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Soldiers In The Battle Against Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death; Passion for Hawaii Forests Prompts Participation

Dozens of scientists, foresters, surveyors, researchers, and educators are actively involved in the fight to try and stop the spread of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. The fungal disease has decimated tens of thousands of acres of native ‘ōhi‘a on the Big Island. A virtual army of specialists from a wide array of federal, state, county, and non-profit organizations are engaged in the fight to find a treatment and simultaneously to stop it in its tracks. That’s where education and outreach come in.

ohia death

Anya Tagawa and Jeff Bagshaw of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s (DOFAW)    Natural Area Reserve (NAR) program are two of the soldiers on the frontline of spreading awareness about Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  They’ve each created signs that hunters, hikers,     mountain bikers and other people recreating on state public lands will soon see.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said,  “It is critical that every person who goes into the woods or forest anywhere in Hawaii, takes steps to prevent this disease from spreading. Anya and Jeff’s work along with a team of other outreach experts, is vitally important in getting kama‘āina and visitors alike to be certain they don’t inadvertently track the fungus from place to place.”

Their individual signs are different in appearance, but contain the same basic message. Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death kills one of the most important native trees quickly and in wide swaths.  Failing to follow the simple recommendations outlined on both signs could make you responsible for spreading this disease inter-island and intra-island.

Tagawa’s passion is borne of a life spent in the forest. She comments, “My life has always been intertwined with ‘ōhi‘a, with our native forests. I grew up hiking, exploring, and being captivated by our forests. I continue to learn about their unparalleled uniqueness and feel an intimate    connection with these special places. Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death threatens this way of life. It is imperative that we do all what we can to ensure ‘ōhi‘a is present for our future generations to experience, engage, and form a relationship with. It is critical for the continued persistence of the countless unique plants and animals that rely on ‘ōhi’a.”

Bagshaw is the outreach coordinator at the Ahihi-Kina‘u NAR on Maui’s south shore. The nearest wild ‘ōhi’a is dozens of miles away yet he designed the sign for the Na Ala Hele Trails Access system, because he, like his colleagues, is deeply concerned about the fate of Hawai‘i’s ‘ōhi’a forests.

He said, “We hope hikers and all forest users will start to be conscious  wherever they go, even if there’s ‘ōhi’a there or not. We’d like them to realize, that they could be taking something into the forest that affects our native ecosystems. ‘Ōhi’a are the backbone of our native rainforest; they feed the honeycreepers, they protect the watershed.  I can’t imagine a Hawaiian rainforest without ‘ōhi’a.”

Recently, Bagshaw, his staff, and volunteers conducted awareness surveys with visitors to the Ahihi-Kina‘u NAR.  They’ve found very few people have any knowledge about ōhi’a or Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  They’re heartened though, by people’s willingness to adopt the preventative measures outlined on each of the trail signs.

Tagawa’s signs will eventually be at every DOFAW trailhead on the Big Island: more than 50 in all. On Maui, Bagshaw’s signs are being placed at all Na Ala Hele trailheads.

Soldiers in the Fight Against Rapid Ohia Death- Video News Release from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Shark Study Helps Explain Higher Incidence of Encounters Off Maui

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui.  The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).

shark bites in maui

Dr. Carl Meyer, principle investigator for the study, explained that the Maui Nui complex, consisting of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, has more preferred tiger shark habitat than all other main Hawaiian Islands combined.  According to Dr. Meyer, “Tiger sharks captured around Maui spend most of their time on the extensive Maui Nui insular shelf, which is also an attractive habitat for tiger sharks arriving from elsewhere in Hawaii.  The insular shelf extends offshore from the shoreline to depths of 200 meters (600 feet), and is home to a wide variety of tiger shark prey.”

Although tiger shark movement patterns revealed by the latest study are generally similar to those seen in previous studies, the larger area of shelf habitat around Maui may be able to support more tiger sharks than other main Hawaiian Islands.  In addition, the most frequently-visited areas by tiger sharks around Maui include waters adjacent to popular ocean recreation sites.

