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Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Assessment, Maunakea Visitor Information Station

The public is invited to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Infrastructure Improvements at Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS). The University of Hawaiʻi Hilo is proposing a set of infrastructure improvements at Halepōhaku to accommodate and address the increase in the number of visitors to the mountain; ensure the safety of visitors and workers; prevent unintended impacts to natural, historic, and cultural resources on the Halepōhaku and adjacent parcels; and comply with the Board of Land and Natual Resources (BLNR)-approved Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The Proposed Action includes: a new means of ingress and egress for vehicles to the VIS, a new access lane and parking area, paving of an unimproved path to provide access from the new parking area to the VIS, drainage features, a greenhouse, and relocation of a cabin. Project activities would occur on the university’s leased lands. The access to the ingress/egress and the new parking area would be through access points identified in the Halepōhaku parcel lease.

Improving traffic conditions and visitor access to the VIS is important to maintaining a safe experience for visitors and workers. The CMP states that for safety reasons, all parking should be on the same side of the road as existing Halepōhaku facilities. The proposed infrastructure changes improve access and safety for visitors and workers by adding ingress and egress routes that facilitate traffic flow and building a new VIS Parking Area. The purpose of the project is to replace unsafe, ad hoc, road shoulder parking that is resulting in degraded conditions, and provide for safe access to the VIS from the new parking lot.

Comment period

The public comment period runs 30 days from March 8, 2017 to April 7, 2017. Comments may be submitted via email to: comments@srgii.com or via regular mail to: Attention: Maunakea VIS Infrastructure Improvements Draft EA Comments, Office of Maunakea Management, 640 N. Aʻohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720.

See Draft Environmental Assessment

Hawaii DOCARE to Conduct “Talk Story” Session March 25 at Wailoa Small Boat Harbor

HILO – To help educate Hawaii Island’s ocean users about boating safety and marine resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers will be present at Wailoa Small Boat Harbor to speak with boaters, share information and answer questions, on Saturday March 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

DOCARE officers will be joined by staff from DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

For more information, please contact the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement Hawaii district office (Hilo) at (808) 933-3460.

A 3D Tour of Kīlauea’s Summit Lava Lake

This 3D model of the lava lake at Kīlauea’s summit was constructed from a series of thermal images acquired during an overflight on Thursday, March 16. For scale, the lava lake is about 250 meters (820 ft) across. The lake is within the Overlook crater, which is within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Click to view 3D Model

The model shows that a portion of the Overlook crater wall, along the southern wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, is overhanging. If this portion of the crater wall collapses it could trigger a small explosive event, similar to those which occurred in November and December of 2016.

Three Folks Charged with Numerous Offenses Stemming From Puna Kidnapping Incident

Two men and a woman from Puna were charged Thursday (March 16) with numerous offenses stemming from a kidnapping incident that occurred earlier in the week in upper Puna.

On Monday (March 13), South Hilo patrol officers responded to the Hilo Medical Center where a female victim reported that she and her three children were held against their will for several days at a residence in the Mountain View area before escaping to another residence where medics were summoned and they were eventually transported to the Hilo Medical Center.

The 25-year-old female victim reported that she and her three children, ages six, four and eight were held for several days against their will in a shed in the Mountain View area. The female victim identified her estranged boyfriend and father of the children as well as two additional parties (one male and one female) as the suspects in this case. The victims were treated and released for minor injuries sustained during the ordeal.

Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division’s Juvenile Aid Section took over the investigation and arrested three suspects.

Israel Allen Chapson

Yesterday (March 16) at 2:30 p.m., 30-year-old Israel Allen Chapson was charged with four counts of kidnapping, two counts of felony abuse of a family/household member, two counts of third degree promoting a dangerous drug, one count of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia and one count of third degree promoting a detrimental drug. His bail has been set at $251,000.

Chevy Iaukea

Also charged yesterday related to this same incident was 29-year-old Chevy Iaukea and 29-year-old Joseph Soares.

Joseph Soares

Each were charged with four counts of kidnapping. They are both being held in lieu of $200,000 bail. All three suspects reside in Mountain view and are currently being held at the Hilo cellblock pending their initial court appearance set for this afternoon in Hilo District Court.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Lava Stream Update – Two Plumes at Ocean Entrance

A firehose of lava continues to pour into the sea at the Kamokuna ocean entry, sending a plume of steam, hydrochloric acid, and glass particles into the air and drifting downwind.

Click on photos to enlarge

Offshore, lava entering the sea also produces plumes of hot, discolored water.

A closer view of the ocean entry and plumes of hot, discolored water.

The circular area of dark water in front of the entry is a region of cooler water between the split plumes of hotter water.

A thermal image shows the two plumes of hot water extending out from the ocean entry point.

A circular area of cool water is directly in front of the entry point, between the two plumes. Several boats leave tracks of stirred-up cooler water cutting through the hot water on the surface.

A closer view of the lava firehose at the ocean entry.

The lava stream here is roughly 1-2 meters wide (3-6 ft), and plunges about 20 m (66 ft) into the water.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō started as a cinder and spatter cone in the 1980s, but over the past 30 years flank vents on the cone have produced stacks of lava flows, creating a broad shield around the cone.

This view looks north and shows the shield shape clearly. Mauna Kea Volcano can be seen in the distance.

A lava pond has been present in a small pit in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater for nearly two years.

Unusually clear views today revealed several areas of spattering, and some crustal foundering.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Announces First-Ever Endowment Gift

The legacy of the late educator and government planner Ilima Piʻianaiʻa is being celebrated through the establishment of a new endowment at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

Gordon Piʻianaiʻa of Honolulu and Norman Piʻianaiʻa of Kamuela have made a gift through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation to create a new permanently endowed fund to honor their sister and expand access to educational programming at ʻImiloa by K-12 students.

