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Hawaii Department of Health Approves Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC to Acquire and Cultivate Medical Marijuana

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today issued a Notice to Proceed to Acquire and Cultivate Marijuana to Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC for their production center on Maui. Pono Life Sciences Maui is the fourth licensee to receive notice from the state and the second Maui licensee to meet all requirements to begin growing marijuana.

Pono Life Sciences Maui is now authorized to acquire and grow marijuana seeds, clones and plants, for the purpose of providing marijuana and marijuana products to qualified patients registered with the department’s Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Program. This month, in addition to Pono Life Sciences Maui, DOH issued Notices to Proceed to Maui Grown Therapies, Aloha Green Holdings, and Manoa Botanicals for production centers on Maui and Oahu.

To receive a Notice to Proceed from DOH, dispensary production centers must comply with statutory and regulatory requirements that include building a secure, enclosed indoor facility; operating a computer software tracking system that interfaces with the state’s system and submits current inventory data of all marijuana seeds, plants and manufactured products in the production center; and authorization from the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Hawaii State Department of Public Safety.

More information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/

A total of eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued in April 2016. Three dispensary licenses for the City and County of Honolulu were issued to Aloha Green Holdings, Inc.; Manoa Botanicals, LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. Two licenses for the County of Hawaii were issued to Hawaiian Ethos, LLC and Lau Ola, LLC. Two licenses for the County of Maui were issued to Maui Wellness Group, LLC and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. One license for the County of Kauai was issued to Green Aloha, Ltd.

Each dispensary licensee is allowed to operate two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center may grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

Thunderstorms Drenching Maui

At 511 PM HST, a strong thunderstorm was located near Kihei, or 8
miles southeast of Kahului, moving northeast at 15 mph.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible with this storm.

Locations impacted include Kahului, Kihei, Pukalani, Haliimaile, Pauwela, Ulupalakua, Wailea, Huelo, Haiku-Pauwela, Paia, Makawao, Puunene, Kula, Keokea, Makena, Kaupo, Hana, Kipahulu, Maalaea and Nahiku.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm.  Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe shelter inside a building or vehicle.

INFORMATION:  Maui County Emergency Management Agency will continue to monitor the situation.  Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for any updates.  NOAA Weather broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025.  NOAA Weather internet services can be found at www.weather.gov/hawaii.

Island Air Announces Flight Expansion Plans

476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers

With the addition of new Q400 aircraft to its fleet, Island Air has begun increasing the number of interisland flights to its schedule.

Island Air’s first new Q400 aircraft, named Ola Kūpono, which means “safety in everything we do,” began service on January 12, 2017. Photo courtesy of island Air

Over the next four months, Island Air plans to phase in new regularly scheduled flights that will significantly increase its roundtrip service between Oʻahu and the neighbor islands. The number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Kahului will double to 16; between Honolulu and Kona will increase from six to 10; and the number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Līhu‘e will grow from six to eight. The airline will also add flights to accommodate high travel days (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) and spring break travel demands.

By the beginning of May, Island Air expects to offer up to 476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers.

“The added flight service is in response to growing demand from our customers and travel partners and also reflects the improved operational efficiencies of the new Q400 aircraft that are being phased into our fleet” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “The entire Island Air team remains focused on enhancing the interisland travel experience for residents and visitors, which includes providing more convenient options to island hop, either for business or to enjoy a weekend getaway or visit.”

Island Air’s first new Q400 began service on January 12. The aircraft is 30 percent faster than conventional turboprops, resulting in shorter flight times, which enables Island Air to operate more flights each day. The airline plans to add up to seven new Q400s by the end of the year and will transition its existing fleet of five ATR-72 aircraft out of service.

Island Air currently offers eight roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kahului (one flight was added on Feb. 1), with three additional roundtrips on Fridays and Sundays; six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kona, with one additional roundtrip on Fridays and Sundays; and six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Līhu‘e.

Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at: https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules

 

Mobile Biometrics Route Launch on Maui – Rep. Woodson Supports Federal Immigration Efforts

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is piloting a one-time, one-week biometrics collection for immigration benefits on Maui, from February 27 to March 3, 2017.

“I am pleased to announce that this much needed immigration service is coming to Maui,” said Representative Justin Woodson (Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani). “This will be very helpful in saving time, money, and resources for people who previously needed to travel to and from Oahu to get biometrics work done.”

