Maui and Molokai Residents Invited to Visit the Hōkūle‘a

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a welcomes the public to visit her in Mā‘alaea Harbor for a few more days.  Crew members have been connecting with youth and community groups since their arrival on Maui on June 17th.

The Hokulea in Hilo

The Hokulea in Hilo

A community presentation about the upcoming Worldwide Voyage is planned for Wednesday, June 26, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the headquarters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary at 726 S. Kīhei Road (see attached flyer).  Apprentice navigator Ka‘iulani Murphy and crewmembers from Hui ‘o Wa‘a Kaulua, ‘Ohana Wa‘a and Polynesian Voyaging Society will be sharing their stories.

While docked at Mā‘alaea, the public is welcome to visit Hōkūle‘a between 9 AM – 12 noon and 1-5 PM through the 27th.

Mālama Hawai‘i is the first leg of Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.  Hōkūle‘a will pay respects to communities throughout Hawai‘i in gratitude for 38 years of support of voyaging here.

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

In addition, we will feature stories of leadership and wise practices in resource management, voyaging and navigation, innovative education, and cultural practice throughout the islands.  The plans for the Worldwide Voyage will be shared at every port.  Over the next several weeks*, Hōkūle‘a will be in the waters of Maui Nui:

  • Through June 27      Mā‘alaea, Maui
  • June 28 – Jul 1           Lahaina, Maui
  • July 1 – 3                      Kealaikahiki, Kaho‘olawe
  • July 3 – 8                      Mānele, Lāna‘i
  • July 8 – 15                   Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i
  • August 16 – 18           Hāna, Maui
  • August 18 – 19           Honolua, Maui
  • August 19 – 20          Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i
  • August 20 – 23          Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i

* All dates are subject to change.  Committed to the safety of our crews and vessels, all sail dates are weather/safety dependent.

Department of Health Cites United Solvent Services for Solid Waste Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a Notice and Finding of Violation and Order against Unitek Solvent Services, Inc. for violations that occurred in 2012 and 2013, at 330 Hukilike St., Kahului, Maui.

Unitek

The incidents involved the operation of an unpermitted solid waste management system that was accepting and processing disposed tires.

During an inspection conducted in February 2013, DOH noted the presence of approximately 10,000 tires at the 15,078 square foot site.

DOH conducted two inspections of the site, one in 2012 and one in 2013. Unitek was warned to cease operating the unpermitted facility in a letter dated May 11, 2012.

DOH imposed a penalty of $10,100 and ordered Unitek Solvent Services, Inc. to cease accepting solid waste and remove all solid waste from the facility. Unitek Solvent Services, Inc. may request a hearing to contest the allegations or order.

The DOH, Solid Waste Section regulates standards governing the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of solid waste disposal, recycling, reclamation, and transfer systems. Such standards are intended to prevent pollution of the drinking water supply or waters of the state; prevent air pollution; prevent the spread of disease and the creation of nuisances; protect the public health and safety; conserve natural resources; and preserve and enhance the beauty and quality of the environment.

 

 

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company Have Scheduled Meetings

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have scheduled meetings to seek public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans.

IRP2013

Click to see plans

The Action Plans are part of the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process, which looks at how the utilities will meet future energy needs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies intend to file an Action Plan for each company with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by June 28, 2013.

Hawaii Island

  • Tuesday, June 4:  6-8 p.m.. Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St., Hilo
  • Wednesday, June 5: 6-8 p.m. 96-1149 Kamani St., Pahala
  • Thursday, June 6: 6-8 p.m. King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, 75-5660 Palani Rd., Kailua-Kona

Oahu

  • Wednesday, June 12: 6-8 p.m. Farrington High School cafeteria, 1564 N. King St.

Maui County

  • Thursday, June 13: 6-8 p.m. Pomaikai Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului
  • Wednesday, June 19: 6-8 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai
  • Thursday, June 20: 5-7 p.m. Hale Kupuna, 1144 Ilima Ave., Lanai City

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will consider all comments in developing plans that will guide the utilities in coming years.

Information about IRP, including the four energy scenarios that guided the planning analysis, is available at www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.

Ongoing technical analysis of the scenarios is available on the site. The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans will be available for public review on the site after presentation to the citizens’ Advisory Group on Thursday, May 30, 2013.

