Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 600 Calorie diet Update

Our blog this past summer about the 600 calorie diet was prompted by a study at Newcastle University in the UK which showed amazing results in the loss of fat deposits around internal organs and the remission of diabetes type 2 of obese people that stayed on a 600 calorie diet for only 2 months.  These results seem to indicate that it is the extremely low calorie diet forced on the patients after the surgery, rather than the removal of a patient’s intestines, that provides the benefit of the popular gastric bypass operation.

Though we have lost weight during our four years in Hawaii, the results have been extremely slow, particularly when compared to advertisements for weight loss products, programs, and the participants on the Biggest Loser TV show. We were eating below the 2000 calorie diet that is used by the government for their recommended daily allowances (RDA) of vitamins and minerals (Tyler at 5’11” was eating 1600-1800 calories a day and Chris at 5’ 8” 1200-1400 calories a day). But getting below a BMI of 25 (being Not Fat), seemed years away at our level of progress. The frustrating thing was that we were exercising 6 days a week and our goal was only to lose 4-6 pounds a month, nothing over the top. We wanted to lose fat, not the muscle that we are painstakingly working to keep and enhance. We would have been happy with losing only 2 pounds a month; but instead we were losing about a pound every other month.

The results of the 600 calorie diet study combined with the outrage from doctor’s that claimed 600 calories a day was equivalent to starvation, highlighted for us the current distorted view of how many calories an average person needs in a day, especially older adults like us.  So in August, we started greatly restricting our calories and carefully writing down everything that we ate.  Chris started quizzing every thin 60+ year old women she met to find out how many calories they were eating. She was surprised to find that most knew exactly how many calories they consumed each day and their numbers were all near or under 1000 calories a day!

We set our goal to 600 calories a day, but in reality we were never able to eat only 600 calories. However, just having the goal reduced our calorie intake substantially and suddenly we started making progress on our weight loss.

As a part of cutting our calories back, we had to make every calorie count in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to keep us healthy and energetic and we took supplements. From July to November of this year (5 months) we both lost the 20 pounds needed to get our BMIs under 25. We were able to maintain our moderate exercise regime and rarely had hunger attacks.  Eating so few calories, we were able to identify the amount of calories we can eat and not gain weight. For Tyler, the best daily intake turned out to be 1250-1450 calories and for Chris it is 900-1100. Now, when we occasionally overeat, just 300 to 400 calories seems like an incredible, overfilling feast.

With these calorie levels, we hope to continue to lose weight toward our "Wealth BMIs" and remain trim as we grow old.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Year of the Water Dragon

Every year we research the predictions for the next Chinese year and about the animal associated with the new year because we find the advice of Chinese astrologers helpful.  The Water Dragon year, which starts January 23, 2012, ushers in a blast of energy making everything seem larger than life and blowing things all out of proportion. Like the last Dragon year in 2000, when everyone claimed the Y2K problem would cause planes to fall out of the sky and the electric grid to crash, 2012 is already being heralded as the end of the world.

Though 2011 Rabbit year had plenty of turmoil left over from the Tiger year in 2010, the world’s leaders spent a lot of time on Rabbit diplomacy.  As in past Rabbit years, treaties and agreements galore were signed and those that criticized or pointed out the unpleasant realities of the world economies and human sufferings were ignored and shut out. Cunning and subterfuge were rewarded over open and honest communication and Rabbit overindulgence was rampant among the wealthy. 

The 2011 Dragon will be transformational bringing a very different energy to the world. Direct communication, ambition, drive and the fight for authority will create turmoil and aggression in the world. Rabbit diplomacy will be out the window and honest communication and open conflict back in fashion. But Dragon conflict is not necessarily a bad thing.  Unlike the chaos and disaster associated with dragons in Western folklore, the dragon in China is a sign of good fortune and happiness. The year of the Dragon is considered a good time for getting married, having children, starting new businesses, and making money.  Everything this year, good or bad, will seem bigger than life and larger in magnitude leading to an apex of change for the world.

Cosmic forces will be powerful during 2012.  The sun is predicted to have storms, or Coronal Mass Ejections, which will cause power disruptions and other problems during the year and peak in December 2012. The Chinese believe three symbolic stars are powerful this year, the star of the Aggressive Sword which brings hostility, violence and aggression; the star of the External Flower of Romance which brings infidelity and marital discord; and the star of Powerful Mentors which brings support from influential people.  

Being Roosters, we found the Rabbit year stifling for our hen-pecking and argumentative personalities. We are looking forward to the energetic 2012 Dragon year, where direct communication and controversy are back in fashion.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finding an Ideal Home in Hawaii

When we arrived in Hawaii we were told most newcomers return to the mainland within four years. Yet after four years living in Hawaii,  we cannot imagine ever leaving the islands.  However, we have met hundreds of people over the past years that regret the house or condo they own in Hawaii and wish they had known more about the climate, laws, and culture before they bought.  Instead of the tropical paradise they envisioned, they own a hot, moldy house in a rain forest community they do not resonate with.

The stories of miserable people in Hawaii planning their escape back to the mainland, as well as happy stories from the people who found their paradise in Hawaii, inspired us to write the book, “Your Ideal Hawaii Home: Avoid Disaster when Buying or Building in Hawaii”.  The book describes the common misconceptions people from the mainland US, Canada, and Europe have about Hawaii; it provides information and resources to help people dreaming about a Hawaii home find the right place.

Here are a few of the misconceptions about Hawaii that are covered in the book.

Hawaii’s Climate
Most visitors to Hawaii don’t realize that the resort hotels in Hawaii are located in the few extremely dry climate zones on the islands. The residential areas, however, are mostly in the less pricey, tropical climate zones with average rainfalls of 80 to 300 inches a year.  We have met so many people that bought their house after a sunny vacation in Hawaii only to be completely miserable living under a downpour of rain that never lets up.

Hawaii house design
It is easy for people from the northern climates to recognize the lunacy of building a grass shack in a cold climate;  you would likely freeze to death in the winter.  But the same thinking does not seem to apply when they build their house on a tropical Hawaiian island.  Without any research, people spend their life savings on a house with thick insulation, large windows that do not open, short eaves, surrounded by large trees and foliage. In Hawaii, these homes are solar oven hell-houses that retain heat, attract bugs, grow mold, cause heatstroke, and cost a fortune to keep cool and dry.

Hawaii is in the Tropics
The perfectly manicured grounds and air conditioned rooms in a Hawaii hotel hide the fact that the islands are in the tropics. Though this may seem obvious, we have met many newcomers horrified by the size of bugs and sorry they moved to Hawaii just over that. Living in the tropics means big bugs, tropical parasites, and getting overheated while trying to keep up with the fast growth of plants. Tropical flowers and fruits are a beautiful sight to behold, however, maintaining a garden and controlling bugs in the tropical humidity and heat is more work than many realize.

Property Laws
Property laws in Hawaii are a unique combination of historic laws, articles in the Hawaii Constitution, and Hawaii Revised Statutes. Land use laws, historic claims, and permits, implemented by state and county organizations, are restrictive and no title is entirely free of encumbrances.

The book is available in Kindle ($4.99) and paperback ($9.99) versions. You can view the table of contents and read the first chapter free, by clicking on the Amazon link below and selecting “Look Inside”.

Our hope is that the book helps people planning to buy or build in Hawaii find a home on the islands with a climate they love and in a community where they can flourish.

Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kindle Fire Review

We bought a Kindle Fire for Thanksgiving.  We compared the Fire to our existing devices: an older Kindle, Android phone, and Apple iPod Touch and iPad.  Our overall assessment of the Fire is that it is a vastly better Kindle book reader with many features superior to our iPod Touch and many of the features we use on the iPad.  Here is an overview of what we like and what could be better:

A vastly better Kindle
The Fire has all the reading features we like about our old Kindle with many new additions. The screen is high resolution with color making the text easy to read and color pictures in books clearer than on our lap top, iPod, and iPad. Fire uses touch screen buttons instead of the physical buttons on the older Kindle, so a finger swipe flips the page.  The power on/off is the only button on the device. When connected to a computer it presents a thumb-drive file interface, like the old Kindle. To buy or add books, the Fire requires a wireless internet connection (3g is not supported) or connection to a computer so that books can be moved onto the device.

