Big Island Police Investigating Shooting at Popular Surf Spot

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an early morning shooting in Hilo that left a man hospitalized.

At about 4:35 a.m. Sunday (January 31), police responded to several reports of gunshots in the Honoliʻi lookout area. Responding officers observed evidence of a shooting and closed off Kahoa Road to await detectives and crime scene specialists to process the scene.

Honoli'iAt around the same time, patrol officers at Hilo Medical Center on an unrelated call were informed by hospital staff that a shooting victim had arrived at the emergency room. They learned that a 31-year-old Kona man had been taken to the hospital by a private vehicle following the shooting at the lookout.

The victim underwent surgery and was later transferred to an Oahu hospital in guarded condition for further treatment.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a second-degree attempted murder.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the shooting to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2383 or or Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 or

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribed to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Coast Guard Responds to Report of Flares Off Maui – Rescues Mariner

The Coast Guard rescued a mariner aboard a disabled 18-foot recreational vessel following a report of four red flares off Maui Thursday night.

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship's waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship’s waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

A Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew located the mariner during a search 5 miles west of Kihei and towed the vessel back to Maui.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a report of three red flares off Kihei around 9:23 p.m. A fourth flare was sighted by Maui Fire Department personnel from the shoreline shortly after.

The watchstanders launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point and the RBM crew from Maui to respond. The RBM crew sighted the mariner and confirmed he launched the flares before towing him back to Kihei.

“This mariner did everything right with his flares and the case illustrates the importance of having proper emergency gear aboard your vessel,” said Charles Turner, of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “In addition to required flares and flotation we recommend mariners have multiple forms of communication with them including a handheld VHF-FM radio, charged cellular devices and a properly registered personal locator beacon if possible. It’s State law to have a VHF radio on your boat if you’re more than a mile offshore. Communications can be a challenge around the islands and not all devices may have consistent coverage. It’s also a good idea to leave word with friends or family about your voyage and when you intend to return so they can alert responders if you are overdue.”

Flares should never be used as fireworks as they may prompt a Coast Guard search. If you are conducting flare training please contact the Coast Guard to advise them of the location and time of the training to deconflict any search and rescue calls. Flares are especially useful at night and burn red or white. Mariners who choose to further mark their location and signal with chemical lights are asked to use red colored lights as the typical yellow and green and very hard for rescue crews to detect with night vision goggles.

Parents Encouraged to Provide Feedback on Their Child’s Public School

​ The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) begins its annual School Quality Survey (SQS) this week to gather important feedback from students, parents/guardians and staff about our public schools. The deadline to complete and return the SQS is March 15, 2016.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

Photo Credit: Department of Education

The survey provides information on how schools are doing with respect to school culture, satisfaction and engagement. The feedback gathered is used to support school planning and improvement efforts, and meet legislative and Board of Education requirements.​

Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will take the survey online at school, as will teachers, administrative office staff, and instructional support staff.

A parent or guardian of the students in the surveyed grades will have the option to take the survey online or via a paper format. Each school communicates to parents on how to complete the SQS whether digital and/or hard copy.

“We’re hoping for more parents to respond this year since last year’s return rate was 24 percent,”said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance. “This feedback is very important to us as we continue to work on ways to improve learning experiences for our children.”

Responses will remain anonymous. The SQS deadline is March 15, 2016.

The public can view the SQS for their community schools and statewide results via the Report Finder on HIDOE’s website: Search for “School Quality Survey”and add the name of a school for school-level results.

Anyone with questions about the survey is encouraged to contact HIDOE at 808-733-4008 (Neighbor Island toll-free at 855-276-5801), or via email:


Video – Aerial Survey of Big Island Forests Shows Rapid Ohia Death Spread

Recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawaii Island forests showed that a fungal infestation of ohia trees is much greater than earlier thought.

ohia deathUsing a helicopter and specialized survey equipment, surveyors from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies flew over 81,000 acres, January 11 – 15, 2016.  Satellite imagery of ohia forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the ohia forest on the Big Island.

Rapid Ohia Death Media Clips 12-23-15 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, the State Resource and Survey Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “We used two surveyors at a time and flew a total of 8 ½ hours over state, federal and private lands covering about two-thirds of the Big Islands’s ohia forests. Our next steps are to cover the rest of the ohia forests with follow-up flights and to ground-truth the aerial operation. One of our priorities will be to double-check the Kohala area, where Rapid Ohia Death may have been detected for the first time by our aerial survey.”

A team of experts from DLNR/DOFAW, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee and the National Park Service/Hawaii Volcanoes National Park conducted the aerial survey. The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service assisted with planning. In 2014 USDA researchers identified the pathogen that causes the disease.

Dr. Flint Hughes, with the USDA Forest Service commented, “Unfortunately Rapid Ohia Death is spreading much quicker than we had hoped.  The aerial surveyors noted ohia trees with no leaves or brown leaves, likely impacted by the disease; as well as ohia trees which have been dead for a longer time and those that have been affected by either drought or VOG. It’s important that we differentiate the causes of tree deaths and continue to carefully and closely monitor the spread of Rapid Ohia Death to aid in reducing its spread on Hawaii Island and around the state.”

Ohia forests cover approximately 865,000 acres of land across the state and are considered the primary species providing habitat for countless plants, animals and invertebrates. These forests  protect watersheds that provide significant agriculture and drinking water across the state.

