Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $136,838,700 Economic Benefits

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,672 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,693,005 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2014 spent $136,838,700 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,672 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $170,878,000.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher gives the "Life on the Edge" talk to visitors along the Jaggar Museum observation deck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher gives the “Life on the Edge” talk to visitors along the Jaggar Museum observation deck in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei.

The park’s 2014 visitation is up 6.9 percent from 2013 (1,583,209 visitors), and reflects a steady and rising trend of visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, the Hawaiian culture, and its native biodiversity with local residents and visitors.

“It’s heartening to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the significant economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Economic Impact of National Parks of Hawaii Island

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,282,752 people in 2014 visited four national park units on Hawai‘i, the Big Island, and spent $175,579,100 in communities near the parks. That spending supported 2,162 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $248,036,200.

Royal Court at the annual Ho‘oku‘ikahi I Pu‘ukoholā Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival at Pu'ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site. ​ ​ NPS Photo

Royal Court at the annual Ho‘oku‘ikahi I Pu‘ukoholā Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival at Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site.
​ ​
NPS Photo

The national parks of Hawai‘i, the Big Island include:

Hawaiis Parks

A fifth area managed by the NPS, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, does not track visitation. A section of the 175-mile trail runs through each of the island’s national park units.

“The popularity of the national parks of Hawai‘i Island is no surprise as Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is the most popular attraction on the island and sometimes the state.  Hawai‘i Island as a whole has seen increases in visitor arrivals, length of stay and total spending over the last few years and we can attribute this success to the popularity of these amazing attractions. We have a very strong relationship with the National Park Service and through this we can promote these assets and drive sustainable demand for Hawai‘i Island,” said Ross Birch, Executive Director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

Hawaii Department of Education Releases Annual Financial Audit

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today released its Annual Financial Audit for the 2014 fiscal year (FY 2014) which shows the Department is doing a better job at keeping its finances in order.

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

The independent report analyzed financial statements of the public school system, including operating, capital improvement and federal funds. The DOE’s FY 2014 audit was submitted last month to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, which operates on behalf of the Office of Management and Budget.

The DOE’s financial audit provides an objective third-party examination of the presentation of the Department’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year, coordinated by the State of Hawaii’s Office of the Auditor​.​The DOE elects to maintain a separate, independent audit, rather than being incorporated with a single State of Hawaii audit.

“Annual independent audits are crucial to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being monitored and maximized to support teaching and learning in the most efficient way,” said DOE Senior Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Amy Kunz. “The findings validate our financial controls and provide guidance for improvement in some areas.”

The 65-page audit report published by Honolulu-based N&K CPA Inc. reviewed the DOE’s $1.494 billion general fund appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. It concluded internal controls examined are appropriately structured to prevent or detect financial misstatements, and found the DOE to be in compliance with requirements of major federal programs.

Auditors noted “opportunities for strengthening internal controls and operating efficiency.” Kunz says the Office of Fiscal Service has already moved to address the recommendations as outlined in the findings, including:

  • ​Adjusted the calculation of vacation and sick leave accrual for a small portion of  teachers to align with the correct fiscal year.
  • Strengthened accounting procedures for new federal grant payments to ensure  accurate reporting.

During the last four years, the DOE has also increased its internal audits to identify areas in need of improved controls. This move aligns with the DOE/Board of Education joint Strategic Plan​, which calls for effective organizational,​​ financial, human, and community resources in support of student success.

Big Island Resident has Truck and Motorcycle Stolen

A Fern Acres resident has reported the following:

So my boyfriend’s truck and his Ninja bike was stolen from Fern Acres last night … any info please call HPD or 808-647-4631Stolen Truck

New Satellite Image Captures Puna Lava Flow

This satellite image was captured on Monday, April 20, 2015 by the Landsat 8 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see. Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava flow field is partly obscured by clouds, but the image shows much of the activity on the June 27th flow. There have been three areas of breakouts active on the June 27th flow recently.

The breakout on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is obscured by clouds, but the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa is visible through patchy clouds in this image. This breakout has been active recently at the forest boundary, triggering small brush fires. The farthest breakout is about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and consists of scattered activity at the forest boundary.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 60-Year-Old Kona Man

Hawaii Island police are searching for a 60-year-old Kailua-Kona man who was reported missing.

