Rockfall Triggers Explosive Event at Halema’uma’u

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places.

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The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

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Pāhoa District Park Project Groundbreaking to Be Held July 31

A public groundbreaking ceremony for the Pāhoa District Park project will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the park.

Pahoa Park Rendering

Join Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council members Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, Parks Director Clayton Honma, and other dignitaries as they signify the start of the biggest recreational project in Hawai‘i County history. The $22.3 million, yearlong construction project will more than double the size of Pāhoa Park and deliver increased recreational opportunities to one of Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.

Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site on August 4. During the following 12 months, it will construct a covered play court building, two lighted baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, one of which will be lighted for nighttime use, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas.

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing 15 acres of developed recreational facilities that include a 50-meter swimming pool, community center, senior center, and skate park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Resource Caregivers Receive Increased Board Payments

Families that care for children placed with the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Service (CWS) Branch will receive a foster board pay increase, effective July 1, 2014. Called resource caregivers, families will receive their first increased payment in August.

Department of Human Services

To ensure that resource caregivers receive the funds necessary to provide safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children awaiting permanent placement, the DHS requested a legislative appropriation of $8,502,936 in 2014. The budget request was passed in its entirety as part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s 2014 executive budget package.

“Hawaii’s rate increase is based on the DHS’ review of foster care rates and practices in 46 other states,” explained DHS Director Patricia McManaman, “and the benefits that Hawaii resource families currently receive in addition to tax-free monthly foster care payments.”

Children enter and exit the foster care system throughout the year. They can remain in resource family homes for days, months, or years in some cases. While siblings are often placed together, resource families also may care for two or more unrelated children.  In 2013, the average number of children per month in resource homes was 1,096.  In June 2014, a total of 1,156 children were in foster care across the State.

Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, was a strong supporter of increasing foster board payments.  “The bill is a huge step forward to help support the foster families that are integral members of our communities.”  Her Senate counterpart, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland agreed.  “I am very happy with the passage of this legislation and am grateful to the Department of Human Services, Governor, Legislature, advocates and foster families for this team effort!”

The increase in basic board payment also applies to families eligible for adoption assistance, permanency assistance, youth receiving higher education board allowance payments, and to young adults who choose to enroll in DHS’ new program of extended Voluntary Care to Age 21.

Foster board payment rates vary across the nation. Hawaii based its new rates on an age-tiered system indexed to documented costs contained in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families annual report.   The monthly per child payment to Hawaii resources caregivers has been increased from a base rate of $529 to $575 for 0-5 year olds, $650 for 6-11 year olds, and $676 for children aged 12 and above.

Similar to other states, Hawaii’s resource caregivers also receive QUEST health insurance benefits for their foster children, difficulty of care payments, and a clothing allowance. Difficulty of care payments are provided to resource caregivers that support children who require more intensive physical, emotional, psychological or behavioral care and supervision, as determined by a treating professional.

Resource families also are eligible to receive special circumstances or events payments, designated transportation costs (school bus fare or private car mileage, local bus fare) that effect child placement or promote family reunification, and $500 per child per year for extracurricular activities, social activities, hobbies, and camp funds.

Reimbursable costs include attendance at authorized meetings, respite care and child care coverage, limited liability insurance training, and  enhancements necessary for the child’s growth and development (e.g. Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, community soccer, community baseball, community swimming, Boys and Girls Clubs).

To learn more about becoming a resource care giver or attending one of the statewide informational briefings, please visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/ssd/home/child-welfare-services/foster-and-adoptive-care/ 

Big Island Police Charge Puna Man With 13 Offenses in Connection to Kidnapping

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 38-year-old Puna man with 13 offenses in connection with a kidnapping that led to a police pursuit and an attempt to run down two officers.

Riley Asuncion

Riley Asuncion

At 10:50 a.m. Wednesday (July 23), Riley Asuncion of Pāhoa was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of third-degree assault, and one count each of kidnapping, terroristic threatening, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, fourth-degree theft, driving without a license, reckless driving and resisting an order to stop. His bail was set at $1,521,000. He remains in the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (July 24).

Investigation by the Area I Criminal Investigations Section determined that Asuncion illegally entered the sports-utility vehicle of a 30-year-old female acquaintance Monday morning without her knowledge. As the woman was driving on Kīlauea Avenue in Downtown Hilo, he surprised her from the back seat, assaulted her and gained control of the SUV. The woman was able to escape from the vehicle on Kinoʻole Avenue near Haihi Street.

Police responding to an 11:26 a.m. report of an apparent domestic incident in a pink SUV located the vehicle in the Panaʻewa area. The driver swerved in an attempt to ram a police vehicle and then fled to Stainback Highway, turned around on a side road and drove toward two officers, who had exited their police vehicles. In response, three shots were fired toward the SUV, which then continued down Stainback Highway. It stopped a short distance later and the suspect fled into the bushes.

Asuncion surrendered and was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment. Detectives determined that he was struck by one of the rounds, which caused a superficial wound to his torso. Asuncion was released from the hospital early Monday evening and taken to the Hilo police cellblock shortly before 7 p.m. while detectives continued the investigation.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation. The two officers involved are on desk duty during the investigation. One is a six-year veteran police officer and the other has been an officer for approximately a year.

Hawaii’s Waitlist Trend Increased; Hospital Stays Shorter but Still Longer than Average

Statewide, between 6.9 and 7.8 percent of hospital admissions were waitlisted —that is, remaining in the hospital after the need for acute care ceases—over a five year period (2006-2011), according to discharge data analyzed by the Hawaii Health Information Corporation (HHIC), the state’s premier healthcare data collector and analyzer.

Click to read report

Click to read report

Waitlist patients are those needing treatment after hospital discharge, but not at the severity level that requires inpatient care.  These patients often continue to stay in a hospital because there are limited available community placement options that meet the patient’s needs.

For Hawaii’s neighbor islands, however, the waitlist patterns are significantly different. On Maui, the rate ranged between 12 and 16 percent, whereas on Kauai, the rates varied between 8 and 10.5 percent. Except for 2007 and 2009 (7.7 and 9.2 percent, respectively), Hawaii Island’s rate was similar to the Oahu rate of 6 to 7 percent.

While there were more waitlisted patients statewide in 2011 than in 2006, they experienced shorter hospital stays, according to the HHIC analysis.  Compared to 2006 data, HHIC found that the 2011 average length of stay (ALOS) for waitlisted patients decreased 25 percent, from 21.7 to 16.5 days, across all counties except Maui, which increased 12 percent, from 16.8 to 18.8 days.

However, the ALOS for waitlist patients is still more than the average non-waitlisted patient—nearly four times longer. HHIC found that the risk of a patient being waitlisted increased with age and increased significantly with each decade of life.

Neighbor island hospitals experienced a higher cost and volume of waitlist patients than Oahu with chronic-related disease conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, degenerative nervous system disorders and diabetes.

Bed availability does not appear to be a problem as there was an 11 percent increase in the number of long-term care beds statewide between 2006 and 2011. Appropriately matching the health needs of a waitlisted patient with a sufficiently staffed bed is likely an issue.

The key barriers to community placement of waitlisted patients include insufficient staff with higher skill-mix in nursing homes and other placement alternatives to meet the needs of those with complex conditions, a lack of specialty equipment to provide appropriate care, the cost of multiple or high-cost antibiotics, and lack of community-based resources to support patients with underlying mentally illness in managing their other medical conditions.

“Our analyses make clear that the waitlist problem exists statewide but that has very special dimensions on each island,” said Peter Sybinsky, Ph.D., president and CEO of HHIC.  “Efforts by health plans, hospitals and other providers and community agencies need to take into account this variation as they work together to solve this vexing problem.”

About the Data
Findings are based on data collected from all hospitals across the state, except Tripler Army Medical Center.  The report was prepared based on funding provided by Hawaii Medical Service Association, Kaiser-Permanente, AlohaCare, Ohana Healthcare and United Healthcare, in an attempt to provide a clear description of Hawaii’s waitlist population and estimate the financial impact on Hawaii’s hospitals.

About HHIC/Health Knuggets
Established in 1994, HHIC maintains one of the largest comprehensive health care databases in the state, comprised of local and national inpatient, emergency department, ambulatory care, financial data and other data. The research and data compiled are analyzed and disseminated statewide and are used to help shape healthcare policy and educate decision makers, health care providers and industry experts. Through HHIC Knowledge Nuggets, the organization seeks to inform the public about important healthcare topics. For more information, visit www.hhic.org.

Man With Hate Rips Off State

The Hilo man who parks his truck at Lincoln Park and spews hateful words out of the back of his truck on cardboard signs has been convicted of obtaining benefits from the state illegally.

Facebook profile picture of James Borden

Facebook profile picture of James Borden

According to arrest records, James G. Borden, 64 of a Hilo address was indicted for Theft in the 2nd Degree on November 21, 2013. Borden was arrested at a Kapiolani Street address on December 17, 2013, and bail was set at $2,000.

Borden indictment 1

The indictment alleges that from April 1st, 2012 to April 30th, 2013, Borden obtained public assistance benefits “by deception” from Department of Health Services that totaled more then $300. He was initially charged with Theft in the 2nd Degree, but on July 11 Judge Glenn Hara accepted Borden’s plea of no contest to a reduced charge of Theft in the 3rd degree.

Borden up at the Hilo Pride Parade being a hate monger against everyone and anything

Borden up at the Hilo Pride Parade being a hate monger against everyone and anything

Borden filed a motion to defer acceptance of his no contest plea, and received a suspended jail sentence. Hara also ordered Borden to complete 50 hours of community service, and to repay the state Department of Human Services.

Borden List

Another condition of his release is that he must obtain and maintain legal and verifiable full time work or enroll in educational program. It’s unclear whether those court-ordered activities might interfere with his Lincoln Park demonstrations.

Pahoa Man Arrested for Attempted Murder and Other Offenses

A 32-year-old Puna man has been arrested on a Grand Jury indictment for attempted murder and other offenses.

Gilbert H. Waiau

Gilbert H. Waiau

Gilbert H. Waiau of Pāhoa was arrested Monday morning (July 21) on the strength of a bench warrant following a Grand Jury indictment charging him with attempted second-degree murder, attempted first-degree assault, attempted second-degree assault, first-degree terroristic threatening and second-degree criminal property damage. His bail was set at $85,000. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock pending a court appearance Tuesday.

The charges stem from an incident on April 30, 2013. Puna Patrol officers responded to a report of a possible domestic dispute on the roadway. Officers responded to Kahakai Boulevard at Puni Mauka Loop, where a 23-year-old woman reported that Waiau had followed her in his car and tried to run her off the road, then intentionally hit her car with his. When she got out of her car, he reportedly attempted to ram her with his car.

The case was routed to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and then presented to a Grand Jury.

Big Island Police Arrest Pahoa Man for Trying to Run Down Two Officers

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested 38-year-old Riley Asuncion of Pāhoa on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder for attempting to run down two officers on Monday.

Riley Asuncion

Riley Asuncion

Asuncion was taken to the Hilo police cellblock shortly before 7 p.m. Monday (July 21) after being released from Hilo Medical Center, where he was treated for a bruise to his torso sustained when the officers fired at him when he tried to run them down while they were on foot.

Asuncion was also arrested on suspicion of unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and assault for an incident that started in downtown Hilo. In that case, passersby reported what they thought was a domestic dispute in a vehicle traveling from Hilo to the Panaʻewa area. The 30-year-old female victim, who was an acquaintance of Asuncion’s, managed to escape from the SUV before police located and began to pursue it. Police later located her in Hilo.

The pursuit began shortly before 11:30 a.m. Monday, when South Hilo Patrol officers responded to the reports of a domestic incident in a pink sports-utility vehicle.

The officers located the SUV. When they attempted to contact the operator, it fled. Officers followed it to Stainback Highway, where it turned around on a side road and drove recklessly toward two officers, who had exited their police vehicles. In response, three shots were fired toward the SUV, which continued down Stainback Highway. It then stopped a short distance later and the suspect fled into the bushes.

Police determined that no one else was in the SUV at that time.

They located Asuncion a short time later, arrested him and took him to Hilo Medical Center.

Asuncion remains at the cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation. The two officers involved are on desk duty during the investigation. One has been with the Hawaiʻi Police Department for six years and the other for approximately a year.

Ni’ihau ‘Alilea Shell Workshops at Lyman Museum

For the very first time ever, men (and women too!) will have the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind Ni’ihau shell lei that traditionally is made and worn by men for very special occasions such as a wedding, or a hula hālau performance.

Lei created from 'alilea shells.

Lei created from ‘alilea shells.

At the Lyman Museum, Kele Kanahele of the Island of Ni’ihau will teach the authentic creation of these rarely seen pieces of Ni’ihau heritage for the first time anywhere, twice in August on Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16, from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

On either day you may learn how to make an18-inch necklace/lei ($380 for Museum members, $410 for nonmembers), or a pair of earrings for ladies ($105 for members, $130 for nonmembers)—or more than one piece, as long as you sign up for specific pieces in advance.  All pieces will be created in the pikake style, using ‘alilea ke’oke ‘o shells (white).  The ‘alilea is known as the large dove shell because it closely resembles but is slightly larger (about ¾ inch long) than the better-known momi or dove shell.  Such lei are rarely made because piercing is very difficult due to the thickness of the shell.  For the earrings, much smaller shells will be used to create pieces appropriate for ladies.

Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.  Reservations must be made, pieces specified, and the workshop fee(s) paid by Friday, August 8, to ensure your place and the availability of shells.  Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.

Kane, follow in the footsteps of generations of Ni’ihau men by creating and wearing this classic lei on important occasions of your own!  And wahine, these pieces will look just as lovely on you … or you can give your special someone a treasure of Hawai’i that shows everyone he’s a treasure too!  For more information or to register, please call 935-5021 or stop by the Museum’s Admissions desk.  The Lyman Museum is located at 276 Haili St in Hilo and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

First Group of New Inmates Arrive at Kulani Correctional Facility

The first group of 21 inmates were transported up to Kulani Correctional Facility this morning.

Kumu Kini K. Burke, dignitaries, and guests gather for the blessing of Kulani Correctional Facility on July 2nd.

Kumu Kini K. Burke, dignitaries, and guests gather for the blessing of Kulani Correctional Facility on July 2nd.

The facility closed in 2009, resulting in the displacement of nearly 100 staff and the transfer of almost 200 Hawaii inmates to other overcrowded state facilities.

On July 1, Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined Public Safety Department (PSD) Director Ted Sakai and members of the East Hawaii community to mark the grand re-opening of Kulani Correctional Facility in Hilo.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Warden Ruth Coller-Forbes untie the maile lei and officially open the Kulani Correctional Facility.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Warden Ruth Coller-Forbes untie the maile lei and officially open the Kulani Correctional Facility.

There are currently 56 staff working at the facility. Sixteen new ACOs started Basic Corrections Training on June 30 and will begin their jobs at Kulani upon graduation in August. In addition, 19 more positions are in various stages of recruitment.

Kulani’s 200 low-risk inmates will return in phases. The rest will return in increments over the next five months.

Governor Neil Abercrombie accepts a plaque from the Kulani Staff.

Governor Neil Abercrombie accepts a plaque from the Kulani Staff.

Vocational training and substance abuse treatment programs will be added through partnerships with community providers and other state departments. The vocational programs include a Facility Maintenance Program, Agriculture/Horticulture Program and other technology career training programs.

“The Facilities Maintenance Program teaches the inmates important trade skills like carpentry, drywall, solar installation, and electrical and plumbing fundamentals,” said Kulani Warden Ruth Coller Forbes. “The inmates will be helping to maintain and upgrade Kulani while learning important trade skills. We want them to leave Kulani as self-sufficient, productive members of society and never come back.”

