Hawaiian Telcom Expands Fiber Broadband to 5,000 Rural Locations

Today Hawaiian Telcom announced it has expanded fiber broadband to 5,000 locations in rural areas in Hawai‘i. Partially supported by the federal Connect America Fund (CAF), this expansion includes the first CAF deployment on Moloka‘i.

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About 70 percent of the deployments used Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology, enabling access to ultra-fast 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits per second or Mbps) High-Speed Internet service, which Hawaiian Telcom was the first in Hawai‘i to launch in June 2015. Since then Hawaiian Telcom expanded 1 gig availability by more than 50 percent to more than 140,000 residences and businesses on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui and the Big Island. In 2016 Puʻu Lani Ranch and Puʻuanahulu on Hawai‘i Island were the first CAF-eligible areas enabled for broadband with FTTP technology.

“As Hawaiʻi’s Technology Leader, Hawaiian Telcom is committed to expanding broadband access so more of our residents can experience its extensive benefits,” said Scott Barber, President and CEO. “We’re proud to be the only local provider actively expanding broadband within high-cost rural areas and of our ability to deploy speeds more than 100 times higher than the federal requirement.”

Broadband is now available in parts of these communities: Eden Roc, Fern Acres, Fern Forest, Glenwood, Hawaiian Acres, Hakalau, Kaiwiki, Kalapana, Kalōpā Mauka, Kapoho, Kurtistown, Leilani Estates, Miloli‘i, Nanawale Estates, Nīnole, Ocean View Estates, Orchidland, Ouli, Pa‘auilo Mauka and Waiki‘i Ranch on Hawai‘i Island, Huelo on Maui, and Kaluako‘i on Moloka‘i. For more information, visit hawaiiantel.com/Internet or call (808) 643-3456.

In 2015, Hawaiian Telcom was awarded approximately $26 million in CAF Phase II support to deploy a minimum of 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to more than 11,000 unserved locations by 2020. The Federal Communications Commission selects CAF-eligible areas.

 

Hostage Situation Ends – Suspect Shoots Himself in Face

Hostage incident ends in Puna with the arrest of a 33-year-old Leilani man.

A hostage standoff in Leilani Estates ended just after 2:00 p.m. after the suspect emerged from the residence he barricaded himself in since early this morning. After coming out of the home, the suspect shot himself in the facial area with a rifle. Medics were on scene and he was immediately transported to the Hilo Medical Center for treatment. The suspect has been identified as Jovin Chang of Leilani Estates.

After an early morning shooting that injured a 25-year-old male party Chang was located at an address on Leilani Boulevard. Chang barricaded himself in the residence with five individuals. The hostages were five females ages nine, fourteen, eleven, sixteen and thirty. They were all unharmed in this incident.

Leilani Boulevard remains closed as police continue this investigation.

DOH Identifies 14 Priority Areas for Cesspool Upgrades to Protect Drinking Water

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a report with the Legislature identifying 14 priority areas of the state where cesspool upgrades are critically needed to protect public health and the environment. The report indicates about 43,000 cesspools – half of Hawai‘i’s total 88,000 cesspools – are located in the 14 priority areas in all counties and need urgent action.

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“The report findings are troubling and show wastewater from cesspools is beginning to impact drinking water in some parts of upcountry Maui,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The water in these areas is still safe to drink, with no evidence of bacterial contamination; however, there are early warning signs that tell us we must act now to protect the future of our drinking water and the environment.”

Hawai‘i has about 88,000 cesspools, far more than any other state. Cesspools provide no treatment and inject about 53 million gallons of raw sewage into Hawai‘i’s groundwater every day, potentially spreading disease and harming the quality of drinking water supplies and recreational waters. Hawai‘i gets over 90 percent of its drinking water from groundwater.

“In areas, such as Kahulu‘u on Oahu and Kapoho and Puako on Hawai‘i Island, cesspools harm recreational waters and precious coral reefs,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of the Environmental Health Administration. “All cesspools pose a serious threat to our natural environment, and the 14 priority areas are our greatest concern as we are seeing the start of potential impacts to Hawai‘i’s shoreline and drinking water resources.”

The DOH report was ordered by the Legislature earlier this year in Act 125 of 2017. The 14 priority areas with maps of cesspool locations are: Upcountry Maui; Kahalu‘u, Diamond Head, Waimanalo, Waialua and Ewa on O‘ahu; Kapoho, Kea‘au, Puako, Hilo Bay and Kailua/Kona coastal areas on Hawai‘i Island; and Kapa‘a/Wailua, Poipu/Koloa, and Hanalei Bay on Kauai.

In 2016, Governor Ige signed Wastewater System rules that banned all new cesspools statewide. Prior to the ban, there were approximately 800 new cesspools per year. The rules also provided tax credits under Act 120. The Act provides a temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic tank system or an aerobic treatment system, or connecting to a sewer system. A taxpayer may apply for a tax credit of up to $10,000 for cesspools upgraded to a sewer or septic system during the next five years. The program is limited to a total of $5 million or about 500 cesspool upgrades per year. Under the law, owners of cesspools located within 500 feet of the ocean, streams or marsh areas, or near drinking water sources can qualify for the tax credit. To date, about 50 taxpayers have used the program.