A better iPod
The Fire has the music and video player iPod/iPad features without the frustrating iTunes interface.  Movies are stored in a directory or played via the internet and the screen resolution makes HD videos and youtube look great.  You can purchase music online or move songs into the music directory to play while reading or surfing the net.  The web interface is easy to use and, unlike Apple’s Safari, it supports Flash.  Games, movies, and applications are available from the Amazon store.  Finally, the same iPod/iPad interface we use for keeping track of all of our email accounts is replicated on the Fire.

So in addition to the book reading device, the Fire has the applications we use all day on our iPod and iPad: Email, Skype messaging (IM), Facebook, and web surfing. And, all this is available for $200.

There are, however, some limitations:

Limited Applications
The Fire uses Google’s Android OS, so we assumed that everything we have available on our Android phone would be available on the Kindle Fire.   Currently that is not the case.  There are less games and other applications in the Amazon cloud as compared to the iTunes and Android stores. Hopefully this will change and more applications become available as the device gains popularity.

Connectivity limitations
You have to connect the Fire to a computer to move movies and music into the appropriate directories or email them to the device via an email address Amazon provides.  The Fire does not come with the USB cable needed to connect to a computer (fortunately we had one from our previous Kindle).  When you email files to the Fire, they are put into the download directory and must be moved into the appropriate music or movie directory by connecting to a computer.  The Kindle USB cables may be easy to find on the mainland, but they are not readily available on an outer island in Hawaii.

Text to Speech
The text-to-speech capability on the older Kindle is not currently available on the Fire.

Local flash Apps
Our Android phone allows us to move flash games onto the phone via a computer connection and play them locally.  Though the Fire supports Flash applications, there is no way to run a local application yet. This limits the device’s use as a gaming platform for now.

The Fire is a superior replacement for our iPod Touch and our older Kindle.  With more drawing applications and iTunes applications, it could replace our iPad.  Hopefully, Amazon will add more Android capabilities and the Kindle text-to-speech feature.

We look forward to reading lots of book on our Kindle Fire during our Hawaii winter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee time in Kona Hawaii

As the Coffee Festival in Kona comes to a close, we are reflecting on everything we have learned about how to make the best cup of coffee during the past two years from festival activities and visits to coffee plantations in the area. Coffee is a big deal to us; we start each day with a pot or two. We have become very discriminating about the taste and prefer our coffee mild and non-acidic. The best coffee cherries in Kona are grown on the cool, upper slopes of the Hualalai Volcano. Hula Daddy, Lee Patterson, has a coffee plantation on the slopes and you can tell from the video we took of him and his workers that he is passionate about his coffee.

Once the coffee cherries ripen, they are picked by hand and hand sorted to get the very best cherries with the right size and color.

The cherries are then dried in the sun and hulled. Then the beans are sorted and graded into different classifications, the bigger the better.

Next, they are roasted in a high-tech coffee roaster. A difference of only 10 degrees F and 30 seconds makes a major difference in flavor from light to dark roast.

The quality of the roast must be verified by “cupping”, which is basically slurping to taste and validate the result. Once approved, the resulting beans are bagged and ready for purchase.

Bringing home the roasted beans is just the beginning of creating the perfect cup of coffee. The grinding and brewing must be just right.

We have used a “blade” grinder for years and had the problem that every grinding was different depending on how long it was ground and how awake we were. We had heard the claims that a “burr mill” grinder makes good coffee taste better by grinding the beans evenly each time.. We bought a “Mr. Coffee Burr Mill Grinder” at Targets in Kona. There is no doubt that it does a substantially better job grinding the beans and it smells fantastic as it is grinding.

We prefer coffee pots that come with a metal carafe that keeps the coffee hot for a long time. We bought a Zojirushi, Japanese coffee pot that got great reviews online and had the right carafe. We had to buy it online at One of the main improvements that this coffee pot has is that it uses cone type filters (instead of the flat type) which forces the water through all of the coffee grounds for a richer flavor. Last, but not least, we use the best water for our coffee. The tap water in Hawaii tends to be acidic and salty, so we use our favorite bottled water.

Using handpicked, perfectly roasted coffee cherries from the slopes of our volcano, ground by an burr mill, brewed in a great coffee pot using excellent water makes us look forward to waking up every morning for our many cups of Kona coffee.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Living in Hawaii’s Tropical Paradise

Beach in Java - 1975
We first lived in the tropics while in high school on the island of Java. We loved the warm days, comfortable nights, and the daylight hours staying the same all year. The exotic fruits were a constant delight as were the delicious fish, shrimp, and lobster. The pace was slow and people were friendly. It was a place where we both flourished, our extra weight went away, our acne was replaced with year round tans, and the humidity felt great on our skin.

Our high school in Jarkarta
Living in tropics had its challenges, however, like the heavy rains that washed black-spitting cobras and green-pit vipers off the roofs on to sidewalks and toxic caterpillars that hid in the bushes. Our hikes in the rainforests usually required the removal of large leeches and we had to share the beaches with poisonous sea snakes with paddle shaped tails. We were in awe of the massive swarms of termites in the house that could actually blot out the view of the other side of the room and the army of ants that would instantly appear to eat any food left out by mistake. The rats in an open drainage pipe in the backyard were the size of big dogs and our house was sometimes surrounded by thousands of cute mini-toads that had poison stingers on their tongues. We came to dread the upset stomachs we got from taking quinine to ward off malaria and we had to deal with tropical diseases that the Doctors could never identify from blood tests.

Fruit in Java market

We love living in Hawaii because it has the benefits a tropical climate affords without the hazards we faced in Java.  Some newcomers to Hawaii, who are not use to living in the tropics, find it challenging to deal with the bugs, rodents, and molds that can overtake the home.  Spiders, beetles, slugs, creepy crawling things, loud frogs, and other critters thrive in Hawaii’s great weather just like we do. However, Hawaii has no venomous snakes, frogs or caterpillars. Only one type of centipede is poisonous and though B52 cockroaches are scary when they fly at you, they are not dangerous. Compared to our experiences of the tropical dangers in Java, Hawaii’s tropical challenges seem minor to us and having the rights and benefits of being a citizen in a US State is no small thing in our view.  
Chris in high school

Tyler in high school
We know many people looking for a more affordable, “better”, tropical paradise than Hawaii and they are searching among remote Pacific islands and countries in southeast Asia for a new home.  We wish them luck in their hunt, but for us Hawaii is our tropical paradise and the most wonderful place in the world that we have ever lived.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tsunami Wreckage heading toward Hawaii

Twenty million tons of wreckage from the March 11 tsunami in Japan is heading toward the beaches of Hawaii. Last month a Russian ship, the STS Pallada, sighted the wreckage just past Midway Atoll on the northern end of the Hawaiian Archipelago. The massive patch of wreckage has traveled 2000 miles from Japan’s coast in six months and based on its speed will wash up on Hawaii beaches as early as Spring of 2012. Nikolai Maximenko, an oceanographer, created a model of the drift of the tsunami debris from the movements of thousands of buoys, which the sighting in late September confirmed.

From Midway, the tsunami wreckage will hook up with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific Gyre. This patch of 3.5 million tons of concentrated trash floating between Hawaii and San Francisco will be overrun by the 20 million tons of tsunami wreckage. Giant hunks of debris will break off from the Pacific Gyre, drift west, and wash up on beaches in the South Point area of the Island of Hawaii. Kamilo and other beaches on the southern coast of Hawaii Island are already covered with plastic and trash that have dislodged from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Tracking the tsunami wreckage is an overwhelmingly sad reminder of the lives lost and the houses, businesses, and belongings of millions of people that lived along the coast of Japan that were swept out to sea. The wreckage consists of, among other things, over 200,000 houses and buildings, more than one building for every resident on our sparsely populated Island of Hawaii.

Below are links to videos with more information about the Tsunami Debris Patch and the Hawaii Island beaches that will be impacted.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When is winter in Hawaii?

While enjoying the 85 degree (Fahrenheit) water in our condo complex pool last week, we met a visitor from northern Canada. He was marveling at how warm it was for October and asked, “When does Winter start in Hawaii?” That got us to thinking, since it never really gets cold, when is it Winter in Hawaii?

