Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry Commissioned

The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), Hawaii’s first Sentinel-class cutter, was commissioned into service at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Tuesday.

Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, presided over the ceremony accepting the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters to be stationed in Hawaii.

Crewmembers man the rails aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) as aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point conduct a fly-over in two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters during a commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Oct. 31, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the first of the three Honolulu-based Fast Response Cutters that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

The cutter’s sponsor Susan Hansen, who is a distant cousin of Oliver Berry was also in attendance for the ceremony.

Susan Berry Hansen, ship sponsor for the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) as well as a cousin of Chief Petty Officer Oliver Fuller Berry, presents a gift to Lt. Kenneth Franklin, commanding officer of Oliver Berry, during a commissioning ceremony for the cutter at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Oct. 31, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters stationed in Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

“It’s a great opportunity to honor Chief Petty Officer Oliver Berry’s legacy by commissioning this new cutter and engaging in the wide variety of Coast Guard missions of search and rescue, fisheries law enforcement, marine safety and security, among many others conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands,” said Lt. Ken Franklin, commanding officer of Oliver Berry. “I am constantly impressed as I learn more about Oliver Berry through this commissioning process such as his resourcefulness and leadership in developing the specialty of aviation maintenance. The cutter helps cement the strong bond between our aviation and afloat communities and it’s a privilege to be a part of her plankowner crew and carry Oliver Berry’s legacy forward into the 21st century.”

The Oliver Berry is the first of three Honolulu-based FRCs that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands.

The cutter is named after Chief Petty Officer Oliver Fuller Berry, a South Carolina native and graduate of the Citadel. He was a highly skilled helicopter mechanic working on early Coast Guard aircraft. Berry was also one of the world’s first experts on the maintenance of helicopters and served as lead instructor at the first military helicopter training unit, the Rotary Wing Development Unit which was established at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1946. He also helped develop the helicopter rescue hoist.

Leighton Tseu, Kane O Ke Kai, gives a Hawaiian blessing during the arrival of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Sept. 22, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters stationed in Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Berry had an extensive career spanning much of the globe. He was involved in a helicopter rescue out of Newfoundland that earned him a commendation and the Belgian Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II. In this case, Berry was able to quickly disassemble a helicopter in Brooklyn, New York, which was then flown to Gander, Newfoundland, in a cargo plane where he then reassembled it in time for the rescue crew to find and save 18 survivors of a crash aboard a Belgian Sabena DC-4 commercial airliner.

The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The FRCs are designed for missions including search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; and national defense. The Coast Guard took delivery of Oliver Berry June 27 in Key West. The crew then transited more than 8,400 miles (7,300 nautical miles) to Hawaii.

A crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) raises the cutter’s commissioning pennant during a commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Oct. 31, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the first of the three Honolulu-based Fast Response Cutters that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

The cutters are designed to patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, including the ability to launch and recover standardized small boats from the stern.

There will be three fast response cutters stationed here at Base Honolulu by the spring of 2019. These cutters with their improved effectiveness in search and rescue will make the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands a much safer place for recreational boaters and users of the waterway. They greatly improve our on water presence with each providing over 7,500 operational hours, a 40 percent increase over the 110-foot patrol boats.

HFD Transitioning to New Haihai Fire Station

The Hawaiʻi Fire Department has announced that personnel and equipment will be transitioning between the Kawailani Fire Station and the new Haihai Fire Station, starting Wednesday, Nov. 1st.

Effective Nov. 1, emergency services will operate out of the Haihai Fire Station.

The Hawaiʻi Fire Department would like to thank the community for their support and patience during the construction of the new facility.  The department will host a grand opening in December.

For further information, contact the Hawaiʻi Fire Department at (808) 932-2900.

Siren and Emergency Alert Test, Nov. 1

The state’s monthly test of the statewide outdoor warning siren system, coordinated with the test of the live audio broadcast segment of the Emergency Alert System, is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, at 11:45 a.m.

The siren test is a steady one-minute tone on all sirens. The warning sirens are used to alert the public to any emergency that may pose a threat to life or property. The sound of the sirens is a cue for residents to turn on a radio or television for information and instruction for an impending emergency. Besides natural hazards, the Emergency Alert System could be used for terrorist incidents or acts of war.