“It’s sad but not unexpected that we have a confirmed case of Rapid Ohia Death in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are very concerned about the impacts to our cherished ohia that thrives throughout the park, and we will continue to implement the stringent measures developed by our interagency partners to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. We will also continue to sample trees throughout the park,” Orlando said.

Dr. J.B. Friday, the extension forester with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service explained, “We know that the state Department of Agriculture’s moratorium on the transport and shipment of ohia plants and parts is having a positive effect on curbing the spread. It’s impossible to determine whether the ban on ohia shipping is 100% effective and that’s why we are trying to get the word out to all forest users, nurseries, and lei makers that Rapid Ohia Death is fast killing what is considered one of the most important forest trees in Hawaii.”

Research into treatments for the particular fungus that causes Rapid Ohia Death continues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab in Hilo. Investigation into how it spreads is also being conducted with potential culprits being: insects, underground via roots, on small wood or dust particles, on clothing and shoes, and possibly on animals. Ultimately scientists hope that by identifying what is spreading the fungus they’ll be able to mitigate its devastating impacts.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Seeking Candidates to Replace Late Senator Gilbert Kahele

Democratic Party of Hawaii

The Hawaii County Democratic Party is seeking candidates who are interested in an appointment to serve as the Senator of Senate District 1. I’m sure you are all aware of the recent passing of Senator Gil Kahele who served so honorably in this seat. Our party will hold a process to determine 3 names that we will forward to the Governor for his appointment to the seat.

You can send me an email at and I will forward you a copy of our county’s process for filling mid term vacancies. To be eligible an individual must be a member in good standing of the Democratic Party for a minimum of 6 months. The candidate can not currently be under reprimand pursuant to Article 1 of the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. There will be a mandatory meeting of all candidates seeking the seat at the Keaukaha Elementary School Cafeteria on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

At the meeting candidates will present a 3 minute introduction and then will be interviewed by officers of the nine precincts who comprise Senate District 1. At the completion of the interview process the precinct and district officers will vote to determine the top three candidates to forward to the governor. The process will be under my leadership as the Democratic Party Chair of House District 2 which is located entirely within Senate District 1.

Prospective candidates are to provide to the County Chair, Phil Barnes, for dissemination to the appropriate selection body a written application including the following:

1. Credentials and reasons for consideration for the position
2. Evidence of party participation
3. Verified signatures of at least five (5) party members within Senate District 1.

Items 1 and 2 above should be sent to Chair Barnes by email, preferably as PDF files, for electronic distribution to selectors. His email address is Your signatures to complete #3 need to be on a form from the Hawaii County Democratic Party which you can easily get by emailing Chair Barnes and need to be delivered by mail to Chair Barnes at 64 Amauulu Road Hilo, HI 96720.

The Deadline for applications to be in Chair Barnes possession is 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday February 10, 2016.

For further inquiries please contact or at (808) 319-3371.

Aloha nui,
Micah Alameda, Chair
District 2

Senator Gilbert Kahele Big Island Celebration of Life – Process to Nominate Replacement at Legislature

On January 26th, Hawaii Senator Gilbert Kahele passed away.  A celebration of life for Senator Kahele will be held on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Hilo Civic Auditorium.  A private burial at sea will be held at Kapua Bay.

Kahele Motorcade
The process to nominate a replacement for him at the State Legislature was explained by Big Island Senator Lorraine Inouye as following:

The process will be that the Hawaii County Party Chair, Phil Barnes, will be notifying the precinct presidents of senate District 1.

A meeting must be held to have precinct members cast votes for their person, instructions to be determined.

It goes to several rounds, a vote cast for candidates by precincts, until such time a final three, who survived, their names will be sent to the State Party Chair, who then forwards those 3 names to the governor.

The meeting will be somewhere in Hilo, at a date picked by the Party chair and his officers.  I understand it will be sometime this month.
Please continue to search on the Hawaii County website as, I am sure information will be posted, or contact your precinct president.

I am sure there will be a deadline and must be a Democrat.

Candidates must be a democrat in the Senate District 1 only. Candidates may not only be elected official.  The election area will be cordoned off to keep candidates and precinct members who will participate in the voting process in a secured section of the place to be determined, but cannot close such meeting from other democrats who would like to observe in another section of the event.

That is the democratic process.

I see nothing in the current statute in the HRS of Hawaii to deny observers.  But they cannot participate in this election process.

All instructions must be clear at the day of the voting and conducted by the County Party Chair and the State Party President.

Lorraine R Inouye
Senator – District 4

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Governor David Ige to Declare Hawaiʻi Island Dengue Fever Outbreak a State of Emergency

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today called on Governor David Ige to declare the Hawaiʻi Island dengue fever outbreak a state of emergency and deploy State resources, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing, and providing completely free testing for those with suspected symptoms of this incurable disease.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

“The dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island continues to worsen.  We cannot afford to wait any longer for the aggressive action necessary to combat the spread of this serious disease.  An emergency proclamation from the Governor is long overdue,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the people of Hawaiʻi Island.  “There have already been 242 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever on Hawaiʻi Island, creating a public health emergency affecting our residents and visitors, and Hawaii Island’s economy.  They deserve our state’s full attention and resources to do what it takes to put an end to this outbreak, and prevent it from becoming endemic and spreading to other parts of the island and state.”

On October 21, 2015 the Dengue exposure rate on Hawaiʻi Island was 1 in 185,079.  As of today, 1 out of every 849 residents and approximately 3 out of every 50,000 visitors has contracted dengue fever.  This constitutes an average infection rate of 67 residents and 7 visitors every month since this outbreak began.  Additionally, the same mosquito that carries Dengue Fever is also a carrier of the Zika virus, which is “spreading explosively” according to UN health officials, who are currently considering declaring an international health emergency.

