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Hawaii Farms Count! 2017 Census of Agriculture

The Census of Agriculture is coming in December and to prepare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit Hawaii farm and ranch properties now through the end of June. The agency will conduct an area survey across Hawaii to determine crop acreage and livestock inventories for 2017 to make sure every farm is counted for the Census of Agriculture later this year.

“When farmers and ranchers participate in the area survey in May and June, they provide essential information that helps us determine the prospective production and supply of major commodities in Hawaii for the 2017 crop year,” said Kathy King, Hawaii State Statistician. This year, the area survey is especially important because it will ensure there is coverage of every farm for the Census of Agriculture. King added, “With the information from the area survey in Hawaii, we will have the most accurate and reliable data in the Census of Agriculture, covering key demographics, crop diversity, and value of production.”

For the area survey, agency representatives visit randomly selected tracts of land and interview the operators of any farm or ranch on that land. Growers provide information on their crop acreage, farm demographics, livestock inventory, and value of sales. King emphasized, “Everyone involved in Hawaii agriculture looks forward to the Census of Agriculture data, which provides the complete picture of farming and ranching in our state. With everyone participating in this area survey, we will have top quality data for the Census of Agriculture.”

Farmers can be assured all individual information provided to NASS is confidential and only used for statistical purposes as required by law.  For more information on NASS surveys and reports in Hawaii, please give Kathy King a call at the NASS Pacific Region-Hawaii Field Office at 1-808-522-8080. All reports are available on the NASS website:  http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.

Eleven Arrests, Marijuana Plants, and Illegal Crossbow Mark Latest Napali Enforcement Effort

Work to restore the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park to its true wilderness character continued during a three-day law enforcement operation this week. A dozen officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and the Dept. of Public Safety’s Sheriff Division arrested eleven people for being in a closed area without a permit in the Kalalau area of the park.  A twenty-year-old man, who could not produce an identification, was handcuffed and flown out of the park and booked on charges at the Kaua‘i Police Department.  So far in May, a total of 28 people have been arrested for failing to have the permit required for traveling past the two-mile marker on the famed Kalalau Trail.  During law enforcement efforts over the past two years more than 200 people have been arrested.

“We still have work to do,” commented DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell. On this, his first trip to the Nāpali Coast since becoming state conservation enforcement chief, he joined his officers as they hiked up the rugged Kalalau Valley in search of illegal squatter camps.  On Wednesday they located numerous camps.  At two, they pulled up small marijuana plants.  At one they confiscated an illegal crossbow. Both camps are well established and elaborate.  One, where squatters had recently posted a web video depicting a brazen party and all the comforts of home, had a pizza oven, an enclosure with a queen-sized bed, what appeared to be an alcohol still, and an extensive system of solar and battery powered lights for its marijuana growing operation.

Farrell added, “The Nāpali coast is very, very remote. It’s logistically challenging to get officers to the area and it’s difficult to have them stay for long-periods of time for sustained enforcement. Beyond satellite phones, there’s no communications. There are a lot of places for people to run and hide, and though clearly some of the camps had significant populations, once they know we’re coming in, they hide.  DOCARE plans to increase its frequency of patrols, which unfortunately means shorting attention in other areas.  The division fully supports the Division of State Parks’ continuing efforts to secure funding for dedicated, full-time staff in Hawai‘i’s largest and most remote park to provide education, outreach, emergency response assistance, and law enforcement notification.”

The chief, who has previously worked as a game warden in California as well as in the field on Hawaiʻi Island, said, “What’s happening in Kalalau is reminiscent of illegal pot growing operations on state and federal lands in California.  Like the California marijuana growers, the Kalalau squatters have no regard for the law or for protection of natural and cultural resources.

He added, “People with permits should be able to enjoy one of the most unique and beautiful landscapes on the planet without the fear of being harassed or having their experience diminished or threatened by those who simply do what they want, where they want, and how they want.  We are continuing to have zero tolerance for these kinds of behaviors and when we catch you, you will be arrested.”

The Nāpali coast enforcement operations are fully supported by DLNR leadership. Chair Suzanne Case said, “Law abiding local residents and visitors from all over the world get permits to make the challenging and rewarding 11-mile, one-way hike to the State designated camping area at Kalalau Beach.  We’re charged with determining the carrying capacity of both the natural resource and manmade features there, and want to ensure that visitors to this incredible place take away positive memories.  Many have planned for a life-time to do the Kalalau backpack, and we intend to honor their dreams and accomplishments by ensuring Nāpali is a true wilderness.”