PSD is also working with kupuna from East Hawaii to develop programs based on traditional Hawaiian values. In addition, the Departments of Agriculture and Labor are working with Kulani to develop a plan for a sustainable agriculture program that can help inmates develop essential work skills and provide fresh produce for the facility.

Kulani Banner

Kulani’s reactivation is a major accomplishment of the Abercrombie Administration and is consistent with Hawaii’s participation in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), launched last year. The JRI strategy is a data-driven plan to reduce spending on corrections, reinvest savings generated in strategies that would reverse crime trends and eventually bring inmates housed in Arizona back to Hawaii.

In anticipation of the reopening, $686,400 was allocated for construction and renovation of the facility.

Meet Lava – Hawaii’s Tweeting Two-Colored-Faced Cat

Ok… well every once in a while I come across something pretty strange.  Tonight I think I out did myself.  Meet “Lava” the Tweeting Two-Colored-Face Cat from Honolulu, Hawaii:

Lava's Twitter "Profile" picture

Lava’s Twitter “Profile” picture

Lava tweets about everything a normal cat would… things like the thing she tweeted today:
Lava Tweet 1Lava bills herself as a “Hot Hawaiian Adventure Cat” and seems to live quite the lifestyle:
Lava Tweet 2The owner of the cat said that she named her “Lava” because she looked like lava pouring.  You can check out her entire series of tweets here @ohmylava.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

She is only followed by 54 folks at this time… but I expect her to soon beat out Justin Bieber for followers… LOL!

Big Island Police Involved in Hilo Shooting

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a non-fatal officer-involved shooting in Hilo on Monday.

HPDBadgeShortly before 11:30 a.m., South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic incident in a pink sports-utility vehicle in the Panaʻewa area.

The officers located the SUV. When they attempted to contact the operator, it fled. Officers followed it to Stainback Highway, where it turned around on a side road and drove recklessly toward two officers. In response, three shots were fired toward the SUV, which continued down Stainback Highway. It then stopped a short distance later and the suspect fled into the bushes.

It was determined that no one else was in the vehicle at that time.

The suspect was located a short time later. He was identified as 38-year-old Riley Asuncion of Pāhoa, arrested on suspicion of terroristic threatening and taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he remains in stable condition with a non-lethal injury to his torso.

Investigation determined that the 30-year old female victim of the reported domestic incident had exited the SUV before officers began following it. She was later located in Hilo.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Senator Schatz Lobbies FAA to Support Hawaii’s Ban on Aerial Advertising

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that Honolulu’s aerial advertising ordinance remains valid.

Aerial Banner

The mainland-based company Aerial Banners North has been flying aerial banners over Oahu in violation of Honolulu’s ordinance banning aerial advertising, while ignoring citations from the Honolulu Police Department. The company has argued that its FAA certificate of waiver preempts the Honolulu ordinance and allows it to fly aerial banners over Oahu. In Washington, DC this week, Senator Schatz reached out to the FAA at the request of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and received a written response that the Honolulu ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising remains valid.

“This is great news for Oahu residents who don’t want to see their skies cluttered from mainland companies. One of the things that makes Hawai‘i beautiful is that we have well-thought out rules governing signage,” said Senator Schatz. “This letter from the FAA makes it clear that this rogue company is violating our law and we expect and hope that this clarification will cause them to stop what they’re doing.”

In the 2002 case of Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2002), the Ninth Circuit ruled in support of Honolulu’s view that its prohibition on aerial advertising is not preempted by federal law. The FAA confirmed in writing today that the precedent from the Skysign case remains the FAA’s position and that Honolulu has the right to prohibit aerial advertising.

HCA Taps Statewide Cupping Winners at 19th Annual Confab

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrated its 19th Annual Conference and 6th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition July 18-20 at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay located in the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.