Fabian Heald

Fabian Heald

Fabian Heald was last seen April 13 in Kailua-Kona. He is described as 5-foot-9, 205 pounds with white hair and green eyes.

His family is concerned about his well-being.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 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 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.

University of Hawaii Board of Regents to Hear More TMT Testimony

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents have scheduled another Special Board Meeting on the TMT issues.
tmt meeting

Many folks who wanted to testify at the last meeting on Thursday April 16th, weren’t able to because of the regents flight plans.
TMT HearingThis next meeting will be held on Sunday April 26th, 2015 at the University of Hawaii Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) beginning at 11:30 A.M..

Please see the above notice of the hearing for more specifications on how and where to submit testimony in advance or in person.

All Students to Return to Schools Affected by Puna Lava Flow

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today announced students in lower Puna who were reassigned in October 2014 due to the threat of a lava flow will be returning to their original school. Keonepoko Elementary will welcome back students to its campus in Hawaiian Beaches and all public school students in the Kea’au, Ka’u, Pahoa (KKP) complex area will start the 2015-16 school year in their geographically determined schools.

Pahoa High and Intermediate

“We realize that some families whose students were reassigned to another school may not want to return to their geographically determined school,” stated Chad Farias, KKP complex area superintendent. “However, those reassignments were made based on the pending lava flow. Now that the lava has been determined no longer a threat to KKP, students must go back to the school they came from for their education.”

DOE officials added that families may apply for Geographic Exceptions (GE) and follow the guidelines under Chapter 13 should they decide to make a change. KKP schools that experienced a shift in students and staff include: Pahoa Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, Kea’au Elementary, Kea’au Middle, Kea’au High, Keonepoko Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary.

“The Department is currently evaluating staffing needs and determining the appropriate processes to return the maximum number of employees to their pre-lava flow schools,” said Barbara Krieg, the DOE’s assistant superintendent for the Office of Human Resources. “There are a lot of details to be worked out and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our staff during this process.”

Decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. Information will be distributed to employees once details are finalized.

County Encouraging Public to Propose Properties to be Purchased

The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) encourages the public to propose properties that should be purchased.

Click to read

Click to read

Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/Browse.aspx… or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by June 30, 2015, and may be included in the commission’s annual prioritized list and report to the Mayor.

Commissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public. Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx…

Past open space purchases total 1,261 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena and Pa‘o‘o oceanfront parcels in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipio Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Banyan trees parcel in Hāwī town.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues. The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties. A Maintenance Fund has also been established to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. To find out the commissioner for your district go to: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/…/1/doc/73270/Electronic.aspx. The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is welcome.

World-Class Pastry Chefs and Cacao Experts at the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Make chocolate from scratch. Get the insider scoop on growing cacao—the bean needed to make chocolate—and find out why it must be fermented properly. See how to make chocolate dessert sensations—and taste them— by the nation’s leading pastry chefs.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020All these compelling educational offerings are part of the fourth Big Island Chocolate Festival May 7-9 at various West Hawai‘i venues. The fun demonstrations and informative seminars lead up to the festival gala 5:30 p.m. May 9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Here’s a quick rundown of activities:

Thursday, May 7

  • 9 a.m.-noon: Chocolate-Making Class. Una Greenaway instructs participants on how to make chocolate at her Kuaiwi Farm in Captain Cook, $50. Register at 808-328-8888.

Friday, May 8

The following four activities are at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i; $75 for all in advance or $30 at the door individually. Tix at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com:

  • Noon-12:45 p.m. Seminar: “Cacao Fermentation & Chocolate Micro-Terroir.” Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate tells why fermenting is the most important step for determining flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making.
  • 1-1:50 p.m. Seminar: “Hawai‘i Cacao Farming-Tree to Bar.” Presenters Tom Menezes of Hawaiian Crown Hilo and Una Greenaway of Kona’s Kuaiwi Farms discuss plant varieties and where to get them, how to plant and where, plus current business opportunities for Hawaiian-grown cacao.
  • 2-3:30 p.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation.” Derek Poirier, Valrhona Pastry Chef Western USA, gives step-by-step instruction to make Tarte Baba Cool. An international pastry competitor, Poirier develops recipes and teaches master classes for the famed L’Ecole du Grand Chocolate in France.
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation.” Stanton Ho, “Top 10 Pastry Chef in America 1994- 1995,” shows how to concoct a chocolate/coconut/salted caramel dessert called Cocoa Puffs.
    Pastry Chef Stanton

    Pastry Chef Stanton Ho

    After seeing Chef Ho in action, you’ll know why the Hawai‘i native was named Pastry Chef of the Millennium by Paris Gourmet in 2000.

