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VIDEO: Monk Seal with Knife in Mouth

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Resources reported that had it been something other than a sharp fishing knife, the video below may have been endearing.

Screen shot from DOCARE video of Hawaiian monk seal pup Manu‘iwa with knife.

A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa had recently weaned from its mother on a Hawai‘i Island beach. Staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have been monitoring the pup’s health and growth.

On Sunday, April 15, 2018, the seal was spotted playing with a bright orange object in its mouth. As they watched the seal dive beneath near-shore rocks and come back up, they realized Manu‘iwa was holding a knife in its mouth by its handle.

The DOCARE officer who captured the incident on video tape commented, “There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife. It’s a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawai‘i’s beaches or in the ocean.”

At one point, the seal dropped the knife under the rocks and it was later retrieved.

Animal experts say that it’s critical for young seals not to have human interactions so they can learn to be wild animals, especially after they’ve weaned from their mothers and are on their own.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Fisheries asks people to report all monk seal sightings to your island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator:

Hawai‘i Island – East: (808) 756-5961
Hawai‘i Island – West: (808) 987-0765

O‘ahu: (808) 220-7802
Kaua‘i: (808) 651-7668
Moloka‘i: (808) 553-5555
Maui / Lāna‘i: (808) 292-2372

Mayor Kim Responds to Hilo Farmers Market Closure

Tarps removed from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim released the following statement on Thursday, March 29, 2018, regarding the county’s order removing the tarps and tents from the Hilo Farmers Market:

“The information out there regarding the closure of the Farmer’s Market in Hilo is so wrong and misleading that it prompts this open response,” said Mayor Kim. “The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the county, state and federal laws to keep the market in operation. A commitment was made and kept by the county to help keep it open and develop a place to be proud of. The choices made that caused this closure and hardships imposed on the tenants were not made by your government.

“I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.”

Hawai‘i County:

Farmers Market Background

The Hilo Farmers Market is an important part of downtown Hilo. It has been successful due to the diversity and freshness of the offerings of its vendors. The county has tried to work with the owner for years to bring the properties into compliance with building, fire, and zoning codes. The conditions were allowed to persist for all these years in deference to constantly changing plans proposed by the owner. Continuous efforts over the past year by the county to guide the owner into compliance were unsuccessful due to delay or no action on the owner’s part.

The only way to finally achieve results was to enforce the notice of violation that the owner received in June of 2017 which clearly stated the consequences if the proper permits were not acquired in a timely fashion. This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow county, state, and federal requirements.

Violations of County Code and Regulations

  • No building permits. The Farmers Market has been operating for over 20 years without any building permits.  Temporary structures, such as large tents greater than 120 s.f., used for commercial purposes are required to have a temporary building permit which is good for 180 days only.
  • Non-flammable tent material. Tents larger than 750 square feet are required to have non-flammable or non-combustible tent material.  The Fire Department reviewed and approved proposed tent material.  The owner just had to place the order.
  • Non-permitted electrical wiring. Electrical wiring was energized, used, and operated without required electrical inspections and approval of electrical work performed.
  • Extended hours of operation. Farmers Market operations exceeded two days a week as limited by Special Management Area Minor Permit No. 54.
  • Non-permitted sign. A large sign was installed without acquiring the required permits.
  • No setbacks between tents and property boundary. Temporary structures are required to have a 10 foot setback from the property boundaries and 10 foot spacing between tents.

Failure to Construct Permanent Structure as Required

The owner had 10 years to construct a permanent structure as required by SMA approval. The deadline of March 2018 has not been met. The farmers market owner initially received Planning Department approval for a permanent structure in 2008. A condition for approval required completion of construction within five years. In 2013, the owner requested an extension for another five years. The extension was granted with a new deadline of March 18, 2018.

County Assistance Provided

  • Meeting with the Mayor. On Jan.31, 2017, and Feb. 17, 2017, the mayor met with the owner to determine the status of plans to meet the March 2018 deadline and offered assistance to facilitate development.  The mayor assigned an executive assistant to work with the owner.
  • Issues Identified. The executive assistant coordinated with various departments to identify the types, sequence and estimated processing time of permits. Since the farmers market is located in the special flood hazard zone exposed to tsunami and high waves, one major issue was how to comply with these strict standards. Working with the Department of Public Works, a feasible solution was determined that allowed for a simplified structure.
  • Schedule and Budget. The executive assistant helped the owner to assess how much the owner could finance to design and construct a permanent structure based on the substantial total annual rent income the owner receives from the vendors. Additional help also identified steps to start construction of a permanent structure including development of a schedule to meet the March 2018 deadline. The schedule required prompt action by the owner.

Critical and Timely Actions Needed by Owner to Meet Schedule

  • Hire an architect to design a permanent structure and prepare the building permit application.
  • Secure financing for design and construction.
  • Apply for amendment to SMA permits for preferred hours of operation and revised design of structure.
  • Secure Plan Approval for commercial operations.

