Food Certificate Program Classes Coming to North Kohala

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) is accepting enrollment for classes in the Master Food Preserver Certificate Program to be held in North Kohala. Classes will be held on January 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and February 2 and 3 from 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Kohala Institute’s GRACE Center at 53-580 Iole Road in Kapa`au. Tuition is $200.

Individuals interested in developing their own jams and jellies, canning acid foods, pressure canning low acid foods, pickling and fermenting, drying, freezing, and the art of charcuterie are encouraged to become certified Hawaiʻi Master Food Preservers.

Luisa F. Castro

Instructors are Luisa F. Castro, a certified Master Food Preserver who has taught agricultural professionals about food safety on the farm and is a Program Coordinator for professional development courses at CCECS; and Kalen Kelekoma, a certified Master Food Preserver and Special Projects Manager with the Waipa Foundation. Both have taught the program on Hawaiʻi Island and Kaua`i.

Private and non-government employers/businesses may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver through the State’s Employment & Training Fund (ETF). Visit for details.To register, or for more information, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email

Hawaii DLNR to Auction Lease for Mapunapuna Property

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Land Division, O‘ahu District Branch, will be conducting a public auction sale of a 20-year lease for State land at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at the Kalanimoku state office building, 1151 Punchbowl St., in room 220. Pre-qualified bidders or authorized representatives must be present in person at the auction.

The lease to be auctioned will be for a 9,005 square foot parcel located at the corner of Kilihau Street and Kakoi Street, in Mapunapuna, O‘ahu. Permitted uses are for open storage or parking purposes.

Interested applicants are advised to review the bid packet, which describes the auction sale procedures, bidder qualifications and other requirements, and contains the application form, memorandum of lease, draft lease document (including survey map and descriptions of the subject premises), and other relevant information.

Applications by prospective bidders for this lease must be received by DLNR no later than Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 4 p.m. at any one of the DLNR district land offices listed below. Applicants must submit one (1) original and three (3) copies of the application form (including copies of all required attachments).  Any person who has failed to submit the completed application and all required attachments (and required copies) by this date and time will not be allowed to bid.

The bid packet may be examined at any of the district land offices listed below or downloaded from the DLNR website at Any person requiring special accommodation or information in an alternate format is asked to contact the O‘ahu district land office at (808) 587-0433.

  • O‘ahu District Land Office, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 220, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813 Phone (808) 587-0433
  • Hawai‘i District Land Office, 75 Aupuni Street, Room 204, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720 Phone (808) 961-9590
  • Maui District Land Office, 54 South High Street, Room 101, Wailuku, Hawai‘i 96793 Phone (808) 984-8103
  • Kaua‘i District Land Office, 3060 ‘Eiwa Street, Room 208, Lihu‘e, Hawai‘i 96766 Phone (808) 274-3491

Any person wishing to bid and purchase the lease described above must first qualify to bid under the general qualifying criteria and the pre-qualifying criteria as described in the public auction bid packet.  Eligibility to bid is determined by the information supplied by prospective bidders in the application and qualification questionnaire/Appendix A of the bid packet.

Each applicant will be informed in writing before the auction date if they are eligible to bid at the public auction.

‘Shop with a Cop’ Provides Shopping Spree for 31 Keiki

“Shop with a Cop,” a charity event that donates gift cards to keiki in need, provided 31 children with a shopping spree this past weekend at the Hilo Target store.

Police officers, young shoppers and Catholic Charities representative Elizabeth Murph (in red lei) surround Santa during the ‘Shop with a Cop’ charity event on Saturday.

Officers from the South Hilo Community Policing Unit and off-duty police, along with representatives from Catholic Charites, the Pāhoa chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Target store, contributed to the holiday splurge for the youth, who ranged from age 3 to teenagers. The event was held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday (December 17).

The selected children met with the officers and then took pictures with Santa, who gave them each a $50 gift card. The officers then helped the keiki shop for gifts.

All funding was established by Catholic Charities with VFW donating a large portion. The Target store, which facilitated the event, provided snacks, bags and a gift-wrapping station manned by store volunteers, and donated one of the gift cards and additional cards to cover overages.

Shop with a Cop originated in 2000 with the Saint Paul Police Department in Minnesota.

Hawaii Governor’s Budget Proposal Highlights Education, Housing/Homelessness, Sustainability

Gov. David Ige today submitted his executive biennium budget to the State Legislature. The package highlights his top budget priorities for the next two years, including education, homelessness and affordable housing, and Sustainable Hawai‘i initiatives.

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The operating budget proposal includes $14.2 billion (all revenue sources) for FY 2018, an increase of four percent and $14.3 billion (all revenue sources), an increase of 5 percent for FY 2019.


