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New Lava Flow Map Showing Flow Field Changes

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on May 21 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of June 4 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Pahoa Senior Center to Reopen

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will reopen the Pāhoa Senior Center on Monday, June 29. Pahoa Senior Center

Services returning to the Pāhoa Senior Center will include the Hawai‘i County Nutrition Program (HCNP), Elderly Recreation Services (ERS), Coordinated Services for the Elderly (CSE), and the Pāhoa Senior Club.

In September 2014 as an advancing lava flow threatened to inundate Pāhoa, the Department of Parks and Recreation temporarily relocated those operations so the Pāhoa Senior Center could be used as an emergency fire station servicing the lower Puna community.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its patience and understanding while the Pāhoa Senior Center was closed for emergency purposes.

For more details regarding the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division and the programs it offers, please call 961-8708.

State Commissioner of Securities Orders Concert Promoters to Cease and Desist

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Commissioner of Securities, Ty Nohara, issued a preliminary order to cease and desist and notice of right to hearing against concert promoters Ferdinand C. Jacobe, Gina T. Carlos, and P.B.C. Productions, LLC for violating state securities laws.

Click to read suit

Click to read suit

The order asserts that, between January 2012 and June 2013, Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions solicited investors among the local Filipino community to fund three concerts in Hawaii, guaranteeing returns of 10 to 40 percent within days of each concert.  The order asserts that P.B.C. Productions enlisted the assistance of an agent, Carlos, to solicit investors for the first two concerts.  As a result, more than 30 Hawaii residents invested a combined total of $666,000 into the concerts. Nearly two years have passed since the last concert took place, and many investors remain unpaid.

Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions are accused of failing to disclose to investors that they were substantially in debt to numerous past investors, and the proceeds of a future concert, as well as a portion of new investors’ funds, were needed to repay past investors, and investors’ funds would not be returned by the guaranteed deadline.

Jacobe, Carlos, and P.B.C. Productions also failed to inform the investors who were solicited by Carlos that Carlos would be receiving a 5 to 15 percent commission on the funds she collected from them.

State securities laws include anti-fraud provisions, requiring both securities and persons soliciting or transacting securities to be registered with DCCA’s Securities Compliance Branch.  The order asserts that Jacobe and P.B.C. Productions violated these anti-fraud provisions by employing deceptive schemes and devices to perpetuate fraud.  It further alleges that neither Jacobe nor Carlos was registered to transact securities in Hawaii, and the securities they sold to investors were also unregistered.

The order seeks total penalties of $200,000 in addition to a permanent injunction against Jacobe and Carlos for transacting securities in the state, disgorgement of commissions received, and rescission of the sales of the securities.

Anyone who has been solicited by Jacobe, P.B.C. Productions, or Carlos to invest in a concert or who may otherwise have information regarding this matter is urged to contact the DCCA’s Securities Enforcement Branch (SEB) at 808-586-2740 or toll free 1-877- HI-SCAMS.

SEB receives and investigates complaints regarding potential violations of Hawaii securities laws and prosecutes securities fraud as well as other securities law violations.

Thirty Meter Telescope to Resume Building Wednesday Morning

Statement from Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board:

TMT laser

“After more than two months of consultation, education, and dialogue with many stakeholders, we humbly announce that the TMT International Observatory Board has decided to move ahead to restart the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the morning of Wednesday, June 24. Our period of inactivity has made us a better organization in the long run. We are now comfortable that we can be better stewards and better neighbors during our temporary and limited use of this precious land, which will allow us to explore the heavens and broaden the boundaries of science in the interest of humanity.

“We look forward to a positive relationship with all Hawaiians, while we understand that the majority of Hawaii’s people are supporting the TMT project. We deeply respect and are mindful of those who have concerns, and yet, we hope they will permit us to proceed with this important task while reserving their right to peaceful protest.

“As done at any construction site, we plan to first investigate and assess any possible oil leakage and ensure we can provide proper maintenance of machines and equipment so they operate safely and correctly – in order to protect Maunakea and preserve the sensitive environment. We will then begin to repair and install fencing in the interest of public safety.

“As we proceed, TMT is open and willing to allow cultural practitioners in the area of the construction site to continue customary and traditional practices. Allowing this practice to continue to occur will require further dialogue and mutual agreement to work out the details in order to establish a cooperative and harmonious environment for all parties.

