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    March 2018
    S M T W T F S
    « Feb    

HVNP: What’s Open & Closed During Government Shutdown

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces that due to the lapse in federal appropriations and the ongoing eruption of Kīlauea Volcano both at the summit and from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent, portions of the park are closed for visitor safety.

PC: NPS Janice Wei.

The open areas include Highway 11 through the park and Mauna Loa Road to Kīpukapuaulu (Kīpukapuaulu Trail, the day-use area and tree molds are open). Ka‘ū Desert Trail is open to the Footprints exhibit shelter. However, access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services. Backcountry permits will not be issued and overnight camping will not be permitted.

Photo courtesy of Scott Cate .

The hazardous geologic processes and the immediate threats to visitor health and safety necessitate the restriction of access to areas that are volcanically active. These closed areas include the entire summit area of Kīlauea, Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road and the active lava flow within the park boundary.

Guests at Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp have 48 hours to depart by Monday morning, Jan. 22, 2018. Volcano Art Center Gallery is also closed.

The park reiterates that hazards associated with the active volcano pose a significant risk to the safety of visitors in the absence of National Park Service staff.

$86 Million Sought for Puna CIP Projects

Rep. Joy San Buenventura

Hawai‘i Rep. Joy San Buenventura submitted House Bill 1617 relating to Capital Improvement Projects, seeking to appropriate more than $86 million in funds to help with the Puna District of Hawai‘i.

“Its about time that the children of Pāhoa Elementary School have their own cafeteria,” said Rep. Buenventura. “Kids should not need to cross the street and share a cafeteria with the teenagers of Pāhoa High & Intermediate. With a growing population, Pāhoa Elementary School should have its own cafeteria. Pāhoa Intermediate School needs a covered play court—separate from the older children of Pāhoa High School. The Highway 130 four-lane project has been in the books for awhile and is already in the 2019 budget. Having it in this bill is a reminder to have it funded.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2018, the bill was introduced and it passed the first reading.

The following projects were included on HB1617 that Rep. Buenventura is seeking appropriations for.

Pāhoa Elementary School:

Design and construction to renovate restrooms:

  • Design $10,000
  • Construction $50,000

Total $60,000

Design and construction for campus-wide repair and maintenance projects to reroof buildings and repaint building interiors and exteriors:

  • Design $105,000
  • Construction $440,000

Total $545,000

Also included in the elementary school appropriation, $9 million for construction for a new cafeteria and administration building.

Total funding sought for Pāhoa Elementary School: $9.605 million.

Pāhoa High and Intermediate Schools:

Plan, design, construction and equipment for a covering for the middle school play court:

  • Plans $100,000
  • Design $100,000
  • Construction $500,000
  • Equipment $300,000

Total $1 million

Plans, design, construction and equipment for a covered courtyard next to the gym:

  • Plans $10,000
  • Design $10,000
  • Construction $50,000
  • Equipment $30,000

Total $100,000

Plans, design, construction and equipment for a covered walkway from the cafeteria to the upper portables:

  • Plans $30,000
  • Design $30,000
  • Construction $150,000
  • Equipment $90,000

Total $300,000

Plans, design, construction and equipment to upgrade the track field:

  • Plans $1.5 million
  • Design $1.5 million
  • Construction $7.5 million
  • Equipment $4.5 million

Total $15 million

Total funding sought for Pāhoa High and Intermediate Schools: $16.4 million.

Highway 130 Map provided by Kea‘au-Pahoa Advisory Group (KPAG).

The bill also would appropriate $15 million for construction of a “Highway 130 Bypass Road” between Milo Street and Hawaiian Paradise Park as an alternate to Highway 130.

Also included in the initial version of the bill is $40 million for Highway 130 road improvements so  construction to expand the highway from two to four lanes or alternate alignments in that corridor between Kea‘au and Pāhoa can be completed.

Total funding sought for Highway 130 projects: $55 million.

Finally, the bill includes $5 million to plan, design, construct and for land acquisition for a wastewater treatment plant:

  • Plans $600,000
  • Design $750,000
  • Construction $1.75 million
  • Land acquisition $1.9 million

Total Funding: $5 million

Total funding requested for appropriation in HB1617: $86,005 million

Residents wishing to submit testimony, may do so online.

High Wind and High Surf Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning and Advisory for Hawai‘i Island for Thursday, Jan. 18, through tomorrow night Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

A High Wind Warning means maximum sustained winds of up to 40 mph with higher gusts and locally damaging winds. The highest winds are expected to occur in the district of Kohala. Hāmakua, Hilo, Puna, Ka‘ū and the summit areas may also experience high winds.

Due to the warning and advisory, the following are issued:

  • Owners of small boats and aircraft should take measures to secure their crafts.
  • Exercise extreme caution with all coastal and ocean activities as winds will generate rough and choppy conditions.
  • Residents and property owners should take action to secure loose outdoor objects before winds increase.
  • If you have outdoor plans today, be prepared for very windy conditions.
  • As in all high wind conditions, do expect possibility of power, phone, and internet interruptions
  • Motorists should be on the alert for debris on the roadways caused by the winds.

