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United Airlines Adding Denver/Kona Route

Flights from Kona/Denver to begin this summer

United Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for customers in both domestic and international markets. Subject to government approval, the carrier will add a seasonal route between San Francisco and Munich for the first time ever, and one of the carrier’s daily flights between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, Israel will be upgauged with the new Boeing 777-300ER. The airline is also growing its domestic network, adding even more connections and additional service to 30 destinations across the U.S.

“Starting this summer we’re offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we’ll be getting you to the moments that matter most – relaxed and ready to go.”

United is also introducing daily summer service in six markets. Flights to Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, Tucson and New Orleans not previously offered in the summer, will now move to year round service.

Hawaii Attorney General Questions President Trump in D.C. About Travel Ban

During a question and answer session at the White House today with President Donald Trump and state attorneys general from across the country, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin asked the President about the travel ban that prompted lawsuits across the country challenging the ban’s constitutionality, including one filed by Chin on behalf of the State of Hawaii on February 3, 2017.

Attorney General Chin told President Trump he understood a new executive order might be released this week relating to a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Chin asked the President to explain the President’s thinking behind the executive order and what the President wanted to accomplish.

Attorney General Chin stated, “President Trump asked if my state had sued him and I said, ‘we did.’  The President then answered my question by saying that his goal was to make America safe again and extreme vetting was part of achieving that goal.”

Attorney General Chin added, “The security and safety of our nation is a universal goal. I firmly believe you don’t have to target people based on national origin or religion to get there – in fact, doing so harms our nation’s security. Our Constitution does not allow such discrimination. The State of Hawaii will review future executive orders from the federal government with this in mind and will sue if we have to.”

After the question and answer session, which Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also attended, the Vice President spoke with Attorney General Chin and, according to Chin, told Chin that the administration cared about Hawaii’s concerns.

Katsu Goto: Slain Honoka’a Hero – Film Sneak Preview and Talk

In 1889 Katsu Goto, one of the very first Japanese immigrants to come to Hawai‘i, was killed for helping plantation laborers. His body was found hanging from a telephone pole in Honoka‘a, not far from where a memorial in his honor stands today.

Katsu Goto memorial

For many years his story was almost unknown, however thanks to a dedicated group of writers, filmmakers and researchers, that is changing.

On Sunday, March 5, at 10 a.m. the Honoka‘a Hongwanji will host a free presentation about Goto, featuring a talk by researcher Dr. Yoshinori Kato from Oiso, Japan, Goto’s hometown, that reveals new information on Goto’s life. In addition UH Hilo professor/filmmaker Patsy Iwasaki will present a preview of the film “Honoka‘a Hero, the Story of Katsu Goto” by Danny Miller, Iwasaki and the Katsu Goto Memorial Committee.

Katsu Goto

The event will be attended by 23 students from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, as part of the U.S. Japan Council Sen. Inouye Tomodachi Kakehashi exchange program.

Katsu Goto gave up his family name and birthright as eldest son, to sail on the S.S. City of Tokio in 1885 bound for Hawai‘i Island. He went to work on Soper, Wright & Co’s O‘okala Plantation, for $9 a month, and when his three-year contract was fulfilled, he elected to stay and opened a store, selling general merchandise, Japanese products and medicines. Goto’s general store success and advocacy of labor led to animosity and eventual conflict with plantation staff and others.

Researcher Yoshinori Kato Ph.D. translated the inscription on a recently discovered gravestone in memory of  Goto in Oiso that provided new information on him. A resident of Oiso, Kato has a bachelor of engineering degree from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan and a doctoral degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

According to Kato, Goto published a business journal in Yokohama and was involved with democracy advocates influenced by the Meiji Restoration of 1868. In Kato’s March 5 talk, entitled “Deciphering the Stone: Revealing the footprints of Katsu Goto through a gravestone inscription,” Kato uses ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) to help visualize the town of Oiso and Goto’s early years.

In 2010, the 125th anniversary of Katsu Goto’s arrival as a “first boat” immigrant, Goto’s great-nephew, Kiichi Kaya, and daughter, Toyoko Saeki, traveled from Japan to attend the annual memorial service in Honoka‘a. They met Patsy Iwasaki, author of the graphic novel, “Hāmākua Hero, A True Plantation Story,” illustrated by Avery Berido.

Iwasaki, a professor of communication at UH-Hilo, was inspired by Goto’s story. She was also the first recipient of the Goto of Hiroshima Foundation scholarship in 1993, a project of Goto’s adopted niece, Dr. Fumiko Kaya, a hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivor.

