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Victims Identified in Kona Crash

A woman and a man died in a two-vehicle traffic crash Thursday afternoon (December 1) in Kona near the 31.5-mile marker of Highway 190.hpd-badge
They have been identified as 45-year-old Jeongah Hyun of Kailua-Kona and 46-year-old Iljung Nam of South Korea.

Responding to a 12:35 p.m. call Thursday, police determined that Hyun had been operating a silver 2006 Mazda multi-purpose vehicle on Highway 190 just north of the 31.5-mile marker, when she crossed left of center and was broadsided by a white 2013 Peterbilt dump truck that was heading south on Highway 190. The operator of the dump truck, a 46-year-old Honokaʻa man, was taken to Kona Community Hospital with minor injuries. Hyun and Nam, her passenger, were pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:10 p.m. and 6:11 p.m., respectively.

Autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact causes of their deaths.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 30th traffic fatality this year compared with 17 at this time last year.

Kona International Airport to Resume International Flights

Gov. David Y. Ige and the United States Customs and Border Protection announced the re-establishment of a Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). The inaugural international flight from Kona to Tokyo, Japan is scheduled to depart on Dec. 20, 2016. The flight from Tokyo to Kona is scheduled to arrive at the Kona International Airport on Dec. 21, 2016.

ige-announcement“The resumption of international flights to Kona will have a wide-ranging positive impact on Hawai‘i Island and the state as a whole by boosting tourism spending, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars for our economy,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “I especially thank our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for working with us to achieve this goal. This was a top priority for my administration and I am pleased that we were able to make the Federal Inspection Service facility in Kona a reality.”

“In fulfilling our important role protecting the border and fostering lawful travel, CBP relies on strong partnerships with stakeholders. This is why we are especially grateful for the commitment of Governor Ige and the people of Hawai‘i to providing adequate airport inspection facilities,” said Brian Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, director, field operations. “In equal good faith, CBP is committed to providing a welcoming experience to passengers in Kona while we simultaneously protect America.”

The new FIS will benefit Hawai‘i in several ways. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation estimates new international flights to Kona will result in more than $7 million in annual projected tax benefits. International visitors will also spend tens of millions of dollars at local businesses and attractions, further boosting the economy and generating jobs. Hawai‘i has seen the numbers of international travelers increase by more than one million passengers, or nearly 60 percent, since the economic downturn in 2009. The trend in international passenger arrivals in Hawai‘i is expected to continue to grow, enhancing the need for a second airport to accept flights from international destinations.

The secondary international point of entry in Kona will ease congestion at the Honolulu International Airport, especially during daily peak hours and busy travel seasons. The FIS will improve health and safety by increasing resiliency in an emergency. Should an unforeseen incident occur in Honolulu, international flights would still be able to land safely in Kona. Currently, Honolulu is the only landing option in the state for international flights.

The United States Department of Transportation approved Hawaiian Airlines’ request to fly non-stop international flights between Kona and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo beginning in December.

“We look forward to welcoming our Tokyo guests with our authentic Hawaiian hospitality as they enjoy the convenience of our direct flights to the spectacular Kona coast,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are pleased to return international flights to the Big Island and thankful to all of our government, business and community partners for their support of our newest route.”

Several improvements are being made to the international arrivals section at KOA, including the installation of security cameras and motion sensors, an upgraded access control system, 10 Automated Passport Control kiosks to process incoming international passengers quickly and efficiently, and refurbished restrooms.

“After multiple meetings and on-site visits, we finally made it across the finish line,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “I thank CBP and the Obama Administration for recognizing the potential of our visitor industry and for working with the State of Hawaii, the people of Kona, and many others in state government and the hospitality industry to finally get this done.”

“After six years of working closely with federal and state officials, and community partners to reestablish direct international flights to Kona International Airport, today’s announcement is good news for Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and the Hawai‘i Island economy. In particular, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Customs and Border Protection to work with the state on the Federal Inspection Service facility that made this a reality,” said Sen. Mazie K. Hirono.

“Today’s announcement not only positively impacts our tourism-based economy, it addresses a critical safety and security need for our state by providing a secondary international port in case of emergency,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This project has been a priority of mine, and became a reality through many years of hard work by community leaders, local businesses, and county, state, and Federal government.  I especially want to thank HDOT and CBP for their leadership and upholding their commitment to reopening international travel to Kona.”

Regularly scheduled international flights to Kona began in 1996 and were discontinued in October 2010.

UH Hilo Receives Smart Car Donation

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is among three local nonprofit organizations on Hawaiʻi Island recently presented with Smart electric vehicles by the Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company. Vehicles and symbolic keys were also presented to the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaiʻi Island and HOPE Services Hawaiʻi.

At the Smart Car presentation. HELCo presented 3 smartcars to HOPE Services, UH-Hilo and Boys and Girls Club. — with Sen. Kaiali'i Kahele, Jerry Chang, Jennifer Zelko Schlueter and Sen. Russell Ruderman.  Photo Via Joy SanBuenaventura

At the Smart Car presentation HELCO presented 3 smart cars to HOPE Services, UH-Hilo and Boys and Girls Club. — with Sen. Kaiali’i Kahele, Jerry Chang, Jennifer Zelko Schlueter and Sen. Russell Ruderman. Photo Via Joy SanBuenaventura

The car is a lightly-used Smart for Two electric vehicle manufactured by Mercedes-Benz that is equipped with electric charging equipment. Smart electric vehicles have been rising in popularity in recent years due to their lower cost per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, along with reduced carbon emissions and noise pollution levels.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said University Relations Director Jerry Chang, who accepted the donation on behalf of UH Hilo during the November 17 presentation in Hilo. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

The vehicle is presently located in the Auxiliary Services parking lot near the existing covered electrical outlet. Auxiliary Services Director Kolin Kettleson says the University’s goal is to use it when it’s practical, to increase UH Hilo’s visibility in the community.

“Because of the limited range and required charging times, this vehicle isn’t appropriate for the motor pool,” Kettleson said. “So we’re looking at assigning it to Administrative Affairs for the near future, to enable employees from the various divisions to use it for off-campus trips and meetings.”

UH Hilo was chosen as a recipient along with the UH Manoa, West O`ahu and Maui College campuses due to the integral role the University of Hawaiʻi plays in promoting Hawaiʻi’s goal to achieve a 100 percent clean, energy future.

Island Air Offers “Buy Three, Get One Free” Holiday Promotion

Ready to take a neighbor island vacation with the family or visit relatives and friends for the holidays? Now is the time to take that long overdue trip, and book tickets with Island Air’s limited-time holiday promotion, the Pā‘ina Pass – “buy three, get one free”.

island-airStarting today through Saturday, December 3, 2016, customers are able to make reservations utilizing the Pā‘ina Pass promotion. The travel period is Monday, November 28, 2016 through Wednesday, January 11, 2017. No blackout dates.

In order to qualify for the Pā‘ina Pass, “buy three, get one free” promotion, all travelers need to be booked on one itinerary and traveling to the same location on the same day, flight and time. This promotion cannot be combined with any other Island Air promotion, offer or deal, such as the Kūpuna & Keiki Fare, College Student Standby Program and Travel Pak.

Reservations for the Pā‘ina Pass promotion must be made by calling (800) 652-6541 between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. (HST).

For more information, visit www.islandair.com.

Coast Guard Medevacs Ailing Crewman From Container Ship Off Oahu

The Coast Guard medevaced a 31-year-old crewman from the 902-foot container ship Kachidoki Bridge 35 miles off Oahu, Sunday.  The man, reportedly suffering from severe abdominal pain, was safely delivered to Queens Medical Center for further care.
Kachidochi Bridge

