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Hawaiian Electric Companies Work to Restore Power – Lanai Still Without

In the aftermath of powerful windstorms that swept through the state on Saturday, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light crews continue their work today to restore service to thousands of customers who remain without power.

Photos via Francine Grace

Winds remain gusty across the islands today and more outages are likely.

According to preliminary assessments, damage to electrical equipment from the windstorms was some of the most widespread in years, affecting customers on each of the five islands served by Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light.

Presently, all 1,700 customers on Lanai are without power and are being asked to plan for an extended outage as crews work to safely restore power.

On Oahu, there were more than 100 separate outages in the past 24 hours, affecting about 100,000 customers. All but about 1,900 in Palolo had been restored by this morning and there are still dozens of localized outages across the island, including in Makaha, Waianae, Wahiawa, Manoa and Kalihi.

After high winds snapped or damaged 19 utility poles on Lanai yesterday, Maui Electric crews are continuing restoration efforts today. The estimated time of restoration for Lanai City is by 11 p.m. tonight, with the Manele area to follow by Monday evening.

On Maui, crews are working to restore about 560 customers in pockets of Upcountry Maui and Paia.

On Molokai, Hawaii Electric Light crews will arrive later today to assist Maui Electric with the restoration of power to a radio tower. Currently no other customers are out.

Hawaii island experienced scattered outages caused by branches in lines, affecting about 7,500 customers over the past 24 hours. The largest outage was in the Waimea-Kawaihae area affecting about 2,700 customers Saturday night. All customers on the island have been restored.

Customers are reminded to stay away from downed power lines since they could be energized and are extremely dangerous.

When lines from a utility pole fall to the ground, touch a guardrail or land on a car, please remember:

  • Do not touch these lines. Stay away from downed power lines – at least 30 feet or more.
  • Report downed lines immediately by calling Hawaiian Electric’s Trouble Line; the number is 1-855-304-1212, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help.
    • Don’t try to rescue the individual because electrical current can travel through them to you and you risk becoming a victim yourself.
    • Warn others to stay away.
  • Always assume downed power lines are energized and dangerous.
  • A downed line touching a fence or guard rail can energize it for several thousand yards and pose a hazard to anyone coming into contact with these structures. Don’t run away; instead, keep your legs together and shuffle away with both feet on the ground to a safe distance (30 feet or more).
  • If a power line falls on your car while you are inside, follow these instructions:
    • Remain where you are, if possible, and call and wait for help.
    • If you must get out of the car because of a fire or other hazard, jump free of the car, hopping with both feet together so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground.
    • Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 30 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
  • Never step down or simultaneously touch the ground and equipment that is in contact with the power line, as this will increase the risk of electrical shock.

Big Island Police Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred around 1 a.m. Sunday morning (January 22) in Papaʻikou.
While conducting checks for a late-model Toyota Tacoma and an early-model Nissan Altima that were reported stolen from a home in Pepeʻekeo, a South Hilo Patrol officer encountered both vehicles, as well as a light-green Honda Civic sedan, on Enoka Place in Papaʻikou.

As the officer approached the three vehicles and exited his subsidized vehicle, the driver in the Honda drove directly toward him. In response, the officer discharged his service weapon in the direction of the Honda’s driver, who swerved around and drove past the officer, fleeing the area. Immediately following the Honda was the Nissan. The Nissan’s driver was stopped and arrested. The Toyota drove up Enoka Place and was found abandoned.

The officer who discharged his firearm has nearly six years experience as a police officer and was not injured.

Police arrested 18-year-old Royden Kekoa Wilbur, who has no permanent address, on suspicion of second-degree theft. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

Detectives are also investigating the possibility that the Honda involved in this incident may be the same Honda that was reported stolen from a shopping center on Makaʻala Street earlier in the evening and are checking nearby businesses for video footage. The Honda stolen from Makaʻala Street is described as a turquoise 2000 Honda Civic four-door sedan bearing license plate ZDH 926.

Police have initiated an attempted first-degree murder investigation, as well as an additional second-degree theft case and an attempted second-degree theft case.

As is standard practice in any police shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Police ask anyone who observed a light-green Honda Civic on Route 19 shortly after 1 a.m. to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Sandor Finkey at 961-2384 or sandor.finkey@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

National Park Service Rangers Seeking Witnesses to Fatal Accident

National Park Service rangers are seeking witnesses to a fatal two-vehicle accident that occurred on Highway 11 at the Nāmakanipaio Campground intersection in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday afternoon.

Nāmakanipaio Campground (NPS Photo)

Witnesses to the accident are asked to call Park Dispatch at (808) 985-6170, and may remain anonymous.

Rangers reported that a white Hyundai Elantra and a blue Toyota Scion were involved in the traffic accident about 1 p.m. The driver of the Hyundai, a 65-year-old man from New Jersey, was fatally injured. The other driver, a 33-year-old local male, was transported to Hilo Medical Center by ambulance.

Rangers and bystanders performed CPR on the 65-year-old male, then a medic unit from the Hawai‘i County Fire Department arrived and took over patient care. The man was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.

Both men were the sole occupants of their vehicles.

The accident caused a complete closure of Highway 11 between mile markers 32 and 34 for several hours Saturday afternoon while officials investigated the scene. Both lanes of the highway were open by 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Hawai‘i County Police Department is aiding the NPS in the investigation.

The identification of the victims is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Pahoa Citizens Community Meeting – “We Take Back Our Town”

A lot has been said on social media about the fire that took Luquins Restaurant and the historic Akebono Theater in Pahoa last week and many folks are quite fed up with what has happened in Pahoa over the last few years with the increase in the homeless folks that have been attracted to the area.
A citizens community meeting has been scheduled for Monday, January 23rd at the Pahoa Community Center beginning at 5:30 pm.

Invited to attend are staff members from the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorneys Office, Hawaii County Police Department, Hawaii County Council Representatives as well as concerned citizens in general.

Hawaii State Environmental Council Releases Annual Report on Hawaii’s Sustainability

The State Environmental Council has released its annual report for 2015-2016 on Hawaiʻi’s environment. The report identifies environmental priorities for the State and makes important recommendations on measuring sustainability.

Click to view report

The Environmental Council is tasked with submitting to the governor and legislature a report on the state of the environment. This year’s report, which covers 2015 and 2016, discusses the status of Hawaiʻi’s progress towards a more sustainable future. The report uses the State Environmental Policy (Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes Chapter 344) to look at the common elements of Gov. David Ige’s Sustainable Hawaiʻi Initiative, the Aloha+ Challenge, and the Mālama Honua Promise to PaeʻĀina. These initiatives are then placed in a global context through a review of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the World Conservation Congress “Hawaiʻi Commitments.” The Environmental Council identifies the common elements of these sustainability approaches as: Ocean, ʻŌhiʻa, and ʻOhana.

“We are delighted to receive this report on the State’s environmental progress,” said OEQC Director Scott Glenn. “We greatly appreciate Environmental Council members working on this. They are all volunteers active in their careers and communities. This report helps make sense of the great sustainability efforts underway in Hawaiʻi and how they connect with worldwide sustainability.”

The report also continues the Environmental Council’s focus on the Genuine Progress Indicator for Hawaiʻi. The work of Dr. Regina Ostergaard-Klem of Hawaiʻi Pacific University and Dr. Kirsten L.L. Oleson of the University of Hawaiʻi is highlighted as a means of measuring our sustainability. The Genuine Progress Indicator complements Gross Domestic Product in monitoring our wellbeing in terms of economy, environment, and society. Moreover, there is an opportunity to integrate the Genuine Progress Indicator with the performance indicators in the Aloha+ Challenge to synthesize the various goals into a comprehensive metric that can be compared to Gross Domestic Product.

“The development of quantitative metrics, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator and the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, for measuring the State’s environmental performance, will help guide public policy throughout the State of Hawaii,” said Chair Joseph Shacat. “When fully implemented, these tools will provide additional context for the wise use of limited taxpayer dollars.”

The Environmental Council has several critical functions that affect the environment and development across Hawaiʻi. The Council is a liaison between the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) and the general public. The OEQC’s Director Scott Glenn regularly advises Gov. Ige on environmental matters. The Council also monitors the progress of the state in meeting its environmental goals through the publication of its annual report on the state of Hawaiʻi’s environment. It creates the administrative rules for Hawaiʻi’s environmental impact statement (EIS) process and vets state and county agency lists for actions that can be considered exempt from having to prepare EISs or environmental assessments (EAs).

The full report is available at: http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/.

Additional information about the Environmental Council is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/environmental-council/. The Council normally holds its meetings on the second Tuesday of every month.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin Voices Opposition to Two Presidential Nominations

Attorney General Doug Chin has joined five other state Attorneys General opposing the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for United States Attorney General and has joined eight other state Attorneys General opposing the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to become Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Click to read full letter

The letter opposing Senator Sessions’ nomination to lead the United States Department of Justice notes, “The Justice Department seal reads ‘Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur’: ‘Who prosecutes on behalf of justice.’ As state attorneys general—the chief law officers of our respective states—we regularly work with the U.S. Department of Justice. Senator Sessions has stood for policies antithetical to this core mission of the Justice Department. For these reasons, we believe him to be unqualified for the role of United States Attorney General. We join the thousands of individuals and organizations that have voiced their opposition to Senator Sessions’ appointment and respectfully urge you to reject his nomination.”

The letter cites Senator Sessions’ refusal to protect racial minorities and vulnerable populations and his rejection of bipartisan criminal justice reforms.

The letter opposing Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA says in part, “As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt made it a priority to attack the rules—promulgated by EPA to implement Congressional mandates—that EPA is charged with enforcing. This is not just a matter of policy difference; Mr. Pruitt has sought to tear apart the very notion of cooperative federalism that forms the foundation of our federal environmental laws. That cooperation makes it possible for states and the federal government, working together, to protect the health of the American people and the resources on which we depend.”

The letter cites Attorney General Pruitt’s multiple lawsuits seeking to block the EPA from fulfilling its mandates under the Clean Air Act as well as his continued questioning of human impacts on climate change.

The letter opposing Senator Sessions was also signed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine. The letter opposing Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination was also signed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, and Vermont Attorney General Thomas Donovan, Jr.

The letter opposing Senator Sessions’ nomination was sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein. The letter opposing Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination was sent to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper.

AG Multistate Letter to Senate Judiciary re Sessions

AG Multistate Letter to Senate Judiciary re Pruitt

Hawaii Representative Urges Community-Based Measures to Protect Coral Reefs

Napili Bay project to study oxybenzone-pollution prevention

State Representative Angus McKelvey reinforced his commitment to protecting Hawaii’s coral reefs by endorsing the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation’s upcoming study on strategies to manage oxybenzone pollution.

Oxybenzone is a chemical found in many sunscreens, and presents a serious threat to coastal coral reefs. Coral reefs are not just ecologically important; they are also highly valued by the tourism industry and residential communities. Evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of community-based management strategies is therefore important to a variety of stakeholders.

“I am especially happy that the Napili Bay foundation has been selected to conduct this study. This shows that businesses, community groups, and others share in the concern for our coral reefs,” said McKelvey. “Currently, no reliable data regarding oxybenzone-pollution management strategies exists.

Thanks to the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation’s proactive efforts, this critical information will be available to make informed decisions about protecting not only Napili Bay’s coral reefs, but also elsewhere across the globe.”

The study will determine the effectiveness of a multi-pronged public relations campaign to promote alternatives to using sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. It will encompass an environmental and demographic assessment pre- and post-campaign launch. Toxicity assays will be measured against two control sites, where no campaign will occur.

“As one who burns early and often, and is a skin cancer survivor, I know how important it is to protect yourself from the sun,” McKelvey said, “but there are many products that, along with sensible sun habits, can protect your skin and our reefs.”

Hokulea Re-Enters the Pacific Ocean, Sailing Towards the Galapagos Islands

Iconic polynesian voyaging replica Hokulea yesterday departed Balboa, Panama and began her sail to the Galapagos Islands. After making a momentous crossing of the Panama Canal, crews spent several days engaging in a cross-cultural engagement with indigenous groups and sharing the meaning of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Hokulea’s voyage to the Galapagos will take approximately 10 days.

“Hokulea is back in Pacific waters after nearly two years and the Galapagos will be the first Pacific islands we will visit on this journey home,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society.  “The Galapagos Islands will be an important mission stop where we will celebrate their sustainability efforts, identify parallels with Hawaii and bring attention to science, evolution and protecting the earth’s most fragile natural resources,” added Thompson.

A contingent of students and teachers from Castle High School, Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana will be traveling to the Galapagos to work with the crew of Hokulea. Students will join the crewmembers on their engagements and take part on an unparalleled educational journey in this UNESCO World Heritage Marine site.

Hokulea will stay approximately in the Galapagos for approximately one week before setting sail for Rapa Nui.

Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Cuts Water Use

Due to mandatory North Kona water restriction requirements from the Department of Water Supply, the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Kona Parks Maintenance Division has curtailed the irrigation schedule from daily watering to twice a week only at the following facilities:

  • William Charles Lunalilo Playground at Pualani (2 fields)
  • Old Airport Park (5 fields)
  • Honl’s/Wai’aha Bay Beach Park
  • Hale Halawai
  • Pāhoehoe Beach Park
  • Ali’i Kai Park
  • Harold H. Higashihara Park
  • Kona Hillcrest Park

The irrigation schedule was changed on January 12, 2017, the same day the water restriction notice was issued.

Although the restriction requires 25% reduction in use, the Kona Parks Maintenance Division water use will be cut by more than half according to the new schedule.  In addition, Parks District Superintendent Dennis Riordan says, “we will monitor our grass, and, if possible, reduce even more. We will also irrigate only at night, and closely monitor the showers, sinks and toilets for leaks.”

Parks and Recreation Director Charmaine Kamaka said, “The County of Hawaii wants to lead by example, and we are working with the Department of Water Supply to take proactive steps to reduce water use as much as possible.”