Meyer noted “This combination of factors may explain why Maui has had more shark bites than other Main Hawaiian Islands, although we cannot completely rule out a higher number of ocean recreation activities on Maui as the primary cause of these differences.  However, despite the routine presence of large tiger sharks in waters off our beaches, the risk of being bitten remains extremely small, suggesting tiger sharks generally avoid interactions with people.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), said, “This study provided us with important new insights into tiger shark movement behavior around Maui, and helps answer some questions about why that island has led the state recently in shark bites.  We agree with the study’s recommendation that the best approach to reducing numbers of these incidents is to raise public awareness of what people can do to reduce their risk of being bitten.  This has been our focus for a long time.  People who enter the ocean have to understand and appreciate that it is essentially a wilderness experience.  It’s the shark’s house, not ours.

DAR will continue to work with other agencies to expand outreach regarding hazards in the ocean, such as drownings, to include shark safety information so people can make well-informed, fact-based decisions.”

As for the 2012-2014 spike in shark bites around Maui, Meyer said the reasons remain unclear.  He noted, “2015 saw only one unprovoked shark bite off Maui.  Shark behavior didn’t change year to year, and there was no shift in human behavior.  These spikes occur all over the world, and are most likely due to chance.”

Citing previous studies, the HIMB team also noted that historical shark culling in Hawaii neither eliminated nor demonstrably reduced shark bite incidents.  Tiger sharks tracked around Maui exhibit a broad spectrum of movement patterns ranging from somewhat resident to highly transient. This ensures a constant turnover of sharks along coastal locations.  Sharks removed by culling are quickly replaced by new ones locally and from distant locations.

Maui Shark Report-Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

PacIOOS makes tiger shark tracks available online and provides funding for ongoing and future tagging efforts. Melissa Iwamoto, Director of PacIOOS explained, “We are pleased to be a partner in this important effort by offering an online platform where you can view the tiger sharks tracks. Providing ocean users, agencies, residents and visitors with relevant ocean data is our priority. While the tracks do not serve as a warning or real-time monitoring system, they are a great way to raise awareness about the ocean environment and to inform long-term decision-making.”

All of the partners agree that the more information people have, the better decisions they can make when entering the ocean.

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking Report: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2016/05/Maui_tiger_shark_spatial_dynamics_final.pdf

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking website: http://pacioos.org/projects/sharks

Hawaii Sharks website: www.hawaiisharks.org

Zika Virus Case Suspected on Maui

The Maui County District Health Office and the County of Maui jointly announced today a suspected case of Zika virus brought to the island by a resident who became ill while traveling in Latin America and upon return to Maui in February.

While initial lab tests were not conclusive, results did warrant further testing and pointed to a high probability of Zika, which carries other, more serious impacts than Dengue Fever.

Both Dengue Fever and Zika are spread when a sick person gets bit by a mosquito, which later bites another person. Evidence suggests that Zika can also be transmitted through sexual contact if a man has been infected. The best way to prevent both Dengue and Zika is to take mosquito control measures, and to avoid getting bitten. Some who carry Zika do not show symptoms, and in others, illness may last from several days to over a week. There is currently no cure for either virus.

“Because the lab results thus far point to the high probability of Zika, we are taking this very seriously,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui County District Health Officer. “We need the public’s help in preventing the spread of whichever virus caused the illness so that we don’t get locally transmitted cases. The best way to do this is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and make sure people avoid getting mosquito bites.”

Additionally, Department of Health and County of Maui staff and volunteers will be conducting site visits in various areas along the North Shore of Maui this weekend to assess problem areas for mosquito breeding and inform residents of the need to take precautions against mosquito-borne viruses.

“If you receive a flyer or letter from the Department of Health, please be sure to read the information carefully, as this public health issue affects us all,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “This is the time for our community to step up efforts to ‘fight the bite,’ by seeing a doctor if you have even mild symptoms, especially if you have traveled to parts of the world where there are outbreaks of these viruses.”

The public is advised that anyone who has traveled outside the country and has mild to severe symptoms such as fever, joint pain, rash or pink eye to see their physician. All residents and visitors should avoid getting mosquito bites by using repellent and wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks when outdoors. Residents should fix broken window and door screens at home, and get rid of standing water in the yard. Old tires, buckets, toys and plants, especially bromeliads, can become breeding sites for mosquitos. A mixture of soapy water (1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle) can be sprayed on backyard plants to control mosquito larvae.

For more tips on how to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, visit www.mauiready.org.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company for Burn Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch has issued a Notice and Finding of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S).

PrintHC&S operates a sugar cane refinery and plantation at Puunene on Maui, and was cited for agricultural burning permit violations that occurred in May, June and July of 2015.

