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Hawaii DLNR Closes Muliwai Trail and Waimanu Valley Campground After Waipio Valley Is Closed as Dengue Precaution

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its Waimanu Valley campground,  following the closure of Waipio valley access road on Wednesday to residents only by Hawaii County officials following confirmation of two cases of dengue in Waipio residents. Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley can only be accessed via Waipio valley. Campers with existing permits will be contacted by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife. No new permits will be issued until further notice.

Waimanu Valley

As a precaution to prevent the spread of dengue fever, the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area was been closed to all traffic yesterday afternoon.  Access will be limited to valley residents only.  This restricted access will remain closed for 8-12 weeks after no new cases are diagnosed in the area by health officials.

Dengue is a virus that is transmitted from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then infect another person. Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. Of the 215 confirmed cases, 2 are recent and could be in the stage of their illness in which they can infect mosquitoes.

Symptoms of dengue include a high fever, intense headache and joint pain, and rash on the arms. If you suspect you may have dengue, contact your health care provider and remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For further information about the January 13, 2016 Waipio closure go to the Hawaii County Civil Defense website http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

For additional information on dengue and preventing the spread, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001. Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

Hawaii Judges Lead Grassroots Effort to Help Landlords and Tenants Curb Evictions

First Circuit District Court Judges Hilary B. Gangnes and Michael K. Tanigawa are leading a grassroots effort called STAE (Steps to Avoid Eviction).  STAE’s mission is to find ways to ensure that landlords get paid the rent they are owed and tenants are not evicted, by encouraging tenants and landlords to use available resources in a more timely and effective manner.

Judiciary“There are a lot of organizations and people out there who want to help,” said Judge Michael Tanigawa.  “The first step was getting everyone together in one room to discuss current landlord and tenant challenges and to see how we could more effectively partner together and use the resources we have.  The next step was getting essentially a one-stop-shop of information, listing the collective resources and services currently offered to landlords and tenants.”

The grassroots effort includes representatives from the State Department of Human Services, Homeless Programs Office; City & County of Honolulu, Department of Community Services; University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law, Students for Public Outreach and Civics Education; Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii; Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; Helping Hands Hawaii; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Mediation Center of the Pacific; and landlord attorneys David Chee, Kenneth Lau, and Richard Yanagi. The group put together an informational flyer (please see attached), which will be distributed throughout the community.  The Honolulu Board of Realtors has also offered to make copies of the flyers for distribution to community groups.

“By the time the landlord-tenant cases come to us, it is frequently too late,” said Civil Lead Judge Hilary B. Gangnes.  “We see many mom and pop landlords struggling to make ends meet after their tenants have skipped months of rent.  We also see tenants who are drowning in mounting bills, often after unexpected circumstances.  The key is early intervention.  We hope by providing more collaborative information, we can help save landlords and tenants time and money, as well as curb evictions.”

“I’d like to thank Judges Gangnes and Tanigawa for their initiative and desire to help the community, as well as District Court Chief Judge Barbara Richardson for her leadership,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “I also want to extend my appreciation and thanks to the city and state agencies, non-profit organizations, community partners and those in the private sector, whose collaborative efforts and generous support have made this initiative possible.

UH Hilo Student Association President and Volunteer Filing Temporary Restraining Orders on Reporters

On Thursday, 12/2/15, in the District Court of the Third District Judge Harry heard from 2 UH Hilo students who filed temporary restraining orders (TROs) against 2 UHSUnews reporters. UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) President Lazareth Sye and UHHSA volunteer Brian Lebeda filed the TRO against reporters Ryu Kakazu and Donovan Shouse. UHSUnews applied for and was granted ‘extended coverage’ to film the Lebeda v Shouse court case and can be seen at the link here.

UHHSA1

While student union reporters were charged with harassment due to participating in the student government’s public meetings, we maintained the right of the free press and referenced what UH Hilo UH Hilo Dean of Students told UHHSA in their public senate meeting that the meetings were public and may be recorded ( see 10/5/15 YouTube here ).

