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December 2006

Pacific Northwest News

Ron Ho from Hawai`i:
A Living Treasure in the
Pacific Northwest

By Rochelle delaCruz

The Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington is currently presenting Dim Sum at the On-On Tea Room: The Jewelry of Ron Ho.

Ron Ho was born in 1936 in Honolulu and is a graduate of Roosevelt High School. He began paintingRon Ho.  Photo by NWHIT and at the age of 19, moved to Washington to study art at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. He credits his breakthrough in jewelry to a long association and friendship with the late Ramona Solberg, artist and University of Washington professor.

Ho’s grandparents came to Hawai`i from China in the late 1800s and his jewelry reflects his Chinese background. Gum San Journey commemorates his paternal grandmother’s voyage from China to Hawai`i. In a dragon boat is a porcelain fragment of a woman, representing Ho’s grandmother who arrived as a picture bride. The statue in front of the picture is Ho Hsieu Ku, the only woman of the Eight Immortals in the Daoist tradition, protecting the bride on her journey. The banana tree is for Hawai`i, which the Chinese called Gum San or Land of Gold.

The retrospective exhibition shows approximately 50 jewelry pieces, a dazzling array of necklaces and pendants designed with inspiration and objects from Ho’s extensive travels around the world. In A Conversation with Ron Ho: Style, Silver and Sensibility recently offered at the museum, Executive Director and Chief Curator Michael Monroe said, “Ron Ho epitomized the focus of the Bellevue Arts Museum, which is to present the living treasures of the Pacific Northwest.”

In 1995, there was a retrospective in Hawai`i of Ho’s work at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and he has exhibited around the U.S. and in Europe. Ho was also a popular teacher in Bellevue public schools for thirty-two years.

Ron Ho recently returned from Hawai`i where he celebrated his 70th birthday. During his talk at BAM, he remembered his father, a carpenter, who had just died at the age of 98. Ho said he shares a lot with him, as he too, works with his hands.

Dim Sum at the On-On Tea Room: The Jewelry of Ron Ho” runs through February 18, 2007, Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue, Washington . For more information: (425) 519-0770) or www.bellevuearts.org


Sorry, No Piroshki at this Moscow restaurant: LocoGrinz

By Ed Tanaka

The warm, late sunlit, summer days have yielded to the cool, crisp autumn weather. This seasonal change also signals the time for my annual visit to Pullman, Washington home of the Washington State University (WSU) campus. The weekend trip includes driving over the mountain pass to the southeast portion of this state, visiting friends who are die hard WSU Cougar fans, attending a football game and Gayne & Tanya Nitta at LocoGrinz in Moscow, Idaho.  Photo by Ed Tanakavisiting the campus creamery for their famous cheese and ice cream. The five hour scenic drive from Seattle to Pullman consists of departing from the big city life of the Emerald City and the surrounding residential suburbs, driving over the Cascade Mountain range surrounded by dark green evergreen trees sporadically accented by the colorful red/orange hues of the changing leaves, then passing by the rural lifestyle of the small towns and farmlands of Eastern Washington. WSU is located amidst the rolling hills of the area known as the Palouse.

My visit also included driving eight miles east from the WSU campus across the state border into Moscow, Idaho and the University of Idaho (UI) campus. Cruising along Main Street in downtown Moscow I come upon a restaurant sign “LocoGrinz Hawaiian Style Plate Lunch”. Could this be just like the plate lunches in Hawaii or is it one of the numerous teriyaki establishments proliferating on the mainland? I took a peek into one of the storefront windows noticing seating for 40 customers, walls decorated with various images from Hawaii , and acknowledged restaurant credibility when I read “Loco Moco with brown gravy” on the menu. Time to satisfy one of my favorite past times…eating.

