HVNP: Musician and Textile Artist Selected as January 2018 Artists-in-Residence

Musician Will Oldham – who performs under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy – and his wife, textile artist Elsa Hansen Oldham, have been selected as the January 2018 Artists-in-Residence at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
The non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) announced the selection of singer/songwriter Oldham, whose music is described as an alternative blend of country, folk and punk, and his wife, whose quilting and cross stitch work puts a folksy pop-art spin on history and modern culture.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – and his wife, textile artist Elsa Hansen Oldham. Photo courtesy Christian Hansen.

The pair will present a dual multimedia performance on January 26, 2018 in the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 6 p.m. Will Oldham will sing and play music while Elsa Hansen Oldham stitches on stage as her handiwork is projected on the auditorium’s movie screen.

“As the park enters our fourth year of the Artist-in-Residence Program, we look forward to our second musician and first textile artist,” said Laura Carter Schuster, Chief of Cultural Resources at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “Hawai‘i has such a long tradition of both music and quilting, this pair seems like a match for our location. And the park will inspire both the musician and the fabric artist alike,” she said.

The couple lives in Louisville, KY and will reside in the park for a month. Oldham has performed since 1998 as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and prior to that as Palace Brothers and Palace Music. His songs have been performed by Johnny Cash, Marianne Faithful and others. His new record, Best Troubadour, is a collection of Merle Haggard songs. Hansen Oldham’s textile art is displayed at the Dickinson Roundell Gallery in New York, and she was recently profiled in the New York Times.

The project is supported by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and other benefactors. The NPAF is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the national parks through creating dynamic opportunities for artwork based in the natural and historic heritage of America. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors. Visit www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org for details.

Waimea Ocean Film Festivals Opens January 1st

The action-packed 2018 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Waimea Film) offers an exciting lineup of films, speakers, coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, presentations and morning activities, running non-stop January 1-9. The annual event opens January 1, with films playing simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. On January 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, where films play this year under the stars at Hoku Amphitheatre.

Waimea Film brings over 60 films to the big screen this year—most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres—with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions. The festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea, and island cultures. Inspirational, thought-provoking films and those that shed light on who we are infuse the program, sharing the extraordinary.

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Community Tips Lead to Execution of Narcotics Search Warrant

The Area II Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) concluded a month-long narcotics-related and community nuisance-type investigation which stemmed from numerous community complaints of suspected narcotic use and narcotics-related activities occurring at a Kalaoa residence.

On Monday (December 11) afternoon at 2:15 p.m., SEU, assisted by the Area II Vice Section, executed a narcotics search warrant at a residence located in the 73-4500 block of Iki Place. During the search, officers located and recovered approximately 3.9 grams of a black tar-like substance (suspected heroin), three syringes containing a brownish-colored liquid (suspected heroin), 0.4 grams of a crystalline substance (suspected crystal methamphetamine), numerous drug paraphernalia items associated with heroin and methamphetamine use, and $870.00 in cash which was seized for forfeiture. At the scene, officers also located and arrested 32-year-old Nicholas Catlett, of Kailua-Kona, and residents 28-year-old Dylan Brehaut, and 30-year-old Ashley Safa, for suspicion of Promoting Dangerous Drugs in the Third Degree. They were transported to the Kealakehe Police Station as officers continued their investigation.

Upon conferring with the Prosecutor’s Office, on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., Ashley Safa was charged with three counts of Promoting Dangerous Drugs in the Third Degree and one count of Drug Paraphernalia. Her total bail was set at $30,250.00.

Dylan Brehaut was released pending further investigation for the narcotics offenses, however he was charged for an outstanding bench warrant with bail set at $10,000.00.

Safa and Brehaut remained in custody at the Kealakehe Police Station pending their initial court appearance at Kona District Court this morning.

Upon conferring with the Prosecutor’s Office, Nicholas Catlett was released pending further investigation.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to thank community members for the numerous tips received in this investigation. In addition, the community is encouraged to remain aware of suspicious activities occurring within their neighborhood and to report any suspicious activity to the police non-emergency number at (808)935-3311.

Puna Man Charged in Firearms Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 20-year-old Puna man in connection with a terroristic threatening incident involving a firearm.

Eric Wilson. HPD photo

At 5:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon (December 9), officers were called to an address on 37th Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.  Police determined that following an argument, a male suspect pointed a handgun at an 18 year-old man at the residence.  The suspect, 20-year-old Eric Wilson Jr., of Puna, fled from the scene in a vehicle after the confrontation.  No physical injuries were reported.

