Palila Forest Discovery Trail – New Trail Opens Celebrating Mauna Kea’s High-Elevation Dry Forest

The yellow, white-and-gray palila, a highly endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper, is one of the world’s most isolated birds. It lives only in a small patch of māmane forest on the western slope of Mauna Kea volcano on Hawai‘i Island. With the opening today of the new Palila Forest Discovery Trail, visitors will be now able to see palila and other native species that call this distinctive ecosystem home.

Palila

The Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)’s Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) teamed up to build the trail, thanks to the generous support of the Laura Jane Musser Fund Environmental Initiative Program and other community sponsors and volunteers.

The mile-long loop takes hikers through Mauna Kea’s unique, high-elevation dry forest. “This new trail will bring folks closer to a remote and often unfamiliar area of Hawaiʻi,” said Jackson Bauer, the trail’s coordinator. “People will be able to see the critically endangered palila and learn about its māmane forest home.”

Folks working up on Mauna Kea a while back.

Folks working up on Mauna Kea a while back.

Four informational kiosks provide historical, cultural, and ecological information about what makes this forest so special. In addition, 20 small identification signs with QR codes are distributed at key locations along the trail. Hikers can use their smartphones to learn even more about the plants, animals in the area, threats to them, and actions being taken to protect them. That information is also be available online.

Palila Bird

The palila has been loved by Hawaiians since ancient times. The birds, and the rest of the natural world, influenced the development of Hawaii’s unique culture. For instance, when Queen Dowager Emma of Hawai‘i visited Mauna Kea in the early 1880s, a series of mele (songs or chants) commemorated the event, including one from 1882 that describes the melodic song of palila.

Palila used to be found across the state, but habitat loss and invasive species have decimated their numbers. Only about 2,000 of the birds remain, all found on Mauna Kea. “As with many of Hawai‘i’s unique species, not enough people are aware of the palila’s precarious situation and the need for urgent action,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s Hawai‘i Program Director.

Farmer added, “We believe educating people about the importance of this species, and raising awareness about the threats we are managing today, will build local and national support for the actions necessary to preserve this bird for future generations, such as habitat restoration and non-native species control.”

Re-use Hawaii Awarded Hawaiian Electric Grant

A $5,000 grant from the Hawaiian Electric Companies to Re-use Hawaii will help support the non-profit organization’s monthly Community Workshop Program designed to teach basic woodworking and safety skills needed when working with salvaged materials. The two-hour workshops are held on the first Saturday of each month at the Re-use Hawaii retail warehouse located in Kakaako. A registration fee of $20 covers the cost of materials needed for each project.

 Photo credit: Re-use Hawaii

Photo credit: Re-use Hawaii

“By reducing waste and preserving our islands’ natural resources, Re-use Hawaii shares our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Lori Hoo, Hawaiian Electric community relations manager. “The community workshop program will give participants a safe, hands-on experience in building with salvaged materials, and equip the community with the skills and tools to be a part of Oahu’s waste reduction solution.”

Re-use Hawaii was founded in 2007 as a solution to the solid waste problem on Oahu. By diverting construction and demolition debris headed for landfills, Re-use Hawaii is able to make this reusable building material available to the public at affordable prices. The retail warehouse, located at 200 Keawe Street, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the Community Workshop Program, please call 537-2228.

HTDC Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Hawaii Companies

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) recently awarded $3,273,533 in funding from two grant programs to 13 Hawaii companies to help support development of new products to solve critical issues. In addition to state funding, the federal government awarded nearly $20 million in research and development grants to the same companies.

HTDC

The projects receiving funding include: developing next generation 5G technology; enhancing the immune response of inactivated dengue fever vaccines; developing methods for marine fish that can eat invasive algae; and increasing the efficiencies in the design of aerospace vehicles.

Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Program (HSBIR)
The Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research program (HSBIR) provides funding to companies developing new technology products. There are four phases to the program, with each progressive phase allowing for more extensive funding. Six companies were awarded Phase 1 grants, which funds projects through the earliest stages of product development; and seven companies were granted Phase 2 funding to accelerate getting their products into market. The companies include:

HSBIR Phase 1 Grants:

  • Diagenetix, Inc. ($49,000)
  • Hawaii Biotech ($30,000)
  • Kampachi Farms, LLC ($30,000)
  • Nalu Scientific, LLC ($74,548)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($40,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($49,985)

HSBIR Phase 2 Grants:

  • Hawaii Evolutionary Development, LLC ($346,750)
  • Hawaii Fish Company ($146,250)
  • HNu Photonics ($350,000)
  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($325,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($350,000)
  • Studio Kinection ($320,000)
  • Terasys Technologies ($162,000)

Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) Program

  • In addition to the HSBIR grants, HTDC awarded $1 million in matching funds to three companies through the Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) program, a two-year pilot effort to develop energy projects funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

HONR Grants:

  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($400,000)
  • Navatek, Ltd. ($300,000)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($300,000)

“In today’s competitive global landscape, these grants help to support our local businesses as they create new and unique products,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees HTDC and promotes Hawaii’s innovation economy. “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners who help drive Hawaii’s economy.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to support these local companies in their research and development efforts through HTDC’s grant programs,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “Coupled with federal grants, these companies will have resources to continue to develop their technology from concept into a product. Only 20 percent of companies applying for Federal Small Business Innovation Research grants receive funding. The fact that these companies were awarded Federal SBIR grants is a testament to the important research they are doing.”

Navy Breaks Ground on New Groundwater Monitoring Site

The Navy resumed work today on a new groundwater monitoring well near the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to protect drinking water on Oahu.

Red Hill Drill

The monitoring well, one of four new wells to be installed in coming months, will help scientists and Navy engineers sample and check water quality and evaluate how groundwater moves in the vicinity of Red Hill.

The installation of the newest monitoring well is in accordance with the Administrative Order on Consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

In EPA’s latest Red Hill website update* the agency states the Navy has been testing groundwater at the Red Hill facility since 2005 and adds, “These new wells will supply additional data to identify the presence of contamination, better characterize groundwater flow, and guide future investigations.”

Understanding Red Hill geology and groundwater flow is a high priority. The Navy broke ground for the well earlier this month, but digging was temporarily put on hold due to Tropical Storm Darby.

“Last week we began installing an additional groundwater monitoring site to better understand exactly how groundwater moves in the area,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “Public records confirm that all drinking water remains safe, and this well is more tangible evidence that we are committed to keeping the drinking water safe.”

EPA reports: “Public water systems that supply drinking water to Oahu residents are required to routinely test drinking water for contaminants. All drinking water supplies in the vicinity of Red Hill continue to meet all federal drinking water standards.”

The installation of the new well coincides with visits by groups of senior civilian leaders and delegates this month. Last Monday, July 18, U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL), among other legislators, visited Red Hill. Navy subject matter experts provided a tour of the facility and status update briefings.

“In the past two-and-a-half years, we hosted several hundred legislators, community leaders and other stakeholders for visits to the Red Hill facility. At the same time, we continue to work closely with regulators to protect the aquifer,” said Fuller.

Since 2006, the Navy has invested nearly $200 million to continue modernizing Red Hill.

At a cost of half-a-million dollars, construction of this latest monitoring well is expected to take about one month and be completed by the end of August.  The Navy will continue to routinely take water samples and send them to an independent accredited commercial laboratory for analysis, using industry-standard EPA test methods. And the Navy will continue to submit test results to DOH and EPA for evaluation, assessment and public dissemination.

Data from groundwater samples are designed to identify whether additional action is warranted.

Red Hill is a key part of the Rim of the Pacific exercise 2016. It is a national strategic asset that provides fuel essential to our nation’s defenders.

Governor Signs New Rule To Designate 10-Year Fishing Rest Period For Ka‘ūpūlehu, West Hawaii

Governor David Ige signed a new rule last week to create a new marine reserve at Ka‘ūpūlehu, on the west coast of Hawaii island. The rule will take effect on Friday, July 29.

