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Genki Sushi Updates Customers On Status of Reopening of Restaurants

Genki Sushi today issued an update on the status of its efforts to reopen its restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Since being notified by the Department of Health (DOH) of its decision to temporarily close 10 Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and one on Kauai on Aug. 15, the company has been working cooperatively with the department to take the required steps to comply with health standards and resume business.

Genki Sushi

“While our goal is to reopen our restaurants as soon as possible, Genki Sushi’s top priority is the health and safety of our customers, employees and the community,” said Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer, Genki Sushi USA. “Since the Department of Health announced the source of the illness was a food product that was received from a distributor, we have been working closely with state health officials to take the necessary actions to ensure all of our restaurants meet or exceed DOH guidelines and requirements.”

In addition to discarding produce, open packages of food, and single-serve equipment and utensils, as well as thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the restaurants according to DOH standards, the company has been focused on ensuring all of its employees in the impacted restaurants are screened and vaccinated.

The testing and vaccination results of the 358 employees will be compiled and provided to the DOH for their review and certification. The company hopes to have all of the employee screenings and vaccinations completed as soon as possible subject to the logistics of screening such a large number of employees at once.

“We appreciate our customers’ understanding and support as we continue to focus on preparing our restaurants to reopen so that customers can have confidence in the safety and quality of the food we serve,” said Hansen.

Hawaii Governor’s Statement on PUC Decision Regarding NextEra, HECO Merger

I want to thank the Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders for their participation in this historic process. This ruling gives us a chance to reset and refocus on our goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
Governor Ige Profile
The proceeding helped define the characteristics and parameters of Hawaii’s preferred energy future. We look forward to creating a process to find the best partner in the world.

No matter who owns the company, the energy vision for Hawai‘i remains very clear – 100 percent renewable energy with a ransformation to a customer-centered utility focusing on smart meters, smart grid, distributed local solutions, and as much consumer choice as possible.

— Governor David Ige

Commentary – DOT Decision Will Have Negative Impact on Traffic and Construction Industry

I’m deeply concerned about the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s decision to focus entirely on system preservation, and deferring new highway projects for the next 20 years. This decision will have a negative impact on traffic congestion, and the health of
Hawaii’s construction industry.

Saddle Road Extension

Saddle Road Extension

There is several highway improvement projects on both sides of the Big Island (Waimea mini-bypass, Saddle Road Extension, Highway 130 widening, etc) that are slated for deferral as a result of this decision. These proposed projects will help improve traffic flow, and employ a significant amount construction workers over the life these projects.

The decision to focus solely on system preservation projects will likely employ less construction workers, and won’t help mitigate traffic congestion. This is an extremely shortsighted decision, as a balance between system preservation and adding capacity needs to be found.

HDOT asserts they need more funding to do their mission. They need to sell this to the public at large. For example, they have to come up with a 20% of  the cost of  new highway to qualify for the 80%  FHWA match, which has put system preservation on the back burner.

I also propose HDOT do away with the weight tax, and replace it with a vehicle registration tax, which would be based upon how old the vehicle is. In addition, they need to increase the gasoline tax, and find a way to assess a fee on hybrid/electric vehicles that use less gasoline. These vehicles are not paying their fair share to use our highways.

HDOT’s decision to arbitrarily reallocate more money to the system preservation over more capacity is extremely unwise. The population of our state will continue to increase over the next 20 years, so new highways will have to be constructed to improve our transportation infrastructure.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary – Congressional Candidate on “Green Harvest”

As a Hawaiian nationalist candidate for U.S. Congress (HI-2, Neighbor Islands, Suburban Oahu) I find it to be highly disturbing that the will of the voters of Hawai’i County (Big Island) was illegally usurped by the Hawai’i Supreme Court, when they knocked down the lowest law enforcement priority ordinance passed by Hawai’i County voters, with the purpose of nearly eliminating personal pot busts by law enforcement on the island.

Policing in Hawai’i County (Big Island) is operating without the consent of the governed. The occupying force of the United States, with federally funded choppers spying over our private homes, continues to intrude upon our lives with “Operation Green Harvest”. They brainwash our school children through DARE to become spies on their own parent’s herbs.

I urge citizens to make YouTube videos of the choppers over their homes so the world can see what the military occupation of Hawaii by the United States and harassment of citizens by the imperialist U.S. police forces looks like.

Until the time that the criminal justice system of Hawai’i County is entirely devolved and controlled by the working-class people of the island, we are living under an illegitimate U.S. occupying police force that local citizens should not cooperate with.

If elected to Congress, one of my first tasks will be to defund Operation Green Harvest and to reallocate the funds to support Native Hawaiian cultural and education programs.

