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State Budget Funds Forest Watershed Protection


Protecting mauka forest areas remains top priority for DLNR

The state budget bill, signed into law on June 18 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, significantly increases funding for forest protection in Hawaii.


“The Department of Land and Natural Resources Watershed Initiative remains a top priority and will continue to move forward,”said Gov. Abercrombie. “Protecting our mauka forest areas, which contain native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world, is essential to the future of agriculture, industry, and our environment in Hawaii. It is the most cost-effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater resources to prevent erosion that muddies our beaches and fisheries.”

The state budget includes $3.5 million in general funds and $5 million in general obligation bond funding in fiscal year 2014 for watershed protection, as well as an additional $2.5 million in bonds in fiscal year 2015.

The budget also includes:

  • $3.5 million in the fiscal biennium to protect Hawaii’s largest remaining tract of dryland forest, located in Manuka, in Ka’u district.
  • Additional positions for natural resource managers and planners for on-the-ground forest protection projects.
  • $750,000 in both FY14 and FY15 for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), an interagency collaboration of state department directors that addresses statewide invasive species issues such as invasive plants and animals that threaten native forests and their ability to provide water. HISC funds support a variety of projects, including control of invasive miconia on Kauai, Oahu and Maui, and the removal of axis deer from Hawaii Island.

“We now can make substantial progress towards our goal of doubling the level of forest protection in a decade,”said William Aila Jr., chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). “The bond funding alone funds the protection of more than 40,000 acres in watershed forests and dryland ecosystems statewide.”

Despite the importance of forests for providing Hawaii’s drinking water, more than half of these forests have been lost, and the rest are threatened by expanding populations of invasive species. Below are examples of prioritized funding to protect and restore critical watershed forests.

On Oahu, funding is provided to construct fences to protect more than 1,000 acres from feral pigs in the Koolau mountains. These projects are located mauka of Wahiawa and Punaluu, in the rainiest areas on Oahu. Public access will be maintained for recreational and gathering purposes. Pedestrian gates and step-overs (steps to allow people to go over a fence)) will be provided along fence corridors to ease access in and out of the protected areas.

Multiple projects were funded on Hawaii Island, including:

  • A project to plant native mamane trees at a 5,200-acre restoration site on the northern slope of Mauna Kea will be funded. Nearly 50,000 trees have already been planted in the last three years with the help of a thriving volunteer program.
  • Projects in remote forests of Kohala and Kau will be funded that are critical for supplying drinking and irrigation water for these regions. Comprehensive management actions include invasive species control, construction of protective barriers, and restoration of native species, including several that are endangered. Public access will be maintained for recreational and gathering purposes. Pedestrian gates and step-overs will be provided along fence corridors to ease access in and out of the protected areas. The DLNR and partners have engaged hundreds of community organizations and individuals to plan and assist with these projects. This includes involving hunters to assist with initial animal removal and opening new accesses to adjacent forests.
  • Capital improvement projects will benefit protection of the largest contiguous tract of dryland forest on Hawaii Island in Manuka. The ohia forest also harbors many rare native plants.

On Maui, projects were selected to protect more than 9,000 acres on the north, east and south slopes of Haleakala. On the south slope, more than 90 percent of the native koa forests have been lost to grazing from hooved animals such as goats, cattle and deer. Forests can re-grow in areas protected from hooved animals, aided by efforts to remove invasive plants.

Two projects on Kauai have been selected to protect more than 3,000 acres. These projects are located in the Alakai, the rainiest area in Kauai. These forests provide water for the Waimea and Hanalei districts. Threats to this region include invasive plants such as ginger and Australian tree fern, and damage from feral pigs and goats.

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Public Invited to Blessing and Dedication of Kohanaiki Beach Park

Kohanaiki Invite

Fireworks Crown Queens’ Marketplace’s ‘Family Fourth’

Queens’ MarketPlace is where the Big Island wants to be on the 4th of July, when folks of all ages come out to play, shop, enjoy good food and great music all afternoon and evening—capped off with spectacular fireworks over Waikoloa Bowl. 

Queens Shop in Waikoloa

In the Coronation Pavilion five of the island’s favorite bands take the stage starting at 12:30pm (see below).  Free cotton candy, popcorn, face painting, balloon sculpting and other festivities offer non-stop fun from 1-5 p.m. For the keiki and the young at heart, there are carnival games (25 cents) and Zoo Choo train rides ($2), with all proceeds benefitting Special Olympics West Hawaii.

When the sun starts to set, Waikoloa Bowl starts rocking with the exciting sounds of Vizion 20/20 and Bump City, leading into the fireworks extravaganza at 8 p.m.  After the fireworks, kick back and relax with “Full Circle” at the Coronation Pavilion.

