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Schatz, Senate Democrats Urge President Obama To Take Robust & Aggressive Actions to Address the Spread of Zika Virus – Comments on Dengue Fever Outbreak

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) joined 45 Senate Democrats today and released a new letter to President Obama urging a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad.

Mosquito Bite

“As the dengue outbreak continues to impact communities on Hawai‘i Island, we need more aggressive action to contain it and to stop the threat of Zika, another mosquito-borne virus that is devastating dozens of countries around the world,” said Senator Schatz. “By increasing funding for critical government research and response programs, we can make real progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and preventing its spread to Hawai‘i and the United States.”

The letter calls for the President to take a number of new actions, including taking the Zika virus into consideration as the Administration coordinates, and allocates resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16, and moves forward with the President’s upcoming FY17 budget request, or subsequent amendments. Additionally, Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

The Zika Virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes, which are also found in the United States. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, the effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage.

The full text of the Senate Democrats’ letter is below:

Dear President Obama:

The ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus requires an urgent and aggressive response from the United States. We are writing to urge you to develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad, and protect pregnant women and children. We also recognize that much is still unknown about the Zika virus, and therefore urge you to consider the potential impact the Zika virus will have on the funding needs of the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) Program at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, and other key programs in Fiscal Year (FY)17. We believe that a well-coordinated interagency response plan, coupled with strong investments in our research and response programs, is critical to addressing the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is transmitted via bites from the same kind of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, there is early evidence its effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage. Scientists are also evaluating a possible link between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. These potential impacts have spurred the World Health Organization to declare the rise in Zika-linked birth defects and neurological conditions a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

In the Americas, it is anticipated that the outbreak could infect up to 4 million people. Because Zika is carried by low-moisture dwelling mosquitos, local transmission is predicted to spread to all countries and territories where the Aedes aegypti is found, including the United States. There is a critical and urgent need for a robust and coordinated response at all levels of government, and it is necessary to enhance efforts to control outbreaks, counter the spread of the disease, and ultimately reduce the potential for outbreaks in the United States.

Investing in the effort to combat the Zika virus abroad is one of the most important things we can do to prevent widespread transmission of the virus at home. The USAID’s EPT Program helps developing countries prevent, detect, and control the outbreak of infectious diseases. The program has been able to successfully use the technical expertise of the CDC in African, Asian, and Latin American countries to combat infectious diseases like Zika. CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) further works to protect against the spread of diseases like the Zika virus both at home and abroad, while USDA’s Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit also plays a critical role in developing better means of mosquito detection, monitoring, and control.

We urge you to take the Zika virus into consideration as you coordinate and allocate resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16 and move forward with your upcoming FY17 budget request or subsequent amendments.

At this time, it is also critically important that we take additional steps to respond to the ongoing outbreak and work to prevent additional cases of Zika from occurring in the United States. To meet this challenge we urge you to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

By taking action now, we can make significant progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and reduce the potential for Zika virus outbreaks in the United States. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Free Chinese New Year Event at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its third annual Fortune Festival on Friday, February 19, 5-8 p.m. To ring in the Year of the Monkey, the colorful Lion Dancers of Big Island Shaolin Arts will perform, and participants can “feed” the lions with  red lai envelopes for new year’s blessings.

Lion Dance

Other highlights include martial arts performances, fire blowing, I Ching fortune telling, relaxing Chinese acupressure, and a Chinese Dragon display where visitors can pose for photos. In addition, the shopping center will offer a good luck “Hang Sau Zung Grab Bag” and various Chinese New Year sales at participating locations.

A variety of foods will be available for purchase during the festival including Chinese chicken salad, Dragon Bowls and Chinese snacks to support Hālau Manaola, plus favorite local flavors from Miranda’s Malasadas, Kona Ice Truck, specialty hot dogs from Kona Dogs, and more.

