Hilo Municipal Golf Course to be Shortened, Remain Open During Renovation Project

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will shorten the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and open temporary greens so golfers may continue using portions of the links while it is undergoing major renovation.

Hilo Golf Course

Starting Monday, February 8, play will be limited to the front 9 holes and a temporary 9th green opened to accommodate construction work. When renovation of the back 9 holes is completed, they will be opened for play and the front 9 holes closed so renovation work may shift to that section of the course. Temporary greens will be opened at the 17th and 18th holes until new grass is established on the reconstructed greens. Also, temporary tee boxes will be opened at the 15th hole to allow for construction access.

These rotating partial closures are expected to continue through mid-May. During that period, tee times will be modified to allow golfers to play two rounds and create the equivalent of an 18-hole golfing experience.

Course renovation work will include the following upgrades:

  • Reconstructing the 9th, 17th and 18th greens
  • Constructing a new 14th green and using the existing green as a temporary green
  • Replacing all course waterlines
  • Installing new accessible drinking fountains throughout the course
  • Constructing new accessible shelters at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 13th and 18th tees
  • Constructing new accessible restrooms at the 4th and 12th tees
  • Performing structural and safety repairs to the course bridges
  • Tree removal

The Department of Parks and Recreation understands the inconvenience the ongoing construction work will cause, and sincerely appreciates patrons’ patience and understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance Offers United Voice on Bishop Museums Announcement to Sell Its Waipi‘o Valley Lands

On January 8, 2016, Bishop Museum issued a public announcement they are moving forward with the sale of the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Capt. Cook and 537 acres of land in Waipi‘o Valley.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

While the news has taken most of Hawai‘i by surprise, it is not the case for the Waipi‘o Valley community. Over the past 20 years, the Museum has periodically considered selling it’s Valley holdings, and there have been several proposals by State legislators for the state to purchase the lands, the most recent in 2014.

Since 2013, the Waipi‘o community has undergone major changes, with three of the most committed groups becoming more organized and actively seeking ways to work together collaboratively on matters that impact the Valley and surrounding communities.

In late 2015 the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association, the Waipi‘o Community Circle and Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley formed the Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance as a mechanism to reach general consensus and provide a unified voice when communicating with government officials, Bishop Museum and the general community.

Founded in 1989, the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association (WTFA) is the oldest active organization in Waipi‘o Valley. The Association is made up of generational taro farming families who lease the majority of Bishop Museum ’s lands in the Valley. WTFA represents the surviving edge of the Native Hawaiian culture in Waipi‘o Valley and serves as Bishop Museum ’s primary land managers and local community advisors.

Formed in 2000, at the request of 13 community members, the Waipi‘o Community Circle (the Circle), serves as a general community forum. The Waipi‘o Valley Information & Education Officer Program was created by the Circle, as were the five large interpretive signs at the rock wall near the pavilion. A small group of Circle volunteers provided general oversight of the Information & Education Officer program from 2007 until 2014 when the program moved to the Department of Parks & Recreation. This group also represents the efforts of Auntie Ku’ulei Badua who was responsible for initiating “Friends of the Waipi‘o Community Park ” (the former Rice/Thomas property, at the Waipi’o lookout).

Founded in 2014 Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley (Ha Ola) is a membership organization of Valley residents, farmers, cultural educators and practitioners, and Waipi‘o tour operators. The organization is guided by elected Officers with support from the County of Hawaii , the State of Hawaii , Kamehameha Schools and Friends of the Future. Ha Ola was formed to provide representation for Valley stakeholders who were not recognized in the State’s 2013 proposed Senate Bill to purchase Bishop Museum’s lands in Waipi‘o. Among Ha Ola’s current projects are River Maintenance in collaboration with WTFA, stewardship of Kamehameha Schools Valley beach parcels, eradication of Little Fire Ants in the Valley and a 2016 Kalo Festival.

The Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance, combines the strengths of all available community and advisory resources and is committed to protecting current lessees and ensuring the community has a lead voice in proactively engaging Bishop Museum in discussions about the future stewardship of its’ Waipi‘o Valley lands.

For more information about the Alliance contact:

Alliance Community Liaison: Jim Cain, Cell: 333-0457 kinglaulau@hotmail.com

Alliance Culture & Education Liaison: Ka‘iulani Pahio, Cell: 960-5272 kaiulani@kalo.org

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 249

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 249:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 4, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case 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 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
246 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/24/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
249

Of the confirmed cases, 225 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
204 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1100 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Honolulu Selected for “Local Foods, Local Places” Federal Initiative

On behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 27 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places, and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.

Local Foods Local Places

“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The program is good for the environment, public health and the economy. By helping bring healthy local food to market and offering new walking and biking options, Local Foods, Local Places can help improve air quality, support local economies, and protect undeveloped green space.”

Honolulu was one of the cities selected in 2016 from EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region:

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Hawaii Community Development Authority will focus their Local Foods, Local Places efforts on plans to identify food-based projects that will spur greater investment and stewardship in the Kakaako Makai community; enhance local food production; integrate food security initiatives with community and transit-oriented development planning; and reduce stormwater runoff and vulnerability to sea level rise.

The selected communities were chosen from more than 300 applicants.

Each Local Foods, Local Places partner community works with a team of experts who help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan, and identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.

Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority. The initiative was launched in 2014 and has already helped 26 communities make a difference in people’s lives.

Local Food, Local Places is one of the administration’s community-based initiatives in action across the country. In these places federal experts are working side by side with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions; bolstering coordination across agencies and improving how we interact with communities as a ‘one Government’ partner; and relying on valuable data to help inform solutions and evaluate what is working and what is not.

A complete list of communities participating in the Local Food, Local Places Initiative can be found at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places-summary-reports