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Public Informational Meeting Scheduled for the Saddle Road Extension Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Highways Division, invites the community to an informational meeting for the extension of the Western terminus of Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Route 200), formerly known as Saddle Road, to connect with the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) and Waikoloa Beach Drive.

The meeting is scheduled at the following time and location:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Waikoloa Village Elementary and Middle School
68-1730 Hooko Street
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

The Federal Highways Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD) and HDOT are collaborating for a solution to extend D.K.I Highway in anticipation of the expected traffic growth in this area. Project information, display boards and proposed options of the extension will be presented at 6:30 p.m., following with a short presentation at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to ask questions and share their input with the staff available to determine the best solution for the community.

Purposes of the project include improving safety, providing a modern State Highway link connecting motorists traveling between Hilo and coastal South Kohala/Kona on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and improving general efficiency and operational level of traffic movement designed to save time.

For additional information on the project please click on the following link:
https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/hi/saddle-ext/

The meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. To request language interpretation, an auxiliary aid or special services (e.g., sign language interpreter and accessible parking), please contact Mr. Darrell Young prior to the meeting date.

Mr. Darrell Young
Project Manager
HDOT Highways Division, Planning Branch
869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813
Darell.Young@hawaii.gov

Text telephone (TTY) users may use telecommunication relay service (TRS) to contact HDOT.

Persons unable or desiring not to appear at the public meeting may file a signed statement presenting their views on this project. Statements should be submitted up to and including June 7, 2017 and should be addressed to Darell Young.

Maintenance Work to Close Muliwai Trail, Waimanu Valley Campground

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be conducting maintenance work on Muliwai trail and Waimanu campground between May 15-19. The campground and trail will be closed during this period.

This is part of DOFAW’s routine maintenance of this trail and campground, including maintaining proper function of the Clivus composting toilets, litter pick up, removing fallen trees, and clearing land slides and use of herbicide to control invasive plants. This trail and campground is closed and maintained about four times a year.

For more information on state forest hiking trails and wilderness campgrounds, go to the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program website (https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/), or to the DOFAW Hilo and Waimea offices.  For more information call (808) 974-4221.

New Portable Testing Tool Speeds Detection of Suspected Rapid `Ōhi`a Death Pathogens

Researchers have developed a new, more efficient tool for detecting the pathogens believed to be the cause of Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), according to a recently published study by the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center (PIERC), and USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
The authors of the report have developed a portable lab for diagnostic field testing for the two species of fungal pathogens that infect `ōhi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha). The portable lab, which provides quick results and reduces instrumentation costs, is currently being used by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) to detect infected trees and identify the distribution of the pathogens.

“Having this portable lab gives us the capability to do our own diagnostics and get a quicker answer about whether or not a tree is positive for ROD. The result then allows us to take management actions right away or do more targeted testing,” said Bill Buckley, Forest Response coordinator for BIISC and leader of their ROD Early Detection and Rapid Response Team.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture is also planning to use the portable lab to help screen shipments of `ōhi`a logs for the pathogens.

ROD was first identified in the lower Puna District in 2014, and now infects more than 50,000 acres of private and state forest lands on Hawaiʻi Island. ROD is a serious threat and imperils long-term sustainability of watersheds managed by Department of Interior agencies, the State of Hawaiʻi, and State Watershed Partnerships.

For more information on the study and its findings, visit https://dspace.lib.hawaii.edu/handle/10790/3025.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 42-Year-Old Kona Woman

5/11/17 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 42-year-old Holly Brough, who had been reported missing.

She was located in Kohala in good health on Wednesday evening (May 10).  

Big Island Police are searching for a 42-year-old Kailua-Kona woman who was reported missing.

Holly Brough

Holly Brough was last seen on Alii Drive in March 2017. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-1, 125 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward 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 confiden tial.

Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton to Unveil “Kahele Point” in Honor of Late Hawaii Senator Gilbert “Gil” Kahele

The ownership of the new Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton is honored to announce that it will rename the hotel’s oceanfront dock as “Kahele Point,” in honor of the late Hawai’i State Senator Gilbert “Gil” Kahele. A dedication ceremony and the unveiling of the late Senator’s monument will take place on Monday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m., at the hotel’s oceanfront dock.

