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Army Helicopter Down – Search Continues for 5 Missing Aviators Off Oahu

Responders are continuing the search for five missing Army aviators from a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Wednesday.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield and a fireboat crew from the Honolulu Fire Department are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Searching are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu
  • 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu
  • CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • MH-60R Seahawk helicopter aircrew from Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37
  • P-3 Orion aircrew from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay
  • Shore patrols and a helicopter crew from Honolulu Fire Department
  • Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and a crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources

En route is:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Honolulu

None of the aviators have been located yet. Debris has been spotted and recovered near Ka’ena Point by responders. A joint forward incident command post has been established at Hale’iwa Boat Harbor to coordinate search and rescue efforts.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364), an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu, are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Debris from the crash should be considered hazardous material and should only be recovered by recovery teams with the proper training and personal protective equipment. The debris poses potential risk and could cause serious bodily harm due to sharp edges.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center in Honolulu received a call at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communications with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of response assets.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting training between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield at the time communications were lost.

Weather on scene is currently 17 mph winds with 6 foot seas.

Coast Guard, Army Responding to Report of Downed Army Helicopter Off Oahu

Coast Guard and Army personnel are responding to a report of a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with five crew aboard approximately two miles west of Kaena Point, Oahu, Wednesday.

A US Army (USA) UH-60L Black hawk Helicopter flies a low-level mission over Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Responding are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu
  • 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu
  • UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • Shore patrol and a boatcrew from Honolulu Fire Department

A debris field was spotted near Kaena Point by the Coast Guard Hercules and Army Black Hawk aircrews at 11:28 p.m. Tuesday. Responders are currently searching for the five missing aircrewmen.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center in Honolulu received a call at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communications with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of response assets.

Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting training between Kaena Point and Dillingham Airfield at the time communications were lost.
Weather on scene is currently 11 mph winds with 2 foot seas.

Mayor Kim’s Testimony Re: Special Session 2017 – Rail Tax Surcharge

August 11, 2017
Special Session 2017 – Rail Tax Surcharge

Dear Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senator Clarence Nishihara, Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Representative Henry Aquino, Representative Sylvia Luke, and Committee Members:

We understand that the upcoming Special Session will be considering many different proposals on how to help the City and County of Honolulu Address the funding of their rail system. While we understand that this is not an easy decision, we want to ensure that the legislatures makes their decision based on fairness. We understand that some of the options being considered include increasing GET and TAT for the entire state with all the proceeds going to rail.

These increased taxes would be collected on all islands, even though the rail system is only located on Oahu. That does not seem fair to tax those that don’t even have access to the rail system. We do support the extension of the GET surcharge for Oahu. That seems to be the fairest method to ensure that those most likely to benefit from the system will pay for the system.

In addition, the TAT cap for the counties was not restored to $103 million as in previous years. This reduced our TAT revenue by $1.86 million. This is more than the entire budget for our Civil Defense department. Without these funds, a significant increase in real property taxes for our citizens was necessary. The same citizens that you also represent. We cannot burden our citizens any more for something that will not benefit them.

Taxing all for the benefit of one is not fair. All islands could see an increase in the TAT and GET but only one will benefit. We all will be seeing less TAT in our budgets. We respectfully request that you whatever you can to provide the counties with their fair share of TAT and find another way to fund the rail system, such as continuing the additional GET for Oahu.

We appreciate your consideration as we all attempt to best serve our joint constituents, the people of Hawai’i.

Respectfully,

Harry Kim
Mayor

Questions and Answers: Hawaii and the Threat of a North Korean Missile Strike

Click to enlarge

1. Why now? Has the North Korea missile threat increased so much recently that you were urged to begin preparations for an attack?

Preparations for the North Korea missile and nuclear threat began in late 2016 when this assessment suggested early preparations should be initiated. Hawaii has maintained plans to cope with missile testing since 2009. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) conducts a Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) every year. This process examines potential hazards and threats to the State of Hawaii including natural (hurricane, tsunami), technological (cyberterrorism) and man-made (acts of terrorism) hazards.

2. I have heard that planning for a nuclear attack from North Korea is futile given most of the population will be killed or critically injured. Is that true?

No. Current estimates of human casualties based on the size (yield) of North Korean nuclear weapon technology strongly suggests an explosion less than 3 miles in diameter. More than 90% of the population would survive the direct effects of such an explosion. Planning and preparedness are essential to protect those survivors from delayed residual radiation (fallout) and other effects of the attack such as the loss of utilities and communication systems, structural fires, etc.

3. How will the public learn of a possible missile launch from North Korea?

Approximately 5 minutes into the launch sequence, the U.S. Pacific Command will notify the Hawaii State Warning Point (SWP) that a missile is in route from North Korea. The SWP is staffed on a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week basis by skilled emergency management professionals.
Upon receipt of the notification, the SWP will activate the ‘Attack-Warning’ signal on all outdoor sirens statewide (wailing sound) and transmit a warning advisory on radio, television and cellular telephones within 2 minutes.

