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Web-based Software to Track Inventory and Sales at Medical Marijuana Dispensaries – Request for Proposals Issued

The Hawaii State Department of Health will deploy a web-based system that will provide 24/7 access to real-time data on medical marijuana inventory, sales, and other tracking information required of dispensary licensees statewide, according to Keith Ridley, Chief of the Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance.

Medical Marijuana

The Office of Health Care Assurance performs all state licensing activities on healthcare facilities, agencies and organizations in Hawaii, and is tasked with implementing Act 241, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2015 and became section 329D, HRS. Under the new program, a dispensary licensee may begin dispensing medical marijuana and manufactured marijuana products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers no earlier than July 15, 2016, with the department’s approval.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Nov. 19, 2015. The notice of award of contract for the computer software tracking system is expected to be made by Dec. 23, 2015.

“This is another major step forward to implement the medical marijuana program to ensure access for Hawaii patients and caregivers,” Ridley said. “After researching various options, the department determined a web-based software system would be the most effective and user-friendly way for licensees and state officials to collect and report seed-to-sale tracking information to ensure public safety and patient safety, and licensees will be required to utilize a tracking system. We are also exploring how other entities such as law enforcement officers or laboratories can also securely access the information.”

Detailed Inventory, Disposal, and Sales Information

The system will be used to track products from seed to sale or disposal, and will collect detailed inventory and sales information such as:

  • The total amount of marijuana at each dispensary, in the form of seeds or plants, including all plants that are derived from cuttings or cloning, until the marijuana, marijuana plants, or manufactured marijuana products are sold or destroyed;
  • The total amount of manufactured marijuana product inventory, including the equivalent physical weight of marijuana that is used to manufacture marijuana products or purchased by a qualifying patient and primary caregiver from all retail dispensing locations in any 15-day day period;
  • The amount of unused plant material produced by each plant at harvest; and
  • The transport of marijuana and manufactured marijuana products between production centers and retail dispensing locations, including tracking identification issued by the tracking system, the identity of the person transporting the marijuana or manufactured marijuana products, and how the products are transported.


Under the new law, a total of eight licenses may be awarded. Three licenses may be issued for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai.

Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail stations for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensaries statewide. Each production center may have up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

The Request for Proposals is available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana under Dispensary Updates.

72 Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever – Some Schools Will Be Treated this Weekend

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak.  As of 10:30 today the Department of Health has reported 72 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island.  These cases include 62 residents and 10 visitors.


Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and not directly from person to person.  Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii. It was likely introduced by a person who contracted the virus in another area of the world and became infectious while in Hawaii.

Because dengue fever is only transmitted by mosquitoes, the Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases.  The Department of Health may be conducting spraying at various locations in the Kona, Hilo, and Puna areas today.  In addition, the Department of Health with support from the County of Hawaii and the Department of Education will be conducting preventive spraying or treating of areas around the following school campuses this weekend:

  • Konawaena High, Middle and Elementary Schools
  • Honaunau School
  • Hookena School
  • Hilo High School
  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • Waiakea Intermediate and Elementary Schools

Again, these school campuses are being treated as a preventative measure and based on proximity to confirmed cases in the area.  There are no cases directly related to any of the school facilities or campuses.

Although spraying and treatment of areas is ongoing, the most effective method to reduce the spread and possible elimination of Dengue is to minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellant and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001., Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New Waimea District Park

A groundbreaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing for a new 24-acre Waimea District Park were held Monday, November 16, during a public ceremony attended by Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Councilmembers, State lawmakers, and Parker Ranch Inc. executives.

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16. Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16.
Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

The project’s first phase, complete with three covered play courts, lighted ball field and keiki playground, will be opened in December 2016, well ahead of the original 2020 estimate, Mayor Kenoi said while standing in front of the green pastures to be developed into active recreation.

“It’s going to be a pu‘uhonua (place of peace and safety) in beautiful Waimea,” he said.

Parker Ranch donated the land for the park site located near its former headquarters and reached via Ala ‘Ōhi‘a Road.