The late Senator Gilbert Kahele

The new hotel ownership offered to dedicate the monument and dock area as a means to show its gratitude of all of the redevelopment and service work of Senator Kahele. In response, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, through Hawai’i State Senate Resolution No. 104, established the monument area that will honor the late Hilo Senator for his contribution to public service and his efforts to commence the revitalization of Banyan Drive with the first nationally branded hotel in Hilo the DoubleTree by Hilton.

“Kahele Point” will feature a narrative plaque of the late Senator as well as fishing pole stands and keiki fishing poles, representing the Senator’s love for the ocean and fishing. The plaque will face moku ‘ola (Coconut Island) and downtown Hilo as well as expansive views of Hilo Bay and the coastline.

“The community of Hilo, Banyan Drive redevelopment efforts and now our new DoubleTree by Hilton project have all been blessed by the assistance and service of the late Senator Kahele,” said Ed Bushor, the CEO of Tower Development, which redeveloped the hotel project. “We extend a huge mahalo nui loa to the Kahele family for allowing us to honor his legacy by establishing this memorial in an area that will be used for boating and fishing activities for generations to come.”

The idea for the monument was in collaboration with the Kahele Family, Tower Development and the ownership of the new Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton.

Governor Ige Announces 32 Percent Decrease in Hawai‘i County’s Homeless Count

Gov. David Ige announced today that the homeless population across the state decreased for the first time in eight years. The annual Point in Time count—a census of people experiencing homelessness—showed a nine percent overall decrease in the number of homeless individuals across the state.

Click to see brochure

This year’s count found 7,220 homeless individuals across Hawai‘i compared to 7,921 in 2016.

Hawai‘i County saw the largest decline in homeless individuals – a 32 percent decrease.

“We have partnered with every mayor in every county, along with the private sector and service providers. We’ve had housing summits to identify the benefits of renting to the homeless. We have service providers to provide supportive care so that we can place families in permanent housing. It’s terrific news that homelessness is down 32 percent on Hawai‘i Island,” Gov. Ige said.

Maui County saw a 22 percent decline in homeless individuals and Kaua‘i County experienced a seven percent drop compared to 2016. O‘ahu saw a half percent increase in homeless individuals.

“I commend the many partners who have gotten out of their silos, come to the table and rolled up their sleeves. Together, we are finding more efficient ways to move people off the streets and into homes. This report is proof that our collective efforts are working,” said Gov. Ige. “While today’s news indicates that the tide has turned, there is more to do. My administration remains focused on increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness in the State of Hawai‘i.”

A link to the overview of Point in Time’s full report, compiled by Hawai‘i’s two Continuums of Care—Bridging the Gap and Partners in Care—can be found on the governor’s website at governor.hawaii.gov.

Senator Kahele Hosting Town Hall Meeting on Legislative Updates

On Monday, May 15, 2017, the community is invited to attend a town hall style meeting hosted by Hawai‘i State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele who will present an update on the recent legislative session.

“The East Hawai‘i delegation worked together to pass vital legislation for higher education, health, and community development, while also securing over $80 million in funding to help with capital improvement projects in the district,” said Sen. Kahele. “I encourage the public to come listen and provide any questions they may have regarding this past session.”

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 PM at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in UCB Room 100. To RSVP, please contact (808) 586-6760 or toll-free 974-4000 ext. 66760.

  • Date: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Location: University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, UCB Room 100, 200 W. Kāwili St. Hilo, HI 96720

Hu Honua Reaches Agreement with HELCO on Biomass Plant

Hu Honua announced today that it has reached an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) on an amended power purchase agreement (PPA).

HELCO agreed to revised terms for electricity to be produced by the biomass project and is submitting the amended contract to the Public Utilities Commission for approval of Hu Honua’s proposed pricing.

Hu Honua can resume construction on its half-completed facility and begin delivering clean, firm renewable energy by the end of 2018, if the PUC approves the amended PPA. The project would deliver firm, renewable power around the clock, making it a natural complement to HELCO’s existing portfolio of solar and wind power, which are intermittent sources.

