• Follow on Facebook

  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    June 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Hokulea Crewmembers Conduct Crew Switch for the Next Leg in the Worldwide Voyage

While docked on Block Island on Wednesday, crewmembers of Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea began the detailed process of a crew switch. The latest crew of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage arrived safely on Block Island, where they spent the day in training, preparing and receiving information from the canoe’s leg 20 crew, for leg 21 of Hokulea’s sail. Captain Bruce Blankenfeld conducted an orientation for the canoe’s latest crewmembers, as well as a brief overview of future port stops.

crew change

The Hokulea crew’s time on Block Island was spent engaging the local community through canoe tours and educational outreach. The canoe’s next stop is about 50 nautical miles away in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut where crewmembers will conduct lectures and interactive demonstrations of Polynesian wayfinding, voyaging and navigation at the Mystic Seaport Museum’s 25th Annual Wooden Boat Show.

Hokulea Arrives at Block Island

On Sunday, June 19 at approximately 8:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. HST), Hawaii’s famed voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived at Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island after departing New York City on Sunday.
Block IslandAs part of the Hokulea crew’s protocol for showing respect for the land and its people, crew members sought permission to dock the sailing vessel from the indigenous tribes of the area. They were welcomed by a representative of the Narrangansett Indian Tribe. Hokulea captain and master navigator Kalepa Baybayan offered a kahili (feather standard) on behalf of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. 
block island2
Community members are encouraged to visit the canoe from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 at the Block Island Boat Basin Marina for canoe tours and to learn more about the Worldwide Voyage. Hokulea is expected to remain on Block Island until Thursday, June 23, before continuing onto Mystic, Connecticut, with safety and weather conditions dictating any sail plans. 

Highway 11 Wreck Claims 32-Year-Old Pahoa Woman

A 32-year-old Pāhoa woman died Friday (June 17) from injuries she received after being involved in a two-vehicle crash on Route 11 at the 21-mile marker in Glenwood.

The victim was identified as Crystal M. Mercado-Lopez of a Pāhoa address.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to offset her funeral costs.  Click on picture to read more.

A crowdfunding site has been set up to help offset the “Celebration of Life” costs. Click on picture to read more.

Responding to a 5 p.m. call, Puna Patrol officers determined that Mercado-Lopez was operating a 2001 Plymouth four-door sedan and traveling south on Route 11 when she crossed the centerline and sideswiped a 1997 Ford pickup truck traveling north and being operated by a 48-year-old Mountain View man, who was not injured in the crash.

Fire Rescue personnel took Mercado-Lopez and her passenger, an 8-month-old girl, to Hilo Medical Center.

Mercado-Lopez was pronounced dead at 5:56 p.m.

The child was not injured.

Police do not believe that speed, alcohol or drugs were factors in this crash.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and the child was in a child restraint seat.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police are looking for a female witness who talked to a fire fighter at the scene.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118.

This is the 11th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with 12 at this time last year.

Kahana Drive Bridge Repair Closes Bridge

The Kahana Drive Bridge No. 46-9 located mauka of Highway 19 on Kahana Drive will be closed for repair work starting on Monday, June 27, 2016 beginning at 8:30 a.m. and will reopen on July 1, 2016, weather and constructions conditions permitting.

Kahana Bridge Repair

Motorists will be able to use the Old Māmalahoa Highway and Kalehua Road as alternate routes during the bridge closure period.

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components.  The project is estimated to be completed by Friday, July 8, 2016, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Spot the International Space Station Tonight in Hawaii

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

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Sunday, June 19, at 8:02 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a Maximum Height of 72 degrees. It will appear 24 degrees above the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear 27 degrees above the South East part of the sky.

Hawaii Public Invited to Tour Coast Guard Icebreaker on Saturday

USCGC Healy (WAGB-20) arrived in Honolulu, Wednesday, for a port visit before continuing on a four-month Arctic deployment.

U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen.

U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen.

This port call is Healy’s first stop in Hawaii since 2011.

The Healy will be open to the public for tours Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Pier 11. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are not allowed aboard the cutter. Coast Guard crewmembers will be standing by to answer questions about Healy and upcoming operations.

This summer, the Healy crew will provide presence and access to conduct three major missions focusing on the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of the Arctic Ocean and its ecosystems, as well as performing multi-beam sonar mapping of the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS).

