Pahoa Community Meeting About the Skate Park

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation invites community members to the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm. This meeting is to discuss a community partnership with the Department to keep the Skate Park a safe drug- and alcohol-free park.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, but would like to contribute information and ideas, or if you have questions, please contact Recreation District Supervisor Glenn Kokubun at 965-2710.

“The Traveling Plate” Fundraiser for Easter Seals Hawai’i

Tickets are still available for The Traveling Plate, the 2nd Annual Statewide Culinary Tour to benefit Easter Seals Hawaiʻi. The mission of Easter Seals Hawaiʻi is to provide exceptional, individualized, family-centered services to empower people with disabilities or special needs to achieve their goals and live independent, fulfilling lives.

On Sunday, August 13, join The Traveling Plate and Easter Seals Hawaiʻi in Hilo at beautiful Nani Mau Gardens. Traveling Plate Hawaiʻi will be a grazing-style evening featuring notable chefs crafting locally sourced eats from the ʻāina, a hosted bar, and The Traveling Plate Marketplace. The Traveling Plate Marketplace includes a silent auction, wine pull, and locally crafted products for sale.

Participating chefs include Chef Mark Pomaski of Moon + Turtle, Chef Thomas Bellac of Four Seasons Hualālai, Chef Brian Hirata of the Hawaiʻi Culinary Institute, Chef Kanoa Miura of Aloha Monday, and Host Chef Jesse Moore of Nani Mau Gardens.

Tickets are $60 general, $85 VIP and available for purchase online at TravelingPlateHI.com.

First Case of Rat Lungworm Disease on Oahu in 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed one new case of rat lungworm disease in an Oahu resident. This is the first case of rat lungworm disease contracted on Oahu in 2017, bringing the statewide total of confirmed cases to 16 for this year. The adult case is currently hospitalized and the department confirmed their illness late on Tuesday afternoon.

The Oahu resident began experiencing symptoms consistent with rat lungworm disease in July. DOH staff from the Vector Control Program and Disease Investigation Branch started conducting onsite property assessments this morning in East Oahu. Vector Control staff surveyed for slug, snail and rat activity. Current findings do not show evidence of slugs or semi-slugs nearby. The source of the individual’s infection is still unknown at this time, but DOH will continue investigations based on the information gathered today. The last reported case of rat lungworm disease on Oahu was in 2010.

“This is a serious disease that can be acquired on any of our islands because slugs and snails throughout the state carry the parasite responsible for the illness,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health. “This is a grim reminder that we all need to take precautions when working in our gardens and on farms, and eliminate slugs, snails and rats from our communities to reduce the risks posed by this parasitic disease.”

DOH recently announced plans to ramp up efforts to prevent rat lungworm disease statewide. This includes efforts to increase public outreach and education throughout the state—a top initiative identified by the Governor’s Rat Lungworm Disease Joint Task Force, which was convened in 2016. The Joint Task Force is comprised of local experts in medical, scientific, environmental, and public health fields from across the state.The public is urged to take the following precautions to prevent rat lungworm disease:

  • Carefully inspect, wash and store produce in sealed containers, regardless of whether it came from a local retailer, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.
  • All fruits and vegetables should be washed and rubbed under running water, especially leafy greens, in order to remove any tiny slugs or snails.
    Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease.
  • Eliminate slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens.
  • Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

Rat lungworm disease (angiostrongyliasis) is contracted when a person becomes infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This often happens when a person accidentally consumes raw or undercooked infected slugs, snails, freshwater shrimp, land crabs or frogs. The most common symptoms include severe headaches and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain and severe disability.

More information about the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm disease may be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/ and https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2017/01/RLD-rackcard-version1_06152017.pdf. The first of a series of public service announcements about rat lungworm disease prevention is posted on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rat-lungworm-information/.

UH Community College Students Prepare to Launch Payload From NASA Flight Facility

University of Hawaiʻi community college students are getting ready to launch their third payload from a NASA facility. The launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is scheduled for a window between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, August 12.

Nicholas Hermann and Cale Melcher

Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. EDT on the Wallops Ustream site. Launch updates also are available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites. Facebook Live coverage begins at 5:15 a.m. EDT.

Smartphone users can download the What’s Up at Wallops app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing.

Project Imua is a joint faculty-student enterprise of four UH community college campuses (Honolulu, Kapiʻolani, Kauaʻi and Windward). Its primary mission is to engage undergraduate students in project based STEM research with real-world development of small payloads for space flight. A NASA grant awarded to the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium has helped to fund the project.

Honolulu CC Project Imua Mentor Will Smith and students Cale Mechler and Nick Hermann are at Wallops in final preparations for Saturday’s launch. Another mentor and other UH community college students traveled to Wallops this past June to conduct preliminary tests on the payload.

For more on the August 12 launch and the participating universities and colleges, see the NASA website.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Allowed to Open on Oahu

The Hawai‘i Department of Health issued a formal notice to proceed to Aloha Green LLC today after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Aloha Green is the second licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state, and the first on O‘ahu, to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The licensed retail center for Aloha Green is at the Interstate Building at 1314 South King Street in Honolulu. The retail center is licensed to begin selling dried medical cannabis flowers when it opens to registered patients.

“The opening of a licensed dispensary on O‘ahu is a major milestone for the more than 5,000 qualified patients and caregivers in Honolulu,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Our staff continues to work with all the licensees as they build their facilities and business operations in compliance with county and state laws to ensure product and patient safety.”

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by DOH.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. Two on Maui: Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC; and one on Kaua‘i, Green Aloha, Ltd. These dispensaries are now at different stages of development by the licensees, and at varying stages of the approval process.

