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Puna Community Meeting on Transportation Options

The public is invited to learn about new rideshare technologies using a smartphone that can provide Puna with much needed jobs and rides. Council member Jen Ruggles will be hosting a community meeting on new transportation opportunities this Thursday, May 25th at 6pm at the Keaau Community Center.

“Dependable, safe, and convenient transportation is a critical need in our district,” said Ms. Ruggles, “there is a public transportation planning process currently underway. In order for Puna’s complex needs to be met we need to improve our bus system and welcome alternative transportation methods.”

Hawaii County’s new director of Mass Transit, Curtis Sharp, will also be there to give an update on the status of the bus system, the new master plan, and to answer questions. Representatives from transportation network companies Uber and Lyft, who have already started recruiting drivers on the Big Island, will give a short presentation and answer questions.

“Considering half our bus fleet is out of service, we have an exciting new opportunity with Uber and Lyft just coming to the Big Island. I want to make sure the community has a chance to take full advantage of it.”

Snacks and refreshments will be provided. For more information contact the office of Jen Ruggles at 808-961-8263.

Mauna to Mauna Ultra Happening Now on the Big Island of Hawaii

Endurance Events USA is pleased to announce the inaugural edition of the Mauna to Mauna Ultra, which is happening now on the Big Island and will continue until May 20, 2017. This unique event is a 6-stage, 7 day, self-supported footrace, covering a cumulative distance of approximately 155 miles (250 km). The race is open to runners and hikers.

The 155-mile course route which began at Coconut Island in Hilo, winds through 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones, and finishes at Hapuna Beach. The course is taking participants up the world’s most massive mountain (Mauna Loa) and part way up the world’s tallest mountain (Mauna Kea), hence the name of the race: Mauna to Mauna. Participants are climbing more than 16,000 feet over the course of the race.

The field of participants from all over the world has come together for this challenging event, assuming the responsibility of carrying their own backpacks containing food, sleeping bag, mat and other mandatory equipment for the week.

Participants could elect to compete as individuals or teams. Participants were expected to possess basic outdoor survival skills such as familiarity with outdoor gear and backpacking. However, they were not required to possess any technical navigational or climbing skills to take part in the Event. Entrants from 20 countries are participating.

The event is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau and the County of Hawai‘i.

Please visit the event website at www.m2multra.com for more information. Follow the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mauna2mauna.

 

Pasha Hawaii Announces Shipyard for Two New Containerships – Delivery of Vessels Planned for 2020

Honolulu-based Pasha Hawaii announced that the company has selected Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville, TX, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) for the construction of two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fueled containerships, with the option to order two additional vessels. Pasha Hawaii is in the process of finalizing contract specifications.

The new U.S. Jones Act vessels will carry 2,525 TEUs, including a fully laden capacity of 500 45-foot containers, 400 refrigerated containers, and 300 40-foot dry containers, with a sailing speed of 23.0 knots. Delivery of the first vessel is expected 1Q 2020, with delivery of the second vessel in 3Q 2020.

“Keppel O&M’s technical expertise in LNG propulsion and commitment to customer service were two very important factors in our selection decision,” said George Pasha, IV, President and CEO. “From the start, they went above and beyond and worked closely with us in customizing a vessel design that matched our requirements. Their experience in LNG vessel conversions will also prove to be very valuable as we build LNG dual-fueled vessels for the Hawaii trade.”

The new vessels will operate fully on LNG from day one in service, dramatically reducing environmental impact and increasing fuel efficiency. Energy savings will also be achieved with a state-of-the-art engine, an optimized hull form, and an underwater propulsion system with a high-efficiency rudder and propeller.

When compared to conventional fuels, LNG is a much cleaner alternative fuel for shipping and offers significant environmental benefits, including the reduction of up to 95 percent sulphur oxides, nearly 100 percent particulate matter, up to 90 percent nitrogen oxides, and up to 25 percent carbon dioxide emissions from engine exhaust emissions.

“As with the construction of our Jean Anne and Marjorie C, we look forward to working with an extremely qualified shipyard, based in the United States,” added Pasha, IV. “Pasha Hawaii is a firm believer in the Jones Act, and is proud to support our shipyards and the highly skilled workers who make valuable contributions to this important industry on a daily basis.”

Pasha Hawaii is a wholly owned subsidiary of the family-owned global logistics and transportation company, The Pasha Group, one of the nation’s leading Jones Act shipping and integrated logistics companies.

State to Discontinue Mailing Disabled Parking Placard Renewal Notices

Effective immediately, the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB), Department of Health, State of Hawaii, will discontinue mailing courtesy renewal notices to persons with long-term disability parking placards expiring on or after July 31, 2017.

“The administrative cost to print and mail out over 1,500 notices a month was substantial, and as the State recently switched from issuing four-year term placards to six-year term placards, we discovered that a significant number of placard holders do not have a current mailing address on file with us,” said DCAB Executive Director Francine Wai.

