Civil Defense Sirens Malfunctioned… NO EMERGENCY

Regarding Civil Defense sirens, there is no emergency, sirens malfunctioned

Siren

Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Adds Events

The Hawai’i Island Festival of Birds has added more events and speakers to its plans. The Festival, scheduled for the weekend of September 24-25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, includes on site events on Saturday and field trips on Sunday.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s workshops, including special programs for children, will be highlighted by talks from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, Dr. Chris Farmer, Hawaii program director for the American Bird Conservancy, and a panel discussion by the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey crew. Noah Gomes, park ranger at Volcanoes National Park will also speak about traditional Hawaiian featherwork.

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop with professional photographer Jack Jeffrey and a block-printing workshop with artist Gretchen Grove. Materials will be provided.

Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Dr. Sam Gon III speaking on the cultural and biological significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life.

A highlight of the first-ever Festival is Sunday’s “sneak peek” of the newly created Hawai’i Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail with field-trip van departures from the east end, at Hilo, or from the west, Kailua-Kona. Other options are a pelagic (sea) birding trip with biologist guides Brian Sullivan, Mike Scott and Lance Tanino, or a bird photography field trip with Jack Jeffrey.

“We are very pleased with the excellent reception we’ve had so far,” said Rob Pacheco (Hawaii Forest & Trail). “Not only are we enrolling participants from Hawaii, but birders from across the U.S. Mainland have expressed great interest in our program. The Festival is a boon to Hawai’i tourism, and it also will give our keiki (children) a chance to learn more about the nature of Hawai’i, with the help of experts who will be joining us to teach at the Festival. ”

Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Alaska Airlines, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing and others.

For more information and Festival registration, please visit the website hawaiibirdingtrails.com. Book before August 1st to take advantage of early-bird pricing for all Festival components.

Lava Flow Front Slows Down on the Coastal Plain

After rapidly advancing across about half of the coastal plain, the flow front slowed considerably over the past day. The front moved only moved about 90 m (300 feet) since yesterday’s mapping, and activity at the leading tip of the flow was fairly weak today. The position of the lava flow front relative to the shoreline can be seen in this aerial photograph.

The leading edge of the flow, which was 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the ocean today, is the light-colored area near the center of the image. (Click to enlarge)

The leading edge of the flow, which was 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the ocean today, is the light-colored area near the center of the image. . Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible on the upper left skyline. (Click to enlarge)

More vigorous breakouts were active upslope, near the base of the pali. Fume from the lava tubes and smoke from burning vegetation are visible on the pali in the upper part of the photo.

Channelized ʻaʻā lava flows were still active on the steep sections of the pali. Dark brown areas are recently active ʻaʻā, and the shiny gray areas are pāhoehoe lava. (Click to enlarge)

A deep hole remains open on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, revealing a forked stream of swiftly moving lava (just visible in this photo).

 Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater is visible in the upper part of the photo. (Click to enlarge)

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater is visible in the upper part of the photo. (Click to enlarge)

A wider view of the fume-filled crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The deep hole near the crater rim (see photo at left) is just left of center in this image. (Click to enlarge)

The deep hole near the crater rim (see photo at left) is just left of center in this image. (Click to enlarge)

Stinky Corpse Plant Getting Ready to Bloom on Oahu

Foster Botanical Garden is anticipating that for the fifth time this year a rare Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the “Corpse plant,” could bloom as early as Sunday, July 9, 2016.

Corpse Plant Stinky 2

Plant specialists, who are closely monitoring the bloom, say that the plant normally opens in the afternoon, is in full bloom that night and finishes the bloom two days later. The first 24 hours are the “smelliest,” when the stench of rotten flesh emitted by the flower is most pungent.

The endangered species native to Sumatra, Indonesia is a short-lived flower that only blooms once every two to five years. It is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. Contributing to this plant’s exotic allure is the bloom’s strong stench, which serves to attract the carrion beetles that pollinate the flower.

In cultivation, the Amorphophallus titanum generally requires seven to 10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time.

This particular plant was donated by local resident John Kawamoto and will be blooming for the second time after eight years of growth from seed.

The plants are at Foster Botanical Garden’s Orchid Conservatory, which is home to 10 mature specimens of the Corpse plant.

Contributing to this impressive public collection are other plant displays in the conservatory:

  • Leopard Orchids
  • Spider Orchids
  • Blood Lilies

Foster Botanical Garden is located at 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, and is the oldest of the city’s botanical gardens. The garden displays a mature and impressive collection of tropical plants. Some of the magnificent trees in this 14-acre garden were planted in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand. The garden also includes a palm collection, the Lyon Orchid Garden, hybrid orchid display, the Prehistoric Glen, and a gift shop.

Cost for admission at Foster Garden is: $5.00 – general, 13 years and older; $3.00 – Hawai‘i resident 13 years and older with ID, $1.00 – Child 6 to 12 years old; free – Child 5 years old and under (must be with adult). Call 522-7066 for information.