The US has no right to remain in Hawai’i, and never has had such a right. No more choppers!

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Candidate for U.S. Congresss (HI-2)

Commentary – Cardiac Care Unit Needed on the Big Island

THE PROBLEM:  The GOLDEN 2 HOUR WINDOW FOR CARE: People with cardiac problems- heart attacks and strokes must be airlifted to Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu or to Maui Memorial to be treated.   There is a 2 hour window when patients need to be treated in order to expect a full recovery.  Think about where you live on the Big Island.  At least from my home it would take 45 minutes to get to Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room, then the time to be diagnosed and then get the helicopter and then the 45 minute + time to Oahu, getting checked in and a cardiologist hopefully is at the hospital and you need to be seen, an Operating Room hopefully is available.  Get the picture?

THE SOLUTION?  Read the report below.

QUESTION:  How many people do you know on the Big Island that have had a heart attack or stroke?  That have needed ablations or pacemakers or stents?  Please contact me with your story. Debbie Hecht


A Cardiac Care Unit is needed on the Big Island.  Several well-known community members have been airlifted to Queens Hospital in Honolulu or Maui Memorial Hospital with heart problems or strokes:  Mayor Kim, Council Chair Pete Hoffmann, and OHA Representative Bob Lindsey.

Before going to Kona, I discussed a cardiac care unit for West Hawaii with Jon Luft, Architect and Teri Oelrich, medical planner at NBBJ Architects, who specialize in planning and designing hospitals. They are currently involved in building a one million square foot, state-of-the-art replacement hospital for Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. Jon lived on the Big Island in the 1980’s and Teri has also worked in Hawaii.  Teri thought that a hybrid Operating Room (OR) and Catheterization Lab would be a first step to assessing the need/use of a Cardiac Care Unit.  She was helpful in explaining the process for a Certificate of Need.

From these discussions, I learned that hospitals make money on their operating rooms.  North Hawaii Community Hospital is booked solid with orthopedic and gastroenterology procedures.  Queens Medical has taken over the operations of North Hawaii Community Hospital.  There is currently no facility or any cardiologists to staff a dedicated cardiac care unit for West Hawaii.

We came to the conclusion that Kona Community Hospital (KCH) was the best location for a Cardiac Care unit.  I also learned there is additional, unused land adjacent to the Kona Community Hospital for expansion if a full-scale cardiac care unit is needed in the future. I also learned that here is a 2-hour window where a patient must receive intervential care to recover completely. By the time a cardiac victim would get from their home to KCH is evaluated and airlifted to Maui or Oahu, much more than two hours have elapsed- 4 hours is a more likely estimate. All of the people I talked to expressed the need for a new hospital closer to the Kona International Airport.

Kona Community Hospital has one cardiologist listed on their list of specialists, Dr. Michael Dang who comes periodically from Honolulu.  Dr. Larry Derbes has applied for privileges at KCH and is an interventional cardiologist in private practice in Kona.  He agrees that a Catheterization Lab to do stents and ablations and to treat strokes is very necessary for West Hawaii, would save lives and result in better outcomes and quality of life for cardiac patients. He is interested in helping to establish, and in working at a Cardiac Care Facility.  He also outlined the challenges of a doctor trying to make a living on the Big Island because of the Medicare reimbursement rate, which is roughly 93% of the actual cost of living. He was working in Waimea, but is closing that office and moving his practice to downtown Kona, approximately 20 minutes from KCH.

Jay Kreuzer, is the CEO of KCH, and has also been a cardiac patient. He said that the problem with the the Medicare reimbursement rate of only 93% of the actual cost, is compounded by Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA-the State of Hawaii’s biggest healthcare insurer) compensates at only 110% of the Medicare Reimbursement Rate as compared with most mainland insurance companies which reimburse at 130% of the Medicare rate.  These explanations further illustrate the negative impacts of insufficient reimbursement rates for attracting and retaining good doctors on the islands.

He told me that there is an airlift almost every day from KCH to either Queens in Honolulu or Maui Memorial and they are usually for heart or stroke patients.  He confided that Queens and KCH are in negotiations to acquire KCH.   He said the difficulty with a Cardiac Care unit is finding cardiologists to staff the clinics,  “There is no sense in building it if we don’t have the staff.”  If Queens acquires KCH, he believes more doctors would be available for rotations at KCH for specialties.

Queens’ strategy would be to enable more patients to stay on the outer islands instead of going to Oahu because their beds are always full. He also told me that the recent heavy rains had caused extensive flooding and damage to one of the Operating Rooms, which might represent an opportunity to remodel for a hybrid OR and Cath Lab.