LocoGrinz has been owned and operated by Gayne and Tanya Nitta since 2001. Tanya has Thai roots and Gayne’s parents were born and raised in the islands and settled in Moscow during their college years. Nitta was born in Moscow, lived in Lawa’i, Kaua’i and attended the Kamehameha Schools (class of ’87). He returned to Moscow and earned a law degree from the University of Idaho. Not satisfied with the idea of practicing law, he enjoys the challenges of owning and developing a business along with sharing the island culture and cuisine. Why Hawaiian style plate lunches in Moscow? Nitta explains “I selected a plate lunch restaurant since this city already had six Chinese restaurants and realizing that Thai food preparation and cooking was too exotic (compared to plate lunch fare)”. His business choice has been well received with customers that include students from Hawai’i attending UI and WSU craving for a plate lunch, to the Moscow locals who have adopted the plate lunch concept.

The LocoGrinz plate lunch menu consists of selecting from twelve possible entrée items with various combinations of side dishes. One can find popular selections such as kalbi beef, kalua pork, chicken katsu, mahi mahi, coconut battered shrimp, loco moco, and a LocoGrinz favorite: sesame chicken, which is a Nitta family recipe. This favorite is a lightly battered, sweet marinated chicken accented with sesame seeds. Adapting to their location and sensitive to the customers who are not used to the typical carbo-loaded island plate lunch, LocoGrinz offers choices like macaroni salad or steamed vegetables, and steamed rice or corn. The sesame chicken, kalbi beef, chicken katsu, and coconut shrimp were so ono and satisfying, I wish I had more time to try the other eight entrees! Who would have thought that I’d be eating a mixed plate lunch and drinking Hawaiian Sun juice 2,880 miles from the islands?

When you are near Moscow, Idaho share some aloha with Gayne & Tanya Nitta at “LocoGrinz Hawaiian Style Plate Lunch”.

LocoGrinz Hawaiian Style Plate Lunch
113 N. Main Street
Moscow, ID 83843
Ph. (208) 883-4463

Serving lunch and dinner
Closed Sunday & Monday

"Uncle" Ed Tanaka was born and raised in Kailua, O'ahu and graduated from Kailua HS. He volunteers as one of the co-hosts on the Hawaiian Radio Connection on community radio (www.kbcs.fm) KBCS 91.3 FM in the Bellevue/Seattle area, Saturdays 12 – 2pm.


Strongman at Oregon State

By Grant Higa

The Northwest Strongman contest, featuring tremendous feats of strength performed by athletes from

First place winner in Oregon's Strongest Beaver contest Sam McMahon flips a 726 lb. tire. McMahon came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to compete in the Northwest Strongman event at OSU in Corvallis, Oregon.

across the USA was held on the campus of Oregon State University during Dad’s Weekend held in the Fall. Oregon’s Strongest Beaver brought top strongmen to compete in events such as: Farmer’s Walk, Tire Flip for Distance, and River Rock Loading.

Thanks to all my helpers/loaders that drove all the way down from Washington: Pete Marcoff, Steve Spellman, Scott Hughes, Eliott Baum, and "SARGE" John Allen. Thank you to Louie Floresca & Jesse Marunde for being great MCs, and taking care of the great giveaways we had from our sponsors. Mahalo to all our sponsors, and to top it all off, the Beavers beat USC!



Below are the results of the top five winners from the 3rd Oregon’s Strongest Beaver:

Sam McMahon (WINNER)    54 points   Pro   ($750 plus a $50 gift cert. from Quest Nutrition)
Marshall White (2nd)              48 points    Pro   ($500 plus a $50 gift cert. from Quest Nutrition)
Jacob Miskimens (3rd)            47.5 points         ($250 plus a $50 gift cert. from Quest Nutrition)
Matt Parkes (4th)                    40 points
Mike Kromer (tied for 5th)     39.5 points
Corey St. Clair (tied for 5th)   39.5 points  Pro

Grant Higa is a professional strongman and has competed in over 36 Strongman contests throughout the world. He is also a personal trainer and lives in Maple Valley, Washington with his wife Michelle. Grant was born in Honolulu and grew up in Mountain View, Hawai`i.

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