Archive for April 2019

Three ways to celebrate books, music, Star Wars, and comics

April 30, 2019

This Saturday, May 4, fans of books, music, Star Wars, and comic books can indulge in a trio of celebrations.

May 4th (and 5th) is the Hawaii Book and Music Festival. This free celebration of books and music is fun for people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. In addition to author talks, book swaps, keiki entertainment, storytimes, and musical performances, there are presentations and panel discussions about Hawaiian culture, Humanities/Breaking News, and Wellness.

May 4th is also Star Wars Day, “May the Fourth Be With You”. “May the 4th be with you.” What started as pun shared by fans has become a full-fledged Star Wars holiday: Star Wars Day, a special once-a-year celebration of the galaxy far, far away. Have a fan-tastic day by dressing up as your favorite Star Wars character, indulging in “Yoda Soda” with “Wookie Cookies,” and watching your favorite episode or reading your favorite Star Wars book.

And May 4th is Free Comic Book Day, the biggest celebration of comic books and a great time to discover new types of comics! It’s the perfect time to read new comics, get kids involved in reading, and have fun as a community. This year, there are 51 comics to choose from, including titles from Minecraft & Disney’s The Incredibles, Little Lulu, Bob’s Burgers, The Amazing Spider-Man, My Hero Academia, Star Wars Adventures, and more. Tag your photos #FCBD19 to help get Free Comic Book Day trending.

Here’s a list of participating public libraries:

  • Oahu – Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, Manoa, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Nanakuli, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Wahiawa, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, and Waipahu. At select Oahu libraries, costumed characters from the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Imperial Legion, Rebel Legion Hawaii, and Costumers Guild of Hawaii will be appearing. Check your local library for appearance times.
  • Hawaii Island – Hilo, Kailua-Kona, and Thelma Parker. At the Hilo Public Library, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, kids can make their own comic book and playing card.
  • Kauai – Hanapepe and Princeville.
  • Lanai – Visit the Lanai Public & School Library’s booth at the Saturday Market (front of Cafe 565) from 8-11 a.m.
  • Maui – KahuluiKiheiLahaina, and Makawao. At the Kihei Public Library, 10 am to 12:30 pm, meet comic book artist and author of Draw-a-Saurus James Silvani.

I plan to pick up a free comic book and volunteer at the Book and Music Festival (first time!), so maybe I’ll see you this weekend. Which celebrations will you choose?

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Celebrating Earth Month 2019

April 23, 2019

On April 22 we celebrated Earth Day 2019, a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

This year, the focus is on “Protect our Species.” Earth Day Network reminds us: “A vast number of animals and plants have gone extinct in recent centuries due to human activity, especially since the industrial revolution. Many others are in serious decline and threatened with extinction, which affects genetic variation and biodiversity, among other issues.”

We only have one earth. Especially here in Hawaii, we understand how precious and fragile the earth can be.

There is still time to get involved, help out, or give back to the earth. Here are a few events throughout the rest of Earth Month 2019 in Hawaii:

* April 23: UH Manoa Earth Day Festival, 10 am to 5 pm, UH Manoa Campus Center Courtyard and iLab,  Oahu. “He Aloha Ka Mauli Ola O Ka ʻĀina: Aloha is the lifeforce of the land” features over 40 campus and community organizations, live music, repurposed art, sustainable business, activities, speaker series, and more. Free and open to the public.

* April 23: Earth Day in the Park, 4 pm to 6 pm, Riseley Field on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Oahu.

* April 25, Hanauma Talks Seminar, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Hanauma Bay, Oahu. This free seminar is about “Caring for O‘ahuʻs manu-o-kū: it takes a hui!” with Rich Downs, Hawai‘i Audubon Society.

* April 26: UH Hilo Earth Day Fair, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, UH Hilo Campus Center Plaza and Library Lanai, Hawaii Island. The Earth Day celebration will include educational videos, informational exhibits and science demonstrations, guest speakers, a food sustainability panel, environmental science skill-building workshops, dances, hula, storytellers, face painting, campus garden tours, an environmental career fair, unmanned aerial vehicle flight simulators and more.

