• NOV. 16 -18, 2017
    Click for Information

  • puako-general-store
  • what-to-do-media
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    October 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  

Coast Guard Searching for Possible Person in the Water Near Cove Beach Park, Maui

UPDATE:

Emily Walton was verified to be safe and on land Friday following a search off Kihei, Maui.

“This is the best possible scenario and we are glad Ms. Walton is safe, ” said Petty Officer 1st Class William Cusic, a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. “We were not certain she was in the water, but there was as strong possibility and we take every case seriously. We recommend all waterway users leave word with family or friends of their plans including their intended return.”

Walton called the Coast Guard command center to report herself on land Friday afternoon. Maui County police officers made contact with her and verified she was her identity and safety. All response assets were stood down. 

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers stating Walton’s boyfriend reported her missing off Cove Beach Park Thursday. The call prompted watchstanders to issue an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area and to direct the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Maui. The RB-M crew searched the area for approximately two hours Thursday. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point conducted a first light search of the surrounding area Friday. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake (WPB 87316), homeported in Honolulu, also launched to assist in the search but was stood down once Walton was located.

Continue reading

Hawaii Department of Health Confirms Four Additional Mumps Cases on Oahu

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed four (4) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 51. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults. Two of the cases are linked to other cases on Oahu. None of the cases required hospitalization.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu.

The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated can help protect loved ones, family members, friends, classmates and coworkers.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Recognizes Maui Medical Professionals for National Nurses & Hospitals Week

In recognition of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 7-13), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, visited Maui Memorial Medical Center today to show her appreciation and support to nurses and other medical professionals who care for the people in our community. She toured the hospital, met with surgeons, doctors, nurses, staff, and held a Town Hall meeting with employees who gathered in the hospital auditorium for a congressional update and Q&A session.

“Nurses are the heart of our healthcare system, and I’ve introduced legislation to help recruit, train, and retain nurses, especially in our rural and underserved communities,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in her remarks to Maui Memorial Medical Center nurses and colleagues. “Thank you for what you do, for persevering, for taking care of people, and for being that heartbeat that keeps on serving the people of our community.”

In February, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the bipartisan Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R.959) to secure federal funding for education programs to help grow and support the nursing workforce in the United States. The legislation is endorsed by the American Nurses Association, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, and more than 50 other national nursing organizations.

Mau‘i’s Most Popular Trail Gets Safety and Conservation Upgrades

On one side of the Waihe‘e Ridge Trail, hikers look deep into the Waihe‘e Gorge.  On the other, they look across Makamakaole Gulch and out into the shimmering Pacific Ocean.  On a clear day, yet another view is across the entire central plain of Maui all the way to the top of Haleakala.  This challenging, but scenic trail is considered the most popular path on Maui in the State’s Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program.

Now the thousands of people who make the 2.5-mile trek to the top can do it safer and probably with a heck of a lot less mud attached to their boots.  An almost completed $122,000 trail improvement program provides two viewing platforms, drainage features in particularly boggy areas, and better trail tread to reduce slickness.  Torrie Nohara, the Nā Ala Hele trails specialist on Maui commented, “On every trail, water control is the number one consideration. We’ve built “sheet drains” that will divert water off the trail and not only make it more enjoyable for users, but help prevent erosion. On the lower portions of the trail we did significant excavation of large boulders and rocks to improve the contour of the trail.”

The Nā Ala Hele program falls under the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). It hired Cam Lockwood of Trails Unlimited to help design the new features and supervise trail improvement and construction work.  His California-based company has built and improved trails nationwide.  He says the Waihe’e Ridge Trail incorporates some of the best thinking and best practices around for trail improvements.  “For instance,” Lockwood explained, “The large viewing platform on top and the one about a mile up the trail are constructed with pressure treated lumber raised off the ground to provide a longer useful life. Composite decking was used on the viewing platforms to also extend their life spans and to provide improved traction in the often, wet conditions at the terminus of the trail.”  He said the primary consideration for all the improvements was to make the entire trail more sustainable, more enjoyable, and safer.  He describes the views from the top as “breathtaking” and hopes people will focus on those, rather than the challenge involved in making the 1,500-foot elevation gain hike.

