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Tropical Fruit Growers Conference Goes Statewide Sept. 22-29

The 27th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 22-29, starting at the Kaikodo Building in Hilo and then traveling to Kona, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai for mini-conferences.Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the eight-day event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.

The conference is titled “Facing Challenges” and offers a lineup of visiting researchers and agro experts sharing information and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. They include Ed Stover on “Huanglongbing and the U.S. Citrus Industry: Status and Ongoing Research,” Lindsay Basik on “Durian Cultivation Around the World,” and David Karp on the “History and Genealogy of Citrus.”

HTFG Executive Director Ken Love says Hilo activities include UH, USDA and NASS updates, a report and survey on specialty crops, Q & A with guest speakers, Sunday tour of OK Farms with Brian Lievens, networking and fruit tasting.

Mini-conference activities on the other islands include farm tours and speaker presentations and meetings.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available at www.HTFG.org or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net. Conference room rates are available through August 9, 2017 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel using code HH7027. Conference is made possible through funding from the County of Hawaii and Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Polynesian Voyaging Society to Launch Hokulea’s “Mahalo, Hawaii Sail” at Honolua Bay, Maui

Honolua will be first of 40 stops during the eight-month sail throughout Hawaiian Islands

On August 16, 2017, voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will depart the Marine Education Training Center (METC) at Sand Island to begin the MAHALO, HAWAI’I SAIL. The first stop will be at Honolua Bay, Maui, where Hōkūleʻa first launched for her maiden voyage in 1976 and where she will now begin to mahalo and mālama Hawai’i with a planting of 4,000 koa seedlings as part of a series of events in West Maui. After the Honolua Bay visit, the canoes will continue to approximately 40 additional ports and connect with nearly 80 communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

The Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail will give Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) an opportunity to thank Hawaiʻi’s people, bring Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia home to all of Hawaiʻi, share lessons learned from the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and deepen the organization’s connection and understanding of the important work being done here in the islands to care for the earth. During the port visits, PVS will engage with schools and organizations through outreach events, service projects, crew presentations and canoe tours.

“Now that we have returned from our three-year voyage around the world, we are looking forward to reconnecting with and thanking the people of Hawai’i,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of PVS. “It’s also time now to discover and shine the light on what people and organizations are doing to turn inspiration into action for the betterment of our island home and the earth. This first engagement planned at Honolua Bay and Waokele ʻo Honolua by the West Maui community is an example of what we are hoping to support during this sail,” he added.

Honolua Bay was chosen as the first stop on the MAHALO, HAWAI’I SAIL because it was the location where the Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage to Tahiti was launched in 1976. In partnership with the Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc. through the conservation department of the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve, State of Hawaiʻi DLNR, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi and Kamehameha Schools Maui, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crew members will be engaging with schools and the community in West Maui where they are scheduled to conduct presentations and canoe tours (see detailed schedule below).

On Saturday, August 19, crew members will join the community and participate in a project to plant 4,000 koa trees and thousands of other native plants in the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve ma kai conservation area. At one time, koa trees were used to make voyaging canoes, but today there are few of these native trees remaining which are large enough to do so.

Honolua Bay Engagement Schedule:
*ALL DATES AND TIMES SCHEDULE TO CHANGE

  • Wednesday, August 16, 11 p.m. – Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia depart METC at Sand Island
  • Thursday, August 17, 4 p.m. – Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia arrive at Honolua Bay
  • Thursday, August 17, 6 p.m. – Mālama Honua Voyage sharing by crew members of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia at Kamehameha Schools Maui, Keōpūolani Hale (Free and Open to the public)
  • Friday, August 18, 9:30 – 12:30 p.m. – Kamehameha Schools Maui visit with Hōkūleʻa crew and planting
  • Saturday, August 19, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Planting of 4,000 koa trees and thousands of other native plants at Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve ma kai conservation area (limited parking available)
  • Saturday, August 19, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Public canoe tours, Honolua Bay Ramp
  • Sunday, August 20, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Public canoe tours, Honolua Bay Ramp
  • TBD– Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia depart Honolua Bay

About Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve:
Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve is the largest private nature preserve in the state of Hawaiʻi. Extending across more than 9,000 acres from ma uka to ma kai of Mauna Kahālāwai on Mauiʻs West side, it is home to some of the rarest endangered flora and fauna in the islands. This pristine area is a vital water source for Mauiʻs community and one of the wettest spots on earth. Most recently, under new management, the ancestral wisdom of Hawaiian elders has been laid as the foundation for conservation efforts in the preserve; providing a culturally sensitive and informed approach to managing the thriving native ecosystem of Puʻu Kukui. Conservation endeavors include non-native invasive species control, weed control, monitoring, research and most importantly protecting rare species.

About Polynesian Voyaging Society:
PVS was founded in 1973 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one another, and their natural and cultural environments.

Hawaii State Land Board Approves “Safe Harbor Agreement” for Keauhou, Kilauea, Ka’u Areas on the Big Island

Approving a 50-year-long Safe Harbor Agreement today, the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) agreed to Kamehameha Schools plan to promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species on nearly 33,000 acres of forest and shrubland at Keauhou and Kīlauea on Hawaiʻi Island.

The Safe Harbor Agreement is a cooperative effort between Kamehameha Schools, DLNR, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the conservation of threatened and endangered (federally listed) species, while KS conducts certain land-use practices. It establishes baseline populations for species, details the type of habitat that must be maintained and specifies land-use practices to increase population baselines.