At 8:50 a.m. Monday morning (December 11), an officer assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit arrested Wilson at the Hilo courthouse without incident.  He was taken to the Hilo cellblock while investigators continued the investigation.  About an hour later, patrol officers located the suspect’s vehicle at a Ala Heiau Road residence in Keaʻau.    A search warrant was later served on the suspect’s vehicle where a handgun and ammunition was recovered.

At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (December 12), police charged Wilson with one count each of first-degree terroristic threatening, ownership (of a firearm) prohibited, possessing a loaded firearm on a highway, place to keep a pistol, and place to keep -ammunition.  Wilson remains in police custody at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $610,000 bail pending his initial Court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (December 13) in South Hilo District Court.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or have any information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Aaron Carvalho of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2272 or Aaron.Carvalho@hawaiicounty.gov.

Trump Sending Astronauts Back to the Moon

President Donald Trump is sending astronauts back to the Moon.

The president Monday signed at the White House Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

President Donald Trump signs the Presidential Space Directive – 1, directing NASA to return to the moon, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, NASA, and commercial space companies in the Roosevelt room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.” The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” said President Trump. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

Two members of the BASALT project, a NASA Mars-analog mission, conduct a high-fidelity, simulated exploration of basaltic (lava-rock) terrain. The geology of their actual location – Kilauea Iki crater on Hawaii Island – is similar to basalt-rich landscapes found on Mars (see below). This provides a good training ground for the group conducting research, designing procedures, and developing tools to make similar missions possible one day on Mars. Pictured are: Stan Love, a NASA astronaut from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Alex Sehlke, a post-doctoral fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
Credits: NASA

“Under President Trump’s leadership, America will lead in space once again on all fronts,” said Vice President Pence. “As the President has said, space is the ‘next great American frontier’ – and it is our duty – and our destiny – to settle that frontier with American leadership, courage, and values. The signing of this new directive is yet another promise kept by President Trump.”

Among other dignitaries on hand for the signing, were NASA astronauts Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Buzz Aldrin, Peggy Whitson and Christina Koch. Schmitt landed on the moon 45 years to the minute that the policy directive was signed as part of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, and is the most recent living person to have set foot on our lunar neighbor. Aldrin was the second person to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Whitson spoke to the president from space in April aboard the International Space Station and while flying back home after breaking the record for most time in space by a U.S. astronaut in September. Koch is a member of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013.

Work toward the new directive will be reflected in NASA’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request next year.

“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’s directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “This work represents a national effort on many fronts, with America leading the way. We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now we are developing a flexible deep space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space. The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path.”

A piece of Moon rock was brought to the White House as a reminder of the exploration history and American successes at the Moon on which the new policy will build. Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by Schmitt’s Apollo 17 crew. Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon and returned with the greatest amount of rock and soil samples for investigation.

Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by NASA’s Apollo 17 crew. The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough.
Credits: NASA

The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough. During the six Apollo surface excursions from 1969 to 1972, astronauts collected 2,196 rock and soil samples weighting 842 pounds. Scientific studies help us learn about the geologic history of the Moon, as well as Earth. They help us understand the mineral and chemical resources available to support future lunar exploration.

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Hawaii Second Healthiest State

America’s health is challenged by an increase in premature death and uneven concentration of health care providers, according to key findings in United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.

America’s Health Rankings

America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, now in its 28th year, provides a holistic view of the health of the nation and of each state by analyzing 35 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data.

Disturbing Trends in U.S. Mortality: Increases in Premature Deaths, Drug Deaths and Cardiovascular Deaths
The report finds increases in the rates for three key mortality indicators.

  • The premature death rate increased for the third year in a row. The rate increased by 3 percent from 2015. Premature death is defined as the years of potential life lost before age 75.
  • In the past year, the rate of drug deaths continued an upward trend, increasing by 7 percent to its highest level ever as measured by the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.
  • Cardiovascular deaths increased for the second consecutive year, with the rate among African Americans significantly higher than the rate among whites, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.

Even Healthy States Are Experiencing Increases in Mortality
Increases in key mortality indicators are being felt even in the nation’s healthiest states.

  • In the past five years, some of the healthiest states by overall rank have experienced large increases in drug death rates, including New Hampshire (a 118 percent increase, with an additional 13-plus deaths per 100,000 people), Rhode Island (a 56 percent increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people) and Massachusetts (a 69 percent increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people).
  • In the past five years, Utah (ranked as the fourth healthiest state) experienced one of the largest increases in the rate of cardiovascular deaths (10 percent, with additional 21-plus deaths per 100,000 people).

Continued Variation in the Concentration of Health Care Providers
The wide variation in health care providers across the country may contribute to differences in overall health.