After the judge told Lebeda that filming in public is legal and appropriate, Lebeda said in the courtroom, “she [Dean Oaks] told me that these public [UHHSA] meetings were not public. That is why I am proceeding with this.” Judge Freitas responded, “I have a difficult time finding meetings that are private because if meetings were private no one could go.” When questioned later Oaks said, “I am more than a little surprised a judge would allow hearsay in a legal proceeding. As it relates to recording, we did consult with our legal counsel on this matter as there appeared to be some confusion.  UHHSA meetings, according to their documents as they currently read, are open meetings.”

HOW IT HAPPENED:

The complaints stem from Sye and Lebeda enforcing rules that were in violation of the constitutional right for reporters to film public UHHSA meetings. Disregarding what Dean Oaks said, they continued to put restrictions on participation while objecting to the reporters’ ability to film the public UHHSA meetings. UHHSA members posted signs (see link here and here)on the entrance to the public UHHSA meetings on these dates: 10/8, 10/15, 10/23, 10/30, and 11/5/15. One of the signs stated recording devices were prohibited in the meeting, which is a violation of state law, UH policies, UHHSA constitution, and the US constitution. UHSUnews reporters attended meetings on 10/8, 10/15, 10/23, 10/30, and 11/5/15. UHSUnews reporter Donovan Shouse was denied access to the 10/15 UHHSA meeting by an UHHSA member.

UHHSA Senator Briki Cajandig, one of three UHHSA senators who voted to allow the recording, stated at the 10/23 UHHSA meeting, “I feel that you should be able to.” Cajandig later said, “The power to record shouldn’t solely lie in the hands of an entity that is running an open and public meeting. There needs to be transparency, accountability, and trust between our students and their representatives. This is vital. The Senate is responsible for representing our students; we need to account for their voice in any decision we make. By creating any rules that hinder this kind of student participation, we are going against the voice of our students.”

At the 10/30/15 UHHSA meeting UH Hilo Campus Security threatened UHSUnews reporters. Campus Security threatened the reporters telling them that if they did not leave the meeting, security would call the police to physically eject them from the meeting ( see 11/4/15 press release link here). One of the press members filed a complaint with UH Hilo Director of Security Darrell Mayfield on 11/3/15 ( link to complaint here). Mayfield has not responded.

HISTORY OF CAMPUS CENTER DISREGARD FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND MISCONDUCT

Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano was the acting UHHSA adviser at the 10/30/15 UHHSA meeting, is the official liaison to UHHSA and UH Hilo (see link job description). Kusano is also named on the recent lawsuit against UH regarding free speech where UH paid $50K and updated their ‘Free Expression’ policy as a result (see free speech overview link here).

In the 10/5/15 UHHSA meeting, UH employee Leomi Bergknut was acting UHHSA adviser. In that meeting, UH Hilo Dean of Students Kelly Oaks told UHHSA that recording devices are legal in public meetings. In response to recording a meeting for personal purposes Bergknut said, “as a Native Hawaiian I do not like to be filmed or recorded.” Bergknut is also named on the above referenced free speech lawsuit.

UHHSA Adviser Shara Mahoe in the 10/8/15 UHHSA meeting requested funding from UHHSA, the organization she was voluntarily supervising, to contribute additional monies on top of the salary she already receives. This is possibly a violation of Hawai’i Revised Statutes §84-13(4) which states,  “You may not engage in a substantial financial transaction with a subordinate or person or business you inspect or supervise in your official capacity.” Just after the student union published the meeting for public view, Mahoe resigned from UHHSA on 11/5/15, but is still employed at UH Hilo.

Anonymous student conduct codes filed against union reporters; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs investigated and dismissed the allegations.

An anonymous student conduct code complaint was filed with UH Hilo directed at UHSUnews reporters, the news branch of the student union.The Student Union, a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo. Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Gail Makuakane-Lundin dismissed the complaint saying, “UHHSA’s constitution states, ‘All meetings shall be open and publicized.’ You [reporter] as a member of UHSU did attend scheduled UHHSA Senate meetings on October 8, 2015 and October 23, 2015,” and, “Your participation in the UHHSA Senate meetings did not rise to the level of intimidation or harassment or that it disrupted UH activities. You did not engage in disorderly behavior,” and, “The evidence does not support the finding of a violation of UH Hilo Student Conduct Code.” The VCSA went on to recommend mediation between UHHSA and UHSU, “to talk about and resolve differences.”