In 2011, Iwasaki was contacted by a curator at the Bishop Museum. Her book was included in the exhibit, “Tradition and Transition: Stories of Hawai‘i Immigrants,” alongside Goto’s pocket watch.

Iwasaki met with filmmaker Danny Miller, and they interviewed members of the Hāmākua community to create two videos for the Museum exhibit. From there, the concept of a Goto documentary grew, with financial support from the Hawai‘i State Legislature, YWCA, UH Diversity and Equity Initiative and others. A “living history” documentary, the film will also include reenacted scenes starring students from the UH Hilo Theatre Department, shot in historic locations around the island.

Iwasaki will present a 20-minute preview and behind-the-scenes segment of the documentary on March 5, following Dr. Kato’s talk. Subtitled in English and Japanese, the clip was aired on Nippon Golden Network in Hawai‘i. To learn more about the film, and to make a donation to help complete the film, please visit www.katsugotomovie.org.

The programs are free and presented as a service to the community, and attendees are invited to stay for light refreshments and to talk story with the presenters and the Kyushu students. For more information, contact Miles Okumura by text 808-640-4602, or email misterokumura@yahoo.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Welcomes Tima Kurdi as Her Guest to President’s Joint Address to Congress

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will be welcoming Tima Kurdi, co-founder of the Kurdi Foundation and advocate for refugees worldwide, as her guest to tonight’s Presidential Joint Address to Congress. Kurdi’s sister-in-law Rehanna and two nephews, Alan and Ghalib, drowned en route to Greece on their way to seek refuge from the Syrian war in 2015.

Tima Kurdi

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “In the face of unimaginable heartbreak, Tima has been a voice for the voiceless, a champion for refugees worldwide, and a strong advocate for ending the regime change war in Syria. I am honored to welcome her to Washington tonight as we raise our voices to call on our nation’s leaders to end the counterproductive regime change war in Syria that has caused great human suffering, refugees, loss of life, and devastation. We urge leaders in Congress to pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act and end our destructive policy of using American taxpayer dollars to provide direct and indirect support to armed militants allied with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.”

Tima Kurdi said, “I am proud to stand with Tulsi and support her work to end regime change war in Syria. My people have suffered for more than six years—enough is enough. Tulsi understands that arming the so-called “rebels” in Syria has only led to more bloodshed, more suffering, and created more refugees. A military solution in Syria is not the answer. I hope that President Trump will stop arming terrorists and commit to a political solution in Syria—it is the only way to restore peace.”

Click here to read Tima Kurdi’s op-ed: My country was destroyed on why she opposes regime change in Syria.

Two Separate Incidents of Theft From the State of Hawaii Result in Felony Charges

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that two Oahu residents were charged last Friday in separate incidents of alleged theft from State of Hawaii accounts.

Michael Powers

In the first incident, convicted felon Michael Powers, 48 years old and a Pearl City resident, allegedly wrote 22 forged checks totaling $715,696.92 using bank routing numbers and account numbers belonging to the Hawaii budget and finance department. Powers was charged Friday with attempted first degree theft and multiple counts of forgery in the second degree.

In the second incident, Michael K. Mills, 30 years old and a Kapolei resident, allegedly billed the State of Hawaii for more than $35,000.00 in equipment and supplies that were not related to a State contract with Mills’s employer. Mills was charged Friday with first degree theft.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “State dollars are your taxpayer dollars. People who cheat the State will be prosecuted.”

First degree Theft is a class B felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000.00 fine. Forgery in the second degree is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

Bail for each defendant has been set at $5,000 and bench warrants have been issued for their arrests.

Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A copy of the indictment for each defendant is attached: Powers & Mills.

Three Bridges on Pa’auilo Mauka Road to be Repaired

The Ka’apahu-Waika’alulu Gulch Bridges No.44-2, No.44-3 and the Waika’alulu Bridge No.44-5 located on Pa‘auilo Mauka Road, between Ho’okahua Road and Kukuipapa Road, will be closed for repair work between the hours of  8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. beginning on Thursday, March 2 , 2017 through Friday, March 10, 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting. 

There will be no work on the weekend and the bridges will re-open at the end of each workday by 2:00 p.m.  Motorists are advised to use alternate routes during the bridge closure hours.

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components. 

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.  If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Mainland Model & Talent Agency Opens Big Island Division – Seeking Photographers, Actors and Models

NASS Talent Management / ALL FACES Model & Talent Agency has opened a new division here on the Big Island of Hawaii and is currently seeking talented photographers, actors and models to add to their current portfolio.


