NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to Hold Informational Meetings Across State

NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), today announced that the companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

NextEra Logo

The open houses will take place on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai from April 7 to April 16.

“Since we announced our merger late last year, we’ve been gratified at the reception we’ve received as well as the high level of interest in this important topic for Hawaii,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC. “NextEra Energy shares Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills. We recognize that addressing Hawaii’s energy challenges requires Hawaii-specific energy solutions, and that is why we look forward to meeting with and listening to residents across Hawaii. The meetings will provide us with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while allowing residents to learn more about NextEra Energy and the significant near- and long-term benefits this merger will deliver to Hawaiian Electric customers and the state of Hawaii.”

“In selecting NextEra Energy as our partner, we will join a company that shares our community and environmental values, has a proven track record of lowering electric bills, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and is committed to rooftop solar in Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “We can’t imagine a better match to help us accelerate the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to meet members of the NextEra Energy team and learn firsthand why NextEra Energy is the right partner to help us achieve a cleaner and more affordable energy future for Hawaii.”

About the Open House Meetings

Each open house meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. Senior leaders and other employees from NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric will be available to discuss NextEra Energy’s track record of increasing renewable energy, lowering customer bills, creating innovative solutions for modernizing the grid, and supporting local communities, as well as all the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric.

The dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

Maui County

April 7

  • Central Maui: Maui Electric Auditorium
  • South Maui: Kihei Community Center

April 8

  • West Maui: Lahaina Civic Center
  • Lanai: Lanai Community Center

April 9

  • Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

Hawaii Island

April 13

  • Hilo, Hawaii: Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Puna, Hawaii: Pahoa High School Cafeteria

April 14

  • West Hawaii: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
  • Waimea, Hawaii: HPA Village Campus Dining Hall

Oahu

April 15

  • West Oahu: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
  • Leeward Oahu: Pearl City High School Cafeteria

April 16

  • Honolulu: Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Room
  • Windward Oahu: Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa

Website

To learn more about the benefits of the transaction, please visit www.forhawaiisfuture.com.

Big Island Legislators Secure Over $200 Million in Capital Improvement Funding for Island Projects

Big Island legislators secured over $200 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the House proposed budget.

capital

The proposed budget includes funding for various highway improvements, monies for Big Island schools, plans for a new hospital in Kona, and continued financial support to complete the Kona Judiciary Complex.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $55 million in continued funding for the design and construction of a Judiciary Complex in Kona
  • $1.2 million for the plans and design of a new hospital in Kona
  • $2.35 million for the design and construction of a Kamuela post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant
  • $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $30.212 for the construction of a new combined support maintenance shop complex for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha military reservation
  • $1.675 million for Youth Challenge Academy renovations and improvements at Keaukaha military reservation
  • $2 million for the design of Building A phase 1 renovations at Hilo Intermediate School
  • $1 million for the construction of bleachers at Honokaa High School
  • $230,000 for the construction of drainage improvements and a raised covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School
  • $450,000 for a new baseball batting cage at Waiakea High School
  • $1.58 million for the design of a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $300,000 for parking improvements at Kealakehe Elementary School
  • $8.5 million for the land acquisition, design, construction and equipment for a multi-purpose workforce development processing facility
  • $1 million for the design and construction for Pu’u Wa’awa’a structure improvements and dam compliance
  • $400,000 for the plans and design for improvements at the North Kawaihae small boat harbor
  • $600,000 for the land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka
  • $200,000 for building renovations and improvements at the Paauilo slaughterhouse plant
  • $3.5 million for airfield improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $61 million for the design and construction of a new airport rescue firefighters regional training facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole
  • $1.425 million for physical modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements by mile post 10.60
  • $8 million for the rehabilitation of Ninole Bridge along Mamalahoa Highway (route 11)
  • $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130
  • $660,000 for land acquisition to extend the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $1.5 million for the construction of portable trailers at Hawaii Community College
  • $350,000 to renovate the tennis court at Honokaa High and Intermediate School
  • $2.46 million lump sum for renovations at Hilo High School
  • $1.23 million lump sum for renovations at Konawaena Middle School
  • $780,000 lump sum for renovations at Kohala High
  • $4.99 million for photovoltaic projects for East Hawaii HHSC region
  • $3.492 million total for renovations at Kona Community Hospital
  • $750,000 for an 80 bed intake unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center to address overcrowding

 

Expanded Access to Fresh Produce for Low-Income Individuals and Families

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made funds available that enable the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide eligible farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with free electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment to process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

EBT Card

Administered through the Farmer’s Market Coalition (FMC), the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program expands access to fresh produce for SNAP beneficiaries and expands commerce options for farmers and farmers markets.