While most of the major construction is now complete, crews continue to put finishing touches on some of the features and certain sections of the trail.  The Waihe’e Ridge Trail is open for hiking, but people are asked to exercise caution and respect when traversing through construction zones. For complete information on this trail please visit:https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/waihee-ridge-trail/111

Waihee Ridge Trail Improvements VNR from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Maui Resort to Attempt Record Longest Lei Exchange

May 1st is also known as Lei Day and is a statewide cultural celebration in Hawaii. At The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, May Day festivities will include the Longest Lei Exchange in Ka‘anapali as a unique experience and attempt to set a record, with 500+ persons targeted to be in attendance.

Nine handcrafted leis designed in celebration of May Day. Each will be unveiled on FB & Instagram @TheWestinMaui.

The significance of presenting a lei speaks to the authenticity and practice of Hawaiians in celebrating an occasion. Known as the spirit of Aloha, the lei exchange by two persons symbolizes the love, respect and friendship shared between them – whether they are family members, couples or friends.

Resort associates and family members perform in Westin Maui’s annual May Day & Aloha Week festivals. Seen here (from left): Kafa Grijalva, Corienne Keanini, Melissa Los Banos, Jasmine McCoy and Gresilda Harrison.

Pamakane Lopes of Ocean Dreamer Florals has designed nine special leis that highlight the diversity of Maui’s scenic settings and experiences featuring locations such as Haleakala, Kula, Hana, Paia, Iao Valley, Makawao, Ulupalakua, Honolua Bay and Ka‘anapali. Images of the leis will be unveiled one per day via the resort’s FB & Instagram @TheWestinMaui beginning on Aloha Friday, April 21.

Recognizing the importance of preserving Hawaiian culture, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa is also committing $2,500.00 to benefit the cause of Na Leo Kalele that supports Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nāhiʻenaʻena, a Hawaiian language immersion school located within Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena public school in Lahaina, Maui. Considered a school within a school, Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nāhiʻenaʻena is unique in that it utilizes Hawaii’s indigenous language, culture, perspectives, and practices to implement its curriculum.

The Westin Maui

The event is open to Westin Maui guests and associates, local residents and island visitors. For more details on participation and sign-up in the Lei Exchange, visit the resort’s FB @TheWestinMaui. Parking is available at Whalers Village, neighboring The Westin Maui.

WHEN & WHERE:  Monday, May 1, 2017

  • 7:30 am – Check in at Aloha Pavilion, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
  • 8:30 am – Hawaiian Blessing Ceremony with Oli Chant & Hula
  • 8:45 am – Participants begin lining up on the beachwalk side fronting Westin Maui
  • 9:00 am – Lei Exchange begins
  • 9:30 am – Craft Fair & Aloha Lei Day Activities at Aloha Pavilion

More Than 1,000 Maui Residents Pour Into Castle Theater For Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Last Stop On Statewide Town Hall Tour

At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater last night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted her seventh Town Hall to an audience of more than 1,000 Maui residents, making it the largest of the crowds to gather for a stop on the congresswoman’s statewide tour between April 11-20. In total, more than 3,500 constituents from Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island participated in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Aloha Town Hall Tour” with many of the meetings having more than 30,000 viewers via Facebook Live.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “As we wrap up this Aloha Town Hall Tour that has brought together so many of us from communities across the entire state, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who took the time to come out, to listen, to share, and to ask questions—your kindness, your activism, and your aloha is what made these meetings so powerful and productive. Each of us has an opportunity to act with love and aloha, to respect others, and to work together despite any differences we have as we do our best to be of service to others.”

Issues of concern that came up on the Valley Isle tonight included online privacy rights and the congresswoman’s fight to stop Internet Service Providers from selling individuals’ internet browsing history without consent, Maui’s water infrastructure, overcrowding at the island’s prison, the need for more programs that assist inmates and reduce recidivism, criminal justice reform, decriminalizing marijuana, and access to truly affordable healthcare—not just health insurance. The audience expressed support for her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, her continued push to end the illegal regime change war in Syria, and her fight for peace.