The agreement covers seven native birds including the Hawai‘i Creeper, the Hawai‘i ‘Ākepa, the Hawaiian Hawk (‘Io), the Hawaiian Crow (‘Alalā), and the Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē).

Hawaiian Creeper

It also includes the Hawaiian Hoary Bat (‘Ōpe‘ape‘a) and 25 plant species. The SHA outlines detailed monitoring protocols to avoid and minimize injury or mortality and to provide “net benefit” to the species. Net benefits include increasing the current ranges of covered species, restoring historic ranges and increasing wild populations of species. It is also intended to reduce habitat fragmentation by connecting a network of protected and managed state, federal, and private lands within the south central region of Hawai‘i Island.

In addition to the Safe Harbor Agreement, the BLNR approved an Incidental Take License, which provides mitigation measures in the event land-use practices result in the loss of any of the endangered or threatened species covered by the agreement. The result of an Incidental Take License is to end up with a net positive gain in the population of a covered species.

This Safe Harbor Agreement, which has been reviewed extensively for more than a year and was the subject of numerous open meetings, is being heralded as an important step towards species protection and recovery across critical habitat for these endangered and threatened species. Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, the ‘Alalā Restoration Project Coordinator for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife said, “The momentous finalization of this large-scale Safe Harbor agreement will particularly benefit imperiled species, such as the ‘Alalā, which will be reintroduced on State land adjacent to the Keauhou-Ka‘ū Kamehameha Schools parcel, thereby in-part, protecting and managing potential ‘Alalā habitat for decades to come.”

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong commented, “This agreement strengthens Kamehameha Schools’ ability to steward these lands in a manner that fosters healthy habitats for species fighting to survive. As we work toward a thriving lāhui, the cultural connection to ‘āina that is healthy and vibrant becomes much more important for Native Hawaiians and all the people of our State.”

Kamehameha Schools Ecologist Nāmaka Whitehead said that Hawaiians are Hawaiians because of the ‘āina. “Healthy, functioning native ecosystems are the foundation of Hawaiian cultural identity and well-being. Stewarding our ʻāina to be more resilient ensures that future generations will continue to have a relationship with the native species and ecological processes that make us who we are. I Hawaiʻi no nā Hawaiʻi i ka ʻāina. Our ʻāina, Hawaiʻi, is what makes us Hawaiian.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “The vast acreage covered by this Safe Harbor Agreement is incredibly important to the recovery and perpetuation of these vital bird, bat, and plant species. We are extremely happy to have worked out this agreement with Kamehameha Schools and in the coming decades look forward to many great stories of native species success as a result.”

Hawaiian Airlines Adding Three New Non-Stop Daily Mainland Routes

Hawaiian Airlines will expand its U.S. West Coast presence with the arrival of an A321neo fleet by adding three new non-stop daily routes early next year: Portland-Maui; Oakland-Kaua‘i; and Los Angeles-Kona. The routes will offer guests more options for direct access to Hawaiian’s neighbor islands while enjoying the company’s award-winning, warm hospitality in the comfort of medium-haul, single-aisle A321neo aircraft.

“The introduction of A321neo service to the Western U.S. heralds the dawn of a new era for Hawaiian Airlines and its guests,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Hawaiian Airlines. “The A321neo offers an unrivaled combination of comfort and efficiency, allowing our guests to choose from three cabin experiences to customize their journey. We look forward to announcing additional routes in the months and years ahead.”

The new A321neo service between Portland (PDX) and Maui (OGG) will launch on Jan. 18. Hawaiian’s seasonal widebody service currently offered between Oakland (OAK) and Kaua‘i (LIH) through Sept. 4 will resume April 11 as a daily A321neo flight. Daily service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawai‘i launches March 11 with widebody aircraft before the A321neo is introduced in the summer of 2018. Guests may visit www.hawaiianairlines.com to purchase tickets for all routes operated by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian’s inaugural A321neo flight between the U.S. West Coast and Hawai‘i is planned for Jan. 8 on its existing OAK-OGG service. Additional routes will be announced as Hawaiian welcomes 18 new A321neo aircraft between the fourth quarter of 2017 and 2020.

Hawaiian’s signature style flows throughout the A321neo’s three cabins, including 16 luxurious leather recliners in the Premium Cabin, 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats, and 128 Economy class seats. All seats are equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximize the space for carry-on luggage.

Hawaiian carefully designed its A321neo cabin interiors with textiles and materials that reflect traditional island crafts, from bark cloth (kapa) to fishing nets, and even LED lighting mirroring Hawai‘i’s idyllic sunrises and sunsets.

New to Hawaiian’s guest experience, the A321neo will feature wireless streaming in-flight entertainment. Guests will be able to simply download an application on their personal electronic devices to enjoy a wide selection of complimentary and premium content, including movies, TV shows, music and other exclusive programming. Holders for personal hand-held devices and tablets will be integrated into the tray tables of the Premium Cabin as well as the first row of Extra Comfort, and built into the backrest of all other seats.

