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retain the progress made in terms of Palila habitat restoration, DOFAW requested that the mitigation areas be formally withdrawn from the pasture leases and set aside for addition to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.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:  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/public-hearing/

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)

Final Tribute for Hilo Senator Gilbert Kahele – Motorcade to Pass State Capitol

State lawmakers will pay a final tribute to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele as a motorcade passes the State Capitol on Beretania Street on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 9 a.m.  The motorcade will continue on to Hickam Air Force Base where the late Senator will be flown to his hometown of Hilo for memorial services.

Photo via Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran

Photo via Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran

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.

The Senate chamber will be open tomorrow, Thurs. January 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for members of the public to pay their respects to the late Senator Kahele.

A condolence book is available to sign that will be shared with the family.

  • WHO:  Hawaii State Senators
  • WHAT:  Motorcade pass for final tribute to Senator Gil Kahele
  • WHEN:  Tuesday, February 2, 2016,  9:00 a.m.
  • WHERE:  Beretania Street, State Capitol


Hawaii Attorney General “Fantasy Sports Contests FanDuel and DraftKings” Constitute Illegal Gambling

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin issued a formal advisory opinion today stating that daily fantasy sports contests, such as those run by FanDuel and DraftKings, constitute illegal gambling under existing state laws.

Fan DuelDraft Kings“Gambling generally occurs under Hawaii law when a person stakes or risks something of value upon a game of chance or upon any future contingent event not under the person’s control,” said Chin. “The technology may have changed, but the vice has not.”

Nearly sixty million Americans participate in fantasy sports, with the vast majority playing in a league with friends or colleagues that might be considered “social gambling” which is legal in Hawaii. In contrast, daily fantasy sports contests typically involve competitions between hundreds or thousands of people, are played daily, involve wagers of up to $1,000, and allow each individual multiple entries leading to top prizes of up to $1 million.

“Hawaii is generally recognized to have some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the country,” said Chin. By statute the Attorney General provides opinions upon questions of law submitted by the Governor, the state legislature or its members, or a state agency head. The Department of the Attorney General is weighing next steps, including civil or criminal enforcement, consistent with its opinion.

The text of Attorney General Opinion 2016-01 is attached.

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection on the Big Island of Hawaii – Kona Now High Risk

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:

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.

Big Island Policeman Arrested on Assault of 72-Year-Old Senior Citizen

A Hawaiʻi Police Department officer has been arrested in connection with a confrontation late Friday (January 22) while off duty at an apartment complex in Kailua-Kona.

Jami Harper (photo from 2012)

Jami Harper
(photo from 2012)

At 11:14 p.m. Friday, Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance at an apartment building on the 75-5600 block of Kuakini Highway. Investigation revealed that 39-year-old Jami Harper, an off-duty Kona Patrol officer, had confronted a 72-year-old man who lived in the apartment above him. Following the confrontation, Harper requested police assistance and medics.

The 72-year-old man was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was treated for facial injuries and then released on Saturday (January 23).

Also Saturday, Harper was taken to Kona Community Hospital for a medical condition. He was then transferred to Hilo Medical Center, where he remained until Wednesday (January 27). Upon his release from the hospital, he was arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 11:28 a.m. Wednesday, Harper was charged with ­­­­­second-degree assault. His bail was set at $2,000, and he remains at the cellblock. Unless he posts bail, his initial court appearance will be Thursday (January 28) in Hilo District Court.

In addition to the criminal investigation, the Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards will conduct an internal administrative investigation into the incident. Harper has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of that investigation.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 241

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 4 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 241:

Mosquito Bite

As of January 27, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 4 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 5 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
5 Illness onset 1/17/16 to 1/21/16
Cases no longer infectious
236 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/16/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 217 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
196 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 1008 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Scientist Sequence Genome of the ‘Alalā (Hawaiian Crow)

In collaboration with PacBio, scientists at San Diego Zoo Global and the University of Hawaii, Hilo have fully sequenced the genome of the ‘Alalā, or Hawaiian crow and shared the results of this effort at the recent annual Plant and Animal Genomics XXIV Conference in San Diego. The ‘Alalā was once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, and the sequencing of the species’ genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species.

The sequencing of its genome comes at the beginning of what is hoped to be an important year for the Hawaiian crow. Conservationists hope to reintroduce this species into prepared habitat on the island of Hawaii later this year. The ‘Alalā has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only in the program run by San Diego Zoo Global at their bird centers in Hawaii.

“We have been working for many years to build up a large enough—and genetically diverse enough—population to allow us to begin putting the ‘Alalā back in the wild,” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the San Diego Zoo’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “We have achieved our goal, and are now preparing to release birds into the wild in 2016.”

