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Hawai’i County Planning Department Named Blue Zones Worksite

The County of Hawai’i Planning Department took the principles of healthy best practices to heart, earning recognition as the first County Department in the State of Hawai’i to receive the Blue Zones Approve worksite designation.

The Blue Zones concept of healthy living, aimed at a longer, healthier life, was pioneered by a book of the same name by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner, who explored areas where people routinely live to age 100 or older.  Among the longevity-favored locales is Okinawa, Japan, from whence many Big Islanders descend.

The Planning Department navigated a long list of criteria and tasks in order to clinch the designation on July 11.

According to Jana Ortiz-Misiaszek, Organizational Lead with Blue Zones Project® – East Hawai’i, the Planning Department achieved Blue Zones Project recognition by adopting the following best practices that promote well-being:

  • Plant-based cooking demonstrations – using in house staff to demo and share their favorite recipes;
  • Organized walking moais (groups) – to increase natural movement throughout the work day and connect with co-workers in a positive manner;
  • Personality testing – administered to staff and sharing each other strengths to improve communication and productivity;
  • Wellness Wednesday communication strategy – email staff health related programs, updates, testimonials, invitations once a week to limit multiple emails;
  • Created a worksite wellness program named Planning 4 Wellness;
  • Established multiple walking routes and maps that include time and distance.

Planning staff recently showcased their Blue Zones inspired healthy cuisine with rave reviews at a recent meeting of the Mayor’s Cabinet.  The rest of the County Departments were encouraged to take Planning’s example by seeking Blue Zones Approved worksite status.

To learn more about becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite, contact the Blue Zones Project team in East Hawaii at BlueZonesProjectEastHawaii@healthways.com, or visit hawaii.bluezonesproject.com

State Farm Donates 500 Home Security Systems to Hawaii County Fire Fighters

State Farm Insurance officially donated 500 home security systems on Monday to Hawai’i County firefighters, in appreciation for the protection they provide to the community.

The insurance company, in cooperation with home security systems start-up Canary, made the donation worth $100,000.00 as part of a program called “Protect the Protectors.”  The program is active in more than 20 communities in the United States.

The program provides in-home camera devices that enable first responders to monitor their homes via cellphone while on duty.

Kim Hahn, State Farm’s agency field leader, said that her company had a long tradition of supporting first responders.  “We would like to return the favor, by protecting our protectors.”

Fire Chief Darren Rosario expressed his gratitude at the donation event held at Aupuni Center.

“This gives us peace of mind that our homes are safe while we’re away at work,” Chief Rosario said.  “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”

Chief Rosario also paid tribute to the Department’s nine-year-old Labrador Retriever arson dog, Kaimi, who was on hand at the event.  Kaimi, the only arson dog in the State of Hawai’i, was sponsored under State Farm’s arson dog program, and has helped lead to arson convictions.

Mayor Harry Kim said he was very impressed with the all-in-one security system, that can not only show visuals of what is going on at home; it can monitor for factors such as temperature, which could indicate a fire.

“I wish I had the money for every house and business to have this kind of technology,” the Mayor said.  “Thank you for what you do with these innovations.”

Hawaii Teacher Inducted Into Prestigious Bandworld Legion of Honor

Roosevelt High School’s Director of Music Gregg Abe has been inducted into the prestigious Bandworld Legion of Honor along with six other band directors from across the U.S. this year. He is the fifth band director from Hawaii to receive the award since its inception in 1989.

Gregg Abbe

“Music and the arts are important components of our students’ educational experience, and we are honored to have dedicated band directors like Mr. Abe who instill a passion and appreciation for music,” said Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “Congratulations to Mr. Abe and the Roosevelt community on this well-deserved recognition.”

Abe has taught at Roosevelt High for the majority of his 32-year career and directs the school’s marching band, concert band, symphonic band, jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble and symphony orchestra. Under his direction, the school’s band has been recognized nationally including being nominated for the Sudler Flag in 2005, an award that internationally recognizes high school bands for excellence.

“The most important factor that has shaped my career is my students. I’m still learning about my profession and I discover so much from them – their successes and mistakes,” said Abe. “I listen to what they have to say and structure my curriculum at times around them in order to bridge the communication gap.”

Additionally, Abe has been awarded the Hawaii Music Awards High School Music Educator of the Year and Time Warner Outstanding Educator. Abe earned his Bachelor of Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has also done extensive studies at Brigham Young University and Vandercook College of Music.

The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established to honor band directors nationwide. Recipients have taught for at least 15 years, have maintained a high quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.

