Hawaii’s coral in peril: lawsuit filed

LIHUE — The Trump administration caught another lawsuit as a strong marine heat wave is starting to impact Hawaii’s coral reefs, including reports of coral bleaching on Kauai.

The nonprofit conservation group Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration Thursday for failing to protect cauliflower coral around the Hawaiian Islands.

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Bird Dogs : canine detection could save endangered ducks

KILAUEA — Walking through the taro fields at the Quick Family Farm in Hanalei, it’s nearly impossible to see the koloa ducks between the plants until they take flight.

It’s even more difficult to see the dead ones, and for staff members at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, that’s a problem.

Avian botulism has been dropping ducks in outbreaks that have been sweeping the population since 2011 — and it’s not just koloa ducks.

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Restoring A Watershed: Waipa Stream

WAIPA, KAUAI — O’opu fish have come back to spawn in the Waipa Stream after dense thickets of hau bush were removed, helping to restore the water flow.

The fish are integral to Hawaiian culture, with four species of o’opu that were favored for eating and the fifth that was believed to be related to the mo’o, or lizard gods.

They’ve been missing from Waipa Stream since water diversions that came with Kauai’s development changed  stream flow and things like hau bush to took over.

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Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival attracts people from around the world to sample the Aloha State’s most delectable, but it’s the connections between chefs and farmers that keep the festival moving.

Every year foodies from across the country band together to create the fare and flair behind the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. Tickets are currently on sale for this year’s festival on the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival website.

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Jessie’s Cancer Story (abridged)

I didn’t know I’d be a patient at the Kauai Infusion Center when I interviewed the team for a news article in February 2019. Back then, I was working as a reporter for The Garden Island Newspaper. It’s one of several small papers I’ve worked with as a reporter and editor – and I was on assignment.

When you write for a community newspaper, you write about everything. Sure, I covered health and wellness stories. I was also the environment reporter, so my focus was humpback whales and endangered Hawaiian monk seals, natural resources, and watershed preservation.

I also wrote about the Kauai County Council with their traffic plans and county budgets and a Council member that was selling methamphetamine on the side. I worked with Dateline when we covered the trial of The Doomsday Couple Lori Vallow & Chad Daybell.

I covered Surfrider Foundation’s breakthrough efforts to create buildings from recycled plastic (Dennis Fujimoto! We covered that one together.) And when Margie Wood made it across the Pacific in the Singlehanded Transpac Sailing competition.

I stepped into the Kauai Infusion Center that February to gather info for story about pre-screening for cancer detection. I was also covering the new renovations at the Kauai Infusion Center and interviewing the super-skilled nurses that work there. Little did I know that I’d be spending much more time with those people very soon.

It was just 18 months later, in August 2020, when I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 1 Breast Cancer. The timing of it all was overwhelming as I was newly married, the new Editor of The Garden Island Newspaper and we were about five months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

My husband and I got married in September 2019. I was diagnosed just before my 35th birthday and our first wedding anniversary.

Another 18 Months Later…

I finished chemo treatments on December 31, 2020. Radiation treatments continued throughout the next year. Now, I’m on the other side of the treatments. I finished with radiation in March 2021. I moved from Kauai to Wisconsin that June. I’ve made changes in my career – I’m freelance writing for all sorts of publications now! I’m accepting clients (shameless business plug!) – email me if you need a writer.

Since I finished chemotherapy, I’ve grown eight inches of curly hair on my head. My nails are growing out. I’m feeling better and I’m back to doing things that I love. I’m on a path toward healing.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know when I interviewed those rockstar nurses at Kauai Infusion Center in 2019. I wasn’t married yet. The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t yet a reality. I didn’t know that I would be the one woman in eight who would battle breast cancer.

Why Write A Blog About Cancer Recovery?

Writing helped me get through cancer treatments. During those dark months, I journaled. I wrote 35 short horror stories. I created the first draft of another novel. (Those things aren’t ready for release, yet. Stay tuned!) The point is that I put a lot of words on paper during my cancer treatment. Some of it is cathartic art meant only for me. Some of it is worth sharing.

