Reuse Center at the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station Will be Closed Temporarily Beginning This Week

The Reuse Center at the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station will be closed temporarily beginning this week for the construction of improvements that will make it a better resource for the community.

The County Department of Environmental Management plans to enclose the Pahoa reuse center partially to make it easier to manage the reusable items that are made available to the public.

The Pahoa reuse facility is expected to reopen in November under a new contract for the operation of reuse centers at County transfer stations island-wide by a private vendor.

The County has issued a public Request for Proposals (RFP) for that contract which is expected to be issued in November. Anyone interested may contact the County Purchasing Division at 961-8231 or online at http://co.hawaii.hi.us/purchasing/bids.htm#proposals.

Only the reuse center portion of the recycling and transfer station is closing temporarily. All the other recycling, Hi5 redemption and rubbish services will be available.

Reuse centers take reusable, donated items from the public for distribution to other members of the public who can reuse the items. Recycle Hawaii, the non-profit organization currently operating reuse centers at the Keaau Recycling and Transfer Station and other recycling and transfer stations, accepts reusable items free and charges a nominal fee for items taken from the facility.

Donating reusable items to reuse centers provides a useful service to the community and helps preserve space in our County landfills.

Meanwhile, the public is being asked to take their reusable items to the Keaau Recycling and Transfer Station until the Pahoa reuse center is operating again.

The Department of Environmental management also would like to acknowledge the volunteers who have helped operate the reuse facility in Pahoa and the many people who have visited the facility over the past few weeks. The department now looks forward to bringing back a better reuse facility for the public this fall.

Senator Inouye Tours New Highway, Interpretive Center

Senator Inouye

Senator Inouye tour the new highway on the Big Island

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye today toured portions of the new $32 million Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona as well as an adjoining cultural interpretive center that is being funded as part of the highway project. The cultural center is an effort to properly care for Native Hawaiian cultural sites while constructing the most important new highway in Kailua-Kona to be built in decades.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/dws7v4mT6-Y]

The $1 million interpretive center focuses on the culture of the ahupua‘a of Keahuolu through a 16th century farm, or kauhale. The center will also be a repository for artifacts found in the area, and offer a quiet and private resting place for Native Hawaiian remains. The interpretive center in this culturally rich area is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and was designed by Kari Kimura, a Kona native who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The center is being built in conjunction with the Ane Keohokalole Highway, also known as the Mid-Level Road. This three-mile-long regional link is being constructed by Nan Hawaii Inc. of Honolulu, and will open a major new traffic corridor parallel to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway along the Kona Coast. It will also provide access to hundreds of acres of state lands and Hawaiian Home lands slated for affordable housing projects.

Traffic congestion in the rapidly growing Kona community has long been a source of frustration for residents. The new highway is being funded by the President Obama’s federal stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and today Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi thanked Senator Inouye for his help in obtaining federal funding for the project.

The highway construction is on time and on budget. Paving should start in early December, and is expected to last about eight weeks. The project includes a program to preserve a dryland forest near the new highway.

Price Agreement for Furnishing(s) Body Removal Service to the Hawaii Police Department???

I don’t know if I’m reading into this Request For Proposal (RFP) correctly or not… but from the looks of what is posted on the Counties Finance – Purchasing information and Status site the following is listed for a Price Agreement for Furnishings Body Removal Service to the Hawaii Police Department of the County of Hawaii and the Bids are due by September 14th at 2:00 pm.

Anyone care to let me in on what this could be about?

Four Seasons and Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods Planting 500,000 Koa “Legacy” Trees

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka‘upulehu, the first and only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star resort on Hawai‘i Island, has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods in planting up to 500,000 “legacy” koa trees in the native Hawaiian forest. This initiative is part of global effort of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to plant 10 million trees around the world, in recognition of the company’s 50th birthday.

Hawaii Legacy Hardwoods

These trees, to be planted over the next few years, will significantly contribute to the reforestation of this depleted species. As ‘legacy’ trees, they will not be harvested, and will live out their natural life in the forest. Located 34 miles north of Hilo above historic Umikoa Village, this 2,700 acre sustainable forest was once home to the koa forest of King Kamehameha I, marking a historic and sacred place on the Island.

“This important initiative shows our continued commitment to doing the right thing,” says Robert Whitfield, general manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “Our partnership will allow our employees, our guests and clients to be a part of this effort in bettering our environment and Island in particular, whether by planting one tree, or a forest of trees.”

