Hawaii County Announces Web Based Puna Traffic Cameras

The County is pleased to announce the launch of punatraffic.com, a publicly available web based traffic monitoring service for the lower Puna to Kea`au area.

Click to view current conditions

Click to view current conditions

Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130, will be monitored with thirty cameras. The images are available for public viewing at punatraffic.com.

The camera images refresh every three to five minutes and are meant to assist the public in making their travel plans. The website also provides estimated drive times based on current traffic conditions.

The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow.

The cameras were installed by ICX Transportation Group. The service went live on March 25, 2015.

The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and service.

The website also provides social media links to Civil Defense and the County of Hawai`i and can be updated to inform the public about road incidents.

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to Hold Informational Meetings Across State

NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), today announced that the companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

NextEra Logo

The open houses will take place on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai from April 7 to April 16.

“Since we announced our merger late last year, we’ve been gratified at the reception we’ve received as well as the high level of interest in this important topic for Hawaii,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC. “NextEra Energy shares Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills. We recognize that addressing Hawaii’s energy challenges requires Hawaii-specific energy solutions, and that is why we look forward to meeting with and listening to residents across Hawaii. The meetings will provide us with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while allowing residents to learn more about NextEra Energy and the significant near- and long-term benefits this merger will deliver to Hawaiian Electric customers and the state of Hawaii.”

“In selecting NextEra Energy as our partner, we will join a company that shares our community and environmental values, has a proven track record of lowering electric bills, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and is committed to rooftop solar in Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “We can’t imagine a better match to help us accelerate the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to meet members of the NextEra Energy team and learn firsthand why NextEra Energy is the right partner to help us achieve a cleaner and more affordable energy future for Hawaii.”

About the Open House Meetings

Each open house meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. Senior leaders and other employees from NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric will be available to discuss NextEra Energy’s track record of increasing renewable energy, lowering customer bills, creating innovative solutions for modernizing the grid, and supporting local communities, as well as all the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric.

The dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

Maui County

April 7

  • Central Maui: Maui Electric Auditorium
  • South Maui: Kihei Community Center

April 8

  • West Maui: Lahaina Civic Center
  • Lanai: Lanai Community Center

April 9

  • Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

Hawaii Island

April 13

  • Hilo, Hawaii: Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Puna, Hawaii: Pahoa High School Cafeteria

April 14

  • West Hawaii: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
  • Waimea, Hawaii: HPA Village Campus Dining Hall

Oahu

April 15

  • West Oahu: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
  • Leeward Oahu: Pearl City High School Cafeteria

April 16

  • Honolulu: Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Room
  • Windward Oahu: Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa

Website

To learn more about the benefits of the transaction, please visit www.forhawaiisfuture.com.

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

Kauai Biomass Project Nears Completion

The new biomass-to-energy power plant near Koloa on Kauai has successfully started its hot commissioning and expects to begin selling electricity to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) by the beginning of May 2015.

The 6.7-megawatt biomass-to-energy facility will burn wood chips from trees grown and harvested on Kauai.  The plant will provide more than 11 percent of the island’s energy needs.  Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

The plant is being constructed by Green Energy Team LLC (GET), a Hawaii limited liability company, and is using a biomass energy generation technology developed by Standardkessel Baumgarte, a German company that is one of the world leaders in energy technology.

The plant will burn wood chips produced from several sources on Kauai, including short-rotation trees grown on about 2,000 acres of land and several locations on Kauai that have been cleared of invasive species.

The plant will have the capacity to generate 7.5-megawatts of renewable energy to be delivered as electricity to KIUC under a power purchase agreement approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in October 2011. Unlike solar and wind energy, the plant will provide firm power—day and night, independent of weather conditions—to KIUC. It will supply about 11 percent of Kauai’s annual electricity needs and will substitute power produced by diesel generators.

The facility will contribute to the State’s renewable energy portfolio goals that presently aim to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs from renewable resources. It will also be an addition to KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio, which currently consists of several hydropower projects and the utility co-op’s own two solar farms as well as other solar farms and customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems.

Construction on Green Energy Team’s biomass plant began in January 2013 and is nearly completed. Standardkessel provided the design and equipment for the plant and is providing construction management for the project. Construction was done by Bodell Construction Company; final work shall be completed by Diana Prince Construction, Inc. Financing for construction of the $90 million project is being provided by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Once completed and operational, Green Energy Team’s plant will create 39 permanent operating jobs and many indirect jobs for local service providers and agricultural operations.

The Kauai-based plant will be the first closed-loop biomass-to-energy plant in the United States and fueled by trees grown on-island. This is also the first commercial biomass project since the period when former sugar companies also sold electricity to Hawaii’s electric utilities.

