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Hawaii Representative Issues Statement in Response to Zuckerberg Lawsuit

Rep. Kaniela Ing (D-South Maui) issued a statement in response to the controversy surrounding Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s 100-acre Kauai estate, and will be introducing legislation through his House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs to address issues with “quiet title” and “Kuleana Lands” law.

“Zuckerberg is using the same legal loophole that sugar barons have historically exploited to scoop thousands of acres of Hawaiian lands. Zuckerberg’s actions may be legal and slightly more transparent, but it doesn’t make them right,” Ing said.

“We need to look at this issue through the eyes of the families affected. Here we have the world’s sixth richest individual, with a team of the world’s best lawyers, suing you, then asking you to make a deal. Obviously, no matter how expensive, you will lawyer up too.”

Ing claims that in these cases, defendants typically spend more on attorney fees than any payout they may receive. “So in the end, you have a mainland billionaire exploiting our legal system, and bullying his way through local residents, all to build his beach playground. This is not the intent of the law.”

Ing said that the State should take partial blame, because of outdated Kuleana Land title laws. A major problem with Kuleana Lands is that over generations of inheritances, land is divided into such tiny parcels that are legally worth nothing and not worth fighting over, if records can even be found. But Ing says these incremental losses adds up, and that of the original 23,000 acres designated Kuleana Lands, only a few thousand remain.

Ing claims there are better ways to address the dispute. “I was always taught that when disputes arise, to approach folks with aloha, talk story, and try to ho’oponopono. In Hawaii, you don’t initiate conversation by filing a lawsuit,” said Ing. “If Zuckerberg truly cared about Hawaiian culture, and these families, he would (1) let them hui together as a trust, rather than fighting them off one by one, then, (2) he would pay for and enter mediation to reach a fair deal without litigation.”

Ing’s bill, which is being drafted and will be submitted by next Wednesday, will require just that. “My proposal is fair and will help address this and hundreds of other quiet title cases that are weighted too heavily for the plaintiff. It goes well beyond sympathy for Native Hawaiians, because it could happen to anyone. We must stop mainland billionaires from stacking money to tilt Hawaii’s legal system against local residents.”

Delta Announces New Daily Nonstop Flights Between Seattle and Kauai

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement regarding the announcement that Delta Air Lines will be launching daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Kauai beginning this December.

“Delta’s expansion of service to Kauai from its Pacific Northwest hub speaks to the confidence the airline has in the Garden Isle to drive demand from travelers in the greater Seattle area and nationally.

“Reliable air access extending throughout the Hawaiian Islands is instrumental to our tourism industry’s continued viability to support businesses and residents statewide. Delta’s new Seattle-Lihue service strengthens Hawaii’s ties to one of our major gateway cities, and will make it easier for travelers anywhere in the mainland U.S. to make daily flight connections to Kauai.

“It’s gratifying that Delta has factored Kauai into its nationwide expansion plans considering the options available to the airline. HTA meets with Delta’s route planners on a regular basis, which included the Airline Summit we hosted last September at the Hawaii Tourism Conference. As HTA does with all carriers, we provided information on the advantages of increasing flights to Hawaii, especially to the neighbor islands.

“Kauai’s economy will benefit significantly from this new service. Delta’s Seattle-Lihue flights on Boeing 757 aircraft will add 63,510 air seats annually to Kauai, generating an estimated $77.9 million in direct visitor spending for the island, and $9.1 million in tax revenue for the State.”
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Hawaiian Airlines to Begin Nonstop Service Between Kauai and Hawaii Island

Tickets as low as $89* one way now available for flights starting March 12

Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai‘i’s flagship carrier, today announced it will launch once daily non-stop service between Kaua‘i’s Līhu’e Airport (LIH) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawai‘i Island beginning Sunday, March 12. This is the first time in the airline’s history that it will connect Līhu‘e and Kona with a direct flight.

“Demand from our kama‘āina and visitors for travel between Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i has been growing steadily over the past few years,” said Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are proud to now offer our guests direct access between these islands, in addition to our connecting flights through Honolulu or Maui. This gives travelers greater flexibility and convenience when traveling through the Hawaiian Islands.”

The 263-mile flight becomes Hawaiian’s longest Neighbor Island route, besting its flights between Hilo, Hawai‘i Island (ITO) and Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on O‘ahu by nearly 60 miles.