Kachidoki Bridge

“Our hoist capable helicopters and well trained crews make it possible to get mariners like this man to a higher level of medical care as quickly as possible,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Les Elliott, operations unit controller with Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “The safety and well being of mariners at seas is one of our top priorities.”
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu originally received the request for a medevac from the crew of the vessel at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The vessel was 983 miles north of Oahu at the time. A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and did not recommend an immediate medevac but did recommend the vessel make best course and speed toward Oahu and to keep the crewman comfortable as they closed the distance to Oahu.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched at 10 a.m. Sunday and rendezvoused with the vessel to transport the man. They successfully lowered the Coast Guard rescue swimmer to assess the man and prepare him for transport. During that time the helicopter suffered a malfunction and the crew was forced to conduct an emergency landing at Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore of Oahu where it will be assessed and any necessary repairs will be made. A second Dolphin and crew were launched from the air station and successfully completed the medevac.
Weather conditions at the time of the medevac were reportedly east winds at 29 mph gusting to 31 mph, with seas to 11 feet and showers. A small craft advisory is in effect through Monday afternoon.The Portuguese-flagged container vessel was en route to Los Angeles.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, November 26 at 6:30 PM. It will be visible for approximately 5 minutes at a maximum height of 69 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 26 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

Island Air Explorers Program Inspires Careers in Aviation

Are you or someone you know interested in exploring a career in the airline industry?  If so, Island Air’s Explorers Program is the perfect opportunity to do just that. It’s a three-month mentorship program that gives high school and college students the chance to learn about careers in the aviation industry.

island-air-planeFor the upcoming class, which starts on February 1, 2017, enrollment has been expanded to 20 students between the ages of 14 and 20 from O‘ahu high schools and colleges.  Students who attend and submit an application on orientation night will be eligible. Orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum, Atherton Hālau.

“Island Air is honored to play a role in preparing Hawai‘i’s youth for careers in aviation,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “We are proud to pave the way for Hawai‘i’s future aviation leaders.

“The Explorers Program would not be possible without the mentorship of Island Air’s dedicated employees. The 2017 program is being coordinated by a committee made up of employees from different departments throughout the airline,” added Uchiyama.

The program offers participants a unique, hands-on introduction to the aviation industry.  Students will learn everything from how airplanes operate to customer relations management and corporate responsibility. The program is divided into 10 weekly sessions that provide information for airline-related jobs such as pilots, flight attendants, ramp operators and aircraft mechanics. It also includes visits and lectures from members of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration and Air Traffic Control.

For the second year in a row, this class of Explorers will have the opportunity to participate in the same cockpit procedures training as Island Air’s pilots.  Students will get to see a visual display of taxiings, takeoffs, landings and approaches in real time.  With realistic sound, air traffic control chatter, weather, and the local Hawai‘i environment, Explorers will be able to practice the checklists used during different stages of flight operation.

Island Air Explorers is the only student workforce initiative in the aviation industry on O‘ahu. It became an official Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America when the program graduated its first class of students in April 2009. Since its founding, 136 students have completed the course. Many have returned to Island Air for internships or full-time employment. In addition to mentorship, the top two achievers in the program will earn the Jaime Wagatsuma Award, which provides each student with a $1,000 scholarship.

The 2017 Explorers Program Committee members and the departments they represent are:

Explorers Co-Committee Chairpersons:

  • Noa Kamawana, Airport Operations
  • Susie Fujikawa, Commercial
  • Tyler Nakasone, In-Flight
  • Elima Pangorang, In-Flight

Explorers Co-Committee Executive Officers:

  • Diana Higbee, Flight Operations, Pilot
  • Summer Harrell, Commercial
  • Janna Frash, Commercial
  • Kui Kinimaka, In-Flight

For more information and an application, visit www.islandair.com/explorers-program.

Banyan Way Closure Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, 2016

Hawaii Electric Light announces the closure of Banyan Way in Hilo between Kalanianaole Avenue and the Hilo Seaside Hotel. The road will be closed 24 hours for seven days a week from Sunday, Nov. 27, to Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.

banyan-closureHawaii Electric Light will be performing repairs to its underground fuel supply line as part of its ongoing work to ensure service reliability and environmental protection.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. Access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes during this period.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-0424.