“Just as we are marking the 11th anniversary of our opening, ʻImiloa is thrilled to have our very first permanent endowment, a fund that will benefit the center in perpetuity and enable us to share our unique brand of programming with both current and future generations of young people,” said ʻImiloa Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura. “We are humbled by the Piʻianaiʻa family’s vote of confidence in ʻImiloa and excited about what this will mean in our second decade and beyond!”

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney added, “This wonderful gift will benefit the children of Hawaiʻi for years to come.”

About Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Ilima Piʻianaiʻa (1947–2006) pursued a noteworthy career in the public sector, starting with her service as a Hawaiʻi County planner helping to develop a general plan for the island. She later served with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority and worked on the Kakaʻako Improvement District, among other projects.

Ilima Piʻianaiʻa

She lectured in geography and planning at UH Mānoa from 1980 to 1984, administered the Task Force on the Hawaiian Homes Commission from 1982 to 1983, then held appointments as Hawaiʻi County deputy planning director, director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, director of the Office of International Relations and Affairs, and deputy director of the state Department of Agriculture.

Norman Piʻianaiʻa commented about his sister, “Even though Ilima was from Honolulu, she loved the Big Island and its people. She moved here around 1970 and mentored in the planning department under Director Raymond Suefuji during the days of Mayor Shunichi Kimura, a time when things were in a process of great change in Hawaiʻi. With ancestral roots firmly planted here, we are confident that Ilima would be pleased to know she has in this way returned and will continue to help nurture and contribute to the future education and development of Hawaiʻi Island youngsters.”

A longtime friend of Ilima, Deanne Lemle Bosnak, remembers her as “a perfect embodiment of ‘aloha.’ She personally represented Hawaiʻi’s beautiful blend of cultures, its warm hospitality and its welcoming aloha spirit. She was also a diplomat who worked hard to build bridges between disparate communities and cultures, demonstrating in everything she did a deep respect for the land and the values of its people.”

Annual distributions from the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment will support access to ʻImiloa by local elementary, middle and high school students, and may include subsidized admission and or transportation to the center, subsidized fees for ʻImiloa programs, and/or program outreach to rural parts of Hawaiʻi Island and the state.

To make a gift to the Ilima Piʻianaiʻa Endowment please visit the UH Foundations website.

Hawai’i Island Schools Receive Funding for Environmental Projects

Schools in Hilo and West Hawai‘i will be going green with the help of funding from Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i  Foundation’s inaugural Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) mini-grant program. The mini-grant funding will be supporting students at Hilo Union Elementary School, St. Joseph School, Kealakehe Intermediate School and Kohala High School to help them implement their innovative project proposals, which include a children’s book, a community garden and robot prototypes.

“We’re really excited to be able to support schools on Hawai‘i Island in developing unique ways to mālama ‘āina,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “Our youth are the next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders in our state, and hopefully projects like these, inspire and empower them to continue to create sustainable solutions for a better, more resilient Hawai‘i.”

A total of 25 schools across the state will be receiving funding to implement new environmental projects that raise sustainability awareness and practices in schools and their communities. HYSC mini-grant funding will be provided to the following projects on Hawai‘i Island:

  • Hilo Union Elementary School will be launching their “Let Us Grow” program, in which their 5th graders will grow their own greens through hydroponic buckets, as well as educating other students on how to do the same and how hydroponics compares to growing vegetables in soil.
  • Through its proposed project, “Huli Ka Lima I Lalo,” St. Joseph School’s Hawaiian language class will be creating a Hawaiian garden or mala on campus, to grow native plants based on the Hawaiian moon calendar, to learn more about traditional Hawaiian knowledge and how to successfully grow and maintain a Hawaiian garden.
  • Kealakehe Intermediate School was awarded two mini-grants for its children’s book and “The Edible Vending Machine” projects. Students in 7th and 8th grade will be producing a book about harvesting pa‘akai (sea salt) to better educate about the connection between traditional Hawaiian knowledge and sustainable living. “The Edible Vending Machine” is a project proposed by 8th grader Riley Estrada, who will be designing a vending machine prototype and app to offer healthy, delicious and sustainable snacks to students.
  • Inspired by a recent beach cleanup, students from Kohala High School are hoping to educate their community about marine debris through recycling stations, presentations and building a prototype of a futuristic micro-plastic cleaning robot.

“The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge has allowed us to further connect with and empower Hawai‘i’s students to carry out innovative and much-needed projects to address their vision for a healthy, sustainable future,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation executive director. “We are inspired by their creativity and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their projects. For over a decade, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation’s Mini-Grant Program has funded these types of projects in and out of the classroom. We are honored and proud to work with our many partners on the HYSC to reach even more students across the state.”

The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education. The HYSC mini-grant program is a Legacy Initiative from the IUCN Congress, made possible through funding by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation, with the support of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education.

“I’m thrilled to see so many students throughout the state engage in the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, and even more excited to support their creativity and environmental stewardship through this IUCN Legacy Initiative,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige. “These students are agents of change in their own communities, helping us to promote the importance of our natural resources, while implementing innovative projects that will help preserve the beauty of our environment for generations to come. Congratulations to all the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant recipients.”

For more information about the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, please visit www. kokuahawaiifoundation.org/mini grants.

Benefits of Beekeeping Course to be Held at UH Hilo and Pahoa

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers a course on basic beekeeping. Sessions will be held April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2 and 4 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in UH Hilo’s College Hall Room 6, and April 22 and May 6 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Paradise Nectar Apiaries in Pahoa. Tuition is $120 and includes the text book.