I also met with Dr. Frank Sayre, Chair of the Board for the West Hawaii Regional Hospital Board of Directors, which oversees Kona Community Hospital and the North Kohala Community Hospital.  He reiterated what Jay Kreuzer said about why it is difficult to keep good doctors.  He told me that he had discussed setting up a “funded chair” for specialists (similar to academic chairs) as a stipend to keep doctors on the island.

This discussion was between Frank and a staff member from the Hawaii Community Foundation. Frank and I also discussed setting up an annuity pool with the Kona Hospital Foundation to fund several stipends for cardiac specialists who are willing to be “on call” at the hospital.  We talked about the possible need to hire a grant writer and/ or approaching several donors interested in better cardiac care on the island.

SOLUTIONS:

A HYBRID CATHETERIZATION LAB/ OPERATING ROOM FOR KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: According to the medical planner, Teri Oelrich, affiliated with NBBJ architects, many rural areas first create a hybrid Catheterization Lab out of an existing Operating Room.  She estimated that this could be accomplished for approximately $1.5 million for equipment only; remodeling would be an additional cost.

The recent flooding of the Operating Room at KCH presents an opportunity to remodel the Operating Room and accommodate Cath Lab equipment.

STAFFING: Funding mechanisms could be established through donations to the Hawaii Community Foundation or the Kona Community Hospital Foundation

Establish a funded “chair position” for each specialty that is needed with a yearly stipend.

OR establish a pool of money as an annuity that will provide a stipend each year for several specialists.

STEPS TO ACHIEVE:

COMPILE STATISTICS to show the need for the Catheterization Lab by using billing for the last 2 years, or assessing airlifted patients as to why they were being carried off-island. The goal of this would be to establish the need for a Catheterization Lab or other specialties and give direction to the hospital and the Board as to what doctors, staff and facilities would be needed. This is important because:

With this data KCH would know what specialties and specialists were needed to treat and allow patients on the island to recover, which is a huge benefit for better outcomes for the patient and keeps interventions in the 2-hour window.  In the event of a Queen’s acquisition, it would expedite a facilities upgrade and staff hiring.

Having this data available would help determine the best strategies on how to repair the flood damaged ER (possibly into a cath lab hybrid).

Having the data could illustrate the need for a cath lab, and support the Board and CEO’s strategic planning.

FUNDRAISING

Consider hiring a grant writer to apply for grants from the Hawaii Community Foundation, HMSA Foundation, Kona Community Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary of Kona, Heart Association, Bill Healy Foundation, Ironman Foundation etc.

Establish an annuity to provide stipends of $50,000 for one or two on call cardiologists or a visiting cardiologist for KCH.  For example:  An annuity could be set up for $1,000,000 to invest at 5% to raise $50,000 per year for a stipend to pay a cardiologist to be on-call in addition to their private practice.

Contributors (Alphabetical Order) – Dr. Lawerence Derbes, Debbie Hecht, Jay Kreuzer, John Luft Teri Oelrich, Dr. Frank Sayre


Here is the Response from the West Hawaii Regional Board of Directors.

The response:  WHRBOD Decision Letter Cath Lab Proposal 6.10.16

To see the Board members in case you might want to speak to them about this:  http://www.kch.hhsc.org/about-us/senior-leadership/regional-board-of-directors/default.aspx

There is an ongoing problem to keeping doctors in Hawaii that is outlined in the report.  There is more information needed on how to best serve the Community.

Please contact me to become part of the movement to have community needs met by the Kona Community Hospital.  Mahalo!    Debbie Hecht

Commentary – Highway Legislation Was to Appease Constituents

Senator Lorraine Inouye was one of the co-sponsors of the legislation
that would increase the speed  limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to 60MPH between m.m 12 and m.m 51 -except for the segment by Mauna Kea State Park.

Inouye Highway 2 by Aaron Stene

I had reservations about this bill because HDOT should  have sole authority to set highway speed limits. The state legislature shouldn’t be politicizing what the highway speeds are on a certain highway.

I e-mailed Senator Inouye’s office three amendments to SB2375 despite my reservations. The first amendment would change the east side start of the speed limit increase from m.m 19 to m.m 12.  This change was included in the final bill transmitted to the governor. However, she disregarded  the other two amendments I suggested.

These proposed amendments would’ve obligated the HDOT to review the current speed limits at m.m 18, m.m 36-40, amd m.m 39, and increased the speed limit on m.m 6 to m.m 11 segment after the highway is improved to Federal Highway standards by August 27, 2017.

Senator Inouye stated this bill wouldn’t pass the legislature if these
amendments were added, which doesn’t make any sense. She didn’t want to infringe on the HDOT’s obligation to follow Federal Highway standards. I pointed out to her that requiring the HDOT increase the speed limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway already infringed on the HDOT’s obligations, so her argument doesn’t hold water.

I strongly believe the sole purpose of this legislation was to appease
her constituents, who probably complained about the county police’s
incessant speed traps up on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. This proposed legislation shouldn’t be the way the speed limits are set up there.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary: East Hawaii vs. West Hawaii – Paradigm Changed After Kenoi was Elected

I don’t think it would be wise to split Hawaii County into two counties. Yes, West Hawaii does pay 70% of the property taxes. However, this disparity is due in part to the value of the homes being higher on the west side versus the east side. In other words, West Hawaii homeowners are subsidizing the lower property taxes paid from East Hawaii residents.

Hawaii in Half

This was a bone of contention during Mayor Harry Kim’s eight years in office. West Hawaii paid most of the property taxes, but got very little in return between 2000-2008. The paradigm changed after Mayor Billy Kenoi was elected in 2008. His administration brought West Hawaii back into the fold by constructing needed infrastructure improvements, and by bringing county government closer to the residents living in West Hawaii.

This is a non-inclusive list of these infrastructure improvements completed between 2008 and 2016 by Mayor Kenoi’s administration; West Hawaii Civic Center, La’aloa Avenue Extension, Mamalahoa Highway bypass, Kaiminani Drive rehabilitation phases 1 & 2, Makalei Fire Station, Ane Keohokalole Highway, etc. Mayor Harry Kim’s track record was less than stellar.

His administration dropped the  ball with Ali’i Parkway, and failed to address burgeoning traffic issues on the west side. The only noteworthy project started in West Hawaii during Mayor Kim’s term was the realignment of the Kealaka’a Street intersection.

Mayor Kenoi’s administration has thoroughly addressed that burgeoning west side traffic congestion issue, and has largely put to rest any talk of splitting Hawaii County. However, this issue has started to percolate to surface again due to upcoming election, and because Mayor Kenoi’s term is ending at the end of this year.

There is at least one current mayoral candidate, who believes splitting the county into two would be wise. I believe this would be huge mistake.

Hawaii County currently receives 18% of the yearly Federal Highways fund allotment, and $19.2 million dollars in transient accommodation tax revenue. If another county is conceived, these funds would have to be shared. On top of that, it would establish a new layer of unneeded government bureaucracy on this island I firmly believe we should stay one county, instead of splitting into two. We have to help each other, especially since we’re so isolated from the rest of the world.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Kona Business Ends Affiliation With Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

Today, a well known business that was a member of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce requested to be removed from all affiliations with the Chamber of Commerce.

It all began when a deal fell through and Parker had to do what anybody would do when they were wronged.

It all began when a deal fell through and Parker had to do what anybody would do when they were wronged.

Tiki Shark Art Inc, its Owners and Board of Directors recently won a $43,000.00 judgment against a Middle Eastern Firm out of Dubai and today Tiki Shark Art Agent Abbas Hassan sent a letter to the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Kirstin Kahaloa, expressing his displeasure in the Chambers decision in having one of its board members defending the foreign corporation.

Hassan writes:

Kirstin (Kahaloa)…..thank you for taking the time to come see me.

As discussed in our meeting this morning, Tiki Shark Art Inc, its Owners and Board of Directors are not comfortable with the fact that one of your Board members is actually defending a foreign Corporation in a legal motion against us. That too when a local Hawaiian judge has already ruled in our favor over a month ago.  Furthermore, this individual may have been previewed to information via casual conversation in Chamber gatherings that could potentially effect the outcome of the case………just does not make sense to any of us!

Anyway’s it is with a heavy heart that I inform you of our immediate withdrawal as a member of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Please make sure our name is taken off and “unsubscribed” to all mailing lists.

I wish you and your Chamber the very best in the future.

Sincerely,

Abbas Hassan

Well known artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker weighed in and said, “This seems unfair. It’s a question of responsibility. Someone who sits as an officer on the board of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce represents the Chamber, and to some extent, also the City of Kailua-Kona. That’s a big responsibility. To the average guy on the beach, when he hears that a law suit is being filed against a local small business and the prosecuting attorney is a officer of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, well, in the court of public opinion, the Chamber is probably in the right and the small business man is probably in the wrong.”

Commentary on HB1072: “This Deserves a More Transparent Process”

It is alarming the House chose not to allow this measure HB1072 to come to a vote while there is so much support from Senators, state agencies, mental health consumers and a wide swath of the community. This deserves a more transparent process.

Click to view status of bill

Click to view status of bill

The issue has been thoroughly vetted to address a mental health crisis occurring in our rural communities. We’ve spent almost ten years on this, gathering support that is now overwhelming, from even the Department of Health. The only opposition was the medical community that offered no solutions and has failed to address this for decades. This is a sad day for consumers, indeed.