BioEnergy Hawaii Plans Hawaii Island Resource Recovery, Energy Conversion System

BioEnergy Hawaii, LLC, (BEH) a designer, developer and operator of waste treatment and alternative energy systems, plans a fully integrated resource recovery facility on the west side of Hawaii Island. The $50 million facility will incorporate state-of-the-art material handling equipment and energy conversion technology to substantially reduce the amount of waste currently going directly into the landfill.
Bioenergy fact sheetThe West Hawaii facility will be totally financed with private equity. The project has the support of a $100 million special purpose revenue bond issued by the State of Hawaii. The project will be located near the Puuanahulu landfill; the exact location of the facility will be released when lease negotiations are finalized.

BioEnergy Hawaii is the long-term vision of Kosti Shirvanian, president of Pacific Waste, Inc., the parent company of BEH. “We have lived and worked on the Big Island for almost 20 years; and as members of the community we all share a responsibility to care for the land,” said Shirvanian. “This project will transform our waste into a resource and make a positive contribution to our community and our environment.”

The project will accept municipal solid waste (MSW) delivered by local waste collection companies, and divert a significant amount of the incoming waste (70 percent) from the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill.

“We believe this project will meet Mayor Billy Kenoi’s goal of extending the life of the County’s landfills by diverting more waste, and the joint goal of protecting the aina,” said Guy Kaniho, BEH general manager.

The project will establish advanced recycling operations and produce multiple value products from the incoming waste. In order to maximize the diversion rate, the facility design integrates the recovery of three separate value streams: recyclable commodities, organics and solid fuel.

The recyclable materials, which would have been buried in the landfill, will be recovered and directed into the local recycling commodity market.

The wet organic waste (i.e. food and green waste); will be treated through an anaerobic digestion (AD) process to stabilize the material and produce a nutrient rich natural fertilizer and high-quality compost. The AD operations will also recover an energy rich biogas—a flexible fuel source that can be used to generate electricity, be upgraded to pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG), or compressed to create an alternative transportation fuel (known as bio-CNG).

The residual solid fuel portion—items not suitable for use in the anaerobic digester such as mixed paper, textiles, low-value plastic and wood—will be processed into a post-recycled engineered fuel—a dry, light material suitable for thermal energy conversion operations.

BEH plans to establish “closed-loop” waste recovery operations by encouraging local haulers to convert their waste collection vehicles to utilize the locally sourced bio-CNG. The fleet conversions will stabilize the waste hauler’s long-term fuel costs and allow them to utilize the low-carbon renewable biofuel and reduce the island’s dependency on imported fossil fuels.

Incoming waste will be handled and processed in an enclosed building to ensure dust and odor control. The waste will be separated and sorted through a combination of automated and manual recovery methods. Materials that cannot be recycled or processed into renewable fuel, fertilizer and compost will be delivered to the Puuanahulu landfill—about 30 percent of the total volume.

“Given our Island’s limited land area and fresh water resources,” said Kaniho, “recycling and waste diversion is a priority, as it is in much of the industrialized world.”

The goals of BEH are to divert the waste from traditional landfill disposal, preserve the environment, create local jobs, and make valuable products to circulate into the marketplace. “BioEnergy Hawaii has an experienced development team in place with a strong commitment to the community,” said Kaniho. “We use superior technologies, have solid financing and employ smart logistics to accomplish BEH’s goals.”

The BEH resource recovery facility is designed to address the challenges of waste disposal operations in Hawaii and to provide sustainable resource management solutions. The project is in alignment with current governmental goals and waste industry directives. BEH believes diverting the waste stream to create recycled energy value out of recovered material is a priority as it will benefit the community, preserve the environment and spur long-term economic growth.

Construction on the BioEnergy Hawaii facility is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2016.

For more information on the project and BEH, visit www.bioenergyhawaii.com.

Ulu Wini Playground Project Breaks Ground

HOPE Services Hawaii joined residents of Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini (The Homes at Ulu Wini) to break ground on a brand-new outdoor playspace at the Ulu Wini housing complex in Kailua-Kona on February 25.

ulu wini blessing

The $180,000 state-of-the-art Miracle Mega Tower is a first for Ulu Wini and was made possible through a donation from the Roberts Foundation. Anne Bailey from the Office of Housing and Community Development was present on behalf the County of Hawaii administration.

“The residents and keiki of Ulu Wini are so excited and grateful to have a beautiful and safe outdoor play structure in their backyard,” said Brandee Menino, Chief Operating Officer of HOPE Services. “We have so much aloha for the Roberts Foundation.”

The 62’ X 52’ Mega Tower will feature four play structures including a heptagon double decker tower and water fountain, spiral and wave slides, a fish bridge, play panels and climbing apparatuses including stairs, risers, ladders and a fossil bluff climbing wall. The play structures, with the exception of the water fountain, will be covered with recycled steel roofing or commercial grade fabric umbrellas.
ulu wini renderingThe Mega Tower playspace allows access to multiple levels and is meant to encourage social inclusion and sensory play.

Volunteers from Lake Mead Christian Academy and residents from Ulu Wini will be assisting NyLawn with construction of the playground, which is expected to be complete by the end of March 2015.

Built in 2013 by the County of Hawaii’s Office of Housing & Community Development and operated by HOPE Services, The Homes at Ulu Wini provides 96 two-bedroom units—23 transitional housing for homeless families, 72 affordable housing dedicated to low-income families and one unit for the resident manager.

Jack Johnson and Polynesian Voyaging Society Launch Song Celebrating 40 Years of Hōkūleʻa

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) today launched a special online crowdfunding campaign in partnership with musician Jack Johnson.

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

The campaign, which is now live at RallySong.com, offers users a chance to download the song “Na Ho‘okele Opoipio (The Young Navigators),” which was written by Chucky Boy Chock and recorded with Johnson and Paula Fuga in honor of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

“The Polynesian discovery of islands throughout the Pacific Ocean was one of humanity’s most amazing achievements,” said Jack Johnson, songwriter and musician. “With the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, we have a new generation of navigators exploring the earth and bringing people together to find a sustainable future. We are proud to support them with this song, “Na Hoʻokele Opiopio,” which means, “The Young Navigators.”

Cultivating and nurturing the next generation of navigators is a key focus for the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which seeks to educate people and communities around the world about the values of traditional wayfinding (non-instrument navigation) and the importance of caring for our Island Earth.

Chucky, Jack and Paula

Chucky Boy, Jack and Paula

“We are grateful to Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy, and Paula for honoring our next generation of navigators,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Jack and Paula and Chucky Boy“Across the globe, there are young people with the courage to set a new course and protect our natural environment. They are our leaders and navigators, whether they are on canoes or not, and we hope this campaign will provide a way for more people to join our voyage.”

All proceeds from the RallySong campaign will benefit PVS and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. In addition to purchasing and downloading the song, fans can also purchase collector’s items and enter a raffle for a chance to win grand prizes such as an ukulele autographed by Jack Johnson and a Papa He‘e Nalu (small wood surfboard), crafted with mahagony wood from the deckboards of the Hōkūleʻa. The campaign runs through April 25, 2015 and seeks to meet a fundraising goal of $75,000.

“This fundraiser comes at a critical juncture for PVS and the Worldwide Voyage, as we prepare to leave the Pacific for the first time,” said Clyde Namuʻo, PVS Chief Executive Officer. “In 2015 we will be travelling from New Zealand to Australia and South Africa, and every contribution from our community will make it possible for us to complete this historic leg of our journey around the world.”

Hōkūleʻa, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, is celebrating 40 years this year since her first launch from the sacred shores of Hakipu‘u-Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The iconic canoe helped contribute to a significant generation of renewal for Hawaiian culture and language, and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

New Cultural Center Planned for Honoka’a

The Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua will be a multi-cultural, multi-generational community center situated in the heart of Honoka’a where residents and visitors alike can deepen their connection to Hawaiian culture.

Click to support

Click to support

The center’s adopted emblem of the he’e, or octopus, represents the center’s community outreach efforts. One arm of the he’e will reach out as classes in hula, the arts, Hawaiian language, history, agriculture, philosophy, and more. Another would extend into the community with special events, guest speakers, community service projects, and cultural exchange programs.

Beyond our community, it will be a place where visitors can learn about the history and culture of Hawai’i in an authentic setting. With a mini-museum curated in partnership with UH Hilo’s Heritage Center, visitors will have a chance to browse historic memorabilia and talk story with volunteer docents knowledgeable about the area and Hawaiian history.

Each arm of the he’e is supported through the active participation of committed community members.  All donations are welcome and can be made through the Kickstarter crowd-funding effort at: http://kck.st/1vdR73g

For more information, or to see our full press kit, visit our website at http://www.hccoh.org/

Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge

This weekend, award winning author S.P. Grogan and artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker held two book signing events for their new book “Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge“, for folks in the Kailua-Kona area of the Big Island.

Parker and Grogan sign books while Aiden James performs in the background.

Parker and Grogan sign books while Aidan James performs in the background.

The first book signing took place Friday at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery on Ali’i drive where folks gathered to listen to 13-year-old Aidan James jam on his ukulele while checking out the art gallery and getting their books signed.

#AtomicDreams Book Signing 081On Saturday, folks gathered at the Royal Kona Resort where Don’s Mai Tai Bar was converted into the “Red Tiki Lounge” and folks got to listen to both Aidan James and John Cruz!

John Cruz and Aiden James

John Cruz and Aidan James

Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge” is a fast-paced historical fantasy, featuring a transoceanic chase, a race against the countdown, battles against war gods and Godzilla-like sea creatures for control over earth and the heavens.

Award winning author S.P. Grogan (www.spgrogan.com – “Vegas Die” and “Captain Cooked”) introduces the readers to a post World War II watering hole, the Red Tiki Lounge and Bar: a Pacific Oasis of Dreams and Visions, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, American Territory.

Hawaii, 1946.  The goddess Pele needs a hero.  But why did she choose an alcoholic, war wounded ex U.S. Naval commander Hunter Hopewell, to battle fire-breathing dragons and evil gods and save the world?  Maybe, because he’s changing… but changing into what?  Meanwhile, attractive, young Tammi Chen, once a Japanese student and spy, now successful in the black market, but not what she seems, is seeking revenge and has decided to steal an atomic bomb… before it explodes.