May 2017 Napali Enforcement VNR from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Notice of Construction on Banyan Drive May 31 to June 16

Hawaii Electric Light announces construction work in the area of Banyan Drive near the intersection of Banyan Drive and Lihiwai Street in Hilo.

As part of the company’s efforts to upgrade underground infrastructure and improve service reliability for customers, contractors will be performing excavation work from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays from Wednesday, May 31, to Friday, June 16, 2017. Work will not be performed on the Kamehameha Day holiday on Monday, June 12, 2017.

Work will be performed off the road but occasional partial lane closures may be necessary while heavy equipment is moved. Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Another Big Island Road Fatality in East Hawaii

Another car accident on Big Island’s roads has claimed the life of another person and left two other injured:

Type of Incident: Motor Vehicle Accident

Situation Found at Scene: Single car MVA noted off the road laying on the driver side. One person noted pinned under the mid section of the vehicle without signs of life. Another occupant was outside of the vehicle laying face down and not moving, complaining of pain to his legs. A third occupant self-extricated and ambulatory. No fire, no other vehicle involved roadway is open with traffic control.

Cause: Unknown, under investigation by National Park Rangers/HPD still on scene upon our departure.

Remarks: Company 19 departed the scene, incident is under investigation.  Scene turned over to HVNP and HPD.

Skydiving Incident on the Big Island Leaves Man in Critical Condition

A skydiving incident on the Big Island of Hawaii has left a 41-year-old man in critical condition:

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report: 10050

Type of Incident: Skydiving Accident around 11:00 am at the vacant lot Mauka of Upolu Airport

Situation Found at Scene: Found 40’s male lying on ground attended by 4-5 by-standards. Patient with multiple serious injuries. Patient treated and stabilized by medic personnel, then loaded aboard HFD Chopper 2 for transport to North Hawaii Community Hospital in critical condition.

Cause: Parachute Malfunction/high speed crash landing.

Remarks: Hawaii Fire Department Company 15, was dispatched to an Emergency Medical Service call and found 41 male solo skydiver with injuries from a “hard landing”.  According to the lead skydiver instructor, patient possibly had a malfunction with his chute.  Patient extricated to M15 for ALS treatment.  Patient was then transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital Emergency Room by M14 personnel via Chopper 2.  Patient with multi-system trauma injuries.

A view of the Upolu Airport via Skydive Hawaii when they were operating on the Big Island.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Fallen Heroes at Punchbowl Roll Call of Honor Ceremony

This morning at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks to honor service members who paid the ultimate price in sacrifice to our country at an annual Roll Call of Honor Ceremony.

In her address, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about the true cost of war, saying, “Every time we gather here at Punchbowl, it is a reminder of the very real, true cost of war.  The cost that exists in the names on these grave stones. It exists in our hearts, and with the memories of our friends who never came home. It exists in the unbreakable bond between veterans of different generations, that we can come together knowing that we have each experienced in one way or another the same pain and broken heart of losing a comrade in arms, while simultaneously appreciating the special courage and selflessness of our friends who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

“Today, we honor them. We remember the many heroes who have roots here in Hawaii and the Pacific who gave all.  People like First Lieutenant Nainoa Hoe, or SP5 Kimo Gabriel, the first Green Beret and the first Hawaiian killed in Vietnam. Many of us here knew “Uncle Herb” Weatherwax, a Native Hawaiian Pearl Harbor survivor, and we’d often see him at military events like today’s. He would have been one hundred years old this year, but Uncle Herb passed last December one week after the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony. It was his dying wish to be there, and being of the Greatest Generation, of course he made it happen. I also remember some of my friends who served in the 29th Brigade Combat Team—Sergeant Deyson Cariaga and Staff Sergeant Frank Tiai, who did not come home with us.  As we reflect here today on the specialness of this place and the courage of these heroes, this day, and every day, let us honor our friends, fight for them as they sacrificed for us, and make the most of the life and time we have been blessed with.”

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union Employee of the Year: Novie Gonzalez

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union announced at its 80th Annual Membership Luncheon that Novie Gonzalez, a 10-year employee of the organization was named “Employee of the Year.”  Gonzalez joined HCFCU in 2007 as a Call Center Representative I and is now an ACH/EFT Specialist. Additionally, HCFCU members, board members, staff and guests viewed a new commemorative video honoring the credit union’s 80-year legacy and heard highlights about 2016 initiatives.  The video and 2016 Annual Report can be found online at www.hicommfcu.com.

