November 2008 Log

A photo diary of life in Hilo Hawaii






Macy Day Parade Hula 2008

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.

Hula in Macy Day Parade

Macy Day Parade Hula


Mauna Kea on Thanksiving 2008


Hawaii Island Food Bank in Hilo

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.

Food Bank Hilo

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.

Food Bank in Hilo

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.


Xmas trees in Hilo

Christmas trees were unloaded from refrigerated Matson boxes in KTA shopping center's parking lot.

Xmas trees in shipping containers

Here are the prices.

Hilo Xmas tree prices

Some of them are flocked.

Flocked Xmas trees in Hilo


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.


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.

Wayne Rosing in Hilo

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.


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.

Adam Adamson Hilo, Hawaii

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.

Antonio Chrysostomou


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.

Mauna Kea Plan Comment Meeting

The public was then allowed to comment. Each had their own style, but none were happy about the rapidly expanding development on the mountain.

Mauna Kea Speaker

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.

Kealoha Pisciotta

The Hawaiians as well as others from the community are clearly very concerned about the unchecked development and unsupervised use of Mauna Kea.


Hilo Rainbow Hilo Rainbow


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.

NASA Scarab Robot

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.

NASA Robot extracting O2

Robot Extracting O2

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.


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.

Hilo Vog in November


Wheel of Fortune

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.

Big Island Wheel of Fortune


The Federal Building in downtown Hilo is ringed by coconut trees, each with a plaque commemerating a local veteran.

Hilo Veteran Momuments

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.

Vet Henry Kolomoku Umuiwi Plaque 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.

Kaiser 50th Celebration in Hilo

Kaiser 50th year Celebration in Hilo

Kaiser 50th Year Celebration

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.


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.

Hilo Veterans Day Parade 2008

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.


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.

Festival in Hilo

Here are some sights of the festival.

Do it Yourself Solar

Hilo Hydrophonics

Hilo Hawaii Fruit

Puna Geothermal

There was great musical entertainment in the bandstand.

Singing at Festival in Hilo

The kids had a robotics competition.

Hilo Robot Competition

And there was lots of food, of course.

Hilo Festival Food



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.

Black and White Night Hilo

The strollers dress up for the event in everything from tuxedos to blue jeans.

Black&White Stroller

There were singers, jammers, fencers... fencing?

Hilo Fencers

Downtown was packed.

Hilo Strollers

The Emerald Orchid had great music.

Emerald Orchid Hilo

Danny Braddix was painting flowers.

Danny Braddix Hilo

The strolling party coincided with the opening of an art show at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. The opening was also very well attended.

EHCC Art opening

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.

Apple store in Hilo

Hilo is a happening place!


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.

New first family 2008

And everyone here is celebrating with as much enthusiasm as the Chicago crowd.

Chi-town celebration Nov 2008

Though the excitement and hope that our new President brings is heady, we find living in Hilo uplifiting every day.

Beautiful day in Hilo Nov 2008

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.


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.

Hilo Voting Place with no line

We had the choice of a written ballot or using the voting machine.

Hilo Voting booths

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.


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!!

Hilo Rally in the Bandstand

Hilo Democratic Rally

The Taiko drumming was great.

Hilo Taiko Drumming

And the hula was great too!

Hula at Hilo Rally


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.

Hilo High School Rummage sale

Hilo High School Rummage Sale

We were very impressed with the entertainment. The young man singing while we were there had an awesome voice!

Hilo High School festival

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!!!

Hilo High School HOSA club

Hilo High School Festival


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.

Hilo Hootenanny Fund Raiser

Big name entertainers like Cyril Pahinui, Stan Kaina and his Hula Halau, and the Da Guava Sistahs were there to sing and dance.

Hilo Hootenanny entertainment

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.

Hilo Hootenanny Food

There was a silent auction as well as crafts for sale. The highlight was a comic hula and song contest.

Previous October 2008 Hilo Log posts


Copyright 2008-2017