Benefits of Beekeeping is designed for anyone new to bees as well as those who have bees and are interested in new ways to relate to and care for them. Participants will learn about treatment‐free beekeeping practices based on bee biology and how to develop a relationship and understanding of bees, their castes, and the roles each caste contributes to the hive.

Instructor Jen Rasmussen has been caring for honey bees on Hawaiʻi Island since 2008. She has developed various methods of maintaining her hives without the use of chemicals or treatments, and organized the beekeeping program at the Island Princess Macadamia Nut Farm.

Private and non-government employers/businesses may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver through the State’s Employment & Training Fund (ETF). For details, visit
http://labor.hawaii.gov/wdd/home/employers/etf/micro/ and apply at least 10 business days before the start of class.

For more information or to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Mauna Kea Access Road Crash

Police have identified the female who died from injuries sustained in a one car crash Sunday (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

She was identified as 35-year-old Aurelie Vincent of Vienne, France.

Police are also asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118 or email: erhard.autrata@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Federal and State Agencies Investigate Death of Hawaiian Monk Seal on Hawaii Island

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources are working together to try and understand what led to the death of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, tagged as RB18.

R4DP was found dead in February.

The 10-year-old male seal was found dead in a submerged fish pen maintained by Blue Ocean Mariculture in nearshore waters near Keahole Point on Hawai‘i Island on March 5, 2017.  Blue Ocean Mariculture reported to NMFS that the pen was emptied of most of the fish, and they’d removed a large side panel to allow a shark to escape.  The monk seal was reported to NMFS the next day as deceased in the pen.

A necropsy (animal autopsy) was performed on O‘ahu by NMFS veterinarians and biologists. They concluded the seal drowned, as it had no signs of serious injury or disease.

RB18 was often seen in the area feeding on fish outside the net pen.  Its stomach was full of large fish, suggesting that it had foraged very recently prior to its death. Ann Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator in the NMFS Protected Resources Division said, “It is often difficult to determine a precise cause of death for marine mammals because of their complex diving ability, but necropsy observations led to the conclusion that RB18 drowned in the net. We’ve confirmed that this net is now out of service and Blue Ocean Mariculture has removed the top of the pen to further reduce the risk of further entrapments, while the company is in the process of removing the entire pen from the ocean. This is a rare situation and NMFS is investigating the death of the seal.”

In addition to federal permits, Blue Ocean Mariculture has a permit from the State of Hawai‘i.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We are greatly saddened by the death of RB18 but are working together to learn from this tragedy and to minimize any additional impacts to monk seals and other protected marine species that may be associated with offshore aquaculture and the Blue Ocean Mariculture operation.” The DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands is also conducting an investigation and review and will prepare a report with recommendations to avoid this from happening in the future.

Big Island Press Club Awards Lava Tube Award to Former Mayor Kenoi – Torch of Light Award to Nancy Cook Lauer

The Big Island Press Club awards its annual meritorious Torch of Light Award to West Hawaii Today reporter Nancy Cook Lauer and the Lava Tube dishonor award to former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. The Torch of Light award is given to an individual who brightens the public’s right to know, while the Lava Tube dishonor is given for a lack of communication and keeping the public in the dark.

Lava Tube Dishonor

The Lava Tube is awarded to Kenoi for his failure to disclose a number of personal expenditures relating to his use of a county-issued purchasing card, as well as a failure to disclose as required by law other financial matters such as real estate sales.

Kenoi’s admitted misuse of his pCard involved large alcohol and food expenses, including visits to Honolulu hostess bars. A surfboard and other purchases considered personal were also uncovered, including “meals at the Volcano House Restaurant and the Hilo Yacht Club,” for which Kenoi was accused of falsifying records. The mayor repaid taxpayers for the purchases, though some payments took years, and not until they were uncovered by journalists.

Kenoi was eventually indicted on theft and record-tampering felony charges, but was acquitted after state prosecutors were unable to convince a jury that he had intentionally planned to “permanently deprive” funds from the taxpayers of Hawaii County. Despite his acquittal, Kenoi admitted at the start that “Certainly, I could have used better judgment … I’ve used my pCard when I shouldn’t have.” He admitted to violating the county ethics code.

Further indiscretion uncovered during the mayor’s final year in office included Kenoi’s failure to disclose the sale of lands belonging to him, as required by county law. Between 2012 and 2014, Kenoi and his wife sold over two dozen acres of agricultural-zoned land worth nearly $400,000 and did not list these transactions on annual forms requiring the mayor to report “real property with a fair-market value of $5,000 or more sold during the disclosure period.”

Since its founding, the Big Island Press Club has protested any absence of transparency or accountability within the halls of state and county government in Hawaii. The BIPC’s officers believe that Kenoi’s lack of transparency regarding his personal assets and taxpayer-funded expenditures was a disservice to the citizens he was elected to represent. Big Island residents should be able to trust their chief executive to be forthcoming in his or her dealings as a public official and, with these acts, Kenoi failed to honor that trust.

Torch of Light

BIPC has selected Nancy Cook Lauer, a reporter for West Hawaii Today, for its Torch of Light award. Cook Lauer is honored for her work on breaking the story surrounding Kenoi’s use of a county-issued pCard.

As a column in Honolulu Civil Beat explains, “Lauer is the dogged reporter who uncovered Kenoi’s questionable use of a county credit card, including charging taxpayers for the $900 he spent in one day at a Honolulu ‘hostess’ bar.”

When covering the mayor, Cook Lauer had requested access to a number of financial disclosure reports concerning Mayor Kenoi’s travel expenses, only to be sidelined by the county. Cook Lauer was able to report on Kenoi’s alleged misdeeds with the help of an anonymous source, who provided Cook Lauer with the necessary documents implicating Kenoi in the ensuing scandal.