HCFCU of the Year Movie Gonzalez (center, holding plaque), is surrounded by her HFCU colleagues: (l.to r.): Tricia Buskirk, Norma Johnson, Laura DeBoer, Robyn Naihe, Patricia Cerney, Charmaine Cirera, Evelyn DeLeon, Novie Gonzalez, Jason Ayers, Kuulei Pali-Forth, Joelle Kamaka, Davelyn Esperanza, David Miyashita. Photo Credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.

“Novie is such a wonderful member of our ohana,” said Tricia Buskirk, President and CEO of HCFCU. “Every day she demonstrates absolute dedication to her work, our members and to the community through our various fundraising efforts.  It’s also amazing that in her 10 years of service she’s achieved a near-perfect attendance record. This shows her enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to the credit union and ensuring it’s continued success.  She definitely deserves this award.”

During the luncheon HCFCU also recognized team members for their years of devoted service.  Receiving 25 years service awards is Norma Johnson, Senior Teller. Receiving 20 years are Laura DeBoer, Branch Manager, Jane DeMello, Loan Officer II and Kelly Gorloff , Compliance Officer. Receiving 15 years are Jason Ayers , AVP/Loan Manager and Patricia Cerney, Loan Processor. Receiving 10 years are Davelyn Esperanza, Branch Support Coordinator, Rosette Freitas, Loan Processor, David Miyashita, Marketing Coordinator, and Robyn Naihe, Support Services Coordinator. Receiving 5 years are Tricia Buskirk,  President/CEO, Charmaine Cirera, Branch Support Coordinator, Evelyn DeLeon, Teller II, Catherine Furukado, Teller I, Joelle Kamaka, Call Center Representative II and Kuulei Pali-Forth, Teller II.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by it’s over 39,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents. For more information visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Opihi Picker Rescued by Helicopter

It was reported that an opihi picker had disappeared after rappelling down a cliff along the coast, just north of Kawainui Stream.

Upon making contact with the reporting party, Chopper One was directed to the area of his last known point. The chopper was able to locate the stranded opihi picker, and using a billy pugh net he was safely transported to Hawaii Fire Department ground units.  The patient was assessed and determined to have no injuries.

Kahilu Theatre Presents the Broadway Musical – 13 the Musical

Saturday, June 17, at 7 pm, and Sunday, June 18, at 4 pm, Kahilu Theatre presents 13 the Musical with the Kahilu Youth Troupe.

Using the Kahilu Youth Troupe’s youngest rising stars, Director Beth Dunnington directs this hilarious, coming-of-age musical about discovering that “cool” is sometimes where we least expect it. 13 the Musical is about fitting in and standing out. Recognized for featuring the only all-teenage cast ever to hit Broadway, 13 the Musical has a powerful rock score and searingly honest high energy story.

13 the Musical is directed by Beth Dunnington (assistant director Sean Dunnington) with musical direction by NYC’s Phil Kadet, choreography by Amanda Trusty (assistant choreographer Noelani Anderson), costumes by Leilani Bostock, tech by Waimea Music, and vocal coaching by HPAF Artistic Director Val Underwood. Kahilu Theatre enjoys artistic collaboration with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival in this production.

The cast of eighteen, in alphabetical order, includes Grace Bostock, Tyler Bryson, Colby Camero, Stacee Firestone, Lucky Friend, Rose Friend, Eric Gee, Caitlyn Hooley, Ryan Hooley, Benito Mercier, Mako Satoh, Makana Shimizu, Cameron Supplee, Melissa Lynn Threlfall, Grace Todd, AriaMarie Tyau, Ethan Tyau, and Alianna West.

Doors open at 6 pm for the performance on Saturday, June 17, at 7 pm, and at 3 pm for the performance on Sunday, June 18 at 4 pm. There will be snacks and beverages available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar.

13 the Musical follows the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, Godspell, and Grease, all directed by 13 the Musical Director Beth Dunnington, as the fourth annual Kahilu Youth Musical in two decades.

Tickets are $38 / $28 / $22 / $16 and available for purchase online at kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, M-F 9 am to 1 pm.

