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Community Invited to Informational Display on Proposed Kona Judicary Complex

The Hawai`i State Judiciary invites the public to see an informational display of preliminary design concepts for the proposed Kona Judiciary Complex.
Kona Judiciary
While no formal program is planned, officials from the Judiciary and DAGS, and consultants from Architects Hawaii, will be available and welcome any questions, comments and/or input.

Plans call for building the new courthouse on a 10-acre parcel in Keahuolū, North Kona. The site is located mauka of Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway, and across Makala Boulevard from the Makalapua Center. The complex will be three stories high and cost $90 million to construct.

  • WHAT:   Informational Display on Proposed Kona Judiciary Complex
  • WHO:     Representatives from the Hawaii State Judiciary, Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS), and Architects Hawaii
  • WHEN:   Tuesday, December 16, 2014, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm
  • WHERE: West Hawaii Civic Center, Building G (The “Hale”) 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kailua-Kona

 

Fire at Waiakea-Uka Gym Causes Change in Venue for Winter Intersession Program

The Winter Intersession Program slated for Hilo’s Stanley Costales Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium will be held at Andrews Gym due to fire damage sustained at Waiākea-Uka Gym.

Waiakea FireOriginal program dates and times will apply to the new venue located within Waiākeawaena Park at 33 West Kawailani Street in Hilo. Open to keiki enrolled in the first through six grades, the winter Intersession classes will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays starting December 22 and running through January 8, 2015.

The Department of Parks and Recreation regrets any inconvenience caused by the venue change and thanks program participants for their understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Police detectives are investigating a fire at the Waiākea Uka Gym in Hilo.

The fire was reported at approximately 4:30 a.m. Wednesday (December 10). Police and firefighters responded and found the fire concentrated at the northwest corner of the building.

Fire personnel extinguished the flames and estimated the damage to the walls and roof area at $65,000.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but is being investigated.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Norbert at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

New Fee Added to Electric Bills to Support Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program

A new line on electric bills starting this month will finance the State of Hawaii Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program. However, a corresponding reduction of the monthly Public Benefits Fund surcharge, collected to pay for the State’s conservation and energy efficiency programs, means most customers will likely see little net change on their electric bills. For a typical residential customer using 600 kWh a month, the green infrastructure fee will be $1.29 per month.

GEMS Office

The new line item, titled “Green Infrastructure Fee,” will appear under the listing of “Current Charges: Electric Service” beginning with December 2014 monthly bills of all Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light customers.

As required by law and authorized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, all residential and commercial customers will pay the Green Infrastructure Fee. The new fee will enable the State of Hawaii to borrow $150 million for its GEMS program. The State Department of Business, Economic Development will initially administer GEMS. The program will make low-cost loans so green infrastructure improvements are more affordable and accessible for customers who cannot afford upfront costs or cannot qualify for other financing.

The GEMS program will initially focus on clean energy investments so customers can take advantage of green initiatives such as photovoltaic systems, energy storage, advanced inverters and energy monitoring devices.

To learn more, visit the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Energy Office website (http://energy.hawaii.gov/testbeds-initiatives/gems) or call 808.586.2407.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active Around Ground Crack System and Well Site

The farthest downslope breakouts today are still situated around the ground crack system, near the abandoned well site. The front of these breakouts was about 500 m (0.3 miles) northeast of the well site, and about 1.9 km (1.2 miles) west of Kaohe Homesteads.

These breakouts were covering the existing flow and burning forest on its margins.  (Click to enlarge)

These breakouts were covering the existing flow and burning forest on its margins. (Click to enlarge)

Much of the active lava was covering the existing flow around the ground crack system, with small portions entering the forest at the flow margins.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The activity in the forest triggered brush fires and frequent methane explosions.

An HVO geologist examines a ground crack into which lava was pouring near the flow margin, producing large amounts of steam.  Click to enlarge

An HVO geologist examines a ground crack into which lava was pouring near the flow margin, producing large amounts of steam. Click to enlarge

Nominations Sought For The Hawaii Big Tree Competition

The holiday season marks the beginning of the annual Hawaii Big Tree Competition.  Sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife and American Forests, the program focuses attention on the largest trees in each species, as a way to raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition does not have a champion for the following Hawaiian species that are eligible for the National Big Tree Program.  Therefore, any tree nominated from the following list will likely be crowned a champion.