The allegations against Kenoi were serious enough for Cook Lauer and other journalists to further investigate the mayor’s pCard use. The ensuing due process of law would not have been possible without Cook Lauer’s initial reporting on the mayor.

The BIPC has always maintained that it is the role of the media to bear witness and be the eyes and ears of the public. Independent reporting is critical to providing the public necessary information so that they may infer informed conclusions about their government, especially concerning the people elected to represent them.

The Big Island Press Club, the state’s oldest press club, founded in 1967– has awarded the Lava Tube and the Torch of Light annually since 1997 on Freedom of Information Day, March 16. This day also marks the birthday of our nation’s fourth president, James Madison. Born in 1751, Madison was the principal architect of the U.S. Constitution, and one of the three authors of the Federalist Papers; he is recognized by historians as one of America’s earliest and foremost advocates for open, accountable governance.

Previous Lava Tube Dishonorees

  • 2015 State Land Board Chairwoman Suzanne Case
  • 2014 Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago
  • 2013 Democratic Party House District 5 Council
  • 2012 State Sen. Clayton Hee
  • 2011 Governor Neil Abercrombie
  • 2010 Hawaii County Council
  • 2009 Noelani Whittington, County Department of Public Works
  • 2008 Mayor Harry Kim and Hawaii County Council
  • 2007 State Board of Education
  • 2006 Honolulu, Kauai, and Hawaii County Councils
  • 2005 District Judge Matthew S.K. Pyun
  • 2004 State Land Board Chairman Peter Young
  • 2003 State Sen. Cal Kawamoto
  • 2002 University of Hawaii Board of Regents
  • 2001 University of Hawaii Board of Regents
  • 2000 State Rep. Eric Hamakawa and Hawaii County Councilman James Arakaki
  • 1999 Hawaii County Council
  • 1998 Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano
  • 1997 Hawaii County Councilman Elroy Osorio

Previous Torch of Light Honorees

  • 2015 State Sen. Lorraine Inouye
  • 2014 USGS HVO Scientists
  • 2013 Mayor Billy Kenoi
  • 2012 County Councilwoman and state Rep. Helene Hale (posthumously)
  • 2011 State Judicial Selection Commission
  • 2010 Hawaii County Civil Defense and other departments
  • 2009 Legislature, Gov. Linda Lingle
  • 2008 Les Kondo, Office of Information Practices
  • 2007 West Hawaii Today
  • 2006 Lillian Koller, State Department of Human Services
  • 2005 Retired Circuit Judge Paul de Silva
  • 2004 UH Manoa Journalism Professor Beverly Keever
  • 2003 U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink (posthumously)
  • 2002 Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim
  • 2001 Hawaii County Clerk Al Konishi
  • 2000 Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano
  • 1999 Jerry Rothstein and Judith Graham
  • 1998 Environment Hawaii and Common Cause
  • 1997 Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaii Chapter

Commentary – Update From Councilwoman Ruggles

Aloha Kakou,

These recent months have been a time of great change on a local and global level. I would first like to express how grateful that I am for the strength, resilience and awareness of our community. The ability for us to work together in times such as these, care for each other and malama ‘aina is critical for our future and for the future of this planet. In my 3rd and 4th month in office I have been learning the ropes and have been very busy meeting with department heads, community groups, and residents. Please see below for a summary of what our office has been up to:

Legislation-  On March 8th I introduced two resolutions, Resolution 81-17 and Resolution 82-17. The first one urged the state to pass two bills currently being heard, one allowing Tiny Homes for ag land, and the other stopping counties from requiring minimum house sizes. Resolution 82-17 urged the state to prioritize the release of $15 million to the county previously authorized for the construction, repair, and maintenance of feeder roads and alternative routes for Highway 130. The council passed both resolutions.

  • Supporting local farmers- On Feb 22nd. I was able to pass a resolution giving $2,500 to the Food Basket that will double the SNAP-EBT benefits for certain days of shopping at the Maku’u market.
  • Styrofoam Ban- While the council passed the styrofoam bill out of committee, Council Members Dru Kanuha, Tim Richards, and Eileen O’Hara (sponsor), all had amendments they wanted to discuss so Council member O’Hara opted to delay the bill and create an ad-hoc committee to ensure the bill is foolproof. It should be heard again in June.
  • County Composting Facility- As you may be aware the county had a contract for a full composting facility for Hilo and Kona which the mayor recently terminated based on a report by the Environmental Management Department, saying the county was paying too much and that it didn’t meet the goals of our Zero Waste Implementation Plan. I will be reviewing the report this week and the council will be discussing next week in Kona. In the meanwhile, if you have any thoughts please let me know at 808-961-8263 or email me back. 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

Hawaiian Acres Farmers Market now open: Support your local farmers at the Hawaiian Acres Community Center on the corner of roads 8 and C, from 12- 3 pm.  For more information call 808-966-9892 or email info@hawaiianacres.org

Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee upcoming meeting: You are invited to attend the upcoming PCDP Action Committee meeting, where public comment is welcome at the beginning of each meeting. It will be held at the Pahoa Neighborhood Facility on 5/9 at 3pm. View the development plan here and contact Hans Santiago if you have any questions 808-961-8165.

Need extra money? Become a driver- Uber launching this Friday, 3/17:  On March 15th I meet with Uber representatives to discuss how they can help transportation in Hawaii, (I convinced them that there is sufficient demand for jobs AND rides in Puna). With Uber, anyone with a smartphone can locate available drivers near them and get affordable rides. Anyone can apply to be a driver if they meet certain requirements, and can apply here. I will be hosting a public meeting with a Uber representative on how you can participate in increasing transportation accessibility and our local economy next month, TBA.

