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Coast Guard Rescues 3 Boaters From Sunken Vessel Off Big Island

Three boaters were rescued by the Coast Guard after their 48-foot sailing vessel Bobo Link sank two and a half miles off of Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Wednesday.

Three boaters were rescued by the Coast Guard after their 48-foot sailing vessel Bobo Link sank two and a half miles off of Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Jan. 18, 2017. The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336), homeported in Hilo, safely recovered the men from their life raft and transported them to Kawaihae Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Rescued are three Big Island residents:

Steven Jenkins, 48-years-old, owner and operator of the Bobo Link
Brandan Jenkins, 23-years-old
Nathan Gibson, 43-years-old

The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336), homeported in Hilo, safely recovered the men from their life raft and will transport them to Kawaihae Harbor.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska (WPB-1336) USCG photo by PA3 Jacquelyn Zettles

“We cannot stress enough the importance of carrying and properly registering an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon which is ultimately what saved the lives of these men,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Peterson, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. “While the men also were able to contact emergency services personnel via cell phone, we strongly recommend boaters carry a working VHF radio in the event that cell service in unavailable.”

At 1:48 p.m., watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a hit from a registered EPIRB.

Minutes later, watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed call from the Hawaii County Fire Department notifying them that a sailing vessel, with three persons aboard, sank off of the Big Island.

Sector Honolulu diverted the Kiska crew already on patrol in the area to the scene where an HCFD helicopter crew was to provide oversight until they arrived.

No injuries were reported.

Hawaii State Senate 29th Biennium Legislative Session Convenes

Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate convened the 29th Biennium Legislative Session reaffirming their commitment to work collaboratively in addressing the state’s most pressing problems and ready the state to be sustainable and prepared for the future.

A photo from Senator Kahele’s Facebook page.

Today’s opening session commenced with an oli by kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao and included an invocation by Kahu Curt Kekuna, Pastor of Kawaiahao Church. The National Anthem was performed by Ms. Nalani Brun and Hawai‘i Pono‘i by Mr. Nick Castillo.  The Kahaluu Ukulele Band and Na Hoku Hanohano nominee Shar Carillo and Kaua‘i artists Loke Sasil and Shay Marcello also provided entertainment during today’s program.

Among the honored guests in the Senate Chamber were government officials from the Fukuoka Prefecture, Consul General Yasushi Misawa of Japan, Commander Ulysses Mullins, United States Coast Guard, Hawai‘i State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Governor David Ige, Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, and former Governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihe‘e, Ben Cayetano, and Neil Abercrombie, and mayors from the neighbor islands.

In his remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi pressed his Senate colleagues to work towards building our economy and creating educational opportunities for the younger generation in Hawai‘i.

Senator Kouchi recognized Chenoa Farnsworth, managing partner of Blue Startups, a Honolulu-based startup support program, for her efforts in supporting entrepreneurship and creating jobs to build the economy in Hawai‘i.  Farnsworth also manages the Hawai‘i Angels investment network, which has invested over $40 million in startup companies. She also co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai‘i-based venture capital firm that invested $50 million into Hawai‘i-based technology start-ups.

In highlighting the successes of Hawaii’s education system, Senator Kouchi mentioned Waimea High School principal and Masayuki Tokioka Award winner, Mahina Anguay. The Senate President said Anguay represents the best of Hawai‘i’s school administrators and under her leadership, a record number of students at Waimea High School are now the first in their family to attend college.

Senate President Kouchi also introduced Sarah Kern, who is currently a teacher at Wai‘anae High School. Kern was Valedictorian at Kaiser High School and graduated with a degree in Biology from Tufts University where she made the Dean’s List throughout her four years. The Senate President said Kern was a shining example of Hawai‘i’s young people who come home to pursue noble, but not necessarily high-paying careers, such as teaching.

“We need to create the economy to support all of our citizens,” said Senator Kouchi. “We need to support principals like Mahina and just as importantly we need to support teachers like Sarah who are on the frontline, so that we can create the educational opportunities for our young people.”

Senator Kouchi went on to say, “the only equalization that we can offer our children is a quality education to ensure that they get the tools and the skills to compete in the global market that they are going to enter.”

The Senate President introduced Mr. Kevin Johnson, the former Mayor of Sacramento and professional basketball player, whom he lauded for his work in establishing award-winning after school programs, reading programs and programs for the homeless.

