Another Kaaawa graduation party

[text]Crystal Heig celebrated her graduation from Kahuku High School with a big bash hosted by her family and held at the Kaaawa home of her grandfather, Ward Lemn.

Once again, I volunteered to bring a camera to the party and do my best to record the event.

And, as usual, what a treat! A real cross-section of Hawaii, crossing so many of the boundaries between communities. A visual feast to accompany the culinary feast.

Congratulations to Crystal!

–> See more of this family-produced luau in Kaaawa!

Candidate forum set for Tuesday, July 15

Ka`a`awa Community Association announces
Ka`a`awa / Punalu`u Candidate Forum

Tuesday — July 15, 2014

7:00 p.m. — Ka`a`awa Elementary School

Meet the candidates for the Ko’olauloa House and Senate seats.

We are inviting the candidates for Senate district 23
• Norm Brown (R)
• Richard Fale (R)
• Colleen Meyer (R)
• Gil Riviere (D)

and the candidates for Representative district 47
• Kent Fonoimoana (D)
• Feki Pouha (R)

The Ka`a`awa and Punalu`u Community Associations invite you to attend our Candidate Forum, where you will have an opportunity to hear from the candidates for the Ko’olauloa Area.

1) Welcome and format setting

2) Each candidate will be introduced by our Moderator and given 2 minutes to speak about themselves and their platform

3) The Moderator will ask specific questions directed at groups of candidates, who will have one minute each to answer. Candidates who do not get a specific question can address that question in their closing statement if they so choose.

4) Each candidate will be given 3 minutes to make a closing statement.Need inspiration for your design?

Signs of summer

It is summer, and you see signs of it here in Kaaawa.

At the top, a couple of roadside entrepreneurs ply their trade of the day. Coconuts, 2/$5. We drove by later. Just a few coconuts were left, and boys were gone.

coconuts 2/$5

And its the season for those little silvery fish, the oama, and the groups of people who line up in shallow water along the shore to catch the little delicacies.

At the beach

But, it seems, there’s a generation gap. We came across this scene earlier this morning. Boy on beach with digital device. Family in water with fishing poles. Between, a great digital divide.

parting ways

Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Sunday morning mist

It was something between a light rain and a blowing mist this morning in Kaaawa.

We managed to make it through most of our regular morning walk before deciding it was time to get home and get dry.

This was the view from Kaaawa Beach Park looking towards Kaaawa Valley and Kualoa.

Click to see a larger version.

Kaaawa, Hawaii

Kitten Alert: Seven beautiful kittens looking for good homes

Friends here in Kaaawa have a litter of seven wonderful kittens. They will be five weeks old tomorrow, ready for adoption in several weeks. And then are also looking for a permanent home for the mom, a beautiful calico.

Seven kittens & mom

Click on the photo to see more kitten pictures.

The kittens are beautiful. I’ll get some additional photos later this week.

Our friend intends to get the kittens “fixed” before adoption.

If you are at all interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with our friends.

Another special graduation party in Kaaawa

May 31, 2014The occasion was a party to celebrate Ikaika Kanekoa’s graduation from Castle High School in Kaneohe. Party favors reflected his football career at Castle.

Most grads would worry about how their family would be able to host the several hundred people expected to attend.

But Ikaika’s family are experts in preparing this kind of gathering. His grandfather, Ward Lemn, has it down to an art, and several generations now work together to make it happen.

These family gatherings have become very special neighborhood events, bringing together friends and neighbors, as well as relatives. Guests include quite an incredible cross-section of people from all walks of life. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to document several of them over the years.

There was a special poignance to this particular celebration. Ikaika’s mother didn’t live to see his graduation. She passed away in February of this year. A prayer was said, and colored balloons were released in her memory. Tears were shed, hugs shared.

A true feast followed.

–> Use this link to check out all the photographs from yesterday’s graduation party!

A note on the photos. I didn’t manage to get the batteries charged on my full frame camera, one I would normally have used, so instead turned to a different combination. I took a Canon EOS-M, a little mirrorless camera which can use all the current Canon lenses. For most of the time, I used a 24-105 zoom lens, which dwarfs the camera, but the combo was surprisingly comfortable to hold. I was trying to avoid using a flash, which turned out to be a mistake. As the evening wore on, it was harder to focus and harder to control motion blur as shutter speeds got slower to compensate for the near darkness. At one point I shifted to a faster lens, before finally giving up and going to the flash. I should have made that move earlier in the evening. Overall, though, the pictures turned out okay, and capture the spirit of the afternoon and evening.