LĪHU’E (LIH)/KONA (KOA) SCHEDULE
*beginning March 12, 2017

Flight Route Departs Arrives  Frequency
HA 599 KOA – LIH 9:38 a.m. 10:36 a.m. Daily
HA 500 LIH – KOA 3:44 p.m. 4:44 p.m. Daily

Hawaiian first launched flights to Kona from Honolulu on July 10, 1949 and started service from Honolulu to Līhu‘e six months later on Jan. 8, 1950. Today, the state’s largest and longest serving carrier operates an average of 21 daily departures from each airport with its Boeing 717 fleet, including:

  • LIH – HNL: 17 flights
  • LIH – Kahului Airport (OGG): four flights
  • KOA – HNL: 16 flights
  • KOA – OGG: five flights*
    *two flights operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s ATR42 aircraft

During the busy summer months, Hawaiian also offers direct flights from both Kona and Līhu‘e to Los Angeles and from Līhu‘e to Oakland, California.  In December 2016, Hawaiian started its first-ever international service from Kona with thrice-weekly flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

*Tickets between Līhu‘e and Kona, starting as low as $89 one way including taxes and fees, are now available for purchase online at HawaiianAirlines.com.  Fare is available for non-stop, one-way flights between Līhu‘e, HI and Kona, HI. Tickets must be booked by 1/19/17 for travel between 3/12/17 – 5/24/17 and are only valid in the Economy (coach) cabin.  Fares are subject to seat availability during the travel period shown. Other restrictions apply. Additional baggage charges may apply. See HawaiianAirlines.com for terms and conditions.

Two Nene Goslings Featured in Video Struck and Killed by Cars

Two of three baby Nene photographed grazing in lush grass alongside the Hanalei River last month were killed by cars as they attempted to cross a highway.  Video shot by DLNR and distributed to media across the state on Dec. 28, 2016, showed a family of Nene; mother, father and their three goslings resting and eating on the stream’s bank underneath the Hanalei Bridge.  The deaths of the two goslings happened last week.

Jean Olbert, a biologist with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, specializes in protection of Nene on Kaua‘i.  She said, “Many of these deaths are preventable if drivers would simply heed warning signs, slow down, and exercise caution in areas where Nene families commonly breed, nest, and raise their young.”

Olbert and other state biologists continue to look for novel ways to get the word out about Nene road strikes. Our first goal is to increase awareness to visitors on the island who may be less familiar with the native wildlife. Road strikes happen on other islands, but have been particularly bad on Kauai recently with eleven birds struck and killed by vehicles since last December. More than 50 birds have been killed in this manner in the past two years. On Kaua‘i, the worst locations for Nene deaths are around the Hanalei Bridge, on Kilauea Road near the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, and on the west side of the island.

The greatest number of road deaths occur between December and April during the peak breeding and molting season. During this time both adults and goslings can’t fly and especially vulnerable to passing cars and trucks.  Nene like to forage for food along highway edges and ditches that are regularly mowed.  Runoff from paved surfaces helps grow especially desirable grass in these areas. DLNR is opening discussions with the Dept. of Transportation and Kaua‘i County to explore reducing and/or changing roadside vegetation that isn’t as attractive to Nene.

Olbert said most birds are killed on roads in the early morning and evening hours. “There’s a Nene crossing warning sign within 25 feet of where video and photographs of the family were taken.  We really implore all drivers on Kaua‘i to watch for the signs, the Nene, and drive safely.”

Second Informational Meeting on Sea Level Rise Adaptation in Hawai’i

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold an informational meeting on sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation on Kaua‘i, Monday, January 09, 2017.  This meeting is one of a series of public informational meetings being held state wide in an effort to educate people about the impacts of sea level rise and to gather comments and input about key issues and concerns regarding preparedness and adaptation.  The first meeting was held on Oahu last June.

Climate change has the potential to profoundly impact our wellbeing and way of life.  In particular, rising sea levels will increase the occurrence and severity of coastal erosion and flooding, threatening natural resources and economic sectors concentrated along low-lying shores.  “We are in the process of developing a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability & Adaptation Report (SLR Report) that is to be submitted in anticipation of the 2018, Hawaii State Legislature and we are interested in soliciting input from our island communities to help us complete the report,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “This SLR Report is the first state-wide assessment of the impacts of sea level rise on our coastal areas.  Using the best available scientific knowledge, the SLR Report will help us prepare for future sea level rise and present recommendations to reduce our exposure to SLR hazards such as erosion and extreme flooding”, said Sam Lemmo, Co-Chair of the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee”.

The Kaua‘i meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Līhu‘e Civic Center, Moikeha Building, Meeting Room 2A-2B located at 4444 Rice Street in Līhu‘e.  Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance please contact the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) at least four days prior to the public hearing. For additional information contact OCCL at (808) 587-0377 or visit http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/.

50 Nene Killed by Vehicles on Kaua’i Highways in the Last Two Years

In the final weeks of 2016, eight Nene (Hawaiian Goose) have been killed by vehicles along a two mile stretch of the Kaumuali‘i Highway in Kekaha. Nene are only found in Hawai‘i and are listed as endangered due to their low number, with an estimated 1,200 remaining on Kaua‘i. In the past two years 50 Nene have been struck and killed by cars across the roadways of Kaua‘i. Typically the majority of vehicle strikes occur in Hanalei and Kilauea, however the most recent strikes are occurring on the west side of the island.