Big Island Police Renew Request for Information in 1996 Murder Investigation

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information or leads related to an unsolved murder investigation from 1996.
On August 12, 1996, the body of an 18-year-old man was discovered off a dirt road above the Keaʻau ball park at about 3:45 p.m. The victim was identified as Glenn Guerrero of Keaʻau. An autopsy determined that he died from a gunshot wound, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Glenn Guerrero

Detectives learned that earlier in the day and prior to the discovery of Guerrero’s body, witnesses reported seeing Guerrero in the passenger seat of a pickup truck that was leaving the area of the ballpark. Detectives have been unable to identify the driver or locate the pickup truck.

“Previous leads have since been exhausted and, despite the advances in forensic science technologies, this murder investigation remains unsolved,” said Lieutenant Gregory Esteban of the Area I Criminal Investigations Section. “We’re still hopeful that with the passage of time and changes in relationships, individuals may be more willing to come forward with useful information that may lead to a resolution to this investigation. The Hawaiʻi Police Department remains committed in its efforts to revisit and re-evaluate this and other unsolved homicides and to bring closure for the families of the victims.”

Police ask anyone with any information on this or other unsolved murders to contact Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380 or derek.morimoto@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

Hawaii Representative Issues Statement in Response to Zuckerberg Lawsuit

Rep. Kaniela Ing (D-South Maui) issued a statement in response to the controversy surrounding Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s 100-acre Kauai estate, and will be introducing legislation through his House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs to address issues with “quiet title” and “Kuleana Lands” law.

“Zuckerberg is using the same legal loophole that sugar barons have historically exploited to scoop thousands of acres of Hawaiian lands. Zuckerberg’s actions may be legal and slightly more transparent, but it doesn’t make them right,” Ing said.

“We need to look at this issue through the eyes of the families affected. Here we have the world’s sixth richest individual, with a team of the world’s best lawyers, suing you, then asking you to make a deal. Obviously, no matter how expensive, you will lawyer up too.”

Ing claims that in these cases, defendants typically spend more on attorney fees than any payout they may receive. “So in the end, you have a mainland billionaire exploiting our legal system, and bullying his way through local residents, all to build his beach playground. This is not the intent of the law.”

Ing said that the State should take partial blame, because of outdated Kuleana Land title laws. A major problem with Kuleana Lands is that over generations of inheritances, land is divided into such tiny parcels that are legally worth nothing and not worth fighting over, if records can even be found. But Ing says these incremental losses adds up, and that of the original 23,000 acres designated Kuleana Lands, only a few thousand remain.

Ing claims there are better ways to address the dispute. “I was always taught that when disputes arise, to approach folks with aloha, talk story, and try to ho’oponopono. In Hawaii, you don’t initiate conversation by filing a lawsuit,” said Ing. “If Zuckerberg truly cared about Hawaiian culture, and these families, he would (1) let them hui together as a trust, rather than fighting them off one by one, then, (2) he would pay for and enter mediation to reach a fair deal without litigation.”

Ing’s bill, which is being drafted and will be submitted by next Wednesday, will require just that. “My proposal is fair and will help address this and hundreds of other quiet title cases that are weighted too heavily for the plaintiff. It goes well beyond sympathy for Native Hawaiians, because it could happen to anyone. We must stop mainland billionaires from stacking money to tilt Hawaii’s legal system against local residents.”

Māmalahoa Highway Roadway Improvements – Iona Court to Mana Road

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will begin resurfacing work on the Māmalahoa Highway beginning at Iona Court and proceeding towards Mana Road on Monday, January 23, 2017 to approximately Friday, February 3, 2017.  Work is scheduled approximately between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, weather and construction condition permitting, and it may be occasionally modified to facilitate the work.

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 and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.  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, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaiian Electric Companies to Offer Discounted Medical Needs Rate

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will offer a special medical needs discount rate for customers of all three companies. This pilot is subject to Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval to go into effect on April 1, 2017 for two years.

Up to 2,000 customers dependent on life support equipment or increased heating and cooling needs due to a medical condition verified by a physician may save up to $20 a month on the first 500 kWh of energy use. Use above 500 kWh will be charged at regular residential rates.

“Everyone depends on electricity, but for some with special medical needs it can be a life or death matter,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “We believe most people will agree that providing a little financial relief for some of our neighbors is the right thing to do.”

Applications will be made available online, subject to commission approval, and will require a licensed physician’s signature. To qualify, a customer or a full-time resident in the customer’s home must be:

  • Dependent on life-support devices used in the home to sustain life or relied upon for mobility as determined by a licensed physician, including but not limited to: aerosol tents; apnea monitors; hemodialysis machines; compressors; electric nerve stimulators; pressure pumps; electrostatic nebulizers; and intermittent positive pressure breathing machines.
  • A paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic, multiple sclerosis or scleroderma patient with special heating and/or cooling needs.

