Big Island Visitors Bureau Announces What’s Hot on the Big Island in October

With our incredible diversity of natural landscapes and seascapes, agriculture, culture, history, and places for visitors to call home while here, Hawai’i Island is clearly a BIG and inspiring getaway!

ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

McNeil Wilson Takes Over PR for BIVB. McNeil Wilson Communications (MWC), a Honolulu PR firm with a specialty in tourism marketing, has been hired to manage public relations for BIVB. MWC’s clients include Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau, Marriott Resorts Hawai’i, Prince Resorts Hawai’i, Polynesian Cultural Center, and USS Missouri Memorial. The primary PR contact is Noreen Kam. She can be reached at  noreen.kam@anthologygroup.com and (808) 539-3422.
Hawai’i Island Tour Companies Earn “Green” Certification. Hawai’i’s first-ever certification program for “green” tourism has validated the commitment to sustainability by five entities operating on Hawai’i Island: Atlantis Submarines Kona, Volcano Discovery, Jack’s Diving Locker, Pacific Islands Institute, and Hawaii Forest & Trail. The program was created by the Hawai’i Ecotourism Association to encourage more “green” tourism statewide, support conservation, and raise awareness among visitors. Each entity earned the certification following an evaluation of their ecotourism operations and principles. www.hawaiiecotourism.org.

The Humpbacks are Back! The first official whale sighting of Hawai’i’s annual humpback whale migration, which runs November through May, was reported by six lucky passengers and their captain aboard a Sea Quest charter on Monday. The early arrival, which appeared to be a yearling, was spotted slapping its tail on the surface in waters outside West Hawai’i’s Hōnaunau Bay. For more information on Hawai’i’s humpback whales, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary website, http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/. 

The Lyman Museum presents a special exhibit “Hawai’i’s Volcanoes: 1800s to Present” from Dec. 9, 2011 through Mar. 3, 2012, featuring historic paintings, photographs, film footage, oddities & curiosities. In celebration of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s centennial, paintings from the museum’s collections by Hitchcock, Bailey and Furneaux will be on display, along with volcanic specimens and film footage of Kīlauea eruptions as early as the 1930s. Missionary Sarah Lyman’s written accounts of earthquakes and eruptions are also included. Visit www.lymanmusuem.org.

Oceans of Fun! The Hanamana is a sleek, 38-foot custom sportfishing boat out of Honokōhau Harbor that promises adventure and fun for everyone.  You and your party of up to six people can snorkel, see dolphins, fish and enjoy a special year-end discount of 15 percent off of the regular rate of $599. Your discounted price comes to $509.15, and does not include tax and gratuity. Call (808) 331-1742 for reservations, and mention BIVB. Visit www.hanamanaboatcharters.com.

Ocean Sports announces another new fantastic water fitness activity: Aqua Tahitian! Dance your way to fitness with this dynamic workout combining lively Tahitian beats with the gentle resistance of the water. And, best of all, you don’t need previous dance experience or your wallet to join this complimentary pool party. Offered Monday thru Friday at 11 a.m. in the Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Kona Pool. For information or reservations, call (808) 886-6666 ext. 103, or visit  www.hawaiioceansports.com.

Mmm! Edible Hawaiian Islands announces the launch of its new app for iPhone and iPad, available on iTunes, free until the end of October. Take the flavor of the Hawaiian Islands with you everywhere and access all the farmers markets, local dining guide, mouth-watering recipes and articles about the people, places and food of Hawai’i. Visit www.ediblehawaiianislands.com for details.

Reeling in the Savings. Enjoy a half-day, four-hour sportfishing charter in Kona with Humdinger Sportfishing for $340.  Want to stay out longer? Upgrade for $100/hour. Call Captain Jeff Fay at (808) 325-3449 to take advantage of this special rate. Must book and pay for charter by Nov. 31, 2011, charter must be taken by Oct. 31, 2012. Visit www.HumdingerSportFishing.com.

Looking for more to do? Click www.bigisland.org/calendar for detailed information about additional Hawai’i Island happenings throughout 2011, like this special hula performance:

Na Mea Hawai’i Hula Kahiko Performance (Saturday, Nov. 5) – See traditional hula and chant performed outdoors on the hula platform overlooking Kīlauea Crater featuring Halau Hula Ka Noeau, starting at 10:30 a.m.  Observe Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Volcano Art Center Gallery, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. Call (808) 967-8222 or visit www.volcanoartcenter.org.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Kilauea Lodge Now Offers the Ola’a Plantation House, a historic 1935 property, among its Volcano lodging offerings. This beautiful two-bedroom cottage sits just a block away from the main lodge and across the street from Tutu’s Place, another historic Volcano Village home. Both homes can be booked together for larger gatherings. The Ola’a Plantation House has two bedrooms, a large living room with wood burning fireplace, a sun room and spacious kitchen, heated towel warmers, TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, original art and spacious gardens. Contact Kilauea Lodge at www.kilauealodge.com for reservations.

