Life in These Hawaiian Islands

Trade Winds, Tsunamis, and the Coconut Wireless

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Monarch Butterflies

Dancetta Feary greets her wing-feathered friends — the butterflies she raises PHOTO COURTESY LINDA CHING

Some believe that the purpose of every butterfly is to set aside everything that was once known — to transform and embrace an entire new way of life. Such was the case for butterfly farmer Dancetta Feary. When her brother Mackey, the lead singer for Kalapana, died Feb. 20, 1999, she felt something inside her had ended and her world came crashing down.

Since then, she has come out of depression, survived a divorce and left behind a solace state and devastation to discover a whole new life in the world of butterflies. She is nicknamed the Butterfly Realtor.

“I raise butterflies because they are my passion, and my goal is to keep them abundant for future generations,” she explains.

Over the past 10 years, the Kaneohe resident has reared tens of thousands of her graceful winged friends.

“I can have several hundred eggs, 500 caterpillars and dozens of butterflies in one given day, depending on the season,” she says.

She has set up a safe haven right in her backyard and butterfly house.

Born to Bryant Mackey Feary Sr. and Regina Chong Feary Okimoto, Dancetta was raised on Maunalani Heights (Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki) and lived for 30 years on a street called “Mariposa” Drive, which means butterfly.

“The favorite flower of some royalty is the crown flower, which is the host plant for monarch butterflies, where they lay their eggs,” says Dancetta, who organizes educational tours to encourage people to grow crown flowers again. “If there are no crown flowers, then there are no monarchs. During my childhood, there were a lot of crown flowers around, but over the years, more people have cut down the plants, which can grow high if not trimmed. People have lost interest in making crown flower lei,” she says. “We learn from butterflies because they are independent. Once the mother lays her eggs, that’s it. The babies are on their own until they morph into butterflies and fly into the sunset.”

Like her graceful, fluttering pets, Dancetta has become independent and strong. She doesn’t feel that she is living alone now because she is always greeted by her buzzing caterpillars, which eat nonstop and eventually morph into dazzling monarch dancers. There are four stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths: egg, larva, pupa and adult.

Most people walk their pets, but Dancetta sets aside one to two hours a day nurturing her monarchs, sometimes more, depending on whether cages need to be cleaned. “My neighbor Judy Tsukamoto spends four to five hours per day with them, since my real estate business has been keeping me busy,” she says. Tsukamoto peels caterpillars off Dancetta’s plants and transfers them into cages, so that predators can’t get to them. Dancetta’s monarchs are raised from eggs. She keeps some butterflies in an 8-by-8-foot cage so that they have room to fly, eat and mate.

“Everything is here for a reason, butterflies included. They show us how to navigate life, be independent and stay strong. They live in the moment and are loners, but yet they make it,” she says.

The monarchs’ vibrating wings generate blissful tunes as their predators lurk in the thick vegetation.

She has brought comfort to many, including singer Nohelani Cypriano.

“Nohelani came to me for butterflies to use for a photo shoot. It was for her recent album, which was dedicated to her mother, who loved butterflies. Nohelani also was featured at Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and sang her song Pulelehua, (butterfly). We released 300 monarchs into the field. It was an unbelievable sight that impressed the crowd.”

Dancetta credits family for her success in life.

“My maternal grandma raised me to be the overachiever I am today. Grandfather inspired me to pursue athletics. Dad worked hard and struggled to make ends meet for our family,” she explains.

Dancetta says her brother Mackey’s music continues to uplift her in times of need. “Also grateful to my life coach, Natalie Kawai, who helps me to find the strength within me to be freed,” she says.

Sometimes the beauty and aesthetic appeal of butterflies lead people into thinking they are fragile and that they need human intervention to survive.

The fact is, they don’t. Like her butterflies, Dancetta has transformed her weakness into strengths and has become a strong, independent individual.