4. What should Hawaii residents and visitors do when they hear the ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal?

All residents and visitors must immediately seek shelter in a building or other substantial structure. Once the sirens sound, residents and visitors will have less than 12 to 15 minutes before missile impact.

5. Was the recent public messaging recommending that each individual/family maintain a 14-day survival kit made because of the North Korea threat?

The 14-day recommendation was made following an intensive analysis suggesting that Hawaii could experience a major disruption to maritime transportation (shipping and ports) in the event of a major hurricane. This recommendation does however complement the potential need for 14 days of sheltering following a nuclear attack.

6. When will schools begin nuclear drills?

Schools are not expected to conduct drills specific to a nuclear attack. Existing drills known as ‘lock down’ drills serve the same purpose. These drills are regularly conducted at all schools statewide and are considered more than adequate in terms of protecting students and staff.

7. When will the new ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal will available and how will it be tested?

The new (second) ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal (wailing sound) will be available for use beginning in November 2017. The signal will be tested on the first working day of every month thereafter together with the existing ‘Attention-Alert’ signal (steady sound) used for other emergencies.

8. Are there public shelters (blast or fallout) designated in our communities?

No. There are currently no designated shelters in the State of Hawaii at this time. The short warning time (12 to 15 minutes) would not allow for residents or visitors to locate such a shelter in advance of missile impact.

9. How long will residents and visitors need to remain sheltered following a nuclear detonation?

In most cases, only until the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has assessed residual radiation and fallout. This could be as little as a few hours or as long as 14 days.

10.  What is fallout?

Debris including soil, fragments of destroyed buildings and other material will be drawn into the cloud of a nuclear detonation and propelled into the sky. This debris will begin to settle back to earth within hours. This debris includes residual radiation that poses a significant health risk to humans and animals.

11. How can I tell if nuclear radiation is present?

Nuclear radiation cannot be perceived by the human senses (sight, smell, etc.). Specialized instruments are needed to detect its presence and intensity. Those instruments are available for use by public safety agencies across the State of Hawaii.

12. How long will nuclear radiation persist after a nuclear detonation?

A: Radiation from nuclear detonation in the form of fallout decays very rapidly. Days to weeks in most situations.

13. Are the neighbor island safe?

We do not know. North Korean missile technology may not be adequately advanced to accurately target a specific island or location. Although most analysts believe the desired target will be Oahu given the concentration of military and government facilities, a missile may stray and impact the open ocean or even a neighbor island. All areas of the State of Hawaii must consider the possibility of missile impact.

14. How will the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency communicate with the public post-impact? I have heard that most broadcast stations and other forms of electronic communications (cellular telephones, radio, television) will be damaged or destroyed.

When a nuclear weapon detonates, one of the direct effects produced is called an Electromagnetic Pulse (or EMP). EMP has the potential of destroying electrical devices and telecommunications systems. It may also disrupt electrical power and other essential utilities. Broadcast stations many miles distant from the explosion (such as on another island) will survive EMP effects. Our current plans are to utilize AM and FM broadcast radio stations on unaffected islands to provide essential information to the public. This means residents and visitors should include a battery-powered AM-FM radio in their 14-day survival kit.

15. How can I learn more about the nuclear threat and preparedness?

Public outreach and online information is available to all Hawaii residents.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Email: HawaiiEma@hawaii.gov Web: http://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/ Telephone: 808 -733-4300 or contact your county emergency management agency:

  • Kauai Emergency Management Agency 808-241-1800
  • Honolulu Department of Emergency Management 808-723-8960
  • Maui Emergency management Agency 808-270-7285
  • Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency 808-935-0031

Ready.Gov website https://www.ready.gov/nuclear-blast

Guest Commentary – Audit the Honolulu Rail Project

Dear Damon,

When the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii first kicked off our “Audit the Rail” campaign, we had a feeling the idea would catch on.

Over the summer, we’ve seen respected voices across the state join the chorus.

At the outset, we did some digging and uncovered the fact that several HART board members supported a forensic audit of the rail.

Following that, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a story echoing our call to audit the rail explicitly for fraud, waste and abuse.

Then, Honolulu Councilmember Trevor Ozawa introduced a resolution to perform a special audit of the rail. Since then, at least four other Honolulu Council members have endorsed an audit.

And now, state legislators are floating the idea of auditing the rail, according to a presentation leaked to the press last week.

As influential voices across the state join the Grassroot Institute’s call to audit the rail, we intend to continue making a reasoned case for a full forensic audit.

If you have not yet signed our petition, please do so at AuditTheRail.com and share this e-mail with your friends.

Mahalo for helping this idea to catch on.