Saturday, May 9

  • 9-11 a.m.: Cacao Farm Tour. Take a cacao farm and soap factory tour at Kona’s Kokoleka Lani Farm to see how cacao is grown and used in the production of Kona Natural Soap Company products, $25. Tix at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Chocolate decadence culminates 5:30-9 p.m. May 9 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom. Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, entertainment and a silent auction.

Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Tix info at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Find festival updates on facebook and Twitter, #BIChocoFest. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are offered by the Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Hawaii State Lawmakers Star in “Capitol Idol III” – Talent Show Raises Money for the Hawai‘i Foodbank

Brave members of the Legislative and Executive branches of our state government will showcase their hidden talents when they take the stage for a good cause.

capital

Capitol Idol III kicks off on Monday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to the show where members of the Senate and the Ige Administration vie for the audience’s support in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies, not to mention major bragging rights. This year’s show will be emceed by radio show host, actor and former State Representative Devon Nekoba.

The event is FREE, but state employees will be voting for their favorite acts by purchasing $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrip. The winner of Capitol Idol III will be the act with the most votes (scrip). There is no limit to the number of scrip a state employee can purchase.

In 2012, Capitol Idol raised $1400 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank and in 2014, $1700 was collected. “This is the time of the year when my fellow colleagues voluntarily offer themselves up for public scrutiny and possible embarrassment all to support an incredibly important agency in our community, the Hawai‘i Foodbank,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, the show’s organizer. “We want to encourage everyone to join us in supporting this worthy cause and have a good time smiling and laughing with us as well.”

Past performances have been a lineup of Legislators singing original songs, juggling, dancing hula and more.  Previous winners have been Representative Marcus Oshiro dressed in drag, dancing and belting out “I Will Survive” and Blake “Disco” Oshiro of the Governor’s office. With his Executive branch dancers, Oshiro stole the show last year.

So who will be the next champion in Capitol Idol III?  Join us to find out!

Commentary – Hawaii Science Leaders Call for the Protection of Mauna Kea

This statement is being made by physicians, psychologists, scientists, public health professionals, educators, and cultural practitioners who aloha ‘āina and who happen to be the leadership and members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. However, we are not making this statement in our capacity as faculty or staff of the university nor is this an official statement of the university.

Artist Conception of the TMT (Bottom Left) Click to enlarge

Artist Conception of the TMT (Bottom Left) Click to enlarge

In 2003, the Department of Native Hawaiian Health was established at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Its mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of Kānaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) by increasing the cadre of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and other health professionals, and scientists working toward health equity for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi through health care services, scientific research, and community engagement and empowerment. In meeting our mission, we embrace biomedical and behavioral sciences and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi cultural knowledge and tradition. We value science and its potential in improving the lives of all people and we value our Kanaka ‘Ōiwi culture and its offering of continuity and Mauli Ola (optimal and holistic health and wellbeing) for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi.

The protection of Mauna Kea (aka, Mauna a Wākea) by concerned Kānaka ‘Ōiwi is our ancestral kuleana (responsibility) to mālama ‘āina (land stewardship) and means of ensuring Mauli Ola. Cultural protection and revitalization of historical and sacred places are important social and cultural determinants of Mauli Ola for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi. They are as important to Mauli Ola as access to safe and well-resourced neighborhoods, excellent education, healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, and quality health care.

Coming from a tradition of seafarers and skilled navigators, who looked up to the heavens and night sky for knowledge and guidance, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi can appreciate astronomy’s quest to understand the mysteries of the universe and our collective existence in, and connection to, this universe. Kānaka ‘Ōiwi also appreciate and hold fast to cultural knowledge, traditions, and wahi pana (scared places) that also explain our existence in, and connection to, this place we call Hawai‘i.