The A321neo boasts the quietest and most fuel-efficient engines for this aircraft type, along with aerodynamic wingtips called Sharklets that significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Hawaiian’s A321neo flight schedules will be as follows:*

**Route will launch with widebody aircraft before receiving dedicated A321neo service.

The core of the A321neo experience will remain Hawaiian’s award-winning onboard hospitality program, Mea Ho‘okipa (translation: I am host). All guests are treated to island-inspired complimentary meals and made-in-Hawai‘i snacks to go along with the airline’s engaging presentation of the islands’ culture, people and Aloha Spirit throughout the flight.

Sales for additional routes served by new A321neo aircraft will be announced later this year. For more information, please visit https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/A321neo.

Hot Summer Nights Featuring Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and Alex Gupton

Renowned local artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Alex Gupton are holding their yearly high profile art event at The Kona Oceanfront Gallery.  The highly anticipated event – “Hot Summer Nights” featuring Parker’s and Gupton’s latest creations will be showcased this Friday night, July 28th from 5-9 PM.

“If you ever wanted to own a piece of art created by two of Big Island’s best, this would be the night to get it” said Mark Hanna the owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery. “It’s going to be the event of the year” he added.

All are encouraged to come out and participate in a night filled with Art and Entertainment.  Both artists will be in attendance to autograph, personalize and talk story all evening. Kona Oceanfront Gallery is the premier gallery on the Big Island that features cutting edge artwork from all local artists.   The Gallery is centrally located on Ali’i Drive next to Bubba Gumps; free refreshments and validated underground event parking will be available night of the event.

So come on in and cool off this Friday during Hot Summer Show Nights with Brad Parker and Alex Gupton at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery.  Phone 334-0037 for more information.

Heroes of Hope Save Native Plant Species From Brink of Extinction

A team of biologists has accomplished two herculean feats in Hawaiian plant conservation: the successful reintroduction of the endangered Ka‘ū silversword (Argyroxiphium kauense) and Pele lobeliad (Clermontia peleana) on Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Park ecologist David Benitez and Rob Robichaux collecting pollen from a Ka‘ū silversword. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

In an article recently published in the leading science journal, Biological Conservation, the biologists describe their 20-year efforts on Hawai‘i Island to rescue the plants from the edge of extinction.

“It’s been two decades of painstaking efforts by devoted individuals from federal, state and private agencies and institutions to save these plants,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park botanist Sierra McDaniel. “The team used technical rope systems to produce cuttings from Pele lobeliads in the rainforest canopy, flew by helicopter to remote volcanic slopes to rescue Ka‘ū silverswords, and worked long hours in the field and greenhouses to save them. It’s impossible to describe the joy we feel to see these plants thrive in the wild again,” she said.

The 11-page article describes the efforts and plants in detail, with color photographs that illustrate the nature of the efforts and convey the exceptional beauty of the plants. The article celebrates the centennial anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which was established Aug. 1, 1916 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pele lobeliad flowers with nectar droplet. The abundant nectar serves as a food reward for native honeycreepers. Photo courtesy of Rob Robichaux, taken in the Volcano Rare Planet Facility greenhouse.

The Pele lobeliad nearly went extinct. Only five remnant plants are known in the wild, but now, more than 1,000 Pele lobeliads have been reintroduced in protected areas in the national park. The effort with the Ka‘ū silversword has been similarly successful, with more than 21,000 plants having been reintroduced in the park. Furthermore, the Ka‘ū silversword has now produced offspring of its own  – a key factor for long-term recovery.

An important aspect of the work has been linking the reintroduction efforts to landscape restoration at large scales in the park and in adjacent state and private lands, thereby providing opportunities for future growth and expansion of the silversword and lobeliad populations.

“The highly collaborative nature of the work has been the key to its success,” said Rob Robichaux, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and coordinator of the silversword and lobeliad recovery efforts. “Daunting challenges remain. Yet the story of the Ka‘ū silversword and Pele lobeliad offers hope for a brighter future in which the landscapes of Hawai‘i are once again replenished with its many native plant species, which are true marvels of evolution,” he said.

Award-Winning Hawaiian Mystery ‘KULEANA’ Set for North American Premier

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. ‘KULEANA’ is also a provocative new mystery/drama written/directed by Brian Kohne that stars Moronai Kanekoa (Gary Kubota’s one-man show LEGEND OF KO’OLAU), Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), and Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD, BLACK SWAN). ‘KULEANA’ holds its North American Premiere August 1 at 6pm in the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts as an opening night selection in the 23rd San Antonio Film Festival. A Hula performance will precede the screening, the Texas Premiere of WIND RIVER, starring Jeremy Renner, follows at 8pm.

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet must rediscover the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name. ‘KULEANA’, presented by Hawai’i Cinema, held its World Premiere screening for an attendance-record 3,100 enthusiastic viewers outdoors at the 2017 Maui Film Festival in June, and was honored with an Audience Choice Award.

Critics report of ‘KULEANA’: “An original blend of Hawaii’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller.” And: “With its easy-going pace, lived-in characterizations, emphasis on domestic cruelties and layered, twisty storytelling, the movie this most reminded me of was Chinatown.”

‘KULEANA’ is written and directed by Brian Kohne, and produced by Stefan Schaefer. The unrated 95-minute mystery/drama stars native Hawaiian Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores of Marvel’s TV series INHUMANS, Kristina Anapau of TRUE BLOOD, and island entertainers Marlene Sai, Augie T, and Branscombe Richmond. The legendary Willie K provides an original score with Johnny Wilson; and the soundtrack boasts hits by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Tony Orlando and Dawn and more, with classic Hawaiian recordings of the sixties from Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai, and more.

