NEWS | Council District 7 – Honolulu City Council |

Star Advertiser: Kabuki’s return to isle marks anniversaries

(Source: Star Advertiser)

December 10, 2018

By: Allison Schaefers



Japanese Kabuki will return to Hawaii for the first time in more than half a century to mark the 25th anniversary of the Honolulu Festival and the 150th anniversary of the first organized Japanese group to immigrate to Hawaii.

Six performances are scheduled for March 2-7 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre, which is one of the few venues outside of Japan with a stage built to accommodate Kabuki.

A March 8 performance at the Hawai‘i Convention Center will be a major highlight of the Honolulu Festival. The theme of the festival, which takes place March 8-10, is “Looking Back to Create the Future: 25 Years of Aloha.”

The festival’s goal is to perpetuate “strong cultural and ethnic ties” between the Asia-Pacific and Hawaii. Since its start in 1995, the Honolulu Festival has brought tens of thousands of visitors to Hawaii, bolstering tourism during what is generally an off-peak travel period. Some 5,500 visitors, many from Asia and the Pacific, and 150 groups participated in last year’s festival.

Tatsuo Watanabe, director of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, said festival organizers anticipate 150,000 participants to attend the festival, which will also include a Waikiki parade and an extended 25-minute Nagaoka fireworks show. About 4,500 Japanese visitors already have committed to attend, he said.

Part of the reason is the timing of the festival and the Kabuki performances, said Koichi Ito, consul general of Japan to Hawaii. Ito said both fall at the end of the Japan’s fiscal year 2018, some 150 years after the ship Scioto came to Honolulu from Yokohama carrying 150 Japanese passengers. This first organized group to emigrate from Japan to Hawaii were called Gannenmono, or “people of the first year,” because they came to Hawaii in Meiji Gannen, the first year in the reign of Emperor Meiji of Japan, who rose to power following the surrender of the government of the shogun.

Another reason is that authentic Kabuki is a novelty seldom seen outside of Japan. Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theater, a stylized art form that dates back to Japan’s 17th-century Edo period. The all-male productions are performed on special stages that incorporate revolving platforms and trapdoors that allow for quick plot changes and dramatic entries and exits. Productions feature actors in dramatic costumes with heavy stage makeup. They are known for using exaggerated movements as well as song and dance to convey themes that often incorporate comedy and heavy drama.

Sanemon Tobaya, chairman of the Hawaii Kabuki Executive Committee, said the upcoming performances will be a “rare opportunity to experience the soul of Japanese theater in Honolulu.”

Tobaya said authentic Kabuki is only occasionally performed outside of Japan. A troupe of Kabuki legends came to Honolulu in 1964, the same year Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics marking its transformation from a war-ravaged city to a major international capital. The star was Utamemon Nakamura, a favorite “onna-­gata,” or female imper- sonator, who was recognized as a living national treasure by the Japanese government.

Authentic Kabuki by Japanese entertainers was last performed in Honolulu in 1967 when the Tokyo Grand Kabuki Company visited as part of the 15th annual Cherry Blossom Festival. A year later Hawaii commemorated the centennial of Gannemono by placing memorial plaques at Honolulu International Airport, a Buddha statue at Foster Botanical Garden, a five-story stone pagoda in Honolulu, a stone Buddha in Lahaina, stone lanterns at the Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo and the building of Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe.

“I expect Hawaii was chosen because of its large Japanese-­American population,” said Tobaya, whose grandfather performed Kabuki in Hawaii. “Since that time Kabuki has certainly made its way around the world. I myself have performed in places like Brazil, where there is a large Japanese-­Brazilian population. But whenever I would come to Hawaii, it would cross my mind that there was an unsatisfied need that Kabuki be brought here (again). I’m just so happy that it’s finally coming true.”

The upcoming performances will star Kabuki actor Shikan Nakamura VIII and his sons, who are descendents of Utamenon Nakamura. The Nakamura family is well known in Japan for their proficiency and devotion to Kabuki, which they have passed from generation to generation. They will perform the popular Japanese Kabuki story Renjishi, about a lion that must teach his two cubs the importance of courage and strength.