Shuttle for the Disabled and Elderly- Beginning in May, there will be several vans funded by the State and County to provide free transportation to the disabled, (over 18 year old), and elderly, island wide. For more information call 961-8777.

East Hawai’i CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Basic Training Course: Free Class: March 18th at  Aupuni Conference Room from 8:30 – 4:30  For more information on CERT, visit https://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/ To reserve a space contact Patti Pinto at hawaiicert@gmail.com or call Patti at 808-935-0031

Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee (CERS) upcoming meeting: You are invited to attend the CERS monthly meeting held at the Kea’au Community Center on
03/28 at 2 pm. For more information please email Patti Pinto- pintonian@gmail.com

Free Hazardous Waste Disposal: The next will be a free Residential Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event  will be at the Hilo Transfer Station on June 3rd  between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. They will be accepting automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent lights and pesticides, for a more complete list click here. If you have any questions or comments contact Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with the Department of Environmental Management at 961-8554 or email to recycle3@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Puna Neighborhood Watch Meetings:
Neighborhood watch groups are proven to make communities safer. Here is a list of our local groups and how to can get involved:
Ainaloa Neighborhood Watch: At the Ainaloa Longhouse on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please contact Judy Haney at 808-966-8114 of haneypaws@aol.com
Fern Acres Neighborhood Watch: At the Fern Acres Community Association(FACA) Building, on the corner of Pole 7 and Lehua, on the last Tuesday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please call the FACA office at 808-968-6006
Fern Forest Neighborhood Watch: At the Fern Forrest Community Lot, on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 10 am. For more information, please contact Ron Costa by phone at 469-471-4657
or by email at rcostamhs65@outlook.com
Leilani Neighborhood Watch: At the Leilani Community Center on the last Thursday of every month at 7 pm. For more information please contact the Leilani Community Association office at 808-965-9555
Orchidland Neighborhood Watch:  At Blanes Drive-In in Orchidland on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please contact Sharon by phone at 808-430-5048
or  by email at sfmccar@earthlink.net

Abandoned Vehicles: For private roads that are publicly traveled, call police dept non-emergency line 935-3311 with the location, make, model, and any other information on the vehicle. Officer will tag it with a notice, after 24 hours s/he will make an abandoned vehicle report, and vehicle will be towed in a few days to a week.

Vice/Drug Tip Hotlines: There is a 24-hour anonymous vice/drug tip hotline for you to provide the Police department information on drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues like prostitution, gambling (cock and dog fighting),  and other related crimes. Call 808-934-VICE (934-8423)

Student applications for Native Youth Congress being accepted:
The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center is inviting native students apply for the Native Youth Community Adaptation and Leadership Congress,  July 9-15, 2017 in Shepherdstown, WV. Students will learn  leadership skills for addressing conservation issues in their communities.

Highlights from 3/7 council presentation from the Hawaii Island Rat Lungworm Working group: 

  • Only diagnosis is spinal tap, they’re currently working on a blood based diagnostic.
  • Solutions: Best method to educate residents in rural communities is through the school system. 10,000 copies of “mystery of rat lung worm disease” booklet given has been effective for students to educate their families.
  • Properly wash lettuce: take leaves apart, wash and inspect each stalk. Wash with potable water, commercial veggie wash, or baking soda water.
  • Develop pest management methods for school gardens. The group identified 5 schools with diverse elevations and developed non-toxic, “shelters” for snails and slugs, removed more than 3,000 slugs and snails from each garden.
  • Effective non-toxic slug reduction: catch slugs in a “Slug Shelter” 2ft by 2ft cardboard on slightly wet wood boards, or lightly folded up weedcloth or plastic,  put in cleared grass area, in shade. Slugs will be drawn to the “shelter” where you can easily collect them, with gloves or chopsticks, and dispose of them in a “slug jug.”
  • The group is currently working on a study to find a catchment filter sufficient for filtering out the disease. Findings should be out by summer.
NACo-  In the last week of February I went with 3 other council members to Washington DC, for the National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conference and to meet with Hawaii’s congress members. I met city and county representatives from all over the U.S. and got to talk about issues, ideas, and solutions. I was also able to talk to experts on homelessness and opioid addiction, all relevant to our district. I drafted reports on each which are available on my Facebook page. We also met with Brian Shatz, Tulsi Gabbard, Mazie Hirono, and a staff member of Colleen Hanabusa in which I advocated for Puna’s need for help with our roads, internet and cell access, and invasive species, (including prevention).

Pahoa Community Meeting- Thank you to the more than 90 people attended the 2nd community meeting in Pahoa to expressed their concerns to the Chief of Police, community police officers, the fire department,and Director of Public Works, Frank Demarco and the Director of the Planning Department, Michael Yee who all listened intently.
The police department shared news of their increased presence in Pahoa since the fire, and a feeling of success in improving the level of public safety in Puna. The Fire Department, Battalion Chief shared that the recent fire was confirmed to have been started in the pawn shop, and that the damage was too extensive to confirm the exact source of the fire.
With the help of Mr. Demarco and encouragement from community members, a crosswalk was placed near Pahoa Intermediate/High School.

Infrastructure for Pahoa- Public works assured me that the sidewalk in front of Luquin’s will be re-opened in 3 weeks, if not sooner. On Feb. 9th I met with them and pushed for more street lamps and cross walks for the village, and improvement of the post office road for pedestrian use, (school children). On a side note, if you have any information on the young girl who was hit while crossing Highway 130 in front of HAAS school please call me at 961-8263.