Contact your emergency management/county civil defense agency to report siren operation issues:

Hawai‘i (808) 935-0031
Maui (808) 270-7285
City and County of Honolulu (808) 723-8960
Kauai (808) 241-1800

Tests of the outdoor warning sirens and the Emergency Alert System are conducted simultaneously, normally on the first working day of the month, in cooperation with Hawai‘i’s broadcast industry. Emergency management and disaster preparedness information is located in the front section of telephone directories in all counties.

North Kona Water Restriction Update

The County of Hawai‘i Dept. of Water Supply has announced that as of mid-October, Honokōhau deep well has been repaired and is currently operational.

However, DWS officials say Hualālai and Keahuolū deep wells went offline the first and second weeks of October, respectively.

At this time, DWS says four of thirteen wells are out of service in the North Kona area leaving the DWS’s 25% Water Restriction in effect.

Kona water tank levels have been and continue to remain stable. The DWS is constantly monitoring the water system and making adjustments as necessary.

The DWS appreciates the community’s efforts to reduce their water usage. For more information visit  www.hawaiidws.org, or call (808) 961-8060 during normal business hours or email dws@hawaiidws.org. For after hour emergencies, call (808) 961-8790.

Former Charter School Principal Charged with Theft

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Laara Allbrett was charged yesterday by way of felony information with four counts of Theft in the Second Degree, a class C felony punishable by up to five years jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Allbrett, 64, is the former principal of the Halau Lokahi public charter school, a Native Hawaiian-focused charter school whose recurring financial difficulties led to the revocation of its charter by the State Public Charter School Commission on March 30, 2015.

The felony information alleges that Allbrett committed theft by deception during her tenure as the principal of Halau Lokahi. A felony information is merely an allegation of criminal wrongdoing against Allbrett, and she is presumed innocent until found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury.

A copy of the charging document is attached.

Click to read full document

Hawaiʻi Island Sixth Graders Make History

More than 500 Hawaiʻi Island sixth graders made history during the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s free STEM program, the Barnstorming Tour, last week.

Barnstorming Tour photos of a session at Waiakea Intermediate School. PC Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

For two-weeks the Barnstorming Team traveled across Hawaiʻi island teaching sixth-graders from Hilo, Pāhoa and Pāhala the science behind aviation.

“Barnstorming” refers to a style of stunt piloting that was performed in the 1920s to showcase pilots’ skills and the sturdiness of the planes they flew.

The Barnstorming Tour was developed in 2008 by museum staff with educators and science advisors from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Since its inception, the program has reached over 26,000 sixth graders in their classrooms on Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi and now Hawaiʻi Island.

The 90-minute curriculum uses hands-on activities that incorporate all elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help students understand the scientific principles of flight, as well as introduce them to aviation and aeronautic engineering as a viable career.

“It was an amazing education experience for the students and I cannot say enough good things about this program,” said Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science Teacher Charlotte Romo. “As a teacher, I appreciate the level of organization and team work, it was perfectly orchestrated!”

“Students in this area never get opportunities like this,” said Pāhoa Elementary Teacher Channa Uyetake. “You guys (Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor) coming here is an educational experience we would have never dreamed of.”

The Barnstorming Team conducted 90-minute sessions at Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science; Pāhoa Intermediate; Ka’u High & Pāhala Elementary; Ernest Bowen DeSilva; and Waiakea Intermediate, recipient of two separate visits.

Gayle Kamei, STEM Coordinator at Waiakea Intermediate said, “The fun and excitement of taking controls of a flight simulator and experiencing the miracle of flight by controlling a wing in a wind tunnel just doesn’t happen too often in a child’s life. Our sixth graders are actually learning the Laws of Physics first hand. What a unique learning experience for them.”

Costs incurred to bring the Barnstorming Tour and equipment to Hawaiʻi Island was underwritten by a $5,000 grant from Boeing.

Schools interested in having the Museum bring the free Barnstorming Tour to their classrooms should contact nick.kann@pacificaviationmuseum.org or call 808-441-1001.

