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Puʻu ʻŌʻō Lava Flow “61g” Continues Advancing Downslope

The episode 61g flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues advancing downslope.

In this photo, the current flow is the lighter color area along the center of the image. The flow front has advanced about 770 m (0.5 miles) since the June 16 overflight, which equates to an advance rate of about 100 m per day (330 ft per day).

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image.  (Click to enlarge)

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image. (Click to enlarge)

The lava pond in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has enlarged since our last observation.

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin.  (Click to enlarge)

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin. (Click to enlarge)

An HVO geologist collects a fresh lava sample for chemical analysis.

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today.  (Click to enlarge)

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today. (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube.  (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube. (Click to enlarge)

Incandescent vents are still open on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

An aerial view of the same vent shown at left provided a look of the lava stream within the deep cavity.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hawaii Becomes First State in Nation to Enroll Firearms Owners in Centralized Information System

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawai‘i to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed HB 625 (ACT 109) and HB 2632 (ACT 110) Relating to Firearms.

HB 625 specifies that harassment by stalking and sexual assault are among the offenses that disqualify a person from owning, possessing or controlling any firearm or ammunition.

HB 2632 requires firearms owners to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police if they have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition for the following reasons: Diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility. This measure authorizes the Chief of Police to seize firearms and ammunition if a disqualified firearms owner fails to surrender the items after receiving written notice.

Questions Answered About New Pahoa Park Plans

The new park that is being built in Pahoa is going up rather quickly and some folks in the community had some questions about the park so I emailed Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Jason Armstrong some questions and got a reply from him today on these questions.
Pahoa Regional ParkPBR Hawaii is the firm that appears to be handling most of the construction design at the park.  You can learn more about the project on their website here:  Pahoa Park Expansion Master Plan

I took this picture yesterday from the backside of the skate park:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here are the questions and answers that I received from Armstrong:

How many people will P&R hire to maintain and operate Pahoa District Park?

Three; two park  caretakers (who mostly likely will be existing employees transferred from other sites) and one recreation technician. P&R is now in the recruiting phase for the rec. tech. position. We anticipate filling this position by August 1, 2016.

What will be the park hours?

Operating hours will be set by the Director. Typically, park hours are 6 am – 11 pm daily. The pool, senior center, skate park,  community center and new covered play courts (gym) likely will have different hours, however, based on patron demand and the need to have personnel onsite to operate those facilities.

Will the park have a security gate?

Yes

How many new parking stalls are being added?

373 new stalls, including 21 ADA-compliant stalls

What is the expected opening date?

No specific date has been set; we estimate opening in late August or early September of this year

Is the skate park part of the park?

Yes

If anyone is really interested in looking at all the documents related to this new park you can click here to read the 641 page Environmental Assessment that was put together in 2013 before the June 27th Lava Flow almost took out the whole project all together.

Click to read

Click to read

Hawaii Bowhunter Education Certification Now Available Online

In order to expand Bowhunter Education certification options in Hawaii, the Hawaii Hunter Education Program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, will begin offering Hawaii residents an online Bowhunter Education course, beginning on July 1, 2016.

Hawaii will be available July 1, 2016.

Hawaii will be available July 1, 2016.

This course is approved by the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) and meets the requirements to purchase a bowhunting license where required. In addition, it does not require completion of a field day.

Although Hawaii does not require a Bowhunter Education certification to bowhunt, many states are increasingly requiring this additional certification to purchase a bowhunting license.

Currently, the Hawaii Hunter Education Program offers a three-day in-person Bowhunter Education course with field day once a year. Over the past three years, classes have been held on Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii Hunter Education Program will also continue to schedule one three day in-person bowhunter course per year for those individuals wishing to attend an in-person course.  Please visit: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/huntered/classes/ for a list of our current classes.

This online course is offered through the NBEF approved Bowhunter-ed.com. The cost for this online course is $30, which is assessed directly from Bowhunter-ed.com after completion of the online course. Students must have completed Basic Hunter Education prior to completing the online Bowhunter Education course.  In addition, students must be at least 10 years old to take this course. This online course is limited to Hawaii residents.

After passing and paying for this course, students will be able to immediately print their Temporary Bowhunter Education Certificate, which is valid to purchase a bowhunting license (where required) so long as it is purchased within the expiration date Students will be mailed their permanent Hawaii Bowhunter Education Certificate from the Hawaii Hunter Education Program within 3-4 weeks. If you complete the online Bowhunter Education course but do not meet the requirements above, you will not be issued a Bowhunter Education certificate from the Hawaii Hunter Education Program.

To take the online Bowhunter Education course after July 1, 2016, simply go to: https://www.bowhunter-ed.com/#select-your-state. Select “Hawaii,” register, and begin the course. The online course includes chapter quizzes and a final exam. For more information, please call the Hawaii Hunter Education Program at: 808-587-0200.