In speaking with Governor Ige and by written correspondence, the congresswoman called for the following action items to be addressed immediately:

1. Completely free and accessible testingfor those who suspect they have symptoms of Dengue Fever. While the cost of the test may be free, residents and visitors are still charged for visits to a physician, nurse, or clinic in order for their blood to be drawn.  This could easily be solved by ensuring there are free access points island-wide, and by deploying state or National Guard medical personnel as a mobile testing unit that can travel to both populated and remote locations across the island, draw blood, and get samples to the lab for expedited results.

2. Allocate resources to the Department of Health for development and execution of a comprehensive public information and public engagement campaign with quality review measures.  Current “Fight the Bite” efforts fall far short of providing residents and visitors with the information they need.

3. Provide a full-time entomologist on Hawaiʻi Islanddedicated to eradication, reduction, and prevention of further spread of the Dengue virus.

4. Allocate resources to hire vector control personnel,purchase more sprayers and other necessary equipment and supplies.

5. Provide free supply and distribution of Ovitraps throughout the community to empower local residents to help prevent the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. World Health Organization report studies have shown that population densities can be reduced below disease-transmission thresholds with sufficiently large numbers of frequently serviced traps.

6. Appoint a Dengue Czarwho can act as the coordinator of efforts with all parties within the state, county, federal, private sector, and community to ensure the objectives are being met.

More than a third of the world’s population live in areas at risk for infection from the Dengue virus, which is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected annually.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been meeting with state leaders, Hawaiʻi County officials and Civil Defense, military personnel, experts in the private sector and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and listening to concerned citizens of the Big Island, working to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from Dengue Fever, a debilitating disease that has no vaccine, treatment, or cure, so that the Aloha State does not remain a part of this worldwide epidemic.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 242

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 242:

Mosquito Bite

As of January 29, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 1/20/16 to 1/21/16
Cases no longer infectious
240 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/18/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 218 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
197 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/21/16.

As of today, a total of 1018 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

After Dark Goes OUT of the Park in 2016

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s popular After Dark program will travel to Hilo and Kailua-Kona this year to celebrate the park’s centennial anniversary in those communities. This year is also the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo will host four one-hour After Dark Out of the Park programs on Feb. 24, June 29, Aug. 17, and Oct. 26. Each program is free and starts at 7 p.m. Free parking is available.

In Kailua-Kona, the Kona Historical Society will host an After Dark Out of the Park program on July 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. Free parking is available. See the schedule below for Kona and Hilo presentations:

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

After Dark Out of the Park: The Natural Resources of Kahuku. Park Botanist Sierra McDaniel and Wildlife Biologist Jon Faford discuss the natural treasures of the Kahuku Unit, former ranch lands acquired by the National Park Service in 2003, and the challenges of conserving the native species like nēnē, hāhā and Mauna Loa silverswords that cling to life here. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 24, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Evolution of Landscape Restoration at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since its establishment in 1916, various attempts to conserve and protect the park’s rich biological resources have been made by the Territory of Hawai‘i, the National Park Service, and citizen scientists – with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1970, park staff adopted a systematic park-wide approach to managing species and habitats which continues today. Join Chief of Natural Resource Management Dr. Rhonda Loh to learn more about these Special Ecological Areas, or SEAs, and decades of successful restoration in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., June 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by the Kona Historical Society as part of its Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series.

  • When: Wed., July 27 at 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used to digitize archeological resources including ancient footprints, petroglyph fields and agricultural systems. Join Park Archeologist Dusten Robbins to learn how the park uses LiDAR in managing cultural resources, and future uses of this exciting technology. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

The After Dark Out of the Park series will be offered on a Wednesday, and each presentation will be followed by a complementary hike or excursion in the park the following Saturday to encourage people to “Find Your Park.” Visit the park website for the Centennial Hike Series schedule, and After Dark In the Park programs.

In 2016, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will celebrate 100 years  of connecting people to, and caring for, the extraordinary landscape, native plants and animals and Hawaiian culture linked with Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Centennial After Dark in the Park, After Dark Out of the Park, and Hike Series is free, and no advance registration is required. The series is co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and donations are greatly appreciated.

Senator Espero Introduces Medical Marijuana Bills

Hawai‘i joined the growing list of states across the nation in 2015 when Act 241 was signed into law, providing the framework for the first medical marijuana dispensary program. Today marks the deadline in which prospective applicants interested in obtaining a permit to operate a dispensary may submit their applications.


While the program continues to make progress under the State Department of Health, Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19- ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the medical marijuana program and further help the patients who use it.

Among the measures introduced is SB2176, which would establish a medical marijuana oversight committee under the Department of Health. The committee would include licensed medical professionals and registered patients that monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding the implementation of the use, cultivation, and dispensing of medical marijuana and the overall program.

Other medical marijuana bills being introduced by Senator Espero are:

SB2175 Requires the Department of Health to issue a third medical marijuana dispensary license for the county of Hawaii. Allows medical marijuana dispensaries to be open during certain hours on Sundays. Allows an individual convicted of a felony to be employed at or enter into a medical marijuana dispensary facility only if the individual has not been convicted of a felony within the six years immediately preceding employment or entry.