Hawaiian Airlines Adding Three New Non-Stop Daily Mainland Routes

Hawaiian Airlines will expand its U.S. West Coast presence with the arrival of an A321neo fleet by adding three new non-stop daily routes early next year: Portland-Maui; Oakland-Kaua‘i; and Los Angeles-Kona. The routes will offer guests more options for direct access to Hawaiian’s neighbor islands while enjoying the company’s award-winning, warm hospitality in the comfort of medium-haul, single-aisle A321neo aircraft.

“The introduction of A321neo service to the Western U.S. heralds the dawn of a new era for Hawaiian Airlines and its guests,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Hawaiian Airlines. “The A321neo offers an unrivaled combination of comfort and efficiency, allowing our guests to choose from three cabin experiences to customize their journey. We look forward to announcing additional routes in the months and years ahead.”

The new A321neo service between Portland (PDX) and Maui (OGG) will launch on Jan. 18. Hawaiian’s seasonal widebody service currently offered between Oakland (OAK) and Kaua‘i (LIH) through Sept. 4 will resume April 11 as a daily A321neo flight. Daily service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawai‘i launches March 11 with widebody aircraft before the A321neo is introduced in the summer of 2018. Guests may visit www.hawaiianairlines.com to purchase tickets for all routes operated by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian’s inaugural A321neo flight between the U.S. West Coast and Hawai‘i is planned for Jan. 8 on its existing OAK-OGG service. Additional routes will be announced as Hawaiian welcomes 18 new A321neo aircraft between the fourth quarter of 2017 and 2020.

Hawaiian’s signature style flows throughout the A321neo’s three cabins, including 16 luxurious leather recliners in the Premium Cabin, 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats, and 128 Economy class seats. All seats are equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximize the space for carry-on luggage.

Hawaiian carefully designed its A321neo cabin interiors with textiles and materials that reflect traditional island crafts, from bark cloth (kapa) to fishing nets, and even LED lighting mirroring Hawai‘i’s idyllic sunrises and sunsets.

New to Hawaiian’s guest experience, the A321neo will feature wireless streaming in-flight entertainment. Guests will be able to simply download an application on their personal electronic devices to enjoy a wide selection of complimentary and premium content, including movies, TV shows, music and other exclusive programming. Holders for personal hand-held devices and tablets will be integrated into the tray tables of the Premium Cabin as well as the first row of Extra Comfort, and built into the backrest of all other seats.

The A321neo boasts the quietest and most fuel-efficient engines for this aircraft type, along with aerodynamic wingtips called Sharklets that significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Hawaiian’s A321neo flight schedules will be as follows:*

**Route will launch with widebody aircraft before receiving dedicated A321neo service.

The core of the A321neo experience will remain Hawaiian’s award-winning onboard hospitality program, Mea Ho‘okipa (translation: I am host). All guests are treated to island-inspired complimentary meals and made-in-Hawai‘i snacks to go along with the airline’s engaging presentation of the islands’ culture, people and Aloha Spirit throughout the flight.

Sales for additional routes served by new A321neo aircraft will be announced later this year. For more information, please visit https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/A321neo.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Launches 8th Annual Pedestrian Safety Month with New Girl Scouts Partnership and Drive Wise Hawaii Brochure

Governor David Y. Ige, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), and federal, state and community partners kicked off the state’s 8th annual Pedestrian Safety Month today at the State Capitol with an official proclamation ceremony. Held each August, Pedestrian Safety Month works to increase awareness of pedestrian safety to make Hawaii a safer place to walk. The month is organized by HDOT’s Walk Wise Hawaii program and will feature daily public and private pedestrian safety events.

“The primary cause of pedestrian accidents is inattentive behavior on both the part of the pedestrian and the driver,” HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami said. “Our Walk Wise Hawaii program is an important tool, along with enforcement and safety engineering, in increasing awareness to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in our state.”

In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the U.S., which is the highest in more than two decades. State data shows that there were 32 pedestrian fatalities in Hawaii in 2016, and one pedestrian fatality in 2017.

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes nationwide,” Fuchigami said. “We believe that this alarming trend can be reduced through increased awareness of the problem and education, which is why we created Pedestrian Safety Month.  Protecting our most vulnerable roadway users is one of our top priorities.”

During today’s event, HDOT announced a new community partnership with the Girl Scouts of Hawaii. Walk Wise Hawaii conduct safety presentations to nearly 5,000 Girl Scouts throughout the state. Girl Scout troops will then create a pedestrian safety project to share key Walk Wise Hawaii safety tips with the public, earning each participating Girl Scout an inaugural Walk Wise Hawaii Pedestrian Safety Patch.

