March 2 - A visitor from South Carolina was rescued from high surf at China Walls in the Portlock area. After receiving medical attention, he was transported to a local hospital. [Star-Advertiser]
March 1 - Heavy rains and strong winds forced closures throughout Oahu, including at Hawaii Kai Satellite City Hall, where power was temporarily out. [HNN]
March 1 - Police are investigating the death of a 34 year-old man found dead in his car in Waimanalo. His body was discovered February 28. There were no signs of foul play. [Star-Advertiser]
February 26 - The fire department rescued an injured 22 year-old spear fisherman from Spitting Caves. He had fallen 15 feet onto the ledge below. [KITV]
Senate bill 1313 seeks to require an additional 10 percent of our food be locally sourced. It's the brainchild of Senator Brickwood Galuteria, whom argues that our state's reliance on food imports imperils residents' safety in times of need. Granted, with more than 50 percent of our produce and 90 percent of our beef coming from outside the state, we are unique in our reliance of food imports.
But, is this the solution for a real-estate-poor metropolis? Hawaii's population density consistently ranks in the top quartile of states, and kamaaina's biggest complaint is that children can't stay here after college because there is no affordable housing.
Hawaii Kai prides itself on having farms smack dab in the middle of the suburb. Me, I'm not a fan. Then again, I live right in front of one of the farms. While I enjoy fertile topsoil, I enjoy it much less thrown by tractors onto my windowpanes on a frequent basis. Truth is, even those farmers are struggling. They lease their land from Bishop Estate, which is in turn unable to do anything else with the land because of a public perception of "sustainability." The farmers also have difficulty finding workers to plow and harvest. A few innovative ones have turned to "farm tours" to extract voluntary help.
Farms in the suburb are all around just a bad idea: a bad fit and an ill use of space.
No one likes a negative view without a positive alternative. That is why I would propose that Hawaii make a plan for microfarms. They really are the wave of the future. They can be placed in garages, rooftops and wherever there is available room. Granted, you can't raise cows there. (Given that the Hawaii Farm Bureau has only given its blessing to this bill if all agriculture is included -- like flowers -- I seriously doubt this bill is truly serious about food sustainability anyhow.) But you can raise the most expensive types of greens: those that are easy and quick to grow but have limited shelf life once picked.
As it turns out, I've been experimenting with produce sustainability and I think I've reached a pretty good balance. To get a good idea of what can be accomplished, visit The Aquaponics Place in Waimanalo. They have an incredible selection of both components and turnkey systems -- and at a good price too. Hawaii Kai residents only need to drive 10 minutes to get there. It's on Lukanela Street right behind the feed store off of Mekia Street and Kalanianaole Highway.
So far, I've purchased rockwool and large tubs from them. They were even kind enough to drill a hole in one of the tubs for me. I'll post an article about it and my low-maintenance low-cost hydroponic system in the near future.
It seems to me that suburbanites really aren't into gardening. Truthfully, it's a heartbreaking experience. You toil and till and once the seedlings are looking good, the slugs and snails eat them. Hydroponics and indoor gardening take the pain out of the gardening. It also removes the weeding. And, even in tight spaces, we can find room. So, Senator Galuteria, if you're listening, I'm not disagreeing that sustainability is a good asset. I'm just questioning whether a quota on growing and a reliance on old farming methods is the solution. I also think the Hawaii Farm Bureau's stance on including all agriculture detracts from the overall purpose of the bill. As a matter of fact, if I were starving, a vaseful of proteas wouldn't console me.
For more on the subject and the inspiration for this post, reference this 2/27 Pacific News article.
Business Insider reports that Costco may raise its membership fees ten percent in the coming months. At December's conference call, Costco CFO Richard Galanti signaled that it might be the right time to raise fees, saying that every five to six years Costco does so. He hedged that by saying, "I'm not trying to suggest that it’s tomorrow afternoon." Business Insider notes however, that perhaps Thursday's earnings conference call may be the right time. After all, Costco already raised membership fees ten percent at its stores in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.