Foster Botanical Garden is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please “Like” Foster Botanical Garden or Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Facebook (facebook.com/MayorKirk) or follow Mayor Caldwell on Twitter (@MayorKirkHNL), or call the Foster Botanical Garden Information Line at (808)768-7125, to find out when the Amorphophallus titanum blooms.

HPP’s Loss is Pahoa’s Gain – $22.3 Million Dollar Pahoa Park “In a Nutshell”

Mahalo to Councilman Paleka’s Assistant Nadia Malloe for following up on my question as to why the Pahoa Park has inflated from $5 million dollars to $22.3 million dollars and she got this answer:

Pahoa Park ExpansionAfter inquiring with Hawaii County Parks and Recreation (P&R), the following was shared:

P&R designs 4 types of parks, listed by size/capacity:

  • NEIGHBORHOOD Park – typically designed to meet the needs of neighborhood, such as University Heights
  • COMMUNITY Park – typically designed for small neighborhood communities, such as Isaac Hale and Hawaiian Beaches
  • DISTRICT Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of an entire district population capable for islandwide attractions, such as Pāhoa Park
  • REGIONAL Park* – typically designed to meet the needs of a specific region, usually a larger scale in comparison to a district park, such as Old Ace Park in Kona
    *Swimming pools are only allowed in DISTRICT and REGIONAL Parks.

Approximately 10 years ago, it became very apparent that Puna is a rapidly growing community. Thus, in efforts to meet the recreational needs in this geographic area, the administration of P&R proposed building a 20-acre community park in Hawaiian Paradise Park, with an estimated cost of $5.5 million.

At the time this $5.5 million project was being proposed in 2010-2012, area residents were strongly in opposition of this project due to concerns relating to traffic, safety and privacy of area residents, fee simple ownership, etc. P&R did not want to impose this project where it was not wanted. Thus, P&R began to look at other solutions to our rapidly growing Puna community.

In Pāhoa, the geographical heart of Puna, a district park already existed with 56 acres of land not yet developed. Since County P&R already had an established district park, it would ease the process as no land acquisition nor eminent domain was necessary to move forward.

This district park expansion is the most expensive project in P&R history and its being granted to not just Puna, but the geographical heart and center of Puna. There will be multiple benefits such as reducing criminal activity, promoting healthy living, creating a safer community, potential revenue for Puna, area residents and vendors.

P&R can offer more programs, engaging families, elderly, and persons with disabilities as well. In fact, according to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, in the past 4 years, juvenile crime decreased approximately 52%, thanks to the hard work and dedication from our County Parks and Recreation Dept. The projected completion of this project is as soon as next month or early September.

In a nutshell, basically the proposed project went from a small community park in HPP to a large district park in Pāhoa. For a price comparison, the amount of money the State spent to build the ONE new gym at Pāhoa High School, can build FIVE of our County gyms.

Nan Inc. provided me with the following aerial footage of the park being built:

Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament Aug. 19-21

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation invites anglers to register for the 20th Annual ‘Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament that will be held August 19-21.

Fishing Tournament Fish

Separate divisions are offered for keiki 5 to 12 years old, teens, men, women, kūpuna at least 55 years old, and ‘ohana or families. There also will be a barbless circle hook challenge. Entry fee is either $25 or $30 per person or family, depending on the division entered. Please make checks payable to “County Director of Finance.”

Weigh-ins will be conducted from noon until 1:30 p.m. Sunday, August 21, at Honoka‘a Gymnasium.

Completed registration forms must be turned in to the Department’s Recreation Division office at 799 Pi‘ilani Street in Hilo or postmarked by Friday, July 29. Registration forms, along with tournament rules, are available at County Parks and Recreation facilities island-wide, S. Tokunaga Store in Hilo and J. Hara Store in Kurtistown. The forms also can be found online at: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation/.

For more information about the ‘Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament, please call Jayme Carvalho at 962-2109 or 936-4285.

Tacos, Chips, Salsa…. and Madie Greene for County Council District 4

UPDATE: 

Aloha to All!!! With the incoming Tropical Storm expected to arrive soon, Aunty Madie has decided to reschedule her Fundraiser until the following Saturday. Sal Luquin has already reserved the date for Madie, 6pm, Saturday, July 30th at the Akebono. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please be safe out there and be prepared.

Mahalo for your understanding…

Folks are invited to a tacos, chips and salsa fundraiser for County Council Candidate Madie Green on Saturday, July 23rd at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa.
Madie Green FundraiserA suggested donation of $15.00 will go to her campaign funds.

Commentary – DOT Decision Will Have Negative Impact on Traffic and Construction Industry

I’m deeply concerned about the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s decision to focus entirely on system preservation, and deferring new highway projects for the next 20 years. This decision will have a negative impact on traffic congestion, and the health of
Hawaii’s construction industry.

Saddle Road Extension

Saddle Road Extension

There is several highway improvement projects on both sides of the Big Island (Waimea mini-bypass, Saddle Road Extension, Highway 130 widening, etc) that are slated for deferral as a result of this decision. These proposed projects will help improve traffic flow, and employ a significant amount construction workers over the life these projects.