This Kahilu Production is made possible by generous sponsorship by Kate Bell & Tom Blackburn, Tim Bostock & Melanie Holt, and Duncan F. Dempster.

Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. 13 is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

Hokulea Crew Celebrates Equator Crossing with Ceremonial Protocol

Hokulea crossed the equator yesterday, marking an important milestone in her journey north from Tahiti back to Hawaii. Now having been at sea for ten days during this final international leg of the Worldwide Voyage, Hokulea crew members  performed a deeply significant ceremony to mark the crossing.

Paying close attention to the canoe’s position relative to the elements surrounding them, the crew accurately tracked their latitude to recognize this moment entering the piko o wakea, or equatorial crossing point. “To be in this space, and to be able to confirm where we are based on what we’re seeing in the sky–and to then justify it, back it up one more time with our mileage and navigating process–has been very gratifying,” said Pua Lincoln Maielua, apprentice navigator aboard Hokulea.

The crew performed a traditional awa ceremony; one by one, each person then placed pohaku, or stones, in the water, representing the crew member’s home and family. The ceremony performed yesterday fulfilled a vision by pwo (master) navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, set in motion at the beginning of the Worldwide Voyage three years ago. Now the sail master on board for this final leg of the Malama Honua voyage, Bruce led the crew to begin this new tradition. As traditional Polynesian voyaging continues to grow and flourish and as crossings occur over years and generations, sailors will continue to drop pohaku into the ocean here in honor of this place.

Hokulea’s expected return to Hawaii on June 17 will be celebrated at Magic Island with a cultural welcoming ceremony  followed by a grand celebration open to the entire community. The week-long celebration will continue with the Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day event at the Hawaii Convention Center, which will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational, and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public.

The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh. Registration for these events is now open at www.hokulea.com/summit.

Officer Kupono Mata Named Aloha Exchange Club Officer of the Month

Officer Kupono Mata (a 6-year police veteran) has been recognized as the Aloha Exchange Club Officer of the Month for March 2017. This is due to his outstanding performance both as a solo patrolman and more recently as a Field Training Officer. He serves as a “role model” for new officers by his consistent dedication to police work, investigative skill, and quick reactions during evolving volatile situations that bring them to a conclusion.

Officer Kupono Mata

On August 12, 2016 at 12:30 p.m., Officer Mata and other officers encountered a 72-year-old male at his residence yelling that he wanted to die and telling officers to shoot him. Officer Mata immediately responded and subdued the man safely bringing an end to a potentially deadly situation.

On December 9, 2016 at about 11:00 a.m. Officer Mata and his recruit responded to a domestic call in the Mountain View area. Upon arrival the situation had calmed down and it did not appear there was a criminal case to be made, however while talking to a female at the front of the property Officer Mata heard a vehicle start-up from an area behind the house. He proceeded to that location and found a 21-year-old male party who had been involved in the argument attempting to leave in a pickup truck. Officer Mata directed his recruit officer to check the license plate number of this vehicle with dispatch on the random hunch that it could be stolen. Dispatch confirmed that the truck was indeed stolen in November 2016 from a Hilo fuel station parking lot. The suspect was subsequently arrested and the 1991 Mazda truck recovered.

Later that same afternoon at approximately 4:00 p.m. Officer Mata and his assigned recruit had completed their shift but were still working on finishing up reports from that day. Officer Mata overheard officers on the radio making checks for a stabbing suspect operating a stolen vehicle who was observed traveling recklessly through the Puna district at a high rate of speed. Officer Mata realizing the dangerous nature of the call took the initiative and self-assigned himself and his recruit to assist other on-duty officers by making checks on Highway 11 and Highway 130 in the Keaʻau area. While conducting these checks Officer Mata spots the suspect on the shoulder of the road using a gas can to refuel the stolen Nissan pickup truck and broadcasts the information to fellow officers. The suspect seeing the police re-enters the vehicle and attempts to flee as Officer Mata and other officers converge on him. As Officer Mata makes an attempt to stop the vehicle the suspect guns the engine as Officer Mata grabs him and nearly falls from the moving vehicle (putting himself at the risk of being run over). The suspect is finally stopped and apprehended.

On December 13, 2016, Officer Mata takes a felony report of thefts from a business that occurred over a 2-year-period, suspected to have been committed by a fired employee. The victim also relates that he has information that much of his stolen equipment, including a Caterpillar bobcat and a trailer, are located on a property in Mountain View. Officer Mata proceeds to the Mountain View location and is able to obtain a visual from the roadway of the suspected stolen items. Officer Mata obtains a Search Warrant, and serves it later that evening. As a direct result of Officer Mata’s efforts machinery and equipment having an estimated value exceeding $35,000 are recovered.

