Banyan Way Closure Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, 2016

Hawaii Electric Light announces the closure of Banyan Way in Hilo between Kalanianaole Avenue and the Hilo Seaside Hotel. The road will be closed 24 hours for seven days a week from Sunday, Nov. 27, to Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.

banyan-closureHawaii Electric Light will be performing repairs to its underground fuel supply line as part of its ongoing work to ensure service reliability and environmental protection.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. Access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes during this period.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-0424.

Local Nonprofit Organizations Receive Electric Vehicles

The Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light Company recently donated Smart electric vehicles to three local nonprofit organizations. The vehicles and symbolic keys were presented to representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, HOPE Services Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“At HEI, we strive to be a catalyst for a better Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO and chairman of the HEI Charitable Foundation. “The HEI Charitable Foundation is proud to partner with Hawaii Electric Light to recognize these wonderful organizations and at the same time promote the use of electric vehicles on Hawaii Island and throughout our state to help Hawaii achieve a clean energy future.”

electric-vehicle

The popularity of electric vehicles has risen in recent years as the world takes greater notice of the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. They also cost less per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, and they are good for the environment by reducing emissions and noise pollution. The donated cars are lightly-used Smart ForTwo electric vehicles with an average mileage of 4,000 miles. The cars come equipped with electric charging equipment and are valued at more than $10,000. HEI worked closely with Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu who inspected, registered, and ensured delivery of the vehicles to the nonprofit organizations.

“These deserving organizations strengthen our community by nurturing our youth, offering hope to our less fortunate, and providing our students with quality higher education,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “We know these electric vehicles can broaden their reach and support their efforts to serve our community.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island’s mission is to inspire and enable Big Island youth to be productive and responsible citizens, through quality programs in a safe and caring environment. It provides after school services for youth ages 6-17 Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, Pahala, and Ocean View.

“In the words of our keiki when experiencing something new, fun and exciting: ‘Awesome!’ It is truly awesome to gain this environmentally-friendly resource and have an educational tool that helps us teach our lessons of sustainability, science and resource management,” said Chad Cabral, Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island chief executive officer. “What better way to let kids see how an electric vehicle works, view the electric engine components, and speak about energy efficiency concepts. We are thrilled to have this educational resource. Mahalo to the HEI Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light.”

HOPE Services Hawaii provides an array of services to the homeless. The organization envisions a world where those who face great challenges realize their value and self-worth. Programs and services include homeless outreach, residential housing programs, prison re-entry services, representative payee services, and one-stop centers. The organization plans to use the electric vehicle to transport program participants to become document-ready for housing by helping them obtain identification as well as helping them find gainful employment and comply with their legal requirements.

“We end homelessness by housing at least 270 households each year. We intentionally serve those with the deepest needs first and help at least 85% of them stay housed forever – never returning to homelessness,” said Brandee Menino, HOPE Services Hawaii chief executive officer. “We do this work because it improves the health and wellness of the people we serve, maximizes the potential of each individual and family we serve, and is economically in the best interest of the taxpayers of Hawaii to end homelessness rather than manage homelessness.”

The University of Hawaii at Hilo offers its 4,000 students a wide range of liberal arts and professional programs, as well as a number of graduate and doctoral programs. As a campus of the University of Hawaii System, its purpose is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said Jerry Chang, University of Hawaii at Hilo director, University Relations. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

For more information about the benefits of electric vehicles, please visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Kona Brewing Company Releases Mahalo Variety Pack for the Holidays

Kona Brewing Company recently introduced the ‘Mahalo’ 12pk variety pack, available for a limited time during the holidays. Sold exclusively in Hawaii, the ‘Mahalo’ 12pk variety pack features four brews with tropical island ingredients.
kona-brewing-companyFor the very first time, Magic Sands Mango Saison will be available in bottle-form within the Mahalo variety pack, alongside Lemongrass Luau, Wailua Wheat and Pipeline Porter.