The PUC initiated the latest round of integrated resource planning in March 2012 and named Carl Freedman of Maui-based Haiku Design & Analysis as the commission’s “independent entity” to oversee the process. The PUC also named a 68-member IRP Advisory Group, composed of representatives from diverse locations and organizations in Hawaii, to provide public input to the Hawaiian Electric utilities in the planning process. According to the PUC: “The goal of integrated resource planning is to develop an Action

Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer needs consistent with state energy policies and goals while providing safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost through development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.”

 

High Surf Causes Havoc to Maui Boats – Destroys Three Boats

DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation Lahaina harbor office is working to address removals of three vessels moored off the shore near Mala Wharf which went aground today due to high surf between six to ten feet. Witnesses said the vessels broke loose from their moorings during a large set of five waves. High surf is also forecast for Saturday. No rescues of boaters were required.

1. 30’ fiberglass sailboat “Best Revenge” which broke off its mooring.

The "Best Revenge"

The “Best Revenge”

Staff are working to obtain a bid from a salvage company to remove this vessel.

2. 30’ sailing vessel “Caribou III” which went aground also near Mala rocky shoreline due to high surf.

Caribou Before

Caribou III Before

The vessel had completely broken up by this afternoon.

Caribou After

Caribou III After

Staff are working to contact the vessel’s owner who has insurance and determine a removal plan. A marine salvage company is expected to begin removal work on Saturday, ocean conditions allowing.

3. 38’ trimaran “Triple Play” also aground at the Mala shoreline.

The "Triple Play"

The “Triple Play”

This vessel does not have insurance. Staff are working to obtain a bid for emergency salvage removal of the vessel.

 

Top 10 U.S. Electric Utilities For Solar Power Usage

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has released a new list of the 10 U.S. electric utilities that have added the most new solar power to their systems and the most solar on a watts-per-customer basis in 2012.

Solar

This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are integrating solar into the nation’s power grid, is part of SEPA’s sixth annual Utility Solar Rankings report. The full report, which will be released next month, identifies industry trends, such as total installed capacity, market share and industry growth rates.

Utilities ranking in this year’s top 10 (by solar megawatts) accounted for 73% of all capacity integrated in 2012, a slight increase from 2011. Among the top three in the rankings are some of the nation’s largest utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), Southern California Edison and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. – which often rank highly in this category due to their expansive customer solar programs and utility purchasing programs.

Rounding out the list are Arizona Public Service, NV Energy, Jersey Central Power & Light, Tucson Electric Power Co., Progress Energy Carolinas, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Hawaiian Electric Co. All were previously ranked in 2011, with the exception of Progress Energy Carolinas, which is in its first year on the list.

This is the fifth year that PG&E has topped the list, SEPA notes.

Separately, the rankings of the top 10 utilities by solar watts per customer take into account the number of customers each utility serves relative to their solar megawatts installed, giving small utilities a more competitive opportunity to measure their solar energy capacity.

Leading these rankings are many municipal utilities, including the City of St. Mary’s, Ohio; Kauai Island Utility Co-op in Hawaii; and Bryan Municipal Utilities in Ohio. Both Ohio utilities were not previously ranked, and Kauai moved up from No. 12 in the 2011 rankings.

The remaining top 10 providers include Hawaiian Electric Co., Chickasaw (Tenn.) Electric Co-op; Maui (Hawaii) Electric Co.; Imperial Irrigation District in California; Tucson (Ariz.) Electric Power Co.; City of Napoleon, Ohio; and Vineland Municipal Electric Utility in N.J.

Complete rankings can be found here.

 

Lahaina Receives Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant

he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $11.2 million in competitive grants to 15 states for projects to support recreational boating through the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.  The Fish and Wildlife Service will also release approximately $2.4 million to 25 states, commonwealths, and territories willing to match a smaller, non-competitive grant program known as “BIG Tier 1” funding.

Fish and Wildlife

Grantees use Boating Infrastructure Grant funds to construct, renovate, and maintain facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 10 days or less) that are 26 feet or more in length and used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.

“These grants, funded by fishing and boating enthusiasts, have helped communities across the nation build and enhance recreational boating facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  “This program is a win-win situation for recreational boaters, conservation initiatives and job creation.”