PHOTOGRAPHERS
We are looking for freelance Photographers, with fashion and lifestyle photography experience to recommend to our models and actors needing to create or update their digital marketing portfolios .

ACTORS and MODELS
If you are not represented by any other agency and you are interested in allowing us to represent and submit you for TV, Film, Commercial, Print, and Voice-Over projects, speaking and non speaking roles, please email us and provide us with the following minimum photos and information:

  • Two current close-up photos (chest up) – 1 smile, 1 no smile
  • One current full body
  • Height, Weight Eye Color, Hair Colo, Date of Birth, Nationality
  • Contact information and your location

Send information to: NASS Talent Management
Talent Agent/Manager Jennie Saks  knownagent.js@gmail.com or Talent Associate: LoveyMae Tagalicod  knownagent.lt@gmail.com

Hawaii Department of Health Orders Meadow Gold Dairies to Stop Distribution and Sale of 2% Reduced Fat Milk

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has ordered Meadow Gold Dairies to stop its distribution and sale of two-percent reduced fat milk. DOH issued a Cease and Desist Order to the company today after laboratory results from routine milk samples exceeded standard limits for Coliform bacteria.

“Milk production is regulated with routine testing both at the farm and after packaging to ensure a safe product,” said Peter Oshiro, program manager of the DOH Sanitation Branch. “Department of Health inspectors will work with Meadow Gold Dairies to investigate the possible source of contamination, approve a plan of correction, and conduct further testing to confirm the company meets the standards to resume two-percent reduced fat milk distribution and sale.”

Samples of two-percent reduced fat milk taken from Meadow Gold Dairies on Jan. 19, Feb. 6 and 22, 2017, revealed excessive Coliform counts of more than 150/ml, 130/ml and more than 150/ml respectively. The maximum allowed Coliform limit for pasteurized milk is 10/ml. Coliform is used an indicator of post-pasteurization contamination.

DOH conducts monthly testing of samples of all Grade A raw and pasteurized milk produced at dairy farms and milk plants in Hawaii. State and Federal regulations require that samples be taken a minimum of four out of every six months, though most jurisdictions in the nation, like Hawaii, conduct sampling every month. DOH may also accelerate routine sampling of a specific product whenever product samples do not meet required standards.

Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 11 Chapter15 states that the DOH may suspend the distribution and sale of a particular milk product produced by a milk plant, whenever the product is in violation three times out of the last five consecutive samples for the first three Critical Control Point (CCP) standards listed below.

Critical Control Point/Critical Limits:

  • Temperature – 45°F or less
  • Bacterial Limits -1 0,000/ml or less
  • Coliform – 10/ml or less
  • Phosphatase – 1mcg/ml or less
  • Antibiotics – No Positive results on drug residue detection

To resume distribution and sale of two-percent reduced fat milk, Meadow Gold Dairies must pass health inspections and undergo additional testing of product samples. All other milk products from Meadow Gold Dairies meet state and federal standards required for distribution and sale.

Hokulea Crew Overcomes Major Navigational Challenge and Finds Rapa Nui

The crew of Hokulea arrived safely at Rapa Nui today after sailing for about 16 days across approximately 1,900 nautical miles of deep ocean. A team of four apprentice navigators successfully lead the Hokulea and the major navigational challenge of spotting the tiny remote island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) yesterday at sunset. The crew spotted the island about 43 nautical miles out.

“Finding Rapa Nui was by far one of the biggest challenges our crew has faced,” said Hokulea captain, Archie Kalepa. “With a few more months left in this journey, we’re glad to be back in Polynesian waters and for the opportunity to reconnect with the Rapa Nui community.”

This is the first time Hokulea has visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site since her last voyage to the island 18 years ago. The Rapa Nui arrival also marks the voyaging canoe’s return to the Polynesian triangle since departing these waters three years ago on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

The team of apprentice navigators have been working together on navigating and turning studies into practice since departing the Galapagos Islands on February 12, 2017. They have been guiding the way by using their knowledge of the stars and taking directional cues derived from their observations of nature. Because of its tiny size and remote location, Rapa Nui is considered one of the most difficult islands to find using traditional wayfinding.

After making landfall in Rapa Nui, the crew will be joined by a teacher and student delegation from Hawaii and the group will spend the week participating in cultural and educational engagements with Rapa Nui leaders and the community.  Activities will include meeting both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. The crew and delegation will also connect with the Toki School of Music for a day of community service and voyaging outreach.

With famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai and an isolated environment rich with unique diversity, the small volcanic island of Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the strong cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

Following Rapa Nui, Hokulea will sail to French Polynesia before her return home to Magic Island on June 17, 2017.