The Mobile Biometrics Station will be at the Royal Lahaina Resort located at 2780 Kekaa Drive. Notices for appointments (Form I-797) will be mailed out beginning Feb. 10, and will include specific instructions.  If there are any questions, please contact USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.  This pilot is for biometric services only, and no interviews or case specific inquiries will be accommodated.

“I’d like to thank the USCIS for their support for this important program,” said Woodson. “This is a great relief to the Maui community. I want to let everyone know that this service will be available to them so they can take advantage of it while it is there. Hopefully the successful turnout will encourage this service to spread to other neighbor islands as well.”

For more information about this pilot program, please email: Hawaii.CommunityRelations@uscis.dhs.gov

Missing Fisherman Found Dead Off Maui

The Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department ended their search, Saturday, for a missing fisherman near the Pokowai Sea Arch, Maui.

Photo by Frank Kovalchek

After being located by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui recovered the man unresponsive at 9:22 a.m. approximately one mile from Pokowai Sea Arch. He was then transported to shore where he was declared deceased by awaiting medical personnel.

On-scene Coast Guard assets conducted a total of 3 searches covering 41 square miles prior to locating the man.

Involved in the search were:

  • An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew
  • The crew of USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364)
  • Ground crews and a rescue boat with divers from Maui Fire Department

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification at 2 a.m., from Maui Fire, of a 49-year-old man who fell off the sea arch and was last seen floating on his back.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area to keep a sharp look out and report any sightings to command center watch standers at ‪808-842-2600.

Coast Guard and Fire Department Searching for Man Swept Out to Sea Off Maui

The Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department are searching for a man swept out to sea near Kahului, Maui, Tuesday.

Missing is a 34-year-old Caucasian man last seen wearing dark shorts, no shirt with a shaved head.

Currently searching are an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, both from Air Station Barbers Point, the crew of USCGC AHI (WPB 87364) and ground crews from Coast Guard Station Maui.

Maui Fire Department is searching with a helicopter crew and additional ground crews are conducting shoreline searches. An incident command post has been established at Olivine Tide Pools.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center were notified at 9:15 p.m., Monday, of two people swept out to sea near the Olivine Tide Pools. One person was recovered and safely transported to Maui Memorial reportedly in stable condition.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast requesting that mariners in the area keep a sharp look out and report any sighting to command center watchstanders at 808-842-2600.

On-scene weather conditions are reportedly winds 24 mph with waves at 9 feet.

Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey to the World

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project at the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today, via the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pan-STARRS1 Observatory on Haleakala

“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Ken Chambers, director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the Solar System to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and found new streams of stars; and it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early universe.”

“With this release we anticipate that scientists — as well as students and even casual users — around the world will make many new discoveries about the universe from the wealth of data collected by Pan-STARRS,” Chambers added.

The four years of data comprise 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies and various other objects. The immense collection contains 2 petabytes of data, which is equivalent to one billion selfies or one hundred times the total content of Wikipedia.

The first Pan-STARRS observatory is a 1.8-meter telescope at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui. In May 2010, it embarked on a digital sky survey of the sky in visible and near infrared light. This was the first survey to observe the entire sky visible from Hawai‘i multiple times in many colors of light, with the goal of finding moving, transient and variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth. The survey took approximately four years to complete, and scanned the sky 12 times in each of five filters.

“Achieving the high quality of the Pan-STARRS1 measurements and maintaining it over such an enormous quantity of data was a unique computational challenge, and the results are a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our small team of scientists at the UH IfA and our collaborators who worked to process and calibrate the extraordinary volume of raw image data,” said Eugene Magnier, lead of the Pan-STARRS Image Processing team.

This research program was undertaken by the PS1 Science Consortium — a collaboration among 10 research institutions in four countries with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Consortium observations for the sky survey, mapping everything visible from Hawai‘i, were completed in April 2014. This data is now being released publicly.

“It’s great to see the Pan-STARRS1 data release supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) now made available to the general astronomical community,” said Nigel Sharp, program director in NSF’s astronomical sciences division. “I am impressed by the work the team invested to make the best-calibrated and best-characterized data set they could. I eagerly anticipate the science from mining these data.”

