Commentary – Lack of Redundancy Caused Inconvenience

Hawaiian Telcom’s main fiber-optic trunk cable for West Hawaii was damaged three times over the past year (twice in the same week). These outages were a major  inconvenience for anyone making a purchase or trying to make a phone call. In addition, residents living from Waikoloa to Pahala were not able to call 911 to report any emergencies.

The lack of redundancy is the culprit of these outages. Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Hawaiian Telcom have a fiber-optic cables going from Kawaihae to the Kona area. Oceanic’s fiber traverses along Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Hawaiian Telcom’s  goes along Highway 190.

However, these fiber-optic cables end in the Pahala area and don’t circle the island. So, a simple tree limb can knock out service to a large part of our island.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs estimates it will cost 6 million  dollars to extend the fiber-optic cable between Volcano and Pahala, which will eliminate this dead zone and create a true fiber-optic ring around the Big Island. This added redundancy will help minimize these recent outages in the future.

I hope the County of Hawaii, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaiian Telcom and the Federal government can work together to help resolve this issue, as our economic well being and public safety is at stake if this not resolved soon.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hōkūleʻa Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Her First Launch

Hōkūleʻa, the iconic canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will celebrate her landmark 40th anniversary with a series of celebratory events and festivities throughout 2015.

hokulea4The traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, designed by artist and historian Herb Kawainui Kane, launched from the sacred shores of Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The launch of Hōkūleʻa helped begin a generation of renewal for Hawai‘i’s people that, along with the revitalization of voyaging and navigation traditions, introduced a new-found respect and appreciation for Hawaiian culture and language in the state of Hawai‘i and beyond.

Hokulea Nainoa

“Hōkūleʻa is more than a voyaging canoe – she awakened us to the importance of bringing people together from all walks of life to perpetuate the values we care about in Hawaiʻi,” said Nainoa Thompson, master navigator and president of PVS. “We have a kuleana to build a future worthy of our children. As we celebrate 40 years of sailing, we look forward to sharing Hōkūleʻa’s story, and hope that she inspires many more people to navigate their own voyages of kindness and compassion.”

Hokulea1In celebration of Hōkūleʻa’s 40th anniversary, PVS will ask community members in Hawaiʻi, the 26 Polynesian islands visited this year, and future ports of the Worldwide Voyage to share a birthday message and submit inspiring local “stories of hope” about young people taking leadership roles in caring for their natural environment and culture. This “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign will run from March 8 to April 23 on hokulea.com.

Anniversary festivities throughout 2015 include a fundraising campaign with local musicians Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy Chock and Paula Fuga, a talk story series and birthday Paʻina hosted by ‘Ulu‘ulu at the University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu, an Earth Day beach cleanup, summer film screenings, and events in conjunction with the Friends of Hawaiʻi State Libraries. Events will be posted on hokulea.com.

hokulea5Since her first voyage to Tahiti in 1976, Hōkūleʻa, which means “Star of Gladness,” has brought together hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Pacific Ocean. As she continues to connect stories of hope throughout the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa will seek to inspire and establish a lasting network of people and cultures around the globe to work collectively to care for our Island Earth.

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hōkūleʻa’s 40th Anniversary March Events (Please check hokulea.com for updates and ongoing events):

March 10 through April 22
Hōkūleʻa “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign at hokulea.com

March 16, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ʻUluʻulu—University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu: Talk Story with Keoni Lee.

Keoni Lee, co-founder of ʻŌiwi TV and a crewmember of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will share about ʻŌiwi TV’s efforts to document the voyage using video, social media and other technologies. He will discuss the diverse traditional and new media channels used to share Hōkūleʻa’s story with Hawai’i and the world.

March 17, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: 40th Anniversary Pā‘ina.

Join us for a pā‘ina celebration of Hōkūleʻa and her 40 years of accomplishments. Polynesian Voyaging activities for students and the public, with music and light refreshments.

March 19, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: Elisa Yadao & Cliff Watson
Elisa Yadao, a former television news reporter, and Cliff Watson, cameraman and producer, will share their experiences documenting Hōkūleʻa’s early voyages and share footage from the archives.

April 25
Earth Day Mauka to Makai Cleanup
Join PVS and Sustainable Coastlines at Kailua Beach Park to help us mālama aina this Earth Day.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, February 27 at 6:50 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes.  Maximum Height: 50 degrees, and it will appear in the Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the South Southeast.