The capital improvements proposal includes $2.3 billion for FY 18 and $781.8 million for FY 19.

“This budget proposal aims to balance our state’s current needs with our investments for the future – providing basic needs for our residents such as affordable housing, quality public schools, primary healthcare and essential social services,” said Gov. Ige.



The governor’s proposal includes the highest instructional budget allocation ever — $28 million each year to the Weighted Student Formula, $10 million annually for the new Innovation Grant Program and $9 million ($3M in FY 18 and $6M in FY 19) for Early College programs.

Gov. Ige is also proposing $800 million for new schools and classrooms, as well as repair and maintenance of Department of Education campuses, UH campuses and libraries. This includes $61.7 million in FY 18 for heat abatement statewide and $373.6 million in FY 18 to address classroom capacity issues (including $264.7M for new schools).

“Our future begins with our investment in education which is tied to economic growth. It is a top priority. We continue to focus on the classrooms and schools. We continue our push for cooler classrooms. No one is more disappointed than I that we haven’t met our goals due to initial high costs,” Ige said.

Housing and Homelessness:

Gov. Ige is proposing an investment of more than $123.4 million in new housing projects and $59 million for public housing improvements.

For the homelessness effort, the governor is asking for $20.9 million annually for rent subsidies, supportive and outreach services. The legislature appropriated $12 million for homelessness programs in the current fiscal year.

“We have made great strides in collaboration, where all parts of the system are working together toward the same objective of moving people from homelessness to permanent supportive housing,” Gov. Ige said.

Sustainable Hawai‘i:

The budget proposal dedicates more than $30 million in operating funds to agricultural and natural resources and $31 million in CIP funds for sustainability initiatives, including $7.5 million for the Watershed Initiative.

“Our goal is to protect our forests, water and other natural resources while working to double our local food production and grow our economy,” Ige said.

“We hope to work collaboratively with state lawmakers on our budget proposal as we shape the future of our state.”


Origo Acquisition Corporation and Aina Le’a, Inc. Agree to Business Combination

Origo Acquisition Corporation (“Origo”) today announced that it has entered into a Merger Agreement with Aina Le’a, Inc., a residential and commercial real estate developer of distinctive master-planned communities in Hawaii. Pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement, Origo will merge with and into Aina Le’a Merger Sub, Inc., a newly formed subsidiary of Aina Le’a, and equity holders and warrant holders of Origo will become equity holders and warrant holders of Aina Le’a (the “Business Combination”).

Aina Le’a’s principal development project is a 1,099-acre residential and commercial master planned community called The Villages of Aina Le’a (“The Villages”). Located within the resort area on the Kohala Coast on the west coast of Hawaii’s “Big Island”, The Villages will offer a combination of single family home sites, local family townhouses, luxury townhouses, and estate lots, as well as a retail and commercial center, and golf course with lodge. Sloping elevations of approximately 150-550 feet above sea level will provide approximately 70% of all lots with sweeping ocean views of the Big Island’s famed “Gold Coast.” The development’s close proximity to Queen Kaahumanu Highway offers easy access to top beaches, restaurants, shopping, and the airport. The development plan for The Villages is structured in three phases, with Phase I construction underway. Phase I is comprised of a 61-acre development consisting of townhouse units, luxury villas, and single family lots.

Edward J. Fred, Chief Executive Officer of Origo, commented, “We actively searched for an acquisition target that has the opportunity to provide substantial returns to our investors and we believe that we found the right company in Aina Le’a. Hawaii has been consistently rated as one of the best places on earth to live and visit, combining reliably beautiful weather, active lifestyles, abundant renewable resources such as water and solar energy, and economic opportunity. We believe that Aina Le’a controls some of the most valuable and sought-after land assets in the world in a market that is characterized by a scarcity of new home supply. The Villages has been designed as a full-service international resort community, with more than 70% of the lots offering ocean views. Along with the support of an invested, world-class management team, we have great optimism for the future.”

Robert Wessels, CEO of Aina Le’a, stated, “Becoming a public company is an important chapter in our company’s development, and we expect that having the additional access to the capital markets will enhance our ability to execute our growth plan. In addition to completing The Villages development, we will seek to expand our reach, and diversify our asset base and revenue by investing in new markets that fit our stringent criteria. Our over-arching objective in managing the growth of Aina Le’a is to deliver long-term, sustainable shareholder value while providing some of the most desirable home locations in our industry.”

Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, upon the closing of the Business Combination, each ordinary share of Origo (including any Origo shares otherwise issuable with respect to the rights that were included as part of Origo’s units) will convert into common stock of Aina Le’a at a conversion ratio of 0.6 shares of Aina Le’a for each share of Origo, and each outstanding warrant to acquire ordinary shares of Origo will be exchanged for a warrant to acquire ordinary shares of Aina Le’a, which replacement Aina Le’a shares and warrants will be registered securities. The approximately $32.6 million currently held in Origo’s trust account will be used by Aina Le’a as working capital, less amounts required to fund redemptions by Origo’s public stockholders, if any, and the payment of Origo’s transaction fees and expenses and outstanding Origo loans. Aina Le’a expects to apply to list its common stock and warrants on the Nasdaq Capital Market following the closing of the Business Combination.

Aina Le’a’s board of directors will be expanded to seven directors, and will include two directors from Origo as independent directors. Management of Aina Le’a is not expected to change in connection with the Business Combination.

The Business Combination is subject to the approval of Origo’s stockholders, as well as other closing conditions.

EarlyBird Capital, Inc. is acting as financial advisor to Origo, and Chardan Capital is acting as advisor to Aina Le’a. Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP is acting as legal advisor to Origo, and Greenberg Traurig is acting as legal advisor to Aina Le’a.

Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey to the World

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project at the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today, via the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pan-STARRS1 Observatory on Haleakala

“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Ken Chambers, director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the Solar System to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and found new streams of stars; and it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early universe.”

“With this release we anticipate that scientists — as well as students and even casual users — around the world will make many new discoveries about the universe from the wealth of data collected by Pan-STARRS,” Chambers added.

The four years of data comprise 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies and various other objects. The immense collection contains 2 petabytes of data, which is equivalent to one billion selfies or one hundred times the total content of Wikipedia.

The first Pan-STARRS observatory is a 1.8-meter telescope at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui. In May 2010, it embarked on a digital sky survey of the sky in visible and near infrared light. This was the first survey to observe the entire sky visible from Hawai‘i multiple times in many colors of light, with the goal of finding moving, transient and variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth. The survey took approximately four years to complete, and scanned the sky 12 times in each of five filters.

“Achieving the high quality of the Pan-STARRS1 measurements and maintaining it over such an enormous quantity of data was a unique computational challenge, and the results are a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our small team of scientists at the UH IfA and our collaborators who worked to process and calibrate the extraordinary volume of raw image data,” said Eugene Magnier, lead of the Pan-STARRS Image Processing team.

This research program was undertaken by the PS1 Science Consortium — a collaboration among 10 research institutions in four countries with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Consortium observations for the sky survey, mapping everything visible from Hawai‘i, were completed in April 2014. This data is now being released publicly.

“It’s great to see the Pan-STARRS1 data release supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) now made available to the general astronomical community,” said Nigel Sharp, program director in NSF’s astronomical sciences division. “I am impressed by the work the team invested to make the best-calibrated and best-characterized data set they could. I eagerly anticipate the science from mining these data.”

The roll-out is being done in two stages. Today’s release is the “Static Sky,” which is the average of each of those individual epochs. For every object, there’s an average value for its position, brightness and colors. In 2017, the second set of data will be released, providing a catalog that gives the information and images for each individual epoch.

The Space Telescope Science Institute provides the storage hardware, the computers that handle the database queries, and the user-friendly interfaces to access the data.

“The cooperation between STScI and the Pan-STARRS team at the University of Hawai‘i has been essential to ensuring that this initial data release is successful,” explained Marc Postman, head of the community missions office at STScI, and liaison between STScI and the PS1 Consortium. “STScI was a natural partner to host the Pan-STARRS public archive given its extensive experience serving astronomy data to the international community. In advance of the release of the Pan-STARRS data, STScI staff helped perform checks of data quality, helped write archive user documentation, tested and installed the local data storage and database query system, and designed, built and deployed the web-based user interfaces to the archive system.”

The survey data resides in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), which serves as NASA’s repository for all of its optical and ultraviolet-light observations, some of which date to the early 1970s. It includes all of the observational data from such space astrophysics missions as Hubble, Kepler, GALEX, and a wide variety of other telescopes, as well as several all-sky surveys. Pan-STARRS marks the nineteenth mission to be archived in MAST.

The data can be accessed at

The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys have been made possible through contributions by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawai‘i, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen’s University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation Grant No. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakalā and Maunakea. The Institute operates facilities on the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i.

Big Island Police Locate Wanted Man Who Coast Guard Initiated Search For

Hawaiʻi Island police have located 52-year-old Derek Liu of Honokaʻa, who was wanted on bench warrants.

Liu was found in Keaʻau at 1:30 a.m. Monday (December 19) and arrested and charged with two counts of violating terms of bail.

Two days after police put out a December 2 media release asking for the public’s help in locating Liu, he became the subject of a missing person investigation when his Zodiac boat was found floating a mile off the coast in the Kohala Estate area.