September is the “hottest” month in Kona with an average high of 88 degrees during the day and the coldest month is February when it gets down to a chilly 82 degrees on average during the day. That’s a difference of only 6 degrees between the hot Summer days and the cold Winter days. Phoenix, Arizona, where our visitor has a second home to escape Canada’s cold winters, has a difference of 40 degrees between the hottest month of July with an average of 106 degrees during the day and the coldest month of December with an average of 66 degrees during the day. Winter in Phoenix is on average 32 degrees colder during the day than the daytime temperatures we experience during our Hawaii Winter.

So when is Winter in Hawaii?
It turns out that the big changes in temperature happen at night in Hawaii. During the Summer, the temperature falls to 74 degrees at night in Kona and in the Winter it falls even lower to 67 degrees at night. That is cold enough for us to have to turn off the ceiling fan. The 15 degree drop in temperature between night and day is over twice as much as the drop in daytime temperatures from Summer to Winter. This leads us to conclude that night is Winter in Hawaii.

Since we have come to this conclusion we now joke that in the morning, when tropical bird songs wake us up, it is Spring. During midday, when the fans are turned on, it is Summer, and the beautiful sunsets and cool evenings are Autumn. Every day in Hawaii we have a full cycle of the year.

Sunset in Kona, Hawaii

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ironman 2011 taking over Kona

Once again Kona has been taken over by the Ironman World Championships.  Thousands of athletes and their families and fans fill the streets and sidewalks.  They ride their bicycles in groups on Ali’i Drive and the Queen K highway blocking traffic everywhere they go. One minute they are talking causally as they cycle along and the next minute they are zipping between huge pick-ups that can’t even see them. We can only guess that they don’t grasp how invisible they are to the drivers. Or maybe they just love taking risks since they are willing to run a marathon in 110 degree F heat on a lava field after a 112 mile bike ride and 2.4 miles of ocean swimming. We are big on being healthy and fit, but the Ironman race is extreme.

Eighty-five of the competitors are pros racers vying for the $560,000 purse distributed among the top 10 male and 10 female finishers.  You can spot the pros because they have vans with pictures of them that follow them around the town.  Their bicycles are usually one of a kind, custom made with price tags of $30,000 and more.

Like the pros, many of the 1500 qualifying age-range athletes are covered from head to toe with advertisements from their sponsors.  The remainder of the 1935 entrants got lucky in a lottery or paid up to $55,000 for the privilege of going through the brutal ironman experience on Ebay.

Fed Ex and UPS trucks are busy delivering boxes of food and liquid goo to the athletes, because Ironmen don’t come to Hawaii for the fresh produce, fish, and grass-fed beef. They eat only pre-made sugar-loaded energy gels with names like Hammer, Gu and Clif Shot.  They not only don’t eat out much, they hit the sack early so they can wake up at 5AM to swim to the King buoy from Kailua-Kona pier.

Today the pier was crazy with hundreds of athletes checking in, swimming the race route, and posing for their adoring fans staring at their skimpy outfits.  Camera crews rushed from athlete to athlete to interview them as they came out of the water.

Saturday, October 8, at 6:30AM the race begins at Kailua-Kona pier.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Finding better circumstances

Every few years our needs and circumstances change, sometimes significantly. A place that was once wonderful for us can become a place that inhibits our growth and happiness. For example, we use to dream about the serenity of living in a pristine mountain area, hours from the nearest city. When we eventually lived in such a place we discovered that we liked shopping and socializing more than watching herds of white tail deer graze in our front lawn. Our desire to find ever better circumstances has kept us moving from one place to another throughout our adult life.

Sometimes we seek better circumstances due to an internal change like a desire for a job change, and sometimes due to an external change like an unpleasant change in the neighborhood. Every time we move it helps us to redefine our current needs and find new circumstances that support us better. Every place we live we discover something new about ourselves and those discoveries have led to a better life.

When we look to improve our circumstances, we try to find a place that is more consistent with the people we have become instead of the people we use to be. We look for synergy in our needs and desires because we have found that many beneficial things gained in a change add up to more than their individual benefits would. In the past we have moved or made changes to our circumstances to get lower housing prices, increase our income, and find a better fit with the social consciousness of a community. Our move to Hawaii allowed us to improve our access to fresh food, get more sunlight, be able to do year-round exercise, and to decrease our costs.

Over time we have created a process to improve our circumstances. First, we list the urgent needs leading to our motivation to make a change. We also list things we already have that we don’t want to lose, to make sure we don’t jump from one situation to a worse situation. That provides us a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves” in our search for a better circumstance. Next we review our assumptions to see if anything has changed or uncover an unexpected opportunity that might exist. Finally, we define what we are willing to do to change our circumstances. From there we start looking, for a new location, job, city, country or whatever change or set of changes we are looking to make. We keep track of everything we find, try to narrow down our options, research, research, research, and then double check all our findings.

We used this process when moving from Hilo to Kona on the Island of Hawaii. We wanted to move to get away from loud college students that moved in next door. We also had less urgent desires of more sunshine and less yard work. We didn’t want to lose being on the island or our close access to fresh caught fish, Hawaii grass-fed beef, and produce from Hilo’s amazing farmer’s markets. We assumed that Kona was unaffordable based on our research in 2006 and 2007, yet we discovered rents had plunged on the west side and upscale condos with awesome facilities were available at half the rent they used to be. We were willing to move from a house to a condo, give up having a garage, add more steps to the front door, pay for moving our furniture, and sign a long term lease. We surveyed the areas we liked along Ali’i drive and narrowed our options to a few complexes. We found that the potential of moving there was synergistic with many of our other desires like being close to a beach and snorkeling, having a pool and gym, being in a secure parking lot and having more shopping choices with substantially cheaper prices. We made a list of our “must haves”, like a washer and dryer and “nice to haves”, like an ocean view. Then we watched the classified ads and sure enough the perfect place appeared and we signed a lease without hesitation.

The declining economic situation in the US has us again working on our list to find better circumstances and reconsider our assumptions about the future of our finances, employability, and cost of living. We plan to preserve our positive circumstances and take advantage of any unexpected possibilities brought about by the huge changes the country is currently going through.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn in Hawaii

Autumn in Hawaii is a completely different experience for us than it was when we lived on the mainland. We use to dread the end of summer because the days got shorter, the sunny skies disappeared, and the farmer’s markets shut down when the growing season ended. The cold rain and high winds made it impossible for us to keep up our outdoor exercise. In Autumn, life became an indoor experience on the mainland as the temperatures dropped and darkness came earlier every day.

In Hawaii, the end of summer brings only slightly shorter days in Kona and more sunny days with less clouds and rain. Kona has a tropical wet summer climate and dry and sunny winter. The local fruit is even more plentiful in the Fall and there is more to choose from at the year-round Farmer’s markets. The visitors are gone and the snowbirds don’t arrive in Hawaii until after Thanksgiving. From mid-September to mid-December, it is off-season in Hawaii and the beaches and pools are noticeably emptier. Instead of colder temperatures, we look forward to waking up to a dry and cool 76 degrees with sunny weather that keeps our Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) away. All year round we can swim and snorkel and take long walks on the beach.

Coffee plant above Kona, Hawaii

Autumn in Kona also means the start of coffee and chocolate harvesting season and festivals to celebrate them. There are also country fairs around the island, a breadfruit festival, ‘Imiloa’s Wayfinders and Navigation festival in Hilo, and music festivals around the island. This year the Ironman championship is on October 8 and the town is already filled with athletes that inspire us to get more fit. Rather than dreading Autumn, we are finding it to be our favorite time in Hawaii with lots to do and an abundance of sun.
Empty Hapuna Beach

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hawaii Island’s climate zone diversity

The island of Hawaii has the climatic diversity you would find on a large continent. The many climates are due to the high elevations of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the persistent northeasterly trade winds, and localized wind circulation that creates micro-climates.

In the 1900’s a climatologist Vladimir Köppen classified the world’s climates into five zones based on temperature and rainfall: Tropical, Arid, Temperate, Cold-Continental, and Arctic. Hawaii island has four of the five the Köppen zones, all except for Cold-Continental. Climatologists have since delineated sub-zones for each of the Köppen zones, and the Big Island has ten of the most common climate sub-zones.
The summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, above the tree line at 9800 feet above sea level (3000 m), have peri-glacial Arctic climates where the soil is permanently frozen. Over 2/3 of the island is in one of the three Temperate zones (zones 7, 8, and 9 on the map) at altitudes below 9800 feet (3000 m). From altitudes of 8000 to 9800 feet (2500- 3000 m) are Temperate zones with cool temperatures and a dry summer. From altitudes of 6500 to 8000 feet (2000-2500m) is a Temperate zone with warm temperatures and dry summers. This zone extends down the slopes of the volcano, on the leeward side of Kohala, and south of Waimea town. From 1600 to 6500 feet (500-2000 m) is a large Temperate zone with warm temperatures and year round rainfall. The towns of Volcano and Waimea are in this climate zone.