Big Tree

The 10 current Hawai‘i champions are listed below. To replace a current champion, the challenger tree must have more total points.  Total Points = Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet).

  • Niu (Cocos nucifera) in Hawea Heiau Complex and Keawawa Wetland, O‘ahu
    (Circumference: 13.5) (Height: 112) (Crown Spread: 16.42)
  • Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) in Waikoloa Dry Forest, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 186.96) (Height: 40) (Crown Spread: 43.50)
  • Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island  (Circumference: 204.52) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 42.58)
  • Pāpalakēpau (Pisonia brunoniana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 52.46) (Height: 28) (Crown Spread: 15.25)
  • Māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 165) (Height: 24) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Kōlea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 85.14) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Koa (Acacia koa) in Kona Hema Preserve, South Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 343) (Height: 115) (Crown Spread: 93)
  • Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in Hulihe‘e Palace, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 110) (Height: 20) (Crown Spread: 25)
  • A‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa) in Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 23) (Height: 17) (Crown Spread: 16)
  • Mānele (Sophora chrysophylla) in Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 30) (Height: 73) (Crown Spread: 57)

To nominate a tree, contact Hawai‘i Big Tree coordinator Kylee Ah Choy at (808) 587-0164 and provide the tree height, trunk circumference, and average crown spread.  Also, please know your tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

Big Tree Madness 1 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

For more on the Hawaii Big Tree Program: dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/info/big-tree/
For more on the National Big Tree Program: www.americanforests.org/bigtrees/bigtrees-search/

TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT’s THINK Fund initiative benefits Hawaii Island students pursuing STEM endeavors with an annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process.

“During our numerous meetings, TMT and the community discussed how to collaborate to fulfill the shared dream of building the world’s most advanced telescope. The idea for the THINK Fund to invest in the education of students in the STEM field was germinated,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “With the launch of the THINK Fund, we are embarking on two transformational adventures – exploring the frontiers of the universe and providing educational opportunities for Hawaii’s students, both now and for future generations.”

The Thirty Meter Telescope initiated dialogue on the formation of THINK Fund in 2008 by asking a group of community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund benefitting Hawaii Island students. The Organizing Committee that developed TMT’s THINK Fund structure was comprised of Hawaii Island residents.

“After years of THINK Fund planning and reflection, the aspirations of dedicated community members are being realized with TMT’s first annual $1 million contribution, set in motion by the start of our construction phase,” said TMT Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “As a mother of two teachers, I am so pleased with the THINK Fund’s potential to furnish Hawaii Island students with an easier path to reach for the stars. TMT’s THINK Fund initiative will not only help Hawaii Island students with the tools to excel in STEM areas and the channels to get into college, it can also provide students with the means to get through college.”

The Organizing Committee determined that scholarships, grant making and the establishment of an endowment would ensure the sustainability of improving educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students in STEM disciplines. It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture.

TMT’s annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. The foundations will administer their respective THINK Funds independently and will have autonomy in administering grant funds, determining scholarship recipients, and the selection and governance of Advisory Committees.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation

Grants are available by application to THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation beginning November 20th and will support a variety of Hawaii Island STEM student activities in and after-school, internship programs and teacher-generated STEM classroom projects. Scholarships will support current and future STEM teachers on Hawaii Island as well as students pursuing STEM degrees and training. Scholarship applications will be available online on December 1st, 2014.

“For the past 98 years, Hawaii Community Foundation has had the privilege of serving our island communities across the state,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation. “We’re honored to be the stewards of the THINK Fund at HCF that will support STEM education on Hawaii Island for generations to come.”

Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation are Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons and Barry Taniguchi. The Advisory Committee, facilitated by Hawaii Community Foundation staff, will assist with strategy development, review grant proposals, make grant decisions and encourage STEM education for Hawaii Island.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students including Native Hawaiians, teachers with STEM classroom projects and organizations providing STEM and internship programs that directly benefit Hawaii Island. Learn more and apply at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org <http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org> .

The Hawaii Island office of Hawaii Community Foundation is located in Waimea.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation

Scholarship Programs will be the initial focus of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. Grant making is being considered for the future.

“With Hawaii Island having the second largest population of Native Hawaiians in the state of Hawaii, our partnership with TMT provides much-needed financial support for Hawaiian learners from Hawaii Island to pursue educational opportunities in STEM,” said Hawaii Island resident and Pauahi Foundation Executive Director Keawe Liu.