Local Nonprofit Organizations Receive Electric Vehicles

The Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light Company recently donated Smart electric vehicles to three local nonprofit organizations. The vehicles and symbolic keys were presented to representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, HOPE Services Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“At HEI, we strive to be a catalyst for a better Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO and chairman of the HEI Charitable Foundation. “The HEI Charitable Foundation is proud to partner with Hawaii Electric Light to recognize these wonderful organizations and at the same time promote the use of electric vehicles on Hawaii Island and throughout our state to help Hawaii achieve a clean energy future.”

electric-vehicle

The popularity of electric vehicles has risen in recent years as the world takes greater notice of the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. They also cost less per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, and they are good for the environment by reducing emissions and noise pollution. The donated cars are lightly-used Smart ForTwo electric vehicles with an average mileage of 4,000 miles. The cars come equipped with electric charging equipment and are valued at more than $10,000. HEI worked closely with Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu who inspected, registered, and ensured delivery of the vehicles to the nonprofit organizations.

“These deserving organizations strengthen our community by nurturing our youth, offering hope to our less fortunate, and providing our students with quality higher education,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “We know these electric vehicles can broaden their reach and support their efforts to serve our community.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island’s mission is to inspire and enable Big Island youth to be productive and responsible citizens, through quality programs in a safe and caring environment. It provides after school services for youth ages 6-17 Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, Pahala, and Ocean View.

“In the words of our keiki when experiencing something new, fun and exciting: ‘Awesome!’ It is truly awesome to gain this environmentally-friendly resource and have an educational tool that helps us teach our lessons of sustainability, science and resource management,” said Chad Cabral, Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island chief executive officer. “What better way to let kids see how an electric vehicle works, view the electric engine components, and speak about energy efficiency concepts. We are thrilled to have this educational resource. Mahalo to the HEI Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light.”

HOPE Services Hawaii provides an array of services to the homeless. The organization envisions a world where those who face great challenges realize their value and self-worth. Programs and services include homeless outreach, residential housing programs, prison re-entry services, representative payee services, and one-stop centers. The organization plans to use the electric vehicle to transport program participants to become document-ready for housing by helping them obtain identification as well as helping them find gainful employment and comply with their legal requirements.

“We end homelessness by housing at least 270 households each year. We intentionally serve those with the deepest needs first and help at least 85% of them stay housed forever – never returning to homelessness,” said Brandee Menino, HOPE Services Hawaii chief executive officer. “We do this work because it improves the health and wellness of the people we serve, maximizes the potential of each individual and family we serve, and is economically in the best interest of the taxpayers of Hawaii to end homelessness rather than manage homelessness.”

The University of Hawaii at Hilo offers its 4,000 students a wide range of liberal arts and professional programs, as well as a number of graduate and doctoral programs. As a campus of the University of Hawaii System, its purpose is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said Jerry Chang, University of Hawaii at Hilo director, University Relations. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

For more information about the benefits of electric vehicles, please visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Hawaii Electric Light Company to Conduct Aerial Line Inspections Next Week

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company will conduct aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Monday, Nov. 28, to Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

helicopter-line-inspectionThe islandwide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruptions this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer Improved Online Calculator to Help Customers Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Are you thinking about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, but having trouble figuring out whether you will save money and help the environment compared to a gasoline vehicle? Help is now just a click away, thanks to a new tool from the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

watt-planWattPlan for Electric Vehicles is an interactive, online calculator you can use via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone to compare any make and model of plug-in electric vehicle with any internal combustion engine vehicle. It is accessible at: www.hawaiianelectric.com/wattplanforEV.

Using your personal monthly electric bill and current gasoline prices, the tool will help you decide whether an electric vehicle is right for you and your family. The calculator will show that when you charge your electric vehicle can affect your overall energy cost. With new, voluntary time-of-use rates available for residential customers of all three Hawaiian Electric companies, it is less expensive to use electricity during the day, when abundant solar power is being sent to the grid.

“We encourage prospective electric vehicle owners to consider their entire home energy bill – electricity plus gasoline – when making this decision,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “While adding an electric vehicle may slightly increase your monthly electric bill, that will likely be more than offset by buying little or no gasoline. That is my experience as a new electric vehicle owner.”

For those concerned about climate change and the global environment, the WattPlan for Electric Vehicles tool will show the environmental benefits of driving an EV compared to a gasoline car.

“Electric vehicles don’t just result in reduced use of imported oil, exhaust fumes and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Oshima. “Using more electricity during the day will allow us to use more solar power, an important step to help us get to Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy.”