“The BIG Grants have major impacts – not only do cruising boaters get the benefit of facilities that they help to pay for, waterfront communities and their small businesses also get an economic boost from visitors who enjoy boating,” said Thom Dammrich, chairman of the Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and president of the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association.

For example, a BIG grant of nearly $1.5 million, matched with nearly $1 million in non-federal funding, will enable the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to partner with the Bucks County Riverfront Program to install 25 new day slips on the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. The ADA-compliant project, part of a larger effort to improve the waterfront in Bristol Borough, will also include new educational signage, lighting, and breakwater structures to protect the facility.

And in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a grant of nearly $1.3 million, matched by nearly $3.9 million in non-federal funding from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the City of Chattanooga, will go toward the construction or extension of guest dockage at four prominent locations along the south shore of the Tennessee River. Each location will include up to 10 slips, for a total of 40 new slips for eligible vessels.

Funding for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.

Projects receiving competitive grants are:

  • Shoal Bay Marina Redevelopment, Logan County, Ark. – BIG grant: $1,215,841; non-Federal match: $721,175; total project cost: $1,937,016
  • City of Rio Vista Guest Dock, Rio Vista, Calif. – BIG grant: $225,000; non-Federal match: $75,000; total project cost: $300,000
  • Thamesport Marina Transient Docks, New London, Conn. – BIG grant: $1,430,975; non-Federal match: $502,775; total project cost: $1,933,750
  • Gulfport Casino Dock Redevelopment, Gulfport, Fla. – BIG grant: $112,613; non-Federal match: $268,137; total project cost: $380,750
  • Madeira Beach Municipal Marina Redevelopment, Madeira Beach, Fla. – BIG grant: $322,516; non-Federal match: $499,550; total project cost: $822,066
  • Lahaina Roadstead Offshore Mooring Installation, Lahaina, Hawaii – BIG grant: $248,500; non-Federal match: $248,500; total project cost: $497,000
  • Belfast Harbor Waterfront Rehabilitation, Belfast, Maine – BIG grant: $120,897; non-Federal match: $120,897; total project cost: $241,795
  • Annapolis City Dock Improvement, Annapolis, Md. – BIG grant: $1,500,000; non-Federal match: $2,703,478; total project cost: $4,203,478
  • Seaport Landing Marina Transient Boat Access, Lynn, Mass. – BIG grant: $267,700; non-Federal match: $100,000; total project cost: $367,700
  • Port Austin State Harbor Dock Renovation, Port Austin, Mich. – BIG grant: $747,250; non-Federal match: $747,250; total project cost: $1,494,500
  • Ironton Riverfront Boat Ramp and Docks, Ironton, Ohio – BIG grant: $636,000; non-Federal match: $212,634; total project cost: $848,634
  • Port of Arlington Marine Fuel Station and Utility Upgrade, Arlington, Ore. – BIG grant: $190,191; non-Federal match: $129,809; total project cost: $320,000
  • Bristol Borough Waterfront Improvement, Bristol, Pa. – BIG grant: $1,492,195; non-Federal match: $999,355; total project cost: $2,491,550
  • Ann Street Public Pier Project, Newport, R.I. – BIG grant: $740,000; non-Federal match: $260,000; total project cost: $1,000,000
  • Downtown Chattanooga Transient Docks, Chattanooga, Tenn. – BIG grant: $1,285,868; non-Federal match: $3,857,607; total project cost: $5,143,475
  • Deltaville Marina Transient Pier, Deltaville, Va. – BIG grant: $743,891; non-Federal match: $261,367; total project cost: $1,005,258

For more information on each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIG_Funding.htm

Coast Guard Rescues Kayakers Off Coast of Maui

A group of kayakers was rescued by the Coast Guard when weather took a turn for the worst approximately three miles off the coast of Wailea, Maui, Saturday.

Coast Guard Station Maui was notified by a vessel operator in the area that four kayakers, one adult and three children, were being blown toward the open sea by approximately 25mph winds. Sea conditions worsened to swells of three to four feet.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui was conducting training in the area and diverted to the scene. All four kayakers and their kayaks were picked up and taken to shore at 2 p.m. The kayakers were wearing life jackets and uninjured.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to check weather conditions prior to getting underway. Weather conditions in Hawaii can change rapidly and can include high wind, breaking surf and extreme currents. Individuals unfamiliar with the area are encouraged to speak with lifeguards before entering unfamiliar water in order to become familiar with local weather and ocean hazards.

