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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.

Hawaii Election Results Online

Hawaii GifElection results will be posted upon the close of polls on Election Day. Links to the Summary Reports will be available at that time.

* The results files may be temporarily inaccessible while we are uploading new files. Please refresh your browser window (e.g. click the refresh button) to view new results.  Clicking on another year in the menu does not load new results when returning to 2016.

Reports (PDF format)

Tropical Storm Howard Turns South

At 800 PM PDT (0300 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Howard was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 126.4 West.

TS Howard

Howard is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion with a slight increase in forward speed is forecast during the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts.  Some additional strengthening is possible during the next 12 hours or so, but weakening should commence by Tuesday night.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 999 mb (29.50 inches).

FORECAST DISCUSSION:

Visible imagery and a 01/2038 UTC AMSR2 microwave pass show that Howard’s center of circulation has become exposed to the west of the cloud canopy.  Additionally, the entire western half of the cyclone has become devoid of deep convective banding.  It appears that modest westerly shear is impinging on the storm and undercutting the diffluent flow aloft.  A blend of the Final-T numbers from both TAFB and SAB yields an initial intensity of 45 kt for this advisory.  Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 12 hours while Howard remains over SSTs greater than 26C.

By the 24 hour period, the cyclone is expected to move over cooler sub-24 deg C water. Cooler SSTs and increasing southwesterly shear should induce steady weakening, resulting in Howard degenerating into a post-tropical cyclone in 48 hours, and a remnant low by day 3.

After that time, the large-scale models show the remnant low degenerating into a trough of low pressure.  The intensity forecast is a little above the previous forecast, but is lower than the IVCN intensity consensus.

Satellite position estimates suggest that Howard is moving toward the west-northwest, or 295 degrees, at about 12 kt.  Howard is expected to move in a general west-northwestward motion during the next 72 hours along the southern periphery of a subtropical ridge located to the north of the cyclone.  Through the remainder of the period, the cyclone is forecast to become a shallow remnant low and turn toward the west following the low-level easterly tradewind flow.  The official NHC forecast is quite similar to the previous one, and is hedged toward the TVCN multi-model consensus.

 

Missile Range Facility Building to be Named After Daniel K. Inouye

Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands will be holding a naming ceremony for the PMRF Range and Range Operations Center, Building 105. The building will be named in honor of the late Senator from Hawaii, Daniel K. Inouye.

Makaha Ridge, 1970s.  Courtesy of PMRF.  (Click for more information)

Makaha
Ridge, 1970s. Courtesy of PMRF. (Click for more information)

Daniel K. Inouye was a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who fought with the infamous 442nd Infantry regiment. He later served as a U.S. Senator from 1963-2012. His political career began with his election to the House of Representatives in 1959 followed by his election to the U.S. Senate. He was one of the longest serving U.S. Senators in history and the first Japanese American to serve in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He was later named President pro tempore. The late Senator Inouye had a profound influence on politics in Hawaii.

The ceremony will be held at the PMRF Range and Range Operations Center, Building 105, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands on Wednesday, July 20th beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 11:00 a.m.

DBEDT Releases Data on Big Island and Kauai Consumer Spending

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released two reports today that provides data and analysis on spending patterns of Big Island and Kauai households in 2014.

Click to view report

Click to view report

The reports summarizes data obtained through household surveys conducted by DBEDT in 2015 and covers spending in 2014. DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Historically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.  The BLS survey only included Oahu residents and excluded neighbor island residents.  Data on consumer spending patterns for neighbor islands did not exist before DBEDT compiled the data through household surveys.

