Hawaii Sanctuary to Remain Focused on Humpback Whales – State Reacts to NOAA Decision

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) has informed the State of Hawaii of its decision to continue the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary as it was first designated by Congress – as a sanctuary to protect humpback whales and their habitat.

Humpback whales off Maui

Humpback whales off Maui

Each winter, Hawaiian waters are home to the largest breeding population of humpback whales in the world. Humpbacks are a flagship species in an ecosystem full of marine mammals, fish, coral, and other valuable marine and cultural resources. The State and NOAA, along with other partners and communities, are working hard to preserve Hawaii’s marine ecosystem for the sustainable use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

“The Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) consistently works to implement an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to management.  We believe strongly that this can only be achieved through partnerships in which each entity builds upon and leverages its unique strengths.  The Sanctuary has done this extraordinarily well with humpback whales for over 20 years and we had hoped that this expertise could be extended to other marine mammals,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “Although ultimately the Sanctuary will not have an expanded purpose, we look forward to building upon its accomplishments, as well as highlighting its successes, particularly the Sanctuary’s world-renowned entanglement response program, at the World Conservation Congress coming to Hawaii in September,” continued Case.

“We will continue working with the appropriate divisions within NOAA, as well as communities and ocean users, to build upon the successes of the Sanctuary and better manage all of our protected species. This includes addressing the threat of harassment to spinner dolphins and of toxoplasmosis to Hawaiian monk seals and other marine mammals,” said DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Bruce Anderson.

The State of Hawai‘i recognizes the tremendous dedication and commitment of the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC), which has worked tirelessly throughout the Sanctuary’s Management Plan Review process to guide and advise sanctuary management.  DLNR is eager to continue to partner with and draw on the tremendous depth of expertise of the SAC as the Sanctuary enters this new chapter.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary was established by Congress in 1992. It is located from the shoreline to 600 ft. depth off of Maui Nui, including Penguin Bank, and off the north shore of Kauai, the north and south shores of Oahu, and the north Kona coast of Hawai‘i Island. The sanctuary is co-managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawai‘i through the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Hawaii State Senate to Hold Public Memorial for the Late Senator Gilbert Kahele

The Hawai‘i State Senate will open its doors to members of the public who wish to express their sympathies to the family of the late Senator Gilbert Kahele.

Senator Kahele Empty Desk

A condolence book will be made available to sign within the Senate Chambers and will be shared with the family. 

  • WHO:  Hawai‘i State Senate
  • WHAT:  Public memorial to be available in Senate Chambers
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, January 27, 2016, After session (around 12:30 p.m.) to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, January 28, 2016 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:  Senate Chambers – Hawaii State Capitol

Updated Map Pinpoints Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever on the Big Island of Hawaii

Below is a map that depicts case locations as of 1/26/2016:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This map will be updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with location data provided by the State Department of Health. Locations may represent multiple cases. For the most up to date case counts and other information from the Department of Health, visit their website at health.hawaii.gov.

Surveying and spraying is being conducted at the residences of all suspect and confirmed cases, in addition to proactive spraying at nearby public facilities.

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

Hawaii Senate Statement on Passing of Gilbert Kahele

It is with heavy heart and great sadness that the Hawai‘i State Senate reports the passing of Senator Gilbert Kahele, Senator of the First Senatorial District.

Sen Kahele Profile

Surrounded by his loving family, Sen. Gil Kahele passed peacefully at 7:55 a.m. surrounded by family at Queens Medical Center.

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi issued the following statement on the passing of Sen. Kahele:

“The Hilo community and the State of Hawai‘i today has lost a great Senator, a gentleman, and passionate advocate who cared deeply about public service and the people he represented. I am honored to have served with him and I know his fellow colleagues in the Senate feel the same. 

Senator Kahele’s family thanks the public for their words of support and aloha and respectfully asks for privacy at this difficult time.

Senator Kahele’s staff will be in the office to handle the concerns and issues of the district. His Tourism and International Affairs committee will be handled by the Vice Chair, Sen. J. Kalani English.

I send heartfelt condolences to the Kahele family as we mourn the loss of this remarkable man.”  

Sen. Gil Kahele, 73, has served in the Senate since 2011, when he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie for the 2nd District, encompassing the communities of Hilo, Puna and Ka‘u on Hawai‘i Island. In 2012, he was elected to represent the community of Hilo, now known as the 1st Senatorial District as a result of reapportionment.

As a visionary and proponent for strengthening Hilo’s economy, Sen. Kahele sought ways to help create jobs and business in his district. Among his many accomplishments, Sen. Kahele was instrumental in bringing much needed funding to build the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.  He also was a staunch supporter behind the creation a world-class School of Aviation at the underutilized Hilo Airport and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Services for Sen. Kahele are pending.

