Senator Mazie Hirono Details How Climate Change is Already Having a Significant Impact on Hawaii

Senator Mazie K. Hirono warned that climate change is already having a significant impact on Hawaii and without coordinated government action will greatly harm the state’s well-being in the future during a hearing held by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Hirono Climate Change

At the hearing, titled “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now,” climate scientists and other experts testified on how climate change is already having an effect on U.S. weather patterns which in turn is leading to more frequent extreme weather and is negatively impacting communities and industries. This was Hirono’s first hearing as a member of the committee since being tapped temporarily to fill the vacancy left after New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg’s death.

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“Climate change is the great challenge of our time. In Hawaii, we are already seeing the impact of climate change—both on land and in the ocean that surrounds us,” Hirono testified. “Rising ocean temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification pose serious risks to our economy and communities. For example, the sea level has risen in Hawaii at rate of 0.6 inches per decade over the past century. Research indicates that sea level may increase by 3 feet by the end of the century. This means that areas like Waikiki—a critical driver of Hawaii’s tourism economy—are likely to face serious flooding if sea level rise intensifies.”

Hirono noted that while Hawaii has seen a decrease in overall rainfall that it depends on for fresh water over the past twenty years, the state has seen a large increase in very heavy downpours that have caused major flooding. She detailed how the State of Hawaii is already taking action to respond to climate change but that national and global efforts are needed to truly address the problem.

“Hawaii has taken an aggressive approach toward addressing climate change. We have passed state laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean energy and energy efficiency, and a law to address climate change adaptation. These efforts are forward-looking, but support on the federal level is needed,” Hirono said.

Mazie Hirono speaks with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Mazie Hirono speaks with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

During the hearing, Hirono also questioned Reinsurance Association of America President Frank Nutter about how insurance companies are dealing with the increased threat of major weather events that climate change is causing. Nutter testified that the increasing severity of storms is causing rates to go up, especially in communities prone to flooding. Hirono cited the cautionary example of Hurricane Iniki, which caused such severe damage that the Hawaii government was forced to create the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund when insurance companies stopped writing and renewing hurricane insurance policies in Hawaii.

Hirono also voted today to confirm Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I am glad that my colleagues finally voted to confirm Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator. McCarthy has a long record of fighting for cleaner air and energy efficiency, and she will serve as an important leader in our nation’s fight against climate change,” Hirono said after the vote.

Governors Urge Congress to Act on Immigration

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday joined 14 other governors in a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging the U.S. House of Representatives to act without delay in adopting bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Click to read letter

Click to read letter

A measure passed last month in the U.S. Senate but is awaiting action by the House. The letter emphasizes that such action is necessary for the nation to begin building an immigration system that reflects the country’s values and strengthens its economies.

The letter states:

“As reflected by the strong vote in the Senate, there is widespread support for an immigration bill that provides a fair, realistic pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented individuals currently in our country while, at the same time, securing our border.”

The governors also expressed support for visa programs that allow for agricultural guest workers and students studying science and math:

“Agriculture is one of the backbones of our country’s economy. Many of our farms, especially small family farms, will go out of business unless they are given access to a reliable workforce.

“We also support an immigration plan that provides visas to foreign graduate students in science and math who came to this country for an education. Our nation and states work hard to attract these talented students. We should give them the opportunity to stay so that they can contribute to our economies and access the American dream.

“This is not only the right policy for our nation, it also makes sense economically … We all recognize that immigrants contribute a great deal to our economy and our culture. We should make sure they are fully integrated into the social, civic and economic fabric of American life and have access to the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else.”

In addition to Gov. Abercrombie, those signing the letter included Govs. Mike BeeBe (Arkansas), Dannel P. Malloy (Connecticut), John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Jack Markell (Delaware), Pat Quinn (Illinois), Steve Beshear (Kentucky), Deval Patrick (Massachusetts), Margaret Hassan (New Hampshire), Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island), Jay Inslee (Washington), Martin O’Malley (Maryland), Mark Dayton (Minnesota), John Kitzhaber (Oregon), and Peter Shumlin (Vermont).

Link to the letter here.

 

Nice Boots… Homeless in Pahoa

Homeless in Pahoa by Sean King

The homeless problem is getting worse and worse all over the place and Pahoa has also been affected by it.  This picture was submitted to me the other day.  Today, I saw a guy walking down the street who had literally crapped his pants.

Anyone have any solutions to the problem?

