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BREAKING NEWS: Coast Guard Responding to Report of 42 People Abandoning Ship South of Hawaii

The Coast Guard is responding to a report of 42 people abandoning ship after their fishing vessel American Eagle caught fire approximately 1,800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, Wednesday.

abandon

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point. They are expected to arrive on scene approximately 5 p.m. (HST) today.

Fong Seong 888, a Tuvalu-flagged oil tanker, is en route transiting more than 90 miles to the vessel’s location and is expected to arrive on scene approximately 8 p.m. (HST)

The 40 crewmembers aboard 258-foot U.S.-flagged fishing vessel abandoned ship at 10 a.m. (HST) into two life rafts, three work boats and one skiff. An emergency position-indicating radio beacon was activated and is transmitting information.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from the vessel’s company American Eagle Fishing LLC at 8:38 a.m. (HST) of a fire aboard the vessel.

American Eagle Fishing LLC

No injuries have been reported.

Hikianalia Sails to Hilo – Local Schools Invited to Participate (Must RSVP)

As legendary traditional sailing vessel Hokulea travels around the world, sister voyaging canoe Hikianalia continues to make her impact in Hawaii by delivering the Malama Honua message of taking care of Island Earth – this time on Hawaii Island- with the help of Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) crew members, Hawaii’s Ohana Waa (canoe family), and Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Vaka Sail - Oahu to Kauai - July 2011

Vaka Sail – Oahu to Kauai – July 2011

“It’s very important to PVS that Hikianalia continue engaging our local communities by offering opportunities for the public to interact with crew members and learn more about the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage,” stated Miki Tomita, director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Learning Center. “As an organization, we’re always striving to ensure that the public, especially our islands’ schoolchildren, are engaged in the educational aspects of the voyage at home as well as abroad,” Tomita added.

Between Feb. 15-25, weather-permitting, Hikianalia, Ohana Waa, and partner organizations will be hosting community outreach events in Hilo, with some events open to the general public.

Hilo Day

A welcome ceremony in Palekai, Keaukaha will be held on Monday, Feb. 15, with the time to be determined. Local schools are invited to participate in the momentous occasion and will need to RSVP.

On Friday, Feb. 19 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Hawaii Island teachers and students will have the opportunity to take part in Hikianalia Education Day – again, schools will need to make reservations to participate.

Hikianalia Community Day will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event will be at Suisan Pier, and all of the Hawaii Island community is invited – no reservations are required.

Imiloa Astronomy Center celebrates its tenth anniversary on Sunday, Feb. 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy the day by visiting the astronomy center for free, meeting PVS crew members, and learning more about Hikianalia, Hokulea and the Worldwide Voyage.

For more information or to participate in events that require reservations, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hikianalia/.

Sen. Gilbert Kahele’s Son (Kaiali’i Kahele) Files Papers to Finish Out Senate Term

Last night at the Hilo Civic Auditorium, hundreds of folks paid their respect to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele.

Kai Kahele embraced by Malia Paul, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz at his father's Celebration of Life.

Kai Kahele embraced by Malia Paul, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz at his father’s Celebration of Life.

21 State Senators flew to the Big Island for the Celebration of Life, as well as current Hawaii State Governor Ige and former Governor Neil Abercrombie.  Former Hawaii County Mayor Dante Carpenter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and current Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi all gave great tributes to the late Senator.

This evening I have learned that the beloved Senator’s own son, Kaiali’i Kahele has filed a “Statement of Candidacy” to fill the mid-term vacancy left by his fathers passing:
Kai Kahele Announcement

I myself think he would be a great replacement and hope that he is selected by the Democratic party to continue on with the things his father was working on.

“Kai” Kahele told me His (Sen. Gilbert Kahele) priorities are my priorities, Banyan Drive, UH-Hilo Aviation, Lanakila Housing, Covered Playgrounds at Haʻaheo and Waiakea Elementary schools amongst others. I am looking forward to spirited conversation on Saturday with the other candidates and sharing my vision, dreams and hopes for our Hilo community and our island.”

Washington Man Dies After Jumping Off End of the World on Hawaii Island

A 36-year-old man died Monday (February 8) after jumping off a cliff into waters off Kailua-Kona.