Officer Kupono Mata on a daily basis displays his dedication to the profession, maintaining perfect attendance for the last year and a half period. Officer Mata’s consistent actions and work ethic embodies the Hawaii Police Department Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.

Hawaii Civil Defense Alert and King Tide Information – Dates May 26, June 23 and July 21

An observable phenomenon this weekend on shorelines and low-lying areas in Hawaii heralds the arrival of the highest ‘king tides’ of the year, that will occur over a couple days around May 26, June 23, and July 21.  The Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience, and Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System together at the University of Hawaii have been tracking unusual high tide levels and are advising that the state will likely continue to experience unusually high tide levels throughout the summer.

The tides are further elevated by a few unusual compounding factors that include:

  • Ocean eddies with high centers moving through the islands;
  • Global sea-level rise due to climate change
  • Wave action, including potential summer swells or storm surge.

State and County emergency managers most recently met with UH and Sea Grant climate researchers for an informational briefing on May 19 to better understand how long these potential flooding events might last and what their potential impacts may be.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) as a major coastal landowner, is concerned with possible impacts of the higher sea levels, such as:

  • Localized coastal erosion problems;
  • High-wave run-up and overwash, particularly with a south swell coinciding with high tides this weekend; and
  • Temporary ‘nuisance flooding’ in low-lying areas and storm drains.

Impacts anticipated this weekend are likely to be greatest on shorelines exposed to south swells that have experienced flooding or erosion in the past.  Flooding impacts in June and July will be greatest if king tides coincide with a high wave event, storm, and/or rain.  The high tides may back-up storm drains in low-lying coastal areas.

To help the community prepare and respond, DLNR joins with Sea Grant to recommend that landowners in low-lying shoreline areas or near waterways consider moving to higher ground any electronics, vehicles or other valuable from basements or yards.

Problems with localized flooding and increased currents around harbors could occur this weekend, particularly on south and west shores. The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation encourages boaters to monitor their vessels to ensure mooring lines don’t get too tight, and to beware of overwash around boat ramps at high tide. Canoe clubs should secure or move canoes on the beach.  Boating officials are not anticipating any impacts to state boating facilities as the tides are not expected overtop piers.

Marine biologist Skippy Hau, with the Maui Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), says, “This weekend it’s too early in the season for turtle nesting to be impacted. The nesting season will begin in June and at that time biologists and volunteers will be monitoring the beaches for any signs of turtle nesting. Timing is critical — high tides could threaten nestlings as they emerge from the nest.”

Dr. Kim Peyton, estuaries and coastal habitat research scientist in DAR, notes that “King tides bring unusually high water levels, resulting in local flooding that can leave schools of juvenile fishes to die on roads, parking lots and other hard structures. When waves smash up against these hard structures, the deafening noise underwater can degrade habitat quality for juvenile fish in these altered estuaries.

She adds, “Under typical conditions, high tides hold back stream flow to the coast, then at low tides this wall of ocean water recedes and streams flood out into the ocean.  King tides create a bigger wall of ocean water, meaning these tides can hold back streams to a greater degree and potentially cause streams to flood their banks even without rain in the mountains. Local current patterns in streams and bays may change temporally as the sharp shoulders of the King tides raise and lower water levels.”

Shoreline fishponds could possibly experience damage from high tides combined with unusual ocean swells.

DLNR is the state coordinating agency for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Hawaii. It’s recommended that persons with properties in low-lying that may be affected by the King Tides take mitigative actions to protect their properties (i.e. use of sandbags to protect the structure or elevating personal property). If not already covered by flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent about protecting your home or business against flooding. Keep in mind, there is a 30 day wait period for a policy to take effect so don’t delay.

The Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience is asking island residents to help document high water levels and related impacts through the Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides “Citizen Science” project by submitting photos online through the program’s smartphone app or website. For information and tide prediction charts, go to: http://ccsr.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/king-tides

Hawaii Civil Defense Alert for May 26, 2017:

This is an extreme high tides and high surf message for Friday, May 26th.

The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as “king tides,” may cause dangerous flooding conditions along all shores of Hawaii Island from today through the Memorial Day weekend before gradually subsiding next week.