“This is truly an exciting day for Waimea and the Big Island,” Dutch Kuyper, Parker Ranch president and CEO, said, noting athletic fields are where children can learn good sportsmanship and humility, even in defeat.

Contractor Nan Inc. has been hired to build the project’s first phase, which also will feature accessible walkways, more than 150 paved parking spaces, landscaping, and infrastructure.

Mayor Kenoi thanked the Waimea community, including the Waimea District Park Builders, for not giving up on the dream of a new park. He also thanked State leaders for helping obtain partial funding for the park development, the County Council for approving the balance of the necessary funding, and the Department of Parks and Recreation for managing the project.

Sam Choy Introduces New Kitchen Line at the Royal Kona Resort

Saturday evening at the Royal Kona Resort, Celebrity Chef Sam Choy partnered up with Tiki Shark Hawaii by hosting a party and introducing the world to Choy’s new line-up of kitchen items.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O'Brien and his girlfirend with Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker in front.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O’Brien and his girlfirend with Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker in front.

A large crowd filled Don the Beachcomber Bar downstairs of the Royal Kona Resort for a concert that culminated with 13-year-old YouTube sensation Aidan James and John Cruz on the stage together.

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Sam Choy mentioned about the hard work that was done putting together this new line of kitchen products and spoke with Professional Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien about doing a YouTube show from their respective houses.

Sam Choy "In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien???

Sam Choy “In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien”???

You can click here to view Sam Choy’s In the Kitchen clips.

While Sam Choy signed many autographed copies of his book’s, partial proceeds from the evenings event went to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Hilo folks will have the opportunity to check out Aidan James at the Hilo Palace Theater next Saturday Evening November, 14th at 7:00.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

The product line will be available at his restaurants as well they will begin showing up in various gift shops around the island.  They can currently be found at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive in Kona.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

New High-Speed Private Fiber Link to Link Hawaii Film, Television & Creative Media Industry with Hollywood

With brand new private fiber technology, competitive tax incentives, state-of-the-art studios, postproduction facilities and a development fund…it’s time to rethink Hawai’i’s Film, Television & Creative Media Industry.

A new Hawai’i-based digital technology is connecting the filmscape of paradise with a secure, high-speed Private Fiber back to the heart of Hollywood and more than 400 studios across three continents.

History was just made for Hawaii-in-Hollywood as GVS Connect (http://www.globalvirtualstudio.com), together with Hawai`i's Creative Industry DBEDT Officials, State Film Office and technology experts presented a dynamic, "LIVE" multimedia demonstration that connected Honua Studios in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii, with more than 100 Hollywood influencers who gathered at Jack L. Warner's personal Screening Room #5 at Warner Brothers Studios in California.

History was just made for Hawaii-in-Hollywood as GVS Connect (http://www.globalvirtualstudio.com), together with Hawai`i’s Creative Industry DBEDT Officials, State Film Office and technology experts presented a dynamic, “LIVE” multimedia demonstration that connected Honua Studios in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii, with more than 100 Hollywood influencers who gathered at Jack L. Warner’s personal Screening Room #5 at Warner Brothers Studios in California.

This new, high-speed, private fiber technology by GVS Connect is a game-changer for Hawai’i’s creative industry. This advanced connectivity, along with Hawaii’s post and VFX incentives, will enable filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration, as well as transfer and simultaneously edit burstable gigabytes of raw, high-definition dailies to producers and studios around the world. This private fiber technology is the industry’s leader in content sharing with a commitment to security, cost efficiency and smart-device capability.

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, representatives from the Hawai’i State Film Office, Creative Industries; GVS Connect; tech advisors and industry influencers gathered at Warner Bros. Studio to present “Hollywood – Hawai`i Film & Media Connect,” a live, point-to-point demonstration, of real-time, high-speed data transfer between Kailua-Kona (on the Island of Hawai`i at Honua Studios) and Los Angeles.  Hawai’i’s Film, Television & Creative Media industry is now well positioned to support state-of-the-art global production, as well as export creative content developed in Hawai`i.