The most populated areas of the island, from sea level to 1600 feet (500 m), are in one of the four humid Tropical climate sub-zones with varying amounts of rainfall. The windward side from Hawi to Hilo and Puna to Kalapana has a continuously wet climate with no dry season. There is a small area along the Hamakua coast that is in a Tropical monsoon sub-climate zone with high annual rain fall and a very short dry season. Areas between the windward (east) and leeward (west) sides of the island from Kalapana to Pahala all the way to Oceanview, have a Tropical dry summer climate. Outside of Hawaii, this rare Tropical climate only exists in parts southern India and Sri Lanka.

The Kona coast on the leeward side of the island is the only area in the Hawaiian islands with a Tropical zone that has a wet summer and a dry winter. This dry winter zone extends from sea level to an altitude of 1300 feet (400 m) where the climate changes to continuously wet. Above 1600 feet (500m), the climate changes yet again to warm Temperate, but still continuously wet. Newcomers to Kona expecting the same warm, sunny weather they had during a winter holiday in a Kailua-Kona hotel are often disappointed with the continuous rain at their new house just 1500 feet above Kailua bay.

On the Kohala coast, the huge volcanoes bar the rain clouds and create a desert. Kaiwaihae is the driest place in the State of Hawaii with only about 7 inches (190 mm) of rain a year. At sea level there is a true arid desert with a semi-arid region above it at higher elevations. All the big resorts on the island of Hawaii are located in this desert area guaranteeing visitors a sunny and warm vacation year round. Many visitors come to think that the hot, dry, sunny climate of the resort area is the norm for the island, however only 445 full time residents live in this desert climate zone. Most of the island’s population live in one of the Tropical climate sub-zones that get from 60 to 300 inches of rain a year.

The large differences in weather on the Big Island can be hard to grasp. For example, Phoenix, Arizona, generally considered a desert, gets an average rainfall of 8 inches a year. Eugene, Oregon, about 940 miles away, gets an average of 50 inches of rain a year. These two cities are a thousand miles apart and not surprisingly, are in very different climate zones with a net difference in average rainfall of about 42 inches. In contrast, the “dry” areas of Hilo with an average 130 inches of rain a year are only 60 miles away from the Kawaihae desert area, a difference in average rainfall of 125 inches a year within an hours’ drive. The wetter parts of Hilo at elevations of about 1200 to 2000 feet can get over 280 inches of rain in a year. Within 60 miles, you can choose a site with rainfall close to the amount in Death Valley or rainfall five times greater than the “rainy” Pacific Northwest and everything in between.

You can read more about finding the right climate in Hawaii and other topics helpful to know before buying a home in Hawaii in our new book: Your Ideal Hawaii Home

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our alkaline diet

Testing pH of Foods
After my last gout attack in June of this year, my research led me to be concerned about high levels of oxalic acid in my diet which may have been a contributing factor. We know that alkaline water and certain alkaline foods like black cherries help to dissolve uric acid crystals (which causes gout). In addition to reducing gout, we found research on many other positive health outcomes from a diet that keeps the blood alkaline. With so many health benefits we decided to try an alkaline diet for sixty days and see if would help us lose fat without bringing on a gout attack.

Though we were already drinking alkaline water and eating organic black cherries, we discovered some of our diet was making us acidic. We decided to stop drinking wine. Instead of wine at night we are drinking organic cherry juice (wow that was a change). We cut back on dairy and foods with gluten, as gluten causes the body to make extra acid to digest it. We made salad our evening meal (with green leafy lettuce, olives, and tomatoes) and added avocados, which is a great alkaline food. We cut back on grass-fed beef, wild salmon, and tuna, and we substituted some meals with beans and soy.

Having an overly acidic pH has been tied to obesity, diabetes, food allergies, acne, heart problems, cancers, and increased infections as it creates a friendly environment for viruses, yeasts and bacteria. To keep the pH in balance, the body dissolves the calcium from the bones, which leads to osteoporosis. If that isn’t sufficient, the body creates fat cells to store the excess acid in order to protect the internal organs from it.

Stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation also causes the body to become acidic and so does being over heated, lack of exercise, and excessive exercise. We didn’t change our exercise routine or stop drinking coffee, but we cut back on watching the news at night. We also started to measure the pH of our drinks and foods. We measure the pH of our saliva and urine to keep track of our alkaline progress.

We were delighted to see our pH measurements quickly go from acid to alkaline. We have kept our pH alkaline for 60 days now and have noticed some weight loss – about 5 pounds each. The biggest difference is that we rarely feel extremely hungry, which has been a challenge on our calorie restriction diet. Another significant benefit of our alkaline diet is that we feel upbeat and positive about everything. We are more relaxed and less worried than we have been in years. It also seems like we are more focused and productive, though we admit we go to bed earlier and sleep in later.

Since we are losing fat and feeling better, we plan to continue to monitor our pH and remain on this alkaline diet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Calculating the cost of the home ownership in Hawaii

We are closing in on four glorious years of living in Hawaii. We lived in a house in Hilo for two years and in couple of months we will have lived in a condo in Kailua-Kona for two years.

As renters we are aware of having a different status from the owners. We aren’t invited to the owners meetings and can’t vote for our favorite board members though they make a big difference to us as residents in the condo complex. The global economic contraction has meant that many of the owners have deserted their condos or returned them to the banks. The resulting short sales and foreclosures have dropped the prices substantially during the two years we have lived here. The desire to have a say in the condo complex politics and the substantial reduction in prices made us wonder if it still makes financial sense to keep renting so we re-calculated the cost of ownership in Kona with new lower prices.

The property under consideration is a two story, 1800 square foot, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhouse with great views of the beach. It was built in 2004 and has modern appliances, a parking spot, and an enclosed single garage. The original owner paid for $550,000 for it. Our calculation looks at the cost of ownership over 4 years or 48 months (since that is the average time a mainlander stays in Hawaii before moving back). The owner/bank is asking $350,000 (a 36% loss over the past three years). The cost of ownership includes taxes, monthly home owners fee ($680), real estate transaction fees (6%), mortgage (assuming 4% loan and no PMI), and other purchase and sales costs. The costs don’t include maintenance and upkeep of the unit or any unexpected assessments by the owners association.

Monthly home owners fees: $680 X 48 months = $32,000
Annual Insurance: $1200 X 4 years                  = $4,800
Real estate taxes: $1200 X 4                           = $4,800
Purchase costs (1.5% origination fee)               = $5,250
Purchase/sell cost (6% real estate fee)             = $21,000
Mortgage:  $1,673 X 48                                    = $80,304
Total for 4 years                                              = $148,154

The total is about $3,100 a month. These units currently rent for $1,800 a month, making it substantially more expensive ($1300 per month more) to own than rent right now. In addition to this extra cost is the risk that the drop in resale prices may continue. Though there is a tax benefit for some mortgage holders, this year the State of Hawaii has limited the tax deductions.

Though we continue to be bullish on owning real estate and even have several properties in Hawaii County, our take away is that being an owner would almost double our monthly “rent” in addition to increasing our financial risk at this time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Laws in Hawaii 2011

New Day in Hawaii
Hawaii’s legislature passed 235 bills under the state’s new governor, Neil Abercrombie. The new laws hike state taxes, decrease public worker benefits, and amend or add a long list of changes to the administration of the state’s schools. Below is a summary of the major new laws as well as a listing of all the other bills passed during the state’s 2011 legislature session.