In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory for the shorelines of Kohala, Hāmakua, Hilo, Puna and Ka‘ū.

A High Surf Advisory means there is a threat to life and property from the surf. Oceanfront residents, all ocean activities, and beachgoers are advised to be on the alert for possible strong currents and breaking waves.

You are urged to take precautions to prepare for these conditions.

Gov. Ige: False Alert ‘Will Never Happen Again’

Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige issued a message to residents and visitors of Hawai‘i on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 1:07 p.m., the day after an erroneous message was sent by the state’s emergency management agency, warning of an incoming ballistic missile.

“On Saturday, Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors experienced an unfortunate situation that has never happened before and will never happen again—a false alert issued by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency that a ballistic missile was on its way to the Hawaiian Islands.

“On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I deeply apologize for this false alert that created stress, anxiety and fear of a crisis in our residents and guests.

“I can personally assure each and every resident and visitor that steps have already been taken by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to ensure that a situation of this type never happens again.

“The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is committed to protecting the people of Hawai‘i, and over the past year it has been taking responsible measures to prepare for the highly unlikely event of a missile attack. As a state government, we must learn from this unfortunate error and continue to prepare for any safety threat to Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors—whether it is a man-made threat or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tsunami.

“In the next few days, I will continue meeting with our emergency preparedness team and personally talking with families, individuals and leaders from around our state to ensure we reach every household. We must also do what we can to demand peace and a de-escalation of tensions with North Korea.

“Again, on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I apologize for yesterday’s events and any hardship and inconvenience this created for you, your family and loved ones.”

During a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 13, 2018, Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige said he is “angry and disappointed” following a false alarm notification issued by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), warning the public of an incoming ballistic missile.

HI-EMA confirmed that there was no ballistic missile and that there were no computer hacks to its system. The message was sent out due to human error, according to authorities.

HI-EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi said he “deeply apologizes” for the incident, adding that he accepts responsibility because it was “his team” that was involved.

HI-EMA officials said they have already taken measures to ensure that an incident such as the one that occurred this morning does not happen again. HI-EMA has also started a review of cancellation procedures to inform the public immediately if a cancellation is warranted.

“We understand that false alarms such as this can erode public confidence in our emergency notification systems,” HI-EMA officials said. “We understand the serious nature of the warning alert systems and the need to get this right 100% of the time.”

“I know first-hand how today’s false alarm affected all of us here in Hawaiʻi, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused,” said Gov. Ige. “I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can do to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing,”

On the recommendations of Miyagi, the governor has suspended all future drills until HI-EMA has completed a full analysis of the event.

HI-EMA has already instituted a two-person activation/verification rule for tests as well as actual missile launch notifications.

An automatic cancellation command that that can be triggered within seconds of an error has been put in place.

This is the process that HI-EMA is currently reviewing:

Expanding notification processes for Hawaiʻi’s Congressional delegations, county mayors and key staff.

A formal preliminary report of findings and corrective actions will be issued next week.

According to HI-EMA officials, in the case of an actual event, it would take 20 minutes from launch to impact for a missile from North Korea to reach Hawaiʻi.

Authorities would spend the first five minutes characterizing the launch to determine the missile’s path. Once it is determined that is incoming to Hawaiʻi, the warning point person has the authority to press the button to initiate public notification.

If an actual threat exists and the public notification has been issued, residents and visitors of Hawai‘i would have an estimated 11 to 13 minutes to get inside, stay inside and stay informed.

The federal government’s Ready.org website offers guidelines on what to do before, during and after a nuclear blast.


Gov. Ige Statement on False Alarm
Hawai‘i Reacts to Ballistic Missile False Alarm
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority on Ballistic Missile False Alarm
Hawai‘i Emergency Management Attributes False Alarm to Human Error

Gov. Ige Statement on Today’s False Alarm

Hawai‘i Gov. Ige released the following statement after meetings and debriefings with leaders at the Department of Defense and Hawai‘i Emergency Management after today’s false alarm to an incoming ballistic missile:

Today is a day most of us will never forget. A terrifying day when our worst nightmares appeared to become a reality. A day where we frantically grabbed what we could, tried to figure out how and where to shelter and protect ourselves and our ‘ohana, said our “I love yous,” and prayed for peace.

I know firsthand how today’s false notification affected all of us here in Hawai‘i, and I am sorry for the pain and confusion it caused. I, too, am extremely upset about this and am doing everything I can to immediately improve our emergency management systems, procedures and staffing.

I have spent the morning with Gen. Logan, Hi-EMA Administrator Vern Miayagi and their teams and have directed that they make immediate changes. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again.

I encourage all of us to take stock, determine what we all can do better to be prepared in the future – as a state, county and in our own households. We must also do what we can to demand peace and a de-escalation with North Korea, so that warnings and sirens can become a thing of the past.