The Fortune Festival at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome. Additional event parking will be available with continuous shuttle service during the event. For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Notice – Attorneys Interested in Providing Legal Services to DLNR as Hearing Officer in Thirty Meter Telescope CDUP PERMIT Contested Case

In anticipation of the need for the Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a  contested case hearing on In Re Petitions Requesting a Contested Case Hearing Re Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Kaohe Mauka, Hamakua District, Island of Hawaiʻi, TMK (3) 4-4-015:009, the Department of Land and Natural Resources now seeks qualified applicants to provide professional legal services as a hearing officer in this potential case which is pending a remand to the Board by the Third Circuit Court of the State.

TMT laser

Qualifications

An applicant must possess the following basic qualifications:

  • Being an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi and in good standing;
  • Being able to serve with strict impartiality and no conflicts of interest or appearance of conflict;
  • Being available to devote a substantial amount of time in the next six to twelve months; and
  • Willing to accept the prevailing charge rate relevant to the professional service as a hearing officer, as determined by the Department.

Other desirable qualifications include civil litigation experience, practice in administrative law and process, familiarity with government proceedings and procedures, and knowledge of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules administered by the Department.

Submittal Requirements

Qualified parties interested in being considered for selection are invited to submit a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae or resume to:

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Attn: Administrative Proceedings Office
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Facsimile: (808) 587-0390
E-Mail: DLNR.CO.APO@HAWAII.GOV

Applicants from the same company or law firm must submit separate applications to the Department.  Applications may be submitted by mail, facsimile or electronic mail.  The Department will not be responsible for lost or misdirected mails.

All submittals must be received by the Department or postmarked by Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 4:30 p.m. to be considered.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Salutes Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Centennial

With the theme, “Lavalicious – A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” the fifth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is May 13-14 with events headquartered from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in the alluring, rich taste of chocolate—in both its sweet and savory forms—while participating in a host of delicious, fun and informative chocolate-themed activities.

Chocolate fest 2013 a

The two-day chocolate extravaganza includes a cacao plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14 with the indoor-outdoor festival gala—enjoy a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.

General admission tickets to the gala are $75 and VIP tickets are $100 and include early event access at 5 p.m., table seating and specialty wines.

This year’s event celebrates the 100th birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and culinary booths will be judged on how they best depict the event theme that could include Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, Hawaiian culture and the park’s native plants and animals. Biology, geology and culture define the 333,086-acre national park, which was established August 1, 1916.

Chocolate Demo

Culinary stations will also be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs: “best” bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert and Hawaiian cacao. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for two People’s Choice Awards: Best Savory and Best Sweet.

Festivities will include fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures—including one of the largest volcanoes ever created using fine chocolate, chocolate body painting, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Chocolate Festival Chefs

“We are happy to commemorate the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at the Big Island Chocolate Festival,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar. “We look forward to the new booth decorating contest and how our theme will inspire participants.”

Find ticket info at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $396.20 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked through the Festival website under “Tickets.” Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events or calling 1-888-977-4622 and mentioning “Big Island Chocolate Festival Group Rate.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 250

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 250.

Mosquito Bite

As of February 5, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/26/16 to 2/1/16
Cases no longer infectious
247 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/25/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
250

Of the confirmed cases, 226 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
205 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/1/16.

As of today, a total of 1109 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Hilo Municipal Golf Course to be Shortened, Remain Open During Renovation Project

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will shorten the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and open temporary greens so golfers may continue using portions of the links while it is undergoing major renovation.

Hilo Golf Course

Starting Monday, February 8, play will be limited to the front 9 holes and a temporary 9th green opened to accommodate construction work. When renovation of the back 9 holes is completed, they will be opened for play and the front 9 holes closed so renovation work may shift to that section of the course. Temporary greens will be opened at the 17th and 18th holes until new grass is established on the reconstructed greens. Also, temporary tee boxes will be opened at the 15th hole to allow for construction access.

These rotating partial closures are expected to continue through mid-May. During that period, tee times will be modified to allow golfers to play two rounds and create the equivalent of an 18-hole golfing experience.