It is believed that 25,000 Nene were present in the Hawaiian Islands when Captain Cook arrived in 1778. By the mid 1940’s only 50 birds remained. Since then, through captive breeding efforts and extensive predator control the population is beginning to grow with almost 3,000 birds statewide. Even with ongoing conservation efforts Nene are still considered to be the rarest goose species in the world.

Nene begin building nests and laying eggs as early as August although the greatest number of road strikes occur  between December and April during the peak of the breeding and molting season. It is during this time of year that both adults and goslings are flightless for a period of time and are especially vulnerable. Nene are often seen foraging along the edges of highways  and ditches as a result of regular mowing and runoff from the pavement creating especially desirable grass in these areas.

Jean Olbert, a Nene biologist with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “With recent rains on the west side, reports of Nene crossing the highway in Kekaha have increased dramatically. Nene regularly cross the road in the evening and early morning hours making it even more important to be on the lookout during these times. Nene remain with their mates for life and travel with their families during this time of year. After a Nene is killed on a road the remaining family members are often unwilling to leave the body, resulting in multiple birds being killed over a short period of time.”

Nene crossing signs have recently been posted by the Department of Transportation along the Kaumuali‘i Highway in Kekaha and the Kuhio Highway in Hanalei in regions where birds frequently cross roadways. DLNR/DOFAW is working with county and state transportation departments and federal partners to potentially add more signs in high-strike zones. Drivers are asked to please slow down and be extra attentive in these areas, especially in low light conditions.

To report an injured or dead bird on Kaua‘i please contact the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 808-274-3433.

EPA Files Complaint Against Syngenta for Farmworker Safety Violations on Kauai

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed a complaint alleging that Syngenta Seeds, LLC violated numerous federal pesticide regulations meant to protect agricultural workers at its crop research farm in Kekaha, Kauai. EPA is seeking civil penalties of over $4.8 million for the violations.

Click to read full lawsuit

On January 20, 2016, 19 workers entered a Syngenta field recently sprayed with a restricted use organophosphate insecticide. Ten of these workers were taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Restricted use pesticides are not available to the general public because of their high toxicity, potential for harm and impact on the environment.

“Reducing pesticide exposure is a high priority, as it directly affects the health of farmworkers,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is committed to enforcing the federal law that protects those who spend long hours in the fields. We appreciate working with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to respond to this serious incident.”

The company named in the complaint does business as Syngenta Hawaii, LLC., a subsidiary of Syngenta AG, a global enterprise that produces chemicals and seeds. The EPA complaint states that Syngenta misused the pesticide “Lorsban Advanced,” and it failed in its duties to adequately implement the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act’s Worker Protection Standard.

Specifically, EPA alleges that Syngenta failed to notify its workers to avoid fields recently treated with pesticides. The company then allowed or directed workers to enter the treated field before the required waiting period had passed, and without proper personal protective equipment. After the workers’ exposure, Syngenta failed to provide adequate decontamination supplies onsite and failed to provide prompt transportation for emergency medical attention.

An inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture was present at the Syngenta facility when the exposure incident occurred, prompting the State’s immediate investigation. In March, HDOA referred the matter to EPA for follow-up investigation and enforcement. In April, EPA inspectors conducted a series of inspections, which led to the complaint.

The active ingredient in “Lorsban Advanced” is chlorpyrifos, which in small amounts may cause a runny nose, tears, sweating, or headache, nausea and dizziness. More serious exposures can cause vomiting, muscle twitching, tremors and weakness. Sometimes people develop diarrhea or blurred vision. In severe cases, exposure can lead to unconsciousness, loss of bladder and bowel control, convulsions, difficulty in breathing, and paralysis. Symptoms can appear within minutes and may last days or weeks.

For EPA’s complaint please visit: https://www.epa.gov/hi/matter-syngenta-seeds-llc-dba-syngenta-hawaii-llc

For more information on pesticide Worker Protection Standard visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/agricultural-worker-protection-standard-wps

Large Fishing Net Removed From Beach at Kapa’a

A large fishing net, estimated to weigh about two tons, was removed from the beach at Kapa‘a fronting the Coral Reef Resort, yesterday.

Staff from the Kaua‘i office of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), Department of Land and Natural Resources first learned about the net mass very late Wednesday evening via a posting on social media. After an initial on-site assessment early Thursday morning by Kaua‘i DOBOR District Manager Joseph Borden, DOBOR staffers were dispatched to move and secure the net.

As far as staff could tell, no marine life was trapped in the next, and not even barnacles were evident.