The San Antonio Film Festival runs Tuesday August 1, to Sunday August 6, with an array of shorts and features, workshops and panels, VIP events, and fun for all ages. Tickets are on sale at the Tobin Center Box Office. For more information, visit: SAFilm.com.

 

‘KULEANA’ Trailer (2017) from Hawai’i Cinema on Vimeo.

Global Tourism Summit to Honor Malama Honua and Crew of Hokulea at Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon

Recognizing their global quest to share Hawaii’s sustainability message, Malama Honua and the crew of the Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hokulea, will be the honorees of the 2017 Global Tourism Summit at the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon, September 19.

Over a three-year period, from May 2014 until its triumphant return to Honolulu on June 17, 2017, Hokulea’s crew circled the world sailing approximately 40,300 nautical miles, stopping in more than 150 ports, and visiting 23 countries and territories. In completing Malama Honua (which means “to care for our Earth”), Hokulea’s crew shared its message worldwide on the significance of perpetuating native cultures and protecting natural resources, especially the ocean environment.

Presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the three-day Global Tourism Summit takes place September 19-21 at the Hawaii Convention Center. The Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon is a highlight event of the opening day. The festive luncheon in the Center’s ballroom will feature live music, a video tribute to the worldwide voyage of Holukea, and remarks from Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“Malama Honua is the greatest accomplishment in modern Hawaiian history and we are proud to honor the crew and the purpose for the voyage at the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Attendees of the Global Tourism Summit can join us in showing their aloha to the legacy of Malama Honua and Holukea’s crew, and celebrate the message of sustainability they shared with nations and people around the world.”

Attendance to the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon honoring Malama Honua is included as part of the registration to the Global Tourism Summit, which is available online at the dedicated summit website, www.GlobalTourismSummitHawaii.com.

Several options are available for registration, including early-bird savings being offered to individuals and groups attending all three days of the summit if they register by July 31.

  • Individuals: Full Conference, September 19-21: $325, a savings of $70
  • Groups of Eight or More: Full Conference, September 19-21: $300 per person, a savings of $65 per person (Groups can mix and match different attendees during the conference)
  • Student and Faculty Members: Full Conference, September 19-21: $150
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, September 19-20: $275
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, September 20-21: $265

Sustainable tourism is the theme of the Global Tourism Summit. The significance of the Hawaiian culture, global marketing, technology and innovation will be shared in presentations and panel discussions, with the overall intent to bring people together to improve tourism in Hawaii and abroad.

Previously known as the Hawaii Tourism Conference, HTA changed the name of the annual event to the Global Tourism Summit to more accurately reflect Hawaii’s emergence as a leader in international travel and tourism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The schedule of the competition is as follows:

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

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

The participating hālau are:

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

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

 

Lili`uokalani Gardens Teams With Na Makua Designs

Nelson Makua and Na Makua Designs created a centennial design for Lili`uokalani Gardens that brings the Queen to the gardens named for her.

Shirts designed by Nelson Makua

“For quite a while time, some of us have visualized what it might have been like for the Queen to visit the gardens in Hilo, a place she visited often through 1913,” said garden enthusiast K.T. Cannon-Eger. “We know she considered having a home built for her in Hilo and corresponded with John T. Baker about those plans. Illness prevented her travel to Hilo after 1913. Although she knew the garden acreage was set aside in early 1917, her death on November 11, 1917, precluded her ever seeing the gardens completed.

“The board of directors of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens is thrilled with Nelson Makua’s design which shortly will appear on tee shirts and tote bags among other centennial celebration uses.”

Makua has been an artist and designer on the Big Island for more than 40 years. Born and raised in Kailua, Oahu, he and his ‘ohana moved to the Big Island in 1975, where they reside in Puna, the original home of the Makua ‘ohana.

“My ancestors were part of the migration from Tahiti to Hawaii who settled in Kalapana in the district of Puna,” Makua said. “Living here gave me the opportunity to connect with ‘ohana, it was like coming home.”

He is best known for his design work, with clients in Hawai‘i, the mainland and Japan. He is a two time Na Hoku Hanohano award winner for graphic design and is the only artist to have created six years of Merrie Monarch Festival posters with his limited edition “Pele” series.

Makua’s first 2003 poster has now become a collectors’ item.  His 2008 Merrie Monarch poster received the prestigious Pele Award for best illustration by the Hawaii Advertising Federation.

Last year, Nelson was honored as a MAMo Awardee for 2016 in recognition for his artistic contribution as a Native Hawaiian artist.

In 1999 Nelson and his son Kainoa, created a line of casual Hawaiian wear under the brand of Nä Mäkua. “Na Makua gives us a visual voice to express our views and feelings as native Hawaiians, creating images that speak out to other Hawaiians and honor our rich heritage.” They retail their apparel and art on their website www.namakua.com.

As well as being an artist and designer, Nelson has been the director of the annual Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair for the Merrie Monarch Festival for the past 14 years. He is also the director of the Moku O Keawe Marketplace at the Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival and along with his son Kainoa, they produce their annual Na Mäkua Invitational Christmas Gift fair in Hilo.

