne Rosing. Wayne is famous in Silicon Valley for his innovations at Sun, Apple and Google. But his passion is Astronomy and he has created a global network of online Telescopes that anyone can log on to and "do" Astronomy. You can read more about Wayne's project in our blog.
Gary Fujihara has done a fantastic job with Astrotalk bringing in an amazing group of Astronomers to Hilo. Gary's Astroday website and blog are here.
UH INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK ASTRO TALK
As a part of UHH's International Education Week, an AstroTalk by Andy Adamson Associate Director of UKIRT and Antonio Chrysostomou Associate Director of JCMT was held.
They discussed their current projects on the telescopes and their enhanced IR capabilities which is currently being used to do a major survey of the sky. The Astrotalks are a great way to learn about Astronomy and stay in touch with the latest findings.
MAUNA KEA PLAN INFORMATION MEETING
The University of Hawaii at Hilo held a Mauna Kea Plan public comment meeting at Keaukaha Elementary School. About 80 people tried to fit in a small classroom to listen and comment. The meeting started with a mediator and then Dawn Chang from a consulting firm developing the plan spoke.
The public was then allowed to comment. Each had their own style, but none were happy about the rapidly expanding development on the mountain.
One of the compelling speakers was Kealoha Pisciotta, the President of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou which is partly dedicated to the recognition that Mauna Kea is a temple
and a house of prayer. She pointed out that UH has no authority to create a plan for Mauna Kea as the Board of Land and Natural Resources has that authority. There was no one representing BLNR in the room. She and others have won a court case regarding the development on Mauna Kea and she pointed out that BNLR needs to create a plan for any progress to be made.
The Hawaiians as well as others from the community are clearly very concerned about the unchecked development and unsupervised use of Mauna Kea.
NASA ROBOTS IN HILO
NASA has been testing an autonomous, exploratory moon rover named Scarab on Mauna Kea for the past weeks. Scarab looks for water with a coring drill and was tested along with two other robots on the rough volcanic slopes of the volcano. The NASA robots were on display in the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center parking lot this morning.
The smaller robots extract oxygen from soil by adding hydrogen to collected soil to make water and then using another process they separate the oxygen from the hydrogen and store the gases. The robot's names are ROxygen and PILOT.
The work was done under the supervision of the UH-Hilo Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) which is hoping to be involved in NASA's planned mission for humans to inhabit the Moon. PISCES hopes to get funding to create a lunar outpost mock-up on the Big Island.
VOGGY DAY IN HILO
We woke up to burning eyes this morning. The trade winds have stopped and that brings vog into Hilo. Vog affects everyone differently; some get red eyes and runny noses; some feel tired and lethargic. Fortunately, by afternoon winds began to blow and most of it blew out of town.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE ON THE BIG ISLAND
At the end of the summer the Wheel of Fortune visited the Big Island and many of our friends went to the Hilton in Waikoloa to be in the audience. This month the shows are being aired on TV. We are watching to see if we can spot our friends in the audience, but the shots of the audience are not getting a lot of air time. The scenary behind the stage is great though.
VETERANS DAY IN HILO
The Federal Building in downtown Hilo is ringed by coconut trees, each with a plaque commemerating a local veteran.
The plaque below is for Henry Kolomoku Umuiwi who was born in Puna on March 29, 1889. He was with Company "E" 146th Infantry and died in France September 30, 1918. His was the first military funeral in Hilo, where he was laid to rest at Homelani Cemetary, Oct 23, 1921.
KAISER CELEBRATION IN HILO
In celebration of their 50th year anniverasay, Kaiser Permanente had parties on both sides of the Big Island for their employees and their members. In Hilo, they rented 'Imiloa Astronomy center so families could enjoy the planetarium and exhibits and they set up tents in the parking lot to entertain the guests.
We joined Kaiser after moving to Hilo to get out of our bone-crushing Blue Cross California COBRA payments. HMSA (the Hawaiian Blue Cross) doesn't accept non-residents and since we weren't residents of Hawaii last year, we checked out Kaiser. Kaiser was half the cost of our COBRA plan and they have their own doctors here in town. Now that we are residents, we are sticking with Kaiser because it is more affordable than HSMA and we don't have to worry about the doctor shortage on the island.