Quarantine Restrictions Extended to All Coffee Grown on Oahu

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture (HBOA) voted Wednesday to place coffee grown on all areas of Oahu under the same quarantine restrictions as was issued earlier for the Waialua area on Oahu and Hawaii Island to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer (CBB).

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

On Dec. 17, 2014, HBOA placed coffee grown at Waialua Estate Coffee Farms and coffee roasted at the Old Waialua Sugar Mill under the same quarantine restrictions as coffee grown on Hawaii Island due to the detection of CBB infestations at the sites. Since the initial detections in Waialua, CBB has been found in Wahiawa and Poamoho in Central Oahu.

Today, the board voted unanimously to expand the designated infested area and extend the interisland quarantine restrictions to all of Oahu beginning tomorrow, Feb. 25, 2015.

“Expanding the coffee quarantine safeguards to cover Oahu is an important step in helping to keep other coffee-growing islands free of the coffee berry borer,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the HBOA. “Oahu is a hub for the state’s coffee trade and we need to make sure that coffee beans that are imported to, as well as exported from Oahu are not spreading this destructive pest.”

So far, CBB has not been detected on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

The quarantine restrictions imposed today for Oahu are exactly the same as those which have been in effect for coffee from Hawaii Island since December 2010. It requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from CBB-infested islands to other non-infested areas or islands to prevent CBB movement. The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment. The coffee beans must also be roasted at a facility that is at least five miles from any commercial coffee-growing area.

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In early December 2014, HDOA confirmed the presence of the CBB (Hypothenemus hampei) on the coffee farm in Waialua, Oahu. This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.

Since its detection in Kona in 2010, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation practices. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

For more information on CBB in Hawaii, go to HDOA’s CBB information page at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/

Big Island Police Looking to Question Man Caught on Tape at Scene of Suspicious Fire

Hawaiʻi Island police want to question a man whose image was captured on a surveillance video at the scene of a suspicious fire.

arson suspectAt 6:10 a.m. Thursday (February 26), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a fire at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Captain Cook. When they arrived, firefighters were on the scene and the north rear entrance was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and determined that it was deliberately set. Damages, estimated at more than $80,000, were limited to the north side of the building.

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are investigating the case as arson. They recovered a photograph from a surveillance video that shows a Caucasian man in his 50s who appears to be tall with a large build and who has light hair with a receding hairline and a mustache. He was wearing dark shorts, a long-sleeved shirt light in color, and rubber slippers.

Police ask anyone who knows the identity of the man in the photo or who has any information about the fire to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Sean Smith at 326-4646, extension 262, or ssmith@co.hawaii.hi.us, or Detective Walter Ah Mow at 326-4646, extension 238, or wahmow@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Continues to Accept Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Applications

Contrary to some reports, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to accept solar photovoltaic (PV) applications through the current net energy metering process, which includes a technical review for safety and reliability. The companies are also making significant progress clearing pending applications on circuits that already have very high amounts of solar.

Shaka For HELCOOverall, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light continue to lead the nation in rooftop PV. An estimated 12 percent of the utilities’ customers have rooftop solar system, compared with the national average of less than one percent.

These efforts are part of the companies’ commitment to meet three overarching energy commitments by 2030. These include:

  1. Nearly tripling the amount of distributed solar
  2. Achieving 65 percent renewable energy use
  3. Lowering customer bills by 20 percent

“We know rooftop PV is an important option for our customers. We are continuing to follow the current net energy metering process while the Public Utilities Commission considers our proposal to transition to a fairer, more sustainable program. It’s critical for our community that we increase solar in a way that maintains reliability and is safe and fair for all customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

A recent letter to some Hawaii Electric Light customers who submitted applications for projects in areas of Hawai‘i Island with high amounts of solar has been mischaracterized by a national solar group as an effort by the Hawaiian Electric Companies to stop all solar installations.

“We apologize for the confusion and want to assure our customers that we are continuing to process solar applications. We are reviewing our notification procedures to improve communication with our customers,” Alberts said.