Tobaya, deemed a living treasure by the Japanese government, will lecture in concert with the performances to help audiences understand what they are watching and hearing.

“I want to give these performances as a memorial to the ancestors who (immigrated) to Hawaii in 1868 and who continued to pass on the Japanese spirit despite facing many troubles,” he said.


Performances in 2019 will take place at the following dates and times:


>> March 2 at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

>> March 3 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 1 and 5:30 p.m.)

>> March 4 at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

>> March 5 at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

>> March 6 at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30 a.m.)


>> March 8 at 7:15 p.m. (doors open at 6:25 p.m.)

Tickets range from $80 to $100 plus taxes and fees. For more information, visit


Via: Star Advertiser

Star Advertiser: Firefighters investigate blaze at abandoned home in Kalihi

(Source: Star Advertiser)

December 10, 2018

Honolulu firefighters extinguished a large fire at an abandoned home in Kalihi Sunday night.

Ten units with 39 firefighters responded to the blaze at 2008 Wilcox Lane shortly after 10:15 p.m. When they arrived, they observed the single-story structure fully engulfed in flames, said Honolulu Fire Spokesman Capt. Scot Seguirant in a news release.

Firefighters brought the fire under control at 10:35 p.m. and extinguished it by 10:50 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire and a damage estimate has yet to be determined.

Via: Star Advertiser

Star Advertiser: Editorial: Put public first in park partnerships

(Source: Star Advertiser)

December 5, 2018

A meeting with stakeholders and children from several Oahu schools led to changes to the playground site. The new plan includes adding more zip lines and a splash pad.


When the Caldwell administration began working on a $144 million plan to renovate Ala Moana Regional Park, the public response was loud, clear and unequivocal: Don’t mess with “The People’s Park.”

Advocates and concerned citizens expressed understandable fear that proposed park enhancements would gentrify this cherished public space.

They insisted that any renovations protect and support the casual, local-style vibe enjoyed by generations of families who come from all over Oahu with their coolers and grills to spend the day outdoors. This message should be heeded.

Even so, the city’s plan is not without merit. The popular park is showing signs of wear and tear, with dingy pavement, expanses of scraggly grass, a rocky beach and an unappealing pond and drainage channel.

Much can be done to improve the park as it is (visit to see how), while making room for something new.

Case in point: The city is poised to turn over one acre of the park near Magic Island for a “world-class” playground, so described by a private nonprofit group, Pa‘ani Kakou, which will design, build then gift it to the city as part of a sponsorship agreement.

The playground would be large and elaborate, with six zip lines, a splash pad, slides, a globe-shaped structure that spins, swings for multiple riders and other amenities like a concession stand. There is nothing else like it on the island, and would cost $2.5 million or more to build.

It sounds rosy. Children playing outdoors, getting lots of varied exercise and fresh air, with no electronic devices, in a modern play space designed to attract them.

Even better, the playground would accommodate children with disabilities, who too often get left on the sidelines when play structures are built.

It’s also a project the city could ill afford to build and maintain itself; hence the public-private partnership. Therein lies the rub. Should the city allow a private partner to take over part of Ala Moana park, even for what looks like a laudable project?

In this case, Pa‘ani Kakou is affiliated with Kobayashi Group, one of the developers of Park Lane Ala Moana, an ultraluxury condo development overlooking the park. Kobayashi Group is raising funds for the design, construction, financing and management of the playground through Pa‘ani Kakou.

If not handled with care, similar partnerships could lead to the public park evolving into a quasi- private one, with commercialized development that runs counter to the public responses the city solicited early on in the planning process.

In this instance, the city promises that the playground will be kept open and easily accessible to Hawaii’s keiki for free — an essential condition to ensure that the public park remains public.

There also needs to be a solid financial plan to maintain the playground into the foreseeable future.

Pa‘ani Kakou would manage the playground, but would share the cost with the city to maintain it. That could prove challenging. They have to ensure that the playground not only is safe for children, but remains attractive — no small task, given the project’s size and complexity, the anticipated popularity of the playground and the depredations of salty sea air. The city hopes a new concession will help defray the cost.

