Bunka No Hi: Japanese Culture Day in Hawaiʻi

The Japanese Community Association of Hawaiʻi hosted Bunka No Hi on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, at the Sangha Hall in Hilo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Japanese Cultural Day

Bunka No Hi is a national holiday held annually in Japan on Nov. 3 for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts and academic endeavor. Festivities typically include art exhibitions, parades and award ceremonies for distinguished artists and scholars.

The theme at this years culture day was Okage Same De (I am what I am, because of you).

The day began with a short Omikoshi Parade from Aupuni Center to Sangha Hall which was lead by the Grand Marshall of the Parade former Governor George Ariyoshi.

Shichi-Go-San Kimono dressing and picture taking was done by the association as a fundraiser.

Shichi-Go-San is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for 3- and 7-year-old girls and 3 and 5-year-old boys, held annually on Nov. 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children.

Since Bunka No Hi is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend. Nov. 18, 2017. Big Island Now photo.

There were many demos and displays on hand for folks to immerse themselves in the culture.

Bonzai at Bunka No Hi, Nov. 18, 2017. Big Island Now photo. 

The event included a bonsai demonstration by Moku Honua Bonsai Kai, a tea ceremony demo by Urasenke Hilo Shibu and ikebana displays.

Shuji/calligraphers wrote out phrases or messages. The event also included demonstrations on the Art of Soroban (abacus) and demonstrations on the Art of Eating Ramen Japanese Style and How to Cut & Present Sashimi.

Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth won the ramen eating contest, finishing a bowl of ramen in just one minute 28 seconds.

The 2017 Japanese Cultural Treasures were:

  • Takayoshi Kanda as the “Keeper of the Waiakea Tsunami Clock”
  • Akiko Masuda for her work on Mochitsuki and the  Mochitsuki Festival
  • Rondald Takeya for his work in Judo and working with students to instill and motivate each student to put one’s best effort into their judo

The Japanese Community Association is located at 714 Kanoelehua Ave., Ste. 202, in Hilo.

For more information, call (808) 969-6437 or email jcahawaii@yahoo.com.

Bikes Stolen From Tour Company

Kalapana Cultural Tours (KCT) has reported that sometime in the early morning of Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, between 12:30 and 5 a.m., five “specialized” mountain bikes which were locked together at the KCT property in Kalapana were stolen.

“These are the exact same colors and type of bikes and that were stolen from KCT last night or early this morning” said Kalapana Cultural Tours Manager Fred Aiona

“The five bikes were valued at about $2,000 to $3,000” said KCT Co-Owner Andrew Dunn.

KCT President and Co-owner Ikaika Marzo posted the following to Facebook:

“Someone stole our bike’s this morning from my property in Kalapana. Five specialized bikes which were locked together. They had cut the lock and stole my company’s bikes. Anyone with information, please contact me or message me. REWARD! For any info. No questions.”

Anyone with information on the bikes is asked to contact the Hawai‘i Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or contact KCT at (808) 345-4964.

Keaʻau Christmas Lighted Parade, Dec. 9

The 14th annual Keaʻau Christmas Lighted Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. This year’s theme is A Paniolo Christmas.

The night will commence with pre-parade Christmas caroling through the village beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m., followed by the parade at 5:45 p.m. Come and enjoy an evening of music, bright lights and fun for all.

Parade space is still available.

For more information, contact Monica at (808) 895-6288 or email monmac@hawaii.rr.com.

Department of Health Conducts TB Testing at Lihikai Elementary School

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is notifying the parents of students and staff members of Lihikai Elementary School on Maui of possible exposure to tuberculosis (TB) at the school. An informational session for affected families and employees will be held next week. Precautionary TB testing will be offered to roughly 80 individuals who may have had exposure.

“The risk of catching TB from someone at school is very low,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the DOH Tuberculosis Branch. “TB is not as contagious as many other illnesses such as colds or the flu. Testing may help us find others with early, noncontagious TB and gives us the opportunity to prevent TB for those who might have been exposed. The school screening is an extra measure of safety, and everyone who may have been exposed is being notified.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case at the end of October. Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law. DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient, and all student families and school employees are receiving a letter describing the situation and whether testing is recommended.

Informational meetings will be held in the cafeteria at Lihikai Elementary School to give families and employees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their concerns. Meetings will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. for school employees, and at 6 p.m. for families and the general public. TB screening at the school is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 27.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can be spread from person-to- person through the air with close, continuous contact. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops, there is a chance that they may become infected with TB. Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them from active TB infection. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the infection to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis or TB testing, please call the DOH Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit http://health.hawaii.gov/tb/.