The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles was developed for Hawaiian Electric in conjunction with Clean Power Research® (www.cleanpower.com), an award-winning innovation company that delivers software products to enable customers to optimize financing, operation and integration of solar resources, engage consumers with personalized energy evaluations, and streamline business processes.

Clean Power also developed the WattPlan for Rooftop Solar, a personalized online tool that the Hawaiian Electric Companies make available to help their customers decide whether rooftop solar is right for them, and if so, what size is best and the comparative costs of buying or leasing a system.

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Closer to Striking – Possible Shutdown of Airlines

Many folks have seen Hawaiian Airline Pilots wearing lanyards that read “Fully Qualified… Partially Paid” for the last few months that represents the pilots frustrations with their contract negotiations.

I have learned that “mediation process” that was going on during November has ended without resolution.

What this means, is that Hawaiian Airline pilots are getting closer to a strike and shutdown of the airline!

mec-alertHawaiian Pilots:

Your MEC and Negotiating Committee were back in Virginia this week for the last scheduled round of mediation under the supervision of Senior Mediator Patricia Sims and NMB Board Chair Linda Puchala. Like our other sessions, mediation again ended without an agreement. To say we are unhappy is an understatement.

Management efforts to reach an agreement were completely unsatisfactory. While adding money to their previous substandard position, the company does not believe that Hawaiian pilots are due the market compensation that other pilots receive. Instead management continues to argue that we should work for less than our professional colleagues, or “buy” industry pay rates by generating offsets that fund those increases.

The MEC and NC categorically and emphatically reject that choice.  We are tired of subsidizing the company’s success. The company has no choice but to pay market rates for airplanes, and they will have no choice but to pay market rates for pilots.  It’s alarming that the CEO risks Hawaiian Airlines’ 2017 financial plans and projections, and its long-term future, by repeatedly denying the reality of the commercial marketplace.

Not only was the Company’s final pay proposal more than $20 less than the rates in recent pilot settlements, but also, management’s offer continues to pro-rate days off, keep vacation and training days at their current rate, and demand non-seniority list simulator instructors.

Early Saturday morning the NMB advised the bargaining parties that it will not schedule additional mediation sessions.  While no specific timeline was discussed, the NMB stated it will instead move forward with the actions available under the Railway Labor Act to bring negotiations to a close.  We left the meeting with renewed resolve to achieve a market-rate contract – and one that reflects our contribution to the company’s stunning and record profitability.

Senior management will no doubt try to “spin” a story about their latest proposal and argue that ALPA rejected a major pay increase without providing the full picture. We will provide additional information about the parties’ positions in the coming days.  The Association will also provide opportunities for increased pilot activity to warn the public about our looming dispute and possible disruptions to their travel plans once the RLA process is completed.  In addition, ALPA will soon be setting new informational picketing dates and other opportunities for you to show your resolve through lawful activity.

Amazingly, management continues to request contract concessions that facilitate more efficient training and operation!  In the face of management’s failure to consider the interests of Hawaiian pilots, ALPA pilot leadership has no appetite whatsoever for new LOAs like those.  In fact, we are considering whether it is even appropriate to continue existing discretionary arrangements.

It’s unfortunate that we have reached this point. Hawaiian continues to earn massive profits and its finances are stronger than ever. The company can afford your proposals. It simply doesn’t want to agree to them and considers pilot pay increases “discretionary” or “controllable.”  As the end of the year approaches, each Hawaiian pilot family must carefully review its personal financial situation to determine whether you are prepared for a strike. We recommend that major purchases or expenditures be postponed.  Be prudent and be ready.

Thank you for your continued interest, support and activity.  Regrettably, we will soon ask you to do even more to help bring home the market rate contract you have earned and deserve.

Rubbernecking Online – Dashcam Video of Yesterday’s 7-Car-Crash

Here is dashcam video of yesterday’s 7-car pile up on the highway over on Oahu.

car-pile-upThis could have been a lot worse then it was!

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.

Coast Guard Searching for Helicopter Near Molokai

The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter with two persons aboard near the south side of Molokai, Wednesday.

A Coast Guard C130

A Coast Guard HC130

Multiple Coast Guard air and surface crews and a Maui Fire Department aircrew are currently searching in the area.