Hawaii House Statements on Senator Kahele Passing

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and members of the Hawaii Island delegation provided the following statements on the passing of Senator Gilbert Kahele:

Kahele in Chamber
Speaker Joseph M. Souki: “It is with great sadness that we, in the House, learned about State Senator Gil Kahele.  His contributions as a native Hawaiian, a Big Island resident and public servant to the entire state will be greatly missed. We mourn his passing and extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.”

Hawaii Island Delegation: “All of Hawaii Island and the state of Hawaii have lost a wonderful individual and energetic public servant.  As a Native Hawaiian born and raised in Milolii, Gil was truly a keiki o ka aina, and a gentleman who always had others in his heart before his own concerns. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all who felt Gil was a part of their family. He will be sorely missed at the Legislature.”

Members of the Hawaii Island delegation include representatives Mark Nakashima, Clift Tsuji, Richard Onishi, Joy San Buenaventura, Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen and Cindy Evans.

USS Chung-Hoon to Depart on Western Pacific Deployment

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) is scheduled to depart Jan. 27 on a regularly scheduled Strike Group deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean with the John C. Stennis Strike Group.

In 2010 I got to go out to sea with the USS Chung Hoon for a day. http://mauinotices.com/2010/04/06/out-to-sea-on-the-destroyer-uss-chung-hoon/

In 2010 I got to go out to sea with the USS Chung-Hoon for a day. http://mauinotices.com/2010/04/06/out-to-sea-on-the-destroyer-uss-chung-hoon/

While deployed, Chung-Hoon and its crew of more than 300 Sailors will conduct theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations.

The mission of Chung-Hoon is to conduct sustained combat operations at sea, provide primary protection for the Navy’s aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as serve as escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships, and conduct independent operations as necessary.

“Departing on deployment is a significant event in the life of all Sailors.” said Cmdr. Tom M. Ogden, commanding officer of Chung-Hoon. “Months of training, maintenance, and preparations all make a ship ready for deployed operations.  The crew has succeeded at every task leading up to this and deployment will be the capstone of those tremendous efforts.”

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 Detachment 7, homeported at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, is scheduled to embark Chung-Hoon for the deployment. Detachment 7, known as “Paniolo,” is scheduled to deploy with a total of 28 personnel and two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, the U.S. navy’s primary anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare platform.

“I am very excited for the upcoming deployment onboard USS Chung-Hoon, and I am extremely proud of the ‘Paniolo’ pilots, aircrewmen, and maintainers for their hard work and preparation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Eckhoff, HSM-37 Detachment 7’s officer-in-charge. “We are motivated and ready to employ our two MH-60R helicopters in diverse mission areas, including anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, in order to meet the tasking of our ship, air wing, or strike group commander.”

Chung-Hoon is assigned to Carrier Strike Group Three and Destroyer Squadron Twenty One and is homeported in Hawaii as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and is also part of the Great Green Fleet, an initiative that highlights the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

Chung-Hoon was commissioned Sep. 18, 2004 and was named after Rear Admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon, who served during World War II and was the first Asian American Flag Officer. He is a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

Rep. Ing & Thielen Introduces Industrial Hemp Legislation – Will Allow Individuals to Research, Grow and Sell Hemp in Hawaii

Representatives Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) and Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) are joining forces to introduce a measure that expands industrial hemp research, growth, cultivation and marketing activities in Hawaii.  Following the models used in other states, including Kentucky and Colorado, the bill supports partnerships with the private sector to further explore industrial hemp’s potential contribution to the state’s economy.

hemp legislationAlexander and Baldwin’s recent announcement that it will end sugar production at Maui’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. (HC&S) will free about 36,000 acres of agriculturally zoned land at the end of 2016, prompting question over what crop would replace sugar.

“There is a huge groundswell of support from the general public and members of the agriculture sector to legalize industrial hemp,” said Rep. Ing.  “While hemp is not a magic bullet for Hawaii’s struggling agriculture industry, it does deserve our consideration, especially with the closing of sugar operations by HC&S.

“I believe industrial hemp now has bi-partisan support, as well as widespread support across generations.  It’s time has come.”

“With its ability to cleanse the soil of toxins, industrial hemp could be an environmentally friendly replacement for our agriculture industry,” says Representative Thielen, a longtime and enthusiastic supporter of legalizing industrial hemp.

“Hemp is often grown without pesticides or herbicides due to its natural ability to ward off unwanted insects and weeds.  Furthermore, hemp’s potential as a biofuel feedstock could be a game-changer for Hawaii.  There are over 25,000 different uses for hemp and in U.S. alone, the market for hemp seed oil and fiber is approximately $600 million a year.”