No Action by Owner

On May 24, 2017, the mayor and several departments met with the owner to assess his progress. Despite assurances from the owner to carry out critical tasks identified in the last meeting, it became evident that the owner made no progress. Consequently, the county issued notice of violations in June 2017 requiring the owner to obtain temporary structure permits or submit plans for a permanent structure. The assessed fines for violations and failure to meet deadlines were clearly outlined in the violation notice.

Time Extensions Granted

Three time extensions were granted over a 6-month period through Dec. 31, 2017, to provide time for the owner to comply. At the end of December 2017, the owner submitted applications for temporary structures. These permits were approved but the owner has not picked up the approved permits.

Order Issued

To motivate action, the only recourse was to issue an order imposing fines as declared in the June 2017 violation notice.

The County of Hawaiʻi has worked closely with the owner and made numerous efforts to help preserve the Hilo Farmers Market and bring it into compliance. It is incumbent upon the owner to continue to work with the county in a timely manner to secure the necessary permits to operate his business.

The county is committed to assisting the owner in developing a permanent farmers market that can be a fixture of the Hilo landscape, provide a safe environment for the community to shop and help make Hilo a beautiful and nice place to live.

UPDATE 3: Shark Attack on Hawai‘i Island’s Kona Coast

UPDATE 3 : March 31, 1:20 p.m.

25-year-old male was stand-up paddle boarding approximately 100 to 150 yards off shore when he sustained injuries from a suspected shark attack.

Upon EMS arrival at 9:45 a.m., the victim was being treated by bystanders with multiple tourniquets to his right side extremities due to extensive injuries from a suspected shark attack.

The victim was then transported by Aeromedical Helicopter to a local hospital in critical condition where he is currently being treated.

UPDATE 2: March 31, 12:35 p.m.

At about 9:30 this morning, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources was notified by the Hawai‘i County Fire Department of a shark incident near Kikaua Point fronting Kukio Resort.

A 25-year-old man was taken by HFD helicopter to North Hawai‘i hospital with multiple injuries to his hand and leg.

Standard procedure is for beach closure signs to warn ocean goers for one mile on either side of the incident until noon the next day.

A decision will be made to reopen beaches based on observations tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 1: March 31, 12:12 p.m.

According to an unofficial report, a father and son were paddle boarding together when a shark bumped the son off his board, bit him, and proceeded to go after the father.

Updates will be provided as they become available.

ORIGINAL POST: March 31, 2018, 11:31 a.m.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reported a shark attack on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at 11 a.m.. The attack occurred at Kukio Beach on the Kona Coast near Hualalai.

Public beach access in this area is closed and will remain closed today.

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Petco Announces Opening Date

Another major mainland chain store will open in Prince Kūhiō Plaza soon, following the TJ Maxx opening last month.

Petco Hilo.

Petco announced that it is planning a soft opening and blessing on Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.

Customers will be able to browse and purchase items from the store beginning on that day.

Store Leader John Fernandez said that approximately 30 people will be employed at the store, which will offer everything from pet grooming, adoptions, dog training and washes, aquatic fish and general pet supplies.

Hilo services offered online.

Fernandez emphasized that everyone who is being hired by the store is a local resident and that even the grooming company that the Petco will use is a Big Island company called Shear Magic.

A grand opening is planned for Saturday, May 5, 2018. The normal store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

County Orders Hilo Farmers Market to Take Down Tents

The County of Hawai‘i has ordered Hilo Farmers Market to remove the tarps and the tents that have been its primary structures for over 33 years or face $4,000 in fines for each day they remain in place.

Hilo Farmers Market.

According to Keith Del La Cruz, owner and manager of the market, Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim ordered the removal.  When Del La Cruz was asked why the order was given, he said, “That is a good question.”

When asked if the tents would be replaced or what would happen with the vendors, Del La Cruz stated:

“We have been processing with the county for the last seven months for notices and violations. Since June of 2017, we have had our permits and are working with them [the county] in good faith to try and resolve the notices and violations…  and to submit drawings for a new farmers market roof. So just in the last several days, we have received a county order to take down the tarps or get fined each day $4,000 per day.”

Workers removed Hilo Farmers Market tarps on Sunday, March 25, 2018

The market plans to remain open; however, vendors will need to provide their own pop-up tents.

Hilo Farmers Market.

The market owner would still like to process its permits for tenants and a permanent roof. Those application processes are ongoing.

Del La Cruz remains hopeful the county will expedite the permitting process so that there is not a long-term effect on the market “being in a new mode.”

Hilo Farmers Market.

Del La Cruz has been trying to secure financing for a permanent roof; however, the economy has made it very difficult and the order to take down the tents does not include any assistance in securing funding.

Hilo Farmers Market: the end of an era.

Del La Cruz doesn’t know if any notices have been given to any other farmers markets on the island.

Brewfest Raises $100K for Local Beneficiaries

The 23rd Annual Kona Brewers Festival, also known as the Kona Brew Fest, took place this Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Courtyard of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

Mugs were given to all attendees of the Kona Brewers Festival.

