Video – Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park Open House & Community Meeting

More than 100 interested people attended an open house and community meeting on the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park master planning process on Jan. 30, 2016.

open house

In this video, DLNR State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell and DLNR First Deputy Kekoa Kaluhiwa discuss their vision for this important natural and cultural resource, for the Hawaii state parks system, and for the importance of community engagement in developing plans for the management and protection of Hawaii’s natural resources.

Kealakekua Open House from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Hawaii Attorney General and Office of Consumer Protection Warn Residents About Recent ‘Government Imposter’ Scams

Attorney General Doug Chin and Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection Stephen Levins are warning the public about two recent attempts by scammers to obtain personal data from Hawaii residents by posing as representatives of state government.

In one scam the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (“HPHA”) received multiple complaints from people trying to apply online for Section 8 housing vouchers. In so doing applicants found themselves on a website that asked for credit card and social security number information. The ‘government imposter’ site mentions the HPHA and seems to perform a credit check. The suspected website is not the HPHA’s and is in no way affiliated with the HPHA.

Executive Director of the HPHA Hakim Ouansafi said: “The HPHA alerted the Attorney General, Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) so that the State’s most vulnerable population does not fall victim to this type of scam. The HPHA never requires fees or credit checks to apply for any of its programs. Potential applicants for Section 8 or public housing should be vigilant when asked to provide private information and should contact the HPHA directly at (808) 832-6040 if they have any concerns about websites, advertisements, postings, etc.”

In another scam people reported receiving emails that claim to include a “membership certificate” and “official letter” from the Director of the Department of Budget and Finance. This email asks the recipient to raise funds in order to allow them to “gain rights to certain benefit.” The email includes two attachments with official-looking seals and claims to be sent by a representative of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in Washington, D.C.

Copies of the government imposter scam letter and scam certificate are below.

Attorney General Chin said “If you receive a suspicious message that claims to be from a government agency, do not click on any links in the email or respond to the email or call with any personal or financial information. When in doubt, please report the suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

According to Executive Director Levins “The best way to guard against this kind of illegal conduct is to be very careful when you give out your personal information. Never provide it to someone who telephones or emails you out of the blue. And always remember, just because someone claims that they are from your bank or from a government agency doesn’t mean that they are.”

There are several ways to spot possible ‘government imposter’ scams. Among other things these scam emails typically involve messages that:

  • Are poorly written;
  • Are sent from ‘.com’ email addresses rather than ‘.gov’ email addresses;
  • Say you have won a lottery or sweepstakes;
  • Say you owe a fake debt; or
  • Ask you to wire money right away, often to a foreign country.

For more information about how to recognize a government imposter and report such scams, please visit this consumer protection information website of the Federal Trade

Commission: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams.

Example of the scam letter being circulated

Example of the scam letter being circulated

Bogus Certificate

Bogus Certificate

Big Island Chocolate Fest Seeks Culinary Participants

The fifth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes to attendees at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 14 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

chocolate fountainTo honor the centennial anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the festival’s theme this year is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.”

Participating chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of “best” judged categories: bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert, Hawaiian cacao, sweet people’s choice, savory people’s choice and best decorated booth.

Folks enjoying the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Folks enjoying the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Culinary participants are encouraged to decorate their booth for the centennial theme to be judged by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendant Cindy Orlando. Booth elements could include Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, Hawaiian culture and the park’s native plants and animals.

Members of the winning culinary station will receive four tri-park passes good for free entrance to all three, fee-charging national parks in Hawai‘i for an entire year: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 095Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), the event benefits the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i Foundation endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup for free now by filling out the Culinary Participant form at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com/chef-guidelines. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 089

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

Neighbor Island Lawmakers Ask Governor NOT to Sign Wastewater Rule Change – New DOH Rules Would Ban New Cesspools Statewide

Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Governor David Ige not to sign off on a proposed state Department of Health rule change that would ban new cesspools statewide.  A letter, dated February 1, was signed primarily by neighbor island state representatives and senators whose constituents include many rural communities that rely on existing cesspools or the ability to install new ones.