The program is available to only to SNAP-authorized farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that were authorized before November 18, 2011. If the applying farmers and famers markets receive approval, the FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting SNAP EBT equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service fees, and wireless fees) for up to three years. Though transaction fees will not be covered, the selected farmers and farmers markets will get to choose their own SNAP EBT service provider from a list of participating companies.

The Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program is a first-come first-serve opportunity, and the program ends when the funds have been distributed.

If a farmers market or direct marketing farmer isn’t yet SNAP-authorized, or became SNAP-authorized on or after November 18, 2011, then they may be eligible for free equipment through MarketLink. Learn more about MarketLink’s application process at www.marketlink.org.

For more information on the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program, including frequently asked questions, an eligibility chart, background information and application instructions, visit http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/freesnapebt/.

Click here for a county-by-county listing of Farmers Markets.

Paniolo Power Files Motion to Consolidate Merger, PSIP Dockets

Paniolo Power Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Parker Ranch, Inc., filed a motion today to merge two of the most important cases currently before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission into one docket—the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ (HECO)-NextEra acquisition and the HECO clean energy plan.

Paniolo Power Company

The Change of Control docket addresses NextEra Energy, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of the HECO Companies. The PSIP docket addresses HECO’s long-term clean energy strategy and transition plan.

“The issues in both the Change of Control and the PSIP dockets are inextricably linked,” said Jose Dizon, General Manager of Paniolo Power. “HECO’s lack of focus on customer value has led it to continue to use oil-fired power plants, with the associated high fuel prices that are passed on to the ratepayers.”

Understanding the destructive effects of fuel volatility, Dizon added, the PUC in April 2014 issued harsh guidance to the Hawaiian Electric Companies to accelerate power plant retirements and aggressively pursue clean energy sources.

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Big Island Hosting 11 Nations: Trans-Pacific Partnership Meeting Begins

Eleven nations will be meeting tomorrow here on the Big Island at an undisclosed location  to work on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010.

Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010.

U.S. failure to pass a trans-Pacific agreement would leave a political vacuum for China to fill.

Beginning tomorrow on the Big Island of Hawaii, U.S. officials will host trade negotiators from 11 nations spanning Asia and the Americas to work toward completing what could be the most significant trade deal in a generation. Five years in the making, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would cover 40% of global gross domestic product and a third of world trade.

Any such deal ultimately will have to make it through the U.S. Congress. In order to prevent lawmakers from amending the agreement and undoing years of international negotiations, Congress will first have to provide President Obama with trade promotion authority, also known as “fast-track,” that allows a yes-or-no vote on the package.

The remainder of this Wall Street Journal opinion piece can be found here: A Trade Deal With a Bonus For National Security

Hawaiian Electric Companies Continues to Accept Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Applications

Contrary to some reports, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to accept solar photovoltaic (PV) applications through the current net energy metering process, which includes a technical review for safety and reliability. The companies are also making significant progress clearing pending applications on circuits that already have very high amounts of solar.

Shaka For HELCOOverall, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light continue to lead the nation in rooftop PV. An estimated 12 percent of the utilities’ customers have rooftop solar system, compared with the national average of less than one percent.

These efforts are part of the companies’ commitment to meet three overarching energy commitments by 2030. These include:

  1. Nearly tripling the amount of distributed solar
  2. Achieving 65 percent renewable energy use
  3. Lowering customer bills by 20 percent

“We know rooftop PV is an important option for our customers. We are continuing to follow the current net energy metering process while the Public Utilities Commission considers our proposal to transition to a fairer, more sustainable program. It’s critical for our community that we increase solar in a way that maintains reliability and is safe and fair for all customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

A recent letter to some Hawaii Electric Light customers who submitted applications for projects in areas of Hawai‘i Island with high amounts of solar has been mischaracterized by a national solar group as an effort by the Hawaiian Electric Companies to stop all solar installations.