“In an effort to be sensitive to and observant of the Native Hawaiian host culture, we will deepen our knowledge of the cultural, ecological, and spiritual aspects of the mountain and continue to learn how to better respect and appreciate Maunakea’s important cultural areas.

“On behalf of TMT, I want to express our sincere appreciation to the people in Hawaii for their understanding and support.”

Five Injured in Three-Vehicle Crash on Hawaii Belt Road

Five people were injured—one critically—in a three-vehicle crash Friday (June 19) on the Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Highway 19) at Maulua Gulch along the Hāmākua Coast.

Malua GulchResponding to a 9:14 a.m. call, police learned that a 2003 Toyota pickup truck traveling south near the 23-mile marker crossed the centerline and sideswiped a 2008 Peterbuilt tractor-trailer traveling north. The tractor-trailer lost control and crossed the centerline, colliding with a 2003 Chevrolet four-door sedan traveling south.

All occupants of the three vehicles were taken to Hilo Medical Center.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 40-year-old Hilo woman, was treated and released for minor injuries.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 49-year-old Hilo man, and his passenger, an 11-year-old Hilo boy, were treated for their injuries and released.

The passenger in the sedan, a 24-year-old Laupāhoehoe woman, was treated for her injuries and released. The sedan’s driver, a 23-year-old Laupāhoehoe man, was transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition.

Traffic Enforcement Unit investigators have initiated a negligent injury case and are continuing the investigation. It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

Hawaiʻi Belt Highway was closed in both directions for more than two hours. Traffic was then allowed to take turns using one lane until the road was reopened to all traffic at approximately 3:40 p.m.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call Officer Clarence Acob at 961-2293.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Bishop Does Funeral for Accused Predator in Hiding, Victims Respond

A Catholic bishop recently led a funeral for an accused predator priest who was hiding in another country.

We just learned that Fr. Anthony Bolger, a priest who is publicly accused of sexually abusing a child in Hawai’i, died months ago while in hiding in Tijuana, Mexico.

Fr. Anthony Bolger

Fr. Anthony Bolger

http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.com/2015/01/30/obituary-father-anthony-bolger-1943-2015/

Hawai’i Bishop Clarence Silva even presided over Bolger’s funeral.  http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.com/2015/02/10/memorial-mass-for-father-anthony-bolger/

We are upset by Silva’s recklessness, callousness, and secrecy.

Fr. Bolger joins a long list of credibly accused child-molesting clerics who have been allowed by their Catholic supervisors to live unsupervised in the Mexico border town among unsuspecting families and vulnerable children. As best we can tell, the local Tijuana community was not warned of the accusations against Bolger and that children were put in direct risk. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/05_06/2013_05_09_TheStarAdvertiser_CatholicChurch.htm

Bishop Silva has done little or nothing to reach out and comfort the brave men and women who have come forward to say that they were sexually abused by Hawaii’s clerics. Instead of doing even the smallest thing to comfort the wounded, he salutes and honors those who may have caused horrible damage. Not only does this defy the way of Aloha, but Silva’s irresponsible actions deter other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up. He’s also essentially encouraging other Catholic officials to behave in similarly hurtful ways in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director,

Big Island Medical Marijuana Collective Open for Business

Alternative Pain Management Pu`uhonua’s Collective is celebrating being open for 6 months.

medical marijuana in jarsThe Big Island’s First Medical Cannabis Collective is dedicated to providing a medical cannabis community, access to an uninterrupted supply of medical cannabis in all forms, safe disposal of excess medical cannabis for compensation, expert consultations, legal resources, access to other members strains and techniques, professional advise on the safe consumption of medical cannabis in all forms, discount medical supplies and much more. As member’s health and safety is important, MyDx purity testing device is coming soon and starting in July all medicine will be analyzed prior to being transferred.

It is free to join! All members must have a valid medical marijuana certification, state ID, complete an intake and agreement form and sign a confidentiality statement.

The Collective is located in Mountain View and is your one stop shop for all of your medical cannabis needs. New members are processed on MondaysWednesdays and Fridays. Once you’ve joined, the Collective is open 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M.. Call 968-0633 and ask for Mike to make your appointment to join.

Man Goes Ballistic at WalMart and Smashes 12 TV’s

A 48-year-old man has been charged with a felony after a dozen televisions were smashed while customers shopped at a “big box” store in Kailua-Kona.