SB2177 Requires the Department of Health to issue a receipt that shall serve as a temporary registration certificate for the medical use of marijuana upon receipt of a written certification form completed by or on behalf of a qualifying patient. Increases penalty for fraudulent misrepresentation to a law enforcement official relating to the issuance of a written certificate by a physician.

SB2178 Allows arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and stress to be included among the debilitating medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be authorized to be used.

SB2306 Allows the Department of Health to revoke a medical marijuana dispensary license under certain conditions and subject to a ninety day notice followed by a public hearing within fourteen days. Establishes a fine of up to $500 per day for any licensee who violates state law or administrative rules. Allows a licensee to appeal a fine to an ad hoc special committee. Allows the Department of Health to choose a new licensee if the department revokes a license.

SB2307 Beginning January 1, 2017, establishes a licensing system for medical marijuana growing facilities, production centers, and retail dispensing locations. Allows persons authorized to use and possess medical marijuana in other states to be treated similarly to qualifying patients in this State pursuant to rules adopted by the Department of Health after 1/1/2018. Authorizes the department of health to conduct criminal history checks on license applicants; licensees; prospective employees of growing facilities, production centers, and retail dispensing locations; subcontractors; and persons authorized to enter and remain on such premises. Repeals chapter 329D on December 31, 2016.

SB2308 Establishes a working group to research and make recommendations regarding medical marijuana edibles for human consumption.

SB2627 Establishes a medical marijuana commission to evaluate and make recommendations about the overall effectiveness of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the State.

SB2757 Authorizes the Department of Agriculture to establish a three-year industrial hemp research program to investigate the viability of industrial hemp as a building material for housing in the State. Requires a final report to the legislature prior to the convening of the regular session of 2019. Defines “industrial hemp”. Repeals 7/1/2019.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

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

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, January 29th, at 7:05 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes.  It will appear 30 degrees above the West Southwest part of the sky and disappear 16 degrees above North Northeast.

Lawmaker Working with Stolen Stuff Hawaii Founder Drafts “25 by 25” Bill

Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, and portions of Lower Kalihi) announced today that he is working with Michael Kitchens, the founder of “Stolen Stuff Hawaii” (SSH) which is a statewide community watch group assisting victims of stolen property and crime. Mizuno drafted the bill because of his concerns with the crime rate and the high rate of recidivism in Hawaii. Mizuno adds, “Prisoners who are released, only to be re-sentenced in Hawaii’s correctional facilities or transferred to a prison on the mainland cost state taxpayers millions of dollars every year.”

Stolen Stuff

Representative Mizuno is working with Mr. Kitchens to fine tune the language of the bill after the SSH community voiced concerns over certain portions of the bill. Mizuno adds, “Mr. Kitchens and I had a great discussion on the current bill draft and we agreed that should this measure be scheduled for a hearing, testimony will be provided by SSH to amend the bill to remove the three strikes law portion due to its absence in current Hawaii state law. In addition, SSH would recommend removing the need to raise the monetary thresholds for felony theft in Hawaii as it is contrary to the spirit of the bill.”

Mr. Kitchens provides, “Working with Representative Mizuno has given our group of over 42,000 members valuable opportunity to voice their concerns as well as give insight into the problems our community faces when dealing with repeat criminal offenders. This bill is about dealing with the root causes which are lack of education, poverty, illegal drug use, mental health issues, and having the proper support groups that will keep those who commit crimes from returning to that life once their time is served.”

Rep. Mizuno introduced House Bill 2001 (HB 2001) which would establish a Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in the Governor’s Office. Mizuno’s bill requires the Commission to develop a statewide framework of sentencing and corrections policies to further reduce the State’s incarcerated population by 25% by year 2025. The bill also directs the Commission to develop a plan to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

Mizuno provides, “I read that the ‘Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections issued recommendations Tuesday for steps the Justice Department, Congress, judges and prison officials can take to cut the prison population. According to the AP news story the panel says that if all recommendations were implemented, the federal inmate count could drop by 60,000 by 2024 and save the nation’s taxpayers $5 billion dollars.'” Mizuno adds, “The recommendations by that Task Force on Federal Corrections seems to be in line with my bill to reduce Hawaii’s prison population by 25% by year 2025. In reviewing the State’s probation system, the commission shall include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the State’s current practices relating to incarceration, crime prevention, and education with a focus on reducing spending on corrections and reinvesting the savings gained in strategies that will increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

In essence we want to substantially reduce crime, thus ensuring safer communities statewide, while providing an employment or trade skill to our people who are incarcerated, so when they are released they can secure employment, pay taxes, and enjoy life as a contributing member of our society.”

Mizuno adds, “Working with Mr. Kitchens and the SSH group has been extremely meaningful and rewarding, because this demonstrates the legislatures willingness to partner with the community. At the end of the day we are all working together to reduce crime, reduce recidivism, and reduce costs to our taxpayers. If we do this right we will have stronger families and stronger communities, which will reflect a stronger State.”

Big Island Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker Art Hangs in Hawaii’s State Capital

Renowned Big Island based artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker’s limited edition Giclee on Canvas “Scaredy Cat Meets The Ghost Of Exotica” now hangs in State Representative Nicole Lowen’s office.

Artist Brad Parker with Hawaii House Rep. Nicholle Lowen

Artist Brad Parker with Hawaii House Rep. Nicole Lowen

“Its a great honor to get the seal of approval of my art from Representative Lowen” quoted the artist. “I am happy that our local Representative appreciates my unique style of art and asked me to be part of the State Capital’s Art collection”.