Hawaiian Electric Begins Soliciting Renewable Energy Proposals

Creative Commons image

To continue their progress toward achieving Hawai‘i’s clean energy goals, the Hawaiian Electric Companies plan to seek new renewable energy projects for O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island beginning in early 2018.

In early October, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted the companies’ request to start the regulatory process to issue requests for proposals (RFP) enabling the execution of the companies’ five year action plan for more renewable generation.

Hawaiian Electric Companies has also filed with the PUC its proposed process for competitively procuring the largest amount of renewable resources ever to be developed in Hawai‘i. The filing includes drafts of proposed RFPs and new model for renewable power purchase contracts.

The companies are requesting stakeholder and market feedback on these draft documents over the next month to inform its plans and to launch an expedited RFP process in 2018.

In line with the Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP) for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light accepted by regulators in July, the companies intend to issue RFPs in two stages over the next two years for renewable resources it targeted through 2022. Those resources include:

220 megawatts (MW) of renewable generation for O‘ahu

100 MW for the island of Maui, including 40 MW of firm renewable generation

50 MW for Hawai‘i Island

The companies also intend to provide developers the option to include energy storage in their bids. The two-stage RFP process is designed to expedite execution of the first stage so that developers can take advantage of investment tax credits before they expire, lowering costs for customers.

Yesterday’s filing includes a proposed model contract between the companies and developers of renewable projects. The contracts, known as power purchase agreements (PPA), are designed to address the unique challenges of operating island grids with high concentrations of renewables.

Working with experts in the industry, the new model PPA seeks to achieve greater flexibility for utilities to dynamically and cost-effectively dispatch power from the new projects and to lower risks to developers and their financiers, resulting in lower costs to customers.

A new element of the proposed RFPs would require developers that advanced to negotiations to publicly engage with communities where their projects may be sited before a PPA is signed and again after an executed PPA is sent to regulators. This feedback will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission as part of the contract review process. The companies are adopting this new requirement in its energy procurement process out of recognition that communities should have greater visibility into the process and have better engagement with developers.

“With the commission’s acceptance of our PSIP, we are entering a new period of renewable energy acquisition. We are now focused on creating and successfully executing a competitive process for renewable generation that will help achieve our vision for sustainable communities and result in cost competitive and reliable service to our customers,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.

“This series of RFPs is a critical component of meeting Hawaii’s renewable energy goals and will require the coordinated efforts of many parties including developers, land owners, regulators, government entities and many stakeholders to make it a reality.”

The PSIP accepted by the commission describes key goals such as seeking nearly 400 megawatts of new renewable resources by 2021. When the PUC opened the docket for this procurement process it urged the companies to move quickly on a transparent, timely and successful procurement process to work with developers and capture federal investment tax credits before they expire. The draft RFPs and proposed PPA language are intended to meet the commission’s objectives. The companies are also proposing a series of technical conferences and consultation with stakeholders such as prospective renewable developers.

The companies’ proposed timeline calls for issuing the final RFPs in the first quarter of 2018 with selection of developers and contract negotiations expected to start in the second quarter. The draft documents, of primary interest to prospective renewable energy developers, may be reviewed at www.hawaiianelectric.com/competitivebidding.

In December 2016, the companies issued a request for information to land owners to identify land available for renewable energy projects. The results were provided to interested developers to help streamline the development process and facilitate the matching of sites and projects. This information continues to be available to interested developers at hawaiianelectric.com/landrfi.

 

US Senators, Schatz Introduce Bill to Prevent Pre-emptive Strike on North Korea

Sen. Brian Schatz. Courtesy photo.

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and seven other US Senators introduced a bill today prohibiting President Trump from starting a preemptive war against North Korea, absent an imminent threat or without express authorization from Congress.

The bill, also introduced by Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), comes amidst the escalation of “irresponsible rhetoric and contradictory behavior from President Trump and officials in his administration,” Schatz said.

The bill states “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Beijing in September 2017 to discuss calming tensions and obtaining a diplomatic solution on North Korea. President Trump tweeted during Secretary Tillerson’s visit that the Secretary of State was ‘‘wasting his time’’ and previously threatened that North Korea’s leaders ‘‘wouldn’t be around much longer.’’