“I enjoy sharing my butterflies with children to show them just how extraordinary they are, especially when the kids get up close and personal in my butterfly house,” she says. “They love to hold and feed the butterflies.”

For a woman who learned through the death of a loved one just how fragile life can be, she continues to showcase her passion in life by educating Hawaii about her graceful and fragile floating creatures. Dancetta treasures her precious moments with her monarchs as they wing off happily into their new world of sun and air.


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The Top Four Anti-Inflammatory Spices (cloves, ginger, rosemary, turmeric)

The Top Four Anti-Inflammatory Spices
Written by: Michael Greger M.D. on January 20th, 2015
The Top Four Anti-Inflammatory Spices
Once in a while I come across a study that’s so juicy I have to do a whole video about it (Which Spices Fight Inflammation?).

A group of researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville and Pennsylvania State set up a brilliant experiment. We’ve known that ounce per ounce, herbs and spices have some of the greatest antioxidant activities known. But that’s only ever been tested in a test tube. Before we can ask if an herb or spice has real health benefits, it is first necessary to determine whether it is bioavailable — whether the active ingredients are even absorbed. This had never been done, until now.

The researchers could have taken the easy route and just measured the change in antioxidant level in one’s bloodstream before and after consumption, but the assumption that the appearance of antioxidant activity in the blood is an indication of bioavailability has a weakness. Maybe more gets absorbed than we think but doesn’t show up on antioxidant tests because it gets bound up to proteins or cells. So the researchers attempted to measure physiological changes in the blood. They were interested in whether absorbed compounds would be able to protect white blood cells from an oxidative or inflammatory injury—whether herb and spice consumption would protect the strands of our DNA from breaking when attacked by free radicals. I cover the DNA findings in my video, Spicing Up DNA Protection. They also wondered if the consumption might alter cellular inflammatory responses in the presence of a physiologically relevant inflammatory insult. What does this all mean?

The researchers took a bunch of people and had each of them eat different types of spices for a week. There were many truly unique things about this study, but one was that the quantity of spices that study subjects consumed was based on the usual levels of consumption in actual food. For example, the oregano group was given a half teaspoon a day—a practical quantity that people might actually eat once in a while. At the end of the week, they drew blood from the dozen or so people they had adding, for example, black pepper to their diets that week, and compared the effects of their blood to the effects of the blood of the dozen subjects on cayenne, or cinnamon, or cloves, or cumin. They had about ten different groups of people eating about ten different spices. Then they dripped their plasma (the liquid fraction of their blood) onto human white blood cells in a Petri dish that had been exposed to an inflammatory insult. The researchers wanted to pick something really inflammatory, so they chose oxidized cholesterol (which is what we’d get in our bloodstream after eating something like fried chicken. If oxidized cholesterol is a new concept for you, please check out its role in heart disease progression in my video Arterial Acne). So they jabbed the white blood cells with oxidized cholesterol and measured how much tumor necrosis factor (TNF) they produced in response.

TNF is a powerful inflammatory cytokine, infamous for the role it plays in autoimmune attacks like inflammatory bowel disease. Compared to the blood of those who ate no spices for a week, black pepper was unable to significantly dampen the inflammatory response. What about any of the other spices? The following significantly stifled the inflammatory response:


And remember, they weren’t dripping the spices themselves on these human white blood cells, but the blood of those who ate the spices. So the results represents what might happen when cells in our body are exposed to the levels of spices that circulate in our bloodstream after normal daily consumption—not megadoses in some pill. Just the amount that makes our spaghetti sauce, pumpkin pie, or curry sauce taste good.

There are drugs that can do the same thing. Tumor necrosis factors are such major mediators of inflammation and inflammation-related diseases that there are TNF-blocking drugs on the market for the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis, which collectively rake in more than $20 billion a year ($15,000–$20,000 per person per year). At that price, the side effects better be hugs and rainbows. But no, the drugs carry a so-called “black box warning” because they can cause things like cancer and heart failure. If only there was a cheaper, safer solution.