Earlier today on Maui, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard participated in the Future Forum with her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D, CA-15) to address common issues facing millennials, the challenges of entering the work force, and solutions to exponentially increasing student debt. The congresswoman also visited the Maui Food Innovation Center, where she met with young entrepreneurs and UH Maui College students to discuss sustainable business practices and food security on the Valley Isle.

For more information, please contact Erika Tsuji at (808) 286-0803.

Sea Floor Erodes, Reefs Can’t Keep Up – Coastal Communities Losing Storm Protection

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) near Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands have died and collapsed into rubble. As coral reef structure degrades, habitat for marine life is lost and nearby coastlines become more susceptible to storms, waves and erosion.  Photo: Curt Storlazzi, USGS. Public domain.

In the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Maui, coral reef degradation has caused sea floor depths to increase as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades, the USGS study found. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated.

As sea levels rise worldwide due to climate change, each of these ecologically and economically important reef ecosystems is projected to be affected by increasing water depths. The question of whether coral colonies can grow fast enough to keep up with rising seas is the subject of intense scientific research.

But the USGS study, published April 20, 2017 in the journal Biogeosciences, found the combined effect of rising seas and sea floor erosion has already increased water depths more than what most scientists expected to occur many decades from now. Other studies that do not factor in sea floor erosion have predicted seas will rise by between 0.5 and 1 meter, or between 19 inches and 3 feet 3 inches, by 2100.

“Our measurements show that seafloor erosion has already caused water depths to increase to levels not predicted to occur until near the year 2100,” said biogeochemist Kimberly Yates of the USGS’ St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the study’s lead author. “At current rates, by 2100 sea floor erosion could increase water depths by two to eight times more than what has been predicted from sea level rise alone.”

The study included areas of the reef tract in Florida’s Upper Keys and Lower Keys; looked at two reef ecosystems, St. Thomas and Buck Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and also included the waters surrounding Maui. The researchers did not determine specific causes for the sea floor erosion in these coral reef ecosystems. But the authors pointed out that coral reefs worldwide are declining due to a combination of forces, including natural processes, coastal development, overfishing, pollution, coral bleaching, diseases and ocean acidification (a change in seawater chemistry linked to the oceans’ absorption of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).

For each of the five coral reef ecosystems, the team gathered detailed sea floor measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken between 1934 and 1982, and also used surveys done from the late 1990s to the 2000s by the USGS Lidar Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Until about the 1960s sea floor measurements were done by hand, using lead-weighted lines or sounding poles with depth markings. From approximately the 1960s on, most measurements were based on the time it takes an acoustic pulse to reach the sea floor and return. The USGS researchers converted the old measurements to a format comparable to recent lidar data.

They compared the old and new sets of measurements to find the mean elevation changes at each site. The method has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track other kinds of sea floor changes, such as shifts in shipping channels. This is the first time it has been applied to whole coral reef ecosystems. Next the researchers developed a computer model that used the elevation changes to calculate the volume of sea floor material lost.

They found that overall, sea floor elevation has decreased at all five sites, in amounts ranging from 0.09 meters (about 3 ½ inches) to 0.8 meters (more than 2 ½ feet). All five reef tracts also lost large amounts of coral, sand, and other sea floor materials to erosion.

“We saw lower rates of erosion—and even some localized increases in seafloor elevation—in areas that were protected, near refuges, or distant from human population centers,” Yates said. “But these were not significant enough to offset the ecosystem-wide pattern of erosion at each of our study sites.”

Worldwide, more than 200 million people live in coastal communities protected by coral reefs, which serve as natural barriers against storms, waves and erosion. These ecosystems also support jobs, provide about one-quarter of all fish harvests in the tropical oceans, and are important recreation and tourism sites.