Jennifer Ruggles, former UHHSA Senator for College of Business and Economics and current student union reporter, “Basically UHHSA is violating state law, their own constitution, UH policies, and the US constitution,” …“It is shocking how students are being misled in ways that can forever tarnish their record. The unfortunate reality is UHHSA is not receiving the ethical and adequate guidance they need from UH Hilo,” Ruggles said.

UHSU will be filing complaints this week.

Commentary – You All Need to Know, Dengue and West Nile Virus Tested Positive on Big Island

Commentary:

You all need to know that one of the women who came down with dengue fever in my late October retreat at Hale Kai ( Ho’okena) has just received word/paperwork from her doctor that she tested positive for both dengue fever and west nile virus.

She came down with symptoms within days of leaving the Big Island and was in the hospital in California for over a week. The hospital has reported the results of the test to the DOH and the CDC is investigating.

The other woman who came down with dengue fever at the retreat was not to my knowledge tested for west nile virus (she tested positive for dengue fever). The woman who tested positive for west nile virus wants to know if any one else on the Big Island has been tested for west nile virus.

Alexandra Kennedy (Facebook Post)

Alexandra Kennedy

Zonta Service Project Presents $10K to Neighborhood Place of Puna

The Zonta Club of Hilo organized a Halloween party—“Halloween Madness”—for more than 125 individuals at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) on October 24.

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna.  Photo by Jenna Roussy

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna. Photo by Jenna Roussy

“Halloween Madness” was done as part of The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program, which gave the Zonta Club’s chosen non-profit $10,000 upon completion of a sweat equity project. The Halloween-themed event was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s 2015 project.

Hilo Zontians kicked off the event with direct work activities including installing curtain rods and curtains to help cut glare in NPP’s multipurpose room, and creating 20 holiday readiness cleaning buckets as well as 200+ personal hygiene kits for families in need.

Following the work session, 25 client families with four to six children ranging in age from months to 12-years-old, were invited to make healthy snacks including a vegetable witch’s broom and Oreo cookie spider; visit the craft station and create monster magnets, decorate trick-or-treat bags or fold origami; and select an outfit from the costume closet. Target Hilo donated $400 worth of Halloween costumes to help fill the closet.

“It was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s absolute pleasure to support the good work Neighborhood Place of Puna does to empower area families with knowledge and resources,” said Julie Tulang, organizer for event. “Hilo Zontians and volunteers found it very rewarding to be able to interact with the families in the spook-tacular spirit of Halloween.”

After the morning’s work and Halloween activity sessions, Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presented a $10,000 grant award to NPP Executive Director, Paul Norman, to support Neighborhood Place of Puna’s “Kamalama Parenting Project,” a parenting curriculum to help area families raise healthy children in a safe, stable home environment.

Queens and princesses from Lehua Hawaii Productions (LHP) were on-hand to volunteer at “Halloween Madness.” Prior to the event, LHP in partnership with Zonta Hilo, hosted a costume and personal care items drive to secure donations.

For the last 17 years, the Zonta Club of Hilo has taken part in The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program.

EPA Fines Hawaii Businesses for Cesspool Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it has completed enforcement actions with the Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui, Vacation Inns International on the North Shore, Oahu, and Shaka’s in Pahoa on the Big Island, for failure to close their large capacity cesspools. Travaasa will pay a penalty of $187,500, Vacation Inns International will pay $40,000, and Shaka’s will pay $82,425.

In addition, EPA has also filed a civil complaint against landowner Keith Ward of Waimanalo for operating two illegal cesspools that serves Serg’s Mexican Kitchen restaurant.

“Cesspools serving resorts and restaurants can pollute the groundwater and nearshore waters where people swim,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is committed to protecting Hawaii’s precious water resources by closing down all large capacity cesspools.”