“We apologize for the confusion and want to assure our customers that we are continuing to process solar applications. We are reviewing our notification procedures to improve communication with our customers,” Alberts said.

Highlights of progress made

  • Earlier this week, Hawaiian Electric reported to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that it notified an additional 548 O‘ahu customers who have been waiting for their net energy metering applications to be processed. Hundreds more are now being approved.
  • This was the first large group of Oahu customers to be cleared from a backlog of 2,749 applications, all from neighborhoods with high existing amounts of PV as of last October. Hawaiian Electric has committed to clearing 90 percent of that backlog by April, with the remaining customers applications to be approved by the end of 2015.
  • In addition, Maui Electric approved 331 applications in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, nearly clearing its entire backlog. Hawaii Electric Light had 336 applications under review in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar, and approvals have since begun.
  • Overall, more than 3,000 net energy metering applications have been approved since the beginning of the year across the five islands that the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

In January, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light proposed a new program that would support the continued growth of rooftop solar while ensuring equitable rates for all customers. The new transitional distributed generation program would help address the current growing cost shift for operating and maintaining electric grids from customers who have rooftop solar to customers who don’t. At the end of 2013, that cost shift was approximately $38 million. By the end of 2014, that subsidy borne by non-solar customers had grown to $53 million.

In conjunction with this transitional distributed generation program, the utilities expect to be able to help the growth of solar by more than doubling the threshold for neighborhood circuits to accept solar systems. This would eliminate in most of those cases the need for a longer and costly interconnection study.

Hawaii Electric Light Company Selects Ormat to Provide Additional Geothermal Energy

Following a rigorous review of bids submitted as part of a competitive bid process, Hawai‘i Electric Light Company has selected Ormat to provide an additional 25 MW of geothermal energy for Hawai‘i Island.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

The next step in the process is to begin contract negotiations with Ormat, with an agreement to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval.

“We have continued to pursue ways to increase our use of renewable energy and lower costs to our customers, while also ensuring reliable service,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawai‘i Electric Light Company president. “Ormat was selected based on numerous criteria, including attractive pricing, technical design and capability, financial soundness, as well as commitment to resolving all environmental issues and to working with our Hawai‘i Island communities.”

Geothermal technologies provide renewable, controlled dispatchable energy and firm capacity that allow Hawai‘i Electric Light to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant to its island-wide grid.

Firm energy sources like geothermal support the integration of intermittent renewable resources, such as wind or solar, while maintaining reliable service for Hawai‘i Island customers.

A draft Geothermal RFP was issued in early November 2012. The PUC also selected an Independent Observer, Boston Pacific Company, to monitor and advise on all steps of the competitive bidding process to ensure that the process is fair and adheres to the PUC Framework for Competitive Bidding.

More than 47 percent of electricity on Hawai‘i Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind, distributed solar and geothermal.

Hawaii Electric Bills Are at a Four-Year Low

Customers of the Hawaiian Electric Companies are benefiting from lower electric bills due to lower fuel prices. Typical residential bills are at their lowest level in about 4 years.Shaka For HELCO“We are happy to pass these savings straight through to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “At the same time, we’ve seen oil prices drop before, only to rise again. Today’s lower oil prices must not distract us from reducing our dependency on imported oil.

“We remain committed to reaching our goal of getting 65 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” he said.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies also continue working to reduce costs to customers through efficiency improvements and by pursuing cleaner, low-cost natural gas to replace oil while continuing to increase use of renewable energy.

* On Oahu, the residential effective rate is 27.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A typical 600 kWh bill is $177.45, a decrease of $9.77 since last month, and the lowest since March 2011.

* Hawaii Island’s residential effective rate is 33.8 cents per kWh and a 600 kWh bill is $214.71; that is $12.49 lower than last month, and the lowest since October 2010.

* Maui’s effective rate is 31.5 cents per kWh and a typical 600 kWh bill is $198.78, $21.46 lower than last month and the lowest since February 2011.

Free Festivals at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to two exciting events in February: Polynesian Cultural Festival on Monday, Feb. 16, 5:30- 8 p.m. and Fortune Festival on Friday, Feb. 27, 5-8 p.m. Both evenings feature a variety of cultural activities, entertainment, food booths and family-friendly fun.