Grammy Foundation Award Winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its first annual Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert on Friday, March 10, 6-7 p.m. The event features the musical stylings of nationally recognized, Honoka’a High School Jazz Band.

Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher, accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the top in the nation. The ensemble consists of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate Schools.

The Jazz Band has played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” and opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were recognized by the State Legislature. They do a yearly multi-concert tour of Oahu to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month, and their 14th CD (an annual fundraiser) has just been released. In 2011, they received a national Grammy Signature Schools Award.

The Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome.  For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Focus On Invading Parakeets During Hawaii Invasive Species Week

It’s another spectacular sunset near Spouting Horn on Kauai’s south side.  As people gather at the shoreline to catch a glimpse of the fabled green flash, their eyes turn inland for the green flash in the sky. This is the nightly invasion of rose-ringed parakeets. Their highly visible presence on the Garden Island provides a current and dramatic example of how a seemingly innocuous species, left unchecked and over time, can become a public health hazard, a real nuisance, and have serious impacts on the economy and the environment.

Kaua‘i County Council Member Derek Kawakami explained, “What turned out to be a novelty and something we’d kind of entertain ourselves with while we watched them roost in the evenings, turned into a nuisance once our farmers approached us and started saying, hey as cute as these birds are, they are very destructive to our lychee and longan crops. Increasingly we’ve been hearing more and more concerns from our farmers, our gardeners, from people who live in these neighborhoods; that unfortunately play host to these rose-ring parakeets. “  

They’re also known as the ring-necked parakeets. Kawakami is one of numerous government representatives fielding calls about what’s become the most visible invasive species on Kaua‘i. Rewind to circa 1968 and Bill Lucey of the Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee shared what he learned. “We did research through the Bishop Museum and discovered there was a bed and breakfast somewhere in Lāwaʻi and they brought in some rose-ringed parakeets and clipped their primaries and had them sort of hanging out free by the front porch and around the B&B.  They got away from there and started establishing themselves at some point after 1968.” Figuring out what to do about this marauding, winged invader has become a top priority for Lucey, his team, and many others around the Garden Island. He explained, “Parakeets are what we call a slow invader actually, since they’ve been here for 50 years or so. They don’t really exhibit a fast explosion until they reach a critical mass. So for a number of years there were 50 or a few hundred and then over time they reached the point where there are a few thousand and then they’re all having off spring. At that point it becomes a very strong invasion and the invasion curve starts increasing rapidly.”

Current estimates put the rose-ringed population at around 5,000 birds. That’s plenty to cause big headaches for Kaua‘i’s agricultural seed companies, small independent farmers, backyard growers and condo owners. Learn their stories and see the damage this efficient winged army is causing environmentally and economically, and you begin to understand why so many people are so concerned and want strong measures for a counterattack.

Junior Extension Agent Kathryn Fiedler with the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) is one of the front-line experts now tracking the damage the parakeets are causing. She says she’s never seen such intense flocking and added, “It’s really astounding the damage they can cause. Rose-ringed parakeets are a small bird.  You wouldn’t think they could do too much. We’ve seen some homeowners have an entire tangerine tree striped in one day.  It’s quite extensive actually. The problem is they are birds and they bring in other diseases as well, so even if you see just a little bit of feeding it pretty much ruins the crop around it too. So they physically remove the fruit and also contaminate fruits and vegetables as well.”

Farmer Jerry Ornellas confirms that saying, “We definitely have the issue of food safety. These birds will land in the tops of the trees, they’ll poop and if any of their droppings gets onto the other fruit… even if it hasn’t been damaged by the birds, you have to discard that fruit. And if you ever get a food safety audit and they see birds in the trees, you’re in trouble. You’re not going to pass the audit.” In 2016 Ornellas said he lost 30 percent of his crop to the parakeet or about six thousand dollars. He also verifies that like any strong invasion force, the parakeets utilize advance scouts and choose lofty look- outs. “They don’t like to hang on the sides of the trees. They don’t like to be vulnerable apparently so they like to perch where they can see what’s going on. So they’ll take all the fruit off the top of the tree, which is the best fruit because it gets the best sunlight and sizes up pretty well.” Farmers like Ornellas are using netting to try and protect their crops. It works okay for low growing fruits and vegetables, but is expensive and tough to put on broad, towering trees like lychee.