Based on the number of applicants, the Hawaiian Electric Companies will determine whether to continue the rate after two years.

Residential customers with anyone in the home dependent on life support or emergency equipment are encouraged to inform their island utility of that fact by calling customer service today so they can be notified about future planned maintenance outages. However, because unplanned outages can occur, it is essential that customers with life support or emergency equipment needs make alternate plans should the power go out.

EPA Settlement with Matson Resolves 2013 Molasses Spill Into Honolulu Harbor

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Matson Terminals, Inc. over federal Clean Water Act violations relating to a September 2013 molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor. Matson has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $725,000.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Moore with the National Strike Force Atlantic Strike Team, handles a water quality instrument used to monitor depleted oxygen and pH levels in the Honolulu Harbor, Honolulu, Sept. 15, 2013. Personnel from the Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tested the water at various locations around Honolulu Harbor affected by the molasses spill. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

“Dockside facilities must ensure their operations do not pollute nearshore waters,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Honolulu Harbor spill affected marine life, coral reefs and kept residents and visitors from enjoying the city’s incomparable coastal environment.”

From September 8 to 10, 2013, Matson spilled approximately 233,000 gallons of sugarcane molasses into Honolulu Harbor during ship-loading activities. The spill occurred from a section of pipe that the Hawaii Department of Transportation found was leaking in 2012, and reported to Matson. The molasses discharge killed approximately 25,000 fish in the harbor and damaged coral reefs in the area. Matson no longer ships molasses from Honolulu Harbor.

Today’s civil action by EPA follows a January 2015 criminal action taken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office against Matson, in which Matson paid a $400,000 fine plus restitution of $600,000 after pleading guilty to criminal charges of unlawfully discharging molasses into Honolulu Harbor. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the restitution was divided equally between the Waikiki Aquarium to support coral reef programs and invasive algae cleanups and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to inspire local communities to care for coastlines through beach cleanups.

In 2015, Matson also reached an agreement with the State of Hawaii to cease transporting molasses through Honolulu Harbor, remove the molasses distribution system, pay for re-growing corals that were damaged or destroyed, and reimburse related cleanup costs.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival Names 2017 Venues, Artwork

The 24th annual 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 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at various venues sprawling through the town’s center—look for pink banners identifying site locations.

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.-3:30 p.m. by Roberts Hawaii, 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 on February 4.

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.

This year’s festival is dedicated to long-time event partner Roberts Hawaii and Guinness World Record holder Betty Webster of Waimea. Honorees will be recognized 9 a.m. on the main entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center. In attendance will be Governor David Ige, Mayor Harry Kim, Parks and Recreation Director Charmaine Kamaka and County Councilman Tim Richards. Awarding lei to honorees and dignitaries will be the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce 64th Cherry Blossom Festival queen and court.

The 2017 event artwork is “Mauna Kea Io and Cherry Blossoms” by Honokaa artist and nature enthusiast Pat Dinsman. The oil painting will appear on a limited number of collector posters available for $10 at the Waimea Arts Council’s Firehouse Gallery.

A quick rundown of festival activities at various locations follows (times are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. unless specified otherwise).

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: Hawaiian hula, taiko drumming and more 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bonsai: The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club offers a display and sale of bonsai, ongoing demonstrations and a clinic to discuss and work on the art of bonsai.
  • Asian Collectibles/Food Sales at Kamuela Hongwanji: Browse Asian-themed collectibles, lanterns made from recycled beverage cans, cherry tree seedlings and cherry blossoms in mugs; plus Asian foods: Inari sushi, chicken bowl, nishime bento, chichi mochi, andagi and prune mui.
  • Cooking Demos at Kamuela Hongwanji: Kona-Kohala chefs offer cooking demonstrations with free samples 9 a.m. -1 p.m. Also, Waikoloa Beach Marriott (WBM) teams up with its sister property in Japan, the Tokyo Marriott (TM), when local boy and WBM Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa partners with TM Executive Sous Chef Takashi Ogawa in a memorable demo.
  • Origami at Kamuela Hongwanji: Hands-on fun for all ages

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 and Kona Taiko, Christy Lassiter Trio, Lion Dancers, Enka Sisters, Darlene Ahuna, Aloha Kings & Poi Dawgz and Tai Shoji Taiko.
  • 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.
  • Meet & Greet NHCH: Talk to medical staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital near Lilikoi Café and find out about job opportunities

Kahilu Theatre – Lindsey Road/Parker Ranch Center

  • Cultural Demos: Ritual Japanese tea ceremony led by Emi Wakayama 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Performing Arts: Japanese and international music led by Annu Shoko Shionoya with vocalist Kauilani Trainer and Marius Stranger and dancer Shizuno Nasu; lyre harp by Miyuki Ikesue of Tokyo, flutist Yumi Kikuchi and vocalist Gen Morita at 10 a.m. Vocal and dance concert “Sakura Sakura” 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Art and Film: Contemporary art displayed by Susumu Sakaguchi of Volcano and “Hokulea: Malama Honua-The Voyager Exhibit.” Ikebana by Chikako Powers.