Alexander Springer

Alexander Springer

At 6:49 p.m. Monday (June 15), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a store on Henry Street. They arrived to find a suspect outside the store with another customer.

Witnesses reported that the suspect, Alexander Springer, had grabbed a bat from the store and used it to destroy 12 televisions. One of the store’s customers stopped him and took him outside while waiting for police to arrive. Damages were estimated at $4,081.

Police arrested Springer, who has no permanent address, and charged him with second-degree criminal property damage, a Class C felony. His bail was set at $2,000. He was held at the Kona police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Tuesday (June 16).

Decomposed Bodies Found on the Big Island

Big Island Police are investigating two bodies that were recently found on the Big Island in states of decomposition.HPDBadge

  1. At 8:37 a.m. Monday (June 15), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a body off the road leading to the Hilo airport.They found the body under a makeshift shelter in overgrowth about 80-100 feet south of Kekuanaoa Street and approximately a half-mile east of the intersection of Kekuanaoa Street and Kanoelehua Avenue. The body was in advanced stage of decomposition. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the sex and cause of death. Fingerprints, dental records or both will be used to establish identity. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest. Police ask anyone who may have seen someone riding a white bicycle into the bush area in that vicinity during the latter part of May or early part of June to contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or clarence.davies@hawaiicounty.gov
  2. At 11:10 a.m. Tuesday (June 16), officers responded to a report of an unattended truck off the 15-mile marker of Saddle Road. They found a body in an advanced stage of decomposition.  An autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the sex and cause of death. Dental records will be used to establish identity.  The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Navy Teams with State of Hawaii to Combat Mosquitoes

The Navy in Hawaii is partnering with the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health (HDOH) in surveillance and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquito Bite
During an interview on local TV June 11, entomologists Lt. Ryan Larson, of Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6, and Dr. Jeomhee Hasty, of HDOH, showed specimens of mosquitoes and explained the importance of working together to prevent the spread of diseases.

The partnership with HDOH was strengthened when the Navy began to recognize the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases throughout the Pacific last summer.

“Fences don’t stop mosquitos,” Larson told KHON2’s Wake Up 2day audience. “We realized we need to be prepared to respond in case this disease arrived in Hawaii.”

There have been cases of mosquito-borne diseases chikungunya and dengue fever in recent years, according to the HDOH.

“Travelers infected overseas can bring the disease back home where local mosquitos can ‘bite’…and start local transmission of the disease in Hawaii,” said Hasty.

Mosquito surveillance conducted by HDOH since 2010 at Honolulu International Airport supports Hasty’s concern. The mosquito species Aedes aegypti was detected near the airport several times since 2012. This group is more efficient at spreading dengue fever, said Hasty.

The HDOH Navy partnership allows combatting invasive species to move beyond the airport to cover more of the state.

Ryan demonstrated how two different traps are being used in the joint effort. A light trap sucks nocturnal mosquitos in after attracting them with visual cues and carbon dioxide, which mimics human respiration.

He also showed a sentinel trap, which is used for catching day-feeding mosquitos like the ones that carry dengue and chikungunya. Baited with a chemical lure that smells like “the worst pair of smelly socks you can imagine,” this device targets ankle-biting mosquitos, said Ryan.

As for residents of Hawaii, Hasty says using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent exposure to harmful mosquito bites. She also recommends eliminating standing water on and around one’s property, which reduces mosquito reproduction.

EPA Honors Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as Federal Green Challenge Winner

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with the EPA’s Federal Green Challenge Regional Overall Achievement award as part of its efforts to encourage federal departments to reduce their environmental footprints through sustainable practices.

A park ranger recycles cardboard

A park ranger recycles cardboard

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, located on Hawai‘i Island is one of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world. Located nearly 2,500 miles from the nearest continental land mass, the park stretches from the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet down to sea level. It encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes, and attracts more than 1.6 million visitors a year.

“We applaud National Park Service staff for leading the way towards zero waste, and educating the millions of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This unique landscape deserves protection, and that starts with the commitment by the federal employees who work there.”

“We are extremely honored to receive this level of recognition for our climate-friendly efforts,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Our staff is dedicated to implementing environmentally responsible practices, and we encourage our visitors and park partners to do the same,” she said.