Cesspools, which are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state, discharge raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui

Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort in Hana, Maui

The Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort (formerly known as the Hotel Hana Maui) has voluntarily closed a number of its cesspools over the last three years, and has committed to closing its remaining 14 large capacity cesspools within the next two years, replacing them with state-approved septic systems.

The same is true for Vacation Inns International (also known as Backpackers Hawaii Vacation Inn) and its six cesspools, located on the North Shore of Oahu, a popular destination for surfers from around the world.

Shaka’s Pahoa LLC that operates the Pahoa Café nightclub has closed one cesspool and has another remaining cesspool to close.

The civil complaint against landowner Keith Ward of Waimanalo where two illegal cesspools for Serg’s Mexican Kitchen operates, stems from an EPA inspection in 2011. Mr. Ward allegedly refused to submit a proof of closing for the cesspools that provides service to the restaurant. Serg’s is located in the Waimanalo watershed, targeted by EPA and the State because it is burdened by multiple sources of water pollution.

Throughout the state of Hawaii, over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed, many through voluntary compliance, since the ban was instituted in 2005. Large capacity cesspools include those discharging untreated sewage from multiple residential dwellings, and from non-residential locations that have the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. The regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools or to non-residential cesspools that do not have the capacity to serve 20 or more people.

For more information on the completed cases visit:
http://www3.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/pubnotices/pubnotice-heavenly-hana.html
http://www3.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/pubnotices/pubnotice-vacation-inns.html
http://www3.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/pubnotices/pubnotice-shakas-pahoa.html

For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban, please visit:
http://www2.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy Picks Big Island Charity – Public Invited to Debut Party

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy announced today that partial proceeds from his two-day Hawaiian Kitchen Line event coming up Nov 6th and Nov 7th will be donated to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker with members of the

Sam Choy and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker with members of the Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation

“Local Big Island organization such as Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation who do so much for our local underprivileged population to keep them healthy are very dear to me” quoted Chef Choy. “It’s always a pleasure to support them” he added.

In a personal meeting with Chef Sam Choy, Executive Director Bruce Merrell expressed his deepest gratitude and thanks for naming his organization the beneficiary. “I am excited to see Chef Choy support our cause and include us in this iconic event” said Merrell.

Sam Choys Hawaiian Kitchen Line National debut party is being held at Kona Oceanfront Gallery November 6th and at The Royal Kona Resort on November 7th.

Come meet Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and Renowned Artist Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker Kona Oceanfront Gallery November 6th and at The Royal Kona Resort on November 7th.

Come meet Celebrity Chef Sam Choy and renowned Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker on November 6th and 7th at the Royal Kona Resort.

Starting off with a Art auction of original designs created exclusively for this event by Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker. There will also be free pupus and free entertainment provided by legendary John Cruz and teenage musical sensation Aidan James. This free event is open to the public and is expected to draw record crowds.

For more information and details about the event, please contact: Jill Weiss – Kona Oceanfront Gallery808 334 0037

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Update – High Aerial View of Pu’u O’o

High aerial view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking south-southwest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The current crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is about 280 m (~920 ft) long and 230 m (~755 ft) wide, with a depth of about 25 m (~82 ft). To the west of the crater is another pit 49 m (~161 ft) across that contains a small lava pond.

The pit west of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, shown here, is overhung on most sides and may continue to widen with time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava pond inside is relatively placid, appearing as a black surface, usually with a few tiny spattering areas along the edge.

Lava flows are scattered across a broad area extending from about 3 to 8 km (2–5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The active flows start just above the horizontal mid-line of the photo, but cannot be picked out easily within the broader inactive flow field due to their distance away in this photo. The most distant active lava is burning forest, and the bluish smoke from this can be seen in a few areas in the distance, partly shrouded by clouds.