E Hana Kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.
President/CEO Grassroots Institute of Hawaii

Monk Seal Safely Transferred From Big Island to Oahu to Return Home – 2017 “Year of the Monk Seal”

Personnel from the Coast Guard 14th District, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Marine Mammal Center have partnered to transport a rehabilitated monk seal from Kona to Honolulu aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane Wednesday for further transport to her original home in the wild.

Personnel from the Coast Guard 14th District, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Marine Mammal Center have partnered to transport a rehabilitated monk seal from Kona to Honolulu aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane August 9, 2017, for further transport to her original home in the wild. Photo taken under the authority of NMFS MMP A/ESA Permit NO. 18786-01. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

“This is one of our 11 statutory missions and it’s a great one because it’s part of our living marine resources program and it allows us to be not only and enforcement arm for the protection of our natural resources but also to help with conservation,” said Eric Roberts, marine resource specialist, Coast Guard 14th District. “This is a unique opportunity for the Coast Guard to play a part in the recovery of this critically endangered species.”

This collaboration has successfully rehabilitated and released more than 15 young Hawaiian monk seals and become a critical piece in the monk seal recovery plan now in its 10th year. The Coast Guard transports six marine mammals on average each year in conjunction with other missions such as necessary training flights.

“The public can help us with Hawaiian monk seals because they can be aware when seals are in an area that they might be swimming or fishing and give seals a very safe distance,” Dr. Michelle Barbieri, veterinarian for the Hawaiian monk seal research program at NOAA. “It’s very important we keep seals wild by giving them the space that they need to do their natural behaviors. They can also help by reporting sightings of monk seals to their local hotline.”

This young female seal was rescued by NOAA in May and taken to The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola monk seal rehabilitation facility on Hawaii Island for care and stabilization.

Upon arrival to Oahu, the seal will be temporarily housed at the NOAA IRC facility on Ford Island and then be loaded onto a NOAA Fisheries ship and transported to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office announced in July that 2017 is the “Year of the Monk Seal” incorporating events throughout the year. It is also a celebration of a new, positive population estimate for the species. The most recent annual population assessment shows that the Hawaiian monk seal, bucking past trends, has increased in numbers by 3 percent annually for the past three years. The population is now estimated to be around 1,400 seals.

To report monk seal sightings:
Email NOAA at pifsc.monksealsighting@noaa.gov or
Call your island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator:
Island of Hawaii: (808) 987-0765
Kauai: (808) 651-7668
Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372
Molokai: (808) 553-5555
Oahu: (808) 220-7802

To report stranded / entangled marine mammals:
Call: 1-888-256-9840

Rental Car Return Route Modified to Construction of New Facility at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division is alerting the public of traffic signal modifications impacting rental car returns at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). The modified route is part of the scheduled improvements project to build a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC) on airport property.

Advantage, Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National customers returning rental cars to the interim rental car facility will enter the airport property and remain on the arrivals or ground level. They will loop around to Ala Onaona Street, pass the lei stands and continue in the eastbound or Diamondhead direction until they turn south (right) into the interim car rental facility. Please note that Ala Onaona Street transitions to Aolele Street. (See map 1). Electronic message boards have been placed in strategic areas throughout the airport to help motorists through the modified route. Permanent signs directing motorists to the new rental car return entrance have also been installed.

Click to enlarge and view all maps

The traffic signal located at the merge where vehicles exiting the H-1 Freeway westbound direction and eastbound direction, meets ground level vehicular traffic from Aolele Street will be activated on August 14, 2017. Vehicles are reminded to obey the speed limits, drive safely and be prepared to follow the instructions of the red light traffic signal. (See map 2).

The previous rental car return entrance at the corner of Paiea Street and Aolele Street will be unusable due to construction related activities. (See map 3).
HDOT has coordinated with Advantage, Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National rental car companies to distribute flyers to customers so they are aware of the changes. Rental car returns for Alamo, Dollar, Enterprise, Thrifty and other off site companies are not impacted.

Once completed, the 5-story permanent CONRAC will house the major rental car companies in one convenient location and will feature approximately 4,400 parking stalls compared to the current 895 existing parking stalls. Additional features include a Quick-Turn-Around area with fuel and car wash facilities, ready and return rental car spaces, office space and customer service counters. It will also have a common busing operation utilized by all the car rental companies that will transport passengers between the CONRAC and airport.

All customers will be able to take the same shuttle to the new facility instead of waiting for the individual company vehicle, which will reduce traffic around the airport and will be beneficial to the environment.

Construction on the HNL Car Rental Facility project began November 2016 and is 12 percent complete. It is anticipated to be finished in December 2020. The $330 million project is funded by a Customer Facility Charge which consists of a daily charge of $4.50 for cars rented on airport property, not taxpayer money from the State’s general fund.

Coast Guard, Navy Conduct Joint Medevac of Crewman From Research Vessel Off Oahu

A 55-year-old crewman from the research vessel Kilo Moana arrived safely to Honolulu Tuesday following a joint medevac conducted by the Coast Guard and Navy 175 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay.

“This case illustrates the importance of our partnership with the Navy and the value of hoist capable helicopters to conduct medevacs so far offshore, allowing us to deliver mariners to a higher level of medical care in the shortest amount of time possible,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Lae, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu.

Navy MH-60 Seahawk

A Navy MH-60 Seahawk crew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 hoisted the crewman aboard and safely delivered him in stable condition to emergency medical personnel at Kaneohe Bay at 6:17 p.m. He was further transported by ambulance to Queens Medical Center. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew flew cover and provided additional communications for the Seahawk crew.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a request for a medevac from the captain of the Kilo Moana Monday evening. The crewman reportedly injured his foot when a box of frozen goods fell on it and his condition had declined in the 24 hours since. The vessel was more than 500 miles offshore of Oahu at the time of the request.

Watchstanders from JRCC Honolulu consulted the vessel’s on call doctor at George Washington Medical Facility and the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon who both recommended the medevac. The captain of the vessel altered course toward Oahu to close the distance and it was determined an HSM-37 Seahawk was the safest and quickest means to transport the crewmember to higher medical care.

The Seahawk crew departed Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay around 2:15 p.m. The Hercules crew departed Air Station Barbers Point on the west side of Oahu near Kapolei, met up with the Seahawk en route and provided cover during the hoist and return transit.

The Kilo Moana is a 186-foot research vessel, based out of Honolulu, owned by the Navy and operated by the University of Hawaii Marine Center.

HSM-37 is the largest expeditionary squadron in the Navy and the Easyriders support all Pearl Harbor-based Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers with 15 Seahawks. While anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are their primary missions, secondary missions include search and rescue and medical evacuations.

The men and women of Air Station Barbers Point serve as “Guardians of the Pacific” in the largest and most culturally diverse of all Coast Guard operating areas — 12.2 million square miles of open ocean, atolls, and island nations. They enhance the readiness of the 14th District with long range patrol and logistical support capabilities, as well as quick and versatile search and rescue response using the Hercules and the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

First Case of Rat Lungworm Disease on Oahu in 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed one new case of rat lungworm disease in an Oahu resident. This is the first case of rat lungworm disease contracted on Oahu in 2017, bringing the statewide total of confirmed cases to 16 for this year. The adult case is currently hospitalized and the department confirmed their illness late on Tuesday afternoon.

The Oahu resident began experiencing symptoms consistent with rat lungworm disease in July. DOH staff from the Vector Control Program and Disease Investigation Branch started conducting onsite property assessments this morning in East Oahu. Vector Control staff surveyed for slug, snail and rat activity. Current findings do not show evidence of slugs or semi-slugs nearby. The source of the individual’s infection is still unknown at this time, but DOH will continue investigations based on the information gathered today. The last reported case of rat lungworm disease on Oahu was in 2010.

“This is a serious disease that can be acquired on any of our islands because slugs and snails throughout the state carry the parasite responsible for the illness,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health. “This is a grim reminder that we all need to take precautions when working in our gardens and on farms, and eliminate slugs, snails and rats from our communities to reduce the risks posed by this parasitic disease.”

DOH recently announced plans to ramp up efforts to prevent rat lungworm disease statewide. This includes efforts to increase public outreach and education throughout the state—a top initiative identified by the Governor’s Rat Lungworm Disease Joint Task Force, which was convened in 2016. The Joint Task Force is comprised of local experts in medical, scientific, environmental, and public health fields from across the state.The public is urged to take the following precautions to prevent rat lungworm disease:

  • Carefully inspect, wash and store produce in sealed containers, regardless of whether it came from a local retailer, farmer’s market, or backyard garden.
  • All fruits and vegetables should be washed and rubbed under running water, especially leafy greens, in order to remove any tiny slugs or snails.
    Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease.
  • Eliminate slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens.
  • Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

Rat lungworm disease (angiostrongyliasis) is contracted when a person becomes infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This often happens when a person accidentally consumes raw or undercooked infected slugs, snails, freshwater shrimp, land crabs or frogs. The most common symptoms include severe headaches and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain and severe disability.

More information about the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm disease may be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/ and https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2017/01/RLD-rackcard-version1_06152017.pdf. The first of a series of public service announcements about rat lungworm disease prevention is posted on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rat-lungworm-information/.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Allowed to Open on Oahu

The Hawai‘i Department of Health issued a formal notice to proceed to Aloha Green LLC today after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Aloha Green is the second licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state, and the first on O‘ahu, to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The licensed retail center for Aloha Green is at the Interstate Building at 1314 South King Street in Honolulu. The retail center is licensed to begin selling dried medical cannabis flowers when it opens to registered patients.