Big Island, Hawaii, Paniau at Puako, coastal scenic, Lalamilo

Big Island, Hawaii, Paniau at Puako, coastal scenic, Lalamilo

The new reserve boundaries will encompass the existing Ka‘ūpūlehu Fish Replenishment Area.  The rule establishes a 10-year near shore no take “rest period” —with limited exceptions—to allow for the recovery of reef fish stocks prior to the implementation of a fishery management plan for Ka‘ūpūlehu.

“The establishment of this reserve is largely due to the steadfast commitment and efforts of many community members, including long-time fishermen and native Hawaiians who live and fish in this area.  They worked for more than 17 years to get support for the Ka‘ūpūlehu Reserve,” said Suzanne Case, chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.  “As a result of the rest period, we can expect to see more uhu and other reef fish critical to the health of the coral ecosystem at Ka‘ūpūlehu and surrounding areas.”

“Marine reserves and “rest” areas have proven to be effective in many other areas of Hawai’i and around the world,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator of the Division of Aquatic Resources.  Coral reef ecosystems can recover in just five to 10 years under the right conditions, and the Ka‘ūpūlehu area was a very productive fishery historically. We will monitor the abundance of fish and coral cover annually, and develop a responsible management plan that should allow for at least some types of fishing to resume once the rest area is re-opened,” said Anderson.

The rule prohibits the take or possession of any aquatic life within the reserve boundaries, from the shoreline seaward to the 20-fathom (120-foot) depth contour.   Beyond of the 20-fathom depth contour, hook-and-line fishing is allowed for the following bottom fish, pelagic, and introduced species: ‘opakapaka, kalekale, lehi, gindai, onaga, ehu, hapu‘upu‘u, uku, nabeta, aku, ahi and tombo, a‘u, ono, mahimahi, ta‘ape, toau, and roi; also Kona crab may be taken by Kona crab net.  (See administrative rule for species names.)

The rule also prohibits the possession or use of any fishing gear other than hook-and-line and/or Kona crab net within the reserve; and deploying any fishing gear shoreward of the 20 fathom depth contour.

A map of the area and GPS coordinates of the boundaries can be found at:

In 1998 the Legislature designated the West Hawai‘i Regional Fishery Management Area (FMA) to address declining aquatic resources resulting from improved shoreline access along the Kona coast.  The law, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes chapter 188F, required DLNR to identify and designate areas within the FMA as fish reserves where no fishing of reef-dwelling fish is allowed.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) held a combined public information meeting and formal public rulemaking hearing on February 11, 2016 in West Hawai‘i to amend Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”) Title 13, chapter 60.4, to establish the Ka‘ūpūlehu Marine Reserve.  The rules were approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on May 27, 2016.

The updated regulation will be posted on Friday July 29, 2016 on the Division of Aquatic Resources website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/regulated-areas/regulated-fishing-areas-on-hawaii/

 

Statewide Community Meetings on Improving Public Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and Board of Education (BOE) have scheduled a series of community meetings to provide updates on plans to better public education.  These meetings are part of the ongoing outreach effort in the updating of the Strategic Plan.

Student Success

Student success is at the core of the DOE/BOE Strategic Plan, which sets targets for progress tied to three goals. Earlier this year, the DOE/BOE embarked on a review and extension of the plan.

“We have sought input from students, teachers, school leaders, parents, employers and community members and their feedback is an important component as we move forward,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “Additionally, we are reviewing our student data, and the output of the Governor’s team on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Based on the collective feedback, we will develop new strategies to support student success.”

“A lot of work has been done and we want to share this information with our school communities and education stakeholders,” added BOE Chairman Lance Mizumoto.  “We encourage anyone interested in public education to attend our meetings to learn about our efforts.”

Staff from DOE will be collecting community members’ perspectives on the draft Strategic Plan priorities, which will also be used to inform the Plan’s review and extension.

The Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Team is also sharing information about new opportunities under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Hawaii’s state plan for ESSA will be informed by the Strategic Plan.

