Marcelo Pacleb sits in the dark theater and watches his dancers rehearse onstage. "She's a flight attendant and a double-major," he says, pointing to a lithe young woman who is, seemingly impossibly, emerging as though unfolding herself from inside a magician's box.
A ripple of excitement moved through the islands when it was announced that, for the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau had collected data on how many people in Hawaii listed the language spoken in their home as “pidgin.”
You can take a number, but nobody had taken a number. Instead, the throng of people just crowded around the glass cases admiring the selection, making up their minds and waiting to catch the eye of one of the bakery ladies.
Most of us pay for city services that we rarely use. Some people can go for years without ever calling the police or the fire department. Many will go their whole life without ever applying for a building permit. It is possible to be born and raised on Oahu and never ride TheBus.
Classroom teachers in Hawaii public schools are evaluated by their students every year. When you think about it, this is quite an empowering thing for students. Few professionals are regularly evaluated by the people they serve, and children are rarely asked in a formal way whether the adults in their lives are doing right by them.
What does it mean to live the Hawaii Dream anymore?
When the flatlands on Maui were developed in the 1960s, the little houses were called “Dream City,” because that’s where sugar workers could finally move out of plantation houses into homes of their own.
Ninety-year-old Blanche Keahi leaned toward Hayden Orchard and smiled for a selfie. “Aw, I didn’t have my hair done!” she said when she saw the result on Hayden’s phone. The two laughed and took another picture.
In 2013, there were whispers about Saint Louis School shutting down.
Alumni and supporters rallied, and now the campus is clearly, palpably vibrant. Construction of a new athletic complex is underway behind dust screens.
In a city where it’s become impossible to get anywhere, that straight shot down King Street used to be the easiest way to get across town. Not just back in the good old days or 10 years ago, but recently. Like before the bike lanes came in.
Ed Sakamoto’s plays are worlds away from the stiff, mannered theater that many love to hate. Rollicking and ribald, hearty and heartbreaking, his work makes audiences fall into fits of laughter or unstoppable tears. It’s easy to be caught up in the stories he crafted and the characters he created.
When you think of sweeps — sweeping changes, sweeping winds, sweeping away the detritus on the back porch — the connotation is of something that is sudden and complete. What city crews are having to do in Kakaako isn’t sudden or complete.
Mention medical marijuana and people are still reduced to the awkward giggles of high school and the overly earnest diatribes of college stoners trying to justify their lifestyle choices at 3 in the morning (also awkward, but in a different way).
Usually when a guy is standing on the side of a busy roadway holding a sign, he’s selling something or asking for donations. Sometimes he’s promoting a blow-out mattress sale (whatever that means) or a benefit car wash nearby.
Sometimes, when the wind is right and the stadium is almost empty, Jimmy Hutcherson’s voice can be heard all through Hawaii Kai. “Oh, the people who live in the Esplanade really get it bad, bless their hearts,” he said.
Albert Minn sat in the shade while people around him talked about why he’s so special. The 90-year-old wore his trademark pointed beard and a red T-shirt with a logo (depicting him with his trademark pointed beard) framed by the words “Al Minn Invitational.”
Wait, what are we afraid of again? Because it keeps changing, like fashion trends or the latest smartphones. It’s not like all the things we fear are always fixed or vanquished. Mostly, we stop worrying about them because we get bored, frustrated or distracted by something else.
It’s just sitting there, begging for snarky comments — the announcement that $40,000 has been budgeted for an official portrait of former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, one of the more unpopular local political figures of our era.
Janeen-Ann Olds was CEO of Sandwich Isles Communications during the years its founder stole millions of dollars in federal funding. She either knew Al Hee was raiding the subsidies to pay for crazy things like his kids’ college tuition and weekly massages for himself — which is bad — or she didn’t know that was going on right under her nose — which isn’t good, especially for a CEO.