“Pedestrian Safety is an important message to everyone, and Girl Scouts in Hawaii look forward to carrying that message throughout our community,” said Shari Chang, CEO Girl Scouts of Hawaii. “Scouts of all ages will be participating in a variety of community awareness projects to support this program.”A new Drive Wise Hawaii brochure was also unveiled, which outlines ways that drivers can safely handle pedestrian activity on Hawaii’s roadways, including:

  1. Always be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk. A pedestrian may be hidden from view.
  2. Be vigilant. Always look for pedestrian movement in your direction.
  3. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Proceed when the pedestrian has safely passed your vehicle.
  4. Be aware that pedestrians can be hidden from view when you are stopped at multilane roads.
  5. When driving between dusk and down, watch for pedestrians in dark clothing. Always use your headlights.
  6. Always watch for pedestrians when backing out of driveways or parking stalls. Children can be hidden from view.
  7. Make sure that you are fit to drive.

The brochure features a Drive Wise Hawaii Pledge for drivers that asks them: “As a good driver to always be aware that pedestrians can be hidden from view by stopped vehicles on multi-lane streets.” Brochures will be distributed at participating McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii drive-through locations and community events throughout the state during Pedestrian Safety Month.

Pedestrian Safety Month public partners include the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services; all County police departments; the Hawaii Police Department’s Community Policing Teams and Neighborhood Security Watch Teams; and Safe Routes to School. Private partners include First Hawaiian Bank, DTRIC Insurance and Moms In Hawaii. Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be taking place throughout the month to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors and raise driver awareness of pedestrians.

For more information on Walk Wise Hawaii and a list of Pedestrian Safety Month events, call (808) 587-2160 or visit https://www.facebook.com/WalkWiseHawaii/.

About Walk Wise Hawaii
Walk Wise Hawaii is a public education program focusing on pedestrian safety and driver awareness, and is sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Transportation through its “Safe Communities” program with funding from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Walk Wise Hawaii has employed extensive outreach methods including partnerships with public and private entities since its inception in 2003.

About Girl Scouts of Hawaii
Supporting almost 5,000 girl and adult members statewide, the Girl Scouts of Hawaii (GSH) builds girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. GSH’s headquarters is located on the island of Oahu, with three neighbor island service centers on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai and Maui. GSH is chartered by the national office, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and is responsible for the leadership, administration and supervision of Girl Scout programs in the State of Hawaii. For more information about GSH, visit www.gshawaii.org or call (808) 595-8400.

Hawaii Attorney General Chin to Serve on Executive Committee for National Association of Attorneys General

Attorney General Doug Chin has been re-appointed to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), a bipartisan organization of all attorneys general nationwide.

Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin previously served on the NAAG Executive Committee in his position as Chair of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG). His tenure as CWAG Chair ends at the beginning of August, but NAAG President and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has appointed Attorney General Chin to remain on the Executive Committee.

Attorney General Chin said, “Our work with NAAG helps ensure issues important to Hawaii are addressed and directly benefits the work we are doing at our office.”

Attorney General Chin will also serve as a member of the following NAAG committees: civil rights, criminal law, and training. In addition, he is co-chair of the finance committee, co-chair of the marijuana issues working group and a member of the Volkswagen settlement fund committee.

Eating Macadamia Nuts Can Help Reduce Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Under Certain Circumstances

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a petition that certifies that eating macadamia nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances.

The approval of the petition will allow certain macadamia nut products to carry a label that designates them as heart-healthy. After a nearly two-year wait, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on June 26 urging him to expedite review of the petition.

“The FDA ruling will directly benefit Hawaii’s agricultural community,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Macadamia nuts are one of Hawaii’s most well-known foods, and today’s ruling allows farmers to better market macadamia nut products by educating consumers of their health benefits.”

“This is great news for Hawaii’s macadamia nut producers and our local economy,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This ruling lifts a cloud of uncertainty off the industry and helps cement the macadamia nut’s place as one of our state’s most valued exports.”

“I am thrilled to see the FDA recognize the health benefits of one of Hawaii’s most famous crops,” said Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “This is good news for Hawaii and those of us, like me, who eat Macadamia Nuts on a regular basis.”

“People in Hawaii have long recognized the benefits of macadamia nuts for our overall health and wellbeing,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This decision is an important step to strengthening our local macadamia industry, increasing its potential for growth, and confirming that like other tree nuts, macadamia nuts can offer a great contribution to a healthy diet.”

The petition was submitted by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc., but will apply to certain macadamia nut products, regardless of manufacturer.

Under the new guidelines, certain macadamia nut products can carry the following statement:

“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content.”

Hot Summer Nights Featuring Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and Alex Gupton

Renowned local artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Alex Gupton are holding their yearly high profile art event at The Kona Oceanfront Gallery.  The highly anticipated event – “Hot Summer Nights” featuring Parker’s and Gupton’s latest creations will be showcased this Friday night, July 28th from 5-9 PM.