Body Glove celebrities were on hand as well as famous Hawaii chef Sam Choy to enjoy the show and the book signing event.

Body Glove owner Billy Meistrell, Daughter Jenna and Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

Body Glove owner Billy Meistrell, Daughter Jenna and Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

You can check out Parker’s website (http://www.tikishark.com) and you can purchase the book by visiting Grogan’s website (www.spgrogan.com).

New Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-In-Charge

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Christina (Tina) Neal to serve as the new Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Neal succeeds Jim Kauahikaua, who served in the position for the past ten years.

Christina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Christina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

It is a fitting coincidence that Neal, only the second woman to lead USGS HVO in its 103-year-long history, takes the helm on March 8, International Women’s Day, a day established to celebrate the achievements of women around the world.

“Tina brings to the HVO Scientist-in-Charge position the required breadth of scientific background, strong communication skills, and eruption response experience, including much work with various communities at risk. I was thrilled when she accepted the position, because I knew that both HVO and the communities that it serves will be in good hands going forward,” said Tom Murray, Director of the USGS Volcano Science Center, which oversees all five U.S. volcano observatories.

Neal comes to Hawai‘i from Alaska, where she spent almost 25 years working as a USGS geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. After so many years in the land of the midnight sun, swapping snowshoes for ‘slippahs’ (flip-flops) might seem a drastic change, but she’s no stranger to the aloha state—or HVO.

From 1983 to 1989, Neal lived in Volcano, and worked on the staff at HVO.  Her work included monitoring Kīlauea Volcano during the early years of its ongoing East Rift Zone eruption, as well as Mauna Loa during its 1984 eruption. She fondly recalls one day in March 1984, when she spent the morning working atop the erupting Mauna Loa and the afternoon collecting lava samples from the active Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on Kīlauea.  For a volcanologist, simultaneous eruptions on two volcanoes made for an unforgettable workday.

As part of the Big Island Mapping Project, Neal mapped the summit of Kīlauea, resulting in the USGS publication “Geologic Map of the Summit Region of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii.” She also mapped Kīlauea’s Southwest Rift Zone for the “Geologic Map of the Island of Hawai‘i.”

In 1990, Neal moved to Alaska to work at the newly-created AVO in Anchorage.  There, she monitored and studied a number of Alaskan volcanoes and their eruptions, including Redoubt (1989–1990 and 2009), Mount Spurr (1992), Augustine (2005–2006), and Okmok (2008). Working on remote Alaskan stratovolcanoes is not for the faint-hearted—the steep-sided, glacier-covered volcanic mountains are hazardous even when not erupting—a tip-off to the mettle of which Neal is made.

In 1998, Neal accepted a two-year assignment in Washington, D.C., as the first USGS geoscience advisor to the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, within the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is responsible for coordinating U.S. government responses to disasters overseas. Her travels during this assignment took her to Thailand, Nepal, Ecuador, Colombia, Kazakhstan, and other foreign countries, where she reviewed or assisted with the implementation of hazard mitigation programs.

When Neal returned to AVO in 2000, she resumed her work as a geologist—mapping and studying active Alaskan volcanoes. With colleagues, she strengthened the Alaska-based interagency response system for volcanic eruptions and coordinated AVO’s eruption monitoring and crisis response efforts with Russian volcanology counterparts. She is also internationally recognized for her efforts to reduce the risk of volcanic ash to aviation in the North Pacific and globally.

In addition to outstanding geologic work, Neal honed her managerial skills during two details as Chief of Staff and Deputy Regional Director for the USGS Western Regional Office in 2009–2010 and as Acting Scientist-in-Charge at AVO in 2010.

Over the years, Neal has maintained ties to HVO.  In 2012, she helped with HVO’s 100th Anniversary Open House, and in October 2014, she spent two weeks at HVO assisting with monitoring efforts and community meetings as Kīlauea’s active lava flow moved toward Pāhoa.

10th Annual Building and Design Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th annual Building & Design Expo February 6 – 8 at the Keauhou Convention Center at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.Building and Design ExpoFriday evening the expo is open to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and includes a musical performance by Randy Ressler. Saturday expo hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Visit over 40 exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating; fine art; windows and doors; flooring and window treatments; kitchen and baths, home energy products and more. The booths will present products, services and information relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Enter to win giveaways and drawings at vendor booths.

Attendees can also enter to win a grand prize: a 2-night stay at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

For additional information regarding the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Building & Design Expo, go to www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 329-1758.

Hōkūleʻa Ventures Furthest from the Equator in Her History

Traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a achieved a new milestone in her journey around the word. During this leg of the Worldwide Voyage, she successfully completed the roundtrip sail from Wellington to Golden Bay, New Zealand. This marks the furthest into the Southern Hemisphere that Hōkūleʻa has sailed in four decades of voyaging. The crew returned safely to Wellington on Saturday, and Hōkūleʻa is now in route to Napier, New Zealand.

Hokulea equator

This leg of the Worldwide Voyage was an ambitious journey, taking Hōkūle’a far beyond the warm waters of the Pacific in which she has travelled extensively over the past four decades. The harsh sea and weather conditions along New Zealand’s South Island and beyond will continue to push the boundaries of contemporary Polynesian voyaging as Hōkūleʻa sails around the world.

hokulea equator3

“On March 8th, 1975, Hōkūle’a was launched with the vision of one voyage to Tahiti and back,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo (master) navigator with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “She has been restored and reenergized through the aloha and good mana of our large voyaging community, young and old, from near and far. In 2015, 40 years later, she continues to afford us the opportunity to explore new horizons.”

While on South Island on January 21, 2015, crew had the opportunity to visit and honor the place where a 600-year-old voyaging canoe was recently rediscovered.

hokulea equator 2

Making this connection between Hōkūle’a and her ancient predecessor honors Polynesians’ ability to explore the ocean world, proving the strength and vitality of these voyaging vessels. This ancient Polynesian double-hulled canoe “is the reason why Hōkūleʻa sailed to Mohua Bay,” said the captain for this leg of the voyage, Kālepa Baybayan. “It is to pay homage, to recognize the importance of this artifact.”

“This is the farthest south we have ever gone to a part of the ocean that is notoriously rough,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It was accomplished because of unprecedented collaborations and support, and Kālepa Baybayan’s good leadership. This leg of the Worldwide Voyage was extensive, exceptional, and honored our traditions. It was foundational to our ability to do well as we prepare to depart Polynesia.”

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.

Tiki Shark Art and Author S.P Grogan Confirm Dates for Big Bash on the Big Island to Celebrate New Novel Release

Renowned local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with award winning author S.P. Grogan are hosting a free public event to inaugurate their second novel in collaboration titled – Atomic Dreams at The Red Tiki Lounge.

SP Grogan and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker

S.P. Grogan and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

Tiki Shark Art Inc., Big Island based, owned by Parker has confirmed that the book signing event will be held on March 6th from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery and on March 7 from 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM at The Royal Kona Resort – Don The Beachcomber Bar area.

“I am excited to be doing another book with Brad” commented Grogan, “it is always a pleasure to be back on the Big Island” he added.

Author S.P. Grogan

Author S.P. Grogan at his last book signing

Part of sales proceeds generated from this high profile two day event will be donated to The Food Basket, Hawai’i Island’s Food Bank.  “We are fortunate to have been chosen by our friends at Tiki Shark Art” commented En Young Executive Director, “We also love the fact that this event is taking place right here and their willingness to support the local charities is a blessing,” he added.

Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker in his studio.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker in his studio.

“The novel is written and built around my existing works of art and is a fast paced action piece set in 1946 with lots of romance and Hawaiian History” exclaimed Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker.

Free entertainment will be provided at both events by teenage Aidan James, the YouTube star ukulele player.

Parker with YouTube sensation Aidan James

Parker with YouTube sensation Aidan James

“I am stoked to share the spotlight with uncle Brad at this event” commented the youngster who is making his debut appearance in Kona. Celebrities from the iconic surf brand Body Glove will be in attendance who along with Brad and S.P. Grogan will be there to sign limited edition surf memorabilia.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker – (www.tikishark.com)
After working for Marvel & DC Comics for many years, he gave it all up and moved to the Big Island of Hawaii over a decade ago. Through his Kailua Kona based company Tiki Shark Art Inc., Parker sells his art though galleries in the USA and around the world. His unmistakable, lurid style of art reflects influences as diverse as the Flemish masters, comic books, and Hawaiian tourist kitsch. His designs can be seen on products from surfboards to skate boards to beach towels and calendars.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker is a truly a master and a world class, award winning creator of Polynesian Pop Surrealistic Art with a Hawaiian twist.

About S.P. Grogan – (www.spgrogan.com)

A resident of Las Vegas NV, Grogan has had a career in writing as magazine editor, and a past Shubert Fellow in Playwriting.  In 2011, his novel, Captain CookedHawaiian Mystery of Romance, Revenge…and Recipes” was an island favorite featuring 25 recipes from the top chefs and restaurants on the Big Island with part of the proceeds of  book sales going to The Food Basket program.

Captain Cooked used GPS in its plotting and the book won a prestigious Ka Palapala Po‘okela award from the Hawai’i Book Publishers Association. The book cover was from a Brad ‘Tiki Shark’ Parker painting which started a friendship and dialogue towards the new novel.

Going With the Flow: Documenting Kilauea’s Latest Movements

On February 16, 2015 at the Lyman Museum in Hilo, two noted geologists and volcanologists, Dr. Ken Hon and Dr. Cheryl Gansecki of UH-Hilo, will present a special program on the June 27th lava flow.

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Ken and Cheryl have been studying and filming the eruption and flow activity since the summer of 2014, and their presentation tonight brings together the science and the visual beauty of the ongoing event.  Don’t miss their latest footage and findings!