Course renovation work will include the following upgrades:

  • Reconstructing the 9th, 17th and 18th greens
  • Constructing a new 14th green and using the existing green as a temporary green
  • Replacing all course waterlines
  • Installing new accessible drinking fountains throughout the course
  • Constructing new accessible shelters at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 13th and 18th tees
  • Constructing new accessible restrooms at the 4th and 12th tees
  • Performing structural and safety repairs to the course bridges
  • Tree removal

The Department of Parks and Recreation understands the inconvenience the ongoing construction work will cause, and sincerely appreciates patrons’ patience and understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance Offers United Voice on Bishop Museums Announcement to Sell Its Waipi‘o Valley Lands

On January 8, 2016, Bishop Museum issued a public announcement they are moving forward with the sale of the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Capt. Cook and 537 acres of land in Waipi‘o Valley.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

While the news has taken most of Hawai‘i by surprise, it is not the case for the Waipi‘o Valley community. Over the past 20 years, the Museum has periodically considered selling it’s Valley holdings, and there have been several proposals by State legislators for the state to purchase the lands, the most recent in 2014.

Since 2013, the Waipi‘o community has undergone major changes, with three of the most committed groups becoming more organized and actively seeking ways to work together collaboratively on matters that impact the Valley and surrounding communities.

In late 2015 the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association, the Waipi‘o Community Circle and Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley formed the Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance as a mechanism to reach general consensus and provide a unified voice when communicating with government officials, Bishop Museum and the general community.

Founded in 1989, the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association (WTFA) is the oldest active organization in Waipi‘o Valley. The Association is made up of generational taro farming families who lease the majority of Bishop Museum ’s lands in the Valley. WTFA represents the surviving edge of the Native Hawaiian culture in Waipi‘o Valley and serves as Bishop Museum ’s primary land managers and local community advisors.

Formed in 2000, at the request of 13 community members, the Waipi‘o Community Circle (the Circle), serves as a general community forum. The Waipi‘o Valley Information & Education Officer Program was created by the Circle, as were the five large interpretive signs at the rock wall near the pavilion. A small group of Circle volunteers provided general oversight of the Information & Education Officer program from 2007 until 2014 when the program moved to the Department of Parks & Recreation. This group also represents the efforts of Auntie Ku’ulei Badua who was responsible for initiating “Friends of the Waipi‘o Community Park ” (the former Rice/Thomas property, at the Waipi’o lookout).

Founded in 2014 Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley (Ha Ola) is a membership organization of Valley residents, farmers, cultural educators and practitioners, and Waipi‘o tour operators. The organization is guided by elected Officers with support from the County of Hawaii , the State of Hawaii , Kamehameha Schools and Friends of the Future. Ha Ola was formed to provide representation for Valley stakeholders who were not recognized in the State’s 2013 proposed Senate Bill to purchase Bishop Museum’s lands in Waipi‘o. Among Ha Ola’s current projects are River Maintenance in collaboration with WTFA, stewardship of Kamehameha Schools Valley beach parcels, eradication of Little Fire Ants in the Valley and a 2016 Kalo Festival.

The Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance, combines the strengths of all available community and advisory resources and is committed to protecting current lessees and ensuring the community has a lead voice in proactively engaging Bishop Museum in discussions about the future stewardship of its’ Waipi‘o Valley lands.

For more information about the Alliance contact:

Alliance Community Liaison: Jim Cain, Cell: 333-0457 kinglaulau@hotmail.com

Alliance Culture & Education Liaison: Ka‘iulani Pahio, Cell: 960-5272 kaiulani@kalo.org

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 249

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 249:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 4, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
246 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/24/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
249

Of the confirmed cases, 225 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
204 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1100 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Honolulu Selected for “Local Foods, Local Places” Federal Initiative

On behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 27 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places, and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.

Local Foods Local Places

“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The program is good for the environment, public health and the economy. By helping bring healthy local food to market and offering new walking and biking options, Local Foods, Local Places can help improve air quality, support local economies, and protect undeveloped green space.”

Honolulu was one of the cities selected in 2016 from EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region:

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Hawaii Community Development Authority will focus their Local Foods, Local Places efforts on plans to identify food-based projects that will spur greater investment and stewardship in the Kakaako Makai community; enhance local food production; integrate food security initiatives with community and transit-oriented development planning; and reduce stormwater runoff and vulnerability to sea level rise.

