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South Kona Property Owners Receive Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Last week the County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works sent letters to South Kona property owners with tax map keys 8-4-004, 8-4-006, 8-4-008, 8-4-011, 8-4-012, 8-4-014, and 8-4-015 informing them of the Preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

The preliminary FIS analyzed the 10% (10-year), 4% (25-year), 2% (50-year), 1% (100-year), and 0.2% (500-year) chance of flooding events, or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) boundaries, and the Base Flood Elevations (BFE) in Hōnaunau, Keōkea and a small section of Kiilae.

The County of Hawai‘i will use the results of the study to amend FEMA’s FIS and Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

There are two phases to the study.  Phase 1 is for watercourses 13-20 affecting property owners in the tax map keys mentioned.  Residents along watercourses 1-12 and 21-25 are in phase 2 and will receive notices before the end of summer.

For structures in a Zone AE Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), flood insurance is mandatory for buildings with mortgages back by the federal government.  For structures in Zone X (outside of the SFHA), flood insurance is suggested but is not mandatory.

Preferred Risk

FEMA is offering a “Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension,” a lower cost insurance rate for properties recently mapped into high-risk flood zones on or after October 1, 2008 information here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/prp_extension_information.jsp

“Property owners currently paying flood insurance may find their property is no longer in a flood zone.  Others may find they are in a flood zone, “said Warren Lee, director for the Department of Public Works. “If the property is in a flood zone, we highly recommend purchasing flood insurance and taking advantage of the County’s ten percent (10) discount.

Owners who believe their property is not in the Special Flood Hazard Area, (SFHA) may contact Frank DeMarco (961-8042) the County of Hawai‘i Floodplain Manager or Carter Romero (961-8943) at the Department of Public Works Engineers’ division in Hilo, weekdays, from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  Maps are also available Engineers’ office in the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.

FEMA offers an online tutorial to walk the applicant through the stages to have a property removed from a SFHA. Click http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials/letter-map-amendment/letter-map-revision-f-tutorial-series-choose-tutorial

 

Big Island Police Identify Body That Was Found at Bottom of Cliff in North Kohala

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified a man whose body was found Friday (July 5) at the bottom of a cliff in North Kohala as 42-year-old Patrick S. Yamura of Hāwī.

HPDBadgeYamura’s body was found Friday evening at the bottom of a cliff near Kapanaia Point in North Kohala. He was officially pronounced dead at North Kohala Community Hospital.

Police do not suspect foul play. The case is being investigated as a coroner’s inquest. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Puna Chicks! Another Night of Comedy

Puna Chicks

Hawaii TechWorks to Host EasyBotics’ Robotics Workshop

EasyBotics is hosting an electronics workshop in association with Hawaii TechWorks. Participants will be assembling basic circuits using the Letry Robotics kit, which participants will be able to take home. If you like to build things or enjoy tinkering with electronics, this hands-on robotics workshop promises to be a great deal of fun!

Easybotics

The workshop will be held on Friday, 19 July 2013, from 10a.m. to 3p.m., at the Hawaii TechWorks’ Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) location, which is directly across from Rainbow Falls at 47 Rainbow Drive, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

For more information or to register, please visit http://www.EasyBotics.com/workshop. You may also call EasyBotics at (808) 238-4338 or email at info@EasyBotics.com if you have any questions or if you would like to volunteer with EasyBotics.

 

Insurance Division Reminds Public About Hurricane Coverage

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division reminds the public that with the onset of hurricane season, which began June 1, now is a good time to review your insurance policies to ensure your home, condominium and business is covered in the case of a hurricane-related loss.

Basic home insurance does not cover hurricane damage. Homeowners typically must purchase hurricane insurance separately. Also, not all wind damage is covered by hurricane insurance. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service must declare a wind-related event to be a hurricane for this coverage to become available. Banks usually require hurricane insurance as a mortgage condition.

Insurance Rates

Click to view rates

Hurricane policies will cover water damage resulting from wind-related impairment of the home’s exterior. One example would be if hurricane debris punctures the roof and rain water flows into your living room. Other types of water damage (i.e., storm surge, cascading water or rising streams) are not covered by hurricane or homeowners insurance. Flood insurance provides coverage for these other exposures.

“The last hurricane that hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and Kauai took the brunt of the damage,” said Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. “Hurricane Iniki caused almost $2 billion in damages, which is about $3 billion in today’s dollars. It can take just one major storm to cause severe property damage, and we urge you to be prepared.”