He has been identified as William H. Holman of Auburn, Washington.
End of the World
In response to an 11:38 a.m. call, police learned that Holman jumped into the ocean at Lekeleke Bay, also known as “End of the World,” and then cried out for help before disappearing into the water.

Fire/Rescue personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the area for the missing man. His submerged body was located at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

A coroner’s inquest has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Puna Legislative Town Hall Meeting with Sen. San Buenventura and Sen. Ruderman

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau) will host a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center on Hawaii Island to discuss bills and issues for the 2016 session.

They will also honor the students and faculty who built a replica of the space shuttle Challenger in honor of Ellison Onizuka and the 30th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle and its crew.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Keaau High School students that built the replica of the space shuttle.

The Town Hall Meeting will provide updates on bills along with other issues that may be heard during this session.  Questions, concerns and/or new ideas from those in attendance will be entertained.

  • WHO: Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau)
  • WHAT:  Town Hall Meeting to Discuss the 2016 Legislative Session
  • WHEN: Monday, February 29, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa, HI, 96778

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 252

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 252.

Mosquito BiteAs of February 9, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 1 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
1 Illness onset 2/1/16
Cases no longer infectious
251 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/29/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
252

Of the confirmed cases, 228 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
207 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/1/16.

As of today, a total of 1143 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

SC Johnson Announces Assistance in Fighting Dengue Fever in Hawaii

Today, SC Johnson announced its donation of 54,000 units of OFF!® insect repellent to the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency to help reduce the risk of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus.

off

Since the initial outbreak in Hawaii of dengue fever in the fall of 2015, more than 250 cases have been reported as of early February.  In response, SC Johnson partnered with the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency to arrange a shipment of 54,000 units of OFF!® insect repellent. This donation will allow for distribution through social service programs in an effort to help protect as many people as possible.

“We are proud to make this donation to support the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency in their efforts to protect needy families against the Aedes species of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus,” said SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. “We are a family company that’s been protecting families from mosquitoes for decades, so we feel a particular responsibility to help fight the spread of this disease.”

This is the first outbreak of dengue fever in Hawaii since 2011. As of February 8, the Hawaii State Department of Health reported 251 total confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak.

For more information on how to prevent mosquito-borne disease, visit our web site:  scjohnson.com/mosquitoes

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 129-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

Governor Ige’s Statement on Hawai‘i County’s Emergency Proclamation on Dengue Fever Outbreak

Mosquito Bite

The state supports the county’s effort to break the cycle of dengue fever infection and transmission on Hawai‘i Island. Our number one priority is the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors. We will continue to work with county officials on a daily basis.

The state will issue an emergency proclamation if and when conditions meet the following criteria:

  • The dengue outbreak requires additional resources beyond current levels
  • The dengue outbreak has spread to other islands
  • The outbreak has expanded to include zika and other vector borne diseases
  • It is necessary to waive certain laws and regulations
  • The state determines it will need federal assistance

At this time, the state is working to release the State Health Department’s 5 percent budget restriction ($250,000) to fund eight vector control positions, one entomologist and one communications position.

The state previously released another 5 percent ($250,000) restriction so the department could fund costs incurred while responding to the onset of the dengue outbreak.

Governor David Ige

New Gallery Offers Nightscape, Astrophotography and Space Art at Queens’ MarketPlace

Adding to its stellar collection of shops, restaurants and services, Queens’ MarketPlace announces an exciting new art experience, Starscape Gallery, scheduled to open in February 2016. Specializing in fine art, nightscape photography, astrophotography, and space art Starscape will offer an out-of-this world selection of museum-quality prints, original paintings, and more.
CullensOwner and photographer Steve Cullen sees an interesting trend in what he calls “astro-tourism” on the island—those visitors excited about the mountain summits, stargazing and the night skies. To capture their imagination, he brings together a unique group of fine artists and art photographers with a shared passion.