For the first mission, the Healy crew will work with 46 researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Alaska-Anchorage. The mission will employ the Global Explorer remotely operated vehicle, net trawls, bottom cores and conductivity, temperature, and depth casts to assess the biological diversity of the Chukchi Sea. The team of scientists will use cutting edge technology to identify and document the species living in this poorly understood and rapidly changing region.

Performing their second mission, the Healy crew will deploy an array of acoustic bottom moorings in support of researchers from Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Office of Naval Research. The moorings will collect data on how climate change and decreased ice coverage is affecting the Arctic Ocean.

The final mission is in support of the State Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire will use multi-beam sonar mapping and bottom dredging in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean to further support the demarcation of the ECS.  This work will directly support the United States’ claim for natural resources found on or beneath the ocean floor.

U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen.

U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen.

The Healy is the nation’s premiere high latitude research vessel. The cutter is a 420 foot long icebreaker with extensive scientific capabilities. Based out of Seattle, the cutter has a permanent crew of 87. Its primary mission is scientific support. In addition, as a Coast Guard Cutter, Healy is capable of other operations such as search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

Temporary Closure of Pahoa Village Road

Hawaii Electric Light announces a temporary closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apaa Street and Post Office Road in Pahoa.Pahoa Road ClosureThe road will be partially closed on June 20-21, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and completely closed on June 22-24, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to relocate utility infrastructure and remove five utility pole protection measures that were installed in response to the June 27, 2014 lava flow.

Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area. During complete closures, access will be provided to local traffic only. Motorists are advised to use the Pahoa Bypass Road as an alternate route during this period.

To ensure the safety of the crews, temporary power interruptions may be necessary while the work is being performed.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Nainoa Thompson Receives Hubbard Medal – National Geographic’s Highest Honor

Today, an extraordinary group of individuals were honored by the National Geographic Society at the 2016 Explorer Awards, presented by Rolex.

Nainoa Thompson received the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for his outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation.

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

A master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigating known as “wayfinding,” Thompson revived the ancient practice while advocating for ocean conservation and a sustainable future for our planet.

THE HUBBARD MEDAL

Named for the National Geographic Society’s first president, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the Hubbard Medal is given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in exploration, discovery and research. In 1906, Robert E. Peary was the first to receive the Hubbard Medal for his exploration of the Arctic. This year’s recipients, Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson, will join the ranks of distinguished honorees, including Charles Lindbergh, John Glenn and Jane Goodall, among others.

Nainoa Thompson

Charles Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is an expert in the ancient Pacific Island tradition of wayfinding, a non-instrument method of navigating on long ocean voyages using the stars, swells and natural elements as guides. The first native Hawaiian to practice wayfinding since the 14th century, he studied under Micronesian master navigator Pius Mau Piailug of Satawal, Yap.

In the 1970s, Thompson was part of an important movement among young Hawaiians committed to restoring cultural pride. He has since dedicated his life to teaching wayfinding to future generations, developing a method that combines the tenets of ancient Pacific navigation with modern science, fostering a renewed interest in Hawaiian heritage.

Nearly 40 years ago, Thompson made history when he navigated Hōkūleʻa, a traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe, 2,500 nautical miles from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti relying entirely on the art of Polynesian wayfinding.

Today, Hōkūleʻa is on a three-year, 60,000-nautical-mile expedition around the world. The sail, known as the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, aims to encourage the global community to live sustainably by drawing upon the wisdom and teachings of ancient Polynesian culture. Upon its completion, the voyage will stop in 100 ports, 27 nations and 12 UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites. Along the way, Hōkūleʻa and her crew have met with a number of global peace and marine conservation leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle.

Thompson is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi, where he received a bachelor’s degree in ocean science. A member of the Ocean Elders, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Exploration; the Unsung Hero of Compassion, presented by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on behalf of the organization Wisdom in Action; and the Native Hawaiian Education Association’s Manomano Ka ‘Ike (Depth and Breadth of Knowledge) Educator of the Year Award.

Island Air Launches Kona Service – George Applegate Named Island Air’s Hawaii Island Representative

Island Air today launched daily air service to Hawaiʻi Island as part of its continuing efforts to expand its presence in the Islands and offer residents and visitors an alternative option for interisland travel. The airline also announced it has hired veteran tourism industry leader George Applegate to serve as its representative on Hawaiʻi Island.

Photos courtesy of Island Air

Photos courtesy of Island Air

Island Air officials, along with government, business and visitor industry leaders from Hawaiʻi Island and Oʻahu gathered at the Kona International Airport this morning for a blessing of the airline’s new check-in counter located in Terminal 1 and departure/arrival gate (Gate 5). Following the blessing, passengers on the inaugural flights arriving into and departing from Kona were greeted with lei and entertained by keiki from Waimea’s Hālau Hula Ka Noʻeau. In partnership with the Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB), guests also were given a tour of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority located a short drive from the airport.

During the celebration, Island Air’s president and chief executive officer David Uchiyama announced that Applegate will serve as Island Air’s representative on Hawaiʻi Island. Applegate will support the airline’s sales efforts and assist in promoting Island Air’s business on Hawaiʻi Island.

island air day 1a

“Over the years, George has played an integral role in strengthening Hawaiʻi Island’s tourism industry. We are excited to have him join the Island Air team as we work to grow our Kona service,” said Uchiyama. “Our entire Island Air team recognizes the importance of having reliable interisland air travel options that allow local families and businesses to remain connected, support the local economy and provide alternatives for residents and visitors to enjoy Hawai‘i the Island way.”

Applegate has more than 40 years of experience in the visitor industry, including 24 years with the BIVB, 13 of those as its executive director before he retired in 2013. In 2015, he served as an executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi where he assisted with various tourism projects for Hawaiʻi Island. He continues to provide tourism-related consulting services on a contractual basis to the County of Hawaiʻi through his firm George Applegate Consulting.

island air day 1b

“Having another alternative for interisland travel is critical for our community and visitor industry, which is why I am excited about this opportunity to assist with the growth of a second interisland airline that will support both residents and visitors,” said Applegate.

In addition to increasing seat capacity to Hawaiʻi Island with five daily roundtrip flights between Kona and Honolulu, Island Air hired 22 employees to service the new route. The Kona-based team of customer service agents and ramp agents is being led by Shardae Kaupu Lopez, who will serve as Island Air’s Kona station manager and oversee the airline’s airport operations. Lopez is originally from Miloliʻi and started working for Island Air in 2012.

Commentary – Highway Legislation Was to Appease Constituents

Senator Lorraine Inouye was one of the co-sponsors of the legislation
that would increase the speed  limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to 60MPH between m.m 12 and m.m 51 -except for the segment by Mauna Kea State Park.

Inouye Highway 2 by Aaron Stene

I had reservations about this bill because HDOT should  have sole authority to set highway speed limits. The state legislature shouldn’t be politicizing what the highway speeds are on a certain highway.

I e-mailed Senator Inouye’s office three amendments to SB2375 despite my reservations. The first amendment would change the east side start of the speed limit increase from m.m 19 to m.m 12.  This change was included in the final bill transmitted to the governor. However, she disregarded  the other two amendments I suggested.

These proposed amendments would’ve obligated the HDOT to review the current speed limits at m.m 18, m.m 36-40, amd m.m 39, and increased the speed limit on m.m 6 to m.m 11 segment after the highway is improved to Federal Highway standards by August 27, 2017.

Senator Inouye stated this bill wouldn’t pass the legislature if these
amendments were added, which doesn’t make any sense. She didn’t want to infringe on the HDOT’s obligation to follow Federal Highway standards. I pointed out to her that requiring the HDOT increase the speed limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway already infringed on the HDOT’s obligations, so her argument doesn’t hold water.

I strongly believe the sole purpose of this legislation was to appease
her constituents, who probably complained about the county police’s
incessant speed traps up on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. This proposed legislation shouldn’t be the way the speed limits are set up there.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Big Island Realtor Sanctioned for Assaulting Flight Attendant With Half Can of Soda

Big Island Realtor Kristin R. Sharp has been sanctioned by the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) for actions that she was involved in on a flight that happened on September 24, 2015.

Kristin Sharp Facebook profile

Kristin Sharp Facebook profile

According to the DCCA, Sharp failed to adhere to a law in a manner that the licensing authority deems the holder of the license to be an unfit or improper person to hold the license in violation of HRS § 436B-19(12).

On November 13, 2015, Sharp pleaded guilty and was convicted of one misdemeanor count of assault in United States v. Sharp, Criminal No. CR11-00773-001.  The conviction arose from an incident which took place on September 24, 2015 on Allegiant Airlines when Sharp knowingly and intentionally assaulted a flight attendant by striking him in the back with a half-filled can of soda.

Her sanction – $2,500 fine, report Settlement Agreement to Respondent’s broker, comply with terms of November 13, 2015 Judgment, notify Commission of any violations of the terms of the Settlement Agreement in writing within 5 days of the violation.

Sharp’s Facebook account says she is a Realtor with Century 21 All Islands Fine Homes & Estates

Hawaii State Boating Division to Require Notarized Bill of Sale for Transfer of Vessel Registration

Beginning on July 1, 2016, all vessel registration transfers in the State of Hawai‘i will require a notarized bill of sale to be presented to registering agency the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

VesselRegistration.indd

Presently, DOBOR needs to match a vessel owner’s signature on record with the signature on a bill of sale in order to approve a vessel registration transfer.  This method can be inaccurate since an individual ‘s official signature may change over time. It also puts a burden on the buyer if DOBOR staff cannot authenticate a signature on a bill of sale.  If that should happen the transfer request would be denied and the buyer would have to go through the process of securing a notarized bill of sale.

Often, the seller of a vessel will have changed residence or may have left the state and cannot be contacted, causing a lengthy delay in the transfer process.

“This new requirement will help DLNR provide better customer service to boaters. It helps us promise for the vast majority of our customers that transfers won’t be declined or delayed,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR Director,

On average between 2,200-2,600 transactions per year are registered annually in the state. Notarized bills of sale will not only reduce work for the vessel owners and DOBOR.  They will allow for more secure vessel registration transfers.

State boating administrator Ed Underwood adds, “We are also concerned about preventing vessel theft through fraudulent bills of sale. It is rare for DOBOR to encounter forged signatures, but it has happened several times over the last few years.”

A standardized bill of sale form is already available that includes a section for a notary’s signature. That form can be accessed at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/forms/ on the DOBOR web site.

Even if a bill of sale is not executed using the official DOBOR form it will still be accepted at the time of transfer, so long as the signature of the seller on the bill of sale is notarized.

For further information, boaters may contact Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) Vessel Registration at 808-587-1970.

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.

Hokulea Takes Center Stage at the United Nations for World Oceans Day

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe delivers messages to the Secretary General on behalf of the world’s oceans

Hawaii’s legendary traditional voyaging canoe Hokulea achieved the pinnacle of her historic four-year sail around the world at today’s United Nations (UN) celebration of  World Oceans Day: a global event focused on ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future.

United Nations

This year’s theme of “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” encouraged individuals and organizations across the globe to take action in preventing plastic pollution in our ocean, with programming that featured the powerful and lasting presence of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

United Nations 2

“Captain Nainoa, I wish you and your entire crew a wonderful return journey,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who sailed on Hokulea in Apia, Samoa in 2014. “I count on your leadership and commitment as we carry out our plans to make this world safer and more sustainable for all. On World Oceans Day, let us renew our resolve to protect these marine treasures for generations to come.”

United Nations 3

In today’s morning ceremony at Gantry Plaza State Park, Thompson presented UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. with ocean protection declarations and messages of hope that the Hokulea crew members collected from their worldwide journey promoting sustainable oceans.

United Nations 4

Later in the afternoon, Thompson joined Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and representatives of the Federated States of Micronesia, for a talk-story session on the UN’s Ocean Agenda and goals. The leaders also discussed development regarding the negotiation of a new legally binding instrument to protect biodiversity in marine areas in the high seas.

united nations 5

After today’s events, Hokulea crew members will continue their outreach and engagement activities in New York, in which they will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

 

Hokulea Crew on Governors Island for Education and Environment Summit

Community leaders discuss environmental restoration through the Billion Oyster Project

Today, crewmembers of the legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea continued their momentum of focusing on community outreach through the New York Education and Environment Summit. The crew was joined by educators and community members from Hawaii and New York.

Oyster project 1The summit was held on Governors Island, where the delegation was received by the Trust for Governors Island, the National Park Service, New York Harbor School, and the Billion Oyster Project. The Hawaii delegation included University of Hawaii President David Lassner, Kanu o Ka Aina and Ka Waihona o Ka Na auao charter schools’ administrators and students, and representatives and students from Kamehameha Schools. Honolulu City and County Mayor Kirk Caldwell was also present for the discussions that centered on sustainability and protection of the environment.

Oyster project
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, delivered a short speech on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and its significant connections with the Billion Oyster Project – a STEM-based initiative aimed at restoring one billion live oysters in the New York Harbor.

oyster project 2

After the morning’s presentations and discussions, the New York Harbor School conducted tours of the facilities. Event attendees visited the aquaculture lab at the New York Harbor School where the oysters for the Billion Oyster Project are raised, and visited other indoor and outdoor learning environments at the innovative school. Billion Oyster Project Director Pete Malinowski answered questions from the Hawaii educators and students.