The level of denial of how bad Hawaii’s mental health gaps are is evidenced when our legislators are influenced by powerful lobbyists while so many of our residents are suffering from mental illness and can’t access care.

Are we being forced to debate for another year whether highly trained psychologists should have the ability to help these patients with medication needs, even though there’s a serious shortage of psychiatrists, and many of those won’t see the neediest patients?

What we saw today is an insult to our legislative institution; elected officials have failed to live up to the standards that are set for public servants, they have allowed the institution to be used by the rich and powerful to the detriment of the hundreds of consumers of mental health services who asked for their help.

The public needs to demand that individuals who occupy seats in the Capitol building, do so with integrity and courage. These were absent today; it is a shameful and cowardly way for legislation to be killed.

Alex Santiago, Hawaii Psychological Association

Commentary – Senator Kahele on Safety Concern of Hilo Medical Center Helipad

On behalf of our constituents within the first senatorial district of Hilo and all of Hawai‘i Island, I am writing to request Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) Board to discontinue its Agreement for Purchase of Goods and Services (APGS) with Hawai‘i Life Flight, Inc. (HLF), signed on April 10, 2013 which allows permanent parking on the helipad of Hilo Medical Center (HMC) and has presented numerous safety of flight issues for other operators in the area.

Helipad

Although the agreement allows HLF to park their aircraft to one side of the helipad and the space meets the minimum requirements to do so – it has still proven, on numerous occasions, to present a safety concern.

The U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area Department of Emergency Services has reported that on two occasions within the past year, several of their Blackhawk Medevac helicopters have been prevented from landing safely during training patrols and other exercises because of HLF’s permanent occupation of the helipad. On October 29, 2015 an emergency transport helicopter arrived at the HMC helipad to find the HLF helicopter still on the helipad. As an HLF employee was securing the aircraft, the Medevac Blackhawk was in its final approach and unfortunately was forced to land with the HLF aircraft only partially secured.  The Engine Company Captain on scene reported a “near miss” incident with both aircraft being on the helipad at the same time.

Additionally, the County of Hawai‘i Fire Department which maintains two helicopters for emergency medical services has reported that on three separate incidents their Chopper 2 aeromedical helicopter has landed at the helipad with the pad being occupied by HLF.

One way to resolve this issue is to keep the helipad vacated and available at all times. This would ensure a safer overall operation.  It is our understanding that the aforementioned APGS is up for renewal on April 10, 2016 and that last fall representatives of the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area met with HHSC’s Board of Directors and raised these safety of flight issues with them.  At that time, there was an indication that HHSC’s board did not intend to renew the agreement.

Because of these safety of flight issues which could have resulted in serious loss of life to patients, crew and bystanders on the ground – as well as loss of necessary medical equipment funded by and provided for the use of our community – we support your efforts to preserve necessary landing space at HMC to allow for a safer environment and improved access.

Thank you for your leadership in keeping the health and safety of our residents HHSC’s top priority and we look forward to working with you towards a positive solution.

Hau‘oli ka mana‘o,

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senate District 1-Hilo

Hu Honua Filing to PUC Addresses HELCO Misstatements

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) filed its response with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide a project update as well as address incomplete and misleading information in Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) Status Report.
Hu Honua

The Status Report was required by the PUC in light of missed milestone schedule dates in the HHB power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by the PUC in December 2013.

In its filing, Hu Honua expressed disappointment with HELCO over not processing its milestone date extension request submitted more than 12 months ago. HHB requested the extension following a variety of disputes with its former contractor that disrupted the project’s construction schedule, and to provide the replacement contractor sufficient time to complete the biomass-fueled, renewable energy facility in Pepeepeko on Hawaii Island.

At HELCO’s urging, Hu Honua submitted a proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for energy purchased above the 10-megawatt (MW) minimum level for economic dispatch. Even with the price reduction, HELCO did not process Hu Honua’s milestone date extension requests, despite the fact Hu Honua’s pricing is delinked from the cost of fossil fuel, making it a natural hedge against future increases in oil prices.

HHB has invested $100 million to date in the biomass-to-energy project, which is approximately 50 percent complete. HHB has arranged full financing from its investor base and the plant can be operational in approximately 12-16 months.

At completion, the plant will be able to supply Big Island residents with firm, baseload, dispatchable renewable power at reasonable pricing, complementing intermittent resources such as wind and solar, and helping the state meet mandated clean energy goals.

In its filing, HHB asserts the value of the plant today to Hawaii Island’s electricity system is as great or greater than December 2013 when the PUC approved the HHB PPA.