“I am always thrilled to display art from Kona in my Honolulu office and I absolutely love this piece!” quoted Representative Lowen. “Now I have one of the most interesting pieces of art in the State Capital. Thank you Brad and Abbas” she added.

Hawaii DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Opens Office on Kailua-Kona Pier

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) has opened a new boating office at the Kailua Pier, in Kailua-Kona.  DOBOR staff based in this office will manage the day-by-day operation of the Kailua Pier and provide support services for recreational boaters.

DLNROffice hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Hours of operation may be subject to change depending on staff availability.  The Kailua Pier office will be closed weekends and State holidays.

The entrance to the facility parking lot will be gated when the office is closed or unattended.  When the office is open, the public can hail DOBOR staff on the gate intercom to gain access to five (5) parking stalls available at the pier to conduct DOBOR business only (permits, vessel registration, etc.).  For questions about access and available services, the public can call the Kailua Pier office at (808) 327-4318.

“We opened this new office as an extension of our Honokohau Harbor office for the benefit of boaters residing in West Hawaii,” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR Administrator.  “Because the pier is heavily used and it is a recreational resource for the community, we want to be sure we have a presence here to keep it well-managed and maintained.”

The Kailua-Kona Pier is the point of entry for cruise ship passengers visiting Kailua-Kona.  It has hosted the Iron Man competition every October dating back to the early 1980s and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament since 1959.  Historically, the pier was used in the early 1900s for loading cattle on ships for transport.

Wally Lau Announces Candidacy for Mayor of Hawaii Island – Resigns Post as Managing Director

Hawaii County Managing Director Wally Lau today resigned his position and announced he is running for mayor of Hawaii County.

Wally Lau

Wally Lau

Lau has helped manage the daily operations of the Hawaii County administration for the past seven years, as deputy managing director and managing director. His next step forward in a career of caring for people and strengthening our island community is to become mayor and leader of our Hawaii Island.

“I did not want any perception of a conflict of interest, or that 100 percent of my energies are not being invested in my job,” Lau said. “By resigning, I am able to focus on my campaign by meeting with people and sharing with them my values and my vision.”

Lau’s humility, honesty and fairness have earned him the respect of many in the community and as well as his co-workers. “I listen and respond,” Lau said. “I always seek for what is fair and pono.

“When presented with challenging decisions, I always ask – will it be in the best interest of the public? Is it good for the community?”

Lau said that principle will guide the county under his administration if elected, as he leads our island with aloha and a spirit of cooperation and collaboration with the community.

Lau’s vision is to meet the needs of the people, support and sustain a healthy economy, care for the environment and create a safer and better island community, where government is responsible, accountable and open.

“I have worked with many wonderful and hard-working county employees,” Lau said. “I look forward to continuing to work with them as we improve services to our island community.”

Lau said he will continue the current administration’s efforts of being accessible and responsive to the community. He will uphold a balanced administration that represents East and West Hawaii with a “how can” attitude and treating people with aloha.

Lau is prepared to address issues of public safety and disaster preparedness, homelessness, affordable housing, the need to improve our business climate, ensure efficiency of the county permitting process, improving maintenance of county facilities and properties, improving solid waste operations, exploring renewable energy projects that would provide lower rates for consumers without environmental tradeoffs, and diversified agriculture, all while preserving and protecting our environment.

Lau, 67, is married to Sandra Lau and they have a son, Kawika, and a daughter-in law, Lahela. He has two grandchildren and a great grandchild. Born on Oahu, he returned to the home of his ancestors where his grandparents are from – Naalehu and Keauhou. He graduated from Damien High School (1967) and has a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology by Central Washington State College (1971).

Lau’s work history of community dedication includes:

  • Managing director, Hawaii County
  • Deputy managing director, Hawaii County
  • Executive Director, The Neighborhood Place of Kona (prevention of child abuse and neglect and family strengthening)
  • Director of Alternative Education, Kamehameha Schools
  • Program Director, E Ala Ike — Kapulena, therapeutic school for special needs students
  • The Salvation Army Residential Treatment Center for Children

Lau’s participation in civic groups and services includes:

  • Board member, Hawaii Island United Way
  • Board member, Blueprint for Change (prevention of child abuse and neglect)
  • Juvenile Justice State Advisory Council, Prevention and Accountability sub-committee member
  • Board member, Ke Puka o Ke Ola (behavioral health care) Waimea
  • Member Royal Order of Kamehameha I (Moku o Kona)

For additional information, visit Join the campaign on his Facebook page and follow @wally_lau on Twitter and Instagram. For volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to support Lau’s candidacy, email or call Friends of Wally Lau for Mayor at (808) 557-0213.


Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation Announce the Return of Mahiʻai Match-Up

Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation announce the return of Mahiʻai Match-Up – an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to supporting Hawaiʻi’s sustainable food movement and decreasing the state’s dependence on imports.  Mahiʻai means farmer.  The contest is open to all farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural entrepreneurs. The application window opens today and ends Feb. 29, 2016.

Pahoehoe Parcel

Pahoehoe Parcel

“Mahiʻai Match-Up provides a venue for farmers and entrepreneurs to access some of our most valuable agricultural lands,” said Sydney Keliʻipuleʻole, senior director of statewide operations for Kamehameha Schools. “Kamehameha Schools is engaged in an ongoing effort to work with community partners to find and nurture talented farmers with innovative ideas that will increase food production for Hawaiʻi’s market.”