Discussing Homelessness with Mathew Doherty-Executive Director of the US Inter-agency Council on Homelessness
Other Highlights of what I’ve been up to:
Regarding Connectivity:

  • On Feb. 1st. my staff and I walked through the district delivering surveys tothose living on streets approved for connectivity projects within our subdivisions.
  • On Fe.b 13th I met with members of the Fern Acres Community Association, the Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee and the Department of Public Works to follow up on the progress of connectivity plans, especially in the area of S. Lauko road. Public works engineers confirmed the Puhala to S. Kopua connection will be their first project.
  • On Feb. 16th  members of the Fern Forrest Community Association met with our legislative assistant, Nelson Ho to discuss their desire to open up Kaleponi road for connectivity.
  • On Feb. 28th our office aide, Amber Shouse attended the Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee meeting, where she heard community concerns and shared information regarding connectivity, Puna roads, and upcoming legislation with community members.

Support for Community Associations
On Feb. 1st myself and District 4 Council Member Eileen O’Hara met with the Ku’ikahi Mediation Center and talked about funding  a program for Ku’ikahi to provide tailored facilitation support to associations. The executive director will be bringing us a proposal in the next few months. She also sent me a list of resources for associations which our office will compile on a web platform to make available to the public.

Meeting with the Department of Water Supply: On Feb 2nd I met with the manager of the DWS to learn how the department works and discuss challenges that are facing Puna in regards to access to clean drinking water. They explained that most areas in Puna do meet the density requirements for water access, and they will be sending me those requirements. I urged them to consider Ainaloa subdivision to see if they meet the density requirements for county water hook up. They also pointed me to the correct authority to get lighting and ADA compliance at the Mt. View water spigot.

Meeting with the Corporation Counsel: On Feb. 2nd I met with newly appointed Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela. I informed him on the complex infrastructure challenges facing Puna and the federal complaint ruling in September of 2000 that found the County of Hawaii and the State DOT guilty of violating the civil rights of Puna residents, and delivered to him a follow up complaint being filed by residents alleging that the discrimination is ongoing. We are also discussing options private subdivision road improvement.

Pahoa Regoinal Town Plan Meeting: On Feb. 6th I met with Micheal Yee the Director of the Planning Department, Hans Santiago from the Planning Department, Roy Takemoto Assistant to the Mayor, and Council Member Eileen O’hara. at the meeting we discussed the proposed Master Plan for Pahoa and infrastructure challenges that are currently impeding economic development. Mr. Yee informed us the Pahoa Master Plan contract will start in 5 months.

Hawaiian Homelands: On Feb. 9th, hosted by former council member Aunty Emily Na’ole, I attended the Maku’u Homeowners Association Meeting where officials from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to see how I can support the expedition of giving displaced Native Hawaiian beneficiaries their land that they’ve already waited too long for. I gave DHHL my formal commitment to introduce any legislation that may urge the state to fund this process.

Upcoming Legislation:
Every two weeks I will send you council agenda email keeping you posted on upcoming council items, separate from these office newsletters.

As always you may contact me at my Hilo office number: 808-961-8263, or  by email at Jen.Ruggles@hawaiicounty.gov  or follow me on Facebook.

All my best,
Jen Ruggles

Kona Family Fun Day

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) is hosting their 4th Celebrating Our Community event in Kona on March 25, 2017, 11:00am to 2:00pm.

BISAC has successfully provided family friendly events in the last three years which include our Summer Jam, Puna Fall Fest, and Splash Bash events.  In continuation of bringing these types of events into rural communities, BISAC’s Kona Family Fun Day is another free fun-filled event which will be held at the Kailua Kona Park Grounds.

This free Family Wellness event will bring resources to the community; promote anti-drug and health and wellness messages.   The event will feature a health and resource fair made up of community organizations, games, food, bouncers, and an arm wrestling tournament.   There will be many free giveaways: bikes, razors, iPods, cameras, beats, etc.    Come out and meet our MC, Kona’s very own and 808 Viral celebrity Kona Kaipo.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old female who was reported missing.

Casey Baker-Fien was last seen in Hilo on December 8, 2016.
She is described as caucasian, 5-foot-3, 114 pounds with blond hair, blue eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

April After Dark in the Park & Hawaiian Cultural Events at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017. Two consecutive fee-free weekends celebrate National Park Week in April, and many programs honor the 54th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival.

ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but entrance fees apply except for the fee-free weekends and Kahuku events. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Endangered Marine Wildlife: Threats & Mitigation Measures. What do monk seals, green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and false killer whales have in common?

Honu & monk seal courtesy of the Marine Wildlife Program

They are all endangered marine wildlife found in waters around the island of Hawai‘i. Susannah Welch of the Marine Wildlife Program shares innovative ways to protect species, including the promotion of barbless hooks and their usefulness is sustaining the fisheries of Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 4 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hei Demonstration. Hei are traditional Hawaiian string figures, and are used with oli (chants) to tell stories and connect with the elements around us.

Hei string figure, NPS Photo

No‘el Tagab-Cruz teaches the protocol and meaning behind this intriguing practice. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

National Park Week Fee-Free Weekends. Come celebrate “America’s Best Idea” and explore your national parks for free, two weekends in a row!

  • When: April 15 & 16, and again April 22 & 23
  • Where: All fee-charging national parks are free, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park in Kona, and Haleakalā National Park on Maui.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore Pu‘u o Lokuana Trail in the park’s Kahuku Unit, and practice their Global Positioning System (GPS) skills. Darlyne Vierra will share Kahuku’s compelling paniolo history as well. Call (808) 985-6019 to register by April 7. Bring lunch, snacks, water, light raingear, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

  • When: Sat., April 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Kahuku Unit

Celebrate World Heritage Day with a Wilderness Hike. Hawai‘i Volcanoes was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its outstanding natural values, and to commemorate World Heritage Day this month, join a ranger-guided hike into the Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone wilderness. This challenging 14-mile, seven-hour, round-trip interpretive trek includes Makaopuhi Crater; the 1965 and 1969 lava flows; a centuries-old archeological site, the hapu‘u pulu (fern) processing area; and Nāpau Crater. For more information, call (808) 985-6017. Hikers must bring four liters of water per person, lunch and snacks, sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, sunscreen, hat and raingear. Free.