This year, the taps started to flow at 3 p.m. and most of the food was gone by 6 p.m. as the event raised over $100,000 for 20 local beneficiaries.

The first year of the festival was in 1996, when the event raised about $5,000 so the festival has really grown over the years.

Nearly 3,000 people attended this year’s Kona Brewers Festival, with 2,100 tickets sold.

There were over 40 breweries from all over the world on-hand for public tastings. The festival had to turn down about a dozen breweries.

Festival Executive Director Kate Jacobson said that the festival has a huge impact on the local economy and that hotel rooms are always sold out throughout the area during the weekend of the festival.

(L–R) Executive Director Kate Jacobson, Media and Marketing Coordinator Summer Carrick and Kona Brewers Festival BOD President Mattson Davis.

Summer Carrick, director of media and marketing for the festival said that the event has previously sold-out in under six minutes. Those wanting to attend next year’s festival should purchase tickets as soon as they are available.

Festival Board of Directors President Mattson Davis, the former CEO of Kona Brewing Company, stated that the initial intent of the festival was to celebrate the birthday of the Kona Brewing Company and that they weren’t interested too much in wines; however, they have had a few ciders represented at the festival.

One of the main highlights of the festivals is the “Trash Fashion Show” that showcased island models wearing costumes and outfits designed from recycled trash.

Trash Fashion Show models at the 2018 Kona Brewers Festival.

And yes, there was at least one wardrobe malfunction during the fashion show.

Ah yes, even Sesame Street Characters were involved…

 

Rooster Farmers Flock to Council Meeting, Bill Dies

Hawai’i County Council Bill 112, Relating to Rooster Farms, was heard at the Hawai’i County Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Hawaii County Council Chamber.

Irate rooster farmers showed up in full force to provide their testimony against the bill presented by Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara.

Overflow crowd at the Hawai‘i County Council chamber.

The bill died a short death after no other council members would second the bill.

Residents on Councilwoman O’Hara’s email list received the following email after the bill was not seconded:

Sorry to say, but the Council Chair had made up her mind on this issue long ago and today’s hearing was set up to fail. The County Clerk’s office didn’t bother to send out the 77 supportive written testimonies which were sent in on time until after the end of the business day yesterday. We only had 26 written testimonies in opposition. None of the councilmembers read them. The councilmembers already had their minds made up. Quantitatively, there were more supportive testimonies than opposed, but given the emotional pitch of the rooster farmers in the room, none of the other councilmembers showed any sympathy for the excellent testimonies provided by supporters because none were “local”. I know some locals who supported the bill, but who were afraid to testify for fear of retribution.

I got personally attacked by several testifiers because they claimed I hadn’t consulted with them even though I went to HPP with copies of the Bill fresh off the press for their Feb. 25th member meeting knowing the rooster farmers would show up. HPP staff, Ms Bronson-Crelly, put the issue last on the agenda and didn’t bother to notify my office, but I got wind of it. Waited 3.5 hours to talk with them and they just started yelling and making threatening remarks so had to leave.

Sorry, but the County prefers to ignore the problems of Puna as out of sight, out of mind. Meantime, the rooster farmers stormed into the Dem Party’s District 4 meeting last week and elected themselves to all precinct and state delegate positions. Now that they’ve defeated this bill, I don’t expect to see them again at a political caucus. Kind of like the millennials that stormed in two years ago to support Bernie, but who left the party as soon as he didn’t win the primary.

The bill died. None of the councilmembers would second a motion to pass it on. That may be best as the rooster farmers were revved up to a frenzy and if it had continued, I would have grown tired of checking in my rear view mirror to see who might be following my car home. Very intimidating.

I came home to Pāhoa to find my two banners that owner William Quinn allowed me to put up at the feed store gone…..that’s $60 I just paid to stand against the rooster farmers. I hope this attempt won’t de-rail my attempts to get re-elected, as there are other ways to tame the beast and other fish to fry to help Puna along.

Mahalo for the support provided and sorry to report such a callous shrug off by the County Council,

Eileen O’Hara, Councilmember

Hawaii County Council, Dist 4

(808) 965-2712

KTA Beer Sampling & Customer Appreciation Day

KTA Puainako Store will host “Customer Appreciation Day” on Saturday, March 10.

KTA Super Stores is offering three events this week that are open to the public.

Beer tastings will be held at KTA Keauhou on Thursday, March 8, 2018, between 3 and 6 p.m. and at KTA Kailua-Kona on Friday, March 9, 2018, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Maui Brewing Company will be sampling their handcrafted beers at these locations during that time period. Samplers need to be 21 or older and ID is required.

KTA Super Stores also invites the public to its Customer Appreciation Day at the Puainako Store located at 50 E. Puainako St. on Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be food samples, balloons, games, prizes and more.

Free Concert: Tribute to Kamehameha III

The public is invited to free concert celebrating the 18th Annual Tribute to Kamehameha III, a celebration for Ka Lani Kauikeaouli at the place of his birth, Keauhou.

Help honor the life and legacy of a great lāhui leader who declared “He aupuni palapala—Mine is a kingdom of literacy” and whose support of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi continues to inspire us today.

The free ‘Aha Mele will be on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 3 to 9 p.m. on the Hawai‘i Lawn at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The concert features Emcees Jaz and Ka‘ea of KAPA Radio; ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, Kainani Kahaunaele, Hammah-Jang and others will perform.

There will be a vendor marketplace showcasing crafts, apparel and local artists.

A free shuttle is available from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Keauhou Shopping Center. Mats and beach chairs welcomed. No coolers allowed.

Donations to Nā Kālai Wa‘a will be accepted.

Zonta to Honor Hirono & Community Leader with Rose Award

The Zonta Club of Hilo will honor Sen. Mazie Hirono and community leader Irene Nagao with its biennial “Rose Award of Excellence” on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Ballroom. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., dinner and program starts at 5:30 p.m.

The Zonta Rose Award of Excellence recognizes women who have made a significant impact on the lives of others through their employment, volunteer activities and associations. The award is part of Zonta International’s observance of International Women’s Day and Zonta Rose Day. Zonta’s mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.

“We are proud to celebrate Sen. Hirono’s work to improve the quality of life for humanity across the globe and Irene’s efforts here at home to help those who need a second or third chance at life,” said Julie Tulang, Zonta Hilo service chair. “Both women have gone above and beyond in service to the local and global community, and truly embody Zonta’s mission to empower women.”

Sen. Hirono has led a life of public service. From working to protect victims of domestic violence to extending protections for Filipino veterans of US military, Sen. Hirono is a fierce advocate for Hawaii, women, children and immigrants in Congress. Nagao, president of Going Home Hawai‘i, has convened public and private groups to support programs for youth as well as those experiencing traumatic loss or integrating back into the community from incarceration.

A limited number of tickets, which includes dinner, are available; $55 a person, or $550 for a sponsor table of eight. Purchase tickets at ZontaRose2018.eventbrite.com by Monday, March 12, 2018. For more information email info@zontahilo.org.

Clinic Set to Spay/Neuter 500–700 Cats; Volunteers Sought

Hui Pono Holoholona is seeking volunteers on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the Eagles Lodge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help with preparations for the upcoming Animal Balance Mash Clinic happening Wednesday through Sunday, March 21 through 25, 2018, in Hilo.

The intent of the clinic is to spay and/or neuter 500 to 700 cats for free.

On Thursday, March 8, volunteers will be cutting and folding surgical drapes, cutting sheets to cover humane traps, and much more.

The Hui is also volunteers to please donate towels and sheets. Volunteers can help out for an hour or two or all day, however they are asked to bring their own lunch.

To find out more information, call (808) 769-1128 or go online. The Eagles Lodge is located across from Kea’au Humane Society on Highway 130.

To find out more about the Animal Balance Program, click here.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Kamāmalu Street

The County Highway Maintenance Division will begin resurfacing work on the Kamāmalu Street roadway from the intersection with Māmalahoa Highway to the Kamanawa Street intersection on Monday, March 5, 2018, and is estimated to be completed on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Working hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

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

The lane closures are necessary to complete the roadway resurfacing work in a timely manner and for the safety of the workers and the traveling public. Special off-duty police officers will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

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, contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

Hōkūleʻa to Make Historic First Sail into Pearl Harbor

For the first time in Hōkūleʻa’s 42-year history, the legendary canoe will sail into the waters of Pearl Harbor and visit the Puʻuloa region. The crew will be welcomed at Rainbow Bay Marina on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m. by the Puʻuloa community and US Navy who are hosting the canoe. The week-long engagement to follow will include school visits, public dockside tours and a crew talk story event. As part of the Mahalo, Hawaiʻi Sail, the purpose of Hōkūleʻa’s visit is to bring the canoe to more of Hawaiʻi’s children, honor Pearl Harbor’s ancient culture and history, and to learn about the efforts to restore the area’s cultural sites including Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond.

Hōkūleʻa entering Magic Island on Oʻahu in front of Diamond Head after a three year worldwide voyage. PC: Nikki Schenfeld

When Hōkūleʻa enters the waters of Pearl Harbor for the first time on Saturday morning, the crew will pay respects as she sails by significant cultural and historical sites including Halealoha Halemau (Fort Kamehameha Reburial Platform), USS Nevada, Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri, Ford Island, USS Utah, and Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond before making her arrival at Rainbow Bay Marina. The crew also will spend a day working with the restoration team at Loko Paʻaiau Fishpond on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The Loko Paʻaiau fishpond is located at McGrew Point Navy housing and is one of only three fishponds out of an original 22 in the Pu’uloa area which are still relatively intact. In September 2014, the Navy invited members of the local Hawaiian civic clubs and ʻAiea community members to begin work on restoring the historic fishpond.

“We want to celebrate this place and the movement taking place by the Puʻuloa community and the Navy to restore the Native Hawaiian history, sites and cultural identity of Pearl Harbor,” said president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson. “We hope Hōkūleʻa’s visit will open the doors for our young people to learn about the extraordinary history and culture of this very special, sacred place,” he added.