Harold “Rob” Robinson, president of Island BioEnergy, Hu Honua’s parent company noted, “It’s a big win for Hu Honua, Hawaii Electric Light and the people of Hawaii Island to have an amended agreement. We are hopeful the PUC will recognize the project’s value in terms of economic benefits and energy stability.”

The amended PPA submission to the PUC includes information on pricing, which is lower than the original PPA; how the project will be less expensive compared to existing fossil fuel plants; and how the project will provide firm renewable energy that can replace existing fossil fuel plants.

Approximately 200 construction jobs will be needed to complete plant reconstruction, which is expected to take 14-18 months. Nearly 30 permanent operations and maintenance jobs will be available, once the plant is operational.

Hu Honua will become the foundation for a sustainable agriculture industry, creating approximately 200 jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and in the production of wood products.

The project is expected to put $20 million into the local economy each year that would otherwise leave the state to purchase foreign oil, while helping the state secure its energy future and meet its clean energy goal of 100 percent renewable by 2045.

About Hu Honua

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC is located in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast of the island of Hawaii. When completed, the Hu Honua facility will be able to produce up to 30-megawatts (MW) of clean renewable baseload power, which means the plant can deliver reliable power that can be dispatched 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When operating at capacity, Hu Honua will be able to produce approximately 14 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per year.

For more information, www.huhonua.com

Hope Cermelj Issued Citation for Mauna Kea Graffiti

Assistance provided by the Native Hawaiian community allowed officers from the Hawai‘i Branch of the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) to make contact with a suspect in the recent case of graffiti damage found at the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (NAR).

As a result of this contact and investigation, Hope Cermelj of Kalapana, Hawai‘i was issued a citation for violating Rule 13-209-4 (3), Prohibited Activities within a Natural Area Reserve. Cermelj will be required to appear in Hilo District Court.

Graffiti was discovered on several rocks in the NAR on April 28th, as well as on structures belonging to the Office of Mauna Kea Management.

DLNR/DOCARE thanks community members who stepped forward to provide information and assistance. This was instrumental in locating and identifying the suspect.

Big Island Police Still Looking for Missing 68-Year-Old Hilo Woman

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for the public’s help in searching for a 68-year-old Hilo woman who was reported missing and is considered endangered in light of a medical condition.

Glynda Evangelista

Glynda Evangelista was last seen on Monday, April 24, 2017, in Hilo at the 500 block of Kilauea Avenue. She is described as being 5-foot-4, approximately 200 pounds, medium build with short salt-and-pepper hair, hazel colored eyes, wears prescription glasses and has a fair complexion. She was last seen wearing a dark jacket and orange and yellow colored floral dress, carrying a blue backpack and has a medical condition which requires medication.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Sandor Finkey at 961-2384 or via email at Sandor.Finkey@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide 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.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Ka’iminani Drive to Begin on Tuesday May 16th

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will begin resurfacing work on Ka’iminani Dr., from the Palamanui (Ane Keohokālole Hwy.) intersection to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, to Friday, May 19, 2017.  Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles will be in the work zone.  Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Police Week Festivities on Hawaii Island

Police Week festivities on Hawaiʻi Island will be held next week (May 14-20).

Police Week is a nationally recognized week of activities in support of police work and in recognition of officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed every May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it falls in as National Police Week. In Hawaiʻi County, Police Week activities this year are scheduled from Monday, May 15, to Friday, May 19.

Left to Right: 1: Manuel Cadinha, William “Red” Oili, Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, Kenneth Keliipio, Steve Makuakane-Jarrell

The public is invited to attend formal Police Week ceremonies on Monday, May 15th, 10:00 a.m., at the Hilo police station and Tuesday, May 16th, 10:00 a.m. at the Kona police station. Both ceremonies include pre-ceremony entertainment and a tribute to Hawaiʻi County officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Police will pay tribute to Officer Manuel Cadinha, who gave his life in 1918, Officer William “Red” Oili, who gave his life in 1936, Officer Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, who gave his life in 1990, Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who gave his life in 1997, and Park Ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, who gave his life in 1999.