The spice curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, is substantially cheaper and safer, but does it work outside of a test tube? There’s evidence that it may help in all of the diseases for which TNF blockers are currently being used. So with health-care costs and safety being such major issues, this golden spice turmeric may help provide the solution.

See Antioxidants in a Pinch and How to Reach the Antioxidant RDA to see the extent to which even small amounts of spices can affect one’s antioxidant intake.

Another elegant series of “ex vivo” experiments exploring the cancer fighting power of lifestyle changes can be seen in the videos starting with Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay.

Mushrooms (Boosting Immunity While Reducing Inflammation), nuts (Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell), and purple potatoes (Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes) may also reduce inflammation (along with plant foods in general, see Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants and Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods). In fact so well that plant-based diets can be used to treat inflammatory conditions. See, for example, Dietary Treatment of Crohn’s Disease, Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Potassium and Autoimmune Disease. Animal products on the other hand may increase inflammation through a variety of mechanisms, including endotoxins (How Does Meat Cause Inflammation?), arachidonic acid (Chicken, Eggs, and Inflammation), and Neu5Gc (The Inflammatory Meat Molecule Neu5Gc).

-Michael Greger, M.D

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

Image Credit: jo-marshall (was Jo-h) / Flickr

Tags: alternative medicine, ankylosing spondylitis, antioxidants, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cancer survival, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular health, Cayenne pepper, chicken, cholesterol, cinnamon, cloves, complementary medicine, cost savings, cumin, curcumin, DNA damage, ginger, heart disease, heart failure, heart health, herbs, inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, medications, oregano, osteoarthritis, oxidative stress, pepper, poultry, psoriasis, rosemary, side effects, spices, Tumor necrosis factor, turmeric

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by JORDAN SCHACHTEL30 Jan 2015Washington, D.C.89
An official U.S. State Department transcript revealed that Georgetown University had “organized and funded” a recent trip for members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to the United States.

While in the United States, the Brotherhood operatives met with top State Department officials in the Obama administration.

A reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “Members of Muslim Brothers were in town, and few days ago they met – had meetings in this building. Do you have any like – any details about the meeting, the nature of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and whom they met?”

Psaki responded:

Well, State Department officials meet – recently met with a group of visiting Egyptian former parliamentarians whose visit to the United States was organized and funded by Georgetown University. Such meetings are fairly routine at the State Department, where we regularly meet with political party leaders from across the world. The Georgetown group included former members of the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood), among others. So this was a meeting – we meet on a regular basis with a range of groups, and obviously, as I mentioned, this was a group sponsored by Georgetown.

Psaki added that the meeting between the Muslim Brotherhood officials and Obama administration officials “was attended by a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor, and other State Department officials.”

This week, the State Department hosted several “former” members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. One of the members of the Brotherhood delegation, Waleed Sharaby, proudly displayed on Facebook a picture he took at the State Department, where he flashed the Brotherhood’s four-finger symbol.

Another Brotherhood leader within the delegation, Gamal Heshmat, claimed that he met with a “representative of the White House.” Heshmat has openly supported the Palestinian Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip. Additionally, Heshmat has previously described Jews as “the descendants of pigs and monkeys.”

Georgetown University, which hosted the Brotherhood delegation, receives a vast amount of funding from foreign entities, some of which could potentially be sympathetic to the jihadist group.

Qatar, which remains a strong ideological ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, operates a Georgetown satellite school in Doha that some have alleged is funded entirely “by oil money and corrupt sheikhs,” according to The Hoya student newspaper. Dr. John Esposito, who serves as director of the Saudi-funded Prince Alaweed Bin Tala Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, “has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organization,” according to Global MB Watch.