The placard expiration date is printed on both sides of a placard and on the identification card issued with the placard. Placard holders are now responsible to check their placard expiration date and submit a renewal application form should they continue to have a qualifying disability.

Renewal application forms may be submitted up to 60 days before the expiration date or at any time following the expiration date. The form requires that a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) certify the applicant’s disability. The form is available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/dcab/parking/, at all County Satellite City Halls and DMV offices, the Hawaii County Office on Aging, or by calling DCAB at (808) 586-8121.

There is no charge for renewal of a long-term (blue-colored) disability parking placard.

Placard renewals are processed by mail only. Therefore, completed renewal application forms must be mailed to: DCAB, P.O. Box 3377, Honolulu, HI 96801.

Hu Honua Reaches Agreement with HELCO on Biomass Plant

Hu Honua announced today that it has reached an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) on an amended power purchase agreement (PPA).

HELCO agreed to revised terms for electricity to be produced by the biomass project and is submitting the amended contract to the Public Utilities Commission for approval of Hu Honua’s proposed pricing.

Hu Honua can resume construction on its half-completed facility and begin delivering clean, firm renewable energy by the end of 2018, if the PUC approves the amended PPA. The project would deliver firm, renewable power around the clock, making it a natural complement to HELCO’s existing portfolio of solar and wind power, which are intermittent sources.

Harold “Rob” Robinson, president of Island BioEnergy, Hu Honua’s parent company noted, “It’s a big win for Hu Honua, Hawaii Electric Light and the people of Hawaii Island to have an amended agreement. We are hopeful the PUC will recognize the project’s value in terms of economic benefits and energy stability.”

The amended PPA submission to the PUC includes information on pricing, which is lower than the original PPA; how the project will be less expensive compared to existing fossil fuel plants; and how the project will provide firm renewable energy that can replace existing fossil fuel plants.

Approximately 200 construction jobs will be needed to complete plant reconstruction, which is expected to take 14-18 months. Nearly 30 permanent operations and maintenance jobs will be available, once the plant is operational.

Hu Honua will become the foundation for a sustainable agriculture industry, creating approximately 200 jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and in the production of wood products.

The project is expected to put $20 million into the local economy each year that would otherwise leave the state to purchase foreign oil, while helping the state secure its energy future and meet its clean energy goal of 100 percent renewable by 2045.

About Hu Honua

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC is located in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast of the island of Hawaii. When completed, the Hu Honua facility will be able to produce up to 30-megawatts (MW) of clean renewable baseload power, which means the plant can deliver reliable power that can be dispatched 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When operating at capacity, Hu Honua will be able to produce approximately 14 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per year.

For more information, www.huhonua.com

Department of Education to Expand Free Meal Program to 52 Public Schools on Six Islands

This upcoming school year, HIDOE will expand a USDA free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from 30 public schools to a total of 52 across the state. The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements. Photo Credit: Department of Education

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from 30 public schools to a total of 52 across the state.

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are very pleased to be able to expand this program to 22 additional schools statewide to provide free meals for over 8,500 more students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “The program helped over 18,000 students to receive free meals over the past two years and provided significant relief for many families.”

The 22 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2017-18 are:

  • Oahu – Aiea El., Central Middle, Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle, Kaala El., Kaewai El., Kahaluu El., Kaiulani El., Kalihi El., Kauluwela El., Mayor Joseph J. Fern El., Palolo El., Puuhale El., Waipahu El. and William P. Jarrett Middle
  • Hawaii Island – Chiefess Kapiolani El., Hilo Union El., Honaunau El., Hookena El., Keaukaha El., Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole El. & Inter. and Waimea El.

The 30 schools already participating in the program in school year 2016-17 are:

  • Kauai – Kekaha El.
  • Oahu – Blanche Pope El., Leihoku El., Linapuni El., Maili El., Makaha El., Nanaikapono El., Nanakuli El., Nanakuli High & Intermediate, Olomana School, Waianae El., Waianae High, Waianae Middle and Waimanalo El. & Intermediate
  • Maui – Hana High & El.
  • Molokai – Kaunakakai El., Kilohana El., Maunaloa El., Molokai Middle and Molokai High
  • Lanai –Lanai High & El.
  • Hawaii Island – Kau High & Pahala El., Keaau El., Keaau High, Keaau Middle, Keonepoko El., Mountain View El., Naalehu El., Pahoa El. and Pahoa High

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price 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 $3.89 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.44 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.94 in recouped cost for the state.

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.89 reimbursement. While participating schools may no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1.

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

Kona Brewing Company’s New “Dear Mainland” Campaign Rolls Out Today

At a time when Americans are leaving millions of unused vacation days on the table and spending more time in front of screens than ever before, Kona Brewing Company and the larger-than-life but laid back Hawaiian “Bruddahs” from the “Dear Mainland” campaign are back to playfully suggest that shifting our priorities might help us enjoy life more. In new digital videos that launch May 8, the Bruddahs humorously remind us to get out and have some real-life fun as they “review” a few of the ways we get stuck to our screens – whether to catch up on the latest reality television feud, crush a mobile game, or check out a viral cat-in-funny outfit video.