Governor David Ige


VIDEO: Damon Tucker interviews Mayor Harry Kim.

UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 11:13 a.m.

Maui County Emergency Management Agency Officer Herman Andaya told Big Island Now just before 11 a.m. today that the incident occurred during a shift change at the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency in Honolulu.

It is the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency that sounds these alerts, Andaya said.

There are three shift changes throughout day at HEMA, operating 24/7, he said.

“They have procedures in place,” Andaya said. “They go through a drill of what to do at every shift change.”

“It is our understanding that at the 8 a.m. shift change, someone ‘hit the wrong button’—erroneously sounding the alert,” he said.

“The false alarm is still under investigation by the State of Hawaii,” Andaya said. “Although it was a false alarm, we should take this opportunity to prepare ourselves for such emergencies. Our residents should remember that if this was an actual ballistic missile attack, the public is advised to get inside, stay inside and stay informed.”

The public should also be reminded that prior to an emergency, make a plan, create an emergency kit and stay informed (see “EMERGENCY KIT RECOMMENDATIONS” below).

A guidance summary of what to do in the event of an actual attack can be found online.

UPDATE: 10:43 a.m.

The following is a statement by Sen. J. Kalani English, Senate Majority Leader, on today’s false ballistic threat alarm:

“The events surrounding this morning’s false alarm regarding a “ballistic missile threat to Hawaiʻi” is both unfortunate and very unacceptable. The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (Civil Defense) and the United States Pacific Command Center have confirmed that there is no threat to our islands.

“I am outraged that a mistake of this magnitude occurred. The initial alert was sent out via Civil Defense at 8:15am HST and it took the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency over 38 minutes to clarify that the “alarm” was inadvertent and indeed a mistake. The panic and pandemonium that many in Hawaiʻi experienced was unwarranted and completely unnecessary.

“I will be working with my colleagues in the Legislature to investigate into this matter and to provide the proper oversight to ensure that our state emergency alert system is properly functioning. We need to ensure that this never happens again and I am committed to doing so.”

UPDATE: 9:28 a.m.

Gov. David Ige is meeting this morning with top officials of the State Department of Defense and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.

“While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future,” said Gov. Ige.

House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki released the following statement after the false missile alarm:

“This system we have been told to rely upon failed and failed miserably today. I am deeply troubled by this misstep that could have had dire consequences. Measures must be taken to avoid further incidents that caused wholesale alarm and chaos today.

“Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations. Apparently, the wrong button was pushed and it took over 30 minutes for a correction to be announced. Parents and children panicked during those 30 minutes.

“The Hawai‘i House of Representatives will immediately investigate what happened and there be consequences. This cannot happen again.”

News sources have simply reported that “the wrong button was pushed.”

ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, Jan. 13, 8:10 a.m.

The alert sent out at 8:07 a.m. is an official false alarm, according to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense.

According to a police officer interviewed by Big Island Now Reporter Damon Tucker in front of Hawai‘i County Civil Defense headquarters, the alarm was sent in error. It was supposed to be a scheduled test.

At 8:36 a.m., the COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I Civil Defense issued this information: “Please disregard message of nuclear attack. There is NO THREAT of Missile Launch at this time.”

The alert said, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawai‘i. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

A disaster alert was sent out at 8:07 a.m. About 30 minutes later, officials released information about the false alarm.

In the meantime, there was no additional information available on radio or TV, and none was provided to the media by official outlets.

No warning sirens were sounded throughout the state.

It has been reported that an incoming missile from North Korea could reach Hawai‘i in 15 to 20 minutes. The state has no nuclear shelters.
As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, Hawai‘i has resumed the monthly tests at 11:45 a.m. on the first business day of every month to inform its residents of an impending nuclear attack.
The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency said that the monthly tests are intended to update the population on what the agency is doing to “prepare our state for a nuclear threat.”

However, authorities say the possibility of a North Korean nuclear strike is unlikely.

In response to BigIslandNow.com’s disaster alert post, Facebook post and video post, Big Islanders expressed their concerns along with gratitude for the information—especially the false alarm notice:
The frightening part… we believed it, because our leadership has been so incredibly poor.
The concern here is that citizens will now be conditioned to respond ineffectively in the event of a true emergency. Major fail.
Sounds like some emergency official types need to be sent packing.
If Trump pushes the big red button on this mishap, there’s no turning back. We want PEACE.
No the statement they MEANT to issue was, “We cannot apologize enough for the costly mistake of issuing a false nuclear missile alarm to the citizens of Hawaii. We are looking into this matter and will ensure it will not repeat in the future.” You don’t just tell people to DISREGARD after all that mayhem. An apology is due IMMEDIATELY!
I called my sis right away crying scared. I still cannot breathe have a knot on my entire body. This is totally unacceptable. They need to take this seriously.
I hope they will track ER visits for cardiac events this week. Spoken from a 9/11 mental health provider, cortisol levels for the entire state just sky-rocketed. There will certainly be medical fallout that should be documented.
I am extremely surprised how sporadic coverage was on the local radio and tv during the alert! In such circumstances, black out all programmed shows and set alert message(s) on repeat or switch to local news reporter!
Sounds like a scare tactic. Someone’s head should roll.
Wow that’s a big mistake!
Appreciate you reporting the news as I couldn’t find it anywhere and no other messages came over our phone.
Radio stations need a live body to make intercede recorded programming.
 It shows how many people are not prepared.
Someone needs to be fired!
Thank God!