Highlights of progress made

  • Earlier this week, Hawaiian Electric reported to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that it notified an additional 548 O‘ahu customers who have been waiting for their net energy metering applications to be processed. Hundreds more are now being approved.
  • This was the first large group of Oahu customers to be cleared from a backlog of 2,749 applications, all from neighborhoods with high existing amounts of PV as of last October. Hawaiian Electric has committed to clearing 90 percent of that backlog by April, with the remaining customers applications to be approved by the end of 2015.
  • In addition, Maui Electric approved 331 applications in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, nearly clearing its entire backlog. Hawaii Electric Light had 336 applications under review in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, and approvals have since begun.
  • Overall, more than 3,000 net energy metering applications have been approved since the beginning of the year across the five islands that the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

In January, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light proposed a new program that would support the continued growth of rooftop solar while ensuring equitable rates for all customers. The new transitional distributed generation program would help address the current growing cost shift for operating and maintaining electric grids from customers who have rooftop solar to customers who don’t. At the end of 2013, that cost shift was approximately $38 million. By the end of 2014, that subsidy borne by non-solar customers had grown to $53 million.

In conjunction with this transitional distributed generation program, the utilities expect to be able to help the growth of solar by more than doubling the threshold for neighborhood circuits to accept solar systems. This would eliminate in most of those cases the need for a longer and costly interconnection study.

Public Workshops Scheduled For Input On Statewide Water Resource Protection Plan

The Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is in the process of updating the statewide Water Resource Protection Plan (WRPP) and is seeking the community’s input on water resource issues of importance.

The purpose of the Water Resource Protection Plan is to establish policies and identify actions needed to ensure the long-term protection and sustainability of Hawaii’s precious and limited ground and surface water resources.

Commission staff will be holding seven workshops statewide starting next week, so people on each island may participate. All workshops are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a short slideshow about the Water Resource Protection Plan. This will be followed by smaller group discussions to talk in more detail about specific water resource issues in each community.

The meeting schedule locations and dates follow.

water meetings

For more information, visit the WRPP update website at  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/planning/hiwaterplan/wrpp/wrpp2014/

Hawaii Residents – Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, February 24 at 7:52 PM. It will be visible for approximately 2 minutes.  Maximum Height: 48 degrees, and it will appear in the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the West Northwest.

Hawaii Electric Light Company Selects Ormat to Provide Additional Geothermal Energy

Following a rigorous review of bids submitted as part of a competitive bid process, Hawai‘i Electric Light Company has selected Ormat to provide an additional 25 MW of geothermal energy for Hawai‘i Island.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

The next step in the process is to begin contract negotiations with Ormat, with an agreement to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval.

“We have continued to pursue ways to increase our use of renewable energy and lower costs to our customers, while also ensuring reliable service,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawai‘i Electric Light Company president. “Ormat was selected based on numerous criteria, including attractive pricing, technical design and capability, financial soundness, as well as commitment to resolving all environmental issues and to working with our Hawai‘i Island communities.”

Geothermal technologies provide renewable, controlled dispatchable energy and firm capacity that allow Hawai‘i Electric Light to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant to its island-wide grid.

Firm energy sources like geothermal support the integration of intermittent renewable resources, such as wind or solar, while maintaining reliable service for Hawai‘i Island customers.

A draft Geothermal RFP was issued in early November 2012. The PUC also selected an Independent Observer, Boston Pacific Company, to monitor and advise on all steps of the competitive bidding process to ensure that the process is fair and adheres to the PUC Framework for Competitive Bidding.

More than 47 percent of electricity on Hawai‘i Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind, distributed solar and geothermal.

Puna Man in Custody on $1 Million Bail for Meth Trafficking & Other Offenses

A 31-year-old Puna man is in police custody on $1 million bail for meth trafficking and other drug and weapons charges.

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias of Mountain View was one of three men arrested Friday afternoon (February 20) during the execution of a search warrant at a home on the 200 block of Alaloa Road in the Waiākea Ūka area of Hilo.

Police recovered 7.75 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with the distribution of “ice,” an unregistered handgun, two unregistered rifles and $5,700 in cash.

Two other men, 32-year-old Christopher Manukai Mae of Hilo, and 35-year-old Waylon Thomas of Hilo, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug offenses. All three were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continued the investigation. In addition, Mae was charged with contempt of court for an unrelated bench warrant.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Frias with first-degree meth trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and three weapons offenses. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thomas was released Saturday pending further investigation. Mae was released Sunday after posting $1,500 bail for the contempt charge. Detectives continue to investigate drug offenses in connection with Thomas and Mae.