The Tuberculosis Control Program works to reduce the incidence of TB in the state by providing effective prevention, detection, treatment, and educational services. The program offers diagnosis and treatment of TB; ensures that all cases and suspected cases of TB are identified and appropriate therapy is provided; and provides preventive therapy for patients at high risk of developing TB disease including contacts of active cases, persons who are HIV positive, and those with evidence of untreated TB. Through its clinics located in four counties, the program conducts direct TB services including chest X-ray, sputum smear and culture for mycobacteria, tuberculin skin testing, treatment with anti-tuberculosis therapy, and directly observed therapy.

Emergency Response Exercise at Kona Airport

Emergency response exercise drills will be taking place at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Keahole on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, as the airport will serve as the staging area for the Triennial Aircraft Disaster Exercise.

The exercise is a mandatory certification requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration, which tests airfield disaster preparedness and response by simulating a full-scale aircraft emergency disaster. The exercise tests and evaluates the operational capacity of emergency response in a stress environment.

Aircraft Rescue Firefighters cart a simulated victim to the triage area as part of the Triennial Aircraft Disaster Exercise. HDOT Photo

The multi-agency exercise from 8 a.m. to noon will utilize student and teacher volunteers from the West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy who will act as injured passengers.

Participating agencies include the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division staff, HDOT Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting units, Securitas, FAA, Transportation Security Administration, Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, Hawaiʻi County Fire and Police Departments, Emergency Medical Services, Kona Community Hospital, American Red Cross, University of the Nations Kona Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), American Medical Response, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaiʻi Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaiʻi Air National Guard 154th Wing, United Airlines and other airline personnel.

Flight operations will continue as normal during the exercise with no impact to scheduled flights.
HDOT alerts the public there will be realistic scenarios portraying injured people on the airport property and may include fire, fire suppression, rescue, triage, treatment and transportation using emergency response vehicles.

This is a drill and not a real-life emergency.

DOH Places 7 Hospital Employees on Off-duty Status Without Pay

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is placing seven Hawaii State Hospital employees on off-duty status without pay pending the investigation of the escape of a patient on Nov. 12. The hospital employees are being notified and will be relieved of their duties for 30 days as the internal investigation continues. As the investigation progresses, more employees may be identified and placed on off-duty status.

The department is committed to a thorough investigation, evaluation and correction of our hospital protocols and procedures to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring. In addition to placing employees on off-duty status, all unescorted on-campus and off-campus privileges have been stopped, visits to Kaneohe Clubhouse have been suspended, all staff have been retrained on the accountability process, security staff have been reassigned, all levels of patient privilege and visitation policies are being reviewed, additional unannounced patient area searches are being conducted, and procurement of additional security fencing is being expedited.

HPD Charges Pāhoa Man in Connection With Burglary

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department has charged a 29-year-old Pāhoa man in connection with a burglary of a vacant business building.

At 11:50 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, officers noticed a man in a pickup truck parked between a shipping container and the fence line of a business on Silva Street in Hilo. Police also discovered that the fence was cut and the door to the business had been kicked in. Several items taken from the vacant business were seen in the bed of the truck.

Nicholas Blackwell. HPD photo.

At midnight, police arrested Nicholas Blackwell on suspicion of burglary and he was taken to the Hilo cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, police charged Blackwell with second-degree burglary. He remains in the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $2,000 bail pending his initial appearance in South Hilo District Court on Monday, Nov., 13.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Tuck Loy Aurello of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2385 or Tuckloy.Aurello@hawaiicounty.gov.

This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Temporary Flight Restrictions Ordered for O‘ahu, Nov. 14

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) for the island of O‘ahu for Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).

Except as specified below and/or unless authorized by air traffic control in consultation with the air traffic security coordinator via the domestic events network (DEN), all aircraft operations within the 10 NMR area(s) seen above, known as the inner core(s), are prohibited except for:

Approved law enforcement, military aircraft directly supporting the United States Secret Service (USSS) and the office of the president of the United States, approved air ambulance flights, and regularly scheduled commercial passenger and all-cargo carriers operating under one of the following TSA-Approved standard security programs/procedures: aircraft operator standard security program (AOSSP), full all-cargo aircraft operator standard security program (FACAOSSP), model security program (MSP), twelve five standard security program (TFSSP) all cargo, or all-cargo international security procedure (ACISP) and are arriving into and/or departing from 14 cfr part 139 airports. All emergency/life saving flight (medical/law enforcement/firefighting) operations must coordinate with ATC prior to their departure at (808) 840-6563 to avoid potential delays.