Big Island Police Investigating Hilo Purse Snatching

Police are investigating a reported purse snatching that occurred yesterday in Downtown Hilo.

Palace Theater Alley

Palace Theater Alley

Yesterday (July 17, 2013) at about 12:50 pm, police responded to the lower Haili Street area after receiving a report from a 64 year-old Keaʻau woman that as she and another 59 year-old Keaʻau woman were walking along Haili Street, a local male apparently approached them from behind and removed her purse before fleeing in an alleyway below the Palace Theater.

The suspect was described as a local male in his late 20’s, last seen wearing a white tank-top undershirt, brown shorts, and a pair of slippers.

Neither woman was injured during the incident.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case or may have witnessed the robbery to call Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or by email at gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

 

Big Island Police Arrest 19-Year-Old Man for Carjacking in Target Parking Lot

Police are investigating an apparent carjacking that occurred last night in a parking lot of a Hilo shopping complex.

Target

Target

Last night (July 17, 2013) at about 6:38 pm, police responded to the parking lot of Target on Puainako Avenue after receiving a report from a 24 year-old Hilo man that as he was about to enter his late model Hyundai sedan, he was accosted by a local male who brandished a weapon and threatened the victim. The suspect acquired the keys to the vehicle from the victim prior to fleeing the parking lot in the vehicle.

An island-wide bulletin was issued and the vehicle was located in the Pohoiki area late last night. A 19 year-old former Mountain View man was taken into custody and remains in the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation, which is classified as a first degree robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. A 14 year-old female who was with the suspect at the time of his arrest was interviewed by detectives and released to her parents.

Detectives are also reviewing video surveillance footage that was recovered from Target.

The victim was not injured during the incident.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case or may have witnessed the robbery to call Detective Clarence Davies III at 961-2384 or by email at cdavies@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or email at gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

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.

Hawai’i Tourism Authority Announces New Tourism Brand Manager

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, has hired Laci Goshi as a tourism brand manager.

Laci Goshi

Laci Goshi

Goshi will be overseeing Hawai‘i’s core North America market, including the U.S. and Canada. She will work collaboratively with the HTA’s contractor for North America, the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) to drive demand and ensure marketing efforts are in line with the HTA’s strategic plans.

Prior to joining the HTA, Goshi was the contract sales manager at Aqua Hotel & Resorts where she helped to promote and market the 23 hotels on six of the Hawaiian Islands. She was also the sales manager at the Pacific Beach Hotel where she worked directly with wholesalers in the U.S., Canada and Australia markets.

“We are pleased to welcome Laci to the HTA ‘ohana,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “She brings a wealth of experience in the visitor industry and marketing the Hawaiian Islands to the North America region.”

Angela Rodriguez, the former brand manager for North America, is the HTA’s new communications and tourism brand manager, responsible for developing strategies to provide the community, industry partners, key stakeholders and government officials with a better understanding and appreciation of Hawai‘i’s visitor 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).

World’s Largest Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races Celebrates 40th Anniversary of the Women’s Long Distance Race

Summer of 1974: President Nixon resigns, Hawaii elects George Ariyoshi as the nation’s first Japanese-American governor, John Lennon reports seeing a UFO in New York City, Eric Clapton’s “I Shot the Sheriff” is the number one hit song and for the first time ever – wahine (women) compete in a long distance outrigger canoe race in Kona, Hawaii.

Up until 1974, wahine crews only paddled in short-course regattas. “We knew we could do it. Our six-mile long distance race from Keauhou to Kailua kick-started what the race has grown to become today,” said Blondie Kamaka, one of the members of the pioneering Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club crew. “We paddled because we love it, now it’s a legacy. We knew we could go farther and we did the following year.”

2013 Queen Lili'uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race

2013 Queen Lili’uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race

Four crews from Hawaii Island along with crews from O’ahu, Kauai and Maui raced from Keauhou Bay to Kailua Bay and into the history books. The course was shorter back then, six miles instead of the 18-mile grueling race of today. Ask any of these crew members and they will agree that the thought of competing long distance was one that excited and challenged these now-veteran paddlers.

Race officials, including Mary Jane Kahanamoku who worked alongside her husband Louis Kahanamoku (the fifth of six brothers from the legendary water sports family whose most famous member was three-time Olympian Duke Kahanamoku) pushed to have the wahine included. The sport was rapidly evolving when,just two years earlier, this new Queen Lili’uokalani long distance race course had emerged as a way for men to prepare for the Molokai Channel Race.