Please consider reviewing your policy and discussing the following topics with your insurance producer (also known as an insurance agent):

  • Did your producer list your home as single wall, double wall, or masonry?
  • Do you have hurricane straps or clips on your home?
  • Does your insurer provide premium credits for such mitigating devices and did your producer check for this?
  • How much is my home insured for?
  • Is it covered for replacement value or actual cash value?

All of these things can dramatically affect how much you pay for hurricane insurance.

Residents are encouraged to shop around for your coverage.  The Insurance Division’s premium publication for consumers is a “quick reference guide” that assists consumers in shopping for homeowners’ and hurricane insurance. The premium publication is available at: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/home_rates/home-insurance-rate-comparison.html

Additionally, after a loss consumers and businesses may have difficulty submitting a claim for losses because of a lack of proof of assets owned. When reviewing your policies, it is also a good time to take an inventory of your possessions. Take photos of belongings such as jewelry, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and even art work and decorations. Gather any receipts and serial numbers as well.  Keep this information in a secure area so you can access them for claim purposes. Make sure these assets are covered under your policy.

To assist in the inventory process, you could download the National Association of Insurance Commissioners app myHOME Scr.APP.book for iPhone or Android for assistance in cataloging belongings.

To learn more about the app, visit: http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_page.htm The Hawaii Insurance Division oversees the state’s insurance industry, issues licenses, examines the fiscal condition of Hawaii-based companies, reviews rate and policy filings, and investigates insurance-related complaints.

 

Females Lead Population Collapse of the Endangered Hawaii Creeper

Only 22 to 28 percent of the remaining adult population of the endangered Hawai‘i creeper (Oreomystis mana) found in the southern portion of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge is female, raising concerns about the birds’ ability to continue to propagate the species, according to new research published by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa scientists Leonard Freed and Rebecca Cann.

Hawaiian Creeper

Hawaiian Creeper

“Nesting is an energetically expensive activity, and females can incur more risks under increasingly challenging conditions,” said Biology Professor Freed.

Both male and female Hawai‘i creepers are olive green and have a short, straight gray bill and black mask.  The birds are endemic to the Island of Hawai‘i.  Creeping up and down koa and ‘ōhi‘a tree trunks and along the underside of larger branches, they feed on insects living under loose bark.

From 2001 to 2007, Hawai‘i creeper population declined by 63 percent throughout a 3,400-hectare open forest area at Hakalau Refuge on the windward slope of Mauna Kea, according to trend analyses by Freed and Cann.  The scientists observed the male-biased sex ratio along the elevation gradient in a formerly high density section of the forest, including a closed forest area study site that is considered more pristine, and found that it was associated with the population decline in the refuge’s open forest areas.  Hakalau formerly had the best population of creepers on the island…

More Here: Hawaiian Creeper

Statement From Asiana Airlines on Today’s Crash at the San Francisco Airport

The following information has been confirmed.

Asiana Airlines Flight OZ

Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214

Asiana Airlines flight OZ214 (Aircraft Registration HL7742) departed Incheon International Airport on July 6, 2013 at 16:35 (Korea time) bound for San Francisco. Only July 6, 2013 at 11:28 (Local time) an accident occurred as OZ214 was making a landing on San Francisco International Airport’s runway 28.

There were a total of 291 passengers (19 business class, 272 travel class) and 16 cabin crew aboard.  The majority of the passengers were comprised of 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese citizens, 61 US citizens, 1 Japanese citizen, etc. for a total of 291 people. 

Asiana Airlines is currently investigating the specific cause of the incident as well as any injuries that may have been sustained to passengers as a result. Asiana Airlines will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of all associated government agencies and to facilitate this cooperation has established an emergency response center at its headquarters.

At this point no additional information has been confirmed. New developments will be announced as more information becomes available.

 

Hawaii’s Open Data Bill Signing

Senator Glenn Wakai provided these comments about HB632 and the political process to take it from an idea to law.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xmCC_JsWE_w]

Click on picture to read more about the new law:

HB632

Click to learn more about bill

Male Body Found on Shoreline in North Kohala

The Hawaii Police Department is currently investigating a male body found on the shoreline rocks in the area of “Hapu’u” near Kapanai’a in North Kohala on the Big Island.

Hapuu

Situation Found at Scene:

Shoreline fisherman reported seeing a body on the shoreline rocks in the area of “Hapu” near Kapanai’a in North Kohala. Access to area is only via four wheel drive vehicles. On arrival of Hawaii Fire Department North Kohala units, they confirmed finding a lifeless male body approx 30-40 years 80′ down cliff on rocky shoreline.

Cause:

Undetermined. Under investigation by HPD.

Remarks:

Waited for HPD detectives to investigate incident. Victim found on shoreline rocks approx. 80 feet below a cliff where a unattended vehicle was found.. Due to terrain, rescue personnel stationed in Kailua-Kona also responded to assist in recovery of victim. Victim was then brought to North Kohala Hospital by HPD . At this time, cause of death unknown and is being investigated by Hawaii Police Department.

 

Paradise Roller Girls Honey Badgers Take 3rd in Battle of the Islands

Paradise Roller Girls’ All-star team the Honey Badgers took third place in last weekend’s Battle of the Islands derby tournament in Maui after defeating the Garden Isle Renegade Rollerz 172-112. “That game went really well,” Honey Badger Mealoha ‘Tsunamea’ Kraus said. “We were able to keep our heads level, work together, and execute some really good strategy.”

Honey Badgers Travel Team

Click to view members

First round elimination rules prevented the Honey Badgers from going to the finals after losing to Maui in the first bout of the tournament. The Honey Badgers dominated the first three quarters of that bout, but a series of penalties gave Maui the opportunity to come back and hang on for the win. Kraus said the “power plays in favor of Maui is what did us in there.”

A power play happens when one or more players on the same team are sent to the penalty bench for fouls, giving the other team’s jammers more room to score points. Honey Badger Rebecca ‘Reba SmackNflyher’ Hilbert said there wasn’t any one play in the tournament that stuck out above the others.

“So much happened I would not know where to begin,” she said. “To suggest that any one play be mentioned over all the others is impossible. The winning spirit of the PRG Team that went to Maui is what impressed me the most.”

Kraus said the biggest difference from the way the Honey Badgers played in this tournament compared to last year’s experience at Battle of the Islands on Oahu. “Now, we have a lot more strategy and work more cohesively as a team,” she said. “Playing our neighbor island leagues is a crucial way for us to continue to learn, no matter what the outcome.”

The Honey Badgers’ play Pacific Roller Derby’s Hulagans in their next regular season bout August 24 at the Hilo Civic Afook Chinnen Auditorium. For more information about upcoming events visit paradiserollergirls.com.

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league located on the Big Island of Hawaii. PRG’s mission is to promote a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community through the alternative sport of roller derby.

 

A “MOVING STAGE” – Peace on Parade in Honoka‘a

Taiko drums, marching bands, bon dance, jazz, rock & roll, hula, cirque performers and more—Honoka‘a town fills with color and music for the 7th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace, Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Peace DayStarting at a new time this year to coincide with the official International Day of Peace and Peace Day in Hawai‘i, the Parade steps off at 4 p.m. from Honoka‘a High School, as a “moving stage” of music, dance, colorful costumes and fun entertainment with a message marches down Mamane Street.

Pictures from the 2010 Peace Day Parade

Pictures from the 2010 Peace Day Parade

Afterwards, a free community Peace Day Festival takes place at the Honoka‘a Sports Complex from 5-8 p.m., with great local and ethnic foods, artists and crafters, live entertainment and a large community Bon Dance for everyone to join.  The Peace Committee of Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist temple, producers of the annual festivities, is now accepting booth applications from community groups, food and other vendors for the Festival.

2010 Peace Day Parade

Picture from 2010 Peace Day Parade

The Peace Committee is also planning the 5K “Peace Run-Walk,” “Read for Peace” programs in the library and school, a “Day of Mindfulness” and the popular annual Peace Poster Contest for students.  The contest is free to enter, and cash prizes are awarded to the winners in several categories.  Detailed information is available at: www.peacedayparade.org

Picture from 2010 Peace Day Parade

Picture from 2010 Peace Day Parade

The United Nations has been celebrating the International Day of Peace for more than 25 years, and Peace Day became law in Hawai‘i in 2007 as a result of lobbying by the teen group, United Junior Young Buddhist Association.  Proceeds go towards community services, including educational programs, charities, environmental activism programs and various peace initiatives year-round.

Peace

The 7th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace are presented by the Peace Committee of the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations.  The Peace Committee continues to seek additional support, information on sponsorship, contributions (including for the Silent Auction) and purchasing t-shirts is available at www.PeaceDayParade.org or by email info@peacedayparade.org.

 

Jazz Great Liane Carroll To Open 2013 Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival

One of the world’s foremost jazz artists, Liane Carroll, will open Hawaii Performing Arts Festival’s (HPAF) ninth season at the Kahilu Theatre on July 9. A perennial Hawai’i Island favorite, Ms. Carroll was named 2012 Vocalist of the Year by the British Jazz Awards, and has just released a new CD, Ballads, to rave reviews in the UK.