CesspoolThe letter points out that a previous version of the rule change would have required conversion of all cesspools to septic systems, and would have cost Big Island homeowners, with over 50,000 cesspools, $1.5 billion.

“A bill to do that same thing was introduced into the Legislature in 2015 and DID NOT PASS.  In fact, a bill to ban new cesspools was NOT passed.  The will of the Legislature should thus be clear,” the letter states.  “Furthermore, this rule change greatly discriminates against the poorest of our citizens who might not be able to afford to build a home if a septic system is required.

“While the department claims that these rule changes are necessary to protect the public health and preserve our natural resources, the arguments in that regard are weak and unsubstantiated, and in fact contradictory and contrary to current legislative intent.”

The letter also notes that septic systems in Hawaii cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to install, compared to cesspools which range from $2,000-$3,000.

Neighbor island representatives and senators signing the letter include: Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), Rep. Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), Rep. Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona), Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), Rep. Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea), Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala), Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului), Rep. Lynn DeCoite (Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini), Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau), and Senator Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona).

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 246

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 246:

Mosquito BiteAs of February 2, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/26/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
246

Of the confirmed cases, 222 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
201 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/25/16.

As of today, a total of 1071 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

VIDEO – Governor Ige Responds to Dengue Fever Outbreak

Ige on DengueThis morning at the State Capital, Governor Ige along with Mayor Kenoi and Hawaii County Civil Defense Administer Daryll Oliveira met this morning and the following video was livestreamed on the Governor’s website:

Recently a letter went out to Maui residents informing them that a case of Dengue Fever was confirmed on that island.

Dengue Fever Case in Maui

HI-PAL Elementary and Intermediate Basketball Championships Crowned

Eighty-five youths from eight teams participated in the HI-PAL “Click It or Ticket” elementary and intermediate basketball championships this past weekend at Papaʻikou Gym.

 Members of the Intermediate Champion Waiākea Titans (from left)—Dominic Rodrigues, Chance Simeona, Kiai Apele, Macmillain Aloisio, Guyson Ogata, Vergil Henry.


Members of the Intermediate Champion Waiākea Titans (from left)—Dominic Rodrigues, Chance Simeona, Kiai Apele, Macmillain Aloisio, Guyson Ogata, Vergil Henry.

In the Intermediate Division, Waiākea Titans finished the round robin event with an undefeated 4-0 record to claim the championship. Titans defeated St. Joseph Gold 57-51 led by Kiai Apele’s 20 points, Kaʻū 56-35 led by Chance Simeona with 19 points, Waiākea 49-26 led by Apele’s 18 points and St. Joseph Red 48-34 led by Apele with 14 points. St. Joseph Gold finished second with a 3-1 record. Members of the championship Titans squad included Apele, Simeona, Macmillan Aloisio, Vergil Henry, Guyson Ogata and Dominic Rodrigues.

In the Elementary Division finals, the St. Joseph Cardinals edged Kealakehe Blue 31-28 to claim the title. Jayden Villena led the Cardinals with 11 points, Forrest Mckinney added 8 points and Zayre Fuiava tallied 6 points. Second-place Kealakehe was led by Shammah Talley with 9 points and Elayo Malapit and Edward Lai who added 6 points apiece. In the third place contest, Haʻaheo defeated Kealakehe White 26-18. Zamar Brres led Haʻaheo with 15 points. Members of the champion St. Joseph squad included Villena, Mckinney, Fuiava, Tiffany Castillo, Thomas Costa, Aidyn Cruise, Kavis Davies, Blayden Grace, Landry Ishii and Stanislaw Stack.

“Click It or Ticket” is a national education and enforcement campaign to increase seat belt usage and decrease traffic fatalities and injuries. The Hawaiʻi Police Department encourages all youths, teens and adults to use their seat belts.