First up, the new Polynesian Cultural Festival is a monthly interactive event that offers a chance to experience the music and dances of Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa and Hawai‘i “up close and personal.”  Participants will be able to wear the fiercesome face-paint of Maori warriors while they pound Tahitian drums, and even take the Samoan fire knife for a spin. More peaceful pursuits like coconut leaf weaving, Konane (checkers) and hula lessons are available, plus poi ball twirling for the keiki.
Mauna Lani Fire Knife

The event is capped off with The Shops’ popular Polynesian Hula and Fire Knife Dance show by performing group Te ‘E‘a O Te Turama. With vivid costumes and vibrant rhythms from across the islands, male and female dancers bring island stories to life and ignite excitement with a fiery finale. The Polynesian Cultural Festival takes place at The Shops on the third Monday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m.

Later in February, the Fortune Festival honors the Year of the Goat with colorful Chinese celebrations, food, music and more.

Mauna Lani Lion Dance

A powerful hundred-foot Dragon will parade through the shopping center while firecrackers frighten off any evil spirits, and the traditional Lion Dance, with drums and cymbals, lets onlookers “feed” the Lion for good fortune in the year ahead. A Chinese fortune teller, martial arts demonstration, fire-blowing and costume contests for children and adults, plus Asian-inspired cuisine, crackling shrimp chips, and a beer and wine garden add to the festivities.

“We’re so happy that people are discovering The Shops as a fun and interesting place to be,” said General Manager Michael Oh. “In addition to our great stores and restaurants, these two festivals in February add a lot of excitement to the center, and we hope the whole community will come and enjoy. Bring the kids, kick off date night, meet friends for a pau hana—there’s a lot to like about The Shops at Mauna Lani.”

Lunch With Mayor Kenoi and Select Cabinet Members

Mayor Billy Kenoi and select cabinet members discuss opportunities and challenges for West Hawaii’s economy at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2015 Focus Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the annual luncheon offers a unique opportunity for the local community to meet with county department representatives in a casual setting.

Attendees have the chance to have lunch with members of a specific department as well as pose questions to the mayor and cabinet heads. Issues discussed may include update of the Keauhou Aquifer; the county’s solid waste management plan; and the quest to reopen the Kona International Airport international arrivals facility.

Cost for the luncheon is $46 for Chamber and Rotary members, $56 for non-members. No walk-ins allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 808-329-1758.

10th Annual Building and Design Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th annual Building & Design Expo February 6 – 8 at the Keauhou Convention Center at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.Building and Design ExpoFriday evening the expo is open to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and includes a musical performance by Randy Ressler. Saturday expo hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Visit over 40 exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating; fine art; windows and doors; flooring and window treatments; kitchen and baths, home energy products and more. The booths will present products, services and information relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Enter to win giveaways and drawings at vendor booths.

Attendees can also enter to win a grand prize: a 2-night stay at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

For additional information regarding the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Building & Design Expo, go to www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 329-1758.

Parker Ranch Partners with NextEra Energy Resources

 Parker Ranch announced earlier today that Parker Ranch Foundation Trust (PRFT) has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. This agreement provides NextEra Energy Resources with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop renewable energy derived from PRFT’s wind resources.

“We have been aggressively seeking ways to reduce the cost of electricity for our community and our island by using the potential renewable energy resources available on PRFT’s Hawaii Island lands,” said Neil (“Dutch”) Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch. “During this time, we have also been seeking capital and technical expertise from potential development partners. We have been working collaboratively with NextEra Energy Resources for more than a year and believe that they are the ideal partner to utilize PRFT’s wind resources.”

In 2013, Parker Ranch, Inc. commenced a utility-grade integrated resource planning effort with assistance from Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton and Pace Global to evaluate alternative energy strategies for Parker Ranch and the surrounding communities of Waimea and North Kohala as well as the Island of Hawaii.

“Our work with Siemens identified several valuable scenarios utilizing PRFT’s wind resources, combined with storage, that could drive down electricity rates and cut our excessive vulnerability to volatile imported oil prices,” said Kuyper. “Reducing Hawaii Island electricity rates, slashing our reliance on imported oil and decreasing carbon emissions are all important to us because the cost of energy is tied to everything we do.”