In respect for both traditions, astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, the above members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health calls for an extended moratorium until a balanced resolution – that ensures the protection of Mauna Kea – is achieved between the State entities involved and the astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi community. And may it be done with the values of our ancestors as reflected in the following: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi (not all knowledge is acquired through one school) and Mālama pono i ka ‘āina (properly care for our land).

From: Drs. Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Marjorie Mau, Winona Lee, Dee-Ann Carpenter, Martina Kamaka, Robin Miyamoto, Kāwika Mortensen, Alika Maunakea, Andrea Hermosura, and Tricia Mabellos, and Ms. Mele Look , Ms. Chessa Harris, Ms. Tiffnie Kakalia, Mr. Kamuela Werner, Ms. Shelley Soong, and Ms. Miala Leong.

Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast Now Closed – Property Up for Sale

To our wonderful guests and friends:

After twelve years of magical hospitality to guests from all over the world, Waianuhea has now closed for business, and the property is up for sale.

The front of the Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast

The front of the Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast

Thank you for your business and support over the years!

It has been a great run of twelve plus years! I would like to thank all of our guests, friends, and family who have made the past twelve years so special. I am sorry to not be welcoming you back again under my stewardship to enjoy this amazing place called Waianuhea.

The "Great Room"

The “Great Room”

Financially, it has become necessary to close our doors. Thank you again for all of your interest, business, and support over the course of our lifetime. We set out to be a unique, beautiful, wonderful place to stay and relax in soothing comfort, and I believe we reached that goal!

The Waianuhea Inn

The Waianuhea Inn

I do not know what this property will transform into when it sells. It may open again as an inn, it may become a retreat center, it may be a private home, or it may be something else I haven’t even envisioned yet! What I do know is what a pleasure it has been in its form as a very special inn.

The Waianuhea Inn

From the time I began the process of setting up a distinctive space, to the years of making new friends and welcoming all of you, and now on to this place of parting, Waianuhea has been a chapter in my lifetime that has been so inexpressibly important and wondrous.

Part of the Basement

Part of the Basement

I have learned so much, I have expressed both my artistic side and my business side, and I have derived much happiness in providing a place of respite to my guests as well as a place of joyful, harmonious, and meaningful employment to my incredible staff.

Mahalo from the depths of my heart,

Carol Salisbury, Owner

Venomous Spiders Found in Foreign Container

A venomous spider was captured by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Honolulu on Mon., April 13th.

Spider2

The spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu. The CBP agents sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider (genus: Phoneutria). The brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.

Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and  killed immediately by a worker unloading the container. The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider. The second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.

“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state.”

spider

The CBP is responsible, not only for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also screening international visitors and foreign cargo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspection of agricultural material and animals transported from foreign countries into the U.S. and the HDOA is responsible for agricultural inspections from ports within the U.S. entering the State of Hawaii.

The Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs.

This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name. Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE –

643-PEST (7378).

Governors Statement on TMT Construction Postponement

Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

Top View of TMT Complex

Top View of TMT Complex

My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

  • Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit
  • Reducing the level of activity on the summit
  • Integrating culture and science

My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

Kamehameha Schools Announces Four New Executives

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong today named four new leaders who will join his executive team in the next few weeks.
Kamehameha SchoolsEach brings strategic and innovative thinking to the leadership team, as well as substantial insight and career experience with Kamehameha’s educational mission and Native Hawaiian and Christian foundations.

The new leaders named today are: Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources; Darrel R. Hoke, Executive Vice President of Administration; Kevin N. Cockett, Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer; and Lauren S. Nahme, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.

“I am excited about how these new leaders will help transform the work we do, how we collaborate with others, and help drive sustainable impacts for improved Native Hawaiian educational success,” said Wong. “They all have proven leadership abilities, solid values, integrity and passion for our mission, and they will enhance the already resilient and dynamic leadership team we have in place.”

Kā‘eo Duarte, a 10-year KS employee, is promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources, a new executive position that demonstrates Kamehameha’s commitment to a community-based approach, which includes responding collaboratively to the specific needs of communities.