The top two business plans will receive an agricultural land agreement with up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools and seed monies from the Pauahi Foundation totaling $35,000 to help increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.

Ulupono Initiative – the Hawai’i-focused impact investing firm – is once again lending its support to the business plan contest.

“Ulupono Initiative is proud to continue its partnership with Kamehameha Schools and Pauahi Foundation to assist talented farmers in realizing their dream of establishing a bona fide agricultural business in Hawaiʻi,” said Murray Clay, managing partner of Ulupono Initiative. “The goal of Mahiʻai Match-Up directly aligns with our mission of making Hawaiʻi more self-sufficient by increasing local food production. The group of entrants from the first two years has been impressive, and we are excited to see what year three has in store.”

Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau’s “Hawaiʻi Food and Farm” magazine is also a sponsor of the contest.

This year the program provides more opportunities for aspiring farmers with the introduction of Mahiʻai Mentorship – a competition created through a partnership between the schools and GoFarm Hawaiʻi aimed at developing the next generation of farmers.

Four applicants will be chosen to receive funding from Pauahi Foundation and Kamehameha Schools to attend GoFarm Hawaiʻi, a program that turns the AgCurious into AgProducers. Valued at $3,000, participants are given a combination of knowledge, experience, and support designed to assist them in becoming viable production growers, and accomplish it in a manner that encourages sustainability.  Applications for Mahiʻai Mentorship will be accepted from March 1 through May 2, 2016

To apply for the Mahiʻai Match-Up contest or for more information, visit

2016 Mahiʻai Match-Up Parcels:


Access to Healthcare and Violence Against Women Focus of Women’s Legislative Caucus in 2016

Access to healthcare and violence against women is the focus of a House-Senate joint package of bills submitted this session by the Women’s Legislative Caucus.  The caucus consists of women members from the state Senate and House and county councils.  In addition, six additional bills and five resolutions were submitted by individual members as a result of their involvement with the women’s caucus. Capital

“Women’s issues have historically taken a backseat to other legislative priorities even though women in Hawai`i make up nearly half the population,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui).  “That’s why there has always been a critical need for such a focus—especially in the areas of healthcare and violence against women, where government has been so slow in addressing their particular concerns.”

Violence against women has been making national headlines both in the sports world and in the home recently and has been a steadfast focal point for the caucus since its inception.

“While violence against women has come to the forefront in recent years, the problem persists across the entire spectrum of society and, clearly, more needs to be done to protect women in the workplace, in our schools and in their homes,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa).

Women’s health has been another major focus of concern in past sessions for the caucus and the 2016 legislative session will be no different.

“In Hawai`i where our families have always required two incomes to make ends meet, women in the workforce is not a new phenomenon,” said Senator Laura Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay).  “In fact, Hawai`i’s landmark legislation on healthcare was specifically created to address the needs of working women and families.  Today, we need to continue to build on that foundation to address the changing needs of women in today’s world.”

“Today women face the same issues that their mothers and grandmothers faced,” said Representative Lauren Matsumoto (Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani).  “Yet the world has changed dramatically and so have women’s roles in society.  Our laws and protections need to change to meet their changing needs and to reflect the world in which we live today.”

A full list of official measures in the Women’s Legislative Caucus’s package for the current biennium is available on the Capitol website at

The House and Senate bills submitted by the Women’s Legislative Caucus for the 2016 session include:


HB1895/SB2319, relates to prescription contraceptives, contraceptive services and supplies, and reimbursement.  Requires insurers to cover a three-month period for the first dispensing of prescription contraceptive supplies to the insured.  Requires insurers to cover a twelve-month period for the subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive supply to the insured.

HB1896/SB2320, relates to prescriptive authority and contraceptive supplies.  Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies to persons eighteen years of age or older.  Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.  Requires all insurers in the State, including health benefits plan under chapter 87A, Hawai’i Revised Statutes, and Medicaid managed care programs, to reimburse pharmacists who prescribe and dispense contraceptive supplies.

HB1897/SB2323, relates to health insurance coverage, sexually transmitted diseases.  Ensures insurance coverage for sexually transmitted disease screenings, including screenings for human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, during a female insured’s annual pelvic exam.

HB1898/SB2317, relates to maternal mortality review panel and the Department of Health.  Creates Maternal Mortality Review Panel for Hawai’i that conducts comprehensive, multidisciplinary reviews of maternal deaths with the purpose of identifying factors associated with those deaths to highlight system changes needed to improve services for all women.

HB1899/SB2326, relate to licensure for midwives.  Establishes licensure requirements for the practice of midwifery.  Requires the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules regulating the practices of midwifery.


HB1900/SB2318, relate to address confidentiality program, domestic violence, sexual offense and stalking.  Develops a mechanism to keep addresses confidential for domestic violence/sex assault survivors.  Establishes an address confidentiality programs that will give victims a substitute legal address to use in place of their physical address and can be used whenever an address is required for public records, such as voter or drivers’ license registries.  Requires courts to find, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that the disclosure of a victim’s address is required in the interests of justice.

HB1901/SB2321, relates to domestic violence intervention training of first responders.  Requires any state or county agency who employs personnel whose job duties require or may require intervention in a domestic violence situation to provide such employees with a minimum of fifteen hours of domestic violence intervention training.