If this was an actual warning, not a false alarm, Hawai‘i residents and visitors should immediately seek shelter. Again, the state has no nuclear fallout shelters.


  • 14 days of food, water and medications:
  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
  • Nonperishable food.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Battery-powered or solar-powered radio with extra batteries.
  • Important documents in a sealed plastic bag:
  • Identification.
  • Debit and credit card information.
  • Banking information.
  • All insurance information.
  • Healthcare directives.
  • Copy of property title/deeds.
  • Copy of prescriptions and dosages.
  • Phone list of family and important numbers.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Plastic bag and ties for personal sanitation.
  • Matches, blankets and tarps.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Personal hygiene items:
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Soap and shampoo.
  • Antibacterial hand wipes.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Deodorant.
  • Eyecare (if needed).
  • Moisturizing lotion.
  • Extra cash in small bills.

Contact your emergency management/county civil defense agency to report siren operation issues:

Hawai‘i County: (808) 935-0031
Maui County: (808) 270-7285
City and County of Honolulu: (808) 723-8960
Kaua‘i County: (808) 241-1800

Hawai‘i Completes First Attack Warning Test Since Cold War

Almost Half in Hawai‘i Unable to Pay for Basic Necessities

The Aloha United Way, with the help of sponsors, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Bank of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools, released its United Way Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Report – Hawai‘i, during a press conference at the state Capitol on O‘ahu. The press conference was attended by top business executives and state Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler.

The ALICE report press conference was attended by top business executives and state Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler. Courtesy photo.

ALICE represents hardworking people that interact with others every day, the report disclosed. They are the people of our community who are child care providers, wait staff, cashiers, teaching assistants and others that work one, two or even three jobs yet still remain only one crisis away from being at greater risk of chronic health issues or loss of housing.

ALICE have income above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford basic necessities including housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.

In Hawai‘i, there are 165,013 ALICE households (37% of total households) while another 47,066 households, (11% of total households), live below the federal poverty level. In total, 48% of Hawai‘i households are ALICE and below.

Everyone was ALICE, is ALICE, or knows ALICE. ALICE is a vital part of our community. When ALICE struggles we are all impacted, the report said. The consequences to the community are increased healthcare and infrastructure costs, increased employee absenteeism, higher insurance premiums, reduced economic productivity and much more.

“ALICE individuals and families constitute over one-third of Hawai’i’s population, and it is essential to the well-being of our state that we recognize their presence, acknowledge their struggles, and offer support and services that will help,” said Aloha United Way President and CEO Cindy Adams. “The report allows us to identify their challenges and, through cross-sector coalition-building, work toward solutions that are effective, sustainable and long-lasting.”

This report is a call to action to inform statewide policy, philanthropy and allocation of resources.

For more information and to view of a copy of the full report, visit Aloha United Way.

Registration Open for 2018 Court Interpreter Orientation Workshops

The Hawaii State Judiciary is seeking individuals who speak English and another language, as well as certified sign language interpreters to become court interpreters. Register today for one of the workshops. This is a mandatory requirement to become a Judiciary court interpreter.

The two-day workshops will be held:

  • Oahu: Feb. 24-25 or March 24-25 at the Supreme Court Building in downtown Honolulu
  • Kauai: Feb. 13-14 at the Kauai Courthouse in Lihue
  • Maui: Feb. 28-March 1 at the Maui Driver Education Office in the Main Street Promenade Building
  • Hawaii Island (Kona): March 6-7 at the Kona Driver Education Office in the Kealakekua Business Plaza
  • Hawaii Island (Hilo): March 15-16 at the Hilo Courthouse

The deadline to register is January 31. Registration forms are available on the Judiciary’s website and from the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 808-539-4860.

The workshop registration fee is only $50, thanks to support from the State Office of Language Access. (The workshop would have cost $150.)

In addition to successfully completing the workshop, persons seeking to become a court interpreter must pass a written English proficiency exam, court interpreter ethics exam, and criminal background check.

Court interpreters are independent contractors and not Judiciary employees. They assist the courts in providing access to justice to court customers with limited English proficiency. Depending on their performance on written and oral exams, court interpreters are paid $25 to $55 per hour with a two-hour minimum.

For more information, contact the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 808-539-4860.

Hilo Man Loses Finger in Fireworks Accident

The Hawai‘i Fire Department responded to a report of an aerial fireworks accident and injury on Dec. 31, 2017, at 339 Desha Ave. in Hilo.