  • The state with the highest concentration of mental health care providers, Massachusetts, has six times the number of mental health care providers than the state with the least amount, Alabama, Massachusetts has 547 care providers per 100,000 people vs. Alabama, which has 85 care providers per 100,000 people.
  • There is also a significant variation in primary care physicians, with a nearly two-to-one ratio between the states with the highest and lowest concentrations.  Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut have more than 200 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, compared to fewer than 100 physicians per 100,000 people in Utah and Idaho.
  • Similarly, the concentration of dentists varies by almost two to one across states. Massachusetts and New Jersey have more than 80 dentists per 100,000 people. Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Delaware have fewer than 45 dentists per 100,000 people.

State Rankings in 2017: Massachusetts Ranks 1st, Mississippi Ranks 50th

  • Massachusetts ranks as the healthiest state in 2017 for the first time, followed by Hawaii (2), Vermont (3), Utah (4) and Connecticut (5).
  • Mississippi is ranked 50th for the second year in a row with Louisiana (49), Arkansas (48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) rounding out the states with greatest opportunities for improvement.

“This report serves as an important tool for health care professionals, policymakers and communities in their collaborative efforts to address these challenges, and help build healthier communities across the nation,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation, and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “This is a call to action for each of us to make changes in our own lifestyles that can help improve our overall health and well-being.”

Senator Hirono Lashing Out at President Trump – Calls for His Resignation

Senator Mazie Hirono is going off on Twitter today and has called for the resignation of President Donald Trump:

5 hours ago

. is a misogynist, compulsive liar, and admitted sexual predator. Attacks on Kirsten are the latest example that no one is safe from this bully. He must resign.

EPA, State of Hawaii Receive Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Tank Upgrade Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) are reviewing the draft Tank Upgrade Study for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility as part of a 2015 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with the Navy. The Navy study provides in-depth conceptual design information for six upgrade options, but does not recommend one option. EPA, DOH and the Navy will use the study, along with community input and other work produced under the agreement, to select the final upgrade option.

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“This report provides EPA and DOH with information for us to evaluate as the Navy progresses in upgrading the Red Hill tanks,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work is proceeding under our enforceable agreement with the U.S. Navy as EPA and DOH oversee long-term solutions for the Red Hill facility to protect public health and Hawaii’s aquifers.”

A public information workshop will be held in spring 2018 to explain the report and allow EPA, DOH and the Navy to respond to questions and concerns from the community. After the workshop, the Navy will propose a tank upgrade option. EPA and DOH will hold a second public meeting about the Navy’s proposed upgrade decision before approving or disapproving the Navy’s proposal.

The Red Hill Tank Upgrade Study considered more than 30 different approaches to physical improvements to the tanks. Six of the 30 were ultimately selected for in-depth study and evaluated for 20 factors ranging from construction challenges and cost to inspection and maintenance requirements. Three improvement options use a single-walled tank system and three are double-walled systems.

“The Red Hill tank upgrade is an important issue to Hawaii residents, and the AOC outlines a process of careful analysis and decision-making that will result in the most appropriate final outcomes at the facility,” said Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Health. “The Navy has met an important milestone in delivering this assessment of potential tank upgrade options.”

The Tank Upgrade Study and the Navy’s decision process for proposing a tank upgrade option are available for public review and comment at https://www.epa.gov/red-hill/tank-upgrade-alternatives-red-hill.  Any questions, comments or concerns related to the Red Hill Facility can be directed to DOH and EPA by sending an e-mail to red-hill@epa.gov or contacting agency representatives identified on our Red Hill websites.

In January 2014, while refilling Tank 5, the Navy identified a loss of jet fuel from the tank and reported it to DOH, estimating that about 27,000 gallons was released. The Navy drained the tank and collected samples from existing water monitoring wells. Results of samples taken around Tank 5 indicated a spike in levels of hydrocarbons. The Navy increased the frequency of monitoring at a nearby Navy drinking water well, and current monitoring results for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system confirmed they were in compliance with federal and state drinking water standards both before and after the January release.

Red Hill, constructed in the 1940s, is a unique facility in the United States, consisting of 20 underground bulk fuel storage tanks built into a mountain hillside. Each tank is 250 feet tall and 100 feet in diameter, constructed of steel and encased in a minimum of 2.5 to 4 feet of concrete surrounded by basalt bedrock. Each tank has a fuel storage capacity of 12.5 to 12.7 million gallons, giving the facility a maximum capacity of approximately 250 million gallons. Eighteen tanks are currently active, and two are not in use.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/red-hill and http://health.hawaii.gov/RedHill.