Hawaii Governor Signs Bill Providing Options for Marine Resource Violations

Hawai‘i Governor David Ige today signed Senate Bill 2453 authorizing alternative sentencing for aquatic violations.

Ige Bill

The new law provides clear legal authority to judges, allowing them to more effectively tailor sentences when aquatics statutes are violated.  The bill covers most regulations under the jurisdiction of the DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources, including most fisheries violations. Judges will still be able to impose jail time or fine defendants.  Now they’ll also be able to sentence offenders to an educational course or resource-specific community service work.

Alternative sentencing authority was one of the key priorities of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Environmental Court Working Group, which made recommendations prior to the establishment of Hawaii’s Environmental Court in 2015. The Court is the first of its type in the nation. It provides a dedicated forum for resource violations, with presiding judges who are specially trained in the nuances of resource law and the cumulative effect of seemingly innocuous resource violations.

“From the DLNR perspective, we’re thrilled that Governor Ige signed this bill into law,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR Chair. “It provides us with an opportunity to educate and rehabilitate resource law violators, and in doing so, encourage pono approaches to extractive use of Hawaii’s natural resources.”  Under the State’s regulatory scheme, boaters and hunters must take an educational course before obtaining licenses. Because Hawaii doesn’t require a recreational fishing license, there is no such requirement for fishers.

“Senate Bill 2453 gives judges the opportunity to reduce recidivism among resource offenders,” said Judge Barbara Richardson, one of the bill’s key supporters. “When we fine someone, we teach them that their individual act was prohibited by law. By requiring them to complete an educational course, that person has the opportunity to learn why their conduct was illegal, in addition to learning about other resource laws of which they should be aware, as well as the sustainable management principles that are a common thread between Hawaiian traditions and the resource laws we have today.”

The bill also creates an opportunity for violators to restore the resources they’ve harmed, as it provides for resource-specific community service opportunities when cases are heard in Hawaii’s Environmental Court. “It’s very simple,” Chair Case noted, “If a person is convicted for poaching ‘ama‘ama (mullet) out of season, we want them to work restoring a fish pond, cleaning the beaches, or engaging in some other activity that gives back to the resource. DLNR’s educational course will be an adapted version of its Makai Watch curriculum, which is currently used to train community groups on aquatic resource laws and how to identify violations.”

The educational curriculum is already available online, and contains cultural references that illustrate the importance of marine resources in pre-contact Hawaii.

Meet Hawaii Island’s New Film Commissioner

Hawaii Island has a new film commissioner and his name is Justin Finestone.

Justin Finestone introduces himself to filmmakers at the Big Island Film Festival

Justin Finestone introduces himself to filmmakers at the Big Island Film Festival

He introduced himself as the new commissioner at the Big Island Film Festival recently where he welcomed the filmmakers to the Big Island and talked to them about the benefits of filming here on the Island.

He has only been in the position for about a month now and I asked him the following questions as a follow-up to the festival:

Where are you from and what is your background?

I grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended the University of Southern California.  I graduated with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science.  I worked in television news and production for 16 years before starting a career in public sector marketing and communications.  Before moving to Hawai’i Island, I spent the past eight years as the Communications Director for the City of Bend, Oregon.

What goals do you have for the County of Hawaii as our Film Commissioner?

We want to grow the film and television industries on Hawai’i Island.  Even small productions spend money here on things like hotels and meals.  That type of spending helps provide jobs for the people who live here.  In addition, there are talented people who live here that work in the film industry.   The more productions that are here, the more industry workers can make a living.  We want to accomplish all this with cultural sensitivities in mind, making sure productions are doing the right thing and respecting the culture and the land.

What are the duties of a county film commissioner?

It’s a pretty diverse job.  I market Hawai’i Island’s incredible locations and resources to filmmakers, help filmmakers connect with local workers and talent, assist filmmakers while they are here, make sure they are aware of and respecting cultural sensitivities, issue permits for shooting on county property, and pretty much anything else that comes up!

Are there any films or projects currently filming on the Big Island and if so what are the names of the projects and where are they being shot at?

There is always something going on, whether its film, television or print photography.  Many productions want to stay under-the-radar, but I can say that the Nickelodeon show Paradise Run is wrapping up at the Hilton Waikoloa and the HGTV show Hawai’i Life is returning soon.

Why is the Big Island of Hawaii an ideal place for filmmakers to make films?

There are so many reasons.  Nowhere else in the state can match the diversity of locations on Hawai’i Island.  We have 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones.  The state offers generous tax credits to filmmakers who come to Hawai’i Island.  It’s 25 percent and includes all aspects of a production.  If you shoot on Oahu, you only receive a 20 percent credit.

We have the infrastructure filmmakers need, like a world class facility, Honua Studios.  Private, dedicated fiber connections worldwide, great local crew, consistent weather all year, top-rated hotels, and it’s a very safe place to work.

