August 25 2016 - Honolulu City Council is exploring guided tour limits at Waimanalo beaches. A bill under consideration is aimed at addressing an influx of tourists who are making their way to East Oahu as part of organized guided tours. Some believe the increase in visitor traffic became an issue when a similar commercial activity ban went into effect in Kailua and Lanikai, essentially, displacing tour groups into neighboring communities. Now some are concerned this bill would force an influx of visitors into areas like Kahala and Hawaii Kai. [HNN]
August 24, 2016 - The Takitani Foundation has announced the winners of its academic scholarships for 2016. From the Honolulu district,: AJ Clifford Alcover of Farrington High School; Emily Wong of Kaimuki High School; Ria Oba of Kaiser High School; Yiju Huang of Kalani High School and Courtney Hiraoka of University Laboratory School. Sixty-six scholarships were awarded in total across different learning institutions. [Takitani Foundation]
August 23, 2016 - Denby Fawcett weighs in on the Kahala Avenue luxury condo debate in a Civil Beat column. [Civil Beat]
August 22, 2016 - President Barack Obama recognized four Hawaii teachers as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The teachers will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. From East Oahu, one of the recipents is Bryan Silver, Kalani High (7-12 Science awardee) Silver has been teaching Industrial Engineering Design, Drafting Technology I+II and Engineering for 16 years at Kalani High. He runs a robust afterschool robotic program in VEX, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Robotics and Real-world Design Challenge. [Hawaii DOE]
August 22, 2016 The Hawaii Department of Education has published a newsletter entitled "Supporting Student Success: Phase I Statewide Listening Tour." Findings and best practices are outlined within the six page document. [Hawaii BOE/DOE]
PowerStroke Electric Pressure Washer PS141912
"I use it to clean the grill"
It really only took one sentence to convince me.
"I use it to clean the grill."
I had been contemplating getting a pressure washer. It seemed like a great tool for concrete cleanup outdoors. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that you can also use it on grills. Now I know how apartment complexes get theirs so clean so quickly. Before this, cleaning the grill was one of those giant mysteries I couldn't unravel.
This pressure washer is really amazing. I mean, really amazing. Initial assembly was fairly easy. Out of the box, just the wheels, two ends of a hose and the tool tray needed to be put together. After it was assembled, I took out the used cast iron grill grates and blasted them. In five minutes, they were far cleaner than if I had done them by hand for an hour. Since I had already hooked up the pressure washer, I shot down the concrete deck. (see image) Fifteen minutes later, it was done.
My only complaint about this tool is that when it's not in use, it takes up space. But really, that's part of the price of owning a pressure washer. Other than that, it's a great time saver. The Hawaii price was $169.99. Here are the manufacturer specs.
Three Nozzles: Turbo Nozzle, 15°, Low Pressure Soap Nozzle
The one time I really needed to consult the extended manual for was connecting the quick release attachments. The washer comes with three different types. One is an oscillating high pressure nozzle, the other is a steady high pressure stream nozzle (yellow), and the last one (blue) is gentle enough to be used on screens. As it turns out, seating the nozzle mechanism was much easier than it first appeared. All I had to do was pull down the outer ring of the wand (collar), insert the nozzle and release.
The pressure washer also comes with a soap dispensing unit. The instructions say to only use pressure washing detergent. Since I didn't know what that was, I had to do some research. Based on its all-purpose nature and reasonable price, I selected Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. To test out the soap dispenser, I decided to wash my car. Not surprisingly, the instruction manual doesn't specifically say you can wash your car with it. However, a number of guides, like this one, explain how to do so.
What I found strange about this pressure washer, is that the soap dispenser can't be removed. Basically, you have to guess how much you need, then use it up and rinse it out one more time with water. For washing the car, I guessed I needed two cups of Simple Green. The pressure washer dispenses it in a ratio of 20:1 automatically. As it turned out, two cups of concentrate was just about right, although I could probably have done with 1 3/4 cup.
I found washing the car easy. It took 10 minutes from applying the detergent with the blue nozzle to using the yellow nozzle at about 5 feet away from the car to rinse it all off. Then I wiped it down with a soft cloth and scraped away any debris that made it through the first round. Easy-peasy.
Good for Households
All in all, I would recommend this product. I now know that pressure washers come in even stronger varieties. However, for household use, this is strong enough for me. It's comparatively compact; I doubt it weighs 140 pounds, as stated on the product website. Either that, or I'm much stronger than I thought. I picked it up off the warehouse floor, wheeled it to my car, loaded it, and took it home all by myself. The box fit in the back seat of my midsized sedan.
I'm fairly certain that the novelty of cleaning concrete and grills will wear off quickly. However, I know this machine will continue to get good use If you have room to store it, it's worth the space it occupies.
As the school year starts up in full swing, I'm posting a reminder of the FREE math, science and writing tutors available to public school students. For math and science, tutors are available live, at the time of contact. Through the miracles of modern technology, students and tutors can collaborate and communicate via Internet through a number of effective means, including a virtual chalkboard and audio and visual connections.
The Online Learning Academy offers free online math and science tutoring for all Hawaiʻi Department of Education (K-12), community college and UH Mānoa students state-wide. Tutors are available to help with classwork or homework during our hours of operation, Monday to Friday, 1pm to 10pm and Sunday, 5pm to 10pm.
For writing services, students should access the home page on UH's Online Learning Academy (OLA) and make an appointment. Hours for writing services are Monday through Saturday, 8am through 10pm.