More than 1,000 school children are scheduled to visit Hōkūleʻa and participate in educational activities during her stop at Puʻuloa.

Hōkūleʻa will be greeted at Rainbow Bay Marina with traditional Hawaiian protocol and a military welcome. The event is open to the public and $1 parking will be available at Aloha Stadium. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and water. Hōkūleʻa will be open for public dockside canoe tours on Sunday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday through Friday, Feb. 12, through Feb. 16, 3 to 5 p.m.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 to 7 p.m., the public is also welcome to attend a Hōkūleʻa talk story event featuring crew and community members who will discuss the significance of Hōkūleʻa’s visit to the Puʻuloa to Ewa region.

“We want to thank the Puʻuloa community, Aliʻi Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club, Kapolei Hawaiian Civic Club, Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club, the US Navy and Kamehameha Schools ʻEwa Region for inviting Hōkūleʻa to visit Puʻuloa to learn more about the great work and rich history in this cultural location and allowing us the opportunity to connect with more schools in this region,” said Thompson.

“We welcome the navigators of Hōkūleʻa. Many are military veterans or have strong family ties to our armed forces,” said commander of Navy Region Hawai‘i and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Rear Adm. Brian Fort. “I have great respect for the courageous navigators of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and for the values they live by: love of the ocean, care for a sustainable environment, appreciation of history and heritage, and commitment to educating the next generation. And I join with the rest of our community in thanking the navigators for sharing their time, talents and wisdom with us and our neighbors at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.”

“Hōkūleʻa’s visit to Puʻuloa fills our hearts with profound gratitude and love,” said Winston Kalina Lum, Sr., Aliʻi Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club board member and genealogical descendant of the early inhabitants of ʻAiea, Kalauao and Keʻehi. “It has been hundreds of years since a voyaging canoe last landed on our shores. As our community works together to preserve our cultural sites and educate our children, the canoe’s presence reminds us that we, too, can bring peace and Aloha to the planet,” he added.

Below is a schedule of events for Hōkūleʻa’s Pearl Harbor/Puʻuloa visit, an official stop on Hōkūleʻa’s Mahalo Hawaiʻi, Sail. For the most up to date information, visit online.

Mahalo Hawaiʻi, Sail, Pearl Harbor/Puʻuloa Schedule of Events (*Dates and time are dependent on safety and weather):

Hōkūleʻa Arrival Ceremony
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 10 a.m.
Rainbow Bay Marina
Hōkūleʻa and her crew will arrive at Rainbow Bay Marina and will be greeted with Hawaiian cultural protocol followed by a military welcome.

Public Open House Tours of Hōkūleʻa
Rainbow Bay Marina
Sunday Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekdays Feb. 12 to 16, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hōkūleʻa Crew Talk Story (Sponsored by Kamehameha Schools ʻEwa Region)
Rainbow Bay Marina Pavilion
Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 to 7 p.m.
Meet crew and community members who will discuss the significance of Hōkūleʻa’s visit to the Puʻuloa to ʻEwa region.

Saturday Feb 17, 7 a.m., Hōkūleʻa departs Rainbow Bay Marina

Waimea Town Meeting to Focus on Medical Cannabis

California State University file image.

Representatives of Hawaiian Ethos have been invited to a Waimea Community Association (WCA) Town Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at 5:15 p.m. to provide an overview of their plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawai‘i Island patients.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Hawai‘i since 2000, but access to medical cannabis was challenging. Initially the Hawai‘i law enabled patients and caregivers to legally grow their own plants within certain parameters. Then in 2015, the State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Act 241, which became codified as Chapter 329D of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, to establish a dispensary licensure program to make medicinal marijuana products readily available for registered patients while balancing the health and safety of patients and the public.

Today in Hawai‘i, eight licensees have received permission to operate dispensaries for licensed medical cannabis patients. Two such licensees have been authorized for Hawai‘i Island – including one group that will source its flower from Waimea. One of the companies, known as Hawaiian Ethos, has plans to open their first dispensary in Kona in the Spring and a second dispensary in Hilo later this year. Both dispensary locations will offer the full range of products that are allowed by Hawai‘i State regulations including flower, tinctures, tablets and capsules in a variety of dosages.

The Hawaiian Ethos team is led by Interim CEO Luis Mejia and COO Zachary Taffany.

Representatives of Hawaiian Ethos have been invited to a Waimea Community Association (WCA) Town Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at 5:15 p.m. to provide an overview of their plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawaii Island patients.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has regulatory responsibility for Hawai‘i’s dispensary licensure program to ensure patient safety, public safety, and product safety and to ensure licensee comply with state law. This includes statewide oversight of the laboratories that test the safety and quality of the cannabis and manufactured cannabis products, and onsite inspections and monitoring of licensed dispensaries that grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis products to qualifying patients.