For more information about the Strategic Plan or ESSA, please visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Hawai‘i Island

AUG. 3, 2016 BOE Community Meeting at Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana,
Hālau Hoʻolako Building, ʻOluʻOlu Room. Address: 65-1043 Hiʻiaka Street, Waimea.
5-6:30 p.m.
AUG. 17, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Kealakehe High School.
Address: 74-5000 Puohulihuli St, Kailua-Kona. 4:30-6:30 p.m.
AUG. 24, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Waiakea High School.
Address: 155 W Kawili Street, Hilo. 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Kaua‘i

AUG. 24, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
Address: 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihue. 4:30-6:30 p.m.
SEPT. 14, 2016 Board of Education Community Meeting, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
Address: 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihue. 5-6:30 p.m.

O‘ahu

AUG. 2, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
AUG. 10, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Kalani High School.
Address: 4680 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu. 6-8 p.m.
AUG. 16, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
AUG. 22, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Kailua High School library.
Address: 451 Ulumanu Drive, Kailua. 5-6:30 p.m. (tentative)
AUG. 31, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Manoa or Liliha public library.
5-6:30 p.m. (tentative)
SEPT. 6, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
SEPT. 7, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Castle High School.
Address: 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Kaneohe. 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 14, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Moanalua High School.
Address: 2825 Ala Ilima Street, Honolulu. 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 15, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Waianae Public Library.
Address: 85-625 Farrington Hwy, Waianae. 5-6:30 p.m.
SEPT. 20, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor

Maui

AUG. 8, 2016 BOE Community Meeting at the Baldwin High School Library.
Address: 1650 Ka‘ahumanu Hwy, Wailuku.
5-6:30 pm (tentative)
SEPT. 7, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Maui High School.
Address: 660 Lono Avenue, Kahului. 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Moloka‘i

AUG. 27, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Moloka‘i High School.
Address: 2140 Farrington Avenue, Ho’olehua. 1-3 p.m.

 

Hawaii Department of Education Advises on Heat Safety

With the new school year beginning Aug. 1, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reminds schools and parents about health guidance on preventing heat illness.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii's hottest classrooms.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii’s hottest classrooms.

“We have been working hard to cool classrooms across the state, however, with increased heat and humidity, it’s important to revisit tips on preventing heat exhaustion,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “In addressing heat concerns, we met with Principals to discuss options of moving students to cooler areas of their campuses if necessary.”

Next week, letters from HIDOE and the Department of Health will be sent home to parents providing health recommendations, which include helping students prepare for hot days.

A year ago, high temperatures prompted HIDOE to post Heat-Related Guidelines in all classrooms and school offices. Those guidelines are also posted on the Department’s website.

Meanwhile, HIDOE’s heat abatement efforts have resulted in more than 400 portable classrooms with heat reflective materials, 139 classrooms installed with ceiling fans, 109 classrooms equipped with portable ACs, and upgrades to electrical systems at schools across the state.

Work towards the Governor’s goal of installing air conditioning units in 1,000 classrooms is also ongoing. Learn more about the ongoing heat abatement projects.

Hawaii Democratic Chair Apologizes for Actions of Hawaii Delegate During Roll Call

Yesterday at the Democratic National Convention being held in Philadelphia, as the roll call was being held to nominate the Democratic Presidential Candidate a Hawaii delegate embarrassed the state of Hawaii by flipping off the camera as Senator Brian Schatz was speaking live on camera.

Bird FlipHer name is Chelsea Lyons Kent and she even set up a gofund me page to collect funds from folks to send her to the convention where as of today, she has raised over $3500.00! https://www.gofundme.com/Chelsea4Bernie.

Aloha, my name is Chelsea Lyons Kent and I was elected as a National Delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Hawaii Democratic State Convention. 
The National Convention will be held in July in Philadelphia. I am asking for your help to cover travel costs (airfare, hotel, transportation, etc.).

The Chair of the Hawaii Democratic party sent out this email apologizing on behalf of her actions:

Earlier this evening, the delegates of our state came together to report Hawai’i’s vote in a roll call at the Democratic National Convention. It was a great moment which reflected the hard work that all delegates have put into the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Unfortunately, during the vote one of our delegates was seen making a gesture that was inappropriate and not in keeping with the conduct becoming a national delegate or member of the Democratic Party.