HB1902/SB2322, relates to sex trafficking.  Replaces the offense of Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree with Sex Trafficking to be classified as a violent crime.  Makes Sex Trafficking a class A felony and a strict liability offense if a minor is the victim of sex trafficking.  Provides that the offense of prostitution for a younger than eighteen years of age is a violation.  Expands the Department of the Attorney General’s Statewide Witness Program to include sex trafficking;  provides victims with access to criminal injury compensation;  and amends laws relating to civil liability for cases of coercion into prostitution.  Makes amendments to strengthen enforcement of laws and increase penalties against the sex trafficker.

HB1903/SB2325, relates to establishing law enforcement standards boards.  Establishes a law enforcement standards board for the certification of county police officers, state public safety officers, and employees of the departments of transportation and land and natural resources with police powers.  Establishes a special fund.  Appropriates funds.

HB1904/SB2324, relates to the composition of the county police commissions.  Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that there are commissioners on each police commission that have experience or backgrounds in women’s issues, civil rights, and law enforcement.

Additional bills resulting from the Women’s Legislative Caucus include:

HB1905/SB2310, relates to domestic abuse protective orders.  Prohibits the court from granting mutual protective orders unless separate petitions are filed.

HB1906/SB2311, relates to Domestic Violence.  Removes certain unnecessary and redundant reporting responsibilities of the family courts and the department of human services in cases where temporary restraining orders are sought for alleged domestic abuse involving a family or household member who is a minor or incapacitated person.

HB1907/SB2309, relates to Sexual Assault.  Establishes the sexual assault kit tracking program. Requires a law enforcement agency to submit sexual assault kits obtained in connection to a criminal investigation to an authorized laboratory within 10 days, the laboratory to complete analysis within 6 months, and results to be uploaded to the state DNA database and data bank identification program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Combined DNA Index System. Requires each law enforcement agency that obtains a sexual assault kit in connection to a criminal investigation to report to the department of the attorney general annually on the number of sexual assault kits in its possession. Requires the police department of each county, the department of public safety, and the division of conservation and resources enforcement to submit a report to the legislature prior to the convening of the regular session 2017 on the number of kits in its possession and progress on any backlog. Requires the legislative reports to be made available to the public.

HB1908/SB2312, relates to the Penal Code.  Redefines “sexual conduct” as that term is used in the offense of promotion of child abuse in the first, second, and third degrees.

HB1909/SB2313, relates to Equal Pay.  Amends the provisions for equal pay and sex discrimination for substantially similar work, clarifies the employer defenses.  Prohibits employer action regarding wage disclosure.

HB1910/SB2316, relates to Health and Health Insurance.  Requires a child to receive at least one dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to attending seventh grade, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and administer the human papillomavirus vaccine to persons between eleven and seventeen years of age. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to administering the human papillomavirus vaccine. Requires all insurers in the State, including health benefits plans under chapter 87A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and Medicaid managed care programs, to reimburse the costs of human papillomavirus vaccination services.


(To Be Introduced)


Encourages the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to continue and expand its community-based work furlough programs to assist in transitioning formerly incarcerated female inmates back into society.


Requests a report from the Department of Education regarding its compliance with the requirements of Title IX, including the status of its Title IX policies, procedures, staffing and statistics to the Legislature not later than 20 days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2017.

Creating paid family leave task force

Creates a task force to examine the costs, benefits, and challenges of instituting a paid family leave system in the state.


Recognizes and affirms the State of Hawai’i’s gratitude to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands for providing vital health care services to women and families statewide.

URGING U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) TO RESTART BASIC IMMIGRATION SERVICES VIA MOBILE ROUTE TO NEIGHBOR ISLANDS Applicants with immigration applications adjudicated by USCIS must travel to Honolulu for fingerprinting and interviews, which presents a substantial barrier to the immigration process for non-Oahu residents. Women are disproportionally impacted because one out of five women on neighbor islands are foreign-born, as compared to 14.9 percent of men

Four Kona Parks to Close Temporarily January 29 to Conduct Dengue Mosquito Treatments

The Department of Parks and Recreation will temporarily close four Kona parks on Friday, January 29, so those facilities can be treated for mosquitoes that have the potential to spread dengue fever.

Mosquito BiteWhile there is no indication that any of these parks are sources of possible infection, this measure is being employed as a proactive and preventative strategy for reducing mosquito concentrations and thereby lowering the risk of potential exposure.

The following parks are slated for treatments expected to start, weather permitting, at approximately 7 a.m. Friday, January 29:

  • Kailua Playground, also known as “The Ghetto”
  • Kipapa Park located on the mauka side of Ali‘i Drive, across from La‘aloa Bay Beach Park
  • Harold H. Higashihara Park
  • Arthur C. Greenwell Park, including Sgt. Rodney J. Yano Memorial Hall

Unauthorized persons will not be allowed to enter the affected parks until the treatment work is completed and the parks are cleared for public use. Signs will be posted at each park informing the public of the closures, spraying activity, and when the parks are reopened.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park patrons and the general public for their understanding while it assists in the efforts to control the spread of dengue fever.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or



DLNR Holds Public Hearing for Proposed Changes Affecting Government Forest Reserve Lands on the Island of Hawaii

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife is holding a public hearing to provide the public the opportunity to present comments on proposed changes to government forest reserve lands on the island of Hawaiʻi.

The hearing will start at 5:30 pm on Friday, February 12, 2016, at the Kūhiō Hale, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands West Hawai‘i district office, 64-756 Māmalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, Hawai‘i 96743.