Admission is free, and families are invited to come early, beat the crowd, enjoy the day and cap off the “Family Fourth” with a bang.  Beach mats or chairs are welcome for open lawn seating, however coolers, alcoholic beverages and smoking are not permitted.  Waikoloa Beach Resort would like to thank the Hawaii County Fire Department for co-sponsoring the community fireworks display. For more information visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822. 

July 4 Schedule of Events at Queens’ MarketPlace and Waikoloa Bowl:

  • 12:30-1:45 p.m.  Music by Salsa Latinos at the Coronation Pavilion
  • 1-5 p.m.  Zoo Choo train rides, balloon sculpting, carnival games, face-painting, popcorn, and cotton candy.    (Carnival games are 25 cents, and Zoo Choo rides are $2, all benefitting Special Olympics West Hawaii.)
  • 2-2:45 p.m.  Music by Vizion 20/20 at the Coronation Pavilion
  • 3-3:45 p.m.  Music by Life in Pursuit at the Coronation Pavilion
  • 4-4:45 p.m.  Music by I’land Boiz at the Coronation Pavilion
  • 5 p.m.  Gates open to Waikoloa Bowl
  • 5-5:45 p.m.  Music by Bobby G and the Generous Theives at the Coronation Pavilion
  • 5:15-8 p.m.  Music by Vizion 20/20 and Bump City in Waikoloa Bowl
  • 8:00 p.m.  FIREWORKS SHOW
  • 8:30-9:30 p.m. Music by Terry Secor and Full Circle at the Coronation Pavilion

For more information visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822. 


3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of Big Island Tonight

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake shook the Volcano area of the Big Island this evening:

30 Volcano

31st Annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club Show is Coming Up

“A Rainbow of Orchids” is the theme of the 31st annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club Show and Sale 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, July 28 at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. Admission is free and the annual event offers complimentary refreshments, plus an orchid boutonniere corsage—while they last. Cameras are welcome.

The 30th annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale is coming up

The 31st annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale is coming up

In addition to an elaborate indoor display of blooming orchids showcasing the many colors found in numerous hybrids, the show offers a specialty collection of United States Postal Service orchid stamps and colorful orchid badges from clubs across the nation. The unique display includes a selection of antique and modern magnifying glasses to examine the stamps by club historian Carol Zakahi.

Attendees are also invited to view the just-completed Orchid Grotto on the grounds of the mission. The grotto was completed by club volunteers and was recently named a 2013 Landscape & Beautification Award winner by Scenic Hawaii.

The Daifukuji Taiko drummers offer a rousing performance in the parking lot at 10 a.m. and harpist Bonnie Mitchell will also provide morning entertainment.

Got growing questions? Veteran members will staff a Question and Answer Booth where attendees can get expert advice on caring for orchids. The club boasts eight charter members who each have been growing orchids at different Kona elevations.

In addition to the other displays, the annual event offers an outdoor sale of high-quality orchid species and hybrids, plus expert tips on how to grow them.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, contact Sarah Fogelstrom, 808-328-8501.


Governor Abercrombie Releases $134.7 Million for Hawaii Schools

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $134.7 million for capital improvement projects (CIPs), identified by members of the state Legislature, that will improve Hawaii’s public school facilities while enhancing economic conditions.

Abercrombie at School
“These priority projects will address many needed repairs and upgrades at our public schools to create environments in which students can learn and thrive,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The improvements are an investment in our keiki and our economy. Capital improvement projects like these across the state are contributing to Hawaii’s strong economy and our improved state unemployment rate, which declined to 4.7 percent in May.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects has been approved by the Governor:

Various Schools, Statewide

  • $41,700,000 – Construction for numerous repair and maintenance projects at school facilities across the state, including re-roofing, electrical upgrades, plumbing and other work
  • $2,000,000 – Planning, design, construction and equipment to provide energy improvements at various schools to identify inefficiencies and develop and implement energy conservation plans; the DOE will identify those schools with inordinate electricity consumption as compared to other schools
  • $1,000,000 – Planning, design and construction to remove potentially hazardous material to ensure various state schools are up-to-date with current federal standards
  • $500,000 – Construction to provide safe, age appropriate, and accessible playground equipment and walkways that meet the ADA Accessibility Guidelines at campuses that include Aina Haina, Manoa, Waialae, Pearl City Highlands, and Pahala Elementary Schools

Specific Schools

  • $40,000,000 – Kapolei II Elementary School, Oahu – Construction for the new Kapolei II Elementary School to accommodate population growth in this area of Oahu; the school will accommodate approximately 750 students
  • $9,600,000 – Ewa Elementary School, Oahu – Construction and equipment for an eight-classroom building to meet growth and enrollment needs; the building will include seven general education classrooms, one computer lab, one faculty center, two utility closets, restrooms, and mechanical/electrical/communications rooms
  • $8,000,000 – McKinley High School, Oahu – Design and construction to create a new synthetic track and field per recommendations of a completed athletic master plan for the school; project includes the demolition and rebuilding of existing structures occupying the area
  • $5,000,000 – Kawananakoa Middle School, Oahu – Design, construction and equipment for auditorium renovations to allow the facility to meet current ADA accessibility and building and fire codes, as well as modernize the facility as a performing arts center
  • $4,665,000 – Kapolei High School, Oahu – Design and construction of locker rooms and related facilities necessary to provide equitable girls and boys athletic, PE or other locker room facilities and appurtenances, in compliance with federal standards (Design funds are necessary to re-adjust the location of the athletic locker rooms)
  • $2,500,000 – Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction of a new synthetic track and field to be used by the five Leeward District High Schools and also for the Special Olympics regional track and field championships, as hosted by Nanakuli for the last 20 years (The current cinder track is used daily by student athletes, special needs students, and the general community)
  • $1,480,000 – Ewa Beach Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $1,251,000 – Mililani High School, Oahu – Design and construction to remove and reconstruct the tennis courts due to wear and tear and damage from tree roots and water, as well as resurfacing of the lower parking lot and be ADA compliant
  • $1,200,000 – Aiea Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at Aiea Intermediate School
  • $1,200,000 – Waiau Elementary, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $1,100,000 – Mililani High School, Oahu – Design and construction of additional restrooms and concession improvements
  • $1,050,000 – Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to provide protection for students and staff from rain and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria, as there is no protection at present, and also provide drinking fountains for the students (The walkway will connect up to 6 buildings)
  • $997,000 – McKinley High School, Oahu – Design and construction for various electrical work (e.g., upgrading electrical transformers and panels, telecommunications systems, electrical outlets, and data ports) and other related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at the school
  • $950,000 – Aiea Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction for a retaining wall, perimeter fence, and pedestrian gate with a ramp/walkway transition to the school parking lot
  • $940,000 – Lahaina Intermediate School, Maui – Design and construction for ADA compliant boys and girls restrooms
  • $800,000 – Kamaile Elementary School (Kamaile Academy Public Charter School), Oahu – Design and construction for various electrical system improvements and related site work (CIP projects for conversion charter schools such as Kamaile are implemented by DOE since the campuses are still considered DOE property)
  • $750,000 – Kanoelani Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of a covered walkway for students and staff from inclement weather and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria (This walkway will connect up to 5 buildings)
  • $650,000 – Pearl Ridge Elementary, Oahu – Design and construction of a covered walkway for students and staff from rain and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria (This walkway will connect up to 4 buildings)
  • $625,000 – Kaleiopuu Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction for a second evacuation ramp through the back of the campus in case of an emergency
  • $550,000 – Kaleiopuu Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to provide various electrical system upgrades to provide ample power infrastructure to support technology-based curriculum
  • $500,000 – Waiakea High School, Hawaii Island – Additional construction for all-weather track and field facilities to be shared with Hilo High School, as both schools are currently using county facilities to host track and field events; this phase of the project involves the replacement of grass turf with all-weather surfacing and drainage enhancements (the current track and infield are subject to frequent rains)
  • $500,000 – Kauai High School, Kauai – Construction for renovation of Building T (a former locker room) and a new technology center, which will include a computer lab, visual design studio, two ADA-compliant restrooms, and office and storage space
  • $500,000 – Central Maui Middle Schools, Maui – Planning for a new school to accommodate population growth in Central Maui; according to the DOE, schools in the area are already over capacity and, as a condition for developing a housing project in Central Maui, the developer has set aside space for this new school (no funds to purchase land will be needed)
  • $475,000 – Washington Middle School, Oahu – Design, equipment and construction to transform an existing underutilized wood shop classroom into a combined agriculture laboratory/classroom and have room for computers and lab equipment so that students may have first-hand experience relating to plant science and lab activities
  • $450,000 – Waikiki Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction for a dedicated student drop-off on the makai side of campus, along Leahi Avenue, to significantly improve traffic congestion and safety (the school has doubled its enrollment in the last 10 years)
  • $410,000 – Kalaheo High School, Oahu – Design and construction for bleachers between the athletic field and tennis courts; this project will also address erosion control on the hillside slope
  • $375,000 – Makakilo Elementary, Oahu – Design, equipment and construction for a portable classroom for special education students
  • $360,000 – Manana Elementary School Library, Oahu – Restroom renovations and security and energy efficiency improvements in the school Library
  • $350,000 – Waiakeawaena Elementary School, Hawaii Island – Design and construction to provide safe and accessible playground equipment to meet ADA accessibility guidelines
  • $350,000 – Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $330,000 – Moanalua Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of additional parking and a drop-off lane for the students
  • $330,000 – Kapunahala Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to add wheelchair access to the second floor of a two-story classroom building to meet ADA accessibility guidelines
  • $256,000 – Kalihi Uka Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to repair roof leaks in Building C
  • $250,000 – Roosevelt High School, Oahu – Planning for comprehensive master plan to address lack of onsite parking and placement of future new or expanded facilities, such as the existing gymnasium and music facility, which are undersized and antiquated
  • $200,000 – Kipapa Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to replace the air conditioning system at the school’s administration building (Building J)
  • $195,000 – Washington Middle School, Oahu – Design, construction and equipment for the renovation of an existing computer classroom that will include a multimedia studio enabling students to broadcast live events, produce instructional DVDs, documentaries, and public service announcements; it will also allow the school’s video production class to provide its students with exposure to college and career opportunities
  • $190,000 – Honowai Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to replace a steep, slippery, single-run outdoor stairway at Building H with a wider and safer stairway having a gentler slope
  • $150,000 – Ala Wai Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of a secure space to store equipment and repair school furniture
  • $25,000 – Moanalua High School, Oahu – Additional Phase 1 construction for Auditorium/Performing Arts Center, including a rehearsal hall/band room facility with instructional support spaces (Additional funds are necessary to complete necessary items such as additional permitting and electrical connection fees)


