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North Korea Nuclear Threat to Hawaii is REAL

Nuclear arms experts think North Korea already has, or soon will have, the ability to target Hawaii with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with possibly about the same destructive force as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Warnings are mounting apace with that growing threat.

“North Korea’s unprecedented level of nuclear testing and ballistic missile development offers a sobering reminder that the United States must remain vigilant against rogue nation-states that are able to threaten the homeland,” Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a congressional committee Thursday.

In Hawaii a profusion of four-star military commands — including U.S. Pacific Command, which oversees U.S. military activity over half the globe — makes Oahu a strategic and symbolic target. The threat from an unpredictable North Korea, in turn, is prompting a revisitation of some old Cold War practices that until recently seemed laughable.

Duck and cover? Still there in the form of “shelter in place,” state officials say.

Nuclear fallout shelters? In 1981 Oahu had hundreds of them. The Prince Kuhio Building could hold 14,375 people — not because it has a secret underground bunker, but because its concrete parking structure could be used as shelter.

“Each one of those facilities had to be surveyed for how much concrete density (was present),” said Toby Clairmont, executive officer of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the successor to Civil Defense. “And they had to be equipped, so they put medical kits in them, food, sanitary kits, all that kind of stuff.”

As time went on, funding for those provisions stopped, and the stocks were disposed of because they became too old, Clairmont said. In the majority of cases, existing fallout shelter markings are out of date and no longer applicable.

Alternatively, the U.S. military would try to shoot down an incoming North Korean ICBM with ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, although the $36 billion system was rated by the Pentagon in December as having low reliability.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, ICBMs in the late 1990s came off Hawaii Emergency Management’s threat list of mostly natural hazards. Terrorism was added, and in 2006 the state practiced for a half-kiloton explosion in Honolulu Harbor that resulted in up to 8,000 casualties with injuries or radiation.

A new threat

President Donald Trump, who met last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, has warned that the United States might take unilateral action against North Korea unless China does more to rein in its pugnacious neighbor. He did not mention a pre-emptive first strike per se.

Such a first strike presumably would take out the fixed launch sites at Sohae and Tonghae, but North Korea is also believed to have road-mobile launchers that could survive to retaliate — if they actually work.

With North Korea emerging as a new threat, state Emergency Management Administrator Vern Miyagi said it’s time to update the previous plans.

“If you were to ask me what is the status of North Korea, and is (a missile attack) a high probability, no, it’s a low probability,” said Miyagi, a retired Army two-star general who served at the Pacific Command as senior adviser for military support to civil authorities operations and Reserve and National Guard affairs.

“But then, so, we have to keep a lookout for that (threat). That’s why we’re talking about updating the plan. It’s an awakening. Maybe we should get involved with” fallout shelters again and identify where still-usable shelters are located, he said.

Fallout protection exists to some degree in any building, but it is most effective in heavy concrete buildings and underground structures, he said.

The agency does monthly tests with the Pacific Command using secure communications, Miyagi said. The advice in the event of a missile attack is still to duck and cover and “get into a substantial building,” he said.

“The bottom line in our plan right now is close coordination with Pacific Command, the military side, so that we understand what’s happening, and we can prepare for it with what we have — and what we have right now is very thin,” Miyagi said.

Looking for a solution

During the Cold War the state envisioned moving hundreds of thousands of Oahu residents to the neighbor islands if things heated up with the Soviet Union. However, a North Korean ICBM could reach Hawaii in under 20 minutes with no warning, experts say.

Robinson, the North American Aerospace Defense commander, said 2016 was “one of North Korea’s most active years in terms of nuclear weapon and missile program development in pursuit of weaponizing a nuclear ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.”

Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, is among a growing number of voices calling for “operationalizing” the Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai in emergencies to be able to shoot down North Korean missiles. Right now it’s used for missile defense testing only.

Ellison said the new SM-3 Block IIA missile, which is expected to have ICBM shoot-down capability, is a “critical asset required for the region and Hawaii.”

