Hawaii Casting Call for Major Cable Network Food Show

A local company is seeking “Hawaii Locals” to host a new Hawaii-Based television series on food & drinks for a major cable network.

Hawaii State Now Accepting Grants-in-Aid Applications for 2017

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Jill Tokuda and House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke announced that qualified nonprofit and other organizations are able to apply for State Grants-in-Aid (GIA) that may become available and will be under consideration during the 2017 Regular Session.

Previous grants were appropriated to nonprofit and other organizations for various public purposes that were recognized as priorities and seen as complimentary to state government functions, including health, educational, workforce development, and social services and cultural and historical activities.

In order to allow the Legislature time to thoroughly review applications, the deadline to submit grant applications will be 4:30 p.m. on January 20, 2017.  Last year, the Legislature awarded nearly $37 million in grants to various organizations across the state.

Information on the GIA process is available on the Legislature’s website (www.capitol.hawaii.gov). For any questions, please contact the Ways and Means Committee at 808-586-6800 or the Finance Committee at 808-586-6200.

Hawaii to Receive More Than $11 Million to Help the Homeless

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that Hawai‘i will receive 45 Continuum of Care (CoC) grants for 10 state, local and non-profit agencies totaling $11,519,682 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for fiscal year 2016.

“Homelessness is an urgent problem, and these funds will help homeless individuals and families get back on their feet and find a place to live,” said Senator Schatz. “As we work to address homelessness in Hawai‘i, I will continue to work with officials at HUD and elsewhere to make sure we receive our fair share of federal funding.”  

Click to view individual grant awards

The state received an increase of nearly $150,000 in CoC grants in FY2016 compared to last year.  The CoC Program promotes planning and strategic use of federal resources to address homelessness in communities across the country. CoC grants support non-profits, as well as state and local governments in rehousing homeless individuals and families, and support self-sufficiency among homeless individuals and families.

Five Hawaii Trees Species Added to the National Big Tree Registry – Hawai’i Big Tree Competition Now Accepting Nominations for 2017

As the year comes to a close, American Forests has announced their new line of champion trees for the 2016 Big Tree registry.  Five Hawai‘i trees stand among the 64 newly crowned champions across the nation.  Participation from local communities has helped the Hawai‘i Big Tree program locate some of the biggest trees of various species. This now increases Hawai‘i’s Big Tree count to 12 champion trees from Hawai‘i,Molokaʻi, and O‘ahu.

Hawai‘i island holds the record for champion trees, contributing ten of the 12 national champions.  In particular, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, now holds over half of the national champion trees.  With the enthusiastic participation from Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a’s coordinator, Elliott Parsons, three more champion trees were located this year: a Lama, Kāwa‘u, and a Ma‘o hau hele.  Champion trees from other islands were also added to this year’s registry. In the historicKapuāiwa coconut grove of Moloka‘i, a former co-champion Niu (Coconut Palm) takes the place of a fallen former champion coconut palm.  Oahu finally entered and crowned its first ever Big Tree champion:  a Koki‘o ke‘oke‘o, or white hibiscus tree in Mānoa.

The Hawai‘i Big Tree program is sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and was created by the nonprofit organization known as American Forests.  The Big Tree program focuses on the largest trees of particular species, as a way to raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests. Since 1940, the American Forests National Big Tree Program has been able to keep the only national register of more than 705 champion tree species.  However, it has only been within the last decade that Hawai‘i was able to contribute to the national register, focusing on native and Polynesian-introduced species.

There are a total of 19 eligible species from Hawai’i that are acknowledged by American Forests.  This includes current and former champions as well as tree species that do not have a champion yet. The public is invited to explore and find new champions for all of these species. Tree nominations are currently being accepted and submissions for the 2017 registry will be due March 1, 2017.

The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition does not have a champion for the following eligible Hawaiian species.  Therefore, any tree nominated from the following list will likely be crowned a National Champion:

These are the current 12 Hawaiian champions:

O‘ahu —  Koki‘o ke‘oke‘o (Hibiscus arnottianus) in Manoa Cliff

(circumference: 34.54) (height: 33’) (crown spread: 27’)

Moloka‘i — Niu (Cocos nucifera) in Kapuāiwa Coconut Beach Park

(circumference: 14) (height: 103’) (crown spread: 20’)

Hawai‘i island –

Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in Hulihe‘e Palace, Kailua-Kona

(circumference: 110) (height: 20’) (crown spread: 25’)

Koa (Acacia koa) in Kona Hema Preserve, South Kona

(circumference: 343) (height: 115’) (crown spread: 93’)

Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) in Waikoloa Dry Forest

(circumference: 186.96) (height: 40’) (crown spread: 43.50’)

The following 7 champions are all from ‘Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve (Hawai‘i)

Kāwa‘u (Ilex anomala)

(circumference: 9) (height: 24’) (crown spread: 4.17’)
Lama (Diospyros sandwicensis)

(circumference: 36) (height: 18’) (crown spread: 18.25’)

Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei)

(circumference: 14) (height: 8’) (crown spread: 9.5’)

Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis)

(circumference: 204.52) (height: 32’) (crown spread: 42.58’)

Pāpala kēpau (Pisonia brunoniana)

(circumference: 52.46) (height: 28’) (crown spread: 15.25’)

Māmane (Sophora chrysophylla)

(circumference: 165) (height: 24’) (crown spread: 25.5’)

Kōlea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana)

(circumference: 85.14) (height: 32’) (crown spread: 25.5’)

To unseat a current champion, the challenger tree must have more total points based on the following equation: Total points = trunk circumference (inches) + height (feet) + ¼ average crown spread (feet).