Though Nelson was classically trained in drawing, painting and photography, he has been a digital artist for more than 20 years. “The digital age has opened up a whole new world of creating for the artist, with countless possibilities. Guided by my kupuna before me, I consider myself a Hawaiian living in my own time, creating images that reflect my time and place.”

To find out more about the garden centennial or to purchase fund raising tee shirts or tote bags, please go to the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook or contact Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens at P.O. Box 5147, Hilo HI 96749.

Banyan Gallery near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is one retail outlet for people who live in the Hilo area.

Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program Accepting Applications for Conservation Acquisition Assistance

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is seeking new projects for its Hawaiʻi Forest Legacy Program that will protect important working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses. The Forest Legacy Program, administrated through DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, is accepting applications for conservation acquisition assistance through the program.

The Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program works with private landowners, state and county agencies, and conservation non-profit groups to promote sustainable, working forests. Roughly 66 percent of forest land in the State of Hawai‘i is privately owned, with the majority of private landowners wanting to preserve these forests and leave a lasting legacy. Unfortunately, nationwide millions of acres of privately-managed working forests have been lost or converted to other uses with millions more projected to be converted in the next decade. Hawai‘i is no exception to this trend.

“With the help of land trusts and conservation-minded landowners, we have been able to protect our important forest resources, preserve forest essential for water production, shelter endangered species, and safeguard our culturally important sites,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR Chairperson.

More than 2.5 million acres of threatened private forests in the U.S. have been protected under the Forest Legacy Program, of which 47,000 acres have been protected in Hawai‘i. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife is currently working on projects that will protect an additional 3,700 acres of important forested watershed lands through the Forest Legacy Program.

The majority of Hawaii’s projects are conservation easements that allow landowners to retain ownership of the restricted title to their property while providing permanent protection from development or unsustainable uses. Oftentimes, this economic opportunity provides landowners with an alternative to selling their land to development companies. Conservation easements are strictly voluntary to enter into and the restrictions are binding to all future owners in perpetuity.

“The national Forest Legacy Program is very competitive with only a few dozen projects funded by the U.S. Forest Service each year,” Case said. “Hawai‘i always puts in strong projects that compete well in this national program,” she noted.

The Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program has identified forest lands throughout the state as important and in need of permanent protection. More information about this status can be found in the State’s Assessment of Needs on the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program website (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/lap/forest-legacy/).

The Hawai‘i program accepts both fee title and conservation easement acquisitions. Fee title acquisitions are voluntary and can provide landowners with the knowledge that their property will be managed and owned in perpetuity by the State of Hawai‘i.

The deadline for the next round of applications to the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program is August 21, 2017. Applications can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/lap/forest-legacy/ and should be submitted to Malia Nanbara by email.

Landowners and non-profits entities who are interested in participating in the Forest Legacy Program are encouraged to contact Malia Nanbara at the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife at (808) 587-4176 or by email at Malia.Y.Nanbara@Hawaii.gov to discuss their property and interest in the program.

Hundreds of Species of Fungi in Deep Coral Ecosystems Discovered by UH Manoa Botanists

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ‘Au‘au channel off Maui. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130 to 500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances in closed circuit rebreather diving. Previously overlooked—being too precarious for conventional SCUBA and too shallow to justify the cost of frequent submersible dives—mesophotic reefs continuously disclose breathtaking levels of biodiversity with each dive, yielding species and behavioral interactions new to science.

Manipulator arm of the Pisces V sub collecting algae in ‘Au‘au channel. Credit: HURL.               

The UH Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) used the Pisces V submersible to collect native algae from the mesophotic reefs in the ‘Au‘au channel. Using the DNA sequencing facility at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, Benjamin Wainwright, lead author of the study and a botany postdoctoral researcher, and colleagues determined which species of fungus were associated with the native algae.

Fungi have been documented in almost all habitats on Earth, although marine fungi are less studied in comparison to their terrestrial counterparts. Scientists have found fungi in deep and shallow water corals, marine sponges and other invertebrates. The recently discovered fungi, however, were found living in association with algae.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented evidence confirming fungi in MCEs,” said Wainwright.

Additionally, the research team discovered that 27% of the species detected in these deep dark environments are also found on terrestrial rainforest plants in Hawai‘i.

Rebreather diver and Pisces V sub collecting coral and macroalgae. Credit: Robert K. Whitton.

“Finding such high overlap of fungal diversity on terrestrial plants was surprising. Mesophotic reefs are as dark as it gets where photosynthesis is still possible, so to find the same species of fungi on forest plants illustrates the remarkable ability of some fungi to tolerate, and thrive, in extremely different habitats,” said Anthony Amend, senior author of the study and UH Mānoa associate professor of botany. “This ecological breadth is something that seemingly sets fungi apart from other organisms.”

Plant-associated fungi provide many benefits to society. For example, Taxol, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancers, is produced by a fungus found inside tree bark and leaves. Additionally, research has shown that fungi are useful in bioremediation efforts (for example, oil spill and industrial waste treatment) and capable of breaking down plastic waste.

It is currently not known whether the newly discovered fungal species are pathogens, helpful symbionts or unimportant to their algae hosts.

“Further, we don’t currently know what metabolic capabilities they have that may prove to have medical or environmental applications,” said Wainwright. “We know other undiscovered species are present in these ecosystems. Unfortunately, if we do not look now we may miss our opportunity to benefit from them and conserve them.”