Council Member Ilagan – “I voted to support the Mass Transit System with the goal of…”

“I voted to support the Mass Transit system with the goal of further development of bus routes in Pahoa,” said Hawai’i County Council Member Greggor Ilagan. In a 7-1 vote, one absent, the Hawai’i County Council approved the bus fare increase discussed in Bill 86.

From L-R: June Conant, Council Member Ilagan, Jeanne Seimer

From L-R: June Conant, Council Member Ilagan, Jeanne Seimer

“I can’t ignore the needs of this community. That hitchhiking mother walking down Maku’u with the child strapped to her back will continue to have bus service,” said Council Member Greggor Ilagan, District 4.

Last year Mass Transit provided an astounding 1.2 million rides island-wide. According to Mass Transit Administrator Tiffany Kai, the Puna area accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the ridership. “We have great challenges to face. We are the fastest growing area on the Big Island and the largest county in the state,” said Council Member Ilagan.

“I want keiki to get to school, people to get to their jobs and appointments, and the elderly to go grocery shopping, get to their doctor and visit with family. We need our existing bus routes. But more than that, we need to have even more transportation available for our under-served population,” he said.

Council Member Ilagan wants to increase the number of bus shelters and include more bus routes in Pahoa, specifically Kaloli and Shower Drive, Hawaiian Paradise Park and Ainaloa. The council member would also like to evaluate and assist with getting more accurate bus times for pick up and drop off, in and out of Puna. “I’d like to be able to have a bus leave Hilo later, so that those that work in town can return home on a pau hana bus,” said the councilman.

Since the last fare increase in 2011, bus routes have increased in Hilo, Kona, Waikoloa Village and Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP). While services increased, the fleet of working buses decreased. Gasoline prices skyrocketed, and overworked mechanics continued to battle with aged and outdated equipment.

Three mechanics struggled to keep routes open, get people to work on time, and kids to school. This continues to be a huge undertaking given the shortfall of funds and the costs associated with providing transport. It costs approximately $7 to provide a ride to a single individual. Bill 86 asks for an increase of $1 to $2 for applicable passengers.

“The bus fare increase will help to maintain services…it is our goal to expand and enhance transportation,” said Kai. Approximately $637,500 will be generated for the General Fund from this increase.

In a few months, Mass Transit will be re-evaluating existing routes. “I want to do whatever I can to ensure continued service and expansion of bus service in Puna,” said Council Member Ilagan.

Please contact Council Member Ilagan with questions, concerns and comments at 808-965-2712, or via e-mail at gilagan@hawaiicounty.gov.

Hawaii Awarded $468,436 From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Under Clean Vessel Act Grant Program

Funding supports clean waters and recreational boating

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that more than $14.7 million will be awarded to 23 states under the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grant program in 2013.

Fish and Wildlife

The first Clean Vessel Act awards were made in 1993. Since that time the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has awarded more than $200 million to states for projects funding construction, replacement, renovation, and maintenance of facilities that assist recreational boaters in properly disposing of on-board septic waste.  The program also provides information and education on the importance, benefits, and availability of pump outs.

Hawaii – $468,436 The State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation plans to construct two new pumpout facilities at Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and one new pumpout at Kewalo Basin, Honolulu, Island of Oahu.

This will increase the number of facilities available on the Island of Oahu by 50%. They will also replace existing pump-outs at Heeia Kea, Keehi and Waianae Small Boat harbors on the island of Oahu; Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor on the island of Kauai; and Lahaina Small Boat Harbor Public Loading Dock (North Face) on the island of Maui. The new peristaltic pumpouts will provide quicker pumpouts and will require less servicing. They will install remote monitoring devices on all new and replacement pump-outs. The State will couple construction with boater education.

“Clean Vessel Act grants are essential to ensure clean water and healthy environments that allow for recreational boating opportunities,” said Service Director Dan Ashe.  “The CVA program has a substantial economic impact on local communities, which is a win-win situation for conservation initiatives and businesses across America.”