This extreme high tide, or king tide, will be in combination with dangerous high surf caused by large southerly swells. Be aware, due to the king tides and high surf, coastal areas, beaches, low-lying roads, boat ramps and harbors may be dangerously impacted especially during the high tide periods of the afternoon and late evening hours.

These expected high surf and king tide conditions will cause higher beach run-up, flooding and erosion.

Because of these dangerous conditions, the following precautions should be taken: oceanfront residents, beachgoers and boat owners are advised to be on the alert for possible high and dangerous surf, strong currents, and beach flooding. As a precaution, you should consider canceling or suspending coastal water activities until potential dangerous hazards are over. As always, precautionary actions should be taken before nightfall.

While there are no closures of roads or beaches at this time, please be aware that these may occur without notice.

You will be informed of any changes in conditions that may affect your safety.
Thank you for listening. Have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Kona Coffee Exhibit Open First Saturday of June

The award-winning exhibit, “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawaii Belt Road,” which was featured at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, as well as in museums world-wide, will be on display for the public at the H.N. Greenwell Store Museum in Kealakekua on Saturday, June 3 from 10am to 2pm.

Kona Historical Society Board Member Alfreida Fujita enjoying photos from “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawaii Belt Road” during the exhibit’s Opening Reception earlier this year.

The exhibit will be closed earlier in the week for Kona Historical Society’s preservation-project planning. If you can’t join us Saturday, please join us the following week on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, June 5, 6 and 8, from 10am to 2pm during the exhibit’s regular hours of operation.

Regular admission is $5, but it’s free to students, military and Kona Historical Society members. To become a member, visit store.konahistorical.org.

With the introduction of coffee to Kona in 1828, the development of Kona’s world-famous coffee industry experienced its highs and lows. Voices of hard working coffee farmers and community leaders can be heard through personal accounts, historic photographs and artifacts featured in this exhibit, all of which tell the compelling story of the early days of Kona coffee. The exhibit includes rare family portraits, scenes from the coffee land during the early 20th century, and a miniature model of a hoshidana, a traditional coffee mill. For this special exhibition of “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawaii Belt Road,” Kona Historical Society has incorporated never-before-seen photos and artifacts from the organization’s collections and archives.

A product of extensive community collaboration led by the Kona Japanese Civic Association, Kona Historical Society and the Japanese American National Museum, the Society’s renewal of this world-traveled exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to be inspired by stories of Kona’s coffee pioneers and learn more about the deep roots of Kona’s coffee heritage and culture.

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. For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Parker School Announces Fine Arts Award Winners

On May 11, students in grades 6–12 were honored for their dedication and excellence in the school’s fine arts program for the 2016-2017 school year.

Senior Jame Lozano received the night’s top honor, earning The Senior Rising Star Award. Awards were given for outstanding achievement in this year’s two Dramatiques productions, as well as visual arts and performing arts classes, students honored include:

Dramatiques Award Winners:

  • Dorothy in Wonderland (Fall Play)
  • Outstanding Actor in Principal Role: Spencer Corabi as Mad Hatter
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor (high school): Grace Bollinger as White Rabbit
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor (middle school): Portia Bonnici as Humpty Dumpty
  • Outstanding Ensemble Actor (high school): Ally Thomas
  • Outstanding Ensemble Actor (middle school): Julia Padron
  • Outstanding Production Supervisor: Kyra Matsuda, Costumes
  • Outstanding Technician (high school): Malaya Hill, Asst. Stage Manager and Summer Strom, Make-Up Crew
  • Outstanding Technician (middle school): Hana-Lei Ji, Sound Board Operator
  • MVP High School: Coco Romano-Giordano
  • MVP Middle School: Eleanor Carey
  • Director’s Award: Eric Fetsch
  • Heart of the Show Award: Tierney Wold

Mary Poppins (Spring Musical)

  • Outstanding Actor in Principal Role: Simon Dunlap as Bert
  • Outstanding Actress in a Principal Role: Kenzie Nelson as Mary Poppins
  • Outstanding Featured Actor (high school): Eve Anderson as Mrs. Correy
  • Outstanding Featured Actor (middle school): Portia Bonnici as Neleus
  • Outstanding Ensemble Actor (high school): Tierney Wold
  • Outstanding Ensemble Actor (middle school): Mallory West
  • Outstanding Choreographer: Ivy Kruger
  • Outstanding Production Supervisor: Kyra Matsuda
  • Outstanding Backstage Technician: Severin Wold
  • MVP Middle School: Noe Sulla
  • MVP High School: Coco Romano-Giordano
  • Director’s Award: Ethan Tawater
  • Heart of the Show Award: Bradley Smith