 This never-before-seen interactive demonstration was made possible by a NEW private fiber technology that is now available in the islands which allows burstable gigabytes of HD data to be shared in real-time with global producing entities (more than 400 studios across three continents). This new, advanced technology is a GAME-CHANGER for Hawaii's creative industries allowing filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration.  This breakthrough invites the world to rethink Hawaii's vast multimedia and broadband entrepreneurial potential and capability.

This never-before-seen interactive demonstration was made possible by a NEW private fiber technology that is now available in the islands which allows burstable gigabytes of HD data to be shared in real-time with global producing entities (more than 400 studios across three continents). This new, advanced technology is a GAME-CHANGER for Hawaii’s creative industries allowing filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration. This breakthrough invites the world to rethink Hawaii’s vast multimedia and broadband entrepreneurial potential and capability.

“With a strong commitment from government and private investors, Hawai’i is creating a compelling environment for filmmakers and media professionals to capitalize on the state’s growing production, post, and VFX infrastructure,” says David Cunningham, founder of GVS Connect.

Hawai’i’s competitive tax incentives, are considered among the most reliable credit programs in the country:

  • 20-25% film, digital and television rebate
  • No overall spending ceiling
  • Per production credit cap of $15 million – POST, VFX, ANIMATION, GAME DEV included
  • Above-and-below-the-line/resident and non-resident salaries/wage qualification

Hawai`i is now part of a global, collaborative media network. With Hawai’i’s first private fiber technology, a production can maximize its economic potential with global reach to its producing entities. In addition, Hawai`i has an award-winning accelerator program, called the GVS Transmedia Accelerator (http://www.gvsaccelerator.com), which fast-tracks and funds development for content creation in Hawai`i, the Creative Lab which is a feeder content development program, and a follow-on development fund available for accelerator content produced in these programs.

With a long-term vision and commitment, the State of Hawai’i has allocated millions to develop a cable-landing infrastructure that will further increase Hawai’i’s global broadband connectivity and capacity.

Island Air Launches College Student Standby Program – University of Hawaii Students Will Benefit From $35 Fares

College life in Hawaiʻi just got a lot more affordable with the launch of Island Air’s new College Student Standby Program.  With this new pilot program the airline is offering students enrolled at University of Hawaiʻi campuses on Oʻahu and Maui the opportunity to stand by for any flight on any day for the wallet-friendly price of just $35* each way.

Island Air

The College Student Standby Program is available to all students currently enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu and six community institutions (Honolulu Community College, Kapiʻolani Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui College, Lānaʻi Education Center, and Windward Community College) who are traveling between the islands of Oʻahu, Maui and Lānaʻi.

To qualify for the College Student Standby rate, students must present a valid University of Hawaiʻi student ID and their state or federal ID card or passport to a customer service agent at the Island Air ticket counter. There is no maximum number of times a student may participate in the offer.

As the state’s affordable alternative airline, Island Air is constantly building new programs that enhance its value and services.  “We support our student communities and know how important it is to have a reliable, affordable connection to family and friends, especially for holidays,” said Dave Pflieger, CEO of Island Air.  “We are testing this program with the University of Hawaiʻi schools on Oʻahu and Maui for a limited time. The fare is an additional way that Island Air demonstrates its commitment to providing an economical, quality travel experience.”

*$35 is a standby rate, subject to seat availability and can be changed without notice.  Fare includes one (1) federal transportation segment tax and one (1) security fee.  Other taxes, fees, and restrictions may apply.

For more information about Island Air’s College Student Standby rate, visit http://www.islandair.com or call (808) 840-2323.  Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

“State of Aerospace” in Hawaii – Opportunity for a New Industry Growth

The State legislature has indicated interest in growth in the aerospace industry of Hawaii as a means of diversifying the economic risk within the State beyond tourism, service industries and military.
AerospaceClick here to register

Ground Broken For Lalamilo Wind Farm

The County of Hawai‘i and the Department of Water Supply held a groundbreaking event for the construction of a wind farm in South Kohala earlier today.  Contributing to the State’s Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, this project will consist of 5 wind turbines that will altogether generate 3.3 MW.

New 3.3 MW wind farm will save Hawai'i Island water customers $1 million a year on energy.