  • When: Sat., April 15 at 9 a.m. A fee-free weekend!
  • Where: Meet ranger at the Mauna Ulu Parking Lot, off Chain of Craters Road

Tuesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo.

Ulana Niu, NPS Photo

Practitioners on Tuesday will share lau hala (weaving of the pandanus leaf), lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage), hū kukui (Hawaiian spinning top game), and ulana niu (coconut leaf weaving). Falsetto singer Kai Ho‘opi‘i performs. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

The Value of Plantation-Era Archives in Today’s World. From the 1850s to the 1990s, big sugar plantations dominated the agricultural landscape of Hawai‘i Island. The Edmund Olson Trust Archive is home to an amazing array of maps, records, and documents from these plantations, and traces an important part of island history. John Cross of the Olson Trust will lead a visual journey through these irreplaceable historic resources and the era that was “Big Sugar.” Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 18 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Wednesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo. Practitioners on Wednesday will share the arts of lei making (both the wili and hulu styles), pala‘ie (Hawaiian ball and hoop game), and kāpala mea ulu (Hawaiian plant stamping). The Young Brothers will perform local melodies. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kai Ho‘opi‘i in Concert. Enjoy an evening of Hawaiian music, and the leo nahenahe (sweet voice) of Kai Ho‘opi‘i, an Aloha Festival Hawaiian falsetto contest winner.

Kai Ho‘opi‘i, NPS Photo

Kai will share the traditions and music of his ‘ohana from Kahakuloa, Maui. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Thursday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo.

Keiki ‘ohe kāpala, NPS Photo

Practitioners on Thursday will share the arts of lei making, haku hulu (Hawaiian featherwork), ‘ohe kāpala (bamboo stamping), and kuku kapa (making fabric from bark cloth). Multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning composer, singer and musician Kenneth Makuakāne will perform. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Thurs., April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

National Park Rx Day. Join the growing movement to prescribe parks and nature for the improvement of our health. Our “prescriptions” include a morning yoga session with Danielle Makaike from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; various presentations including lomilomi (Hawaiian massage), and kalo (taro) from 10 a.m. to noon; and a “Walk with a Doc” from noon to 1 p.m. with Dr. Craig Kadooka. Other presenters include Hilo Medical Center, HMSA Community Engagement, State of Hawai‘i Department of Health and Hui Mālama Ola Nā ‘Ōiwi.

  • When: Sun., April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Eruption: Nine Years and Counting. On March 19, 2008, a new volcanic vent opened in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at Kīlauea volcano’s summit. Nine years later, the eruption continues.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo of Halema‘uma‘u

The vent has grown to a gaping crater that’s roughly 195 x 255 meters (about 640 x 840 feet) in size. A lava lake within the vent rises and falls, with spattering on the lake surface sometimes visible from the Jaggar Museum observation deck. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick presents an update and overview on the summit eruption, including stunning imagery. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 25 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Weave Ulana Niu (Coconut Fronds). Learn how to weave coconut fronds into useful and beautiful items. The coconut palm is one of the most useful and important plants in the world. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Zonta Club of Hilo Scholarships, Award Available

The Zonta Club of Hilo is accepting applications for its 2017 Nursing, Math & Science Scholarships, the Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship, and the 2017 Young Women in Public Affairs Award (YWPA).

Each scholarship awards $1,000; the YWPAA awards $500.

The Nursing Scholarship is open to women enrolled in a nursing degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) or at Hawaii Community College (HCC).

The Math & Science Scholarship is open to women enrolled full-time at UHH or HCC, working towards a degree in mathematics, physics, engineering, technology, computer science, pharmacy and astronomy.

The YWPAA recognizes young women who are committed to volunteering, demonstrate leadership skills and are dedicated to empowering women and girls. YWPAA applicants are asked to reflect on their volunteer work and the problems limiting the advancement of the status of women in their community and worldwide. YWPAA applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 19 on April 1, 2017, and be a resident of Hawaii County.

The application deadline for scholarships and the YWPAA is Friday, March 31, 2017.

Applications are available at zontahilo.org or through Zonta Hilo’s Service Chair, Julie Tulang at info@zontahilo.org.

The Shops’ New Art Event to Benefit Kona Historical Society

The Shops at Mauna Lani presents “Art in The Park,” a live art auction featuring collections by Lahaina Galleries, Third Dimension Gallery, Kozy’s Tiki Gallery and The Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery. The event takes place Saturday, April 1, in the central courtyard area, commencing with a reception at 5 p.m., provided by The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Monstera Noodles & Sushi.  The auction will be led by Brent Hawley with music provided by Dave and Maile Lee Tavares.

Paul Kozak (Kozy’s Tiki Gallery) and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

During the reception, guests will be able to meet and talk story with artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Jacob Medina and Richard Rochkovsky, while Rod Cameron personally paints a piece that will be offered to the highest bidder later in the evening. The auction highlights a compilation of paintings and sculptures of the featured artists as well as other works from the galleries.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit Kona Historical Society, a community based non-profit organization that was founded in 1976 to collect, preserve and share the history of the Kona districts.