The roll-out is being done in two stages. Today’s release is the “Static Sky,” which is the average of each of those individual epochs. For every object, there’s an average value for its position, brightness and colors. In 2017, the second set of data will be released, providing a catalog that gives the information and images for each individual epoch.

The Space Telescope Science Institute provides the storage hardware, the computers that handle the database queries, and the user-friendly interfaces to access the data.

“The cooperation between STScI and the Pan-STARRS team at the University of Hawai‘i has been essential to ensuring that this initial data release is successful,” explained Marc Postman, head of the community missions office at STScI, and liaison between STScI and the PS1 Consortium. “STScI was a natural partner to host the Pan-STARRS public archive given its extensive experience serving astronomy data to the international community. In advance of the release of the Pan-STARRS data, STScI staff helped perform checks of data quality, helped write archive user documentation, tested and installed the local data storage and database query system, and designed, built and deployed the web-based user interfaces to the archive system.”

The survey data resides in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), which serves as NASA’s repository for all of its optical and ultraviolet-light observations, some of which date to the early 1970s. It includes all of the observational data from such space astrophysics missions as Hubble, Kepler, GALEX, and a wide variety of other telescopes, as well as several all-sky surveys. Pan-STARRS marks the nineteenth mission to be archived in MAST.

The data can be accessed at http://panstarrs.stsci.edu.

The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys have been made possible through contributions by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawai‘i, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen’s University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation Grant No. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakalā and Maunakea. The Institute operates facilities on the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i.

Hawaii Governor Extends Emergency Proclamation for Maui County

Gov. David Ige signed an extension to the emergency proclamation originally signed on Sept. 16, to provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering following September’s heavy rains and flooding on Maui.

iao-valley-damageThe proclamation also serves to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the people of Maui County and to maintain the strength, resources and economic life of the community.

maui-supplementary-proclamation

Click to read

The proclamation signed today expires in 60 days.

Hawaii Judiciary’s Law Library Donates Books to West Maui Community

The Hawaii State Judiciary continues to partner with the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) to expand legal resources and increase access to justice. Most recently, a collection of American Law Reports (ALR) and ALR Digest from the Third Circuit Court in Kona were donated to the Lahaina Public Library, with financial and technical assistance from the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund.

Pictured above (from right to left) is Joseph Cardoza, Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit; Madeleine Buchanon, Lahaina Public Library Branch Manager; Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian; and Lance Collins, Attorney for North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund celebrating a grassroots effort that will benefit the West Maui community.

Pictured above (from right to left) is Joseph Cardoza, Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit; Madeleine Buchanon, Lahaina Public Library Branch Manager; Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian; and Lance Collins, Attorney for North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund celebrating a grassroots effort that will benefit the West Maui community.

This collection of law books will supplement Lahaina Public Library’s current legal holdings which includes the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Maui County Code, recent editions of the Hawaii Sessions Laws, and the Proceedings of the Charter Commissions of Maui, to allow residents to learn more about the law and conduct further legal research.

“I’m so happy that the Hawaii State Public Library System continues to foster a partnership with the Judiciary to make legal resources available to the public,” said Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian at the Supreme Court Law Library. “When we needed to make space for the Kona Self Help Center in our Kona law library, we were excited to hear that that Lahaina was interested in the collection! We appreciate the support from North Beach West Maui Fund for kindly shipping the resources between islands. It is a win-win for everyone!”

In 2015, the Judiciary, HSPLS, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (Legal Aid) partnered together to make self-help interactive court forms available online. Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software developed by Legal Aid. This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly. For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide. For more information, please visit the “Access to Justice” tab Hawaii State Judiciary’s website or LawHelp.org/hi.

Chief Judge of the Second Circuit, Joseph Cardoza, said, “One of the greatest challenges to equal justice today is the lack of effective access to our civil justice system. People who have low or even moderate incomes cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them in their civil legal cases. As a result, every year in Hawaii, thousands of people must represent themselves in our civil courts and try to navigate a system that is foreign to the average layperson. For this reason, the Judiciary has continued to pursue projects and programs that make Hawaii’s courts more accessible. We are so grateful to the Hawaii State Public Library System for collaborating with us on this mission and helping us improve our reach.”