Discover Hawai’i, the Big Island and receive an air credit on every room booked! Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is participating in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii special air credit group room offer. For groups staying a minimum of 25 peak rooms, each room receives $100 in air credit. Blackout dates may apply as well as other terms and conditions. Offer expires Dec. 31, 2011. Visit www.SheratonKeauhou.com or call Brina Fritzsche at (808) 930-4875 for more information.

Prince Resorts Hawai’i Giving Away Free Nights This Fall. Rates at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel start at $289 for terrace accommodations; stay for two consecutive nights and the third night is free! Valid until Dec. 22, 2011. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel rates start at $500 for mountain view accommodations; stay for three consecutive nights and the fourth night is free, valid until Dec. 17, 2011. Prince Preferred members receive 1,500 bonus Hawaiian Miles. Some restrictions apply. Call 1-866.Prince.6 or visit www.PrinceResortsHawaii.com/FreeNight.

Beautiful, secluded Kipuka Cottage near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park announces an early Christmas present for guests who reserve dates between Dec. 1 and Dec. 25. Kipuka is offering a 15 percent discount on any stay of two nights or longer for these dates. Make reservation requests at http://kipuka-cottage.squarespace.com.

TASTY TIDBITS

Honu’s Restaurant Is Open in Historic Kailua Village!  Overlooking the white sand beach at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, guests will enjoy a wonderful selection of island salads and creative new seafood dishes, as well as lavish seafood and prime rib buffets, all in the style of Hawai’i Regional Cuisine.  Located right on Kamakahonu Bay with its historic heiau and bustling ocean activities, patrons can relax on the spacious lanai around inviting fire pits while sipping tropical delights.  For more information visit www.konabeachhotel.com.

The Fairmont Orchid Hawai’i is pleased to offer Lifestyle Cuisine Plus, a menu available upon request catering to guests with specific diet-dependent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and gluten-free, as well as unique dietary preferences including macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.  Guests can now enjoy delectable dishes such as Seared Ahi Penne Pasta (Diabetes), Kalbi Chicken Vegetable Fried Rice (Gluten Free) and Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry (Vegan) at any of the AAA Four Diamond Resort’s award winning restaurants.  Learn more at www.fairmont.com/orchid.

For the ninth year, Mountain Thunder will serve as the official coffee mill and roastery for the 41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Nov. 4-13. In celebration of this esteemed position, Mountain Thunder is offering free USPS shipping to the mainland U.S. on orders of two pounds or more of Organic Private Reserve French and Vienna roast orders. Visit www.mountainthunder.com or call (888) 41-4Kona.

Special note to media: The Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) recognizes the use of the ‘okina ['] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the modern Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ā] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai’i such as Kīlauea). However, BIVB respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses.

For more information on Hawai’i Island, please visit http://media.bigisland.org

County of Hawaii to Begin Collecting Electronic Waste

The County of Hawai`i Department of Environmental Management will begin collecting residential e-waste this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011.

“We‟re very pleased to provide this convenient e-waste collection service on a regular schedule for our residents,” said Dora Beck, acting Director of the Department of Environmental Management. “The demand for this service has been steadily increasing and we appreciate that many people have been holding on to their e-waste until this safe and appropriate means of diversion became available.”

E-waste collection sites will be staffed with attendants to assist residents with the proper disposal of e-waste and other items. “Our department is working very hard to help keep our island clean, healthy and safe,” said Beck.

Residential e-waste collection sites will accept TVs, monitors, laptops, VCRs/DVD players, stereo receivers/amplifiers, UPS systems, cameras, cellular and landline telephones.

The residential collection service will follow the rotating schedule below at the four Recycling and Transfer Stations in the County:

  • Wai‘ōhinu Transfer & Recycling Station:  Saturday, October 1, and every first Saturday of the month thereafter.
  • Waimea Transfer & Recycling Station:  Saturday, October 8, and every second Saturday of the month thereafter.
  • Kealakehe Transfer & Station:  Saturday, October 15, and every third Saturday of the month thereafter.
  • Hilo Transfer & Recycling Station:  Saturday, October 22, and every fourth Saturday of the month thereafter.