Festival

Following that concert, music lovers can experience Chee-Yun, the Korean-American violin charmer who performs with orchestras and festivals worldwide. Hilo audiences can take in a multimedia /string concert, and a raucous night of opera fun will take place at Huggo’s in Kona, plus three complete operas, a collaboration with Honoka’a jazz legend Gary Washburn, Baroque pieces and a Broadway review. Rising opera designer and director, James Darrah of last winter’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, returns. HPAF will perform at seven different venues all over Hawai’i Island in 2013. Many concerts will be free to the public.

Chee-Yun

Chee-Yun

An adjunct program of HPAF, Lifelong Singer 2013 is a program for adult singers of all abilities. “As far as we know, Lifelong Singer is unique in the world of singers and the only program of its kind.” states HPAF Artistic Director Val Underwood. From July 1-5 participants can study any kind of music—opera, jazz, pop, art song. The emphasis is on vocal technique, with lessons, coachings, master classes, and opportunities to perform. Liane Carroll will be in residence on July 4 and 5 to collaborate with students on song interpretation.

Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival offers ten free concerts, awards scholarships to young artists from Hawai’i, supports local food banks, and works with local nonprofits to provide free concert tickets to disadvantaged adults. Kids under 12 are admitted free to all concerts. .

A brand new membership society has just been announced, for music lovers who want to demonstrate their support on several different levels. HPAF is a 501[c]3 nonprofit arts organization

HPAF is supported by the State of Hawai’i Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Richard Smart Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, plus numerous generous individuals, private and family foundations. Volunteers and housing assistance are needed for the 2013 season.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org or call 808-333-7378.

Like HPAF at www.facebook.com/hawaiiperformingartsfestival.

Free Carcasses – DLNR and Division of Forestry Conducting Animal Control Activities on Mauna Kea

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), palila mitigation lands, and the Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawaii for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids.

Just a goat!

Just a goat!

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.

Control schedules are July 15 and 16, Aug. 28 and 29, and from September 3 to 6, 2013.

Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, palila mitigation lands, the Kaohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed BY PERMIT ONLY for animal salvage purposes on the following dates:

7 a.m. July 15, 2013 – 7 p.m. July 16, 2013
7 a.m. Aug. 28, 2013 – 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 2013
7 a.m. Sept. 3, 2013 – 7 p.m. Sept. 6, 2013

These actions are pursuant to Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 13-130-19 and 13-104-23(a)(3). The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.

The temporary closure is needed to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:

Locked 7 p.m. July 14, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. July 16, 2013
Locked 7 p.m. Aug. 27, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 2013
Locked 7 p.m., Sept. 2, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. Sept. 6, 2013

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office.

Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Kamuela Office at (808) 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. July 10, 2013, to 10 a.m. the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only. Applicants can have their names added to a stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed access. The driver, occupants, vehicle license plate, and make/model of vehicle are needed when calling in. A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed at the Puu Koohi location and 10 permitted vehicles at the Kaluamakani location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicle are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

Salvage locations are subject to change:

  • On Sept. 3 and 5, 2013, at Puu Koohi. Permittees must meet at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On July 16, Aug. 28 and 29, and Sept. 4 and 6, 2013, at Kaluamakani. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

Pualu Awards Tap Nine for ‘Working Together’

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) recently recognized nine individuals, businesses or organizations with Pualu Awards at its annual Installation and Membership Banquet at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Nick Sutton awarded the Chamber Member of the Year

Nick Sutton awarded the Chamber Member of the Year

“Meaning to “work together,” Pualu Awards were established in 1979 to honor those in West Hawai ‘i for their dedication and hard work in the community,” explains Vivian Landrum, Chamber president/CEO. There were nine winners in seven categories and they were chosen by an awards committee from nominations received by Chamber members and the general public.

The Community Education Award honors an individual or organization that promotes and supports education and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning.  There were two winners in this category.

The individual recipient is Wayne Iokepa, a staunch supporter of workplace mentoring and exploratory career options for high school students.  Under his leadership at Oceanic Time Warner, 22 students have participated in the Huiana Internship program. Through this model program, interns develop a sense of self worth, understand the career options and opportunities in this field and have the opportunity to experience a positive work environment in which coworkers respect, value and care for each other.

The business award in this category was for an educational tour program that hosts visiting school children from across the state. West Hawaii Explorations Academy ’s Aloha Kai Tour Project is a peer education outreach program hosting over 26,500 students since its inception in 1994.  WHEA high school students present on-campus mini science lessons to children on topics such as marine science, robotics, and endangered native plants. Students from kindergarten on up, and their parents and teachers, experience a novel approach to education that incorporates hands-on learning offered by students to students. This inspires intrinsic motivation and personal buy-in from WHEA students and ultimately creates poised and confident public speakers.