Maui Lawmaker Calls on Governor to Resolve Bus Crisis

West Maui lawmaker Representative Angus McKelvey today called on Governor David Ige to intervene in the student transportation crisis that has adversely affected West Maui as well as other school districts on Maui and Kauai.

HIDOE is seeking school bus drivers with valid Commercial Drivers Licenses to service routes on Maui and Kauai. For a limited time, school bus contractors are offering hiring bonuses and increased wages. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“The situation is completely unacceptable, especially when you consider all the Lahainaluna High School students that need access to a campus that is not readily serviced by other transportation means including a county bus route,” McKelvey said. “The bus shortage has exasperated an already existing traffic problem as parents are now scrambling to get kids to school by their own means before the workday.”

McKelvey’s concerns are with parents and families who may not be able to afford private transportation and solely rely on the bus system to get their keiki to and from school.

“Parents who don’t have the means to afford last-minute private transportation are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to get the kids to school,” he said. “And, while the Department of Education’s relaxation of the tardy rules and breakfast times will help somewhat, many of these kids may be forced to miss large segments of school time. This, in turn, could result in inadvertent involvement in the court system for their parents because their children are not being at school for the required amount of time.”

McKelvey believes that “it is unfair to parents in this situation to be faced with potential legal consequences for actions beyond their control especially considering the last minute notification of the bus shortage.

“It is especially troubling that the DOE spokesperson said that there were no reported problems related to the bus issues only illustrates further that the DOE is disconnected from the challenges that we are facing with this issue here on West Maui,” McKelvey said.

The West Maui lawmaker also expressed his concern that the Board of Education allowed the bus contract issue to “spiral out of control” before the beginning of the school year and a shortage of drivers should have been discussed well before the start of school.

“The lack of qualified drivers for certain routes should also have been disclosed during the procurement process,” he said. “Especially when it is a new Oahu based vendor that has never provided any transportation for the schools in Maui before.

“On behalf of all the hard working parents and their keiki of West Maui, I am humbly asking the Governor to step in and have the Board of Education either issue a supplemental contract for the busing services at Lahainaluna High School, and any other areas, or rescind the contract in its entirety for failure to perform.

“With the start of the high school on Wednesday, and other major traffic events coming up, this situation could go from bad to very bad in a short period of time,” McKelvey said. “The bottom line is the vendor should be able to perform as promised, and did not timely notify the DOE. Therefore, the department and the Governor need to use their powers of the executive branch to take whatever actions are necessary to address this bus driver shortage – an issue which never should have occurred of in the first place.

“In an area where the schools are not serviced by county bus routes, an immediate busing option is needed, especially for parents and families who can’t afford to simply call a taxi or grab a rental car to get the kids to school before going to their two or three jobs needed just to make ends meet.”

Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Sustainability Report Available

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ progress in improving customer service, increasing renewable energy, decreasing oil use, innovating to provide more customers access to rooftop solar and modernize the grid, and supporting communities are highlighted in the companies’ tenth annual Sustainability Report.

As a result of that effort, Hawaiian Electric has compiled a list of potential sites that could be available to experienced developers of renewable energy projects.

The 2016 Sustainability Report for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light is available online at:

A limited number of copies printed on 100-percent post-consumer-waste paper with vegetable-based inks are available at Hawaiian Electric bill payment locations on Oahu or by calling the Education and Consumer Affairs Department at 808-543-7511.

Among the expanded sections of the report is “Electrification of Transportation” which includes the companies’ on-line EV Cost/Benefit Calculator, expanding EV Fast Charger network and collaborative efforts to promote electric mobility through Drive Electric Hawaii.

The report also includes a timeline of Hawaiian Electric’s 125-year history, 1891 to 2016.

It also highlights donations of time and money of 4,867 employee volunteers and their families and friends who contributed 16,319 hours of service, $1,055,000 (much of it matched by donations from the HEI Charitable Foundation) and 1,318 pints of blood.

Guest Commentary – Hawaii Rail Fiasco… What They Don’t Want You to Know

You posted (on Facebook) an interesting article on Civil Beat in regards to the Rail Project: Lawmakers Consider Having Neighbor Islands Help Pay for Oahu’s Troubled Rail Project

What you and most fail to realize is that our House representatives on this island already voted YES to have the neighbor islands pay for rail, including our island and NO ONE called them out or held them accountable.

SB1183 is what deadlocked at the end of session because the House and Senate disagreed on the funding mechanism for the rail project.

This is the link to the HOUSE amendment to the bill that passed the House and was voted on by our representatives.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB1183_HCD2_.htm

The bottom line:

They voted for a increase to the TAT of 10.25% (an increase of 1%) statewide, with 100% of the proceeds going to rail and they voted to CAP the TAT distribution to the counties at $103 million to 2028.

How does the $103 million cap affect Hawaii County? Hawaii County gets 18.6% of that cap which is approximately $18 million. However, HI County should be getting almost $40 million from the TAT if it was, prior to 2009, apportioned fairly through a percentage based allocation. The State capped the Counties during the recession and has never restored it to a percentage based amount. Effectively, HI County is getting robbed every year of its fair share of TAT by the State, $22 million could pay for ALLOT of stuff on our island, busses etc..

Who voted for that? 100% of HI Islands House membership, every single one.

Now, we are going back into special session and the House has the same game plan, increase TAT statewide and this time, even worse, cap the Counties at $93 million, instead of $103 million.

If their is not enough public awareness on our island or pressure from their constituents, they will vote the same way. They don’t want anyone to know what I just shared with you, but it is all public information, just no one caught it.

But now you know…

A Concerned Citizen