Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hawaii Super Ferry Starts Service

A vision for many years, the interisland Hawaii Super Ferry will finally become a reality and take its maiden voyage Sunday, August 26.

Christened the Alakai, which means "ocean path" in honor of Hawaii's rich history of marine navigation and travel, the 349' vessel can carry 900 passengers and 250 cars. Hawaii Superferry is more than just an alternative way to get from one island to the next. The company believes their interisland service will change Hawai‘i for the better, combining historic tradition with modern capabilities to rebuild our marine highways. Read more…

Through Sept. 5, the inaugural rates on the catamaran-style ferry will be $5/passenger/one-way and $5/car/one-way, compared to rates in the hundreds to fly or ship a vehicle. Initial service will be between Maui and Oahu, and Kauai and Oahu, with Big Island trips added in 2009. The normal one-way fares are scheduled to be $59-69 including fuel surcharge & taxes, still the cheapest way by far to travel interisland.

Concern for the whales which frequent island waters prompted a lawsuit by several environmental groups, which claim the EIS (impact statement) has not been completed and the ferry should not operate until it has been approved. The Hawaii Dept. of Transportation is allowing the ferry to begin operating, because the court did not specifically rule against it.

For now, the graceful vessel will be seen plying the ocean waters with the whales, and offering a new mode of interisland travel.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Admissions Day in Hawaii Aug. 18

The 3rd Friday in August is celebrated as Admissions Day, commemorating the date - August 21 - when Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959. The state became the 50th, and last, state to join the Union. President Eisenhower unfurled the new 50-star flag at the White House ceremony, but the flag did not become official until July 4, 1960.

At the ceremony, Eisenhower was joined by Vice President Nixon, House Speaker Sam Rayburn, Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton, and Hawaii politicians-elect: Senator-elect Oren Long, and House-member-elect Daniel Inouye, who has represented Hawaii in Congress ever since, and is still one of the state's two Senators! Hiram Fong, the other Senator-elect, and the new Governor, William F. Quinn, stayed in Hawaii.

Statehood bills for Hawaii were introduced into Congress as early as 1919, and again in 1935, 1947, and 1950. In the decade before 1959, three Hawaii statehood bills had passed the House. Once a bill also passed the Senate, but died because it was tied to statehood for Alaska. Much of the opposition came from Southerners in Congress, who "took a dim view of the mixed racial strains of Hawaii's population."

Alaska was admitted earlier in 1959, but no new states had been added since 1912, when Arizona and New Mexico became part of the Union. When Alaska was finally approved, Hawaii's long fight for statehood effectively ended, as it was generally understood by the politicians that Hawaii's turn would come.

For those of us lucky enough to live in Hawaii, we feel the ethnic diversity is not only one of the greatest strengths of the state, but also one of the many pleasures of calling this Paradise our "home."

Monday, August 6, 2007

New Development in Hawaii Kai

Jim Schmit, architect of 9 unique homes at the base of Kamehame Ridge in Hawaii Kai, found opportunity where others only saw a thin stretch of land on a busy road.

He is a modernist, and jumped at the chance to build a different kind of project, with a modern approach. The 2 completed homes look like warehouses from the outside, but inside you can see the blending of modern materials and an island-inspired courtyard and loft.

Schmit is facing building challenges, not unusual in our island home. He's had to put in water, sewer, and repave the part of Hawaii Kai Drive fronting the project, after installing underground utilties.

Each home is about 4,000 sq ft, and will sell for $1.5 million. The Bali Loft subdivision should be completed by 2009. Contact me for information about these homes or other new construction in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe