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93 Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever – More Community Meetings Scheduled

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Tuesday November 24th at 2:15PM.

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak. As of 10:00 this morning the Department of Health has reported 93 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island. These cases include 80 residents and 13 visitors.

Mosquito Bite

Community Information Meetings on the Dengue outbreak will be conducted at the following locations:

  • Tonight at 6:30 PM at the Mountain View School Cafeteria
  • Friday November 27th at 6:00PM at the Ocean View Community Center
  • Monday November 30th at 6:00PM at the Waimea Middle School Cafeteria
  • Tuesday December 1st at 6:30PM at the Kohala High School Cafeteria
  • Thursday December 3rd at 6:30 at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria

Lava Erupts Onto Floor of Pu’u O’o Crater

Lava began to erupt onto the floor of Pu`u `O`o crater at about 6 a.m. this morning. At the summit the lava lake is still active.

lava 1124

A section of the northern rim and wall of the summit vent collapsed at around 2:30 this morning causing increased pond spattering and turbulence. Low levels of seismic activity continue across the volcano.

Summit Observations: The summit lava lake remains active, and seismic tremor continues with episodic bursts associated with spattering within the Overlook vent. A Very Long Period earthquake at the summit at around 2:30 this morning corresponded to the collapse of a large section of the northern rim and wall of the summit vent. This caused increased pond spattering and turbulence.

lava 11241

The depth to the surface of the lava within the overlook vent has been approximately 40-50 m (135-165 ft) below the floor of Halema`uma`u over the past day. In general, seismicity remains at low levels. Summit sulfur dioxide emission rates averaged around 4,000 metric tons/day for the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Lava began to erupt from a vent within Pu`u `O`o onto the floor of the crater at about 6 a.m. this morning and continues at the time of this report.

Big Island Company Recognized in OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015

Hawaii Forest & Trail is the only company from the state of Hawaii to have been selected as one of OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2015. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community.

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai.  Photo PF Bentley

Hawaii Forest and Trail President Rob Pacheco interprets the geology of Hualalai. Photo PF Bentley

This prestigious recognition by OUTSIDE magazine as one of the best places to work across the country is truly an honor. When we started Hawaii Forest & Trail in 1992, my wife Cindy and I made a commitment to build our business around the concept of ohana, or family, where we foster connections between our co-worker ohana and the natural world. It’s what we strive for,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail President Rob Pacheco.

“The companies recognized in this year’s Best Places to Work list are the gold standard for stellar work environments that seek to empower their employees both in and out of the office,” said OUTSIDE Online Editor Scott Rosenfield. “The new categories in this year’s list serve to highlight outstanding workplaces in distinctive fields-making it all the easier for our readers to find their dream jobs.”

What Makes Hawaii Forest & Trail A Great Place to Work?

When Rob and Cindy Pacheco founded Hawaii Forest & Trail in the garage of their house, they never dreamed their tour operation would grow to have more than 50 employees at 3 locations on Hawaii Island. The secret to their success has always been finding employees who share their passion for the outdoors, for each other and their island home.

As the company continues to grow, Hawaii Forest & Trail emphasizes the cultivation of close personal connections and provides employees with new opportunities. Just recently Hawaii Forest & Trail launched its “Ohana and Natural Resources Department” where the primary focus is to develop staff education opportunities, conservation partnerships, and community involvement. Initiatives developed by this department include staff BBQs, group volunteer programs, ongoing educational lectures from natural and cultural experts, and an invitation to participate in community hikes. These opportunities for personal growth coupled with the company’s unparalleled access to some of Hawaii Island’s most beautiful natural sites make working at Hawaii Forest & Trail a dream job for many of Hawaii’s outdoor enthusiasts.

Hawaii Forest & Trail also believes in kuleana and acts on that sense of responsibility by providing a strong package of staff benefits that includes healthcare, a 401K matching plan, paid vacation time, and comp tickets on any of their adventures.