MONTHLY ROTATING SCHEDULE

Please note: All e-waste collection sites open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

1st Saturday:  Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station (Residential only)

2nd Saturday:  Waimea Transfer Station (Residential only)

3rd Saturday:  Kealakehe (Kona) Transfer Station (Residential only)

4th Saturday:  Hilo Transfer Station (Residential only)

Last Friday:

The County will collect commercial e-waste from businesses and government agencies by appointment only on the last Friday of each month at the Hilo Sort Station. TVs, computers, monitors, laptops, VCRs/DVD players, stereo receivers/amplifiers, UPS systems, cameras, cellular and landline telephones, fax machines and copies will be accepted. Tipping fees will apply. For an appointment, call 961-8270.

Residential and commercial e-waste collection is also available at Mr. K‟s Recycling and Redemption Center, 815 Kinoole St., Hilo (895-4471) though charges may apply to dispose of certain e-waste items.

For more information, please visit www.HawaiiZeroWaste.org.

Police Officer Saves Person from Drowning… Becomes Officer of the Year

Officer Carrie Akina was named the Big Island’s “Officer of the Year” by the Hawaiʻi State Law Enforcement Officials Association at a banquet at the Hāpuna Beach Prince Hotel on September 23.

Akina received the honor for risking her own personal safety and welfare to rescue a swimmer in distress last November.

While conducting a narcotics investigation at Honl’s Beach on November 19, 2010, Akina observed a struggling swimmer. She immediately notified dispatch and requested Fire Rescue. She then got her personal boogie board out of the trunk of her car and entered the rough surf to rescue the 37-year-old New York man. While on her way to his side, she saw him submerged in the water for short periods of time. She was able to reach him quickly and assist him back to shore.

Patrol officers at the scene concurred that if Officer Akina had not reacted as swiftly and bravely as she did, the victim would have drowned.

Earlier this year, Akina received a Bronze Medal of Merit for her act of bravery. Chief Harry Kubojiri said Akina showed “true character” and demonstrated “great personal courage.

State Releases Roadmap for Transforming Information Technology Systems

The state today released a report detailing its information technology (IT) assessment, a critical component in the Abercombie Administration’s long-term plan to transform technology.

The assessment, which includes a Baseline Assessment and Benchmarking Report, was conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in close collaboration with all state departments.  The assessment is the first phase of the state’s multi-year initiative to modernize its information technology and information resource management (IRM) systems.  The goal of the state’s technology transformation initiative is to make government more efficient and improve services for the people of Hawai’i while reducing costs.

“The massive undertaking to bring the technology of government into the 21st century is critical to our commitment to transform government,” Governor Abercrombie said. “This first-of-its-kind assessment of the state’s IT assets, policies and procedures is a major milestone for Hawai’i under the leadership of our new Chief Information Officer, Sonny Bhagowalia. The findings and recommendations in this report give us the basis for moving forward with confidence.”

The report explains that the state’s budget reductions over the last decade and lack of centralized governance of IT and IRM have resulted in minimal integration of business processes between departments, duplication of efforts and redundant processes, and aging legacy systems. Further, the state’s current level of investment on IT and IRM is inadequate compared to benchmark standards found in other states and existing best-practices.

Along with the SAIC report, Governor Abercrombie today issued an Administrative Directive to all Executive Branch Department Heads announcing that – with the exception of the University of Hawai’i, the Department of Education, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs – the CIO and Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) now has authority over the design and implementation of all Executive Branch IT infrastructure, IRM, and shared services.

In addition, the Administrative Directive designates Deputy Comptroller Jan Gouveia as Business Transformation Executive to recommend business process reengineering projects to the Governor with the overall goal of streamlining business processes, increasing efficiencies, reducing duplication of efforts and improving delivery of services.

Under the leadership of Bhagowalia and Gouveia, the state will now develop a comprehensive strategic plan for statewide information management and technology based on the information reported by SAIC.  The plan and architecture is anticipated to be delivered in July 2012.

“A complete transformation of technology – from where we are today to where we want to be –will probably take eight to 10 years of working collaboratively with all stakeholders to realize the full benefits,” Bhagowalia said. “However, our actions will fundamentally change the way the government works in Hawaii. Given the state’s budget constraints, we need to prioritize our next steps in order to maximize the funding opportunities and resources that currently exist.”

While developing the statewide strategic plan and enterprise architecture over the next nine months, Bhagowalia will also immediately embark on the following initiatives:

  • Develop statewide IT governance to establish the framework for the new IT strategy, including policies, standards, architecture requirements and IT investment oversight.
  • Prioritize business process reengineering projects and implement performance changes.
  • Identify opportunities for statewide data center and disaster recovery solutions.
The Baseline Assessment and Benchmarking Report, along with the Governor’s Administrative Directive, can be downloaded from the OIMT website:  http://hawaii.gov/oimt/.