New 3.3 MW wind farm will save Hawai’i Island water customers $1 million a year on energy.

A benefit to Water Supply customers, Hawai‘i County, and the state of Hawai‘i; construction of this new facility will create about 50 temporary construction jobs, and about three permanent positions to operate the wind farm.  Construction is estimated to be complete in approximately one year.  Commercial operation is expected to begin the latter part of 2016.

The completed wind farm will provide a less expensive renewable energy source for the DWS wells in the area which serve an average 5.1 million gallons per day to residential, resort, park, industrial and commercial areas from Mauna Lani Resort to Kawaihae.  To maximize the use of renewable energy, controls will be installed to coordinate DWS operations with the wind generated energy production.

The DWS awarded Lālāmilo Wind Company LLC the project and executed a Power Purchase Agreement that includes a contract energy amount of 7,620 megawatt-hours/year (MWh/yr) to be supplied to the DWS. The current energy demand is approximately 11,000 MWh/yr. with an annual electrical cost of $4.1M.  The Lālāmilo wind farm is expected to save $1.0 million per year in energy costs over the next 20 years.

HVO Raises Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa

HVO seismic stations continue to record elevated rates of shallow, small-magnitude earthquakes beneath Mauna Loa’s summit, upper Southwest Rift Zone, and west flank. For at least the past year, the rate of shallow earthquakes has varied but overall has remained above the long-term average. During this same time period, HVO has measured ground deformation consistent with recharge of the volcano’s shallow magma storage system.

Together, these observations indicate the volcano is no longer at a background level of activity. Accordingly, HVO is elevating the Mauna Loa alert level to ADVISORY and the aviation color code to YELLOW.

Aviation Level
This increase in alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to an eruption is certain.

Shallow earthquakes are occurring in locations similar to those that preceded Mauna Loa’s two most recent eruptions in 1975 and 1984; however, the energy release of the recent earthquakes remains comparatively low. The current rate and pattern of ground deformation is similar to that measured during inflation of Mauna Loa in 2005, an episode of unrest that did not end in an eruption.

It is possible that, as in 2005, the present heightened activity will continue for many months, or even years, without progressing to an eruption. It is also possible that the current unrest is a precursor to an eruption, as was the case prior to eruptions in 1975 and 1984. At this early stage of unrest, we cannot determine which of these possibilities is more likely.

HVO continues to monitor the volcano closely and will report any significant changes.

Stay informed about Mauna Loa by following volcano updates and tracking current monitoring data on the HVO web page (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/maunaloastatus.php) or by signing up to receive updates by email at this site: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/

New Activities Mark 20th Taste of the Hawaiian Range

While “grazing” at over 60 culinary stations and exhibit booths, attendees at the 20th Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range can get in on some new activities that all promote local and sustainable food production on Hawai‘i Island.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The anniversary event is 6-8 p.m. Friday, October 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village and boasts a stellar lineup of participating chefs from O’ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island—plus sampling by local food producers and compelling exhibits presenting topics related to our island agriculture.

Each attending family will receive a complimentary copy of the Taste of the Hawaiian Range 20th Anniversary Cookbooklet, filled with recipes by local chefs and members of the local beef industry. Find out how the Arakis of Kuhio Grille make Miso Pork Pot Roast and what’s the secret for Merriman’s Kahua Ranch Lamb Jook.


Also new in 2015 is a digital scavenger hunt where up to 500 guests can answer questions, take photos and learn more about Big Isle agriculture—using their smart phones —for a chance to win prizes like restaurant gift certificates and local food products.

In addition, attendees will be able to connect with exhibit booths through a QR code image posted at each table. The code will connect smart phone users to online product discounts, coupons and links for educational resources.

“These digital activities will enable attendees to take advantage of discount offers from our participating local food producers for up to a year after the event,” explains Christine Osterwalder, Taste exhibit chair. “Guests will also be able to download digital handouts from our educational exhibitors. Info will be conveniently accessible at the click of a button and celebrates the amazing variety of agricultural products here on the Big Island.”


Anniversary festivities will include honoring the event’s 20-year participants and others who have been long-term Taste supporters.