Are there any large budget films planned for the Big Island in the near future?

Nothing scheduled for production at this time.

What are your impressions of our home-grown film festival, the Big Island Film Festival, which happened recently at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii?

I’ve attended a few film festivals over the years but nothing like the Big Island Film Festival.  Everything from the venues to the people that put on the festival was first-class.  The films I saw were very good.  I think one of my favorite parts was hearing the filmmakers talk about their productions.  You could feel the passion that they had for their craft, and they were just really nice people.

 

June 27th Lava Flow Stops – New Lava Flow Over Two Miles Long

The only active surface lava on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone is the flow that erupted from the lower east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on May 24, 2014.

hvo 61016This flow continues to advance southeast, and was 3.3 km (2.1 mi) long today (June 10). This photo shows the front of the flow; Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the background.

A closer view of the flow front, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the background. Click to enlarge

A closer view of the flow front, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the background. Click to enlarge

Island Air Hires 22 Employees for New Service to Kona – Daily Service Starts June 14th

Island Air announced it has hired 22 employees to accommodate its new daily service to Kona International Airport starting Tuesday, June 14.

“We are proud to introduce our new Kona team members who are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and ensuring passengers have the best interisland travel experience,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air’s president and chief executive officer. “We are excited to welcome these 22 individuals to the Island Air ‘ohana as we prepare to launch daily Kona service.”

The new team members, which include former Island Air employees, were recruited through job fairs and other outreach efforts to fill positions that include customer service agents, ramp agents and station manager. The Kona employees have been undergoing extensive training for the past two months.

Shardae Kaupu Lopez

Shardae Kaupu Lopez

Shardae Kaupu Lopez, who is from Miloliʻi and started working for Island Air in 2012, will serve as the Kona station manager and will oversee the airline’s operations at the Kona Airport.

Island Air Team

Other members of Island Air’s Kona team include:

Customer Service Agents:
Makamae Kaeo-Koanui, Melissa Nunes, Dominique Ghandour, Michael Corbitt, Roger Grissom-Miller, Zachary Andrade, Pauline Carmichael-Shopay, Keiko Kanada, Gae Mitsuda, Sharon Harada and Tammy Awai

Ramp Agents:
Tavita Laasaga, Douglas Vallente Jr., Greg Nation, Terry Robso, RJ Sullivan, Stan Kaneo, Maile Comilla, Kelly Bennet, Chad Kalele and Garyn Akima

Island Air will launch service to Kona on June 14 with five daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kona, with connecting flights to Kahului and Līhu‘e. Island Air’s check-in counter at Kona International Airport will be located in Terminal 1, and flights will depart from and arrive at Gate 5.

New Findings Show Promising Trends in Hawaii Student Health Behaviors

Today the Hawaii State Department of Health, Department of Education (HIDOE), and University of Hawaii released high school data from the 2015 Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for the state and all four counties. The YRBS is a bi-annual survey that regularly monitors the health risk behaviors of public, non-charter school students statewide. Over 12,000 Hawaii students in grades 6 through 12 participated in the 2015 survey.

Click to see results

Click to see results

Topics covered in the survey include unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. The survey also monitors the percentages of students affected by obesity and asthma.

“The results reflect our recent initiatives to raise the bar at all levels in education,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The downward trend of students engaging in risky behaviors and an increase in healthy choices is testament to the work done by our schools and the commitment of our students to strive higher.”

The 2015 YRBS results show trends towards less-risky behaviors in many important areas, and highlight needed improvements in others:

Physical fighting continues to decline, with 15 percent of high school students reporting that they were in a fight at least once during the 12 months before the survey. Bullying has stayed relatively steady, with 1 in 5 high school students reporting that they were bullied on school property during the same time period.

Consistent with objectives outlined in the State’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan, many YRBS indicators suggest an increase in youth behaviors that support healthy lifestyles. Only 13 percent of high school students report drinking at least one can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop at least once per day, compared to 23 percent in 2007. The survey does not cover drinking other types of beverages with added sugar such as sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks (other than 100 percent fruit juice) or sweetened tea and coffee. The proportion of high school students meeting physical activity recommendations remains steady, with 20 percent achieving the national recommendation of at least 60 minutes per day on each of the seven days before the survey. However, sedentary time continues to increase, with 2 in 5 high school students spending three hours or more per day playing video games or using a computer for non-school purposes.

Alcohol use has declined among Hawaii’s youth, with 1 in 4 high school students reporting that they drank alcohol within the 30 days before the survey. Similarly, we continue to see steady declines in smoking; 90 percent of Hawaii’s high school students do not smoke cigarettes. However, many have tried using electronic smoking devices, with 1 in 4 reporting that they currently use electronic smoking devices.