The :15 videos are part of Kona Brewing’s evolution of the successful integrated “Dear Mainland” campaign, which is expanding to include TV, digital video and retail components, as well as new localized TV spots in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco.

The Dear Mainland campaign created with Duncan Channon, which juxtaposes the easy-going and distinctly local perspective of the Bruddahs with common all-work-no-play mainlander pressures, has driven significant business growth for Kona Brewing Company since its 2014 launch. After the first year, Kona saw a 37 percent sales lift in markets where the campaign aired – the third highest lift recorded by IRI in 12 years. In 2016, Kona recorded an additional 15 percent growth over the previous year’s record in campaign markets.

“Kona’s Dear Mainland campaign has been successful because people love the light-hearted way our ‘Bruddahs’ deliver the relatable and much-needed reminder to step outside their daily routine and make time for what matters most to them,” said Cindy Wang, senior director of brand marketing for Kona Brewing Co. “That’s why we’re excited to showcase their special brand of Hawaiian wisdom in new formats beyond traditional TV spots and create hyper-local ways to engage new audiences.”

“We know people are guilty of spending time online at the expense of other meaningful, relaxing or fun experiences, so it makes sense for us to reach our audience on social to deliver Kona’s good humored message about screen time,” added Wang.

Created by San Francisco’s Duncan Channon, a 2016 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year, the digital videos were shot in Hawaii at Kikaua Point Park, Kailua-Kona with Waimea resident Dave Bell and Blake “Brutus” La Benz from Honolulu. Three :15 second videos will run May 8 through September 3, 2017 on Facebook and Instagram:

  • Kona Reviews: Phone Apps” – pokes fun at the mobile game phenomenon and gamification that keeps Americans chained to their phones
  • Kona Reviews: Reality TV” – tongue-in-cheek reference to reality TV drama that contrasts with the serene experience of drinking a cold Kona beer at the beach
  • Kona Reviews: Viral Videos” – reminds us that there may be more fulfilling things to do and discover in life than the latest viral cat video sensation

“The Kona brand is all about encouraging people to slow down, breathe and connect with what matters – family, friends, nature, experiences,” said Anne Elisco-Lemme, executive creative director, Duncan Channon. “In the new creative, the brothers’ tongue-in-cheek banter about pop culture content that keeps us chained to our screens reminds us that we sometimes need to put down the phone, turn off the TV or close that YouTube video to get out and enjoy life.”

Duncan Channon also produced a series of short-form videos called “Dear Kona,” which will run on Facebook and Instagram during the same time period. The videos feature the Bruddahs’ responses to fictional letters from mainlanders asking advice about how to deal with life situations, such as an amped-up boss labeling every email “urgent.” View the videos here:

As part of Kona’s 360 degree approach to reach audiences no matter where they are, Kona also partnered with CBS to create dedicated local TV creative that offers the Bruddahs’ laid-back view on the local values of five California counties: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco. The localized TV spots will air in each market exclusively on Thursdays – the day of the week the Bruddahs want people to treat like “Little Fridays”  by making time to enjoy themselves. Kona will also encourage fans to put a little “Friday” into everyday giving away a weekly prize through a new “Little Friday” online sweepstakes, which will be promoted on social media and in retail stores. Consumers can enter starting May 8 at: www.konabrewingco.com/littlefridays.

The brand teamed with the AV Club to bring music artists Thao and Zipper Club to the home of Kona beer in Kona, HI, to film a national TV special that will air nationally on Fusion TV on August 31, 2017. Kona will also present a special concert featuring Boulevards, Thao and Zipper Club in Los Angeles at Hotel Cafe on July 20, 2017. “Little Friday Acoustic Sessions” sessions and interviews with the artists courtesy of Kona will be unveiled at www.avclub.com throughout the summer.

The new elements in the “Dear Mainland” campaign will complement the airing of existing Kona TV spots “Little Fridays,” “FOMO” and “Sad Hour” due to their continued success with audiences. The TV spots, which originally launched in the summer of 2014 will air in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento May through September.

Funding for Rail on Life Support – House and Senate Disagree on How to Pay for City’s Financially Troubled Project

The House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree today on amending Senate Bill 1183, the vehicle for funding the city’s financially troubled rail project.

Click to read bill

The House version of the rail funding bill takes the tax burden off Hawaii residents by increasing the Transient Accommodation Tax paid primarily by tourists. The proposal would provide nearly all of the money needed to complete the project, estimated to cost $8.1 billion, from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

The Senate also amended the bill, by extending the state’s 0.5 percent surcharge levied on Oahu’s general excise tax for an additional 10 years from 2027 until 2037.

“GET is one of the most regressive tax. It taxes the working poor and the elderly. It is our responsibility to stand up for those individuals,” said Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa).