Hawaii Tax related bills

Senate Bill 570 is the first tax law of its kind in the US and took effect July 1, 2011. The new law puts a dollar cap on itemized tax deductions for the next 5 years. Singles in Hawaii with greater than $100,000 in adjusted gross income can claim a maximum of $25,000 in deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, medical expenses, etc. while couples above $200,000 in adjusted gross income are allowed no more than $50,000 in deductions. Also, these high income earners must figure their tax bill using a tax code section 68 that Bush phased out. The new law also ends the deduction for state income taxes and sales tax and it delays the standard deduction and personal exemption increases approved under Act 60, SLH 2009. Janet Novack at Forbes magazine estimates that the net income to the state from these provisions will be more than $40 million a year from the wealthiest 26,000 residents in the state. Hawaii already has the highest state income tax rate in the US at 11% on taxable income above $400,000.

Senate Bill 754 temporarily suspends gross income exemptions for certain people from the general excise and use tax and requires payment of both taxes at a 4% rate effective immediately.

House Bill 1089 is a measure to conform amendments to the Hawaii Income Tax law based on the amendments to the IRS code made in 2010.

Senate Bill 1241 repeals the conveyance tax exemption for low-income housing projects.

Senate Bill 1327 authorizes the Department of Transportation to collect increases in passenger facility charges without amending administration rules.

Senate Bill 1328 increases the motor vehicle registration fee from $25 to $45 and deposits a portion of it into the general fund.

Senate Bill 1329 increases the state motor vehicle weight tax.

House Bill 865 increases the fee assessed for the inspection, quarantine, and eradication of invasive species contained in any freight from 50 cents to 75 cents for every 1000 pounds of freight brought into the state.

Hawaii public employee benefit related bills

House Bill 575 extends the 5% pay cut to legislators, executive, and judicial salaries to 12/31/13.

House Bill 1035 places a moratorium on any enhancement of benefits from the Employees' Retirement System until the system's funded ratio is at 100%.

House Bill 1038 addresses the state’s unfunded retirement system to ensure its long-term viability. The state’s current liability for the Employees Retirement System is about $7 billion. This changes retirement benefits for future employees by raising the retirement age for certain new employees from 55 to 60 years old and for most others from 62 to 65 years old; increases the number of years for state employees to be “vested” to receive retirement benefits from 5 years to 10 years; and raises the employee and employer contribution rates.

Hawaii education and public school related bills

House Bill 4 makes permanent the interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children and clarifies military representation on the state council on educational opportunity for military children within the Board of Education.

Senate Bill 8 gives the governor the power to appoint the Board of Education and the Senate power to advise and consent to the process.

House Bill 44 makes it a misdemeanor to pay for sex within 750 feet of a school or park.

House Bill 688 requires the Board of Education to monitor compliance with Department of Education rules or statutes covering bullying, cyberbullying, or harassment

Senate Bill 806 makes changes to the Hawaii Teachers State Board allowing members to serve out their terms even if they change roles, and providing more flexibility in licensing of career and technical education teachers. Allows for forfeiture of a teacher’s license for failure to timely renew, pay fees, or comply with any other requirements provided for by law or administrative rule.

House Bill 945 delays required increases and plans for increases in instructional hours passed last year and exempts multi-track public schools from Act 167.

House Bill 953 increases the salary cap within the Department of Education for the deputy superintendent, assistant superintendents, and complex area superintendents from 80% of the superintendent's salary to the superintendent's salary.

Senate Bill 1056 permits the Department of Education to come up with alternative ways to certify Principals and Vice Principals.

Senate Bill 1171 allows the Board of Education to grant a waiver if schools want to deviate from the common, single school calendar; and allows the lowest performing schools identified in Race to the Top to be able to add school days for extended learning time.

Senate Bill 1174 requires charter school budget requests for needs-based facilities funding to include explanations and allows charter schools to appeal denied re-authorization to Board of Education.

Senate Bill 1282 provides schools the option, but does not mandate, that every school administer a test that compares each Hawaii student nationally. It repeals the administration or nationally norm-referenced testing on 7/1/2015.

Senate Bill 1284 authorizes the Department of Education to monitor students with disabilities who are placed at department's expense at private schools and requires private schools to post their rates, fees, and tuition.

Senate Bill 1383 directs the state income tax check off for repair and maintenance of schools to Hawaii 3R’s (Repair, Remodel and Restore Hawaii’s public schools), an initiative to bring resources together to address backlog in schools.

Senate Bill 1485 allows the Superintendent of Education to reconstitute a public school, except charter schools

Senate Bill 1503 requires private special education schools and programs that serve students with disabilities and receive state funding to comply with state and federal laws, rules and regulations and gain accreditation within a certain period of time.

House Bill 1540 makes permanent the current practice of allowing the Department of Education to hire teachers as “emergency hires” for only three years instead of four and requires those hires to gain licensure within four years of their hire date.

Below are the other bills signed by the governor and six that were passed without his signature. Many of these new laws are significant changes and additions to the state.

