Andrews Gymnasium Reopens

Repairs to Hilo’s Joseph G. Andrews Gymnasium have been completed, allowing the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation to reopen the popular facility located within Waiākeawaena Park.

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor  Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor
Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Old wax buildup was removed from the gym’s floor, which was then sanded and coated with a new layer of wax to protect the playing surface. New lines were painted to accommodate different sports, termite damage repaired and replacement basketball backboards installed. The Department of the Parks and Recreation’s Maintenance staff performed all of the work in-house.

Located at 33 West Kawailani Street, Andrews Gymnasium is open each Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Gym programs include the following youth activities:

  • Basketball Shooting Clinic (ages 9-14) Wednesdays 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Volleyball (ages 7-14) Thursdays 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Craft clubs (ages 5-12) Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Speed and Agility workshops (ages 7-14) Saturdays 2 to 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact Maurice Janado at 959-9047.

Bill to Make Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Hawaii’s Official State Microbe to be Heard Tomorrow

The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid – a two inch, glow in the dark creature – will have its moment in the spotlight tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, February 25. The Senate’s Committee on Technology and the Arts (TEC) will hear a bill designating vibrio fischeri as Hawaii’s official microbe.

image credit: guardian.co.uk

Image credit: guardian.co.uk

Vibrio fischeri is a bacteria which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, giving the animal the power to produce bioluminescence, or light from a living organism. The squid is endemic to Hawaii and hunts at night on reef flats. However, moonlight casts a shadow onto the sea floor, which alerts predators to the squid’s presence. To counter this effect, the Hawaiian bobtail squid cultures vibrio fischeri in a special light-emitting organ, which allows it to become stealthy by projecting light that minimizes the dark shadow of its body.

Image credit: kahikai.org

Image credit: kahikai.org

The study of this chemical reaction has numerous medical and practical applications, such as testing for toxic compounds in water.

“We anticipate having a State Microbe will ignite interest in science for our kids. What could be more appropriate than a bacteria that creates a glowing blue squid that thrives just off our shores,” says Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chairman of the TEC Committee, “With 70% of our planet covered in water, it makes perfect sense to have Hawaii’s microbe tied to the ocean.”

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

What:   Hearing on SB 3124, designating a State Microbe

When: 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, February 25

Where: Capitol, room 414

[youtube=http://youtu.be/KCobcWsYOS8]

More information on the bill can be found by going to this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=3124&year=2014.

Oregon became the first state to have an official microbe.  Lawmakers there designated saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as “brewer’s yeast” as its state microbe due to its importance to Oregon’s beer and winemaking industries. Wisconsin has attempted to turn lactococcus lactis into its official microbe, in recognition of its role in creating cheese.

Governor Abercrombie Releases $62.4 Million for Education Facilities Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $62.4 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) that will improve various Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) facilities across the state, while stimulating the economy and generating local jobs.

“These funds will help to create a better learning environment for our keiki and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In the process, the funds will create work for hundreds in Hawaii.”

Kau High School

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$36,365,000 – Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure – Planning, design, construction and equipment to improve and maintain facilities and infrastructure for various schools statewide. DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is at $265 million. These projects include general school building improvements, electrical upgrades and playground equipment repair, along with maintenance and other school repairs and renovations. Some of these funds will go to the overall repair project at the damaged Farrington High Auditorium.

$7,554,000 – Program Support – Planning, land, design, construction and equipment for program support at various schools statewide, including new/temporary facilities, improvements to existing facilities, ground and site improvements, and for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and gender equity. ADA projects include McKinley High, Baldwin High, Kohala Elementary and Honokaa High. Gender equity projects include Keaau High, Waiakea High and Waipahu High softball fields and Kahuku High and Intermediate girls’ athletic locker room. Funds will also complete construction of a locker room project at Lahainaluna High and complete design of a locker room at Konawaena Middle School.

$7,500,000 – Equity – Design and construction for equality projects to improve instructional spaces such as science labs, special education classroom renovations and classrooms on a statewide basis for classroom/learning environment parity. Equity projects also include energy improvements relating to heat abatement in classrooms.

$5,800,000 – Capacity – Plans, land, design, construction and equipment for capacity projects at various schools statewide nearing their enrollment capacity or are short of classroom space.

$5,200,000 – Staff Costs and Project Positions – Fiscal Year 2014 costs related to wages and fringe benefits for 60 project-funded permanent staff. The positions will provide the technical and clerical support necessary for the DOE to adequately address their CIP needs by moving its CIP project-funded staff to the vacant Liliuokalani Elementary in the near future.

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Department of Health Cites Philips Services Hawaii, LTD for Used-Oil Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a notice of violation with a penalty fine totaling $19,500 against Philip Services Hawaii, LTD (PSH). DOH discovered two alleged violations of the state’s used-oil rules during a routine inspection on Aug. 19 and 20, 2013. PSH operates at two sites located at 91-410 and 91-416 Komohana St. in Kapolei on Oahu. The company has been at these sites since July 2001 and its operations include used-oil transport, processing and recycling.

Department of Health

PSH faces one count of significantly altering operating procedures without notifying DOH. These procedures are considered to be a part of the permit and any changes to the plans must be approved by DOH. The standard operating procedures that were in use at the time of the inspection were not consistent with the approved version. The altered procedures resulted in substantial changes in the used-oil processing steps that had not been approved by DOH. The altered procedures changed the system from a recycling system into a disposal system.

Instead of recovering used oil and waste fuels from the oily water for reuse, the altered system would absorb those components for disposal. Potentially, hazardous wastes could have been sent for recycling and been disposed of instead. The second count resulted from PSH failing to update their emergency coordinator list. PSH may request a hearing within 20 days to contest the violation notice and penalty.

To protect Hawaii from pollutants that endanger people and the environment, the DOH regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes.

The department’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch promotes pollution prevention and waste minimization, develops partnerships with waste generators and the regulated community, guides the rehabilitation of contaminated lands, and aggressively enforces environmental laws.waii