Lingle's stimulus spending criticized

By Gene Park

Oct 27, 2010

The chairwoman of the Legislature’s federal stimulus oversight commission criticized the Lingle administration for not spending $35 million in federal funds to stave off Furlough Fridays in the classroom, since the money was available before the school year began.

Gov. Linda Lingle had the money to be spent at her discretion since July 2009. She budgeted the money for improving science and math-related learning, and supplementing the charter school system.

“It isn’t just that the money is secured and expended, it’s the wiseness of the choices,” said Kate Stanley, chairwoman of the Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission, at an oversight hearing yesterday.

“I’m not sure that this $35 million has been used in the most wise way when it could’ve been used to reduce furlough days for over 176,000 schoolchildren.”

Lingle’s senior policy adviser, Linda Smith, said at the hearing that before the furlough issue came up, the administration already committed to schools that the money would be used on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, as well as assisting charter schools.

About $9 million was allocated for charter schools, including $3.3 million for hiring qualified teachers, $3.1 million to maintain accreditation for schools and $2.3 million to restoring instructional time.

“Many of them chose not to have furloughs,” Smith said. “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to penalize schools who were able to work around their budget limitations by not giving them some funds to be able to meet their payroll needs.”

Smith said the governor met with officials from the state Department of Education, the University of Hawaii and the Charter School Administrative Office to discuss which projects should be funded.

“Our feeling is that we don’t want to have everybody think they can have everything,” Smith said when asked why Lingle did not issue a request for proposals. “The money is very limited, and we had some very specific criteria in what we wanted to accomplish.” Continue reading Lingle's stimulus spending criticized

Kalo connections

A festival at the Haleiwa Farmers Market heralds the cultural and nutritional values of taro

By Joleen Oshiro

Oct 20, 2010

In a Hawaiian genesis story, a stillborn baby’s grave site grows the first taro plant, which feeds his younger brother, the first Hawaiian. The tale is at the root of the culture’s reverence for taro, called kalo in Hawaiian.

Aunty Betty Jenkins, left, and Pamela Boyar are among the principal supporters of the taro festival planned for Sunday at the Haleiwa Farmers Market.

“Poi and family are one and the same,” says Aunty Betty Jenkins, North Shore kupuna who is one of the guiding forces behind Haleiwa Farmers Market’s taro festival on Sunday.

“Kalo connects us to all Hawaiians, to all of our neighborhood, to all community. It’s very spiritual.”

A new generation is now standing alongside elders like Jenkins to perpetuate taro’s cultural relevance. For Daniel Anthony of the organization Mana Ai, that effort centers on eating. “First and foremost, Mana Ai promotes the eating of taro in any way, shape or form,” Anthony, 32, says.

But Anthony is particularly focused on paiai: pounded taro corm that is the essence of poi before water is added. Paiai is a thick, elastic, versatile food that, wrapped in ti leaf, “keeps almost indefinitely,” he says.

Key to paiai’s longevity is that it grows lactobacillus, bacteria friendly to the human intestinal flora. Lactobacillus is present in yogurt, kim chee, beer and sauerkraut.

At Downtown @ the HiSAM restaurant, chef de cuisine Hoku Kupihea buys paiai weekly from Anthony and tries to create new paiai dishes each week. “I want to be versatile like the Hawaiians were, and we have a wider range of ingredients than they did.”

Kupihea has prepared paiai seared in Naked Cow Dairy butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, then paired with Sumida watercress, Hauula tomatoes and Maui onion. He’s also served it as part of a variation of the “spud burger,” seared and stacked on a bun with Kuahiwi Ranch beef, Nalo Farms bib lettuce and Kamuela tomato.

An ulu (breadfruit) paiai was turned into a flat bread.

“Customers were asking what that nuttiness at the end was from,” says the chef. “It was the paiai.”

