Editor's Page: Connections

In Honolulu, we often find connections where we least expect them.

Photo: Adam Jung

February in Honolulu usually brings rainy weather, a test of New Year’s resolutions and the cards-flowers-and-candy flurry of Valentine’s Day.

It’s easy to complain about the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. But I prefer the more recent trend of connecting with family or friends rather than making it just a couples-only fest. Maybe in Hawaii, we just like any good reason to celebrate.  In this issue, food and dining editor Martha Cheng checked in on Hawaii-made chocolate, page 120, much of it locally grown from bean to bar. We also get a peek into the thorny world of rose frenzy, as the staff of Watanabe Floral talks about the extreme floral rush they face each year.

Senior editor David Thompson this month brings us the cover story with another kind of connection: Nearly 1 of every 10 Oahu homeowners is hooking up to solar with photovoltaic panels to lower electric bills. Thompson found out what this means for the electric utility industry, for residents and for a changing renewable future.

We note some surprising facts about an iconic Waikiki landmark as A. Kam Napier tells us about the Ilikai’s 50th anniversary. He chronicles the fascinating tale, from its creation by Island financier Chinn Ho, its appearance in the opening credits of the original Hawaii Five-0, to the present day.

Our food stories include a review of a recent addition to Honolulu dining, MW Restaurant, where two former Alan Wong alumni have created their own take on local food. And we learn about a new restaurant on the edge of Waikiki. In an Island coincidence of connection, one of the proprietors of Tucker and Bevvy is Cecily Ho Sargent, a granddaughter of Chinn Ho.

This month, illustrator Dana Paresa shares why she left Hawaii, explaining how her homegrown connections both supported and held her back at the same time.

We also look into a new book about the late federal judge Sam King, written by veteran newspaper reporters Jerry Burris and Ken Kobayashi. A reception for the book gave a glimpse into many of those King connections over his 50-year judicial career. Scrappy civil rights lawyer Eric Seitz shared personal memories of King’s quiet encouragement of his and his wife’s careers. A story about a Sacramento jury in a condemnation case King presided over sending him a birthday card. And former Hawaii attorney general Mark Bennett told the tale of how as a young clerk for King he’d worked a phrase into a legal opinion to win a bet with another new lawyer. King questioned him on the wording but when Bennett confessed, King allowed him to leave it in and win a $100 bet.

Some of the connections within our magazine are changing. We say thank you and aloha to Christine Hitt as our digital media manager. Christine worked for HONOLULU for six years, and in that time she oversaw tremendous growth of both our website and social media platforms. She kept HONOLULU breaking website traffic records every year with her enthusiasm, expertise and compelling content.

Hitt is also a Hawaiian history and cultural writer, and founder of Hawaiian Roots, a nonprofit organization that provides genealogical resources for families, Hawaiian history information and research.

While she has moved on to different professional challenges, we’re happy that we will be able to continue to work together on web projects as her schedule permits.

Our company, PacificBasin Communications, also is reorganizing the creative services and art divisions of our publications. Like most companies, we’re always looking to find ways to work more efficiently as we adapt to changing times.

Erik Ries, who goes by his last name of Ries (rhymes with peace), is leaving the magazine as design director, a big job he filled with creativity, passion and bold style.

Ries jumped into the work and the community: From flying to Hilo for an inside look at the Merrie Monarch Festival, to high-fashion photo shoots, to standing in a taro lo‘i to learn about native culture and plants. He isn’t leaving Hawaii, and we expect to hear more about wherever his next creative adventures take him.

At the time we went to press with this issue, we had begun the search for a new digital media manager and other positions at our suite of publications.  Check out honolulumagazine.com/jobs to see if you could be our next connection.