Abercrombie Releases Money for Hawaii Airports – ITO to Get $3.3 Million

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $335 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP). These funds will improve the air travel experience for Hawaii’s residents and visitors that drive our economy, while invigorating our growing construction industry and creating local jobs in the process.

“We have seen great strides in our Hawaii Airports Modernization Program over the past few years, and the release of these funds is evidence that we remain committed to transforming our airports into world-class facilities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Any investment in our airports is an investment in our economy and jobs.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

Kahului Airport Consolidated Car Rental Facility

Kahului Airport Consolidated Car Rental Facility

$305,500,000 – Consolidated Car Rental Facility and Roadway Improvements, Kahului Airport, Maui – Construction funds for a multi-level consolidated car rental facility that will include a customer service building, quick turnaround, ready and return vehicle parking spaces, four 15,000-gallon fuel storage tanks, a people mover system to and from the terminal, site improvements, roadway connections to airport terminal roadways, additional employee parking spaces and potential flat-plate, non-reflective photovoltaic panels. The new facility will provide added customer convenience and will reduce traffic congestion at the airport. Access to the new facility will be through a new access road from Hana Highway to Airport Loop Road.

$14,460,000 – Overseas Terminal, 2nd Level Roadway Improvements, Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Construction funds to improve the 2nd level roadway fronting the Overseas Terminal. Improvements will include repair of the concrete roadway, replacement of existing expansion joints, drainage system repairs, roadway lighting system repairs, hazardous material abatement and demolition of existing planter boxes.

$11,749,000 – Concession Improvements, Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Construction funds for an additional 28,000 square feet of concession space for the Ewa Concourse, which currently has just 5,200 square feet. The project will include the demolition and/or renovation of existing restrooms and the enclosure of the exterior sidewalk by relocating the existing curtain wall to the Wiki-Wiki shuttle roadway, including necessary interior improvements. The concession area development should allow the state Department of Transportation to maximize potential sales revenue, and improve the passenger experience by bringing the concessions closer to the gates.

$3,300,000 – Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Facility Improvements, Hilo International Airport, Hawaii Island – Construction funds for a new ARFF station to replace the current one, which does not meet the requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration. The current ARFF building will be utilized for storage upon completion of the new facility.

After Dark in the Park – May Events

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in May. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

NEW! Artist-in-Residence Program. In conjunction with the non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will launch its first Artist-in-Residence program, continuing the legacy of the famous volcano-inspired artists. The debut artist will be Master of Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia‘imeaokekanaka San Nicolas. Rick will provide a public exhibit and lecture about his artwork, his inspiration from Hawai‘i’s sacred volcanoes, and the history and culture of Hawai‘i. His work is currently on exhibit at the Volcano House, and will soon be in Honolulu at the Bishop Museum. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., May 6, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

The 1924

The 1924 eruption of Kilauea. NPS Photo

The 1924 Explosive Eruption of Kīlauea. The May 1924 eruption from Halema‘uma‘u Crater caused community turmoil and one death. Yet of all the known explosive eruptions of Kīlauea before 1924, it was the smallest—the runt of the litter. This small eruption and its magnified impact illustrate the interplay between hazard (what the volcano provides) and risk (the impact of the hazard on us).  On the 90th anniversary of the eruption, HVO geologist Don Swanson and volunteer Ben Gaddis address what happened in 1924, what caused the explosive eruption, and how it stacks up against the much larger eruptions of the past and, probably, the future. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., May 13, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Tī Leaf Kūpe‘e Demonstration. Teana Kahoohanohano shares her knowledge and love of hula adornments. Learn how tī leaves are used to create stunning wristlets and anklets worn for certain hula dances. Watch as a simple leave is transformed into a work of art before your eyes. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., May 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

After Dark in the Park Goes to the Movies. Sam Low presents his classic seafaring film, The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific. Anthropologist and filmmaker Sam Low tells the real story of how a thousand years before Europeans knew the Pacific existed, Polynesian seafarers explored and settled this vast ocean using only natural signs to guide them. It’s one of the most amazing stories of human exploration and settlement, and it’s never been properly told. Shot on location in Huahine, Fiji, Satawai and other locations, the 1983 documentary features traditional Satawalese nagivator Mau Piailug, the sailing vessel Hokule‘a, and her crew. Low will be in attendance to answer questions and sign his new book, Hawaiki Rising – Hokule‘a, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance. Both the book and the DVD will be available for sale through the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association bookstore the evening of the program. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., May 20 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Mark Yamanaka