Crews currently engaged in the search are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.
  • Crews of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) homeported in Honolulu, was diverted from operations off Maui.
  • Air1 helicopter crew from Maui Fire Department.

The helicopter was reported overdue by the owner’s employee at 6:55 a.m. Wednesday. The employee called 911 and dispatch notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center personnel who in turn relayed the call to the watchstanders at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Communications Center in Honolulu. The black, privately owned helicopter reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening with two people aboard and did not arrive to a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.

An urgent marine information broadcast requesting assistance from mariners in the southern Molokai area has been issued.

Anyone with information that may help locate the helicopter or crew is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 21 to 23 mph winds, partly sunny with showers.

Hokulea Departs Virginia and Sets Sail for Miami, Florida

Crewmembers aboard legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea are setting their sights for Miami, Florida as the team departed Hampton, Virginia yesterday morning.

hokulea-vermont1For three weeks, the vessel was dry docked at the nationally-acclaimed Mariners’ Museum to perform necessary restoration work, including structural repairs, service to electrical and mechanical systems and a new exterior paint job. After the completion of maintenance, Hokulea was returned to the water and readied for the next leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

hokulea-vermont2“Virginia welcomed our crew with genuine warmth and aloha and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated volunteers throughout the period of our dry dock,” said captain Bruce Blankenfeld. “With the dedication of our skilled dry-dock team as well as the hands and hearts of the community, Hokulea is in great shape for her journey home.”

hokulea-vermont3

This leg of the Voyage takes Hokulea and her crew 950 nautical miles to Miami, Florida. The canoe will make approximately 16 stops in various ports along the way and is expected to arrive in Miami by early December.

hokulea-vermont4Miami is one of the Florida’s most famous travel destinations and in addition to having the most populous areas in the state, the southern coast is home to some of the greatest biologically diverse marine ecosystems.  During her first touch to Florida in March, Hokulea and her crew engaged with local community groups to learn about the environmental and cultural legacy of the region. In Miami, crewmembers will once again engage with local community members to share the mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage before continuing the 11,000 miles home.

Makapu’u Lighthouse Undergoing Maintenance

The Makapu’u Lighthouse is scheduled to undergo maintenance starting Tuesday.

Photo By Kaleismith

Photo By Kaleismith via wikipedia

The project is expected to be completed on Feb. 22, 2017. Mariners are advised during this time, there will be a temporary light established with diminished brightness and range. These changes are noted in the local broadcast to mariners.

“The purpose of the refurbishment of the lighthouse is to ensure the structural integrity and the aesthetic quality for years to come,” said Cmdr. Brian Donahue, chief of prevention waterways, Coast Guard 14th District.

Some repairs being made to the lighthouse are repainting the walls and roof panels, replacing broken wall panels and the metal gutter, patching cracks in the concrete steps and adjusting the exterior door panel.

The lighthouse will remain off limits to the public, but those who hike the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail are urged to exercise caution due the increased activity and traffic of the construction crews.

Questions or concerns can be directed to Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Youngblood, Coast Guard 14th District prevention waterways at 808-535-3409.

The Makapu’u Lighthouse was built in 1901, and has since been a spectacle for sightseers and continues to serve as an aid to navigation for mariners.

Nainoa Thompson Honored with 2016 Legacy Award at the Annual BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit

Renowned navigator and Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson was honored yesterday with the 2016 Legacy Award at the annual BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit. The prestigious accolade celebrates and recognizes leaders that have made extraordinary achievements to create a lasting legacy in ocean conservation, exploration, education, innovation, and the pursuit of marine knowledge.

nainoa-blue“Like crossing the deep ocean in a voyaging canoe, navigating towards a better Island Earth takes a crew of passionate people with the power and commitment to make a difference,” said Thompson. “I am truly inspired to be surrounded by so many others here at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival who are taking risks and making great strides towards global sustainability, respect for our ocean, and the kind of education that prepares our next generation of stewards who will navigate our communities to a brighter future.”

