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New year means Volcano Awareness Month

January is Volcano Awareness Month. That might seem odd, given that Hawaii Island residents — especially those in the District of Puna — have been acutely aware of Kilauea Volcano for at least the past four months, during which an active lava flow crossed a road, burned a farm shed and unoccupied house, inundated a cemetery, damaged orchards and buried sections of private property. Today, the lava flow continues to threaten the community of Pahoa.

Peace and love can happen in a Hawaiian garden

Most folks say they hope for “Peace on Earth” especially at this Christmas season when that message is loud and clear. Most folks also wish for a happy new year. Why then do we have the many conflicts occurring today? It seems the answer is too complicated to ever understand.

Give twice: Buy local gifts for Christmas

With very few shopping days left before Christmas, it is tempting to order last minute gifts online and pay high prices for overnight shipping. Consider instead taking a few hours out of your day today or early this week to buy something unique, special and locally produced for those still on your holiday gift list.

London mayor’s unpaid tax bill

You may have heard in the news about Boris Johnson. He’s a flamboyant politician in the United Kingdom with an unruly mop of blonde hair. Recently, he made news by publicly saying he absolutely won’t pay his U.S. taxes. And, yes, he is the mayor of London — the “real” London, where Buckingham Palace is.

Duo to perform European salon tunes

Roland Maurer, also known as Ohrlando, and his wife, Ursula Hesse, as part of the ensemble’s 2014-15 chamber music series will offer a special musical gift to the community: European salon tunes of the 19th and 20th century — a classical program with waltzes, polkas, dances, opera phantasies and more. Maurer will perform on oboe, bassoon and saxophone and Hesse on piano.

Jazz experiences coming to Aloha Theatre

Kona Jazz Experience is back with two nights of jazz this holiday season, sponsored by Aloha Hills Coffee, an award winning company located in Captain Cook. On Saturdays, Dec. 27 and Jan. 10, at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. The events begin at 7:30 p.m., with proceeds benefiting Aloha Performing Arts Company.

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Homemade food gifts are naughty and nice

Sweet treats are nice to give and receive, but they come with that naughty price tag of sugar and fat. When you give homemade goodies, you can control these variables. Anyone who loves treats will appreciate these imaginative and eye-appealing goodies. Thoughtfully, they contain more healthy ingredients and minimal “naughty.” Then just gather a few wicker baskets, colorful tins and printed cloths; wrap it all with bright cellophane, ribbons, raffia or silk cords and prepare to be the most thoughtful gift giver ever.