Deep reefs, like those in the ‘Au‘au channel, may act as a refuge as Earth’s climate changes, providing habitat for any marine creatures that can take advantage of this deeper habitat. If this is indeed the case, understanding how this habitat functions and how the corals, algae and fungi interact with one another will be vital to preserving the refuge in the deep.

Cincinnati Bell Will Take Over Hawaiian Telcom for $650 Million

Hawai‘i’s leading fiber-based integrated communications provider, and Cincinnati Bell, a leading fiber and IT services and solutions business, today announced that their boards of directors approved a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $650 million, including the assumption of net debt.

Under the agreement, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will have the option to elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom, subject to proration such that the aggregate consideration to be paid to Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will be 60 percent cash and 40 percent Cincinnati Bell common

stock. This consideration represents a 26 percent premium to Hawaiian Telcom’s closing price of $24.44 on July 7, 2017, 24 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 20 calendar days of $24.86, and 31 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 12 months of $23.55. Upon the closing of the transaction, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will own approximately 15 percent and Cincinnati Bell stockholders will own approximately 85 percent of the combined company.

Read full details of the merger here: http://www.hawaiiantel.com/Portals/15/News%20PDFs/20170710_Hawaiian%20Telcom%20Enters%20into%20Definitive%20Agreement%20to%20Merge%20with%20Cincinnati%20Bell.pdf

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, released the following statement on the proposed merger between Hawaiian Telcom and Cincinnati Bell.

“Hawaiian Telcom has been an engaged corporate citizen in Hawai‘i for generations. The hundreds of jobs it provides and the services it offers are vital to Hawai‘i’s local economy. As the lead Democrat on the Commerce Committee’s telecommunications subcommittee, I will carefully review the proposed merger and closely monitor its potential impact on local jobs as well as the telecommunications services it provides for Hawai‘i consumers.”

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. (Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.)

Serving as pollinators and seed dispersers, birds have an important role in ecosystem function and their presence in restoration areas can be a measure of success for conservation efforts.

“The study results show the birds are responding positively to restoration efforts faster than anyone thought possible,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher and the study’s lead author Eben Paxton. “Birds are now in parts of the refuge where they weren’t found 10 to 20 years ago.”

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Aloha in Abundance at Park’s 37th Annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz

Sunny skies, outstanding views of Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, and an outpouring of aloha from all who participated in the Hawaiian Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, made for a joyful Saturday at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

NPS Photo(s) – Janice Wei

Although the official count isn’t yet available, park staff estimated that several thousand people, from keiki to kupuna, from local residents to first-time visitors, enjoyed the annual event that celebrates and perpetuates authentic Hawaiian culture. For the third year, the event connected people to science with BioBlitz field hikes.

The 37th annual Cultural Festival and BioBlitz were held on the grounds of Kilauea Military Camp in the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and park entrance was free all day.

The festival’s theme, Hilina‘i Puna, Kālele iā Ka‘ū, (Puna leans and reclines on Ka‘ū), celebrates the two land districts that comprise the park. The event was sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Creative Lab Hawaii Music Immersive Program Now Accepting Applications

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID)’s Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Music Immersive Program is now accepting applications.

The program will be held from Sept. 11 – 15, 2017, immediately following the Hawaii Songwriting Festival at the Hapuna Prince Hotel on Hawaii Island. Professional and aspiring local songwriters interested in applying for CLH’s second annual Music Immersive Program must submit applications by Friday, July 28.

“We’re thrilled to once again support the Music Immersive Program, connecting our tremendous local talent to prestigious mentors and new markets,” said DBEDT Director, Luis P. Salaveria. “This program is part of our overall growth strategy to grow our local talent and create new jobs.”

“This program allows participants to empower and expand their creative horizons,” said Georja Skinner, division chief, DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH.  “We look forward to seeing our talent elevate their craft through an intensive collaboration process, as well as access industry insights into additional avenues for monetizing and protecting their work.”

Under the direction of Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner, Charles M. Brotman, the CLH Music Immersive Program will provide attendee songwriters with the opportunity to co-write and produce songs for a specific TV or film project each day of the immersive, working alongside world-class music supervisors, producers, songwriters and executives.

In addition to composing, participants will gain a deeper understanding of music licensing, publishing, intellectual property protection, and other aspects of the business. Following the completion of the 5-day Immersive program, attendees will receive year-round mentoring support.

“We’re offering Hawaii’s songwriters the tools to build and strengthen their business and mentorship networks,” explains Charles Brotman. “The CLH Music Immersive is truly a one-of-a-kind, hands-on learning process. It pushes our participants’ creativity to new heights while providing perspective into the business behind the creation process.”

Admittance to the program is competitive and for serious songwriters only, with the inaugural year of CLH’s music immersive including talented local artists such as 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning musician, Kimie Miner, and 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano nominee, Izik Moreno. A majority of the participants at last year’s Immersive have since had work licensed by major entertainment studios after making connections through the Program.

Eleven applicants will be selected to participate in the free immersive program. Selected participants will need to cover personal expenses, including transportation, lodging and meals. To be considered for the CLH Music Immersive Program, an applicant must be a member of a Performing Rights Organization (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.), have some co-writing experience and have attended an industry conference. For a full list of requirements and to apply, go to: http://creativelab.hawaii.gov/accelerator-program/immersive-program/music-immersive/ or email cb@lavatracks.com.