Through its Paniolo Power Company subsidiary, Parker Ranch, Inc. is continuing to evaluate the merits of pumped-storage hydro and the economics of utility-scale battery solutions in the generation mix.

“Our community is inherently at the center of our mission and core values,” said Kuyper. “We will continue to engage our neighbors and friends in the process of pursuing our renewable energy and sustainability goals.”

The potential for renewable energy on PRFT’s lands is unique on Hawaii Island and in the State due to the size and scale of the wind resource.  PRFT’s mission is focused on the sustainability of the Waimea community, the hometown of Parker Ranch, by providing perpetual support for PRFT’s four Waimea-based beneficiaries.

PRFT and Parker Ranch, Inc. have recently completed comprehensive strategic planning efforts and each has decided to elevate the pursuit of renewable energy-related opportunities to be one of their highest strategic priorities.

NextEra Energy Resources is one of the largest developers of clean and low-cost renewable energy in North America and is the largest producer of zero-emissions energy from wind resources.

Public Comments Welcome For Revision #1 Of Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is providing an opportunity for the public to submit comments on the proposed STIP Revision #1 to the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015 to 2018 (+2) Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is a four-year plan that identifies state and county transportation projects to be funded, in part, with Federal Highway and Transit Funds.

Click to see draft

Click to see draft

The primary purpose of this revision is to address needed changes to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded projects due to shifts in project schedules, priorities and cost estimate increases or decreases that occurred through the project development process. Other scheduling changes or funding restructuring were also necessary to fiscally balance the aforementioned changes.

Changes to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program reflect updated revenue estimates, project development related changes, and updated grant award schedules.

Proposed STIP Revision #1, new project information and a list of explanations of the changes reflected in this revision can be found on the HDOT STIP website at: http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/revisions-for-2015-2018-2-stip/

Changes to the Oahu portion of the STIP are pending and are concurrently being processed as a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) revision by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Please see more information on the TIP process and TIP Revisions at the Oahu MPO website at: http://www.oahumpo.org/plans-and-programs/transportation-improvement-program-tip/

Hard copies of the proposed STIP may be obtained by calling (808) 587-6355, or by using the contact information below.

Comments on STIP Revision #1 will be accepted until Feb. 9, 2015 by mail, fax, or email to:

Highway Planning Branch
869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
email:  hwy.stip.projects@hawaii.gov
fax: (808) 587-1787

Follow the STIP on Twitter and Facebook at:

http://twitter.com/HISTIPnews

http://www.facebook.com/stip.hawaii

Hawaiian Host to Acquire Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut

Hawaiian Host, Inc. announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with The Hershey Company to acquire the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation.

Hawaiian HostHawaiian Host is one of Hawai‘i’s premier brands and the originator of chocolate covered macadamias with its history dating back to 1927. When the acquisition is completed, Mauna Loa will join Hawaiian Host as a subsidiary. Both companies will continue operating as two distinct, separate brands.

“This acquisition will create a great opportunity for both companies, our employees and the community. It brings Mauna Loa back under Hawai‘i ownership, joins together two strong, local brands, and lays the foundation for continued success,” said Keith Sakamoto, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Host. “We are excited to welcome Mauna Loa’s outstanding employees to the Hawaiian Host family. Both companies have a long history of operating in Hawai‘i and sharing our products with the world. And we remain committed to continuing to offer the same quality products our customers have grown to know and expect.”

In 1946, Mauna Loa planted its very first macadamia nut trees near Kea‘au, just south of Hilo, where its facilities and visitor center are currently located on 136 acres of land. Mauna Loa is one of the largest and most experienced macadamia nut processors in the world with the seasonal capacity to process approximately 40 million pounds of macadamias. They also produce chocolate covered macadamias and flavored macadamia nut products that are distributed locally, nationally and internationally. In 2004, The Hershey Company acquired Mauna Loa.

“Both Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa have a long history of supporting our local growers and farmers as well as our community. And with our more than 300 employees in Hawai‘i we will continue that legacy together,” added Sakamoto.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015. There are no immediate staff changes planned and details of the acquisition will not be released.