DLNR land 1The proposed changes are as follows:

  1. Withdrawal of Tax Map Key (3) 4-6-011:040, comprising approximately 238 acres from Hāmākua Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • The area proposed for withdrawal from Hāmākua Forest Reserve was developed into an educational and recreational site, Camp Honokaia by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) under a long term lease.
  • In 2004, the parcel was the subject of a land exchange between the State of Hawai‘i and the BSA involving private land in Waikele, O‘ahu, for public lands located on the islands of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i.
  • Given that the land exchange between the BSA and the State of Hawai‘i has been completed, the Division seeks to formally withdraw TMK (3) 4-6-011:040 which is no longer State land, from the Hāmākua Forest Reserve.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Keys: (3) 4-3-010:009 and (3) 4-4-015:002 comprising approximately 6,887 acres to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • The areas proposed for addition to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve were originally encumbered by leases issued by DLNR to multiple private entities for pasture purposes.
  • In 2001, DLNR issued a non-exclusive easement to the Department of Transportation for the area in question to mitigate for impacts to Palila Critical Habitat (PCH) by the Saddle Road Improvement Project.
  • Beginning in 2004, and continuing presently, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife has conducted a forest restoration program on the proposed addition for the purpose of providing long-term habitat for Palila at considerable effort and with significant progress.
  • To address concerns raised by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as documented in their revised 2009 Biological Opinion, and to retain the progress made in terms of Palila habitat restoration, DOFAW requested that the mitigation areas be formally withdrawn from the pasture leases and set aside for addition to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.
  • The Board of Land and Natural Resources approved this action at its meetings in 2009, 2010, and 2015.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Key (3)7-5-001:022 comprising approximately 17 acres to Honua‘ula Forest Reserve, North Kona, Hawaiʻi.
  • The area being proposed for addition to Honua‘ula Forest Reserve was previously encumbered by a revocable permit issued by DLNR Land Division for pasture purposes to a private individual.
  • The permit was terminated by the Board of Land and Natural resources on December 09, 2012.  Upon the cancellation of the permit, DOFAW expressed interest in taking over management of this land because the transfer of this parcel could provide a potential access corridor to the forest reserve.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Key (3) 3-9-001: portions of 013 and (3) 3-9-001:018, comprising approximately 40 acres to the Humuʻula Section of the Hilo Forest Reserve, North Hilo, Hawaiʻi.
  • The proposed addition to Hilo Forest Reserve is currently set-aside to DOFAW “for potential demonstration forest projects.”  However, there is no formal land designation category called “demonstration forest” in the Departments land use designation system.
  • As such, DOFAW proposes to add the subject lands to the currently existing Hilo Forest Reserve.  This action would merely change the designation of the area from a “demonstration forest” to “Forest Reserve,” placing the area under the guidance of statutes and rules associated with the Forest Reserve System.
  • DOFAW currently has management jurisdiction of these lands, and would retain jurisdiction with their transfer to the Forest Reserve System.  Management objectives for the area would not change.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Keys (3) 4-9-001: portion of 007, (3) 4-9-013: portion of 001, (3) 4-9-014:001, 003, 004, 005, 008, 009, 010, 011, 013, 014, 017, 020, 021, and 022, comprising approximately 3,431 acres to the Waimanu section of the Kohala Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • A National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) was established at Waimanu Valley on the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawai‘i in 1978.
  • The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and coastal States for long-term research, water quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship.  Public lands were withdrawn from the Kohala Forest Reserve, and the State of Hawaii acquired 13 additional privately owned parcels of land in Waimanu Valley for inclusion into the NERR.
  • However in 1996, Waimanu Valley was officially withdrawn from the NERR System. As such, DOFAW now proposes to add the subject lands back into Kohala Forest Reserve.
  • This action would merely change the designation of the area from a “National Estuarine Research Reserve” to “Forest Reserve,” placing the area under the guidance of statutes and rules associated with the Forest Reserve System.

Maps of these forest reserve areas can be found online at:

All interested persons are urged to attend the public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider.  Persons unable to attend or wishing to present additional comments may mail written testimony postmarked no later than February 26, 2016, to the Forestry Program Manager, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl St., #325, Honolulu, HI  96813.

Any person requesting an auxiliary aid or service (i.e. large print materials, sign language interpreters) is asked to contact Jan Pali at 808-587-4166 or through the Telecommunication Relay Service at 711 by February 5, 2016.

After compiling the input from the public hearing and other testimonies received through February 26, 2016, DOFAW will present a summary of public testimony, staff analyses and recommendations for further actions to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.  Based on the public testimony received, the Board of Land and Natural Resources will decide whether to proceed with or change their previous recommendation for the proposed changes to the Forest Reserve System.

Should the Board opt to proceed with the current recommendations, DLNR will send the items to the Governor for final approval via Executive Order.

If approved, the lands would be formally added to Government Forest Reserve status and the DOFAW Forestry Program would assume primary responsibility for the management and stewardship of the subject lands.

Final Phase of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Improvements Announced

(2/1/16) The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is proud to announce that the final phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (formerly Saddle Road) Improvements Project, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration – Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD), has been awarded to Road and Highway Builders, Sparks, NV.

Saddle Road photo courtesy of Aaron Stene

Saddle Road photo courtesy of Aaron Stene

The awarded contract amount of $50.7 million dollars includes realignment and reconstruction of the existing highway between MP 5.5 and MP 11 on the Hilo Side of the Big Island.  The contract completion is scheduled for May 29th, 2017.

saddle project

A preconstruction conference was held January 15th, 2016. On-site construction activities are scheduled to begin in late February 2016.

(Hat tip to Aaron Stene at the Kona Chronicle)