Projects like this playground can be beneficial. They activate portions of the park that otherwise get relatively little use, and displace no one. The city must ensure that the folks who use The People’s Park will be able to enjoy it as they always have, relaxed and free. A modern playground for the keiki can enhance the experience.


Via: Star Advertiser

KHON2: Phone service resumes for TheHandi-Van, TheBus

(Source: KHON2)

December 4, 2018

HONOLULU (KHON2) – After several days of technical difficulties, the telephone system for TheHandi-Van is back up and running.

However, the phone system for TheBus, while operational, isn’t quite back to normal.

In a statement, the city said:

“Call volumes are still high, but declining from Tuesday’s level. The main Customer Service phone number for TheBus (848-5555) is still not working, but a recording is informing callers to use 768-9880 instead. To access the HEA System by voice phone, customers may call 852-6000.

Technical difficulties for both began late Monday, which impacted the scheduling of TheHandi-Van appointments.

The city’s Department of Information Technology and Oahu Transit Services information technology staff worked to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Via: KHON2

Civil Beat: Hawaii Does Fine Raking In Federal Dollars Without Earmarks

(Source: Civil Beat)

December 4, 2018

By: Nick Grube

WASHINGTON — It was the sort of project no one thought the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress would fund:

A million-dollar conservation mission to Papahanaumokuakea, the 582,578-square-mile national marine monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke once considered shrinking.

The money came through, in large part, because of maneuvering by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz was able to help secure funds for research at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument despite an earmark ban.

Schatz also had the help of billionaire tech entrepreneur Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, who helped fund the federal research grant with their own money.

The creativity was necessary. Ever since Republicans imposed a moratorium on earmarks it’s been difficult for lawmakers to direct federal dollars back to their districts for specific projects. The ban has also made for stickier negotiations on everything from the budget to the farm bill.

Horse-trading can be hard, some say, especially when there’s not much pork in the barrel.

Now there is talk about lifting the moratorium — and it’s coming from both sides of the political aisle.

“It’s hard to get support with the public on earmarks, but I think if you had a vote on the Hill they would come back,” said James Thurber, a distinguished professor in government at American University. “Most people who have been around for a long time realize that they need earmarks to get things done.”

Schatz doesn’t think it’ll happen. Furthermore, he said, Hawaii fares well these days when it comes to federal spending.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, federal spending in the islands equaled 26.4 percent of Hawaii’s gross national product in fiscal year 2014, the 10th-highest such percentage in the country.

Still, any talk of bringing back earmarks is bound to generate interest in Hawaii, which used to benefit from them immensely.

A Way To ‘Grease The Skids’

In September, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer floated the idea while discussing a Democratic reform package that would aim to strengthen ethics rules and campaign finance oversight, including increased disclosure requirements for so-called “dark money” groups.

Republicans, too, have considered ending the self-imposed moratorium, including in 2016, but scuttled the plan for fear of public backlash.

The topic, however, continues to come up, including in post-midterm discussions within the GOP now that the Democrats are about to regain control of the U.S. House.

Even President Donald Trump, who vowed to “drain the swamp,” seemed convincedearmarks are good for the country. He said earlier this year during a discussion about immigration that Congress should consider lifting the ban as a way to loosen congressional gridlock.

The concern, of course, is an increase in corruption, wasteful spending and pay-to-play politics.

“You can look at nearly 200 years of Congress getting things done without earmarks.” — Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste

Thurber said if earmarks came back they should be subject to strict oversight and public accountability similar to what was in place from 2007 to 2010 when Democrats controlled the House.

They implemented reforms that, among other things, forced lawmakers to attach their names to their funding requests.

“The return of earmarks won’t end partisan gridlock, but it certainly will help grease the skids,” Thurber said.

‘Costly, Inequitable’

There are plenty of naysayers, particularly among fiscal conservatives.

A number of groups have sent letters to Congress urging them to keep the moratorium, including Taxpayers for Common Sense, the National Taxpayers Union and FreedomWorks.

Tom Schatz, no relation to the Hawaii senator, is president of Citizens Against Government Waste, which each year releases a new edition of the “Congressional Pig Book” to highlight what it deems to be the most egregious earmarks in Washington.