Senate Bill 2 creates a database repository of land inventory of public trust lands in the State of Hawaii
Senate Bill 11 creates a taskforce to determine whether a new Department of the Sheriff is needed and feasible.
Senate Bill 14 expands the authorized uses of the Agricultural Development and Food Security Special Fund to include the improvement of dams and reservoirs, and water quality testing and improvement.
Senate Bill 27 removes long-term care insurance from the definition of "accident and health or sickness insurance" and related terms within the insurance code; removes reference to insurance fraud statute
Senate Bill 34 allows discovery with court approval, limits the award of costs in controversies involving small claim tax appeals, and requires notice.
Senate Bill 35 amends section of motor vehicle industry licensing act to reflect updated statutory cross-references and make non-substantive technical amendments
Senate Bill 45 repeals the civil service exemptions for the first and second deputy sheriffs.
House Bill 49 recognizes the DD form 93 as an acceptable method of determining the person authorized to direct disposition of an armed forces service member’s remains.
Senate Bill 52 requires persons convicted of violation of privacy in the first degree and all persons convicted of promoting prostitution in the first degree to register as sex offenders; applies retroactively.
Senate Bill 81 extends termination date of temporary advisory committee relating to the statewide starlight reserve strategy.
Senate Bill 98 amends the Hawaii Water Carrier Act to clarify the authority of the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to a water carrier.
Senate Bill 101 exempts the preparation of hand-pounded poi from certain Department of Health requirements regarding food safety.
Senate Bill 105 adopts uniform real property transfer on death act allowing owners of real property to designate beneficiaries to receive real property upon death of owner without requirements of probate or formalities of wills.
House Bill 112 allows the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to designate an access organization to oversee public, educational, and governmental channels on cable television. Promotes use of 'Olelo, Akaku, and Ho'ike community public communications.
House Bill 117 expedites and facilitates work on construction projects within Special Management Areas.
Senate Bill 120 repeals certain special funds and transfers balances to the general fund, converts certain revolving funds of the University of Hawaii into special funds. Temporarily redirects tobacco settlement funds to the general fund.
House Bill 122 extends the repeal date of Act 173 (2009) which exempts renewable energy projects from subdivision requirements on state agriculture or conservation lands to 2020 and clarifies that wind energy projects are include in the exemption.
Senate Bill 123 exempts motor vehicle and home owners insurance from general record keeping requirements if records for those types of insurance are maintained electronically, accessible by the producer and available within one business day.
Senate Bill 124 exempts an insurer from prohibitions on cancellation or nonrenewal of a motor vehicle insurance policy; provided that the insurer offers a replacement policy that offers the same or better coverage, terms, or conditions at a lower price through an affiliate or subsidiary
House Bill 141 establishes class A and B felony offenses for labor trafficking; establishes an offense for nonpayment of wages; and establishes an offense for unlawful conduct with respect to documents.
Senate Bill 142 requires the Board of Land and Natural Resources to consider dams and reservoirs as important water resources for the State.
Senate Bill 146 requires the energy resources coordinator to study what it will take to expand biofuel production in the state to displace petroleum-based liquid fuel.
Senate Bill 163 authorizes issuances of general obligation bonds, the issuance will not cause the debt limit to be exceeded.
Senate Bill 172 amends provisions of the fireworks code imposing new definitions and permitting, importation, labeling, and inspection requirements.
Senate Bill 173 prohibits the sale or distribution of novelty lighters with the state.
House Bill 181 establishes a working group to study requiring all new single-family residential construction to incorporate design elements and minimum equipment installation at the time of construction to allow the future adoption of photovoltaic systems.
House Bill 200 appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
Senate Bill 219 prohibits physically restraining inmates who are pregnant or in postpartum recovery, unless extraordinary circumstances exist.
House Bill 227 makes entering or remaining unlawfully on unimproved or unused agricultural lands without permission an offense of criminal trespass in the second degree if the lands are fenced, enclosed, or secured, or a sign is displayed.
Senate Bill 229 prohibits employers from discriminating against victims of domestic or sexual violence and requires the employer to make reasonable accommodations for the employee.
Senate Bill 232 is a civil union bill that extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union; it takes effect on January 1, 2012.
House Bill 240 gives the Attorney General and City Prosecutor more tools to combat prostitution by providing security and protection to witnesses in cases that involve promoting prostitution.
House Bill 270 eliminates the public auction requirement for the disposition of easements on county property for a specific purpose.
Senate Bill 281 authorizes the use or rental of division of animal industry property or facilities for commercial purposes; establishes the animal industry special fund; and allows the Department of Agriculture to lease out the quarantine facility at Halawa now that it is not needed and obtain critically needed revenue to fund its activities.
Senate Bill 283 incorporates the definitions and guiding principles of the Hawai'i 2050 sustainability plan into the Hawai'i state planning act. This will add sustainability as a priority guideline for the state.
Senate Bill 285 requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to implement a mobile medical van telehealth pilot program operated by a qualified provider. It also requires the DHS to assess the implementation of the program at least six months but no later than 12 months after it begins operations.
House Bill 298 exempts court interpreters who appear at the request of the courts from parking violations for expired meters.
Senate Bill 298 establishes an organizational and regulatory framework for sustainable businesses.
House Bill 299 shortens the time period for filing an application for writ of certiorari with the supreme court from 90 to 30 days.
House Bill 300 appropriates funds for the judiciary.
House Bill 301 directs into the Judiciary Computer System Special Fund fees collected for electronic document certification, electronic copies of documents, and for providing bulk access to court records and data.
House Bill 318 establishes an interagency task force on vog on the Big Island to discuss the impact of vog and find ways to address these issues.
House Bill 319 clarifies that an owner with an open permit may be exempt, upon showing hardship, from the prohibition on sale of lease of a property constructed or improved under an owner-builder exemption within one year of construction or improvement.
House Bill 320 exempts a real estate licensee who provides opinions on the estimated price on real estate from requiring a license as an appraiser.
House Bill 331 allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend the fixed rental period or term of certain leases up to 65 years.
House Bill 381 amends various provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes for clarification and to correct errors.
House Bill 383 extends the life of the oversight commission on the federal economic stimulus program funds.
House Bill 389 establishes a Heeia community development district in Koolaupoko, Oahu
House Bill 397 requires more information in all concurrent resolutions for the review of proposed exchanges, sales, or gifts of State land.
House Bill 400 appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Office of Hawaiian affairs.
House Bill 404 authorizes special purpose revenue bonds to assist Palolo Chinese Home in financing capital costs.
House Bill 423 authorizes issuance of special purpose revenue bonds for Carbon Bio-Engineers, Inc. for development of non-fossil fuel energy production.
House Bill 424 extends the date for EIS exceptions for certain primary actions from 2011 to 2013.
House Bill 439 extends evidentiary presumptions regarding publications and legal opinions to those posted to government web sites.
House Bill 467 provides additional protection to public employees who report violations of the law or government contracts.
House Bill 484 requires hospitals to allow advanced practice registered nurses to practice within the full scope of allowable practice including as a primary care provider.
House Bill 491 requires the Department of Public Safety to pursue and obtain accreditation for the sheriff division from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
House Bill 519 excludes services performed by an individual who is a member of a limited liability company or partnership who has a distributional interest in the company or partnership of at least 50% from the definition of “employment” under the worker’s compensation law.
House Bill 546 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression as a public policy matter and specifically with regard to employment.
House Bill 555 extends the area applicable to graffiti removal from 100 yards to 250 yards and allows the court to require 100 hours of community service in lieu of graffiti removal.
House Bill 593 requires candidates for county elective office to submit a sworn certification that the candidate has complied with the relevant provisions of the county charter and county ordinances.
House Bill 597 expands definition of “quality assurance committee” to include interdisciplinary quality assurance committees composed of members from various health care organizations.
House Bill 605 establishes a reduced ignition propensity cigarette program special fund for the state fire council to administer.
House Bill 616 clarifies that awards of visitation rights may include visitation by electronic communication.
Senate Bill 631 increases, with certain limitations, the areas within agricultural lands in which solar energy facilities may be constructed.
Senate Bill 651 helps homeowners who risk losing their homes by a strategy to reform the mortgage foreclosure process to protect homeowners who are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure. The primary component of this measure seeks to provide the owner-occupants of residential property in Hawaii who are facing foreclosure the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the mortgagees to possibly resolve their differences. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will administer the program, which will begin no later than October 1, 2011 and continue until September 30, 2014.
House Bill 663 requires clear and conspicuous disclosure of automatic renewal clauses and cancellation procedures for all consumer contracts and offers with an automatic renewal provision.
Senate Bill 675 repeals state authorization to allow a private not-for-profit corporation to acquire student loan notes.
House Bill 680 repeals the requirement that Hawaii Community Development Authority consider recommendations by the Kaka'ako Makai Community Planning Advisory Council in developing any plans for the Kaka'ako Makai area.
Senate Bill 698 clarifies mandate requiring minimum recycled glass content in roadway materials.
Senate Bill 704 exempts certain third party owners and operators of on-site renewable energy systems from regulation as public utilities by the public utilities commission
House Bill 716 establishes new election deadlines to comply with state primary election date required by federal law (for overseas military voters).
House Bill 739 requires that a primary caregiver be a certified nurse aide and substitute caregiver be a nurse aide who has completed certain training in community care foster family homes approved for a maximum of three clients.
Senate Bill 742 allows the state fire council to hire a full-time administrator and administrative assistant.
House Bill 747 relates to liquor liability insurance by removing the definition of convenience minimarts.