Puna Lava Flow Reaches Fire Break

Breakouts persist upslope of stalled flow front; new breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

22315pic1The leading tip of the June 27th lava flow remains stalled, but breakouts persist upslope of the stalled tip. Today, one of these breakouts (marked by the arrow) had advanced a short distance towards the north, reaching one of the fire break roads.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip.

22315pic2

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present roughly 450 m (490 yards) behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

New breakout at Puʻu ʻŌʻō 22315pic3

This photograph looks east, and shows the breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began over the weekend. The breakout, visible as the lighter colored region in the center of the photograph, occurred from the area of the June 27th vent (upper right portion of photograph).

22315pic4A small lobe of pāhoehoe on the new breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.22315pic5A closer look at some of the activity on the new breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Carpet Cleaning Company Caught Dumping in Public Sewage Drains

Well Island Carpet Cleaning won’t be getting any of my business in the near future as one of their employees has been caught dumping stuff in a public sewage drain!

Island Carpet Cleaning

737 House Bills Continue Through Legislative Process

Measures relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, health, transparency in government, the state’s fiscal obligations, public hospitals and affordable housing

capital

One month into the session, 737 bills, a little more than half the 1,515 bills originally introduced by representatives for the 2015 Legislature, are still being considered.  The measures include bills relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, health care, transparency in government, the state’s public hospitals, affordable housing and the state’s fiscal obligations, including the Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund.

Today, Feb. 20, is the deadline for House bills to reach the final committee to which they’ve been referred.

Among the bills that continue to move through the legislative process in the House include measures that: create medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers, require the Office of Elections to implement elections by mail, appropriate funds for the Kupuna Care Program and an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center, require the UH Board of Regents to study the feasibility of selling or leasing the building housing the Cancer Center.

In addition, other House bills still alive include those that: address invasive species, increase the tax credit for low-income household renters, make permanent the counties’ authority to establish a surcharge on state tax, limit compelled disclosure of sources or unpublished information by journalists (Shield Law), and enable the Hawaii Health Connector to offer large group coverage.

All House measures that have passed the first lateral deadline can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/1w7aLUy.

2015 – Kauluwehi Lei Contest

Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Hawai‘i Island Natural Area Reserves (NARS), the Three Mountain Alliance (TMA), and the Wailoa Arts and Cultural Center are proud to present Kauluwehi, a juried lei art contest and exhibition celebrating the native species, Hawaiian culture, and sustainable picking practices on Hawai‘i Island.

lei making image

Kauluwehi 2014 features three main categories including Kahiko (traditional style lei), ‘Auana (contemporary lei), and Lei Hulu (feather lei). The Kahiko category features several subcategories, each showcasing a particular material such as the leaves, flowers, or the fruit and seed of a plant. The ‘Auana category moves away from the traditional style of lei making by incorporating recycled materials, synthetic materials, and exotic plant materials. Lei will be judged on craftsmanship, creativeness of design, uniqueness of material, and the complexity or effort that is put into it.  We invite amateur and professional lei artist of all ages to take part in the Hawaiian tradition of lei making!

lei making workshop

2015 Lei Hikes:

March 7th: Mauna Kea lei workshop. Spaces are limited.  View flier for registration information – Ka‘ohe Workshop 

More Information:

Lei Submission Form 2015

Kauluwehi Prospectus 2015

CTAHR Article: Hawaiian Ecosystems and Culture – Growing Lei Plants

 

Hawaiian Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light has completed repairs to all major damage caused by a storm system that passed over the islands last Friday and Saturday. Late yesterday evening, crews restored power to the remaining 40 customers in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area.

“We would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we worked to safely restore electric service as quickly as possible,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson.

HELCO Workers

“Partnerships are critical for restoring essential services after a storm,” Okinaka said. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our employees, partners at the County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Department of Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department, other utilities, and contracted tree trimming and construction crews for their tremendous support and dedication to restore electric service to our community.”

Hawaii Electric Light advises the community to be cautious of trees that could be weakened by the high winds. Weakened trees or their branches can fall after a storm has passed, and this could cause new power interruptions.