Fire personnel arrived on the scene at 9:30 p.m. to find a man in his 40s with his right index finger amputated from an aerial-type fireworks that accidentally exploded while he was holding it.

He was transported to Hilo Medical Center.

Top Scientists to Converge on the Big Island – Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences

More than 1,000 of the world’s top academics, researchers and practitioners in computer science and information technology will gather at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawai‘i County for the Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), January 2-6, 2018.

Sponsored by the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the conference will cover trending topics and future concepts that may lead to the next big technological discovery in the world.

The conference will feature 10 research tracks, and 33 symposia, workshops and tutorials on topics such as digital transformation, big data, cybersecurity, cognitive computer and smart toys.

Over the past five decades, HICSS has built a distinguished reputation as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas in the information systems (IS) industry. It is one of the longest-running general-purpose scientific conferences in the world and is recognized for its ability to bring together top IS academics and professionals from more than 1,000 universities in an interactive working environment.

“Many of HICSS’ past papers have contributed to discoveries in information technologies and scientific knowledge in the IS industry,” said Tung Bui, HICSS conference chair and a professor of informational technology management at the Shidler College of Business.

“Early research theories and models of the Internet, drones, social media, human technology, etc., were all discussed at HICSS years before its debut. Its influence will continue to strongly shape the future direction of technology research in the world,” Bui said.

HICSS is the top conference in terms of citations, according to Google Scholar. Approximately 600 papers will be presented through 139 sessions. This yearʻs conference will feature two keynote speakers: Inhi Suh, general manager of IBM Collaboration Solutions, presenting “Cognitive Computing and the Future,” and Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, presenting “Toward a Global Research Platform for Big Data Analysis.”

The proceedings of the 2018 conference are available online.

Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences

Throughout its 50-year history, HICSS has promoted technological innovations and has advanced the research and development in the IS and technology fields publishing approximately 19,000 refereed papers. HICSS has also featured renowned researchers and practitioners from the technology industry who served as keynote speakers.
Over the past five decades, HICSS has built a distinguished reputation as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas in the information systems (IS) industry. It is one of the longest-running general-purpose scientific conferences in the world and is recognized for its ability to bring together top IS academics and professionals from more than 1,000 universities in an interactive working environment.

For more information, visit the HICSS website at www.hicss.hawaii.edu.

Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry Completes Fisheries Enforcement Patrol Off Hawaii

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in Honolulu, recently completed a 10-day patrol of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the Hawaiian Islands region. They conducted six boardings on Hawaii-based, U.S.-flagged long-line fishing vessels and issued eight safety and fisheries regulations violations.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) crew conducts a boarding from their 26-foot over-the-horizon small boat in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off Hawaii, Dec. 19, 2017. The crew was on their first Living Marine Resources patrol since commissioning the vessel Oct. 31. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

“Oliver Berry is ideally suited for challenging offshore conditions in the Main Hawaiian Islands. The crew performed admirably in the heavy seas we encountered and when launching and recovering our standardized small boats from the stern to conduct boardings. We are specifically designed for several missions including search and rescue and fisheries enforcement. We greatly improve the Coast Guard’s on water presence with more range and operational hours over our predecessor, the 110-foot patrol boats,” said Lt. Kenneth Franklin, commanding officer, Oliver Berry.

Oliver Berry’s crew enforced fishery regulations in the region, to ensure the estimated $7 billion industry, which provides more than half of the global tuna commercial catch, remains sustainable. Boarding teams also ensured crews are in compliance with federal and state regulations regarding all required lifesaving equipment. Citations were issued when applicable, requiring master’s to correct discrepancies. This is a critical role in the Coast Guard’s mission to preserve a natural resource, highly migratory fish stocks, essential to the fishermen and economy of not only the United States, but many Pacific nations.

On Dec. 19, while conducting a boarding of a U.S.-flagged longline fishing vessel, the boarding team suspected a foreign national was acting as the vessel captain and operating the vessel. The operation of a U.S.-flagged commercial fishing vessel by a foreign national is illegal. After an investigation, the vessel was cited for the alleged manning violation also known as a paper captain and the evidence was forwarded to the Coast Guard Hearing Office for further review and possible legal action. The penalty for operating with a paper captain once their documentation has been voided is a civil fine of up to $15,000 per day.

The Oliver Berry crew also hosted several members of the Hawaii County government and the Hilo-based Navy League during a port visit in Hilo. The crew showcased the capabilities of the cutter’s 26-foot over-the-horizon small boat and advanced command and control electronics to demonstrate how the newest Fast Response Cutter will benefit Hawaii County, while based in Honolulu.

“We all enjoyed engaging with our local government partners in Hilo and explaining how our cutter can assist in future search and rescue or law enforcement cases near the Big Island. Our goal is always to build stronger relationships between all our partners throughout the state,” said Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll, executive officer, Cutter Oliver Berry.