The Environmental Awareness Award taps an individual or organization that exhibits sensitivity and concern for the environment through innovative environmental practices and is awarded to Ann Goody.  Goody is described as someone “who has skills, patience, determination and commitment towards our fragile native wildlife environment as well as the desire for motivating compassion in children and visitors towards all living things.”

Three Ring Ranch Curator, Ann Goody, has provided a vital service to our island for over 14 years. Besides leading the way with innovative care for animals and birds, Ann offers educational programs to youth in our community, many of whom have gone on to become nurses, doctors, veterinarians, scientists and teachers. One pre-vet student said of Ann, “she teaches us all to be aware of the environment and how the environment affects the wildlife in Hawai’i . Her willingness to teach about the animals and the environment is something that I greatly look up to.”  By instilling a passion for the environment she fuels young people’s dreams and inspires them to become protectors of our natural environment.

The Business Innovation Award recognizes a business or organization that is committed to improving or enhancing employee’s lives, or exhibits creative product development, marketing or customer service. Kohala Zipline received this award.

Seeking to differentiate itself from its competitors from the very start, Kohala Zipline designed its aerial trekking course to be a complete experience, not just a ride or attraction. Through the use of interpretive elements, innovative course design and expert guides, guests are treated to stories and legends, conservation practices and a thrilling adventure.

Kohala Zipline designed its course to protect, retain and enhance the natural environment it was incorporated into, all the while incorporating the highest safety standards. Platforms are elevated and supported with minimal penetration and adjust with the growth of the tree. Guests are high above the ground, offering minimal impact     to an otherwise inaccessible area in the ahupua‘a of Halawa, filled with cultural and environmental significance. This unique activity has not only provided jobs for the Kohala region, but helps bring a steady flow of visitors to the area.

The Lifetime Service Award taps an individual who has made a lifelong commitment to the community exemplified by their personal and/or business achievements. This year’s recipient is Carl A. Carlson, Jr.

Carlson has dedicated his life to serving the best interests of Hawai‘i, both the state and the island.  As founder of Hu’ehu’e Ventures, he provided real estate consulting and agricultural property management services.  He served as trustee of the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust and served on the Boards of Parker Ranch, Inc and Waimea Wastewater, Inc.

He also served a term as chair of the County of Hawai‘i Board of ethics, served two terms on the Hawai‘i State Board of Agriculture, is a former member of the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation and the Hawai‘i Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.  From its inception, he served as vice president of the Kohala Center and currently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Kukio Community Fund, a charitable fund administered under the umbrella of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.  Carlson has twice served as Chairman of the Hawai‘i Leeward Planning Conference, twice been a board member of our Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, is a full member of the Urban Land Institute, and is a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Carlson represents the Island of Hawai‘i on the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents, serving as Vice Chair of the Board, Chair of their Budget and Finance Committee and sits on the Planning and Facilities, and University Audits committees.

The Visitor Industry Marketing Award is presented each year to that person or group who diligently works to promote the visitor industry in West Hawai ‘i. Congratulations to this category’s two winners, Linda Zabolski and Greenwell Farms.

Linda Zabolski, co-owner of Captain Zodiac, not only promotes her own company, but also serves as an unofficial ambassador for Hawai`i Island in everything she does. Linda singlehandedly established the first trade booth for the State of Hawai ‘i at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami/Seatrade conference, a premier trade show for the cruise industry. Due to her diligent efforts, HTA now recognizes the value and importance of this event for Hawai‘i, and participates as a key player. In addition, when the state considered levying extra fees on cruise ship tours, she actively fought and successfully defeated the measure which would have had dire consequences on cruise ship traffic to Hawai‘i. Currently, Linda is working with the Big Island Film Office on an innovative and unique social media marketing program designed to attract more reality television programming to our island.

The business recipient is Greenwell Farms.  As the fourth generation of this now multi-faceted agribusiness, these “farmers” have proven that utilizing savvy marketing and media technology can enhance your business as well as promote our destination.

Greenwell Farms organizes media, travel agent and industry familiarization tours from Hawai‘i’s major market areas as well as internationally. Travel writers and journalists who experience the farm first-hand share photos and write compelling stories in publications throughout the world, actively promoting the Kona-Kohala coast, Kona coffee and Hawai‘i Island.