Cupping

The HCA divided more than 82 entries assembled from across the state into two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 lbs of the entered coffee is available for sale as of April 15.

In the Creative Division, four of the top 10 coffees hailed from Ka’u, including the top two: Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee earned a score of 88.7 out of a possible 100; followed by FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5

In the Commercial Division, five of the top 10 coffees were proudly grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earning a score of 87.0.

The HCA also presented awards to the highest scoring coffees entered from each of the eight growing districts from across the state. These include Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i.

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the finest coffee sampled from that verdant district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawai‘i district tallying a score of 87.2. Kauai Coffee Company captured the top spot for that origin and Kona Mountain Coffee was judged as the premier entry from Kona with a score of 87.4. The award for the highest scoring coffee from Maui was Keokea Farms with their organic entry of Typica, Kent and Caturra varietals with a score of 88.4.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Complete results can be found at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

“I am very impressed with the quality of the coffees coming out of all of the districts. It just keeps getting better”, said David Gridley of Maui, HCA’s Cupping Committee chair. “I applaud all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts”

Veteran cupper Warren Muller said “The competition was very close” noting an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees. “But some just jumped off the table” referring to the outstanding quality of this year’s crop. He remarked that the upward trend signifies continuous improvement and that experimentation was evident in new varietals and processing methods.

The HCA also hosted a Reverse Trade Mission designed to expand markets in Canada. Inbound missionaries included buyers, brokers, industry media and professionals.

HCA members elected a new Board of Directors to include two new representatives in Big Island Coffee Roasters of Mountain View and Isla Custom Coffees of Pahala.

Outgoing two-term President Greg Stille of Maui was replaced by incoming President Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company in Honolulu.

The HCA Annual Conference was followed on Saturday by the inaugural Roast & Roots event hosting nearly 1,000 attendees. This new event featured notable local chefs participating in culinary demonstrations and competitions and included a People’s Choice coffee tasting won by Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee of Pahala. Roast & Roots represents a partnership between the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i’s Department of Agriculture through its ‘Buy Local it Matters’ campaign.

Sunday’s activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers.  The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference has continued to grow each year and has gained increased international attention.

For more information visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

Coast Guard and Fire Department Rescue Snorkelers Near Molokini Crater – One Unresponsive

The Coast Guard and the Maui County Fire Department rescued four snorkelers near Molokini Crater off Maui, Sunday.

Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification from the operator of the vessel, Double Scoop, that one of their snorkelers was unresponsive and three others were stranded in the rocks in the surf zone near Molokini Crater.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Maui and a jet ski from Maui County Fire Department were launched to the scene.

The rescue crews arrived on scene, safely recovered the unresponsive and three stranded snorkelers and transferred them onto the RB-M.

Rescue personnel administered CPR to the unresponsive snorkeler.

The snorkelers were transported to the Maalaea Boat Ramp where local emergency medical personnel were waiting to take them to the hospital.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Reports New Crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

New crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The "June 27 breakout" flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.

The “June 27 breakout” flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.  The view is toward the east.

Since the onset of the “June 27 breakout” flow, the central part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater has been collapsing slowly. Thick fume and steam prevented good views, but this photo shows the edge of the ring fracture that bounds the collapse. The heavy fume comes from pits that formed where spatter cones used to be.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the pit formed on the southern side of the crater floor.

View to the East

View is to the south

There, a small lava pond roughly 10 m (~30 ft) across has been sporadically overflowing and sending lava toward the deeper central part of the crater.

Inactive perched lava pond and the new lava tube

After the June 27 breakout started, a perched lava pond – looking something like a giant above-ground swimming pool – grew over the main vent.

The view is toward the southeast

The view is toward the southeast

Notice the nearly flat upper surface of the now-inactive pond just above and to the left of center, and the relatively steep levee which contained the pond. The pond was abandoned after lava broke from a new spot near the west edge of the pond. That flow has begun constructing a lava tube, its trace marked by the fume to the right of the perched pond.