“The opening of a licensed dispensary on O‘ahu is a major milestone for the more than 5,000 qualified patients and caregivers in Honolulu,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Our staff continues to work with all the licensees as they build their facilities and business operations in compliance with county and state laws to ensure product and patient safety.”

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by DOH.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. Two on Maui: Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC; and one on Kaua‘i, Green Aloha, Ltd. These dispensaries are now at different stages of development by the licensees, and at varying stages of the approval process.

Guest Commentary – Hawaii Rail Fiasco… What They Don’t Want You to Know

You posted (on Facebook) an interesting article on Civil Beat in regards to the Rail Project: Lawmakers Consider Having Neighbor Islands Help Pay for Oahu’s Troubled Rail Project

What you and most fail to realize is that our House representatives on this island already voted YES to have the neighbor islands pay for rail, including our island and NO ONE called them out or held them accountable.

SB1183 is what deadlocked at the end of session because the House and Senate disagreed on the funding mechanism for the rail project.

This is the link to the HOUSE amendment to the bill that passed the House and was voted on by our representatives.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/bills/SB1183_HCD2_.htm

The bottom line:

They voted for a increase to the TAT of 10.25% (an increase of 1%) statewide, with 100% of the proceeds going to rail and they voted to CAP the TAT distribution to the counties at $103 million to 2028.

How does the $103 million cap affect Hawaii County? Hawaii County gets 18.6% of that cap which is approximately $18 million. However, HI County should be getting almost $40 million from the TAT if it was, prior to 2009, apportioned fairly through a percentage based allocation. The State capped the Counties during the recession and has never restored it to a percentage based amount. Effectively, HI County is getting robbed every year of its fair share of TAT by the State, $22 million could pay for ALLOT of stuff on our island, busses etc..

Who voted for that? 100% of HI Islands House membership, every single one.

Now, we are going back into special session and the House has the same game plan, increase TAT statewide and this time, even worse, cap the Counties at $93 million, instead of $103 million.

If their is not enough public awareness on our island or pressure from their constituents, they will vote the same way. They don’t want anyone to know what I just shared with you, but it is all public information, just no one caught it.

But now you know…

A Concerned Citizen

Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup ‘Kaimana’ to be Moved to Undisclosed Location

Multi-Agency Decision Made to Protect Seal and People

The Hawaiian monk seal pup, PO3, born on O‘ahu’s Kaimana Beach in late June will be relocated to a remote, undisclosed shoreline area where she can continue her natural growth as a wild seal with less human interaction and other hazards. The decision to move the seal was made following extensive discussion and analysis by experts, managers and scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries); the DLNR Chair’s Office and its Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). Other agencies involved in managing public and seal safety during its time at Kaimana include the City and County (C&C) of Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Division of Ocean Safety and Life Guard Services, C&C Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the Honolulu Mayor’s Office; and Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR).

“This large and expert team of people from all levels of government, carefully considered options for this seal (now named ‘Kaimana’) after it weans from its mother (‘Rocky’),” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “The determination was made that the risks of leaving this now famous seal in place are too great. The team considered a number of factors and the risks of leaving ‘Kaimana’ at her natal beach outweighed the risks of relocating her,” said Chair Case.

David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Regional Marine Mammal Response Coordinator explained, “We weighed two options with utmost consideration for safety; both for the seal and the public. One option was to simply leave the weaned seal at Kaimana Beach. The other, our chosen option, is to move the seal to a more secluded location, where she can grow up naturally in the company of other wild monk seals, without a high level of human inter-action.”

Not the least of those risks at Kaimana Beach is the seal’s propensity for swimming into the badly dilapidated Natatorium adjacent to Kaimana beach at least three times. First on Friday, July 28th, Kaimana disappeared from her mom and was then spotted in the Natatorium’s pool. NOAA staff and volunteers managed to rescue her and hand-carry her back to her mother after a forty-five-minute long separation. Then again, on Thursday, August 3rd, both ‘Kaimana’ and ‘Rocky’ found their way into the large Natatorium pool, replete with unseen, underwater hazards.

During an impromptu news conference on the beach that day, both mom and pup finally exited the Natatorium and swam a bee-line for the center of Kaimana Beach. C&C lifeguards, NOAA Marine Mammal Response Team Members, DLNR representatives, and HMAR volunteers quickly cleared the beach and the water to give the returning seals wide berth. Again last night both mom and pup swam into the Natatorium and later exited without issue.

Jim Howe of the Honolulu Emergency Services Dept. observed, “Ever since Rocky gave birth to her pup at Kaimana Beach, city lifeguards have been focused on the safety of beachgoers as well as these remarkable animals. I want to thank all of the lifeguards and our federal and state partners who remained vigilant over the past 40 days while Rocky successfully weaned her pup.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, DAR Administrator explained, “Once a pup weans from its mom it begins exploring and learning to forage for food further away from her birth site. Young seals are extremely impressionable and if Kaimana was exposed to extensive human interaction, she will likely develop unhealthy behaviors. If a seal does become conditioned to people, as it gets older, bigger and more powerful, people in the water sought out by a seal can and have been badly hurt.” Anderson continued, “One handout from a well-intentioned human and Kaimana may become troublesome and need further relocations and controls which put her further at risk.”