“The world did not come to an end for Hawaii just because we eliminated earmarking.” — Mazie Hirono

Among those that made it into the book’s “Pork Hall of Shame” was a $273,000 earmark in 2002 for “combating goth culture.”

“It has not been a positive development and a positive attribute to have earmarks,” Tom Schatz said. “They’re costly, they’re inequitable and they lead to corruption.”

He also doesn’t buy the argument that earmarks will help congressional dealmaking.

Bhutanese monks create a sand mandala at the East-West Center in Honolulu, which is often criticized by the Citizens Against Government Waste.

“You can look at nearly 200 years of Congress getting things done without earmarks being a big part of what they do,” he said. “The New Deal, although you could argue it was expensive, was done without earmarks.”

And just because there’s a moratorium in place doesn’t mean earmarks have disappeared, he noted. There are still plenty of ways for lawmakers to work the system to get federal dollars for their constituencies.

He pointed to the omnibus spending deal Congress approved in March, which included lots of set-asides for Hawaii.

One line item that consistently catches the government waste organization’s attention is the East-West Center in Honolulu. Created by Congress in 1960, its stated mission is to promote “better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.”

Despite attempts by the Trump administration to eliminate funding, Sen. Brian Schatz was recently able to secure another $16.7 million for the center.

The “Congressional Pig Book” also criticized Hawaii’s delegation for its continued support of efforts to eradicate the brown tree snake in Guam. Over the years, the delegation has supported millions of dollars in earmarks dedicated to the effort.

The Good Old Days

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono smiled at the idea of bringing back congressional earmarks after an eight-year hiatus.

The state as a whole received more than $400 million in earmarked funds in 2010 — the year before the ban — ranking it among the top five nationwide in earmark spending per capita.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has fond memories of securing earmarks for projects she supported when she was in the House.

The money went toward everything from building out the military’s footprint on the islands and funding monk seal recovery to scanning the universe for extraterrestrial objects.

In 2010, an analysis of federal spending data by the Center for Responsive Politics and Taxpayers for Common Sense showed Hirono sponsored or co-sponsored nearly $150 million in earmarks, more than any other of her peers in the House of Representatives.

The same was true in 2009, when then-Rep. Hirono sponsored more than $162 million in earmarks.

“I was very good at it,” Hirono said. “I support transparent earmarks because it’s a way to support the very specific, unique programs that impact Hawaii.”



Hawaii has a special place in the annals of earmarking in large part because of the late Sen. Dan Inouye.

When Inouye died in 2012, he was chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

In the three years in which congressional members were forced to put their names to earmarks, data shows Inouye was among the most prolific of his peers.

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, from fiscal years 2008 to 2010, Inouye put his name to 440 earmarks worth more than $1.2 billion. That figure does not include an additional $1.5 billion in presidential earmarks Inouye helped to usher through the congressional budgeting process.

He worked with other members of the Hawaii delegation to secure millions of dollars for Native Hawaiian health care and education.

They also earmarked tens of millions of dollars for Honolulu’s “High Capacity Transit Corridor Project,” otherwise known as rail.

Working Within The System

Brian Schatz was appointed to the Senate in 2012 after the death of Inouye.

Like Inouye, Schatz sits on the Appropriations Committee and therefore has significant influence over how the federal government spends its money, even as a minority Democrat. He said any discussion about bringing back earmarks is little more than a “thought experiment.”

“Earmarks are not coming back,” Schatz said. “There’s no political will for this.”

He doesn’t see Republicans in the Senate agreeing to any semblance of a return to the earmark era. Although he said it would be nice to have that option on the table, it hasn’t been necessary to bring federal money to Hawaii.

““The practice of earmarks as it had developed was bad and I don’t want to go back to that.” — Congressman-elect Ed Case

The senator often emphasizes in press releases the money he and other members of the delegation have secured for the islands, whether it’s increased military construction or pushing back against the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts.

As was the case with Papahanaumokuakea funding, he’s shown no shortage of creativity in funneling money to the state for what he calls “world class projects.”

He’s also looked for other ways to bring more money to Hawaii, such as by modifying contracting restrictions for Native Hawaiian businesses that get preferential consideration on military contracts.