To nominate a tree, contact the Hawai‘i Big Tree coordinator Krista Lizardi at (808) 587-0164 or Krista.M.Lizardi@hawaii.gov and provide the tree height, trunk circumference, and average crown spread.  Also, please provide your tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

For more information on the Hawaii Big Tree Program:dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/info/big-tree/

For more information on the National Big Tree Program:www.americanforests.org/bigtrees/bigtrees-search/

EPA Fines Weston Solutions for Violating Cleanup Requirements at Former Wood Treatment Facility on Oahu

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has assessed Weston Solutions, Inc. a $25,000 fine for violating an order issued in 2010, when Weston committed to clean up the former Chem-Wood wood treatment facility located in the Kapolei area of Oahu.

Between 1975 and 1988, Chem-Wood pressure-treated wood using hazardous chemicals containing chromium, arsenic and mineral spirits, some of which were released to the soil and impacted groundwater. EPA first took an enforcement action in 1988 and has overseen site investigations and cleanup activities.

Weston, a Pennsylvania-based environmental cleanup firm, has sold the property since 2010, but retains responsibility for carrying out the cleanup requirements. This includes maintaining the asphalt-concrete cap that provides a protective barrier from contaminated soil on the site. Weston violated the order when it failed to notify and obtain approval from EPA or the Hawaii Department of Health after learning the current property owner, Goodfellow Brothers, Inc., had partially removed the cap.

“Our order requires Weston to maintain the integrity of the protective cap covering this hazardous waste site,” said Jeff Scott, Director of the Land Division for U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “This penalty sends a clear message that EPA takes these requirements seriously.”

The facility’s cleanup plan requires EPA approval prior to altering the asphalt-concrete cap. Weston was aware that Goodfellow began work in December 2015 to install a concrete pad to support a new above-ground fuel tank, but failed to notify EPA or seek its approval until March 2016. The work involved removal of 776 square feet of the cap and a 360 square-foot layer of clean fill material. Weston and Goodfellow claim that no underlying contaminated soil was disturbed by the project. EPA has since approved the fuel tank installation plan and Weston is now back in compliance with the consent order.

The 2010 EPA order directed the Estate of James Campbell, a former property owner, and Weston to grade the site and consolidate contaminated soil under an asphalt-concrete cap, monitor and treat contaminated groundwater, and it included restrictions prohibiting residential reuse of the property.

For more information on hazardous waste, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard

Island Air Embarks on Fleet Renewal and Expansion with Bombardier Q400 Aircraft

Island Air announced today that it has accepted delivery of the first of three Q400 turboprops from Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. The new aircraft, the first to be added to Island Air’s fleet since the company was acquired by local Hawai‘i investment firm PacifiCap last January, is part of its long-term strategic plan for growth and expansion in Hawai‘i’s interisland travel industry. The new aircraft is expected to arrive in Honolulu by the end of the month.

Q400 turboprop

“As we look to expand our regional route network and connect local residents and visitors across the Islands, the reliable, operationally flexible and cost-efficient Q400 turboprop is the perfect choice to take our airline to the next level,” said David Uchiyama,‎ president and chief executive officer, Island Air. “Additionally, the comprehensive support from Bombardier in acquiring the aircraft and integrating them into our network reconfirms our decision to utilize this superior product for our fleet renewal and expansion strategy.”

The aircraft are being leased through leasing company Elix Aviation Capital Limited (“Elix”). The agreement includes three Q400 aircraft. The second Q400 is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2017, and the third is expected to be delivered in April. Also in this agreement is an option for two more new aircraft. The airline plans to convert to a full fleet of new Q400s and transition its existing fleet of five ATR-72 aircraft out of service.

The Q400, which was built at Bombardier’s Toronto, Ontario facility, has a seating capacity of 78 passengers. The aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of 414 miles per hour and a maximum operating altitude of 27,000 feet.

The Q400 is 30 percent faster than conventional turboprops and features a new, advance noise reduction and vibration suppression system to allow passengers to enjoy a quieter, smoother cabin experience. The new aircraft also burns 30 percent less fuel and produces 30 percent lower emissions on short-haul routes, making it more environmentally friendly compared to other aircraft currently serving the Hawai‘i market. In addition, its noise footprint is two-and-a-half times smaller, which will be less disruptive to the community as it flies overhead.

Island Air pilots have been undergoing a two-month training program to become certified to fly the Q400s. The training process included ground school as well as simulator training conducted in Seattle, Washington. The pilots will now have the opportunity to undergo flight training on the new aircraft. Other employees including flight attendants and the ground operational team members will also go through training with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure all operational procedures are in accordance with the FAA.

Island Air will host a formal blessing and naming ceremony for the first new aircraft in January prior to the Q400’s inaugural flight.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, December 20 at 6:48 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 74 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Southeast part of the sky.