“The gallery features nightscape photography, beautiful landscape compositions taken under the evening sky. These could be of places you’ve visited before in daylight, like Pololū Valley but with the Milky Way, a constellation, or perhaps a moonbow delivering a perspective that can only be captured with a camera at night,” said Cullen. “We also have some amazing astrophotography of deep space objects like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters as well as stunning space art which is a more traditional artist’s interpretation of space phenomena.”
Cullens Milky Way

Cullen says that astrophotography is a more challenging, more technical process, to produce a different kind of art photos. “We might take 200 pounds of equipment out, set it up and leave the shutter open anywhere from eight hours to hundreds of hours,” said Cullen. “The telescope, and thus the camera, precisely tracks the sky as Earth rotates to capture the imagery in fantastic colors and clarity.”

A retired technology executive from Silicon Valley whose first love was astronomy, he moved to New Mexico in 2006, built three observatories and started doing his own research and astrophotography. He soon realized there was a business opportunity and created LightBuckets, the first “online telescope service”, a subscription-based business catering to citizen scientists, astrophotographers, and researchers around the world.

When that operation was sold to a French company, Cullen and wife Cindy (Starscape Gallery’s Gallery Director) moved permanently to Hawai’i Island, one of his favorite places on the planet. Since then, they have been working enthusiastically to open the new gallery.

“Visitors will be treated to a magical visual experience that inspires one to dream of distant worlds, ponder the enormity of the cosmos, and embark on a journey back to the beginning of time,” said Cullen. “Everywhere you look there’s a captivating view of distant galaxies, nebulae, stars, and planets or incredible horizon-to-horizon vistas of the night sky from amazing locations around the globe. The familiar takes on an air of other worlds under the infinite light of the universe.”

Starscape Gallery at Queens’ MarketPlace will be open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. For more information, call (808) 430-5864, visit our website at www.starscapegallery.com, or follow Starscape Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/starscapegallery.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Commentary – Forced Land Sales Bills killed

We have been informed by House Committee on Water and Land Chair Ryan Yamane that this Saturday’s hearing for the two forced land sales bills (House bills 2173 and 1635) has been cancelled.
HB2173

HB1635
Representative Yamane indicated that this effectively kills both bills for this session, noting that he was persuaded to take this action in light of strong concerns voiced by a broad spectrum of community members, including many voices of our Lāhui — alumni, parents, haumāna, kumu, staff, other Native Hawaiian trusts and agencies, charter schools, other educational partners and collaborators, and many others. He and members of his committee also heard from other landowners and business leaders who shared their concerns about these bills from their perspectives. Clearly this response was a collective effort put forth by many.

We mahalo Chair Yamane and the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Ty Cullen, for listening to the voices in our community and pulling back these two bills.

Today, the news is positive. But with nearly three months remaining in the legislative session, we will continue to monitor the process for any signs of these bills being brought back in some other form. We must be vigilant. E kūpa‘a mau!

Mahalo nui to all for taking a stand on this issue and engaging in the civic process to make a difference for our people and for all of Hawai‘i. Our voices were heard; our rights and connections to our ‘āina were protected.

While it is easy to think our work is now done, in so many ways, our work has just begun. We need to make sure that bills like these don’t ever come back and that those who introduce them continue to hear our voices. More importantly, at Kamehameha Schools, we need to use these experiences to step up and join those in our community who are fighting hard to protect and advance Native Hawaiian education, well-being and identity, whether it be on ‘āina, in community, in the legislature, in boardrooms, in classrooms, or elsewhere. This is what our new Strategic Plan 2020 is really about.

All of us, moving forward together — I mua kākou! I mua Kamehameha! I mua ka Lāhui Hawai‘i!
Livingston “Jack” Wong
Chief Executive Office, Kamehameha Schools

Declaration of Emergency Declared for Hawaii Island Due to Dengue Fever Outbreak

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi made a Declaration of Emergency due the outbreak of Dengue Fever on the Big Island of Hawaii.

To view the declaration click here:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/PDF/2p3kvnm3psnzz055cirgyy55/16/Dengue%20Proclamaiton%20Mayors%2002-08-16.pdf

Dengue Declaration of Emergency

As of February 8, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 1/29/16 to 2/1/16
Cases no longer infectious
249 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/28/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
251

Of the confirmed cases, 227 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
206 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/1/16.

As of today, a total of 1124 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Senate Bill to Acquire Land at Kapua Bay Slated for Full Senate Vote – One of Three Bills Introduced by Late Sen. Kahele

Senate Bill 3071, which calls for the state to purchase land at Kapua in South Kona on Hawai‘i Island, is poised for a final vote by the full Senate this week.  

Kapua Bay

The bill proposes that the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in consultation with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), engage in negotiations to acquire certain lands located at Kapua.  The proposed acquisition comprises four parcels that cover over 7,780 acres of land within the Agricultural and Conservation State Land Use Districts. It includes two parcels that are adjacent to the Manukā Natural Area Reserve. Funds would be appropriated to conduct an environmental study of the makai lands and the DLNR would be directed to attempt to reach an agreement for acquisition of the lands by December 31, 2016. 

SB3071 is one of three bills that the late State Senator Gil Kahele signed hours before his death on January 26.  The measure was particularly important to the late Senator, who grew up in the area and wanted to ensure the site was protected from development and preserved for future generations.

The bill passed second reading on February 5, 2016 and is scheduled for third reading before the full Senate on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 251

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 251:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 8, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 1/29/16 to 2/1/16
Cases no longer infectious
249 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/28/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
251

Of the confirmed cases, 227 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
206 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/1/16.

As of today, a total of 1124 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

League Of Women Voters of Hawaii on Election of Judges

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly opposes Senate Bills 2238 and 2239, scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Wednesday, January 10th at 9:00 a.m.in Room 016.

Capital

Both measures propose preparation of a State Constitutional amendment to elect justices and judges in Hawaii. The League believes these steps would jeopardize selection of judges based on merit. Judicial independence is necessary for the Hawaii State Judiciary to operate as a co-equal third branch of government, including preservation of individual constitutional rights, fair and impartial adjudication of legal disputes, and fair and timely criminal prosecutions. The need for judges to spend money and time campaigning for election would detract from their ability to devote their professional time and energy to official duties.

The right to a fair trial is a founding principle of our democracy, and it’s a value that Americans believe in. New research shows the more TV ads aired during state supreme court judicial elections, justices are consciously or unconsciously less likely to vote in favor of criminal defendants. Moreover, the more campaign contributions from business interests the justices received, the more likely they were to vote in favor of business litigants appearing before them in court.

The revolution in financing political campaigns, especially since the 2010 Citizens United case, (which struck down federal limits on corporate and political spending) has allowed Political Action Committees (PAC’s) and Super PAC’s to advertise heavily in Mainland states where judges are elected. Last November spending in a seven-way race for seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court surpassed $15.8 million, with the top three candidates who collected the most money winning the seats.

SB 2238 and SB 2239 are undesirable for many reasons, but most especially because they would make it possible to leverage “dark” campaign money from obscure sources. Every litigant in a civil case or a defendant in a criminal case needs to know that his or her case will be heard by a judge whose loyalty is to the law, and whose integrity will not be compromised by campaign finance or political pressures.

We hope our legislators will realize how important it is to keep Hawaii’s judges independent and impartial, and will defeat these unwise proposals.

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

For more information, visit www.lwv-hawaii.com

Hawaii Island Humane Society Community Town Hall Meeting

On the advice of the County Council members, we the tax paying community invite Hawai’i Island Humane Society, the Hawai’i County Council and the Hawaii County Chief of Police, to a Town Hall meeting.Dog town meetingThis forum is a sincere attempt to create a working relationship with the administration of HIHS to foster a foundation of cooperation and assist rescue groups on the island to eliminate euthanasia of animals when there are viable alternatives. The format will be a town hall style.  HIHS and the Animal Advocates Hui will each have fifteen minutes to give a presentation, and or proposal.

A mediator from the media or Hawai’i County Council will be appointed to facilitate. There will be a twenty five minute open round table discussion with a Q & A segment followed by a twenty-five minute open Q & A for the community.

Topics of discussion:

  • Our annual $2.1 million tax dollars appropriated by the County Council of Hawai’i.
  • Restructure of Hawai’i animal control contract to incentivize adoptions rather than setting a 14,000 euthanasia performance measure.
  • Reform of the Hawaii Island Humane Society programs and policies
  • Working with organizations attempting to help our animals
  • Discuss plans to eliminate euthanizing adoptable and treatable animals
  • Plan an oversight committee for HIHS

Date: Friday February 19th, 2016, Time: 5pm-7pm, Place:West Hawaii Civic Center ~ 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, Community Meeting Hale (Bldg G, Makai building below gazebo)

We hope to see you at the forum. It is important to our community that we work together for the betterment of our Island companion pet population.