Thompson was acknowledged for his leadership on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. Throughout the world-spanning wayfinding journey, he has guided crew members in successfully sharing experiential education and inspiring communities to care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments. In addition to Thompson, the honor was also presented to Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, who has produced and directed some of the industry’s most enduring conservation education films.

“It is a privilege to welcome Nainoa and Greg as this year’s Legacy Award winners and praise them as outstanding pioneers that personify great courage, passion and wisdom,” said BLUE CEO Debbie Kinder. “For seven years, we’ve successfully hosted this celebration of achievements in ocean conservation and are proud to call it the birthplace of many inspiring and innovative collaborations each year.”

Founded in 2009, BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit is a unique convergence of film festival and ocean conservation summit, highlighting ocean-related films, breath-taking photography, inspiring keynotes, captivating art, thought-provoking panels, engaging music, hands-on workshops, conservation activities and great parties. It has become one of the world’s most popular ocean events for innovators, entrepreneurs, government dignitaries, emerging talent, media icons, thought-leaders, scientists, teachers, explorers and industry professionals from all walks of life who share a common passion for the sea.

Past recipients of the Legacy Award include Captain Don Walsh for ocean exploration, James Cameron for ocean filmmaking, Phil Nuytten for ocean exploration, Eugenie Clark for ocean science, Stan Waterman for ocean filmmaking and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco for ocean stewardship.

For more information on the 2016 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, please click here.

Island Air Increasing Checked Baggage Fees

Starting Tuesday, November 15, Island Air customers who are not enrolled in the airline’s Island Miles program will see an increase of $10 in their checked baggage fees.

island-airThe new baggage fees for non-members will be $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second checked bag, and $35 for each additional checked bag. For Island Miles members, fees will be $15 for the first bag, $20 for the second bag and $35 for each additional bag.

  Tickets Issued on or before November 14 Tickets Issued on or after November 15
Non-members
Tickets Issued on or after November 15
Island Miles Members
Carry On  Free Free Free
1st Checked Bag  $15 $25 $15
2nd Checked Bag  $25 $35 $20
Additional checked bag  $35 $35 $35

To become an Island Miles member, visit www.islandair.com/island-miles. Island Miles members can enjoy benefits such as mileage rewards, fast rewards, flexible rewards, sharable rewards, lower baggage fees and priority boarding. There is no cost to join the Island Miles program and members will also receive monthly email updates on specials and promotions.

For more information, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 388-1105.

About Island Air

Island Air is the value leader in the Hawaiian Islands, offering 238 convenient flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. The affordable alternative for interisland travel, Island Air’s 64-seat ATR-72 aircraft are able to provide captivating aerial views of Hawai‘i’s remarkable landscapes. Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been proudly serving the islands of Hawai‘i for more than 35 years.

For more information about Island Air or to make a reservation, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 652-6541. Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

Honolulu City Council Approves $1 Million Dollar Settlement – Woman Struck by City Garbage Truck

Attorney Michael Cruise of Honolulu personal injury law firm Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner recently obtained a $1 million settlement for the estate and surviving sons of 70-year-old Barbara N. Kato, a Honolulu woman who was struck and killed by a garbage truck while crossing the street at a crosswalk.

north-kingAccording to court documents, the accident occurred in the early morning hours of February 27, 2014 as she crossed North King Street at Gulick Avenue. The driver of the truck, Denise A. Kekumu, had been attempting to turn left onto Gulick when she struck the pedestrian. Ms. Kato died three hours later.

Kekumu had a history of eight prior avoidable accidents while driving a garbage truck, including hitting walls and parked cars. Because a driver’s violations are expunged after two years under a union contract, Kekumu’s driving skills never got the attention they needed. According to Cruise, the city “end[s] up with at least some drivers that have pretty bad driving histories and they’re not getting retrained … it’s a public safety issue.”

The Honolulu City Council unanimously approved the settlement on November 2, 2016, calling the accident a “clear case of negligence.” Mr. Cruise, the attorney for Ms. Kato’s estate and her sons, Keith and Kevin, said that he hopes that the city will take action to prevent another accident like this from occurring in the future. He pointed out that this accident was the third within 12 months involving a pedestrian struck by a city refuse truck.

Kekumu has been disciplined as a result of the incident.