For operations within the airspace between the 10 nmr and 30 nmr area(s) shown above, known as the outer ring(s): All aircraft operating within the outer ring(s) listed above are limited to aircraft arriving or departing local airfields, and workload permitting, ATC may authorize transit operations. Aircraft may not loiter. All aircraft must be on an active IFR or filed VFR flight plan with a discrete code assigned by an air traffic control (ATC) facility. Aircraft must be squawking the discrete code prior to departure and at all times while in the TFR and must remain in two-way radio communications with ATC.

The following operations are not authorized within this TFR: flight training, practice instrument approaches, aerobatic flight, glider operations, parachute operations, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon operations, agriculture/crop dusting, animal population control flight operations, banner towing operations, sightseeing operations, maintenance test flights, model aircraft operations, model rocketry, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and utility and pipeline survey operations.

AA recommends that all aircraft operators check NOTAMs frequently for possible changes to this TFR prior to operations within this region.

TMT Primary Mirrors Enter Production Phase

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has entered into a contract with Coherent Inc., a provider of lasers and laser-based technology, to polish its U.S. manufactured primary mirrors, marking a major production milestone.

The metrology device used in the polishing process of Roundel production, Coherent’s Two Dimensional Profilometer (2DP), is shown above in a special-use case where it is validating the active warping of the Polished Mirror Assembly (PMA). PC: TMT International Observatory

TMT, with its thirty-meter diameter primary mirror and a collecting area greater than all other optical telescopes on Maunakea combined, is the largest optical/near-infrared telescope planned for the Northern Hemisphere.

Under the terms of the contract, Coherent will precisely contour and polish the optical surfaces of 230 mirror segments to the accuracy of less than 1/50th of the width of a human hair. The remaining segments, including spare segments, are being provided by TMT’s international partners Japan, China and India.

Coherent will use a unique “Stressed Mirror Polishing” (SMP) technique, a process refined jointly with TMT, for the production of the polished mirror segments. The Stressed Mirror Polishing uses specially designed fixtures that apply precise forces to the mirrors during their fabrication. The Ohara ClearCeram blank is warped into an aspheric shape, then accurately polished into a smooth spherical surface using a conventional polishing technique. The forces are released after polishing, and the mirror relaxes into the desired aspheric shape.

SMP methodology was originally developed for the construction of the Keck telescope primary mirror, led by the late TMT Project Scientist, Jerry Nelson. This process both reduces the cost of polishing and improves the smoothness of the resulting optical surfaces. Nelson’s revolutionary concept of segmented mirrors replacing a single large collecting aperture has been used worldwide for several large telescopes that cannot be created using a single optical element, including the James Webb Space Telescope.

Waiānuenue Resurfacing Begins Nov. 13

Resurfacing work on Waiānuenue Avenue will start from Kamehameha Avenue intersection and proceed to Ka‘iulani Street beginning on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

Motorists heading in the mauka direction from Kamehameha Avenue to Kino‘ole Street will be redirected to Wailuku Drive as a one-way travel pattern on Waiānuenue Avenue in the makai direction will be in effect.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution as emergency response vehicles will be allowed to travel in both directions through the work zone at all times.

Travel lanes from Keawe Street to Wailuku Drive will remain open.

The one-way travel restriction will be in effect from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and travel in both directions will be restored at the end of the workday. Normal traffic patterns in this area will be restored once the project has proceeded past the Kino‘ Street and Waiānuenue Avenue. intersection.

Special off-duty police officers will be in the area to facilitate traffic movement during the lane closures and lane shifts. Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

Questions or concerns, contact Information and Education Specialist Barett Otani at (808) 961-8787.

Aloha From Lavaland Documentary Debuts Online

Courtesy image

Hawaiian anthropological documentary Aloha From Lavaland is scheduled to be released on Amazon and iTunes on Nov. 15, 2017. The film follows the aftermath of the 2014 eruption of Hawai‘i’s Kilauea volcano, which sent a flow of lava directly toward the center of Pahoa, a small rural town on Hawai‘i Island.

