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Last weekend, many residents of Hawaii, including the agents and staff of LUVA Real Estate, were awakened by a shrill alarm coming through their phones from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency alerting them to an incoming ballistic missile strike. The dreaded words have now made numerous local and national headlines and newscasts with the now familiar image of the text message saying, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL”. But it was a drill. For many of us, those 35 or so minutes between getting that first warning message and then being told it was a mistake made us look around and wonder what we were going to do besides hug or call our families.

In the wake of the “drill”, thousands of residents and tourists wanted to know what had the Emergency Management

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If you are new to living in Hawaii, you might have noticed that most every home relies in some capacity on propane for heating water or for powering gas appliances. Whether swimming pools, ponds and spa, or tiki torches, stoves, clothes dryers and hot-water heaters, there are many common household usages for propane in Hawaii.

 

Holualoa

For energy efficiency, propane offers significant savings compared to electricity, even more if you have an on-demand hot-water heater. Here on the Big Island, there are two types of gas services available through the Gas Company. Utility gas is rendered through an underground gas piping system monitored by a meter, while non-utility gas is contained in tanks and cylinders for use by individual homes and businesses.

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Tens of thousands of residents in Hawaii rely on catching rainwater for their household water needs. A majority of these residents, as it turns out, live on the Big Island.

If you are unfamiliar with catchment tanks, it helps to know that there are no official government regulations that oversee the safety or operation of individual water catchment systems. It’s the responsibility of the homeowner or resident to know exactly what’s involved in maintaining a catchment tank for collecting water used for bathing, washing, flushing, laundry, irrigation, and in some cases, drinking.

In Hawaii, a galvanized roof offers the traditional surface for catching rainwater. If you live in an older home, be sure to test your home's exterior for lead-based paint.

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Anyone who has spent any time on the Big Island in recent years has certainly heard the cacophonous call of the coqui frog. An invasive species from Puerto Rico, the coqui frog first became established on Hawaii Island back in the mid 1990s. The District of Puna fast became ground zero for frog proliferation, and through the years, vast colonies of coqui frogs have spread all over the island.

It’s not just the noise that makes coqui frogs a problem. A recent academic study by the world’s foremost coqui expert reveals that coqui populations adversely affect the delicate ecosystem of beneficial insects while contributing to a 19 percent increase in mosquito populations. Unfortunately and conversely, bee populations can decline by 19 percent in

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Owning a swimming pool in Hawaii can be an expensive endeavor. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into pool ownership — or if you already own a pool that could be better maintained or run more cost effectively — there are many factors to consider before you dive in.

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Winter, spring, summer or fall, swimming pools in Hawaii get used all year round. Monthly expenses include chemicals, pool-cleaning services, equipment and utilities. Due to the high cost of living, all of your pool expenses will be higher here than most anywhere else in the country.

One of the biggest considerations to pool ownership is heating. Even on the hottest day, most pools in Hawaii need some kind of heating system. Although expensive to install, solar heating is one

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Decorative concrete provides affordable options over traditional masonry. An old concrete patio, driveway, entryway or deck can be transformed from dull gray slabs into unique, stylish additions. Whether replicating the look of cobblestone, tile, granite, slate, flagstone, brick, wood or pahoehoe lava, decorative concrete treatments and processes allow you to achieve a variety of natural looks for a fraction of the cost of the real material. And you don't even need to tear out your old concrete to do it. What's more, new products and applications can actually be stronger than the original concrete and will hold up for years to come, even in high-traffic areas.

Three basic techniques can be involved: Stamping, staining and overlay. Stamping involves

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You’ve heard the noise at night in certain areas of the Big Island. The incessant loud chirp, chirp, chirp of the invasive coqui frog. A single frog the size of a quarter emits a mating call that is 90 decibels, the intensity of a lawn mower. Multiply the sound by hundreds of frogs and you have a chorus of cacophony that can keep you awake all night. A single frog outside your window can be even more tortuous and tedious than a chorus of frogs. On the other hand, some people have grown accustomed to the sound of frogs and aren’t bothered by the din.

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In the last 12 years, enormous colonies of frogs have taken over vast swaths of the Island, starting in Puna and the East side and spreading out from there. In many areas of the Big Island, residents

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An ancient Chinese art, feng shui is a widely hailed practice that helps people live in harmony and balance with their personal environment. Practitioners believe good fortune comes to those who locate, orient and arrange the elements of a home in such ways as to create optimal energy flow, or “chi.” Failure to retain the chi energy within the home can create unsettling feelings for residents and visitors alike.

Here on the Big Island, several issues commonly pertain to Hawaii home, according to local Kona feng shui expert, Clear Englebert, who has authored many books about feng shui in Hawaii. In the world of feng shui, a straight path leading to the front door, for example, can be a recipe for negativity. A meandering path to the front entrance, on

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Insects are a fact of life in Hawaii. Vigilance and preparation are the keys to preventing bugs and unwanted critters from taking up residence in your Hawaii home.

The first line of defense is to shore up all entry points in walls, windows, baseboards, ceilings, screens, sliders and doors. For older, single-wall homes and coffee shacks, caulking works wonders in sealing up the cracks and crevices so that ants, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, cockroaches and spiders cannot come in. If you have rips or small holes in your screens, you can find patches at the local hardware store, or better yet, replace the entire screen. You can take the screen to your local screen shop, like the Screen Shop in Kailua-Kona, or buy a do-it-yourself kit.

Cockroaches

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Colorful lanterns light the way as taiko drums keep a lively beat and the smoky aroma of teriyaki barbecue penetrates the humid, summer air. It’s bon dance season in Hawaii, time to dig out your hapi coat or kimono and dance the night away.

In Hawaii, bon dancing is as much a local tradition as it is a Japanese one, attracting people from all backgrounds, ages and cultures. No one is too young or too old to participate in the the popular folk festivals honoring the ancestors and taking place at Buddhist missions and other venues June through August throughout the state.

In Japan, bon dance season takes place in August. Here in Hawaii, the season starts earlier so that more of the community can partake. The dances are staggered at various locations

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