“This data shows that we are improving as a state in many areas,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “However, the sharp rise in the use of electronic cigarettes reminds us of the importance of continually monitoring student behavior. We will continue to work in partnership with HIDOE to ensure that our programs and interventions target these emerging issues.”

One area that remains a concern is adolescent mental health. In 2015, 29.5 percent of high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row at least once in their lifetime. Rates of attempted suicide over the past 12 months has steadily decreased since 1993, but remain unacceptably high at 11 percent.

Survey procedures protect students’ privacy by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation. The data is gathered from students in public high schools across the State of Hawaii. In a change from the previous years’ survey administration, parents were offered the opportunity to “opt-out,” rather than requiring a form to “opt-in” to the process. This resulted in a 30 to 40 percent increase in response rate, providing a more comprehensive picture of student behavior across the state and all four counties.

The Hawaii YRBS is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National YRBS survey results were also released today by CDC. For a comparison of Hawaii’s data to national rates, please visit http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx.

For more information on the Hawaii YRBS, visit http://apps.hidoe.k12.hi.us/research/Pages/YRBS.aspx.

The full survey report, including more detailed data reports by county, gender, grade and race/ethnicity, and the survey questionnaires are available at the www.hawaiihealthmatters.org.

Chief Justice Appoints M. Kanani Laubach as Hawaii Island District Family Court Judge

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed M. Kanani Laubach to the District Family Court of Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii). Laubach will fill the vacancy created by the appointment of the Honorable Melvin H. Fujino to the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.

Kanani Laubach

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed M. Kanani Laubach to the District Family Court of Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii).

Laubach has been in private practice since 2011 when she opened the Law Office of M. Kanani Laubach, L.L.L.C. in Hilo, Hawaii. Since 2012 she has been a partner at the law firm of Laubach & Frenz, A.A.I., L.L.L.C., handling criminal cases in District, Family, and Circuit Court. She also has extensive experience in family law cases involving temporary restraining orders, divorce, paternity, and child custody proceedings.

Between 2006 and 2010, Laubach served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, where she worked on criminal cases in District, Family, and Circuit Court. In 2007 she joined the Violent Crime Unit and was tasked with prosecuting violent crime cases ranging from child sex assault to homicide.

From 2003 to 2006, Laubach served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in the Domestic Violence Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor Jury Demand, and Felony Trials divisions.

In addition to her legal experience, Laubach has previously worked with families in both the school and home environments, including teaching parenting skills and child development as a Visitation Specialist at Parents and Children Together in Waipahu, Oahu.

Laubach currently holds the office of Vice-President of the Hawai’i County Bar Association, and has been providing pro bono services at the Hilo Self-Help Center since it opened in 2012. Laubach has served as a Director on the Waiakea High School Foundation Board since 2014, and as a volunteer arbitrator in the Court Annexed Arbitration Program since 2011.

Laubach is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2003. She is also a graduate of Chaminade University of Hawaii where she received a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2000.

The Chief Justice appoints District Court judges from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission. If confirmed by the State Senate, Laubach will serve a term of six years.

Hawaiʻi CC-Pālamanui Offering Guided Tours

Hawaiʻi Community College—Pālamanui will host a series of guided tours on Wednesdays in June.

Hawaʻi CC–Pālamanui buildings

Hawaʻi CC–Pālamanui buildings

The tours will give prospective students and other community members the opportunity to see the new, sustainably designed facilities in North Kona and to learn more about the academic programs and how to apply.

“We are excited to be approaching our second academic year at our new state-of-the-art campus,” said Pālamanui Director Marty Fletcher. “Our facilities and programs are a valuable resource for West Hawaiʻi, and we want to ensure residents have an opportunity to get to know the campus.”

Pālamanui Tour Schedule:

  • June 8, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • June 15, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • June 22, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • June 29, 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

To RSVP for a tour, please contact Pearla Haalilio at (808) 969-8824 or by email haalilio@hawaii.edu.

Views of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Its Recent Breakouts

View of breakout on northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The light-colored flows in the foreground are active pāhoehoe flows.  (CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE)

The view is to the southeast. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The view is to the southeast. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View of recent breakout on east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The flow has advanced about 1.3 km (0.8 miles), but activity today was focused in the middle part of the flow, closer to its vent.

The view is to the west.

The view is to the west.

This photo, looking southwest, shows Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the background, with the northern breakout from May 24 extending to the right, with fume coming from a newly forming tube. The feature in the center foreground is a perched lava pond that formed in July 2014, but was refilled by new lava from the northern breakout in recent days.

The breakout point of the eastern breakout is hard to pick out, if you don't know what to look for. It's the lighter colored lava at the left edge of the photo immediately below center.

The breakout point of the eastern breakout is hard to pick out, if you don’t know what to look for. It’s the lighter colored lava at the left edge of the photo immediately below center.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s current crater subsided by about 10 m (33 ft) in the days following the May 24 breakouts. This view, looking southeast, shows the crater as it was today.

