Big Island Video News for Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Big Island Video News for Thursday, July 26, 2012:

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Governor Approves Funds to Complete Hilo International Airport Cargo Facility

Governor Neil Abercrombie has released $14 million in airport revenue bonds to finance an incomplete Capital Improvement Project (CIP) at the Hilo International Airport. Construction of the Hold Cargo Building/Light Industrial Facility began in December 2008 but due to funding limitations the project was reduced.

“We became aware that only part of the project was complete –the Cargo Building was missing,”stated Governor Abercrombie. “Based on input from agency officials and community leaders, it is clear that this cargo building is needed to make the freight process more effective for the Big Island community.”

Senator Gilbert Kahele was actively involved in working with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to legislatively see this appropriation through.

“I have been working collaboratively with many government agencies to make sure this project got back on track,” said Senator Kahele. “With all the unemployed construction workers around Hilo, it is unacceptable for a project of this size not to be completed.”

The original project scope bid out in 2008 included a cargo building, parking lot, airfield apron and taxiway. In June 2009, the project was reduced, leaving the project incomplete. Over the past year, DOT officials sought to fully complete the project by negotiating with the original contractor rather than rebidding the work, which saves the state several hundred thousand dollars. The airport Hold Cargo Building houses tenants of cargo transport companies, freight forwarders, and government agencies that oversee freight activities.

Earlier this month, the Governor released more than $40.9 million for other CIPs that invest in transportation infrastructure maintenance and upgrades on Hawaiꞌi Island. For more information about these and other CIPs, please visit http://hawaii.gov/gov.

Kapulena Agricultural Park To Be Blessed Tomorrow

The County of Hawai‘i and the Hāmākua Farm Bureau will meet to bless the Kapulena Agricultural Park this Friday at 10 a.m. at the lands just northwest of Honoka‘a.

Cattle have been grazing the Kapulena lands since the beginning of 2012 in an effort to clear thick vegetation off the first increment of the fallow sugar cane lands.  Once the lands are grazed down, they will be made available for more intensive farming projects proposed by the community.

“Kapulena is an opportunity for the hard-working farmers and ranchers of Hāmākua to work the land,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “It will also allow the seeds of opportunity to be sown for subsequent generations who wish to make their living by cultivating the rich lands of North Hawai‘i.”

While the grazing project will clear vegetation growing on the property for the initial group of farmers, the county has also entertained a number of offers from companies that wish to make use of ironwood trees which have taken over a majority of the property. Proposed uses for the ironwood include everything from flooring to fuel cells to biomass.

Other uses of the Kapulena lands could range from community gardens to larger-scale ranching and commercial production of crops to educational programs that will encourage youth to enter agricultural fields, the mayor said.

The Kapulena Agriculture Park is being operated by the Hāmākua Farm Bureau on a portion of the County-owned Kapulena lands just above the Hāmākua ditch between Honoka‘a and Waipi‘o Valley. Last year, the county cleared old cane haul roads, installed fencing, and installed heavy gates for security to support grazing on this portion of the Kapulena lands.

The commitment of 1,739 acres in Hāmākua represents a major increase in the available opportunities for farming on the Island of Hawai‘i. The state operates agricultural parks in Pāhoa, Hāmākua, Pana‘ewa and Keāhole, but the 1,739 acres at Kapulena amounts to more land for farming than all of those existing state-run agricultural parks on the island combined.

In addition to the County of Hawai‘i and the Hāmākua Farm Bureau, participants in the Kapulena lands include University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The blessing will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the entrance to the park on the mauka side of Honoka‘a-Waipi‘o Road, about five miles outside of Honoka‘a between Honoka‘a and Waipi‘o Valley.

Big Island Will Purchase Three New Buses with Federal Grant Money

I mentioned the other day that the State of Hawaii was going to receive $8.44 Million in Federal funding for new buses and that $1.2 million of it would be going to the Big Island.

Mayor Kenoi announced the following today how Hawaii County would allot that funding:

The County of Hawai‘i will receive $1.2 million in grant money to purchase three new buses for its Hele-On fleet.

The money comes from the Federal Transit Administration State of Good Repair grant program. The modern buses will replace three older ones being retired from the Hele-On fleet, which features 51 buses carrying 1.2 million passengers a year all around Hawai‘i Island.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county plans to purchase 49-passenger motor coaches to improve and expand upon its island-wide bus service. The new buses will be wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned, and equipped with bicycle racks.

“These funds will go a long way in helping us improve our transportation services,” said Mayor Kenoi. “They will replace buses that are over 17 years old.” Mayor Kenoi said U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye was instrumental in securing this grant.

“The buses we will purchase will provide a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience for our residents,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We would like to thank Senator Inouye for his assistance in obtaining the funds for this project.”

