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Hokulea Greeted by Mayor of Mataiea and Over 500 Community Members

As part of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia visited Mataiea and were greeted by Alpha Tearii, mayor of Mataiea and minister of Marine and Land Resources, and with an overwhelming show of support by the community.

In a grand welcoming ceremony, over 500 third graders and college students from Mairipehe Primary School, Nuutafaratea Primary School, Matairea Primary School, and Teva I Uta College celebrated the shared malama honua vision of caring for the oceans and land for future generations in Tahitian, French and English.

It has been over 40 years since Hokulea first arrived in Mataiea, which is known for its rich cultural heritage and abundant in natural beauty. “They are doing a lot of really good things here and we are witness to that,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, pwo navigator of the Hokulea. “I see us coming back with future generations to engage, because that is what the voyage is about. It’s about discovering.”

The next day, following a community breakfast and coconut tree planting ceremony with local children, Hokulea and Hikianalia departed for Tautira on Tahiti’s south-east coast.

The sister canoes will continue to travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and education outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Hokulea and Hikianalia are making their way back to Hawaii together for a homecoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Ka’iminani Drive to Begin on Tuesday May 16th

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will begin resurfacing work on Ka’iminani Dr., from the Palamanui (Ane Keohokālole Hwy.) intersection to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, to Friday, May 19, 2017.  Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles will be in the work zone.  Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i 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 contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaiian Airlines Relocating to Terminal 5 at LAX

Hawaiian Airlines will have a new home at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when it moves to Terminal 5 from Terminal 2 effective May 17. The change, part of a major relocation project involving 21 airlines at LAX, is expected to bring an improved experience for Hawaiian’s customers.

Hawaiian’s new Terminal 5 facilities will provide guests with enhanced curbside check-in, convenient access to domestic codeshare partner JetBlue Airways, and simplified flight connections – without the need to re-clear TSA – via a secure corridor to the nearby Tom Bradley International Terminal as well as terminals 4, 6, 7 and 8.

Hawaiian has operated out of Terminal 2 since June 12, 1985, when Los Angeles became the airline’s first scheduled West Coast destination. On May 17, Hawaiian’s Team Kōkua employee volunteers will be stationed at both terminals throughout the day to help guide and welcome guests to its Terminal 5 location.

“We look forward to providing our guests an improved, more efficient and comfortable airport experience in our major gateway of Los Angeles,” said Jeff Helfrick, Hawaiian’s vice president of airport operations. “Our new position on the west end of Terminal 5 comes with better facilities for both our guests and our employees.”

Hawaiian, Hawai‘i’s largest and longest-serving carrier, offers three non-stop daily flights between LAX and Honolulu International Airport, one non-stop daily flight between LAX and Kahului Airport on Maui, and beginning May 26, daily non-stop service between LAX and Līhu‘e Airport on Kaua‘i. Additionally, in response to popular demand, this summer the airline will once again offer a seasonal, triweekly non-stop flight between LAX and Kona International Airport on the Island of Hawai‘i from May 28 through Sept. 4.

Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Update

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) provides the following update on the Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project. Work has temporarily been stopped and is anticipated to resume in early June.

Keaau to Pahoa Highway Map Plans from a few years ago.

Construction has been temporarily stopped as HDOT is in the process of obtaining a new permit for this project which is designed to improve traffic flow in Puna through the installation of a permanent north bound shoulder lane and a temporary south bound shoulder lane between mile posts 4.15 and 4.25 of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and installation of a traffic signal at the Keaau-Pahoa Road/Shower Drive intersection. The Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2, Shower Drive Intersection Improvements project also involves relocation of water system facilities and utility poles as well as installation of pavement markings, striping, and signage.

The contractor for Phase 2 began work in January 2017 using a permit that was obtained for Phase 1 of the shoulder lane conversion project. This permit expired during the Phase 2 construction. HDOT anticipates receiving the new permit within 40 days and is revising the estimated completion date for this project to mid-November.

Further updates will be available on the HDOT Highways Division website (http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/) under the Major Projects tab.

Hokulea Returning Home

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea will conclude its epic three-year sail around the globe and return home to the Hawaiian Islands in June 2017.  The mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines was to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.

On Saturday, June 17, Hokulea and its crew members will make their historic return to Hawaii at Oahu’s Magic Island after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles since departing Oahu for the first deep sea leg of the voyage in May 2014. Hokulea will sail into Magic Island along with a fleet of about seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand.  The homecoming celebration, themed Lei Kaapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” honors the journey of connecting cultures and people around the world.