The program’s goal has been to increase the ‘Alalā flock to 75 or more individuals before releasing them into their native forests on the island of Hawaii. The ‘Alalā is a member of the crow family that was brought to the brink of extinction by loss of habitat, and introduced predators and diseases. For species that have been at the brink of extinction, genetic fitness and the information stored in their genome may prove an important tool in the fight to save them.

“Learning more about the genome of the species can help us understand more about how that species will interact with and fit back into its native habitat,” said Jolene Sutton, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. “Through scientific collaboration with PacBio, we now have a map of ‘Alalā DNA that could prove critical to their long term recovery. We are absolutely thrilled with the quality of the sequencing, and we have already identified several gene locations that we think could have a big influence on reintroduction success.”

Consumers’ Last Chance to Enroll for 2016 Healthcare Coverage Quickly Approaches


The open enrollment period for individuals and families to sign up for 2016 healthcare coverage through HealthCare.gov ends this Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. Individuals who were enrolled through the Hawai’i Health Connector in 2015 must re-enroll for 2016 coverage through HealthCare.gov or they will no longer be insured. Individuals and families without insurance are strongly urged to enroll either through the online portal HealthCare.gov or by phone 1-800-318-2596 by 10:00 p.m. on Jan. 31 to retain health insurance coverage in 2016.

If individuals and families would like in-person assistance, there are Kōkua on each island ready to help. Please visit hawaiihealthconnector.com/appointment for a list of partner organizations on each island or hawaiihealthconnector.com/events for a list of nearby enrollment events.

Outside of a few Special Enrollment circumstances (e.g. a period for residents from nations under the Compact of Free Association (COFA), which include the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau), individuals who miss Sunday’s deadline will be unable to get health insurance through the marketplace until Jan. 1, 2017.

Body Glove to Celebrate Tatiana-Weston’s Rookie of the Year Honor with Private Dinner Prepared by Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

Body Glove to kick off their annual trip to the North Shore by hosting a celebratory dinner for WSL Rookie of the year, Tatiana Weston-Webb, prepared by World Famous Celebrity Chef Sam Choy.

Sam Choy

The event will be filmed and aired on KHON Channel 2 in a episode of “Sam Choy’s IN THE KITCHEN” later this year. Sam will raid the Body Glove refrigerator for leftovers and use his culinary magic with whatever ingredients he can find and create a gourmet meal for all. Body Glove Athlete’s Tatiana Weston-Webb, Jamie O’Brien, Mo Freitas and Garret MacNamara and Sam’s co-host John Venri will be the Chef’s will be Sam’s official assistant’s and taste testers.

Jamie O'Brien gets ready to go on a Body Glove cruise.

Jamie O’Brien gets ready to go on a Body Glove cruise.

In the days following Tati’s celebration, Body Glove will begin hosting key retailers, sales reps and athletes throughout the waiting period of Volcom Pipe Pro, January 28th – February 7th. “We look forward to the opportunity to give back to the retailers, sales reps and athletes that support the brand”, say’s Body Glove Marketing Director, Nick Meistrell. “The trip also offers a platform for us to gather feedback on new product lines, create content for future advertising campaigns, and of course enjoy some surfing with the crew. Not to mention, all this with a world class surfing competition viewable from the house!”

Hunter Ports Women's Classic - Tatiana Weston-Webb © ASP / Robertson

Hunter Ports Women’s Classic – Tatiana Weston-Webb © ASP / Robertson

Retailers in attendance and will be joined by select athletes from the Body Glove Team including aforementioned Tatiana Weston-Webb, Jamie O’Brien, Mo Freitas and Garret MacNamaras well as Anthony Walsh, Alex Gray, and Nolan Rapoza.   In true All Things Water fashion, Wake Surf Champions, Keenan and Noah Flegal will also be on hand to attempt the challenging crossover from the wake to the waves of the North Shore.

Keenan was also featured in Body Gloves award winning film “Liquid Gold” – filmed entirely on location in Dubai.

About Body Glove International

Founded in Redondo Beach, California in 1953 by twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell, Body Glove is the original wetsuit company. Today, the privately-owned, family-operated company is a leading global watersports brand that specializes in wetsuits, swimwear, clothing, footwear, accessories and technology products. While Body Glove has supported surfers and the surfing industry since 1953, today Body Glove sponsors one of the most respected surf and wakeboard teams in the industry. Pro surfers Tatiana Weston-Webb, Jamie O’Brien, Anthony Walsh, Alex Gray, Guinness World Record Holder Garrett McNamara, as well as wakeboarders Harley Clifford and Bob Soven are all part of the Body Glove Team. Through Reef Check, SIMA’s environmental fund, and the Surfrider Foundation, Body Glove also works hard to preserve and protect the oceans and waterways it loves. The company’s headquarters are still based in Redondo Beach, but its products are sold all over the U.S. by a network of independent retailers, at its own Dive N’ Surf retail shop and in approximately 50 countries worldwide.