The violations were self-reported and after a review of the reports a penalty of $8,300 was issued by DOH and paid by HC&S. Copies of the Notice of Violation are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/cab/.

The DOH Clean Air Branch monitors air quality and regulates businesses that release pollutants into the air. The Branch reviews and approves air permits, evaluates and enforces state and federal air standards, conducts inspections, and investigates reported incidents related to outdoor air quality. Through the air permit process, the Branch ensures companies comply with state and federal emission standards to minimize air pollution impacts on the public.

BREAKING NEWS – Dengue Fever Case Reported on Maui

The Hawaii State Department of Health sent out a memo on January 29th to Maui residents notifying them that a Dengue Fever case has been confirmed on the Island of Maui.
Dengue Fever Case in MauiAs of today on the Big Island of Hawaii… we currently have 244 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever with no end in site.

Coast Guard Responds to Report of Flares Off Maui – Rescues Mariner

The Coast Guard rescued a mariner aboard a disabled 18-foot recreational vessel following a report of four red flares off Maui Thursday night.

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship's waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship’s waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

A Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew located the mariner during a search 5 miles west of Kihei and towed the vessel back to Maui.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a report of three red flares off Kihei around 9:23 p.m. A fourth flare was sighted by Maui Fire Department personnel from the shoreline shortly after.

The watchstanders launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point and the RBM crew from Maui to respond. The RBM crew sighted the mariner and confirmed he launched the flares before towing him back to Kihei.

“This mariner did everything right with his flares and the case illustrates the importance of having proper emergency gear aboard your vessel,” said Charles Turner, of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “In addition to required flares and flotation we recommend mariners have multiple forms of communication with them including a handheld VHF-FM radio, charged cellular devices and a properly registered personal locator beacon if possible. It’s State law to have a VHF radio on your boat if you’re more than a mile offshore. Communications can be a challenge around the islands and not all devices may have consistent coverage. It’s also a good idea to leave word with friends or family about your voyage and when you intend to return so they can alert responders if you are overdue.”

Flares should never be used as fireworks as they may prompt a Coast Guard search. If you are conducting flare training please contact the Coast Guard to advise them of the location and time of the training to deconflict any search and rescue calls. Flares are especially useful at night and burn red or white. Mariners who choose to further mark their location and signal with chemical lights are asked to use red colored lights as the typical yellow and green and very hard for rescue crews to detect with night vision goggles.

Alexander & Baldwin Announces Transition of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company to a Diversified Farm Model

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. today announced that it is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (“HC&S”) plantation on Maui.

Alexander and BaldwinSugar operations will be phased out by the end of 2016, and the transition to a new model will occur over a multi-year period. No immediate layoffs will result from today’s announcement and approximately half of the 675 employees will be retained through the end of the sugar harvest, which is expected to be completed late in 2016. Beginning in March, employees will be laid off as their specific functions are completed. Under the new diversified model, the plantation is planned to be divided up into smaller farms with varied agricultural uses, potentially including energy crops, food crops, support for the local cattle industry, and the development of an agriculture park.

“A&B’s roots literally began with the planting of sugar cane on 570 acres in Makawao, Maui, 145 years ago,” said Stanley M. Kuriyama, A&B executive chairman. “Much of the state’s population would not be in Hawaii today, myself included, if our grandparents or great-grandparents had not had the opportunity to work on the sugar plantations. A&B has demonstrated incredible support for HC&S over these many years, keeping our operation running for 16 years after the last sugar company on Maui closed its doors. We have made every effort to avoid having to take this action. However, the roughly $30 million Agribusiness operating loss we expect to incur in 2015, and the forecast for continued significant losses, clearly are not sustainable, and we must now move forward with a new concept for our lands that allows us to keep them in productive agricultural use.”

“This is a sad day for A&B, and it is with great regret that we have reached this decision,” said Christopher J. Benjamin, A&B president and chief executive officer, who ran HC&S as its general manager from 2009 to 2011. “Having had the privilege of working alongside the employees of HC&S for two years, I know firsthand the professionalism and dedication with which they perform their jobs. The longevity of the plantation is a testament to their resourcefulness and hard work. This transition will certainly impact these employees and we will do everything we can to assist them. The cessation of sugar operations also will have a significant impact on the Maui community and we will do our best to minimize that impact. A&B remains committed to Maui and will continue to be a significant corporate supporter of Maui charities and organizations.”