Mariners are also urged to file a float plan with a responsible friend, family member or harbor master. A float plan should include the projected course, time of departure, arrival and return which will provide responders with vital information in the case of an emergency.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

More information on float plans can be found at the following link: http://www.floatplancentral.org/

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association Statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association statement on Anti-GMO Marches Across the State:

HCIA

“Organizers of these anti-GMO and evict Monsanto marches are creating a hostile environment in our communities by using scare tactics and spreading misinformation. It is not pono to rally support for an agenda by repeating myths and exaggerations to our Hawaii communities. It is also unfortunate that misleading and false claims made by these activist groups are often repeated by mainstream media without verification of their accuracy.

“We value the concerns of the public and work to address these concerns through informative and respectful dialogue based on facts and proven studies. We also respect freedom of speech; however, we believe the community would be better served if they were provided facts instead of myths and false accusations.

Some of those facts include:

  • To date, people have consumed more than 3 trillion servings of foods produced using biotechnology, without one documented case of illness resulting from these foods.
  • Seed farmers keep agricultural land in agricultural use, with plenty of land available for other farmers. Seed farmers own or lease approximately 5 percent of the available prime agricultural land in Hawaii.
  • GMOs are some of the most extensively tested and federally regulated of all crops, so we actually know more about their safety than many other types of crops, including conventional and organic.”

Alicia Maluafiti, Executive Director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hilton to Operate Three Waldorf Astoria Resorts – Maui Grand Wailea Resort One of Them

GIC Real Estate, the real estate arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), has completed its purchase of three landmark resorts managed by the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand of Hilton Worldwide. They are: the 740-room Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, Phoenix, Ariz.; the 780-room Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii; and the 796-room La Quinta Resort & Club, La Quinta, Calif.

The Grand Wailea in Maui

The Grand Wailea in Maui

The transition of ownership will have no impact on the day to day operations of the properties as GIC has assumed the existing management agreements for all three Waldorf Astoria properties. California-based, KSL Group will act as asset manager for the three resorts and will work closely with GIC and Hilton Worldwide to ensure that the luxury properties continue their legacy of offering guests True Waldorf Service and authentic moments set amidst the inspirational environments for which the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand is legendary.

The Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort has been an Arizona landmark since opening in 1929, when it was crowned the “Jewel of the Desert.” The Grand Dame remains one of the most recognized resorts in the world for its distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright architectural style, luxurious facilities and storied history as a playground of the rich and famous. Nestled on 39 acres at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, the legendary resort offers: 740 guest accommodations; full-service spa, salon and fitness center; two 18-hole golf courses; six restaurants and lounges including Frank & Albert’s serving Arizona comfort food; and eight swimming pools including the Paradise Pool for the ultimate in poolside fun. For more information call 800-950-0086 or visit www.arizonabiltmore.com

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is the only Waldorf Astoria Resort in the Hawaiian Islands. Nestled on 40 acres of lush, tropical gardens fronting Wailea Beach, Grand Wailea offers open spaces for the active vacationer, beauty for romantic getaways and fun for the whole family. Built to portray the richness of Hawaii’s culture, people and nature, Grand Wailea is the ultimate Hawaiian resort providing an extensive selection of amenities and activities. Since opening in 1991, Grand Wailea consistently ranks among the world’s best resorts by leading travel consumer reports and industry peers. For more information, call 800.232.4604 or visit www.grandwailea.com.

La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and PGA WEST is a renowned desert destination in the greater Palm Springs area featuring 796 elegantly-appointed casitas, suite and villas; the 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta®; 41 swimming pools and 53 hot spas; 23 tennis courts and exceptional cuisine at Morgan’s in the desert; TWENTY6; Adobe Grill; Ernie’s at PGA WEST. Known as The Western Home of Golf in America® and named “North America’s Golf Resort of the Year,” it is home to five award-winning public golf courses and four private courses, designed by legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Greg Norman and Tom Weiskopf.

In addition to the three Waldorf Astoria resorts, GIC has a global portfolio of hotel properties in the U.S., France, the UK, Australia, China and India. Included in these holdings is the 1053-room Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk hotel in Fukuoka, Japan.

New Auwahi Wind Project Dedicated To Maui’s Energy Independence

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa today joined officials from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, BP Wind Energy and community leaders for the dedication of the new Auwahi Wind facility on Ulupalakua Ranch.

Sen. Brian Schatz Tweeted this picture earlier today.

Sen. Brian Schatz Tweeted this picture earlier today.

The eight wind turbines are situated along the slopes of the Haleakala volcano and generate enough electricity to power 10,000 local homes.

More than 200 guests attended Friday’s dedication ceremony, which included traditional Hawaiian chants and prayers.

Sen. Schatz said the Auwahi wind farm contributes significantly to Hawaii’s clean energy goals.  He said the project is consistent with the State of Hawaii’s values of cooperation, contributing to a solution nationally on climate change and maintaining the ranching lifestyle on Ulupalakua Ranch.

“Auwahi Wind Farm is critically important,” he said.  “This is about keeping Maui Maui and setting an example not just for the state, but the rest of the nation.”

Tsutsui, who was born and raised on Maui, said the state and the island welcomed the Auwahi Wind farm as it brought much-needed jobs. More than 180 jobs were created during the project construction. Four full-time employees operate the wind farm today.

“We’re always talking about sustainability and being independent,” Tsutsui said. “This goes hand in hand with a lot of our initiatives. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and we look much forward to other projects.”

“We are very pleased that Auwahi Wind was completed on time, on budget and, most importantly, with an impeccable safety record,” said Kevin C. Sagara, vice president of renewables and corporate development for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “This project will provide clean, sustainable power to Maui residents for generations and will bring Hawaii another step closer to meeting its goal to derive 40 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030.”

The 21-megawatt (MW) Auwahi Wind facility represents BP and Sempra’s first alternative energy venture in Hawaii.

“Today is a celebration for the community of Maui in harnessing wind power as part of a diverse and adequate energy supply,” said John Graham, president & CEO of BP Wind Energy.  “On behalf of the owners of Auwahi Wind, I would like to thank the local community, the Ulupalakua Ranch, and neighbors without whom this project would not be the success it is.”

Maui Electric Co. President Sharon Suzuki said the project provides a valuable energy alternative for the island.

“The addition of the Auwahi Wind project brings Maui’s total installed capacity of wind generation to 72 MW, a great accomplishment for such a small island and one that will help further our efforts to break our dependence on foreign oil,” she said.

An important component of the project is an 11-MW/4.4-megawatt-hour grid battery system.  At its peak, this system is capable of 11 MW sustained for approximately 25 minutes.  The battery system’s energy helps regulate and sustain power to Maui Electric Co.’s grid during light wind conditions.

“We are especially pleased with the work Sempra and BP have accomplished in using a state-of-the-art battery system to help compensate for the fluctuations of variable wind,” Suzuki said.  “This high level of wind penetration on Maui would not be possible without such innovative measures.”

Sumner Erdman, president of the Ulupalakua Ranch, said the ranch has benefited from its partnership with Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP.

“Now, we can preserve much of our ranch land and its grazing areas in open space and continue to raise cattle,” he said. “Auwahi Wind will go a long way toward preserving the ranching lifestyle at Ulupalakua and on Maui.”

Ulupalakua Ranch is one of the largest cattle ranches on Maui. The Erdmans are environmentalists and have been its owners since 1963.

Construction of Auwahi Wind began in March 2012. More information on Auwahi Wind is available at www.SempraUSGP.com/Auwahi.

 

Hawaii Will Receive $17 Million for Disaster Relief

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced today that Hawaii will receive $17 million for disaster relief.

Grant

The funds come from a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant will help the state repair roads and highways damaged by heavy rains causing flooding and landslides on Kauai and Maui in late February and early March 2012. Repair work will include emergency repairs to restore traffic flow, minimize existing damage, protect remaining facilities, and restore highways to pre-disaster condition.

“Last year, Hawaii experienced highly unusual and severe weather, including hail, a tornado, flooding, and landslides. Critical roads and infrastructure across the state sustained major damage, and this $17 million in federal assistance will go a long way to fund repairs and help get Hawaii moving again,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

“Today’s grant of $17 million will serve as much needed assistance for the state of Hawaii to recover from last year’s tornado and hail storms that caused flooding and damage throughout Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Molokai,” said Senator Schatz, member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “This demonstrates the value of teamwork. From President Obama to Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to the Congressional delegation to the State administration, everyone came through and the result is receiving $17 million for critical transportation needs.”