Outside the CTAHR office in Lihue, farmer Gary Ueunten holds a hollow shell. It’s all that’s left of a once ripe lilikoi, another of the bird’s many favored pickings. On his farm in Lāwaʻi he explains, “The parakeet invasion started about four or five years ago. The first crop they started doing damage on was lychee and they devastated my lychee for one season when we had a lot of fruit. The next season I used wax bags from Japan until they figured out they could eat right through the bag so that didn’t work. Then I went to netting, the black netting, but that’s really cumbersome and hard to put on trees. And it also will catch other birds and that’s not desirable.” He says a flock of parakeets can wipe out an entire tree overnight.

Vast fields of seed corn on Kaua‘i’s west side are also being victimized by these voracious eaters. Large agricultural interests the Syngenta Corp. have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to protect fields of corn from the birds. Syngenta’s site manager on Kaua‘i Robin Young, surveys long rows of corn now draped in huge, beige nets. It’s the company’s costly response to the invading parakeets.  Young remarked, “Oh it’s devastating. For example the field I’m standing in is about a 2 ½ acre field. I started noticing the parrots coming into the area about two weeks ago; at first maybe four or five of them. I watched them every evening. I wasn’t too concerned until about five days ago they came in by the flocks. There were probably about 500 out in this field I’d guesstimate.”

From the corn fields, to fruit farms, to condo complexes around Poʻipū many people have developed a quick and dramatic change of heart about the rose-ringed parakeet. No longer viewed as pretty, smart, and interesting birds to observe, the parakeets are now seen as public enemy number one in some corners of Kauai.

At the Prince Kuhio Condos near Spouting Horn, manager Matt Drake and homeowner’s association president Jack Barnard detail the horrible and unhealthy messes the parakeet flocks leave in their wake. Until they started using some tools of modern warfare, like drones and lasers, to try and scare dozens of birds out of Royal palms and other trees each night, they felt powerless. Drake explained, “Originally when they first showed up it was about four hours a day of just poop clean up on our property.

Since we’ve started shooting lasers at the tree tops we’ve whittled it down to two hours a day and flying a drone as a deterrent, we’re actually down quite a bit with that as well.” The complex had to cut down three trees around the swimming pool to keep the deck and the water from being covered in bird droppings. Barnard said, “It seems, if you’re successful in winning one battle they simply take flight and the fight elsewhere, using surprise to their advantage. One day there were no parakeets and the very next day our entire property was covered in droppings. It happened overnight and it was very overwhelming.”

Across the road at the Kuhio Shores Condominiums, manager Albert Fernandez joked, “If you were to rent a black convertible, the next day it’s going to be a white splattered convertible.”  The palm trees lining the property are favored roosts for the birds so Fernandez said he had the trees butchered to try and prevent landings. Most now have three or four short, vertical palm fronds remaining. Fernandez adds, “We had to do a lot of serious haircutting and then we had to butcher those palm trees. Boy, it doesn’t look good after we trimmed those. It’s just a small spike sticking up there and a lot of our tourists don’t really understand why our palm trees look like that. Normally they don’t look like that, but that’s the only solution. We had to temporarily cut down on the poop.”

Temporary measures are the best anyone can take now, while various agencies search for permanent solutions, hoping for broad governmental support to reduce the population on Kaua‘i, and have control measures in place before the rose-ringed parakeets expand their territory. Council member Kawakami said, “I can only speak for myself and some of my colleagues that we have recognized this is a problem and we’re looking toward a collaborative effort between county, state, and federal governments. It is going to be an on-going issue. We don’t want to see this thing turn into another coqui frog, where we could have addressed it early, before it turns into some kind of catastrophic event.”

It could be catastrophic on numerous levels if the birds fly higher and higher into the mountains and begin impacting native plants and watersheds. Thomas Kaiakapu, the Kaua‘i Branch Wildlife Manager for the DLNR Division of Wildlife and Forestry is one of the biologists monitoring the bird’s potential movement mauka. “Right now they’re in the lowland areas of Kaua‘i.  But if they start to move into the upland mountains, that’s a concern for us, because that’s where most of our native species thrive. Left unchecked and uncontrolled the parakeet population here could explode to more than 10,000 birds in the next five years,” Kaiakapu explained.

Numerous other places, particularly northern European countries, are also dealing with out-of-control parakeet populations. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case concluded, “If there’s a silver lining to this story we hope it raises awareness about the impacts of invasive species on Hawaii’s environment and economy. In the case of the rose-ringed parakeet, we’re seeing the detrimental effects right now and this will only get worse the more their numbers increase and they invade additional territory. We’re committed to working with all of our partners and the state legislature to address this issue.”