“The Community Engagement group is probably the most “unique and new” group in KS’ new organizational structure, but its purpose is an old one,” explained Duarte. “It is about engaging and elevating people and place . . . kanaka and ʻāina, and I am the first to admit we have a lot to figure out and even more to do, but I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard.”

Duarte will oversee management of KS resources in nine regions statewide, plus agriculture and conservation land programs, community resource centers and sustainability initiatives. Last year, Duarte was named Senior Director, West Hawaiʻi Region, charged with directing the combined endowment and education efforts in the region for more effective and efficient impact. Duarte has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S.E. in civil and geological engineering from Princeton University.

Kevin N. Cockett will join Kamehameha Schools in June 2015 as Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer. He is a 23-year veteran of the communications profession, with a strong blend of local and national experience in both corporate and agency settings. Cockett, a 1984 KS graduate, has operated his own communications business since 2011, and was previously a Senior VP at Communications Pacific, Inc., and in public relations for Best Buy Co., Inc.

“It’s a privilege to serve Kamehameha Schools in this capacity,” said Cockett. “I’m excited to join the organization at a time that feels like the dawn of a new era and to work alongside a group of such committed teams and individuals.”

Wong also named Darrel R. Hoke as Executive Vice President of Administration, affirming his extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of how KS’ support infrastructure and processes must enable KS to be a high-performing, mission-driven organization.  “I’m looking forward to moving all groups towards the strategic goal of operating as a high performing Native Hawaiian Organization,” said Hoke, “and building on the foundation established over the years, to ensure that KS is successful in delivering on our Strategic Plan targets in 2020.”

Hoke, a CPA and KS’ Internal Audit director since 2002, brings 27-years of experience in audit, accounting and finance to his new position. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. He will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Education Operations and Facilities Development and Support.

Lauren S. Nahme, previously director of Strategic Planning and Implementation, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Innovation. “Lauren brings seasoned expertise and a clear understanding of KS’ visioning and strategic planning processes to the executive team,” confirmed Wong. “She steps into this role already high up on the learning curve and with the ability and confidence to lead our current strategic planning efforts.”

Nahme had an extensive background in finance and banking when she joined KS in 2006 as Controller. In 2010, she transferred to Strategic Planning and Implementation, and has led KS’ planning efforts for SP2020. Nahme is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “It has been an intense but rewarding experience for our planning team to work with Trustees, Jack and his leaders across the organization to develop KS’ path to 2020,” Nahme explained. “Our direction is clear, commitment is strong, and momentum is building to spur us forward.”

Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first part of Wong’s November 2014 announcement that he would reorganize and streamline his leadership structure to reaffirm education as the primary focus of Kamehameha Schools, and to strengthen the organization’s ability to execute its Strategic Plan 2020.

Kamehameha Schools’ executive structure now includes seven executives reporting directly to CEO Wong: Education, Finance, Administration, Community Engagement and Resources, Communications, Legal, and Strategic Planning and Innovation. Wong expects to name the Executive Vice Presidents for Education and Finance in the next few months.

Vice president profiles:

‘Chocolate Soirée’ Dinner a Prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival

As a prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival, local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf presents the premier “Chocolate Soirée” dinner on Thursday, May 7, 5-8 p.m. at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

The seven-course feast features Original Hawaiian Chocolate, savory and sweet, in dishes created by notable chefs like Stanton Ho (Amoretti), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz), and Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf), assisted by culinary students from University of Hawai‘i Center—West Hawai‘i Campus.

Also providing chocolate for the Soirée, Kokoleka Lani Farms is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company. By special arrangement, the exclusive Chocolate Soirée event begins in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary students. Dinner will be served family-style in their adjacent home.

Chocolate cocktail concoctions will be provided by mixologist and general manager Keith Malini of Ray’s on the Bay, the oceanfront restaurant at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Ray’s on the Bay has also selected fine wines to serve with the elegant farm-to-fork feast, and the restaurant will feature one of the signature chocolate entrees on their dinner menu in the days leading up to the event.

“The Chocolate Soirée is a fun way for us to do some education. It gives the students a chance to work with top chefs in a unique environment, and to work with the more unusual Hawai‘i Island ingredients they don’t see or use every day,” said The Feeding Leaf General Manager Les Apoliona.