Two sizable, heavy trucks with chains were required to roll the partially buried in sand net mass above the high wash of the waves and onto the property of the Coral Reef Resort hotel.

The net was staged there with the permission of the hotel for removal today. The net mass and any debris that came loose during the removal have been collected by Conserve Kauai and the net mass will be shipped to O‘ahu for recycling/disposal.

Reports of large nets or marine debris on shorelines may be made to dlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov.

36 Endangered Hawaiian Seabirds Fledge in First Two Years of Relocation Effort

“An enormous success,” is how people and organizations involved in an effort to further protect endangered Hawaiian seabirds describe the first two seasons of translocating Hawaiian Petrels and the first Newell’s Shearwaters to a predator-proof enclosure at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua‘i’s north shore.

Newell’s Shearwater Miracle Chick and First Fledglings

Today, the last of 20 Hawaiian Petrels brought into the 7.8 acre Nihoku colony this fall, fledged – flying safely out to sea.  Dr. Lindsay Young, of Pacific Rim Conservation, the non-profit organization responsible for care and feeding of the birds at Nihoku, said, “Each time one of these young birds fledges it leads us one step closer to our ultimate goal of recovery for these native birds. A huge number of individuals and organizations are involved in this project and the success of these first two years of translocations bodes well for the future.”

All of the birds were collected from colonies located in Kaua‘i’s rugged, mountainous interior, where the birds are under threat from introduced predators and loss of breeding habitat.  This, coupled with collisions with powerlines and attraction to artificial lights, has dramatically reduced their populations on Kaua’i.  Once carefully extracted from their burrows, the birds were flown by helicopter to Princeville airport where they were then driven to the Nihoku enclosure.

There the birds were placed into artificial burrows and, over the course of several weeks were fed and cared for by a dedicated team until they finally fledged. Dr. André Raine, who leads the Kaua‘i Endangered Forest Bird Recovery Project explained, “Like the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine,’ Kaua‘i’s endangered seabirds serve as a warning for the overall health of our forests and watersheds.  With the breeding populations of these iconic birds dropping so precipitously in the last two decades, we should look to the overall health of our native forests and watersheds which is also at risk.”

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a primary partner in the planned five-year translocation effort to establish breeding colonies of Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters at Nihoku. Hannah Nevins, ABC Seabird Program Director, remarked, “The Nihoku colony is the only fully protected colony of federally listed seabirds in Hawai‘i and what’s happened over the past two years is a major achievement and step forward in stabilizing and recovering these important endemic Kaua‘i seabirds.”

The effort is a collaboration among the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), Pacific Rim Conservation, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. KESRP is a DOFAW/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit project. Other partners also provided much-needed assistance for the project. The Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative provided critical support for predator control in collaboration with DOFAW at montane nesting areas within the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) at Upper Limahuli Preserve. NTBG also conducted vegetation restoration at Nihokū, where the fence is located in the refuge. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided critical funding support. The Kaua‘i DOFAW Natural Area Reserve team also provided on-the-ground support.

“We hope that residents of Kaua‘i, folks from around the state, and Hawai‘i’s millions of visitors, along with people the world over will appreciate the scope of this management tool and partnership as a critical step toward reversing the decline of both Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters,” concluded Heather Tonneson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s, Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Annual Arbor Day Plant Sale this Friday on Kauai at Pua Loke Nursery

Common and rare native plants of Hawai‘i will be available for purchase from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, November 4, at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) Pua Loke Nursery, 4398-D Pua Loke St., Lihu‘e, (in the parking lot behind the Dept. of Agriculture. This annual plant sale in celebration of Hawai‘i’s Arbor Day marks 48 years since the first DOFAW plant sale was held in 1968.

hayden-arbor-dayLocal floral enthusiasts and rare plant collectors look forward to the annual event, especially since DOFAW began offering federally listed threatened and endangered plants, native to Hawai‘i and used for the state’s conservation programs.

This year’s anniversary sale will feature the delicate red flowered koki‘o ‘ula (Hibiscus clayi) historically found in east facing dry forests of Nounou and Anahola mountains.  This rare hibiscus is endemic to Kaua‘i only, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world, and will bear a numbered tag for authenticity.

Other rare plant offerings will include the native white hibiscus from Kaua‘i’s north shore, Hibiscus waimeae variety hanarae and the miniature green flowered Hibiscadelphus distans also known as hau kuahiwi.

Arbor Day sale attendees will also find an assortment of common native plants available for sale including wili wili, a lowland, dry forest tree commonly found on the leeward sides of the island with reddish-orange seeds that were traditionally strung into handsome lei; kou, another lowland tree that prefers sunny, warm coastal areas and the versatile ‘a‘ali‘i which can be found growing from mauka to makai.  Other native plants available for sale are ‘akia, kulu‘i, maile, ma‘o, naupaka and pohinahina.