“Coral reef systems have long been recognized for their important economic and ecological value,” said John Haines, Program Coordinator of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. “This study tells us that they have a critical role in building and sustaining the physical structure of the coastal seafloor, which supports healthy ecosystems and protects coastal communities. These important ecosystem services may be lost by the end of this century, and nearby communities may need to find ways to compensate for these losses.”

The study brought together ecosystem scientists and coastal engineers, who plan to use the results to assess the risks to coastal communities that rely on coral reefs for protection from storms and other hazards.

The study is available at www.biogeosciences.net/14/1739/2017.

Four Meetings on Rat Lungworm Begins Tonight on Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Maui District Health Office jointly announced two community meetings to provide information on safety measures and vector control practices to help prevent Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongyliasis):

  • Haiku Community Center: Monday, April 17, 2017; doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center (Pukalani): Wednesday, April 26, 2017; Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.

At these two town hall-type meetings, presentations will be given on the Rat Lungworm parasite, current research and measures for controlling slugs, rats and snails; a demonstration on how to wash and care for vegetables and fruits; a personal story of one person’s experience with Rat Lungworm Disease; and Q&A.

Dr. Lorrin Pang (center, standing) talks with Sara Routley, DOH Health Educator, in a standing-room-only crowd gathered for the Hana community meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease held April 6th. Credit: Dept. of Health / Maui District Health Office.

Presenters include Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang; Dept. of Health staff; and Adam Radford, Manager, Maui Invasive Species Committee. For more information on these meetings, call ph. 984-8201.

Informational sessions also have been scheduled by the UH Manoa Cooperative Extension for Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Kula Elementary School Cafeteria and on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Univ. of Hawaii-Maui College Community Service Building.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kula Elementary School Cafeteria, Maui at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the UH – Maui College Community Service Building at 5:30 p.m.

These sessions will target growers, landscapers and gardeners and will focus on managing rat, snail and slug populations, as well as inspection and sanitation measures to minimize the spread of Rat Lungworm parasites. Presenters include Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Kylie Wong, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, and Dept. of Health staff. For more information on this meeting, call Kylie or Lynn at ph. 244-3242.

Local and State agencies participating in the above joint outreach efforts include the Maui District Health Office including Public Health, Vector Control and Environmental Health; the County of Maui; the Office of Mayor Alan M. Arakawa; the Maui County Emergency Management Agency (formerly Civil Defense); the State Dept. of Agriculture; Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC); the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension; The Univ. of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Univ. of Hawaii-Hilo; the Maui County Farm Bureau; and the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

For general information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org.

Westin Nanea Ocean Villas – Maui’s New Oceanfront Resort Opens

Vistana Signature Experiences, developer of Sheraton Vacation Club and Westin Vacation Club resorts, announced today that The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Maui’s new oceanfront resort, is open. Situated on 16 acres of North Kā’anapali Beach, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas celebrated this milestone with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Kahu Kapono’ai Molitau led the blessing ceremony, which included a maile lei untying, symbolic in Hawaiian culture for opening a space. The resort’s first guests arrived April 15.

“Maui is one of the world’s most desirable destinations, and we are excited to open our doors to this extraordinary resort,” said Steve Williams, chief operating officer, Vistana Signature Experiences. “The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is a truly unique resort that combines Hawai’i’s rich heritage with the aloha spirit for which the islands are known.”

Comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is designed to be a relaxing haven replete with culturally inspired programs and distinctive Hawaiian experiences. Under the careful guidance of the resort’s cultural director, Makalapua Kanuha, the essence of Hawai’i has been carefully woven into design elements throughout the property. Additionally, the Pu’uhonua o Nanea Cultural Center will be at the resort’s heart. Its innovative and educational cultural offerings will honor local history, language, art, crafts, music and dance.

Artists Rendition

“In the Hawaiian language, nanea means to be in a state of relaxation,” said Chris Rabang, general manager. “We are thrilled to begin welcoming guests and are looking forward to helping them embrace our resort’s namesake through meaningful experiences and signature Westin features.”