One of my children uses the math tutoring service and really likes it. His comments have been all positive, but perhaps most importantly, he feels that he learns something and that the tutors guide him to the answer rather than give it to him.
As a parent or educator, it's a relief to know that these services are available. To access services, go to the University of Hawaii's Online Learning Academy at: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/ola/
At the end of his Niu Valley Middle School eighth grade year, my son was given the option of applying for AVID at Kaiser High School. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination and is a college and career preparedness route students can take.
AVID's early roots date back to the late 70s. The program got its first classroom debut in 1980 at Clairemont High School in San Diego with the help of a $7,000 grant. Since then, the program has grown dramatically. By its own account, "AVID now impacts more than 1.2 million students in nearly 5,000 schools and 43 postsecondary institutions in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and across 16 other countries/territories. The AVID College Readiness System spans elementary through higher education."
Here in Hawaii, more than a dozen years ago, Campbell High School was the first to offer AVID. As of 2013, "there are 117 participating [Hawaii] schools reaching about 11,000 students. Two schools – Campbell High and Washington Middle – are national demonstration sites."
As with most teenagers, there are few things that my son and I agree on. However, we both agree that AVID is a valuable program; almost all of the skills he learns here will be applicable to real-life scenarios. Frankly, I'm not sure why this is not offered at Niu Valley Middle School, where I think it would be even more beneficial than at the high school level.
Nationwide, AVID has proven itself as an effective tool for marginal students: those that might consider college if the options were clearly set out before them. More impressively, the rate of persistence, those still enrolled in college two years later, is in the upper 80 percent range across ethnicities. This is among a base of AVID students where 75 percent of their parents did not graduate from a college or university. In study after study, the strongest determinant of college graduation is the education level of the student's parent. That makes AVID's feat that much more impressive.
While my son does come from a family of college graduates, AVID is still the right fit for him. It does what I have not been able to: create a structure and plan -- good habits that get repeated by its regularity. As an example, not only are students asked to bring a three-ring binder, they're actually shown how to use them. As mundane as this may seem to most of us, in this digital age, the still necessary task of paper handling is not at all apparent to today's youth.
Another area where AVID excels -- at least at Kaiser -- is in painting a picture of the future. No week goes by that my son doesn't ask at least a few questions about careers or college, or about details no one at this point can determine, such as how much his education will set us back financially. Importantly, AVID helps him stay focused on who he is and what he would enjoy doing for a living.
AVID participants are assigned one advisor for all four years of high school. In class, students undergo a binder check to see that all materials have been submitted, a notes check, to see that they remain focused on their studies, and a tutoring submission, to request assistance in subject matter they don't quite grasp.
As a parent, I have only positive things to say about AVID. Here in Hawaii Kai, it ought to also be rolled out to middle and elementary schools. For more information about AVID, visit their website at http://www.avid.org.
In the first week of his freshman year, my kid's high school math instructor presented him with one of two graphing calculator suggestions. The choices were the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX and the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX CAS. For a detailed breakdown, visit Texas Instruments' webpage on exam acceptability.
I presume that the CX is supposed to be the more expensive model, but street prices for either of the two models is about the same, somewhere between $125 and $160 dollars. Texas Instruments even has a webpage that gives retail price comparisons.
As for other brands of calculator, they are accepted. Be sure to check out each test's webpage for details. In general, (excerpted from the PSAT/NMSQT site)
Bring One of These Calculators
- Graphing calculator (most models permitted; see Official Student Guide for list)
- Scientific calculator
- Four-function calculator (not recommended)
Leave These Devices at Home
- Anything that can connect to the Internet
- Anything that makes noise or “talks”
- Calculators that use electrical outlets
- Calculators with QWERTY keypads
- Tablets or cellphones
- Laptops or handheld computers
- Paper-tape calculators
- Calculators with a pen-input device or stylus
Because both the TI Nspire CX and CAS appear to be well-supported, and because my son's math teacher is familiar with either of the two, we went with the CX. That way he can use it with any of the upcoming tests he may be taking.
August 18, 2016 - The fourth annual Keith Dinsmoor Trophy Regatta was held in the waters off Lahaina near Mala Wharf in West Maui on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14. Representing the Hawaii Kai Boat Club, this year's overall winner was Gavin Ball. [Lahaina News]
August 17, 2016 - Civil Beat's long-read on toxoplasmosis highlights the danger feral cat feces pose to endangered species. At least eight critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, two spinner dolphins, nene geese and native birds over the past 15 years have died from the parasitic disease. At issue is whether the current policy of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) is working with just 10,000 cats sterilized of an estimated population of 300,000. Hawaii Kai's feral cat colony was featured prominently throughout the article. [Civil Beat]
August 16, 2016 - ProService Hawaii, a staffing company headquartered in Hawaii Kai, is buying HiHR, the human resources arm of The Hawaii Group. The purchase will boost ProService's total of worksite employees served to more than 30,000, the two companies said Monday. [PBN]
August 15, 2016 - The State Health Department traced the Hepatitis A outbreak to raw scallops consumed at Genki Sushi restaurants. All locations, including the restaurant in Aina Haina, were ordered closed until further notice [Civil Beat]
August 15, 2016 - KITV weighs in on the contest between Hawaii Kai's incumbent State Senator Sam Slom and challenger Stanley Chang. [KITV]
August 15, 2016 - A Hawaii Kai man has been charged with murder in a Makiki stabbing. [Star Advertiser]
August 13, 2016 - Hahaione PTSA has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for playground repairs following last week's vandalism.