There is no charge to attend the meeting although membership in the association is urged and dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and because the organization is a not-for-profit, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

The program will begin with Hawai‘i County council members providing an update on council business and Community Policing Officer Kelena Ho‘okano reporting on recent incidents and community safety concerns.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be North Hawai‘i Community Hospital’s much needed emergency room expansion project which seeks to raise about $1 million from the local community to be matched with $24 million from other public and private sources, including $1.5 million from the 2018 State Legislature. As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit organization.

Starbucks will provide steaming hot coffee and the association board will provide cookies.

The meeting will be located at the Waimea School cafeteria, 67-1225 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.

For more info see the website, Facebook, or call Patti Cook at (808) 937-2833 or email cookshi@aol.com.

LETTER: Police Citations on Day of False Alarm

For anyone who received a cell phone citation on the day of the false ballistic missile attack.

What followed after 8:07 a.m. on January 13, 2018, was a day full of fear, anxiety, and confusion. Our office has become aware that many drivers were cited that morning during a Hawaii Police Department program during the minutes after the false alarm notification. It is my belief that that minutes after the false alarm was not the appropriate time to resume strict enforcement of a program that issues harsh and expensive $297 fines for everyone using a mobile device while driving.

While many residents were ticketed for driving while using a cellphone in Hilo, I would like to assist all drivers who were cited for trying get accurate information and communicating with loved ones during the anxiety laden morning:

For those drivers cited who can not afford a $297 fine:

1. I would recommend every driver cited to write to the Traffic Court, explaining the circumstances of this traffic violation citation and asking for your citation to be dismissed.
2. If you don’t get a communication in response, or your request is denied, I would recommend asking for a court appearance first, before paying any fine.
3. If you would like, I am willing to provide you a letter to read into the Court record or hand to the Traffic Court Judge explaining the extraordinary situation that morning and asking for leniency, this one time. To get the letter, I would need a photocopy of your citation for verification. It can be sent to my office at 25 Aupuni St. Hilo, 96720. I could even photocopy it for you, at my office.
4. You can ask for community service in lieu of a monetary fine. There are alot of needy nonprofit organizations out there that can use skilled volunteers.
5. If enough drivers request it, I would be willing to schedule a meeting with Police Chief Paul Ferreira on this matter. Again, I would need your written permission and a copy of your violation notice, for reference.

Councilmember Jen Ruggles

Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.

Shan Tsutsui to Resign as Lieutenant Governor

Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective Jan. 31, 2018. Photo Courtesy

Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective Jan. 31, 2018. He will be returning to Maui and will be joining Strategies 360, a public affairs, strategic communications and research firm with offices in Hawaii, 11 other Western states and Washington D.C as a Senior Vice-President.

His statement follows:

“With a grateful, yet heavy heart I am announcing today that I will be resigning as the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi, effective January 31, 2018. Over the past 15 years, it has been my honor and privilege to have served the people of Hawaiʻi, first as a State Senator from Maui and Senate President, and currently as your Lieutenant Governor. Throughout that time, I have always been mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with public office. I have greatly appreciated the trust and confidence that was bestowed upon me and have done my best to build a better Hawaiʻi through collaboration and hard work, while honoring our shared core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

As Senate President, I was fortunate to draw upon my many years in the Senate and the relationships that I had established to exhibit a collaborative style of leadership, and I did my best to ensure that all Senators were respected and heard. As your Lieutenant Governor, I have continued to work cooperatively with leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as members of the public, with that same level of respect and attention. During this time, I am proud to have established the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) initiative to support after-school programs for middle and intermediate public school students. As a father, I was especially concerned with ensuring that middle school students engage in positive activities and relationships during hours when many are left unsupervised because their parents are working. Since 2013, R.E.A.C.H. has invested approximately $2.75M in more than 40 public middle and intermediate schools, including charter schools, statewide, reaching thousands of students. Funds have helped to provide robotics programs; hula, ukulele, music and other dance lessons; basketball, soccer, wrestling and other sports; cooking, fishing, art, and hydroponics; and many other clubs and programs. Participating students have shown improved attendance, attitude, behavior and even grades.

Additionally, I was excited to have taken the reigns of the Farm to School Initiative, which we have developed into the “‘Aina Pono: Hawai‘i’s Farm to Cafeteria Initiative,” to increase the purchase and consumption of local food in our school cafeterias. With an enthusiastic team of advisors and ‘doers,’ along with support from the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, private partners such as The Kohala Center, and many other generous donors, a burgeoning pilot project was launched to infuse local foods and flavors into our school menus, while providing healthier options for our keiki. As the project continues to grow and expand throughout the State, the effects will have a lasting impact on our keiki, the agriculture industry, and the state’s procurement processes.

