2011 has come and gone, and as we look forward to 2012 and all that it may bring, Beyond Honolulu wanted to take a look back at 2011 in Hawaii and some of our biggest stories. A ton of huge things happened this year in Hawaii, and some of the biggest stories nationally directly affected our state.
Hawaii has a diverse culture and without a doubt is one of the more unique places to live in the entire world. Perhaps in no other place is there such a huge melting pot of people, all living in tight quarters, and all learning to get along.
I say that because perhaps no other state is directly affected by national stories more than Hawaii is (being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean will do that for you). With that being said, Hawaii also had some huge local stories and events take place in 2011. Without further ado, here are some of the biggest stories that took place in Hawaii in 2011.
Nothing got more attention locally and nationally than the devastating earthquake that hit Japan in March. The effects of that disaster left not only Japan and its people in utter devastation and ruin, but the event also had tremendous affect on Hawaii and the rest of the world.
The magnitude 9.1 earthquake in Japan sent shockwaves around the rest of the world, as the devastation that it created was unmatched, and the Tsunamis that occurred left much of the region in total shambles.
Not only were there thousands of lives lost, but the affects of that earthquake affected Hawaii tremendously, as it sent a Tsunami out way. Not only that, but the after-effects of the earthquake in Japan will be felt for years to come in Hawaii. How? The earthquake generated a field of trash that is floating in the Pacific, and is expected to hit Hawaii over the next few years.
While the Tsunami that hit Hawaii was nowhere near anything that happened in Japan, it did cause some panic here. While it ended up doing little to nothing on Oahu, there were other island affected, with the Kona area of the Big Island taking on a he amount of damage.
Perhaps nothing got people more upset in 2011 than the fireworks ban imposed by Hawaii lawmakers. Fireworks have been a staple during the New Year’s time in Hawaii for years, and while it had been a long time coming, the fireworks ban really got people upset. At the same time, there were a ton of people who appreciated the ban, stating that smoke, fires and noise were just getting out of hand. This New Year’s Eve should be uncommonly quiet, with this being the first year that the ban will affect the holiday.
Yes, we had to mention it. While it may not be as bad here as it is in other states, the “occupy movement” hit the shores of Hawaii and if you drive into town you can see little pockets of occupy people everywhere. Whether you agree or disagree with them, you can’t deny they have caused quite a stir not only in Hawaii, but around the rest of the nation as well.
8-Year Old Girl Gets Arrested for Punching Principle
- Because an 8-year old girl was arrested
- Because what 8-year old punches a principle.
This sent a clear message to the rest of the nation that the youth in Hawaii are not where they need to be.
HECO Price Hikes and Strike
This year saw HECO hit the citizens of Hawaii with price hikes and fees that have never been seen before. More than once reports came to surface that households in Hawaii were being hit with higher fees than at any other point in history.
Not only were fees high, but at one point, over 1,300 HECO employees walked off the job and chose to strike. The chosen strike time could not have been worse, as at the time there had been a major power outage, leaving over 8,000 Oahu homes and businesses without power.
This has actually been going on for some time, but was really beat into the ground in 2011. Opposing sides of the Rail Project in Hawaii continued to go head-to-head over cost, placement, and choice of providers. While it seems as though the Rail Project will finally get underway, there was way too much money and effort spent on fighting.
UH Football Loses and Gains a Coach
What else can you really say about this? The University of Hawaii football team had tons of high expectations on them going into the 2011 season. None of them were met, as a year of turmoil that included a national point shaving scandal led to the eventual “resignation of coach Greg McMackin.”
We can look on the bright side though, as long time and national power coach Norm Chow was finally tapped to be the new head football coach for the Warriors. We will see how that goes in 2012.
I touched on this above, but the letdown of a year that was 2011 in Hawaii football really came to a head when the UH football team was accused of point shaving. An anonymous letter was sent to the university, and while the HPD refused to press any charges, the football program remains under investigation in this story that was featured on ESPN.
Koa Ridge Delayed
The long awaited Koa Ridge development was delayed again. Not much information was given, and there is still no timetable on when the developing may begin. Meanwhile, residents wait in anticipation of the new development.
Technically, the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa opened in late 2010. However, 2011 is when it really started to make its mark. While phase 3 is still in development, there is no denying that the resort is high-end and classy. With more Disney touch being integrated all the time, the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa will continue to amaze.
Hawaii Five-O Takes Off
After becoming a wildly successful freshman hit television show in 2010, Hawaii Five-0 wasted no time in 2011 taking off. The hit show continues to win on Monday nights, not only in its timeslot, but overall for the entire night. Filmed entirely in Hawaii, the show brings millions of dollars to our economy, and it also puts on some really cool events for the public as well.
Yes, he was already making a name for himself in 2010, but 2011 was the year for Bruno Mars. Born in Hawaii, Bruno had carved out a huge name for himself in the world of music. The Roosevelt High School grad followed a breakout year and his triumphant December 2010 homecoming concert at Blaisdell Arena by winning a Grammy in February for best male pop vocal performance for his hit single “Just the Way You Are.”
He continued his ascent with a midyear concert tour with fellow rising star Janelle Monae and a high-energy tribute to Amy Winehouse at the MTV Video Music Awards in August. His new tune, “It Will Rain,” was chosen for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” soundtrack, and Mars, a mere 26, also made the 2011 Time 100, the magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world. The year came full circle when Mars pulled six Grammy nominations for 2012, including nods for his platinum-selling “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” album and another hit single, “Grenade.”
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
We had to get something from the realm of food in here. Just making the cut? The surprisingly popular Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. Two local James Beard Award-winning chefs — Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong — called on a few of their friends to come out and cook. With that, the biggest food event of the year was born. The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, which took place Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, served up 31 chefs, plus winemakers, mixologists and dessert purveyors feeding more than 2,500 people over three days, in three locations, while also raising $250,000 for the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Paepae O He‘eia and Papahana Kualoa.
Foodies were thrilled to meet celebrity chefs from East and West, among them Charles Phan, Justin Quek, Dean Fearing, John Besh, Celestino Drago, Rick Moonen and Marcel Vigneron, and taste their creations utilizing local produce. The tasting events were in addition to daytime discussions of innovations in the food and farming industries.
There were definitely some big stories in Hawaii in 2011. Some good, some bad, some stunning. Hopefully we will have some great stories in Hawaii during the span of 2012. A new year always brings new hopes and new opportunities for all. Thank you for reading this, and from all of us at Beyond Honolulu, have a great 2012!
Other Prominent Stories of 2012