After consulting with the party leadership that was gathered on the convention floor, I made the decision to revoke this member’s floor pass for the evening and provide her an opportunity to apologize for her actions in exchange for being allowed to attend the rest of convention. She was unwilling to do so. Therefore, her floor credentials have been revoked for the duration of convention and she will no longer be a part of our delegation.

Delegates of both campaigns have expressed their shock and disappointment at the incident and have asked me to stress that this in no way reflects the sentiments of the rest of our delegation, regardless of their candidate affiliation. This incident notwithstanding, we have had an excellent convention thus far.

Moving forward, I will continue to express my desire for our Democratic ohana to work together and treat each other with respect and Aloha.

Sincerely,
Tim Vandeveer
Chair, Democratic Party of Hawai’i

Island Air Reaches Agreement with Three Unions

Island Air today announced it has extended agreements with three unions that represent its pilots, dispatchers, mechanics, flight attendants, customer service and ramp agents, and other employees.

Island Air“We are extremely pleased that we have reached agreements to extend contracts with the three unions that represent the majority of Island Air’s employees,” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “Each of these agreements recognizes the outstanding contributions our employees make to the success of Island Air. In negotiating with the unions, we had a shared goal of ensuring that our employees are treated fairly and rewarded for their professionalism and hard work, while also allowing Island Air to grow our business and continue to provide safe, reliable interisland flight service.”

Island Air reached a letter of agreement (LOA) with the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents Island Air’s 42 pilots.

“We are pleased to announce the Island Air pilot group has come to a tentative agreement on a mutually beneficial contract extension between the pilots and the company,” said Capt. Jim Morris, representative and chairman of the ALPA Master Executive Council for Island Air. “This new agreement resolves any open contractual issues and lays the groundwork for ALPA to assist the company in its efforts to recruit and retain pilots. We would like to thank the management team for their professional approach to the negotiations and are confident that Island Air will now have the pilot resources it needs to continue its growth, both for our current passengers and future customers as well.”

Island Air also reached an agreement on an extended contract with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Local 540, which represents the airline’s five flight dispatchers.

“The Transport Workers Union, Local 540, is pleased to have reached a new collective bargaining agreement with Island Air,” said Alex Giarrocco, president, Transport Workers Union, Local 540. “The agreement recognizes the key role our professional aircraft dispatchers play in the operational control of each and every Island Air flight. We are proud to share in the success of Island Air today and for many years to come.”

The third agreement is an LOA with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Local 996, which provides collective bargaining for 216 Island Air employees, including aircraft mechanics and inspectors, aircraft cleaners, ground service equipment mechanics, fuelers, flight attendants, stock clerks, and customer and ramp service agents.

“The agreement reached between the Hawaii Teamsters and Island Air gives the company labor stability to focus its energy on growing the business,” said Ronan Kozuma, president, Hawaii Teamsters, Local 996. “We want to thank the Union’s representatives and Island Air management in addressing the employees’ concerns and reaching an agreement that both sides will benefit from.”

Aloha First Friday Continues in Hilo

Downtown Hilo’s Aloha First Friday continues on Friday, August 5th with a block party on Kalākaua Street. The free family festivities begin at 5pm with swing dancing on the lānai at East Hawaii Cultural Center.

block party

Performances in Kalākaua Park include Tahitian dancing by Merahi Productions plus live music beginning with Ben Kaili. Following Ben, some of Hilo’s greatest musicians will be jamming together as “JMSW”, which features Marcie Dasalla on lead vocals, Jeff Enriques on bass, Steve Bader on drums, and Wes Matsuda on guitar and keyboards.

In addition to the live music and dancing, there will be a keiki fun zone in the park, with a giant bouncer and other fun keiki activities. Food trucks and street vendors will add to the festival atmosphere. For vendor applications and more info, please visit downtownhilo.com/firstfriday/.

Kona Tax Office Changes Walk-In Service Hours

Effective August 1, 2016, walk-in service hours at the Department of Taxation’s Kona Office will be changed to 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Telephone calls will continue to be taken from 7:45am to 4:30pm.

tax mission

Due to the small number of staff in the Kona Office, adjusting the walk-in service hours will help the Kona staff provide better overall service to all Kona taxpayers.  Changes to the walk-in service hours are needed to ensure documents received by our Kona Office staff that day can be timely processed.

