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Mighty Merloe Breaks Transpac Record

The Mighty Merloe breaks the Transpac record with an elapsed time of 4 Days, 7 Hours, 3 Minutes, 30 Seconds.

Hospice of Kona’s Royal Tea Fundraiser Set for Sunday August 13th

Raise a pinkie finger as you sip hot tea and cold Champagne at the Hospice of Kona Royal Tea Party. This ninth annual event — which is a fundraiser for Hospice of Kona’s residential hospice home, Nakamaru Hale — will be held on Sunday, August 13 from 11am -1pm at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.

Guests will enjoy a traditional high tea with a Hawaiian twist as the chef creates tasty mini sandwiches, pastries, scones and much more with local fruits and vegetables. Tickets are just $55; purchase a commemorative Champagne glass and receive unlimited Champagne or mimosas at the event. Table purchases include commemorative glasses for each guest plus a special gift item for the purchaser.  Discounts available online only at www.HOKRoyalTea.com.

Guests are invited to wear festive hats and outfits as they enjoy live music, performances by Kona Dance & Performing Arts and an extensive silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind jewelry, works by local artists, activities, services, gift certificates and more.

“The community really comes out for this celebration of life, love, friendship — and great hats!” said Laura Varney, Hospice of Kona CEO. “The support we receive goes a long way to ensuring that we can continue to provide our Nakamaru Hale residents and their families with the best hospice and palliative care available.”

To date, the event is sponsored by Ultimate Electric, Altres Staffing, Big Island Honda, ChoiceMART, The Wave@92FM and XpressReprographics.  Additional sponsorships are available online or by contacting alex@pivotalshiftconsulting.com.

Nakamaru Hale provides a comforting and compassionate home-like setting for up to five hospice patients who need an alternative to home care. The hale offers respite, transitional or longer-term care during the final months of life. Hospice of Kona’s health care team works closely with patient, family and doctors as they develop a customized plan to care for physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.

Cincinnati Bell Will Take Over Hawaiian Telcom for $650 Million

Hawai‘i’s leading fiber-based integrated communications provider, and Cincinnati Bell, a leading fiber and IT services and solutions business, today announced that their boards of directors approved a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $650 million, including the assumption of net debt.

Under the agreement, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will have the option to elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom, subject to proration such that the aggregate consideration to be paid to Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will be 60 percent cash and 40 percent Cincinnati Bell common

stock. This consideration represents a 26 percent premium to Hawaiian Telcom’s closing price of $24.44 on July 7, 2017, 24 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 20 calendar days of $24.86, and 31 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 12 months of $23.55. Upon the closing of the transaction, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will own approximately 15 percent and Cincinnati Bell stockholders will own approximately 85 percent of the combined company.

Read full details of the merger here: http://www.hawaiiantel.com/Portals/15/News%20PDFs/20170710_Hawaiian%20Telcom%20Enters%20into%20Definitive%20Agreement%20to%20Merge%20with%20Cincinnati%20Bell.pdf

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, released the following statement on the proposed merger between Hawaiian Telcom and Cincinnati Bell.

“Hawaiian Telcom has been an engaged corporate citizen in Hawai‘i for generations. The hundreds of jobs it provides and the services it offers are vital to Hawai‘i’s local economy. As the lead Democrat on the Commerce Committee’s telecommunications subcommittee, I will carefully review the proposed merger and closely monitor its potential impact on local jobs as well as the telecommunications services it provides for Hawai‘i consumers.”

First Transpac Boats Arriving

Mighty Merloe and Comanche on race record pace in 2017 Transpac – Most of the remainder of the fleet at halfway point in the race

One week after the first wave of starters and four days after the last wave, the bulk of the 55 entries in this year’s 49th edition of the Transpac are at about their halfway points to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu. On the 2225-mile course less than a dozen are still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race.

Mighty Merloe

The conditions of relatively steady 10-20 knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head. At 0900 Hawaii Time today the three leading multihulls – H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo and Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati – have been locked in battle, with Merloe in the lead ahead of Phaedo by 57 miles with only 168 miles to go on their final approach to Oahu.

At current speeds, Merloe’s finish time tonight will not only break the multihull race record set in 1997 by Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer of 5 days 9 hours 18 min and 26 sec, but possibly smash it by more than a day. (This is not the overall, main winner of Transpac as this is a multihull, which has a class of its own.) The other two MOD 70’s also likely to beat the previous mark by coming in only a few hours later.

“We’re still dealing with marine debris,” said Will Suto, reporting on board Might Merloe just hours before being in sight of the islands. “Today I had to crawl out onto the sterns of both the starboard and port amas and dangle off the very back to clear chunks of polypropylene fishing net from in between the top of the rudders and the hull. We had to keep going at full speed to keep the hull out of the water. If we had touched down the force of the water would have dragged me off. I was tied to the boat three different ways, but it was still a nice moment of clarity.”