* April 27: Going Green, 9 am to 12 pm, Nuuanu Congregational Church, Oahu. This is a free collection event of unlimited e-waste, including computers, monitors, printers, recyclables, gently-used items, canned goods, and more.

April 27: Aloha Aina, 9 am to 12 pm, Kalihi Waena Elementary School, Oahu. This is a free recycling drive hosted by the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, accepting all types of scrap metal, electronics and computers, used cooking oil, gently-used household items, and more.

* April 27, Pūpūkea Paumalū Community Work Day, 9 am to 11 am, Sunset Beach Elementary School, Oahu. Join North Shore Community Land Trust  to help maintain the trail. Meet at the hiking trail entrance at the Sunset Beach Elementary School lower parking lot. Wear closed toe shoes, bring a reusable water bottle, and wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. All tools, gloves, snacks and water refills will be provided. Contact tim@northshoreland.org to RSVP.

* April 27: Earth Day Manoa Stream Cleanup with the Surfrider Foundation, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, 2645 Dole Street, Oahu.

* April 28: Kōlea Farm Volunteer Workday and Dinner Potluck, 1 pm to 6 pm, Kōlea Farm, Oahu. Come prepared with working pants, long sleeves, a hat for sunny days, garden gloves, bug spray, and your happy soul. Potluck Dinner is open after the work time; bring a side dish or pupus to share. RSVP online at Kolea-Farm.com.

And here’s one more way you can help:

* Volunteer for the Marine Debris Solutions Project. B.E.A.C.H. sorts macro and micro plastic marine debris in order to find solutions to the problem of marine debris. Volunteers are needed from now until August, Monday to Friday, 9am – 12noon or 2pm -5pm and some Saturdays and Sundays. No experience is needed. Volunteers are welcome on any day in Kaneohe. To register, call 808-393- 2168 or email beach_org@yahoo.com with the date/s you would like to help, at least 2 days before.  This hands-on activity is suitable for ages 15 years and older.  Service learning and internships are also available.

How do you celebrate Earth Day? What small changes can you make today to reduce, re-use, recycle, re-plant, and re-purpose?

Hope, help, and healing to prevent suicide

April 16, 2019

Anyone can be at risk for suicide. We all have sources of strength. And it’s strong to get help.

These messages of hope, help, and healing are what I took away from the Prevent Suicide Hawai‘i Statewide Conference last week, April 11-12, 2019.

Organized by the Prevent Suicide Hawai‘i Taskforce (PSHTF), the Conference was sponsored by organizations such as EMS and Injury Prevention System Branch of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, the Department of Psychiatry under the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Hawai‘i Chapter.

I work for a local mental health nonprofit, and I was fortunate to be a resource table volunteer. During the Conference, I spoke with passionate advocates, educators, and service providers. I learned about the resources that are available for people in crisis. And I was inspired by West Oahu and neighbor island youth who are committed to prevent suicide in their schools and communities.

The Conference opened with a keynote by Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Moutier emphasized that the stigma of mental distress is going down and talk saves lives – for those at risk and for survivors of suicide loss. “Everyone struggles,” she stated. “It’s strong to get help.”

There were five breakout sessions and five different “tracks,” covering Hope (primary prevention), Help (intervention and treatment), Healing (postvention and survivor supports), Special Topics and Populations (Micronesian, Military, Filipino, and LGBTQ populations), and Culture (Hawaii and Pacific Islands).

For me, the most moving point came at the Fight For Each Other (F4EO) break-out session. Speakers for the F4EO Project share how suicide affects the lives of military members, their friends, family, and co-workers. Col. Robert Swanson shared his personal story of healing and recovery. “It always gets better – but only if you stick around,” he asserted.

The most impressive part of the Conference was the Youth Leadership Council. These motivated youth shared some of the results of their training, including identifying sources of strengths – such as family support, positive friends, and healthy activities. Youth facilitator Deborah Goebert, DrPH summed it up when she said, “Go out and inspire each other.”