“We thank the residents of West Hawaii for their flexibility and understanding,” stated Director of Taxation Maria E. Zielinski.

Big Island Restaurant Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak – Confirmed Cases at 93

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a new case of hepatitis A infection in a food service employee on Hawaii Island.

The employee has a history of exposure on Oahu and worked at the fast food and catering restaurant, Sushi Shiono Waikoloa, located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, from July 5 through July 21, 2016 (actual dates: July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21).

Waikoloa SushiThe department is advising persons who consumed any food products from this store during this period that they may have been exposed to the disease.

The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. However, as a precaution, unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

Since the outbreak began in mid-June, there have been 93 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 29 of which have required hospitalization. All cases have been in adults who were on Oahu during their exposure periods. DOH continues to investigate and is working to identify the source of infection for this outbreak.

“Preventing exposure from infected food handlers is difficult because patients with hepatitis A are most contagious one to two weeks before symptoms start,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.“ It is possible that other food service establishments will be affected with additional new cases.”

Affected food service establishments who are unable to notify their customers directly are listed on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/. These businesses are not sources of this outbreak. At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses; the list is provided to prevent possible new cases. Hawaii State law requires all unvaccinated food handlers (persons who directly prepare, serve, or handle food) who are contacts of confirmed cases be tested for infection and have a negative hepatitis A IgM test before returning to work. A “contact” with the case is defined as unvaccinated household members, unvaccinated sexual contacts, anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case, anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case, anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene.

Once an infected food handler has been identified, DOH staff coordinate directly with the owners and managers of the affected food service establishments to ensure their employees are tested before resuming their work.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

For a statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

As Lava Meets the Ocean, New Dangers Persist

The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō towards the coastal plain on Kīlauea’s south flank remains active. The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō entered the ocean, as of as of 1:12 a.m. HST, last night. Areas of incandescence remain visible in overnight webcam views of the active lava flow field, marking lava tube skylights and areas of active lava on the pali and along the flow as it extends towards the coast.

Last night Senator Kahele walked out to the flow.

Last night Senator Kahele walked out to the flow.  That would make “Lava Meets Kai” a reality… LOL!

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry (location where lava meets the sea) for Flow 61G, there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Lava Flow Crosses Emergency Road and Flows Into Ocean

Flow 61G reached the emergency access road inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on July 25 at 3:20 pm and crossed the road in about 30 minutes. At 4:00 pm, the flow front was approximately 110 m (0.07 miles) from the ocean.

hvo 726aThe active lava flow on Kīlauea Volcano’s south flank crossed the emergency access road in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park this afternoon around 3:20 p.m., HST, providing wonderful lava-viewing experiences for Park visitors.

. A section of the road can be seen here, with fume from the active lava tube in the far distance behind it, and the active flow front in the foreground.

A section of the road can be seen here, with fume from the active lava tube in the far distance behind it, and the active flow front in the foreground.

The flow front continued to advance, and was less than 100 meters (yards) from the ocean a few hours later (when this photo was taken).

The lava flow reached the ocean about 01:15 a.m. on  July 26.

The lava flow reached the ocean about 01:15 a.m. on July 26.

Request for Information for Harvest of Timber and Other Forest Resources in the Waiakea Timber Management Area

The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is requesting potential offerors to supply the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) with information to improve the quality of a possible Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Forest Product(s) Land License(s) to harvest and reforest the Waiākea Timber Management Area (WTMA) in accordance with Section 171-54, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended. Responses to this RFI are due September 2, 2016 at 3:30PM (HST).

Waiakea Timber

Please find link to the Request for Information (RFI) for the WTMA above and below.

The appendices of the RFI can be downloaded using the following links:

Appendix A. – https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/files/2016/07/2016-04-23-FEA-Waiakea-Timber-Management-Area.pdf

Appendix B. – 1999 Timber Inventory Report of WTMA: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/files/2016/04/Constantinides-1999-A-Timber-Inventory-of-the-Waiakea-Timber-Management-Area.pdf

Additional information can be found on the WTMA website.