Interested guests can visit the on-property learning kiosk, adjacent to the Resort’s cultural center, during their stay to meet with a representative of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, to learn the details of the program and plant their seedling into a small tray. Guests will receive a certificate with a unique code, allowing them to follow their tree via GPS signal, once it is planted in the forest.

Participation fee is $40 per tree, which goes toward the planting and care of their koa seedling through the partnership with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, who supports The Nature Conservancy with a $1 contribution per tree sponsorship to support global reforestation.

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i, as well as the Boy Scouts Aloha Council and various government agencies, are involved in this important and valuable environmental initiative. “Hawaii has lost over half of its native forests since human contact,” says John Henshaw, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii. “This partnership between Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods is a step in the right direction to return the Hawaiian Forest to its former abundance.”

For more information and reservations, please call (888) 340-5662 or visit www.fourseasons.com/hualalai.

Big Island Police Seeking Missing 84-Year-Old Aussie

Update 9/1/11: Big Island police have located 84-year-old Scott Dillon of New South Wales, Australia, who was reported missing.

Big Island police are searching for an 84-year-old man who was reported missing in Kona.

Scott Dillon

Scott Dillon

Scott Dillon of New South Wales, Australia, was last seen at 2 p.m. Tuesday (August 30) driving a rental car away from a Kailua-Kona hotel on Aliʻi Drive. He may be in the Volcano area.

Dillon is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 150 pounds with blue eyes and white hair. The rental car is a silver Nissan two-door sedan, license plate HMH 583.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

USS Ronald Reagan Returns to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

The US Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan has returned to Hawaii!

USS Ronald Reagan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray)

It was just a little over a year ago when I got flown out to the USS Ronald Reagan and got to tour the Aircraft Carrier out at sea and get catapulted off of it!

Catalytic Converters Targeted in Big Island Theft Ring that Leads to Arrest of Four

Big Island police are investigating a rash of theft cases involving catalytic converters taken from parked cars—including a case that led to the arrest of four suspects. During the month of August, police received 10 reports of stolen catalytic converters in Hilo and one in Kaʻū. The vehicles reportedly observed at the scenes of some of these thefts included a white Honda sedan and a van.

Matthew Tilfas

Matthew Tilfas

On Sunday evening (August 28), Hilo patrol officers arrested two men and two women suspected of removing catalytic converters from cars on private property in the Wainaku area of Hilo. Thirty-year-old Matthew Tilfas of Pāhoa, 21-year-old Harold Rodrigues Hilo, 18-year-old Cecilia Kline of Mountain View and 34-year-old Chasity Pacheco of Mountain View were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass and theft. They were held at the Hilo police cellblock while South Hilo patrol officers and Area I Criminal Investigations Section detectives continued the investigation.

Matthew Tilfas was charged Tuesday (August 30) with first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree theft, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The other three were released pending further investigation.

Other areas where catalytic converters were stolen were:

  • The parking lot across the street from Hilo Medical Center
  • The University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • The UH agricultural complex on Komohana Drive
  • An automobile dealer in Hilo
  • The bayfront parking lot
  • The intersection of Puainako Street and  Komohana Street
  • The intersection of Puainako Street and Wilder Road

Police ask for the public’s help in reporting suspicious activity in parking lots or other areas where cars are left unattended. Investigators believe that the stolen items are being recycled or sold for cash. They remind the public that it is a crime to receive stolen property.

Police ask that anyone with information about these thefts or with information about anyone receiving stolen items call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Wordless Wednesday – The New Pahoa ?

I’ve heard that this new area of land behind Jan’s Barbershop will be something like a Senior Citizen home or an Adult Care type of center.  I’m not exactly sure what it is… if you know… feel free to comment.

The New Pahoa ?

So Ono Food Products Expanding Recall of Chicken Caesar Salad Products

So Ono Food Products, a Honolulu, Hawaii establishment, is expanding its recall of chicken Caesar salad products by an additional 46 pounds as marked with an asterisk below. The products were made with egg, a known allergen which is not declared on the package label. The initial recall was issued on August 26, 2011.