Each of these national and international stories captures and communicates our island destination and a Kona coffee farm ag tourism experience to targeted audiences that translates to opportunities for increased visitor arrivals, longer stays and repeat visitors. Exceptional use of social media marketing tactics and a strategically developed website add to the conversations that lead to awareness, desire and intentions to visit our island.

The Culture & Heritage Award is awarded to an individual or organization that has exhibited, through its actions, practices that promote island traditions and preserves our multi-cultural heritage. This year’s recipient is Thomas Hickcox, whose unique life passion promotes traditional Hawaiian lifestyles.

Hawaiian culture is his passion. Sharing knowledge is his calling. The consummate cultural practitioner, Hickcox serves as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ahu’ena Heiau.  He is instrumental in continuing this 20 year old organization’s goal of preserving and maintaining ancient Hawaiian structures, foundations and burial sites and promoting the appreciation of Hawaiian history. Ahu’ena’s motto is Malama I Ko Kakao Ho’olina – Preserving Our Past, and recipient Tommy Hickcox lives to accomplish just that.

Chamber Member of the Year recognizes the individual who advocates, promotes and supports the mission of KKCC through active participation on committees, events, membership and/or community service. This year KKCC honors Nick Sutton.

Sutton was elected to the KKCC Board of Directors in 2010 and immediately became a valuable asset to the Chamber. In 2011 he took the position of Vice Chair for North Kona . He chaired the Ambassador Subcommittee for one year and then moved to Chair of our Membership Services Committee. He annually spearheads the KKCC membership drive, making it one of their most successful events, this year bringing in 19 new members from that one-day endeavor. What really sets this gentleman apart is his consistent promotion of the Chamber of Commerce. He truly is an Ambassador, as he represents the Mission , Vision and core competencies of KKCC at every opportunity. Not only officially, as he staffs their membership table at the Governor’s and Mayor’s luncheons, Building & Design Expos, golf tournaments, but informally as well, as he meets with business clients throughout our community. He continually shares the value of chamber membership and encourages those not already “in the family” to join the KKCC Ohana.

Hawaii to Receive $168,560 for Fish Habitat Conservation Projects

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Partners to Provide $12 Million to Undertake Fish Habitat Conservation Projects in 27 States

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are providing $12 million during the next three years to support 75 fish habitat conservation projects in 27 states, ranging from restoring submerged aquatic vegetation and oyster beds in Florida and New York to restoring degraded stream and estuary habitat for native fish in Hawaii.

Click to view entire list

Click to view entire list

“Together with our partners, we identified the 75 projects through the National Fish Habitat Partnership, a diverse coalition of public and private organizations that works to reverse declines in fish habitat through voluntary, non-regulatory actions,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “The projects will benefit aquatic species by protecting, restoring and enhancing stream, lake and coastal habitat as well as anglers by improving recreational fisheries. In doing so, they will also give a boost to local communities that benefit from the outdoor recreation economy.”

The National Fish Habitat Partnership helps Service biologists prioritize conservation work to get the greatest benefit for fish and other aquatic resources and ultimately for the American people. The partnership recently completed the first nationwide scientific assessment of the status of fish habitats and identified conservation priorities across the country.

To fund the projects, the Service is providing $3.17 million this year, with nongovernmental organizations, state resource agencies and other partners contributing an additional $9.45 million during the next three years.

Through the funded projects, partners will work in priority areas to restore stream banks, remove man-made barriers to fish passage, reduce erosion from farm and ranchlands, and conduct studies to identify conservation needs for fish and their habitats.  Expected results of the projects include more robust fish populations, better fishing and healthier waterways.  Many of the projects also are designed to help fish populations adapt to the effects of climate change and other environmental disruptions.

“Better fishing is a big benefit of these projects,” said Kelly Hepler, Assistant Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board.  “With better fishing come more tourism, tackle sales and other economic activity, as well as a better quality of life in local communities.”

Projects sponsored by the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership will restore submerged aquatic vegetation and oyster beds in Florida and New York.  The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture will remove barriers in Maine and Pennsylvania and remediate acid mine drainage in Virginia.  The Western Native Trout Initiative will restore habitat that is crucial to cutthroat trout, Gila trout and bull trout, all of which are imperiled.  Projects sponsored by the Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership will restore degraded stream and estuary habitat for native fish.

The list of projects can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/fisheries/whatwedo/NFHAP/documents/2013_FWS_funded_NFHP_projects_listed_by_State.pdf

Kona Crime Prevention Committee Recognizes Officer Justin Gaspar as “Officer of the Month”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Justin Gaspar as “Officer of the Month” for July in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (June 3) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona. Gaspar was honored for a traffic stop that led to arrests for multiple felony offenses.