For more information about the Hawaii State Law Library System, please visit https://hilawlibrary.wordpress.com/

Beach Access at Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach Temporarily Closed this Month for Repairs

The existing path and stairway to the Waianapanapa State Park black sand beach and bay will be closed for about 3 weeks, beginning on Monday, November 7, 2016, as a part of the DLNR Division of State Parks’ ongoing capital improvement project on the pedestrian pathways throughout the park. Pailoa Beach will not be accessible during the construction of a new concrete pathway with steps at that location.

Waianapanapa State Park black sand beach and bay

Currently underway is a six-month project that began in September to install a new 4-foot wide walkway along the coastline of the park, which provides access to the scenic lookouts along the coastline. The project will not affect the rental of the 12 cabins in the park. While the campground will remain open, campers should be aware of construction activity in the area during the weekdays from 7 a.m. to around 3 p.m. Estimated completion date for this portion of the project is November 28, 2016, barring any delays due to bad weather.  Maui State Parks office has also notified tour companies on island.

Since this is the only improved way down to the popular beach within the park, the State Parks’ contractor will have personnel on site to keep people out of the work area for safety reasons, and to ensure that the placement of ADA-related forms and concrete work are maintained.

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will have a presence at the overlook near the parking lot and cave trail entrances to prevent persons from trying to climb down from the lookout to the beach.  A “no beach access” sign will be posted on the short splinter to the cave loop trail that goes to a beach overlook.

For further information see http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/maui/waianapanapa-state-park/

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Congress On Your Corner, Addresses Maritime Pilots, Supports Arts Education

This morning on Maui, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard delivered welcoming remarks and a congressional update to 250 maritime pilots who direct ship navigation in and out of Hawaiʻi, as well as the country’s twenty-four ocean-bordering states.

tulsi-maui4She spoke about Hawaii’s rich culture and history based on sea navigation; the importance of safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient maritime commerce; and the effects of dangerous trade agreements on our country. The congresswoman also met with Captain Nancy Wagner, the first female ship pilot in the United States—today, more than sixty women work in this capacity as a senior sea officer in charge of bringing a ship in and out of port and responsible for the safe navigation of huge cargo ships and tankers.

tulsi-mauiIn Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard serves on the STEAM Caucus, which values the inclusion of Arts Education in conjunction with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Today, she toured the Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) facility and met with its directors to discuss the importance of their arts programs in schools and off-campus, which support literacy through the arts for students in grades 3-12.

tulsi-maui2This afternoon, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hosted a “Congress On Your Corner” event, where she visited with more than forty people from across Maui, listened to their ideas and concerns, and answered questions about her work in Congress and at home in Hawaiʻi. She also met with constituents and organization leaders in Makawao who are serving the needs of their community in various ways.

‘Ohana Health Plan Donates Fans to Help Maui Kids Stay Cool in School

Although a recent addition to the Maui Waena Intermediate School includes nine air-conditioned classrooms, many of the school’s 1,100 students are still in rooms with little relief from the Maui heat. To help create a better educational environment for all students, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company, today presented 40 tower and mini fans to the school.

ohana-health-plan-logo‘Ohana representatives were joined at the ceremony by Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui and State Representative Justin Woodson (D-9).

“There is a significant relationship between education and health. We thank Rep. Woodson for recognizing this and connecting ‘Ohana to a school in need,” said Scott Sivik, market vice president at ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The best learning takes place in comfortable settings, and we are honored to help create an environment at Maui Waena that helps every student have the opportunity to succeed.”

“I would like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for taking the initiative to engage with the community to help fill needs that assist students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Woodson.

“A big mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous fan donation to Maui Waena and for recognizing that it’s important for members of the community to pitch in to help create a conducive learning environment for our students,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “I’d also like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for becoming a partner in other initiatives that support the overall health and well-being of our keiki, such as the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative.”

“I want to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous donation and really appreciate the community support of our school. It helps with student learning,” said Jamie Yap, principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

As of June 30, 2016, ‘Ohana Health Plan has more than 230 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 57,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.

Public Information Meeting for Lahaina Ferry Pier Improvements

Maui legislators Rep. Angus McKelvey, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources are jointly hosting a public information meeting  on Thursday October 20, 2016, to provide an update on the design of the proposed Lahaina Small Boat Harbor ferry pier improvements.

lahaina-small-boat-harborThe meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Na Aikane O Maui Cultural Center located at 526A Front Street in Lahaina.