After consulting with members of the hotel industry, the House amended the bill to provide $1.7 billion for the rail project.

“We clearly support rail and the House plan provides more funding than any other conference draft we have seen,” said Representative Henry Aquino (Waipahu). “This is a responsible amendment that would provide funding in the quickest way possible.”

The House proposal for SB 1183 SD2 HD2 HCD2 includes:

Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT)

  • Increases TAT from 9.25 percent to 10.25 percent for 11 years through 2028
  • Prohibits the use of the TAT funds for rail operations and maintenance
  • Prohibits use of the TAT funds for HART administrative and operating costs
  • Maintains counties’ share of TAT revenue at $103 million per year (the share was scheduled to be reduced to $93 million beginning fiscal year (2017-2018)
  • Honolulu’s share of the TAT county subsidy (44.1 percent) will be solely directed toward funding rail
  • The scheduled 2018 reduction in the neighbor island county TAT subsidies will be eliminated and those counties will continue to receive their current TAT subsidy that is calculated as a percentage of $103 million through fiscal year 2027-2028:
  1. Oahu $45.4 million
  2. Maui $23.4 million
  3. Hawaii $19.1 million
  4. Kauai $14.9 million
  • These TAT amendments could generate $926.8 million over the 11-year period.

General Excise Tax (GET)

  • Extends the county surcharge on GET for an additional one year from 2027-2028
  • Continues the state’s reduced share of the administrative service fee (“skim”) at 1 percent in 2028
  • The reduction of the State’s skim to 1 percent generates $350 million from 2018-2028
  • These GET amendments generate $435.2 million in 2028.

New Start Education Special Fund

  • Reduces the annual allocation (for 11 years) for the New Start Education Special Fund from $50 million to $25 million, for a total of $275 million.

City Non-Rail Development

  • Prohibits a county from using public funds to reconstruct or redevelop an event venue (and associated infrastructure and appurtenances) that is within a Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) district or in a manner that requires HCDA approval, through December 31, 2028.

Kamokuna Ocean Entry Slowly Building New Lava Delta

The episode 61g Kamokuna ocean entry has been slowly building a new lava delta for a little over a month now.

Click to enlarge

Two large cracks parallel to the coast are visible on the delta (center), with the distal portion slumping slightly seaward—suggesting further instability. Thursday, the ocean entry activity, most of which was located along the western side of the delta and obscured by the thick plume, was producing occasional weak littoral explosions.

Waipio Solar Project Completed

The Department of the Navy, Pacific Energy Solutions, LLC, Hawaiian Electric Company, and the Hawaii State Energy Office celebrated the completion of a 14.3 megawatt direct current solar facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Waipio Peninsula in Hawaii.

The completion of the project was commemorated in a ribbon cutting ceremony today on JBPHH. Notable ceremony presenters and attendees included Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii; Rear Adm. John Korka, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet civil engineer; John Kliem, executive director, DON’s Resilient Energy Program Office; Capt. Stanley Keeve Jr., commanding officer, JBPHH; Ron Cox, senior vice president of Operations at Hawaiian Electric; and Dr. Terrence Surles, interim administrator of the Hawaii State Energy Office.

“Our Navy is tough during wartime and while preserving peace. That same level of determination drives day-to-day problem-solving as well as our approach to energy security. We are bold in our thinking – embracing innovation and new technologies, just as we have done throughout our history. Our senior leaders empower us and expect us to be adaptive, resilient and forward-thinking. That applies to both our nation’s defense and to our commitment to energy security,” said Fuller.

Pacific Energy Solutions built, and will own, operate and maintain the solar facility on JBPHH, and the installation will be the sole consumer of the power produced by the photovoltaic facility under a contract referred to as a Power Purchase Agreement.

“We are pleased to be part of the Waipio solar project and to help the Navy achieve its clean energy goals,” said Matt Handel, vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, whose subsidiary purchased the membership interest in Pacific Energy Solutions.

The project will contribute to the DON’s diverse energy portfolio, ensuring more secure and resilient operations at JBPHH. It also shows the continued partnership with the state of Hawaii, following last year’s Memorandum of Understanding between the DON and the state, which coordinated goals and strengthened the partnership between both organizations in the pursuit of additional renewable energy in the state of Hawaii.

“The State of Hawaii commends the Navy for its leadership in making the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Waipio Peninsula solar facility a reality. This project is a testament to our shared vision with the Navy and other branches of the military on energy security and self-sufficiency. It will take a genuine commitment on the part of all stakeholders to achieve our clean energy goals, and high-impact projects like this are an important part of that effort,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The DON continues to improve readiness, combat effectiveness and flexibility through initiatives that focus on energy reliability, resiliency and efficiency.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

Island Air and JIN Air Enter Interline Agreement to Connect Customers Between South Korea and Hawaiian Islands

Island Air and Jin Air have entered into an interline partnership which allows travelers to conveniently book connections between Jin Air’s network throughout Korea and South East Asia and Island Air’s destinations in the Hawaiian Islands.