HVO webcams are perched on the edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone (an older crater rim) in the foreground.

HVO webcams are perched on the edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone (an older crater rim) in the foreground.

Hornito over middle of the three NE flank vents

Hornito over middle of the three NE flank vents

A close-up view of the spatter cone.

A close-up view of the spatter cone.

The ground around the spatter cone was covered in small gobs of spatter and Pele's hair, as shown here.

The ground around the spatter cone was covered in small gobs of spatter and Pele’s hair, as shown here.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A closer view of the skylight on the east breakout. The skylight is about 6 m (20 ft) across, and the lava stream is traveling toward the upper right side of the photo.

A closer view of the skylight on the east breakout. The skylight is about 6 m (20 ft) across, and the lava stream is traveling toward the upper right side of the photo.

An even closer view of the skylight (about 6 m or 20 ft across).

Again, the lava stream is flowing to the upper right.

Again, the lava stream is flowing to the upper right.

Board of Land and Natural Resources to Consider Ala Wai Canal

A proposal to close the Ala Wai Canal from the Ala Moana Boulevard Bridge to the Kalakaua Avenue Bridge during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, Sept. 1-10, 2016, will be considered at a meeting of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on June 9, 2016.

ala wai canal in front of convention center

Numerous law enforcement agencies, led by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have requested the closure as an imperative safety measure to ensure the safety of the public and an expected 8,000-10,000 attendees of the conference.

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Thomas Friel explained, “This event will generate worldwide media attention and numerous Heads of State, Ministerial and Cabinet Level officials and other dignitaries are expected to attend.”

According to the submittal, the closure is necessary for the following reasons:

  • To maintain an area that provides for standoff distance where any safety and security threat in the vicinity of the canal near the Hawaii Convention Center can be detected and dealt with away from the Convention Center.
  • To maintain surveillance and control of the Ala Moana and Kalakaua Avenue bridges, the bridges closest to the Hawaii Convention Center.  The bridges provide crucial transportation routes that the public and attendees will use to access the convention center and area hotels.

DOCARE, working with State Harbor Police, will be responsible for the physical closure of the canal and will use vessels and floating booms to accomplish the task.  DOCARE Officers will monitor the area during the proposed closure.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “While we appreciate this will be a temporary inconvenience for canal users like canoe clubs, we hope everyone understands it is important to do everything possible to make sure, when the world’s conservation leaders are focusing on Hawaii, they do so under the umbrella of the utmost safety and security.”

BLNR meetings are typically on Friday’s, but the June 9th meeting is on a Thursday, since June 10th is King Kamehameha Day.  Public testimony will be heard during the board’s consideration of the Ala Wai closure proposal.

Free Window Screening Workshop #FightTheBite

Lowes, Habitat For Humanity West Hawaii and the State Health Department have created a “Free Window Screening” workshop day on June 16th from 10-1 in the Lowe’s parking lot near the garden area to help repair people’s screens and teach residents how to do it themselves, as well.

Lowes Fight the Bite

Qualified residents can sign up to have Habitat folks provide the materials to make sure people have homes with screens to avoid contracting mosquito borne illnesses. Perk? A free BBQ from Randy’s BBQ!

High Technology Development Corporation Hosts Forum on Entrepreneurship with Noted Business Innovation Expert

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) will host a free brown bag lunch lecture by nationally recognized venture capitalist, technology expert, business executive and media commentator Jonathan Aberman on Wednesday, June 1 from 12 noon – 1 p.m. at the NELHA Gateway Center in Kailua-Kona. Seating is limited for Aberman’s presentation, “The Challenge of Growth: It’s a high class problem, but still a problem.”

Jonathan Aberman

Jonathan Aberman

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Jonathan Aberman address our local business leaders in Kailua-Kona,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC.  “His vast experience in the technology innovation and business startup fields has made him a highly respected voice that people across the nation look to for guidance. We’re very fortunate to welcome him to Hawaii to share his thoughts on the challenges facing small businesses today.”

Aberman is founder, chairman, and managing director of Amplifier Ventures, a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of technology innovation consulting and investment management businesses that assists technology startups and provide consulting services to government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. He has been cited as a thought leader in the areas of technology innovation and entrepreneurship by numerous media outlets. Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of its “Tech Titans,” and the Washington Business Journal tabbed him as one of the “Power 100” in the region. The Commonwealth of Virginia has also listed Aberman as one of its “50 Most Influential Entrepreneurs.”

Online registration is available at nelha-jonathanaberman.eventbrite.com. Tickets are free, but limited to 50 seats. The NELHA Gateway Center is located at 73-4460 Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island. Following his presentation, Aberman will be available for consultation. Appointments are limited and reservations are required.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact Tom Leonard at tom.ni3@htdc.org or (808) 936-0222.