It’s worth sharing because navigating cancer treatments can get damn confusing. In fact, it gets complicated enough that oncology departments dedicate an entire position to helping patients figure out their cancer treatments. That person is called a Nurse Navigator.  They’ll help you get through the maze of doctor’s appointments, paperwork, insurance issues, fertility decisions and more.

Remember what I said about being one woman in eight to be diagnosed with breast cancer? Well, all those women have to go through a lot of the same things. We must get biopsies and CT scans, MRI imaging and IV infusions. We have to navigate fertility doctors and a dizzying number of other things.

I’m sharing tips and tricks that I learned along the way so you can make it through cancer a little more easily. I also live with gluten and dairy allergies, so you can expect my blogs to include those topics, as well! I’m just trying to be a healthy person. That’s what most of us are trying to do these days.

I’m also sharing my journey because I want friends, coworkers, clients and news sources to be able to stay connected with my story. Through my work as a reporter, I’ve met the most amazing people – I won’t name all of you, I’d for sure forget someone!!!

I’ve had the pleasure of doing articles with experts in so many different fields – health and wellness, marine and animal science, politics and community, travel, wine and coffee….(and vodka!) I want to keep you folks on my radar! I know you’ve all got great ideas on how to move past traumatic experiences to heal and create a healthy, balanced and meaningful life.

How It’ll Work

This blog is hosted on my website, jessicaelse.com. I also post my journalistic writing on this website. If you haven’t explored those articles yet, take a look around. Read about Don Heacock and his water buffalo or how bird dogs are helping to save endangered ducks on Kauai. Check out what’s happening with Respite Care, San Antonio’s only full-service day care service for children with mental and physical challenges. Read about hiking in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Check out my photography, too! I’ve got a few great albatross and turtle pictures, as well as other gems woven in the articles.

There’s plenty to explore – just scroll up to the top and click on the News Articles tab. Follow along my health and wellness journey by clicking on the tab for Jess Living Healthy (the blog). Find a mixture of both articles on cancer recovery and articles written for publications on my home page.

You’re welcome to follow along as we work toward creating a healthy and happy life after breast cancer.

Should You Juice Cleanse?

Juice Cleansing is still trending. Advocates say it is as a way to empty the body of toxins and perhaps shed a few pounds, as well as a way to rewire the tastebuds and bring ourselves back on track after hitting the buffet.

While there seem to be many benefits to cleansing the body, there are is a whirlwind of information and propoganda out there as well and sometimes it’s nice to get a little help with navigation.

Our digestive systems are constantly on the go; busy breaking down every meal and snack we eat during the day. We hardly realize it, but a large amount of our energy is used to digest and absorb the food we eat. What if there was a way to redirect that energy and use it do some repair work in our bodies – while giving the digestive system a little time to reset?

Juice fasting is a way to do exactly that.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Petrified Forest Loop in Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers views of the Badlands, wildlife and a forest of trees turned to stone.

Things to See

  • Petrified forest & Badlands scenery
  • Plains animals like bison and deer
  • Cactus and summer wildflowers

More Details

  • About a 16 mile drive into the South Unit of the park
  • Full hike is about 10 miles
  • Prepare to pay entrance fees
  • Classified moderate to strenuous
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Island of Water buffalo

Don Heacock is a lot of things. He’s just retired from 40 years as an aquatic biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. He’s an advocate for sustainable agriculture that cultivates things like yerba mate, awa and taro alongside tilapia aquaponic projects on his 25-acre Lihue farm, called Kauai Organic Agroecosystems.

It’s a long drive down a steep, dirt road to get to KOA Farm. A high, wooden bridge takes visitors out to the kalo, or taro, lo‘i, and to the food forest-style collection of avocado, rambutan, Thai longan, ulu, papaya, coconuts, macadamia nuts, banana — just to name a few.

Walk through the taro, past some fruit trees and habitats for Muscovy ducks and free-range chickens, and you’ll find Heacock’s new pride and joy, though: three water buffalo calves.

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