Mark Yamanaka

Mark Yamanaka in Concert. Come enjoy free island music with Hilo’s own Mark Yamanaka, a four-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer and songwriter. Mark will share original songs from his debut CD, Lei Pua Kenikeni. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., May 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Ka‘ū ‘Ohana Day. Calling keiki of all ages to join park rangers and take a closer look at the park’s Kahuku Unit for a day of activities. Connect the culture, people and the ‘āina (land) through mo‘olelo (stories), GPS, and compass. A free lunch will be provided when you sign up by calling (808) 985-6019. Deadline to register is May 16. Sponsored by the park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center. Free.
When: Sat., May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Kahuku Unit, at mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū on the mauka side of Highway 11

Ohe Kapela

‘Ohe Kapela

‘Ohe Kapala Demonstration. ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, were utilized to present many unique designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa.  Today, these exceptional designs are being used as patterns on all types of fabric. Join Park Ranger Koa Johnasen as he demonstrates how ‘ohe (bamboo) are carved into beautiful designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn about this distinctive art form. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., May 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

When Whales Fly

When whales fly?

When Whales Fly

Saw this picture on Twitter… not sure who the original photographer is.

UPDATE: (Pic by Matthew Thornton, 2012) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/150230/view/ … pic.twitter.com/yDnq9mvQ6Y

Island Air Signs Purchase Agreement for up to Six Planes – Looking to Expand

Bombardier Aerospace announced today that Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air) has placed a firm order for two Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners and has also taken options for four additional Q400 NextGen aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered with a dual-class, 71-seat configuration. Island Air is Hawaii’s leading regional airline and second oldest carrier.

Q400 NextGen turboprop

Inside a Q400 NextGen turboprop

Based on the list price of the Q400 NextGen airliner, the firm order is valued at approximately $60.9 million US. The value could increase to $188 million US should Island Air exercise all its options.

“As part of our ongoing restructuring and expansion strategy, the Island Air team considered a number of aircraft and we are pleased to announce the selection of the Q400 NextGen turboprop. With its superior speed, performance and fuel efficiency; outstanding operational flexibility; and market-leading passenger comfort, the Q400 NextGen aircraft is the optimal solution for our needs,” said Paul Casey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Island Air.

“We are pleased to partner with Bombardier as Island Air moves to redefine regional travel within the Hawaiian Islands and offer our passengers the premium product they expect. The Q400 NextGen aircraft is clearly the most suitable airliner for Island Air and will provide a superior passenger experience coupled with unbeatable performance. My experience with Bombardier over the years has been nothing but positive which has further led to our selection of the Q400 NextGen aircraft for the next chapter of Island Air,” said Island Air’s owner, Larry Ellison.

“We are proud to welcome Island Air back to the Bombardier family and we are excited to see the Q400 NextGen airliner take to Hawaiian skies,” said Ryan DeBrusk, Regional Vice President, Sales, Americas, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 NextGen aircraft with its superior passenger comfort and market-leading performance characteristics will serve Island Air well as it embarks on its re-fleeting strategy.”

“The Q400 NextGen aircraft is designed to respond to the needs of an evolving market and our growing customer base shows that the aircraft is creating excellent value for operators and meeting a wide variety of business requirements. This operational flexibility maximizes the profit potential of the aircraft and positions it well ahead of competitive aircraft,” said Ray Jones, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Asset Management, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “I’m delighted that Island Air has chosen to re-join the Bombardier family and I wish the airline much success in its future ventures.” Island Air currently offers flights to and from the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Kauai.

Big Island Television Going Digital

Big Island Television, iconic island information channel for almost 30 years, steps into the digital age on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, according to President A.D. Ackerman who founded the company in 1985.

The Big Island Television team, Vice President Noel Black-Ackerman, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Randall Quander, Office Manager Denise Lindsey, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Lyman Medeiros, "Discover Hawai'i" Hostess Cobey Ackerman, President A.D. Ackerman, Director of Sales & Marketing Rachelle Hennings-Newman

The Big Island Television team, Vice President Noel Black-Ackerman, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Randall Quander, Office Manager Denise Lindsey, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Lyman Medeiros, “Discover Hawai’i” Hostess Cobey Ackerman, President A.D. Ackerman, Director of Sales & Marketing Rachelle Hennings-Newman

Known for in-depth visitor information, as well as historical and cultural programming, Big Island Television (BITV) in its new digital format, will move from Channel 9 to Oceanic Time Warner Cable Channel 97.6 and Channel 130.