During Police Week, station tours for all districts will be offered to the public. Station tours at the Hilo Police station will be on Wednesday, May 17th, with tours being held at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Call Officer Van Reyes at 961-2264, to schedule an

Two Hawaii Youth Honored for Volunteerism at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Hawaii’s top two youth volunteers of 2017, Cierra Nakamura, 18, of Honolulu and Emma Tandara, 14, of Ewa Beach, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 22nd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Cierra and Emma – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at an award ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps congratulates Cierra Nakamura, 18, of Honolulu (center) and Emma Tandara, 14, of Ewa Beach (right) on being named Hawaii’s top two youth volunteers for 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Cierra and Emma were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, May 7 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where they each received a $1,000 award. (PRNewsfoto/Prudential Insurance)

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Cierra and Emma Hawaii’s top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February. In addition to their cash awards, they each received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., for four days of recognition events.

Cierra, a senior at ‘Iolani School, collects donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and packages of dental floss for impoverished families in underdeveloped Asia-Pacific countries through a campaign she calls “Spreading Smiles Across Miles.” Her interest in Third World dental care was sparked at a 2012 fundraiser for a medical mission to Nepal. “I was in awe of the doctors and nurses who flew to Third World countries at their own expense to treat ailing patients,” said Cierra. “I wanted to take part in this noble effort.” But as a 13-year-old, she didn’t know what she could do.

A little research, however, alerted her to the fact that dental care in Nepal is almost nonexistent; toothbrushes and toothpaste are luxuries that most cannot afford. Cierra resolved to address this need by collecting 2,000 toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste and dental floss packages. She asked family members and friends for donations, then reached out to vendors at a Hawaiian dental convention. After exceeding her goal, she sent all of her collected supplies to Nepal, along with an instructional video she made with a dental hygiene professor to demonstrate proper oral hygiene procedures in Nepalese. Later, Cierra personally delivered toothbrushes and school supplies to kids in an orphanage in Vietnam, and is currently working to send dental supplies to the Philippines.

Emma, an eighth-grader at Ewa Makai Middle School, led an effort at her school to promote recycling of bottles, cans, paper products and old T-shirts. From the time she was very young, Emma accompanied her beloved grandmother in a wide range of volunteer activities. When her grandma died of cancer, Emma was moved to rededicate herself to community service.

She got that opportunity when she joined her school’s leadership team and elected to work on enhancing the school’s recycling program. She spearheaded the filming of a music video explaining her school’s green initiatives and how to properly sort recyclables, which was presented to the student body, teachers and staff at an assembly led by Emma and later shown to more than 300 educators across the state. Emma also led a recyclables sorting game at three elementary schools, helped coordinate two community recycling drives, and demonstrated how to turn old T-shirts into bags at an emergency preparedness fair. “Though my grandmother couldn’t stay forever, the work I’ve done in her spirit has become something that can,” said Emma.

“These honorees have done exemplary work to contribute to the health and vitality of their communities, and we look forward to seeing the great things they achieve in the future,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “Congratulations to each of these extraordinary young volunteers.”

“It’s a privilege to celebrate these students not only for outstanding volunteer service, but for the example they’ve set for their peers,” said Jayne Ellspermann, president of NASSP. “These honorees prove that one person truly can make a difference.”

Youth volunteers in grades 5-12 were invited to apply for 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. More than 31,000 middle level and high school students nationwide participated in this year’s program.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service – and, in so doing, inspire others to volunteer, too. In the past 22 years, the program has honored more than 120,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.

For more information about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and this year’s honorees, visit  http://spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit.

Hawaii Police Department Promotes Four Officers

Chief Paul K. Ferreira has announced upcoming promotions of four employees from the rank of police officer to the rank of sergeant/detective.

Detective Matthew Kaʻaihue, an 18-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department, will be assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section in Kona. He is currently assigned to Community Policing in South Hilo.

Sergeant Peter Fernandez, an 18-year veteran of the Police Department, will be assigned to the Hāmākua District. He is currently assigned to the Area I Vice Section.

Sergeant Jason Grouns, an 18-year veteran of the Police Department, will be assigned to the Kaʻū District. He is currently working in the Administrative Services Section.