Anthony is something of a paiai chef himself. He makes everything from pizza dough and beef stew dumplings to paiai poke and “sashimi.” He grates paiai like cheese over chili and has stretched it out 30 inches long to serve and slice as an accompanying starch to ribs.

Because paiai doesn’t spoil, it was the foodstuff ancient Polynesian voyagers took on journeys. “It’s great for getting lost in the middle of the ocean,” Anthony says.

Taro itself is a good source of potassium, magnesium and fiber. It is also gluten-free and nonallergenic, which is why nutritionists often recommend it as a first solid food for babies.

The festival will feature some of the more than 150 varieties of taro grown in gardens and farms in Hawaii.

“Most are from older Hawaiian varieties, but a number of them are imported and some are new, conventionally bred varieties,” says Jim Hollyer, farm food safety coach at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

While solid figures aren’t available for pre-Western-contact taro acreage in Hawaii, breaking research on ancient Hawaiian farming indicates that as much as 45,960 acres were devoted to taro. By the mid-19th century, acreage began declining, in part because land was diverted to rice farming or housing. Also, plantations acquired rights to the water that had fed loi, the flooded terraces in which much of taro is grown.

According to the Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, 110 taro farms occupied 445 acres of land in the state last year.

Though the decline has been dramatic, there is a movement today to expand taro acreage and return to traditional farming methods.

Juanita Kawamoto, manager for the community farm project Mahuahua Ai o Hoi, run by the nonprofit organization Kako’o ‘Oiwi, says that in returning to past practices, farmers promote sustainability and address environmental issues.

“Traditional Hawaiian taro farming is an affirmation of organic Western farming,” she says.

Mahuahua Ai o Hoi’s loi is in the Heeia marshland that borders Kahekili and Kamehameha highways. The presence of the loi helps mitigate flooding and the movement of sediment into Kaneohe Bay. Sediment had been killing the reef after the land was developed for housing and highways.

“If we can restore Hawaiian farming of kalo around the islands, we can bring back health to the ocean and the community. The food alone would be amazing,” Kawamoto says.

The idea for the taro festival began with Pamela Boyar and Annie Suite, who run and own the Haleiwa and Hawaii Kai farmers markets. Boyar has been involved in agriculture for 30 years and owned one of the top five farmers markets on the mainland. Since moving to the isles, the duo has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to promote specialty crops.

“One of the most important things we want to encourage is more land use on this island for growing taro,” Boyar says. “You can make a good living at it, and there’s definitely a future in farming taro — and the traditional ways work.”

They say it was easy to select taro as their grant project. “Kalo is the most culturally significant crop grown in the isles,” Suite says. “We wanted to learn from people who knew about kalo and share that with others.”

KALO COOKING

Recipes for using the leaves and the corm of the taro plant:

HAWAIIAN CHEF LUAU STEW

Courtesy Juanita Kawamoto
4 pounds boneless chuck or stew meat, preferably local, grass-fed
1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt or kosher sea salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 quarts beef broth
1 quart water
2 stalks celery, diced
3 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 pounds baby carrots
3 pounds Tahitian luau leaf or prepared luau leaf, rinsed and cut into strips (see note)
1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 medium Maui, Ewa or other sweet onion, diced

Rub salt and pepper into meat and brown in olive oil in pot. Add broth, water, celery, potatoes and carrots; bring to boil, lower heat to medium and simmer 90 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Add luau leaf, garlic and onions; simmer an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 600 calories, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,600 mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrate, 14 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 68 g protein

Note: Tahitian luau leaf is lower in calcium oxalate, which causes itching in the mouth and throat, than other types. Rinse, cut off stems and slice leaves.

Hauula Green Growers Farm sells Tahitian luau leaves at St. Clement’s Farmer’s Market, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, corner of Makiki Street and Wilder Avenue; and Hawaii Kai Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Kaiser High School.