The selected communities were chosen from more than 300 applicants.

Each Local Foods, Local Places partner community works with a team of experts who help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan, and identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.

Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority. The initiative was launched in 2014 and has already helped 26 communities make a difference in people’s lives.

Local Food, Local Places is one of the administration’s community-based initiatives in action across the country. In these places federal experts are working side by side with residents and local leaders to create customized solutions; bolstering coordination across agencies and improving how we interact with communities as a ‘one Government’ partner; and relying on valuable data to help inform solutions and evaluate what is working and what is not.

A complete list of communities participating in the Local Food, Local Places Initiative can be found at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places-summary-reports

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection – Spraying at 2 Kona Schools Saturday

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

As of 1:00PM today the Department of Health reported 2 additional confirmed cases since yesterday and the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak is at 248. These cases include 224 residents and 24 visitors.

As a proactive and preventative measure, the Department of Health will be conducting spraying or treatment of the Kealakehe Elementary and Intermediate Schools in Kona this Saturday, February 6th. 

 

Building and Design Expo Feb. 12-14 – Live Cooking Demo and Book Signing with Sam Choy

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce presents the 11th annual Building & Design Expo February 12 – 14 at the Sheraton Kona Resort at Keauhou Bay‘s Kaleiopapa Convention Center.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, known for his Hawaiian cuisine, will feature his newest kitchen accessories line, Sam Choy’s Hawaiian Kitchen. He will also do a live cooking demo and book-signing.

Abbas Hassan of Tiki Shark Art, Sam Choy and Kirstin Kahaloa, Executive Director of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

Abbas Hassan of Tiki Shark Art, Sam Choy and Kirstin Kahaloa, Executive Director of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

Touted as “Hawai‘i Island’s largest home show,” more than 40 vendor booths will exhibit their goods and services in the three-day event. From general contracting and materials to home design and décor including fine art, the expo often features furnishings, blinds and shutters, window-tinting, kitchen countertops, cabinets and flooring, pest control PC solar and financing.

Event sponsors include Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Hawaii Gas, P.A. Harris Electric, Renewable Energy Services, Sam Choy & Tiki Shark Art and West Hawaii Today. Contact the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce office at marketing@kona-kohala.com or 808.329.1758.

Breakdancing, Hip Hop, and Gender Roles in Opposing Forces

Kahilu Theatre presents AmyO’Neal’s Opposing Forces.

In Amy O’Neal’s Opposing Forces, five B-Boys from different generations and cultures come together in curiosity, strength, vulnerability, and grace in this dance performance that has one foot squarely in street style dance (hip hop) and one foot in contemporary dance story telling.

In Opposing Forces, choreographer Amy O’Neal examines the paradoxical nature of B-Boy culture as it relates to femininity and the value systems of dance battling, commercial dance, stage performance, and freestyle cyphers (jam circles). How do these different environments affect expression? Where are stereotypes changing and where do they remain the same? O’Neal pries open these topics and more via conversation, collaboration, and transfixing dance moves.

Breakdancing

Opposing Forces Performers and Movement Collaborators consist of:

  • Alfredo “Free” Vergara Jr.
  • Brysen “Just Be” Angeles
  • Fever One
  • Michael O’Neal Jr.
  • Mozeslateef

Amy O’Neal is a dancer, performer, choreographer, and dance educator based in Seattle. For fifteen years, she has taught and performed throughout the US, Japan, Italy, and Mexico, and she has choreographed for stage, commercials, rock shows, galleries, dance films and music videos. Her work is an amalgam of her diverse movement and life experiences presenting social commentary with dark humor and heavy beats.

She teaches Contemporary Dance and Urban Styles at Velocity Dance Center and House dance at The Beacon: Massive Monkees studio in Seattle. She teaches dance composition and improvisation for Seattle Theater Group’s “Dance This” program. She spent seven years developing and teaching for Young Choreographer’s Lab and Seattle Youth Dance Collective. She hasworked extensively with musician/comedian Reggie Watts since 2002 both on stage and screen.