“It gives our guests a chance to learn about new and different aspects of local chocolate while they enjoy a beautiful, exclusive dinner at the source,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Greg and Marty for opening their home and their cacao farm for us. And, with two more days of chocolate indulgence Friday and Saturday, we think this will be and outstanding pre-event for Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

Tickets for Chocolate Soirée are limited to 100 at $125 per person, including cocktails and wines, available at Kona Wine Market and Westside Wines, online at wew.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-soiree-tickets-16328176014, or by calling 808-325-3803. Big Island Chocolate Festival takes place May 8-9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, with Chocolate Gala, Seminars, Chocolate Competition and more. Part of the proceeds benefit American Culinary Federation/Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarships.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

Family Urges Passage of “Cinderella” Bill

Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto are living separately now because the State does not allow two private pay clients in a community care foster family home (CCFFH) as space needs to be available for Medicaid clients.

noburo2Noboru and Elaine are able to pay their own way (private pay) but because of the State requirement Elaine has to live away from Noboru and only sees him on weekends. Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley and portion of Lower Kalihi) introduced HB600 which would allow married private pay couples to be cared for in the same CCFFH.

noburo1Janice Stinson, daughter of Elaine and Noboru, and her daughter Emiko, arrived on Tuesday to visit and to assist her parents in their efforts to get back together. “I find it difficult to believe that there is a State law that bars my parents from living together after 67 years of marriage.

They dearly love each other and miss each other because they are separated.” said Janice. “I am a health care professional in California with a PHD in Nursing and spent 38 years in the Navy Nurse Corps. Throughout my career I have understood the need for married couples to be together.”

Granddaughter Emiko adds “I don’t understand how there can be a law keeping a married couple of 67 years apart. My grandparents have been great role models for me my whole life and to see them kept apart now, makes me sad.”

The Kawamoto’s son Norman says “We have always been a close knit family. My Mom and Dad really miss each other very much being separated. There is nothing complicated about it; they simply want to live out their days together. They enjoy the basic things in life: watching TV together, singing songs together. The passage of HB600 will allow them to return to the life they have always enjoyed.”

Jonathan and Arlene Hanks, Noboru’s caregivers, offered “We support the Kawamoto family, Noboru and Elaine, we are here for them, and will help them in any way possible. We want to see HB600 pass into law. It’s just common sense; it’s the right thing to do.”

HB600 has passed both houses and is going to a conference committee next week to hopefully iron out the differences in the House version and the Senate version.

Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno adds “HB600 is the Cinderella bill of the 2015 legislative session because it involves a love story of a married couple of 67 years, separated by a State regulation which does not allow them to live in the same community care foster family home. I’ve always said that marriage is a fundamental right and the State should not have the right to deprive this married couple the right to live together in the same community care home.

Noboru fought in World War II and defended our country and now that he is 94 years of age, we feel the urgency to pass this bill and allow Elaine and Noboru to enjoy their golden years together.”

Ka’u Coffee Festival – April 24 to May 3

Showcasing all that makes the rural District of Ka’u so special, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks with activities for all ages April 24-May 3. Now in its seventh year, the festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s multi, award-winning coffees at numerous events, but also features stargazing, a rainforest hike and much more.

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

“We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy over 10 days,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer. “While all of last year’s great events return to the festival, we’re always trying to exceed the expectations of our guests. When you have a vibrant community producing some of the finest coffee grown anywhere, my job is actually pretty easy. We’ve added a second mauka hike to keep up with popular demand.”

One popular reprise is the tasty recipe contest using Ka’u coffee as an ingredient. The Ka’u Coffee Recipe Contest offers friendly competition in pupu, entrée and dessert categories Saturday, April 25 at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. During the 2 p.m. judging, enjoy free entertainment, coffee and recipe sampling.  Contest entry is free and the deadline is April 19. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

The Pahala Community Center is the new venue for the annual Miss K‘au Coffee Pageant where doors open at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Contestants aged 17-24 are judged in talent and gown categories and win prizes and local fame, according to pageant chair Gloria Camba.  Participants also vie for Most Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Miss Popularity.  Admission is $10 with additional donations appreciated; door prizes will be awarded.