Customers are advised that if their TV cable goes from the wall directly to a newer television with an internal digital receiver, BITV can be located with a simple, one-time “channel search” from the television’s menu options.  The scan will quickly locate BITV on Digital Channel 97.6.

Those customers with an Oceanic Cable Box, will find BITV on Channel 130; a channel scan is not needed.

“Now, in this new environment, video images of our people, places, culture and history, will come to life like never before,” said Ackerman.  “People who live here say all the time that they watch BITV, and we hope they will continue to watch and enjoy the experience even more.  We have new programming every single week—and for me, I know I’m always finding something new to learn about our island home.”

Original weekly programs on BITV include “Hawai‘i At Its Best,” a one hour circle island tour, that highlights each district and businesses it contains, and “Discover Hawai‘i,” featuring in-depth interviews with interesting residents, chefs, artisans, musicians, community leaders and more.

Locally owned and family operated, Big Island Television offers 24/7 programming that highlights the unique culture, history and natural wonders of Hawai‘i Island, along with shopping, dining and activity options for visitors and kama‘āina.  An extensive video collection is available online at www.YouTube.com/user/BITVHAWAII and www.BigIslandTV.com.

For more information call 808-322-3672, click www.BigIslandTV.com, watch Digital Channel 97.6 or Channel 130.

Air Museums Receiving Retiring Navy Aircraft

The first of the Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft retires to Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, Kapolei today.

Lockheed P-3 Orion

Lockheed P-3 Orion

Barbers Point Museum President Brad Hays and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Ken DeHoff welcomed this historic submarine hunting workhorse from Navy Squadron VP-47 located on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay unit today. The Navy is replacing the P-3 with Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon, the military version based on the commercial airlines 737-800, scheduled to begin in 2016.

Hays said, “I am very proud to accept this aircraft as it helps tell the story of naval aviation at Barbers Point.” DeHoff said Pacific Aviation Museum would be receiving a P-3 from Navy Squadron VP-U2 next month. Both aircraft are on loan from National Museum of Naval Aviation and will be displayed in different colors and the configuration of their units and the missions they flew. Both Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor located on Ford Island, and Naval Air Museum Barbers Point located at Kalaeloa Airport, work together to preserve aircraft and tell their stories. Visitors are welcome.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, which depends on membership and donations for support. A Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, it is rated one of the top 10 aviation attractions nationally by TripAdvisor®. It is located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818, 808-441-1000.

Coast Guard Evacuates Four From Molokini Crater After Jellyfish Attacks

The Coast Guard medically evacuated four people after they sustained jellyfish stings while snorkeling near Molokini Crater, Maui, Tuesday.

Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Maui received a call from a charter vessel stating one adult and three children had been stung by jellyfish while they were snorkeling near Molokini Crater.

A 25-foot Response Boat - Small boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Maui launched to the scene.

The crewmembers arrived on scene at 10:10 a.m. and transferred the four injured people aboard the RB-S.

They were transported to the Kihei Boat Ramp in Kihei where emergency medical services were waiting.

The adult was in shock and the three children sustained minor injuries.

After Dark in the Park April Events at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in April. To celebrate the Merrie Monarch Festival’s 51st anniversary, special cultural presentations are offered April 23, 24, and 25. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

A demonstration of ‘ohe kapala, or bamboo stamping, at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park  NPS photo/Jay Robinson.

A demonstration of ‘ohe kapala, or bamboo stamping, at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park NPS photo/Jay Robinson.

Adventures in the Philippines. Experience the Philippines through the eyes of Ranger Adrian Boone, who visited last November as Typhoon Haiyan bore down on the island nation. His travels included several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces and Puerta Princesa Subterranean River National Park. He explored the hanging coffins of Sagada, the limestone caves of Sumaguing, northern Luzon, Manila, the ancient Spanish city Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and much more! Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., April 8, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Earthquake Storms: The Past & Present of the San Andreas Fault. Dr. John Dvorak explains the San Andreas Fault: what it is, where it is, and how it works. His new book, Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault will be available for sale, and it explains how the recent seismic lull in could result in an “earthquake storm” of large earthquakes. Dr. Dvorak studied volcanoes and earthquakes for the U.S. Geological Survey, taught at the University of Hawai‘i, and has written numerous cover articles for scientific publications. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free, and your $2 donation helps support After Dark programs.
When: Tues., April 22, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Events Honoring the Merrie Monarch Festival. The park will offer nearly a dozen cultural programs to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival, from April 23-25. All of these programs are part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Check the park website to print posters of these and other events at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/events.htm.