“For U.S. homeland defense, the emergency operational activation of the Aegis Ashore site, to include the AN/TPY-2 radar at the Pacific Missile Range Facility,” is needed in the short term, Ellison said in a release.

In 2015 Adm. Bill Gortney, then commander of North American Aerospace Defense, said, “Our assessment is that they (North Korea) have the ability to put … a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 (missile) and shoot it at the homeland.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program and founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com, said the road-mobile KN-08 hasn’t been flight-tested yet.

“This is a very important caution because an ICBM that has never been tested is very unreliable,” he said in an email. If it works, it can probably hit targets throughout the U.S., he said.

North Korea claimed that its last nuclear test validated a standardized warhead of at least 10 kilotons for its long-range missiles, but it “may be significantly more than that,” Lewis added. Ellison, with the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, maintains North Korea might have a miniaturized warhead around 20 kilotons.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons, while a 20-kiloton device was detonated over Nagasaki

Hilo Woman Arrested for Theft of School’s Booster Club Money

Big Island police have arrested a 42-year-old Hilo woman this afternoon (April 11) in connection with the theft of money from a public school booster club. Investigators arrested JoAnn Maldonado just after 2:30 p.m. today for second degree theft and false reporting to law enforcement authorities.

JoAnn Maldonado

Yesterday (April 10), Maldonado reported to South Hilo Patrol officers that an unknown suspect entered her Waiākea Uka residence and removed, among other personal belongings, in excess of $10,000 cash which belonged to the Waiākea Intermediate School Ukulele Band Booster Club. Subsequent investigations determined that Maldonado, who is the club’s Vice President, took the money for herself, staged the burglary and made the fictitious report to police about a break-in.

Maldonado is being held at the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continue this investigation.

Police ask anyone who may have information about this investigation to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Tuckloy Aurello at 961-2385 or via email at Tuckloy.aurello@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Senate Passes 208 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate today passed 134 House bills on third reading that seek to address many issues including affordable housing, economic development, and protection from invasive species.  An additional 74 House bills previously passed third reading in the Senate, for a total of 208 bills, ahead of the Second Crossover deadline of April 13.

The bills passed on third reading will be transmitted to the House and many will be referred to a committee on conference where House and Senate members will meet jointly to remedy differences in House and Senate positions.  To follow the actions of conference, visit the “Reports and Lists” page of the legislature’s website capitol.hawaii.gov.

“These bills reflect the Senate’s focus on the priorities set forth in the Legislative Program which aim to support our communities, our environment, good governance and sustainability,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The challenge will be to provide funding for all these measures and the proposed GIA in light of diminishing revenues and requirements to pay for increasing fixed costs such as pension payments.”

“The passage of these measures illustrate the continued effort of the Senate to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “However, as we head into conference, the onus continues to be on the legislature to find funding sources for measures,  ensure that we meet our current financial obligations while exercising fiscal responsibility.”

A few of the key measures passed today by the Senate which reflect the Senate Legislative Program:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities

Education

HB957 HD1 SD2 Authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawai‘i green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools. Requires the Department of Education to make payments on the loan from revenues saved by energy efficiency measures.

HB480 HD1 SD1 Makes an appropriation to the Hawai‘i community college for the Hawai‘i community college and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and the Agribusiness Development Corporation, to study agriculture and agricultural learning opportunities on the island of Hawai‘i. Requires the Hawai‘i community college to submit a report to the legislature.

Homelessness

HB527 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB1195 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services and rental subsidies to reduce and prevent homelessness.

HB530 HD2 SD2 updates the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Social Services

HB615 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

HB607 HD1 SD2 requires the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Clarifies the kupuna service and support options provided by area agencies on aging within the program. Makes establishment of the kupuna care program mandatory rather than discretionary.