Magic Sands Mango Saison
A traditional farmhouse style ale with a Hawaiian twist, with mango juice added to this crisp and refreshing brew. 5.5% ABV

Lemongrass Luau
Lemongrass Luau is a crisp, refreshing blonde ale with a touch of wheat malt, ginger, and fresh lemongrass. With it’s modest alcohol content this brew is perfect for pau hana, sharing pints with friends, and great with almost any meal. 5% ABV

Wailua Wheat
This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrusy flavor that comes from the tropical passionfruit brewed into each batch. 5.4% ABV

Pipeline Porter
Pipeline Porter is a bold, but smooth blend of roasted barley and rich Hawaiian-grown coffee – the perfect ode to the Banzai Pipeline, one of the most spectacular surf spots on the planet. 5.3% ABV

Created in the spirit of the holidays, the ‘Mahalo’ variety pack is also a great way for locals to say thank you to friends and family during the gift-giving season. The diversity of flavors mean there will be a brew to suit all palates – from the sweet fruitiness of Magic Sands Mango Saison, to the dark and rich Pipeline Porter.

The 12-bottle Mahalo variety pack is exclusively available at retailers in Hawaii.  There is also a 24-bottle Mahalo variety pack at select merchants for a limited time.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Seeks 2017 Beneficiaries

The sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival invites non-profit organizations to apply as a beneficiary of the 2017 event held on April 28-29 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The festival annually awards non-profits a portion of event proceeds.

big-island-chocolate-festival-2017Beneficiaries should be associated with culinary education, cacao farming/education, local chocolate, farming or sustainability. Awards will be given ranging from $500 to $6,000 and beneficiaries are expected to provide volunteers and support event execution.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for application details and the deadline is December 31, 2016.

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.

Eight Big Island Police Officers Honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Eight Big Island police officers were honored this week by Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Hawaiʻi, in cooperation with Big Island Toyota, for their efforts and dedication this year to the fight against drunk and drugged driving.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

On Monday (November 21) four East Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at the Hilo Yacht Club. They were Hāmākua Patrol Officer Gregg Karonis for four DUI arrests, Puna Patrol Officer Bryson Miyose for 22 DUI arrests, South Hilo Patrol Officer Jacob Obermiller for 25 DUI arrests and Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Erhard Autrata for 43 DUI arrests.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

On Tuesday (November 22) four West Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at Fumi’s Kitchen in Kailua-Kona. They were South Kohala Patrol Officer Severo Ines for five DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Chandler Nacino for 12 DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Adam Roberg for 21 DUI arrests and Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua for 24 DUI arrests.

This year, MADD-Hawaiʻi, co-sponsored by Servco Pacific/Toyota Hawaii, reinstated their police recognition awards by recognizing officers throughout the state for their efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on our roadways from impaired drivers.

Hawaii Department of Health Holds Statewide Public Hearings for Changes to Food Safety Code

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) will hold public hearings on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai from Dec. 5-9, 2016 (see exact scheduling details below) to introduce amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Title 11, Chapter 50, Food Safety Code, which outlines standards for all food establishments statewide.

food-safety-cardsIn February 2014, the state passed new food safety rules that significantly changed the food service inspection process by introducing the highly visible “stop-light” placarding system that displays the results of each inspection. The new state rules also adopted the 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code as its basis, increased the frequency of permit requirements based on health risk, and increased permit fees to create an online database of inspection records for the public.

“The department is continuing to raise the state’s food safety standards by further updating regulations to increase the focus on prevention and reduce the risk of residents and visitors contracting foodborne illness,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the DOH Food Safety program. “Updating state requirements and fees and aligning our state with federal standards are essential for creating a world class food safety program in Hawaii.”

The proposed amendments include establishing a new food safety education requirement for persons-in-charge at all food establishments. The new rule will require at least one employee on every work shift be certified at the formal Food Handlers Training level. This will ensure a standard baseline of food safety knowledge for all establishment owners and managers. Studies have shown that food establishments with properly trained persons-in-charge have a lower occurrence of critical food safety violations that are directly linked to food illnesses.

The department is also proposing the adoption of the 2013 FDA Model Food Code. This will provide Hawaii with the most current nationally recognized food code based on the latest scientific knowledge on food safety. Updating the state’s food code will also align Hawaii with national standards and provide consistent requirements for food facilities that operate across multiple states.