Wednesday, April 23

Kalo Demonstration.
Join Edna and Sam Baldado as they share the cultural uses of kalo, or taro plant. See how each plant is identified by its leaf, steam, corm, color, and shape. Discover the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawaii, and how kalo was used for food, medicine, glue, dyes, and much more.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Feather Kāhili Workshop. Helene Hayselden will demonstrate the art of making a feather kāhili, a symbol of royalty. Watch or join in and make your kāhili to take home.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Music by Rupert Tripp, Jr. Enjoy the beautiful music and voice of singer, songwriter, and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award nominee, Rupert Tripp, Jr.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

La‘au Lapau. Ka‘ohu Monfort shares her knowledge and love of the island’s native plants. Learn how her passion for plants and the Hawaiian culture are used to heal and nourish. See and touch a variety of medicinal plants, including kuku‘i, ‘ōlena, ha‘uowī, noni, kī, and guava.
When: Wed., April 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai:

Thursday, April 24

Feather Work. Watch Vi Makuakāne demonstrate the intricate art of feather work. Thousands of feathers are sorted, graded, trimmed, and sewn to a base. The result is a beautiful lei hulu, or feather lei.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kenneth Makuakāne. This multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer will play original songs from his solo albums and compositions.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

‘Ohe Kapala. ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, are used to create distinct designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa. Join Keiko Mercado as she demonstrates how ‘ohe (bamboo) are carved into beautiful designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn this Hawaiian art form.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Lei Making. Patricia Ka‘ula will demonstrate different styles of lei making: hilo, haku, hili and Ku‘i. Lei is used for everything from blessing crops, adornments for hula dancers, healing and sacred rituals, to show royal status or rank, honor guests, as peace offerings, to celebrating a birth.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Robert Cazimero Book Signing. Robert Cazimero, a highly regarded and respected kumu hula, will sign the latest edition of Men of Hula, which will be available for sale. This 2011 edition by award-winning author Benton Sen chronicles how the hula teacher and Nā Hālau Kamalei shattered the stereotypical image of hula (girls in grass skirts and coconut bras) by revitalizing the masculine aspects of the ancient dance.
When: Thurs., April 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center

Friday, April 25

Kapa Demonstration. Kapa maker Ku‘uleimomi Makuakāne-Salāve‘a shares the art of kapa making. See how the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree is beaten into cloth.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Ulana Lauhala. Members of ‘Aha Pūhala o Puna perpetuate the ancient art of lauhala weaving. Observe this art form and learn to weave your own lauhala star from the leaves of the hala, or pandanus tree.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Music by Lito Arkangel. Listen to music by Lito Arkangel, one of Hawai‘i Island’s most popular entertainers, as he plays his original compositions and Hawaiian favorites.
When: Fri., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Mokulele Airlines Honoring Flights Purchased on go! Airlines

Mesa Air Group has announced that it is shutting down the interisland airline go! effective April 1.  Mokulele Airlines, Hawaii’s low-cost interisland air carrier, is honoring the flights purchased on go! Airlines for travel on Mokulele where available. For go! flights that were purchased on Mokulele’s website for travel to Kaua’i and Hilo, passengers should contact Mokulele for refunds. Mokulele Airlines has had a code share agreement with go! since November 2011 when TransPac Aviation purchased the turbo prop division from Mesa Air Group.

mokulelejet

For over two years, Mokulele has differentiated itself from go! by creating a new brand image that includes a new logo and color scheme. Mokulele also established its own counters at the airports it serves. Mokulele Airlines currently serves eight airports on five islands with plans for two additional airports to open later in 2014.

Mokulele Airlines has added nine new Cessna Grand Caravans to its fleet in the last 12 months due to increasing demand for low cost, interisland travel. For most of the airline’s destinations, Mokulele is offering a rate of just $59 one way, including taxes and fees, for reservations made by March 31, 2014. The $59 fares are based on availability, seats are limited, and reservations can be made online at www.mokuleleairlines.com.

Landslide Closes Part of Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was closed past Kealakomo today due to large landslide:

Photo via NPS.

Photo via NPS.

2014 Big Island Marathon – Results

8:25 PM UPDATE:  THE OFFICIAL RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://jtltiming.com/results/hilo-m.html

Update: I just learned that the results posted below are incorrect “It’s wrong. It’s was corrected at the awards but didn’t get corrected on the web”  I will post the updated results when I have them.

The 2014 Big Island Marathon was held today along the shorts of East Hawaii.  209 runners completed the 26.2 mile course.