Schatz, Senate Democrats Urge President Obama To Take Robust & Aggressive Actions to Address the Spread of Zika Virus – Comments on Dengue Fever Outbreak

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) joined 45 Senate Democrats today and released a new letter to President Obama urging a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad.

Mosquito Bite

“As the dengue outbreak continues to impact communities on Hawai‘i Island, we need more aggressive action to contain it and to stop the threat of Zika, another mosquito-borne virus that is devastating dozens of countries around the world,” said Senator Schatz. “By increasing funding for critical government research and response programs, we can make real progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and preventing its spread to Hawai‘i and the United States.”

The letter calls for the President to take a number of new actions, including taking the Zika virus into consideration as the Administration coordinates, and allocates resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16, and moves forward with the President’s upcoming FY17 budget request, or subsequent amendments. Additionally, Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

The Zika Virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes, which are also found in the United States. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, the effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage.

The full text of the Senate Democrats’ letter is below:

Dear President Obama:

The ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus requires an urgent and aggressive response from the United States. We are writing to urge you to develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad, and protect pregnant women and children. We also recognize that much is still unknown about the Zika virus, and therefore urge you to consider the potential impact the Zika virus will have on the funding needs of the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) Program at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, and other key programs in Fiscal Year (FY)17. We believe that a well-coordinated interagency response plan, coupled with strong investments in our research and response programs, is critical to addressing the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is transmitted via bites from the same kind of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. For most, the symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, there is early evidence its effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties, and brain damage. Scientists are also evaluating a possible link between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. These potential impacts have spurred the World Health Organization to declare the rise in Zika-linked birth defects and neurological conditions a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

In the Americas, it is anticipated that the outbreak could infect up to 4 million people. Because Zika is carried by low-moisture dwelling mosquitos, local transmission is predicted to spread to all countries and territories where the Aedes aegypti is found, including the United States. There is a critical and urgent need for a robust and coordinated response at all levels of government, and it is necessary to enhance efforts to control outbreaks, counter the spread of the disease, and ultimately reduce the potential for outbreaks in the United States.

Investing in the effort to combat the Zika virus abroad is one of the most important things we can do to prevent widespread transmission of the virus at home. The USAID’s EPT Program helps developing countries prevent, detect, and control the outbreak of infectious diseases. The program has been able to successfully use the technical expertise of the CDC in African, Asian, and Latin American countries to combat infectious diseases like Zika. CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) further works to protect against the spread of diseases like the Zika virus both at home and abroad, while USDA’s Agricultural Research Services Mosquito and Fly Research Unit also plays a critical role in developing better means of mosquito detection, monitoring, and control.

We urge you to take the Zika virus into consideration as you coordinate and allocate resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16 and move forward with your upcoming FY17 budget request or subsequent amendments.

At this time, it is also critically important that we take additional steps to respond to the ongoing outbreak and work to prevent additional cases of Zika from occurring in the United States. To meet this challenge we urge you to:

  • Develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad;
  • Direct USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify key gaps in the international and country-level response in order to best inform our response plan and disseminate, where appropriate, at border crossings and airports;
  • Ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification, and reporting of domestic Zika infections;
  • Direct HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure;
  • Ramp up research efforts, including at the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the link between the Zika virus, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and other public health impacts and accelerate rapid diagnostic and vaccine development; and
  • Encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate, or share information with their international counterparts.

By taking action now, we can make significant progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and reduce the potential for Zika virus outbreaks in the United States. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Free Chinese New Year Event at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its third annual Fortune Festival on Friday, February 19, 5-8 p.m. To ring in the Year of the Monkey, the colorful Lion Dancers of Big Island Shaolin Arts will perform, and participants can “feed” the lions with  red lai envelopes for new year’s blessings.

Lion Dance

Other highlights include martial arts performances, fire blowing, I Ching fortune telling, relaxing Chinese acupressure, and a Chinese Dragon display where visitors can pose for photos. In addition, the shopping center will offer a good luck “Hang Sau Zung Grab Bag” and various Chinese New Year sales at participating locations.