If using other varieties of luau leaf, prepare as follows to prevent itching:

Rinse leaves, cut off stems, cut leaves into strips and boil in 2 quarts water with 1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt; simmer 10 minutes and drain in colander. Rinse until water is clear and drain again. Fill pot again with 1 quart water and boil, then simmer for 10 more minutes. Drain. Add to stew pot.

CUSTARD POI MOCHI

Kathryn I. Yanagisawa, “HGEA-AFSCME Cooks III Cookbook”
1 cup melted butter or margarine
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 cups mochiko (rice flour)
4 eggs
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 pound fresh poi, undiluted
1 tablespoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Combine all ingredients and pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour.

Cool and cut with plastic knife. Makes 48 pieces.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 130 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 8 g sugar, 2 g protein

Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.

COURTESY ALAN KONISHI / MANA AI

Steven Bolosan’s farm in Waialua is flush with taro, or kalo.

Steven Bolosan has farmed taro for about two years in Waialua. The state has about 110 taro farms on 445 acres of land

Boys and Girls Club to get new clubhouse through state grant

By Associated Press,Oct 26, 2010

A $1.5 million state grant will go toward building a permanent Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii Windward Clubhouse.

Gov. Linda Lingle announced today she released the money to build the facility on the grounds of Kailua Intermediate School.

The funds will be used to renovate an existing boys locker room into two new locker rooms and showers — one for boys and one for girls.

The clubhouse also will include a media center, a social recreational facility and basketball courts.

Lingle said the Boys and Girls Club helps youths develop skills and self-confidence to become responsible, productive citizens.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $5 million. The Boys and Girls Club has raised the remaining $3.5 million through private donations.

A $1.5 million state grant will go toward building a permanent Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii Windward Clubhouse.

Gov. Linda Lingle announced today she released the money to build the facility on the grounds of Kailua Intermediate School.

The funds will be used to renovate an existing boys locker room into two new locker rooms and showers — one for boys and one for girls.

The clubhouse also will include a media center, a social recreational facility and basketball courts.

Lingle said the Boys and Girls Club helps youths develop skills and self-confidence to become responsible, productive citizens.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $5 million. The Boys and Girls Club has raised the remaining $3.5 million through private donations.

MAYOR CARLISLE PROCLAIMS OCTOBER ‘BE SAFE, BE SEEN MONTH’

(Tues., Oct. 26, 2010)—Mayor Peter Carlisle today proclaimed October 2010 “Be Safe, Be Seen Month” in Honolulu, and encouraged drivers, trick-or-treaters and parents to be especially careful on Halloween.

“Halloween should be a fun time for everyone,” Carlisle said. “Let’s all remember to take appropriate precautions and keep our communities safe.”

The Honolulu Police Department, Department of Transportation Services and state Department of Education are partnering with local schools to remind parents that children’s Halloween costumes should be highly visible. Parents should also be vigilant in helping children cross streets, and in monitoring their activities as they visit neighborhood homes.

Trick-or-treaters young and old are encouraged to add reflective stickers to their costumes so that motorists may see them more easily. Approximately 65,000 stickers have been distributed to Oahu public school students in kindergarten through fifth grades through the cooperation of the Honolulu Police Department and state Department of Education. Stickers are also available at Oahu satellite city halls.

Parents are also advised to choose costumes made of flame-retardant material that is appropriate in length so children don’t trip and fall, and to avoid potentially dangerous props such as swords and knives.

To ensure a safe and fun Halloween evening, parents supervising young trick-or-treaters should carry flashlights, follow traffic signals and rules of the road, visit only well-lit homes in familiar neighborhoods and avoid shortcuts across backyards and alleys.

Media contact: Louise Kim McCoy, Mayor’s Office, 768-7798.

Leeward Coast "Make a Difference Day"

(Wed., Oct. 27, 2010) The Storm Water Quality Branch of the City’s Department of Environmental Services (ENV) is holding a “Make-A-Difference Day” this Saturday, October 30, in Waianae, Maili and Nanakuli.