Female runner Amy Escobio from California ran faster then all the guys to claim the top spot with a time of 2:22:45 (05:27 mile pace) while the first male runner to finish was Nobu Murakami from Japan with a time of 2:47:58.

The first runner from Hawaii to cross the line was Orion Cruz from Makawao and the first runner from the Big Island to complete the race was female Brooke Myers from Kailua-Kona.

Big Island Marathon ResultsIn the Half Marathon, female runner Corin Gentry took that race with a time of 1:17:12:
Half MarathonAnd in the 5k race young runner Dayson Sato won with a time of 20:51.
5kTo view all of the results you can click here: 2014 Big Island Marathon Results

Kona Man Charged for Assaulting Tour Boat Captain While Tour in Progress

A Kona man has been charged with assault in connection with a confrontation on a commercial dive boat.

In response to a 12:04 p.m. call Tuesday (March 11), officers learned that an unknown man had reportedly boarded a boat in waters off Kohanaiki Beach Park while a dive tour was in progress. He reportedly argued with the 54-year-old male captain, punched him and then jumped off the boat.

Cheyenne James Gaspar

Cheyenne James Gaspar

Police investigation led to the the identity of a suspect, 39-year-old Cheyenne James Gaspar of Kailua-Kona, who turned himself in at the Kona police station Thursday (March 13). He was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and then released from custody after posting $1,000 bail.

Dropped 911 Call Leads to Man Being Rescued From Waipio Valley

A man was rescued from Waipio Valley on the Big Island yesterday.

Me at the top of Waipio Valley

Me at the top of Waipio Valley

The following release is from the Hawaii Fire Department:

Situation found at scene:

Company 8 responded to Waipio Valley for a dropped 911 call. Upon arrival made contact with the caller who stated she noticed a person on the trail to Waimanu Valley using a flashlight to signal people on the beach. Rescue Company 2 dispatched. Company 8 personnel proceeded to the beach area and saw the person signaling approximately halfway up the trail.

Remarks:

Company 8 personnel proceeded on foot to attempt to reach hiker in trouble while Company 2 responded by air. Company 2 made contact with hiker, a 23 y/o male, and was able to rescue him using a Billy Pugh basket. Hiker without injuries upon evaluation by medical personnel.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Attracted 1,583,209 Visitors in 2013

National Park Service (NPS) visitation figures released today show that 1,583,209 people visited Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2013 – an increase of 6.7 percent from 2012 visitation statistics.

Panoramic of Halema‘uma‘u from Kīlauea caldera rim

Panoramic of Halema‘uma‘u from Kīlauea caldera rim

“We are pleased to again report an increase of visitors eager to enjoy Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The dual eruptions from Kīlauea, the numerous cultural and scientific programs offered, and the incredibly diverse, protected ecosystem of native plants and animals, continue to attract people from the mainland, around the world, and locally,” she said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, all year long. The 333,086-acre park stretches from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa – earth’s most massive active volcano – at 13,677 feet, and encompasses seven ecological zones, 155 miles of trails and 66 miles of paved roadways. It is also home to Kīlauea, one of earth’s most active volcanoes which is presently erupting from two locations: Halema‘uma‘u Crater at its summit (since 2008), and in the remote east rift zone from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent (since 1983).

Hiking Kīlauea Iki Trail

Hiking Kīlauea Iki Trail

To see the complete list of recreational visitation to all 401 national park units, and other visitor-related statistics, visit https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.

The new visitation figures come one week after NPS released its economic impact report from 2012, which revealed that 1,483,928 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that year spent $113,376,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,353 jobs in the local area. To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Creates $113,376,400 in Local Economic Benefit

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2012 shows that the 1,483,928 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $113,376,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,353 jobs in the local area.

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

“It’s always exciting to share how much of a positive impact our national and international visitors have on the economic viability of our island community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “On the same note, it’s also worth contemplating what the park means to our Hawai‘i Island residents. That’s difficult to define with a dollar amount,” she said.

Ross Birch, Executive Director for the Big Island Visitors Bureau, acknowledged the park’s impact on the island economy.

“Hawai‘i Island has been on an upward trend in arrivals and spending over the past few years, and a major contributor driving this demand is Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. As the number one attraction for the island, and sometimes the state, it is not a surprise to see the economic impact the park has on our community,” said Birch. “Big Island Visitors Bureau is very grateful to have such an asset and we appreciate the excellent working relationship with Cindy Orlando and her team to perpetuate these great results,” he said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber, and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about nation parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Former Big Island Resident Nathan Kam Named President of McNeil Wilson Communications

Anthology Marketing Group, Hawaii’s largest marketing and communications company, today announced that Nathan Kam has been named President of its public relations practice, McNeil Wilson Communications.