Hawaii County Police Awarded Funding for Six New Officers for Rural Areas

The County of Hawai`i has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to hire six additional police officers, Mayor Billy Kenoi announced today.

The COPS grant application process is highly competitive, and the County of Hawai`i was awarded $1,392,336 to cover salaries and benefits for six officers for three years. A total of $243 million was awarded to communities across the nation, according to an announcement by the Department of Justice.

“The six additional positions for the County of Hawai`i will be used to add officers and increase patrols in the Puna District and other rural districts where the populations have been growing, and where the demand for police services has grown,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This will help to protect the public, and make our communities safer. We want to thank the Department of Justice, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and our entire Congressional delegation for this assistance.”

Hawai`i County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said the funding will be used to hire, train and field the officers, who will be deployed to rural areas that have shown the largest increases in calls for service.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, this grant represents an important boost for public safety,” Chief Kubojiri said. “We have asked our officers to do more with less, and they have responded. We have seen an overall decline in reported crimes in the county over the last decade, but there are some areas including Puna that have seen an increase in calls for service. There is much more to be done, and the entire community will benefit from these additional police officers.”

The last increase in the number of police officers in the county was in 2004, when 10 officers were added in Kona, and five were added in Puna, Kubojiri said. The police department now has 432 authorized sworn officer positions, including eight vacant positions.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced more than $243 million in grants awarded nationwide to 238 law enforcement agencies and municipalities for the hiring of new officers and deputies.

The awards were made through the COPS Hiring Program, a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire police officers dedicated to addressing specific crime and disorder challenges confronting communities.  The grants provide 100 percent funding for the entry-level salaries and benefits of newly-hired, or rehired, full-time officer positions over a three-year period.

For the 2011 COPS Hiring Program, 2,712 applications were received requesting more than $2 billion and 8,999 positions.  Funding decisions were based on an agency’s commitment to community policing, crime rates, changes in law enforcement budgets, and other local fiscal data (poverty, unemployment, foreclosure rates, etc.).

“Cities across the country are dealing with numerous challenges and we are pleased to be able to assist their public safety efforts,” said COPS Director Bernard Melekian. “Creating and maintaining jobs is a key part of this program.  This funding helps support local departments in their efforts to increase their ranks, enhance their relationship with the community and directly address their public safety concerns.”

The 2011 COPS Hiring Program awards will create or help preserve 1,021 sworn law enforcement positions.  The jobs created, preserved or refilled with COPS Hiring Program funds will advance community policing at the local level and contribute greatly to the quality of life of the citizens in each community.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $13 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 120,000 officers and to provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, technical assistance, conferences, and webcasts.

For additional information about the COPS Hiring Program, and to view a list of municipalities that received grants, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator and Swimming Legend Keo Nakama

In observance of the memory of former state Representative and swimming legend Keo Nakama, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday, September 30, 2011.

Nakama began his legendary swimming career in the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Irrigation ditches in Pu’unene, Maui as a child. He attended Ohio State University, where he excelled at swimming and baseball, winning Big Ten and National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. During his swim career, he won 27 U.S. National Championships from 100 yards to 1500 meters and set the world record swim for a mile at 20:29. Nakama was the first person to swim completely across the 27-mile Kaiwi Channel from Moloka’i to O’ahu, an accomplishment completed in 15.5 hours.

Nakama also served as a Hawai’i high school swim coach, teacher and athletic director before being elected to the Hawai’i State House of Representatives, where he served for five terms until 1974. Nakama was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Wordless Wednesday – My Brother Who Used to be a LAPD Officer

My brother just posted the following picture on Facebook from the time that he was a Police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

"I remember this happened on Dec. 31, 2004. There was a tour bus picking up people from the house in this picture so that they could go to Las Vegas to celebrate the New Years. So you can imagine what happened next. A tour bus, full of tourists, and all of them seemed to have a camera. I'm sure this photo made its way to one of the "Epic Fail" websites." ~ Kane Meyer

Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator Lisa Naito

In observance of the memory of former state Representative Lisa Naito, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday, September 30, 2011.

“When Lisa entered a room, she made it brighter. She was always encouraging, and she had a deep sense of aloha for everyone,” Governor Abercrombie said.  “Lisa was the epitome of the public servant. Her empathy for the trials and tribulations of those she served set a standard.”