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose Plan to Sustainably Increase Rooftop Solar

As part of its transformation to deliver a more affordable, clean energy future for Hawaii, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are proposing a new program to increase rooftop solar in a way that’s safe, sustainable and fair for all customers.

In conjunction with this “Transitional Distributed Generation” program, the utilities expect to be able to help the growth of solar by more than doubling the threshold for neighborhood circuits to accept solar systems. This would eliminate in most of those cases the need for a longer and costly interconnection study.

Sustainable Solar

Under the proposal, existing Net Energy Metering (“NEM”) program customers and those with pending applications would remain under the existing NEM program. Any program changes from this proposal would apply only to new customers.

The initiative is part of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ clean energy transformation to lower electric bills by 20 percent, increase the use of renewable energy to more than 65 percent, triple the amount of distributed solar by 2030, and offer customers expanded products and services.

“We want to ensure a sustainable rooftop solar program to help our customers lower their electric bills,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “That means taking an important first step by transitioning to a program where all customers are fairly sharing in the cost of the grid we all rely on.”

Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service, added, “At the end of 2013, the annualized cost shift from customers who have rooftop solar to those who don’t totaled about $38 million. As of the end of 2014, the annualized cost shift had grown to $53 million – an increase of $15 million. And that number keeps growing. So change is needed to ensure a program that’s fair and sustainable for all customers.”

New Transitional Program

Currently, NEM customers use the electric grid daily. Their rooftop solar systems send energy into the grid, and they draw power when their systems do not provide enough for their needs, including in the evenings and on cloudy days. However, many NEM customers are able to lower their bills to the point that they do not help pay for the cost of operating and maintaining the electric grid.

As a result, those costs are increasingly being shifted from those who have solar to those who don’t.

The new transitional program would create a more sustainable system and ensure the costs of operating and maintaining the electric grid are more fairly shared among all customers.

Under the current NEM program, customers receive credit on their electric bills at the full retail rate for electricity they produce. This credit includes the cost of producing electricity plus operation and maintenance of the electric grid and all other costs to provide electric service.

The Transitional Distributed Generation program would credit customers at a rate that better reflects the cost of the electricity produced by their rooftop solar systems. This is consistent with how Kauai Island Utility Co-Op compensates its solar customers.

Increasing PV Integration

If this transitional program is approved, the Hawaiian Electric Companies expect to be able to modify their interconnection policies, more than doubling the solar threshold for neighborhood circuits from 120 percent of daytime minimum load (DML) to 250 percent of DML. In many cases, this will eliminate the need for a longer and costly interconnection study.

To safely integrate higher levels of solar, rooftop systems will need to implement newly developed performance standards, including those established using results of a collaboration among Hawaiian Electric, SolarCity and the Electric Power Research Institute. Through this partnership, the performance of solar inverters was tested at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. These standards can reduce the risk of damage to electronics in a customer’s home and to utility equipment on the grid, safety hazards for electrical line workers, and even widespread power outages.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will also make strategic and cost-effective system improvements necessary to integrate more rooftop solar. They will work with the solar industry to identify areas where demand for upgrades is highest. Planning for these upgrades will also consider the needs of the State of Hawaii’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program, which will make low-cost loans available to customers who may have difficulty financing clean energy improvements like solar.

To further support even more customers adding solar on high solar circuits, Hawaiian Electric will also be doing several pilot projects for “Non-Export/Smart Export” solar battery systems with local and national PV companies in Hawaii. These projects will provide real-world operational experience on their capability to increase solar interconnections on high-penetration circuits.

The company is also developing a community solar program as another option to help make the benefits of solar available to all customers, including those who may not be able to install rooftop solar (for example, renters or condo dwellers).

Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC to approve the new program within 60 days. Under the utilities’ proposal, the Transitional Distributed Generation program would remain in effect while the PUC works on a permanent replacement program, to be developed through a collaborative process involving stakeholders from across the community, including the solar industry.

The PUC has stated it believes programs designed to support solar energy need to change. In an Order issued in April 2014, the PUC said:

“It is unrealistic to expect that the high growth in distributed solar PV capacity additions experienced in the 2010 – 2013 time period can be sustained, in the same technical, economic and policy manner in which it occurred, particularly when electric energy usage is declining, distribution circuit penetration levels are increasing, system level challenges are emerging and grid fixed costs are increasingly being shifted to non-solar PV customers.”

Across the three Hawaiian Electric Companies, more than 51,000 customers have rooftop solar. As of December 2014, about 12 percent of Hawaiian Electric customers, 10 percent of Maui Electric customers and 9 percent of Hawaii Electric Light customers have rooftop solar. This compares to a national average of one-half of 1 percent (0.5 percent) as of December 2013, according to the Solar Electric Power Association.

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Pahoa Community Aquatic Center to Open for Nighttime Swim Sessions

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will keep the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center open until 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate nighttime swim sessions.