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell added, “This decision to relocate is not made lightly, as there are human-caused dangers elsewhere too, not the least of which is illegal unattended lay gill nets that have caused the sad drownings of four seals in recent years. We know lay gill nets are a real problem for monk seals, turtles and other animals that all too frequently get entangled in them and die because they can’t breathe. We ask everyone to help us be extra vigilant in reporting these dangers through our new app, DLNRtip or by calling the DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR.”

‘Rocky’ and ‘Kaimana’s’ long stay on one of Waikiki’s most popular beaches became a tourist draw and an Internet sensation. HMAR President Jon Gelman says the non-profit’s response to this pupping event on a busy Waikiki beach was a test of the organization’s resources and commitment. “Our folks are there to conduct public outreach and help seals have a safe, quiet place to rest and care for their pups. I think our volunteers and staff have done a great job and we have had the opportunity to educate thousands of residents and visitors while at the same time managing safety perimeters, monitoring the mom and pup’s behaviors and maintaining appropriate separation between the seals and humans in an extremely challenging environment.”

“We are so thankful and blessed that ‘Rocky’ birthed ‘Kaimana’ here in our ahupua‘a. She has been a true gift from our Akua to the residents and visitors of Waikīkī who had the opportunity to learn from her, and we are honored she will now carry the name of the place where she was born,” said area descendant Trisha Kehaulani Watson. “As Hawaiians managed natural resources in a custom that ensured sustainability, we agree with NOAA, DLNR and other officials that the best management decision for ‘Kaimana’ and the 60,000 daily resource users is to relocate her as soon as she has weaned from her mother.”

All of the government partners want to ensure that both visitors and residents are informed about safe and proper seal and other wildlife viewing procedures. Several videos have been produced regarding safe wildlife viewing and the media has provided extensive coverage of ‘Kaimana’. A news conference today concluded with a blessing sending young ‘Kaimana’ to a long and wild life.

Coast Guard Celebrates Centennial of Diamond Head Lighthouse

The Coast Guard commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Diamond Head Lighthouse, a cultural icon and landmark.

As part of the celebration, an art contest was held over the last school year and over 70 students from around Oahu entered the contest.

During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Vince Atkins, commander of the Coast Guard’s 14th district, announced the winner, Logan Erickson, an 8th grader form Kailua Intermediate School. Erickson’s painting will be hung in the lighthouse for years to come.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa was the guest speaker and shared what the Diamond Head Lighthouse represents to her.

This hale ipukukui harkens back to 1878 when a lookout was established on the slopes of Diamond Head. It was later determined a more substantial structure should be built to warn mariners of the dangers of the reefs. As technology advanced the original ironwork structure built in 1899 was replaced in 1917 and has since been further modernized to use LED lighting burning at 60,000 candle power and shining 18 miles out to sea.

Guest Commentary – Audit the Honolulu Rail Project

What does it say about the state of governance in Hawaii that endorsing basic standards of fiscal responsibility is a revolutionary act?

Ever since the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii launched its campaign to “audit the rail,” we’ve heard lots of excuses and evasions as to why an independent, thorough audit of Honolulu’s over-budget and behind-schedule rail project isn’t necessary.

But we’ve also seen that the public wants answers about the system and isn’t happy with the political foot-dragging.

Now, we’re finally seeing some results.

Trevor Ozawa, Honolulu City Councilmember for District 4 (Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai), has introduced a resolution calling for an, “economy and efficiency audit” of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), in order to discover the causes of the project’s significant and troubling cost overruns.

Click to read the full resolution

Noting in his resolution that the estimated cost for the rail is now more than $10 billion — up from $5.1 million in 2012 — Ozawa points out that HART has not updated its financial plan “to reflect the rail project’s current financial condition”; that the semi-autonomous city agency has not been maintaining accurate and complete financial records; that its management, operations and maintenance plans are “outdated and unreliable”; that it lacks the proper tools to administer contract payments; and that the actual costs of the rail project are not being properly managed against budgeted costs.

Most of these failings aren’t news to anyone who has followed the rail controversy, but it is encouraging to see a key Hawaii policymaker finally demanding answers.

The resolution even states that the audit should both identify the causes of inefficient and uneconomical practices and investigate whether the “entity audited has complied with laws and regulations on matters of economy and efficiency.”

The resolution notes that in June, “certain HART board members indicated that the HART board would not fund a special audit that would examine the cost overruns for the rail project.” But, the resolution adds, “there must be a higher level of transparency concerning the reasons for the cost overruns.”

We agree.

It may have taken some time, but our message is getting through.