Jin Air B777-200ER

The interline agreement, which goes into effect on April 26, 2017, means customers traveling on Jin Air between Honolulu and Seoul can connect seamlessly to a neighbor island on Island Air, booking the reservation on a single ticket and checking luggage through to their final destination. The two airlines will have three interline routes, including Incheon-Honolulu-Kahului, Incheon-Honolulu-Kona, and Incheon-Honolulu-Līhu‘e.

Starting May 29, Jin Air, which first launched service to Hawai‘i in December 2015, will offer Honolulu service five times each week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) between Honolulu and Seoul. Jin Air will start interline sales on April 26.

“Island Air’s interline partnership with Jin Air provides another convenient option for visitors from Korea and other Asian markets to explore the Hawaiian Islands, while also expanding connections to Asia for our local residents,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “This latest ticketing and baggage agreement with Jin Air is part of Island Air’s continuing commitment to enhance the overall travel experience for customers and to provide more opportunities for travelers to ‘Fly the Island Way’.”

Jin Air said, “With the operation of Jin Air’s only long-distance route (Incheon-Honolulu), we will build a network to the Islands of Hawai‘i through interline sales with Island Air. We will continue to strengthen our differentiation strategy with other airlines to improve customer convenience.”

In addition to Jin Air, Island Air maintains interline agreements with nine other domestic and international airlines, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, China Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Philippine Airlines and Qantas. Island Air also has been a codeshare partner with United Airlines since 2005, which includes joint frequent flyer benefits.

Island Air offers 280 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island and plans to increase the number of interisland flights per week to more than 400 by May 1. Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules. Reservations can be made online at www.islandair.com or by calling (800) 652-6541.

On Earth Day, Hawaiian Electric Companies Note Progress in Reducing Emissions, Use of Fossil Fuel

To mark Earth Day 2017, the Hawaiian Electric Companies today noted their progress in replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources for power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading efforts to switch to zero-emission electric vehicles.

Many of the companies’ ambitious clean energy goals are described in the Power Supply Improvement Plan submitted to the Public Utilities Commission in December 2016. The plan calls for reducing operations that use fossil fuels, doubling private rooftop solar systems and aggressively seeking grid-scale renewable resources, among other goals.

Here are some highlights of the companies’ progress toward a clean energy future:

Renewable energy

The Hawaiian Electric Companies reached a milestone in 2016, with 26 percent of the electricity used by customers coming from renewable resources – up from 23 percent the year before.

Hawaii Island customers’ use of renewable electricity passed the halfway mark for the first time, with 54 percent of electricity coming from renewables, up from 49 percent in 2015. Maui County also reached a new high of 37 percent, up from 35 percent. On Oahu, 19 percent of electricity used by customers was from renewable resources, up from 17 percent the year before. The Power Supply Improvement Plan forecasts exceeding the state’s renewable energy milestones of 30 percent in 2020, 40 percent in 2030, 70 percent in 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.

The companies’ forecasts for future milestones include:

  • 48 percent by the end of 2020;
  • 72 percent by the end of 2030;
  • 100 percent by the end of 2040, five years ahead of the 2045 deadline

Oil consumption down 21%

Renewable goals exist to increase self-sufficiency by relying on local resources like sun, wind, geothermal, local crops and waste. The companies’ ultimate goals are to reduce dependence on imported oil and climate-altering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide.

  • From 2008 to 2016, Hawaiian Electric’s use of oil in generators on Oahu fell to 6 million barrels from 7.8 million barrels. For all three Hawaiian Electric Companies, oil use fell to 8.5 million barrels from 10.7 million barrels, a 21 percent decrease.
  • The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ goal is to reduce GHG emissions to the 2010 level by 2020.  In fact, it’s anticipated the companies will do better, reducing the 2020 level to 16 percent below the 2010 level. That would cut emissions by 865,000 tons per year. That is equivalent to any one of the following:
    • 1.8 million barrels of fuel per year
    • Emissions from 166,000 passenger car in a year
    • 1.9 million miles driven by passenger cars
    • Energy consumed per year by 116,000 homes

Electric vehicle use accelerates

The number of registered plug-in electric vehicles (EV) has broken the 5,000 mark, a promising milestone that makes Hawaii second in the nation after California in EVs per capita. Hawaiian Electric has helped form Drive Electric Hawaii to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated efforts and make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

Drive Electric Hawaii partners include the Blue Planet Foundation; Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT); Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy; the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light); Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; Ulupono Initiative; and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Hawaiian Electric Companies’ specific role is installing fast chargers to reduce drivers’ “range anxiety.”

A dozen fast chargers are available at shopping centers, visitor attractions and on utility property across the five islands the companies serve. More are coming. Transactions at our companies’ fast chargers shot up in March as EVs on the road increased and drivers became more aware of the growing number of fast chargers.

For more about environmental progress, visit: http://www.hawaiianelectric.com/about-us/our-commitment.

