Venomous Spiders Found in Foreign Container

A venomous spider was captured by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Honolulu on Mon., April 13th.

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The spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu. The CBP agents sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider (genus: Phoneutria). The brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.

Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and  killed immediately by a worker unloading the container. The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider. The second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.

“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state.”

spider

The CBP is responsible, not only for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also screening international visitors and foreign cargo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspection of agricultural material and animals transported from foreign countries into the U.S. and the HDOA is responsible for agricultural inspections from ports within the U.S. entering the State of Hawaii.

The Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs.

This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name. Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE –

643-PEST (7378).

Governors Statement on TMT Construction Postponement

Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

Top View of TMT Complex

Top View of TMT Complex

My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

  • Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit
  • Reducing the level of activity on the summit
  • Integrating culture and science

My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

Kamehameha Schools Announces Four New Executives

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong today named four new leaders who will join his executive team in the next few weeks.
Kamehameha SchoolsEach brings strategic and innovative thinking to the leadership team, as well as substantial insight and career experience with Kamehameha’s educational mission and Native Hawaiian and Christian foundations.

The new leaders named today are: Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources; Darrel R. Hoke, Executive Vice President of Administration; Kevin N. Cockett, Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer; and Lauren S. Nahme, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.

“I am excited about how these new leaders will help transform the work we do, how we collaborate with others, and help drive sustainable impacts for improved Native Hawaiian educational success,” said Wong. “They all have proven leadership abilities, solid values, integrity and passion for our mission, and they will enhance the already resilient and dynamic leadership team we have in place.”

Kā‘eo Duarte, a 10-year KS employee, is promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources, a new executive position that demonstrates Kamehameha’s commitment to a community-based approach, which includes responding collaboratively to the specific needs of communities.

“The Community Engagement group is probably the most “unique and new” group in KS’ new organizational structure, but its purpose is an old one,” explained Duarte. “It is about engaging and elevating people and place . . . kanaka and ʻāina, and I am the first to admit we have a lot to figure out and even more to do, but I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard.”

Duarte will oversee management of KS resources in nine regions statewide, plus agriculture and conservation land programs, community resource centers and sustainability initiatives. Last year, Duarte was named Senior Director, West Hawaiʻi Region, charged with directing the combined endowment and education efforts in the region for more effective and efficient impact. Duarte has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S.E. in civil and geological engineering from Princeton University.

Kevin N. Cockett will join Kamehameha Schools in June 2015 as Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer. He is a 23-year veteran of the communications profession, with a strong blend of local and national experience in both corporate and agency settings. Cockett, a 1984 KS graduate, has operated his own communications business since 2011, and was previously a Senior VP at Communications Pacific, Inc., and in public relations for Best Buy Co., Inc.

“It’s a privilege to serve Kamehameha Schools in this capacity,” said Cockett. “I’m excited to join the organization at a time that feels like the dawn of a new era and to work alongside a group of such committed teams and individuals.”

Wong also named Darrel R. Hoke as Executive Vice President of Administration, affirming his extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of how KS’ support infrastructure and processes must enable KS to be a high-performing, mission-driven organization.  “I’m looking forward to moving all groups towards the strategic goal of operating as a high performing Native Hawaiian Organization,” said Hoke, “and building on the foundation established over the years, to ensure that KS is successful in delivering on our Strategic Plan targets in 2020.”

Hoke, a CPA and KS’ Internal Audit director since 2002, brings 27-years of experience in audit, accounting and finance to his new position. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. He will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Education Operations and Facilities Development and Support.

Lauren S. Nahme, previously director of Strategic Planning and Implementation, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Innovation. “Lauren brings seasoned expertise and a clear understanding of KS’ visioning and strategic planning processes to the executive team,” confirmed Wong. “She steps into this role already high up on the learning curve and with the ability and confidence to lead our current strategic planning efforts.”

Nahme had an extensive background in finance and banking when she joined KS in 2006 as Controller. In 2010, she transferred to Strategic Planning and Implementation, and has led KS’ planning efforts for SP2020. Nahme is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “It has been an intense but rewarding experience for our planning team to work with Trustees, Jack and his leaders across the organization to develop KS’ path to 2020,” Nahme explained. “Our direction is clear, commitment is strong, and momentum is building to spur us forward.”

Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first part of Wong’s November 2014 announcement that he would reorganize and streamline his leadership structure to reaffirm education as the primary focus of Kamehameha Schools, and to strengthen the organization’s ability to execute its Strategic Plan 2020.

Kamehameha Schools’ executive structure now includes seven executives reporting directly to CEO Wong: Education, Finance, Administration, Community Engagement and Resources, Communications, Legal, and Strategic Planning and Innovation. Wong expects to name the Executive Vice Presidents for Education and Finance in the next few months.

Vice president profiles:

‘Chocolate Soirée’ Dinner a Prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival

As a prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival, local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf presents the premier “Chocolate Soirée” dinner on Thursday, May 7, 5-8 p.m. at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

The seven-course feast features Original Hawaiian Chocolate, savory and sweet, in dishes created by notable chefs like Stanton Ho (Amoretti), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz), and Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf), assisted by culinary students from University of Hawai‘i Center—West Hawai‘i Campus.

Also providing chocolate for the Soirée, Kokoleka Lani Farms is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company. By special arrangement, the exclusive Chocolate Soirée event begins in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary students. Dinner will be served family-style in their adjacent home.

Chocolate cocktail concoctions will be provided by mixologist and general manager Keith Malini of Ray’s on the Bay, the oceanfront restaurant at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Ray’s on the Bay has also selected fine wines to serve with the elegant farm-to-fork feast, and the restaurant will feature one of the signature chocolate entrees on their dinner menu in the days leading up to the event.

“The Chocolate Soirée is a fun way for us to do some education. It gives the students a chance to work with top chefs in a unique environment, and to work with the more unusual Hawai‘i Island ingredients they don’t see or use every day,” said The Feeding Leaf General Manager Les Apoliona.

“It gives our guests a chance to learn about new and different aspects of local chocolate while they enjoy a beautiful, exclusive dinner at the source,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Greg and Marty for opening their home and their cacao farm for us. And, with two more days of chocolate indulgence Friday and Saturday, we think this will be and outstanding pre-event for Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

Tickets for Chocolate Soirée are limited to 100 at $125 per person, including cocktails and wines, available at Kona Wine Market and Westside Wines, online at wew.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-soiree-tickets-16328176014, or by calling 808-325-3803. Big Island Chocolate Festival takes place May 8-9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, with Chocolate Gala, Seminars, Chocolate Competition and more. Part of the proceeds benefit American Culinary Federation/Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarships.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.