“It is the realization of decades of hard work and planning on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew and our partners and friends around the world to embark on the final leg of Hokulea’s voyage and return home,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Watching Hokulea crest the waves of Oahu’s south shore as she returns home, much like the canoes of our ancestors, will be a once in a lifetime experience. We are overwhelmed with emotion at all we have accomplished during this historic voyage and we look forward to setting sail on the next chapter together.”

Hokulea’s homecoming will include a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration. To further engage the local community and continue the festivities, a series of additional homecoming events are planned during the week following the June 17 arrival. The Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day summit, will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public. The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh.

The mission of the Voyage has been to spread the message of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by promoting environmental consciousness, fostering learning environments, bringing together island communities and growing a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage has celebrated a resurgence of pride and respect for our native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.

The Malama Honua sail plan included over 150 ports, 18 nations and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 200 volunteer crew members have helped to sail the vessel and connect with more than 100,000 people throughout the world in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands.

After returning to Hawaii in the fall of 2017, Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

HDOT Cuts Energy Usage in Half at Hawaii, Maui, Oahu & Kauai Airports with Improved Lighting at Photovoltaic Systems

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has entered the second phase of its Energy Savings Performance Contract with Johnson Controls (JCI) to provide high-efficiency lighting at 11 Hawaii airports and solar photovoltaic systems at Honolulu International Airport. The total guaranteed energy savings at Hawaii’s airports is more than $606 million over a 15-year period with the addition of Phase 2.

Phase 2 of the contract guarantees $65.5 million in energy savings through the replacement and retrofit of 47,747 existing florescent lamps to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, the application of high-end trim to 8,256 LED fixtures (which customizes the light level for an area in order to prevent using more energy than is necessary), and the installation of 15,683 photovoltaic roof-mounted panels including parking lot canopy systems at the Honolulu International Airport capable of producing 5.3 Megawatts of power. Phase 1 and Phase 2 will install a total of over 98,000 light fixtures and over 24,400 photovoltaic panels for a total of nearly 8 megawatts of energy savings and power generation.

“This initiative’s unprecedented energy and cost savings confirms that going green is good for our local economy. The cost-effective investments are cutting energy demand and increasing efficiency, which contributes to the reduction of the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. This is an important part of reaching our long-term energy sustainability goals,” said Gov. David Ige.

“Installing photovoltaic to help meet the energy needs at the state’s largest airport makes sense,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “We are continuing to transform our transportation infrastructure to advance the state’s sustainability and energy efficiency goals.”

This initiative aligns with Gov. Ige’s Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative sustainability goals and makes a significant contribution to energy efficiency and economic value by further reducing energy usage at state airports by nearly 63 million kilowatt hours per year over the 15-year performance period. That energy savings is equivalent to powering 9,264 homes a year. Over the life of the project the energy saved could power more than 175,000 homes.

Construction to implement Phase 2 is scheduled to take place over the next 24 months and is financed by realized energy savings, not taxpayer money. The construction will not impact flight schedules or operations.

JCI is also working on Energy Savings Performance Contracts to improve efficiency for the highways and harbors divisions within HDOT. The total amount of guaranteed savings for airports, highways and harbors divisions projects is more than $776 million over the life of the contracts.

Hawaii’s commitment to sustainability is evident in recognition by the Energy Services Coalition (ESC) that the Department of Transportation, Airports Division, performance contract for nearly $209.8 million, is the largest single state contract for energy performance in the nation. ESC is a national nonprofit organization of experts working together to increase energy efficiency and building upgrades through energy performance contracting.

The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism estimates that over the life of the contract, which ends in 2034, the economic impacts will be $27.3 million in tax revenues (in 2016 dollars), $186.6 million in income to households (in 2016 dollars), and 867 jobs generated or supported each year during the first two years of construction in Phase I with 257 jobs supported each year during Phase II construction and installation and an average of 63 jobs generated or supported each year during the performance period.

In addition, the contract supports Hawaii’s commitment to the Performance Contracting Accelerator Program, part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative.

Performance contracting implements energy and water efficiency projects using guaranteed energy savings to pay for the projects. State and county agencies face increasing energy costs and the need to replace or upgrade aging, inefficient, and obsolete energy and water consuming equipment. Capital improvement and operating budgets have been unable to keep up with the needed upgrades for energy and water efficiency. Performance contracting allows agencies to fund some of these needs and to install energy efficiency retrofits in a timely manner. Performance contracting retrofits can take less than one year to up to three years to install. Therefore, energy savings occur sooner than later. Capital improvement projects can take from six to 10 years, resulting missed opportunities for annual energy savings.