HELCO’s threat to terminate Hu Honua’s PPA as a result of missed milestones was announced just days before parts of Hawaii Island experienced blackouts due to insufficient firm generating capacity; firm, reliable power is what Hu Honua’s bioenergy plant would provide.

Hu Honua’s filing to the PUC addressed incomplete and misleading statements in HELCO’s Status Report, including:

“Hu Honua does not have the ability to achieve commercial operation in the near future.”

  • Hu Honua has fully committed financing up to $125 million to complete the project, with $20 million having been invested since November 2015.

“Hu Honua failed to meet PPA obligations.”

  • HELCO’s statement appears to refer to the boiler hydro test date. Unlike solar and wind projects, Hawaii law requires high pressure/high temperature steam boiler projects to follow rigorous inspection, approval and documentation protocol throughout construction before successive work can begin. As a result of disputes with its former contractor, HHB did not have ready access to prior documentation needed to perform successive work, which resulted in disruption and delays to schedule.

“Hu Honua failed to justify a milestones extension.”

  • As early as October 2014, HHB alerted HELCO that its milestone dates could be delayed because of certain factors beyond its control, including the circumstances underlying the dispute with its former contractor.

  • In January 2015, well in advance of project milestone dates, HHB approached HELCO to proactively discuss revised milestones dates in light of circumstances. Throughout discussions over revised milestones, HELCO reported a need for pricing reductions as an exchange for milestone date relief. HHB revised pricing arrangements on three separate occasions—February, April and May 2015.


Hu Honua looks forward to working with HELCO and the PUC to resolve its milestone date extension request, along with HHB’s proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for amounts purchased above the 10-MW minimum threshold for economic dispatch.

A completed Hu Honua power plant will provide a modern, renewable, biomass fueled source of electricity that will complement Hawaii Island’s electrical system as well as provide between 100-150 jobs for the local community.

Commentary – Forced Land Sales Bills killed

We have been informed by House Committee on Water and Land Chair Ryan Yamane that this Saturday’s hearing for the two forced land sales bills (House bills 2173 and 1635) has been cancelled.
HB2173

HB1635
Representative Yamane indicated that this effectively kills both bills for this session, noting that he was persuaded to take this action in light of strong concerns voiced by a broad spectrum of community members, including many voices of our Lāhui — alumni, parents, haumāna, kumu, staff, other Native Hawaiian trusts and agencies, charter schools, other educational partners and collaborators, and many others. He and members of his committee also heard from other landowners and business leaders who shared their concerns about these bills from their perspectives. Clearly this response was a collective effort put forth by many.

We mahalo Chair Yamane and the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Ty Cullen, for listening to the voices in our community and pulling back these two bills.

Today, the news is positive. But with nearly three months remaining in the legislative session, we will continue to monitor the process for any signs of these bills being brought back in some other form. We must be vigilant. E kūpa‘a mau!

Mahalo nui to all for taking a stand on this issue and engaging in the civic process to make a difference for our people and for all of Hawai‘i. Our voices were heard; our rights and connections to our ‘āina were protected.

While it is easy to think our work is now done, in so many ways, our work has just begun. We need to make sure that bills like these don’t ever come back and that those who introduce them continue to hear our voices. More importantly, at Kamehameha Schools, we need to use these experiences to step up and join those in our community who are fighting hard to protect and advance Native Hawaiian education, well-being and identity, whether it be on ‘āina, in community, in the legislature, in boardrooms, in classrooms, or elsewhere. This is what our new Strategic Plan 2020 is really about.

All of us, moving forward together — I mua kākou! I mua Kamehameha! I mua ka Lāhui Hawai‘i!
Livingston “Jack” Wong
Chief Executive Office, Kamehameha Schools

Commentary – Shocked that Judge Acquitted TMT Protestors

TMT Hearing

TMT Hearing held at University of Hawaii Hilo

I’m utterly shocked that Judge Takase acquitted several Thirty Meter Telescope protesters of obstruction. These protesters were obviously breaking the law by purposely blocking a publicly accessible roadway. However, Judge Takase accepted the protesters defense of their actions. The protesters assert they were preventing the desecration of Mauna Kea by blocking access to the mountain.

It boggles my mind that she accepted the protesters defense of their actions. The TMT project has followed the law every step of the way. The project’s EIS was accepted in 2010, and it had a valid conservation district use permit until the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated it in December. The court took this action because the petitioners due process rights were violated.

In short, Judge Takase took it upon herself to determine the TMT project is a desecration to Mauna Kea. This is an utter travesty, as there is nothing officially that would support this position.