Throughout my time in office, it has been an absolute pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet so many talented and inspiring individuals. I have witnessed firsthand the many hardworking families who fight traffic in their daily commutes, while holding down multiple jobs to provide a better life for their keiki; the bright, dedicated students who not only excel in Hawaiʻi but can also compete with their counterparts nationally; and the small businesses and farms using innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to revitalize family businesses. You have all inspired me and helped to make me a better person and leader. I will cherish these experiences and lessons and carry them with me throughout my life.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Hawaiʻi for the opportunity to have served you all these years. Truly, I have been blessed with the support of so many individuals, family and friends. I especially thank my incredible family—my wife, children, parents and extended ohana for their tremendous love, support and many sacrifices over the years. I would like to thank Governor Ige for the privilege of serving in his Administration. To Neil and Nancy, Lyndelle and I thank you for your friendship and kindness and the love you have shared with our daughters. I also send my aloha to my former colleagues in the Legislature and the tens of thousands of public employees throughout the State for their hard work and dedication to the people of Hawaiʻi. Finally, a big mahalo to my staff and security for your unwavering devotion and enduring commitment to the office and to helping me best serve the people of the State. Your hard work did not go unnoticed, and I will be forever grateful to each of you.

In his remarks commemorating the 75th Pearl Harbor anniversary, President Barack Obama noted, ‘we cannot choose the history that we inherit. But we can choose what lessons to draw from it, and use those lessons to chart our own futures.’ Accordingly, it’s my hope that we will continue to acknowledge the rich history of our State, and remain grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of generations past; that we will explore new ways to invest in our residents, businesses, and communities to make them more sustainable, competitive, and economically robust. And as I leave public service, I look forward to continuing to be a part of Hawaiʻi’s future and helping to forge a new path that honors our shared beliefs and my continued commitment to improving the lives of the people of Hawaiʻi.”

Strategies 360 is a Seattle-based company with offices in 12 Western states and Washington, D.C. The company offers targeted public affairs, strategic communications and research services to position its clients for success.

Gov. David Y. Ige made the following statement on the resignation of Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui:

“It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that I learned of Shan’s decision to step down from his position as lieutenant governor. He has dedicated the last 15 years to serving the people of Hawai‘i. As lieutenant governor he has worked tirelessly on Aloha Stadium and the Farm to School Initiative in our effort to boost local food production in our state. I also applaud Shan’s effort to support after-school programs in our public schools. I wish Shan and his family the very best always.”

2018 Cherry Blossom Festival Lists Venues

The 25th anniversary of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival has a full lineup of free, multi-cultural performing arts and hands-on demonstrations, plus over 150 crafters and food booths on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Festivities are at various venues sprawling through the town’s center—look for pink banners identifying site locations. New to the festival is the Cherry Blossom Express—a Disney-themed “train” for small children offering rides at Church Row Park by Clarence and Gloria Yee of Hawi.

Festival parking is available at Parker Ranch Center, the soccer field across Church Row Park and along Pukalani Street. Festival shuttles offer free transportation among most venues 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawai‘i, though walking is encouraged among venues. A map of the shuttle route and festival venues is available in a detailed festival program available at each venue location.

Organized by members of the upcountry community and the county’s department of parks and recreation, the festival marks the blooming of the historic cherry trees at Church Row Park and celebrates the age-old Japanese tradition of hanami, which translates to ‘cherry blossom viewing party’. After a seasonal winter chill, the trees typically are blooming in early February.

The 2018 event artwork is Celebrating the Bloom by Waimea artist Anna Sullivan. Her original mixed media wood piece will be for sale—and appears on a limited number of $10 collector posters—at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery. Sullivan will be present to sign purchased posters during the festival.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. unless specified otherwise). Schedule is subject to change.

Church Row Park

  • Historical Cherry Tree Display: Waimea Lions’ Club offers a pictorial history of the cherry trees and serves as the festival’s official Lost and Found station. T-shirt sales.
  • Entertainment: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hula, Japanese dance, koto music by Darin Miyashiro, taiko drumming, lion dance.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bon-yu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Cherry Blossom Express: Train ride for small keiki.
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Browse Asian-themed collectibles, cherry blossom crafts, plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, nishime bento, chichi mocha and andagi.
  • Cooking Demos/Entertainment at Kamuela Hongwanji: 9 a.m. to noon, Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples, lion dance.
  • Origami instruction at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hands-on fun with Kikuko Kibe.
  • Open House at Kamuela Hongwanji: Rev. Shingo Furusawa explains Shin Buddhism rituals.
  • Food Sales: Imiloa Church and in park

Parker Ranch Center – Hwy. 19

  • Festival Entertainment Stage: In the back parking lot. Opening 9 a.m. dedication ceremonies kick off continuous entertainment until 3 p.m.: Bon Odori Taiko, Hula Halau Ka Noeau with Kumu Hula Michael Pang, Lion Dancers, Ira & Boy Varize, Darlene Ahuna and Patio Productions.
  • Craft Fair: Nearly 150 crafters inside Center and in the back parking lot.
  • Mochi Tsuki Pounding: Help pound mochi using 500 pounds of rice with the Kona Hongwanji Mission outside the Fireside Food Court starting 10 a.m.; samples.