The bill would prohibit funds from being used for kinetic military operations without Congressional approval unless the US faces an imminent threat or such action is necessary to defend citizens or US allies.

“Our bill makes it clear that the president does not have the authority to engage in preventive war without approval from Congress, and it goes so far as to tie the purse strings so that the president will have to ask for Congressional approval before taking any preventive action, ” said Sen. Schatz.

“I want to emphasize what this bill does not do. It does not limit the ability of the United States to protect our allies. Japan, South Korea, and every other ally of the United States should rest assured that we stand with them, and we will have their backs,” he added.

“This bill shouldn’t be controversial since it essentially restates current law,” added Sen. Murphy. “But Congress needs to make it crystal clear that the President does not have the authority to take preemptive military action in North Korea without congressional consent.”

Article I, Section 8, of the US Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war.

“A preemptive strike against North Korea could be catastrophic for the nearly 80,000 American servicemembers who are stationed in the region and for the tens of millions of innocent human beings who live on the Korean Peninsula,” said Sen. Duckworth, a combat veteran. “We need our nation’s Commander-in-Chief to show a steady hand and sound judgement, not to engage in irresponsible and dangerous verbal attacks that only serve to escalate an already dangerous situation and put American lives at risk.”

“The President’s erratic, blustering approach to North Korea has created a huge risk of stumbling into a disastrous war,” said Sen. Merkley. “A preemptive strike on North Korea would immediately be met by retaliation that could kill tens of thousands of South Koreans as well as many Americans within hours. This outcome is unacceptable. We need to make sure that Congress exercises its constitutional responsibilities to prevent profound and destructive misjudgments.”

The full text of the bill is available here.

Aid for Tenants, Landlords Program Expands to Kauai

Following the success of a program that helps landlords to get paid and keep tenants from being evicted on Oahu and in Maui County, Steps to Avoid Eviction is now available on Kauai.

The STAE program guides homeowners and tenants to resolve disputes without going to court. Its goals are to teach renters how to avoid evictions and to ensure that landlords can consistently collect rental income that is due.

Fifth Circuit District Court Judge Michael Soong

“When landlord-tenant cases enter the judicial system, it is often too late to amicably resolve their issues,” said Fifth Circuit District Court Judge Michael Soong. “We hope that by providing advance information and available resources, all parties may address their problems before someone files a lawsuit.”

The potential impact for Kauai is strong. A recent U.S. Census Bureau study indicated that 25 percent of the island’s 30,238 total housing units are occupied by renters. Furthermore, the population of 71,735 residents is growing an average of three people daily, the bureau reported.

“I want to thank the participating agencies, and attorneys Craig De Costa, Michelle Premeaux, Patrick Childs, and Linda Vass for assisting with the program and brochure,” Soong added.

The agencies providing strong support for STAE are Kauai Self Help Center; Legal Aid Society; Kauai Economic Opportunity Mediation Services; County of Kauai Housing Agency; Mental Health Kokua; Catholic Charities; Women in Need; Family Life Center Kauai; and The Salvation Army.

“I deeply appreciate the hard work of the attorneys, agencies, and businesses in bringing this important early intervention program to the Garden Island, and thank Judge Soong for his leadership,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald.

The STAE brochure is available through numerous Kauai agencies, including those listed above, and online. A copy of the brochure is attached.

Program information: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/special_projects/stae
Kauai brochure: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Kauai_STAE_brochure_FINAL.pdf

33 State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Evaluate ‘Bump Stocks’

Expressing extreme concern about the role “bump stocks” played in the recent Las Vegas tragedy, Attorney General Doug Chin yesterday joined a bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders urging them to close a loophole in current federal gun laws.

Click to read letter

The bipartisan letter, co-sponsored by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, includes support from a broad group of attorneys general from U.S. states and territories. The letter notes that bump stock devices – a plastic or metal piece attached to a firearm’s stock designed to increase the ability to fire like a fully automatic weapon – may be used to evade the machinegun laws that are currently in place.

It has been widely reported that the Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, modified otherwise lawful semi-automatic rifles with “bump stocks” to kill 58 innocent people and injure hundreds more. The attorneys general urge Congress to evaluate whether bump stocks should be regulated like machineguns in order to protect residents from the dangers posed by unrestricted fully automatic weapons.