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

  • Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea’s 22nd Biennial Hawaiian Quilt Show: Extensive quilt display with the theme “Honor Our Past” and craft sale; members offer a “learn how” area and pattern tracing.
  • New Car Display: Vehicle display by IK Dealer Group at Hamakua side of parking lot.

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

  • Koto Presentation and Japanese Collectibles: Koto player and instructor Darin Miyashiro of Sawai Koto Kai Hawaii and the Hawaii Koto Academy performs the national instrument of Japan at noon. View a vintage wedding kimono and collection of kokeshi dolls.

Waimea Historic Corner-Hwys. 19/190 intersection

  • Firehouse Gallery Activities: Waimea Arts Council presents art with a cherry blossom theme, sidewalk chalk drawing for all ages, ikebana, doll exhibit.
  • Waimea Senior Center: Cherry Baked Goods Contest with community entries due 9:30 a.m. for 11 a.m. judging. Goods sold after winners announced to benefit Waimea Senior Citizens Club.
  • Waimea Preservation Association: Waimea Outdoor Circle heirloom seed giveaway
  • Thelma Parker Gym: Craft fair

Waimea School Field-Enter Lindsey Road/Back of Post Office

  • Waimea Homestead Farmers Market: Pop-Up Yard Sale from Cars with a portion of proceeds benefitting Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parker School-Lindsey Road

  • Waimea Town Market/Performing Arts: Outdoor market with fresh produce, food and artisan booths open 7:30 a.m.-noon with drum performances by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Kohala-Waimea at 10 and 11 a.m.

Pukalani Stables-Pukalani and Ala Ohia Roads

  • Kamuela Farmers Market: Museum open house, farmer’s market, craft and food booths, cherry tree planting 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

W.M Keck Observatory Headquarters-Hwy. 19

  • Solar Telescope Viewing: Keck and the West Hawaii Astronomy Club sets up solar telescopes for public viewing and answers questions 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the front lawn. 

Kamuela Liquors-Hwy. 19

  • Sake Tasting: Noon-3 p.m.

Ginger Farm- (old Anderson Homestead) MM 55 across from Puu Nani St. on Hwy. 19

  • Japanese Home Tour/Tea Tasting/Craft: Self-guided tour through traditional Japanese-style home and garden. Cherry tea is served and art students assist attendees to make a cherry blossom-hanging scroll. Petting zoo.

Kukio Hale Hawaiian Homes-MM 55 on Hwy. 19

  • Waimea Nui Farmer’s Market: 7 a.m.-noon

Waimea Country Lodge-Lindsey Road

  • Offering discounted rates on deluxe, superior and standard rooms, plus kitchenettes, during the festival weekend; ask for promo code “Cherry Blossom 2017,” 808-885-4100.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes-Hwy. 190

  • Free, self-guided tours of Mana Hale and Puuopelu from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Local Feather Hui offers feather displays and demonstrations.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is produced by the Hawaii County Parks and Recreation’s Culture and Education Section. Overseen by the park’s culture education administrator, Roxcie Waltjen, the festival is a community-wide effort by a dedicated team of volunteers, 808-961-8706.

Coast Guard Rescues 3 Boaters From Sunken Vessel Off Big Island

Three boaters were rescued by the Coast Guard after their 48-foot sailing vessel Bobo Link sank two and a half miles off of Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Wednesday.

Three boaters were rescued by the Coast Guard after their 48-foot sailing vessel Bobo Link sank two and a half miles off of Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Jan. 18, 2017. The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336), homeported in Hilo, safely recovered the men from their life raft and transported them to Kawaihae Harbor. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Rescued are three Big Island residents:

Steven Jenkins, 48-years-old, owner and operator of the Bobo Link
Brandan Jenkins, 23-years-old
Nathan Gibson, 43-years-old

The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336), homeported in Hilo, safely recovered the men from their life raft and will transport them to Kawaihae Harbor.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska (WPB-1336) USCG photo by PA3 Jacquelyn Zettles

“We cannot stress enough the importance of carrying and properly registering an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon which is ultimately what saved the lives of these men,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Peterson, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. “While the men also were able to contact emergency services personnel via cell phone, we strongly recommend boaters carry a working VHF radio in the event that cell service in unavailable.”