Two New Breakout Lava Flows at Pu’u O’o

Two new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō began this morning just before 7:00 a.m., HST. The larger of the two breakouts, shown here, originated on the northeast flank of the cone, at the site of the vent for the ongoing June 27th lava flow.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This breakout point fed a vigorous channelized flow that extended about 1 km (0.6 miles). This lava flow had not extended beyond the existing Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time this photo was taken (8:30 a.m., HST).

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am.  Click to enlarge

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am. Click to enlarge

Another breakout occurred just east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 500 m (0.3 miles) from the crater, in the area of the “Peace Day” flow that broke out in September 2011.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This second breakout was smaller than the one on the northeast flank, but was still feeding an impressive lava channel. At the time of this photo (8:30 a.m., HST), this flow was about 700 m (0.4 miles) long and traveling towards the southeast.

A video of the larger breakout, flowing northwest.

Planned Parenthood Launches Online Access to Birth Control in Hawaii

Today, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) officially announced the launch of Planned Parenthood Care in Hawaii.

Birth Control ApThe app allows people to talk to a Planned Parenthood provider online and face-to-face through a secure video consultation system, and then receive birth control in the mail. Consultation for urinary tract infections is also available. This mobile app will bring reproductive health care services directly to women and men across the state.

“Planned Parenthood Care provides the same high-quality health care people have trusted Planned Parenthood to provide in Hawaii for 50 years.  What’s new is now our clinicians can literally meet people where they are—wherever they are—to get them the care they need,” said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of PPGNHI. “Telehealth is an incredible tool in expanding access to care. We know that life gets busy and that is why we are proud to lead with this technology that allows us to deliver health care and information to people who need it, regardless of their location.”

PPGNHI launched Planned Parenthood Care in Washington state in 2014 and in both Alaska and Idaho in 2015. Planned Parenthood Care™ builds upon decades of innovative health care and information delivery from Planned Parenthood and its affiliates nationwide. Planned Parenthood’s websites provide accurate, nonjudgmental information about contraception, sex, and reproductive health to 60 million visitors each year. Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program, which has served nearly 577,000 users so far, has been successful in reducing worry around sexual health issues by connecting youth to a real person through their computer or phone in real time.

“Hawaii is uniquely positioned to benefit from this service given the geography of this great state and the limited access to local health centers,” said Sonia Blackiston, Hawaii Education Manager at PPGNHI. “This app allows people to consult with a physician in real time via video on their device and determine what makes the most sense for them. It provides convenient access to Planned Parenthood’s trusted, high quality health care.”

The app is available at the iOS app store or from Google Play, but at present health care can only be delivered through Planned Parenthood Care to residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and Minnesota.

Legislators, Unions Gather in Support of Hu Honua

More than 30 Hawaii Island officials in government and labor gathered this morning at Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) in Pepeekeo for a briefing on the biomass project’s status.
Hu Honua 1
Hu Honua spokesperson Harold “Rob” Robinson said yesterday’s filing with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requests that the regulatory body conduct a technical review of the actions surrounding Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) termination of the power purchase agreement (PPA).
Hu Honua 2
Robinson, a member of Hu Honua’s board of managers, and president of Island Bioenergy, the parent of HHB, said for more than a year, HELCO delayed meaningful response to Hu Honua’s repeated requests for milestone extensions and reduced pricing proposals.
Hu Honua 3
“We have provided the utility with a pricing proposal that significantly reduces HELCO’s costs,” said Robinson. “More importantly, we believe Hu Honua will provide a hedge against rising oil prices, which have historically whipsawed Hawaii Island consumers.”

Hu Honua has invested $137 million to date in the biomass-to-energy facility and has secured an additional $125 million to complete the project. All that’s needed is an extension of the PPA, which Robinson said, we are trying to negotiate with HELCO but are concerned they are stalling a decision.

Hu Honua 4
“The public should know that despite what HELCO claims, Hu Honua’s proposals will deliver value to ratepayers,” said Robinson. “Our project will have more than 200 workers on site during construction. After completion, the community will benefit from more than 180 new jobs and the formation of an invigorated forestry industry. There will also be environmental benefits when old HELCO power plants are deactivated and replaced with renewable energy from Hu Honua in 2017.”

During the conference, various government officials expressed support for the project and welcomed the creation of additional jobs and industry for Hawaii Island. Many were hopeful that the utility would work with Hu Honua to amend its PPA.

Valerie Poindexter, Hawaii County councilmember for the district, talked about growing up in a sugar plantation camp and the demise of the island’s sugar industry. “Hu Honua would revitalize the culture and lifestyle of the sugar days, and create jobs so people don’t have to travel so far to work.”