Hard to predict and impossible to stop, the flow threatened to cut off the town’s only access road, leaving the residents of this remote community to rely heavily on one another as they prepare for possible isolation.

Produced in conjunction with Gift Culture Media, Larkin Pictures and Pure Mother Love, this 55 minute documentary explores an inner community perspective of the lava flow, following residents as they ask and answer important questions about community, sustainability, harmony, and what it really means to live in such an unpredictable paradise.

In addition to street interviews and news coverage, the documentary follows a local Hawaiian kumu (healer), a sustainability expert and the leader of a sovereign Hawaiian community over a period of seven months as they attempt to prepare for the unpreparable.

“Puna is unlike any place I’ve ever lived,” says co-director Suzenne Seradwyn, who has created films in Los Angeles, New Mexico and Hawai‘i. “The people here have different values because of the natural elements at play and the rich cultural history surrounding those elements. There is a very important message to share about what happens when you allow yourself to trust these elements.”

“This film is important for anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift,” says the film’s co-director, Phillips Payson. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference.” Before moving to the Big Island, Payson worked in the film industry in New York and Los Angeles. This is his fourth film.

Aloha from Lavaland premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival and has won three awards including Best Hawai‘i Film at the Honolulu Film Awards.

To view the Aloha from Lavaland trailer, click here. You can also learn more about the film online.

 

Foreign Journalists Converge in Hawaiʻi

An organization of 28 public and private schools, colleges and universities dedicated to increasing the enrollment of international students in Hawaiʻi along with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the Study Hawaiʻi Educational Consortium, announces a press and media tour of six journalists from Asia, Europe and South AmericaThe tour will take place during the week of Nov. 12 to 18, during International Education Week.

Journalists from Ei! Magazine by Belta of Brazil; EL Gazette and PIE News of the UK; Ryugaku Journal and Mainichi Newspapers of Japan; and Studying Abroad Online China will participate in the mission.

In honor of International Education Week, Gov. David Ige will sign a proclamation to recognize the contributions of foreign students to Hawaiʻi’s economy and culture.

The signing will take place on Nov.14, in the Ceremonial Room, Governor’s Office, Hawai‘i State Capitol.

According to DBEDT’s 2017 Hawaiʻi International Education Survey, Hawaiʻi hosted 10,800 students from 27 institutions during the 2016-17 academic year, down from 12,200 students from 31 institutions during the 2015-16 academic year.

The total direct economic financial impact of international students for the State of Hawaiʻi was an estimated $225.3 million in 2016-17, down from $302 million in 2015-16.

This amount includes tuition and fees plus living expenses. In addition to the direct impact, other economic benefits of international students in Hawaiʻi for the 2016-17 period included:

  • $484 million added to the state’s total economic output, including direct, indirect, and induced effects
  • $32 million in state taxes generated from the total economic output
  • $192 million in household earnings attributed to foreign students
  • 5,093 jobs supported by foreign students’ spending
  • $24,139 overall average annual per student spending

The journalists’ mission is designed, in part, to counter the downward trend in international students studying in Hawaiʻi, by showcasing Hawaiʻi’s educational assets and unique features under the overall theme—“Hawaiʻi, the Best Classroom in the World!”

The group will visit various sites including Kapiolani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Iolani School for presentations by Study Hawaiʻi member institutions, Coconut Island Marine Research facility, MidPacific Institute, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, UH Maui College, the Institute for Astronomy at Haleakalā, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiʻi Prep Academy and Hawaiʻi Community College.

“Hawaiʻi’s educational institutions host a diverse group of students from all over the globe,” said DBEDT Director Luis Salaveria. “While Japan remains the top country of origin for Hawaiʻi’s international students, students from Korea and China show tremendous potential for growth.”

DBEDT recently established the Study Hawaiʻi Ambassador Program, which is estimated to host to more than 25,000 students for school excursions and other education-related travel from Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea.  As a result, the students become well aware of the various educational offerings and institutions available in Hawaiʻi.

“Students who participate in the program receive an official certificate recognizing them as Study Hawaiʻi Ambassadors,” said Dennis Ling, administrator of DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division. “This approach spreads the word on Hawaiʻi with authentic peer-to-peer, often viral, multiple channel distribution of information about Hawaiʻi as a premiere study destination.”

More information about Study Hawaiʻi may be found at www.studyhawaii.org.

The “Economic Impact of International Students in Hawaiʻi – 2017 Update” may be downloaded here.