Visual Art Award Winners for Upper School:

  • The Annie Leibowitz Award for Best in Portrait Photography: Kawena Ching
  • Diego Rivera Award for Painting: Coco Romano Giordano
  • David Hockney Award for Best in Drawing: Erica Yost
  • The Ansel Adams Award for Best in Landscape Photography: Riley Herendeen
  • Francis Bacon Existentialism Art Award: Jenna Harris
  • Salvador Dali Surrealism Award: Micah Yamanaka
  • Judy Chicago Award for the Best Use of Art for Social or Political Change: Kenzie Nelson
  • Magdalena Abakanowics Award for Best Installation Work: Sophia Kaufmann
  • Creative Visionary Award for Macro Photography: Caylyn Makoff
  • Maria Montoya Martinez Award for Best Ceramic Vessel: Bradley Bollinger
  • Kandinsky Award for Best in Imaginative Work: Kawe Lincoln
  • Henry Moore Best in Abstract Art: Conner Kimbell
  • Michaleangelo Award for Best in Figurative Sculpture: Kawe Lincoln
  • Vincent Van Gogh Award for Best Use of Color to Express Emotions: Alex Coley
  • Frida Kahlo Award for Best Use of “Self Story” in Art: Hali’a Buchal
  • Andy Warhol Graphic Design Award: Darien Jones
  • Aurora Robson Environmentalism Art Award: Jadyn Ashcraft
  • Leonora Carrington Award for Conceptual Art – Eric Fetsch
  • David Ogilvy Award for Best Advertising Campaign – Alana Halstead
  • Best Cinematography Award: Grace Bollinger and Gracelyn Jardine
  • Senior Rising Star Award: Jame Lozano

Visual Art Award Winners for Middle School:

  • Excellence in MS Pottery: Violet Freeney
  • Excellence in MS Sculpture: Maloa Thompson
  • Excellence in MS Drawing and Painting: Anuhea Elliot
  • Excellence in MS Photo/Mixed Media: Lucas Koranda
  • Raising Star Award: Kehea Gaglione, William Bowers and Everett Gordon

Performing Arts Award Winners:

  • Baritone Section Leader Tenor/Bass: Ethan Tawater
  • Alto Section Leader: Elonna Blunt
  • Soprano Section Leader: Emma Hardin
  • Most Improved: Mo’orea Suguitan
  • Most Vocally Flexible: Emma Hardin
  • Most Enthusiastic- Upper School: Severin Wold
  • Most Enthusiastic- Middle School: Zoey Quiocho

Safety Repairs Begin Today on Ali’i Drive Bridge

The Department of Public Works will be doing safety repairs beginning today on the Ali‘i Drive Bridge located on the Waiaha Drainageway near Kona Tiki Hotel.

Work involves repairing/removing the damaged railings.  Beach goers and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area until the safety repairs have been completed.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution, beware of pedestrians and bicyclists, and to expect delays as alternating lanes closures may be implemented.

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 contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Aloha Exchange Club’s Officer of the Month – Cala Arnold

Officer Cala Arnold (a 10-year police veteran) has been named as the Aloha Exchange Club’s Officer of the Month for May 2017. Officer Arnold was selected for his apprehension of a suspect with a weapon in a residential/preschool area.

Officer Cala Arnold

On April 25, 2017, Officer Arnold was dispatched to Hawaiian Paradise Park for a weapons incident in close vicinity to a preschool involving a male party stated to have brandished and pointed a rifle at an individual before walking away. Officer Arnold then began canvassing the area for the suspect and successfully located him. As the officer approached, the suspect ran to the edge of the road, bent down into the grass and retrieved what appeared to be a rifle with a scope, before backing away. Officer Arnold began ordering the suspect to drop the rifle, however the male ignoring his commands depressed the barrel release and loaded a pellet, at which time Officer Arnold identified the weapon as high powered pellet rifle.

The suspect subsequently dropped his weapon and was taken into custody. The father of the suspect who was on the scene expressed his gratefulness and praise for Officer Arnold’s ability to bring the situation under control in a peaceful manner.