Advisory committee members of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation are Roberta Chu, Kaeo Duarte, Leinaala Enos, David Kaapu, Bob Lindsey, Gail Makuakane-Lundin and Maile Wong.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students with a preference given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. Scholarship applications will be available online on February 4, 2015 at www.pauahi.org <http://www.pauahi.org> .

THINK Fund Collaboration

THINK Fund was designed as an initiative to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawaii Island’s workforce, and TMT is serving as the founding member of the THINK Fund initiative. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawaii Island students long term.

What’s Next For TMT?

Construction activities in Hawaii include site preparation and grading.

tmt

Offsite work has begun in earnest as well. In China, partners are designing the telescope’s fully articulated main science steering mirror system and developing the laser guide star system. Japan has produced over sixty special zero thermal-expansion glass mirror blanks for the main mirror and is designing the telescope structure in detail. Fabricating the mirror support system is ongoing in India. The adaptive optics facility is in final design and the enclosure is ready for construction in Canada. The primary mirror and mirror control system is in final design in California.

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

HELCO Response to Utility Pole on Fire in Lava Flow Path

No power interruptions due to the lava flow have been reported and utility poles along Apa’a Street currently remain in place, Hawaii Electric Light Company reports. However, it does appear that one of the poles is beginning to show the impacts of the lava’s heat.

HELCO Pole

“This morning, our technical experts found the pole that was surrounded by lava had sunk about ten feet and either steam or smoke was coming through the cinder piled around the pole. We suspect the pole is burning slowly at the ground level. We cooled the pole and protective barrier with water and will continue to monitor the condition of the pole. At this time, the pole remains standing and it does not appear to have sunk further,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee. “As a precautionary measure, we took the transmission line out of service while we evaluated the situation and cooled the pole. We put this line back in service this afternoon. However, we were able to keep power on for all customers through an alternative transmission line.”

Hawaii Electric Light is continuing with other contingency plans including:

  • Relocating a portion of its primary distribution line to the opposite side of Pahoa Village Road onto two taller poles installed under a joint pole agreement with Hawaiian Telcom. The taller poles were spaced farther apart than normal and allowed Hawaiian Telcom to raise their cables higher on the pole. Hawaii Electric Light was then able to cut the tops of the poles located on the opposite side of the road to reduce the height of the poles in the event lava causes them to fall, thereby minimizing the chance the poles would cause damage to the pole line across the street. The shorter poles contain a distribution line serving customers in the immediate area. Hawaii Electric Light will keep the power on for customers in this section of Pahoa Village Road for as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Crews are extending the distribution line on Government Beach Road between Hawaiian Paradise Park and Hawaiian Beaches to provide power to Hawaiian Beaches should existing lines located closer to Highway 130 become inoperable.
  • Hawaii Electric Light has relocated a large diesel generator to Puna and will be moving a second large diesel generator to the same location. These units will be able to provide power for the lower portion of Puna if this section is cut off from the rest of the island grid.

HELCO Attempts to Protect Power Poles From Lava Flow

Hawaii Electric Light continues to work closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense and other agencies to monitor and evaluate the lava flow and has put into action the plans that are appropriate for this stage, including:

  • Pole protection measures were installed on four poles along Apaa Street. The poles were partially encased with heat resistant and dispersive material to protect them from the heat generated by the lava.
  • A large diesel generator was relocated to the Kapoho area to provide an alternate source of generation should the flow isolate the area from the island-wide power grid.
  • The distribution line extension construction continues on Government Beach Road as an alternate means to provide power to Hawaiian Beaches should the existing power distribution lines become inoperable.
HELCO workers are experimenting on securing the telephone poles on Cemetery Road.  (Click to enlarge)

HELCO workers are experimenting on securing the poles on Cemetery Road. As of 2 PM, the flow was only 135 m (approximately 150 yards) from Cemetery Rd./Apaʻa St., which spans this photo. HELCO crews can be seen working to protect utility poles along the road. (Click to enlarge)

“The safety of our community and employees is our top priority,” said spokesperson Kristen Okinaka. “We’re working closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense and have taken the necessary steps to protect our facilities.”

Hawaii Electric Light advises customers who are planning to move and would like to discontinue or transfer their electric service to call (808) 969-6999. In the event evacuation is necessary before electric service has been removed, the company recommends customers:

  • Shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch;
  • Unplug or turn off electric equipment and appliances.