Those companies, he said, are now eligible for work through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I think this whole conversation is a waste of time,” Schatz said about the possible return of earmarks. “We’ve been able to do the appropriations process in a way that’s good for the country and in a way that’s good for Hawaii.”

Sen Brian Schatz at the Dem Party Dole Cannery Ballroom.

Hirono agrees that “the world did not come to an end for Hawaii just because we eliminated earmarking.”

Hawaii Congressman-elect Ed Case, who describes himself as a fiscal conservative, says he’s wary of bringing back earmarks, at least in the manner they existed when he last held federal office.

When Case was representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2002 to 2006, Republicans were in power and there was little transparency surrounding the process.

Congressman Elect Ed Case Dole Cannery Ballroom.

It wasn’t until Democrats retook the House in 2007 — the year Case left Congress —  that earmarks were banned for for-profit entities and lawmakers were forced to attach their names to earmarks as a means of attaining some semblance of accountability.

Case, who will now represent the 1st Congressional District, said the earmark system was fraught with problems that led to distrust in government spending.

“The practice of earmarks as it had developed was bad and I don’t want to go back to that,” he said. “It was abusive and it got away from us.”

Case doesn’t buy into bringing back earmarks just to increase bipartisanship. He said that should be done through cordial conversation among colleagues and working across party lines in groups of members of both parties, such as the Congressional Reformers Caucus.

“The obligation of any member of Congress includes trying to direct federal funds to specific projects that work for your district,” Case said. “Whether you want to call those earmarks, set-asides or authorizing language, I’m certainly going to do it.”

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard did not respond to requests for comment for this report.

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Via: Civil Beat

Hawaiian Electric Press Release: Spike in phony utility calls reported this week as scammers target churches

(Source: Hawaiian Electric)


CONTACT: Shannon Tangonan, 808.223.9932


Spike in phony utility calls reported this week as scammers target churches

HONOLULU, Nov. 30, 2018 – Phone scammers kicked into high gear this week, targeting Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers – mainly small businesses and churches. Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaiʿi Electric Light are warning customers to “Just Hang Up!” on scammers who are much more active during the holidays.

Hawaiian Electric received 10 scam reports on Wednesday and five Thursday, pushing the company’s total number of reported phone scams to 100 so far in 2018. Maui Electric and Hawaiʿi Electric Light have reported about 20 each so far this year. These are only the calls reported to the utilities, the actual numbers are known to be much higher.

Five Oʿahu churches received calls in the past two days from scammers who threatened to disconnect service unless payment was made. No money was exchanged. Trinity United Methodist Church was among the targets.

“Someone called and said that they were on their way to turn off our electricity since we hadn’t paid since August – it was almost a $1,000,” said Senior Pastor Amy Wake, who noted it was alarming because the church depends on electricity to run their preschool and other programs.

“They said that we had to go down to (a drug store) and get a money pack. That’s what alerted us that this was a problem. We said, ‘Is this a scam?’” Wake said they hung up and called Hawaiian Electric to confirm the church had no balance.

“To think that they’re targeting churches is really disappointing,” Wake said. “We are trying our best to do good in the world.”

Customers need to be alert and recognize scams, especially when criminals threaten to disconnect service unless a payment is made.

The companies offer the following tips:
 If the caller says your utility account is delinquent and threatens to shut off service immediately unless payment is made, it’s a scam.
 If someone calls from a utility demanding immediate payment over the phone, via money transfer, prepaid debit cards or by Bitcoin, it’s a scam.
 If the caller asks to meet the customer in person to pick up a payment, it’s a scam.

For more information, visit

Via: Hawaiian Electric

Star Advertiser: ‘World-class’ playground approved for Ala Moana park

(Source: Star Advertiser)

December 3, 2018

By: Andrew Gomes

A meeting with stakeholders and children from several Oahu schools led to changes to the playground site. The new plan includes adding more zip lines and a splash pad.

A volunteer group has obtained city approval to build a 1-acre public playground at Ala Moana Regional Park that includes miniature zip lines, slides, swings and a splash pad.

Representatives of a group led by mothers said they intend to seek a building permit by the end of the year and begin construction next year.