Some of the findings in the Hawaii County report include the following:

  • An average household in Hawaii County spent an average of $51,700 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, 71.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.H
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 40.5 percent of total expenditures or $20,921 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.3 percent or $8,405), food (14.4 percent or $7,420), and personal insurance & retirement savings (7.8 percent or $4,046).
  • In 2014, a typical Hawaii County household spent about $10,000 less than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Hawaii County consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather similar, both between 71 percent and 72 percent of total expenditures.
  • Hawaii County household’s annual expenditures were slightly lower than the U.S. average in 2014, with Hawaii County at $51,700 and the U.S. at $53,495.  Housing comprised a larger portion in Hawaii County consumers’ spending (40.5 percent for Hawaii County and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Hawaii County consumers spent relatively more on food (14.4 percent for Hawaii County and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and less on transportation (16.3 percent for Hawaii County and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 78.3 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 65.5 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on entertainment and insurance and retirement savings.
  • Homeowners with mortgages spent $65,911 in 2014, which was more than $20,000 higher than the annual expenditures of home renters and home owners without mortgages. Both homeowners with mortgages and renters spent a large share on housing, 42.2 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively, resulting in comparably smaller shares on most other spending categories, relative to home owners without mortgages.

Some of the findings in the Kauai County report include the following:

  • A typical household in Kauai County spent an average of $64,651 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, nearly 73.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 41.5 percent of total expenditures or $26,819 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.8 percent or $10,836), food (14.9 percent or $9,638), and personal insurance & retirement savings (6.8 percent or $4,398).
  • In 2014, a typical Kauai household spent more than $2,000 more than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Kauai consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather close, both at around 73 percent of total expenditures.  Kauai household’s annual expenditures were 21 percent higher than the U.S. average in 2014, with Kauai at $64,651 and the U.S. at $53,495.   Housing comprised a larger portion in Kauai consumers’ spending (41.5 percent for Kauai and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Kauai consumers spent relatively more on food (14.9 percent for Kauai and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and slightly less on transportation (16.8 percent for Kauai and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 80 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 69.8 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on transportation, insurance and retirement savings, and entertainment.
  • Homeowners with mortgages and renters had comparable shares for housing related expenses (44.5 percent versus 44 percent). However, homeowners’ annual expenditure amount was much higher than renters, with $87,460 for home owners with mortgages versus $54,139 for home renters.

The Hawaii County results are based on 554 completed surveys from the Big Island, and the Kauai County results are based on 337 completed surveys from the islands of Kauai and Lanai.

The full reports are available at:

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Big_Island_Survey_Final.pdf

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Kauai_Survey_Final.pdf

Shark Bites Kauai Surfer

A two mile stretch of Kalapakī Beach on Kauai’s southeastern shore has shark warning signs up today, after a surfer reports being bitten by a three to four-foot shark this morning.  The surfer drove himself to the hospital, was treated and released.

Shark Sighting Sign

Kalapakī Beach, which fronts the Marriott Hotel in Līhu‘e is not a lifeguard protected beach, so officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are posting signs to warn other ocean users about this incident and asking that they stay out of the water at least until noon tomorrow. This is standard protocol established between the state and all counties.

The surfer reports he was paddling out at about 6 a.m. when the shark bit him in the arm, 25-30 yards off shore. He suffered a single puncture wound.

Kauai Man Faces Felony Charges in Connection with Pregnant Monk Seal Beating

Arrest Result of Joint Federal, State & County Investigation

19 year old Shylo Akuna of Eleele, Kauai was arrested this afternoon by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) special agents in connection with the beating of a 17-year old pregnant monk seal on April 26, 2016.

Shylo Akuna

Shylo Akuna

A short video clip of the incident was widely posted on social media and was picked up by news organizations around the country. That video, supported by eyewitness accounts led to Akuna’s arrest. He is being held at the Kauai Police Department pending further disposition on suspicion of “taking a monk seal.” This includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or collecting an endangered or threatened aquatic species or terrestrial wildlife. If convicted of this Class C felony, Akuna could face one (1) to five (5) years in prison. Additionally the state environmental court may impose a fine of up to $50,000.

DOCARE Chief Thomas Friel said, “Thanks to the joint efforts of our Kauai branch officers, special agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Kauai Police Department, and Hawaii State Sheriffs we were able to investigate this crime, make an arrest, and bring this part of the case to a quick conclusion.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “We’re grateful to the concerned citizens who brought this action to our attention and were willing to step forward with additional information to help law enforcement identify and arrest the suspect. We’re fortunate that the Hawaii State Legislature passed HRS 195D which provides very stiff penalties for these repugnant behaviors.

Ann M. Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office said, “NOAA Fisheries sincerely appreciates the outpouring of community support for RK30, the Hawaiian monk seal involved in this incident. She’s an important and productive member of the seal population. It’s clear from this outpouring that folks care a great deal about monk seals, and don’t want to see them harmed. The quick action by DLNR DOCARE, the Kauai Police Department, and NOAA OLE is very commendable, and likely would not have been as successful without the support of caring community members.”

Anyone who witnesses a monk seal or any other endangered or threatened species being threatened or injured in any manner by a person is urged to immediately call the NOAA Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR.

Hawaii Health Department Confirms Second Case of Zika

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating another imported case of Zika virus in Hawaii. This is the second case of Zika to be confirmed this year by the department’s State Laboratories Division. The Kauai resident has a history of recent travel to Latin America and may still be infectious. The individual has been advised to keep indoors and stay protected from mosquitoes. No additional information will be made available about this case to respect the privacy of the individual.

microcephalyA Vector Control team will visit the individual’s residence to survey the area for mosquitoes and determine if there is a need to treat the area to reduce any mosquito breeding sites. DOH is coordinating closely with its county partners to assure a targeted and efficient response.

“As Zika continues to spread in multiple regions across the world, we anticipate that we will experience an increase in imported cases and must take precautionary measures to reduce our risk for an outbreak in Hawaii,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “There are several simple steps that we can take as a community to accomplish this, such as getting rid of standing water around our homes to reduce mosquito breeding sites and using repellant or protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. It is crucial that we keep these practices top-of-mind as we prepare for travel in and out of the state, especially to areas that may be affected by Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika. If travel cannot be avoided, women should consult with their healthcare providers first and vigilantly follow steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

For travel guidance, visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

For information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/symptoms/index.html.

For information on Zika and pregnancy, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/index.html.

Two Hawaii-Based Navy Commands Advance to Win Secretary of Navy Environmental Awards

Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) are winners of the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award.  Awardees were announced Friday, March 11, 2016 in Washington D.C..

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following an independent deployment to the Western Pacific. Deployed since May, the crew of more than 350 Sailors steamed a total of 42,000 nautical miles across the U.S. 3rd, 4th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. While deployed Chafee conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations. Chafee also escorted USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a Southern Sea deployment around South America and through the Straits of Magellan before the carrier's return to Norfolk, Va., this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John M. Hageman/Released)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following an independent deployment to the Western Pacific. Deployed since May, the crew of more than 350 Sailors steamed a total of 42,000 nautical miles across the U.S. 3rd, 4th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. While deployed Chafee conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations. Chafee also escorted USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a Southern Sea deployment around South America and through the Straits of Magellan before the carrier’s return to Norfolk, Va., this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John M. Hageman/Released)

PMRF, Barking Sands, on Kauai won the award for Natural Resources (small installation) and USS Chafee (DDG 90) homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam won the Afloat Environmental Award.

Both PMRF and USS Chafee were recently awarded with Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Awards on Feb. 22 which qualified them to advance, compete and win at the Secretary of the Navy Award level.

“These awards are the latest in a string of recognition that gives credence to our commitment to be good and caring stewards of the environment,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “I congratulate the men and women at PMRF and aboard USS Chafee, and I salute everyone on our team here in Hawaii – You are making a difference.”

PMRF works with federal and state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, the public and the host community to implement groundbreaking initiatives towards conservation, environmental protection and the protection of endangered species.  Initiatives include but are not limited to the Laysan Albatross Conservation program in which PMRF transfers Albatross eggs to Campbell National Wildlife refuge on Oahu providing new shelter and reducing the risk of aircraft strikes.