The new interisland ferry pier will be located approximately 70 feet to the north of the existing public pier at the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor.  It will be approximately 115 feet long and 20 feet wide and will be on piles.

Construction will also include:

  • construction of a shade roof involving four open-sided, roofed structures 14 feet in height, connected by three open trellises on the ferry pier to shelter passengers during arrivals and departures;
  • construction of two sewage pump out stations;
  • construction of a concrete gangway measuring 16 feet by 70 feet to connect the existing pier with the new pier structure;
  • replacement of the existing harbor administration office; and
  • resurfacing of a portion of Wharf Street to facilitate safe passenger/pedestrian movement in and around the small boat harbor.

Hawaii Governor to Request Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance After Surveying Storm Damage

Gov. David Ige today toured Maui’s Iao Stream area, which suffered severe damage during last week’s storm. The governor was joined by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Adjutant General, Major General Arthur Logan, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi and other government and emergency management officials for aerial and ground tours of the disaster site.

maui-storm1The tours follow initial assessments of the disaster area by the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Thursday, Gov. Ige took a 30-minute aerial tour of the site aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter before surveying the disaster site on the ground where he met with residents directly affected by the storm.

maui-storm4“It truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and to see the impact on the stream and the change of the flows that had a devastating effect on families, the state and county. I will be sending a letter to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Ige.

maui-storm3The governor also met with some of the 30 Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guard members who have been activated to clear out debris and boulders which have diverted the stream flow into residential areas along the stream.

Initial assessments put the state and county’s damage estimate at $15 million. About 20 families were directly impacted by the storm.

maui-storm2While the county and National Guard continue to clear out an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris, the state and county are working to ensure the safety of the community.

maui-storm5“This is going to be a large project. Very expensive. It’s going to take months and months to try and secure this area, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Click here for video of the governor’s aerial tour.

Flooding Closes Famous ‘Iao Valley State Monument Indefinitely

‘Iao Valley State Monument, Maui, will remain closed indefinitely due to extensive damage from heavy rain and flooding the night of September 13 and early morning on September 14, 2016.  Notice of the park closure is posted at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/.

iao-valley-damage

Photos courtesy of DLNR

The flooding of ‘Iao stream also significantly damaged the Kepaniwai County park downstream and road to the park, which are also closed, as well as a number of residences.  Due to hazardous conditions, access to ‘Iao Valley is currently restricted to residents only. 

“Our inspections show that ‘Iao Stream course has changed and is significantly wider, cutting into state park land that contained public access features. The stream is heavily silted and cobbled with new material and landslides on both sides of the stream are evident,” said Curt Cottrell, Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks division administrator.

iao-valley-damage2Within the lower portion of ‘Iao state park, sections of the two popular loop trails along the stream have washed away, and there is no longer any remaining land to rebuild them where they originally were.

On Wednesday, clear water in Kinihapai Stream, the smaller stream that passes under the park’s iconic pedestrian bridge, did not seem to indicate any landslides upstream. It seems not to have widened or changed course.  However, during inspections, the stream level remained quite high, covering the base of the foundations for each end of the bridge, preventing inspection of the bridge supports.

iao-valley-damage3

The turning area that tour buses take to get to their parking area is just above an area of significant erosion that may have affected the stability of the lower parking lot.

“We are planning to hire an engineering consultant to evaluate the stability of the lower parking lot where tour buses park. An examination is also planned for the footings of the pedestrian bridge,” said Cottrell.

“If the parking lot and bridge both are shown to be intact and stable, State Parks will proceed to remove debris, and allow limited access to portions of the trail, while needed repairs can be started. Access is predicated on Maui County effort to restore safe vehicular use of the lower roadway,” he said.

iao-valley-damage4Park areas not adjacent to either of the streams do not appear to have suffered any significant damage.

Maui State Parks staff have been notifying tour companies of the park closure.

‘Iao Valley is rich in cultural and spiritual values and is the site of the battle of Kepaniwai where the forces of Kamehameha I conquered the Maui army in 1790. (6.2 acres). The park is most famous for a scenic viewpoint of Kuka‘emoku (ʻIao Needle), an erosional feature which abruptly rises 1,200 feet from the valley floor.