Breene Harimoto wears a backpack around his house to carry the apparatus for the feeding tube that is still attached to his stomach. It’s not how he thought he’d spend his summer, battling an aggressive form of cancer. He had planned to be reading and researching in preparation for the legislative session. But not much in his life is what he thought it would be.
It's hard to get things done in Hawaii, but it's nearly impossible to get things undone. And people know this. They exploit it. They rush to push projects, build buildings and develop developments before anyone holds them to rules.
There was a time — before Costco and waterfront houses with mermaid statues and infinity pools, decades before the name “Hawaii Kai” — whenever anyone spoke of Maunalua Bay, the first thing that came to mind was “Lukela!”
It is late morning in August, not the hottest day, but hot enough. The trees outside are still, no breeze. In the classroom, four ceiling fans try their best while a small platoon of underpowered floor fans blow the hot air around.
It has been 2-1/2 years since U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye died, and Hawaii has yet to come to terms with the loss. Not just the emotional loss — the mention of his name can still make die-hard Dems choke up — but the loss of his leadership (dictatorial though it was), his vision and his gravitas.
It's just after 6 a.m. and John Min is already in the car with the engine running. He calls his daughter's cellphone. "Are you ready?" She is, and she comes tumbling out of the house with her Mickey Mouse backpack in one hand and her cell in the other.
With Oahu’s median home price now at $710,000 and the huge demand for livable housing in Hawaii, you’d think that no one could afford to waste real property by turning it into an uninhabitable dump site. Yet many of us have stories of trash houses in our own ZIP code.
Every morning, Vice Principal Howard Chi makes his rounds on campus. Often, he finds water taps running and dirty bars of soap left behind. People come to bathe and sleep at the school at night. There have been break-ins and broken pipes. Sometimes, there’s human feces on the sidewalks fronting classrooms.
Reporter Kristen Consillio’s scoop on the front page of Thursday’s paper gave credence to every snarky joke about state workers: that they’re not doing their jobs, they’re just passing time until retirement, that they complain about roadblocks when they’re the ones blocking the road.
Some are buying plastic bags in bulk at Sam’s Club or online (1,000 for about $14, and yes, that’s legal). The more hard-core are going with naked bathroom trash cans and making the commitment to regularly wash them out. (Pretty nasty when that one piece of dental floss is stuck way on the bottom. Or worse.)
It didn’t happen this time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen.
If a big hurricane comes ashore or a tsunami races at us from the Pacific, where are the hundreds of Kakaako homeless going to go?
At 11 a.m., the Kahala McDonald's is filled with moms with little kids and the little old ladies from Kaimuki. These are folks who get hungry before noon and don't have to wait for a company-sanctioned lunch hour to eat. The construction workers come in later.
A visit to Kauai used to be predictably sedate. Tourists would come to the lush, bucolic island to take pictures at various roadside vantage points — Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Valley, Spouting Horn — all from a safe distance.
There were times while working on the film that the director felt she was with him. He'd somehow come upon just the right footage lost among the hundreds of hours of source material or he'd sense her presence in the wind.
When a local politician gets arrested for DUI, doesn't your mind instantly go down the list of all the others in that category,
all the other lawmakers who have DUI arrests in their past? Human nature does a head count and an instant compare/contrast
of who was drunker, who was dumber, who did more damage.
On weekends, pediatrician Dr. James L. Mertz, father of nine, would go to Kapiolani hospital to visit his newborn patients. His wife, Elizabeth, recalls he "took along any assorted Mertz children who wanted to go with Dad and see the babies!"
First off, Best Buddies is not a service club. Everyone who talks about the program that pairs up high school students who have intellectual or developmental disabilities with peers who do not says that the relationships that form are amazingly, beautifully, mutually beneficial.
If we want our kids to dream big, we have to show them how, right?” says Kay Fukuda. In just a matter of months, a group of Leeward Coast elementary students went from total beginners to obsessed competitors in the complex world of team robotics. When the competitive season ended, the kids didn’t want to stop.