Pahoa Pool

Swimmers of all ages are invited to the free open-swim sessions that start Wednesday, January 21. Children younger than 11 years old must be accompanied and supervised by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

Nighttime swim sessions at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center are being offered on a trial basis to gauge patron interest and to meet the needs of swimmers who requested extended operating hours.

Information regarding County of Hawai‘i swimming pools is available at www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/.

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

Medical Marijuana “Collective” Opens on the Big Island of Hawaii

Alternative Pain Management Pu`uhonua’s Collective is Now Open.

Medical MarijuanaMembers must have a valid Hawai`i medical marijuana (cannabis) certification, a Hawai`i State I.D. card & complete a membership intake & agreement and confidentiality statement.

We are a diverse group of the medical cannabis community dedicated to raising awareness and to educating the public and politicians alike, about the unique and dynamic physical, psycho-emotional, and spiritual issues related to chronic pain and chronic disease management. Each collective member comes from a different walk of life and contributes his or her unique perspectives, credentials, education and experiences.

We come together as a magnificent blend of support and diversity.  We encourage each other to pursue high quality and fulfilling lives, by using alternative health management modalities and lifestyle modifications. It becomes possible for all our members needs to be met by linking qualifying patients and caregivers together with one another while providing enhanced safety and quality control. Our collective strives to maintain an uninterrupted supply of medicine in all forms, for all our members.

We are your one stop shop for all of your medical cannabis needs.

Like us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/apmch808 or email alternativepainmanagementclub@gmail.com

 

Parker Ranch Partners with NextEra Energy Resources

 Parker Ranch announced earlier today that Parker Ranch Foundation Trust (PRFT) has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. This agreement provides NextEra Energy Resources with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop renewable energy derived from PRFT’s wind resources.

“We have been aggressively seeking ways to reduce the cost of electricity for our community and our island by using the potential renewable energy resources available on PRFT’s Hawaii Island lands,” said Neil (“Dutch”) Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch. “During this time, we have also been seeking capital and technical expertise from potential development partners. We have been working collaboratively with NextEra Energy Resources for more than a year and believe that they are the ideal partner to utilize PRFT’s wind resources.”

In 2013, Parker Ranch, Inc. commenced a utility-grade integrated resource planning effort with assistance from Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton and Pace Global to evaluate alternative energy strategies for Parker Ranch and the surrounding communities of Waimea and North Kohala as well as the Island of Hawaii.

“Our work with Siemens identified several valuable scenarios utilizing PRFT’s wind resources, combined with storage, that could drive down electricity rates and cut our excessive vulnerability to volatile imported oil prices,” said Kuyper. “Reducing Hawaii Island electricity rates, slashing our reliance on imported oil and decreasing carbon emissions are all important to us because the cost of energy is tied to everything we do.”

Through its Paniolo Power Company subsidiary, Parker Ranch, Inc. is continuing to evaluate the merits of pumped-storage hydro and the economics of utility-scale battery solutions in the generation mix.

“Our community is inherently at the center of our mission and core values,” said Kuyper. “We will continue to engage our neighbors and friends in the process of pursuing our renewable energy and sustainability goals.”

The potential for renewable energy on PRFT’s lands is unique on Hawaii Island and in the State due to the size and scale of the wind resource.  PRFT’s mission is focused on the sustainability of the Waimea community, the hometown of Parker Ranch, by providing perpetual support for PRFT’s four Waimea-based beneficiaries.

PRFT and Parker Ranch, Inc. have recently completed comprehensive strategic planning efforts and each has decided to elevate the pursuit of renewable energy-related opportunities to be one of their highest strategic priorities.

NextEra Energy Resources is one of the largest developers of clean and low-cost renewable energy in North America and is the largest producer of zero-emissions energy from wind resources.

Hawaiian Host to Acquire Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut

Hawaiian Host, Inc. announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with The Hershey Company to acquire the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation.

Hawaiian HostHawaiian Host is one of Hawai‘i’s premier brands and the originator of chocolate covered macadamias with its history dating back to 1927. When the acquisition is completed, Mauna Loa will join Hawaiian Host as a subsidiary. Both companies will continue operating as two distinct, separate brands.

“This acquisition will create a great opportunity for both companies, our employees and the community. It brings Mauna Loa back under Hawai‘i ownership, joins together two strong, local brands, and lays the foundation for continued success,” said Keith Sakamoto, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Host. “We are excited to welcome Mauna Loa’s outstanding employees to the Hawaiian Host family. Both companies have a long history of operating in Hawai‘i and sharing our products with the world. And we remain committed to continuing to offer the same quality products our customers have grown to know and expect.”

In 1946, Mauna Loa planted its very first macadamia nut trees near Kea‘au, just south of Hilo, where its facilities and visitor center are currently located on 136 acres of land. Mauna Loa is one of the largest and most experienced macadamia nut processors in the world with the seasonal capacity to process approximately 40 million pounds of macadamias. They also produce chocolate covered macadamias and flavored macadamia nut products that are distributed locally, nationally and internationally. In 2004, The Hershey Company acquired Mauna Loa.