“Kauai and Maui experienced significant hardship following last year’s devastating rains, including destroyed roads, contaminated drinking water, and damaged homes,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “This $17 million federal grant will be a strong first step toward fixing our highways and getting people back to their normal routines.”

For more information, please visit: http://grants.ost.dot.gov/public/ViewMessage.cfm?MsgID=v99byehukd

 

Hawaii Senate Passes Bill 369 – Relating to Video Conferencing

This afternoon in the Hawaii State Capital Chambers, members of the Hawaii Senate listened to testimony provided by video conferencing from Big Island residents that were in support of Hawaii Senate Bill 369, Relating to Video Conferencing.

Here is a screen shot from me providing testimony from here on the Big Island:

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

Talking to Senator Wakai before the hearing begins.

I provided the following testimony:

My name is Damon Tucker and I’m from Pahoa here on the Big Island of Hawaii and I’m here to testify via videoconferencing in support of Senate Bill 369.

Many of us folks on the neighbor islands would like to submit testimony in person at the legislature but we simply can not for many factors whether it be; time, money, jobs, kids, etc.

I’m sure that you folks as our Representatives get flooded with written testimony.  I ask you folks how often do you actually read all of the testimony.

Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words… how many words do you think video could represent?

Keeping the public informed and maintaining transparency in the legislative process are key to a democratic system of government.

I believe that these hearings should not only be available to neighbor island constituents, but Oahu residents as well.  Legislative committee hearings are notorious for going late into the night often forcing some who would like to speak or listen to the debate to give up and go home.

With governments at all levels looking to maximize the return on every dollar invested in infrastructure and training, turning to video conferencing as the backbone of a forward-thinking communications strategy makes financial, environmental, and technological sense.

Executive Order 13589, issued by President Obama on November 11, 2009, states:

To ensure efficient travel spending, agencies are encouraged to devise strategic alternatives to Government travel, including local or technological alternatives, such as teleconferencing and video conferencing.

Two other folks testified in support of the bill and after listening to the testimony the Senate had a quorum and passed Senate Bill 369 unanimously.

 

Natalie Gates Named as Haleakala Superintendent

Natalie Gates has been selected as the new superintendent of Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui in Hawai`i.  Dr. Gates has worked at Point Reyes National Seashore in California for the last twelve years, first as a wildlife biologist, and then as chief of natural resource management.  She will transition to her new duties at Haleakalā in March.

Natalie Gates

Natalie Gates

“Natalie has a strong track record in the protection of native species and ecosystems.  She has proven she can solve complicated issues while respecting all the voices in the room,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz.  “Natalie’s deep respect for diverse cultures and communities and her team building skills will be an asset to Haleakalā National Park.”

Dr. Gates graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Biology.  She earned a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a Master’s degree in Wildland Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley.  She has worked in small animal veterinary clinics New York, Hawai`i and California.  During her career in the National Park Service (NPS), in addition to her experience at Point Reyes, Dr. Gates has worked as acting superintendent of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in eastern Washington and has completed detail assignments with the NPS Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs in Washington, D.C. and with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the NPS Pacific West Regional Office.  In 2009 she was awarded the Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management.

Haleakalā National Park is one of the oldest in the National Park System, established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916, just weeks prior to the creation of the National Park Service itself.  It was renamed in 1960 when it was split from what then became Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawai`i.  Haleakalā encompasses both rain forests and arid ecosystems in lands ranging from sea level up to 10,000 feet, as well as significant Native Hawaiian cultural sites.

In accepting the position Dr. Gates said, “It will be an absolute privilege to work with the staff of Haleakalā National Park and local communities around it.  Haleakalā is home to a treasure of cultural resources, natural resources and wilderness, and I look forward to working hard to preserve them.”  She added: “I plan on being an avid student of Haleakalā – its stories and its vital importance to Native Hawaiians.”

In the coming weeks, Dr. Gates plans to move to Maui with her husband, Courty, their three sons, and their Labrador retriever.