The decision to focus solely on system preservation projects will likely employ less construction workers, and won’t help mitigate traffic congestion. This is an extremely shortsighted decision, as a balance between system preservation and adding capacity needs to be found.

HDOT asserts they need more funding to do their mission. They need to sell this to the public at large. For example, they have to come up with a 20% of  the cost of  new highway to qualify for the 80%  FHWA match, which has put system preservation on the back burner.

I also propose HDOT do away with the weight tax, and replace it with a vehicle registration tax, which would be based upon how old the vehicle is. In addition, they need to increase the gasoline tax, and find a way to assess a fee on hybrid/electric vehicles that use less gasoline. These vehicles are not paying their fair share to use our highways.

HDOT’s decision to arbitrarily reallocate more money to the system preservation over more capacity is extremely unwise. The population of our state will continue to increase over the next 20 years, so new highways will have to be constructed to improve our transportation infrastructure.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Good Government Groups Announce 2016 “Rusty Scalpel” Winner

scalpel award
The outcome of all 2016 legislative measures transmitted to the Governor will be known by July 12, which is the deadline for final approval or veto of the legislature’s bills from this year.  Unfortunately, the Governor has not announced his intent to veto HB1689, CD1 “Relating to Taxation,” which the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii have identified as their 2016 “Rusty Scalpel” winner.  The “Rusty Scalpel” award recognizes enactment of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for public input and legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution.

Towards the end of the 2016 legislative session, without meaningful opportunity for public or agency comment, a conference committee replaced the contents of HB 1689, SD 2 with a totally unrelated bill whose subject never had a public hearing in the Senate.  The original HB 1689 amended the existing ethanol facility income tax credit to include other renewable fuels.
hb1689
All House and Senate committee hearings on HB 1689 concerned tax credits for production of renewable fuels.  But inexplicably, HB 1689, CD 1 did not in any way concern tax credits for production of renewable fuels.  Instead, to everyone’s surprise, HB 1689, CD 1 proposed a new tax credit for production of organic food. The Hawaii Constitution sets procedures for enactment of new laws.  The purpose of these procedures is to facilitate public participation and to discourage “fraud” and “logrolling”.  Article III, Section 14 provides “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”  In plain English, our Legislature is NOT supposed to pass a bill which addresses 2 or more unrelated subjects. Article III, Section 15 provides that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.”  In plain English, our Legislature is NOT supposed to pass a bill whose subject has not had three separate readings in the State House and three separate readings in the State Senate.

Ann Shaver, League President, said “This makes a travesty of the democratic process.   Just because there are enough votes to pass a measure doesn’t make it Constitutional.  HB1689, CD1 was obviously unrelated to the bill’s original purpose.  The content of the CD1 stunned us; it was passed without a single public hearing.  There clearly was no justification.”


The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit http://www.lwv-hawaii.com

Common Cause Hawaii is a state chapter of the national Common Cause organization. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and improving Hawaii’s political process and holding government accountable to the public interest. For more information, visit hi.commoncause.org

Neighbor Island Town Hall Meetings to Hear About ESSA

Senator Michelle Kidani (Dist. 18 – Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia), Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, will travel to three neighbor islands next week for a series of public Town Hall meetings to discuss new Federal education legislation.

Senator Michelle Kidani

Senator Michelle Kidani

When fully implemented, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will affect the way teachers, students and campus leadership interact and conduct public school instruction.

“It’s important that the public understand and have some input about how schools are educating our youngsters,” Senator Kidani said.  “I have invited education policy expert Lee Posey from the National Conference of State Legislatures to be a guest speaker at our Town Hall sessions.  I’ve heard her presentations, and they provide an excellent overview of ESSA and how the new law can benefit the state.”

As Education Chair, Senator Kidani is a member of Governor David Ige’s ESSA Team that has scheduled a public forum this weekend at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.  Lee Posey will also be a presenter at this Saturday’s forum before proceeding to the neighbor island venues next week. Posey is a Federal Affairs Counsel with the Education Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

She conducts NCSL lobbying activities on education, representing state positions and concerns to Congress and the Administration, and was NCSL’s chief lobbyist on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.  Ms. Posey has been at NCSL since 1999 and her experience includes work on a wide variety of issues including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), federal childcare grants, child welfare, child support, food and nutrition programs, agriculture, and rural development.

The neighbor island Town Hall sessions are jointly sponsored by the Hawai‘i State Senate and the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (HSTA).  Senator Kidani’s colleagues from the respective Senate districts will join her for the presentations, including Senate President Ronald Kouchi from Kaua`i, Senator Lorraine Inouye from Hilo, and Senators Rosalyn Baker and Gilbert Keith-Agaran from Maui.  Others may join the sessions as their schedules allow.

The Town Hall sessions are all open to the public at no charge at the following locations:

  • Monday, July 11 – Hawai‘i Island, Hilo High School, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 12 – Maui, Baldwin High School, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 13 – Kaua`i, Kapa`a High School, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

For additional information, contact Senator Kidani at senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov or HSTA at mhiga@hsta.org