Volunteers wishing to participate in the cleanup can check in at 8 a.m. at the Waianae Boys & Girls Club, Kaala View Baptist Church, Princess Kahanu Estates or Nanakuli Pond. Cleanup work begins at 8:30 a.m. and last two hours.  Volunteers should dress to get dirty and bring drinking water, a hat, covered shoes and sunscreen.  Cleanup sites will be Kaupuni Stream and Nanakuli Pond as well as select residential areas of Maili and Ulehawa.

ENV will hand out educational materials on healthy yard and clean stream practices as part of its Adopt-A-Stream program, and on reducing trash for its Adopt-A-Block program. ENV is partnering with other City departments, the state, businesses, schools, churches and non-profit organizations.

All participants must sign a release form to participate.  Release forms are available at cleanwaterhonolulu.com/storm/hero/adopt.html along with more information on ENV storm water community service activities or call Iwalani Sato, Storm Water Community Relations Specialist, at 768-3248.

Contact:  Markus Owens, ENV Public Communications Officer, 768-3454

Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs Convention 2010

Convention 2010 will take place from November 7-14 at the Sheraton Keauhou Resort and Spa at Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i Island.

AOHCC 51st Annual Convention 2010

The convention is a week long annual event where as many as 2,000 civic club members meet to share, exchange and understand mutual issues of concern. For example, issues from health policy to legislative bills are discussed and voted upon to effect positive change in the best interest of the people of Hawaiian ancestry.

Information on the convention can be obtained through the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

Convention 2009»

How to cast a vote for the OHA representative

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

by Larry Geller

In the (in-?)famous Rice case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the practice of allowing only native Hawaiians to vote in OHA elections. Regardless of how you feel about that, the court has spoken, and so OHA candidates are on your ballot this year.

This is a double-dilemma for those of us who are not Native Hawaiians.

First, whether to vote at all… just because the Supremes said I could vote doesn’t mean that I think its morally or ethically fair that I do so. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs isn’t for my benefit. Regardless of anyone’s feelings or opinions about the organization, I don’t think I, as a non-Native Hawaiian, should vote for its representatives.

The next question is: who to vote for? It’s even worse than the Board of Education slate in terms of public information.

Here’s what I did last time and what I did today: I asked someone. I got some suggestions from a person who should and will vote, a Native Hawaiian whom I trust. She gave me some detail, actually, and I will vote according to her suggestion.

That way I feel better about the question of voting.

Hey—you may not agree, but this works for me, and I’d like to pass on the idea.

I recall speaking to someone about this last election cycle and was told that he had a problem—he didn’t know anyone who identified as Native Hawaiian. Nothing I can do about that, but I suggested that he make an effort and find someone. That’s a whole other conversation and a sad commentary on modern life in Hawaii. I am very aware that on the various boards and groups I participate in, most often there is no Native Hawaiian present in the room. Like I said, that’s another conversation.

Meanwhile, ask someone if you feel as I do and then cast a meaningful vote.

Growing Upland Taro: Part II

October 21, 2010
By Molokai Dispatch staff, Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent

In growing taro, water control is important. Using a timer is an efficient way to control water frequency and duration, and assures that surface roots are moist daily. Fertilizer and roots will only move where there is water. Clogging and pinching of the drip irrigation line is a major concern when growing taro, and some farmers will lay extra drip lines between the rows when there’s first indication of this problem. Insufficient water is the greatest stressor of taro, so some farmers are converting to new kinds of drip line that’s more rigid and less likely to pinch or clog.