During the Muslim Brotherhood’s reign over Egypt, Cairo devolved into a state of total chaos. Coptic Christians were fearful for their lives. Their churches, schools, and businesses were routinely burned to the ground. Furthermore, al-Qaeda terrorists were offered safe haven into the country. One of MB President Morsi’s first acts as president was to release from prison the brother of al-Qaeda mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri, who reportedly told Morsi at the time, “We will fight the [Egyptian] military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame.” On the Brotherhood’s watch, the Sinai peninsula became a breeding ground for terrorism, helping jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis become a radical enough force to eventually swear allegiance to the Islamic State. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president would often verbally assault Jews, describing them as “bloodsuckers” who are the “descendants of apes and pigs.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s slogan states, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu Akbar!”

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National Security, Islam, State Department, Jihad, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Georgetown University

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Letter from George Katsumi Kodama to Seattle Draft Board, 04/20/1944

Refusing draft since he is being involuntarily held in “relocation” or “concentration” camp by his own government, based on his race.

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Travel (Flight) Tips

From getting an upgrade to bagging a better seat, the tricks of travelling in comfort revealed (without paying any extra)
Drawing a terrible seating location can cause plenty of stress for travellers
Best chances for an upgrade are when a flight is overbooked or nearly full
Simple tips include joining a loyalty scheme or being polite to staff
PUBLISHED: 07:48 EST, 29 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:39 EST, 29 January 2015

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It is one of the most stressful elements of travel – where to sit to ensure a comfortable flight?
And with airlines trying to charge extra for more legroom, seemingly ever-diminishing seat sizes and the extortionate cost of upgrades, it can seem like we’re all doomed to discomfort at 35,000ft.
But there are ways to score a free upgrade or even just secure a better seat in economy without having to spend any extra money if you follow some easy insider tips from professional travellers.
Scroll down for video

The best chances of receiving a free upgrade come when a flight is overbooked or nearly full
Reigo Eljas, trading director at, said: ‘Winning the upgrade lottery, where you can turn left on entering the aircraft instead of right, is sadly only a pipe dream for many and one which unfortunately very rarely comes true.