Naito, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., was a newspaper correspondent in Paris and jazz singer with a band called the New Yorkers before arriving in Hawai’i in 1964 aboard a yacht that was sailing around the world. She was elected state representative of the Kaimuki-Kapahulu district in 1974 and re-elected in 1976. She later worked as a state social worker and was involved with several community organizations, including the Hawai’i Death with Dignity Society.

Admiral Willard Discusses the “Asia-Pacific U.S. Military Overview”

Admiral Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command discusses the “Asia-Pacific U.S. Military Overview” at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on September 27, 2011.

Admiral Willard speaks to the media at the 2009 Cheif of Defense Conference

I remember when I was invited to meed Admiral Willard last year I was so nervous that I forgot to even ask him any questions!

At the Chief of Defense Conference held at a secret location on Oahu in 2009

With the upcoming 2011 APEC Conference… I’m sure the security is going to be even more tight then it was at this conference.

Video: When Donkeys Fly… The Kona Waikoloa Nightingales and Update From Mainland Ranch

After a year of planning and hard work, 119 Waikoloa Nightingales, wild Donkeys, were rounded up and taken to Kona Airport.

There they were put into special crates, 6 donkeys per crate, and flown to LAX then transported to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.

Here are some youtube clips I have come across of the removal process:

Fast forward on this next one to the :20 second mark for the beginning of it:

Keith Dane wrote a thanks you letter to the folks of the Big Island that included the following thoughts on the transfer:

Dear Waikoloa Donkey Project supporter,

I wanted to provide you with an update on the great news from Hawaii – and California – about the success of our donkey rescue and rehoming project thus far.  To date, nearly 400 donkeys have been removed from harm, spared from the threat of starvation or lethal eradication – with over half placed in loving homes in Hawaii, and 119 transported to California, where Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue will care for them while they await adoption or transfer to permanent sanctuary, at Eagle Eye Sanctuary in Northern CA and HSUS’s Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in TX…

…In less than two days, on August 27th and 28th, 165 donkeys in total were processed, including 98 castrated jacks and 67 jennies.  They were treated for parasites, checked for health concerns, and those bound for CA were microchipped and had blood drawn for Coggins tests (a requirement for entry into the state).  The clinic went extremely smoothly, with a well-prepared team in place including over two dozen local volunteers and the vet/tech team from CA, which was happy to have had the opportunity to help with the project.

Following a couple weeks’ rest/recovery period, a total of 119 donkeys (77 jacks and 42 jennies) were transported to CA last weekend, on September 16th.  A massive caravan of trucks and trailers carted them safely to Kona International Airport (where they were loaded by groups of 6 into large animal crates for boarding onto the aircraft) and were met –  following an uneventful flight – at LAX by a similar caravan orchestrated by Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.  The entire group is settling into their new surroundings, where they’ll await adoption to good forever homes, or transfer to sanctuary…

More here: Mahalo Letter from Keith Dane, HSUS

For more information on the Kona Waikoloa Nightingales, check out Anika Glass’s Blog: Malama Waikoloa Nightingales.

Hawai’i Supreme Court Today Rejects HSTA’s Contention that Hawai’i Labor Relations Board (HLRB) is Not Appropriately Handling the Case

The Hawai’i Supreme Court today rejected the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s contention that the Hawai’i Labor Relations Board (HLRB) is not appropriately handling the case. The Supreme Court noted that the relief requested by HSTA, a petition for a writ of mandamus, is not appropriate in these circumstances.

Last week, the Hawai’i State Ethics Commission dismissed the HSTA’s complaint claiming that the State had improperly communicated with the HLRB.

Earlier this month, the HLRB also dismissed one of HSTA’s motions. In its ruling, the HLRB noted that the actions of HSTA amounted to “an egregious and reckless disregard for the truth” and “appear intended to mislead the board.”

Governor Neil Abercrombie today released the following statement:

“We respect and support teachers and their contributions. The tactics of the Hawai’i State Teachers Association and its attorneys are being rejected across the board by the legal system in every venue. These theatrics serve no public purpose and they undermine the fact that our students are in schools learning and our teachers are in classrooms teaching. We never received any proposed alternatives from HSTA after its board refused to submit our tentative agreement to the membership. It is time to move on.”

Councilman Pete Hoffman on the Demise of Impact Fees

Councilman Pete Hoffman

On 21 September, in a surprising reversal of its Planning Committee recommendation two weeks previous, the County Council voted five to four to defeat the long-anticipated Impact Fee legislation.