Kahilu Theatre – Lindsey Road/Parker Ranch Center

  • Tea Time: In the lobby: Mauna Kea Tea provides tastings of Hawaii-grown and Japanese teas with local tea maker at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Performing Arts: On stage: Koto player and teacher Darin Miyashiro at noon; Shizuno Nasu of the Spiral Vision Company bringing traditional music and dance from Japan and the Cosmo Orchestra peforming the Sakura Shumphony, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Mana Christian Ohana Church – (Former Kahilu Town Hall) Behind Parker Ranch Center

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea Quilt Show: Display by six generations of quilters in the family of club president Cyndy Martinez; sewing novelties and craft fair.
  • New Car Display: Kama‘aina Motors

Historic Spencer House – (Next to Waimea Center) Hwy. 19

  • Japanese Collectibles: View a display of kimonos and collection of kokeshi dolls, plus learn about the 1840 Spencer House.

Waimea Historic Corner- Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents cherry blossom and spring-themed art, sales of $10 festival poster with artist signing, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages and food sales.
  • Waimea Senior Center: Cherry Bakeoff Contest at Waimea Senior Center. Entries must be submitted 8 to 10 a.m. and will be sold after winners announced at 10:45 a.m., along with other baked goods. Proceeds benefit Waimea Senior Citizens Club.
  • Waimea Preservation Association: Waimea Outdoor Circle heirloom seed giveaway, t-shirt sales
  • Thelma Parker Gym: Craft fair
  • Thelma Parker Library: Explore the effects of ultraviolet radiation on humans and Waimea cherry blossoms while learning how to protect objects from UV exposure during a NASA@My Library Activity 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes – Hwy. 190, Shuttle transport between Parker Ranch Center

  • Japanese Tea Ceremony: The Urasenke Hilo Association performs traditional chanoyu 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside Pu‘uopelu.
  • Hands-on Fun: Free, self-guided tours of homes, feather lei making
  • Keiki Paniolo Activities
  • Food Sales

W.M. Keck Observatory – Hwy. 19

  • Solar Scope Viewing: West Hawaii Astronomy Club and Keck provide solar telescopes for viewing the sun and answer questions. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kamuela Liquors – Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon to 3 p.m.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers.  For more information call (808) 961-8706.

Local Photographers Claim Awards at Banyan Drive Art Stroll

“Queen’s Bridge IV” by Stephen Davies claimed honors at the second annual Banyan Art Stroll. Photo courtesy of Friends of Lili‘uokalani Gardens.

Two local photographers have taken top honors in the People’s Choice category during the second annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll held on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Stephen Davies and Jared Goodwin were recognized for their outstanding work, taking home a $300 gift certificate from Akamai Art Supply and a $100 certificate from Cunningham Gallery and Picture Framing, respectively.

Davies’ work was his first contest entry, and marked a return to photography after a 30 year absence. His winning photo on canvas, “Queen’s Bridge IV,” now hangs at the Banyan Gallery. It was previously featured in the “Beauty of Lili‘uokalani Gardens” art exhibit at the Castle Hilo Hawaiian.

“My first camera was a Nikon F,” Davies said. “I worked with Michael Janis in Honolulu doing commercial fashion photography in the 1970s.”

After a career in the mental health field, Davies moved to Hawai‘i Island in 1998.

“I shoot with micro four-thirds cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic. Most of my work is colorful close-up abstract nature shots. I have a love for Lili‘uokalani Gardens and kept returning to this bridge,” he added.

Jared Goodwin’s “Path of Reflections” also won People’s Choice in the photography category. The image is featured on the cover of the 2018 Friends of Lili‘uokalani Gardens calendar, which includes photos entered by competition and judged by professional photographer Charles Wood. The same image was recognized by art judge Darrell Orwig for first honorable mention in the art competition. Goodwin’s work is on display at Banyan Gallery.

HVNP to Resume Normal Hours, Jan. 23

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has announced that it will resume normal operations at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, after the government shutdown that limited the park’s services.

As the government shutdown continued on Monday, portions of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park remained closed on Jan. 22, due to public safety.

Sheraton Kona Fined for Operating Without Permit

A Notice of Violation and Order against Kona Surf Partners LLC (dba Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay) was issued by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health for operating their “Da Dog House” food establishment without a valid DOH permit. A penalty fine of $20,000 was issued.

The company has 20 days to request a hearing to contest the notice.

On Jan. 12, 2018, a DOH health inspector observed the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa selling prepared food at their “Da Dog House” food establishment. At the time, “Da Dog House” did not possess a valid food establishment permit issued by the DOH as required by state law.

In addition, the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay posted a copy of their Convention Center food establishment permit at the “Da Dog House” site. It was determined the establishment had been operating illegally since Dec. 24, 2017.

“One of the most serious violations of the food safety code is operating without a valid permit,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager. “The permit process initiates the regular review and inspection of a food establishment to ensure compliance with basic health and safety requirements that provide standard protection against food illness.”

“In this case, the facility in question was operating without the requisite infrastructure needed to safely serve food which includes basic plumbing to allow employees to wash their hands,” Oshiro added. “The permit and inspection process ensures this and other basic food safety measures are in place.”

Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay is located at 78-128 Ehukai Street, Kailua-Kona.

For more information on the department’s food safety program, click here.