Comanche

At 1130 HST Jim Clarke’s 100-foot monohull Comanche is comparatively close, only 482 miles out and also going fast: 20.2 knots. After having set a new 24 hour position report record (0800 Friday – 0800 Saturday) of 484 miles, she is also on track for breaking the monohull race record set in 2009 of 5 days 14 hours 36 min 20 sec set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. Comanche has to cross the finish line at Diamond Head tomorrow night before 12:36:20 AM HST on Wednesday morning to set a new record time.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division include: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52 Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68 Peywacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6, and Rod Pimental’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

Since Saturday veteran Transpac sailor and offshore racing analyst Dobbs Davis has provided his race analysis show viewable on the Transpac website. For this and more information – position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website at https://2017.transpacyc.com and www.facebook.com/TranspacRace/.

USS John Finn (DDG 113) Arrives in Pearl Harbor, Set for Commissioning

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) will be commissioned at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s Pier Kilo 10. Media are invited to cover commissioning week events, including media availability and tour on July 13.

PEARL HARBOR (July 10, 2017) The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam July 10 in preparation for its commissioning ceremony. DDG 113 is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, who as a chief aviation ordnanceman was the first member of our armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Justin R. Pacheco)

Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Laura Stavridis, the wife of retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, will serve as sponsor of the ship.  The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Stavridis will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Cmdr. Michael Wagner, a native of Minnesota, is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 350 officers and enlisted personnel.  The 9,140-ton Finn was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  The ship is 509 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet.  The ship uses four LM2500 GE Marine Gas Turbines and two propellers to speeds up to 31 knots.

The ship’s namesake, John Finn, is a Medal of Honor recipient who Adm. Chester Nimitz said displayed “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman, used a machine gun at the former Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station to fire at Japanese aircraft for two hours during the attack. He remained on duty for 18 hours despite receiving as many as 21 wounds. Finn retired as a lieutenant in 1956 and lived to be 100 before passing in 2010. At the time of his death, he was the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. As multi-mission platforms, they are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

USS John Finn will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.

Hawai‘i Island Enforcement Officer Recognized with First-Ever Award

Veteran DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Officer James Ridzon has been selected as the first recipient of the DLNR/DOCARE Officer of the Year award.  Ridzon has been with DOCARE for more than eight years and has earned a reputation as an effective investigator and strong protector of Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural resources.

Officer James Ridzon

In announcing the award, DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said, “I know Jim well from my time as an officer on the Big Island.  His supervisor described him as competent, knowledgeable and capable…exactly the traits I noticed and I would add diligent and extremely competent. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “Officer Ridson’s work ethic and overall efforts exemplify the best in what we expect from our DOCARE officers.”

Ridzon was nominated by his peers and his supervisor.  He has a broad orientation to the job and has consistently been a team player in his current assignment to the North District of Hawai‘i island. Over the weekend Ridzon joined fellow officers in an operation to crack down on illegal entry into the Kohala Restricted Watershed by hikers trying to traverse what has become known as the White Road hike.  He again demonstrated his professionalism in encounters with people who were arrested for trespass into a closed area, by treating them with respect and compassion.  Ridzon said, “My goal was to always work in conservation resources enforcement as it combines my life-long passion for the outdoors with protecting the all of the places and resources Hawai‘i is recognized around the world for.”

As part of this recognition Officer Ridzon will be attending the annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers (NAWEOA) conference in Ontario, Canada later this month. NAWEOA is an organization that was formed solely to advance the needs of natural resource and wildlife officers throughout North America. It has membership from all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories. Ridzon will be the first ever, State of Hawai‘i, Officer of the Year to attend.

$10K Rebate on 2017 Nissan LEAF Sedan Extended for Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customers

Nissan North America’s $10,000 rebate offer on the all-electric 2017 LEAF® sedan has been extended through September 30, 2017 for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company customers. This is expected to be the last extension of this offer.

Customers should take their electric utility bill and the promotional flyer available at hawaiianelectric.com/nissanleaf to any participating Nissan dealer on Oahu, Maui or Hawaii Island to receive $10,000 off the sticker price of a new 2017 LEAF S, SV, or SL, while supplies last. With potential federal tax incentives, savings could total $17,500.

So far this year, over 300 customers have driven off Nissan dealership lots across the state in their new electric LEAFs, never to stop at a gas station again.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are leaders in the effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawaii to help customers save money, to put abundant and less-expensive solar resources to work and to move the state toward its clean energy goals.

The rebate is funded by Nissan. To find a participating Hawaii Nissan dealer, go to nissanusa.com/nissandealers/location/hawaii. The 107-mile range 2017 LEAF, which needs no gasoline, no oil changes and very little maintenance, has a starting price of $30,680.

Sewer Spill in Vicinity of Wailuku River, Kaipalaoa Landing

Location of Discharge: Vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Description:  Discharge of untreated wastewater at shoreline in the vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing in Hilo, Hawai‘i

Cause of Discharge:  The cause of the discharge was due to wastewater entering the Storm Drain system from a broken sewer lateral at the corner of Waiānuenue Avenue and Kino‘ole St.