Sergeant Duffy Duldulao, a 16-year veteran of the Police Department, will also be assigned to the Kaʻū District. He is now assigned to the Training Section.

The promotions take effect on May 16.

Hilo Legislative Update

Hawai‘i lawmakers passed the State’s two-year biennium budget on Tuesday along with numerous House and Senate bills that now move to Governor David Ige for his signature. The budget includes more than $70 million in capital improvement project funds for the Hilo area.

The approved budget includes $4.5 million for improvements to Hilo and Keawe Health Centers, as well as $2 million for the creation of a telehealth unit for Hilo Medical Center.

“The telehealth services at Hilo Hospital was a top priority of the Hilo Hospital Foundation in order to increase the level of health care services to residents of Hawaii Island. These budget items as well as the creation of a new line item for the Hawaii Island Family Residency Program will help to insure that we are able to better address the medical needs of our residents into the future,” said Representative Mark M. Nakashima.

State funds are earmarked for both the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hilo International Airport.

“The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will receive $3 million to provide air conditioning for the Hale ‘Alahonua student dormitory building. The budget also includes $19.2 million for renovations and improvements to the Hilo International Airport, as well as $2.6 million for noise-reduction efforts for nearby communities,” said Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele.

Waiakeawāena Elementary will receive $2.5 million for either renovations of their existing cafeteria or the construction of a new facility and $13 million will go toward replacing the single lane 4 Mile Creek Bridge at the intersection of Kilauea Avenue and Haihai Street.

HB478 HD1 SD1 CD1 enables the expansion of the successful inmate-operated farms at the Kulani (Hawaii Island) correctional facilities. The bill provides $50,000 for hiring a farm manager and $50,000 for farming equipment.

“The rejuvenation of the Kulani Correctional Facilities agriculture programs will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a full-time farm manager and funding for the purchase of equipment and supplies. This will allow inmates to participate in a broader range of technical skills and trades in horticulture. Along with the $13 million in funding for the 4-mile bridge, $2 million in funds were also secured for motor vehicle deceleration and acceleration lanes to increase the traffic safety to the Panaewa stretch at the Mamaki and Lama Street intersections,” said Representative Richard Onishi.

Hilo High School will receive $2.4 million to assist with renovations of their school auditorium building, as well as $1.25 million toward a much-needed upgrade to the school’s track and field facilities. Across the street, Hilo Intermediate School will benefit from a $950,000 appropriation for renovations of the school’s boys’ and girls’ locker rooms.

“We are very grateful for the funding we received for East Hawaii schools. On a personal level, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of our legislative team and I’m looking forward to continuing our work together,” said Representative Chris Todd.

First Annual Roundup at the Ranch

The date for the First Annual Roundup At The Ranch, which will be held at the Waiki’i Ranch Clubhouse, has been announced as July 15, 2017.

The BBQ and dance will run from 6pm – 10pm, with live music by Patio Productions.  Silent and live auction items include stays at vacation homes in Montana, Utah and Volcano Village, hotel and golf packages, brunch for 12 at the Mauna Kea Polo Club, sporting clays shoot for 5 at Parker Ranch, and jewelry.  The committee welcomes other auction donations.

Roundup at the Ranch

Tickets are $125 per person, of which $70 is tax deductible.  Seating is limited to 100. Tickets can be purchased online:  http://www.danielsayrefoundation.org/

Proceeds from the Roundup At The Ranch will help the Daniel R. Sayre Foundation support The Hawaii County Fire Department, including 9 Bravo Volunteer Fire Company. The Hawaii County Fire Department is a well-trained and managed force whose mission is to protect life and property on our island.  While the regular crews are very capable and quick to respond in emergencies, the size of the island requires more resources to complete the work.  That is why the Volunteer Fire Companies are important.

In North Hawaii, the Hawaii County Fire Department has five permanent Fire Stations.  These facilities are staffed continuously, and are called upon as soon as an emergency occurs.  But they can’t be everywhere.   Hawaii County Fire Department Stations 8 (Honokaa), 9 (Waimea),14 (South Kohala), 15 (North Kohala) and 16 (Waikoloa) attempt to protect all of North and South Kohala and some of Hamakua.  The volunteer groups, which are located between the stations, provide critical extra help.