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger Off Cruise Ship in Hawaii

A 66-year-old woman is in stable condition at Hilo Medical Center on Big Island after being medically evacuated by the Coast Guard, Tuesdy.

Wiki photo via Johan Fredriksson

“We are proud of all the crews involved, including that of the Emerald Princess, for their cooperation and work ensuring the passenger received appropriate care,” said Kelvin Morgan, operations unit controller at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point successfully conducted the hoist of the woman, reportedly suffering from abdominal trauma, at 12:30 p.m., and transported her to awaiting EMS at Hilo International Airport. She was then further transported to Hilo Medical Center.

Watchstanders at JRCC Honolulu received notification from the crew of passenger vessel Emerald Princess at 7:40 p.m., Monday. The vessel was 390 miles southeast of Big Island making 25 mph en route Hilo.

The watchstanders briefed the duty flight surgeon and agreed on a medevac. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point launched to provide top cover and communications while the Emerald Princess transited toward the islands.

Once within range, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched from Air Station Barbers Point and successfully hoisted the patient 81 miles southeast of Oahu.

Weather on scene was reportedly winds of 12 mph with 6-foot seas.

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

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

Click to read bill

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

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

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

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

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

The House proposal for SB 1183 SD2 HD2 HCD2 includes:

Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT)

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

General Excise Tax (GET)

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

New Start Education Special Fund

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

City Non-Rail Development

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

Partial Lane Closure on Highway 190 Until End of August – Expect Delays

Hawaii Electric Light Company announces a partial lane closure along sections of Highway 190 from Ahikawa Street to Makalei Golf Course (31-mile marker) in west Hawaii from May 1 to August 31. The closure will allow crews to upgrade transmission lines and equipment to improve system reliability.

Contractors are expected to begin hole-digging operations starting today. One lane will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Motorists are advised to expect delays of up to 20 minutes and encouraged to use alternate routes, if possible.

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.

15-Year-Old Dies in Honoka’a Motorcycle Crash

A 15-year-old Honokaʻa boy died following a 1 vehicle crash Monday afternoon (May 1) in Honokaʻa.

He was identified as Aukai Ahuna.

Responding to a 3:01 p.m. call, police determined that a Suzuki dirt bike motorcycle was traveling North on Pikake Street, approaching the Ohia Street intersection when the boy lost control of the motorcycle and was thrown and struck by a 2006 Ford truck.

The boy was taken to the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:51 p.m.

The driver of the truck, a 47-year old Honokaʻa man was not injured.

The boy was wearing a helmet and speed appears to be a factor in this investigation.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police have initiated a Negligent Homicide investigation and ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Casey Cabral at 961-8889. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 10th traffic fatality this year compared with 10 at this time last year.

Worldwide Voyage: Hawai’i Shares its Culture With the World Exhibition

Volcano Art Center is proud to announce the exhibition Worldwide Voyage: Hawai’i Shares Its Culture With The World.  This fine art exhibition presents the navigational story of the Hōkūleʻa’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, told through photographs, cultural items and art inspired by the voyage.  The exhibit will be open to the public on May 20th through July 2nd at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Star Compass by David Reisland

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage has taken the iconic sailing canoe Hōkūleʻa around the Earth, and her sister canoe Hikianalia around the Pacific, to promote a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua (caring of Island Earth) mission seeks to engage communities worldwide in the practice of sustainable living while sharing Polynesian culture, learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and inspiring action to care for and discover the wonders of  Earth.  Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūle‘a will have sailed approximately 60,000 nautical miles and made stops in 27 countries and 100 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world.

During the voyage, Hōkūleʻa and her crew have been greeted and visited by global peace and ocean conservation leaders such as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki­moon, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Jackson Brown, Sir Richard Branson and Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr.

Hōkūleʻa in New York Harbor

The exhibition on display consists of a collection of mounted photographs, cultural items, and art curated by Gary Eoff.  The photographs, provided by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, offer a first-hand account of the navigation, ports visited and the stories of the individual navigators. The cultural items, made by Ed Kaneko and his students, as well as Gary Eoff illustrate primitive wayfaring methods and supplies used on ancient voyages.  A few of the items traveled on the canoe to The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as part of the voyage.  Art work including a star compass table by David Reisland and wood bowls by Cliff Johns will also be on display.