The world-class amenities at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas include an expansive lagoon-style swimming pool, children’s beach pool and play area, oceanfront cabanas and a WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio. Mauka Makai (mauka: toward the mountains; makai: toward the ocean), the resort’s full-service restaurant, pays tribute to the farming and fishing cultures of ancient Hawai’i. With an emphasis on farm-to-table, Mauka Makai utilizes indigenous plants and vegetables grown on-site and from local farms to complement popular local dishes. It also features the Westin brand’s signature SuperFoodsRxTM menu with nutrient-rich and delicious options to tempt every palate. The Inu (meaning drink) Pool Bar provides a relaxing setting to enjoy oceanfront views, cocktails and lighter fare. Guests also enjoy access to resort amenities at The Westin Kā’anapali Ocean Resort Villas located next door, including Spa Helani, a Heavenly Spa by Westin.

Each of the villas at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas offers many of the key amenities of home, combined with signature Westin touches. The master bedrooms include king-size signature Westin Heavenly® Beds and Westin Heavenly Baths with showers, bathtubs and vanities. The living areas offer armoires, queen-size sofa sleepers and private furnished lanais. Villas also come with fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Relocates Maui Town Hall to Accommodate High Number of Attendees

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced that her Maui Town Hall location has been moved to accommodate the growing number of attendees. The previous venue had a maximum capacity of 250 people, and already, more than 400 Valley Isle residents have RSVP’d to attend this week’s meeting.

The town hall meeting in Kona drew a huge crowd.

Please note the new location that can accommodate a larger crowd:

  • Tulsi’s Maui Town Hall – Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

All other meeting locations on Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour during the April District Work Period remain unchanged at this time. To RSVP for one of the upcoming Town Halls, residents from the Second Congressional District are encouraged to sign up at gabbard.house.gov/townhall at least one day prior to the meeting date:

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see http://jazzday.com/about/

Coffee Berry Borer Quarantine Expanded to Maui

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture yesterday expanded the coffee berry borer (CBB) quarantine to the island of Maui, effective May 1, 2017. The quarantine, which has been in effect on Hawaii Island and Oahu, restricts the interisland movement of coffee and other CBB hosts and requires treatment and other quarantine protocols. Although recent detections of CBB were located in Hana and Kipahulu, the board decided that an island-wide quarantine was necessary to prevent the further spread of CBB in the state.

Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In December 2014, it was discovered on Oahu and in December 2016 was found on Maui. So far, CBB has not been detected on Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Since its detection in Kona, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.  It is still unknown how CBB made its way to Hawaii Island and how it arrived on Oahu and Maui. Hawaii has strict importation rules that require fumigation of all imported green coffee beans to rid the beans of pathogens and insect pests. Coffee plants and plant parts are also restricted from being imported to Hawaii under Plant Quarantine rules.

In addition, HDOA issued a quarantine order that requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from Hawaii Island to other islands that are not infested with the coffee berry borer.  The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment.

To view the Notice of Designation of Island of Maui as Expanded Coffee Berry Borer Infested Area Subject to Quarantine, go to: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/CBB-Quarantine-Maui.pdf

For more information on CBB in Hawaii go to the HDOA CBB webpage at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/ and the UH-CTAHR webpage at: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/CBB.aspx

Entangled Whale Off Maui Cut Free

Sunday, an entangled subadult humpback whale was cut free by a team of trained responders off Maui. The animal was entangled in large gauge electrical cable that was deeply embedded in the whale’s mouth. All gear except what could not be pulled from the whale’s mouth was successfully cut and removed.

The response was part of a two-day effort by responders from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, U.S. Coast Guard, Maui Ocean Safety, Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, and the West Maui response team. The team of responders are authorized under NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response program (NOAA MMHSRP permit # 18786 and state PMAL-2016-212).

The whale was first reported Saturday, off the Pali lookout. A response was mounted from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s response vessel, Kohola, with assistance provided by a patrol boat from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui. Saturday’s assessment determined that the whale was entangled in gear exiting both sides of the mouth and heading straight down to the ocean floor. Initial efforts to cut the gear were unsuccessful.