Senate President Kouchi said he has been meeting with Johnson and hopes to work with him to address many of the concerns in Hawai‘i that mirror those of the Mayor’s hometown. “Our problems are not unique to the rest of the world. Where we have others who have found success why not find those who can help us solve our problems,” said Senator Kouchi.

The Senate President also referenced the Senate Majority Legislative Program which outlines the main themes for the State Senate.

“The Senate Majority Legislative Program serves as a guide as to where we will focus our work over the next sixty days and continue to build upon the work from the previous session,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English.

The public can access more information on hearings and session activities on the Hawai‘i State Legislature’s website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

UH Announces Finalists for Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Three finalists have been identified for the position of dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and director for Research and Cooperative Extension. The three finalists are scheduled to participate over a three-day period of visits on the Mānoa campus and the island of Hawaiʻi. The visits include department discussions; meetings with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and internal and external constituents; and a public presentation.

Nicholas Comerford, William Randle and Alan Sams

Campus and community members, as well as the general public, are encouraged to attend.

Campus visit schedule:

Nicholas Comerford, January 30–February 1

William Randle, February 6–8

Alan Sams, February 13–15

“We were fortunate to have received a strong pool of qualified candidates. I would like to thank the search advisory committee for their outstanding work in identifying these three finalists from the pool, and for their efforts and commitment to the search,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Bruno. “As always, we encourage UH faculty, staff, students and the public to come out and meet the candidates, and we look forward to receiving their input to assist in hiring the best person for the position.”

For more information about the search process, including a list of the members of the search advisory committee, the campus visit daily schedule and the candidate biographies, see the search website.

Lower Level of Kīlauea’s Summit Lava Lake Exposes Vent Wall

The summit lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater on Sunday Jan. 15, 2017 was about 50.5 m (166 ft) below the crater floor (vent rim). One of the most interesting things exposed by the lower lake level was the clear view of the thick, dark veneer of lava on the eastern vent wall (close-up shown below). This veneer formed when the lava lake level was high; lava next to the vent wall cooled and solidified, leaving “bathtub rings” as the lake level rose and fell.

HVO and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera, are visible in the upper left corner of the photo. (Click to Enlarge)

The black rock on the crater floor around the vent was created when the lava lake rose to the point of overflowing in April-May 2015 and October 2016.

Telephoto image of the lava veneer on the 50.5 m (166 ft) tall eastern vent wall; the lava lake surface is visible at lower left. The solidified lava coating the vent wall is quite thick. Parts of it have bathtub rings, but much of it is composed of lumpy protuberances that might have been small ledges at the lake margin or ramparts that formed around spattering sources.

If the lake level remains low, sections of this veneer will likely peel away from the vent wall and collapse into the lava lake.

In places, the dark-colored veneer of lava, or bathtub rings, have already collapsed into the lava lake, exposing older, light- or rusty-colored rocks in the vent wall. The lava lake surface is visible in the foreground.

The distance from the vent rim to the lake surface is 50.5 m (166 ft).

First Annual Hawaii Film Challenge

Hawaii Film + Arts International today announced their First Annual Hawaii Film Challenge, an international screenwriting contest open to a global pool of talent, and awarding three winners airfare and lodging for their creative team, as well as casting, production staff, and equipment support, and a 10-day shoot and production experience in Hawaii, culminating in an exclusive screening.

The competition is open to entrants 21 years of age and older, and is targeting short film scripts (10-12 minutes) from passionate filmmakers who want the opportunity to have their story produced.

“We created this challenge to give emerging filmmakers a once-in-a-lifetime platform for their voices, and to extend established talent the opportunity to have a truly unique shoot experience,” said Mark Blackburn, co-founder of Hawaii Film + Arts International, patron to several leading Pacific artists, and one of the country’s foremost Polynesian art scholars.

“Many filmmakers have a compelling story to tell, and even a tight creative team to realize it, but lack the resources to produce it,” said Sanford Hasegawa, co-founder of Hawaii Film + Arts International, and longtime staple of Hawaii’s visual arts scene. “That’s why Hawaii Film + Arts International is taking care of the big needs, such as casting and equipment, as well as the nitty gritty details that are essential to completing any film, like securing permits with the state of Hawaii. We believe excellent stories shouldn’t be buried, so we’re investing in them.”