Amy O’Neal will also give a Master Class on Friday, February 12 at 4pm. Their master class will provide lessons in stylistic and cultural differences between Hip Hop (which is Breaking, Popping, Locking, and Party Dances), House, Vogue, Whacking, Commercial Hip Hop, Street Jazz, and Amy’s signature amalgam of all these things. The cost is $10, and reservations are available online.

This presentation of Opposing Forces by Amy O’Neal was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as sponsorship by the Western Arts Federation.

Kahilu Theatre doors open at 6pm for evening shows, with food and beverages available for sale.

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $47 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday-Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

Coming Up – Award Winning Magicians at the Honoka’a Peoples Theatre

Award-winning magicians Bruce and Jennifer Meyers will bring their amazing feats of original magic to Honoka’a Peoples Theatre on Sunday, February 28 at 4 p.m., presented in collaboration with the Peace Committee of Honoka’a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.

Magician Bruce Meyers

Magician Bruce Meyers

Designed with keiki in mind, the creative show involves the audience in surprising ways—as Bruce might levitate children in the audience, cut a local politician in half, make dozens of roses, or chickens, appear and disappear. As a prelude to The Magic of Bruce Meyers, aerial artist Luna Sophia will “fly” above the audience in a gracefully athletic performance on the aerial silks.

“Our goal is to provide positive, affordable activities for kids and youth,” said Peace Committee Chair Miles Okumura, “We have this in common—we value the next generation, and depend on them to carry on the traditions, values and messages we share today. And that’s the magic.”

To help further that goal, the team has reached out to the Hamakua Youth Center (HYC), who will be assisting with ticket sales from their Mamane Street location. They are also recruiting business and individual sponsors to help send children and youth to the performance. A $100 donation can provide a classroom of students, a sports team or school club with tickets to attend.

Bruce Meyers Magician

In addition to performing, Bruce and Jennifer run four-day Magic Camps for keiki age 6 and up, where they learn multiple tricks and illusions, and build their own magic kit to take home and practice for a lifetime. (For information on Magic Camp, please call 982-9294.)

“For children, as with music, magic can be an inspiring and fun way to share wonder and learn about achieving goals, to build self-esteem, poise, confidence and teamwork. The mystery of magic inspires children to want to know more and to learn and to do. It inspires that thirst for knowledge. They learn that to give and share wonder is an act of kindness,” says Bruce.

Bruce continues, “We are constantly and diligently involved in providing pathways and direction for the young to carry the torch as the wonder workers and peacemakers of tomorrow. It is they who will spread happiness and joy and remind the audiences of the future that, despite all of its faults, it’s still a breathtakingly beautiful and mysterious world.”

On Bruce’s website is the Hawaiian phrase, “Aka‘aka Loko I Ka Ike A Ke Aloha,” which translates to; “The secrets within me are seen through Aloha.”

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, available online at www.BruceMeyers.com or at Hamakua Youth Center, 775-0976. For information on sponsoring a classroom, club or team contact Miles Okumura, misterokumura@yahoo.com .

Appeal Period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps Begins on Feb. 9th

The 90-day appeal period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) issued last August by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) officially begins February 9, 2016.  Any owner or lessee of real property on Hawai‘i Island who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations may appeal to the County.

Flood MapThe preliminary maps are not just a digital version of the existing paper maps, but include new flood zones and changes to existing flood zones along the entire island coastal area, as well as the upper Waiākea area of Hilo, certain parts of Waimea and North and South Kona.  Hāmākua and Kohala remain largely unchanged.

The sole basis for such appeals is based on information from a certified survey done by a licensed surveyor or a drainage study done by a licensed civil engineer showing that the proposed flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.  All appeals should be submitted to the County Department of Public Works (DPW) Engineering Division by April 26, 2016 to be included in the Appeal Package the County will forward to FEMA for review.