Funds for the CVA program are provided annually from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust fund.  These funds are derived through the collection of fishing tackle manufacturer excise taxes and boat and fishing import duties as well as motorboat and small engine fuel taxes.  The program supports the user-pay, public-benefit cycle that has led to the successes of the Sport Fish Restoration programs. States apply for CVA funding and they or their partners provide matching funds to complete projects. Sub-grantees often include local municipalities and private marinas.

In addition to traditional on-dock pump outs, projects include pumpout boats that travel in designated harbors to make the sewage collection process more efficient and convenient. Some states  also install floating restrooms in areas where boaters congregate and no restrooms are available.

“The Clean Vessel Act is a critical tool in helping the states to maintain clean and healthy waters for people and wildlife alike,” said Assistant Director Hannibal Bolton of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. “The pump outs built through these funds ensure that clean drinking water, sustainable ecosystems, and healthy recreational areas will be accessible to the American people.”

For more information on the 2013 grant awards made today visit:

For more information on the CVA program visit:

“DARK SHADOWS” Movie Night & Costume Party Fundraiser for Youth Group

The Friday Night Crew youth group invites fans of Johnny Depp and “Dark Shadows” to dress in their finest “vamp-attire” and join them for a Movie Night & Costume Party, Wednesday, June 26, 7-10 p.m. at Thelma Parker Memorial Library.

Friday Night CrewDirected by Tim Burton, “Dark Shadows” (PG13) stars Michelle Pfieffer, Helena Bonham Carter and heartthrob Johnny Depp as the romantic vampire Barnabus Collins.  In the new movie version of the classic TV hit, Barnabus returns to Collinwood Manor to find dysfunctional descendants in dire need of his protection.

“The youth wanted a way to raise money that would be different, so they came up with a cool and unique concept,” said Beth Mehau, Executive Director of The Pantry (of which Friday Night Crew is a component).  “This gives them an affordable way to get together, dress up their ‘dark side,’ and get into a favorite movie—all to help with the Crew’s travel expenses.”

The event is a fundraiser for Friday Night Crew members’ upcoming travel to Austin, Texas for Community Anti-drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) mid-year training program July 21-25.   Because the Friday Night Crew has been actively engaged in prevention work, to reduce underage drinking and drug use, they have already put previous years’ CADCA training into action in the community.

Their efforts helped bring Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) forum to Waimea in March, 2013, with Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Dr. Kevin Sabet, former White House drug policy advisor.  At the encouragement of Project SAM organizers, the Friday Night Crew will help make a presentation about Hawaii’s Project SAM to the CADCA assembly during the conference.

One youth member, Matt Horne of Waimea, has received a full scholarship from CADCA, and fundraising work is underway to assist Horne with travel expenses, and to support additional youth participants and chaperones.

Youth 13-18 years old are invited to “Dark Shadows” Movie Night & Costume Party, for only $3 per person including snacks.  For more information, please call The Pantry, 887-2289.

The Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which comprises The Friday Night Crew youth group and community coalition, Waimea Artists’ Guild and Mama’s House Thrift Store.  The Friday Night Crew coalition is a collaboration of youth and adult organizations for the purpose of prevention, mentoring, recovery, community awareness and creative activism.  For additional information, or to make a donation, please contact: Beth Mehau at The Pantry, 887-2289.


Three Hawaii University Campuses Join EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge

As part of the agency’s expanding efforts to reduce food waste across the state of Hawaii, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, and Hawaii Pacific University as the newest participants in the agency’s Food Recovery Challenge program.

As participants, UH, KCC and HPU join over 90 other colleges and universities nationwide in pledging to reduce wasted food. In addition to higher education institutions, other participants include grocers and entertainment venues, such as professional sports venues.

Food Recovery“Food waste that ends up in landfills is a particular problem for Hawaii, where disposal capacity is very limited,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is proud to partner with these universities as they support the environment and their communities by reducing food waste.”

Nationally, food waste is the single largest type of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, accounting for 25 percent of all materials sent to landfills and incinerators. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In turn, limiting wasted food will reduce methane emissions.

Communities and businesses across the nation are working toward zero waste to landfills and incinerators to protect the environment and create local jobs. Zero waste initiatives design and procure products that reduce waste and implement strong reuse, recycling, and composting programs. Many zero waste communities are reaching over 50 percent diversion from landfills and incinerators, with some achieving as high as 80 percent diversion.

“The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and Kapiolani Community College have had a great year by assisting with the drafting of the first sustainability policy of the UH system. The UHM Sustainability Council the UHM administration also followed through with a commitment to ban styrofoam containers at on-campus dining locations,” said Doorae Shin, of the university’s campus wide Hawaii Student Sustainability Coalition. “A system wide sustainability policy in its final stage, and momentum is building up to ensure that our campuses practice environmental stewardship.”