Oliver Berry is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement and search and rescue. Oliver Berry has advanced seakeeping abilities and can achieve speeds in excess of 28 knots, with an endurance of five days.

For more information about Oliver Berry, please contact District 14 Public Affairs at 808-535-3230 or Oliver Berry’s public affairs officer at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscg.mil.

Ige Appoints Interim Director of Department of Human Resources Development

Hawaii Governor Ige appointed Ryker Wada to serve as interim director of the Department of Human Resources Development effective Jan. 1, 2018 following the Dec. 31st retirement of Director James Nishimoto, who devoted over 40 years of his career to public service.

Ryker Wada

Wada has served as deputy director of the department since Dec. 2016. Prior to this he was the Certificated Personnel Regional Officer for the Windward District of the Department of Education (DOE) where he was responsible for human resources and labor relations.

Before joining DOE he served as the Managing Attorney for the Honolulu Office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Wada earned a B.A. from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Governor Ige Releases $3 Million in CIP Funding for East Hawaii Region

Sen. Ruderman

Senator Russel Ruderman announces the following release of Capital Improvement Funds:

I am pleased to announce that Governor David Ige’s administration has released Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation, to fund construction and equipment costs for renovation, acquisition, and installation of radiology equipment in the East Hawai‘i Region (Hilo Medical Center, Hale Hoola Hamakua, and Kau Hospital).

Amount Released: $3,000,000.

Thank you Governor Ige for your efforts on Senate District 2’s behalf.

Projects such as these are critical components of the public infrastructure and contribute to building a better home for our kupuna, keiki, and all the residents of Hawai‘i.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Issues LGBT Travel Studies for Japan, Taiwan Markets

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced today that two research studies have been issued providing insight on the profiles, preferences and opinions of LGBT travelers from Japan and Taiwan, as it relates to visiting the Hawaiian Islands.

Commissioned by HTA’s Tourism Research Division, the studies were conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, a San Francisco-based firm specializing in LGBT consumer research. The two new studies complete a set of six studies that are the first ever done analyzing LGBT travel to the Hawaiian Islands by the State of Hawaii.

Earlier this year, four studies were issued evaluating LGBT travelers from the United States, Canada, Australia and China.

All six LGBT travel studies are posted online in the Reports Section under Target Lifestyle Segments of HTA’s website at www.HawaiiTourismAuthority.org.

Jennifer Chun, HTA Director of Tourism Research, said the studies on Japan and Taiwan provide valuable information from survey respondents in each country that Hawaii tourism industry partners can utilize to attract more LGBT travelers from these two markets.

“The studies’ findings reveal there is potential in Japan and Taiwan to reach a larger percentage of LGBT travelers from both markets,” said Chun. “Hawaii tourism partners can customize their marketing programs to make a vacation in the islands a more enticing option compared to other destinations in Asia that are currently drawing the bulk of LGBT travelers from Japan and Taiwan.

“Hawaii’s attributes are well-known to LGBT travelers from Japan, but the research indicates that special offers targeting this particular segment would be well-received and help allay concerns about Hawaii being a good value.

“Taiwan appears to be a budding LGBT travel market for Hawaii that can be developed through increased awareness about the offerings of the islands beyond our beautiful beaches. For example, Taiwan’s LGBT travelers enjoy excellence in cuisine and touring historic sites and landmarks, but they don’t yet associate these attributes with Hawaii.

“Furthermore, Taiwan’s survey respondents do not view Hawaii as an LGBT-friendly destination, which is not the case and a perception that can be changed by educating travelers about our longstanding legacy of diversity and acceptance of all people worldwide, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.”

Noteworthy findings from the LGBT travel studies about Japan and Taiwan include the following:


  • Survey respondents averaged 3.3 leisure trips outside Japan’s mainland in the past three years, with gay and bisexual men taking more trips (3.6 trips) than lesbian and bisexual women (2.9 trips).
  • Among destinations visited in the past three years, Hawaii ranks sixth among survey respondents at 14 percent. The top five destinations were Taiwan (47%), Thailand (33%), Okinawa (32%), Korea (22%) and Hong Kong (19%).
  • Of the survey respondents, 43 percent have visited Hawaii since adulthood and, within that group, 33 percent have visited Hawaii in the past three years. Oahu has been visited by 77 percent of respondents followed by the island of Hawaii at 32 percent and Maui at 10 percent.
  • The top three reasons for Japan LGBT travelers not visiting Hawaii since adulthood or within the past three years were “financial reasons/travel costs” (31%), “better value at another destination” (27%), and “not enough time to travel” (25%). LGBT-related reasons were not a factor.