The park had top regional achievements in the Federal Green Challenge Waste and Purchasing target areas, increasing recycling by 167 percent to achieve an overall recycling rate of 76 percent, while decreasing copy paper purchases by 89 percent. In addition, 95 percent of its cleaning products met Environmental Preferable Purchasing criteria.

Not only does Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park walk their talk behind the scenes, but park employees reach out to the community and visitors throughout the year through programs, exhibits and presentations on the values and importance of being climate friendly and sustainable.

The park actively works to reduce their environmental footprint in all six Federal Green Challenge target areas: energy, water, waste, electronics, purchasing and transportation.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to Hawaii’s largest public rainwater catchment system that stores 5.3 million gallons of water. The water is treated, filtered with cartridge and sand filters, and disinfected to supply water to 56 areas throughout the park. Water bottle refilling stations, posters, and sale of refillable stainless steel water bottles educate the public to “Step Away from the Plastic.”

In addition, the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center, which opened in 2011, earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council – and is currently the only federal building in Hawai‘i to receive LEED Platinum certification. The 4,896-square-foot building is powered by photovoltaic panels and is constructed from mostly recycled or reused materials.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has made more great strides in conserving energy. Park rangers ride electrically powered “Eco Bikes” to their programs along the Kīlauea summit, saving fossil fuels and parking spaces. The Kīlauea Visitor Center features special yellow LED lighting to conserve energy and keep night skies dark. Solar panels generate renewable energy, and electric and alternative fuel vehicles further reduce energy and transportation-related emissions.

The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort challenging federal agencies to lead by example in reducing the Federal Government’s environmental impacts. In 2014, more than 400 participating facilities, representing nearly 1.3 million federal employees, “walked the talk” in various target areas and reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings. In EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, $3,486,990 was saved through reductions in energy, purchasing, transportation and waste.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Shareholders Approve Merger with NextEra Energy

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HE) (HEI) today announced that HEI shareholders have approved the merger agreement with NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) announced Dec. 3, 2014.

Helco new Logo 2“We’re extremely pleased that our shareholders, many of whom are Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light customers, have shown their strong support for this historic partnership by approving the proposed merger,” said Jeff Watanabe, HEI’s chairman of the board. “The approval marks another significant milestone in our efforts to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation by bringing the expertise and resources of NextEra Energy to our state to achieve even higher levels of renewables and lower energy costs for our customers.”

Of the shares voted, approximately 90 percent were in favor of the merger. Achieving this level of shareholder support is a significant accomplishment because, while publicly held companies commonly may proceed with a merger with the affirmative vote of a majority of their outstanding shares, HEI is required under Hawaii law to obtain supermajority approval from 75 percent of its outstanding shares. Hawaii is the only state with such a high approval requirement for a merger.

The merger will bring together two industry leaders in clean and renewable energy. Hawaiian Electric has put Hawaii on the leading edge of clean energy nationally, successfully integrating rooftop solar with 12 percent of its residential customers and helping meet 21 percent of customer electricity needs from renewable energy resources. NextEra Energy has developed, built and operates one of the nation’s most modern grid networks and is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun. NextEra Energy supports and will help accelerate Hawaiian Electric’s plans to lower electric bills, triple distributed solar – including rooftop solar – and achieve a 65 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2030. This week Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law that set a goal of 70 percent RPS by 2040 and 100 percent RPS by 2045 for the state—goals which Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy have each stated they fully support.

“We’re confident that this merger will help us more quickly achieve the affordable clean energy future we all want for Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI’s president and chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of Hawaiian Electric and American Savings Bank. “We’re proud to support a measure recently passed by the legislature and signed by our governor making Hawaii the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio standard. Partnering with NextEra Energy will strengthen and accelerate our ability to reach our state’s ambitious goals.”

The merger with NextEra Energy is expected to provide Hawaiian Electric with the added resources and access to expertise to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation, while delivering substantial customer benefits, including lower costs. Subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have committed to approximately $60 million in customer savings over four years and to not request an increase in the general base electricity rate for at least four years post-transaction close. Following completion of the transaction, Hawaiian Electric will continue to operate under its current name, be locally managed, and remain headquartered in Honolulu. HEI is one of Hawaii’s most charitable companies and NextEra Energy will continue HEI’s overall current level of corporate giving in Hawaii.