Employee Transition & Support
A&B is committed to supporting its impacted employees. The Company will provide transition coordinators to assist HC&S employees in finding alternate employment opportunities. The coordinators will identify and coordinate available federal, state, county and private job assistance programs (including employment counseling, job training, financial counseling, job placement and education services).  A&B will offer all employees enhanced severance and benefit packages. Retirement benefits accrued by eligible employees, retirees, and past employees will not be affected by the transition out of sugar. Additionally, the Company will consider displaced employees for positions in its new operations as they become available.

“We are very focused on helping our employees during this time,” Benjamin said. “Many of our employees have dedicated their careers to HC&S and have followed in the footsteps of previous generations of family members that worked on the plantation. We are grateful for their years of service and we will support them through this transition period.”

Transition to Diversified Agriculture
“A&B is committed to looking for optimal productive agricultural uses for the HC&S lands,” said Benjamin. “Community engagement, resource stewardship, food sustainability and renewable energy are all being considered as we define the new business model for the plantation. These are leading us toward a more diversified mix of operations.”

The Company is evaluating several categories of potential replacement agricultural activities. These include energy crops, agroforestry, grass-finished livestock operations, diversified food crops, and orchard crops, among others.

HC&S has several test projects underway to further assess these opportunities, and the Company plans to expand the scope and scale of the trials during the coming year. Initial projects include:

  • Energy crops:  Building upon its extensive experience with crop-to-energy production, HC&S has initiated crop trials to evaluate potential sources of feedstock for anaerobic conversion to biogas. This on-farm testing currently is being expanded from plot to field-scale and HC&S has entered into a confidential memorandum of understanding with local and national partners to explore market opportunities for biogas. HC&S also is assessing the potential of cultivating purpose-grown oilseed crops for biodiesel production and has entered into preliminary, but confidential, discussions with other bioenergy industry players to explore additional crop-to-energy opportunities.
  • Support for the local cattle industry:  The Company is exploring the costs and benefits of irrigated pasture to support the production of grass-finished beef for the local market. HC&S has converted a test site of former sugar land to cultivated pasture and is working with Maui Cattle Company to conduct a grass-finishing pasture trial in 2016. High-quality grazing lands could enable Maui’s cattle ranchers to expand their herds and keep more cattle in Hawaii for finishing on grass.
  • Food crops/Agriculture park:  A&B plans to establish an agriculture park on former sugar lands in order to provide opportunities for farmers to access these agricultural lands and support the cultivation of food crops on Maui. HC&S employees will be given preference to lease lots from the company to start their own farming operations.

“Transitioning HC&S to a diversified agribusiness model underscores A&B’s commitment to the community and our intention to keep these lands in active agricultural use,” said Benjamin. “It will take time but, if successful, these efforts could support the goals of food and energy self-sufficiency for Hawaii, preserve productive agricultural lands, and establish new economic engines for Maui and the state.”

Tropical Storm Watch Issued for Hawaii and Maui Counties

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR HAWAII COUNTY AND MAUI COUNTY.

Guillermo2

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…

* HAWAII COUNTY

* MAUI COUNTY…INCLUDING THE ISLANDS OF MAUI…MOLOKAI…LANAI AND KAHOOLAWE

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA…GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE IN THE MAIN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF GUILLERMO. WATCHES MAY BE REQUIRED FOR ADDITIONAL ISLANDS LATER TONIGHT OR EARLY TUESDAY.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC FOR YOUR AREA…PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HONOLULU.

Former Maui Mayoral Candidate Sentenced to 20 Years Prison for Securities Fraud

Nelson N. Waikiki, a former 2014 candidate for Maui mayor, was sentenced Friday by Maui circuit judge Rhonda I. L. Loo to 20 years in prison for securities fraud, the state attorney general’s office announced.

Nelson Waikiki

Nelson N. Waikiki

“Mr. Waikiki convinced several people to invest money in a water rights company on Maui,” said Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook. “Following an investigation by the State, it was determined that Mr. Waikiki did not have any such rights to the water, that he was not registered to sell securities in Hawaii, and that the securities he sold were not registered. In total, Mr. Waikiki’s schemes scammed up to 21 victims for more than $100,000.00.”