HB674 HD2 SD2 requires all child care providers subject to regulation by the Department of Human Services to obtain and maintain liability insurance as a condition of licensure, temporary permission, or registration and disclose insurance-related information to certain parents or guardians. Requires the Department of Human Services to submit a report to the legislature prior to the 2018 regular session.

HB4 HD1 SD1 requires certain employers to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or needs medical care.

Health Care

HB672 HD2 SD2 formally establishes the Hawai‘i Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program within the Department of Education. Establishes a dedicated special fund and positions within the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services to support the program.

HB552 HD1 SD2 ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress. Preserves the individual mandate, minimum essential benefit requirements, extended dependent coverage, and prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions and gender discrimination in premiums and costs. Establishes a trust fund and procedures to reimburse insurers for unrecouped costs of providing minimum essential insurance benefits.

HB1272 HD1 SD1 specifies that coverage for telehealth under the State’s medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs includes psychiatric services delivered via telehealth through a behavioral health care manager who is present in a primary health care provider’s office.

Food Security

HB1475 HD2 SD2 Permits farmers’ markets and food hubs on lands in an agricultural district. Requires that value-added products displayed and sold by agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts contain an unspecified per cent of Hawai‘i-grown content.

Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

Government Services

HB1401 HD1 SD1 enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020, and allows any election to be conducted by mail prior to the 2020 primary election, in whole or in part, as determined by the chief election officer or county clerk, as appropriate.

HB206 HD2 SD2 establishes a prepaid wireless E911 surcharge of 1.5 per cent of prepaid wireless service purchased at the point of sale. Allows sellers to deduct and retain 3 per cent of the surcharges collected to offset administrative expenses, but requires sellers to remit the balance of surcharges collected to the Enhanced 911 fund on a specified periodic basis.

Community Development

HB1327 HD1 SD1 Appropriates funds for the Manufacturing Development Program.

Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy

Environment

HB1339 HD1 SD2 restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council as the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 SD1 establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

HB930 SD2 creates and appropriates funds for Erin’s Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/

15,000 lbs of Fishing Nets from Hawai’i Island Heading to “Nets-to-Energy” Program

Last Saturday, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund (HWF) and 8 volunteers loaded another 15,000 pounds of derelict fishing nets and bundles of line into a 40′ Matson container. This is the 10th container that has been filled by HWF since 2005.  HWF saves the nets it collects from marine debris cleanup events along the shoreline for inclusion in NOAA’s “nets to energy” partnership. Hawai’i was the first in the country to have a program like this in which these marine debris items are converted to electricity rather than going into a landfill. Now, many ports around the mainland US have similar strategies for this “fishing for energy” framework.

Net pile with 16 months worth of collection by HWF on Hawai’i Island

“This work would not be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who help Hawaii Wildlife Fund with these ocean debris removal efforts every year. In particular, this net loading was made possible due to the generous donation by JD Services, LLC of a tractor and operator for the day, and the County of Hawaii for allowing us to store these nets at the Nā‘āhelu transfer station in between container loads,” said Megan Lamson, HWF Program Director for Hawaii Island.

Here in Hawaii, Matson Navigation provides the 40′ container and free shipping of this type of marine debris from outer islands to O’ahu. Then, Schnitzer Steel, a metal recycling company, cuts the nets into smaller pieces before they are delivered to the Covanta H-power Plant in Kapolei. There, they are burned and converted to electricity for the City and County of Honolulu.

Megan Lamson controlling winch pulling a large net off the Ka’ū coast.

The vast majority of these nets were pulled off the remote and rocky Ka’ū coastline. Six large net bundles (~1,200 lbs) were pulled out of the ocean by boaters in West Hawai’i and dropped off at Honokōhau Harbor earlier in 2017.