Should you have any questions, please contact Philipp LaHaela Walter, State Resource and Survey Forester, at (808) 294-9429 or by email Philipp.LaHaelaWalter@hawaii.gov and/or Jay Hatayama, Forest Management Supervisor II, Hawaiʻi Island, at (808) 974-4387 or by email Jay.M.Hatayama@hawaii.gov.

Ku’uali’i Fishpond Wall Repair and Construction Creates Temporary Closure of Public Parking Lot

In order to replace the rock walls at Ku‘uali‘i fishpond, irreparably damaged during the 2011 tsunami, Waikoloa Beach Association announced a temporary closure of the public parking lot, and a portion of the beach, at ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay. Signs informing beachgoers have been posted on the site.

Waikoloa Wall
The repair project, a complete re-build of the rock wall fronting the fishpond, is set to begin in early August, and its duration is approximately 8-10 weeks. During this time, temporary public beach parking and beach access will be provided at the North Kolea beach parking lot (see map). Parking will be on a first come-first served basis with parking for no more than 46 vehicles available at any one time. No overflow area is provided.

At ‘Anaeho‘omalu, the comfort stations near the showers and canoe hale will be open for beach-goers, and can be accessed from the north end of the beach, via the trail behind the fishpond. For public safety, the ocean side of the fishpond will remain closed during the project. For employees and patrons of Lava Lava Beach Club, controlled access will be provided via the normal Ku‘uali‘i Place beach public access roadway.

Waikoloa Beach Association plans to reopen the large parking lot at Anaeho‘omalu when the repair project is completed.

Blue Jay Wireless to Pay $2Million, Ending Investigation Into Its Tribal Lifeline Reimbursements in Hawaii

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it has reached a settlement with Blue Jay Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether the company improperly enrolled several thousand Hawaiian customers as eligible for enhanced Tribal support reimbursements from the FCC’s Lifeline program.

blue jay

The Lifeline program provides a discount on phone service so that low-income consumers have access to the communications tools necessary to connect with jobs, family, and emergency services.

Qualifying low-income consumers who reside on Tribal lands, which include Hawaiian Home Lands in the State of Hawaii, are eligible for higher support from the Lifeline program (up to an additional $25 per month).

Under the settlement, Blue Jay will reimburse the Universal Service Fund approximately $2 million and adopt substantial compliance procedures. “The Lifeline program is vital to millions of consumers in cities, rural areas, and tribal lands who rely upon it every day to connect with loved ones, interview for jobs, and contact emergency services,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “This settlement makes clear that no Lifeline provider should turn a blind eye to potential fraud on the program.”

The Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of  Blue Jay, which is headquartered in Texas and is eligible to participate in Lifeline in 17 states and Puerto Rico. The investigation found that Blue Jay had incorrectly requested and received Lifeline Tribal reimbursements for enrolled consumers who did not reside on Hawaiian Home Lands.

In 2014, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission staff informed Blue Jay that the number of Tribal consumers it was claiming appeared to exceed the number of households on Hawaiian Home Lands. Despite knowing that Blue Jay could be improperly claiming enhanced Tribal support reimbursements, Blue Jay continued to seek reimbursement for those improper consumers while it sought to gather more accurate information about its Hawaiian Home Lands Tribal consumers.

This settlement ensures a total of $2,002,000 in reimbursements by Blue Jay to the Universal Service Fund, including the company’s forfeiture of $918,010 in Lifeline disbursements that the Commission has already frozen. Blue Jay also will develop and implement a compliance plan to ensure appropriate procedures are incorporated into its business practices to prevent the enrollment of ineligible Tribal consumers, including the use of an approved software tool to identify and verify the accuracy of consumers’ self-certification of their residency on Tribal Lands.

Last year, the Commission sought public comment on whether to require additional evidence of \residency on Tribal lands beyond self-certification and how carriers should provide proof of eligibility to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of enhanced support. More information can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcHNT.

This is the second Lifeline enforcement action this year. In April, the Commission announced that it planned to fine Total Call Mobile $51 million for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of ineligible and duplicate consumers in the Lifeline program. A copy of the Total Call Mobile Notice of Apparent Liability can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcH5R.