State Senator Kaialii Kahele touched on the importance of energy security. “If a catastrophic event happens on the West Coast, we’re stuck because we are out here in the middle Pacific, heavily reliant on fossil fuels and food imports. We must come up with creative solutions to address those issues,” said Kahele. He stressed that while he welcomed mainland investment, any and all development must be done the pono way, and commended Hu Honua’s new collaborative, collective style of leadership.
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Hawaii County Councilmember Dennis Onishi said Hu Honua would help reduce energy costs and put more renewable energy on the grid. Onishi suggested starting a dialogue between the County and Hu Honua to explore the possibility of processing green waste streams to divert what’s going to landfills.

Robinson explained that significant investment made in emissions control equipment, including a new turbine generator, will result in increased efficiencies, generating capacity and cleaner emissions.

Following the event, Robinson addressed a statement issued by Hawaii Electric Light Company that criticized Hu Honua. “The utility’s reference to the cost of the project is a smokescreen. When a utility builds a power plant, that cost is passed to ratepayers. This is not the case for us. We decided to invest in increasing generation capacity from 21 to 36 megawatts, but that has no impact on the price to consumers or the ratepayer. The financial risk of the project cost is ours,” he said.

Click to view Affidavit

Click to view Affidavit

Hawaii Department of Health Issues Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses – Posts Merit-Based Scores for Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) began issuing licenses today for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.

Medical MarijuanaThe eight selected licensees have completed the full payment of licensing fees and were given the option of picking up their license or having it delivered by certified mail.

Licensees were selected based on the scoring of 13 merit criteria. The total scores used in the selection of each licensee are provided below and will be posted today at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

City & County of Honolulu Score
Aloha Green Holdings Inc. 475
Manoa Botanicals LLC 470
TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu 470
Hawaii County
Hawaiian Ethos LLC 480
Lau Ola LLC 471.5
Maui County
Maui Wellness Group, LLC 510
Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC 470
Kauai County
Green Aloha, Ltd. 433

DOH is in the process of notifying in writing all unselected applicants of their total score and ranking for their respective group. After all unselected applicants confirm receipt of their written notification from the department, the total scores of all applicants will be posted on the medical marijuana dispensary website.

For more information and updates from the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/ and select “News & Updates.” Questions about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Programs may be emailed to medmarijuana.dispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose Using Natural Gas with Modernized Generation

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today asked the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to review and approve a proposed contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy Inc. to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for electricity generation on O’ahu, Hawai’i Island and Maui.

key benefitsThe contract, the culmination of a request for proposals issued two years ago, would provide a cleaner, low-cost fuel to replace oil in the transition to achieving Hawai’i’s 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045. If approved, Hawaiian Electric envisions beginning use of natural gas in 2021 with a 20-year contract ending as Hawai’i approaches its 100 percent renewable energy goal.

“We are committed to achieving our state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal with a diverse mix of renewable resources,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president for power supply. “As we make this transition, LNG is a cleaner-burning alternative that potentially can provide billions of dollars in savings and stabilize electric bills for our customers compared to continuing to rely on imported oil with its volatile prices. LNG is a superior fuel for the firm generation needed to keep electric service reliable as we increase our use of variable renewables like solar and wind.”

At the same time, Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC for authorization to construct a modern, efficient, combined-cycle generation system at the Kahe Power Plant to get the maximum customer benefits from use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas; better support integration of renewable energy; and facilitate retirement of three older, oil-fired generators at the Kahe Power Plant.

Critical timing for customer benefits

The Fortis Hawaii contract is also contingent on PUC approval of the merger of Hawaiian Electric with NextEra Energy. This project requires substantial upfront financial support and expertise that NextEra Energy can provide.  If the merger is not approved, the Hawaiian Electric Companies would still be interested in pursuing on their own the benefits of LNG for customers, but the companies would need to negotiate a new contract which likely would mean lower, delayed savings for customers and delayed benefits for the environment.

Significant projected savings and environmental benefits for Hawai’i

Hawaiian Electric estimates the natural gas contract and greater efficiencies from modernized generation could save electricity customers from $850 million to $3.7 billion through 2045, depending on future oil prices. At the same time, annual oil imports for electricity generation would be reduced by over 8 million barrels, or 80 percent, as soon as 2021. Hawai’i’s carbon footprint would be reduced by significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction of over 4 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions alone equals taking more than 80 percent of Hawai’i’s passenger vehicles off the road.

Savings on electric bills for typical residential customers using 500 kilowatt-hours a month, when compared to alternative generation planning scenarios using oil, could be as much as $390 a year for O’ahu customers. Savings for Hawai’i Island and Maui customers are estimated at $100 and $15 per year, respectively.

The savings take into account the estimated $341 million cost of converting existing generating units to use natural gas at Kahe Power Plant on O’ahu, Mā’alaea on Maui, and Keahole and Hāmākua Energy Partners on Hawai’i Island, and the estimated cost of $117 million for LNG containers. The logistics system to deliver and offload the LNG will not require development of new infrastructure off- or on-shore in Hawai’i.