For the past 20 years, no swimmer from Farrington High School has qualified for the state championships. Part of that time, there was no swim team at Farrington. Most of that time, the Farrington pool has been closed.
When funk music great Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band wrote the song "Disrespect" in 1985, as the story goes, it was directed at Prince, who had thrown him out of a concert when he tried to join Mr. Purple Rain onstage.
The cars parked outside had California plates and Hawaii bumper stickers. Many came wearing sweaters over aloha shirts and carrying ukulele cases. It wasn't a memorial for ukulele master Bill Tapia. He told his closest friends he didn't want anything like that.
In the news of Bill Dahle's passing, it was strange to read the dates of when he first came to Kauai and when he retired from radio. It didn't seem possible that there was a beginning or end to his presence on the island.
The houses aren't much to look at. Most are at least 90 years old, held together by peeling paint, rusty nails and the magic that keeps old houses going when there are people inside who love every creaking board. To some eyes, those old homes stand for all that is good about small town life.
Every year since 1984, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has come out with a calendar and every year it's a thing of beauty and scholarship. Just having a state project survive for 29 years is amazing enough, as the calendars have continued through changes in administration, economics, taste and technology.
Some days, the boy would go bounding into the sunlight with the kids he thought of as his brothers. Other days, he would retreat to the attic in his foster home to sob over his mother's pictures and her few remaining dresses. It was just a year, but those days shaped his whole life.
This time of year, when little kids come home from school with hand-print turkeys and construction paper Pilgrim and Indian costumes, calls to mind a gem of a story written by a Hawaii teacher nearly 100 years ago.
For the past year, Donalyn Dela Cruz has been in the most high-profile and possibly most challenging media relations job in the state, serving as press secretary for Neil Abercrombie, a governor struggling with low voter-approval ratings and a brutal economy.
Get caught speeding in a school zone and you face a higher penalty -- a fine of up to $250. A conviction for selling drugs near a school also carries a greater punishment than selling drugs on just any non-school street corner.
Though she had dreamed of this moment from childhood, when the big day came she wore a dress she bought from Ross and told everybody that that's where she got the outfit. While others would brag about what she's accomplished, Karen Kuioka Hironaga is more comfortable making jokes about the clearance rack.
If my mother had a dollar for every time some guy asked, "Hey lady, you selling your car?" she would have enough money to buy that old Chevy several times over and take her friends out to a really nice lunch.
It was September 1944, in the last year of the Second World War. Harayuki Tamamoto, who grew up north of Hilo, was 21 years old and recently inducted into the Army. He spent two weeks at the Helemano Army camp near Wahiawa before being transported by pineapple train car to Honolulu Harbor.
I currently live two miles away from a Trader Joe's. I currently live two miles away from a Trader Joe's. That's a six-minute drive, even in sandstorm traffic. As homesick as I am in California, friends think I have nothing to complain about. After all, I can pop over to Trader Joe's any old time I want to and buy ... what?
Daphne Vaina was having a great week. The 23-year-old recent University of Hawaii at Manoa grad had just gotten the news that she had been hired as a part-time teacher at Dole Middle School and was elated she'd be working at her alma mater.
It was still dark in Hawaii when the news came. We were jolted out of sleep into a new reality. Though the islands are among the farthest corners of America, far from the places attacked, our community changed on Sept. 11, 2001, and in many ways, has never been the same.
You know that one neighbor who always brings the newest, hippest, best pupu to the potluck? Last fall, our hip pupu neighbor busted out hot lava pork rinds and everyone at the party pretty much had their minds blown.
On Saturday mornings, Burt Fujii drives a delivery truck from Honolulu to Pearl City, out to Waipio, Mililani and Wahiawa, then to Haleiwa, back around to Ewa, up to Makakilo and around to Nanakuli. It's a route that takes him five hours to complete.