In addition to encouraging the use of native plants in home landscaping, DOFAW will offer for sale, puakenikeni (Fagraea berteroana), a non-invasive exotic ornamental tree cherished for its fragrant flowers used in lei making.

This is a great opportunity to support DOFAW’s programs on Kaua‘i and bring home plants to cultivate your native garden.

For more information, please call our DOFAW nursery at 241-3762.

School Children Help Release Rescued Shearwaters

School children from Island School helped release five fledgling ‘A‘o (Newell’s Shearwaters) and one Leach’s Storm-petrel yesterday as part of the annual E Hoopomaikai ‘ia na Manu ‘A‘o (A Cultural Release of the Native Newell’s Shearwater) event.  The event was organized by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP) and the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) project.

 Island School teacher Rebecca Snowden and Tracy Anderson of SOS release a Newell's Shearwater


Island School teacher Rebecca Snowden and Tracy Anderson of SOS release a Newell’s Shearwater

Every year, young shearwaters are attracted to artificial lights on the island of Kauai, where they are rescued by concerned members of the public and passed over to the Save Our Shearwaters project.  There the birds are examined by trained staff, rehabilitated as necessary and then released to continue their journey out to sea.

Mike McFarlin, a KESRP staff member who helped organize the event, explained. “We do this once a year with the Save Our Shearwaters project – giving local school children the opportunity to take part in the release of these endangered seabirds.  Each bird is also offered a pule (Hawaiian prayer) by Kupuna Sabra Kauka just before it is released, which makes the event even more special and serves to highlight the importance of this species in Hawaiian culture.”

sheerwater

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Leach’s Storm-petrel

The ‘A‘o is one of two threatened seabirds found only on the Hawaiian Islands.  Kaua‘i holds an estimated 90% of the World population of this species, making it a vital refuge for the species.  The ‘A‘o breed mainly in remote and mountainous parts of the island, and populations have declined dramatically in recent years.  The decline is due to a number of issues, which include predation by introduced predators (such as feral cats, rats and pigs), collisions with man-made structures and fall-out of fledglings due to artificial lights.

Newly fledged birds are very vulnerable to lights and as they leave their burrows in the mountains for the first time and head out to sea.  On dark or stormy nights in particular they often become attracted to bright lights, which they circle until exhausted.  This often leads to them landing on the ground, where they are eaten by cats and dogs or run over by cars if they are not rescued.

Tracy Anderson, Coordinator for the Save Our Shearwaters project said, “This is always a busy time of year for us.  In recent years, we typically receive a hundred or more of these endangered seabirds, which – while a lot – is a far cry from the thousands received by the project twenty years ago.  This just goes to show how badly this species is doing, and highlights the importance of on-going conservation efforts to save the species.”

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Newell's Shearwater

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Newell’s Shearwater

Members of the public can help at this time of year by keeping an eye out for fallen birds.  If birds are found, they should be carefully collected and placed in one of the aid stations located at Kauai County fire stations and other locations around the island, where they can be collected by the Save Our Shearwaters project staff.  The fall-out season starts at the end of September and ends in mid-December.

KESRP is a State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife project, administered by the Pacific Co-operative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.  SOS is a DLNR project housed at the Kaua’i Humane Society and financially supported by the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative.

Rescued Newell’s Shearwater Chick Heads To Sea – Miracle Bird Highlights Extraordinary Recovery Effort

At the Nihoku predator-proof enclosure at the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, it was designated Newell’s Shearwater (‘A‘o) Chick #8.  On Sunday evening this healthy chick left its manmade burrow and headed out to sea; one of eight young birds that had been translocated to Nihoku as part of an extraordinary effort to save Hawai‘i’s endemic seabirds from extinction.

newells-shearwater-chick“This particular chick holds a special place in our hearts because it was rescued from one of the upper montane colonies after being found lost, alone, and hungry on a trial in the Hono o Na Pali Natural Area Reserve in August,” explained Dr. Andre Raine of the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP). “If the chick had been left by itself in the colony it would have surely died, so it’s great to see it now flying safely out to sea as a strong and healthy fledgling.”

It was the first time KESRP team members have encountered a live chick out in the open. Typically the only reason why they are found outside of their burrows is because they have been attacked and eaten by predators, including rats and feral cats.

Initially, #8 was flown by KESRP to the Save our Shearwaters (SOS) program at the Kaua‘i Humane Society, where Tracy Anderson, SOS program coordinator and her staff gave it fluids and food. Ultimately it was translocated to the Nihoku enclosure, where over the course of the past month it continued getting daily feedings and health checks. “I’m glad that we could give him a second chance and that he might be one of the founders of this new colony of Newell’s Shearwaters”.