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‘Upgrade opportunities really vary from airline to airline and can be random, so your best chances will come when a flight is particularly full or over booked in the economy cabin.’
MailOnline Travel spoke to a number of travel insiders and experts to learn more about the tricks and tips to get your preferred seat or, even better, a spot in business or first class.
Airlines look to upgrade their most loyal passengers first when the economy cabin is oversold
Airlines look to upgrade their most loyal passengers first when the economy cabin is oversold
Join a frequent flyer or loyalty scheme
For those who travel regularly for work or pleasure it pays to fly with the same airline or codeshare group and gain elite status.
When economy is oversold and there are open seats in a premium cabin, flight attendants rarely upgrade passengers at random.
They look to upgrade their most loyal passengers first, said Katherine Clark, regional business development director for TripAdvisor Flights.
Loyalty members may be able to use their miles or points to ‘buy’ an upgrade, said Oonagh Shiel, travel expert at
She said: Long-haul is where the upgrade action is. Don’t invest your hard-earned points on short-haul city hops.’
Travellers should select a seat when booking and check-in early to find the best possible spot
Travellers should select a seat when booking and check-in early to find the best possible spot
Select a seat or check-in early
Selecting a seat when you book or checking in online the moment it opens can secure the best possible spot.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket, said: ‘If a cabin is overbooked they will move people early to avoid operational issues on the day. So, where possible, check-in online as early as you can.
Some passengers check-in late, hoping unsold seats near the front of the plane become available
Some passengers check-in late, hoping unsold seats near the front of the plane become available
Arrive late
The strategy here is to check in late – but not too late so that you miss your flight – if the online check-in doesn’t offer a desirable seat, and hope that that unsold premium economy seats or seats near the front of the plane have been made available at the last minute.
But this is a big gamble as the flight may be full or nearly full and seating options may be limited. Don’t try this with carriers which charge a fee to passengers who check-in at the airport.
On rare occasions dressing like you belong in first class can see passengers moved from economy
On rare occasions dressing like you belong in first class can see passengers moved from economy
Dress the part
It may sound ridiculous, but dressing smart can see you move from economy to a premium seat.
George Hobica, founder of, told MailOnline Travel that it happened to him when he was flying within the US.
He said: ‘I was in the lounge and I was very nicely dressed when I heard my name paged. I thought I was going to be bumped but instead they handed me a first-class boarding pass and I’m sure it was because I was the only person who was decently dressed.
‘I’ve talked to gate agents before and they tell me if they’re oversold on economy, “Who are we going to put in first class? Are we going to put the slob or the person who is nicely dressed?” It doesn’t hurt to dress like you belong in first class.’
Ross Matthews,’s chief marketing officer, said: ‘You need to look the part, dress smart and keep your Hawaiian shirt firmly packed until you arrive.’
It never hurts to mention that you’re jetting away to celebrate a special occasion such as a honeymoon
It never hurts to mention that you’re jetting away to celebrate a special occasion such as a honeymoon
Celebrating a milestone?
Flight attendants and gate employees have heard this one a million times (and some flyers have fibbed about it), but it never hurts to mention that you’re jetting away to celebrate a special occasion.
Reigo Eljas, trading director at, said: ‘Be aware that what airlines consider to be a “special occasion” doesn’t quite match up with the general public’s view.
‘For example birthdays and anniversaries might be special to us but they are not recognised as special occasions by the airlines, so telling them it’s your 37th birthday might now get you very far.
‘Honeymoons are the only special occasion you have a chance of securing an upgrade for. I have heard many upgrade stories from newlyweds who have been bumped up to business class as a congratulations.’
Former flight attendant Carolyn Paddock said cabin crew find it annoying when an upgrade is requested
Former flight attendant Carolyn Paddock said cabin crew find it annoying when an upgrade is requested
Don’t ask for the upgrade
Carolyn Paddock, a former flight attendant who now runs her own website,, said it’s incredibly annoying when people ask for a free upgrade, and loads of people do it.
She said: ‘You might think that if you don’t ask to be upgraded, you won’t get it. But every agent and flight attendant knows you want a complimentary upgrade—who wouldn’t?
‘Do what you can to stand out from the crowd by being friendly, well dressed, and even helpful. Asking will likely get you a “no.” Why? Because so many people request, demand, and even expect it.’
Howcast’s guide to getting a first class flight upgrade (related)

Airlines are more likely to upgrade one passenger than a couple or a family of four
Airlines are more likely to upgrade one passenger than a couple or a family of four
Travel alone
Airlines are more likely to upgrade one passenger than a couple or a family of four, so your odds of an upgrade are higher when you fly solo.
Ms Shiel said: ‘If you’re without partner or children you’ll be easier to place. There are no seating considerations if there’s only one of you.’

If a flight is full the airline will ‘bump’ passengers onto the next one, and there are often incentives
Be flexible
If a flight is full the airline will ‘bump’ passengers onto the next one, and there are often incentives for doing so.
Ms Shiel said: ‘This might be a lucrative move. Incentives can often include an upgrade.
‘If you can afford to do this, tell the airline staff upon check-in.’
Mr Atkinson said: ’Pre-booking meals or making pre-flight requests could hinder your chances of being upgraded, as it may be seen as too much hassle to move you.’
‘Unless you have special dietary requirement, try and be as easy to work with as possible.’
Holidaymakers will have a better chance of selecting their preferred seat if they avoid peak travel times
Holidaymakers will have a better chance of selecting their preferred seat if they avoid peak travel times
Avoid busy times
Loella Pehrsson, regional managing director for travel website Kayak, said holidaymakers have a better shot at choosing their preferred seat if they avoid flights filled with business travellers.
She recommends people travel on bank holidays and avoid early morning or evening flights.
She said: ‘Travelling at these times will increase the likelihood of you being able to snap up a seat in business class, as peak time travellers normally snap up the first class and business class seats.’