People across the state are recognizing Hawai‘i Invasive Species Week this week, with outstanding volunteers in the fight against invasive species to be recognized at a State Capitol ceremony in early March.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Visits Kauaʻi Prison, Hosts Waianae Townhall Meeting

This morning on Kauaʻi, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) continued her focus on criminal justice reform by touring the Kauaʻi Community Correctional Facility.  Warden Neal Wagatsuma and Watch Commander Harry Victorino guided the walk-through, explaining the facility’s operations, needs, rehabilitation programs, and services to the community.

The congresswoman spent time with many of the incarcerated men and women, listened to their stories and experiences, answered their questions, and spoke about how she is working to reform the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism.

She visited jails on Oʻahu and Maui earlier this week, has long advocated for common sense criminal justice reform legislation, and has been a vocal advocate supporting state programs like Drug Courts, Veteran Courts, Hawaiʻi Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), and the State Juvenile Justice Hoʻopono Mamo Civil Citation Initiative.

This afternoon on Oʻahu, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hosted a “Congress on Your Corner” Townhall Meeting in Waianae to hear from constituents about their ideas and concerns and share how her office can assist people with federal services. She spoke about her work in Congress, bills she’s introduced and cosponsored, and important issues facing the people of Hawaiʻi.

She spent the majority of the meeting answering questions from the audience on topics including war and peace, national security, concerns with the Trump Administration, federal spending, local transportation projects, healthcare, the environment, education, military issues, and veteran services.

New York National Guardsmen to Test NASA Space Capsule Recovery System in Hawaii

Forty-five members of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing are heading to Hawaii, Feb. 27, to participate in a joint NASA and Defense Department mission to evaluate recovery techniques and gear that will be used to recover NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the next generation of American space vehicle.

Navy divers and other personnel in a Zodiac boat secure a harness around a test version of the Orion crew module during Underway Recovery Test 5 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, Oct. 28, 2016. Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing will participate in a mission in Hawaii designed to test space capsule recovery techniques and equipment, although they will not work with a capsule simulator like this one. Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans. NASA photo

The team of 45 airmen is made up of pararescuemen; combat rescue officers; survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists; and other support airmen assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing’s 103rd Rescue Squadron based here.

Pararescuemen are trained to rescue downed aviators behind enemy lines and from land and water environments. Each pararescue airman undergoes two years of training that includes extensive medical training as well as training in parachute jumping, scuba diving and survival skills.

The pararescuemen are experienced in dropping fully stocked rescue boats to recover personnel.

The New York Air National Guardsmen will work with experts from NASA, the Air Force and the Department of Defense Human Spaceflight Support Office in developing techniques for air-dropping gear needed to recover the crew from an Orion screw module and fit the floating spacecraft with special equipment.

The New York airmen will conduct airdrops and practice helping astronauts out of the spacecraft, providing medical assistance if necessary. The jumps will help NASA and the military test a number of systems and procedures for future launches.

While the 106th airmen will be testing recovery equipment, they will not be working with an actual or simulated Orion capsule.

Experienced Airmen

This is not the first time the New York Air National Guard has been involved in a spacecraft recovery mission.

The 106th Rescue Wing provided a rescue support package at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, which is located adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, for 109 of the Space Shuttle missions. The mission of the National Guardsmen was to rescue astronauts who were forced to abandon their spacecraft during the launch sequence.

“We are pleased to be partnering once again with NASA and the Department of Defense on manned space travel. This exercise is one of many steps the 106th will take to ensure the successful recovery of our nation’s astronauts should the need arise. This will further demonstrate the versatility and tremendous capability the Airmen of the 106th possess,” said Air Force Col. Michael Bank, the commander of the 106th Rescue Wing.

“The personnel of the 106th Rescue Wing are professionals who have proven themselves in both combat and here at home, “said Air Force Maj. Gen. Anthony German, the adjutant general of New York. “We’re pleased that they can lend their expertise as NASA plans for the continued exploration of space.”

To the Moon and Beyond

Orion is designed to take Americans back into deep space — defined as the moon and beyond.

The spacecraft resembles a larger version of the Apollo space capsule which took men to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. Like the Apollo command module, the Orion spacecraft is designed to ‘splash down” in the ocean instead of landing on a runway like the Space Shuttles, which flew 135 times between 1981 and 2011.

Unlike the Apollo capsules, the Orion crew module is designed to be reusable and will house two to six astronauts instead of three.

An unmanned Orion flew in 2014. The next launch of the spacecraft is due in September 2018. That three-week long mission to the moon and beyond was originally to be unmanned by NASA has announced they are studying whether or not a crewed mission can be conducted.