Script judges will be members of the film and literary arts community, and part of the HFA team; scripts are welcome in any genre, from narrative and experimental to action adventure, comedy or documentary. Entries can take advantage of Hawaii’s versatile environment for shooting, which includes mountains to ocean, urban city streets to tropical forests.

Because professional film staff will be working in the challenge, there is a mentorship component unique to this contest, offering winners the opportunity to work alongside more veteran film staff. And in exchange for 100% IP rights, which will allow HFA to reinvest back into future challenges and filmmakers, winners will not only receive the HFC shoot experience, but ongoing entry of their films into festivals around the world, establishing long-term exposure of their work.

“With their films, winners will enter into a network Hawaii Film + Arts International is building with filmmakers and industry connections across the globe,” said Sanford. “Some of the world’s most iconic directors have shot in Hawaii, from Spielberg, to Michael Bay, to Guillermo del Toro. Now, it’s time to hand over the lens to new voices, and leverage everything Hawaii has to offer to bring their stories to life.”

About HAWAII FILM + ARTS INTERNATIONAL:
Hawaii Film + Arts International (HFA) is an international organization dedicated to creating events and opportunities for the people of Hawaii to tell their stories through film and the arts. The HFA team is passionate about the power of film and the arts to inspire and engage audiences around the world. By creating a mutual exchange between local and international filmmakers and artists, HFA serves as a catalyst for their work to reach a larger audience. From artist launches and film projects to events, HFA manages the creative, communications, logistical, and execution partnering with the right partners at the right time. All HFA projects have one thing in common. They are platforms for artists created by partners who share the same vision to bring the art of storytelling to life in a way that engages local and global communities.

To learn more about the Hawaii Film Challenge, visit www.hawaiifilmchallenge.com.
To learn more about Hawaii Film + Arts International, visit www.hawaiifilmandarts.com.

Hawaii House of Representatives Opening Day Remarks

In his opening day remarks, Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki called on members of the House of Representatives to extend the general excise tax to finance rail, to find viable alternatives to prison incarceration and to provide human compassion to those who are mentally ill and terminally sick.

“We have a lot on our plate for this session. And the last revenue forecast by the Council on Revenues does not make our job any easier,” Souki told legislators. “But we’ve been there before, as lawmakers and as a community. And we will together find solutions to our most pressing issues.”

In his speech, Souki also supported making needed changes to our public education system and completing the privatization of Maui’s public hospitals.

He called on legislators “to look for solutions like rail to relieve traffic on our roads. It does come with a high cost, but make no mistake, rail is the key to the future of Oahu.”

Souki wants to remove the sunset date on the original general excise tax financing bill, but only if we reduce the tax rate with the city making up the difference. He also wants to reduce administrative costs from 10 to 5 percent.

He proposed a feasibility study to see if elevated toll roads would make sense for Honolulu.

“We must employ a multi-faceted approach, utilizing our buses, flex scheduling and technology that allows distance learning, tele medicine and alternative workplaces to reduce commuter travel,” he said.

With our prisons severely overcrowded and an estimated 10 years needed to build a new one, Souki suggests using electronic bracelets to confine those guilty of misdemeanor, white collar or non-violent crimes to their homes.

“With new technology, we can employ varying degrees of restrictions based on the crime committed, and monitor movements of those under supervision,” he said. “What I’m talking about is creating a whole new level of Non-Institutionalized Incarceration.”

Souki said human compassion is important to everyone in Hawaii and we can see our family members who are near death that need our support.

“Those who are suffering from a terminal illness and are of sound mind should be given the opportunity to decide how they will end their own lives,” Souki said.

He will submit a bill to allow medical aid in dying this session.

The House will continue to provide food and rental tax credits for low income families that are about to expire, Souki said.

“There is nothing more important to human dignity than food on the table and a roof over your head,” Souki said.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki welcomed the five new members to the House and asked the returning representatives to draw from their aspirations to be constructive and find solutions to our most pressing challenges.

“The need for Hawaii to be functional has never been more critical. In just two days, the United States will undergo profound change,” Saiki said. “We need to be ready and we need to overcome differences so that we can make Hawaii more effective and viable.”

Saiki asked the representatives to heed the words of President Obama to not demonize each other but listen, fight for our principles and find common ground.

(LINKS TO FULL SPEECHES, SOUKI, SAIKI)