HILO VETERANS PARADE
Downtown Hilo had a wonderful parade to honor US Veterans. Hilo has a lot of men and women serving in the military, ex-military, and veterans from every foriegn war since WWII. So it is with great pride and community support that the veterans are honored in the annual parade. The parade started with a color guard.
This part of the parade had a group representing a unit that had just returned from Iraq and a flyby of Black Hawk helicopters in their honor.
To give you an idea of the number of proud vets that live on the island, here is a ride-by of veterans on motorcycles. Motorcycle clubs exist around the island and they volunteer and are paid to provide security and other services for events around the island.
HILO 'E MALAMA AINA FESTIVAL
An 'E Malama Aina (Let's Take Care of the Land) Festival was held in downtown Hilo next to the bandstand and across from Farmer's Market. There were numerous booths to educate and inspire people about sustainability, farming, solar power, protection from bugs, water conservation, and more.
Here are some sights of the festival.
There was great musical entertainment in the bandstand.
The kids had a robotics competition.
And there was lots of food, of course.
HILO BLACK AND WHITENIGHT
Black and White Night in Hilo is a huge strolling party where folks get dressed up and walk around to the many small businesses downtown. The businesses have live music, food, and fun set up for the strollers.
The strollers dress up for the event in everything from tuxedos to blue jeans.
There were singers, jammers, fencers... fencing?
Downtown was packed.
The Emerald Orchid had great music.
Danny Braddix was painting flowers.
The strolling party coincided with the opening of an art show at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. The opening was also very well attended.
And the final interesting aspect of the evening was a brand new Apple store opening in Hilo. When they heard about Black and White Night, they opened for the evening.
Hilo is a happening place!
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN HILO
After nail-biting tension watching the election results, we were finally able to relax and think about our country's exciting future. Everyone is Hilo is ecstatic over our new first family - Hawaii-born Obama.
And everyone here is celebrating with as much enthusiasm as the Chicago crowd.
Though the excitement and hope that our new President brings is heady, we find living in Hilo uplifiting every day.
Today we had a gorgeous blue sky, bright sunshine day: 82 degrees F, 72% humidity and a constant cool trade wind blowing into our living room.
VOTING IN HILO
Our place of voting is at Kapiolani Elementary School. We went over at about 9:30AM and there was absolutely no line. We walked right in, showed our driver's licenses and we were given a ballot.
We had the choice of a written ballot or using the voting machine.
The fact that Hawaii considers Election day a State holiday is wonderful. Not only does it create more opportunity for voters, it makes the public schools available as voting spots rather than using churches like we did in California.
Now we wait to see if we are going to have the first Hawaiian born President and who will be our next Hawaii County Mayor.
POLITICAL RALLY IN HILO
T'was the night before the election, and Hilo is ALIVE with politicians. And since we are in Hilo, it included hula and Taiko drumming, food and political speeches!!
The Taiko drumming was great.
And the hula was great too!
HILO HIGH SCHOOL's 2nd ANNUAL HO'OULU HA'AHEO
Sunday Hilo High School had a school fair with a huge rummage sale in the cafeteria and booths on the track with food, plants, handicrafts and more. They had entertainment and activities as well.
The rummage sale was the largest we've seen in Hilo so far. This is one to remember if you are looking for clothes, toys, books, etc.
We were very impressed with the entertainment. The young man singing while we were there had an awesome voice!
Clubs, sports teams, and other organizations had booths to raise money. The HOSA club undertook the task of performing full individual health tests. They printed out a report of body-age at the end of a series of physical tests and measurements with ideas for improving your health. They are our future doctors for Hawaii!!!
Tonight was the 4th Annual Hilo Hootenanny sponsored by Hilo Hattie on behalf of the Hawaii Food Basket. The event combined music, dance and great food to create a fun fund raiser for the food bank.
Big name entertainers like Cyril Pahinui, Stan Kaina and his Hula Halau, and the Da Guava Sistahs were there to sing and dance.
Here is a clip of Cyril Pahinui singing with an accompanying dancer.
Local restaurants Kuhio Grille, Nori's Saimin, Daniel Theibaut, Ken's Pancake House, Kawamoto's, Pete's Belly Bustazs, Cafe Pesto, Higa's Gourmet, Island Goodie Basket, and Goodies Galore donated and cooked up a fantastic array of food and sweets.
There was a silent auction as well as crafts for sale. The highlight was a comic hula and song contest.