At 1:48 p.m., watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a hit from a registered EPIRB.

Minutes later, watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed call from the Hawaii County Fire Department notifying them that a sailing vessel, with three persons aboard, sank off of the Big Island.

Sector Honolulu diverted the Kiska crew already on patrol in the area to the scene where an HCFD helicopter crew was to provide oversight until they arrived.

No injuries were reported.

Hawaii State Senate 29th Biennium Legislative Session Convenes

Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate convened the 29th Biennium Legislative Session reaffirming their commitment to work collaboratively in addressing the state’s most pressing problems and ready the state to be sustainable and prepared for the future.

A photo from Senator Kahele’s Facebook page.

Today’s opening session commenced with an oli by kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao and included an invocation by Kahu Curt Kekuna, Pastor of Kawaiahao Church. The National Anthem was performed by Ms. Nalani Brun and Hawai‘i Pono‘i by Mr. Nick Castillo.  The Kahaluu Ukulele Band and Na Hoku Hanohano nominee Shar Carillo and Kaua‘i artists Loke Sasil and Shay Marcello also provided entertainment during today’s program.

Among the honored guests in the Senate Chamber were government officials from the Fukuoka Prefecture, Consul General Yasushi Misawa of Japan, Commander Ulysses Mullins, United States Coast Guard, Hawai‘i State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Governor David Ige, Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, and former Governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihe‘e, Ben Cayetano, and Neil Abercrombie, and mayors from the neighbor islands.

In his remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi pressed his Senate colleagues to work towards building our economy and creating educational opportunities for the younger generation in Hawai‘i.

Senator Kouchi recognized Chenoa Farnsworth, managing partner of Blue Startups, a Honolulu-based startup support program, for her efforts in supporting entrepreneurship and creating jobs to build the economy in Hawai‘i.  Farnsworth also manages the Hawai‘i Angels investment network, which has invested over $40 million in startup companies. She also co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai‘i-based venture capital firm that invested $50 million into Hawai‘i-based technology start-ups.

In highlighting the successes of Hawaii’s education system, Senator Kouchi mentioned Waimea High School principal and Masayuki Tokioka Award winner, Mahina Anguay. The Senate President said Anguay represents the best of Hawai‘i’s school administrators and under her leadership, a record number of students at Waimea High School are now the first in their family to attend college.

Senate President Kouchi also introduced Sarah Kern, who is currently a teacher at Wai‘anae High School. Kern was Valedictorian at Kaiser High School and graduated with a degree in Biology from Tufts University where she made the Dean’s List throughout her four years. The Senate President said Kern was a shining example of Hawai‘i’s young people who come home to pursue noble, but not necessarily high-paying careers, such as teaching.

“We need to create the economy to support all of our citizens,” said Senator Kouchi. “We need to support principals like Mahina and just as importantly we need to support teachers like Sarah who are on the frontline, so that we can create the educational opportunities for our young people.”

Senator Kouchi went on to say, “the only equalization that we can offer our children is a quality education to ensure that they get the tools and the skills to compete in the global market that they are going to enter.”

The Senate President introduced Mr. Kevin Johnson, the former Mayor of Sacramento and professional basketball player, whom he lauded for his work in establishing award-winning after school programs, reading programs and programs for the homeless.

Senate President Kouchi said he has been meeting with Johnson and hopes to work with him to address many of the concerns in Hawai‘i that mirror those of the Mayor’s hometown. “Our problems are not unique to the rest of the world. Where we have others who have found success why not find those who can help us solve our problems,” said Senator Kouchi.

The Senate President also referenced the Senate Majority Legislative Program which outlines the main themes for the State Senate.

“The Senate Majority Legislative Program serves as a guide as to where we will focus our work over the next sixty days and continue to build upon the work from the previous session,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English.

The public can access more information on hearings and session activities on the Hawai‘i State Legislature’s website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

UH Announces Finalists for Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Three finalists have been identified for the position of dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and director for Research and Cooperative Extension. The three finalists are scheduled to participate over a three-day period of visits on the Mānoa campus and the island of Hawaiʻi. The visits include department discussions; meetings with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and internal and external constituents; and a public presentation.

Nicholas Comerford, William Randle and Alan Sams

Campus and community members, as well as the general public, are encouraged to attend.

Campus visit schedule:

Nicholas Comerford, January 30–February 1

William Randle, February 6–8

Alan Sams, February 13–15

“We were fortunate to have received a strong pool of qualified candidates. I would like to thank the search advisory committee for their outstanding work in identifying these three finalists from the pool, and for their efforts and commitment to the search,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Bruno. “As always, we encourage UH faculty, staff, students and the public to come out and meet the candidates, and we look forward to receiving their input to assist in hiring the best person for the position.”