Hawaii Senators Stand with Planned Parenthood

Extreme Bill Fails to Advance Thanks to Leadership of Hirono and Schatz

Planned Parenthood

Today, an extreme bill in front of the United States Senate to federally defund Planned Parenthood failed to advance after a 53-46 vote. The victory for advocates of women’s health, family planning, and comprehensive sexual health education was helped by the leadership of Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz. Both Hirono and Schatz are steadfast champions of women and families in Hawaii, and each issued a statement affirming their support for Planned Parenthood.

Statement from U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono:

“Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services to millions of women across our country, including thousands in Hawaii. For many women, especially low income women, survivors of domestic and sexual assault, young women, and others, Planned Parenthood is their primary health care provider—who they go to for cancer screenings, birth control, and other essential health care services. The Republican fearmongering and desperate efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are an attack on women’s health. I will stand vigilant against these attempts to set women’s health care back decades.”

Statement from U.S. Senator Brian Schatz:

“From family planning to cancer screenings, Planned Parenthood’s full range of health care services have been vital for millions of women across the country.  Yet again, we are seeing extreme attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s health.  While these kinds of attacks on women’s health are not new, they’re a reminder of how we must constantly work to defend a woman’s right to choose. In the Senate, I will continue to fight against any effort to defund Planned Parenthood and deny women access to critical health care services.”

Pahoa Woman Arrested in Connection of Truck Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Puna woman in connection with the theft of a pickup truck with a handgun inside.

On July 9, a 51-year-old Kailua-Kona man reported that his truck had been stolen from the parking lot of a supermarket on Palani Road in Kailua-Kona. A registered, unloaded handgun in a case was reportedly in the stolen truck.

Ashley Faustina

Ashley Faustina

During the investigation, police recovered the truck and handgun and identified a suspect, 31-year-old Ashley Faustina of Pāhoa.

Faustina was arrested Thursday (July 23) in Hilo and charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree theft and violating terms of release on bail. Her bail was set at $60,000 for the property crimes. She is being held at Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center.

Gupton and Parker Top Best of the West Art Show

Kona Oceanfront Gallery hosted its 6th Annual Best of the West Art Show tonight. With 35 + local Big Island artists showing off their talent to over 400 guests in attendance, the gallery broke all its past records!

Alex Gupton, Ernest Young, Penny Gupton, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mark Hanna, Clint Sloan & Josh Lambus

Alex Gupton, Ernest Young, Penny Gupton, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mark Hanna, Clint Sloan & Josh Lambus

“This event is our way of supporting the local art community” commented Owner and CEO of Kona Oceanfront Gallery, Mark Hanna “and judging by tonight’s record breaking attendance, our local Big Island community is loving every minute of it” he added.

The top 6 winners were announced by tonight’s guest of honor – the publisher of West Hawaii Today News – Ms. Tracey Fosso. The results are as follows:

  1. Alex Gupton
  2. Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker
  3. Penny Gupton
  4. Josh Lambus
  5. Clint Sloan
  6. Ernest Young

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Volcano Area of the Big Island

EDIT:  IT HAS NOW BEEN UPGRADED TO A 5.0 Magnitude Quake

A huge earthquake just shook the Volcano area of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Preliminary reading of the magnitude reported it at 4.8 5.0 Magnitude:

4.8 hiloUPDATE:50 Big Island

Big Island Medical Marijuana Collective Open for Business

Alternative Pain Management Pu`uhonua’s Collective is celebrating being open for 6 months.

medical marijuana in jarsThe Big Island’s First Medical Cannabis Collective is dedicated to providing a medical cannabis community, access to an uninterrupted supply of medical cannabis in all forms, safe disposal of excess medical cannabis for compensation, expert consultations, legal resources, access to other members strains and techniques, professional advise on the safe consumption of medical cannabis in all forms, discount medical supplies and much more. As member’s health and safety is important, MyDx purity testing device is coming soon and starting in July all medicine will be analyzed prior to being transferred.

It is free to join! All members must have a valid medical marijuana certification, state ID, complete an intake and agreement form and sign a confidentiality statement.

The Collective is located in Mountain View and is your one stop shop for all of your medical cannabis needs. New members are processed on MondaysWednesdays and Fridays. Once you’ve joined, the Collective is open 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M.. Call 968-0633 and ask for Mike to make your appointment to join.

