The Swarm is Gone! Mahalo to “Best Big Island Bees”

A few months ago I blogged about the swarm of bees in my backyard and posted this video of them swarming:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWOQDmoiBxQ]

Well today, thanks to “Best Big Island Bees” and an “intern”, the bees were finally removed.

They had gotten in between two walls on an outside shed making them very hard to access.

More than three 5 gallon buckets of honeycomb were taken away!

The amount of bees estimated that he was able to capture and move was estimated at over 40,000.  The actual number of the nest itself was probably at least double that!

I’d like to thank Best Big Island Bees for removing this hive!

Newly Discovered Planet May Have Water on Its Surface

Press Release:

A team of astronomers that includes the University of Hawaii’s Nader Haghighipour has announced the discovery of a planet that could have liquid water on its surface.

This artist's conception shows the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system and their host star, a red dwarf star only 20 light-years away from Earth. The large planet in the foreground is the newly discovered GJ 581g, an Earth-size planet that orbits in the star's habitable zone. Artwork by Lynette Cook.

The planet, which is probably 30 percent larger than Earth, was discovered using one of the telescopes of the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. It orbits a relatively small star, Gliese 581, that is 20 light-years from Earth in the constellation Libra.

“By determining the orbit of this planet, we can deduce that its surface temperature is similar to that of Earth,” said Haghighipour. This means that at least some of any water on the surface of the planet and in its atmosphere will be in liquid form rather than ice or vapor. The discovery of liquid water in space is an important step in the search for extraterrestrial life.

The team estimates that the new planet, called Gliese 581g, has a mass three to four times that of Earth, and orbits its star in just under 37 Earth days. Its mass indicates that it is probably a rocky planet with enough gravity to hold on to its atmosphere. It is one of six known planets orbiting the star.

To discover the planet, the team looked for the tiny changes in the star’s velocity that arise from the gravitational tugs of its planets. They used 238 separate observations of Gliese 581 taken over a period of 11 years.

Haghighipour said that the team is keeping tabs on many nearby stars using the Keck Observatory. “As we collect more and more data about how these stars are moving, we expect to find many more planets with potentially Earth-like conditions,” he said. He noted that to learn more about the conditions on these planets would take even bigger telescopes, such at the Thirty Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea.

The team that made the discovery is led by Steven Vogt of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Other team members include UCSC associate research scientist Eugenio Rivera, and Gregory Henry and Michael Williamson of Tennessee State University.

This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Candidates Abercrombie & Aiona – Djou & Hanabusa Will Appear on PBS Hawaii October 14th

Media Release:

In an unprecedented edition of Insights on PBS Hawaii , host Dan Boylan will be joined by the leading candidates for Governor and U.S. Congress for two back-to-back conversations.  Candidates Abercrombie and Aiona will be first to join Boylan for a conversation beginning at 7PM on Thursday, October 14.   Without interruption for commercials or station breaks, for the next 45 minutes these candidates will answer Boylan’s questions as well as questions submitted by the public via phone, email and a live Insights blog forum.

Immediately following Abercrombie and Aiona, the leading candidates for Hawaii ’s 1st Congressional district, Charles Djou and Colleen Hanabusa, will sit down with Boylan for their turn answering questions in the same live conversation format.

“The format is civil discourse.  Disarmingly simple–and yet the exchanges are sometimes profound,” said Leslie Wilcox , PBS Hawaii President and CEO.

“We should expect our leaders of differing perspectives to disagree in a civilized manner, and to truly listen instead of just waiting to speak. We ask that candidates show the sense of respect and fairness that governs normal conversation.”

To accommodate the earlier 7PM start time of this special 90-minute edition of Insights , PBS NewsHour will move to 6PM on this night only.  Insights’ encore broadcasts will be scheduled on Friday night, October 15th at 9:30PM and Sunday afternoon, October 17th at 3PM.  The entire program will be available online at www.pbshawaii.org on Friday morning following Thursday’s live broadcast.

Wordless Wednesday – Blooming Bananas

County Finance Team Earns High Honors

From the Mayor’s Office:

Nancy Crawford

Hawaii County Director of Finance Nancy Crawford and county Controller Kay Oshiro each have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for their work on the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Kay Oshiro

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by government and its management personnel.

“Our county is truly blessed to have highly talented and dedicated public servants who continue to do such an outstanding job in these challenging economic times,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “I’m very pleased and certainly not surprised that such a high-caliber professional organization has recognized the result of their hard work and long hours spent in service to our county.”

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of transparency and full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential user groups to read the CAFR. The 138-page report can be viewed on the County Web site at http://www.hawaii-county.com/finance/cafr.htm.

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. Reports submitted to the CAFR Program are reviewed by selected members of the GFOA professional staff and the GFOA Special Review Committee, which comprises individuals with expertise in public-sector financial reporting and includes financial statement preparers, independent auditors, academics and other finance professionals.

Crawford has been with the county Department of Finance for nine years, serving as Deputy to former Director Bill Takaba and currently as Director. She began her career with the County in the Department of Public Works where she worked for six years. Prior to moving to Hawaii, Crawford was a hospital controller and a CPA in Colorado.

Oshiro was named controller in January 2009 after serving as an accountant for the Hawaii County Police Department. She was previously a budget specialist for the County of Maui, assistant controller at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.