As there are new developments, updates will be provided to the media and public and also posted on Hawaii Electric Light’s website (www.hawaiielectriclight.com), Twitter (@HIElectricLight), and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HawaiianElectric) accounts.

Lava Flow Approximately 0.3 Miles From Apa’a Street Near Pahoa Transfer Station

This is an eruption and lava flow Information Update for Thursday October 23rd at 8:45 am

This morning’s assessment shows that the narrow finger that was advancing along the south edge of the flow has advanced approximately 425 yards since yesterday.  This new flow front is active and moving in a northeast direction.  Currently the leading edge of the advancing flow is approximately .3 miles from the Apa’a Street area near the Pahoa Transfer Station.  There was very little burning activity and smoke conditions were moderate. There is no brush fire threat at this time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities and no evacuation is needed at this time.  Area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary.

With the change in flow activity and advancement, Apa’a Street and Cemetery Road will be closed between the Pahoa Transfer Station and the Kaohe Homesteads Road.  In addition, Civil Defense and public safety personnel will be operating in the area round the clock to maintain close observations of flow activity.

The public is reminded that the flow is not visible and cannot be accessed from any public areas.   Access to the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision will remain restricted to area residents only.

Drone Plane Photos of Lava Flow

Today I met Paul Mount as I was heading to the Pahoa Transfer Station on Cemetery Road and I noticed that he was calibrating his drone plane/copter so I pulled over and talked to him for a few minutes.

Paul Mount calibrating his drone.

Paul Mount calibrating his drone.

He sent his drone up and captured some HD film footage of what he saw.  Here are a couple pictures from today’s flight:

Paul Mount 1

Photo by Paul Mount

“…looking in a direction of 180 degrees from the first photo”

Photo by Paul Mount

Photo by Paul Mount

Paul sent me an email telling me he would be trying to get better footage tomorrow.  He was kind of hampered by the weather today.

Kamehameha Schools Selects New CEO

On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I am pleased to share with you that we have selected Livingston “Jack” Wong as Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools.

Jack WongIn the last six months, we have had the opportunity to work closely with Jack, to experience the skills, and professional and personal qualities he brings to the position. Jack has demonstrated his leadership ability to work closely with the Board, the organization’s staff and the community.  In so doing, he has built relationships, trust and loyalty while advancing the mission of Kamehameha Schools.

We believe there is no better indicator of Jack’s devotion to our mission than the extraordinary work he has already done for us. After nearly two decades, Jack knows and understands our organization, and has been protecting and cultivating its legacy. He exemplifies the values of Pauahi and our schools, and we are confident you will find him to be a thoughtful, intelligent and selfless leader.

Jack joined KS in 1997 as senior counsel specializing in commercial real estate. He was promoted to director of KS’ Endowment Legal Division in 2000, and shortly thereafter helped lead Kamehameha’s defense of its Hawaiian preference admission policy. In 2013, Jack was named Vice President for Legal Affairs, and he has been serving as interim CEO since April 2014, when Dee Jay Mailer retired.

We will be sharing this news more broadly within the community today, and we wanted to make sure you heard it directly from us in advance.  The news release will be posted to www.ksbe.edu shortly.

Please join us in affirming Jack as our new CEO. We look forward to introducing Jack to you and the broader community in the weeks and months ahead.  Mahalo nui loa for your continued support of the mission and purpose of Kamehameha Schools.

Lance Keawe Wilhelm
Chair, Board of Trustees

Aerial Images of Puna Lava Flow Emerge

Here is an aerial image of the Puna Lava Flow on September 5th:

Click to enlarge

All images courtesy of Resource Mapping Hawaii. Click to enlarge

Here’s an aerial view showing Puna Lava Flow moving northwards from Sept 5 to 7 provide by Resource Mapping Hawaii:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This image was taken on Septemer 7, 2014:

Aerial image flow 2

Today is the 10th.  When I get access to the updated images I’ll post that.

Civil Defense Update on Eruption and Lava Flow

This is a civil defense message.

Civildefense

This is an Eruption and Lava Flow Information Update for Wednesday September 10th at 8:15 AM.

This morning’s assessment shows the surface lava flow continues and is moving in a north/northeast direction.  There is no wildfire threat at this time.  Weather and fire conditions are being monitored closely.  Due to a light inversion this morning smoke conditions in the area were moderate.

Photo of the flow from the top of my Mattson container at 8:45 this morning.