“We know Governor Ige has expressed opposition to importing LNG,” Cox said. “However, we have just reached contract terms with a supplier after a long negotiation and now have much more than a theoretical plan for the governor, Public Utilities Commission, energy stakeholders and the public to consider. We believe we have a responsibility to put forward an option that has significant economic and environmental benefits for the people of Hawai’i, and that addresses some of the Governor’s concerns.

“This proposal, negotiated with the added expertise and experience of NextEra Energy as an advisor, will support achieving our 100 percent renewable energy goals. It will allow us to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy at much lower cost while providing more reliable service for our customers. Further, our plan keeps new LNG infrastructure, both on- and off-shore, to a minimum and preserves flexibility to reduce LNG imports as renewable energy increases,” Cox said.

For 50 years, natural gas has been safely transported around the world in liquefied form for use in power generation. It is subject to strong international, national and local regulation and monitoring for safety and environmental protection. For Hawai’i, this proposal will provide enhanced security of fuel supply by avoiding the risk of sourcing fuel from more remote and politically unstable locations.

Under the proposed plan, Fortis — a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business — would liquefy the gas piped from northeastern British Columbia at its Tilbury facility in Delta, near Vancouver. The LNG would be transported from British Columbia to Hawai’i in mid-sized LNG carrier ships.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies would use natural gas in power plants to generate the electricity delivered via island power grids to homes and businesses where customers will use the same electric water heaters, stoves, refrigerators and other appliances as today. As with all fuel purchases and purchased power, the actual cost of the natural gas would be passed directly to customers on electric bills, without mark-up or profit to the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

Flexibility for the future

The price of natural gas will be tied to market prices in British Columbia, not to oil prices, providing lower, less volatile prices, especially as today’s low oil prices rise, as expected. The contract provides for lower

payments if the Hawaiian Electric Companies decide to take less than the full capacity commitment of LNG; for example, if more renewable resources come online more quickly than expected.

The vessels  and trucks (owned by others) and the containers  to import LNG under this plan are modular and movable so a significant portion can be resold or repurposed when no longer needed to serve power generation in Hawai’i. The carrier ships, barges and possibly the trucks to deliver LNG to power plants will be fueled by LNG, further reducing oil use in Hawai’i.

Modernizing generation for lower fuel costs and more reliable service

To gain the greatest savings for customers and better ensure reliable service as the integration of renewable energy increases from variable sources like sun and wind, Hawaiian Electric also proposes to modernize the  generation fleet on O’ahu. Three steam generators at the Kahe Power Plant (Units 1-3) would be deactivated by the end of 2020 when each will be over 50 years old and replaced with an efficient, combined-cycle generation system located at the plant further from the shoreline than the existing units. The location provides greater energy security, for example from tsunamis, and a less visible profile.

The combined-cycle system would include three modern, quick-starting, fast-ramping combustion turbines with three heat recovery steam generators and a single steam turbine to generate power using the waste heat that is recovered. This flexible, fuel-saving combination would be 30 percent more efficient than the deactivated generators. This modern generation is needed to balance the increasing amounts of variable renewable energy being added as Hawai’i transitions to 100 percent renewable energy. The combined-cycle system will be capable of using renewable biofuels.

Measured against current levels, the combined generation modernization and natural gas plan produces lower carbon dioxide emissions by over 4 million tons when fully operational.

To secure these benefits for customers as quickly as possible and ensure reliable service as the new combined-cycle system replaces old generating units, Hawaiian Electric is seeking Public Utilities Commission permission to construct the new generating system with an estimated in-service date of January 2021.

In the Commission’s Inclinations on the Future of Hawaii’s Electric Utilities (April 28, 2014), the PUC recognized the need for generation modernization and stated that Hawaiian Electric Companies need to “move with urgency to modernize the generation system as delays are lost savings opportunities” and should “expeditiously…[m]odernize the generation to achieve a future with high penetrations of renewable resources.” (emphasis added)

The proposed combined-cycle system is intended to be responsive to these PUC concerns. The estimated cost for modernized generation at Kahe Power Plant and to interconnect the new system to the grid is $859 million. This cost is factored into the overall savings projected for the LNG plan.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ plan also proposes using natural gas in two remaining Kahe units (5-6) and the Kalaeloa Partners power plant on O’ahu. In addition, natural gas is proposed for use on Maui at Mā’alaea Power Plant and on Hawai’i Island at Keahole Power Plant and the Hāmākua Energy Partners plant. Natural gas could also be used at the planned Schofield Generating Station and other future generating sites to provide savings for customers.

An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. In addition to thorough Public Utilities Commission review with input from the Consumer Advocate, community stakeholders and others will have many opportunities for input through the extensive environmental review and permitting approval process.

Additional details are available in the accompanying fact sheet.

PDF – http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/369667-hawaiian-electric-lng-plans-and-benefits-fact-sheet.pdf