On a separate note, our household just received its annual VISA rebate check. I think Costco may be right in believing rising rates shouldn't adversely affect membership. As a household, we still get back far more in rebates than we pay.
February 24 - Nine units with 35 firefighters responded to the blaze at a two-story Kaimuki home on 4050 Iwalani Place at approximately 11:06 p.m. February 23. When firefighters arrived, they observed smoke and flames emerging from the front of the home. The home was unoccupied and under construction at the time. The blaze was put out just after midnight and the cause is currently under investigation. [Star-Advertiser]
February 23 - The Neighborhood Board Commission has published the 2017 list of candidates at its website. A certified list will be available no later than March 6. [Honolulu.Gov/NCO]
February 22 - Pacific Business News runs article on top AirBNB rentals in Hawaii and how much revenue they generate. "In terms of revenue, the highest-performing unit was a 10-bedroom oceanfront property in Kuliouou that sleeps 25 and brings in estimated annual revenue of $461,621, with an average daily rate of $2,308. The Honolulu estate includes a main house, a studio, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit and a two-bedroom cabana. The property is listed by Hawaii Beach Homes, a boutique vacation rental company." "The listing with the highest average daily rate is a six-bedroom oceanfront house in Portlock that commands $3,272 per night, on average, according to the Airdna data. That house is listed by Elite Vacation Rentals, a division of the residential real estate firm Elite Pacific Properties." [PBN]
On a sidenote, with the exception of less than 900 grandfathered units operating before 1986, Honolulu law does not permit short-term rentals housing in residential districts. As Kailua residents note, however, the law has been poorly enforced due to a lack of county staffing. [Hawaii News Now - archive]
February 22 - Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) recently sent out letters to customers with pending net metering solar requests. Customers were asked to pay large sums of money for the privilege of connection to the grid. Letters sent to customers and obtained by KHON requested amounts ranging from several thousand to as much as $26,000. Although letters were sent statewide, areas with high saturation rates such as Makaha and East Oahu received a greater proportion. The letters are seen by some as an attempt to move customers from the net metering plan to other more recent solar options. [KHON]
February 19 - The State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) was out at Maunalua Bay advising watergoers of rules and regulations pertaining to the area. They will also hold a community Q and A session on Saturday, February 25 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Koko Head Elementary School. [KHON]
February 19 - A faulty circuit breaker was determined to be the cause of a fire at the Coast Guard building in Wailupe on February 18. It took firefighters 15 minutes to bring the fire under control at the unoccupied building. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]
February 14 - Randall Roth at Hawaii Free Press weighs in on the Department of Education (DOE) treatment of former award-winning Kaiser Principal John Sosa. [Hawaii Free Press]
February 13 - A drainpipe located at the corner of 18th Avenue and Maunaloa Avenue has become a source of frustration for some Kaimuki residents. They want the City to clear it: some residents sustained thousands of dollars of damage from Saturday's flash flood. The City says the backlog is caused by a private residence and the clog is on private property. [HNN]
February 13 - A power outage affected 142 Hawaiian Electric Co. customers on Kapaia Street in Hawaii Kai from 10:25 a.m. to 1:07 p.m. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]
February 12 - Sen. Stanley Chang (D, Hawaii Kai, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Waialae-Kahala, Diamond Head) has proposed a bill this session, SB 1121, to close the loophole which allows developers to circumvent Hawaii's solar water heater law. [Star-Advertiser - library card required]
February 11 - A flash flood with high winds wreaked havoc on the islands, dropping massive amounts of rain over a short period. The fire department was kept busy with over 30 calls, including one that downed a tent at Kapiolani Community College and injured three people. [HNN]
February 11 - A new law effective immediately prohibits commercial tour stops between Makapu'u and Kailua. [KHON]
Hawaii Kai Costco's food court is closed from today (February 13, 2017) through Friday, February 17. It will reopen on Saturday. I'm told they're getting new flooring installed this week.