For more information about the search process, including a list of the members of the search advisory committee, the campus visit daily schedule and the candidate biographies, see the search website.

Lower Level of Kīlauea’s Summit Lava Lake Exposes Vent Wall

The summit lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater on Sunday Jan. 15, 2017 was about 50.5 m (166 ft) below the crater floor (vent rim). One of the most interesting things exposed by the lower lake level was the clear view of the thick, dark veneer of lava on the eastern vent wall (close-up shown below). This veneer formed when the lava lake level was high; lava next to the vent wall cooled and solidified, leaving “bathtub rings” as the lake level rose and fell.

HVO and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera, are visible in the upper left corner of the photo. (Click to Enlarge)

The black rock on the crater floor around the vent was created when the lava lake rose to the point of overflowing in April-May 2015 and October 2016.

Telephoto image of the lava veneer on the 50.5 m (166 ft) tall eastern vent wall; the lava lake surface is visible at lower left. The solidified lava coating the vent wall is quite thick. Parts of it have bathtub rings, but much of it is composed of lumpy protuberances that might have been small ledges at the lake margin or ramparts that formed around spattering sources.

If the lake level remains low, sections of this veneer will likely peel away from the vent wall and collapse into the lava lake.

In places, the dark-colored veneer of lava, or bathtub rings, have already collapsed into the lava lake, exposing older, light- or rusty-colored rocks in the vent wall. The lava lake surface is visible in the foreground.

The distance from the vent rim to the lake surface is 50.5 m (166 ft).

First Annual Hawaii Film Challenge

Hawaii Film + Arts International today announced their First Annual Hawaii Film Challenge, an international screenwriting contest open to a global pool of talent, and awarding three winners airfare and lodging for their creative team, as well as casting, production staff, and equipment support, and a 10-day shoot and production experience in Hawaii, culminating in an exclusive screening.

The competition is open to entrants 21 years of age and older, and is targeting short film scripts (10-12 minutes) from passionate filmmakers who want the opportunity to have their story produced.

“We created this challenge to give emerging filmmakers a once-in-a-lifetime platform for their voices, and to extend established talent the opportunity to have a truly unique shoot experience,” said Mark Blackburn, co-founder of Hawaii Film + Arts International, patron to several leading Pacific artists, and one of the country’s foremost Polynesian art scholars.

“Many filmmakers have a compelling story to tell, and even a tight creative team to realize it, but lack the resources to produce it,” said Sanford Hasegawa, co-founder of Hawaii Film + Arts International, and longtime staple of Hawaii’s visual arts scene. “That’s why Hawaii Film + Arts International is taking care of the big needs, such as casting and equipment, as well as the nitty gritty details that are essential to completing any film, like securing permits with the state of Hawaii. We believe excellent stories shouldn’t be buried, so we’re investing in them.”

Script judges will be members of the film and literary arts community, and part of the HFA team; scripts are welcome in any genre, from narrative and experimental to action adventure, comedy or documentary. Entries can take advantage of Hawaii’s versatile environment for shooting, which includes mountains to ocean, urban city streets to tropical forests.

Because professional film staff will be working in the challenge, there is a mentorship component unique to this contest, offering winners the opportunity to work alongside more veteran film staff. And in exchange for 100% IP rights, which will allow HFA to reinvest back into future challenges and filmmakers, winners will not only receive the HFC shoot experience, but ongoing entry of their films into festivals around the world, establishing long-term exposure of their work.

“With their films, winners will enter into a network Hawaii Film + Arts International is building with filmmakers and industry connections across the globe,” said Sanford. “Some of the world’s most iconic directors have shot in Hawaii, from Spielberg, to Michael Bay, to Guillermo del Toro. Now, it’s time to hand over the lens to new voices, and leverage everything Hawaii has to offer to bring their stories to life.”

About HAWAII FILM + ARTS INTERNATIONAL:
Hawaii Film + Arts International (HFA) is an international organization dedicated to creating events and opportunities for the people of Hawaii to tell their stories through film and the arts. The HFA team is passionate about the power of film and the arts to inspire and engage audiences around the world. By creating a mutual exchange between local and international filmmakers and artists, HFA serves as a catalyst for their work to reach a larger audience. From artist launches and film projects to events, HFA manages the creative, communications, logistical, and execution partnering with the right partners at the right time. All HFA projects have one thing in common. They are platforms for artists created by partners who share the same vision to bring the art of storytelling to life in a way that engages local and global communities.

To learn more about the Hawaii Film Challenge, visit www.hawaiifilmchallenge.com.
To learn more about Hawaii Film + Arts International, visit www.hawaiifilmandarts.com.