“If you ever wanted to own a piece of art created by two of Big Island’s best, this would be the night to get it” said Mark Hanna the owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery. “It’s going to be the event of the year” he added.

All are encouraged to come out and participate in a night filled with Art and Entertainment.  Both artists will be in attendance to autograph, personalize and talk story all evening. Kona Oceanfront Gallery is the premier gallery on the Big Island that features cutting edge artwork from all local artists.   The Gallery is centrally located on Ali’i Drive next to Bubba Gumps; free refreshments and validated underground event parking will be available night of the event.

So come on in and cool off this Friday during Hot Summer Show Nights with Brad Parker and Alex Gupton at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery.  Phone 334-0037 for more information.

Heroes of Hope Save Native Plant Species From Brink of Extinction

A team of biologists has accomplished two herculean feats in Hawaiian plant conservation: the successful reintroduction of the endangered Ka‘ū silversword (Argyroxiphium kauense) and Pele lobeliad (Clermontia peleana) on Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Park ecologist David Benitez and Rob Robichaux collecting pollen from a Ka‘ū silversword. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

In an article recently published in the leading science journal, Biological Conservation, the biologists describe their 20-year efforts on Hawai‘i Island to rescue the plants from the edge of extinction.

“It’s been two decades of painstaking efforts by devoted individuals from federal, state and private agencies and institutions to save these plants,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park botanist Sierra McDaniel. “The team used technical rope systems to produce cuttings from Pele lobeliads in the rainforest canopy, flew by helicopter to remote volcanic slopes to rescue Ka‘ū silverswords, and worked long hours in the field and greenhouses to save them. It’s impossible to describe the joy we feel to see these plants thrive in the wild again,” she said.

The 11-page article describes the efforts and plants in detail, with color photographs that illustrate the nature of the efforts and convey the exceptional beauty of the plants. The article celebrates the centennial anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which was established Aug. 1, 1916 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pele lobeliad flowers with nectar droplet. The abundant nectar serves as a food reward for native honeycreepers. Photo courtesy of Rob Robichaux, taken in the Volcano Rare Planet Facility greenhouse.

The Pele lobeliad nearly went extinct. Only five remnant plants are known in the wild, but now, more than 1,000 Pele lobeliads have been reintroduced in protected areas in the national park. The effort with the Ka‘ū silversword has been similarly successful, with more than 21,000 plants having been reintroduced in the park. Furthermore, the Ka‘ū silversword has now produced offspring of its own  – a key factor for long-term recovery.

An important aspect of the work has been linking the reintroduction efforts to landscape restoration at large scales in the park and in adjacent state and private lands, thereby providing opportunities for future growth and expansion of the silversword and lobeliad populations.

“The highly collaborative nature of the work has been the key to its success,” said Rob Robichaux, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and coordinator of the silversword and lobeliad recovery efforts. “Daunting challenges remain. Yet the story of the Ka‘ū silversword and Pele lobeliad offers hope for a brighter future in which the landscapes of Hawai‘i are once again replenished with its many native plant species, which are true marvels of evolution,” he said.

Award-Winning Hawaiian Mystery ‘KULEANA’ Set for North American Premier

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. ‘KULEANA’ is also a provocative new mystery/drama written/directed by Brian Kohne that stars Moronai Kanekoa (Gary Kubota’s one-man show LEGEND OF KO’OLAU), Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), and Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD, BLACK SWAN). ‘KULEANA’ holds its North American Premiere August 1 at 6pm in the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts as an opening night selection in the 23rd San Antonio Film Festival. A Hula performance will precede the screening, the Texas Premiere of WIND RIVER, starring Jeremy Renner, follows at 8pm.

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet must rediscover the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name. ‘KULEANA’, presented by Hawai’i Cinema, held its World Premiere screening for an attendance-record 3,100 enthusiastic viewers outdoors at the 2017 Maui Film Festival in June, and was honored with an Audience Choice Award.

Critics report of ‘KULEANA’: “An original blend of Hawaii’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller.” And: “With its easy-going pace, lived-in characterizations, emphasis on domestic cruelties and layered, twisty storytelling, the movie this most reminded me of was Chinatown.”

‘KULEANA’ is written and directed by Brian Kohne, and produced by Stefan Schaefer. The unrated 95-minute mystery/drama stars native Hawaiian Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores of Marvel’s TV series INHUMANS, Kristina Anapau of TRUE BLOOD, and island entertainers Marlene Sai, Augie T, and Branscombe Richmond. The legendary Willie K provides an original score with Johnny Wilson; and the soundtrack boasts hits by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Tony Orlando and Dawn and more, with classic Hawaiian recordings of the sixties from Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai, and more.