The Waiki’i Ranch community’s own volunteer fire department, 9 Alpha, has worked in partnership with the 9 Bravo team on many occasions to assist the Waimea Fire Department in battling fires throughout the region.  The Roundup At The Ranch is a neighbor-to-neighbor effort to honor and support all of our local firefighters, whose hard work and dedication help to protect our homes and communities.

The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation

The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated to providing essential equipment and training to the Hawaii Island Fire Department who serves the Hawaii community, and more than 1.5 million visitors per year from around the world.
Over one million dollars in donations and pledged equipment have been raised since its inception in 1997.  100% of the donations go to funding rescue equipment and training vital to saving lives. The Foundation is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit organization.

9 Bravo Volunteer Fire Company

9 Bravo is a Volunteer Fire Company located roughly halfway between the Waimea and the South Kohala fire stations. The surrounding open pastures and wind-swept fields are often the location of large wild fires, some of which threatened homes and businesses.  9 Bravo has almost a dozen trained and capable firefighters, and two tank trucks that can negotiate rough roads and open fields.  The company is called on regularly, with over 30 major emergencies in 2016, including several recently adjacent to Waiki’i Ranch.

When 9 Bravo started up in 2009, the department provided training and some equipment, including personal protective gear.  A small brush truck with a 300 gallon water tank was assigned, but it was old and broke down frequently.  As homes were built in Kanehoa and Anekona, the owners wanted to assist the volunteers by providing more than the department could afford.  That was the start of a nonprofit company named Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company (“AOK”).

AOK got its tax exempt status with help from The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.  AOK is focused on supporting 9 Bravo, and through fundraising by donations, purchased personal gear, equipment and a 5 ton cargo truck that carries a 1200 gallon water tank.  This truck is a valuable asset which has assisted in many off-road wildfires.

Seeing that the trucks and equipment were kept by the volunteers, with Captain Mike Shattuck’s garage full of hoses and other gear, and the trucks in his front yard, AOK has undertaken to build a permanent facility for 9 Bravo.  In the past few years, with plenty of volunteer help from the community, AOK has obtained a site to build a basic equipment garage, and has recently completed design work, obtained permits, and commenced construction.  Although donations from the local community have been helpful, and local contractors and suppliers have been generous in providing in-kind contributions, AOK is still about $50K short of cash needed to complete construction of the equipment garage.

Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Update

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) provides the following update on the Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project. Work has temporarily been stopped and is anticipated to resume in early June.

Keaau to Pahoa Highway Map Plans from a few years ago.

Construction has been temporarily stopped as HDOT is in the process of obtaining a new permit for this project which is designed to improve traffic flow in Puna through the installation of a permanent north bound shoulder lane and a temporary south bound shoulder lane between mile posts 4.15 and 4.25 of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and installation of a traffic signal at the Keaau-Pahoa Road/Shower Drive intersection. The Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project also involves relocation of water system facilities and utility poles as well as installation of pavement markings, striping, and signage.

The contractor for Phase 2 began work in January 2017 using a permit that was obtained for Phase 1 of the shoulder lane conversion project. This permit expired during the Phase 2 construction. HDOT anticipates receiving the new permit within 40 days and is revising the estimated completion date for this project to mid-November.

Further updates will be available on the HDOT Highways Division website (http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/) under the Major Projects tab.

Hawaii Marks Start of Wildfire Season with a Party, Demonstrations & Education #WildfireReadyHI

Compared to large mainland wildfires, Hawai‘i’s are relatively small. Yet the percentage of land mass burned each year in the islands is equal to or exceeds the acreage burned in many western states.

The importance of land and homeowners to be fire ready is the theme of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day events and activities across the country today. At the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area on Hawai‘i Island’s west side, Elizabeth Pickett watched as several non-profit organizations set up booths and exhibits for the first-ever Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Pickett is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), which with DLNR, and two dozen other State and federal government organizations and various non-profits are supporting the second year of a public and media awareness campaign: Wildfire LOOKOUT!