 

Hawaii Governor Attending Democratic National Convention

Gov. David Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige are scheduled to  participate in the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next week.

Rep. Joy SanBuenventura posted this photo on Facebook with the following comment, "The DNC opening reception far from protests. before tomorrow's opening gavel...so far everybody is happy but well see what happens tomorrow. #DNC2016 #HIDEMS #joy4puna"

Rep. Joy SanBuenventura posted this photo on Facebook with the following comment, “The DNC opening reception far from protests. before tomorrow’s opening gavel…so far everybody is happy but well see what happens tomorrow. #DNC2016 #HIDEMS #joy4puna”

As governor, Ige is a superdelegate with Hawai‘i’s Democratic Party. Elected delegates and superdelegates from Hawai‘i and across the country will be attending the Democratic National Convention starting Monday, July 25 through July 28.

Gov. Ige is receiving regular updates on Tropical Storm Darby and has the flexibility to return to Hawai‘i if necessary.

He is currently scheduled to return to Hawai‘i on July 29.

No state funds are being used for this trip.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui serves as acting governor while Gov. Ige is out of state.

Lava Now 0.2 Miles from Ocean

Activity Summary: Eruptive activity continues at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit and East Rift Zone. The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō towards the ocean remains active but poses no threat to nearby communities. As of yesterday, the flow tip was about ~370 m (0.2 miles) from the ocean. The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater continues to circulate and intermittently spatter. Seismicity and deformation rates throughout the volcano remain at background levels.
hvo 725 g61
Summit Observations: The lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remains active. The depth to the lake was estimated at 26 m (85 ft) below the crater rim, measured on Sunday. Tiltmeters at Kīlauea’s summit recorded a slight inflationary tilt. Seismicity is within normal, background rates with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering. The summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 3,700 to 7,300 metric tons/day.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcam images over the past 24 hours show persistent glow at long-term sources within the crater. There were no significant changes in seismicity over the past 24 hours. The tilt still recovering due to heavy rainfall over the weekend. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents on July 22 was about 500 metric tons/day.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō towards the coastal plain on Kīlauea’s south flank remains active. On Sunday, the flow tip was active and breakouts were active within a few hundred meters (yards) upslope. The flow was approximately ~240 m (0.15 miles) from the coastal emergency road and 370 m (0.2 miles) from the ocean; based on National Park personnel observations. Areas of incandescence remain visible in overnight webcam views of the active lava flow field, marking lava tube skylights and areas of active lava on the pali and along the flow as it extends towards the coast.

Tropical Storm Darby Claims Large Tour Boat Off Kona Coast

The Coast Guard is responding to the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on the island of Hawai’i, Sunday.
Kona Boat
Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel are working to develop a salvage plan.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse.

Kona Boat2

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at Marine Safety Detachment Hawaii, state agencies and commercial salvors have attended the scene to assess the vessel and reported a 120 yard by 53 yard non-recoverable rainbow sheen in the vicinity.

The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. No wildlife was seen in the area or reportedly affected.

The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time of the incident. Sector Honolulu watchstanders have issued a broadcast notice to mariners reporting the vessel as a possible hazard to navigation.
Spirit of Kona
As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard will investigate the cause the of the grounding and work with the owner to address repairs and operating requirements once salvaged. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

Tropical Storm Darby continues to impact the Main Hawaiian Islands Sunday. Commercial ports on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu are closed. The Coast Guard encourages boat owners to take precautions with regard to their vessels by moving them to protected areas, doubling up lines and taking them out of the water as applicable.

Darby continues to move west northwest. Localized damaging winds of 30 to 40 mph can be expected, along with gusts of 50 to 60 mph or greater. Surf along east facing shores of Maui will be 8 to 12 feet. Surf along east facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai will be 6 to 10 feet. Passing rainbands will bring periods of showers. There is a chance for intense downpours or thunderstorms to develop near Maui county, then spread to Oahu and Kauai later today. Additional rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches with local amounts up to 15 inches are expected with tropical storm Darby.