The San Antonio Film Festival runs Tuesday August 1, to Sunday August 6, with an array of shorts and features, workshops and panels, VIP events, and fun for all ages. Tickets are on sale at the Tobin Center Box Office. For more information, visit: SAFilm.com.

 

‘KULEANA’ Trailer (2017) from Hawai’i Cinema on Vimeo.

Hilo Man Charged With 3 Offenses in Ambulance Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 24-year-old Hilo man for 3 offenses in connection with the theft of an ambulance from the Hilo Medical Center (July 20).

Maksim Stasyuk

Hospital staff reported that a privately owned ambulance belonging American Medical Response was taken from the hospital. An extensive search by police and AMR personnel was underway when a witness reported seeing the ambulance on Leilani Street, leading into the solid-waste transfer station.

At 2:20 p.m., police located the ambulance and arrested Maksim Stasyuk at the scene. At 5:25 p.m., (July 21), Stasyuk was charged with first degree theft and two counts of criminal property damage. He is being held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $36,000 bail pending his initial court appearance (July 2 4), in South Hilo District Court.

Hawaii International Music Festival Announces Second Season

The Hawaii International Music Festival (HIMF) announces its second annual season, “Thrill of the Senses,” with daily performances between August 10 – 17, 2017. Founded by Internationally Acclaimed Artists: Metropolitan Opera Soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra, Violin Virtuoso Eric Silberger, and Esteemed Pianist Carlin Ma, the festival will include classical music concerts, appearances, and outreach events on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

Violinist Eric Silberger performing near the Keanakākoʻi Crater and Volcano House.

Operations Manager Taylor Yasui of Honolulu, states, “We are excited to showcase the music and stories of acclaimed international and local artists, which adds to the unique and diverse musical landscape we have here in Hawaii. Each year HIMF strives to build upon our mission of presenting unique interdisciplinary classical music events and educational outreach programs for the community of Hawaii.”

Pahala House Plantation

The festival arrives on the Big Island on Wednesday, August 16, for a 7:00 PM performance at the Pahala Plantation House. The concert will raise awareness of the Pahala Historic Properties Alliance and their efforts to build a museum to curate and honor the history of Pahala. This concert will feature Metropolitan Opera Soprano and daughter-in-law of Lorie Obra (of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee) Amy Shoremount-Obra, Virtuoso Violinist Eric Silberger, Esteemed Pianist Carlin Ma, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra Cellist Sung Chan Chang, Mexican Tenor Manuel Castillo, Young Artist Mexican Mezzo-Soprano Sandra Aldaz Meraz, and World Renowned Argentinean Bandoneon Player JP Jofre.  Tickets and donation information is available both at the door and online at http://himfpahala.bpt.me

Violinist Eric Silberger performing in the Thurston Lava Tube

The festival concludes with a performance in Hilo on Thursday, August 17, with a free prelude picnic preview at Lili`Uokalani Gardens from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, followed by the main festival event, “Tastes, Sights, and Sounds of the Big Island” taking place at 6:30 PM at First United Protestant Church Hilo, 1350 Waianuenue Ave. Original photography by Artistic Director Carlin Ma and special guest, Big Island Photography Expert, Ken Goodrich, will be paired with music featuring World Renowned Argentinean Bandoneon Player JP JOFRE, Esteemed Pianist Carlin Ma, Virtuoso Violinist Eric Silberger (Pictured), Metropolitan Opera Soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra, Mexican Tenor Manuel Castillo,  Hawaii Symphony Cellist Sung Chan Chang and Young Artist Mexican Mezzo-Soprano Sandra Aldaz Meraz.  The concert will also feature a tasting of artisanal specialty coffee from Rusty’s Hawaiian and chocolate courtesy of Hawaiian Crown Chocolate Plantation. The event will raise awareness and accept donations for Lili’Uokalani Gardens, for their continued maintenance, improvements, and events as a key cultural center in Hilo.  Tickets for the evening concert and artisanal tastings are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. http://himfhilo.bpt.me

Hawaii Coffee Association Hosts Annual Conference and 9th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition

Coffee industry professionals from across the state assembled for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) the 22nd Annual Conference and ninth Annual Statewide Cupping Competition Thursday through Saturday at Maui Tropical Plantation. This year, the HCA combined its annual conference with the Maui Coffee Association’s popular Seed to Cup Festival.The cupping competition featured 107 entries in two divisions— Creative and Commercial —hailing from origins located throughout the island chain including Hawaii Island’s Kona, Ka‘u, Hamakua, Hilo and Puna districts; plus Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Oahu.