While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the proposed merger, the transaction remains subject to other regulatory approvals including approval by the PUC, other customary closing conditions and the spinoff of American Savings Bank, a subsidiary of HEI and one of Hawaii’s largest full-service financial institutions. Following the spinoff, American Savings Bank will remain based in Hawaii as an independent public company, and continue to provide a full range of financial products and services, including business and consumer banking, insurance and investments, corporate banking and commercial real estate lending.

“The spinoff of American Savings Bank as a condition to completing the merger enables shareholders to continue to own American Savings Bank and to participate in the bank’s upside potential as an independent public company,” said Connie Lau. “Our ability to spin off American Savings Bank reflects the strength of the bank’s business, its strong market position and its talented team of employees.”

Community Talk About the Future of Electricity in Hawaii

 

NextEra Logo

What will NextEra’s $43 billion purchase of Hawaii’s multi‐island private electric utility, Hawaii Electric Inc., mean to the state’s clean energy future and to the utility’s customers of Hawai’i County?

  • Electricity prices in Hawai’i are currently the highest in the country, at nearly three times the national average. What are the benefits that NextEra’s acquisition brings to Hawai’i?
  • Hawai’i boasts one of the fastest adoption rates of rooftop solar in the nation. With so many home grown Hawai’i solar jobs at stake, will Hawaii’s new power provider and utility follow a similar pattern of utilities in other states who are actively engaged in a war on solar (seen as competitive to their business interests) and stymie its popular adoption?
  • Can NextEra meet the state’s newly adopted 100% goal for renewable energy by 2045?
  • Is the current 20th century utility revenue model still relevant to Hawaii’s solar economy?
  • Can Consumers become their own utility and successfully disconnect from the grid?
  • Is Hawaii ready to adopt NextEra’s plans to upgrade its newly acquired Hawai’i power plants (fueled by the dirtiest of fossil fuels: coal and oil) with another imported fossil fuel (natural gas), and all in exchange for the promise of cheaper electricity rates?
  • How will the power of size, money, and political influence by Florida‐based NextEra transform Hawaii’s energy future?
  • Will Hawaii’s PUC protect the public interest?

These and many other questions important to customers of HEI (HELCO) will be discussed by a panel of experts, each with a different outlook on Hawaii’s electricity dependent future.

Join us Thursday, June 18th, at 6:00 pm at the County Council Chambers, West Hawai’i Civic Center to learn more from the event’s featured speakers:

  • Jay Ignacio, HELCO, President
  • Henry Curtis, Ililani Media
  • Richard Ha, HEIC, President

Doors will open at 5:30 pm, pupus and beverages will be served prior to the program. The program is free and open to the public.

 

HVO Releases New Photo of Halemaumau Crater

One month ago the summit lava lake was at the rim of the Overlook crater (the small crater in the center of the photo), spilling lava onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater (the larger crater that fills much of the photo), creating the dark flows surrounding the Overlook crater.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Since that time the lava lake has dropped, associated with summit deflation, and today the lake level was about 60 meters (200 feet) below the Overlook crater rim. The stack of recent overflows is visible on the wall of the Overlook crater as the layer of dark lava atop the older, light colored lava forming the majority of the Overlook crater wall.

The photo is taken from the southeast rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The closed Halemaʻumaʻu overlook is in the upper left corner of the photo. Jaggar Museum and HVO can be seen as a small bump on the horizon in the upper right portion of the photograph.

Explore Kilauea Iki With a Vulcanologist

On June 14, the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) presents a “Sunday Walk in the Park” from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This monthly program, offered on second Sundays, is aimed at bringing together the members of FHVNP to share in the park’s beautiful trails.

The public is invited to join the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for a  “Sunday Walk in the Park” on June 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. along the Kilauea Iki Trail.  The walk is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend.  Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.  Visit www.fhvnp.org for more info.   Photo: FHVNP/Elizabeth Fien

The public is invited to join the non-profit Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for a “Sunday Walk in the Park” on June 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. along the Kilauea Iki Trail. The walk is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend. Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits. Visit www.fhvnp.org for more info.
Photo: FHVNP/Elizabeth Fien

Led by Cheryl Gansecki, this month’s four-mile hike will explore Kilauea Iki Crater.  Participants should bring a bag lunch for a rest stop along the walk.