DPW offices are located in Hilo at the Aupuni Center ((808) 961-8327) across from Long’s downtown and in Kona at the West Hawai‘i  Civic Center ((808) 323-4850) on the Ane Keohokālole Highway.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have many uses, including insurance rating and regulation of development.  Use of the maps is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.  Examples are Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 and the heavy flooding in November 2000.

The new digital maps are intended to replace the existing paper maps.  The digital format will allow the maps to be more easily accessed and viewed on the internet.

Flooding is one of the major natural disasters in the United States. These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.

More detailed information is available on the County’s website at http://flood.hawaiicounty.gov/.

FEMA has posted digital copies of revised DFIRM and FIS report materials to the following Website:  https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/prelimdownload/

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 248

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 248:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 3, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
245 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/23/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
248

Of the confirmed cases, 224 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
203 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1087 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Video – Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park Open House & Community Meeting

More than 100 interested people attended an open house and community meeting on the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park master planning process on Jan. 30, 2016.

open house

In this video, DLNR State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell and DLNR First Deputy Kekoa Kaluhiwa discuss their vision for this important natural and cultural resource, for the Hawaii state parks system, and for the importance of community engagement in developing plans for the management and protection of Hawaii’s natural resources.

Kealakekua Open House from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Big Island Chocolate Fest Seeks Culinary Participants

The fifth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes to attendees at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 14 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

chocolate fountainTo honor the centennial anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the festival’s theme this year is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.”

Participating chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of “best” judged categories: bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert, Hawaiian cacao, sweet people’s choice, savory people’s choice and best decorated booth.

Folks enjoying the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Folks enjoying the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Culinary participants are encouraged to decorate their booth for the centennial theme to be judged by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendant Cindy Orlando. Booth elements could include Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, Hawaiian culture and the park’s native plants and animals.

Members of the winning culinary station will receive four tri-park passes good for free entrance to all three, fee-charging national parks in Hawai‘i for an entire year: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 095Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), the event benefits the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i Foundation endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup for free now by filling out the Culinary Participant form at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com/chef-guidelines. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 089

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

Neighbor Island Lawmakers Ask Governor NOT to Sign Wastewater Rule Change – New DOH Rules Would Ban New Cesspools Statewide

Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Governor David Ige not to sign off on a proposed state Department of Health rule change that would ban new cesspools statewide.  A letter, dated February 1, was signed primarily by neighbor island state representatives and senators whose constituents include many rural communities that rely on existing cesspools or the ability to install new ones.

CesspoolThe letter points out that a previous version of the rule change would have required conversion of all cesspools to septic systems, and would have cost Big Island homeowners, with over 50,000 cesspools, $1.5 billion.

“A bill to do that same thing was introduced into the Legislature in 2015 and DID NOT PASS.  In fact, a bill to ban new cesspools was NOT passed.  The will of the Legislature should thus be clear,” the letter states.  “Furthermore, this rule change greatly discriminates against the poorest of our citizens who might not be able to afford to build a home if a septic system is required.

“While the department claims that these rule changes are necessary to protect the public health and preserve our natural resources, the arguments in that regard are weak and unsubstantiated, and in fact contradictory and contrary to current legislative intent.”

The letter also notes that septic systems in Hawaii cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to install, compared to cesspools which range from $2,000-$3,000.

Neighbor island representatives and senators signing the letter include: Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), Rep. Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), Rep. Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona), Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), Rep. Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea), Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala), Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului), Rep. Lynn DeCoite (Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini), Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau), and Senator Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona).

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 246

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 246:

Mosquito BiteAs of February 2, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/26/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
246

Of the confirmed cases, 222 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
201 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/25/16.

As of today, a total of 1071 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

VIDEO – Governor Ige Responds to Dengue Fever Outbreak

Ige on DengueThis morning at the State Capital, Governor Ige along with Mayor Kenoi and Hawaii County Civil Defense Administer Daryll Oliveira met this morning and the following video was livestreamed on the Governor’s website:

Recently a letter went out to Maui residents informing them that a case of Dengue Fever was confirmed on that island.

Dengue Fever Case in Maui