Tickets for Art in The Park are $50 each and are available at Brown Paper Tickets, http://artinthepark.bpt.me. Admission includes a souvenir auction book, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and two beverages (beer, wine or soda). For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

About The Shops at Mauna Lani. From simple to elegant, The Shops at Mauna Lani is the premier shopping, dining and lifestyle destination on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. The Shops at Mauna Lani is home to Hawaii Island’s only 4D Adventure Ride theater, housed inside the Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery, which offers unique and affordable made-in-Hawaii products.  The Shops offers twice weekly Polynesian Hula & Fire shows, free community cultural events along with a selection of retail stores such as Reyn’s by Reyn Spooner, Tommy Bahama Store, Jams World, Oasis Lifestyle, Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC), Hulakai and others. The Shops at Mauna Lani is also home to Hawaii Island’s only Foodland Farms gourmet grocery market, R. Field Wine Company, as well as galleries, lifestyle stores, and a wonderful selection of seven restaurants. For more information, call (808) 885-9501, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Volunteer of the Year Named at Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center honored its valued cadre of volunteers on February 17 with a Volunteer Appreciation Party at Hilo Bay Café.  Forty-seven volunteers, staff, and board members attended the festive event, whose theme for Valentine’s month was, “We Heart our Volunteers.”

Joan Shafer was selected as Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

“We were humbled to name Joan Shafer as our Volunteer of the Year for 2016,” said Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell.  “Joan is one of our most active mediators, helping at small claims court and our offices.  In 2016, she conducted over 40 mediation sessions.  Joan is also a volunteer facilitator and trainer who gives tirelessly of her time, talents, and treasures to helps our communities find solutions and grow peace.”

During fiscal year 2015-2016, 155 volunteers total gave over 2,467 hours of service at the non-profit community mediation center, including 40 mediators and apprentices who gave over 1,370 mediation hours.

“You are the heart of our organization’s efforts to build a more peaceful and collaborative community in East Hawai‘i,” noted board president Jeff Melrose in the event program.  “Thank you for all you do!”

At the appreciation party, Arabel Camblor and Shakti Hoku Douglas were recognized for completing their mediator apprenticeships.

“Most people don’t know that our mediation services are provided entirely by professionally trained volunteer mediators,” Mitchell said.  “These are amazing folks from all walks of life and career backgrounds who donate their time to help community members resolve issues that matter to them.”

Mediators go through a four-day Basic Mediation Training in the fall and then a year-long apprenticeship program before being selected to become Ku‘ikahi mediators.  In addition, mediators take continuing education to increase their skills and knowledge, especially in specialized areas like domestic mediations, employee and employer civil rights cases, and mediations for kupuna and their caregivers.

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center provides mediations for a wide variety of situations, including divorce, child custody and parenting time, elder issues, neighbor-to-neighbor, consumer-merchant, real estate, landlord-tenant, workplace, business, small and large group facilitations, and more.  For more information, call 935-7844 or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.

Hawaii Electric Light Opens Third Electric Vehicle Fast Charger on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Electric Light announces the opening of a new utility-owned and operated electric vehicle DC fast charger accessible to the Hawaii Island community. The company held a dedication ceremony for the unit located at KTA Super Stores in Waimea Center today. This is the first DC fast charger, also known as a Level 3 charger, to serve the Waimea community. The unit joins two fast chargers located at Hawaii Electric Light’s offices in Hilo and Kona.

“We’re pleased to have KTA Super Stores as our first host on Hawaii Island and applaud them for supporting electric transportation and clean energy,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “The Taniguchi family and their employees have humbly served island residents for more than a hundred years. KTA excels at anticipating and meeting customer needs, and this partnership is one example of their commitment to give back to the community in which they serve.”

Hawaii Electric Light operates the equipment at no cost to the host for installation, maintenance or electricity. Hosts provide the requested space and minimal assistance for operation. Hosting a fast charger helps with compliance of the Hawaii state law that requires public parking lots with at least 100 parking spaces to have at least one exclusive parking space equipped with a charging station for electric vehicles. Additional host sites are being sought.

“We are excited to partner with Hawaii Electric Light in helping to bring our North Hawaii community its first Level 3 DC fast charger. Access to charging stations for electric vehicles gives our community more options and opportunities to support a clean environment,” said Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores president. “On behalf of KTA Super Stores, congratulations to Hawaii Electric Light for their leadership in bringing North Hawaii its first Level 3 DC fast charger to fruition.”

Level 3 fast chargers can recharge a near-depleted EV battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, and even less time for smaller recharges. The DC Fast Charger has both a CHAdeMO connection (used mostly by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV) and a CCS connection (used by the BMW i3). The chargers are available 24/7 with three different rates ranging from $7.00 to $8.00 per session depending on time of use. Session prices may change based on the changing cost of electricity. Drivers will be able to safely operate the charger and pay by major credit card or by a Greenlots subscription.

“The Big Island Electric Vehicle Association (BIEVA) is committed to working with Hawaii Electric Light and Nissan with helping to move the EV movement forward and that’s the key thing,” said Richard Castro, BIEVA vice president. “There are many road blocks with range anxiety but knowing these fast chargers are here makes a big difference.”

To become a DC Fast Charger host site, call 808-969-0358 or mail Hawaii Electric Light (GoEV), Engineering Department, P.O. Box 1027, Hilo, HI 96721. Detailed information on electric vehicles also is available at https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/goev.

New Satellite Image of Lava Flow Released

This satellite image was captured on Wednesday, March 8, by the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

The image shows that breakouts continue in several areas on the flow field. The largest breakout is about 2 km (1.2 miles) southeast of the vent. Smaller breakouts are present above and on the pali. Near the base of the pali, on the coastal plain, a small breakout is active. A thermal anomaly is also present at the Kamokuna ocean entry.