“It’s a bit ambitious but we are going to proceed,” Alana Kobayashi Pakkala told the Ala Moana- Kakaako Neighborhood Board at a meeting Wednesday.

Pakkala, an executive vice president of local development firm Koba­ya­shi Group, which co-developed the ultraluxury Park Lane condominium at Ala Moana Center mauka of the park, said the volunteer group is already seeking donations to pay for play equipment and construction that was estimated to cost $2.5 million prior to some design changes.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he’s confident the volunteer group will succeed in providing the city a playground for free public use.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be one of the more unique playgrounds in the state of Hawaii.”

Producing what organizers call a “world-class” playground would realize a vision that began more than two years ago in response to the city’s improvement master plan for Ala Moana Regional Park that mainly focused on fixing or enhancing existing elements of the 119-acre tract that includes Magic Island.

The volunteer group offered to produce a playground there for the city through private donations, and 18 months ago Caldwell said preliminary discussions were underway.

Since then the playground site was shifted and the design overhauled after input from kids.

Initially, the city anticipated having a playground in a relatively inactive section mauka of a concession and bathroom building near the Diamond Head end of the park. Now the site is another fairly inactive area near the park’s Ewa end, mauka of an L&L Hawaiian Barbecue concession and bathrooms.

The playground’s design also was revamped after the volunteer group held planning and design sessions with stakeholders and consulted with children from select Oahu schools. This input led to changes that included adding more zip lines, having slides that start atop small hills and using natural colors instead of primary colors.

Tiffany Vara, another group leader, said kids wanted more open-ended play and also asked for some old-school amenities. “They really wanted swings and monkey bars,” she said.

Equipment selected for the project includes a globe-shaped structure that can be gently spun with kids on the inside and outside, swings for multiple riders and something that resembles two giant rocking chairs joined facing each other with a table in the middle.

Six zip lines are also part of the plan. These work by riders sitting on a disc suspended from an overhead track and pushing off a platform to travel from one end of the track to the other while a couple of feet off the ground.

Other elements include picnic tables, a splash pad and a retail concession to provide snacks and convenience items for parents and kids. Proceeds from the concession would help the city pay for playground maintenance, though the volunteer group also could raise money for this expense under its nonprofit, Pa‘ani Kakou.

The playground would be big enough for more than 500 children and include features that can be enjoyed by kids with disabilities. It would be fenced to keep kids safe and to secure the facility at night.

The city’s master plan for the park generally calls for improving existing features, such as replenishing beach sand, widening a pedestrian promenade, covering a drainage canal, reconfiguring parking and other renovation work at an estimated cost of $144 million.

Nicknamed “The People’s Park,” Ala Moana Regional Park was built in 1934 and is used by 4 million people a year, more than any other general recreation park in the state, according to the city.

City officials said in a June draft environmental impact report for the master plan that overall community feedback for a playground was positive in scoping meetings.

However, some residents who submitted comments on the plan discounted the need for a playground.

“Kids should just run around, play games, throw balls, etc.,” Diane Fujimura said in a written comment. “Keep in mind that this park is a true people’s park. It needs to remain that way, simple, clean, safe and naturally beautiful.”

William Kaeo, an elementary school counselor, suggested the city focus more on basic beach park amenities. “A playground in the park is NOT NEEDED,” he wrote. “Please make more showers and cleaner bathrooms.”

Endorsing a playground was Brian Walter, who wrote that given the park’s size, such an addition would be welcome. “It seems like there is so much wasted space,” he said. “I would personally support a playground or two for the kids to have fun.”

At Wednesday’s neighborhood board meeting, Audrey Lee with the group Malama Moana liked the detailed playground plan. “This is a fabulous thing,” she said. “I’m really impressed.”

Via: Star Advertiser

Ho’okele News: ‘Day of infamy’ remembered

(Source: Ho’okele News)

November 30, 2018

A view looking down Battleship Row from Ford Island Naval Air Station, shortly after the Japanese torpedo plane attack. USS California (BB-44) is on the left. In the center are USS Maryland (BB-46) with the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37). USS Neosho (AO-23) is at right. Most smoke is from USS Arizona (BB-39). U.S. Navy file photo, now in the National Archives

Dec. 7, 2018

will mark 77 years since America was launched into World War II with the attack on Oahu, including Pearl Harbor. These are some commemorative events taking place this year, Dec. 1-7.