The Conference closed with an address by Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green, who shared his personal story as a survivor of suicide loss. “It took us years to realize we shouldn’t blame ourselves for missing the signs,” he revealed. Dr. Green concluded with words of encouragement: “We have an incredible capacity to help each other.”

Suicide Prevention Resources:

  • ANYONE in crisis can call the 24-hour National the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Veterans, call 800-273-TALK (8255) and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line or text to 838255.
  • Teens in Hawaii can text ALOHA to 741741or call 832-3100 for 24-hour crisis support.

Libraries=Strong Communities

April 9, 2019

What do I love about my local library? I’ve been able to read so many books that I wouldn’t have been able to read without the library. My son was entertained by storytime, puzzletime, puppet shows, plays, movies, and author talks. And let’s not forget summer reading programs, Free Comic Book Day, and Star Wars Reads Day!

This week is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. It’s a chance for us to show our appreciation for our public libraries, who educate and entertain us.

This year’s theme, Libraries = Strong Communities, illustrates how today’s libraries are at the heart of our cities, towns, schools and campuses. They are a public space where all community members, regardless of age, culture or income level, can come together to connect and learn.

You can get involved by posting photos, videos, or stories on social media highlighting what you love about your library. Use the hashtag #MyLibraryMyStory on Twitter or Instagram or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card (contest ends Saturday, April 13 at noon CT).

Here are a few of ways Hawaii public libraries are celebrating National Library Week:

On April 9, 2019 at 1 pm, the Aina Haina Public Library will reopen after completing extensive repairs and renovations caused by flooding a year ago. At 3 pm, there will be cake, refreshments, and goodie bags for keiki provided by Friends of the Aina Haina Public Library. At 6 pm, there will be congratulatory remarks by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, elected officials and musical performances by special guests. As part of this reopening celebration, the Aina Haina Public Library is launching a new lending collection of ‘ukulele, in partnership with the Music For Life Foundation and Jake Shimabukuro, co-director of the ‘ukulele sponsorship.

On April 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm, the Kalihi-Palama Public Library will sponsor a make-and-take color your own bookmark activity for young adults. All week long, there is a “Name that Book” contest for young adults (ends April 13).

On April 11, 2019 at 6 pm, the  Nānākuli Public Library is celebrating their first birthday. There will be cake and refreshments, a special performance by the Hawaii Opera Theatre, and congratulatory remarks by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, architect Glen Miura, and Kapi‘olani Baber, Executive Director of the Nānākuli Housing Corporation.

On April 12, 2019 at 3 pm, the Ewa Beach Public Library is concluding National Library Week with a free program on Iris Folding. a paper craft technique that involves laying folded strips of colored paper to form a design, of which the center forms an iris reminiscent of a camera lens. Even though it looks complex, creating these works of art is simple. You can find out how yourself at this program. The library will provide the supplies.

On April 13, 2019 at 9:30 am to 4 pm, the Makawao Public Library on Maui is hosting their 50th Anniversary Celebration. There will be poetry by Betsy Knight and Wade Garcia, a concert by the Kalama Intermediate School ‘Ukulele Band, face painting, a keiki book giveaway, nostalgic Hawaiian music with The Hawaiian Serenaders, and more.

What do you enjoy most about your local library?

“With Obligation to All” by George Ariyoshi

April 6, 2019

We met Governor Ariyoshi for the first time in 2018 at the Hawaii State Capitol, where he is still involved with student leaders and the “Hawaii: The Next 50 Years” contest. He ate lunch surrounded by students, graciously dedicated his book to each of the youth, and posed for pictures with them.

George R. Ariyoshi (Governor of Hawaii, 1974-1986) was the first governor of Japanese ancestry in the United States. His memoir, “With Obligation to All” (1997), was inspired by the birth of his grandson Sky and was written “to reveal the political story of contemporary Hawaii in terms which may be useful in the future.”

Ariyoshi was born in 1926, the first of six children with an entrepreneurial father and an optimistic mother. His parents’ idea of opportunity was “the opportunity to work hard, be free to improve their lot in life, and raise a family.” He overcame a childhood speech defect (a lisp), remembers an influential teacher Margaret Hamada, and admires an influential principal Dr. Miles Cary at McKinley High School. He was drafted into the Military Intelligence Service language school at Fort Snelling, stationed in Tokyo, and attended Michigan State in East Lansing.