Additional proposed changes to the state’s food safety rules include:

  • Removing the 20 days of sale limit for homemade foods (cottage foods) that are not considered a potential public health risk;
  • Removing the restriction on the number of days a Special Event Temporary Food Establishment permit may be valid;
  • Establishing a new fee structure for Temporary Food Establishment Permits ($100 for a 20-day permit plus $5 for each additional day over 20 to a maximum of one year);
  • Streamlining regulations for mobile food establishments (e.g. food trucks) by incorporating the requirements into existing rules for their base operations or “brick and mortar” establishments;
  • Revising the fee structure for mobile units with no increase to the total amount currently paid by a mobile operator;
  • Allowing placarding during all inspections;
  • Allowing the state to refuse permit renewal for non-payment of fines or stipulated agreements more than 30 days overdue; and
  • Requiring state approval for the sale of “Wild Harvested Mushrooms.”

The draft rules are available for review at http://health.hawaii.gov/opppd/proposed-changes-to-department-of-health-administrative-rules-title-11/. Written public comments are recommended and may be submitted at the public hearings or to the Sanitation Branch at 99-945 Halawa Valley St., Aiea, Hawaii 96701 prior to the close of business on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held on the dates, at the times, and places noted below:

Island of Oahu

Monday, Dec. 5 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Environmental Health Services Division

Food Safety Education Room

99-945 Halawa Valley St., Aiea

Island of Maui

Tuesday, Dec. 6 (2 – 5 p.m.)

UH-Maui College Community Services Building

310 Kaahumanu Ave., Bldg. #205, Kahului

Island of Hawaii – Hilo

Wednesday, Dec. 7 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Environmental Health Building Conference Room

1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo

Island of Hawaii – Kona

Thursday, Dec. 8 (2 – 5 p.m.)

West Hawaii Civic Center, Bldg. G

74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-Kona

Island of Kauai

Friday, Dec. 9 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Lihue Health Center Conference Room

3040 Umi St., Lihue

Big Island Police Captain Wagner Named “Hawaii County Manager of the Year”

Police Captain Robert F. Wagner was named “Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year” in a ceremony Monday afternoon (November 21) in Hilo.

Officer Bryan Tina, Officer Kristi Crivello, Chief Harry Kubojiri, Sergeant Brandon Konanui and Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira pose with Captain Robert Wagner (4th from left), who was named 'Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year.'

Officer Bryan Tina, Officer Kristi Crivello, Chief Harry Kubojiri, Sergeant Brandon Konanui and Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira pose with Captain Robert Wagner (4th from left), who was named ‘Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year.’

Wagner, a 31-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department, is the commander of the Area I Criminal Investigations Division, which includes the Criminal Investigations Section, the Vice Section and the Juvenile Aid section. Area I CID is responsible for the Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo and Puna Districts.

In nomination papers, Major Randy Apele praised Wagner for providing ongoing training for current and future supervisors and for creating a Special Enforcement Unit to investigate burglaries, felony property crimes, robberies and other high-profile crimes.

“Captain Wagner has also displayed outstanding supervisory and management skills in planning, setting objectives, scheduling, organizing, delegating and controlling the work of the Criminal Investigation Division to lead to the positive resolutions in several high profile cases, including the arrest and charge of Peter Kema Sr. and his wife Jaylin for the murder of Peter Boy Kema,” Apele wrote. “Overall, CID cleared sixteen murder and attempted murder cases during the 2015-16 fiscal year.”

At the ceremony Monday in the Aupuni Center Conference Room, the county also recognized Sergeant Brandon Konanui for being nominated as “Hawaiʻi County Supervisor of the Year” and Officers Bryan Tina and Kristi Crivello for being nominated as “Hawaiʻi County Employee of the Year.”