A variety of foods will be available for purchase during the festival including Chinese chicken salad, Dragon Bowls and Chinese snacks to support Hālau Manaola, plus favorite local flavors from Miranda’s Malasadas, Kona Ice Truck, specialty hot dogs from Kona Dogs, and more.

The Fortune Festival at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome. Additional event parking will be available with continuous shuttle service during the event. For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Hawaii State Senator Gilbert Kahele

As a mark of respect for the late Hawai’i State Senator Gilbert Kahele, Gov. David Ige has ordered the flags of the United States and State of Hawai‘i shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard, from sunrise to sunset on Monday, February 8, 2016.

Hawaii Flag Half Staff

“Senator Kahele was a dedicated public servant who spent the last few years working for the good of his beloved community at the Hawai‘i State Legislature. He was a respected and influential leader both in the legislature and in his hometown community of Hilo. On behalf of the people of Hawai‘i, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Kahele ‘ohana,” said Gov. Ige.

Sen. Kahele grew up in the fishing village of Miloli‘i on Hawai‘i Island and graduated from Hilo High School. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Marines and worked for the Hawai‘i Department of Defense for more than three decades.

Kahele was appointed to the Hawai‘i State Senate in 2011 by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. He served as chairman of the Tourism and International Affairs Committee.

Kahele worked to strengthen Hilo’s economy and was instrumental in obtaining funding to build the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. He was also a staunch supporter of the School of Aviation at Hilo International Airport.

Previously, Kahele served as chairman of the Hawai‘i County Police Commission and vice chairman of the Democratic Party for East Hawai‘i.

Note: Flag orders are issued to coincide with the day of the memorial service.

Commentary – Shocked that Judge Acquitted TMT Protestors

TMT Hearing

TMT Hearing held at University of Hawaii Hilo

I’m utterly shocked that Judge Takase acquitted several Thirty Meter Telescope protesters of obstruction. These protesters were obviously breaking the law by purposely blocking a publicly accessible roadway. However, Judge Takase accepted the protesters defense of their actions. The protesters assert they were preventing the desecration of Mauna Kea by blocking access to the mountain.

It boggles my mind that she accepted the protesters defense of their actions. The TMT project has followed the law every step of the way. The project’s EIS was accepted in 2010, and it had a valid conservation district use permit until the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated it in December. The court took this action because the petitioners due process rights were violated.

In short, Judge Takase took it upon herself to determine the TMT project is a desecration to Mauna Kea. This is an utter travesty, as there is nothing officially that would support this position.

I suspect she was more afraid of being charged with a possible “war crime” instead of following the law.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Notice – Attorneys Interested in Providing Legal Services to DLNR as Hearing Officer in Thirty Meter Telescope CDUP PERMIT Contested Case

In anticipation of the need for the Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a  contested case hearing on In Re Petitions Requesting a Contested Case Hearing Re Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Kaohe Mauka, Hamakua District, Island of Hawaiʻi, TMK (3) 4-4-015:009, the Department of Land and Natural Resources now seeks qualified applicants to provide professional legal services as a hearing officer in this potential case which is pending a remand to the Board by the Third Circuit Court of the State.

TMT laser

Qualifications

An applicant must possess the following basic qualifications:

  • Being an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi and in good standing;
  • Being able to serve with strict impartiality and no conflicts of interest or appearance of conflict;
  • Being available to devote a substantial amount of time in the next six to twelve months; and
  • Willing to accept the prevailing charge rate relevant to the professional service as a hearing officer, as determined by the Department.

Other desirable qualifications include civil litigation experience, practice in administrative law and process, familiarity with government proceedings and procedures, and knowledge of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules administered by the Department.

Submittal Requirements

Qualified parties interested in being considered for selection are invited to submit a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae or resume to:

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Attn: Administrative Proceedings Office
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Facsimile: (808) 587-0390
E-Mail: DLNR.CO.APO@HAWAII.GOV

Applicants from the same company or law firm must submit separate applications to the Department.  Applications may be submitted by mail, facsimile or electronic mail.  The Department will not be responsible for lost or misdirected mails.

All submittals must be received by the Department or postmarked by Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 4:30 p.m. to be considered.