 

Newly Appointed Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran on His Appointment

Newly appointed Hawaii State Senator Gilbert Samuel Coloma Keith-Agaran had the following to say after Governor Abercrombies’s announcement (below) appointing him as a Senator:

Governor Abercrombie's two latest appointments Gilber -Aragan and Brian Schatz.

Governor Abercrombie’s two latest appointments Gilbert Keith-Agaran and Brian Schatz.

I’m grateful to the Governor for the honor of the appointment. I hope that I can represent Central Maui well in the State Senate. Mahalo to the members of the Democratic Party from Central Maui who included me on the list sent to the Governor.

Governor Abercrombie’s Announcement:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced the appointment of Gilbert Samuel Coloma Keith-Agaran to state Senate to represent Hawaii’s 5th senatorial district, a seat recently left vacant by Lt. Gov. Shan S. Tsutsui. The appointment is effective immediately.

“Gil brings a wealth of experience from the practice of law and work in county and state government. His passion for the people of the Valley Isle is evident and I am confident he will continue to serve them well,”Gov. Abercrombie said.

Previously appointed to the House in January 2009 to complete the unexpired term of the late Bob Nakasone, Keith-Agaran has continued to practice law in Wailuku. He served as chair and deputy director of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, director of Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and deputy director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, as well as County of Maui Public Works Director.

He presently serves on the boards of the Maui Food Bank and the Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council. Keith-Agaran previously was a member of the boards of the Maui Coastal Land Trust, the Maui High School Community Council (and its predecessor School Community-Based Management), the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, and other non-profit organizations on Maui and Oahu, and the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Advisory Committee. He remains an active member of his community and church.

Keith-Agaran is a graduate of Maui High School. He has a BA in history from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut, and he is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Gil is a partner in the Maui law firm of Takitani Agaran and Jorgensen LLLP. He is married to Kallie Keith-Agaran.

 

Department of Health to Hold Statewide Meetings to Discuss Mental Health Services

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) is conducting a series of community focus group meetings to solicit input from communities and stakeholders statewide about AMHD services for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Information gathered at the meetings will be used for developing plans for 2013 and beyond. The meetings are open to the public and will be held in every county from Jan. 9 through Feb. 20, 2013.

Department of Health

“Gathering input from community members about the mental health system in each county plays a critical role in the state’s planning process for improving services,” said Health Director Loretta J. Fuddy. “These sessions offer an important venue for the public to provide their thoughts and insights about mental health services where they live and work. We invite and encourage all community members to participate in these focus groups.”

Schedule of statewide meetings:

Maui (Wailuku), Jan. 9, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Cameron Center Auditorium, 95 Mahalani St., Wailuku, HI 96793

Hawaii (Hilo), Jan. 16, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Environmental Health Building Conference Room, 1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo 96720Page 2 DOH Holds Statewide Meetings to Discuss Mental Health Services

  • Oahu (Honolulu), Jan. 25, 2013, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Lanakila Health Center Conference Room, 1700 Lanakila Ave., Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Hawaii (Kona), Jan. 28, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m., West Hawaii Civic Center Conference Room, 75-5044 Ane Keohokalole, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
  • Oahu (Leeward), Jan. 29, 2013, 2 – 3:30 p.m., Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse Conference Room, 94-091 Waipio Pt. Access Rd., Waipahu, HI 96797
  • Kauai (Lihue), Jan. 31, 2013, 2 – 3:30 p.m., Kauai District Health Office Conference Room, 3040 Umi St., Lihue, HI 96766
  • Lanai, Feb. 15, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Hale Kupono O Lanai Elderly Conference Room, Lanai City, HI 96763 (Tentative)
  • Molokai, Feb. 20, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Office of Hawaiian Affairs Conference Room, Kulana Oiwi Complex, Bldg. D., 600 Maunaloa Hwy., Kalamaula, HI 96748

Registration is not required. If accommodations for hearing or visual impairments are requested, please contact Ms. Judith Clarke at the Adult Mental Health Division (808) 586-4686.

 

Department of Agriculture Gets Approval to Release Moth to Combat Fireweed in Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has obtained approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to release the Arctiidae moth to combat the spread of Fireweed, an invasive pest that is toxic to livestock, Senator Daniel K. Inouye announced today.

Fireweed

Fireweed is an invasive weed from Madagascar which has infected an estimated 850,000 acres primarily on Maui and Hawaii Island. Fireweed has no natural predators in Hawaii, is resistant to drought, and if left unchecked, could spread to an additional 1.5 million acres in the next ten years.