Newer or wider-bodied planes tend to offer more legroom and comfier seats for passengers
Pick the right plane
If you are flexible with your dates and times, try to select a flight that operates with a newer or wider-bodied plane.
They tend to offer more legroom and comfier seats for passengers.
Before flying travellers can do their research on website such as, which publishes seatmaps which highlight the best and worst seats available on each aircraft by airline, said Ms Clark.
It may seem like a long shot but being polite to airline staff can improve your chances of an upgrade
It may seem like a long shot but being polite to airline staff can improve your chances of an upgrade
Be polite
Scoring a free upgrade for being polite may be a long shot, but at the very least it will make everyone’s day a little brighter.
Ms Paddock said agents and flight attendants deal with hundreds of grumpy, rude and stressed travellers every day.
She said: ‘Crew members have plenty of authority and should not be underestimated.
‘If you make an effort to brighten their day, chances are they’ll be much more likely to do what they can to brighten yours.
‘I know that when I was flying for a commercial airline I loved spoiling people I knew would appreciate my effort – and they were never the moaners and complainers.’
On one occasion the economy cabin was full and she was asked to choose six appropriately-dressed passengers to move to unsold seats in business class on a flight from New York to Milan.
She said: ‘I walked through the cabin and selected those who were the most polished and gracious to me upon boarding. I can promise you that if you’re wearing sweats and flip flops, you may be cosy for the flight but you’ll never get the upgrade—and you’ll never even know that you’re being passed over.’

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Social Security: 5 Facts You Must Know & $19 TRILLION INDUSTRY COULD DESTROY INTERNET

Social Security: 5 Facts You Must Know
By: Jordan DiPietro

Social Security is a complicated program, yet you cannot afford to NOT know everything you should about your benefits. Even knowing this, it can be hard to find the information you need in order to make the most informed decisions for you and your family.

In the following TOP 5 list below, The Motley Fool’s Financial Planning Team reveals five essential, but little known facts, about the Social Security Program and how it will affect millions of Americans. Although most people expect Social Security to be there for them when they retire, they could be wrong – and by then it might be too late.

Number 5: Social Security Is Massive
In 2014, over 59 million Americans will receive Social Security. Among them are:

40.9 million retired workers and their dependents
10.8 million disabled workers and their dependents
6.2 million people receiving survivors benefits
Number 4: The Elderly Could Not Survive Without This Program
Many elderly Americans heavily rely on Social Security; it’s the major income source for most older Americans. In fact, Social Security benefits account for 38% of the U.S. elderly population’s income. Even more important, half of married couples and three quarters of singles receive at least half their retirement income from Social Security.

Number 3: The Workforce Is Having to Support More Retirees
Demographics are not in our favor as fewer workers support more retirees. In 1950 there were 16 workers per Social Security recipient. In 1960 there were 5 workers per recipient. By the year 2033, only 2.1 workers will support one retiree.

Number 2: The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up
Social Security relies on its trust fund in order to cover shortfalls between tax revenue it receives from workers and benefits it pays. The trust fund is projected to run out of money in 2033. Once that happens, retirees can only expect to receive about 75% of the benefits they would have received.

Number 1: The #1 Way to Increase Your Benefits
Every year you wait between full retirement age and age 70 before claiming Social Security benefits boosts the amount you receive by 8%. Those who wait until the age 70 maximum will get 32% more in benefits than those who take them at 66, and 76% more than those who take early benefits at 62. If you can afford to delay benefits until age 70 and if you live past age 82, you will receive more in lifetime income from Social Security than if you had waited until full retirement age.

How one Seattle couple secured a $60K Social Security bonus — and you can too
A Seattle couple recently discovered some little-known Social Security secrets that can boost many retirees’ income by as much as $60,000. They were shocked by how easy it was to actually take advantage of these loopholes. And although it may seem too good to be true, it’s 100% real. In fact, one MarketWatch reporter argues that if more Americans used them, the government would have to shell out an extra $10 billion… every year! So once you learn how to take advantage of these loopholes, you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after, even if you’re woefully unprepared. Simply click here to receive your free copy of our new report that details how you can take advantage of these strategies.