“When you got to the last cup, we just said, ‘Wow,’ this is exiting!” exclaimed cupper Warren Muller of Walker Coffee Trading of Houston, Texas. “The level of experimentation is such that we’re now seeing coffees that you wouldn’t expect from the Hawaiian Islands,” shared fellow cupper Shawn Hamilton of Java City of Sacramento. Now in its ninth year of the competition, the cuppers agreed, “The quality just keeps getting better and better. It’s very good for Hawaii.”

Workshops covered topics including coffee brewing, cupping, roasting and roaster maintenance, composting, processing for ‘’quality, differentiation and competition;” branding and packaging, specialized fermentation, plus farm management and sensor technology utilizing drones. A fantastic historic timeline of the Hawaiian coffee industry over the past 30-plus years was presented by retiring University of Hawaii’s CTAHR coffee research icon, Skip Bittenbender. Activities included a tour of O’o Farms in Kula.

A healthy schedule of presenters included a diverse assemblage of state and federal researchers and innovators from private industry. Presenters from USDA, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, as well as Synergistic Hawaii Agricultural Council, offered updates and answered questions. TV and radio personality Howard Dicus took the stage to share his witty commentary.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, “mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Competing in the Creative cupping division, the top-scoring coffee was produced by Olinda Organic Farm with its wet-ferment Red Catuai varietal earning a score of 87.4. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a wet ferment typica variety produced by Miranda’s Farm of Ka‘u; it tallied a score of 84.1.

District honors were awarded to Hamakua’s Papaaloa Joe, Hawaii’s Second Alarm Farm, Kauai Coffee Company, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee LLC, and Oahu’s Hawaii Agricultural Research Center.

HCA’s Cupping Committee Chair David Gridley of Maui commented, “Ninety-four coffees (88%) scored 80 and above. It’s amazing how the coffees keep getting better and better. I congratulate all the coffee farmers of Hawaii for their remarkable efforts.”

Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.

The association membership gathered to elect a new board and officers. Officers include President Chris Manfredi of Ka‘u; Vice-President Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, Treasurer Adrian Guillen of Hawaiian Queen Coffee and Secretary Donna Wooley of the Kona Coffee Council.

The new board of directors features broad representation spanning a variety of business disciplines including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Hawaii Coffee Company, Royal Kona Visitors Center, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Daylight Mind Coffee Co., Maui Coffee Association and UCC-Hawaii.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention.

Learn more about the HCA at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

Learn more about the Hawaii coffee industry at hawaiicoffeeindustry.com

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

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

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, July 22 at 7:45 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 70 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the South Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Hawaii Books and Medical Supplies Heading to Micronesia

Education and healthcare in the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are about to get a significant boost from organizations in Hawaii.  An estimated 10,000 book not sold at the annual Friends of the Library sale will be combined with books from Moanalua Middle School, Hongwanji Mission School, and an assortment of medical supplies donated by Shriner’s Hospital.

“The libraries and hospitals in Micronesia have meager resources,” says Reach out Pacific (REPAC) President Glenn Wakai who is organizing the project.  “The books not sold will fill two containers and ultimately improve literacy in Majuro and Yap.”

Volunteers from the local Micronesian community and the Farrington Football team will box and load the books.  Matson is providing the containers free of charge, and Pacific Transfer is donating trucking services.

“Many of these items were bound for our landfill or incineration, but this Sunday they are being redirected to impoverished areas of Micronesia.  What a win-win projct,” says Reach out Pacific (REPAC) Vice President, Miki Wakai, “There are a variety of volunteers and organizations coming together to send this care package of Aloha.”

  • What:  Volunteers loading thousands of books bound for Micronesia
  • Where: McKinley High School Cafeteria
  • When: Sunday, July 23, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.REPAC was established in 2005.  The organization has sent more than $2.5 million in surplus medical supplies to: Kiribati, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Chuuk, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Palau, Guam, Philippines, Vietnam and Nepal.

Hawaii Update on Mumps: Outbreak Continues with 18 Additional Cases, Including 2 on Hawaii Island and 4 on Kauai

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 18 new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 172. Nine of the new cases of individuals are adults. Twelve of the cases are from Oahu, four are from Kauai and two are from Hawaii Island.

DOH continues to stress the importance of following its recommendations to help prevent the spread of mumps.“The important thing for people to remember is to keep their germs to themselves,” said Ronald Balajadia, Immunization Branch Chief, DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division. “We encourage the public to stay home when sick, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently and make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

DOH urges all adults born in or after 1957 without evidence of immunity to mumps to receive the MMR vaccine which prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. For this reason, being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and your community.

DOH also recommends that all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first of which is routinely given at age 12–15 months and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of four weeks after the first dose).

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

The majority of the 172 confirmed cases are on Oahu, with 13 on Kauai and three from Hawaii Island. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. DOH expects more cases in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

DOH will post the latest mumps cases online at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/ at 12 noon every Thursday. The site offers current information about the state’s ongoing investigation.