Officer Justin Gaspar

Officer Justin Gaspar

On May 4, Gaspar was assisting another officer with a traffic stop near Honokōhau Road when he observed drug paraphernalia associated with crystal methamphetamine inside the vehicle.

After the two women occupants were arrested, a man in another car approached the scene and stopped. Officer Gaspar recognized him as someone with three outstanding bench warrants for his arrest and ordered him to stop and get out of the vehicle. The man reversed the car and sped away and then placed the car into drive and began speeding toward the officers, causing them to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. Other officers then stopped the car and arrested the driver.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the man’s car and found a glass smoking pipe and plastic packets containing crystal methamphetamine, along with a pair of brass knuckles. The man was arrested on the bench warrants as well as for two counts of reckless endangering, two counts of terroristic threatening, resisting an order to stop, driving with an expired drivers license, promoting a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing a prohibited deadly weapon.

In addition to this incident, Officer Gaspar investigated 32 incidents, one traffic accident and 29 miscellaneous public complaints during May. During the same time, he made 19 adult arrests and issued 33 traffic citations.

As “Officer of the Month,” Gaspar is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

9th Annual Health and Wellness Recovery Day

A small army of athletes from the Waiākea High School Football team spent their weekend going door to door collecting pledges to support the Big Island Substance Abuse Council’s (BISAC) upcoming Strong Man Contest, which will be hosted as part of the organization’s 9th Annual Health and Wellness Recovery Day on August 3, 2013. The all day event will be held on the Kamehameha Schools Kea‘au Campus from 9:00 am.

BISAC

Besides the Strong Man Contest, which will feature events like tire flipping and car towing, there will be a Move and Groove-a-Thon, a Health Fair with cooking demonstrations, giveaways, martial arts demonstrations and health and wellness promotions. The event will also have a Recovery Day Walk that is dedicated to honor and celebrate all those in recovery.

The football players’ efforts collected over $450.00 in pledges to support BISAC’s much-needed programs. “I’m truly grateful for all the players that came out to help me collect pledges for my participation in the Strong Man Contest,” said BISAC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “It really inspires me to see young people coming out to make their community a better place to live,” said Preston-Pita.

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives through substance abuse counseling in a non-threatening environment. For more information about how to support BISAC’s programs or about the 9th Annual Health and Wellness Fair call 854-2827.

Hawaii Makes Significant Gains to Rebuild Financial Reserves

With the signing of three bills, the State of Hawaii committed to making good on its past and future obligations. Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed several measures related to fiscal management that appropriate a combined $100 million to increase fiscal reserves and create a new statutory requirement to address long-term unfunded liabilities.

“Today, we are officially no longer a ‘pay as you go’ state,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The Legislature has joined this administration with the goal of moving our state on a path to deal with long-term unfunded liabilities that have gone unaddressed for decades.

Proposed as part of the Governor’s legislative package, SB1092 (Making an Appropriation to Recapitalize the Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund) and SB1094 (Making an Appropriation to the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund) direct a total of $100 million in general funds for fiscal year 2013-2014 toward paying back borrowed money from the state’s Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund and “Rainy Day Fund.” Each fund is appropriated $50 million.

HB546 (Relating to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund) requires the state’s annual employer contribution to equal the amount determined by an actuary beginning in fiscal year 2018-2019. The bill also holds the state and county governments accountable for said contribution by supplementing deficient payments with the General Excise Tax or Transient Accommodations Tax. It further establishes a phase-in schedule (beginning fiscal year 2014-2015) and a task force to examine the unfunded liability.

“This is a game changer; Hawaii will be the only state in the country where governmental employers have a statutorily required mandated funding course toward 100 percent pre-funding for post employment benefit liabilities,” said Finance Director Kalbert Young. “This is a clear message to financial institutions that the State of Hawaii takes very seriously building its financial capabilities to meet all of its financial obligations.”

 

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills Related to Energy and Technology

Focusing on two of his administration’s priority issues, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed several bills that advance Hawaii’s energy and technology goals.

Senator Glenn Wakai shared the following picture on his Facebook account

Senator Glenn Wakai shared the following picture on his Facebook account

Upon enacting four measures related to energy, Gov. Abercrombie stated: “We are removing unnecessary barriers to allow a greater segment of our community to invest in and benefit from renewable energy. These bills also improve the efficiency of the industry’s registration and reporting process, while encouraging greater openness and expanding protections for our local communities.”

HB811 (Relating to Energy Information Reporting) simplifies the registration and reporting process for fuel distributors. Part of the Governor’s legislative package, the bill also amends Public Utilities Commission (PUC) responsibilities and powers in relation to energy industry information reporting and allows the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to receive energy industry information.