HDOA Serves Warrant to Gain Access to Maui Property Infested with Little Fire Ants

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) obtained a court-ordered warrant and entered the property of a Maui resident who has continuously denied access to the property that was suspected of being infested with little fire ants (LFA).

lfa

LFA were detected in the Huelo neighborhood in early 2015 and surrounding properties have been under treatment to eradicate the stinging ants. With the warrant, HDOA Chairperson Scott Enright and department pest control personnel were able to survey the 1.75-acre property on Monday, Sept. 12 and found LFA infestations in potted plants and kalo patches.

“After months of unsuccessful discussions with the resident, the department was forced to take legal action in order to have any chance of eradicating this serious threat to the state,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

HDOA has not taken this type of legal action since 2000 during the eradication efforts for banana bunchy top virus on Hawaii Island. Usually, the department tries to work cooperatively with residents, farms and nurseries to eradicate invasive pests. Eradication efforts have been extremely successful on Oahu, in Mililani and Waimanalo, mainly due to the cooperation of residents and residential associations.

HDOA crews will return to the Huelo property to begin treatment of the infestation. Treatment of the Huelo property will include appropriate treatment for the kalo, because it is an edible crop.

LFA was first detected on Maui in 2009 on an organic farm in Waihee. The infestation was successfully eradicated in one year following the eradication protocol developed by Dr. Casper Vanderwoude of the Hawaii Ant Lab and the ongoing efforts of the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC). In late 2013, LFA was found on Maui and traced to infested hapu`u logs imported from Hawaii Island, where LFA is widely established.

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.  LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th of an inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly, unlike the tropical fire ant which moves quickly and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. Tropical fire ants have been well established in Hawaii since before the 1870’s. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, buildings and homes and may completely overrun a property to the point of abandonment.

For more information on LFA in Hawaii, go to the HDOA website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/lfainfo/

Hurricane Watch Also Now Issued for Oahu

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Oahu.

Lester2At 500 PM HST (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 18.7 North, longitude 146.0 West. Lester is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue during the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts.  Lester is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in intensity is expected into tonight, followed by gradual weakening.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 957 mb (28.26 inches).

Maui County Courts to Close Due to Projected Severe Weather Conditions

State courthouses and judiciary offices in Maui County will be closing at 12:00pm (noon) on Friday, September 2, 2016, due to severe weather conditions being projected by the National Weather Service.

These closures include district courts on Molokai and Lanai, as well as the Children’s Justice Center, Office of the Public Guardian, and the Driver’s Education Office.

lester1The Chief Justice issued an order extending deadlines for any Maui County court matters with a filing or hearing date of Friday, September 2, 2016.

All documents due during the court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

Hearings or trials cancelled due to the closure of the courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.

We will provide updates if there are any changes or additional closures.

Hurricane Warning Now in Effect for Big Island – Tropical Storm Watch for Maui, Molokai & Lanai

A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for Hawaii County.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Maui County including the islands of Maui Molokai and Lanai.

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A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 36 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the main Hawaiian Islands should monitor the progress of Madeline.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by the National Weather Service office in Honolulu Hawaii.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

At 1100 AM HST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Madeline was located near latitude 19.3 North, longitude 149.4 West. Madeline is moving toward the west near 10 mph (17 km/h). This motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-southwest tonight through early Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Madeline will pass dangerously close to the Big Island of Hawaii Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts.  Madeline is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 967 mb (28.56 inches).

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Dissolves UPW Injuction; Maui Hospitals Transition May Proceed

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today issued an order dissolving an injunction that had temporarily barred certain transition activities relating to Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Communty Hospital. Based upon a settlement agreement reached on August 13, 2016 between Governor and the United Public Workers union and a joint request from both parties, the Court dismissed the underlying appeal brought by UPW as moot.

Attorney General Chin said, “During oral arguments before the 9th Circuit, the judges made clear to both UPW and the State that it preferred seeing the parties settle instead of the court making an all or nothing decision. Reaching compromise is not always easy. I thank Governor Ige and the union leadership for finding a forward path.”

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In 2015, the Hawaii state legislature passed a law ending the Hawaii Health System Corporation’s delivery of health care services at the three Maui region facilities and transferring service delivery to a private operator. UPW had sued to stop the transition from taking place. Today’s order means that all transition activities between the State and a new Kaiser entity, Maui Health System, may resume at the three Maui region facilities.