In addition to sentencing Waikiki to two consecutive 10-year prison terms for four counts of securities fraud, Judge Loo has ordered Waikiki to pay restitution to the victims.

DLNR Closes Maui Beach After Fatal Shark Attack

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed Makena State Park and ocean waters from Big Beach to La Perouse light house to swimmers, divers, and other ocean users.

Makena State Park Beach is closed after a fatal shark attack.

Makena State Park Beach is closed after a fatal shark attack.

This is in response to a fatal shark bite this morning in the Kanahena Cove area of Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve.  DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers, Division of Aquatic Resources staff, and County lifeguards are on scene to investigate and warn the public. Shark warning signs are being posted. Further details about the incident are pending.

The area will be closed at least until noon tomorrow, at which time officials on the scene will assess the area for reopening.

Details about other recent shark incidents in Hawaii can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/sharks/shark-incidents/incidents-list/

Big Island Geothermal Plant Canned

Plans for a new geothermal plant on the Big Island of Hawaii has been canned.

Eastland Geothermal

Eastland Geothermal Plant in New Zealand

Eastland Group Ltd has pulled the plug on a potential $10 million investment in a project to build a geothermal power plant in Hawaii.

More than two years after the idea was first mooted, Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd yesterday confirmed the company decided last month not to take the process any further…

…Eastland Group’s investment in building a 25MW plant on Hawaii’s Big Island would have been as a 20 percent partner, costing $5m-$10m, with Innovations Development Group (IDG) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Eastland Group had an investment option in the project through its relationship with Hawaii-based IDG in geothermal projects in eastern Bay of Plenty. In 2012, it wrote-off a $1.25m loan to IDG associated with this option.

Eastland Generation Ltd’s subsidiary company Eastland Hawaii Inc first made a bid to Hawaiian Electric Company (HELCO) to build the plant in 2013, with a decision expected to be made in September of that year.

Mr Todd said all costs associated with the work done in Hawaii were part of the company’s business development budget. Expenses, including the $1.25m loan to IDG, would not be recovered.

Eastland Group subsidiary Eastland Generation already runs a 8.5MW geothermal plant near Kawerau.

The decision to pull out of the Hawaii deal will not affect plans for a second power plant at Kawerau, or the company’s relationship with IDG, said Mr Todd.

Last year the company received consent for Eastland Generation’s Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project to go ahead, with plans to build a 15MW to 20MW plant.

Mr Todd said that project was still a partnership between Eastland Generation, Kawerau A8D Ahu Whenua Trust and IDG.

“Eastland Generation holds the majority interest in Te Ahi O Maui, with its partners each holding a minority position. The relationship hasn’t changed.

“The Te Ahi O Maui project is progressing as planned, with resource consents now in place for 15,000 tonnes a day of geothermal fluid for a 35-year period. The consents allow for the design and construction of a sustainable geothermal power plant on a site 2.3km north-east of Kawerau.”

Full story here Hawaii Plan Canned.

VOG Causes Kayaker to Get Lost Crossing From Maui to Big Island

The Coast Guard is responding to a kayaker in distress off Big Island, Tuesday.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 6:29 p.m. via cell phone from a kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island. The 38-year-old man was en route Big Island from Maui when he reportedly lost sight of the island due to volcanic smog and drifted off course.

Watchstanders were able to triangulate his signal with the aid of Hawaii County Police Dispatch to determine his location.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point diverted from training flights to the kayaker’s location. The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, homeported in Hilo, is en route to assist.

The HC-130 Hercules crew arrived on scene at 7:15 p.m. and dropped a radio and lifejacket to the kayaker. The kayaker has no other life saving equipment aboard.

Due to depleted cell phone battery, the Hercules crew dropped a radio to establish communication with the kayaker.

Mariners should always carry essential safety equipment when heading out on the water to include a VHF marine radio, lifejacket and flares. VHF radios have the advantage of reaching all vessels within the broadcast range simultaneously. Cell phones only provide one-to-one communication and are an unreliable emergency communication method when offshore. Mariners are also advised to use and register an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or personal locator beacon. For more information on EPIRBs, visit www.epirb.com.

Federal Aid Programs Announced for Hawaii Residents Affected By Iselle

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  Emergency protective measures assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

  • Application procedures for state and local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

FEMA Statement on Federal Aid for State of Hawaii After Tropical Storm Iselle

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Hawaii to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Iselle during the period of August 7-9, 2014.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle in Hawaii and Maui counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Kenneth K. Suiso has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Suiso said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

President Obama Issues Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii and Maui Counties

Today, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the State of Hawai‘i activating the release of federal funds to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Iselle that occurred from August 7-9, 2014.