Photo of the flow from the top of my Mattson container at 8:45 this morning.

The surface flow has advanced approximately 250 yards since yesterday.  The surface flow is moving slowly and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents.  The surface flow is located approximately .6 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary and moving in a north/northeast direction and parallel to the forest reserve boundary.

Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.  No evacuation is required at this time.  Eruption activity will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Although the current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities, residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.

The public is reminded that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Access to the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision will be restricted and limited to subdivision residents only.

Lava Flow Update – Flow Advances About 300 Yards in About 6 Hours

The June 27th lava flow remains active. An HVO flight early in the afternoon yesterday found that the flow had advanced ~280 m (~300 yards) north since a Civil Defense flight just after sunrise that morning (a span of ~6 hours), and the flow front had reached a large crack marked on the topographic base map (but not visible from the air). There was no evidence that the flow was entering this crack, if it exists.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A steam plume as seen from my house near Pahoa High School.

A Civil Defense overflight this morning found that the flow front had advanced an additional 370 meters (400 yards) since yesterday afternoon. This puts the tip of the flow at 14.0 km (8.7 miles) from the vent, measured in a straight line, and 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from the Forest Reserve boundary.

The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.0 km (9.9 miles). The flow front is still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.

Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently, but are also producing smoke plumes a they creep into the adjacent forest.

New Screenplay Contest for Big Island Film Festival

Long before the lights and cameras come to life, movie action starts on paper, with a fine-tuned craft of screenwriting. In celebration of the screenplay, Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its first feature film script contest, with top entries saluted at the tenth annual festival, May21-25, 2015. The winning script will be submitted to the Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Some of the winners that were present to receive their awards.

Some of the 2014 Big Island Film Festival award winners.

With a signature focus on narrative films, BIFF has nurtured the art of storytelling, both on the big screen and off, presenting screenwriting and filmmaking workshops, networking and social opportunities, and audience feedback in a casual, creative setting. The new screenplay contest is a natural outgrowth of inspiration and education planted over the last decade.

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

“Because we have writers who come to our workshops every year, we know that their film ideas are taking shape, if not actually completed,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “This could give the right motivation to actually sit down and polish, fine-tune, give your project its best shot. Paradigm is one of the top five talent agencies in the business, and, although we can’t guarantee anything, just to have them consider representing your script is a tremendous opportunity; it’s priceless.”

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the "Golden Honu" award at the 2010 BIFF

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the “Golden Honu” award at the 2010 BIFF

Scripts must be submitted no later than February 1, 2015, and must be between 60 and 140 pages in standard screenplay format. Professional readers will screen all submissions, by reviewing the first ten pages, to select nine semi-finalists. Of those, three finalists will be evaluated by veteran screenwriters, instructors and consultants and one winner selected.

Saturday Night Live's Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

Saturday Night Live’s Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

All semifinalists will receive filmmaker passes to BIFF 2015 and finalists will receive a Golden Honu Award plate and listing on Variety.com. Only the winning screenplay, announced at the Awards Brunch on May 25, will be submitted to Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Films may be submitted by mail or email, or on line via www.FilmFreeway.com, an easy and affordable entry service for screenwriting contests and film festivals. Deadlines are January 1, 2015 (Early Bird) and February 1, 2015 (Regular). Complete rules, fee information and entry forms are available at www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25, 2015. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.  For more information, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

New Lava Flow Map Shows Pahoa Town in Direct Path of Lava

Small-scale map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of September 4, 2014.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Lava on the surface at 1 PM, outlined in red, was 13.3 km (8.3 miles) from the vent and 1.2 km (0.7 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The front of the flow was spilling into another crack, which was steaming.

The blue lines show potential flow paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube.

Marine Mammal Center Holds Grand Opening and Blessing of New Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital

Sick and injured Hawaiian monk seals will get a second chance at survival thanks to The Marine Mammal Center’s new Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital, which is dedicated to the rescue and care of this critically endangered species.

Ikaika, a male Hawaiian monk seal pup, was one of the first four patients at The Marine Mammal Center's Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Credit -- Koa Matsuoka, NMFS

Ikaika, a male Hawaiian monk seal pup, was one of the first four patients at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Credit — Koa Matsuoka, NMFS

 

On September 2, The Marine Mammal Center held a Grand Opening celebration and blessing at the new $3.2 million facility, which has been named Ke Kai Ola (The Healing Sea).