Pickett explained to people who dropped by the HWMO booth, that just because they may never have personally experienced a wildfire close to their home or property, that doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted. She explained, “Especially in our island environment the negative impacts of a wildfire in a specific location usually has detrimental impacts many miles away that can persist for years and even decades. You often hear people refer to “mauka to makai,” and that effect pertains to wildfire. Once land is stripped of trees and vegetation it becomes much more prone to erosion and the introduction of invasive species and soot and sediment can wash from mountain forests to the sea where it can choke out life in coral reefs.”

Big Island State Representative Cindy Evans emphasized the need for everyone in Hawai‘i to become aware of these impacts and to do their part to prevent wildland fires. She’s seen first- hand the devastation and destruction, these often fast moving fires cause. Evans said, “Even the loss of one home is one too many when you consider that with a little awareness, people truly can prevent wildland fires.”  In emphasizing personal responsibility, Representative Evans explained that each person needs to be fire smart, which means taking steps around your home and property to eliminate combustible materials that can heighten or accelerate the spread of a fire. Experts say being fire wise also means not idling cars over dry grass or tossing cigarette butts on the ground. In Hawaii virtually all wildland fires are caused by people and historically have burned across highly unique, native forests, sometimes resulting in the destruction of rare native plants and insects.

Chief Eric Moller leads the firefighting and emergency services team at the US Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA). His two dozen firefighters are responsible for prevention and suppression of fires on more than 450 square miles of federal land, but through mutual aid agreements can and do respond to fires island-wide. During his opening remarks to kick off the Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness, he commented, “The wildfire threat is across islands throughout the Pacific.  What people don’t realize is that when firefighters are called to battle a human-caused wildland fire, response to other structure fires or medical emergencies can be delayed.”  He too reinforced the need for all island residents to become “fire wise.”

Adusalaam Moultaala of Brooklyn, N.Y., was one of the first people to visit booths and take in the displays at the wildfire awareness party.  He’s considering buying a home on the Big Island, maybe even in a forested area like Puna or Ocean View.  He found the fire safe information he received invaluable, and especially how it connected being fire safe with overall environmental health from the mountains to the ocean.  Jennifer Ahier of Kona brought her three keiki to the event and they enjoyed games, displays and a tour of a fire truck.  She said her two youngest don’t yet understand what being fire smart means, but today was definitely a start.

In addition to educational and awareness displays and information, the Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness included food, yoga, dance, and musical performances. Throughout the month of May the HWMO is sponsoring a photo contest featuring wildfire protection-related actions.  You can participate via Instragram or Twitter using the hashtag #WildfireReadyHI or e-mail photos to admin@hawaiiwildfire.org

Kona Brewing Company’s New “Dear Mainland” Campaign Rolls Out Today

At a time when Americans are leaving millions of unused vacation days on the table and spending more time in front of screens than ever before, Kona Brewing Company and the larger-than-life but laid back Hawaiian “Bruddahs” from the “Dear Mainland” campaign are back to playfully suggest that shifting our priorities might help us enjoy life more. In new digital videos that launch May 8, the Bruddahs humorously remind us to get out and have some real-life fun as they “review” a few of the ways we get stuck to our screens – whether to catch up on the latest reality television feud, crush a mobile game, or check out a viral cat-in-funny outfit video.

The :15 videos are part of Kona Brewing’s evolution of the successful integrated “Dear Mainland” campaign, which is expanding to include TV, digital video and retail components, as well as new localized TV spots in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco.

The Dear Mainland campaign created with Duncan Channon, which juxtaposes the easy-going and distinctly local perspective of the Bruddahs with common all-work-no-play mainlander pressures, has driven significant business growth for Kona Brewing Company since its 2014 launch. After the first year, Kona saw a 37 percent sales lift in markets where the campaign aired – the third highest lift recorded by IRI in 12 years. In 2016, Kona recorded an additional 15 percent growth over the previous year’s record in campaign markets.