I suspect she was more afraid of being charged with a possible “war crime” instead of following the law.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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

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

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the Alliance contact:

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

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

UPS Worker in Hawaii Goes “Postal” – Tosses Holiday Packages Out of Back of Truck

A UPS Worker in Hawaii obviously was having a bad today.   The following was posted to YouTube with the following comment:

UPS WORKER loses his cool at work today. I hope braddah had a better day…

Reports Show Dengue Fever CAN Be Transmitted to the Larvae and Eggs

I’ve had many concerns on whether Dengue Fever can be transmitted from the female mosquito to their larvae and on to the eggs and it appears that it can happen!

Mosquito Laying Eggs
Big Island Video News posted the following video which showed the Hawaii State Department of Health Representative basically stating that they can’t confirm whether Dengue Fever can be spread to the eggs and larvae.

Thanks to the Hawaii Dengue Fever Awareness Facebook page, I’ve learned of more recent research that has been going on that shows that Dengue Fever can be passed on to the larvae and eggs:

Carey Yost posted some links she came across regarding this subject:

“…some of the more recent tropical information states that it can & does happen in some locations naturally (it has been known to happen in lab inoculations for a time:

Factors that influence mosquito competence for viral transmission:
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/…/1633/463.short

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/j.1365-2915…/abstract

There have been some isolated findings of naturally infected A. aegypti larva with DEN- 2 & 4, suggesting that transovarial transmission can occur (this testing is fairly new, prior methods of testing were fairly prohibitive on large scale natural larval pools):
http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/6859404

http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/6542323

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/j.1948-7134.2011…/full

https://www.researchgate.net/…/0deec53b2381fc325d000000…

and in lab inoculated mosquitoes:
http://www.ajtmh.org/content/67/2/158.short

http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/6625066

Yost said: “It is not real common, in the pools tested there are very very very few naturally occurring cases, and this has only been found in very few locations, though there have been samplings in most Dengue regions…so not at all a very common thing, but there is a slight chance, so everyone should be very diligent to eliminate larvae breeding areas…that is: any standing water: from things like; old tires, catchment tanks with breeding covers or that are not in use, even shells from coconuts, avocados, & lilikoi can provide adequate breeding area foe a slew of mosquitoes.”

Yost continued, “It is not the NORMAL way of transmission & until the recent advent of fairly inexpensive DNA testing, was not something anyone would test for (old methods were very expensive & time consuming)”

Arrested Hawaii Medical Marijuana Collective Owner Launches Fundraising Campaign

Big Island man Mike Ruggles launched a crowdfunding campaign this week to help pay for legal fees after being arrested for opening Hawaii’s first medical marijuana collective. Ruggles says this is an opportunity to set legal precedence to establish medical marijuana collectives in Hawaii.

Mike Ruggles

Mike Ruggles

Ruggles had opened the Alternative Pain Management Pu’uhonua Collective on January 2nd, where patients with a medical marijuana certification could transfer marijuana between themselves. In order to stay in compliance with the 4 ounce limit members could dispose of their excess marijuana to other members in need. According to former nurse and collective volunteer Brittany Neal, “the marijuana itself was not ‘sold’ but rather ‘transferred’ for just compensation at a cost set by each member that included the electricity, fertilizer, and other direct costs that went into creating the marijuana.”

Collective members also had access to tinctures, concentrates, a MyDx purity testing machine, a vacuum purge oven, and consultation on cultivation, processing, and consumption of medical marijuana.

After the police raided and arrested Ruggles on September 10th, the collective has since closed, and Hawaii marijuana patients are back to finding medicine through the black market or going without. Ruggles is being charged with running an “unpermitted dispensary” and is facing 77 years in prison. According the Indiegogo campaign page, Ruggles had “noticed a change in the definition of ‘medical use’ in Hawaii’s medical marijuana law and combined with State and Federal laws, saw an opportunity for patients to help each other.”

“The collective was the first way for sick people to acquire their doctor recommended medicine since the program started 15 years ago. It doesn’t make sense that their trying to throw the only person doing this legally in prison,” said Ruggles, “The legal framework for collectives is already here, they’re legal, it’s going to trial and we’re going to win this.”

Medical marijuana collective supporters can donate here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-hawaii-s-medical-marijuana-patients#/.

Imua Hawaii Board President on Supreme Court Ruling

While the U.S. Supreme Court has issued an injunction on the Na‘i Aupuni Hawaiian self-governance election, this has no bearing on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s proposed rule for a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian people.

Kealii Lopez, Imua Hawaii Board President

Kealii Lopez, Imua Hawaii Board President

It is important that we not confuse these two separate issues. The proposed DOI rule would give Native Hawaiians a seat at the table so our voice has power.

Imua Hawaii urges support of the U.S. DOI proposed federal rule that would help resolve long-standing disparities in federal policy.

The period to comment on the U.S. DOI’s proposed rule closes on December 30, 2015.