The highlight of the 10-day activity lineup is the free Ka’u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday, May 2 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. New this year, admission into the tasty Ka‘u Coffee Experience is free and coffee enthusiasts can sample professional barista-guided tastings of Ka‘u coffees prepared a variety of ways—like a pour-over. French press or cold brew—9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers at gaily decorated booths with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during informative Ka’u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Most events are free while others require a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m. The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest hosts a cooking competition at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka’u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Sunday, April 26, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee and Miss Ka‘u Peaberry. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Pahala Community Center. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 1 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Find out how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 1 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 2 tantalize your taste buds at the friendly Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers guided coffee tastings 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 3 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

 

Senate Passes Nearly 200 Measures on Crossover

Measures include marijuana dispensaries, funding for rail tax, construction for Kona courthouse and body cameras for police

The State Senate today passed 135 House bills that addresses areas of domestic violence, beach protection, education, public safety, energy, and a number of other measures aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of the residents of Hawai‘i.

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A total of 197 bills have passed third reading by the Senate and will be returning to the House. A majority of the bills will go into conference committees where the House and Senate conferees will convene to settle differences between the House and Senate drafts and negotiate a final amended version.

Among the most substantial bills passed by the Senate: HB321, HD1, SD2 that establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; HB134, HD1, SD2 which extends the half percent county surcharge on State tax for two, ten-year extensions to fund additional Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) transit routes; HB290, HD2, SD1 that appropriates funding for the construction of the Kona Judiciary Complex; and HB365, HD1, SD1 which appropriates money for body cameras for police officers.

“The Senate was prudent in passing out responsible House bills,” said Senator J. Kalani English (D 7th District), Senate Majority Leader. “These are reasonable proposals and we’re looking forward to conference to work out the details.”

Other significant House measures passed by the Senate include:

HB124, HD2, SD2, relating to elections. Requires the office of elections to implement elections by mail in a county with a population of less than 100,000, beginning with the 2016 primary election; and in each county with a population of less than 500,000, beginning with the 2018 primary election. Beginning in 2020, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail.

HB58, HD1, SD2, relating to protective orders. Establishes a protective order card pilot program within the Honolulu family justice center to issue protective order cards upon request of individuals holding a long-term protective order issued by a court of the first circuit of the State.

HB464, HD1, SD1, relating to health. Appropriates funds for the purchase of an additional ambulance unit for the Kakaako community, HB1063, HD2, SD1, which provides funding for an additional ambulance for the Moanalua, Aliamanu, Red Hill, Salt Lake and Foster Village

community, and HB481, HD1, SD1 that makes an appropriation for an ambulance based in Makalei on the island of Hawai‘i.

HB444, HD3, SD2, relating to beach protection. Authorizes the use of certain transient accommodations tax revenues for beach restoration and conservation.

HB1042, SD1, relating to important agricultural lands. Appropriates funds for grants-in-aid to the counties for identifying and mapping important agricultural lands, preparing the final submission package to the land use commission, and assistance with exploring county incentives for important agricultural lands.

HB1489, HD1, SD2, relating to special license plates for national parks. Authorizes the issuance of special license plates for Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

HB858, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.

HB538, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Requires wireless telecommunications service providers to release individuals from shared or family wireless plans, without charge, upon written request in documented instances of domestic violence.

HB1112, HD2, SD2, relating to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Requires the auditor to conduct a financial and management audit of HHSC every five years. Authorizes HHSC to negotiate master collective bargaining agreements for its employees. Authorizes a regional system of the Hawaii health systems corporation, in collaboration with a private entity, to transition any one or more of its facilities to management and operation by a new nonprofit management entity. Appropriates an unspecified amount to the department of budget and finance for an unspecified number of positions to coordinate the review of documents and examine the fiscal implications posed by a transition of any Hawaii health systems corporation facility to management and operation by a nonprofit management entity.

HB1354, HD1, SD2, relating to housing. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to several state agencies for the purposes of improving and increasing the existing public and affordable housing stock in the State. Requires a report to the 2016 and 2017 legislature on the set-aside plan for upkeep and maintenance of the housing facilities to be constructed.