Lamson says, “HWF is committed to removing marine debris from along our shorelines and working with local residents, businesses and government representatives to reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into the ocean. Plastic pollution is a serious problem that now impacts most life forms that live in the ocean or use the ocean as a food source. But, it’s a problem with an obvious solution. We must start reducing our usage of plastics, especially single-use plastics in order to protect the health of the ocean, and the health of the wildlife and people who depend on the ocean – all of us!”

Hawaii State Launches New Geospatial Data Portal

The state Office of Planning’s Hawaii Statewide Geographic Information System (GIS) Program launched a new Geospatial Data Portal (geoportal.hawaii.gov), which provides streamlined access to hundreds of data layers, topographic maps, imagery, and developer features.

“The new data portal provides increased functionality, and a section highlighting maps and apps that leverage the GIS program’s data and services,” said GIS Program Manager Arthur Buto. “One of the first apps that we’re featuring is the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Story Map created by the Governor’s office.”

The portal includes support for non-geospatial data files; an overall cleaner look and feel; optimized layout of data attributes and tables; application program interface (API) tools for developers to create filtered data set URLs for apps development; and other improvements that facilitate site and content management. Users will also find additional data sets (now totaling more than 300 data layers), imagery and historical maps available for general use.

The launch follows a major upgrade completed in May 2016 through a collaboration between the Office of Planning and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) to enable technological advances in server-based GIS and cloud services, as well as improve data sharing, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. The upgrade reduced the need for redundant databases, standardized the information being analyzed by decision makers, and served as a means of collecting and distributing the most up-to-date authoritative GIS data.

The Offices’ collaborative efforts also resulted in an enterprise license agreement that encourages widespread GIS software use across all State of Hawaii departments and achieves savings, leveraging current cloud technologies. This agreement, along with a strong working relationship with Esri (the leading GIS software provider), offers lower unit cost of software; fixed predictable overall costs over the life of the agreement; flexibility to deploy Esri software products when and where needed; offer of GIS to agencies that otherwise could not afford GIS; and continuous support of the geospatial data and mapping requirements driven by agency and administration initiatives.

Authorized under Chapter 225M-2(b)(4)(B), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended, the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program within the Office of Planning leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote and coordinate the use of GIS data and technology among Hawaii state agencies. The program is critical to more than 150 state GIS data and system users across a dozen state departments that develop and maintain a wide variety of data, maps and applications — many of which are available to the public and/or relied upon by state personnel.

Hawai’i Students Nab 20% of Awards at National Student Video Competition

Students from Hawai‘i schools returned to the Islands with 20 percent of the 196 total awards given out at the 14th annual Student Television Network (STN) Convention in Anaheim, CA, held March 28-31. The complete list of Hawai‘i results is included below.

All but one of the Hawai‘i schools that took home awards are public schools. Kamehameha Schools Maui, which won two awards, was the sole Hawai‘i private school in attendance. All of them participate in PBS Hawai‘i’s HIKI NŌ student news network.

Approximately 3,000 middle and high school students from across the U.S. gathered to compete in on-site, time-restricted contests in video journalism, television production, filmmaking, music videos, commercials, and public service announcements.

As in the last few STN competitions, the number of awards won by Hawai‘i schools was notably high in comparison to states with larger populations, such as California, Florida and Texas.

Two neighbor island middle schools led the Hawai‘i awards count – Kaua‘i’s Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and Maui Waena Intermediate School, with seven awards each. Veteran student video production high schools Moanalua and Wai‘anae took home wins in major overall categories.

“Without a doubt, the stellar performance by Hawai‘i schools at STN is due to the work our schools have done with HIKI NŌ and PBS Hawai‘i,” said Kevin Matsunaga, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School media teacher and STN regional board member. “Our Hawai‘i media teachers have worked tirelessly, as well, and the outstanding work their students have done at these competitions is proof that HIKI NŌ is making a huge difference in the lives of our students.”

“HIKI NŌ offers students the ideal preparation for this national competition and it also readies them for different professional paths – by teaching them to work their way through challenges and deliver quality work on tight deadlines,” said Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO.