Culinary headliners for this year’s event include Bravo’s “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Sheldon Simeona of Maui’s Migrant Restaurant; Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Best Restaurant of the Year; and the host of TV’s “Family Ingredients,” Ed Kenny of Honolulu’s Town Restaurant.

These celebrity chefs, and 30-some others, will be preparing delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, lamb, goat, mutton and pork. A variety of beef cuts—from tongue to tail— are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones. Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus tripe and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

The Rocky Mountain Oyster Display

The Rocky Mountain Oyster Display

Hawaii Regional Cuisine founders Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman will lead the pre-gala’s educational offerings, which are open to the public. Using oxtail and beef tenderloin, Chef Yamaguchi of Roy’s instructs the 2015 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants offers a presentation on purchasing local for the professional kitchen that is geared for college culinary students at 1:30 p.m.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10 while the 1:30 p.m. class is free. Tickets are on sale at island-wide locations and online. Tickets locations include Kuhio Grille in Hilo, JJ’s Country Market in Honoka‘a, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Purchase tickets online at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

A free parking and shuttle service to Taste is available from ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay noon-10 p.m.; follow parking signs on Waikoloa Beach Drive. Guests are encouraged to come early to avoid shuttle lines. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8209.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Russell Nagata at 808-969-8209 no later than September 7.

taste2015bMealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.


Kohala Kai – Big Island’s Newest Development Being Touted

Kohala Kai, an exclusive, new low-density “green” oceanfront development in North Kohala is being touted to media folks next week on the north side of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Kohala Kai being developed

Kohala Kai being developed

Possibly the last, large private oceanfront ranch available in North Kohala.  498+ acres of gently rolling pasture land with over 4,100 feet of ocean frontage and 11 separate parcels.

Kohala Kai3

Ranch Location

The North Kohala Oceanfront Ranch includes a 59 + acre, immaculate and fully functioning nursery with a large storage building, greenhouse, exotic bamboo; multiple varieties of fruit trees, pineapples and nursery stock.

kohala kai location map

RANCH Location

Highlights includes a state-of-the-art, 100kW wind turbine powering a 50 HP pump from a 480 foot deep well; this system pumps 300 gallons per minute! With high quality well water and power independence this parcel of land can be used for sustainable agricultural ventures including (but not limited to) aquaculture, ranching, animal husbandry, orchard and nursery crops.

KOHALA KAI Development Location:

Kohala Kai

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Electronic Vehicle Charging Rates

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve discount electric vehicle charging rates in a new time-of-use program.

The new rates aim to promote plug-in electric vehicle use by offering simpler terms and sign-up procedures compared to the existing EV discount charging pilot and to foster more use of excess electricity generated by rooftop solar systems during the middle of the day.

Hawaiian Electric is recommending that customers enrolled in the present EV time-of-use pilot program have the option to continue at their existing rates when the current pilot expires at the end of September, 2015.

“EV numbers continue to increase and automakers are bringing more advanced plug-in electric vehicles to market. And with over 70,000 customers statewide who have or will soon have rooftop solar, we see increasing amounts of excess solar electricity available at mid-day,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

“The proposed new rates will help make greater use of that solar electricity and accelerate EV adoption in Hawaii,” Alberts said.

In addition to upgraded discount charging rates, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are installing up to 25 DC fast chargers across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island to alleviate EV drivers’ “range anxiety” and working with stakeholders on other endeavors as new ideas and technologies enter the market.

The proposed rates will have only two time-of-use schedules over 24 hours instead of three. Charging an EV at home using electricity from the grid will be most expensive during peak electricity demand from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. All other hours will be at the less expensive off-peak rate. EV owners may still choose to add a separate meter just for EV charging or keep a single meter for all household and charging use.

Signing up for EV rates will also be simpler. Customers need only certify ownership of a plug-in electric vehicle. As with the discount charging pilot in place for the last five years, customers on Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu would be eligible to participate, upon PUC approval.