Hawaiian Host was founded by Mamoru Takitani, a third-generation Japanese descendent who dreamed of becoming a candy maker. After moving to Honolulu from the island of Maui, Takitani purchased Ellen Dye Candies, a local confectioner since 1927, and renamed it Hawaiian Host. Since then, Hawaiian Host has grown to become “Hawai‘i’s Gift to the World” and remains the leader in chocolate-covered macadamia products. Today, Hawaiian Host has more than 250 products that are sold in more than 23 countries around the world.

Hawaiian Host supports the Mamoru & Aiko Takitani Foundation which provides grants to numerous community organizations and provides academic scholarships for higher education to benefit the young people of Hawai‘i. Since its inception, the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation has provided more than $2 million dollars in scholarships to students from every eligible high school in Hawai‘i.

For more information, visit www.hawaiianhost.com.

 

7th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop

A road trip for quilters and fabric fanatics, the 7th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop revs up February 1- 28, 2015, featuring eight different shops from Kona to Hilo and points in between. Traveling quilters can have passports stamped for a chance to win prizes, collect quilting squares to create a custom “slippa” quilt for 2015, and enjoy the company of fellow quilters island-wide.

Courtesy Big Island Quilt Shop Hop

Courtesy Big Island Quilt Shop Hop

Grand prize, for those who visit and get passports stamped at all eight shops, is a $300 travel voucher for Hawaiian Airlines. Other winners will receive hotel stays, one-yard cuts of fabric, quilt shop gift certificates and more—with special in-store prizes at individual shops.

The eight shops will also have exclusive quilt block patterns, one from each store, plus a custom quilt “center,” for the 2015 Shop Hop quilt. This year’s custom design is a playful take on Hawaii’s favorite footwear: the “rubba slippa.”  Eight different pairs of flip-flops, one from each shop, seem to be kicked off in the sand, flower garden, or at someone’s front door, making for a fun and colorful quilt composition.  Each shop has also designed a custom center block, featuring island images from traditional honu and dolphins to a “yellow polka dot bikini.”

The 7th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop launches February 1, leading into the 22nd Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival and the Hawaiian Quilt Show presented by Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea.  Maps and passports can be picked up any quilt shop on the route, and “shop-hoppers” can follow their own path, or sign up for a West Hawaii bus tour by calling Karen Barry at Quilt Passions, 808-329-7475 – or an East Hawaii tours, with Leimomi at Kilauea Kreations II, 808-961-1100.

For more information contact Mary at bigislandquiltsh@earthlink.net, or visit www.facebook.com/BigIslandQuiltShopHopHawaii.

2015 Big Island Quilt Shop Hop shops:

West Hawaii

Topstitch
Waimea Center: 65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI. (808) 885-4482
www.facebook.com/TopstitchHawaii

Fabric & Quilting Delights
74-5599 Luhia St., Unit D-5, Kailua Kona HI 96740.  (808) 329-8177
www.FabricandQuiltingdelights.com

Quilt Passions
75-5626 Kuakini Hwy., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. (808) 329-7475
www.QuiltPassions.net

H. Kimura Store, Inc.
79-7408 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750.  (808) 322-3771

East Hawai‘i

Pahala Quilting and Creative Sewing Center
96-3196 Maile St., Pahala, HI 96777. (808) 238-0505
www.PahalaQuilting.com

Kilauea Kreations
19-3972 Volcano Rd., Volcano, HI 96785. (808) 967-8090
www.KilaueaKreations.com

Kilauea Kreations II
680 Manono St., Hilo, Hi 96720. (808) 961-1100
www.KilaueaKreations.com

Fabric Impressions
206 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720-2835. (808) 961-4468
www.FabricImpressionsHiloHi.com

Social Impacts of the June 27th Lava Flow

On September 14, 2014 Dr. Mark Kimura, a researcher in economic geography at UH-Hilo, launched the Facebook page “Lower Puna Infographics” to provide information about the social impacts of the June 27th lava flow.  Within days it became one of the most popular online resources among residents of the affected areas of Puna district … and for others equally interested in the effects of the flow on the community.

Resident Survey

Join Mark at the Lyman Museum on January 12, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. as he presents highlights from his info-graphics and the results of his June 27th Lava Flow Social Impact Survey.  Mark will also share his thoughts on the emerging roles of social media in natural disasters, and some of the life lessons his Facebook page’s subscribers revealed to him.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

 

Big Island Residents Lose Electricity on Christmas Eve

This evening on the Big Island of Hawaii, residents across the island reported that they had lost electricity for a time tonight.  From Puna to Kona the outages were reported.