“Hawaii Pacific University is excited to work with the EPA on the Food Recovery Challenge. Food waste is an important environmental issue, and HPU is committed to working towards long-term solutions that reduce the environmental impact of our dining operations,” said Josh Prigge, HPU’s Sustainability Coordinator.

Key Hawaii Food Recovery Non-profit Partners include: Rewarding Internship for Sustainable Employment (RISE), which provides paid internships to implement a variety of sustainability projects across the state including a Food Recovery internship; Aloha Harvest, which gathers quality, donated food and delivers it free of charge to social service agencies feeding the hungry of Hawaii; and The Green House, which runs programs to support sustainable living, gardening, and recycling.

The Food Recovery Challenge is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of food and other widely-used everyday items through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled or composted, and disposed.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, visit: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge/
For more information about the RISE Program, visit: www.RISEHI.org
For more information about Aloha Harvest, visit: www.alohaharvest.org
For more information about The Green House: www.thegreenhousehawaii.com

DLNR Firefighters Bring Waimanu Valley Fire Under Control

Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife firefighters expect to control a slow-burning 2-acre forest fire on state land along the Muliwai trail in remote Waimanu Valley by early yesterday. The trail remains closed due to the fire, and no camping permits are being issued.


The fire was 90 percent contained as of this morning. A crew of 17 has worked since Sunday to construct a hand line to contain the fire, which has been smoldering in duff (accumulated leaf litter) under ironwood and other trees.

“Most wildfires in Hawaii are human-caused and preventable,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “This can occur due to unattended campfires or hibachis, illegal lighting of campfires directly on the ground in state forests, or even tossing a cigarette into trailside brush.

“We’re asking public to help prevent wildfires from starting or spreading, and to report any wildfires immediately by calling 911.”

The Hawaii County Fire Department responded on Sunday, June 16, the first day of the fire, by providing aerial transport (helicopter) for state crews. DOFAW assumed the fire response lead on Monday.

Big Island Police Charge Puna Woman in Connection With Burglary Last Month

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 24-year-old Puna woman in connection with a burglary last month in Puna.

Cherish Shay Kualilani Torres

Cherish Shay Kualilani Torres

On May 12, caretakers for a Pāhoa resident reported that upon returning home, they discovered the house had been entered and several items had been stolen. A fleeing vehicle was linked to a suspect, identified as Cherish Shay Kualilani Torres of Pāhoa. She was arrested early Tuesday morning in Ainaloa.

At 11:40 a.m. Tuesday (June 18), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Torres with first -degree burglary. Her bail was set at $5,000. She was scheduled to make her initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon (June 19).

Police encourage the public to be aware of suspicious activity in their neighborhood and to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 to report any suspicious persons or vehicles.

Hawaii Youth Business Center Presents “Marketing Your Product-Local to Global” Workshop

Hawaii Youth Business Center (HYBC) is proud to present “Marketing Your Product-Local to Global”, a workshop designed to help local businesses gain knowledge on time-tested, proven, yet cutting-edge and radically different marketing system for local businesses/ products to attract global customers.

This 4-session workshop, starting from July 10, will run for four consecutive Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 pm at HYBC, located in Pahoa’s Woodland Center off highway 130.

Gerardo Delgado

Gerardo Delgado

Gerardo Delgado, a local marketing expert who has helped both small business owners and industry leaders implement successful marketing strategies that are both practical and results-oriented, will conduct the workshop.

Cost of the workshop is $80 per person, or enjoys a 10% pre-payment discount for $72, which includes course material, a companion book “Marketing with Aloha – What Every Business Owner Should Know About Advertising” by Delgado. The first ten pre-paid registrants will also receive a 5% discount coupon of MaukaMakai.me restaurant, located in Hawaii Youth Business Center.

For more information or to register, please call HYBC at 966-6534 or email hybc@hawaii.rr.com. To check out the detail course outline, log on to the Facebook page “The Hawaii Youth Business Center”.

Senator Hirono Again Pushes To Make Immigration Bill Fairer For Women

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today took to the Senate floor to highlight a major flaw in the immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.


In her remarks, Hirono pointed out how the new merit-based immigration system that gives preference to potential immigrants with high level education and technical expertise would heavily disadvantage women, since women across the globe do not have the same educational and career opportunities as men.
“Too many women overseas do not have the same educational or career advancement opportunities available to men in those countries,” Hirono said. “This legislation increases the amount of employment based visas, immigration avenues that favor men over women by nearly a four to one margin. Using the past as our guide, it’s easy to see how the new merit-based system with heavy emphasis on factors like education and experience will disadvantage women who apply for green card status.”

Senator Hirono said she is working with her female colleagues to introduce an amendment that would correct this unfairness.

USS Jacksonville Returns to Pearl Harbor

Friends and families of the crew of USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, June 18.