Statewide Public Hearings On Proposed Amendments to State Boating Rules

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) will hold public hearings statewide starting next week on proposed amendments to state boating rules.

Click to view proposed changes

These amendments to Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) are being proposed to allow DLNR to better manage and facilitate boating and ocean recreation-related activities within State small

Boat harbors and nearshore waters, and to reorganize the HAR provisions relating to DOBOR for clarity and general efficacy.

“This extensive rule package contains modifications we have wanted to make for many years,” says Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator.  “Some amendments are being proposed because facility management and the ocean recreation industry are changing rapidly and our existing rules cannot address the way people are using our harbors and the ocean today.  Some rules are being repealed because they are obsolete.  In all cases, the rules being proposed will allow DOBOR to do its job of managing its facilities and responsibilities more effectively.”

Proposed amendments to Hawaii Administrative Rules,Title 13, Subtitle 11, Ocean Recreation and Coastal Areas, parts I, II and III, are posted on the DOBOR website at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/draft-rules/

Hearings to present the rules and accept public testimony will be held as follows:

On Kauai – July 24, 2017, 6 to 8 p.m. at Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria. 4319 Hardy Street in Lihue.

On Maui – July 26, 2017, 5 to 7 p.m.at Velma McWayne Santos Community Center Wailuku Community Complex, 395 Waena Place in Wailuku.

On Hawaii Island (Hilo) — July 27, 2017, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hilo State Building Conference Room 75 Aupuni Street.

On Hawaii Island (Kona) — July 28, 2017,  6 to 8 p.m. at Kealakehe High School Cafeteria 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, Kailua-Kona.

On Oahu —  July 29, 2017,  8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Aiea Elementary School Cafeteria 99-370 Moanalua Road.

Notice was published in The Garden Island, Hawaii Tribune Herald, Honolulu Star Advertiser, Maui News, and West Hawaii Today. During the comment period DOBOR will only accept testimony on the rules proposed for amendment.

All interested parties are invited to attend the meetings and to present their views on the proposed amendments, either orally or in writing.

All forms of written comments will be accepted up to one week following the last public hearing date, by midnight, Saturday August 5, 2017.

If you are unable to attend the public hearing to submit your testimony, written testimony may be submitted:

  1. By e-mail to dlnr.harreview@hawaii.gov, Subject: Rule Amendment Package 2017;
  2. By fax to (808) 587-1977, Attn: Rule Amendment Package 2017.
  3. By mail to the Dept. of Land & Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, Attn: Chairperson, Re: Rule Amendment Package 2017

The proposed rule amendments can be reviewed online on the Division of Boating and Ocean

Recreation (DOBOR) website located at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/draft-rules or can be

Reviewed in person at the following DOBOR district offices:

  • Hawaii District Office – 74-380 Kealakehe Parkway, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740, Telephone: (808) 327-3690
  • Kauai District Office – 2494 Niumalu Road, Lihue, Hawaii 96766, Telephone: (808) 241-3111
  • Maui District Office – 101 Maalaea Boat Harbor Road, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793, Telephone: (808) 243-5824
  • Oahu District Office – 4 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, HI 96819, Phone: (808) 832-3520

Persons unable to review the proposed rule changes online or in person may request, verbally or in writing, a copy of the proposed rules. A charge of $0.50 per page will be assessed for hard copies. Hard copies will be mailed at no charge upon receipt of a valid request and applicable payment. Please make requests to:

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation – 4 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, HI 96819, (808) 832-3520

Meeting locations are disability accessible. For persons requiring special needs accommodations (e.g., large print, taped materials, sign language interpreter, etc.), please call (808) 832-3520 at least one week in advance of the designated date and time of the applicable public hearing to make special needs requests.

State of Hawai‘i Partners with SANS Institute to Help Students Test Cyber Aptitude

Participants serve as ‘Cyber Protection Agents’ in free online simulation

Gov. David Y. Ige today announced a partnership between the State of Hawai‘i and SANS Institute to offer high school and college students the opportunity this summer to participate in a free online cybersecurity assessment and exercise called CyberStart.

In coordination with the Hawaii Departments of Education and Defense, University of Hawaii, and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), SANS Institute is encouraging students to participate in the CyberStart program, which involves a game simulation through which students interested in cybersecurity as a career can learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their cyber aptitude. An introductory “practice” version of CyberStart is available through July 28, 2017. The full-scale program will run from Aug. 1 to 28, 2017.

“CyberStart is an innovative opportunity for Hawaii students to test and develop skills applicable to careers in high-demand IT security and related fields,” Gov. Ige said. “There is clearly high interest in cybersecurity among Hawaii youth, as demonstrated by strong participation in existing programs coordinated by the Department of Education, University of Hawai‘i, and organizations such as Cyber Hui. Exploration of this exciting career path can now continue with CyberStart.”