“We strongly believe that to be the best at what we do, we have to compete for the best candidates every time we hire,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Jason Cohn. With all their employee perks it’s no wonder Hawaii Forest & Trail has managed to retain their first full-time guide and first full-time dispatcher who both still remember showing up to clock-in at Rob and Cindy’s house more than 17 years ago.

To find the best places to work in the United States in 2015, OUTSIDE started by creating five company categories that reflect the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies. Outside’s Best Places to Work 2015 was driven by employee reviews of their workplaces, taking into account factors like corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop: companies that are empowering their employees to live bigger, better lives.

The complete list of Best Places to Work winners is featured online at www.outsideonline.com/dreamjobs

Pictures of the Two Types of Mosquitoes That Can Transmit Dengue Fever

The following pictures were released by the Hawaii Department of Health Department depicting the two types of mosquitoes capable of carrying dengue fever… the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (aka Asian Tiger Mosquito) mosquito:

Top - aedes aegypti Bottom - aedes albopictus

Top – aedes aegypti and Bottom – aedes albopictus

Hawaii Lawmakers to Hold Informational Briefing on Dengue Fever Outbreak

Tomorrow at 10:0am at the State Capital in conference room 329, the Hawaii State Legislature House Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health will hold an informational briefing to receive an update on the status of the current dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii island and the coordinated efforts of the Department of Health and other governmental agencies to treat, monitor, and prevent further transmission of dengue fever.


Invitees to this informational briefing are:

  • Director Virginia Pressler, M.D., Department of Health
  • Sarah Y. Park, M.D., Chief & State Epidemiologist, Disease Outbreak Control Division
  • Chief Darryl Oliveira, Civil Defense Administrator, Civil Defense Agency, County of Hawaii (via telephone) & designated representatives.

The hearing will be aired live on Oahu channel 55 and broadcasted live to the neighbor islands on their local public access stations.  It will also be streamed online at www.olelo.org.

Hawaii Department of Health Calls Press Conference Tomorrow on Dengue Fever Outbreak

The Hawaii State Department of Health has called a press conference tomorrow at noon to address the Dengue Fever outbreak.

They have also released a more detailed map that defines potential risk areas:
Dengue Fever Map 1118

72 Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever – Some Schools Will Be Treated this Weekend

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak.  As of 10:30 today the Department of Health has reported 72 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island.  These cases include 62 residents and 10 visitors.


Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and not directly from person to person.  Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii. It was likely introduced by a person who contracted the virus in another area of the world and became infectious while in Hawaii.

Because dengue fever is only transmitted by mosquitoes, the Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases.  The Department of Health may be conducting spraying at various locations in the Kona, Hilo, and Puna areas today.  In addition, the Department of Health with support from the County of Hawaii and the Department of Education will be conducting preventive spraying or treating of areas around the following school campuses this weekend:

  • Konawaena High, Middle and Elementary Schools
  • Honaunau School
  • Hookena School
  • Hilo High School
  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • Waiakea Intermediate and Elementary Schools

Again, these school campuses are being treated as a preventative measure and based on proximity to confirmed cases in the area.  There are no cases directly related to any of the school facilities or campuses.

Although spraying and treatment of areas is ongoing, the most effective method to reduce the spread and possible elimination of Dengue is to minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellant and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, 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 Electric Bills Fall to Lowest Levels in More than Five Years

Customers of Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric this month are seeing the lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years, largely due to the continued drop in fuel prices. And on Hawaii Island, customers of Hawaii Electric Light are benefitting even further, with the lowest monthly bills in more than six years.

“Lower oil prices are helping our customers right now, but we know our state needs to stay committed to long-term solutions, which means developing a diverse portfolio of low-cost renewable energy resources. It’s critical that we keep working toward our state’s goal of a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard,” said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesman.