Please call 969-6666 to report an outage, downed power line, or damaged utility equipment.

Hawaii Island Spring Bearded Turkey Season Begins March 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii Island Branch announces the opening of the 2015 Spring Bearded Turkey Hunting Season on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

DLNR

The spring season will run 31 consecutive days through Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  The spring season will be for bearded turkeys only in locations identified below.  The season length, bag limits, and hunting areas are those established in Title 13, Chapter 122, “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, Field Trials and Commercial Shooting Preserves.”  The appellate court ruling (Tanaka v. State, December 31, 2007) removed the Department’s ability to make any seasonal adjustments.  The following conditions and restrictions will be in effect:

  • The daily bag limit shall be two bearded turkeys per hunter with a season bag limit of two.
  • All hunters are required to have a current unused turkey tag in their possession while hunting.
  • Tags are currently free of charge.
  • Turkey tags are nontransferable and must be fastened with snaps and secured tightly around the neck or tarsus of any bird taken immediately after the kill.
  • Tags may be obtained from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.
  • Hunters must present current State of Hawaii Hunting License when obtaining tags.
  • Turkey tags are also required on private land.

Information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers:  Hilo: (808) 974-4221; Kamuela: (808) 887-6063 or the main office in Honolulu at (808) 587-0166.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Pepeekeo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Pepeʻekeo girl, who was reported missing.

Shaniya Das-Lauro

Shaniya Das-Lauro

Shaniya Das-Lauro was last seen in Hilo on January 10. She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 35-Year-Old Keaau Woman

UPDATE – Hawaiʻi Island police have located 35-year-old Celeste Rosa of Keaʻau, who was reported missing.   She was found in Kona on Tuesday.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 35-year-old Keaʻau woman who was reported missing.

Celeste Rosa

Celeste Rosa

Celeste Rosa was last seen at her Hawaiian Paradise Park home Friday afternoon (February 13). She is described as 5-foot-2, 120 pounds with brown eyes and black shoulder-length hair. She may be in the Puna or Hilo area and may be operating a black 2005 Nissan Altima four-door sedan, license plate HJK 796.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Bryson Miyose at 956-2716.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

House Bill Would Create Videoconferencing Venue From Big Island

The House Committee on Legislative Management passed HB1054 last Wednesday, which would establish a pilot program to enable the House to receive live oral testimony from the County of Hawaii through audio or audiovisual technology.  The trial program would run through June 30, 2017.

Hawaii DOE educators used their computers to join the Access Learning legislative briefing via video conferencing. Clockwise, from top right: Moanalua Middle Principal Lisa Nagamine, Pahoa Elementary Principal Michelle Payne-Arakaki, and Keaau Elemenatry Principal Chad Keone Farias.

Hawaii DOE educators used their computers to join the Access Learning legislative briefing in 2014 via video conferencing. Clockwise, from top right: Moanalua Middle Principal Lisa Nagamine, Pahoa Elementary Principal Michelle Payne-Arakaki, and Keaau Elemenatry Principal Chad Keone Farias.

“This pilot program would remove one of the biggest hurdles facing Hawaii Island residents in voicing their opinions on issues that matter to them, without having to buy a plane ticket to Oahu to do so,” said Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau), who introduced the bill.

“I am also working with House staff and leadership on other ways we might be able to extend remote access to the Capitol to neighbor islands that might not require legislation.  The technology to be able to do this has been around for a while and government is running out of excuses for not using it.”

The proposal calls for the House to coordinate with the County of Hawaii to identify sites or facilities that have existing audio and audiovisual capabilities that could be used to allow residents to present live oral testimony. The bill also requires the House to consult with the County of Hawaii, the chief information officer, and the Disability and Communication Access Board, and appropriates monies to establish audio or audiovisual systems.

The bill now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee and, if passed, proceeds to Finance.

Hawaii Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to areas impacted by high winds.

Shaka For HELCO

Last night, crews from Hilo, Kona and Waimea restored power to approximately 800 customers in portions of Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, Lanipuna, and Hawaiian Acres.

As of 9:00 a.m., an estimated 300 customers remain without power. Today, crews expect to make progress in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area. Electric service for customers in these areas is expected to be restored by tomorrow.

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance. To report a downed power line or outage, please call 969-6666.