Robby Kohley of Pacific Rim Conservation (PRC) is one of the team members responsible for the daily care of this chick.  He said, “It’s one of those lucky things that the colony monitoring team people found this little chick.  It acclimated to its burrow well and its weight and wing cord (wing length) steadily increased, so it’s a nice team effort. There are so many birds that don’t make it; the fact that they were able to rescue this bird is pretty exciting. It is a bit of a miracle and a bright spot.

Adding to the bright spots is the fledging of 4 other Newell’s Shearwaters translocated to the Nihoku enclosure from burrows deep in Kaua‘i’s mountain forests in September. The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and its Hawai‘i partners conducted the first ever translocation of endangered Newell’s Shearwaters in an effort to establish a protected breeding colony at the national wildlife refuge.

Dr. Lindsay Young, project coordinator with PRC explained, “Team members removed seven, large, healthy chicks from their mountain burrows by hand.  Once they arrived at Nihoku their growth was carefully monitored and they were hand fed daily, a slurry of fish and squid.  Once they were big enough, their caretakers opened their burrows to allow them to depart when the time came.”

Newell’s Shearwater chicks imprint on their birth colony location, once they emerge from their burrows, and as adults will return to breed at the same colony. Since the chicks were removed from their natural burrows before the critical imprinting stage, it’s hoped they’ll imprint on the artificial burrows and return to the predator-proof colony as adults in three to five years.

Hannah Nevins, director of ABC’s Seabird Program said, “The new colony will be the only fully protected colony of this species anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s an enormous step toward recovering this rare seabird and we hope it marks a turning point in the downward trend for this species.  The future of the Newell’s Shearwater on Kaua‘i is dependent on multiple actions, from colony protection in the mountains to creating new predator-free colonies with fences, and continuing to mitigate light and collision impacts.”

Dr. Young concluded, “We are very excited to have accomplished a major recovery objective for one of Hawaii’s endemic seabird species.  What we learn from this project will be crucial in implementing what we hope will be many more projects like this on Kaua‘i and across the state.”

The recovery team has a year’s worth of experience under its belt, having translocated endangered Hawaiian Petrels to the nearly eight acre Nihoku enclosure a year ago.  Those birds fledged successfully last year and next week a new group of Hawaiian Petrels will be removed from their mountain burrows and flown to the enclosure.

Genki Sushi Having Grand Reopening on Kauai

Genki Sushi’s only restaurant on Kauai will hold a grand reopening on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 at 11 a.m., after completing a $300,000 renovation that included the installation of an interactive, automated Bullet Express ordering and delivery system.

genki-sushi

“We are excited to welcome back our customers to enjoy all their favorite sushi dishes and Genki specialties, while experiencing our new, fun, interactive Bullet Express system,” said Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer, Genki Sushi USA, Inc. “Genki Sushi is continually looking for ways to improve customer service and enhance the overall dining experience at our restaurants, and that includes offering the latest technology, while adding an element of playfulness and excitement.”

The upgraded restaurant at Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue features easy-to-use touch screens that allow customers to order food from their seats and have it delivered by a double rail express system via carriers in the form of a bullet train, F1® race cars, surfboards and a space shuttle. The Kukui Grove location is the first Genki Sushi restaurant on a neighbor island to feature the Bullet Express system. Five locations on Oahu currently offer the automated system, and Genki plans to outfit other restaurants with the Bullet Express system in the future.

The new system at the Kauai location follows a $1.3 million renovation the company undertook last year that included expanding the seating capacity to 80 diners, adding new equipment and modernizing the overall look and feel of the restaurant.

Department of Health Approves Reopening

The grand reopening comes one week after the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) approved the reopening of Genki Sushi’s restaurants on Kauai and Oahu as health officials investigated whether customers may have become ill from a food product provided to Genki Sushi by a distributor. On Sept. 9, DOH announced it had cleared Genki’s restaurants on Kauai and Oahu to reopen after full compliance with the department’s strict conditions, including confirmation that none of its employees scheduled to work for the reopening tested positive for hepatitis A. Genki’s 10 restaurants on Oahu reopened on Sept. 10, but the Kauai location remained closed to complete the renovations.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience, understanding and support while we worked with the Department of Health and simultaneously focused on completing renovations in order to reopen the Kukui Grove restaurant,” said Hansen. “Now with DOH’s approval and our new Bullet Express system ready to go, we are happy to resume operations on Kauai.

“We also want to acknowledge our 40 dedicated employees on Kauai for their efforts during the temporary closure. It is very reassuring that none of our employees tested positive for the virus and we are happy that our Kauai team can get back to work. At the same time, our hearts go out to those who have the illness and hope for their speedy recovery,” Hansen added.