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Currently, 22 percent of the electricity needs of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers are met using renewable resources and Hawaii is by far the national leader in the percentage of customers with rooftop solar. And the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to increase renewable resources and develop new options for customers to manage their bills. Recent actions include:

  • Proposed time-of-use rates for residential customers, public schools and electric vehicle owners
  • Expansion of utility-owned electric vehicle fast chargers
  • Piloting intelligent energy storage systems
  • A proposed community-based renewable energy program that would benefit customers who cannot or chose not to take advantage of rooftop solar to receive the benefits of renewable energy
  • Plans to install 137 megawatts of solar power from grid-scale projects to be completed in 2016

Hilo Photographer Receives Second Award at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Today

Bruce Omori, co-owner of Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery in Hilo, received the Windland Smith Rice International Award for his lava photo titled “Ribbons in the Sky,” which will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s annual exhibition which opened on October 24, 2015.

Bruce Omori standing with his image "Ribbons in the Sky" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Bruce Omori standing with his image “Ribbons in the Sky” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Omori with his family by his side traveled to Washington, DC to be honored amongst all the other recipients in a formal ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on November 12, 2015. His winning photograph was selected from almost 20,000 submissions from photographers in 46 countries.

“It’s such a tremendous honor to receive this award again, as many previous WSR winners are the very photographers who have been my source of inspiration over the years…   I’m truly grateful for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and humbled to share this experience with so many other talented photographers in this competition as well.” Omori said.
Omori’s winning entry in the Art in Nature category, “Ribbons in the Sky,” is a wild airborne abstract created by a huge lava bubble explosion at the ocean entry.  “Lava bubbles are definitely one of my favorite aspects of volcanic activity, as its infrequent and unpredictable nature make it difficult, yet exhilarating to shoot.


The bursts are so spontaneous, there is no way to plan for a precise composition, and this 50 to 60 foot wide bubble was no exception.  The early morning light gave a perfect balance to the expanding ribbons of lava against the contrasting background for a one of a kind image.  And, about being in the right place at the right time…  I’m just so thoroughly blessed to have the opportunity to witness, let alone photograph, this incredible living and breathing planet we dwell on, from this perspective…  at home, here in Hawaii!”

New Lava Flow Map Shows Recent Changes to East Rift Zone

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on October 23 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on November 12 is shown in red. Not all changes at the northern edge of the flow in the forest were mapped due to poor weather and visibility. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

EPA Awards $80,000 to Educate Hawaiian Students on Local Watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $80,000 to the Pacific American Foundation located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

pacific american foundation

The goal of the program, Wisdom of the Watershed, is to improve environmental science education by increasing the interest of Hawaii’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines through culturally-relevant curriculum and meaningful outdoor watershed educational experiences.

The program will help sixth through twelfth grade students explore and compare three different watersheds in Hawaii with different land management practices. Students will take field trips partnered with research scientists and will measure water quality in the watersheds using scientific instrumentation. The microbial and sediment environments will also be sampled. Students will analyze the collected data and engage in service learning projects to improve environmental quality throughout the watersheds.

“Hawaii’s watersheds are unique,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Pacific American Foundation will teach the next generation of scientists to protect and manage these critical natural resources.”

“The Pacific American Foundation’s program, Wisdom of the Watershed, provides environmental educational by engaging students, in current, ongoing environmental research through partnerships with University researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and public and private sector businesses, thus providing relevance in STEM learning and a profound understanding of both the scientific and engineering processes,” said Derek Esibill, Program Director of the Wisdom of the Watershed Program. “Concurrently, the program engages teachers by tailoring their curriculum to enable students to participate in ridge to reef expeditions. These expeditions use cultural, place-based research projects to create meaningful outdoor experiences, increasing the interest of Hawai`i’s youth to pursue pathways in STEM careers.”

EPA’s Environmental Education Local Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Pacific American Foundation project is one of seven projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that will receive an environmental education grant.

For more information on Environmental Education Grants, please visit: www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants

For more information on the Pacific American Foundation, please visit: www.pacificamerican.foundation

Navy Rethinks Pacific Training that Endangers Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Life

The US Navy today said it plans to prepare a new environmental impact statement for training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean from December 2018 onward, including the use of sonar and explosives that threaten widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and imperiled sea turtles. The move follows a March 31 federal court ruling that the Navy illegally failed to consider restricting military exercises in biologically important areas within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area to reduce harm to marine mammals.