His politics reflected the “passionate liberalism of the postwar Democratic Party” and the strong value system of Japanese immigrant parents, and a legacy of “a new public ethic of equal opportunity, replacing the old system of special privilege.”

“I am a social liberal and fiscal conservative,” he declares. In 1954, at age 28, his childhood friend Tom Ebesu and Democratic Party chairman Jack Burns encouraged him to enter politics, running on a platform of opportunity and equality. He encountered partisanship and factions, but stuck to his principles of opportunity and supporting people on their merits. He was mentored by Governor John A. Burns, who gave him the opportunity to lead and helped him stand on his own; and his father Ryozo Ariyoshi. In the 1970s he was faced with the challenge of using resources wisely, faced with immigration and an overburdened welfare system.

Gracious, forward-thinking, humble, and private, Ariyoshi emphasizes four values in politics and life:

  • Otagai (mutual obligation). “What you knew to be right came from within, yet it was intertwined with the individual doing right in the eyes of others.” To Ariyoshi, obligation meant “To be involved with the entire spectrum of the community, to make commitments, and to take risks in service to the long view of history.”
  • Equality. “In my role as the first governor of Japanese and non-white ancestry, I felt it was my duty to speak candidly about my roots, and to be accepting of myself, in order to encourage others to be accepting of themselves.”
  • Kodomo no tame ni (for the sake of the children). Ariyoshi took the value of stewardship seriously, believing in “the long-term use of resources, and not in terms of conservation for its own sake.”
  • Okage sama de (we are what we are because of one another). “Everything starts with the family, with those closest to you.”

He tells future leaders, “People look for values, belief, and commitment. As a leader, your job is to encourage people, not control them. Treat people with dignity and trust them to do their jobs.”

Healthy in Hawaii

April 2, 2019

How healthy are we in Hawaii?

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” according to the World Health Organization.

America’s Health Rankings follows this definition of health when it presents its annual report, evaluating 35 markers of health that cover behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data.

Their 2018 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report helps counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live. Hawaii ranked #1 for overall health in 2018. This is the 9th time that Hawaii has been ranked #1 since the health rankings were first published in 1990.

Hawaii’s strengths. Our strengths include a low prevalence of obesity and a low prevalence of frequent mental distress.

“Low prevalence” is a relative term – 23.8% of adults are obese (compared to 31.3% nationally) and 9.5% of adults report frequent mental distress (compared to 12.4% nationally). For a state with temperate weather and a wealth of outdoor activities, 23.5% of adults are physically inactive.

Hawaii’s challenges. Our challenges include high prevalence of excessive drinking, which increased 7% from 19.7% to 21.1% of adults (compared to 19.0% nationally); and high prevalence of diabetes, which increased 40% from 7.8% to 10.9% of adults (compared with 10.5% nationally).

These “strengths” and “challenges” are to some extent within our control.

Obesity and diabetes are influenced by genetics and medical history, but can be managed by addressing contributing factors such as diet and physical activity. Mental distress and anxiety are a part of life, but prolonged and serious episodes are treatable and preventable through early intervention and access to care.

Excessive drinking is another matter. “Unlike other health behaviors, higher educational attainment is associated with a greater prevalence of this negative health behavior on average,” the report concludes.

Overall, the good news is that in the past five years, the percentage of uninsured people in Hawaii decreased 53% from 7.8% to 3.7% of the population (compared to 8.7% nationally). And on a related note, we have a relatively low prevalence of health disparity or access to health care based on education – 13.3% of adults (compared to 29.9% nationally).

The most alarming news is that the number of children living in poverty has increased 14.0% from 10.1% to 11.5% in 2017 (compared to 18.4% nationally). Children in poverty have little control over their lives, but they may suffer from chronic stress, unreliable access to food and healthcare, and lack of stable housing.

How healthy are you – physically, mentally, and socially? What changes can you make in your life today to become healthier – and help make Hawaii a little healthier?