Sunday, the animal was re-sighted in the same vicinity but headed south before letting the trailing gear settle on the ocean floor in about 60 feet of water off Kamaole Beach I. While underway, several tour operators monitored the animal, including Ocean Odyssey (Pacific Whale Foundation), Quicksilver, Redline Rafting, Blue Water Rafting, and Maui Diamond II.

Sunday’s assessments by the response team revealed that the gear was heavy-gauge (~ 5/8-inch) electrical cable. The team used cable cutters to cut both cables leading to the whale’s mouth. It is estimated that around 500 feet of cable was removed from the animal with little gear remaining. The cable had already embedded itself too deeply at the back of the whale’s mouth to pull out remaining gear. However, this represents a significant improvement and the animal illustrated this in its movements and behaviors afterwards. The source of the gear, which is a PVC-insulated electrical-type cable, is still unknown.

Although the animal is slightly emaciated and has gear embedded at the back of the mouth, its overall present condition is good. With the removal of the gear, the chances of its survival have been greatly improved.

Mariners are asked to keep a sharp lookout for this and other whales in distress, but not to approach closely or attempt to assist them. Only trained and well-equipped responders that are authorized under NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program are permitted to assist whales and other marine mammals.

If you sight any marine mammal in distress, maintain 100 yards distance and please call the NOAA 24-hour hotline at 1-888 256-9840. If unable to call, please radio the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH. 16 and they will relay the report.

It is illegal to approach a humpback whale closer than 100 yards by any means by sea and 1,000 feet by aircraft.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Life of Maui’s Trucker Dukes on House Floor

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today in memory of 3-year-old Trucker Dukes from Maui, who lost his life on Friday, March 3 after battling childhood cancer.

Trucker’s spirit of resilience and open heart became an inspiration for people across the country after he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a stage-four adrenal cancer, at 19 months old. A celebration of life honoring Trucker will be held tomorrow morning, March 10, in Kīhei.

“Today, let us honor and recognize a young Maui boy whose life touched hearts around the world and whose legacy will live on through the millions that he inspired.

“Trucker Dukes was not quite four years old when he took his last breath this past Friday, after a painful battle with Stage-4 Neuroblastoma and two years of intense treatment.

“Trucker’s dad is a firefighter and—like father, like son—Trucker loved firetrucks. When Trucker went to New York for treatment, the New York Fire Department coordinated a very special 3rd birthday party celebration, and swore him in as an honorary firefighter.

“After Trucker passed away, his parents Shauna and Joshua shared this message: “If there’s one thing, I hope it is that you love a little harder, a little better. Go home, stop the craziness in your life and just kiss your loved ones more, tell them you love them more. None of us are promised tomorrow.”

Suspicious Death of Endangered Monk Seal Under Investigation

An oft-spotted, fifteen-year-old endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, known as R4DP was found dead on a beach near ʻEleʻele on February 23, 2017. Officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are investigating the female seal’s death as suspicious, as it had injuries “inconsistent with any natural cause of death associated with wild monk seals.”

Jeff Walters with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Office explained, “Although we’re waiting for final laboratory analysis, the preliminary necropsy (animal autopsy) on R4DP indicates this seal was in good health with no apparent disease or natural cause of death.”

This is the 11th monk seal since 2009 found dead under suspicious circumstances. That means law enforcement authorities have good reason to suspect one or more people were directly involved and their activities were unauthorized or illegal.  Monk seal deaths due to interactions with fishing activities are considered in a different category, and the death of R4DP does not appear to be for this reason.  NMFS maintains records of all known Hawaiian monk seals.

Hawai‘i’s native seals, numbering around 1400 left in the wild, are protected under both the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act and by state law. Violations under any of these laws can be charged either in criminal or civil court, with criminal convictions under the ESA carrying fines as high as $50,000, or imprisonment for up to a year, or both.  DOCARE Enforcement Chief, Robert Farrell said, “We can’t comment further on the specifics of this or previous open cases that are still under investigation, but we can assure people that both state and federal law enforcement officers continue to aggressively and thoroughly investigate these deaths in hopes of bringing the person or persons responsible to justice.”