Attention cat people: Be part of a caring rescue

Wanted: A foster home for a 12-week old kitten, and eventual adopted homes for it and it’s brother. They are part of a trio of kittens a friend in Kaaawa is hard at work trying to rescue.

Disclosure: Reading between the lines. These are kittens of a mostly feral mother who has now been adopted and is being cared for as an outdoor cat. Our friend is trying to socialize the kittens so they can be adopted. This means the foster placement is a bit of a special needs situation. But if you’re at all interested, I’ll put you in direct touch with our friend for more details.

First, a couple of pictures. Then the story.

The kitten in immediate need of a foster home is the tiger striped kitten with a white nose and face. It’s in the middle of the top photo, and on the left in the bottom picture. Our friend thinks it’s a female, but is not completely sure at this point. The B&W kitten is in a foster home already. Both are also in need of adopted homes after a period of socialization.

Click on either photo for a better view.

foster  homes needed

foster homes needed

Here’s the story, as told by our friend.

Can you guys help with getting the word out on your website about finding homes for two of the kittens (I think we are going to keep one).

I have the little black and white one in a foster home right now and the little grey and white one which is soooooo gorgeous is the other one needing a home.

The background on them is that my Mother and I adopted two female adult white cats that we took in and had fixed, and now they are living with us.

However, one the adult females came to us with an eye gouged out(Poor thing) and she is the one with the litter of 3 which we didn’t discover until they were about 4 weeks old.

I think they will all be great outdoor cats but as kittens must remain indoors until they get used to their surroundings. Anyone adopting one would only probably have to keep the kitten in for about a month until they know where they will be being fed, I’m sure you know what I mean.

I will get both kittens fixed before I send them off to their new homes, so anyone adopting them won’t have to worry about that. I will also treat them for worms and fleas, it’s a really good offer and I hope it will help to find homes.

I thought that this little background story and history might help with finding a home for those two I mentioned, they are now about 12 weeks old.

If you are interested in being a temporary foster parent for a kitten, or would like to explore adopting one or two kittens, please let me know and I’ll put you directly in touch with my friend. You can email me– ian(at)

A simple security camera set-up

In the course of our burglary saga of the past few days, a number of people have asked about the cameras that I have installed. Here’s a brief rundown.

We don’t have a full security system, although that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, under the circumstances.

wireless security caneraInstead, I have installed two cameras, both made by Axis Communications. I believe the two models I use have both been discontinued. You can click here to download a comparison of the current Axis models generally available.

The cameras are small, probably just over 3″ high and a couple of inches wide.

Both the cameras I have installed feature wireless connections to an available wireless network. Unless your house is already wired for a computer network, wireless is a must. No computer is needed, since the cameras can connect directly to the internet. The cameras do need access to a power source.

Both feature motion detection, ability to record video or still images and to adjust camera settings to your own situation.

The first camera is an Axis 207MW, which has a wider field of view than some other models, as well as 1-megapixel resolution. It yields outstanding images.

The second camera is an Axis M1031, lower resolution and a tighter field of view.

The current most comparable model seems to be the Axis M1034-W Network Camera. The M1033-W is similar, but with the slightly narrower field of view.

Axis cameras are available from good online merchants, including my favorites, Amazon and BH Photo. I don’t know who carries them locally.

Both cameras are set to start taking pictures when they detect motion in a room. You can adjust the area that they monitor for motion in order to avoid fans or other things that would trigger the motion detectors. My cameras immediately start taking photos every few seconds, and these are uploaded to a hidden folder on the server that hosts my website. I’m sure they could also be saved to a Dropbox folder or via another cloud-based service.

The cameras are triggered when motion is detected, and then take photos every few seconds for an adjustable period of time. I have the cameras set to take and upload several hundred photographs. When the quota is reached, they start back at the beginning, with the newest photos overwriting older ones. This keeps the total amount of online storage needed under some control.

And the cameras can be set to operate only during certain hours, like when you’re away at work, so that you don’t end up with endless photos of yourself walking around the house, watching television, or whatever.