Oyster project 3

The summit is part of a roster of community events leading up to Hokulea’s significant role in the upcoming World Oceans Day gathering at the United Nations on Wednesday.

This week, Hokulea crew members will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Tuesday, June 7: Presentation by master navigator Kalepa Baybayan on behalf of Imiloa Astronomy Center at Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Wednesday, June 8: World Oceans Day
  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

Hokulea Greeted by Thousands in New York City

After years of preparation, legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived in New York City and was officially welcomed this morning by thousands of New York residents and a delegation of Hawaii leaders, educators, students and supporters.

Hokulea New York

Among those in attendance were Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff Mike McCartney, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Hawaii Island Senator Kai Kahele, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO George Szigeti, Solomon “Sol” Aikau (Eddie Aikau’s older brother), marine artist Wyland and Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

hokulea new york 2

The arrival event began with a traditional ceremonial welcome by Native American tribes from the area including the Ramapough Lenape Nation, Moraviantown Delaware Nation, Shinnecock, Unkechaug, Mohegan, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. A traditional Hawaiian aha awa, or awa ceremony, was held by Hui Kipaepae of New York. Various hula halau (groups) from New York and Hawaii also offered performances celebrating the historic occasion.

Hokulea New York Kai

“There is something special that this canoe carries on behalf of our home that I think this world not only respects, but needs,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “This day of celebration is really the step we need to give us strength to go to the United Nations on behalf of all of the people who are doing their part to be responsible for our island home called Earth.”

On World Oceans Day on June 8, a series of events with the United Nations will include a ceremonial presentation of ocean protection declarations by Thompson to Secretary General Ban-ki Moon. The canoe’s arrival at Manhattan’s North Cove Marina – the doorstep of the 9/11 Memorial, New York’s financial business district – marks the pinnacle point of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hokulea New York 3

During their time in New York, Hokulea crew members have a robust schedule of outreach and engagement, in which they will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Monday, June 6: Malama Honua Education & Environment Summit at Governors Island
  • Tuesday, June 7: Presentation by master navigator Kalepa Baybayan on behalf of Imiloa Astronomy Center at Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Wednesday, June 8: World Oceans Day
  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

For Hokulea’s most up-to-date US east coast schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.

 

Big Island Police Renewing Request for Information About Fatal Puna Vehicle-Pedestrian Crash

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about a fatal vehicle-pedestrian crash on March 28 on Route 130 near the Kaloli Drive intersection in Puna.

Skye Kahealeilani Noah, 19, of Pāhoa was walking in the Pāhoa direction on the mauka shoulder of the road when she was struck by a white 2003 Ford Ranger pickup truck traveling in the same direction sometime in the early hours of March 28.
Skye Noah
Police continue to seek motorists who may have witnessed the collision or may have seen the white Ford pickup truck on Route 130 during the evening hours of March 27 or early morning hours of March 28. Anyone with any information about this case is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 or todd.pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots Authorize Strike

Hawaiian Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) voted today to authorize their elected union representatives to conduct a lawful withdrawal of service if contract talks do not result in a new collective bargaining agreement. Almost 98 percent of the pilot group voted, and of those voting 99 percent voted to support the strike ballot, which opened on April 25.

Hawaiian Airlines Plane in Sky

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel toward their senior management,” said Capt. Hoon Lee, chairman of the ALPA unit at Hawaiian Airlines. “We absolutely do not want to go on strike, but if that’s what it takes to get a market-rate contract, our pilots have told us loud and clear that they will stand together and take that final step.”

Pilots cheered when Lee and other ALPA leaders announced the voting results at a rally near Honolulu International Airport today. The pilots plan to hold an informational picket at the airport on May 25.

The strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent. The National Mediation Board (NMB) must first decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and extend an offer to arbitrate the dispute. If either side declines arbitration, the parties enter a “cooling off” period and are free to exercise self-help – a strike by the pilots or a lockout by the company — 30 days later.  Additional mediation sessions are not scheduled past June at this time.

The pilots’ contract became amendable in September 2015. ALPA and Hawaiian management began contract talks in May of last year and began working with a NMB mediator in January 2016.