  • Within Asia, Taiwan is considered to be very progressive in regard to LGBT rights. On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that the definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman as unconstitutional. The ruling paves the way for Taiwan to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Survey respondents took an average of three vacations outside Taiwan within the past three years. The most popular destination for both LGBT men and women is Japan at 71 percent, with the visitation rate being similar to the general population. Bali, the Maldives and Guam are all more favorable as travel destinations than Hawaii.
  • Only 8 percent of survey respondents have visited Hawaii. The most common reasons for not visiting Hawaii were “financial reasons/travel costs” (42%), “not enough time to travel” (36%), and “not familiar with what there is to see and do in Hawaii” (35%).

About the Hawaii Tourism Authority

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is responsible for strategically managing the State of Hawaii’s marketing initiatives to support tourism. HTA’s goal is to optimize tourism’s benefits for Hawaii, while being attentive to the interests of travelers, the community and visitor industry. Established in 1998 to support Hawaii’s leading industry and largest employer, HTA continually strives to help ensure the sustainability of tourism’s success.

HPD Asking Public’s Assistance in Reporting Illegal Fireworks

Hawaiʻi Island police, concerned about illegal aerial fireworks, are asking for the public’s assistance in reporting information about the location of these dangerous and illegal pyrotechnic devices as well as the identity of people in possession of them.

An incident on Oʻahu just last New Year’s Day resulted in a woman’s death and her male companion being critically injured. These explosive aerial devices are extremely dangerous to anyone nearby and should only be handled by trained, licensed professionals. We have already had numerous reports of these devices being ignited on the island.

Hawaiʻi state law dictates that anyone purchasing, possessing, storing, setting off, igniting or discharging aerial devices, display fireworks or articles pyrotechnic without a valid pyrotechnic permit may face felony charges resulting in a five-year term of imprisonment if convicted.

Please remember that anyone igniting aerial pyrotechnic displays risk not only their life but also the lives of loved ones nearby and potentially neighbors as well.

Anyone having information about the location of illegal fireworks is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or 911 if it is an emergency situation.

HDOT Celebrates New Improvement Projects at Hilo Harbor

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Harbors Division, celebrated the blessing of Hilo Harbor’s newly completed Pier 4 cargo wharf project, the Pier 1 cargo yard and passenger terminal improvements. The projects are designed to increase operational space and increase cargo handling efficiencies. The improvements to the passenger terminal will create a more pleasant and comfortable environment for cruise passengers.

Kahu Danny Akaka Jr. performs a blessing of the Pier 4 cargo wharf project, Pier 1 cargo yard and passenger terminal improvements at Hilo Harbor.

“These projects are more than brick and mortar improvements, they’re about providing opportunities for our people and meeting the needs of our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are ensuring the viability of our commercial harbor system and encouraging a healthy job market that includes work opportunities in transportation, maritime related trades, hospitality and tourism, not to mention the local consultants and contractors the state has employed to complete the job.”

The Pier 1 Shed Modifications, Phase II project consisted of several improvements that upgraded the operational efficiency at Pier 1 by removing approximately 40 percent of the Pier 1 shed structure. This will allow vessel operators improved utilization of the pier, increasing cargo yard capacity and improving the cruise passenger experience. In addition, there is new asphalt concrete pavement, fire protection and lighting in the new cargo yard.

Other improvements to the Pier 1 shed create a more pleasant and comfortable environment to enhance the cruise passenger experience in Hilo. They include renovated restrooms, a new security room, a new fire alarm system and additional fire sprinklers throughout the shed. Work also included lead paint and asbestos abatement and disposal.

“Our shed modifications at Pier 1 enable better utilization of pier side facilities, helping to improve efficiencies in our cargo yard while improvements inside the passenger terminal will make our visitors’ experience more comfortable,” explained Interim Director of Transportation, Jade Butay. “In addition, the new improvements at our Pier 4 cargo terminal will alleviate some of the logistical challenges and improve our interisland cargo operations in the Port of Hilo. I want to congratulate our Harbors team as well as our partners – the Hawaii Harbors Users Group (HHUG), our consultant and contractors on a job well done.”

Development of the Pier 4 cargo terminal was separated into several phases including: dredging, container yard development, and Kumau Street improvements. In addition to the newly constructed Pier 4 wharf structure, safety and efficiency improvements were made by separating cargo and passenger operations at Hilo Harbor. An additional berth space was also created to accommodate the growing general maritime and cruise industries. Finally, a new interisland pier replaces the aging Pier 2, which is unable to accommodate the new container handling equipment and vessels.

“This is a momentous occasion not only for the Department of Transportation Harbors Division but for our cargo operations in Hilo as well,” stated Glenn Hong, President, Young Brothers, Ltd. “We’ve worked closely with the department to design this modern interisland cargo terminal at Pier 4 that will meet Hawaii Island’s needs into the future, allowing us to return to a two ramp operation so we can continue to serve this retail market and especially the mom-n-pop businesses that are the heart of our local economy. I want to extend my appreciation to Gov. Ige and his administration, Interim Director Jade Butay, Harbors Deputy Darrell Young and his Harbors team for their collaboration and hard work in making these facility improvements a reality. Mahalo Nui!”