Since 1986, when Congress enacted the Firearm Owners Protection Act to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968, fully automatic weapons and “machineguns” have been restricted, making it unlawful for civilians to possess a machinegun unless the firearm was acquired prior to the Act’s effective date.

According to the letter, bump stocks can “mimic fully automatic machinegun fire and therefore lead to disastrous consequences in the wrong hands.” The attorneys general also state that Congress “should carefully consider whether bump stocks have created a loophole in the machinegun laws” when considering any news laws.

Joining the letter are the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is attached.

DLNR, Moanalua Gardens Foundation Repairing Kamananui Valley Road October 2017-2018

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), O‘ahu Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF), in conjunction with Community Planning & Engineering, Inc. (CPE) have begun road repairs to the Kamananui Valley Road in Moanalua Valley. Kamananui Valley Road and the popular Kulana‘ahane hiking trail will remain open during regular trail hours; however, some phases of the project will require periodic, full-valley closures.

DLNR Photo

Initial stages of construction began October 16, 2017. The project will end by October 31, 2018, and will repair and extend 11 major stream crossings. These repairs will improve safety for all valley users by redirecting water flow and mitigating erosion. Additional work will allow better access for service vehicles by leveling deeply rutted portions and removing large boulders.

The project, authorized during the Legislature Regular Sessions of 2013 and 2014, is a capital improvement project (CIP) which received a total of $1,650,000 in general obligation bond funds. Funding supported planning, design, and construction for the project and was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. MGF entered a memorandum of understanding with DLNR to support portions of the project that take place in portions of Kamananui Valley located within the Moanalua portion of the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve.

Safety notice

Public access will remain open for the duration of the project. However, users are advised to exercise caution when visiting Moanalua Valley. Construction will occur every weekday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. In this time, pedestrians will be asked to yield to all motorized traffic and heed warning signs that delineate high-risk areas. Families are also asked to closely supervise all children and family pets while on-trail. Noise, dust, and periodic delays may alter the expected user experience.

To ensure the best hiking experience, O‘ahu DOFAW encourages hikers to consider visiting the valley during non-construction hours or traveling to other State-sanctioned trails. Regular visitation to Kamananui Valley Road will resume after 3:30 pm on weekdays, till sunset, and during daylight hours on weekends. Full valley closures will be issued one month in advance by Oahu DOFAW.

Potential visitors to Moanalua Valley are encouraged to visit the Na Ala Hele, DOFAW Trail and Access website at:  hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov for up-to-date project information and alternate routes. Hunting permits for Moanalua Valley will be issued on a case-by-case basis. For more hunting information, please contact the DOFAW offices at (808) 587-0166 or via email at dlnr@hawaii.gov

Hundreds Attend Annual Wayfinding Festival

Hundreds of people came out to ʻImiloa’s 10th Annual Wayfinding Festival held on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i.

This year’s theme was “Bringing Home Lessons” of the Worldwide Voyage and featured a panel discussion with crewmembers from the recently completed Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, along with wa‘a (canoe) activities themed around Hawai‘i’s iconic double-hulled sailing canoe, Hōkūleʻa.

Tools used in Wayfinding made by Kona resident Gary Eoff.

“‘Imiloa’s Wayfinding Festival is our way of honoring our deep sea voyaging ancestors who sailed across the open ocean using the light of the stars to guide them to new lands,” said ‘Imiloa’s Executive Director Ka‘iu Kimura, “And at the same time it is a chance to celebrate our modern day navigators who are transmitting celestial navigation skills into the next generation.”

Attendees learned about the historic 3-year journey of Hōkūleʻa, which traveled 42,000 nautical miles, visiting 150 ports in more than 20 countries, while training a new generation of navigators, educators, scientists and community stewards.

Voyaging Canoe “Kiakahi” out of Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi Island.

This year, the festival also reprised the popular Waʻa Iron Chef Contest. In addition to keiki activities, special wayfinding planetarium programming were held in the theaters and planetarium. The public also had full free access to ʻImiloa’s interactive exhibit hall.

The 10th Annual Wayfinding Festival is sponsored by the Ama OluKai Foundation.