Kilauea Iki Trail begins on the crater’s forested rim.  The trail descends 400 feet through the rain forest, with native birds flitting through the canopy, onto the crater floor.  Hikers cross the still-steaming crater, past the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone, and ascend the far rim.  Of interest on the hike are forest plants, birds, insects, the 1959 lava lake, steam vents, and cinder and spatter cones.

This hike, rated moderately difficult, traverses pahoehoe lava and forested trails.  Participants should be prepared for the 4,000’ elevation as well as for variable weather conditions, including sunny, windy, chilly, and/or rainy.

FHVNP’s “Sunday Walk in the Park” is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to attend.  Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.

To register, contact FHVNP at 985-7373 or admin@fhvnp.org.  For more information, visit www.fhvnp.org.  Park entrance fees apply.

Missing Divers Pulled Out to Sea Found Safe

Two divers are safe ashore after strong currents pulled them eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, Saturday.

Tiger Too, a 19-foot recreational boat, is en route to two divers marked by smoke flares approximately eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, June 6, 2015, after strong currents pulled them four miles from their original entry point. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jim Morrow)

Tiger Too, a 19-foot recreational boat, is en route to two divers marked by smoke flares approximately eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, June 6, 2015, after strong currents pulled them four miles from their original entry point. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jim Morrow)

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 10:22 a.m. of two divers missing from 19-foot recreational boat Tigger Too.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew diverted from a scheduled mission at 10:35 a.m. to begin a search. The Hercules crew located the missing divers four miles from their original location and dropped two smoke flares. Their location was then relayed to the boat’s captain who was able to rescue them. Both men are reported to be in good condition.

Ocean currents around the Main Hawaiian Islands can be extremely hazardous and can quickly overcome even the most skilled swimmers. At the onset of high surf and severe weather these conditions can become even more dangerous. The Coast Guard advises all ocean-goers to check weather conditions before heading out, never go out alone, file a float plan and know their limits.

Governor Signs Bill Setting 100% Renewable Energy Goal

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today joined others across Hawaii in applauding Gov. David Ige and the Hawaii Legislature for setting the most aggressive clean energy goal in the country – 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

 Governor Ige signs bill setting 100 percent renewable energy goal in power sector

Governor Ige signs bill setting 100 percent renewable energy goal in power sector

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company fully support the goal of having 100 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources while ensuring that it’s achieved at a reasonable cost for electric customers and that safe, reliable electric service is maintained.

“Reducing our dependence on imported oil and increasing our use of renewable energy is critical to our state’s future. It’s the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. Reaching this goal will require a diverse portfolio of renewable energy resources and strong, upgraded electric grids, and that’s exactly what we’re working toward,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.

The proposed merger involving Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy would provide additional resources to help make these ambitious goals a reality. NextEra Energy has developed, built and operates one of the nation’s most modern grid networks and is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

“Reaching these goals will be a challenge that our entire state must work together to meet. And we’ll do that with strong collaboration among all stakeholders and our collective commitment to building a better energy future for Hawaii,” Oshima said.

Hawaii Governor’s office released the following:

Gov. David Ige today signed into law four energy bills, including one that strengthens Hawaii’s commitment to clean energy by directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045.

The bold step taken by the Hawai‘i State Legislature in passing the landmark legislation (HB623) fulfills one of Ige’s policy objectives by making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to set a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for the electricity sector.

“As the most oil dependent state in the nation, Hawai‘i spends roughly $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet its energy needs. Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security,” Ige said. “I’d like to thank the senate and house energy committee chairs for championing HB623 and ensuring that Hawai‘i remains a national leader in clean energy.”

“Setting a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard will help drive investment in Hawai‘i’s growing clean energy sector,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “Our commitment to clean energy has already attracted entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world, looking to develop, test and prove emerging technologies and strategies right here in Hawai‘i.”

“Raising the bar for renewable energy in Hawai‘i will also push the state to stay out in front on innovation,” said Mark Glick, administrator, State Energy Office. “We are finding ways to be innovative both with technical solutions and financing structures that will help us meet our ambitious renewable energy goals.”

“Renewable energy projects are already producing cheaper power than new fossil fuel projects in Hawai‘i, and it’s only going to get cheaper as renewable technology advances, unlike fossil fuels which will only grow more expensive as they become more difficult to extract from a shrinking supply,” added Rep. Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee. “The faster we move toward renewable energy the faster we can stop exporting billions from our local economy to import expensive fossil fuels.”