Commentary – Mayor’s Administration Has Taken Action Against Me

Mayor Harry Kim ran on a platform of transparency, and restoring trust in county government. Nonetheless,  his administration has taken action against me, which goes against those campaign promises.

The problems started on February 6th, 2017 when the Department of Public Works director Frank DeMarco sent me an official e-mail stating that I cannot communicate with anyone in the Department of Public Works going forward. Mr. DeMarco also states all further inquiries from me have to be sent to the mayor’s office through postal mail. This e-mail was disseminated to all DPW managerial staff, and to the mayor’s secretary.I was able to get  that  part rescinded, so I could go through DPW’s public information officer for any future inquiries. This somewhat addressed the issue at hand, but not completely. This directive made it impossible to provide feedback about future county highway projects.

In addition,  I still couldn’t communicate with front line engineers,  or division heads. I’ve established relationships with these individuals that  have lasted ten or more years in some cases. These individuals have always appreciated my efforts to report traffic signal and pothole issues, along with my assistance with getting various highway projects completed.

DPW Director DeMarco has painted a different picture of my efforts, which he stated in recent testimony to the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee on April 11th. He stated that I was making too many inquiries with DPW staff, which was causing issues for DPW and other county departments.

This statement doesn’t make any sense whatsoever based upon the positive feedback I’ve received from public works  staff over the years. This is why I believe  this directive is smokescreen for the real reason why I’ve been treated this way. Mayor Kim simply doesn’t welcome, or want, feedback from from community.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Fresh Fish, Poke and Local Food Dishes Coming Soon to Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, a retail store and visitor center for over 10 years, will soon feature the famously fresh fish, poke and local food dishes from North Kohala’s Kawaihae Kandyz. Currently causing a splash on the food scene with a flair for local fare, Kawaihae Kandyz has been garnering attention in the town of Kapa‘au for the past year and a half, winning acclaim for their signature Shoyu Poke Nachos.

Poke Nachos

The official launch date is set for Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, located in Kawaihae on Highway 270 at 61-3251 Maluokalani St.

The popular eatery is owned and operated by Chef Shannon Javillonar and wife Fran. Chef Javillonar was inspired to start his own business after 10 years with a well-known hotel along the Kohala Coast. As Javillonar worked his way up, he learned the trade and crafted his talent to create “home-style cooking” with a unique take on local food.

In addition to his signature Poke Nachos, his Poke Bombs and Poke Bowls are up-and-coming local and visitor favorites. His fish is caught fresh and priced based on the current market value. All of his creations are made-to-order. Since it opened for business, Kawaihae Kandyz has blossomed with followers on social media, and earned great reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Instagram and Facebook, and of course word-of-mouth.

Poke Bombs

When asked why he is looking to expand, Javillonar said “Many of my customers travel from as far as Kona, Waikoloa, the Kohala Coast and Waimea. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to open in Kawaihae so they would not have to travel to Kohala. Kawaihae is a great location and is centralized. It lets our local residents also know about Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company’s Visitor Center and Retail Store and what a hidden gem they are. It’s a win-win situation!”

Kawaihae Kandyz will be open at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company location in Kawaihae on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (808) 896-2767. , located in Kawaihae

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co., partnered with Edmund C. Olson, is a locally owned and operated enterprise, committed to providing 100% Hawaiian macadamia nuts, 100% of the time, in ways that are economically efficient and environmentally responsible.  Their goal is to provide a future for the growers, jobs for Hawai‘i Island workers and produce the highest-quality products to sell to the world.  For more information, visit www.HawnNut.com.

Hawaii State Launches New Geospatial Data Portal

The state Office of Planning’s Hawaii Statewide Geographic Information System (GIS) Program launched a new Geospatial Data Portal (geoportal.hawaii.gov), which provides streamlined access to hundreds of data layers, topographic maps, imagery, and developer features.

“The new data portal provides increased functionality, and a section highlighting maps and apps that leverage the GIS program’s data and services,” said GIS Program Manager Arthur Buto. “One of the first apps that we’re featuring is the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Story Map created by the Governor’s office.”

The portal includes support for non-geospatial data files; an overall cleaner look and feel; optimized layout of data attributes and tables; application program interface (API) tools for developers to create filtered data set URLs for apps development; and other improvements that facilitate site and content management. Users will also find additional data sets (now totaling more than 300 data layers), imagery and historical maps available for general use.

The launch follows a major upgrade completed in May 2016 through a collaboration between the Office of Planning and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) to enable technological advances in server-based GIS and cloud services, as well as improve data sharing, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. The upgrade reduced the need for redundant databases, standardized the information being analyzed by decision makers, and served as a means of collecting and distributing the most up-to-date authoritative GIS data.