It’s time to say “goodbye” to your Internet!

One bleeding-edge technology is about to put the World-Wide-Web to bed. And if you act right away, it could make you wildly rich. Experts are calling it the single largest business opportunity in the history of capitalism… The Economist is calling it “transformative”… But you may just call it “how I made my millions.”

Big money is already on the move. Don’t be too late to the party—enter your email address below for 1 stock to own when the web goes dark.

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Kona’s Ellison Onizuka

Posted January 28, 2015 – 9:58amUpdated January 28, 2015 – 10:17am
Kona’s hero: Remembering the legacy of Ellison S. Onizuka

Ellison Onizuka is seen on Kailua Pier with a 420-pound marlin he boated on March 14, 1985. WHT file photo

Ellison S. Onizuka

Ellison Onizuka is seen with keiki in this March 1985 photo. WHT file photo

Ellison Onizuka signs autographs on April 22, 1985. WHT file photo

Ellison Onizuka waves in this March 9, 1985, photo. WHT file photo

Ellison Onizuka’s brother and nephew, Claude and Russ Onizuka, of Kona, look over a memorial exhibit to the late Kona-born astronaut at the space exhibit during the 1988 Hawaii County Fair in Hilo. WHT file photo

Ellison Onizuka speaks at Kealakehe school in March 1985. WHT file photo

A visitor walks past a bust of astronaut Elison Onizuka in the space center at Kona International Airport. File photo/West Hawaii Today

Ellison Onizuka speaks at a Big Island school in March 1985. WHT file photo

Sunbeams illuminate flowers placed at the Space Mirror Memorial Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 as NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida pays tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA astronauts who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, during the agency’s Day of Remembrance on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Red Huber)


West Hawaii Today

Today, Jan. 28, 2015, marks the 29th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 that claimed the life of Kona native Ellison S. Onizuka and six other American astronauts.

On that fateful day, the astronauts launched at 11:39 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Seventy-three seconds later, the shuttle exploded claiming the lives of all seven aboard. It was later determined that two rubber O-rings, which had been designed to separate the sections of the rocket booster, had failed because of cold temperatures during the morning.

Onizuka was born on June 24, 1946, in Kealakekua, according to Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial. He graduated from Konawaena High School in 1964 and attended the University of Colorado, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1968, and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering in 1969. He joined the United States Air Force in January 1970, and attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California in August 1974.

Onizuka was selected in 1978 as one of 35 astronauts for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. On Jan. 24, 1985, Onizuka first successfully entered space as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

He was the first Japanese American selected to participate in America’s space program and the first Asian astronaut to venture into space, according to the memorial.

Soon after, Ellison was selected for the ill-fated Challenger flight.

In addition to a scholarship, buildings and other memorials named in his honor, the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center was established by the State of Hawaii after his death. Located at Kona International Airport, the center opened to the public in 1991. It is an educational facility dedicated to Onizuka’s memory.


Ellison S. Onizuka gave this speech to the 1980 graduating class of Konawaena High School:

If I can impress upon you only one idea … Let it be that the people who make this world run, whose lives can be termed successful, whose names will go down in the history books, are not the cynics, the critics, or the armchair quarterbacks.

They are the adventurists, the explorers, and doers of this world. When they see a wrong or problem, they do something about it. When they see a vacant place in our knowledge, they work to fill that void.

Rather than leaning back and criticizing how things are, they work to make things the way they should be. They are the aggressive, the self-starters, the innovative, and the imaginative of this world.

Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds … to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.

Your vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but by what your mind can imagine. Many things that you take for granted were considered unrealistic dreams by previous generations. If you accept these past accomplishments as commonplace then think of the new horizons that you can explore.

From your vantage point, your education and imagination will carry you to places which we won’t believe possible.

Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried.

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