“Both Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa have a long history of supporting our local growers and farmers as well as our community. And with our more than 300 employees in Hawai‘i we will continue that legacy together,” added Sakamoto.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015. There are no immediate staff changes planned and details of the acquisition will not be released.

Hawaiian Host was founded by Mamoru Takitani, a third-generation Japanese descendent who dreamed of becoming a candy maker. After moving to Honolulu from the island of Maui, Takitani purchased Ellen Dye Candies, a local confectioner since 1927, and renamed it Hawaiian Host. Since then, Hawaiian Host has grown to become “Hawai‘i’s Gift to the World” and remains the leader in chocolate-covered macadamia products. Today, Hawaiian Host has more than 250 products that are sold in more than 23 countries around the world.

Hawaiian Host supports the Mamoru & Aiko Takitani Foundation which provides grants to numerous community organizations and provides academic scholarships for higher education to benefit the young people of Hawai‘i. Since its inception, the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation has provided more than $2 million dollars in scholarships to students from every eligible high school in Hawai‘i.

For more information, visit www.hawaiianhost.com.

 

NASA Robot Plunges Into Volcano to Explore Fissure

Volcanoes have always fascinated Carolyn Parcheta. She remembers a pivotal moment watching a researcher take a lava sample on a science TV program video in 6th grade.

“I said to myself, I’m going to do that some day,” said Parcheta, now a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Carolyn Parcheta, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plans to take this robot, VolcanoBot 2, to explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Carolyn Parcheta, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plans to take this robot, VolcanoBot 2, to explore Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exploring volcanoes is risky business. That’s why Parcheta and her co-advisor, JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness, are developing robots that can get into crevices where humans wouldn’t be able to go, gaining new insights about these wondrous geological features.

“We don’t know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic,” Parcheta said.

Parcheta’s research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign, which awards $50,000 to the next “great explorer.” Parcheta was a finalist, and was voted number 2 by online participants for her research proposal for exploring volcanoes with robots.

“Having Carolyn in the lab has been a great opportunity for our robotics team to collaborate with someone focused on the geology. Scientists and engineers working together on such a small team is pretty rare, but has generated lots of great ideas because our perspectives on the problems are so different,” Parness said.

The research has implications for extraterrestrial volcanoes. On both Earth and Mars, fissures are the most common physical features from which magma erupts. This is probably also true for the previously active volcanoes on the moon, Mercury, Enceladus and Europa, although the mechanism of volcanic eruption — whether past or present — on these other planetary bodies is unknown, Parcheta said.

“In the last few years, NASA spacecraft have sent back incredible pictures of caves, fissures and what look like volcanic vents on Mars and the moon. We don’t have the technology yet to explore them, but they are so tantalizing! Working with Carolyn, we’re trying to bridge that gap using volcanoes here on Earth for practice. We’re learning about how volcanoes erupt here on Earth, too, and that has a lot of benefits in its own right,” Parness said.

VolcanoBot 1

VolcanoBot 1

Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels. It is a spinoff of a different robot that Parness’s laboratory developed, the Durable Reconnaissance and Observation Platform (DROP).

“We took that concept and redesigned it to work inside a volcano,” Parcheta said.

For their experiments in May 2014, they had VolcanoBot 1 roll down a fissure – a crack that erupts magma – that is now inactive on the active Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Finding preserved and accessible fissures is rare. VolcanoBot 1 was tasked with mapping the pathways of magma from May 5 to 9, 2014. It was able to descend to depths of 82 feet (25 meters) in two locations on the fissure, although it could have gone deeper with a longer tether, as the bottom was not reached on either descent.

“In order to eventually understand how to predict eruptions and conduct hazard assessments, we need to understand how the magma is coming out of the ground. This is the first time we have been able to measure it directly, from the inside, to centimeter-scale accuracy,” Parcheta said.

VolcanoBot 1 is enabling the researchers to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. They confirmed that bulges in the rock wall seen on the surface are also present deep in the ground, but the robot also found a surprise: The fissure did not appear to pinch shut, although VolcanoBot 1 didn’t reach the bottom. The researchers want to return to the site and go even deeper to investigate further.

Specifically, Parcheta and Parness want to explore deeper inside Kilauea with a robot that has even stronger motors and electrical communications, so that more data can be sent back to the surface. They have responded to these challenges with the next iteration: VolcanoBot 2.

VolcanoBot 2 is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, at a length of 10 inches (25 centimeters). Its vision center can tip up and down, with the ability to turn and look at features around it.

“It has better mobility, stronger motors and smaller (5 inch, or 12 centimeter) wheels than the VolcanoBot 1. We’ve decreased the amount of cords that come up to the surface when it’s in a volcano,” Parcheta said.

While VolcanoBot 1 sent data to the surface directly from inside the fissure, data will be stored onboard VolcanoBot 2. VolcanoBot 2 has an electrical connection that is more secure and robust so that researchers can use the 3-D sensor’s live video feed to navigate.

The team plans to test VolcanoBot 2 at Kilauea in early March.

The California Institute of Technology manages JPL for NASA.