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)

CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy.  Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implements activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

About the Creative Lab Hawaii Program

The Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion.  The CLH Program, a key facet of DBEDT’s HI Growth Initiative, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes.

Agencies Renew Monk Seal Safety Warnings – Mother Seal at Kaimana Beach May Become More Aggressive

Since an endangered Hawaiian monk seal gave birth to a pup on O‘ahu’s Kaimana beach late last month, there haven’t been any reports of people going beyond the established safety corridor. As RH58, known as Rocky, continues to nurse her offspring, marine resource experts predict she may become more aggressive. Today they renewed their encouragement for people to keep a safe distance and abide by signs and ropes that keep both humans and the seals safe.

David Schofield, the Regional Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, said, ”Hawaiian monk seals are for the most part docile, but as with any other wild animals, females protecting their young can be highly aggressive.”

Volunteers from Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) establish safety perimeters whenever seals beach in populated areas in the main Hawaiian Islands. The group’s president Jon Gelman explained, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to see one of the world’s rarest marine mammals, one that only lives in Hawaiian waters, right here in Waikiki. But that privilege comes with the responsibility to view the animals from a safe distance, and to give this seal mom and pup the opportunity to peacefully coexist with us on our beach and in our waters.” He reports that occasionally people walk by who are listening to music and accidentally walk by the signs, but once volunteers get their attention they avoid the closure area. However there has been some drone activity in the area and flying an aircraft within 1000 feet of a marine mammal is prohibited under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

This is the second mom and pup pair to show up on an O‘ahu beach in the last month and a half. Just prior to Memorial Day a mother and her pup beached on Moku Nui (Mokulua North) islet, a popular kayaking destination on the windward coast. DLNR working in partnership with NOAA produced a monk seal safety video that is required viewing for people renting kayaks from Kailua-area shops. Shop owners say the video has been very helpful and informative in providing visitors with a frame of reference, calling it an awesome tool. DLNR is now producing a location-generic monk seal information video that will be available free of charge to lodging properties, tour companies, and any others who work directly with visitors. It’s believed the video has helped prevent any human-seal encounters at Moku Nui.

All of the agencies charged with protecting the seals and people are determined to keep animals and humans safe. Kristen Kelly, Program Assistant with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Marine Wildlife Program said, “Kama’aina and visitors are fortunate to have this opportunity to view a Hawaiian monk seal mom and pup. But these are wild and potentially dangerous animals, especially protective moms like Rocky. Please put the safety of yourself and your family first. If you want to swim, we encourage you to take this opportunity to explore many of Oahu’s other beautiful beaches.”

In 2009 a woman on Kaua‘i was badly injured by a protective mother seal after she went into the water despite being warned. She required reconstructive surgery to her face and forearm. Kurt Lager the Acting Chief of the City & County of Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services said, “Public safety is the lifeguard’s number one priority. Ocean Safety will continue to warn beachgoers of the hazards of entering the ocean in close proximity to a wild animal.”

Experts predict Rocky and her pup will be at Kaimana for the next eight weeks or so until the pup weans. This also gives the pup time to acclimate once its mother leaves.

Moku Nui Monk Seals from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Transpac Fully Underway – Many Hawaii Connections Tied to Today’s Start

The 2017 biennial Transpac sailing race from California to Hawaii is now fully underway. The final three divisions with the fastest and biggest boats, including two 100-footers among them and a fleet of five multihulls, crossed the starting line this afternoon with hopes of breaking records in the 2,225-mile journey from Point Fermin on the Los Angeles coast to Diamond Head on Oahu.


There are many Hawaii connections among the racers that started today, including James McDowell and his yacht Grand Illusion from the Waikiki Yacht Club, the 2015 Transpac overall winner and a three-peat winner of this race; Pyewacket, skippered by Roy Pat Disney Jr., is also sailing under the Waikiki Yacht Club flag; Aszhou and her crew, half of which are locals from the islands; and Merlin, skippered by noted sailor and yacht designer Bill Lee (who designed and also built Merlin), has Maui-native Keahi Ho on crew.

In 1977, Merlin set an elapsed time record of 8 days 11 hours 1 min. This record would stand for 20 years until it was broken in the 1997 race by Pyewacket, a Santa Cruz 70 ultralight also designed by Bill Lee, with an elapsed time record of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds. The record fell once again in 2005, with Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory, a maxZ86 from Germany. Morning Glory was the scratch boat when it led a five-boat assault on the record for monohulls. She finished the race in 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds to win the “Barn Door” trophy, a slab of carved koa wood traditionally awarded to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time.

In a class of their own, Phaedo3, Mighty Merloe, Maserati and others are all going for a course record. If the record should fall, one of these boats will cross the Diamond Head buoy at the lighthouse this coming Monday, July 10, arriving in Hawaii in under 4 days. The current unofficial course record set my Phaedo3 this past May is 3 days 16 hours 52 min 3 sec.

The other divisions of smaller boats set out on Monday and Wednesday. For more information on how to get involved, attend the functions surrounding the race and/or to track the race live (four-hour delay), visit the Transpac website at www.2017.transpacyc.com. Contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160 for any inquiries.

Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Plan for Upgrading Power Grids Can Help Integrate More Private Rooftop Solar

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today submitted the draft of a plan to modernize its five island power grids to bring online more renewable resources, improve reliability and resilience and give customers more choices.