Nathan Kam (It's worth noting that Nathan comes from Hawaii Island, being a graduate of Konawaena High School. In addition, he oversees the PR efforts conducted on behalf of the Big Island Visitors Bureau.)

Nathan Kam comes from Hawaii Island, being a graduate of Konawaena High School. In addition, he oversees the PR efforts conducted on behalf of the Big Island Visitors Bureau.

The appointment takes effect March 1. Kam, who joined the agency 14 years ago as an Account Executive, succeeds David McNeil, who remains Chairman of Anthology and will continue to help direct the firm’s public relations programs for its clients.

“We could not ask for a more qualified individual than Nathan to represent our next generation of leadership,” said McNeil. “Nathan has been my chosen successor for some time and it’s been a pleasure to see him grow into a top-flight professional and leader. He has an intuitive understanding of the market from a community, business and tourism view, and will bring a fresh perspective to the ever-changing communications landscape.”

David McNeil

David McNeil

Kam, who presently holds the title of Executive Vice President, said, “I’m proud to continue the leadership of a firm that has such deep roots in Hawaii’s business community. I consider myself fortunate to have been coached by the best in the business and to have represented some of the most important organizations in our community. We have a deep bench of talented and committed PR professionals and I’m looking forward to seeing our people and clients succeed and prosper in the invigorating marketing environment offered by Anthology.”

Kam represents some of the highest profile clients in the state, including the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. He has a strong background in strategic planning, media relations and emerging media and has become established as a leader in Hawaii’s public relations industry. In 2013, Kam was the recipient of the President’s Leadership Award presented by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Hawaii Chapter for significant contributions to the success and advancement of the profession.

Kam sits on PRSA’s Travel & Tourism Section Board of Directors for the national organization, and is a past president of PRSA Hawaii. He also serves on the advisory board of Kapiolani Community College’s Business Marketing Management Program. Born and raised on Hawaii, the Big Island, Kam graduated from Konawaena High School and is an alumnus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations.

Anthology’s clients include the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Kauai Visitors Bureau, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, Big Island Visitors Bureau, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiian Telcom, Bank of Hawaii, Prince Resorts Hawaii, Marriott Hotels, NextEra Energy, Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawaii Gas, Na Hoku Jewelers, Kenworth Trucks, American Savings Bank, and Hawaii Pacific Health.

McNeil Wilson Communications was founded in 1982 and later launched an advertising practice, which became Laird Christianson Advertising. In 2007, the firms acquired Starr Seigle Communications to create Anthology Marketing Group.

Led by CEO Dennis Christianson, Anthology offers a team of more than 100 best-in-practice specialists providing services in Public Relations, Advertising, Digital and Mobile Marketing, Social Media, and Research. Headquartered on Bishop Street in the heart of Honolulu’s business district, the company also operates offices in Guam and Seattle. Anthology is the only marketing company ranked in the Top 250 listing of companies by Hawaii Business Magazine.

 

Council Chairs Seek Return of Projected $72 Million Hotel Tax Revenue to Counties

Council chairs from all four Hawaii counties jointly announced their support for legislation that would repeal the cap on distribution of hotel room tax revenue to the county governments.

County Council Chairs for the Hawaiian Islands

County Council Chairs for the Hawaiian Islands

Council Chairs Gladys Baisa of Maui County, Jay Furfaro of Kauai County, Ernie Martin of the City and County of Honolulu and J Yoshimoto of Hawaii County said they testified  in support of House Bill 1671 (2014), which was before the House Committee on Tourism on Monday, Feb. 3, at 9:30 a.m.

Revenue from the state’s hotel room tax, known as the transient accommodations tax or TAT, is partially remitted to the counties. Citing the state government budget shortfalls, the legislature imposed an artificial cap on the counties’ annual remittance three years ago, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue to each county.

The council chairs said county residents and county governments earn TAT revenue by supporting the visitor industry in countless ways, including by funding tourism promotion, providing police, fire and lifeguard services and maintaining roadways, beach parks and other public infrastructure. They say the revenue should be proportionally returned to the counties, under an established formula.

According to Mike McCartney, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, more than 8.2 million visitors traveled to Hawaii in 2013, a 2.6 percent increase from 2012, generating a total of $1.5 billion in state tax revenues.