Molokai 3

Accustomed to the short-distance regatta races that required no crew changes, the learning curve for open ocean racing would prove to be challenging for even the most seasoned wahine paddlers. The new six-mile long-distance course would require crew changes, so theyspent the summer learning how to climb in and out of the canoe while moving through open ocean. Not the easiest maneuver, but the coaches were committed, and through the bruises and bangs, by the end of the summer of ’74, the wahinewere ready to line up at the race start.

How did the men respond when race co-founder Mary Jane Kahanamoku of Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club pushed to include wahine? The men accommodated the change and helped train these wahine crews. Outrigger canoe veterans like Pops Kekua, Toots Crozier and Virginia Isbell helped oversee the course and made certain the rules were followed. Just five years later the dream was realized when, “Na Wahine o Ke Kai” – the Molokai to Oahu canoe race -followed suit.

This year, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the Queen Lili’uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race. The Queen’s Race salutes these pioneer wahine and the support crews who believed in their ability to paddle an open ocean race and steered the way for others to follow. Forty years later, the wahine outrigger canoe racing has grown tremendously and this August the Queen’s Race will welcome over 120 teams to the women’s 18-mile race. Auntie Blondie’s granddaughter just started paddling and you can be sure Auntie Blondie will be on the start line to watch her race start.

Kai Opua4

To celebrate the anniversary, Kai ‘Ōpua will host a “talk story” with the original 1974 wahine paddlers, coaches and officials at which the public is invited to attend on Friday, August 30th at 5pm on the lawn at Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and listen to the ocean stories these amazing women will relate.

Then on Saturday, August 30th, the world’s largest long distance race starts at Kailua Bay where the wahine paddle the Kona coast and head for their finish line 18miles away at Honaunau. Iron wahinecrews– those who paddle the entire 18 mileswithout any crew changes– start the race at 7:30 am, followed by the crews paddling in the Unlimited division (whose boats have no weight limit) and lastly, the wahine crews thatwill change paddlers throughout the race will get their start at 7:40 am. All of the long-distance races have five-minute split-staggered starts.

Photos by Brooke Wilson

Photos by Brooke Wilson

TheWa’a Kaukahi kane crews follow the same staggered start racing from Hōnaunau back to Kailua starting at 11:45 am. The first men’s crew is expected to cross the finish line in Kailua Bay about 1:00 pm.

Best place to view the races? Book a seat aboard “Blue Sea Cruises” Spirit of Kona catamaran or “Body Glove Cruises” Kanoa II 65 foot catamaran for a front row view of Saturday’s signature races. Both catamarans are available for transporting race participants and spectators andwill follow the races as they unfold to the wahine finish lineat Hōnaunau andthe kane finish line at Kailua.

Board Blue Sea Cruises catamaran “Spirit of Kona” at the Kailua Pier at 6:00 am for a 6:30 am departure. Cost for the tour is $40 for adult spectators and $33 for children 5 to 11 years old. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase. For reservations call 808-331-8875 or book online blueseacruisesinc.com

BoardBody Glove Cruises 65′ catamaran “Kanoa II” for another opportunity for a front seat at the races. Board Kanoa II at Kailua Pier at 6:00 am with a 6:30 am departure. Cost for the Kanoa II tour catamaran is $50 for adult spectators, no children under 5 years old. Continental breakfast and BBQ lunch are included. For reservations call 808-326-7122 or book online bodyglovehawaii.com/canoe-race.

Kai Opua

Then as the sun sets, paddlers from around the world will gather in Kona to celebrate the day’s long-distances races and the numerous races to follow during the weekend with the traditional Queen Lili’uokalani Torch Light Parade that begins at Hale Halawai, travels through Historic Kailua Village and ends on Kailua Pier. The public is invited to cheer on the paddlers as they walk with torches along the Ali’i Drive parade route.

AdditionalQueen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race events throughout the three-day weekend:

Sunday, September 1

  • Wa’a Kaulua (Races for double-hull canoes)
  • OC1 (one person) & OC2 (two person canoes)
  • Stand-up Paddleboard Short and Long-course
  • Teen (Single hull canoes)

Monday, September 2

  •  Ali’i Challenge (A blend of Survivor and Amazing Race) Using single hull canoes with 12-person crews.

The 2013 Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races are sponsored in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Queen K Tesoro, Steinlager, OluKai, Ocean Paddler Television, Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai and numerous corporate and community donors.

For more race information, including a detailed slate of events, race information, photos, history and contacts, visit www.kaiopua.org.