USS Lake Erie

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the areas that are particularly important for whales and dolphins.”

The Navy’s current five-year training plan was overturned after a legal challenge in federal court by Earthjustice, representing Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ocean Mammal Institute. In a September 2015 settlement, the Navy agreed to put important habitat for numerous marine mammal populations off-limits to dangerous, mid-frequency sonar training and testing and the use of powerful explosives during the remainder of the five-year plan, which expires in December 2018.

“The science is clear.  To avoid permanent injuries and death to whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, it is vital to keep Navy sonar and explosives out of the areas these animals need for essential activities like feeding, resting and caring for their young,” explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represented the conservation groups in the federal court case.  “When it voluntarily agreed to the settlement, the Navy made clear that it can both perform its mission and stay out of important marine mammal habitat.”

“We urge the public to get involved and tell the Navy its new study needs to examine ways to keep destructive training out of vital marine mammal habitat,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

The public comment period on the new environmental impact statement ends January 12, 2016. The public can submit comments online at http://www.hstteis.com. The public can also attend one of three scoping meetings: December 1 in San Diego, CA; December 3 on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i; and December 5 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Despite the March ruling and September settlement, the Navy continues to conduct military exercises that can injure and kill marine wildlife. On November 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it is investigating the death of two dolphins that washed ashore near San Diego after Navy ships were using sonar in the area.

“The bottlenose dolphins that died last month off San Diego likely came from a population that numbers less than 400,” said Susan Millward, executive director at the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We need to keep up the pressure on the Navy to do more to protect these highly intelligent and vulnerable animals.”

Ocean mammals depend on hearing for navigation, feeding and reproduction. Scientists have linked military sonar and live-fire activities to mass whale beaching, exploded eardrums and even death. In 2004, during war games near Hawai‘i, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i.

The Navy and Fisheries Service estimate that, over the current plan’s five-year period, training and testing activities will result in thousands of animals suffering permanent hearing loss, lung injuries or death. Millions of animals will be exposed to temporary injuries and disturbances, with many subjected to multiple harmful exposures.

A video on the effects of Navy sonar training on marine mammals is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gDk29Y_YY

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Time-of-Use Rates to Help Public Schools

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have proposed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission new, lower day-time electric rates for the Hawaii Department of Education that could help public schools manage their electricity costs as they add more air conditioning and cooling equipment, while also using renewable energy that is available during day-time hours.

Helco new Logo 2

“At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, we know the challenges in providing a comfortable learning environment for our students and teachers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “There’s been a big push for air conditioning and fans in our public schools so we wanted to find a way to assist in controlling their energy costs as they add this equipment.

“Our goal in proposing these rates is to give the Department of Education the opportunity to expand air conditioning in classrooms across the state with a tool to manage the increase in electricity use that could really hit a school’s utility budget,” he said.

“These schools are supported by our tax dollars,” said Alberts, “Giving schools greater control over their electric bills will allow more money to pay for education and other priorities.”

Hawaiian Electric estimates that the Department of Education would have saved about 9 percent on electric bills for the twelve months ended June 2015 had the proposed rates been in effect. These savings could help offset the increase in costs as more air-conditioning and cooling equipment is added.

“The department has been working on a number of ways to effectively cool schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The time-of-use rate proposed by Hawaiian Electric would enable us to move forward on air conditioning projects while managing energy costs as well as foster responsible energy usage.”

Each of the 240 public schools in the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ service territories (Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu) will have the option to take advantage of the new rates. Actual savings will depend on how much each school is able to change its use to fit the time-of-use rate periods. Participating schools would pay:

  • The lowest rate – about 25 percent less than the recent average effective energy charge –from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (super off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is the same as the existing energy charge rate from midnight to 8 a.m. (off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is higher — above the existing energy charge rate — from 4 p.m. to midnight (on-peak hours).