“At a time when Hawaiian is making more money than ever before, our management stubbornly refuses to share those profits with the employees who earned them,” Lee said.

”Our patience is at an end and we demand a market-rate contract that recognizes our contributions to this airline’s astounding success.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 52,000 pilots at 30 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.

Approved Route Between Kona and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Expected to Bring in More Than $50 Million to Hawaii Island Economy

Gov. David Ige is applauding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of Hawaiian Airlines’ application to serve Kona from Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Hawaiian Airlines

“This creates the opportunity for us to open up Kona as an international point of entry. This is a significant step toward making that happen,” said Mike McCartney, Gov. Ige’s chief of staff.

Hawaiian Airlines has been flying passengers on the Haneda-Honolulu route since 2010, providing 107,000 round-trip seats a year and generating $564 million in direct spending.

Gov. Ige, who is traveling on the mainland, submitted a letter of support of Hawaiian Airlines’ application for a second route, which said, in part:

“Providing direct service to Kona will open a new Haneda gateway to a market that has significant pent-up demand. Kona is the third largest U.S. airport without nonstop service to Tokyo. It has more point-of-sale Japanese passengers than eleven markets that currently enjoy nonstop service to Japan’s most populous city,” said Gov. Ige.

The U.S. DOT has given Hawaiian Airlines until Jan. 29, 2017 to start the new service.

Hawaii Files First Lawsuit Against Takata & Honda Relating to Faulty Airbags

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, on behalf of the State of Hawai’i, today filed a lawsuit against Takata Corporation, TK Holdings, Inc., Honda Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co, and Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. for making, supplying, and using airbags they knew to be unsafe.  Hawai’i is the first state to file a lawsuit against these companies for their roles in causing millions of cars to be sold with airbags that could explode, posing grave, sometimes fatal, dangers to the cars’ occupants.

Click to view complaint

Click to view complaint

Hawai’i asserts claims under the State’s consumer protection laws for unfair and deceptive conduct.  The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including a meaningful campaign to educate drivers about the need to seek repairs, restitution for car buyers, disgorgement of the companies’ profits from these airbags, and the maximum civil penalties allowed by law of $10,000 per violation.

The State’s complaint alleges that Takata made the decision to switch to cheaper ammonium nitrate to inflate its airbags despite the known risks of ammonium nitrate, a chemical principally used to propel rockets and for mining and demolition.  Though Takata’s own testing showed that the ammonium nitrate propellant was unpredictable and prone to explode, Takata sold its airbags to automakers knowing they would be installed in vehicles and sold to consumers.  The complaint quotes one former Takata engineer, who has testified that, prior to the launch of the new inflators, he warned a manager that ‘if we go forward with [ammonium nitrate], someone will be killed.”  As the complaint lays out, a dozen individuals have been killed when Takata airbags exploded in their cars, sending shrapnel through the vehicle, and more than one hundred have been injured.

The complaint also asserts that Takata hid its findings and doctored its data to hide the dangers of its airbags.  According to publicly available documents and the State’s complaint, even when Honda became aware of the problems, it continued to sell cars equipped with Takata airbags and inadequately pursued recalls—saving money while subjecting consumers to an ongoing risk of serious injury and death.

Hawai’i is one of four states that was the original focus of efforts to recall vehicles with Takata airbags because of the greater risks posed in areas with high humidity and high temperatures.  Roughly 70,000 vehicles with Takata airbags have been sold to Hawaii consumers.  Nationally, according to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only one-third to half of these airbags have been repaired or replaced.

“Companies that supply and market goods to Hawai’i consumers are obligated to deliver products that are safe and to provide consumers with full, accurate, and timely information when dangers become known.  According to the facts alleged in the complaint, Takata and Honda put their own profits and reputations ahead of honesty and their customers’ safety.  We intend to hold them accountable for their conduct,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection.

The complaint asserts two causes of action against the Takata and Honda companies, but also names anonymous “Doe Defendants.”  The State will consider adding corporate or individual defendants based upon the evidence revealed during the litigation.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to visit http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/ or to contact their car dealer to determine whether their car is subject to a recall, to request required repairs, and to seek a replacement vehicle from the dealer until their airbag can be replaced or repaired.

The State of Hawai’i is also being assisted in this action by the Honolulu law firm of Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks and the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Cohen Milstein.

Hawai’i’s complaint is attached and available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2016/05/State-of-Hawaii-v.-Takata-Corporation-Complaint.pdf.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the recall is available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/takata-recall-faqs/.