Guided By The Stars by Gary Eoff

“Volcano Art Center wishes to extend a huge mahalo the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the ‘Oiwi Television Network and the individual photographers for sharing the visual story with us,” states Gallery Manager Emily C. Weiss.    “Their mission to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments, is truly something we support”, continues Weiss.

“Volcano Art Center and the artists we represent have been inspired by the courage of this voyage.  Navigating using only ancient wayfinding practices, without modern instruments, using stars, winds and waves is remarkable.  While most people are turning to technology for everything, it is absolutely refreshing to witness the opposite.  Timing the exhibit with the completion of the actual voyage is no accident. We hope to honor the homecoming by sharing with the canoe and crew just how much their strength, determination and knowledge has inspired us.”

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii through arts and education.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Please visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

43-Year-Old Kona Man Dies in Two-Vehicle Crash

A 43-year-old Kailua-Kona man was involved in a two-vehicle traffic casualty on Friday evening (April 28) at the intersection of Hinalani Street and Kamanu Street, Kailua-Kona Hawaii.

He has been identified as Elvis Sheppard.

Responding to a 7:36 p.m. call, police determined that a 2016 Honda motorcycle operated by Elvis Sheppard had been traveling east on Hinalani Street when it was involved in a broadside collision with a 2006 Kia four-door sedan operated by 61-year-old Kailua-Kona man who failed to yield the right of way to the motorcycle as he executed a left turn (west direction) from Kamanu Street onto Hinalani Street.

Following the collision, the operator of the Kia sedan was un-injured, but Sheppard was taken to the Kona Community Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Sheppard remained at the Kona Community Hospital thru the evening where he was noted to be in critical condition. Sheppard succumbed to his injuries on Saturday (April 29) where he was pronounced dead at 10:24 a.m.

Police believe that speed and inattention were factors in the crash, and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a Negligent Homicide investigation and is asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Justin Hooser at 326-4646, ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the 9th traffic fatality this year compared to ten at this time last year.

Hilo Man Dies in Single Vehicle Crash on Highway 11

A 48-year-old Hilo man died following a single vehicle crash Friday night (April 28) on Highway 11 just south of the 99 mile marker.

He was identified as Robbie Weeks.

Responding to a 7:47 p.m. call Friday, police determined that a 1992 Mazda two door convertible sedan operated by Weeks had been traveling north on Highway 11 between the 98 and 99 mile markers when he failed to negotiate a right curve, crossed left of center on the roadway and ran off of the west side of the road overturning down an embankment.

Weeks was taken to the Hilo Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:54 a.m. Saturday (April 29).

Police believe speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the 8th traffic fatality this year compared to ten at this time last year.

Conference Committee Agree on Funding Honolulu’s Rail Project – Tourists Will Pay More

The House and Senate conference committee came to an agreement this afternoon on the future of Honolulu’s rail project. Earlier today, the House proposed removing the 2-year extension using GET surcharge from SB 1183 SD2 HD2 and replacing it by increasing the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) by 2.75%.

“The City and HART have been telling us over and over again that the cost of rail should be put on tourists and the visitor industry,” said Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). “We have taken them to heart and we have done that today without imposing a further tax burden on the citizens of the state.”

The amended bill calls for the City & County of Honolulu to contribute $13 million of their share of the hotel room tax to fund the rail project.

The bill allows for a massive infusion of money now for the rail project without putting the cost of it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, the poor, elderly and low-income working families. The money generated by the increase in the hotel tax in today’s dollars is equivalent to receiving $2.4 billion in future GET revenues. This would provide more funding for rail than any package currently being proposed.

“The end goal has always been to get rail to Ala Moana so that the City fulfills its agreement with the Federal Transit Authority,” said Representative Henry Aquino (Waipahu). “This bill gives the city more tools to use in managing and funding its project.”

The bill also calls for a moratorium on redeveloping the Neil S. Blaisdell Center, which is estimated to cost nearly $500 million, so the City does not fiscally over extend itself and can focus on its number one priority – rail.