So let’s keep up the pressure. Ask your friends and family to join the campaign to audit the rail. If they haven’t already, they can add their names to our online petition at AuditTheRail.com.

E Hana Kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.
President/CEO Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Living History Day

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will bring America’s history during World War II to life at its annual Living History Day, September 23, from 9 am – 4:30 pm.

The event is held in affiliation with Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!, providing free admission to for up to two visitors who present a Museum Day Live! ticket. Visitors can download free tickets at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a Smithsonian Affiliate and ranked one of the nation’s top 10 aviation attractions in the nation by TripAdvisor.

This year’s event will recognize the role of film and photography in documenting and preserving the events of WWII. A special screening of “Finding Kukan” will be held at 2:30 pm in the Museum’s theater, followed by a question and answer session with the documentary’s filmmaker, Hawaii resident Robin Lung. “Finding Kukan” is an award-winning documentary that uncovers the forgotten story of Hawaii resident Li Ling-Ai, the uncredited female producer of “Kukan,” an Academy Award-winning color documentary about WWII China that has been lost for decades.

Other themed activities include demonstrations on how to preserve WWII-era and family photos, as well as the process of colorizing black and white photographs; a scavenger hunt throughout the Museum to find famous images from WWII from around the globe; costumed interpreters including WWII pilots and swing dancers who will conduct swing dance demonstrations with the public; displays and presentations by local students; and open cockpits. Canon USA, Inc. will also be on-site to loan cameras and offer photography workshops for visitors.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Historic Ford Island, where bombs fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visitors to the Museum can see remnants from that day of infamy, including the 158-foot tall, red and white iconic Ford Island Control Tower, Hangars 37 and 79, and bullet holes in Hangar 79. Through its preservation and restoration of World War II fighter planes and accompanying artifacts in the Museum’s historic hangars, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor shares the story of the vital role aviation played in the winning of World War II, and its continuing role in maintaining America’s freedom.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.

Hawaii Department of Health Fines Aloha Petroleum, LTD., $200,000 for Fuel Tank Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health Underground Storage Tank (UST) Section has issued a Notice of Violation against Aloha Petroleum, Ltd., the registered owner and operator of four 10,000-gallon underground storage tanks at its fuel service station located at 3203 Monsarrat Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Aloha Petroleum has been cited for failing to notify the department of a suspected fuel release within 24 hours of discovery, failing to conduct a timely investigation of the release, and deficiencies related to its release detection monitoring and record keeping system.

Aloha Petroleum has been assessed a $200,000 penalty and may request a hearing to contest the allegations and order.

DOH regulates USTs that hold petroleum or hazardous substances. Failure on the part of UST owners and operators to timely report suspected releases, unusual operating conditions and the loss of product may result in increased clean-up costs for petroleum contamination to the environment.

Hawaii Update on Mumps: Outbreak Continues with 18 Additional Cases, Including 2 on Hawaii Island and 4 on Kauai

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 18 new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 172. Nine of the new cases of individuals are adults. Twelve of the cases are from Oahu, four are from Kauai and two are from Hawaii Island.

DOH continues to stress the importance of following its recommendations to help prevent the spread of mumps.“The important thing for people to remember is to keep their germs to themselves,” said Ronald Balajadia, Immunization Branch Chief, DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division. “We encourage the public to stay home when sick, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently and make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

DOH urges all adults born in or after 1957 without evidence of immunity to mumps to receive the MMR vaccine which prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. For this reason, being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and your community.

DOH also recommends that all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first of which is routinely given at age 12–15 months and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of four weeks after the first dose).

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

The majority of the 172 confirmed cases are on Oahu, with 13 on Kauai and three from Hawaii Island. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. DOH expects more cases in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

DOH will post the latest mumps cases online at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/ at 12 noon every Thursday. The site offers current information about the state’s ongoing investigation.

Plywood Cup Challenge This Saturday – Proceeds Benefit Local Programs of United Cerebral Palsy

The 2017 Transpacific Yacht Race is holding its Plywood Cup Challenge at the Kaneohe Yacht Club this Saturday, July 22, starting at 9 a.m. The family-friendly event, in its 26th year, benefits the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii (UCPA) and is the ultimate challenge for racing enthusiasts young and old. Participants get the opportunity to build a boat with provided materials and race it against the clock and other competitors.

Teams of up to ten members are supplied with the same materials and tools and have just two hours to construct a boat. Race planning and tactics for the triangular course are allowed one hour. Entrants can participate by either sponsoring a team or forming a team. Space is limited to twenty teams and all entry fees are tax deductible.

Visit www.ucpahi.org to learn more. Register by emailing ucpa@ucpahi.org or calling 808-532-6744.

Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition Celebrates 42 Years: Children’s Event Honors Culture, Music, Dance

The Kalihi-Pālama Culture & Arts Society proudly presents the 42nd Annual Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Competition this Thursday through Saturday, July 20-22, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena.  This competition was established in 1976 to provide a venue for children ages 5-12 to showcase their achievements in ancient and modern hula.   Four hundred youngsters will represent twenty-two hālau from O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i, Hawai‘i Island, and Japan.

40th Annual Queen Lili’uokalani 2015 Keiki Hula Competition. Photo: James Kimo Garrett

Over its history, thousands of keiki have participated in this prestigious event. Former Miss Keiki Hula winners include Kumu Hula and 1995 Miss Aloha Hula Kailihiwa Vaughan, 2015 Miss Aloha Hula Jasmin Dunlap, and Kumu Hula and 1999 Miss Aloha Hula Keola Dalire, who brings her hālau to this year’s competition backed by Grammy winner Kalani Pe‘a. Former Master Keiki Hula winners include Kumu Hula Brandon Paredes and Kau‘i Kamana‘o, both of whom bring their hālau regularly to the competition. Former Master Keiki Hula winners also include fashion designers Manaola Yap (Manaola Hawai‘i) and Chaz Kamau‘u (Hula Tease).

“Keiki Hula exemplifies the best of Hawai‘i. It’s a combination of culture, community, and children,” explains Kalihi-Pālama Culture & Arts Society President, Trisha Kehaulani Watson. “Nothing is more inspiring than watching children dance hula. This event gives keiki the opportunity to showcase their hard work and passion. We have seen over our many years how this opportunity positively shapes children’s lives and helps to set in families a lifelong appreciation of hula and the arts. It’s a beautiful experience.”

This event is supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, and numerous community partners.  For more information, email info@kpcahawaii.com or visit our website at www.keikihula.org.

The schedule of the competition is as follows:

  • Thursday, July 20, 6:00 p.m. – Miss & Master Keiki Hula competition
  • Friday, July 21, 6:00 p.m. – Group-Hula Kahiko competition
  • Saturday, July 22, 1:00 p.m. – Group-Hula ‘Auana competition

Reserved seats are $14.50 for adults and $12.50 for children 4-12 yrs.  Tickets are on sale now at the Blaisdell Center box office, by calling Ticketmaster at 1(800)745-3000 or via the internet at www.ticketmaster.com.

The participating hālau are:

  • Aloha ‘O Pu’uwailani Halau
  • Halau Kekuaokala’au’ala’iliahi
  • Halau Hula Helele’i Pua ‘O Waipi’o
  • Halau Keolakapuaokalani
  • Halau Hula ‘O Hokulani
  • Halau ‘O Kaululaua’e
  • Halau Hula O Keola-Ali’iokekai
  • Halau ‘O Napuala’ikauika’iu
  • Halau Hula ‘O Napunaheleonapua
  • Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela
  • Halau Hula O Puka’ikapuaokalani
  • Hula Hui O Kapunahala O Nu’uanu YMCA
  • Hula Halau ‘O Leilani
  • Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka
  • Halau Hula Olana
  • Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha’eha’e
  • Halau o Ka Hanu Lehua
  • Ka Pa Nani ‘O Lilinoe
  • Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina’ala
  • Keolalaulani Halau Olapa O Laka
  • Halau Kala’akeakauikawekiu
  • Leialoha Hula Studio

This year’s event will include some of Hawaii’s top Hawaiian musicians, including Keauhou, Waipuna, Kuana Torres, Na Palapalai, Natalie Ai Kamauu, Hoku Zuttermeister, Chad Takatsugi and many more.

 

Honolulu Fire Department Release on Marco Polo Apartment Fire – Fire Under Investigation

On July 14, 2017, at 2:17 p.m. the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) responded to a high-rise building fire at the Marco Polo Apartments, located at 2333 Kapiolani Boulevard. The first HFD unit arrived at 2:21 p.m. to find a 36-story high-rise apartment building with heavy smoke and flames emanating from multiple units on the 26th floor. HFD personnel established command, requested for further resources, secured a water supply and entered the building.

Photo by Nicholas Augusta

As HFD personnel commenced with fire fighting and rescue operations the fire spread to several units on multiple floors, extending to the 28th floor. Over a dozen apartment units were involved in the fire and many more units were evacuated. There were multiple reports of occupants trapped by the smoke and flames. Many occupants were instructed to shelter in place until emergency personnel could escort them to safety. Emergency responders assisted dozens of occupants down stairwells to exit the building.

As the incident progressed, HFD personnel discovered and confirmed three fatalities during search operations. Approximately 12 occupants received medical attention by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Four people, including one fire fighter, were transported in serious condition to nearby hospitals.

A total of five alarms were struck for this incident; resulting in over 30 HFD units staffed with over 100 personnel responding to this incident. Other responding agencies include EMS, the Honolulu Police Department, the Federal Fire Department, the Department of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross, Hawaii Chapter.

The fire is under investigation and the specific cause of the fire and damage estimate are not available at this time.