Kailua-Kona to Receive New Sheriff

There will soon be a new sheriff in Kailua-Kona town.

Hawai‘i Public Safety Department officials, family members and friends gathered in Waipio, O‘ahu, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, to witness the graduation of the Law Enforcement Recruit Class 17-01 for Deputy Sheriffs at the Hawai‘i Okinawa Center.

Twenty new deputies were added to the Sheriff Division and will be assigned to positions across the state. One will be assigned to Kona on Hawai‘i Island and the remaining 19 will be assigned to O‘ahu.

Hawai‘i Public Safety Department Photo

The new deputies were presented with graduation certificates, followed by the recitation of the Oath of Office and the badge presentation. A family member was picked to pin the badge on the new deputy sheriff.

“After six long months of developing the skills necessary to prepare for a career as a State Law Enforcement Officer, 20 new deputy sheriffs stand ready,” said Sheriff Training Lt. Lane Martin. “Ready to serve and protect our Kupuna, our Keiki, our Ohana, across all of Hawai‘i Nei. I am honored to stand alongside these men and women and be a part of that.”

The recruits were trained in nearly 1,000 hours of academic instruction in laws and procedures, constant testing, training in physical fitness, and police tactics.

Student awards for Top Gun, Physical Fitness, Leadership and Academic Average were also handed out to the recruits who ranked at the top of their class in those areas.

The Sheriff Division carries out law enforcement services statewide. Its mission is to promote public safety by: protecting all persons and property within premises under the control of the Judiciary and all state facilities, providing process services and execution of court documents, handling detained persons and providing secure transportation for persons in custody.

It also provides law enforcement services at the Honolulu International Airport.

Massive Fishing Net Bundle Removed from Hilo Bay

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Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Photo courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Option Program.

Local groups completed an effort that began in late February to remove more than 1,500 pounds of marine debris from Hilo Bay on Nov. 4.

The effort began following a report received by the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) from faculty at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s (UHH) Marine Science Department that a massive fishing net bundle had lodged itself into the Hilo breakwall. HWF worked together with biologists from the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) – Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and UHH to attempt a removal of the bundle in late March, but only managed to free a small portion of the tangled net.

Six months later, mother nature took charge when high surf broke the net bundle free of the breakwall. On the morning of Oct. 14, a dive team from the UHH Marine Option Program’s Sea Surveying, Training and Response Squad (SeaSTARS) spotted the loose net floating in Hilo Bay with assistance from members of the Kamehameha Canoe Club. A team of four MOP divers led by UHH MOP staff coordinator Matthew Connelly used a 17-foot vessel to tow the net from the end of Hilo breakwall towards Bayfront. Within 100 yards of the shoreline, the vessel anchored and three UHH students—Julia Stewart, Rosie Lee and Keelee Martin—swam the debris to shore using safety lines.

With the help of several canoe club members including Troy Parker-Bailey with the Puna Canoe Club, MOP co-coordinator Jen Sims, and two large 4WD vehicles, the team successfully hauled the massive bundle from shore to the Bayfront parking lot.

HWF staff and volunteers used a winch and pickup truck to retrieve the last remains of the net bundle on Saturday, Nov. 4, completing a nearly nine-month recovery effort. The net was hauled to the County of Hawai‘i’s Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station where it will be stored until January 2018 when HWF arranges a 40-foot container full of nets to be shipped to O‘ahu for processing in the NOAA Nets-to-Energy Partnership with support from Matson Navigation and Schnitzer Steel.

Matt Connelly, UHH MOP Staff Coordinator and Marine Science Academic Support Specialist expressed his gratitude for the collective effort: “I want to thank the awesome Marine Option Program/Marine Science students that were really the driving force behind the whole operation; the Marine Science Department for having the resources available to do this for the ocean and the community; the canoe club members who helped out even though they were in the middle of a gathering, and for sharing their food with us when the work was pau; and HWF and DLNR for coordinating to get it hauled away and put to good use.”

“Getting this net out took time and patience,” said Stacey Breining, HWF education coordinator. “It was a true community effort. We (HWF) rely on the relationships we create with our communities to make our coastal ecosystems less dangerous for native wildlife. We are happy this net is out of the ocean, out of our landfill and awaiting transport to H-Power so it can be combusted in the Nets-to-Energy Partnership and bring electric power to O‘ahu.”