PEARL HARBOR (June 18, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of operation. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 18, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of operation. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

“I am incredibly proud of the crew of the warship Jacksonville. These Sailors have impressed me from day one, and I could not be more proud of their outstanding efforts,” said Cmdr. Richard Seif, Jacksonville’s commanding officer. “Their sustained forward presence in two different theaters contributed significantly to the Navy’s combat readiness and out nation’s security,” said Seif.

During the deployment, 31 Sailors earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia. Along with this accomplishment, more than 60 Sailors also qualified in their senior watch stations.

Seif said despite half of the crew being their very first deployment, they are an experienced team of professional submariners and it’s really an honor to lead them.

Seif added that despite the challenges of deployment, the crew could not have done it without the tremendous strength, love and support of the Jacksonville families. “I’d like to especially thank our command Ombudsman, Kim Cowdrey and the Family Readiness Group for their outstanding support,” he said.

When the deployment was finally complete, the crew came home to a waiting crowd of smiling family and friends at the pier.

“It’s great to be back home. The Sailors and their families are all looking forward to a well deserved stand down,” said Sief. As for the families, many could not hold back their joy and relief.

“I am super proud of him. He has done a fantastic job. It’s been a long, tough deployment, but he’s home, and I’m happy,” said Jackie Combs, a Jacksonville spouse.

Commissioned in May 1981, Jacksonville is named for Jacksonville, Fla. Nicknamed “The Bold One,” she is a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine that is 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. She can be fitted with Mk-48 torpedoes and harpoon missiles.


DLNR Closes Kekaha Kai State Park Today after Shark Incident

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) this afternoon closed Mahaiula and Kua Bay sections of Kekaha Kai State Park due to a shark incident earlier today. The park is located 2.6 miles north of Keahole airport in Kailua-Kona.

Shark Sighted

Shark warning sign posted at Kua Bay, Kekaha Kai State Park. Photo by DOCARE.

At about 12:55 p.m., the victim, a 28-year-old male from Kailua-Kona, was swimming in waters off of Mahaiula Beach when he was bit by a shark.

The Hawaii County Fire Department responded and transported him via medevac helicopter to North Kona Community Hospital for treatment.

The helicopter overflight also revealed what appeared to be a large tiger shark in the vicinity of the location where the victim was attacked.

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and State Parks staff evacuated Mahaiula Bay, closed access to the bay and posted shark warning signs. Kua Bay is being evacuated as well and access closed.

Closure of these two bays will continue until at least noon Wednesday, following a flyover by Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter to assess offshore waters for any presence of sharks.

Hawaii Selected to Improve Early Learning Outcomes

In recognition of Hawaii’s progress toward improving access to early education, Hawaii was selected by the National Governors Association (NGA) as one of six states to participate in a joint effort to improve learning outcomes from early childhood through third grade.

To effectively prepare students for college and career, educators, practitioners and researchers have recognized the importance of all children having a high quality early learning experience. As part of this partnership, Hawaii will receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA staff and faculty experts, as well as consultants from the private sector, research organizations and educators to develop and implement a plan to improve policies and practices that will support early learning academic success.

“Education, and in particular early learning, has been a priority of my administration,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Upon establishing the Executive Office of Early Learning last year, one of my stated goals was to ensure that every young child in Hawaii has access to high quality preschool. Our participation in this policy academy will help Hawaii learn alongside other states how to best implement and strengthen effective learning strategies.”

Charged with leading coordinated efforts, the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) formulated the application in partnership with Hawaii P-20.

“This joint effort brings us one step closer to meeting our goal of every child reading at grade level by third grade,” said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. “Early childhood education sets the foundation for lifelong learning and this partnership will provide the guidance and expertise to help us along the way.”

The goal of this policy academy is to help participating states build awareness and commitment among parents, educators and board of education officials to support a continuum of high-quality opportunities for early learning, as well as develop and begin to carry out a state-specific plan to implement learning objectives. NGA will work with the selected states to improve policies and practices related to educator effectiveness and the use of appropriate assessment systems.

Funding for the policy academy is provided by the Alliance for Early Success, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Heising-Simons Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

To learn more about NGA’s education division, visit nga.org/cms/center/edu.

The Executive Office on Early Learning was established in 2011 to guide the development of a comprehensive and integrated early learning system for Hawaii. The goal is to ensure that all of Hawaii’s children are healthy, safe and ready for school. In 2013, the Hawaii State Legislature along with the EOEL created the School Readiness Program that will enable children to have an early learning experience in the year prior to starting kindergarten, thus providing a solid educational foundation. The EOEL also has implemented “Taking Action for Hawaii’s Children,” a strategic plan that focuses on coordinating programs for children prenatal to age 8. For more information, visit earlylearning.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education is a statewide partnership led by the EOEL, the state Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii System. This partnership is working to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so that all students achieve career and college success. Hawaii P-20’s partners share a sense of urgency about the need to improve Hawaii’s educational outcomes in an increasingly global economy, and have established goals of 55 percent of Hawai‘i’s working age adults to have a two- or four-year college degree and for 100 percent of working age adults to be prepared for careers and college by the year 2025. For more information, visit p20hawaii.org.