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Filed today with the Public Utilities Commission, the draft plan describes the scope and estimated cost to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light in the next six years, and how it will help the companies achieve a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 48 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2045.

The draft plan also describes how new technology will help triple private rooftop solar, make use of rapidly evolving products – including storage and advanced inverters – and incorporate an array of sophisticated energy management tools, including demand response.

“Our grids were originally designed for one-way flow of electricity to customers from a handful of power plants,” said Colton Ching, senior vice president for planning and technology. “We can use advanced technology to transform these grids for two-way power flow from nearly 80,000 privately owned rooftop solar systems today and tens of thousands more in the future, along with thousands of energy storage systems that will be part of our grids by 2045.”

Much of the first phase of work would be aimed at adding sensors and control systems onto circuits where the high level of private rooftop solar can produce potentially damaging variations in voltage and limit addition of new systems.

The cost of the first segment of modernization is estimated at about $205 million over six years. The plan focuses on near-term improvements that provide the most immediate system and customer benefit but don’t crowd out future technological breakthroughs.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, primarily for enhanced sensing and monitoring purposes, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits; and customers who want to participate in programs such as demand response, variable rates or who seek usage data;
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater private rooftop solar adoption;
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;
  • Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;
  • Expansion of a communication network giving system operators greater ability to “see” and efficiently coordinate distributed resources, along with smart devices placed on problematic circuits and automation for improved reliability;
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

To develop this grid modernization strategy, the Hawaiian Electric Companies took a “clean sheet” approach, starting by talking with customers and community stakeholders across the state to determine what was important to them when considering energy delivery today and in the future.

The companies plan to meet with stakeholders and to hold public discussions of the grid modernization draft plan starting in July, with their input to be included in the final version of the plan to be submitted at the end of August.

The draft plan and related documents are available at www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod. Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9, 2017.

NOAA and DLNR Ask People’s Cooperation to Keep Distance from Mother Seal and Pup on Waikiki Beach

Marine resource protection officials are asking the public’s cooperation to keep their distance and avoid disturbing a Hawaiian monk seal mother and her newborn pup on the popular Kaimana beach at Waikiki.

Some time overnight the female monk seal known as “Rocky” or RH58, gave birth to a seal at the far Diamond Head end of Kaimana beach. She had been seen frequenting that area in recent days. Volunteers from the Hawaii Marine Mammals Alliance Oahu group have set up a safety perimeter with ropes and signage to keep viewers a safe distance away to avoid disturbing the mother seal and her pup. It’s also important for human safety since a mother seal may charge anyone that gets too close on the beach or in the water that might be viewed as a threat.

Volunteers will keep watch in shifts and provide education and outreach information to beachgoers over the approximately 5 to 7 weeks while the pup is weaned and eventually able to forage for food on its own.

According to Angela Amlin, NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program Coordinator, this is the 10th pup for RH58, but the first one to be born on Oahu. The other nine were born on Kauai. She said, “Our first concern is for human safety. People should stay behind the ropes on the beach and avoid swimming near the seals. It’s also important not to attempt to approach or interact with the seals, or try to feed them, which could habituate them to human contact and could lead to future problems.”

NOAA staff are contacting condominium and hotel managers, also Ocean Safety lifeguards in the vicinity for cooperation to mark off the area so the seals may rest undisturbed. Monk seals are protected under state and federal laws.

Kristen Kelly, DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources Marine Wildlife program assistant, says, “It is a really exciting event to have a pup born in such a popular and highly traveled area. It is also a concern for us here at DLNR. It is important to respect these animals especially a mother seal giving protective care to her pup. It is very important to give the pair space and respect in this vulnerable time. Take care to remain behind the barriers and head more to the ‘ewa side of the beach to enter and exit the water while the pair is here. Take special care in the water near the mother seal — there have been several instances of mothers protecting their pups from a perceived threat in the water, and attacking even if their baby is on shore. We advise staying out of the water on that side of the beach until the pair leaves. Try to remain at least 150 feet away in the water.”

She further adds, “We want people to enjoy viewing these special animals but please watch from a respectful distance! When observing these highly endangered species let’s do the right thing: take care and respect the seals, avoid sudden noise or any disturbance that could cause the mom to leave unexpectedly before she should. She needs to stay with the pup until it is ready to go out on its own. We also don’t want these wild animals to become conditioned to humans being nearby or trying to feed them. Please allow a respectful distance from seals so their pups can grow up naturally.”

VIEWING TIPS:

  • Please stay behind any ropes or fencing and follow instructions from personnel stationed on the beach.
  • Enjoy seeing and photographing these magnificent creatures from outside the safety perimeter, clearly marked by signs and ropes.
  • Hawaiian monk seals, even pups, are large powerful animals and can bite if they feel threatened. Keep a safe distance away.
  • Anyone who witnesses someone harassing or harming the seals may make a report to the DLNR Enforcement line at 643-DLNR (643-3567) or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 888-256-9840
  • In addition, harassing these mammals is against both federal and state law.  So please do your part to help our Hawaiian monk seals thrive and survive.

It’s becoming more common for monk seals to haul out on beaches popular with people. After a mother seal and her pup showed up just before Memorial Day 2017 on Mokulua North (Moku Nui) offshore islet, Kailua kayak rental companies began showing a DLNR-produced safety video to customers. Kayak renters are also asked to read a card that lists safe monk seal viewing protocols.