The Offices’ collaborative efforts also resulted in an enterprise license agreement that encourages widespread GIS software use across all State of Hawaii departments and achieves savings, leveraging current cloud technologies. This agreement, along with a strong working relationship with Esri (the leading GIS software provider), offers lower unit cost of software; fixed predictable overall costs over the life of the agreement; flexibility to deploy Esri software products when and where needed; offer of GIS to agencies that otherwise could not afford GIS; and continuous support of the geospatial data and mapping requirements driven by agency and administration initiatives.

Authorized under Chapter 225M-2(b)(4)(B), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended, the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program within the Office of Planning leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote and coordinate the use of GIS data and technology among Hawaii state agencies. The program is critical to more than 150 state GIS data and system users across a dozen state departments that develop and maintain a wide variety of data, maps and applications — many of which are available to the public and/or relied upon by state personnel.

The Reason Right Hand Turn Lane Was Removed From Kilauea Street

Some time in the last few weeks, the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works decided to remove the right hand turn lane at the south end of Kilauea Street where folks use to be able to turn on to Haihai Street.

A few folks have sent me emails asking me to inquire about things and finally I put it out there the other night that I would be inquiring about this change in traffic pattern.

Former Kona Blogger Aaron Stene saw what I posted and was able to inquire with the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works as to why this change happened and he sent me the conversation between two folks in the county who knew what happened and WHY it happened.

Some time ago we got a request from then Councilman, Dennis Onishi.  The request was for a convex mirror for the Kilauea Ave/Haihai St. intersection because people had a hard time seeing turning out onto Kilauea Ave from Haihai St.

After investigating the intersection we concluded that a mirror would be ineffective at improving sight distance, particularly at the higher speeds that cars commonly drive in this area.  The problem we identified was that cars in the right turn lane restricted line of sight.  We proposed to Dennis the idea of terminating the right turn lane and merging traffic into one lane.  Our thinking was that not having the right turn lane would allow turning vehicles to have better visibility of oncoming traffic and turning vehicles would actually be able to pull out a little more to make turns.  Dennis supported our plan so we proceeded to make the change.

The one concern that I have is that driver habits in this area hamper the flow of traffic at this intersection.  Although the yield is for Hilo bound traffic, cars still tend to yield on the Puna bound side.  When this occurs, the Puna bound backup increases because the lane now consists of both right turning vehicles and through vehicles.

Our treatment is not the perfect solution, but the positive impacts of the change should be appreciated by those making turns from Haihai St, as opposed to those on Kilauea Ave.  I heard there are plans to widen the “4 Mile” bridge in a few years.  I think converting the bridge to a two-lane bridge will greatly improve traffic flow in this area.  Speeds will probably go up, but the congestion will be reduced significantly.  The other improvement that may not be possible due to lack of space is a left turn lane on Kilauea Ave for the Haihai St intersection.  Another cause for congestion is people making left turns.

Aaron Takaba

 

NASA Scientific Double Play in Hawaii

NASA pulled off a scientific double play in Hawaii this winter, using the same instruments and aircraft to study both volcanoes and coral reefs. Besides helping scientists understand these two unique environments better, the data will be used to evaluate the possibility of preparing a potential future NASA satellite that would monitor ecosystem changes and natural hazards.

NASA coral reef studies in Hawaii this winter will help scientists understand this unique environment.  Credit – NOAA

The advantages of studying active volcanoes from the air rather than the ground are obvious. Coral reefs may not offer the same risks in a close encounter that volcanoes do, but there’s another good reason to study them by remote sensing: they’re dotted across thousands of square miles of the globe. It’s simply not feasible to survey such a large area from a boat. So NASA has been monitoring coral reefs by satellite and aircraft for several decades. Recent airborne efforts have used sensors that provide better spatial and spectral resolution than currently available from NASA satellite systems.

“Reefs are threatened by bleaching due to rising sea surface temperatures as well as, to some degree, by increasing acidification of ocean waters,” said Woody Turner of NASA Headquarters in Washington, the program scientist for the recent Hawaii study. “On top of that, since they’re coastal ecosystems, they are also subject to sediment and other effluents running offshore. We have an urgent need to get a handle now on how reefs are changing.”

Over the past four years, NASA has flown a series of research flights over California, carrying airborne prototypes of instruments in preparation for a possible future satellite mission called the Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI), now in the conceptual design phase. The Golden State has many diverse landscapes to test the instruments’ observational capabilities, but not coral reefs or erupting volcanoes. This winter’s HyspIRI Hawaii field campaign filled that gap.

To get the next best thing to a satellite’s point of view, HyspIRI Hawaii used a high-altitude ER-2 aircraft from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Palmdale, California. During the study, the aircraft was based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. Flying at approximately 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) and thus above most of Earth’s atmosphere, the ER-2 carried the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the MODIS-ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER), developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. AVIRIS is an imaging spectrometer that observes the complete reflected spectrum of light in the visible and shortwave infrared wavelengths. MASTER has multiple observational channels in the thermal infrared wavelengths. Together AVIRIS and MASTER provide the same combination of spectral bands planned for the future HyspIRI mission — and powerful data for current coral reef research.