Officer Cala Arnold’s calm demeanor, deliberate planning, and astute actions were directly responsible for the positive outcome of a potentially volatile and dangerous situation. The apprehension of this unpredictable individual insured the safety of all involved and was a display of the Police Department Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.

Shoulder Widening and Drainage Improvements in Keaukaha Area

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will be working on shoulder widening and drainage improvements for Desha Ave., Pua Ave., Baker Ave., and Todd Ave. beginning on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, except on holidays and weekends.  The project is estimated to be completed by the end of June 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  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 contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

EPA Fines Oahu Farm for Pesticide and Worker Protection Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Wonder Farm, Inc. over alleged misuse of pesticides and violations of worker safety regulations at its basil farm in Waianae, Oahu. Under the agreement, the company will pay a $26,700 penalty.“Reducing pesticide exposure is a high priority for EPA. With our state partners, we’re focused on protecting agricultural workers,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “All agriculture companies must follow pesticide label instructions and ensure their workers are trained properly to use, apply and work in treated areas.”

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) discovered the violations during inspections conducted between 2012 and 2015, and referred the case to EPA. Inspectors found the company out of compliance with EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, which aims to reduce the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.

The investigation found the company had failed to:

  • Provide workers with information necessary for their safety regarding pesticide applications, including the location of the treated area, the product used, active ingredients, time of application, and any restrictions to entry.
  • Ensure that its workers and handlers had received pesticide safety training.
  • Post pesticide safety information in a central location after pesticides had been applied.
  • Ensure handlers used the required protective clothing, such as waterproof gloves and eyewear.

Inspectors also found Wonder Farm had applied several pesticide products containing the active ingredients malathion, carbaryl, and dimethoate to its basil crops. Those active ingredients are not authorized for use on basil. In addition, Wonder Farm failed to follow pesticide label instructions that set the approved application and frequency rate on crops, failed to properly clean leftover, non-refillable pesticide containers, and improperly used pesticides for cleaning spray tanks. EPA regulations for pesticide labels ensure they contain critical information about how to safely and legally handle and use the pesticide products.

For information on pesticide the pesticide Worker Protection Standard, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/agricultural-worker-protection-standard-wps

For more information on pesticide labels, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-labels/introduction-pesticide-labels

Rep. Gabbard and Senator Sanders Introduce “Raise the Wage Act”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI-02) stood with Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate to introduce the Raise the Wage Act today.

The legislation would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and index the minimum wage to the median wage growth thereafter. It has been 10 years since legislation was enacted increasing the federal minimum wage. When adjusted for inflation, about 40 percent of today’s workers earn less than the minimum wage in 1968. The Raise the Wage Act would give more than 41 million low-wage workers a raise, increasing the wages of almost 30 percent of the U.S. workforce.

“In my home state of Hawaiʻi, and across the country, far too many people are working one or two full-time minimum wage jobs, living in poverty, and barely scraping by. The federal minimum wage has fallen far behind inflation and has actually lost value over time, meaning working families are making less while paying more just to make ends meet. The federal minimum wage has stagnated for the last 10 years—it is long overdue for Congress to do the right thing for hard-working Americans and raise the minimum wage,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has supported legislation to raise the federal minimum wage throughout her time in Congress, and is an original cosponsor of the legislation introduced today to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She has also cosponsored legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R.1869) to address wage discrimination across the United States.

Hawaii Ranked 5th Highest in Nation for Medical Marijuana Program

Hawaii Department of Health has received a “B” and ranked the fifth highest in the nation for its medical marijuana program, based on a recent report card of new, regulated medical marijuana distribution programs issued by Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

The national organization’s mission is to reduce barriers to medical cannabis by creating policies to improve access for patients and researchers, using legislation, education, litigation, research and other means.
According to the report card, “Hawaii is on track to become one of the best programs in the country if they continue with their timely implementation.”

The grades ranged from B+ to F-. Hawaii’s “B” grade was based on 430 points out of a total 500, earning a score of 86 percent. The highest grade of “B+” was awarded to Illinois, with 449 points and an overall score of 89.9 percent

The report used a point system to grade the medical marijuana programs in 44 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories Guam and Puerto Rico, based on five criteria:

  1.  Patients’ rights and protection from discrimination
  2. Access to medicine
  3. Ease of navigation
  4. Functionality
  5. Product safety protocols

The complete report can be viewed at: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/medical_marijuana_access_in_the_usa