The provisions of the amended bill include:

  • Removal of House’s proposed 2 year GET extension for 2027 – 2029;
  • Increase of the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) by 2.75% from its current 9.25% to 12% for 10 years from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2027;
  • Revenue generated from the TAT increases will be distributed as follows:
  1. $50 million will be set aside annually for education in a newly created education special fund;
  2. The City and County of Honolulu will receive $130 million annually over 10 years concurrently with the GET surcharge revenue that they are already receiving now;
  • $13 million of Oahu’s share of the TAT go to funding the rail project;
  • Maintaining the House position to lower the state’s share of the administrative service fee to 1%;
  • Giving all counties the option to extend the GET surcharge;
  • Requiring Honolulu to repeal any ordinance prohibiting use of county funds for rail;
  • Prohibiting the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating, and personnel expenses.

Hokulea and Hikianalia Return to Taputapuatea for Ancient Voyaging Ritual and Ceremony

Traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia were welcomed by local dignitaries, spiritual elders and community members at Taputapuatea. The marae, or the focal meeting ground, is located on the southeastern coast of Raiatea in French Polynesia. The purpose of the stop was to honor the ancient tradition of Hawaii’s Polynesian ancestors who would go to Taputapuatea, the spiritual center for voyagers of the Pacific, to ceremonially launch and close their voyages of discovery. After sailing about 100 miles from Papeete, Tahiti, the canoes arrived at Taputapuatea yesterday morning following the historic protocol of entering via the sacred pass of Teava Moa.

The ceremony began with pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson and captain Billy Richards returning two sacred stones to the marae that were given to the crew when the canoes last visited Taputapuatea in 2014 to launch the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. The return of the two stones signified that the Hokulea and Hikianalia crews fulfilled their responsibility to sail around the world and deepened the connection between Hawaii and its navigational roots in Taputapuatea.

“These stones carried the spirits of all of our ancestors and the direct descendants of all of our families as we sailed around the world,” said Thompson. “Today we brought the stones home to Taputapuatea and were granted permission from by our ancestral family to return home. It’s the last permission based on the fulfillment of many promises we made,” he added.

In addition to the spiritual elders of Taputapuatea, the crew was greeted by French Polynesia president Edouard Fritch, the Taputapuatea mayor Thomas Moutame, and the country’s minister of culture Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu. The day-long ceremony featured the ancient rituals conducted to ceremonially complete a voyage, traditional chants and dance by the Taputapuatea community and students from Kamehameha Schools and Milolii Charter School.

In honor of this ceremonial milestone, crewmembers from Hokulea’s first voyage to French Polynesia in 1976 joined this leg from Tahiti to Raiatea, including Gordon Piianaia, Billy Richards, Snake Ah Hee, Kainoa Lee and John Kruse. Zane Aikau, nephew of 1978 crewmember Eddie Aikau, also participated on the leg on behalf of the Aikau family and 1976 crewmember Buffalo Keaulana who was unable to join the sail.  Special guests who also participated on the overnight sail included Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley, University of Hawaii president David Lassner, and Hawaii State Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Once considered the religious and cultural center of Polynesia, Taputapuatea is the location of an ancient marae that was once considered the central temple and religious center of Eastern Polynesia. Established around 1000 AD, the marae was a place of learning where priests and navigators from all over the Pacific would gather to offer sacrifices to the gods and share their knowledge of the genealogical origins of the universe, and of deep ocean navigation.

Most significantly, a truce known as the Faatau Aroha was established with the surrounding islands to form an alliance that lasted for many years and perpetuated the growth of voyaging and exploration leading to the discovery and colonization of all the islands of Eastern Polynesia, including Hawaii, Rapa Nui and Aotearoa (New Zealand).  New marae were established on each of these islands with a rock being taken from Taputapuatea so that Raiatea served as a spiritual link. However, the Faatau Aroha was broken due to a conflict between two leaders of the alliance that resulted to open warfare and an end to large-scale interisland voyaging.

The archaeological remains of Marae Taputapuatea were restored in 1994 and efforts to preserve the site continues. Association Na Papa E Vau Raiatea is working towards having Marae Taputapuatea designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and continuing work to revive connections between communities of the Polynesian triangle and throughout the Pacific region.

Hokulea and Hikianalia are scheduled to depart Taputapuatea today and will return to Papeete, Tahiti where the crews will prepare the canoes for the voyage back to Hawaii. The canoes will depart French Polynesia in mid-May and will arrive at Magic Island on Oahu for a homecoming celebration on Saturday, June 17.

Nissan $10,000 Rebate on New LEAF Sedan Extended for Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customers

Nissan North America’s offer of a $10,000 rebate on the all-electric LEAF® sedan has been extended through June 30, 2017 for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Companies’ customers.