Puako Provisions’ and Catering – New Culinary Option on Kohala Gold Coast

Vacationers and residents on Hawaii island’s Kohala Gold Coast now have a new local culinary option with the debut of Puako Provisions and Catering at the landmark Puako General Store located in the popular beachside community.

puako-general-store-front

Puako Provisions and Catering now open at the Puako General Store

Puako Provisions and Catering will offer a variety of grab-and-go “beach-friendly” food options – provisions! – such as salads, sandwiches on freshly-baked breads and poké bowls made with locally-sourced fish.   Shoppers can also choose from pre-packaged menu items as well as catered food, picnic baskets and special order meals for pickup or delivery to their rental or home.

Along with its grab-and-go and other food offerings, Puako Provisions will feature weekly specials available from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., including handmade pizza, and on Friday, “make-your-own” poké bowls.   Whenever possible, the chef uses seasonal, organic products sourced locally from land and sea, yet they are priced to be affordable.

The new operation is directed by Noah Hester, former executive chef and manager of the popular Blue Dragon Restaurant in nearby Kawaihae, which closed earlier this year.  Though just 34 years old, Hester has already received accolades while at the Blue Dragon, including “Best Chef America 2014-2015” and “Best Chef North Hawaii 2012-2015.”  He has also been featured prominently in Edible Hawaii Islands Magazine.

Hester grew up in Puako and has fond childhood memories of visiting the Puako General Store – now owned by his Mom, Mary Fox. The store is an iconic destination that sells groceries, many locally made gifts and souvenirs, including t-shirts, handmade jewelry and much more. Tables are available on the store’s front porch for casual dining, while compostable carryout containers are used for all food items.

The store is located at 69-1649 Puako Beach Drive.  Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.  The store phone is 808-882-7500; or visit their website www.thepuakostore.com.

Hawaii Department of Health Holds Big Island Forum to Discuss Military Munitions and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Safety

Hawaii has the distinction of being home to the single largest site in the nation contaminated with military munitions and unexploded ordnance, the ‘Waikoloa Maneuver Area’ on the Big Island. While cleanup is currently underway, completing it is an enormous, expensive, and long-term job. The total cost to clean up the formerly used ‘live-fire’ training area is estimated to be approximately $750 million and expected to take decades. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, the Department of Health will sponsor the first Hawaii Forum on Munitions and Unexploded Ordnance at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott.

uxoThe forum will bring together experts to speak on the issues involving Hawaii properties affected by military munitions and what this means for landowners in those areas. The department will also present the state’s proposed Munitions Safety Areawide Hazard Management Plan for the Waikoloa area of Hawaii County. The plan describes the history of military ‘live fire’ training in Waikoloa and precautions people should take to protect themselves from accidentally detonating an item of unexploded ordnance or UXO.

The site in question occupies over 100,000 acres in the Waikoloa area of the Big Island.  The site was acquired from Parker Ranch in 1943 during World War II. From 1943-1946 the ‘Waikoloa Maneuver Area’ was used extensively to simulate realistic battle conditions using live artillery, ammunition, and explosives. The area was large enough to train an entire division of troops at once on the same day. This site is one of several “live-fire” training areas throughout the State.

Cleanup is being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Department of the Army (DOA) in coordination with the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The cleanup work follows a very thorough process prescribed by the federal Superfund law.

This large land area is now in the hands of many private owners. Each of the owners must first grant the USACE an official Right of Entry (ROE). Although the USACE is willing to survey and dispose of the potential unexploded ordnance at no cost, owners are often reluctant to grant access to their properties. The USACE has recently initiated cleanup in an area comprised of over 800 privately owned parcels of land and the Department of Health is urging landowners to grant access to their property for their own safety and protection. Private landowners who decline the USACE’s offer could be required to conduct discovery and disposal of unexploded ordnance at their own expense in the future.

The Department of Health forum is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is intended for state and county officials, bankers, realtors, developers, resort owners, landowners, and emergency responders. The day’s agenda will include expert speakers, informative display tables, and facilitated discussions of the major issues.  Presenters include the Hawaii Department of Health, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and munitions disposal contractors on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge.