Senate Bill 758 extends the use of Hawaii compliance express for small business vendors for all contracts and procurements of $2500 or more.
House Bill 761 changes references in the Hawaii Revised Statutes by substituting “intellectual disabilities” wherever the term “mental retardation” appears.
House Bill 773 authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds for Saint Louis School.
ouse Bill 775 transfers all the money from the photo enforcement revolving fund to the general fund. The photo enforcement fund – leftover from the Van Cam program – is defunct, but holds $3,480,000.
Senate Bill 782 prohibits any person from knowingly or intentionally possessing, constructing, setting off, igniting, discharging, or otherwise causing to explode any homemade explosive device.
House Bill 801 clarifies the Department of Taxation’s subpoena authority for civil and criminal tax investigations.
Senate Bill 823 provides procurement authority to semi-autonomous county public transit agencies.
House Bill 827 appropriates funding for the expenses of the Legislature and various offices and positions.
House Bill 828 clarifies violations of record and receipt requirements and limits fines to level commensurate with the violation.
House Bill 838 makes an emergency appropriation of $664,430 for 2010-2011 to support reapportionment and authorize 5 temporary positions within the office of Elections.
House Bill 855 authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Pacific Power and Water Company Inc with the planning, permitting, designing, construction, equipping and operation of hydropower facilities throughout the state.
House Bill 863 amends the date when the Hawaii Health Authority is required to submit its findings and recommendations to the Legislature.
House Bill 866 allows beekeepers to register with the Department of Agriculture.
House Bill 883 designates a new special design, Gold Star family plate for children, parents, grandparents, spouses, and siblings of fallen soldiers to be provided no later than Oct 1, 2011.
House Bill 889 establishes health care-associated infection reporting requirements.
Senate Bill 892 amends certain laws regarding the use of service dogs. It ensures that people are allowed to bring service dogs into certain situations, such as during real estate transactions, and brings the state into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.
Senate Bill 903 creates the affordable rental housing development program and specifies maintenance requirements.
House Bill 909 authorizes family court to issue financial restraining orders.
House Bill 915 requires the Director of Taxation to provide the administrator of each county’s property assessment division with an image of all certificates of conveyances filed with the Bureau of Conveyances within 21 business days after the end of each week.
Senate Bill 921 effective July 1, 2011, allows certain child service providers to provide emergency shelter and related services to minors at no cost under certain circumstances.
Senate Bill 923 increases the terms of members of the commission on fatherhood from 2 to 4 years and limits membership to 2 terms.
House Bill 924 clarifies that the terms of a liability insurance policy issued to a construction professional shall be construed according to the reasonable expectations of the parties at the time that the policy was issued.
House Bill 931 defines the term “regularly navigated” regarding vessels moored in small boat harbors.
Senate Bill 946 permits a court to allow a petition, complaint, motion, restraining order, or injunction from further harassment or other document to be filed identifying the parties as “jane doe” or “john doe” under certain circumstances.
House Bill 960 establishes a program for granting low-income housing tax credit loans in lieu of housing tax credits.
House Bill 968 allows a temporary restraining order to remain in effect for up to 180 days or until the protective order’s effective date.
Senate Bill 975 specifies required contents of the record of award when a certified real estate appraiser acts as an arbitrator in an arbitration proceeding to determine the fair market value or fair rental value of real estate.
House Bill 985 allows a procurement officer to submit a single bid for the design and construction of a project and adds a new definition to the procurement code designated as "design-build.”
Senate Bill 986 establishes a 9 member task force to formulate policies and procedures to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii’s criminal justice system.
House Bill 1000 clarifies and updates the Enhanced 911 Services Law.
House Bill 1003 amends certain criminal offenses to include conduct committed against domestic violence victims covered by protective orders or restraining orders.
House Bill 1004 clarifies antitrust law to reconfirm the right of government entities to bring and action for damages.
House Bill 1005 includes tribal Title IV-D agencies and foreign countries as defined under federal regulations as authorized agencies that child support services and information can be provided to and from.
House Bill 1009 allows the state to retain fingerprints of employment and licensing applicants for whom criminal history record checks are authorized so that State can implement a statewide “Rap Back” system that automatically informs the State employing agency if the employee commits a crime.
House Bill 1015 provides funds to be disbursed to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands for brownfields cleanup in Kapolei. This ensures that funds under this grant program will be used before the end of the fiscal year.
House Bill 1020 revises the boundaries of the Aloha Tower complex and places the Aloha Tower Development Corporation under the Department of Transportation for administrative purposes.
Senate Bill 1025 establishes a new offense of unauthorized entry in a dwelling in the first degree as a class B felony. This bill also repeals the reckless state of mind required for the attendant circumstance that another person was lawfully present in the dwelling at the time of entry; and amends the offense of unauthorized entry in a dwelling by designating it as an unauthorized entry in a dwelling in the second degree. Adds the assault of firefighters and water safety officers to the offense of assault in the second degree.
House Bill 1034 provides funding for employer contribution amounts for Hawaii employer union health benefits trust fund benefit plan premiums for the employees of collective bargaining units.
House Bill 1036 adopts language regarding death benefits for ERS members on qualified military service in order to maintain the tax-qualified status of the ERS.
House Bill 1039 provides rent relief to airport concessionaires that do not have a self-adjusting rent formula. Increases the rental motor vehicle surcharge tax.
Senate Bill 1040 increases the civil penalty amounts and additional criminal fines for violations of the Hawaii occupational safety and health law.
House Bill 1045 update insurance code to adopt revisions to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners model laws and regulations for risk-based capital trend test for property and casualty insurers required for accreditation.
House Bill 1049 updates insurance code and related provisions.
House Bill 1052 amends the insurance code to comply with the federal Non-admitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2010.
House Bill 1053 amends the license requirements for dental hygienists by specifying that they are required to pass the National Dental Hygiene Exam.
House Bill 1060 moves the Chief Information Officer from the Office of the Governor to the Department of Accounting.
House Bill 1067 repeals the authority of the Executive Director of the Office of Youth Services to transfer youth committed to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility to adult correctional facilities for disciplinary or other reasons effective immediately.
Senate Bill 1067 clarifies the permissible divulging of adult probation records by probation officers to treatment service providers.
Senate Bill 1068 makes killing or attempting to kill the pet of another person without their consent animal cruelty in the first degree.
House Bill 1069 establishes specific time frames for a commitment or release on conditions when unfit defendants are charged with petty misdemeanors for 60 days and non-violent misdemeanors for 120 days.
Senate Bill 1069 strengthens laws against dog fighting and creates the offense of cruelty to animals by fighting dogs in the second degree.
House Bill 1070 specifies that any person acquitted on the grounds of physical or mental defect and who was charged with a misdemeanor or violation can be granted conditional release for no more than one year.
House Bill 1071 requires the Department of Health to provide a fitness restoration program for defendants unfit to proceed with court proceedings and on conditional release.
Senate Bill 1073 increases the amount of a surcharge paid when filing a complaint or an appeal. The increased amounts are to be phased in over time and will be used to increase funding for the Indigent Legal Assistance Fund.
House Bill 1076 authorizes the 2009 special administrative transfer for payment of unemployment insurance program administrative expenses.
Senate Bill 1076 makes it unlawful for any employer or labor organization with more than 100 employees and a collective bargaining agreement to bar or discharge, withhold pay or demote an employee solely because the employee uses accrued and available sick leave.
House Bill 1077 provides for payment of interest due on Title XII loans from the Employment and Training Fund. It authorizes the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations to increase the Employment and Training Fund assessment in increments of .01% retroactive to January 1, 2011.
House Bill 1079 allows Department of Land and Natural Resources to charge fees for providing technical assistance on the creation of Habitat Conservation Plans.
House Bill 1082 establishes the Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund in the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the purpose of setting aside moneys to be used to protect the State’s natural, cultural, and historic resources.
House Bill 1085 amends chapter 329 of the Hawaii Revised Statues to bring Hawaii statutes on controlled substances to be consistent with the federal laws and increase the registration certificate for qualifying patients for medical marijuana.
House Bill 1087 amends section 353-61 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes to delete the Hawaii Criminal Justice Association from the panel to nominate members of the paroling authority since the association no longer exists.
House Bill 1088 adds a section to chapter 353 of the Hawaii Revised Statues relating to the mental health treatment of inmates and detainees in the custody of the Department of Public Safety.
Senate Bill 1088 repeals the 2012 end date of provisions related to partial unemployment benefits. Removes the 8 week limitation on partial unemployment benefit status and modifies the requirements and conditions for elgibility.
Senate Bill 1089 allows the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to penalize businesses that fail to give notification of 60 days before relocating or ending its operations.
House Bill 1093 amends the commercial driver licensing statutes as they pertain to the limit of alcohol concentration for commercial motor vehicle drivers to make them consistent with federal regulations.
House Bill 1094 amends the licensing process and medical requirements for commercial driver’s licensing to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations.
House Bill 1107 authorizes members of the army and air national guard who are qualified by training and authorized by their commanders to use electric guns subject to state law when assisting civil authorities in disaster relief, civil defense, or law enforcement functions.
House Bill 1130 repeals the date of Act 158 (2009) requiring condo associations and planned community associations and cooperative housing corporations to establish an access polity for civil process servers.
House Bill 1134 repeals Part V of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act and Act 99, Session Laws of Hawai'i 1994, relating to the future termination of the prepaid health care law indicating that the state plans to retain its Prepaid Health Care Act.
House Bill 1138 authorizes a lien on an attorney’s firm for unpaid certified shorthand reporter’s services requested by the attorney.