Here is steeper view of the inactive lava pond, just left of center. After it was abandoned, its surface crusted over and sagged to form a gentle bowl.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Skylights and points of fume just right of center mark the trace of the new tube.

Terminus of new flow near Kahaualeʻa

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The front of the “June 27 breakout” flow, seen here as the silvery lava at lower right, is about 2.0 km (~1.2 miles) northeast from its vent (as measured in a straight line), and surrounds what little remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, a forested cone several hundred years old.
Here is a closer view showing the beleaguered Puʻu Kahaualeʻa surrounded by active Pāhoehoe flows.
The view is to the northwest

The view is to the northwest

Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

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 more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Community Meetings Scheduled to Assist and Educate Kupuna From Becoming Victims of Crime

Mayor Billy Kenoi, the Hawaiʻi Police Department, Hawaiʻi County Office of Aging and Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Agency, in partnership with  Department of Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair, Office of the Securities Commissioner, Department of Health, Executive Office on Aging, Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP Hawaiʻi), Department of Public Safety, Narcotics Enforcement Division will hold four Kupuna Alert Partners (KAP) presentations to assist and educate our kupuna to curtail and prevent becoming victims of fraud, prescription drug misuse and crime.

HPDBadgeThe KAP program was initially formed as a State multi-agency group partnership to bring pertinent information on Medicare fraud prevention, securities fraud prevention and prescription drug misuse to the community. Additionally, the Hawaiʻi Police Department will provide information and tips on securing your residence to prevent burglaries and thefts.

“Because our kupuna are particularly vulnerable and oftentimes targeted as victims of property crimes, the Hawaiʻi Police Department has established partnerships with these State and County agencies in order to reach out and educate our kupuna about awareness and prevention,” said Police Chief Harry Kubojiri. “These KAP presentations are not only for our kupuna, but also for their family members and caregivers.”

Immediately following each 1-hour Kupuna Alert Partners presentation, the Department of Public Safety’s Narcotics Enforcement Division will conduct a half-hour prescription drug take-back operation. Participants are encouraged to bring their unused or expired mediation for safe, anonymous disposal.

The following topics will be covered during the KAP presentations in Kona and Waimea on August 12 and in Hilo and Puna on August 13:

Medical Identity Theft and Medicare Fraud Prevention
Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse
Investor Fraud Prevention
Burglary Prevention Tips

The presentations will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kona
West Hawai‘i Civic Center, County Council Room
10:30-11:30 a.m. (Medication Take-Back 11:30-12:00)

Waimea
Hawaiian Homes Hall
2:30-3:30 p.m. (Medication Take-Back 3:30-4:00)
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hilo
Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale
10:00-11:00 a.m. Wednesday (Medication Take-Back 11:00-11:30)

Puna
Keaʻau Community Center
2:00-3:00 p.m. (Medication Take-Back 3:00-3:30)

The public is encouraged to attend.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i, and how the NPS works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Pahoa Man Steals Milk – Leads to Other More Serious Offenses

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 25-year-old Puna man in connection with a burglary and two auto thefts in Puna.

At 2:10 p.m. Monday (July 14), police responded to a report of a burglary in the Ainaloa subdivision. A 51-year-old woman was home when an unknown man reportedly entered her Hilonani Street home and removed a gallon of milk. Responding officers found the suspect nearby in the bushes.

Lake Charles K. Lively

Lake Charles K. Lively

Lake Charles K. Lively of Pāhoa was arrested and found to be in possession of hydrocodone and marijuana. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

On Tuesday, Lively was charged with burglary, theft, promoting a harmful drug and promoting a detrimental drug. He was also charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in an unrelated case. In that case, an Acura Integra was reported as stolen from a property in Kurtistown sometime between June 25 and June 26.

Bail for the above offenses was set at $38,000.

After Lively reported to court for those offenses on Wednesday, he was arrested and charged with another count of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. In that case, a Honda Civic was stolen from the parking lot of a business in Kurtistown and found behind a vacant house in Kurtistown. Bail for that offense was set at $10,000. Lively was taken to Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center pending his initial court appearance on that offense.