In addition to celebrating this milestone, the Center also celebrated the release of the first four patients treated at the hospital. Four young, malnourished monk seals were admitted to Ke Kai Ola on July 9 after being rescued in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Center’s veterinary experts and trained volunteers cared for the seals until they were healthy enough to return to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands on August 31.

HONOLULU — Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transport a Hawaiian monk seal from the Big Island to Oahu for urgent medical care, Feb. 1, 2012. The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

HONOLULU — Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transport a Hawaiian monk seal from the Big Island to Oahu for urgent medical care, Feb. 1, 2012. The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

“We built this hospital to save a species,” says Dr. Jeff Boehm, executive director at The Marine Mammal Center. “Thanks to funding from the Firedoll Foundation as well as a generous family foundation and hundreds of donors throughout the world, this hospital can now provide life-saving medical care.”

The Hawaiian monk seal population is estimated at fewer than 1,100 individuals and continues to decline. Fewer than one in five pups in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands survive their first year due to threats like entanglement in ocean trash, changes in the food chain and predation.

Monk Seal

“It takes a village to care for sick or injured monk seals,” says Dr. Frances Gulland, Marine Mammal Commissioner and senior scientist at The Marine Mammal Center. “We are honored to bring our veterinary and husbandry experience and now partner with the National Marine Fisheries Service, whose work to date is responsible for saving about 30 percent of the monk seals alive today.”

With the help of community volunteers, the Center will also conduct public outreach programs to provide education about Hawaiian monk seals and conservation efforts.

Learn more: http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/hms

Lava Flow Map Updated – Flow Widens and Advances

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of September 3, 2014.

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The area of the flow as mapped on September 1 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of September 3 is shown in red. Last night, lava welled up out of the crack it was filling and spilled out onto the ground to feed new surface flows. As of early afternoon today (September 3), lava on the surface was 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent and 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube.

Maui Felon Arrested for Refusing to Provide DNA Sample – State Looking for Others

Attorney General David M. Louie announced that on August 22, 2014, John P. Dunbar Jr. (60) of Haiku, Maui, was arrested by patrol officers and officers assigned to the Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit for refusing to provide a DNA sample. Mr. Dunbar, had been convicted of Escape in the Second Degree, which is a felony, in June 2005 and was provided notice of the legal requirement that he provide a DNA sample.

Pursuant to section 844D-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, any person convicted of a felony is required to provide a buccal swab sample containing DNA. This law applies to all convicted felons, even if their conviction occurred before the passage of the law in 2005. Refusal to submit a DNA sample is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a maximum fine of $2,000.

This case is the result of the Attorney General’s on-going law enforcement effort to obtain DNA samples from thousands of unsupervised convicted felons in the State of Hawaii and was a joint effort between the Attorney General Investigations Division’s DNA Swabbing Unit, the United States Marshals Service, the Maui Police Department, and the Maui Prosecutor’s Office.

“I thank the various law enforcement agencies that have assisted our office in ensuring that state law is followed and that convicted felons who refuse to provide DNA samples are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Louie. “The DNA collection program has already assisted law enforcement in closing unsolved crimes. I encourage anyone that has been convicted of a felony that has not yet provided a DNA sample to voluntarily comply with the law and provide a sample to our DNA Swabbing Unit.” The DNA Swabbing Unit can be contacted at 808-586-1240.

An arrest does not constitute a conviction and Mr. Dunbar is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the criminal offense charged.

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Civil Defense Update – Lava Flow Extends From Crack Entry

Daily helicopter over flights and assessments of the eruption are continuing.  This morning’s assessment showed that there is currently some surface activity.  The current flow had entered a crack system earlier this week and there is some evidence to indicate subsurface lava activity.  The surface flow has extended approximately 200-300 yards from the crack entry.

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Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.

As the surface flow moves through the vegetation, smoke conditions may increase and fluctuate with changes in wind conditions.  There is no brush fire or wildland fire threat at this time and all burning is limited to the perimeter of the flow.

The location of the surface flow is approximately 1.4 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary.  Eruption activity will be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

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Area residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.  As stated, the current flow activity does not present with an immediate or imminent threat.  This update is to keep area residents informed of current observations.

The public is advised that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Please do not attempt to access the area as there are many cracks and dense vegetation.  In addition please refrain from attempting to do so through the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision and respect the privacy of area residents.  Enforcement officers of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be conducting patrols and reminding persons in the area of the restricted access.