Senate Bill 1153 makes it easier for farmers to get loans and on favorable terms.
Senate Bill 1154 establishes the south Kona wilderness area on the island of Hawai'i to preserve vulnerable visual, natural, biological, and historical aspects of South Kona.
House Bill 1164 authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to consider the sale or exchange of land of Sand Island parcels to leaseholders.
Senate Bill 1186 applies a daily transient accommodations tax to each transient accommodation furnished on a complimentary or gratuitous basis.
Senate Bill 1213 establishes a temporary taskforce to review state and county administrative rules that could be amended to make the permitting and approval process less burdensome.
Senate Bill 1221 requires the general contractor and applicable subcontractors for construction procurement under the Hawaii public procurement code to file certification of compliance with Chapter 103B of the Hawaii Revised Statutes with notice of final completion of the contract.
Senate Bill 1233 amends Chapter 467B Hawaii Revised Statutes to allow service of process by substitute service, allows the Attorney General to accept assurances of discontinuance and to issue cease and desist orders for violations of the law, and amends charity registration and fees.
House Bill 1241 extends for registered owners with an out-of-state address, the number of days during which the legal and registered owner of an abandoned vehicle may repossess the vehicle before it may be subject to disposal.
Senate Bill 1244 modifies the renewable energy facility siting process to include biofuel production facilities and distribution infrastructure with capacity to produce or distribute one hundred thousand gallons or more of biofuel annually.
Senate Bill 1260 allows the state to use its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocation for tax exempt bonds and tax credit bonds.
Senate Bill 1270 appropriates $42M from the hurricane reserve trust fund to the general fund to balance the state budget for 2010-2011. Authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds to fund the relief fund and maintain a $75M balance.
Senate Bill 1273 authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to enforce consumer protections and market reforms relating to insurance of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Senate Bill 1274 provides uniform standards for external review procedures based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Uniform Health Carrier External Review Model Act, to comply with the requirements of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Senate Bill 1277 updates regulation of legal service plans. Updates fees charged to insurers by the department of commerce and consumer affairs.
Senate Bill 1278 adopts model regulations of National Association of Insurance Commissioners in conformity with senior investor protections in the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer.
Senate Bill 1281 amends Chapter 302A of Hawaii Revised Statutes to require the Committee on Weights to meet no less than once every odd-numbered year, rather than annually.
Senate Bill 1286 provides $1,423,750 in emergency funding for the Offices of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor to continue operations until June 30, 2011.
House Bill 1286 authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist BioEnergy Hawaii LLC to establish a cogeneration facility
Senate Bill 1288 provides emergency appropriation to cover grants for various organizations.
Senate Bill 1290 increases the limits of the State’s liability from $50M to $100M for moneys borrowed by the department of Hawaiian homelands.
Senate Bill 1291 ensures that Child Protective Act hearings in Chapter 587A of Hawaii Revised Statutes are consistent with federal Title IV-E provisions.
Senate Bill 1293 provides an emergency appropriation for the remainder of the current fiscal year to provide financial assistance for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program helping eligible adults with dependent children.
Senate Bill 1300 amends the composition of the Hawaii Health Systems corp board to add an at-large member appointed by the Governor.
Senate Bill 1301 makes exemptions from the state Fair Housing Laws consistent with similar exemptions found in the federal Fair Housing Act.
House Bill 1313 authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds for Windward Nazarene Academy.
Senate Bill 1318 eliminates redundant language on the tax exemption for stevedoring.
Senate Bill 1325 defines “aftermarket motorcycle frame” and allows the county to assign a VIN to a motorcycle with an aftermarket frame. Disallows registration of uncertified motor vehicles and devices.
Senate Bill 1331 temporarily requires University of Hawaii to report on special and revolving funds.
House Bill 1333 increases the maximum monetary claim that may be filed in small claims court.
House Bill 1342 expands broadband (high-speed Internet) access in Hawaii. It exempts broadband infrastructure improvements from state or county permitting requirements for five years; exempts telecommunications companies from replacing utility poles when installing or improving telecommunications cables; requires the Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to submit a report to the legislature by 2016 reviewing these exemptions and make recommendations
Senate Bill 1342 requires disabled parking placards to be hung from the front windshield mirror of a vehicle when the placard is in use. It also allows the placard to be displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard if the design of the vehicle’s rearview mirror precludes secure hanging of the placard.
Senate Bill 1346 amends definition of "renewable electrical energy" to include, beginning 1/1/15, customer-sited, grid-connected renewable energy generation.
Senate Bill 1347 requires the public utilities commission to begin to accept filings and applications on paper and electronically and authorizes it to use an automatic rate adjustment clause to meet revenue requirements when aggregating renewable portfolios to meet renewable portfolio standards.
Senate Bill 1348 establishes the Hawaii health connector to create a health insurance exchange pursuant to the federal patient protection and affordable care act of 2010.
Senate Bill 1349 amends the Hawaii non-profit corporations act to permit member actions by ballot and electronic voting, use electronic notice and meet by teleconference.
House Bill 1376 extends the limited new media privilege against the compelled disclosure of sources and unpublished information.
House Bill 1368 clarifies the filing process of nomination papers and also defines a party candidate and modifies the withdrawal process for a party candidate.
Senate Bill 1383 permits the Hawaii 3R’s School Repair and Maintenance fund to receive moneys transferred to it from the School-level Minor repairs and Maintenance special fund.
Senate Bill 1386 allows election of up to 2 vice-chairpersons of the University of Hawaii board of regents and requires the board to elect any vice-chairperson or chairperson at a meeting held before July 1.
Senate Bill 1394 authorizes the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to enter into contracts with developers to develop public housing projects in exchange for commercial space in the project.
House Bill 1405 requires the Office of Planning to develop a timeline and plan for establishing a statewide system of greenways and trails.
House Bill 1434 clarifies that a single violation of the prevailing wage law refers to each separate project where the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations finds a contractor in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 104.
House Bill 1447 amends provisions in the Permitted Transfers in Trust Act (Act 182, SLH 2010) to strengthen Hawaii’s trust laws and allow Hawaii to compete with other states in this growing industry.
Senate Bill 1482 allows the public utilities commission to consider the benefits of capital improvements for renewable energy and energy efficiency and requires the commission to consider the need for the state to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
Senate Bill 1483 requires a condo association that includes time share units to list its name and address as the representative agent for individual time share owners.
Senate Bill 1484 clarifies insurance code for those organizations that primarily provide insurance benefits to members of our armed forces, veterans, and their families.
Senate Bill 1489 provides that attorney's liens shall also attach to proceedings after the commencement of arbitration proceedings, and orders, settlements, and awards pursuant to an arbitration proceeding. Also, removes the deadline to file a notice of claim of the attorney's lien.
Senate Bill 1491 clarifies the circumstances under which a district court may serve a summons or other writ outside the state.
House Bill 1505 establishes the State Facility Renovation Partnership Program, which allows the sale of certain state facilities to private investors who would improve the facility and lease it back to the state.
Senate Bill 1511 increases the maximum lease terms for aquaculture operations to 65 years.
Senate Bill 1519 amends the secure and fair enforcement for mortgage licensing act to require mortgage originators to work under the sponsorship of a registered entity and specifies standards and practices.
House Bill 1520 directs the public utilities commission to investigate on-billing financing program for residential electric utility customers to finance purchases of energy efficient or renewable energy devices and systems through their electric utility bills.
Senate Bill 1520 establishes a five-member Native Hawaiian roll commission in the office of Hawaiian affairs for administrative purposes to prepare and maintain a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians; requires the commission to publish the roll to facilitate commencement of a convention for the purpose of organization; requires the governor to dissolve the commission after publication of the roll; requires the office of Hawaiian affairs to fund expenses of the Native Hawaiian roll commission; requires a report to the governor and legislature prior to the regular session of 2012.
Senate Bill 1530 authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend leases of public lands for hotel or resort use upon approval of a proposed development agreement to make substantial improvements.
House Bill 1532 requires real property tax appellants to first obtain a decision from an administrative body established by the county before appealing to the tax appeal court.
Senate Bill 1533 clarifies that a person commits the offense of cruelty to animals in the second degree if the person kills without need any animal other than insects, vermin, or other pests, provided they are handled in accordance with standard and acceptable pest control practices and all applicable laws and regulations.
House Bill 1552 restricts the use of the geographic origin of Hawaii grown coffee on coffee labels.
Senate Bill 1555 establishes the public land development corporation to administer an appropriate and culturally sensitive public land development program. The program allows businesses to lease state lands; revenues generated would go to a special fund within the Department of Land and Natural Resources to help maintain those state lands.
House Bill 1566 allows for the lease of fast and submerged lands at Ala Wai Boat harbor and permits the limited issuance of commercial use permits for vessels with assigned moorings in Ala Wai and Keehi boat harbors.
House Bill 1568 requires the Department of Transportation to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture to facilitate inspections of imported and exported agriculture and other inspected commodities at airports. Requires Department of Transportation to provide space at commercial harbors for biosecurity and inspection facilities.
House Bill 1613 requires an application to register to vote to include a space to request a permanent absentee ballot.
House Bill 1622 requires the construction of a state law enforcement memorial in the capitol district, provided private funds are solicited and used for the construction of the memorial
House Bill 1640 allows counties to issue state IDs where driver’s licenses are issued; goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

For more details about these bills go to: Hawaii State Legislature 2011 session website.