Wind protection is important, but taro also needs good air circulation to deter diseases and pests. A major disease is leaf blight caused by a fungus called Phytophthora (‘leaf destroyer’) and is more prevalent at higher elevations than in the lowlands. This disease can melt the leaves and affect starch content and the sticky quality of poi. A week of cool wet weather creates ideal conditions for this disease, but increasing air circulation by planting farther apart during winter months can mitigate this problem. New hybrids developed by the University of Hawaii appear to be more tolerant to this disease. By crossing Hawaiian varieties with South Pacific and Asian varieties, hybrids have been created that are more vigorous and can overcome the disease quicker than the Hawaiian varieties. However, when conditions are ideal for the disease, it moves rapidly to affect all varieties, even the hybrids. Stories of ten feet tall plants with 20 pound taro throughout the state derived from these hybrids are not exaggerated. Still, the proof is in the poi, and it’s hard to beat a well grown Hawaiian wetland taro. However upland taro growers are coming close to producing tasty, sticky poi that’s difficult to distinguish from wetland poi. Continue reading Growing Upland Taro: Part II

Mahalo nui loa to the Hawaii First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU) and the other organizations who made the Children’s Savings Project a success!

Hawaii First FCU implements ‘Deposit Days’

Friday, October 22, 2010.

Hawaii First FCU implements ‘Deposit Days’

MEDIA RELEASE

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union is offering an effective and unique approach to implementing financial and savings skills in youth through its Children’s Savings Project-inspired Save First program.

The Save First program teaches regular and committed savings discipline, while also give the children the opportunity to see what their pockets full of change can turn into.

Hawaii First’ Save First program is providing five schools, 2,300 students with access to their very own savings account, financial education, “Deposit Days” at school and a $20-incentive once they achieve their goal.

The children are given the opportunity to set a realistic goal for the school year and save anywhere from thirty dollars to hundreds of dollars, receiving praise and prizes for every deposit of one cent or more.

Hawaii First’s team goes out to the schools on scheduled Deposit Days to take deposits. They also celebrate saving with the children by providing age based treasure chests goodies, music and big applauds.

Participating schools include Waikoloa Middle School, Waimea Middle School, Laupahoehoe Elementary and High School and Kaumeke Kaeo Hawaiian Immersion Charter School.

In addition to Save First, Hawaii First also continues providing this opportunity to the students of Keaukaha Elementary and Kanu O Ka Aina Charter School. This pilot program is called the Children’s Savings Project and is in partnership with the County of Hawaii, HACBED and Dr. Michael Chaeng of UH Manoa and has been a tremendous success.

“The Children’s Savings Program is a profound collaboration between a variety of agencies that allows children to establish saving practices that will be imbedded within themselves for years to come. Keaukaha School is proud and honored to be offering such an opportunity for our keiki and our ohana!” – Lehua Vincent, Principal Keaukaha Elementary School

“In today’s economy it is more important than ever for our keiki to learn the value of money and the importance of saving for the future. Mahalo nui loa to the Hawaii First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU) and the other organizations who made the Children’s Savings Project a success for our preschool and elementary students at Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School. It’s these kinds of life skills that prepare our keiki to become conscientious managers of not just money but other resources as well, as they develop into contributing members of our community.” – Ku Kahakalau, Ph.D., Director, Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School Continue reading Mahalo nui loa to the Hawaii First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU) and the other organizations who made the Children’s Savings Project a success!

Save Kaimuki Elementary School!

Group proposes plan

10/18/2010
Jim Mendoza, Hawaii News Now

KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) – A garden in a gated corner of a Kaimuki campus honors Queen Liliuokalani. She founded the elementary school on Waialae Avenue that bears her name.  But a lot has changed.  “The enrollment has been slowly declining,” said Randy Moore, assistant superintendent with the state Department of Education.

Queen Liliuokalani School is being considered for possible consolidation.  Community organizer Dwight Synan and others think a better idea would be to turn the elementary school into a charter school for middle-schoolers.  Moore said that would a first.  “We’ve never had a case before where an elementary school was converted to a secondary school,” he said.

“It’s a smaller school in a smaller school campus. So it allows something that perhaps the private schools offer within their programs that will finally be offered for the students of public schools,” Synan said.  He envisions the school focusing on performing arts, science, technology and math.  Synan spearheads the grassroots group Friends of Queen Liliuokalani school. Continue reading Save Kaimuki Elementary School!