Students don’t have to travel to participate; all they need is an Internet-connected computer and a desire to explore. Each player starts as a “cyber protection agent” responsible for protecting a hypothetical operational base. The student chooses and solves challenges, earning points along the way. An agent field manual provides answers to questions that may arise and helpful hints when players get stuck. When the player has solved a sufficient number of challenges at one level, a new level opens and new challenges appear – for a total of 31 layers. Experienced players have cited CyberStart as being particularly useful to a wide variety of students because everyone can excel, not just a few superstars.

Students who excel in the CyberStart game will have the opportunity to share in $150,000 in scholarships for further cyber education, and ultimately for $500,000 in scholarships for college and graduate-level training in preparation for highly sought-after industry certifications.

“It’s exciting to see our youth being given the opportunity to excel in cybersecurity with the CyberStart program,” said Reynold Hioki, state cybersecurity coordinator within the Hawai‘i Department of Defense, whose protective mission extends to law enforcement agencies and public sector partners providing critical infrastructure and services to the Hawaii community. “Hawai‘i is taking advantage of CyberStart and other related youth programs like CyberPatriot, CyberCamps, GenCyber, Safe and Secure Online, and Hacker High school that directly contribute to increasing the state’s cybersecurity posture.”

ETS Chief Information Security Officer Vincent Hoang, who is responsible for securing state government information resources and infrastructure, said: “These types of programs provide a fun and interactive environment where students are exposed to challenges of varying difficulty and are approachable at any experience level. This is a great opportunity for students to level up their cybersecurity skills.”

SANS Director of Research Alan Paller added: “SANS trains more than 30,000 advanced cybersecurity professionals each year for military and intelligence organizations and for large high-tech companies in the U.S. and its allies. We discovered that those who have mastered the topics taught and measured in the CyberStart program do far better than others in the advanced cybersecurity courses that prepare the critically needed people. By opening CyberStart to hundreds of thousands of students we may be able to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

To join the program, participants must be 16 years or older and enrolled in any high school or college in Hawai‘i, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, or Virginia. For more information, visit: www.sans.org/cyberstartUS

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin Supports “Dreamers”

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 18 attorneys general in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to maintain and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the letter, the attorneys general explain how DACA has benefited their states and the nation as a whole and call on the President to fulfill his public commitment to Dreamers.

Click to read

Attorney General Chin said, “I am the son of immigrants. Hawaii is the most diverse state in our country – a nation founded by immigrants. A legal process has been established to ensure the almost one million Dreamers under DACA can stay in the United States and continue contributing to our country. Rescinding DACA would be senseless, cruel, and self-defeating.”

Since DACA’s inception five years ago, nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children have been granted DACA status after paying application fees, submitting to and passing background checks and applying for work permits. In Hawaii, approximately 2,000 people are eligible for DACA status.

Today’s letter to President Trump states:

“Mr. President, now is the time to affirm the commitment you made, both to the ‘incredible kids’ who benefit from DACA and to their families and communities, to handle this issue ‘with heart.’ You said Dreamers should ‘rest easy.’ We urge you to affirm America’s values and tradition as a nation of immigrants and make clear that you will not only continue DACA, but that you will defend it. The cost of not doing so would be too high for America, the economy, and for these young people. For these reasons, we urge you to maintain and defend DACA, and we stand in support of the effort to defend DACA by all appropriate means.”

The letter refutes arguments set forth by those opposing DACA and threatening litigation, saying they are wrong as a matter of law and policy and urges the President not to capitulate to their demands.

The letter further states:

“DACA is consistent with a long pattern of presidential exercises of prosecutorial discretion … DACA sensibly guides immigration officials’ exercise of their enforcement discretion and reserves limited resources to address individuals who threaten our communities, not those who contribute greatly to them. Challenges have been brought against the original DACA program, including in the Fifth Circuit, but none have succeeded.”

Joining Attorneys General Chin and Becerra in sending the letter are attorneys general from: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

Big Island Police Identify Man Who Stole Ambulance

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 24-year-old Hilo man in connection with the theft of an ambulance from the Hilo Medical Center (July 20).

At 1:43 p.m., hospital staff reported that a privately owned ambulance belonging American Medical Response (AMR) was stolen from the hospital. An extensive search by police and AMR personnel was underway when a witness reported seeing the ambulance on Leilani Street, leading into the solid-waste transfer station.

Maksim Stasyuk

At 2:20 p.m., police located the ambulance and arrested Maksim Stasyuk at the scene without incident. He is being held at the Hilo cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Kayne Kelii of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2378 or Kayne.Kelii@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.