Of the TAT revenue that’s returned to the counties, Kauai County receives 14.5 percent, Hawaii County 18.6 percent, Maui County 22.8 percent and the City and County of Honolulu 44.1 percent. Eliminating the artificial cap on distribution would mean the counties would realize additional annual revenue of more than $10 million each.

“We stand united and humbly ask the state legislators to lift the cap they imposed upon our counties three years ago.  Since then, the economy has improved.” Hawaii County Council Chair Yoshimoto said. “We ask that the State legislators allow the counties to receive our fair share of the TAT revenues so that we can provide the necessary services and meet our obligations to residents and visitors alike.

Hawaii County’s capped TAT revenue is $17.2 million. The TAT revenue distribution for Hawaii County would rise to more than $30 million (based on a projected increase of $13.4 million) if the cap is eliminated.

“In any given day, 21 percent of the population on Kauai is visitors,” Kauai County Council Chair Furfaro said. “It is one of our primary economic engines. If we want them to return to our island, we have to meet their high demands and expectations.”

Kauai County’s annual TAT revenue distribution is currently capped at $13.4 million. With the cap eliminated, Kauai County would expect to get $10.4 million in additional TAT revenue, based on Fiscal Year 2013 projections.

“Over the past few years, Honolulu contributed millions of dollars to upgrade and renovate several areas of Waikiki to enhance the visitor experience,” Honolulu City Council Chair Martin said. “The additional TAT revenues the counties receive would go a long way in maintaining our beaches and parks, to continue to promote our state as a premium visitor destination and, specifically for Honolulu, to avoid enacting poorly conceived revenue-enhancing measures that would negatively infringe upon our well-deserved and longstanding image as one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world.”

The City and County of Honolulu’s projected TAT revenue would be about $72.8 million ($31.8 million more than the current capped amount of $41 million) if the legislature removes the distribution cap.

Maui County’s TAT revenue distribution is projected go up by $16.4 million if HB 1671 is enacted. TAT revenue is currently capped at $21.2 million for Maui County.

“As promised, county officials will have a stronger and united lobbying effort this year to ensure that our constituents and visitors get what they deserve,” said Maui County Council Chair Baisa, noting the Hawaii Council of Mayors and Hawaii State Association of Counties also support repealing the cap. “We encourage the public to join us in supporting this measure by submitting testimony.”

Cumulatively, the counties would receive an estimated $72 million in annual revenue under HB 1671, which was co-introduced by all six members of the House of Representatives from Maui County, including Speaker Joseph M. Souki. During the Jan. 15 opening of the legislature, Speaker Souki expressed support for lifting the TAT cap during his remarks, saying, “It’s time.”

Rep. Tom Brower chairs the House Committee on Tourism. Testimony for HB 1671 is accepted at the legislature’s website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Annual Report Highlights Hawaii’s Improving Economic, Fiscal Trajectory

The State of Hawaii’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, has been completed and shows Hawaii’s asset growth has outpaced liability growth for the first time in seven years.

Fiscal

The 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of the State of Hawaii, measures the state’s net position as a broad indicator of its net worth and overall fiscal health.

“The report measures the state’s net worth and overall fiscal health, which clearly shows strong positive fiscal growth over fiscal year 2012,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “Our improving trajectory is a reflection of positive trends in our local economy and responsible management of fiscal affairs, which now includes recognized improvements in meeting our obligations for timely reporting.”

The state Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) in coordination with the Department of Budget and Finance and the Office of the Legislative Auditor completed the CAFR on Jan. 27, 2014. The report shows the State of Hawaii’s net position (assets less liabilities) for primary governmental activities increased for the first time since 2006 by $307.1 million, from $4.5 billion to $4.8 billion. This represents an increase of 6.8 percent over 2012. Assets increased by $1.1 billion, which outpaced an increase in liabilities of $807 million. The growth in assets is attributable to accelerating growth in revenues and slower-paced growth in operating expenditures.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie was joined by Comptroller Dean Seki and Finance Director Kalbert Young to announce the public release of the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of the State of Hawaii, which measures the state's net position as a broad indicator of its net worth and overall fiscal health.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie was joined by Comptroller Dean Seki and Finance Director Kalbert Young to announce the public release of the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of the State of Hawaii, which measures the state’s net position as a broad indicator of its net worth and overall fiscal health.

In addition, for the first time in more than five years, the state received the Award of Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for its 2012 CAFR. The award is given to governments for publishing financial reports that are clear, accurate, and delivered in a timely manner. Under the Abercrombie Administration, DAGS along with the Department of Budget and Finance have worked with the Office of the Legislative Auditor and an external auditor to address deficiencies in the timely production of previous CAFRs.