People waited for hours just for basic supplies during Iselle.

People waited for hours just for basic supplies during Iselle.

“This is great news for the thousands of people in Puna who were affected by Iselle,” Senator Schatz said.  “This federal assistance is critical to supporting our communities’ ongoing recovery. I thank President Obama for recognizing the critical needs of the many families still rebuilding in Puna.”

“I thank President Obama for issuing a major disaster declaration for the State of Hawai‘i,” said Senator Hirono. “Families and the community continue to rebuild after Tropical Storm Iselle hit over a month ago and much of the damage to our farms and homes will take many years to rebuild.  Similar to how our communities came together during the disaster, we’ll continue to come together during recovery. I look forward to the ongoing work with my colleagues in our joint effort to help ensure people get the resources they need to rebuild.”

All areas in the State of Hawai‘i are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Maui Felon Arrested for Refusing to Provide DNA Sample – State Looking for Others

Attorney General David M. Louie announced that on August 22, 2014, John P. Dunbar Jr. (60) of Haiku, Maui, was arrested by patrol officers and officers assigned to the Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit for refusing to provide a DNA sample. Mr. Dunbar, had been convicted of Escape in the Second Degree, which is a felony, in June 2005 and was provided notice of the legal requirement that he provide a DNA sample.

Pursuant to section 844D-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, any person convicted of a felony is required to provide a buccal swab sample containing DNA. This law applies to all convicted felons, even if their conviction occurred before the passage of the law in 2005. Refusal to submit a DNA sample is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a maximum fine of $2,000.

This case is the result of the Attorney General’s on-going law enforcement effort to obtain DNA samples from thousands of unsupervised convicted felons in the State of Hawaii and was a joint effort between the Attorney General Investigations Division’s DNA Swabbing Unit, the United States Marshals Service, the Maui Police Department, and the Maui Prosecutor’s Office.

“I thank the various law enforcement agencies that have assisted our office in ensuring that state law is followed and that convicted felons who refuse to provide DNA samples are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Louie. “The DNA collection program has already assisted law enforcement in closing unsolved crimes. I encourage anyone that has been convicted of a felony that has not yet provided a DNA sample to voluntarily comply with the law and provide a sample to our DNA Swabbing Unit.” The DNA Swabbing Unit can be contacted at 808-586-1240.

An arrest does not constitute a conviction and Mr. Dunbar is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the criminal offense charged.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

 

Civil Defense Update for Hurricane Iselle

This is a civil defense message.

This is a Hurricane Warning information update for Wednesday August 6th at 12:00 Noon.

Hurriane Iselle

The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for  the Island of Hawaii remains in effect.  A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions can be expected within the next 36 hours.  The hurricane conditions will include high surf and surge along all coastal areas, heavy rains and possible thunder showers that may present with flood conditions, and sustained storm force winds of over 75 mph and higher gusts.  Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions and to prepare for hazardous conditions.  Boat owners are advised to check moorings and to secure all vessels.  All preparation activities should be completed before tonight.  Hurricane Iselle continues to be monitored and is currently located approximately 625 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving west northwest at 16 miles per hour.  Although hurricane Iselle had previously shown signs of weakening current assessment show the system is maintaining hurricane force conditions.  Hurricane Iselle will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be broadcasted as information is made available.  All schools are open today however the following schools will be closing at 2:00 PM today and the after school programs and activities at these schools will be suspended:

  • Laupahoehoe School
  • Kohala HS & Elem.
  • Kealakehe HS
  • Konawaena HS
  • Hilo HS
  • Waiakea HS
  • Keaau HS
  • Pahoa HS & Int
  • Honokaa HS & Int
  • Kau HS
  • Waikoloa Elem

The department of Education reports that all Hawaii Island Schools will be closed tomorrow Thursday August 7th.

In addition, all beach parks will be closed effective tonight and remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to reopen.

Updated information for the Big Island, Maui county and the surrounding coastal waters.