For commercial customers, the proposed new EV rates will waive “demand charges” during off-peak periods and eliminate demand charge minimums. This will make it less expensive for commercial customers who wish to provide charging for EV fleets or their customers with EVs.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are asking the PUC to approve this proposal by the end of September when the present pilot ends. The companies suggest the new program last until June 30, 2020, when all EV rates would be re-considered for the future.

The new rate is designed to provide more off-peak hours for home EV charging with a 6.1¢ per kWh savings for a typical residential customer on Oahu. By charging off-peak, that driver is estimated to save half the cost to “fuel” an electric vehicle (compared to a mid-sized gasoline-fueled sedan) by buying no gasoline but paying a slightly higher monthly electric bill. The proposed per kWh savings for off-peak EV charging for a typical residential customer on Hawaii Island is 9.2¢; on Maui is 7.3¢; on Lanai is 7.1¢; and on Molokai is 9.4¢.

Here are comparative sample driving costs under the proposed rates based on Oahu electricity and gasoline costs:

energy costs

Seven Hawaii Schools to Offer Free Meals to All Students

This school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program this school year at seven public schools, which will allow all students at those schools to receive free meal service.

Free Lunch

The program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to everyone even if they do not qualify for the free or reduced lunch reimbursement.

The CEP program has been adopted by jurisdictions around the country. “One major factor in the future of the program is the high cost of a meal in Hawaii compared with the much lower rates around the country,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to participate in this pilot to benefit families in need.”

The schools participating in the pilot program are:

To qualify for CEP, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school lunch for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state.​

Under the program, all students in a CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven pilot schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

“The schools were chosen so that the Department can analyze how families and students in a single island community such as Molokai, respond to the program while also giving officials the chance to study the impact of individual schools in separate and distinct districts on Oahu and Hawaii Island,” Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson said.

For more information about CEP visit: http://bit.ly/HawaiiCEP


West Hawaii Community Health Center Opens Newest Location

The doors of the new West Hawaii Community Health Center – Kealakehe opened for patients on Monday, July 13, 2015. The 10,500-square-foot custom-built facility is located just south of Kealakehe High School at 74-5214 Keanalehu Drive.
West Hawaii Community Health Center

West Hawaii Community Health Center built the new Kealakehe facility in response to community needs and provides excellent patient care, minimizes critical wait time for appointments, enhances coordination and referral for specialty care, and promotes programs aimed at improving health outcomes. The opening of the Kealakehe facility marks the fifth location for West Hawaii Community Health Center.

“With ten years of service behind us, West Hawaii Community Health Center – Kealakehe adds to our capacity to meet the demand for health care in Kailua-Kona,” stated Richard Taaffe, West Hawaii Community Health Center CEO. “Our experienced and highly qualified team members are ready and excited to welcome new patients.”

West Hawaii Community Health Center – Kealakehe is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm., and offers primary health care for patients of all ages, provided by a Family Physician, a Physician Assistant, two Board Certified Pediatric Dentists and one general Dentist.

West Hawaii Community Health Center – Kealakehe accepts most private insurances, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, and uninsured patients are offered a sliding fee scale. Staff assistance is available to help patients enroll in health insurance plans.

West Hawaii Community Health Center Kealakehe is planning for its Grand Opening community celebration on Saturday, August 15, 2015.

For more information, call: (808) 355-5600 (medical) or (808) 355-5650 (dental) or visit: www.westhawaiichc.org

Bill Mandating Native Hawaiian Rights Training Signed Into Law

Will require members of certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend course

Governor Ige this morning signed into law HB207 which will require certain state councils, boards, and commissions to attend a course administered by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) on native Hawaiian customs and rights.

Will require members of certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend course

The new law will require members of certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend course

The course will be administered by OHA and shall apply to members of the Land Use Commission, Board of Land and Natural Resources, Commission on Water Resource Management, Environmental Council, the Agribusiness Development Corporation, Board of Agriculture, Legacy Land Conservation Commission, Natural Area Reserve Systems Commission, Hawaii Historic Places Review Board, and the Board of Health.

“Harmony among a diverse population and a strong respect for our host culture is what gives Hawaii its reputation of a place of Aloha. Some recent controversies have called into question our state’s commitment to Native Hawaiian issues,” said Representative Kaniela Ing, Chairperson of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs.