“The CAFR represents a coordinated and truly collaborative effort of all state departments with the Legislative Auditor and external auditor,” said DAGS Comptroller Dean Seki. “For each of the last three years, the CAFR has been delivered in a more timely manner, compared to the state’s delivery prior, and will serve as a helpful guide for anyone who has interest in the financial operations of the state.”

Fiscal3

State Finance Director Kalbert Young commended: “Investors and credit agencies expect year-end financial reports to be available as soon as possible after the closing of the fiscal year so that the information is not outdated. We believe the state can continue to improve delivery of future reports.”

The CAFR also identified an encouraging decrease in capital projects fund standing balances from $281 million to $149 million. This reflects an increase in capital improvement project activity as more funds were deployed with improved efficiency into the economy through construction projects.

PowerPoint Presentation

Addressing Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Young added: “The report illustrates the importance of pre-paying annual required contribution for OPEB liabilities, as Gov. Abercrombie has been advocating over the last three years. The successful passage of Act 268 in 2013 and our intending Annual Required Contribution (ARC) contribution of $100 million in fiscal year 2014 should start to slow and then reverse the increase on the balance sheet and further improve our asset ratio.”

The State of Hawaii’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, is available online at: http://ags.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/soh-cafr-20130630.pdf

Chocolate Lover’s Paradise – The Big Island Chocolate Festival is Coming Up!

The alluring, rich taste of chocolate, in both its sweet and savory forms, is showcased at the third annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) May 2-3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Headlining the event is “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres, Food Network celebrity from New York City, plus Derek Poirier of Valrhona USA, Donald Wressell of Guittard and Stanton Ho for Amoretti.

Big Island Chocolate FestivalThe two-day chocolate decadence opens with a student competition on Friday, followed by public culinary and agriculture-themed, hands-on seminars and demonstrations on Saturday. Fun culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Grand Ballroom—indulge at a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.

Culinary stations will be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs led by Torres. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for the People’s Choice Award.

Chocolate Festival

Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

“The Big Island Chocolate Festival is a fantasyland of chocolate,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar. “It inspires our chefs, encourages our island farmers to grow cacao and shows our chocolatiers that chocolate can be a viable business.”

Early bird tickets for Hawai‘i’s premiere chocolate gala are $65 until sold out or through Feb. 28. Pre-sale tickets are $75 and will be $100 at the door. New this year is the VIP Fast Wine Pass with early event admission and personalized wine service. Buy tickets and find event details online at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Chocolate Festival

Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that includes a two-night’s stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, plus all festival activities at the ocean-side Four Diamond resort; contact info@BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Attendees who want to stay at the resort during the festival can get a discounted room rate of $269 per night including daily breakfast for two and can book direct with the hotel at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

DLNR Invites Public Input On Survey Of Hawaii’s Outdoor Recreation Trends, Needs, Priority

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks (State Parks) in partnership with PBR HAWAII, is inviting the public to participate in a survey designed to assess Hawai‘i’s outdoor recreation trends, needs and priorities.

DLNR

The survey is one component of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). This plan is updated every five years to provide guidance for our Hawaii’s recreational future and to remain eligible to receive funds for outdoor recreation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal grants program administered by the National Park Service (NPS). Public participation in the survey will help State Parks and NPS select projects to receive federal funding that best meets Hawaii’s recreational needs and help resolve any recreational conflicts.

“In the 2008 plan, the public identified multi-use paths for walking, jogging, and bicycling as one of Hawaii’s recreational priorities. In response to this demand, we look forward submitting a grant to support the construction of the new Hilo Bayfront trail in 2014. It is with the public’s input that we are able to support projects that best meet the community’s recreational needs,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

The survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/HISCORP2014 and is open now through Feb. 28, 2014. Public meetings will be held over the next several months to give the public the opportunity to directly express their recreation needs and concerns. Meeting announcements will be also be made through news media outlets and via the DLNR Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Land and Water Conservation Fund grants provide a match for state and county funds to acquire new land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate recreational facilities. Since 1967, the State of Hawaii and the four counties have received more than $38 million in LWCF grants for acquisition and development of outdoor recreation lands and facilities.

In recent years, LWCF grants have been awarded to the County of Hawaii to install new playground equipment at Panaewa Zoo in Hilo, the City and County of Honolulu to replace the ball field lights at Ala Wai Community Park, the County of Maui to construct a new skate park within the Lahaina Recreation Center, and State Parks for renovation of park cabins, pavilions, and comfort stations at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area on Hawaii island.