Proposed rates also support renewable energy

These rates are also designed to encourage more electricity use during the hours of the day when renewable energy – particularly solar – is adding more low cost electricity to the grid. In addition, by designing time-of-use rates to better match demand with energy supply, the utilities may also reduce the need for additional system resources, including utility generation, during evening peak hours.

The new rates provide educational as well as operational opportunities for students and teachers as well as administrators to see each participating school’s energy use. With the additional grid intelligence from the Hawaiian Electric Companies Smart Power for Schools’ program, electricity use trends with the proposed DOE time-of-use rates can be monitored, managed and evaluated by both the DOE and Hawaiian Electric Companies to refine the rate schedules in the future.

The proposed new rates are called “Schedule DOE-J, Commercial Time-of-Use Service” and “DOE-P, Large Power Time-of-Use Service.” Most schools would fall under the DOE-J rate.

Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC to allow these rates to go into effect by January 5, 2016 and stay in effect for ten years, through four to five of the Department of Education’s two-year budget cycles to ensure proper evaluation of the stated objectives.

Other time-of-use rate programs to come

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also developing time-of-use rate proposals that other customers will be able to take advantage of to help manage their energy costs and support renewable energy. Those proposals will be submitted to the PUC this month.

New Tool – Vog Measurement and Prediction Project

A paper published this month by University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory researchers in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society details the development and utility of a computer model for the dispersion of volcanic smog or “vog,” which forms when volcanic sulfur dioxide gas interacts with water and coverts it to acid sulfate aerosol particles in the atmosphere.

Vog poses a serious threat to the health of Hawaiʻi’s people as well as being harmful to the state’s ecosystems and agriculture. Even at the low concentrations, which can be found far from the volcano, vog can provoke asthma attacks in those with prior respiratory conditions. It also damages vegetation and crops downwind from the volcano.


Click to check out the project

News tools for predicting vog

Scientists from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), under the leadership of Professor of Meteorology Steve Businger, and in collaboration with researchers at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, developed a computer model for predicting the dispersion of vog. The vog model uses measurements of the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted by Kīlauea, along with predictions of the prevailing winds, to forecast the movement of vog around the state.

The team of scientists developed an ultraviolet spectrometer array to provide near-real-time volcanic gas emission rate measurements; developed and deployed SO2 and meteorological sensors to record the extent of Kīlauea’s gas plume (for model verification); and developed web-based tools to share observations and model forecasts, providing useful information for safety officials and the public and raising awareness of the potential hazards of volcanic emissions to respiratory health, agriculture and general aviation.

“Comparisons between the model output and vog observations show what users of the vog model forecasts have already guessed—that online model data and maps depicting the future location and dispersion of the vog plume over time are sufficiently accurate to provide very useful guidance, especially to those who suffer allergies or respiratory conditions that make them sensitive to vog,” said Businger.

A statewide concern

Kīlauea volcano, the most active volcano on earth, is situated in the populous State of Hawaiʻi. The current eruption has been ongoing since 1983, while a new summit eruption began in 2008.

The most significant effect of this new eruption has been a dramatic increase in the amount of volcanic gas that is emitted into Hawaiʻi’s atmosphere. While the effects of lava eruption are limited to the southeastern sector of the Big Island, the volcanic gas emitted by Kīlauea is in no way constrained; it is free to spread across the entire state.

“Higher gas fluxes from Kīlauea appear to be the new norm. For the State of Hawaiʻi to understand the effects of vog and then come up with strategies to efficiently mitigate its effects, accurate forecasts of how vog moves around the state are vital,” said Businger.

The American Recovery Act award that originally funded the development of the vog model program has long since expired. Funding for a PhD candidate, Andre Pattantyus, to help keep the online vog products available has been provided by SOEST and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.