The products subject to recall include:
  • 9.5-oz. containers of “SO ONO FRESH CAESAR SALAD WITH CHICKEN,” with a Use By date of 09/01/11 through 09/04/11 located on a sticker in the top left corner of the package.*
  • 12-oz. plastic containers of “Signature Café GRILLED CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD,” with a Use By date of 08/26/11 through 09/02/2011 located on a sticker in the top left corner of the package.
  • Each package bears a label with the establishment number “P-38540” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The additional products subject to this expansion and marked with an asterisk above were produced between Aug. 25, 2011 and Aug. 29, 2011 and were distributed to retail grocery stores, including stores on military bases in Hawaii.
So Ono Food Products was notified of the problem that resulted in the August 26 recall by its co-manufacturer, Taylor Farms, who recalled similar products on the same day. Taylor Farms discovered the problem after learning of an adverse reaction to the consumption of a chicken salad product. The salad dressing that is part of today’s expansion is from a different supplier than Taylor Farms. The mislabeled additional products subject to today’s expansion were discovered during an investigation by an FSIS in-plant inspector conducted as a result of the August 26 recall. FSIS and the company have not received reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the products sold by So Ono Food Products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on FSIS’ website at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/
Media with questions about the recall should contact Nathan Okinaka at (808) 792-2807. Consumers with questions should contact Shankar Pitchiah at (808) 792-2809.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Papayas From Mexico Linked to Salmonella Outbreak on the Mainland… Papaya Prices Increasing

Well if the destruction of GMO related papaya fields doesn’t increase the cost of papayas…. a salmonella outbreak sure will!

A Papaya King Restaurant

…”When you are the ‘Papaya King,’ you better have papaya,” said Wayne Rosenbaum, director of operations for the chain. “My suppliers are crying. You can’t get fresh Mexican papaya. We’re now using papaya puree from Hawaii.” Papaya costs have risen dramatically over the past two to three weeks, and the FDA is clamping down on the papaya supply coming in to the US from Mexico…

More Here: Papaya King having a hard time getting papayas these days

FDA working with Mexico to protect safety of imported papayas
Joint effort to find sources of contamination and improve food safety systems is broadened

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart agencies in the Mexican government, the National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) and the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), are expanding their collaboration to reduce the risk of contamination of food that moves across the U.S.-Mexican border. This new level of collaboration has added importance as papayas from Mexico have been linked to approximately 100 cases of Salmonella Agona in 23 U.S. states.

U.S. and Mexican officials have been working closely together to find the source or sources of contamination of Salmonella in fresh papayas entering the U.S. from Mexico. From May 12, 2011, to August 18, 2011, FDA analysis found a 15.6 percent Salmonella contamination rate.  The positive samples were from 28 different firms and include nearly all the major papaya producing regions in Mexico.

Now, under an FDA Import Alert issued today, papayas from each source in Mexico may be denied admission into the United States unless the importer shows they are not contaminated with Salmonella, such as by using private laboratories to test the papayas.  FDA may consider five consecutive commercial shipments over a period of time, analyzed from a validated laboratory, as being adequate for removal from the Import Alert.

Simultaneously, FDA and Mexican officials are stepping up their joint effort to trace recent contamination incidents back to their source and discover their cause or causes, in order to inform future prevention strategies.  FDA and Mexican officials also are collaborating on laboratory methodologies used in Mexico for testing fresh papayas for Salmonella.

Beyond these immediate steps, the Mexican government and papaya industry have agreed to a longer range action plan that will define proper food safety procedures throughout the chain of production and distribution in Mexico and verify that the procedures are working effectively through product testing and other government oversight.  Mexican officials are overseeing the industry’s implementation of the action plan and the FDA is collaborating with the Mexican government in this effort.

“Collaboration between FDA and the Mexican government in the management of food safety problems is essential to fulfilling our responsibility to consumers in our respective countries,” said Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods. “It is equally important that we work together to prevent problems in the first place by implementing sound measures to prevent contamination throughout the chain of production, processing, distribution and sale.  FDA is committed to a strong food safety partnership with Mexico.”

“I am confident that this joint effort will reduce the risk of contamination of produce moving across our common border,” said Enrique Sanchez Cruz, director in chief of SENASICA.  “The strategy we have adopted in this case is aligned very well with the strategy undertaken by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) for papayas.”

The FDA has also been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health and regulatory officials, including those in Texas and Illinois. On July, 23, 2011, Agromod Produce, Inc. of McAllen, Texas, voluntarily recalled its papayas after FDA found the outbreak strain in samples of Agromod papayas.

Under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in January 2011, the FDA is developing a proposed rule for the safe production, and harvesting of both domestic and imported produce. The proposed rule is expected to be released by early 2012. In addition, a proposed rule for preventive controls for food facilities required to register with FDA is expected in late 2011.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.