“This measure takes basic steps to ensure that the next generation of public servants will be more knowledgeable of the historical and cultural context of the place for which they are tasked to make decisions.  After all, Native Hawaiian issues are everyone’s issues, and everyone’s issues are Native Hawaiian issues.”

The law will take effect on July 1, 2015

Two Million Provided for Hawaii Bikeshare Program Seed Funding

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Hawaii State Department of Health Director Virginia Pressler, M.D. today signed a contract providing matching funds for Bikeshare Hawai‘i.

Bike ShareUnder the agreement, the City and State will each provide $1 million in seed funding to assist the nonprofit Bikeshare Hawaii in building its large-scale bicycling infrastructure system, which is set to launch next year.

“We’re proud to support this important transportation public-private partnership between the City, State, and Bikeshare Hawaii,” said Mayor Caldwell. “This expansion of Honolulu’s bicycling infrastructure will be a game-changer in giving residents and visitors options to avoid traffic, help the environment, and have fun.”

bike share signing

“The Department of Health is thrilled to partner with the City and County on this important initiative that puts bikeshare within the reach of Hawaii’s residents and visitors,” said Director Pressler. “Having access to active transportation modes like bikeshare makes it easier for us to meet out daily physical activity needs, ultimately helping to reduce obesity and chronic disease to improve the health and well-being of our community.”

Bikeshare Hawaii will be a low-cost, flexible public transportation system that provides on-demand access to a network of publically-rentable bicycles at strategic locations. Approximately 1,700 bikes will be available at stations throughout urban Honolulu during the initial rollout. Upon completion of Honolulu’s rail project, bikeshare stations will provide first/last mile connectivity to rail and TheBus stations, facilitating the use of public transportation. Bikeshare will eventually expand the system statewide as demand increases.

Bikeshare systems have been proven to expand mobility options, create new bicyclists, and reduce automobile use. Bikeshare systems also promote healthier cities, active lifestyles, reduced vehicle emissions, and reliance on imported fossil fuel.

More information: http://www.bikesharehawaii.org/

Hawaiian Electric Industries Shareholders Approve Merger with NextEra Energy

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HE) (HEI) today announced that HEI shareholders have approved the merger agreement with NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) announced Dec. 3, 2014.

Helco new Logo 2“We’re extremely pleased that our shareholders, many of whom are Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light customers, have shown their strong support for this historic partnership by approving the proposed merger,” said Jeff Watanabe, HEI’s chairman of the board. “The approval marks another significant milestone in our efforts to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation by bringing the expertise and resources of NextEra Energy to our state to achieve even higher levels of renewables and lower energy costs for our customers.”

Of the shares voted, approximately 90 percent were in favor of the merger. Achieving this level of shareholder support is a significant accomplishment because, while publicly held companies commonly may proceed with a merger with the affirmative vote of a majority of their outstanding shares, HEI is required under Hawaii law to obtain supermajority approval from 75 percent of its outstanding shares. Hawaii is the only state with such a high approval requirement for a merger.

The merger will bring together two industry leaders in clean and renewable energy. Hawaiian Electric has put Hawaii on the leading edge of clean energy nationally, successfully integrating rooftop solar with 12 percent of its residential customers and helping meet 21 percent of customer electricity needs from renewable energy resources. NextEra Energy has developed, built and operates one of the nation’s most modern grid networks and is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun. NextEra Energy supports and will help accelerate Hawaiian Electric’s plans to lower electric bills, triple distributed solar – including rooftop solar – and achieve a 65 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2030. This week Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law that set a goal of 70 percent RPS by 2040 and 100 percent RPS by 2045 for the state—goals which Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy have each stated they fully support.

“We’re confident that this merger will help us more quickly achieve the affordable clean energy future we all want for Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI’s president and chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of Hawaiian Electric and American Savings Bank. “We’re proud to support a measure recently passed by the legislature and signed by our governor making Hawaii the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio standard. Partnering with NextEra Energy will strengthen and accelerate our ability to reach our state’s ambitious goals.”