There is no charge to attend, however, space is limited and confirmed reservations are required. Anyone interested in attending the event should contact Paul Chong, DOH coordinator, at paul.chong@doh.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii House of Representatives Names 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

The House of Representatives Majority named its 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs during a caucus meeting today.

capitalA new committee, Intrastate Commerce, will focus on regulations and licensing of Hawaii businesses such as banking, telecommunications and property insurance.

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are:

  • Speaker: Joseph M. Souki
  • Speaker Emeritus: Calvin K.Y. Say
  • Vice Speaker: John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader: Scott K. Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader: Cindy Evans
  • Majority Policy Leader: Marcus R. Oshiro
  • Majority Whip: Ken Ito

Assistant Majority Leaders:

  • Chris Lee
  • Dee Morikawa
  • Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)

  • Chair: Richard Creagan
  • Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)

  • Chair: Angus L.K. McKelvey
  • Vice Chair: Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)

  • Chair: Mark M. Nakashima
  • Vice Chair: Jarrett Keohokalole

Education (EDN)

  • Chair: Roy M. Takumi
  • Vice Chair: Sharon E. Har

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)

  • Chair: Chris Lee
  • Vice Chair: Nicole Lowen

Finance (FIN)

  • Chair: Sylvia Luke
  • Vice Chair: Ty J.K. Cullen

Health (HLT)

  • Chair: Della Au Belatti
  • Vice Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi

Higher Education (HED)

  • Chair: Justin H. Woodson
  • Vice Chair: Mark J. Hashem

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair: Tom Brower
  • Vice Chair: Nadine Nakamura

Human Services (HUS)

  • Chair: Dee Morikawa
  • Vice Chair: To be announced

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)

  • Chair: Takashi Ohno
  • Vice Chair: Isaac W. Choy

Judiciary (JUD)

  • Chair: Scott Y. Nishimoto
  • Vice Chair: Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)

  • Chair: Aaron Ling Johanson
  • Vice Chair: Daniel Holt

Legislative Management (LMG)

  • Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
  • Vice Chair: John M. Mizuno

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)

  • Chair: Kaniela Ing
  • Vice Chair: Cedric Gates

Public Safety (PBS)

  • Chair: Gregg Takayama
  • Vice Chair: Matthew S. LoPresti

Tourism (TOU)

  • Chair: Richard H.K. Onishi
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Transportation (TRN)

  • Chair: Henry J.C. Aquino
  • Vice Chair: Sean Quinlan

Veterans, Military & International Affairs & Culture and the Arts (VMI)

  • Chair: Ken Ito
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Water and Land (WAL)

  • Chair: Ryan I. Yamane
  • Vice Chair: Sam Satoru Kong

Senator Inouye Graduates from the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute

Senator Lorraine R. Inouye (Dist. 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) has completed the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute’s (LEHI) course in energy policy.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Marc Chopin, Dean and Professor of Economics, University of Idaho and Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye)

Marc Chopin, Dean and Professor of Economics, University of Idaho and Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye

The institute is a 60-hour energy immersion executive course with the University of Idaho.  The course is designed to increase the knowledge of the energy infrastructure and delivery system to equip legislators with the latest research and data as they make future energy policy decisions.

With the 2016 class, over 200 policymakers have completed the LEHI program. Those who complete the 60-hour executive course receive a certificate from the University of Idaho in Energy Policy Planning.

Sen. Inouye is the first Hawai‘i state Senator to complete the LEHI course.

“It was an intense course, but definitely time well spent learning in-depth about our complex energy system. It’s even clearer to me now how we are all connected in ensuring our energy resources are used efficiently. It is also important that our decisions on energy are well thought out, not only for us today, but for generations to come,” said Sen. Inouye.

“It is critical that citizen legislators get this basic knowledge of how our energy systems operate. I am impressed that Sen. Inouye took over a week of her personal time this year to better equip herself to make energy policy decisions,” said Rep. Jeff Morris of Washington State, Institute Director.

The Pacific North West Economic Region (PNWER) partnered with the University of Idaho and the U.S. Department of Energy to found the Institute in 2009. In 2012, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and the federal government of Canada joined the effort to make the program nationwide and also include Canadian legislators.