Six coral reef-related projects with diverse objectives are using imagery that AVIRIS and MASTER collected around the Hawaiian archipelago in January through early March.

  • Under principal investigator Steven Ackleson (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington), a team investigated how coral reefs and water quality vary, in both space and time, over the huge distance encompassed by the Hawaiian Islands and the 1,200-mile-long (2,000-kilometer-long) Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument north of the main islands. Ackleson’s team used the airborne instruments and in-water observations to collect data on reef condition and water quality and compared them with data collected from 2010 to 2014 with a different hyperspectral imager.
  • To study reefs’ responses to stress, Kyle Cavanaugh (UCLA) led a study of the composition of shallow reefs (coral, algae and sand) and the extent of their bleaching. The team hopes to uncover the practical limits of the proposed HyspIRI instrument in observing these features. Like Ackleson’s and most of the other investigators’ projects, this study combined airborne imagery with ocean measurements.
  • Heidi Dierssen (University of Connecticut) used in-water spectrometers in conjunction with the airborne AVIRIS imaging spectrometer products to look at pigment differences among corals’ photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae. A goal is to determine the degree to which differences in pigment — which relate to different types of algae with different biological characteristics and responses to environmental change — can be detected from an airborne platform and ultimately from space.
  • To determine how changes in a reef’s environment — cloudiness, water temperature, water murkiness — might affect coral health, and how these environmental factors themselves might be influenced by changing land use on the islands, Paul Haverkamp (supported by Cramer Fish Sciences, West Sacramento, California) will be comparing this year’s AVIRIS data with observations from AVIRIS campaigns flown between 2000 and 2007. The study focuses on reefs in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, and Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii.
  • Eric Hochberg (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences) and his team will compare this year’s AVIRIS measurements with AVIRIS data from 2000 to study how human and climate stresses may be affecting reefs around the islands. They will quantify reef composition and primary productivity and correlate them with oceanographic conditions, land use and land cover on the islands, and local human threats to investigate how the reefs’ condition and relationship to their environments may have changed in the last 16 years.
  • ZhongPing Lee of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, took field measurements of reefs concurrently with the HyspIRI flights, using a special system that precisely measures the spectrum of colors in ocean water, which provides important information about what’s in the water. Lee and his team measured the shape of the seafloor, the water’s optical properties, and other characteristics to compare with the same measurements made by AVIRIS.

Get a 360-degree view of the ER-2 landing on Oahu during the HyspIRI Hawaii mission:

Hawaiian Island Creations Launches HIC Wahine at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani is pleased to announce their newest store, HIC Wahine, the latest brand by Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC). This new, 1,500 square foot boutique is HIC’s fifth Hawai‘i Island location, and their only store focused entirely on clothing, swimwear, and accessories for women and girls.

“We’ve listened to requests from the Mauna Lani shoppers for more women’s products, and that’s what led to the expansion,” said Leigh Tonai, CEO of HIC. “We have assigned an all-female crew to head buying and management of the store to make sure we are carrying the best items for our wahine customers.”

HIC Wahine features women’s fashion, apparel and accessories from Amuse Society, Roxy, Volcom, Billabong, Oakley, Nixon, Reefs, Love Stitch, Havaianas and Dakine.

Hawaiian Island Creations was started in 1971 by brothers Stephen and Jimmy Tsukayama, who opened their first store in Kailua, on Oahu’s windward side. For over 45 years HIC has offered Hawai‘i the best selection of surfboards, skateboards, clothing and accessories. Through a commitment to quality, service and aloha spirit, the brand has built a reputation as an icon of Hawaiian surfing recognized worldwide.

HIC made its first move to Hawai‘i Island and The Shops at Mauna Lani in 2011, and quickly realized it had tapped a market thirsty for top quality surf brands. HIC Wahine is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.hicsurf.com, or call 808-238-0251.

Coast Guard Establishes Temporary Safety Zone in Vicinity of Active Kilauea Lava Flow

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawai’i, Tuesday.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8 a.m. Sept. 28.  Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey recommend 300 meters as the minimum safe distance to avoid hazards from the lava flow.

The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public. As long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur.  These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted.

According to the HVO, large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.  Based on a review of nearly 30 years of delta collapse and ejecta distance observations in HVO records, a radius of 300 meters was determined as a reasonable minimum high hazard zone around a point of ocean entry.

A Broadcast Notice to Mariners has been issued via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the safety zone. Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

To view documents in the Federal Register mentioned in this release, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0172 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. It may take up to five days for documents to publish in the Federal Register, once published public comments may be submitted for a period of 60 days.

The Coast Guard is also issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to establish a permanent Safety Zone for this region. We solicit feedback from the public on this rule making process. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0234 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

Written Comments: Written public comments will be accepted on or before 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2017, via http://www.regulations.gov. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically; however, written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

Oral Comments: The Coast Guard will provide the public an opportunity to make oral comments by holding a public meeting on May 08, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi St. #7, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.