Despite the obvious need (expressed by almost everyone even remotely involved on this issue) to revamp the current ineffective ‘fair-share’ system, despite the benefit of continuous support (free of charge by the way) from the experts originally contracted by the County to study an Impact Fee, despite a further three page listing of suggested recommendations from the County’s Planning Director received only on 19 September, despite growing public approval for an Impact Fee proposal, and despite repeated explanations countering the numerous misunderstandings of some opponents, the Council terminated Bill 304 at First Reading.

Disappointment is the prevailing sentiment that characterizes this vote.  I’m disappointed that as a Council we are unable to address adequately the difficult issues that have plagued us repeatedly over the years.  I’m not necessarily convinced that my proposal is the best, but I do know that impact fees work, they have been adopted by literally thousands of communities that faced the same infrastructure shortfalls as Hawaii County does now, and development has not stopped in any of those communities.  If Council members don’t like my idea, then what other alternatives do they suggest?  State law has allowed us to adopt impact fees for the past 18 years.  How long must residents wait?  If not now, when will we be courageous enough to create an effective system to address these shortfalls??

Another irony of the situation is that the Council on many occasions has called for administration recommendations regarding impact fees, urging a partnership to resolve this issue.  I recognize that the detailed listing of recommendations received on two occasions recently from the Planning Department did not necessarily represent administration approval of this impact fee proposal, but it would seem to reflect a willingness to work with Council and to discuss a controversial topic.  I would have anticipated that the Council would be willing to advance that discussion rather than cut it short.

Impact Fees, if adopted, would not suddenly make the County healthy.  It would, however, permit the County to employ a funding mechanism which has proven successful in communities nationwide.  Failure to pass this legislation either dooms County residents to continued shortfalls in essential facilities or insures that higher taxes will be the only remedy available to correct those deficiencies.  Those taxes affect all residents; rich, poor, and everyone in-between, not just those that cause the increased impact.

Simply put, the defeat of the Impact Fee legislation translates into higher taxes for all or inadequate infrastructure.  Disappointing to say the least.  Our residents deserve better.

A final comment:  In the aftermath of this vote, I fear the perception will linger that the Council remains more concerned about potential election results than resolving key issues.  Ask yourselves:  when will the Council take the lead and make the tough decisions?? I believe we missed a great opportunity on 21 September.

Pete Hoffman  

Hawaii State Health Department Receives Federal Funds to Strengthen Emergency Preparedness

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded $5,260,290 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the federal Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program. Award funding supports efforts to strengthen DOH public health emergency preparedness, including increased capacity in the areas of laboratory testing, disease surveillance and investigation, enhanced infrastructure, public information and warning, community preparedness, and other capabilities.

“Whether it’s preparing for natural disasters or disease outbreaks, the DOH is always working on protecting the public’s health and safety,” noted Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “An investment in emergency preparedness is an investment in the well-being of the people of Hawaiʻi. This federal award will help us do even more to be ready for challenges that might face us.”

The PHEP program supports state, local, and territorial health departments in achieving public health preparedness capabilities to ensure safer and more resilient communities. PHEP also carries out development and training and exercises to test plan effectiveness within DOH as well as with external organizations and agencies.

Utilizing an all-hazards approach, DOH PHEP planning and training cover a wide range of preparedness measures including food safety defense, rapid detection, identification of and response to threat agents and toxins, bioterrorism preparedness, robust interoperable communications, effective emergency public notification and alerts, and the ability to quickly and securely receive and dispense critical medication and supplies to the entire state population.

“Our preparedness efforts have made a great deal of progress over the years,” said Dr. Sarah Park, DOH State Epidemiologist and PHEP director. “However, we recognize that constant improvement is required because the roles and responsibilities of public health continue to evolve and increase, even as funding and resources fluctuate yearly.”

The PHEP program recently released a 10-Year Summary Report outlining accomplishments, goals, and challenges in public health emergency preparedness in Hawaii over the past decade.

The report is available online at http://hawaii.gov/health/BT/10yrSummaryReportFINAL2a.pdf.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the DOH encourages everyone to do their part to be ready for emergencies: “Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.”

For more information on the DOH PHEP program, go to http://hawaii.gov/health/BT/index.html. For more on the CDC PHEP cooperative agreement, see http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/coopagreement.htm.

Pahoa Gets Legitimate Bus Stop Courtesy of the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset

With much cooperation from the local councilman (Fred Blas), the mayor (Billy Kenoi), the Department of Public Works, the county mass transit coordinator and the county engineers… the Rotary Club of Pahoa sunset has successfully installed a first class bus stop shelter on Old Pahoa Village Road adjacent to the Woodlands Center (near the new Pahoa Longs).