When I first installed the cameras, it was really a trial-and-error procedure for me. It took me hours of fiddling around to get them both up and running properly. But Axis has improved its software and controls, and I understand setup is now much easier.

If you can figure out how to connect your television to your home music system, you can probably get a camera like this up and running.

On Friday, when we discovered we had been burglarized, I didn’t have much hope for any photos. I had been having connection issues with the server (since resolved), and I realized that I hadn’t checked the camera settings in months to be sure they were still set properly.

But despite having been up and running for months without any review or maintenance, they came through with photos that made it possible to identify the burglar and led to the recovery of the stolen items.

These cameras have capabilities I haven’t tried to tap. They have connections to trigger an alarm, and have built-in audio capacity as well. I’ve left those functions for future experiments, but would love to hear from anyone who already makes use of them.

To be clear, cameras like this won’t prevent a burglary, but they may provide crucial information if, or when, someone enters your home illegally.

I forgot to mention that I can monitor what’s going on at home via my iPhone using one of several available apps. It allows me to check in on the cats, or the weather, from anywhere as long as my phone can reach the internet.

If there are specific questions you have about this setup, I’ll try to answer them.

Crime solved!

First Draft: This burglary case came to a surprising ending late Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the photos went viral, especially on Facebook, as people posted and reposted them. I received calls from all over Honolulu and from several places on the mainland, as people examined the pictures and saw a resemblance to someone they know. Then there were two local television stations which decided to run stories on the case. Capturing photos of the burglary in progress apparently made it news.

The crowdsourcing brought results. Quite a number of people–more than a dozen–contacted me and independently named a Hauula man as the person in the photo. Some said they saw answers posted online on other Facebook pages with the man’s name as well. Many were quite positive in making this identification. As it turns out, they were wrong. That’s an important lesson that we all have to deal with.

The case turned late in the day with a phone call from an unidentified man. “I know the person in the photo,” he said. “But I want to talk to him before I say more.”

I thanked him, and told him he could contact me at any time. The call ended. I wondered if it was for real. The answer came several hours later.

We had finished our dinner, cleaned up, and were in that awkward period at the end of the day where it’s just a little too early to go to bed, but too late to start anything new.

Then my cell phone rang again. It was about 8:10 p.m. It was the same man. He said he was in Kaneohe, and wanted to come out to meet me. He had, he said, retrieved most of what had been taken from our house.

I gave him directions to our house, and within 30 minutes I saw his headlights as the truck pulled up to our driveway.

The short version is that the burglar is a member of this man’s family, and the family has been working hard to keep him out of further trouble, help him deal with a drug problem, and get his life back under control. It was a relative living on the mainland who saw the photo and called to ask, “Is that uncle?” The family agreed it was, and confronted him. They quickly got the story out of him. They also set about retrieving the stolen property, which was delivered to me in a black bag, there in the dark, in our driveway in Kaaawa, about 9 p.m. at the end of a long Sunday.

The family, he said, is taking responsibility. They know that with the photos in circulation, there may well be additional consequences. They have told the man that he has to face the problems, and that he can rely on his family for support. I wish them luck.

Meanwhile, the “right” path from here forward isn’t clear to me at this point. We are still literally overwhelmed at getting the bag of stuff returned. We were coming to terms with the loss, and now most of the stolen property is back. That’s a big emotional U-turn and hard to maneuver.

By the way, two people did correctly identify the burglar. But they were in a distinct minority among those who offered up names. It’s something to ponder.

Photos generating tips to I.D. of burglar

A funny thing has happened in the past 24 hours. The photos of the burglar “going shopping in our house” have gone viral, or close to it. Links to the photos have been posted and reposted on Facebook by lots of different folks. Thanks to all of you!

And there are results.

Early Sunday morning, I heard from a group of former Hawaii people now living in Las Vegas. They agreed the photo shows someone they know. I’ve also heard from folks in California and Washington State, as well as those in various parts of Ohau.

Quite a few people have identified the man as a Hauula resident. There’s one other prime suspect, based on the photo, who used to live in Kaaawa and may now live in Kahaluu or Kaneohe. Both names have been forwarded to HPD.

But this is just Day 1. Please keep your suggestions and tips coming my way.

And I’ll follow-up with a description of the cameras that caught our burglar in the act, which several people have asked about.