Hawaiian Electric Companies is currently investigating the power failure but has tentatively classified this as a “frequency trip on the system”.
HELCO Response 3When they have determined the exact cause of the island-wide outage I will update this post.

Lava Flow Prescription Medicine Delivery Plan Implemented

In response to the current June 27th Lava Flow projections that expect the lava to reach Highway 130 sometime this month, Bay Clinic and Walgreens Pharmacy have put a delivery service plan in-place that will ensure continued access to prescription medication for the residents of lower Puna. The pharmaceutical delivery service will be launched on Monday, December 29, 2014 out of Bay Clinic’s Pahoa Family Health Center located at 15-2866 Pahoa Village Road.

lava medsWalgreens Pharmacy personnel will dispense prescription medications Monday through Friday out of the Pahoa Family Health Center from 3PM to 6PM. Same day prescription delivery must be ordered by 1PM that day; any prescriptions ordered after 1PM will be delivered the following workday. There will be no delivery services at the Pahoa Family Health Center on Saturday, Sunday, or holidays. Walgreens will call patients to arrange delivery and pick-up of prescriptions. Due to state pharmacy policy, CII-CV prescriptions will be required to be picked-up from the Walgreens store location.

“This delivery service will continue as long as Railroad Avenue remains unaffected by the lava flow,” said Harold Wallace, Bay Clinic CEO. “We are working on other alternative delivery options should Railroad close due to the lava flow.”

For additional pharmacy delivery service information, please contact Lovisa Baysa at Bay Clinic Pahoa Family Health Center, 965-9711.

Hu Honua Moves Forward on Site Construction, Reaches Settlement with Hawaiian Dredging

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) expects to resume onsite operations with a full team of employees and contractors before year-end, including final site preparation, delivery of specialized equipment and construction mobilization.

Hu Honua Bioenergy is refurbishing the former sugar mill power plant at Pepeekeo into a modern biomass electricity generation facility with advanced emission control equipment. HHB will sell electricity to Hawaiian Electric Light Company under a twenty-year power sales contract. The HHB facility will generate about 100 construction jobs during the refurbishment process and 30 permanent operational and maintenance positions once the project is online. Additionally, more than 130 indirect jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and local service shops are expected to be generated in the local economy.

Hu Honua Bioenergy is refurbishing the former sugar mill power plant at Pepeekeo into a modern biomass electricity generation facility with advanced emission control equipment. HHB will sell electricity to Hawaiian Electric Light Company under a twenty-year power sales contract. The HHB facility will generate about 100 construction jobs during the refurbishment process and 30 permanent operational and maintenance positions once the project is online. Additionally, more than 130 indirect jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and local service shops are expected to be generated in the local economy.

The accelerated activity comes after HHB and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company (HDCC) reached a settlement to resolve a contractual dispute between the parties related to the refurbishment of HHB’s renewable energy facility in Pepeekeo.

Specific terms of the settlement are covered by a confidentiality agreement.

“We are pleased to be back on course, moving forward with construction and to resume full site activity,” said John G. Sylvia, Chief Executive Officer for Hu Honua. “As we have stated previously, there were a number of complicated issues across multiple parties that required time to resolve for the settlement; we appreciate HDCC’s patience and efforts in working through the challenges.”

Refurbishment activity, including survey and permitting work, has been underway for the final phase of construction, which is expected to be complete within 12 months, following full mobilization.

In late October, HHB received two shipments of specialized equipment in Hilo—a custom re-injection system and air quality emission control operating system. HHB designed a re-injection system for the brackish water to return to its original source after it has passed through the system’s condenser and cooled the turbine’s exhaust steam. The air quality system will maximize overall system efficiency and lower emissions beyond what is required by regulators.

Additional specialized equipment including fuel handling and the remaining emissions control equipment has been fabricated and is in route to Hilo from the mainland.

Hilo Folks are Big Spenders During the Holidays

Yep… us folks in Hilo are big spenders come Christmas time.  According to Nerdwallet, Hilo ranks 2nd in the most expensive places for holiday spending.

The average family in Hilo spends about $1,172.02 during the holidays.  The national average for a family of four is $877.22.

spending