The Pier 4 terminal project adds much needed cargo capacity to the Port of Hilo. Constructed in the early 1920s, Pier 2 cargo activities are restricted, limiting operations and full utilization of the terminal space. Delivery of interisland cargo on Pier 2’s narrow apron requires use of the area between Piers 1 and 3, creating a comingling of both cargo and cruise ship operations that compromises the safety of passengers and pedestrians and affects cargo operating efficiency.

Partners In Development Foundation Receives FLEX Grant Award From Hawai‘i Community Foundation

Partners In Development Foundation (PIDF) has received a grant award for unrestricted support from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) in the amount of $49,000.

This was made possible through their FLEX Grants program, which is made up of a partnership of many funds to support operating of high performing nonprofits. This particular award was comprised of the following funds:

  • Annie Sinclair Knudsen Memorial Fund – Restricted to support programs/projects benefiting Kauaʻi.
  • Marisla Fund – Funds restricted to support programs/projects benefiting Kauaʻi.
  • Reverend Takie Okumura Family Fund – To support programs that support healthy development of Hawaiʻi’s young children (birth to 5 years old) and youth (ages 6-20 years old).
  • Richard Smart Fund – Funds restricted to support programs/projects benefiting Waimea.
  • Tai Up Yang Fund
  • Henry A. Zuberano Early Education Fund

Funds received will benefit PIDF’s Tūtū and Me Traveling Preschool, Hui Hoʻomalu Foster Care program, Ke Kama Pono Safehouse for adjudicated youth, Nā Pono No Nā ʻOhana Family education program on the islands of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i and Oʻahu, as well as PIDF operations statewide.

Hawaii Gets Federal Nod on ESSA Plan, Approval Expected Soon

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) this morning received encouraging feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) following a review of its State plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). USED officials gave the indication for “ultimate approval of the plan” during a call with HIDOE officials.

“We had a great discussion with federal education officials who determined that Hawaii is well on its way for approval once we make minor adjustments to our consolidated plan,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “The State plan is a culmination of a community effort and it’s rewarding to see that the USED recognizes Hawaii’s effort and commitment to providing equitable and accessible education.”

ESSA is a reauthorization of the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It replaces the prior reauthorization, most commonly known as No Child Left Behind.

Following the Hawaii State Board of Education approval, the Superintendent and Governor David Ige submitted the signed state’s ESSA plan to USED in September 2017. The Hawaii ESSA plan is designed to support HIDOE’s Strategic Plan objectives, which provides common direction for public schools to empower students in their learning.

“I’m pleased to learn that we are close to getting our ESSA plan approved,” said BOE Chairman Lance Mizumoto. “The plan reflects our collective commitment to providing a well-rounded education for all students.”

HIDOE is making the necessary adjustments where further clarification is being sought on student supports that are already in place. Once the non-substantial changes are made, Superintendent Kishimoto will send the State plan to the USED for final approval.

For information on the state plan, visit http://bit.ly/HIDOE-ESSAfaqs.

Click to read

Read the USED Hawaii State plan interim feedback letter here.

FREE Wi-Fi Now Available at Honolulu Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division is pleased to deliver free Wi-Fi at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) just in time for the holidays. A soft launch began December 14, 2017 and within minutes travelers discovered the free Wi-Fi and immediately connected to the new service. The Wi-Fi is available through Boingo Wireless (Nasdaq: WIFI) which operates wireless networks in major airports, stadiums, campuses, military bases and commercial properties throughout the country and world.

“Free Wi-Fi is a highly requested service and my administration is thrilled to make it happen,” said Governor David Y. Ige. “Thousands of people have connected in just the first week of the new service, further enhancing the passenger experience.”

“Boingo is proud to work alongside HDOT to unlock fast, free connectivity for travelers,” said David Hagan, CEO, Boingo. “We look forward to connecting the millions of passengers that fly through Hawaii’s airports each year and satisfy their mobile demands.”

The Wi-Fi coverage area at HNL includes the Overseas Terminal and Central Concourse on the first and second levels between ticket lobbies 4-8, gates 12-25 and baggage claims E-H. Boingo is working on wireless infrastructure improvements that will add Wi-Fi coverage to the Diamond Head Concourse, Ewa Concourse and Interisland Terminal in the coming months, with airport-wide service anticipated for early spring 2018.

Customers can receive unlimited fast, free Wi-Fi sponsored by advertisers, or can opt for even faster speeds by purchasing a one-day or monthly Boingo subscription. Additional information can be found by visiting the following FAQ website by clicking here.

In addition to Wi-Fi, Boingo is building a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network at HNL, a wireless solution that is designed to boost cellular connectivity for passengers.

HDOT and Boingo will bring Wi-Fi and DAS networks to additional airports in Hawaii including, Kahului Airport (OGG), Hilo International Airport (ITO), Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) and Lihue Airport (LIH) beginning in 2018.

Boingo offers 24/7 customer service by calling 800-880-4117 or emailing support@boingo.com.