Big Island Police Identify Body as Woman Reported Missing

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the body of the woman found Monday (June 1) in Umauma Stream.

She was identified through fingerprints Tuesday (June 2) as 62-year-old Bobbie Jackie Carnathan of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing Saturday (May 30).

An autopsy conducted Wednesday (June 3) determined that she died from traumatic injuries consistent with a fall from a height. Police do not suspect foul play.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue to investigate this incident, which is classified as a coroner’s inquest. They ask witnesses who may have seen Carnathan on a “Hele On” bus or who had any contact with her at the World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls park in Hakalau to contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or dean.uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov.

Man Drowns Off OTEC Beach

The lifeless body of the swimmer who went missing Monday morning (June 1) in waters off OTEC Beach was located Monday afternoon.
HPDBadgeFire Department personnel located him approximately 25 yards off short submerged in the ocean. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead.

He has been identified as 26-year-old Richard Demby of Kailua-Kona. An autopsy conducted Tuesday (June 2) determined that he died from saltwater drowning

2015 Big Island Film Festival Announces Winners

The 2015 Big Island Film Festival held at the Fairmont Orchid is wrapping up tonight with a concert by the Rough Riders.

Arielle Kebbel received the 2015 Golden Honu Award for "Rising Actress" from Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears.

Arielle Kebbel received the 2015 Golden Honu Award for “Actress On The Rise” from Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears.

This years celebrity honorees were Arielle Kebbel and Will Estes.

Will Estes with his Golden Honu Award for Best Actor.

Will Estes with his Golden Honu Award for Actor of the Year.

This morning at a luncheon reception, winners of this years awards were announced:

Screenplay Awards
· Finalists – Debbie the Viking, War 2.0
· First Place – Garbagemen

Golden Honu Awards
· Shorts
Best Student Short – Sin Frontera
Best Hawaii Short – The Fishing Club Movie
Best Family Short – Butterfiles
Best Foreign Short – The Rabbit
Best Short – Our Father
Best Special Effects – The Sun Devil and The Princess

· Features
Best Foreign Feature – Patterson’s Wager
Best Family Feature – Under The Blood Red Sun
Best Feature – WildLike
Barbara Award – Jilel – The Calling of the Shell Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands

Audience Choice Feature – Honeyglue

Audience Choice Short – Butterflies

2015 Big Island Film Festival 110Congrats to everyone who submitted films and were selected to participate in this years festival.  All the films were excellent!

Lava Breakouts Continue – Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Reaches New High Level

Breakouts on the June 27th lava flow remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A new, small, breakout appeared recently from the tube adjacent to Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, the small forested cone near the center of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

The new breakout is the light-colored curved flow in the left portion of the photograph.

The farthest active breakout on the June 27th flow reached about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

The tip of this breakout was narrow and burning forest.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

The June 27th flow covers much of the top of the photograph, and recent expansion of the flow margins has sent lava cascading into one of the ponds on the 2007 perched lava channel.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

Over the past week small flows have filled the bottom of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

These flows originated from vents in the south portion of the crater, and one of the flows can be seen near the center of the photograph.

hvo141The Overlook crater lava lake, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit, has been rising over the past few days, and today reached the highest point yet measured for the current summit eruption.

The lava lake this afternoon was 20 meters (66 feet) below the Overlook crater rim.

 Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

The lava level was high enough at the lava lake this evening that bits of spatter were reaching the rim of the Overlook crater.

hvo143

 

World-Class Pastry Chefs and Cacao Experts at the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Make chocolate from scratch. Get the insider scoop on growing cacao—the bean needed to make chocolate—and find out why it must be fermented properly. See how to make chocolate dessert sensations—and taste them— by the nation’s leading pastry chefs.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020All these compelling educational offerings are part of the fourth Big Island Chocolate Festival May 7-9 at various West Hawai‘i venues. The fun demonstrations and informative seminars lead up to the festival gala 5:30 p.m. May 9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Here’s a quick rundown of activities:

Thursday, May 7

  • 9 a.m.-noon: Chocolate-Making Class. Una Greenaway instructs participants on how to make chocolate at her Kuaiwi Farm in Captain Cook, $50. Register at 808-328-8888.