The deployment of the 106th personnel is part of the Sentry Aloha series of air operations exercises hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard each year.

NASA’s objectives for the mission are to:

  • Test the best way to mark the spacecraft’s location in the water;
  • Test configurations for airdropping recovery equipment;
  • Practice the inflation of a “front porch” which would be used by astronauts exiting the spacecraft; test the stabilization collar which will be placed on the Orion capsule before recovery; and
  • Test storage capacity for equipment on land.

Updated Lava Flow Map

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of February 16 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of February 24 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube (dashed where uncertain).

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Man Arrested in Pahoa With *UPDATE* (Alleged) Dynamite

Yesterday evening around 5:45 in Pahoa, a man sitting on the wall near Paul’s Gas Station was arrested and among the items found in his possession was allegedly a stick of dynamite.

An officer at the top of the picture photographing the alleged explosive device.

I asked on the Recover Pahoa Facebook Page if anyone could confirm if it was dynamite and the following was reported:

Yes the police/bomb squad detonated it around 2 this morning According to the security in Luquin parking

Here is another picture of the incident:

It is unknown at this time what he was arrested for and the Hawaii Police Department has not released a media report on this incident as of this posting.

UPDATE: I received the following report:One of the guys who had to close off the area said the ATF actually detonated the home made device under the steel shroud and it did give off a small bang.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Promotes Diversified Agriculture on Valley Isle

On Maui today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) attended the kick-off and blessing for Pacific Biodiesel’s biofuel sunflower crop, where she delivered opening remarks about the importance of diversified agriculture, protecting our environment, and creating local jobs. She met with the project’s leaders and farmers, and planted seeds as part of the blessing ceremony.

Continuing this week’s focus on reforming the criminal justice system and visiting Hawaiʻi correctional facilities, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard toured the Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) and met with Maui Economic Opportunity caseworkers who assist the inmates as they reintegrate into the community. The congresswoman heard about the programs being offered there and spent time with many of the incarcerated men and women. She saw firsthand the problems and challenges at MCCC, foremost of which is the dilapidated facilities and extreme overcrowding. She was especially moved by the positive stories shared by those participating in the Maui Drug Court Program.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard visited the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility and the Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oʻahu earlier this week, and will be at the Kauaʻi Community Correctional Facility tomorrow morning. She has long advocated for common sense criminal justice reform legislation and has been a vocal advocate supporting state programs like Drug Courts, Veteran Courts, Hawaiʻi Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), and the State Juvenile Justice Hoʻopono Mamo Civil Citation Initiative.

While on the Valley Isle today, the congresswoman also participated in an AARP roundtable discussion with Maui members, volunteers, and others from the community to discuss federal issues that impact seniors and how to better serve kūpuna on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lanaʻi.

Tomorrow, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will be hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” in Waianae to talk story, hear from Oʻahu constituents about their ideas and concerns, and share how her office can assist families with federal issues like veteran services, immigration, social security, Medicare, and more. She will have her usual pop-up tent in the parking lot of “Da Crawfish and Crab Shack” at 87-64 Farrington Highway in Waianae on Saturday, February 25th from 3:00-4:00pm.

Hawaii Police Department Captain Promotions Announced

Police Chief Paul Ferreira has announced three promotions to the rank of captain.

Gilbert Gaspar will be the captain in charge of Kona patrol.

Gilbert Gaspar

He joined the Police Department in July 1982 and has spent the bulk of his police career working in West Hawaiʻi. Since July 2008, he has been the lieutenant in charge of the Area II Juvenile Aid Section.

Gregory Esteban is promoted to captain in charge of South Hilo Patrol.

Gregory Esteban

Esteban joined the Police Department in June 1985 and was promoted to detective in 1999. In 2007, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned first to South Hilo Patrol and then to the Area I Criminal Investigations section.

Kenneth Quiocho, who joined the Police Department in August 1992, will be captain of the Kaʻū District.

Kenneth Quiocho

His assignments have taken him to Hāmākua, South Kohala and Hilo, where he was most recently the lieutenant in charge of the department’s Accreditation Section.

New Works of Art By Distinguished Local Artist Displayed at Honolulu International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airport Division, in coordination with DFS and HMSHost, on behalf of the Airport Concessionaires Committee were presented with a piece of fine art by local artist Satoru Abe.

From left; Kahu Kordell Kekoa; Tobi Solidum; Mel and Pally Chiogioji; Satoru Abe; Gail Goto, Mr. Abe’s daughter; State Senator Ronald Kouchi, Senate President; Ross Higashi, HDOT Airports Division Deputy Director

The art piece is displayed at the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) main lobby terminal near the newly renovated cultural gardens.