Dec. 1

 A Pearl Harbor History Day will be held at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to launch the 77th anniversary commemoration week.

Dec. 2

• The Swingin’ Blue Stars performance will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lanai. This event helps support the museum’s restoration and education programs. This is a free event.

Dec. 3

 The Coast Guard Auxiliary Arizona Band Performance will perform at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lanai from 9 to 10:30 a.m. This is a free event.

Dec. 4

• The U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will perform on the lanai at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center from 8:30 to 10 a.m. This is a free event.

• The Swingin’ Blue Stars performance will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lanai. This free event helps support the museum’s restoration and education programs.

Dec. 5

• The U.S. Army Band will perform free at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lanai from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m.

• The USS Arizona Live Dive with the Pearl Harbor Wounded Veterans in Parks Program is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. There will be a live, interactive broadcast from the submerged USS Arizona shown in the theater at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

Dec. 6

• A USS Utah Memorial Sunset Ceremony will be held at the USS Utah Memorial from 5 to 6 p.m. The ceremony honors the loss of the USS Utah (AG-16) and 58 of its crew. This event is free to those with base access and their sponsored guests.

• The Spirit of Liberty Freedom Foundation Bell-Ringing is scheduled from Dec. 6-8 from 8 a.m. to sunset. The public is invited to ring America’s Freedom Bell to honor armed forces past, present and future at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. A ceremony is also scheduled for Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Dec. 7

• The National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration will be held from 7:50 to 9:15 a.m. at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy will co-host the 77th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The keynote speaker is Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. The public is invited to attend.

Due to strict security measures, guests may not bring handbags, purses, camera bags or other items that offer concealment to the ceremony. Personal cameras are allowed. This is a free event.

Note: If you are a Pearl Harbor survivor or World War II veteran, contact the Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs Office at 473-3152, 473-1173 or 473-0664 to receive an invitation and seating for the ceremony.

• A Hickam Field Commemoration will be held at the Atterbury Circle at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam from 7:50 a.m.

• The USS Oklahoma Memorial Ceremony will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island. The USS Oklahoma ceremony commemorates the devastating loss of the ship and 429 of its crew members. A free shuttle departing every 15 minutes is available from the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, which is adjacent to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. This is a free event.

 A Pearl Harbor Day Parade and a public ceremony will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. from Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. This is a free event.

For more information about upcoming events, visit

Via: Ho’okele News 


Ho’okele News: Special Olympics Hawaii comes to JBPHH, MCBH

(Source: Ho’okele News)

November 23, 2018

Lance Takaki, a Special Olympics Hawaii court manager, chats with Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tairique Whittaker, of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Pacific, and Tech Sgt. LaNita Collins, of 15th Comptroller Squadron.

Story and photos by Kristen Wong

Life and Leisure Editor, Ho‘okele

Wearing a blue Maile Sports Club shirt, Brian Yamane is quiet as he steps up to Lane 1 at Hickam Bowling Center. His nurse, Cynthia Baker, accompanies him with his oxygen support machine.

He gently pushes the bowling ball sitting atop a metal ramp. As the ball makes contact with the pins and they hit the floor with a resounding crash, people cheer.

“He loves bowling,” Baker, of Attention Plus Care, said of Yamane.

Yamane was one of more than 800 athletes competing in Special Olympics Hawaii’s annual Holiday Classic, Nov. 17-18, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).

Special Olympics Hawaii athlete Kyle Fukumitsu with the Kamali‘i Koa team bowls his turn during the annual Holiday Classic at Hickam Bowling Center, Nov. 17.

“The support that both bases give is phenomenal,” said Dan Epstein, the chief operating officer of Special Olympics Hawaii. “The military leadership fully supports us. It’s easy to work with them.”

The Holiday Classic is one of three statewide competitions Special Olympics Hawaii hosts each year. The event includes athletes competing in basketball, bocce ball and bowling.

“The best bowling centers and gyms on island are on the base so that adds quality to the event,” Epstein said.