“This national recognition is yet another testament of the quality work being produced by our HIKI NŌ students and the dedication of their media teachers and mentors,” stated Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii State Department of Education Schools Superintendent. “These opportunities would not be possible without the commitment and partnership with PBS Hawai‘i. The teamwork and use of technology needed to create these quality productions align with the Department’s mission to help our students connect with their communities and be lifelong learners.”

2017 Student Television Network – Hawai‘i Winners:

CONVENTION RE-CAP

  • 1st Place – Moanalua High School
  • 2nd Place – Waipahu High School
  • Honorable Mention – Maui High School

SPOT FEATURE—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Maui Waena Intermediate School
  • 3rd Place – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

MOVIE TRAILER—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Maui Waena Intermediate School
  • Honorable Mention – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

“TELL THE STORY”

  • Honorable Mention – Waiakea High School
  • Honorable Mention – Wai‘anae High School

NAT. SOUND PACKAGE—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 1st Place – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School
  • Honorable Mention – Maui Waena Intermediate School

NAT. SOUND PACKAGE—HIGH SCHOOL

  • Honorable Mention – Moanalua High School
  • Honorable Mention – Wai‘anae High School

COMMERCIAL—HIGH SCHOOL

  • 3rd Place – Moanalua High School

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT—HIGH SCHOOL

  • 1st Place – Maui High School
  • 3rd Place – Moanalua High School
  • Honorable Mention – McKinley High School

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Wai‘anae Intermediate School
  • 3rd Place – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School
  • Honorable Mention – Maui Waena Intermediate School

WEATHER REPORT—HIGH SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Kapolei High School

SILENT FILM—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 3rd Place – Maui Waena Intermediate School
  • Honorable Mention – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

ACTION SPORTS—HIGH SCHOOL

  • Honorable Mention – Kamehameha Schools Maui High

ANCHOR TEAM—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 3rd Place – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

MUSIC VIDEO—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Maui Waena Intermediate School
  • Honorable Mention – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

CRAZY 8s BROADCAST NEWS MAGAZINE—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 1st Place – Maui Waena Intermediate School
  • 2nd Place – Kamehameha Schools Maui Middle
  • 3rd Place – Wai‘anae Intermediate School

CRAZY 8s BROADCAST NEWS MAGAZINE—HIGH SCHOOL

  • Honorable Mention – Wai‘anae High School

CRAZY 8s SHORT FILM DOCUMENTARY—HIGH SCHOOL

  • 3rd Place – McKinley High School

CRAZY 8s SHORT FILM FICTION—MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • 2nd Place – Ewa Makai Middle School
  • 3rd Place – Wai‘anae Intermediate School

FILM EXCELLENCE BEST WRITING

  • Waipahu High School

FILM EXCELLENCE BEST EDITING

  • Moanalua High School

FILM EXCELLENCE BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Moanalua High School

FILM EXCELLENCE BEST ANIMATION

  • Wai‘anae High School

MONTHLY BROADCAST EXCELLENCE AWARD

  • Wai‘anae High School

Hilo High Students Win Championship

Hilo High School Sophomores Emma Laliberte and Bryn Wilcox took first place at the Hawaii State Forensic Championships held last Saturday on Oahu.

Emma Laliberte and Bryn Wilcox

Organized by the Hawaii Speech League, this years championship tournament hosted eighteen schools competing in sixteen speech and debate events over a three day period.  Hilo High School was the only public high school from the neighbor islands to attend the event held at Kamehameha and Punahou Schools on Oahu.

“We worked hard and it paid off,” said Bryn Wilcox.  “I can’t believe we’re champions!” said Emma Laliberte.  After judges announced their win the team received a standing ovation.  On the flight home passengers cheered when the Hawaiian Airline pilot announced their victory on the loudspeaker.