Because Pattantyus, the lead vog modeler, is set to graduate this winter, the vog program is at a crossroads. Businger is working with stakeholders that include federal, state, commercial and private interests to jointly fund an ongoing vog and dispersion modeling capability for the residents of Hawaiʻi.

Public support of the vog modeling program is critical for the program to continue providing vog plume predictions in future.

TMT Site Preparations Beginning

While workers associated with the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island begin maintenance and repair activities, hunting and other recreational activities and research also continue on the mountain.

Suzanne Case, Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources said, “Mauna Kea is very much a multiple-use area for a wide array of cultural, recreational and research activities. Our goal is to ensure that people on the mountain conduct themselves responsibly and with respect for other users. As local workers prepare to begin work at the TMT site, we want to remind people of other simultaneous activities that may be occurring on the mountain.”

TMT laser

November 16-17, 2015 and again December 14-15, 2015 the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybirds, as well as staff hunting and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, sheep, mouflon and mouflon/sheep hybrids.  These activities will occur within critical palila habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K) and the Ka’ohe Game Management Area (Unit G). Aerial shooting is required by federal court order to improve and maintain critical habitat for the palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.  Please see this link for the news release announcing these animal control activities: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2015/09/28/nr15-149/

Also the 2015-2016 game bird hunting season began on November 7, 2015 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 on private and public lands.  This includes multiple game management units, forest reserves and other public lands on Mauna Kea.  For specific information on game bird hunting rules and specific hunting areas please refer to this news release: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/announcements/nr15-160f/.

Case added, “We want everyone conducting customary and traditional practices, enjoying recreational activities, or exercising their free speech rights on Mauna Kea to understand that they are sharing the mountain with many others and we want an atmosphere where kama’aina and visitors can all enjoy their activities, safely.

Dengue Fever Information Update – Public Meetings Begin Tonight

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Monday November 9th at 10:30AM.

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak.  As of 12:00 noon Friday the Department of Health has reported 23 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island.  These cases include 15 residents and 8 visitors and across multiple areas of the island.  An update of the number of cases will be made later today.


Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and is not transmitted directly from person to person.  Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii and the source or origin of this outbreak is likely due to an introduction of the virus by a person who may have contracted the virus while in another area of the world and who became infectious while in Hawaii.

Because the only mode or method of transmission is through mosquito bites there are actions being taken to reduce the risks and include the spraying or treating of areas of high mosquito presence that are also areas of possible contact with infected people. This includes areas around residents of confirmed cases.

Although spraying or treating of areas is ongoing, the most effective method of reducing the spread and possibly eliminating Dengue is to minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, use of mosquito repellant and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.  In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

Public Information Meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • Tonight Monday November 9th at the Yano Hall in Kona
  • Tomorrow Tuesday November 10th at the Naalehu Community Center
  • Thursday November 12th at the Konawaena High Cafeteria
  • Friday November 13th at the Hohokaa High Cafeteria
  • Monday November 16th at the Hilo High Cafeteria
  • Tuesday November 17th at the Keaau High Cafeteria

All meetings will begin at 6:00 PM each evening and the community is encouraged to attend.

For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-4000, extension 68362.

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake shook the Volcano area of the Big Island around 10:21 this morning.

36 a volcanoNo tsunami was generated from this event.

23 Cases of Dengue Fever – Hawaii State Senator Urges Awareness and Action

The growing number of confirmed cases of Dengue fever (23 as of today) has State Senator Josh Green (Dist. 3 – Kona, Ka‘u) calling on constituents within his district and across the entire Big Island to take extra precautions to stem the spread of the virus.  


“As a State Senator and a Big Island physician, I’m concerned not only about the immediate well-being and safety of our residents and visitors, but also the real long term health and economic impacts an outbreak like this can have on the state,” said Sen. Green.  “Unless people become aware of the seriousness of this virus and take action, I’m worried the infection will spread and impact will grow,” said Sen. Green. “There may likely be more confirmed, as well as real but unconfirmed, clinical cases in the coming weeks. However, Dengue can be stopped if we all do our part to reverse the outbreak.”