A key strategic goal of the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is to assist municipalities with the improvement and maintenance of America’s buses and bus facilities. About $650 million has been made available by the Federal Transit Administration to improve the condition of transit equipment across the nation.

Two More Federally Funded Projects to Begin Construction on the Big Island

$6.4 million Reed’s Island Bridge project awarded

The Reed’s Island Bridge Structural Rehabilitation project in South Hilo will bring the bridge into compliance with modern load capacity standards. The $6.4 million project was awarded to ABHE & Svoboda, Inc.

The wooden deck will be replaced with steel beams and a steel grating deck. Concrete rock anchors and micro piles will be installed to strengthen and increase load-bearing capacity. Lateral structural steel bracing members will be installed enabling the bridge to meet earthquake code requirements.

The Federal Highway Administration will fund 80% of the cost. The County’s share is 20%. Construction is scheduled to begin early fall of this year.

Ka‘iminani Drive in North Kona will undergo improvements

This federally funded project in North Kona begins 103’ from the intersection with Highway 190 and ends at Ahiahi Street. Jas W. Glover Ltd was awarded the $10 million improvement project.

Improvements will focus on roadway reconstruction, and drainage improvements that include six-foot shoulders, tie-ins to private driveways on Ka‘iminani, retaining walls, and restriping of the roadway.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is paying 80% of the construction cost and the County 20%. Construction is anticipated to begin this fall and will be completed in 2013.

Big Island Police Investigating Abuse of an Injured Infant

Big Island police have initiated an abuse of a family/household member investigation in connection with an injured infant.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. Friday (July 20), Kona patrol officers responded to Kona Community Hospital, where a 3-month-old Kealakekua girl had been admitted for burns reportedly caused by a hot bath. Doctors also found evidence of bone fractures.

The baby was later transferred to Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children on Oahu, where she is being treated and is listed in good condition.

The Honolulu Police Department and Child Protective Services on Oahu and the Big Island are assisting the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Area II Juvenile Aid Section in the investigation.

RIMPAC – F-16 & F-15 Aerial Refuelings – in Hi Def!

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., refuels F-16 Fighting Falcons with the 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard and F-15 Eagles from the 120th Fighter Wing, Great Falls, Montana, in support of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/I-oxFgxF14o]

Produced by TSgt. Pedro Jimenez – 2nd Combat Camera Sq. Also available in High Definition.

Local Companies Donate $300,000 to The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i

With contributions from almost 80 businesses, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii’s Corporate Council for the Environment raised $300,000 for local conservation in fiscal year 2012.

Dustin Sellers, President of ProService Hawaii and a Conservancy trustee, chairs the Corporate Council, which emphasizes the link between Hawaii’s environment and its economy. Since its launch in 1987, this coalition of local businesses has raised nearly $4 million to protect Hawaii’s natural resources.

Businesses that supported the Corporate Council at the leadership level ($10,000+) are: Alaska Airlines, Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Aulani-A Disney Resort & Spa, Hawaiian Electric Industries, HEI Charitable Foundation/Hawaiian Electric Company, James Campbell Company, Macy’s Foundation, Monsanto Fund, Outrigger Enterprises Group, ProService Hawaii, Skyline Eco-Adventures, and The Shidler Family Foundation.

“Hawaii’s businesses are an invaluable partner in our work to protect our island home,” said Suzanne Case, the Conservancy’s Hawai‘i Executive Director. “In difficult economic times, protecting the environment can get deferred, but these companies know the importance of the environment to Hawaii’s economy. Their vision and commitment help us protect the lands and waters that sustain Hawaii’s people, economy and island way of life.”

Since 1980, The Nature Conservancy has protected almost 200,000 acres of natural lands in Hawai‘i and works with other public and private landowners to protect the islands’ key watersheds. The Conservancy manages a statewide network of 10 preserves. It is also active in protecting the nearshore waters of the main Hawaiian Islands, working in six coastal communities on three islands.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

State Urges Testing for Hepatitis B and C in Honor of World Hepatitis Day

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz have declared this Saturday, July 28, as Hepatitis Day in Hawai’i, coinciding with World Hepatitis Day. The proclamation recognizes the importance of hepatitis education and encourages testing for those at risk.

“Often called the silent epidemic, most people with hepatitis B or C don’t have symptoms for many years,” stated Thaddeus Pham, DOH Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator. “People with hepatitis B and C shouldn’t wait until they feel sick to be tested because there are many things, including treatment, they can do to take care of themselves before becoming ill.  The earlier people know they have hepatitis, the better the outcome.”

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) is joining others across the nation and world to help raise awareness and support for improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for people living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C.

According to DOH Immunization Branch estimates, 1 to 3 percent of people in Hawai’i have hepatitis B, and approximately 23,000 are living with hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C are the most common known causes of liver cancer in Hawaiʻi, and Hawaiʻi has the highest rate of liver cancer in the United States.  “Many people with hepatitis B and C get liver damage or cirrhosis from the disease, which can be minimized by making healthy choices such as not drinking alcohol,” Pham said.

Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with blood and body fluids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that anyone who has been exposed to blood through needle use, blood transfusion, non-sterile equipment, or tattooing should be tested for both hepatitis B and C. Anyone born in a country with high rates of hepatitis B, especially countries in Asia and the Pacific, should be screened for hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is easily spread from mother to child through contact with blood and other body fluids.

The DOH recommends anyone who may be at risk for hepatitis B and C to go to their healthcare providers to get tested. For those with little to no insurance, there are many DOH and community clinics statewide that offer free screenings to help people to find out their hepatitis B and C status. Individuals can call Aloha United Way 211 or go to www.hepfreehawaii.org to find the free screening location nearest them.

More information on hepatitis B and C is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis, or by calling 1-888-443-7232.

For more information about World Hepatitis Day, go to www.aminumber12.org.

Big Island Police Investigating Road Rage Incident on Highway 130

Big Island Police are investigating a reported road rage incident as a criminal property damage case.

At 8:15 p.m. Wednesday (July 25), a 59-year-old Puna man reported at the Pāhoa police station that he had been driving in the Pāhoa direction on the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road (Route 130) when he passed a Toyota pickup truck just south of the intersection with Ainaloa Blvd. The Toyota truck then reportedly struck the victim’s truck three times from behind, with the third strike sending the victim’s vehicle into a slide.

Highway 130 and Ainaloa Blvd.

As the victim drove to the police station, the suspect followed him but then drove away before police could contact him. He was last seen heading in the Keaʻau direction on Route 130 back toward Ainaloa.

The suspect’s vehicle is described as a dark-colored new Toyota Tacoma 4-door pickup truck, possibly black or charcoal gray. It appeared to be lifted.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has information about the truck or its driver call Officer Shawn Tingle at 965-2716.

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 $1000. 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.

Man Jumps Off Edge of Pololu Valley – Lands Safely Below

Yesterday, Frank T.K. Hinshaw, of Hawaii Island Skydiving pulled off a maneuver over the skies on the Big Island that has never been attempted before as he became the first known man to “speed-wing” into Pololu Valley here on the Big Island.

Frank T.K. Hinshaw prepares to launch

I asked “TK” what a speedwing was and he stated, “a speedwing is a small paragliding wing first developed after “blade running” competitions became a bit more well-known. These competitions began with skydivers “ground launching” their parachutes and flying down ski slopes. Soon, paragliding manufacturers picked up the sport & began making small paragliding wings adapted for this purpose. In short, a speedwing is a very small paraglider.”

I’ve gotten the chance to meet Hinshaw a few times over on Oahu where I have tandem jumped three times with the last one setting a Hawaii Tandem altitude jump where we jumped from 21,000 feet.  I asked Hinshaw how long he’s been doing this and he stated, “I began ground-launching/speedflying in earnest shortly after I was separated from the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at the beginning of 2009. We first began by foot-launching our skydiving parachutes back in 2008 in an experimental fashion, this charge by the skydivers was led by Evan Whitlock. But it wasn’t until 2009 when we all bought our first real speedwings, mine was an Ozone 12m Bullet. We routinely began flying off of Kealia and the rest of the Mokuleia range on the North Shore of Oahu. We soon expanded to Makapu’u and began looking for more intense places to fly such as the Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Steps) on Oahu and Kalalau Valley on Kauai.”

When asked what inspired him to jump into Pololu Valley Hinshaw says “Flying into Pololu was just an idea that was given to me by Jake Kilfoyle after he saw a picture I took from the lookout. Since then I have wanted to do it, especially because I moved to North Kohala to start my skydiving business. However, I injured my knee doing another activity, and so I never had the chance to attempt it until the other day. It was just something that had to be accomplished sooner or later in order to progress the sport.”

Here is the video footage that was taken of the jump.  Normally “TK” uses a GoPro when he does stunts like this but he didn’t have his equipment with him.

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Recently TK had an incident that made him re-evaluate what he was doing and took some time off and I asked him about this incident and he said, “I was doing a practice jump before the 4th of July because I was going to jump the American Flag into Schofield Army Barracks for Independence Day. I ended up getting entangled with the Flag, it was an ordeal, but I landed fine even though my equipment was malfunctioning. I took a very short break from skydiving due to issues in my personal life, not so much because I was spooked from the jump. I am a very busy individual with trying to progress all the sports I am involved in, dealing with the government on a constant basis (usually negative), and running my new skydiving business here on the Big Island.”

I still haven’t gotten a chance to jump with him here on the Big Island, but I look forward to it.  I don’t think I’ll be doing anything crazy like jumping into Pololu Valley anytime soon.