There is a lot to be done to make this event happen. That’s where volunteers come in. The volunteers have many roles, according to Epstein, from officiating basketball to driving busses, distributing meals and setting up tables and chairs. This year, approximately 800 of the 1,000 volunteers are from JBPHH and MCBH.

“We get great volunteer support from all the different branches,” Epstein said. “The amount of volunteers is fantastic.”

“Special Olympics Hawaii wants to thank the military for its support not just for the Holiday Classic but for the tremendous volunteer support throughout the year from the service members and their families,” Epstein said. “By coming and supporting our athletes it really makes a huge difference.”

Reservist Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 1st Class Ashley Clark, a Sailor with Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 51 (VR-51), based at MCBH, usually volunteers for runs, but found out about this opportunity and decided to help. This was her first time volunteering for the Holiday Classic.

“It’s been great,” Clark said. “They’re really good bowlers, positive people, positive energy.”

Clark said the highlight of the day was watching the athletes support each other as a team.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a gutter or a strike, they support each other,” she said.

Air Force Capt. Joshua Henderson-Casteel, of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Operations Center, helped athletes as they bowled at Hickam Bowling Center.

“It’s a blast, it’s a lot of fun seeing their faces when they bowl strikes,” Henderson-Casteel said. “Some of them are competitive. When you try to help them they’re like ‘No! I got this.’ They’re very independent.”

Henderson-Casteel was invited by a friend who was involved with Special Olympics Hawaii through fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.

He said that one of his favorite moments was when he received a big hug from one of the athletes. Henderson-Casteel added that he’s a big hugger.

“Anybody that gets an opportunity to do this should definitely do it,” he said. “I’m getting more than I’m giving.”

Via: Ho’okele News

City and County of Honolulu: HONOLULU CITY LIGHTS

(Source: City and County of Honolulu)

2015 HCL 07 Tree Parade tammy seymore
Opening Night Celebration – Saturday, December 1, 2018

Honolulu City Lights opens on the first Saturday of December with the lighting of Honolulu’s 50-foot tree. The opening night celebration at Honolulu Hale kicks off a monthlong holiday display of trees, wreaths, lights and oversize sculptures, including the famous Shaka Santa lounging with Tūtū Mele by the fountain in front of City Hall.

In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, the evening is highlighted with the Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade and a free, star-studded holiday concert on the grounds of the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center. New this year is the Honolulu City Lights block party, featuring more than a dozen food booths located along the Diamond Head-side of Punchbowl Street.

The 50-plus unit Public Workers’ Electric Light Parade showcases fire, police and emergency vehicles, refuse, huge maintenance trucks, buses and other city vehicles adorned with thousands of lights and festive decorations. The parade also features corporate sponsor floats and vehicles, and the holiday sounds of marching bands. See parade route  and traffic advisory.

TV Broadcast

The opening night festivities, including the tree lighting ceremony, parade and concert, will be cablecast LIVE on Saturday, December 1, at 6 p.m. on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53. Rebroadcasts will be shown on the channel on the following dates and times:

  • Sunday, December 16 at 8 p.m.
  • Monday, December 17 at 4 p.m.
  • Monday, December 24 at 10:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 25 at 3:30 p.m.


Honolulu City Lights displays – Opening night through January 1, 2019

Throughout the month of December, themed displays and lights will adorn the grounds surrounding Honolulu Hale, and the courtyard will feature the beautiful city tree and community wreath exhibits.

Honolulu City Lights will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will run through January 1, 2019, including the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

For additional family-friendly activities, view Frequently Asked Questions.

Event parking is at the Fasi Municipal Building Parking at the corner of Beretania and Alapai Streets. This lot fills quickly on opening night.

If you wish to see only the parade on opening night, there are parking lots and restaurants in the Chinatown area. However, you will need to park before the street closures take place for the parade and traffic becomes heavy.  After the parade, you may have to wait for the streets to re-open to exit certain lots.

Honolulu City Lights is presented for everyone to enjoy by the City and County of Honolulu and The Friends of Honolulu City Lights.  For official Honolulu City Lights ornaments visit the Friends of Honolulu City Lights website .