Situation overview

Iselle is expected to bring heavy rains, high surf and damaging winds. Hurricane conditions are expected on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread to Maui county Thursday night and possibly to Oahu on Friday. Swells generated by Iselle are expected to reach the main Hawaiian islands today, possibly becoming damaging along some coastlines starting late tonight or Thursday. High surf is expected to reach the islands ahead of the heavy rains and strong winds. The high surf may bring coastal flooding, particularly when combined with afternoon astronomical high tides.

While there is still some uncertainty in the exact track and strength of Iselle, the Big Island and Maui are expected to be impacted first. The rest of the state remains at Risk to experience the impacts of Iselle.

Department of Health Reaches Settlement With Central Maui Landfill and Molokai Solid Waste Facility

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management have reached a settlement on two enforcement cases concerning solid waste violations at the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill and the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility.

Department of Health

The combined settlement involves a cash penalty payment of $70,000 and a supplemental environmental project that is valued at not less than $70,000.

The proposed supplemental project is a household hazardous waste collection program for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai to be conduct ed during fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). The County of Maui, the remaining county that currently lacks such a program, plans to continue the project beyond the inaugural year.

DOH cited the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill with three counts of permit violations from January to April 2011 for failure to maintain leachate compliance levels in the leachate wet well and sump, and failure to monitor and record leachate levels after a storm event. The DOH initially imposed an administrative penalty of $121,900 prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Pulehu Road in Puunene.

DOH cited the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility with a two-count violation in April 2011 for failing to minimize liter generation and failure to place daily cover at the facility. An administrative penalty of $20,955 was initially imposed prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Maunaloa Highway in Naiwa.

The County of Maui has completed all corrective actions stemming from the alleged violations.

3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Registered Off Maui This Morning

A 3.1 magnitude earthquake was registered off the coast of Maui this morning… no tsunami was generated from it:

maui 31

Mokulele Airlines Announces Grand Opening Celebration For Kalaeloa Airport – Adds Flights

Mokulele Airlines has announced that it will host a grand opening celebration on July 1 at the airline’s newest service location, Kalaeloa Airport on west Oahu, marking the successful conclusion of a year of preparations. Kalaeloa is located at the former Barber’s Point Naval Air Base John Rogers Field, and the grand opening and inaugural flight will take place 15 years to the day that the former base was closed and turned over to the State of Hawaii.

mokulelejet

The celebration, which is open to the public, will begin with a facility tour and entertainment by Kainani & Friends. Jenn Boneza, TV personality for Oceanic Cable 16 and Hawaii Five-0 actress will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies.  Ron Hansen, president & CEO of Mokulele Airlines will welcome guests and special guest speakers will include Evelyn Souza, Chairperson of Neighborhood Board #24; Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Karen Awana, Ross Higashi Deputy Director Airports Hawaii DOT,  and Shan S. Tsutsui, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii. Dignitaries from the Hawaii Department of Transportation will also be in attendance and Kahu Daniel “Kaniela” Akaka, Jr. will offer a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the airport and the plane that will make the inaugural flight.

July 1 will mark the beginning of Mokulele’s daily nonstop service to Kahului, Maui from Kalaeloa, with six scheduled daily flights, three each way. The inaugural flight to Kahului will depart at 1:00 pm. After the plane departs, closing remarks will be offered by Mokulele’s executive vice president and COO Dave Berry and a reception will follow with entertainment by award-winning slack key master Kawika Kahiapo and refreshments provided by Chef Paul Onishi, of the Culinary Art Academy and Young Life Oahu High School Students.

Kalaeloa will be the ninth airport Mokulele serves. As with most of the other airports Mokulele operates from, parking is hassle-free and TSA screenings are not required. Travelers will also save time by eliminating the need to drive to and from Honolulu on the H1. Mokulele is offering a special introductory webfare of $99 roundtrip including taxes and fees for the new Kalaeloa-Kahului route for reservations booked through July 31th for travel through August 30.

Mokulele Airlines said it has announced the expansion of its service between Kamuela-Waimea on the Big Island and Kahului, Maui by adding a third daily roundtrip flight to meet growing demand.

Mokulele began offering service form Kamuela in September 2013 after being awarded the Essential Air Service (EAS) contract from the Hawaii Department of Transportation. EAS is a government program designed to help ensure that smaller communities have access to commercial air service.

Mokulele will now offer 42 weekly flights between the two destinations, only 24 of which are subsidized by the EAS program.

More information is available at www.mokuleleairlines.com.