Debate Coach and Emma’s father, Greg Laliberte, sees the win as an opportunity to attract more students to the debate club at Hilo High.  He said, “we have a lot of talent at Hilo High. We are going to build on this momentum.” Interested students, parents, and teachers are encouraged to contact Coach Greg at  Hilospeechanddebate@gmail.com to get involved.

Scientists Evaluate Ways to Save Hawaiian Honeycreeper

A new study evaluates conservation actions that could save the iconic Hawaiian Honeycreeper bird, also known as the “Iiwi,” providing land managers with guidance on how to save this important pollinator. The study demonstrates how the movement of Iiwi across the slopes of Hawaii’s volcanos in search of nectar from flowers can increase their risk of contracting disease and dying.

Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird’s movement through the forest (Credit: Eben Paxton, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Iiwi are highly susceptible to introduced avian malaria, which is transmitted by a tropical mosquito that only occurs at low to mid-elevations of Hawaii. Iiwi breed only in high-elevation forests where the temperatures are too cool for the mosquito to occur, but their flights to find flowering trees can take them to where diseases occur.

“Iiwi evolved over millennia to track flowering trees up and down the slopes of Hawaii’s volcanos. Their flights to seek out blooming flowers allowed them to thrive across the Hawaiian Islands in the past,” said Dr. Eben Paxton, co-author of the study and researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Today, however, with avian disease rampant at low and mid-elevations of the islands, these movements could lead to their extinction.”

Warming temperatures are helping mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to move into increasingly higher elevation mountain forests, leading to increased contacts with Iiwi. As a result, Iiwi have gone from being one of the most common native birds in Hawaii over 100 years ago, to now being a species limited to remote forests and in danger of extinction.

Researchers tracked Iiwi movements by attaching small radio transmitters to the birds and followed their signal as they moved across the forests of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge and beyond. These movements were mapped with the current distribution of avian malaria and future disease distributions under climate change. Researchers were then able to evaluate how the current and future distribution of disease are likely to affect Iiwi populations.

The study showed that after the breeding season, Iiwi leave their disease-free breeding areas in search of blooming trees and travel to lower elevations where disease is present. As disease expands into increasingly higher elevation areas because of increasing temperatures, disease-free areas are projected to vanish and Iiwi rapidly decline. The study indicates that Iiwi may go extinct by 2100 if action is not taken to control avian diseases and secure disease-free habitat.

The study evaluated the benefits of increasing habitat and availability of nectar at high elevations, reducing mosquito numbers, and promoting the evolution of disease resistance. Efforts to reduce disease prevalence through mosquito control could help buy time, but far-ranging movements of Iiwi mean a large-scale reduction in disease would likely be required to save the species. Current efforts to reduce or eliminate mosquitos that transmit avian malaria may be the most effective means of preserving the species. Additionally, habitat restoration efforts to increase native flowering trees at high elevations in parallel with mosquito control efforts may be the most effective conservation plan available to managers at this time. While more resistance to malaria is the best outcome for long-term survival of the species, this may be the most difficult option for managers to directly affect.

“There is nothing more spectacular than seeing the elegant profile of a scarlet Iiwi against a deep blue Hawaiian sky as it feeds in the brilliant red blossoms of Lehua in our native forest. The decline of this magnificent and culturally important bird is an irreplaceable loss to our natural heritage in Hawaii. The Iiwi, as our “canary in the coal mine,” provides a clear warning of the threats moving into Hawaii’s last sanctuaries for not only rare bird species, but our entire island ecosystem. Conservation efforts to save Iiwi are urgently needed to ensure that future generations will continue to see the living legacy of our unique island home. Those efforts will benefit not only Iiwi, but all life in our islands.” said Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon, III, Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.

The journal article “Altitudinal migration and the future of an iconic Hawaiian honeycreeper in response to climate change and management” was published in Ecological Monographs with lead author Alban Guillaumet of the Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Wendy Kuntz of Kapiolani Community College, Michael Samuel with the USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, and Eben Paxton with the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center.