NEW YORK >> About 380 high school musicians and dancers from Hawaii marched through chilly New York streets in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Members of the Hawaii All-State Marching Band, dressed in bright orange aloha wear and green fern head and wrist leis, made their way through crowded Manhattan streets along with helium-filled balloons of kid-favorite cartoon characters.
The band, comprising select musicians from 40 high schools throughout the state, performed in the nationally-televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the second time in six years.
They performed a medley of “Tahiti-Tahiti,” “ Masese-Masese” and “Hawaiian War Chant,” with “Mele Kalikimaka” sending viewers into the Christmas spirit.
A jetpack-wearing monkey and a freakish creation from filmmaker Tim Burton are two of the big new balloons that made their inaugural appearances in this year’s parade. Paul Frank’s Julius and Burton’s B. joined more than a dozen other giant balloons, including fan favorites like Snoopy and Spider-Man.
“Here comes Snoopy!” said an excited Regan Lynch, 5, nudging her grandfather, Nick Pagnozzi.
Pagnozzi, 59, of Saddle River, N.J., drove into the city at 6 a.m. to get a seat on the bleachers along Central Park West. Regan wanted to make sure he took pictures of every balloon.
In all, the parade featured more than 40 balloon creations, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders. The star power included Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne and the Muppets of Sesame Street. Some performances were at a stage at the end of the route in Herald Square; others were on floats.
“Those kids, they play good music and they really put on a good show,” Wilfred Denk, of Munich, Germany, said as he watched the marching bands. He and his wife, Bethina, were on their honeymoon in New York.
Suddenly, a float bearing a replica of Mount Rushmore came into view. “Look, Neil Diamond!” said Bethina Denk.
The crowd on Seventh Avenue started singing “Sweet Caroline! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” as Diamond waved.
Near the beginning of the route, Conor Jones, 5, of the Bronx, ducked as a troupe of clowns dressed as firefighters doused the crowd with multicolored confetti. He and his twin brother, Nolan, have attended the parade three years in a row.
“I like the bands best,” he said. His brother preferred the Spider-Man balloon.
Dozens of handlers got revved up with a cheer heralding their cartoon balloon character: “Buzz! Lightyear! Buzz! Lightyear!”
Nearby, balloon handler Joe Sullivan, a retired banker, held one of six nylon lines securing a huge floating pumpkin. He’s been volunteering in the parade for more than 15 years.
“When it’s windy it’s a struggle,” he said. “But today is great weather. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Macy’s predicted 3.5 million people could crowd the parade route, while an additional 50 million watched from home.
The parade begins at 77th Street and heads south on Central Park West to Seventh Avenue, before moving to Sixth Avenue and ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
The parade got its start in 1924 and included live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. It was not until 1927 that the live animals were replaced by giant helium balloons. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.
Since the beginning, the balloons have been based on popular cultural characters and holiday themes. Returning favorites this year include Buzz Lightyear, Clumsy Smurf, SpongeBob SquarePants and Kermit the Frog.
Also making their first appearances at this year’s parade are a pair of bike-powered balloons, one featuring a bulldog character and an elf balloon designed by Queens resident Keith Lapinig, who won a nationwide contest.
All the balloons are created at Macy’s Parade Studio, and each undergoes testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift.
A bedroom fire caused about $2,000 in damages Tuesday night in Lahaina, Maui firefighters said.
The homeowner used a fire extinguisher on a burning mattress after the first started about 7 p.m. at 448 Wainee St. Firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames at 7:20 p.m.
The occupants escaped without injuries, and the fire was confined to the first-floor bedroom of a 4,000-square foot, 2-story wooden home. The cause was undetermined.
TOKYO >> Two strong earthquakes rattled northern Japan on Thursday, but neither caused any apparent damage or a tsunami.
A magnitude-6.1 quake struck Thursday evening south of the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.
It hit about 465 miles northeast of Tokyo and 19 miles below the sea surface. The agency did not issue a tsunami warning.
About 3,900 households in the towns of Erimo and Samani lost electricity shortly after the quake, but power was restored about an hour later, according to the Hokkaido Electric Power Co.
The shaking was not felt in Tokyo, though a morning quake was.
That magnitude-6.0 temblor struck just off the coast near the nuclear power plant damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The two shakings are believed unrelated and did not affect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant or other nuclear plants in the region.
The March 11 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami wiped out large parts of Japan’s northeastern coast and left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing. The twin disasters also triggered a nuclear crisis, forcing about 100,000 people to flee their homes due to leaking radiation.
Japan lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. About 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur in the area.
Hawaii island residents felt a minor 3.8 magnitude earthquake Wednesday night.
No major damage or injuries were reported from the temblor that hit at about 6:15 p.m. about 8 miles north of South Point at a depth of about 25 miles, the United States Geological Survey reported. No tsunami was generated.
The earthquake was felt on both sides of the island and on Maui with responses to the USGS “Did you feel it?” earthquake site from Kailua-Kona to Honokaa on the Hamakua Coast, and from Makawao on Maui.
Earthquakes are common on the Big Island because of volcanic activity and as land settles because of the weight of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
Get certified in the latest clean energy technologies today! The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) and EdVenture (formerly VITEC) at UH Maui College are offering forty-five scholarships in sustainability training for energy efficiency programs this spring 2012. The scholarships are funded by the State Energy Strategic Partnership (SESP).
Programs include Green Building and LEED exam preparation, Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP), and the Building Operator Certification (BOC) licensed through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC). These programs prepare students for national certifications in various aspects of energy management.
“This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to gain employable skills in the growing field of energy management” said Jennifer Chirico, Executive Director, SLIM.
Please send applications to SLIM UHMC, 310 W. Ka’ahumanu Avenue, Kahului, HI 96732 or email to email@example.com.
Applications are due by January 2, 2012
Other programs that will be offered during the spring 2012 include Entry Level Photovoltaic Design and Installation, Small Wind Energy Design and Installation, and Sustainable Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Scholarships are available for all of these programs through Maui Workforce Development Division (984-2091) for unemployed and incumbent workers.
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