The new Pahoa Bus Stop located in front of Pahoa Auto Parts courtesy of the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset

We expect to be able to install another on the high school end of town. The property for the shelter was graciously ceded by the Pahoa Auto Parts store owners.  This is the pilot of our project we are working on a plan to install shelters of our own conforming design on Leilani Ave

Alan Lakritz
Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset

Hawaii Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator and First Circuit Court Judge Katsugo Miho

In observance of the memory of former state Representative and First Circuit Judge Katsugo Miho, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset, September 29, 2011.

Kats Miho's Story

Click to read Kats Miho's Story

“Kats Miho was a unique person in the best sense of the word.  He was always encouraging and supportive of the best in you – never pessimistic of Hawai’i or its future,” Governor Abercrombie said. “He genuinely believed in politics and in you as a person.  In my life personally and politically, he was someone I could always call on for advice, counsel, and support. In his public life, Kats Miho’s contribution to Hawai’i is old school.  In other words, he was always for Hawai’i, first, last, and always.”
Miho, born in 1922 in Kahului, Maui, served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Miho received his law degree from George Washington University Law School and became a lawyer in private practice. In 1959, Miho was elected to the State of Hawai’i House of Representatives and served for five terms. He was appointed as a Family Court Judge where he served for eight years. Miho was also involved in the community, including the Japan Goodwill Sumo tournaments, Japan-Hawai’i High School Goodwill and Friendship baseball series, 442nd Veterans Club of Honolulu and the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation.

Hilo Woman’s Club Presents – Oktoberfest 2011

Health and Medicine Among Contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, is Opening at the National Library of Medicine

A new exhibition examining concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, is opening at the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health. Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, explores the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people, artwork, objects, and interactive media.

National Library of Medicine opens new interactive exhibition Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness first of its kind

Opening events will be held Oct. 5, 2011 and will include ceremonial dancing and the blessing of a healing totem pole that was created for the exhibition and installed in front of the Library. The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium of the Lister Hill Center (Building 38A) on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. At 11:45 a.m., events move to the front of the Library (Building 38) for the blessing of the healing totem pole and the exhibition, and for the exhibition ribbon-cutting. Native Voices opens to the public Oct. 6.

The National Library of Medicine has a history of working with Native communities as part of the Library’s commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live or work. The Native Voices exhibition concept grew out of meetings with Native leaders in Alaska, Hawaii and the contiguous United States.

“This exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and establishes a unique collection of information,” says Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine. “We hope visitors will find Native Voices educational and inspirational, and we hope Native people will view it with pride. The Library is excited to open this exhibition, and to do it during our 175th anniversary year.”

Topics featured in the exhibition include: Native views of land, food, community, earth/nature, and spirituality as they relate to Native health; the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities; economic and cultural issues that affect the health of Native communities; efforts by Native communities to improve health conditions; and the role of Native Americans in military service and healing support for returning Native veterans.

The Hokulea courtesy of Herb Kawainui Kane and the movie "The Voyagers"

In addition to the collection of interviews, here are some of the objects visitors will find in the exhibition:

  • In the lobby of the Library, guiding people into the exhibition, is a 10-foot model of the Hokule‘a, a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe used for long-distance travel. Visitors will learn how the mission of the Hokule‘a has spurred a Hawaiian cultural and health revival.
  • Inside the exhibition, in a section that explores Native games for survival, strength and sports, visitors will find a vintage surfboard and learn about Native Hawaiian sportsman Duke Kahanamoku, who won Olympic medals in swimming and revived the sport of surfboarding.
  • Ceremonial drums, pipes, and rattles from the Upper Plains Indians grace a section on healing.
  • A World War II radio is one object that helps tell the story of Navajo and other American Indian Code Talkers. Visitors will learn about their service to the country and the ceremonies performed by traditional healers to help relieve combat-related stress experienced by returning veterans.
  • The 20-foot healing totem pole created by master carver Jewell Praying Wolf James and the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation in the Pacific Northwest is located in the herb garden in front of the Library. Visitors will discover the meaning of the stories, symbols and colors on the totem pole and two benches that accompany it. In the weeks preceding the exhibition opening, the totem received blessings from a number of tribes as it was transported across the country to be permanently installed at the Library. Previous work by carver Jewell James includes healing totems to honor the victims of the September 11th attacks. Those totems are now installed in Arrow Park in New York, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.

To make the Native Voices information accessible to people who can’t come to the Library, there is an online version of the exhibition at www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices. The Library hopes to develop a travelling version consisting of a series of banners with information.