The Senator has personally seen and treated patients in recent weeks he is concerned may have Dengue fever and is working with hospitals and schools on Hawai‘i Island to ensure there is proper communication to report suspected cases of Dengue. He notes that any constituents who have concerns that they might have acquired the virus should contact their local healthcare provider and the DOH infectious disease branch (808-586-4586). In addition, any calls or email to Senator Green (sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov) will be placed in the hands of top DOH officials for immediate action.

The Senator is reminding residents and visitors to take measures to avoid the spread of Dengue Fever on Hawai‘i Island including: 

  • Applying mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and lighter colored clothing, to limit exposure to mosquitoes
  • Eliminate standing water around the place of residence to reduce mosquito breeding 
  • Repair screens and jalousie windows

Some key symptoms of Dengue include sudden onset of high fever (in some case over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) severe headaches especially behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, and rash. It is rare, but bleeding can also occur with severe forms of Dengue fever and is a medical emergency.  “Anyone who believes they may have contracted Dengue should see a doctor immediately,” said Sen. Green. “People should take Tylenol for high fevers that may stem from Dengue fever and NOT aspirin or ibuprofen, that can add to complications of this disease.”

“Preventing Dengue Fever from becoming endemic in Hawai‘i will require a prolonged response from DOH, the county and state but most importantly, take good care now and call a healthcare provider if you feel sick,” Green concluded.

The latest information on the state’s efforts to control the spread of Dengue fever can be found on the DOH website www.health.hawaii.gov.

Big Island Comes Out for Sam Choy, Brad Parker and Aidan James

Kona Oceanfront Gallery kicked off, in high gear the first day of a two day long festivity to celebrate the debut of the Sam Choy Hawaiian Kitchen Accessory line.

Some of the Sam Choy and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker kitchen items.

Some of the Sam Choy and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker kitchen accessories.

A second night of partying is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday Nov 7th 5:30 PM at the Royal Kona Resort.

Hawaii Representative Nicole Lowen with Brad Parker, Aiden James and Sam Choy.

Hawaii Representative Nicole Lowen with Brad Parker, Aidan James and Sam Choy.

With over 300 + guests in attendance including several high profile State of Hawaii dignitaries and members of local, mainland and international business elite came out to view and celebrate this historic day with the dearly liked Chef Sam Choy.

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“Wow what a crowd” exclaimed the local celebrity chef.  “I have been to many big events on our island but never with this many folks from around the world. Usually I am the biggest celebrity in the room, but not this time!” Choy added.

Tomorrow night the celebration continues at the Royal Kona Resort – Don The Beachcomber at 5:30 PM with a star studded roster to include entertainment by teenage sensation Aidan James and legendary singer John Cruz.

Aiden James jamming at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery

Aidan James jamming at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery

World Champion Surfers Jamie,  Brian and Anthony Walsh are also scheduled to be in attendance to show their support for Chef Sam Choy.

The event is free and open to the public at the Royal Kona Resort this evening.

Free Entry to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Veterans Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park joins national parks across the country in waiving entrance fees for Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

“The men and women who have served our nation have sacrificed much to protect our freedom,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We invite everyone to honor their service and experience the American heritage by visiting their national parks at no charge this Veterans Day,” she said.

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff.   NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has dozens of veterans among its employees and volunteers. Active duty U.S. military can obtain a free annual Military Pass at the park’s entrance station all year. For more information on the free Military Pass, visit the park website.

The park, which is open 24 hours a day, offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails and many opportunities to appreciate the volcanic landscape, native ecosystem and the Hawaiian culture that define this World Heritage Site. More than a dozen free interpretive programs are offered daily, and special events, including ‘Ike Hana No‘eau cultural workshops, After Dark in the Park presentations, and Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” concerts, are ongoing. Check www.nps.gov/havo for information for all events.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i.  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge Veterans Day weekend. There is no admission charged for Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Information on special offerings at parks nationwide is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.