HWF is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to conserve native wildlife. Since it started, staff and volunteers have removed a total of 264 tons of marine debris from the shores of Hawai’i Island, Maui, Midway and the French Frigate Shoals. In 2017 alone, HWF and volunteers have removed 68,750 pounds of marine debris from Hawai’i Island and Maui through 60 community cleanup events.

For more information on these conservation efforts, or to learn about volunteer opportunities with HWF, email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, call the Hawai‘i Island marine debris hotline at (808) 769-7629, or visit www.wildhawaii.org.

Island Air ‘Hopes to Compensate Employees in Full’

UPDATE

Hawaiian Airlines has added three extra roundtrip flights from Honolulu to Kona, Lihue and Kahului on the afternoon and night of Sunday, Nov. 12, in anticipation of high passenger traffic resulting from Island Air’s shutdown.

The new flights are: Flight No.

Departing

Time

Arriving

Time

HA1108

Honolulu

16:15

Kona

17:03

HA1107

Kona

17:33

Honolulu

18:20

HA1103

Honolulu

18:55

Lihue

19:36

HA1104

Lihue

20:10

Honolulu

20:44

HA1106

Honolulu

21:19

Kahului

21:58

HA1105

Kahului

22:26

Honolulu

23:02

The flights are available to the general public for purchase at www.hawaiianairlines.com.

ORIGINAL POST

Island Air has been working to connect its team members with prospective employers as the company prepares to cease operations at midnight tonight, Friday, Nov. 10.

Island Air hopes to compensate its employees in full for the work performed through Friday, Nov. 10, 2017; however, the final determination will be up to the Bankruptcy Court Trustee. The employees’ existing healthcare insurance benefits will expire on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, at the earliest.

Island Air. Courtesy photo.

Island Air officials have been in communication with businesses around the state that have expressed interest in assisting the employees.

In addition, Island Air is working with these and other prospective employers to schedule a job fair for the employees in the near future.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support from so many local businesses that want to provide opportunities for our employees,” said Island Air President and CEO David Uchiyama. “Our 423 dedicated employees are among the best in the industry. I can’t speak enough about the commitment, work ethic, professionalism and company loyalty our team members have displayed throughout their careers, and I am confident they will make positive contributions to other businesses and organizations that need talented, experienced and committed individuals.”

Uchiyama noted that businesses, including other airlines, hotels, healthcare providers and other industries, have reached out to Island Air to provide information about potential employment opportunities as well as to inquire about the skills and qualifications of the impacted employees.

“The high caliber of our employees makes them ideal candidates for job opportunities across many industries,” said Uchiyama. “Island Air’s employees have undergone stringent background and security checks, completed extensive training and education and earned numerous safety and technical certifications. In addition to being leaders in their fields, many of our employees are actively involved in our local community. Whether they were born and raised here or have adopted the Islands as their home, our employees know and love Hawai‘i and incorporate our Island traditions and values into their everyday work and service to our customers.”

“I am so proud of the professionalism and integrity of our team members as they focus on providing our passengers with the Island Way experience on our final day of operations,” Uchiyama added.

Also today, Island Air employees met with representatives from the state’s Workforce Development Branch to begin the job transition process. Employees on O‘ahu attended three separate meetings with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DLIR) “Rapid Response Team” to learn about job placement and training assistance, as well as applying for unemployment insurance and other benefits. Rapid Response Team meetings for employees on the Neighbor Islands are being scheduled.

“We appreciate the assistance the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is providing to our team members during this difficult period,” said Uchiyama.

 

Hawai‘i Island Resident Earns Congressional Gold Medal

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i-02), announced that North Kohala resident Alfred Estoche has earned a congressional gold medal.

Rep. Gabbard said:

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Congressional leaders present the Congressional Gold Medal toAlfred Estoche Lim of North Kohala.

“Alfred Estoche Lim of North Kohala is one of more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino Americans that served under the U.S. flag in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army First Filipino Infantry Regiment during the war, and despite deep-seated racial segregation in the U.S. military, he volunteered for deployment in support of U.S.-led missions in the Philippines working with the local resistance movement, tracking enemy troop movements and employing his demolition skills.

“At 106, Alfred is among the oldest surviving U.S. Armed Forces Veterans of World War II, and I’m honored to have led the effort in Congress to award him and his fellow Filipino WWII veterans the Congressional Gold Medal—Congress’ highest civilian honor. Mahalo nui loa Alfred for your legacy of service.”