For people interested in Native health issues in general, the Library’s collection of free online information contains material on Native health including:

Saturday – 27th Annual Kohala Country Fair

The 27th Annual Kohala Country Fair is this Saturday, October 1st:

Saturday, October 1, 2011
9am – 4:30pm

Schedule of Performers:
9:00 - Blessing
9:30 – Taiko Drummers & Kupuna Hula
11:00 “Spam Sculpture Carving Contest” all ages
11:00 – Bradda Walta
12:00 – Positive Motion
1:00 -“Doggie Costume Contest”
         “Tug War Winners”
1:45 - “Spam Sculpture Carving Contest” all ages

2:00 – Nonami Band
3:00 – Mystik Rhythmz

KEIKI ACTIVITIES Fun Zone Carnival Games:

  • Baby Farm Animals & Pony Education Experience
  • Bungee Trampoline
  • Face Painting
  • Rock Wall
  • Ricochet Party Inflatables
  • Air-brush Tattoos
  • Fishpipe Fun
  • Smokey Bear
  • Zoo Choo Train
  • Hic Cup Circus

For more information click here: Kohala Country Fair

Big Island Police Seeking Missing 66 Year-Old Woman Who Needs Medication

*UPDATE* Big Island police have located 66-year-old Lucille Naungayan of Hilo, who was reported missing.  She was found unharmed Monday afternoon (September 26) at the Hilo airport.

Big Island police are searching for a 66-year-old Hilo woman reported as missing.

Lucille Naungayan was last seen at 8:30 a.m. today (September 26) at her Kinoʻole Street home. She has medical conditions that require medication.

Naungayan is described as between 5-feet tall and 5-foot-2, 180 pounds with gray hair. She was last seen wearing glasses, a pink T-shirt, light-colored slacks, rubber slippers and an orange sweatshirt.

Police ask than anyone with information on her 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 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.

5th Annual China – U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit Held on Hawaii Island

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, welcomed tourism officials from across the U.S. and China attending the 5th Annual China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit on Hawai‘i Island today.

US-China Tourism Summit

US-China Tourism Summit

Members of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and China National Tourism Association (CNTA), including more than 60 regional tourism directors from the U.S. and China, met at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. The Summit, considered to be one of the top economic accomplishments by the two countries, is designed to build business through creating relationships and knowledge of both the Chinese and U.S. markets.

“The China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit is an important event to build on the growing relationship we have with China,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2007, opening group and leisure travel from China to the U.S., we have seen significant growth in this market, with visitor arrivals projected to reach 91,000 in 2011, up 37 percent over last year. This meeting also offers another opportunity to position Hawai‘i as a global meetings destination as our state prepares to host the 2011 APEC Leaders’ Week, and  builds on the growing interest of our state within the Asia- Pacific region.”

“We are very pleased and proud to host the 5th U.S.-China Travel Summit on the Island of Hawai‘i, and look forward to expanding our ties to tourism directors from both the Chinese and U.S. markets,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We offer a very special kind of experience for travelers, and are at the forefront of emerging areas of the visitor industry such as educational and agricultural tourism. We want to extend to our guests the warm hospitality and aloha that make our island home so special, and we welcome this opportunity to showcase our Island of Hawai`I for these key international travel industry leaders.”

Attendees were welcomed by Roger Dow, president and CEO of USTA, and Qiwei Shao,chairman of CNTA, to discuss and work toward enhancing tourism-related cooperation between the two countries.

Representing Hawai‘i was McCartney and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz, who both addressed the participants. Other speakers included Dr. Rachel JC Chen, Ph.D, Center for Sustainable Business and Tourism, University of Tennessee; Dr. Dai Bin, Ph.D, chairman, China Tourism Academy; Mike Lieberman, president and CEO, Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau; Gary Sain, president and CEO, Visit Orlando; Leigh Von Der Esch, managing director, Utah Office of Tourism; She Quingwen, director general, Tian Jin Tourism Administration; Chen Jianjun, director general, Guang Xi Tourism Administration; and Hao Kang Li, director general, Si Chuan Tourism Administration.

“This event has served as a bridge between the tour and travel industries in both  countries,” said Bruce Bommarito, senior international consulting partner of the USTA. “It also provides an opportunity to meet and build connections with relevant decision makers from China, a rapidly growing market, in the tourism industry.”

Established in 1998, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, is responsible for strategically managing tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i that integrates the interest of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Tourism is our state’s leading economic driver and largest employer and the HTA continually works to ensure its sustainability well into the future.

For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@HawaiiHTA).