Kauai Launches First Traditional Voyaging Canoe

Namahoe, Kauai’s first traditional voyaging canoe, made her inaugural launch into the waters of Nawiliwili Bay at high noon yesterday.  The historic birth of the canoe is the culmination of more than 20 years of work by Kauai’s voyaging group Na Kalai Waa o Kauai under the leadership of John Kruse, Dennis Chun and the late Dr. Patrick Aiu.  The Kauai community joined by voyagers and supporters from though out Hawaii and the Pacific celebrated Namahoe’s launch with festivities held today at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

namahoe-frontWith the birth of Namahoe, which means Gemini, the guiding constellation from Oahu to Kauai, there are now eight traditional voyaging canoes in Hawaii.  According to Kruse, Namahoe may be the first voyaging canoe launched from Kauai in close to 600 years.  At 72-feet long, the canoe is also the largest in the Hawaiian islands.

“Namahoe already holds so much mana from the many hands in the community that helped to build her over the last 20 years,” said Chun.  “The community on Kauai needs to have its own voyaging canoe to help perpetuate the culture and values of our ancestors and to provide educational opportunities for our young people.”

namahoe“I commend John, Dennis and the late Dr. Aiu for their vision and years of extraordinary dedication to building a voyaging canoe for Kauai and its people,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society.  “To see there are now eight voyaging canoes in Hawaiian waters since Hokulea was born 41 years ago shows that the people of Hawaii share a desire to protect our past and our most cherished values,” he said.

All former crewmembers of Hokulea, Kruse, Chun and Aiu were first inspired to build a canoe for Kauai back in 1995, after the construction of Makalii on Hawaii Island.

Genki Sushi Receives Approval From Hawaii Department of Health to Reopen After Hepatitis A Outbreak

Genki Sushi announced today it has received approval from the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) to reopen its restaurants after full compliance with the department’s strict conditions, including confirmation that none of its employees scheduled to work for the reopening tested positive for hepatitis A. Genki Sushi will reopen all 10 of its restaurants on Oahu tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 10). Genki’s only restaurant on Kauai will remain closed temporarily to complete renovations already underway.

genki-sushi“Serving safe, high-quality food is always our top priority and we deeply regret that the ongoing investigation by the Department of Health is indicating that customers may have become ill from a food product that our restaurants on Oahu and Kauai received from a distributor,” said Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer for Genki Sushi USA. “After being informed by the Department of Health of its decision to temporarily close some of our restaurants while it investigated the source of the illness, we worked cooperatively with health officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our customers, our employees and the community. We are now pleased to reopen our Oahu restaurants and appreciate the understanding and support of our customers during this period.”

Genki has been closely communicating with DOH to determine what the company needed to do in order to eliminate any potential sources of the infection from its restaurants and meet specific requirements from the DOH to resume operations.

 “The management team of Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai has given us their full cooperation, and the department is confident that they are in compliance with all health regulations,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, director of the Hawaii Department of Health. “Genki Sushi has been cleared by the Department of Health to reopen to the public.”

While DOH directives only called for the disposal of opened containers or packages of food items that may have been exposed, Genki Sushi made the decision to discard all produce and food items that could have been exposed, and sanitized sealed food packages as specified by the DOH. In addition, all single-serve equipment or utensils such as napkins, chopsticks, cups and takeout containers were also discarded.

Following state guidelines, all food and non-food-contact surfaces throughout each of the restaurants were completely disinfected with DOH-approved sanitizing formulas. The surfaces, including counters, machines, equipment, floors and walls throughout the kitchens, dining rooms, restrooms and employee areas were scrubbed and rinsed.

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing assistance and guidance provided by the Department of Health throughout this situation as we focused on the common goal of protecting the public’s health,” said Hansen.

All employees scheduled to work in the impacted restaurants were screened, tested and vaccinated for the hepatitis A virus subject to DOH standards and all of the test results were negative. The DOH also conducted food safety classes for Genki employees at each restaurant site which were based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manual on hygiene and food safety. Genki Sushi will continue to follow the FDA manual on hygiene and food safety in addition to the company’s regular employee training and policies.

“Our entire staff has shown tremendous resiliency and teamwork in doing what was needed to reopen our restaurants so we can continue to serve our customers in the safest manner possible,” said Hansen. “It is very reassuring that none of our employees tested positive for the virus and we are happy that they can get back to work when the restaurants reopen. At the same time, our hearts go out to those who have the illness and hope for their speedy recovery.

“Genki Sushi is a longtime member of the local community with over 350 enthusiastic employees, and our restaurants have been venues for countless birthday and graduation parties and family get-togethers. We want to make sure that our customers can rest assured when they come in for sushi that they will be served safe, high-quality food,” added Hansen.

Genki Sushi remains committed to continuing to enforce its food safety and sanitation program and will work with health officials to make any recommended improvements to its policies and procedures. These efforts include continuing to require all of its managers to be ServSafe certified, a training program administered by the National Restaurant Association.