This is the first reported suspicious death of a monk seal since 2014, when there was one death on O‘ahu and one on Kaua‘i, with both seals showing signs of significant trauma. A man was convicted of killing a seal on Kaua‘i in 2009.

“Hawaiian monk seals are precious to our state both naturally and culturally,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “It’s beyond comprehension that anyone could even consider beating or killing one of these rare mammals, as they’re resting or sleeping on a beach,” Case added.

Like with many monk seals around the state, R4DP was familiar to researchers and scientists.  She was tagged as a young adult seal on Kaua‘i in the summer of 2008. Ten days later she was flown to O‘ahu for a health examination after it was believed she may have ingested a hook.

X-rays didn’t reveal anything, so she was returned to Kaua‘i and released.

Anyone with information related to the death of R4DP or any other monk seal is encouraged to call the NOAA OLE hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DLNR/DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR (808-873-3990).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Visits Kauaʻi Prison, Hosts Waianae Townhall Meeting

This morning on Kauaʻi, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) continued her focus on criminal justice reform by touring the Kauaʻi Community Correctional Facility.  Warden Neal Wagatsuma and Watch Commander Harry Victorino guided the walk-through, explaining the facility’s operations, needs, rehabilitation programs, and services to the community.

The congresswoman spent time with many of the incarcerated men and women, listened to their stories and experiences, answered their questions, and spoke about how she is working to reform the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism.

She visited jails on Oʻahu and Maui earlier this week, has long advocated for common sense criminal justice reform legislation, and has been a vocal advocate supporting state programs like Drug Courts, Veteran Courts, Hawaiʻi Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), and the State Juvenile Justice Hoʻopono Mamo Civil Citation Initiative.

This afternoon on Oʻahu, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hosted a “Congress on Your Corner” Townhall Meeting in Waianae to hear from constituents about their ideas and concerns and share how her office can assist people with federal services. She spoke about her work in Congress, bills she’s introduced and cosponsored, and important issues facing the people of Hawaiʻi.

She spent the majority of the meeting answering questions from the audience on topics including war and peace, national security, concerns with the Trump Administration, federal spending, local transportation projects, healthcare, the environment, education, military issues, and veteran services.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Promotes Diversified Agriculture on Valley Isle

On Maui today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) attended the kick-off and blessing for Pacific Biodiesel’s biofuel sunflower crop, where she delivered opening remarks about the importance of diversified agriculture, protecting our environment, and creating local jobs. She met with the project’s leaders and farmers, and planted seeds as part of the blessing ceremony.

Continuing this week’s focus on reforming the criminal justice system and visiting Hawaiʻi correctional facilities, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard toured the Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) and met with Maui Economic Opportunity caseworkers who assist the inmates as they reintegrate into the community. The congresswoman heard about the programs being offered there and spent time with many of the incarcerated men and women. She saw firsthand the problems and challenges at MCCC, foremost of which is the dilapidated facilities and extreme overcrowding. She was especially moved by the positive stories shared by those participating in the Maui Drug Court Program.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard visited the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility and the Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oʻahu earlier this week, and will be at the Kauaʻi Community Correctional Facility tomorrow morning. She has long advocated for common sense criminal justice reform legislation and has been a vocal advocate supporting state programs like Drug Courts, Veteran Courts, Hawaiʻi Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), and the State Juvenile Justice Hoʻopono Mamo Civil Citation Initiative.

While on the Valley Isle today, the congresswoman also participated in an AARP roundtable discussion with Maui members, volunteers, and others from the community to discuss federal issues that impact seniors and how to better serve kūpuna on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lanaʻi.

Tomorrow, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will be hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” in Waianae to talk story, hear from Oʻahu constituents about their ideas and concerns, and share how her office can assist families with federal issues like veteran services, immigration, social security, Medicare, and more. She will have her usual pop-up tent in the parking lot of “Da Crawfish and Crab Shack” at 87-64 Farrington Highway in Waianae on Saturday, February 25th from 3:00-4:00pm.

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