Remedial Action Taken:  While the discharge into the Storm Drai n system was small and estimated to be in the order of one (1) gallon per hour; the shoreline area in the vicinity of the Storm Drain discharge has been posted with Warning Signs in accordance with State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health requirements and the sign-posted area is closed to recreational activity until further notice.

The Wastewater Division is testing shoreline waters in the vicinity of the discharge.  Testing will continue until authorization is obtained from the State of Hawai`i, Department of Health to remove Warning Signs posted in the area.  The County is currently in the process of coordinating repair of the broken sewer lateral.

Hawaii State Legislature Will NOT Convene Override Special Session

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kauai, Niihau) and State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kakaako, Kaheka, Downtown) today announced that the Hawaii State Senate and the Hawaii State House of Representatives will not convene a special session to override any bills on Governor David Ige’s Intent to Veto list.

On June 23, Gov. Ige notified the legislature of his intent to veto 15 bills passed during the 2017 Legislative Session. The Hawaii State Constitution requires the governor to notify the Legislature of the bills he intends to veto by June 26.

The Governor has until July 11 to officially veto any of these measures by returning them to the Legislature with his statement of objections. The House and Senate will review the Governor’s rationale for returning any measure and consider those concerns next session.

Bills on the Governor’s intent to veto list include:

SB 1240 RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE

This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.

SB 410  RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.

HB 2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.

HB 727 RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES

This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.

Click here to view all bills on the Governor’s Intent to Veto list.

Big Island Police Searching for Suspects Who Damaged Statue at Pacific Tsunami Museum

Hawaiʻi Island Police are asking the public for assistance in identifying suspect(s) in a criminal property damage case. A statue fronting the Pacific Tsunami Museum located at the corner of Kamehameha Ave and Kalākaua St was damaged between (June 24-26). The heads of a mermaid and a turtle were broken off the stone statue.

Police ask anyone with information regarding this case to call the Police Department’s non emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Officer Gregg Silva of the South Hilo Community Police Unit at (808) 961-8121.

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. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Launching “Summer of Resistance and Renewal” Program

This week, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) is launching their “Summer of Resistance and Renewal,” a nationwide organizing program geared toward engaging and activating party members and activists in the grassroots.

“The goal of the program will be to reconnect Hawai‘i Democrats with one another and with voters, rebuild a sense of political unity, and afford our residents an opportunity to identify mutual areas of concern and address their issues through the vehicle of party activism” said Tim Vandeveer, State Party Chair. “With these efforts, we seek to recruit new members, train new leaders, and increase voter turnout in Hawai‘i by 10% in the 2018 elections.”

Through a fellowship program made possible by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the DPH selected five local organizers, each of whom bring a unique perspective to the program and diverse background in electoral politics, labor organizing, or community activism. DPH leadership engaged traditional allies such as labor organizations, as well as newer grassroots “resistance” groups to apprise them of the project and invite them to participate in the program.

The Hawai‘i organizers recently spent a full week at a training camp in Washington D.C. where they met with DNC leadership and learned about national issues from prominent Democratic elected officials. They also participated in Congressional town halls, Resistance events, and a Healthcare vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Though much of the focus of the national program has focused on converting the energy generated in resistance to the Trump administration into political power during next year’s midterms, Vandeveer feels that this is only part of the goal.

“We cannot focus on resistance alone,” Vandeveer said. “Saying ‘no’ to the cruel and draconian policies of this administration is important, but we must also demand bold action and do the hard work of organizing for social change. We need to renew our historical role as the party of ideas and solutions that benefit working people. This means building upon our proud local history as a party of diversity and inclusion.”

“The ‘Summer of Resistance and Renewal’ begins this month with plans to knock on doors, engage Democratic Party members, host events, and make a difference in our communities. Make sure you’re a part of the movement and find an event near you at resistsummer.com.”

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. (Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.)

Serving as pollinators and seed dispersers, birds have an important role in ecosystem function and their presence in restoration areas can be a measure of success for conservation efforts.

“The study results show the birds are responding positively to restoration efforts faster than anyone thought possible,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher and the study’s lead author Eben Paxton. “Birds are now in parts of the refuge where they weren’t found 10 to 20 years ago.”

Continue reading

Body Found in Kilauea Caldera

The body of a 38-year-old man was recovered by park rangers early Sunday morning near the bottom of Kīlauea caldera.

NPS Photo

On Sat., July 8, two visitors discovered a backpack on Crater Rim Trail at approximately 7 p.m. Park dispatch was notified, and rangers searched the caldera rim and floor on foot, but were unable to locate the owner. The search was suspended due to unsafe conditions at night, and resumed at first light yesterday morning, Sun., July 9.

Rangers aboard a helicopter found the victim about 250 feet below the caldera rim, in an area that is not currently erupting, around 5:35 a.m.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. An investigation is underway.