Genki is also taking additional steps beyond required state rules to ensure the long-term health and safety of its restaurants. Genki will also work with all its vendors to improve food safety policies and procedures. The company will continue to require that all its vendors are certified and follow Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) management systems for addressing food safety and handling, as well as FDA and DOH policies and regulations.

Hawaii Senate to Hold Special Session to Consider and Confirm Judicial Appointments

A Special Session of the Hawai‘i State Senate will be held from September 13, 2016 through September 14, 2016 to confirm two judicial appointments, one for the District Family Court of the Third Circuit – Hawai‘i Island and one for the District Court of the Fifth Circuit – Kaua‘i

Dakota K.M. Frenz

Dakota K.M. Frenz

On September 2, 2016, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald appointed Dakota K.M. Frenz to the District Family Court of the Third Circuit and Michael K. Soong to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit. To fill the District Court vacancies, the Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court selects an appointee from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Committee.

Pursuant to Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article IV, Section 3, the Senate has 30 days from the date of the appointment to consider and confirm the judgeships. Therefore, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold a hearing on the appointments on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. in Conference Room 325. The Senate will convene for the first day of the Special Session at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 in the State Capitol Auditorium. The second-day of Session is scheduled begin at 11:00 a.m. and adjourn following action by the full Senate on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

Coast Guard Rescues Man From Capsized Vessel Off Kauai

The Coast Guard rescued a 56-year-old man after his 24-foot fishing vessel capsized approximately 12 miles west of Kikiaola Harbor, Kauai, Thursday.

rescued manThe man was safely hoisted into an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and was transported to the airport at Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, where his family was waiting to pick him up.

The man was fishing when a large wave swamped and capsized his vessel. The man was reported to be wearing his life jacket and no injuries were reported.

Seas were reported to be at seven feet.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon alert at 8 a.m., indicating potential distress.

At 9:17 a.m., an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched along with a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Kauai.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene at 10 a.m., and located the man at 10:17 a.m., after he fired off a flare upon seeing the helicopter.

“We commend this mariner for ensuring he took all the necessary safety precautions before going on his fishing trip,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Crystal Escalante, a duty watchstander at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center. “Having a flares, a life jacket and especially a properly registered EPIRB significantly allowed him to be rescued so quickly.”

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to always wear a life jacket, file a float plan with a friend and highly encourages recreational boaters to have a registered emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). A free Coast Guard Boating Safety Application is available on both iPhone and Android devices that has direct contact information to the nearest Coast Guard Command Center to report distress situations.

EPA Closes Pflueger Stormwater Case After Successful Restoration of Kauai Property

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the successful conclusion of its case against James Pflueger for construction activities that damaged his former property and the beach and coral reefs at Pila’a on Kauai. The consent decree settling the Clean Water Act violations was closed after Pflueger stabilized and restored the slopes and streams.

Pflueger Stormwater Case“Thanks to the work completed under this settlement, this once-degraded land has a healthy population of native trees and shrubs and restored stream channels,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “With continued care by the new owners, these restoration efforts can be sustained for the future.”

EPA initiated its case after Pflueger conducted extensive grading and construction at the 378-acre coastal site without obtaining necessary Clean Water Act permits. Those activities included excavating a hillside to expose a 40-foot vertical road cut, grading a coastal plateau, creating new access roads to the coast, and dumping dirt and rock into three perennial streams. As a result, massive discharges of sediment-laden stormwater flowed to the ocean at Pila’a Bay in November 2001.

The settlement required Pflueger to build a wall to stabilize the road cut adjacent to the shoreline, remove dam material in streams, install erosion controls on roadways and trails, terrace slopes to slow runoff, use native plants to control erosion, and control invasive plants and animals on the property. He was also required to reconstruct natural rock-lined stream beds and reestablish native plants along the banks.

The 2006 stormwater settlement was the largest for federal Clean Water Act violations at a single site, by a single landowner, in the United States. Pflueger paid $2 million in penalties to the State of Hawaii and the United States, and was expected to spend approximately $5.3 million to conduct the required restoration efforts.

The State of Hawaii was a co-plaintiff in EPA’s case against Pflueger, and the settlement was joined by the Limu Coalition and Kilauea neighborhood organizations, which had also filed a lawsuit against Pflueger.

EPA and local community organizations involved in the settlement conducted oversight inspections throughout a ten-year restoration effort that was slowed by funding obstacles and the necessity of adapting the restoration projects to changing field conditions.

All Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants Ordered to Close Immediately

The Hawaii State Department of Health has mandated that all Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants close immediately.

Genki Sushi

The Department of Health determined the hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu is likely due to imported frozen scallops served raw at these restaurants.

The restaurants are now closed to prevent any further illness and protect the public.  No word on when they may reopen.

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