Island Air to Discontinue Service on Nov. 11

Island Air photo.

Hawaii Island Air (Island Air) announced on Thursday, Nov. 9, that it will be closing operations as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

As a result of this announcement, all Island Air passengers must make alternative arrangements for interisland transportation, effective this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Earlier this month, Island Air was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see link below) in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the lessors of Island Air’s aircraft to ground and repossess the company’s fleet.

Island Air was unable to locate a new investor or lender to provide funding to support airline flight operations and a successful reorganization.

One of the difficulties of attracting new investors was the aggressive legal attacks by Lessors Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A. and Elix 8 Ltd. Although Lessors’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order was denied by Judge Robert Faris of the District of Hawai‘i Bankruptcy Court on Friday, November 3, Lessors continued to engage in multi-directional legal attacks which Island Air could no longer combat without additional financing. The aircraft lessors were seeking termination of all leases and immediate repossession of all aircraft.

“Island Air has taken every measure possible to avoid this tremendous hardship to its passengers,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Island Air appreciates the loyalty and support its customers, management, employees, and vendors have shown the airline, especially during the last few weeks of this bankruptcy process. Island Air is proud of its 37-year history of service to the State of Hawai‘i.”

 

“I want to thank Island Air for its decades of service to our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “For 37 years the company and its employees have played a big role in connecting island families and supporting our business community. The closure will have a tremendous effect on 400 employees and their families, and the state will be working with Island Air to help the employees apply for unemployment insurance and provide assistance with job searches and training opportunities.”

RELATED LINK
Island Air Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Repair Work on ‘Akaka State Falls Park Trail Completed

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has completed repair work to the 0.4-mile loop trail at Akaka Falls State Park necessitated due to accidental damage caused by earlier removal of invasive albizia trees in February this year.

Site Engineering completed the repairs to the Akaka Falls walkway as of October 30 and Division of State Parks opened the entire trail as October 31. Repairs had been expected to take until December, so the park is re-opening earlier than expected.

The work quality appears to be good and the path of the walkway has been adjusted where the stairs are located for improved safety. Project cost is $297,400.

Repairs were completed on the longer trail section that is to the right of the loop trail starting point that was closed after the damage. Workers removed and repaired damaged concrete walkways and steps, and replaced railings
The entire park was closed from October 16 – 20 for work on the shorter, left side of the trail to the Akaka Falls lookout.

The park offers a pleasant family walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. It requires some physical exertion and will take about 1/2 hour for the full loop.

The paved route, which includes multiple steps in places (not wheelchair accessible), makes an easy to follow loop offering stunning viewpoints of the two waterfalls. To view ‘Akaka Falls only, take the path to the left (south) from the first junction. The waterfall view is just a short walk down the path.

Unidentified Man Dies as Result of Route 11 Crash

An unidentified man died in a two-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, 2017, in Kaʻū near the 46-mile marker of the Māmalahoa Highway Route 11.

Photo via Gail Heidenfeldt-Gali

His name is being withheld pending positive identification.

Responding to a 3:39 a.m. call, police determined that a 1999 Plymouth sedan operated by the unidentified male party had been traveling south on the Māmalahoa Highway when it crossed over the center line of the roadway and was involved in a head-on collision with a 2013 Isuzu cargo van operated by a 55-year-old Mountain View man.

The collision caused the Plymouth sedan to be fully engulfed by fire, which was extinguished by the Hawaiʻi Fire Department.

The unidentified driver of the Plymouth sedan was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:40 a.m.

The driver of the Isuzu cargo van was also taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries sustained in the collision. He is in stable condition.

Police believe speed was a factor in the crash but is not immediately known if alcohol was a factor.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death and to identify the male party.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229.

This is the 29th traffic fatality this year compared to 28 at this time last year.

RELATED LINK
Pahala Accident Results in Fatality

Big Island Robotics Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Championships

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship, photo credit: Art Kimura

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School won their respective competition “Excellence Awards” at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky. Seventy-nine teams from Hawaii, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaii and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics program.

In the VEX IQ Championships comprised of student teams in grades 3-8, the all-girl Sacred Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team 2437B as the top seeded alliance. Ultimately, team 2437A took home the “Robot Skills Champion Award” and won the “Excellence Award.” According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High School’s team 4142A earned the “Design Award” for their organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all program elements that helped them win the “Excellence Award.” This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokai High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found at www.robotevents.com.