Friday, May 8

The following four activities are at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i; $75 for all in advance or $30 at the door individually. Tix at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com:

  • Noon-12:45 p.m. Seminar: “Cacao Fermentation & Chocolate Micro-Terroir.” Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate tells why fermenting is the most important step for determining flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making.
  • 1-1:50 p.m. Seminar: “Hawai‘i Cacao Farming-Tree to Bar.” Presenters Tom Menezes of Hawaiian Crown Hilo and Una Greenaway of Kona’s Kuaiwi Farms discuss plant varieties and where to get them, how to plant and where, plus current business opportunities for Hawaiian-grown cacao.
  • 2-3:30 p.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation.” Derek Poirier, Valrhona Pastry Chef Western USA, gives step-by-step instruction to make Tarte Baba Cool. An international pastry competitor, Poirier develops recipes and teaches master classes for the famed L’Ecole du Grand Chocolate in France.
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation.” Stanton Ho, “Top 10 Pastry Chef in America 1994- 1995,” shows how to concoct a chocolate/coconut/salted caramel dessert called Cocoa Puffs.
    Pastry Chef Stanton

    Pastry Chef Stanton Ho

    After seeing Chef Ho in action, you’ll know why the Hawai‘i native was named Pastry Chef of the Millennium by Paris Gourmet in 2000.

Saturday, May 9

  • 9-11 a.m.: Cacao Farm Tour. Take a cacao farm and soap factory tour at Kona’s Kokoleka Lani Farm to see how cacao is grown and used in the production of Kona Natural Soap Company products, $25. Tix at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Chocolate decadence culminates 5:30-9 p.m. May 9 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom. Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, entertainment and a silent auction.

Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Tix info at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Find festival updates on facebook and Twitter, #BIChocoFest. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are offered by the Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

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.

Governors Statement on TMT Construction Postponement

Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

Top View of TMT Complex

Top View of TMT Complex

My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

  • Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit
  • Reducing the level of activity on the summit
  • Integrating culture and science

My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

Ka’u Coffee Festival – April 24 to May 3

Showcasing all that makes the rural District of Ka’u so special, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks with activities for all ages April 24-May 3. Now in its seventh year, the festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s multi, award-winning coffees at numerous events, but also features stargazing, a rainforest hike and much more.

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

“We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy over 10 days,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer. “While all of last year’s great events return to the festival, we’re always trying to exceed the expectations of our guests. When you have a vibrant community producing some of the finest coffee grown anywhere, my job is actually pretty easy. We’ve added a second mauka hike to keep up with popular demand.”

One popular reprise is the tasty recipe contest using Ka’u coffee as an ingredient. The Ka’u Coffee Recipe Contest offers friendly competition in pupu, entrée and dessert categories Saturday, April 25 at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. During the 2 p.m. judging, enjoy free entertainment, coffee and recipe sampling.  Contest entry is free and the deadline is April 19. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

The Pahala Community Center is the new venue for the annual Miss K‘au Coffee Pageant where doors open at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Contestants aged 17-24 are judged in talent and gown categories and win prizes and local fame, according to pageant chair Gloria Camba.  Participants also vie for Most Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Miss Popularity.  Admission is $10 with additional donations appreciated; door prizes will be awarded.

The highlight of the 10-day activity lineup is the free Ka’u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday, May 2 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. New this year, admission into the tasty Ka‘u Coffee Experience is free and coffee enthusiasts can sample professional barista-guided tastings of Ka‘u coffees prepared a variety of ways—like a pour-over. French press or cold brew—9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers at gaily decorated booths with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during informative Ka’u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Most events are free while others require a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m. The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest hosts a cooking competition at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka’u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Sunday, April 26, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee and Miss Ka‘u Peaberry. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Pahala Community Center. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 1 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Find out how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 1 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 2 tantalize your taste buds at the friendly Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers guided coffee tastings 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 3 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.