Artist and sculptor Satoru Abe, 90, stands beside his work “Sunburst” located at the Honolulu International Airport.

Hawaii’s renowned sculptor and artist Satoru Abe will grace one of the walls at HNL with his work. Abe’s vision was to create a visceral sensory dynamic sharing 40 laser engraved wood etched paintings to tell his story in collaboration with his grandson Donovan Goto. This combination of grandfather and grandson brings the best of traditional artwork blended with high technology to depict themes from nature such as the sun and trees.

The Satoru Abe gallery is located on the second level of the Central Concourse overlooking the newly renovated cultural gardens.

As a capstone to this commission Abe is including a special metal sculpture named “Sunburst” presented to DFS and the residents and visitors of Hawaii. A ceremony at HNL this morning marked the occasion with a memorandum of understanding and a proclamation announcing Feb. 24, 2017 as Satoru Abe Day.

“Sunburst” by Satoru Abe is proudly displayed at Honolulu International Airport. Photos courtesy, Hawaii Department of Transportation or HDOT.

In all Abe, 90, has created more than 8,000 art pieces, many of which have found their way to locations of distinction such as the Hawaii State Capitol, Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii State Art Museum, Aloha Stadium, Hawaii Convention Center, and his alma mater William McKinley High School.

West Hawaii Community Health Center Expanding – Informational Meeting Planned

West Hawaii Community Health Center (WHCHC) will soon open the doors to its newly expanded Waikoloa location, offering a wide variety of medical and dental services to area residents.

West Hawaii Community Health Center

An informational community meeting will be held Tuesday, March 7 at Waikoloa Elementary School cafeteria starting at 6:30 pm. Interested community members are invited to attend to learn more about the new services being offered.

The Waikoloa Elementary School cafeteria is located at 68-1730 Hooko Street in Waikoloa Village. Refreshments will be offered.

West Hawaii Community Health Center board members, management staff, as well as medical and dental staff will be on-hand to answer questions and share more information.

To learn more about this event, please call 808-331-6472, or visit WestHawaiichc.org

Zumba at The Shops – Yoga at the Farm

The Shops at Mauna Lani premiers Zumba Fitness on Sunday afternoons starting March 5, 2017, in partnership with Dance 4 Action. Dance 4 Action combines Zumba and fundraising for community nonprofits on Hawaii Island. Their August 2016 Zumba event raised $3,500, which were much needed funds for the West Hawaii Domestic Abuse Shelters.

Photo: Courtesy Dance 4 Action

The Shops is proud to partner with Dance 4 Action, and to offer creative physical fitness activities for residents and guests of the Kohala Coast.  Participants are encouraged to wear sneakers, bring a water bottle and towels. The cost of the class is $10 for adults and children are free. Check-in and registration begins at 3:30 p.m., class takes plance 4-5 p.m. at Center Stage.

For more information, contact Ronnie Claveran, 222-7103.

Discover a whole new way to start your Fridays. Kona Historical Society invites the public to its Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook, where yoga instructor Elizabeth “Liz” Aschenbrenner guides guests every Friday morning through a series of uplifting stretches, toning poses and peaceful meditations during Yoga On The Farm.

These “drop in” outdoor hatha yoga classes strive to benefit the minds and bodies of beginners and experts alike. Each class, participants greet the sun with sun salutations, as well as enjoy a variety of poses, including the warrior series, cat, cow, downward dog and child’s pose. Aschenbrenner is a certified yoga instructor who has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. Her style of yoga aims to help you connect with your breath while developing strength, mobility and stability. Her classes are truly accessible to all, regardless of age, body type or fitness level. Still, Aschenbrenner advises participants to first check with their doctor before starting something new, including yoga.

Yoga On The Farm participants practice yoga barefoot and on the farmhouse lawn. Kona Historical Society has a couple of yoga mats for newcomers to use, but if you plan to attend regularly, please consider bringing your own mat. After class, all participants enjoy a complimentary cup of 100 percent Kona coffee.

Yoga On The Farm supports Kona Historical Society’s education and outreach efforts. It is a membership benefit and free for all Kona Historical Society members. Classes cost $10 each for nonmembers. Annual Kona Historical Society membership starts at $35 and information is available at www.konahistorical.org/index.php/khs/membership. Reservations are not required to attend Yoga On The Farm.

The Yoga On The Farm schedule for March is as follows:

  • March 3 – from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m.
  • March 10 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 17 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 24 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
  • March 31 – from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.