“For the last decade, Hawaii’s cattle industry has been combating Fireweed. Due to the scope of Fireweed’s spread, chemical sprays are not feasible or economical. I want to express my gratitude to the State Department of Agriculture and to the USDA-APHIS for working together to approve the release of this bio-control moth that will help to control this invasive flower. It is my hope that this effort will help to ensure that Hawaii’s cattle industry will continue to thrive and help the state move toward greater food self sufficiency,” said Senator Inouye.

It is believed that Fireweed arrived in Hawaii in the 1980s.

Each Fireweed flower produces 30,000 seeds per year which are easily spread by wind, hiking boots, vehicles, and animals. The Arctiidae moth is also native to Madagascar and feeds on Fireweed.

The state continues to research other animals that could be used to further disrupt Fireweed’s spread.

 

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Maui This Morning

earthquake

Magnitude 3.3
Date-Time
Location 20.064°N, 156.733°W
Depth 4.9 km (3.0 miles)
Region MAUI REGION, HAWAII
Distances
  • 76 km (47 miles) SSW (204°) from Wailea-Makena, HI
  • 82 km (51 miles) SSW (200°) from Kihei, HI
  • 85 km (53 miles) WNW (297°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 177 km (110 miles) WNW (283°) from Hilo, HI
  • 179 km (111 miles) SE (140°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 1.6 km (1.0 miles); depth +/- 1.9 km (1.2 miles)
Parameters Nph= 69, Dmin=88 km, Rmss=0.23 sec, Gp=245°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3
Source
Event ID hv60439071

 

Deer Rescued From the Ocean During Four Seasons Maui Outrigger Program

Check out this story I just saw uploaded on to YouTube:

Deer rescued from the sea during Four Seasons Maui Outrigger Program at Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii:

We were on the Four Seasons outrigger canoe on 26 October 2012 along with two other hotel guests and two staff from the four seasons. I was playing around with my camera and We would have been about 300 meters from shore when we thought we saw a couple of turtles. When we got closer, we realized that it was a deer and noticed that it was still alive and appeared to be swimming.

This deer was found swimming out in the ocean

This deer was found swimming out in the ocean

We paddled alongside the deer and were thinking how we could bring it back toward shore. The female four seasons employee in the video decided to try to use the buoy to try to get the deer back to shore. We paddled along side for a while, but she was able to swim with the deer so we decided to paddle back to shore to get more help. When the deer was near shore it started swimming back out to sea, however the paddle boarders and other staff were able to herd it back to shore and bring it on the beach. They put it in the truck and I understand that the deer was OK and released back into the wild.


(Note: A subtitle on my video says it was the 24th Oct however this was a typo error and it was actually the 26th.)

Coast Guard Looking for Plane that Disappeared Traveling from Maui to Molokai

The Coast Guard continues to search Sunday, for a privately owned Cessna 172S airplane that disappeared from radar while traveling from Maui to Molokai.

A Cessna 172

A Cessna 172

Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a report at 7 p.m. Saturday, that the airplane disappeared from radar approximately 2.5 miles north of Maui’s North Shore.

A debris field that appears to be from an aircraft has been located in the area, approximately two miles north of Maui, but confirmation that it is the missing Cessna can’t be made.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, from Honolulu, and response boat crews from Coast Guard Station Maui are searching the area.

Maui Fire Department and Maui Police Department have conducted land searches without locating any signs of aircraft debris.

The Cessna 172S is a four-seat, single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft. It is unknown if anyone other than the pilot is aboard.

World’s Largest Solar Telescope is Set to Rise Atop Haleakala

Why am I always the last to hear of things?

The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope will require air jets to keep its 4-metre mirror cool. T. Kekona/K.C. Environmental

After being thwarted for years by objections from Hawaiian native groups, the world’s largest solar telescope is set to rise atop Haleakala, the dormant volcano that is the highest mountain on the island of Maui.

On 9 November, Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources issued a construction permit for the 4-metre Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), which with a 43.5-metre-tall enclosure will tower over the many other astronomical facilities on the mountain. The project will begin removing rocks and grading the 3,084-metre summit site as early as next week…

Full Story here: Giant Sun Scope Clears Final Hurdle