HB1405 (Relating to the Public Utilities Commission) requires the PUC to include a summary of the power purchase agreements in effect during the fiscal year in its annual report to the Governor. It also expands the use of the public benefits fee to support clean energy technology, demand response technology, energy use reduction, and demand-side management infrastructure.

SB19 (Relating to Renewable Energy) removes barriers for landlords to invest in renewable energy and allows renters/tenants to benefit from lower energy costs. The bill exempts landlords and lessors who install renewable energy systems on their property and provide, sell or transmit electricity generated from those systems to tenants or lessees.

HB1149 (Relating to Wind Energy Facilities) requires a wind energy facility owner to be responsible for facility decommissioning and provide evidence of financial security unless the owner has an existing lease or other agreement that provides for decommissioning. The bill establishes standards and assurances of adequate financial resources to avoid abandoned or neglected wind energy facilities.

Regarding three of the bills related to technology, the Governor said: “Technology is ever-changing, and state government needs to change with it. An open government helps citizens be engaged in their government and further promotes government accountability and transparency.”

HB632 (Relating to Open Data) requires state departments to make electronic data sets available to the public. The bill also requires the chief information officer (CIO) to develop policies and procedures to implement the Open Data Initiative, and appropriates $100,000 each fiscal year of the biennium to Office of Information Practices (OIP).

HB635 (Relating to Broadband) requires the state and counties to take action in advancing the Hawaii Broadband Initiative within 60 days (for conservation districts, the state must take action within 145 days). The initiative’s goal is to provide ultra high-speed Internet access by 2018, and this clear and decisive timeline will reduce uncertainty for broadband companies and serve as an incentive to invest in increased bandwidth.

SB1003 (Relating to Information Technology), another of the administration’s bills, authorizes the CIO to conduct security audits and direct remedial actions, as necessary, in the management of the state’s cyber security.

“As these resources come online, cyber security will become even more critical, and these measures include steps to further secure the people’s data,” the Governor added.

 

Hawai’i Fire Department’s 13th Annual EMS Run To Be Held In Hilo

In celebration of Emergency Medical Services Week, the Hawai’i Fire Department is sponsoring their 13th annual EMS Family Fun Run/Walk, Keiki Fun Run, and Health Fair on Saturday, August 3, 2013. The event will take place at Lili’uokalani Park in Hilo, and the public is invited to participate.
EMS Run
The 5K Family Fun Run and 2-Mile Walk begins and ends at Lili’uokalani Park. Both events will begin at 8:30 a.m. A Keiki Fun Run, a non-competitive event for children ages 3 to 10, will be held within Liliuokalani Park following the 5K run.
Applications may be downloaded, obtained at the Spencer Health and Fitness Center, the Fire Administration office located at the County Building, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 2501, in Hilo, at any district fire station, or by calling 932-2900 during normal business hours. The entrance fee is $20 for adults, and $10 for youth, students & seniors (60+).
Awards will be presented following the completion of the event. All participants will also become eligible to receive random drawing prizes which have been provided by our generous sponsors.
The family fun run/walk will also kick off various events and displays that will continue throughout the day. The American Heart Association (blood pressure screening), Ululani Pharmacy (blood sugar/cholesterol screening), Big Island Asthma Coalition-East Hawai’i (asthma awareness and education), Hospice of Hilo, Tri Fit (personal fitness assessment administered by Kea’au High School students), and the County of Hawai’i Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (Keiki ID) are among the agencies that will provide their services to the public.
The Hawai’i Island branch office of the American Cancer Society will have volunteers and staff on hand to assist with the event as well as to provide information about their services.
One of the beneficiaries of the EMS Run will be the Greg Cameron Fireman’s Fund, a non-profit fund that will be used to help firefighter’s families that need help while fighting hardship and disease.
EMS Week, which is celebrated nationwide, will bring together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety, and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of the medical “front line.” The celebration of EMS Week underscores the commitment and dedication of the 750,000 EMS personnel who provide an essential community service every day. The Emergency Medical Services Week coordinators are Battalion Chief Lance Uchida (Emergency Medical Services Bureau, telephone 961-8319) and Battalion Chief Jerry Lum (telephone 961-8348). The fun run/walk race director is EMS Captain Jesse Ebersole.
The County of Hawai’i’s Emergency Medical Services Division provides 24-hour quality pre-hospital emergency medical care and services to the residents and visitors on Hawai’i. Last year, EMS responded to 15,310 calls for assistance island wide. To learn more about your local EMS Bureau, please call 961-8319.