The merger with NextEra Energy is expected to provide Hawaiian Electric with the added resources and access to expertise to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation, while delivering substantial customer benefits, including lower costs. Subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have committed to approximately $60 million in customer savings over four years and to not request an increase in the general base electricity rate for at least four years post-transaction close. Following completion of the transaction, Hawaiian Electric will continue to operate under its current name, be locally managed, and remain headquartered in Honolulu. HEI is one of Hawaii’s most charitable companies and NextEra Energy will continue HEI’s overall current level of corporate giving in Hawaii.

While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the proposed merger, the transaction remains subject to other regulatory approvals including approval by the PUC, other customary closing conditions and the spinoff of American Savings Bank, a subsidiary of HEI and one of Hawaii’s largest full-service financial institutions. Following the spinoff, American Savings Bank will remain based in Hawaii as an independent public company, and continue to provide a full range of financial products and services, including business and consumer banking, insurance and investments, corporate banking and commercial real estate lending.

“The spinoff of American Savings Bank as a condition to completing the merger enables shareholders to continue to own American Savings Bank and to participate in the bank’s upside potential as an independent public company,” said Connie Lau. “Our ability to spin off American Savings Bank reflects the strength of the bank’s business, its strong market position and its talented team of employees.”

New Satellite Image Released of Puna Lava Flow

This satellite image was captured on Saturday, May 30, by the Advanced Land Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing 1 satellite. The image is provided courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

PrintAlthough this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

The image shows that scattered breakouts continue to be active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The farthest active lava in this image is 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active – Lava Lake Remains High

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with breakouts focused in several areas northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The farthest downslope activity observed on today’s overflight was roughly 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This photograph shows one of the active breakouts closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō.  (Click to enlarge)

This photograph shows one of the active breakouts closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to enlarge)

One of several lobes on the June 27th flow that was at the forest boundary today, burning vegetation northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains at high level

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Over the past week, the summit lava lake in the Overlook crater rose and spilled out onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, creating the dark flows in the south part of Halemaʻumaʻu (left side of crater from this direction). The extent of the lake itself, set within the Overlook crater, is slightly difficult to distinguish from this view but the spattering at the lake margin is visible. The overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor, not counting the area of the lake itself, total about 11 hectares (28 acres).

A closer look at the lava lake and overflows on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

hvo147The outline of the Overlook crater, and the active lake, is easier to distinguish in this view.

From this angle, the extent of the lava lake within the Overlook crater is much easier to distinguish from the surrounding overflows.


The closed Halemaʻumaʻu parking lot is in the right side of the photograph.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill Passes Conference Committee

Senate and House conferees today reached a compromise on the bill that would establish a medical marijuana dispensary system in the islands.

Medical Marijuana

“This is a measure that many stakeholders have been working on for a very long time. It’s taken much discussion, collaboration and compromise to get where we are today and we believe this is a good measure that will get the medical marijuana dispensary system up and rolling,” said Senator Will Espero (D-19 ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages), chair of the Senate conference committee. “We are now on the verge of having a safe, secure product for our patients who need this, particularly the children who will benefit tremendously from medical cannabis.”

HB321, CD1 would allow applications for licenses to be available in the State of Hawai‘i starting January 4, 2016, with medical marijuana dispensaries being allowed to begin operations no sooner than July 15, 2016. A $5,000 non-refundable fee would be required to apply for a license.  An approved dispensary would pay a fee of $75,000 for a license, with a $50,000 annual renewal fee.  A total of eight dispensary licenses will be distributed throughout the state: three on Oahu, two on Maui, two on Hawai‘i Island, and one on Kaua‘i. Dispensary licenses will be selected on a merit basis and distributed through the State Department of Health (DOH).

The measure requires all dispensary licensees and employees to be subject to a criminal and background check. It restricts medical marijuana dispensaries within 750 feet of a playground, public housing complex or school. It also authorizes licensed dispensaries to be subject to annual unannounced inspections of its operations by the DOH.

The measure will be voted on by the full House and Senate on Thursday, May 7. If the bill passes both houses, it will be forwarded to the Governor for his signature, veto, or passage without his signature.