Another measure signed by Ige (SB1050) will help democratize renewable energy by creating a structure that will allow renters, condominium owners and others who have been largely shut out of Hawai‘i’s clean energy transformation, to purchase electricity generated at an off-site renewable energy facility, such as a large-scale solar farm.

The bill establishing a community-based renewable energy program will be particularly valuable on O‘ahu where there is a high concentration of high-rise condominiums that lack sufficient roof space to support on-site solar panels.  The law is also expected to provide relief to homeowners and businesses who are located on highly saturated circuits that cannot accommodate additional PV installations.

“As of March 2015, there are about 56,000 PV/Solar systems on rooftops.  These folks are saving tremendously on their electricity bills. That’s great, but what about the 44 percent of Hawai‘i residents who don’t own their homes? And those without roof space? SB 1050 allows people to form a hui, find a piece of land, and purchase or lease however many PV panels they want and then get a credit on their electricity bill for the energy they produce.  We spend $3-5 billion annually buying fossil fuels; this is an awesome concept that will help keep some of that money here to help our economy,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, who co-authored the bill while serving as chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.

In addition to the 100 percent RPS and community-based renewable energy bills, Ige signed into law a measure that sets a net-zero energy goal for the University of Hawai‘i  System (HB1509) and another that designates a state hydrogen implementation coordinator (HB1296).

Bullet Hole Found in Door of Telescope on Mauna Kea

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a report of damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea.

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

Officers responded to a report late Saturday night (June 6) of what appeared to be a “bullet hole” in a door at the Subaru Telescope at the Mauna Kea summit.

The damage reportedly occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday evening.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Officer Nelson Cacho at 961-2213 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

UPDATE:

Hawaiʻi Island police have determined that damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea was not a bullet hole.

A detective investigated the scene Monday (June 8) and determined that a hole in a door to the observatory was caused by a bolt from an adjacent wall and that it had been there for approximately six months.

The case that had been initiated for this incident will be closed as unfounded.

New Maps Show Lava Flow in Relation to Places

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to lower Puna.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on May 21 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of June 4 is shown in red.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/).

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the active lava tube

Big Island Press Club Luncheon on Grassroot Institute’s Transparency Initiative

The Big Island Press Club invites the public to a luncheon talk on Thursday, June 18, from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Restaurant Kenichi to hear about The Grassroot Institute’s Transparency Initiative.

Keli'i Akina

Keli’i Akina

The Grassroot Institute’s transparency initiative has broken new ground in shedding a light on holding government in Hawaii accountable. Through a series of open records requests, and with the help of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, and the Office of Information Practices, Grassroot President Keli’i Akina and policy analyst Joe Kent will review the work that Grassroot Institute has done for a better government, economy, and society in Hawaii.

Joe Kent

Joe Kent

Grassroot has been able to uncover amazing information, which will be uploaded for journalists and the public at OpenHawaii.org.

Among the findings:

  • The top ten highest state public pensions for retirees last year.
  • The average pension and base salary for every state department.
  • The salaries, overtime, and bonus pay, and other information for every county.

The Grassroot Institute also will share the struggles with attempting to advance transparency in Hawaii, especially with regard to Hawaii County, which has been one of the least transparent counties in terms of salary and overtime pay. In addition, the speakers will review their transparency work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Employee Retirement System, among other agencies.

“A society built on democracy rests on an informed public. Now more than ever, it’s important that we say “E Hana Kakou let’s work together,” toward an open and transparent government.,” Akina said.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public policy think tank, dedicated to advancing individual liberty, the freemarket, and limited, accountable government.

Reservations are required. The cost of the buffet lunch (chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage) at Restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, is $20.

Register with a credit card at https://bipcgrassrootinstitute.eventbrite.com ($2.09 processing fee) or contact Robert Duerr surf77@mac.com or 808-937-9104.   Those interested may also send check to BIPC P. O. Box 1920, Hilo HI 96721, to arrive no later than June 16. Parking is available at Aupuni Center, across the street, for 25 cents per hour.

The Big Island Press Club has been dedicated to journalism and the public’s right to know about the workings of government, business and communities on Hawaii island since 1967.