KAUAI, Hawaii (Oct. 27 2015) A member of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) environmental program at Pacific Missile Range (PMRF) Facility, Barking Sands on Kauai, starts up the ornithology radar used to keep track of flight patterns of the Newell’s Shearwater. The Newell’s Shearwater, an endangered pelagic seabird, leaves its nest on Kauai to the open ocean during the darkest nights. PMRF is implementing new programs such as the Dark Skies Program along with the use of radar ornithology to assist with ongoing conservation efforts and improve the birds’ chances of safely making it to sea. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gabrielle Joyner/released)

KAUAI, Hawaii (Oct. 27 2015) A member of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) environmental program at Pacific Missile Range (PMRF) Facility, Barking Sands on Kauai, starts up the ornithology radar used to keep track of flight patterns of the Newell’s Shearwater. The Newell’s Shearwater, an endangered pelagic seabird, leaves its nest on Kauai to the open ocean during the darkest nights. PMRF is implementing new programs such as the Dark Skies Program along with the use of radar ornithology to assist with ongoing conservation efforts and improve the birds’ chances of safely making it to sea. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gabrielle Joyner/released)

The “Dark Sky” initiative, which directs the turning off of all non-essential exterior lighting on PMRF during the Newell Shearwater, Hawaiian and Band-Rumped Storm Petrel migration season, has reduced “fallout” by these endangered birds that are naturally attracted to light.

“Although the accolades are nice, I am much more satisfied knowing that the entire PMRF Ohana takes their kuleana (responsibility) seriously.  Respecting and protecting the aina (land) while running the premier training and test range is not just what we do, it is who we are,” said Capt. Bruce Hay, Commanding Officer, PMRF.

Environmental protection and energy conservation were at the forefront of operations aboard USS Chafee in 2015, according to Cmdr. Shea Thompson, Chafee’s commanding officer.

“We’re all thrilled to have been selected for this award. We strive for efficiency in all aspects of our war-fighting operations and to be good stewards of our environment,” said Thompson.

USS Chafee transited more than 37,000 miles on a seven-month deployment to the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility during 2015 while participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, Talisman Sabre 15, UNITAS PAC 15, and UNITAS LANT 15.  USS Chafee conducted all operations with no impact to marine mammals and with safe and clean refueling operations.

Both Chafee and PMRF have been involved in Great Green Fleet operations in recent years, and both commands continue to support energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

Kauai Biomass Project Nears Completion

The new biomass-to-energy power plant near Koloa on Kauai has successfully started its hot commissioning and expects to begin selling electricity to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) by the beginning of May 2015.

The 6.7-megawatt biomass-to-energy facility will burn wood chips from trees grown and harvested on Kauai.  The plant will provide more than 11 percent of the island’s energy needs.  Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

The plant is being constructed by Green Energy Team LLC (GET), a Hawaii limited liability company, and is using a biomass energy generation technology developed by Standardkessel Baumgarte, a German company that is one of the world leaders in energy technology.

The plant will burn wood chips produced from several sources on Kauai, including short-rotation trees grown on about 2,000 acres of land and several locations on Kauai that have been cleared of invasive species.

The plant will have the capacity to generate 7.5-megawatts of renewable energy to be delivered as electricity to KIUC under a power purchase agreement approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in October 2011. Unlike solar and wind energy, the plant will provide firm power—day and night, independent of weather conditions—to KIUC. It will supply about 11 percent of Kauai’s annual electricity needs and will substitute power produced by diesel generators.

The facility will contribute to the State’s renewable energy portfolio goals that presently aim to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs from renewable resources. It will also be an addition to KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio, which currently consists of several hydropower projects and the utility co-op’s own two solar farms as well as other solar farms and customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems.

Construction on Green Energy Team’s biomass plant began in January 2013 and is nearly completed. Standardkessel provided the design and equipment for the plant and is providing construction management for the project. Construction was done by Bodell Construction Company; final work shall be completed by Diana Prince Construction, Inc. Financing for construction of the $90 million project is being provided by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Once completed and operational, Green Energy Team’s plant will create 39 permanent operating jobs and many indirect jobs for local service providers and agricultural operations.

The Kauai-based plant will be the first closed-loop biomass-to-energy plant in the United States and fueled by trees grown on-island. This is also the first commercial biomass project since the period when former sugar companies also sold electricity to Hawaii’s electric utilities.

U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Kauai

A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops…

More Here: U.S. court overturns law limiting biotech crops on Hawaiian island