“The state began taking action last year, and today’s report clearly highlights the need for greater measures to tackle this impending threat to our drinking and recreational waters,” said Kawaoka. “With 88,000 systems currently affecting our environment, it will take a concerted effort by our entire community to convert existing systems to safer alternatives.”

The cost to upgrade all of the state’s roughly 88,000 cesspools is estimated at $1.75 billion. State law currently requires the elimination of cesspools in Hawai‘i by year 2050. DOH presented its report on cesspools and prioritization for replacement to legislators and will begin community meetings in impacted areas of the state in January 2018, beginning with Makawao on Jan. 9 and Kahulu‘u on Jan. 12. For more information on cesspools in Hawai‘i and the Tax Credit Program for Qualifying Cesspools go to http://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/.

BISAC Receives $10,000 from Weinberg Foundation

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) received a $10,000.00 check from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Sharon Vause, Weinberg Foundation, Anashe Brooks, BISAC Case Manager, and Kim Krell, BISAC’s Director of East Hawaii Services.

BISAC was selected by the Weinberg Foundation employees because of the many good works that they do in the community. BISAC provides services such as their Po`okela vocational Training programs to help individuals gain marketable skills following treatment.

“We are definitely blessed with this generous gift” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “We are grateful for the donation and it will be used to help us continue to inspire positive change and help individuals and their families in our communities.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health. They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

UH Hilo Chancellor Search Begins

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Search Advisory Committee has been appointed, and the committee will begin meeting immediately. A local, national and international search will be opened with the assistance of a professional firm, and the committee hopes to begin screening applicants and nominees by the end of February 2018.

The committee will conduct confidential video interviews of the most promising candidates, and the committee plans to host on-campus visits by the finalists in late April to ensure that students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders are able to meet the finalists and provide input.

UH President David Lassner will receive input from the committee and stakeholders and will then present a recommendation for appointment to the Board of Regents. The start date of the new chancellor will be determined based on the availability of the selectee.

“The next chancellor will be critical in strengthening UH Hilo’s unique position in the state and beyond,” said Lassner. “UH Hilo is enriched by an amazing natural environment for learning and research, a deep grounding in Native Hawaiian language, culture and community, and remarkable faculty and student diversity—all enveloped by the warmth of the welcoming Hilo community. The next chancellor must lead the campus vigorously forward to serve Hawaiʻi Island and the state as a vital part of the UH System with a spirit of innovation and collaboration in order to adapt to the changing environment for higher education in Hawaiʻi and across the nation.”

The 16-member search advisory committee includes representation from UH Hilo faculty, students, staff, the Hanakahi Native Hawaiian council and community leaders. All committee members share a common commitment to the future of UH Hilo.

Co-Chairs

  • Farrah-Marie Gomes, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UH Hilo
  • Vassilis Syrmos, Vice President for Research and Innovation, UH System

Committee members

  • Diane Barrett, Chair and Professor, School of Education, UH Hilo
  • Philippe Binder, Professor of Physics, Natural Sciences Division, UH Hilo
  • Lois Fujiyoshi, Executive Director of Budget and Business Management, UH Hilo
  • Kerri Inglis, Chair of Social Sciences Division and Professor of Hawaiian and Pacific History, UH Hilo
  • Gerald De Mello, Retired Director of University Relations, UH Hilo
  • Carolyn Ma, Dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and Associate Professor, UH Hilo
  • M. Kāhealani Naeʻole-Wong, Poʻo Kula (Head of School), Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi Campus
  • Joni Onishi, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Hawaiʻi Community College
  • Sherrie Padilla, Enrollment Services Manager and Director of Financial Aid, UH Hilo
  • Isaac Pang, Graduate Student in Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, UH Hilo
  • Kaleihiʻiikapoli Rapoza, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, UH Hilo
  • Jennifer Stotter, Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action, UH Hilo
  • Misaki Takabayashi, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor, UH Hilo
  • Victoria Taomia, Vice President of UH Hilo Student Association

Man Shot in Leilani Estates – Ongoing Hostage Situation

2:43 p.m. UPDATE:  The hostage situation has ended in the Puna District. A 33-year-old suspect has been arrested. Leilani Blvd.between Highway 130 and Hapuu Street remains closed.

Hawaiʻi Police are investigating an ongoing hostage incident in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.

This morning at about 5:40 a.m., Puna District Patrol Officers responded to a call of a shooting on Nohea Street. A 25-year-old male victim was located shot several times about his body. That male victim was then transported to Hilo Medical Center where he remains in stable condition.

The suspect in this shooting was then located at a residence on Leilani Boulevard where he barricaded himself inside. This incident is currently being investigated as a hostage situation, and the Hawaiʻi Police Department Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators are on the scene.

The suspect, in this case, is believed to be armed with a firearm.

Leilani Boulevard between Highway 130 and Hapuu Street remains closed and neighboring residents have been asked to evacuate. Police ask that members of the public avoid the area for their safety as well as that of the first responders in the area.