“Kona’s Dear Mainland campaign has been successful because people love the light-hearted way our ‘Bruddahs’ deliver the relatable and much-needed reminder to step outside their daily routine and make time for what matters most to them,” said Cindy Wang, senior director of brand marketing for Kona Brewing Co. “That’s why we’re excited to showcase their special brand of Hawaiian wisdom in new formats beyond traditional TV spots and create hyper-local ways to engage new audiences.”

“We know people are guilty of spending time online at the expense of other meaningful, relaxing or fun experiences, so it makes sense for us to reach our audience on social to deliver Kona’s good humored message about screen time,” added Wang.

Created by San Francisco’s Duncan Channon, a 2016 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year, the digital videos were shot in Hawaii at Kikaua Point Park, Kailua-Kona with Waimea resident Dave Bell and Blake “Brutus” La Benz from Honolulu. Three :15 second videos will run May 8 through September 3, 2017 on Facebook and Instagram:

  • Kona Reviews: Phone Apps” – pokes fun at the mobile game phenomenon and gamification that keeps Americans chained to their phones
  • Kona Reviews: Reality TV” – tongue-in-cheek reference to reality TV drama that contrasts with the serene experience of drinking a cold Kona beer at the beach
  • Kona Reviews: Viral Videos” – reminds us that there may be more fulfilling things to do and discover in life than the latest viral cat video sensation

“The Kona brand is all about encouraging people to slow down, breathe and connect with what matters – family, friends, nature, experiences,” said Anne Elisco-Lemme, executive creative director, Duncan Channon. “In the new creative, the brothers’ tongue-in-cheek banter about pop culture content that keeps us chained to our screens reminds us that we sometimes need to put down the phone, turn off the TV or close that YouTube video to get out and enjoy life.”

Duncan Channon also produced a series of short-form videos called “Dear Kona,” which will run on Facebook and Instagram during the same time period. The videos feature the Bruddahs’ responses to fictional letters from mainlanders asking advice about how to deal with life situations, such as an amped-up boss labeling every email “urgent.” View the videos here:

As part of Kona’s 360 degree approach to reach audiences no matter where they are, Kona also partnered with CBS to create dedicated local TV creative that offers the Bruddahs’ laid-back view on the local values of five California counties: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco. The localized TV spots will air in each market exclusively on Thursdays – the day of the week the Bruddahs want people to treat like “Little Fridays”  by making time to enjoy themselves. Kona will also encourage fans to put a little “Friday” into everyday giving away a weekly prize through a new “Little Friday” online sweepstakes, which will be promoted on social media and in retail stores. Consumers can enter starting May 8 at: www.konabrewingco.com/littlefridays.

The brand teamed with the AV Club to bring music artists Thao and Zipper Club to the home of Kona beer in Kona, HI, to film a national TV special that will air nationally on Fusion TV on August 31, 2017. Kona will also present a special concert featuring Boulevards, Thao and Zipper Club in Los Angeles at Hotel Cafe on July 20, 2017. “Little Friday Acoustic Sessions” sessions and interviews with the artists courtesy of Kona will be unveiled at www.avclub.com throughout the summer.

The new elements in the “Dear Mainland” campaign will complement the airing of existing Kona TV spots “Little Fridays,” “FOMO” and “Sad Hour” due to their continued success with audiences. The TV spots, which originally launched in the summer of 2014 will air in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento May through September.

Coast Guard Proposing Permanent 300 Meter Safety Zone for Lava Tour Boats – Public Meeting TONIGHT

The Coast Guard proposes to establish a permanent safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the entry of lava from Kilauea volcano into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Island of Hawaii, HI.

The safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around all entry points of lava flow into the ocean. The entry points of the lava vary, and the safety zone will vary accordingly. The safety zone is needed to protect persons and vessels from the potential hazards associated with molten lava entering the ocean resulting in explosions of large chunks of hot rock and debris upon impact, collapses of the sea cliff into the ocean, hot lava arching out and falling into the ocean, and the release of toxic gases. Entry of persons or vessels into this safety zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Honolulu or his designated representative.

The Coast Guard will host a public meeting regarding the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Kamokuna lava ocean entry safety zone at the East Hawaii County Building at 5 p.m., TONIGHT, Monday May 8, 2017.