The high court’s injunction on the Na‘i Aupuni Hawaiian election points up the need for federal recognition for Hawaiians that would be part of the proposed rule. Being at that table is critical for our people, and Hawaii as a whole.

Our community has the opportunity to review the proposed rule and provide our mana‘o, but the clock is ticking. Please visit www.imuahawaii.org for instructions for providing comment, and background on what this option means for our people.

These proposed rules and the opportunity for federal recognition are the one viable option available to Native Hawaiians today. Let’s imua: toward federal recognition, toward self-governance, toward justice.

Imua Hawaii is a consortium of leadership from Hawaiian organizations and the larger Hawaiian community committed to a more empowered future for our people in our island home.

Kealii Lopez, Imua Hawaii Board President

Former Hawaii Resident Denny Burniston Calls Cops on My Website

Denny Burniston the Hawaii Police Department has contacted me today and I wish that you would quit stalking my website, quit harassing me, and just get a life in general.

Denny Burniston

Denny Burniston

No I will not be removing anything from my website… especially a Hawaii Police “Media Release” that can still be found online other places!

I’m sorry you don’t understand a thing about the internet and that you think that you can make the Mayor, the Prosecutors Office, My Internet Service Provider and now the Hawaii Police Department remove something from my website.

No you can’t comment here and no I won’t remove this either.  May this be a lesson learned for you!

Lily Kahumoku Speaks Out About Coach June Jones Allegations

In 2008 there was a rumor floating around that Coach June Jones had impregnated UH Volleyball player Lily Kahumoku.

Lily and her family

Lily and her family

The rumor floated around long enough that I finally asked readers on my website on whether they believed it was true or not and amazingly 75.1% of the folks that replied… believed the rumor to be true.

Lily Poll

A few years after Lily graduated from the University of Hawaii, I received the following email from her:

9-14-2011

Hello Damon,

My name is Lily, it used to be Kahumoku, but now it’s Olteanu. I’ve seen your site. I commend you for your passion and the work that you’re doing. I also have blog and I know how much work it is to maintain.

The reason I’m writing to you is, I would like you to remove your survey about regarding June Jones impregnating me. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, the rumors and lies spread about this affair are ridiculous. It never happened, but  do to the timing of my sabbatical, June Jones accident and Dr Joel Fischer, I understand how the creation of this false narrative came to life. And it’s tragic, that people truly believe it happened.

I never let these rumors get to me, because I knew it was bullshit. Unfortunately, due to rather recent events in my life, I’ve become a bit more fragile and sensitive to this topic, specifically because I am reproductively challenged and am still mourning the loss of my children, my suns, Keali’ikauila Cristian and Kahekili Alexandru Olteanu. They passed away on December 9, 2010, in Tours, France. The law France prohibited their incubation and neonatal assistance and they both died shortly after the birth. 

Well, I didn’t about this survey until recently when my husband googled my name and saw it. He was very disturbed. It simply isn’t fair that my family has suffers over something like this. I know life’s not fair, and that you’re work is to provide news and information to the people of Hawaii. However, I think you’re a reasonable person and I would like to ask you, as a courtesy, to please remove the article/survey regarding this nonsense.

I made a tribute site for my children at: www.lilyolteanu.com, there is a section called Mommy’s journal, you can go to the archives to see all of my entries. It’s not perfect, it’s full of errors and it’s sloppy places. But it’s real, it’s from my heart and has been my savior.

Anyway, I hope this message finds you well.

Mahalo for your cooperation and time.

Lily Olteanu

Now with June Jones applying for his former position with the University of Hawaii after Norm Chow has been released… I felt it was time to clear the air with this alleged rumor and Lily does too as she sent this to me yesterday after I asked her if I could post her side of the story:

11-4-2015

Hello Damon,

I really appreciate your message and for that I have no problem with you sharing my email. For years, these rumors have hurt my family and loved ones. On countless occasions I thought about “clearing the air” on my own forum in one of my blogs. But I never did, it’s a Catch 22. If I say it never happened, which it didn’t (I don’t even know Coach Jones personally), there will be crazies out there who will still think whatever they want.

When I sent you the email I was a emotional wreck. In the last four years, I lost two more little boys, twins again, Kainoa and Kekoa, they lived for 6 and 10 days before passing away due to complications with their prematurity. I also had a life-threatening ectopic scar pregnancy in which I did two rounds of chemotherapy in Romania and England, because it was too dangerous to remove the fetus.

However, after this hellacious journey to and through motherhood I am proud to say my son Lucian is almost one year-old. The journey to get him almost got the most of me, but he was/is definitely worth it. HAPPY ENDINGS DO EXIST. Mahalo again for the notice. Here are a few pictures.

Lily and babyAloha,

Lily