Customers should take their electric utility bill and the promotional flyer available at hawaiianelectric.com/nissanleaf to any participating Nissan dealer on Oahu, Maui or Hawaii Island to receive $10,000 off the sticker price of a new 2017 LEAF S, SV, or SL, while supplies last. With potential federal tax incentives, savings could total $17,500.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are leaders in the effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawaii to help customers save money, to put abundant and less-expensive solar resources to work and to move the state toward its clean energy goals.

The rebate is funded by Nissan, not the utilities. To find a participating Hawaii Nissan dealer, go to nissanusa.com/nissandealers/location/hawaii. The 107-mile range 2017 LEAF, which needs no gasoline, no oil changes and very little maintenance, has a starting price of $30,680.

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

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

Jin Air B777-200ER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Umauma Bridge to Reopen to Two-Way Traffic Monday – Continued Alternating Lane Closures

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) alerts the public it will be reopening the Umauma Bridge on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 19) in the vicinity of Hakalau on Monday, April 24, 2017. One lane of traffic will be contraflowed over the bridge beginning at 9 a.m., weather permitting, and the bridge will be open to two-way traffic at 3 p.m. There will continue to be alternating lane closures at the bridge on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dayton Kalai YouTube clip screenshot

The Umauma Bridge, which was built in 1911, underwent a full rehabilitation. The $31 million improvement project involved the reinforcement of the bridge’s deteriorating steel structure by building concrete towers within the existing steel towers. Other improvements included widening and replacement of the bridge deck, an asphalt concrete pavement overlay with 12-foot travel lanes and 8-foot shoulders, and new concrete railings that comply with current federal pedestrian and bike safety regulations.

HDOT thanks the public for their patience and support during this project. Lane closure updates are posted weekly to our website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/hawaii/.

Commentary – Mayor’s Administration Has Taken Action Against Me

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaiian Airlines’ Airport Operations Lowering Fuel Use, Carbon Emissions

Carrier decreasing its reliance on jet fuel to power aircraft at the gate

Hawaiian Airlines this month achieved a key milestone in its ongoing effort to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions when it powered all wide-body aircraft arriving at airports in a single day with electrical power at the gate. The carrier’s initiative to connect parked aircraft to more efficient external electricity is significantly reducing pilots’ use of the onboard auxiliary power unit, or APU, which burns jet fuel to keep lights, avionics systems, air conditioning and other equipment on.

The work has the potential to reduce Hawaiian’s APU usage by an estimated 30 minutes per flight, saving some 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cutting CO2 emissions by 5,933 metric tons. That’s roughly enough fuel to fly the airline’s wide-body fleet for a day, while the carbon reductions equate to removing 1,253 cars off the streets each year.

Hawaiian Airlines ground crews connect external power to a wide-body aircraft at Honolulu International Airport.

In the past year, Hawaiian made headway toward an ambitious goal of having gate power available to its entire wide-body fleet within three minutes of arrival as aircraft fly between Hawaii, 11 U.S. gateway cities and 10 international destinations. Line service and ground crews have met the target on 92 percent of flights on average. But on April 12, in what is internally being celebrated as “100 Percent Day,” employees reached a milestone when 47 wide-body flights received external power as aircraft arrived at airports from Auckland to New York.

“It’s very much like a carefully choreographed dance requiring great timing and the tight coordination of everyone involved in bringing our airplanes to the gate once they’ve landed,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our teams must ensure the availability of working external power at the gate, monitor minute-by-minute the estimated arrival time of the aircraft, and ensure all personnel are in place and ready to receive the aircraft.”

Hawaiian already provides external gate power to its narrow-body fleet that average 170 daily flights between the Hawaiian Islands. The airline also owns portable power units that can be deployed in the event jetbridge electricity is unavailable or malfunctioning.

Hawaiian’s success in reducing APU usage aligns with the carrier’s ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Hawaiian, which operates one of the youngest fleet in the U.S. industry, is investing in fuel efficient aircraft by adding 18 new A321neos starting later this year. Last year, the airline conducted two demonstration flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland using a series of gate-to-gate environmental best practices outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions, or ASPIRE.

Most recently, Hawaiian became the first U.S. carrier to join an international scientific monitoring project that enlists commercial airlines to research climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian partnered with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) venture by equipping one Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool that will collect valuable data throughout the airline’s far-reaching network covering the Pacific, Asia and North America.