The Hawaii P-3 Initiative (Hawaii P-3), a program within Hawaii P-20, focuses on the critical, early-education component of the education pipeline. With the goal of every child reading at grade level by third grade, Hawaii P-3 establishes partnerships with early learning providers to promote a cohesive continuum of experiences from birth to age eight. Through the lessons learned by these partnerships, the P-3 Initiative is able to improve the alignment and integration of programs, strengthening the Hawaii P-20 education pipelines. For more information, visit p3hawaii.org.


2013 Rubber Duckie Event to Honor Hawaii First Responders

In addition to bringing the community together to raise much needed funds for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii at the 22nd Annual Rubber Duckie Race, Kings’ Shops and UCPA will honor Hawaii Island’s first responders.  Those to be honored for their exemplary service to our Island community include Captain Sean Sommers, Captain Brett Matsuda and Captain Gifford Matsuoka of The South Kohala Fire Station, Police Officer Kyle Hirayama, Field Operations, Area II of the South Kohala Patrol, Sergeant James Correa, Field Operations, Area I of the South Hilo Patrol, and Rita Hirai Director of Safety for Ocean Sports.

2013 Rubber Duckie RaceThe South Kohala Fire Station responds to all calls for incidents of rescue, fire, medical emergencies, and hazardous materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.  The company’s three shifts of seven personnel are led by three company officers, Captain Sean Sommers, Captain Brett Matsuda and Captain Gifford Matsuokoa who are responsible for the safety of their crews, the lives of residents and the many visitors who visit the Kohala Coast. It takes many years of sincere dedication to master the job of leading men and women to mitigate these various types of emergencies safely and ensure all personnel return to their families at the end of their shift.

Police Officer, Kyle Hirayama, a 9-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department is being recognized for the ability to share the “Spirit of Aloha” by providing great service to our community through professionalism and compassion.  Officer Hirayama’s compassion to go and check on a family’s welfare even though his part in the investigation was complete, is in itself commendable, it also placed him at a location at the right time and possibly avoid a disastrous outcome for the entire family, and may have very well saved their lives.  Sergeant Adams states that, “On this day, while dealing with a family who had just lost a loved one, he exemplified the core values of integrity, professionalism, community satisfaction, and most of all ‘compassion’.”

Sergeant James Correa, a 15-year veteran of Hawaii Police South Hilo Patrol is being recognized for his leadership of the Hawaii Police Department East Hawaii Task Force during an intense manhunt in December 2012.  It was through Sergeant Correa’s tireless dedication to the island wide investigation and it was under his leadership, that police officers were able to take the suspects into custody without serious injury to themselves, or anyone in the community.  Hawaii Police Department is fortunate to have effective leaders such as Sergeant Correa.

Rita Hirai is a Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, American Red Cross CPR, and First Aid Instructor Trainer and Specialty Advanced Trainer.  With her many talents, Rita is being recognized for her conscientious efforts to educate Hawaii Island community and co-workers at Ocean Sports in ocean safety. Under Rita’s watch, visitors and residents alike can enjoy the many ocean activities available on the Kohala Coast knowing the crew around them is well prepared for any emergency.

Public Meeting About Bill 79 and GMOs in Hawaii

Public Meeting about Bill 79 and GMOs in Hawaii Featuring: Hawaii County Councilmember Margaret Wille and CTAHR Professor of Tropical Organic Agriculture Hector Valenzuela.

Margaret Wille

Margaret Wille

Time: 7-9pm, June 24th Place: UH Hilo, room STB 108, Free and open to the public

Following a short film about Genetically Modified Organisms growing in Hawaii, Dr. Valenzuela will give a presentation around the effects of GMOs in Hawaii, and to other parts of the world. Council member Margaret Willie will be discussing the bill she introduced to the County Council that would prohibit any further introductions of GMO crops on Hawaii Island, called Bill 79.

GMO Free Hawaii Island will be presenting the work they are doing to spread the word about Bill 79 to the community, and will be reporting on actions they are working on with regards to the GMO issue. There will be question and discussion time after both of the presenters, so you can learn more and share your views about the GMO issue.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Pahoa Girl

6/19/2013 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 15-year-old Kaiini Nihoa of Pāhoa, who was reported missing. Police made contact with her in Pāhoa on Wednesday morning.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Pāhoa girl who was reported missing. Kaiini Nihoa was last seen at Spencer Beach Park in South Kohala at 11:30 p.m. Saturday (June 15).

Kaiini Nihoa

Kaiini Nihoa

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-2, 140-150 pounds with brown eyes and black shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing gray shorts with white trim, a gray top with white stripes, and slippers.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Officer Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, extension 303, or jmanuel@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona 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.