Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Begins Construction on Mauna Kea

Following the approval of a sublease on July 25 by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) announces the beginning of the construction phase on Hawaii Island and around the world throughout the TMT international partnership. Contingent on that decision, the TMT International Observatory (TIO) Board of Directors, the project’s new governing body, recently approved the initial phase of construction, with activities near the summit of Mauna Kea scheduled to start later this year.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

Kahu Ku Mauna and the Mauna Kea Management Board reviewed, and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents recently approved, the proposed TMT sublease. The final approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources—the last step in the sublease process—allows TMT to begin on-site construction on Mauna Kea, home to many of the world’s premier observatories.

“It has been an amazing journey for TMT, from idea to shovel-ready project,” said Henry Yang, TIO Board Chair and Chancellor of the University of California Santa Barbara. “We are grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Hawaiian government, its citizens, and our project partners in bringing this important astronomical science effort to fruition. It is also my rewarding experience to work with so many community friends, University of Hawaii colleagues, and officials on both the Big Island and Oahu in this journey.”

The Rise of a New Observatory – Activities Around the World

The TMT project was initiated a decade ago by the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the University of California as the TMT Observatory Corporation. Now, as the TMT International Observatory (TIO)—founded as a nonprofit limited liability company on May 6, 2014 —the project has the official green light to begin constructing a powerful next-generation telescope.

The TIO founding members are Caltech, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan, and the University of California. India, an associate, is expected to become a full member later this year. Canada is also an associate and aiming to join as a full member in 2015.

Initial construction activities in Hawaii will include grading the site in preparation for future building work, enabling a site dedication ceremony in October. TMT is committed to work within a plan for responsible development on Mauna Kea created by the Office of Mauna Kea Management.

“TMT has worked for many years to design an unprecedented telescope, but also to work with the community to incorporate respect for Mauna Kea in our stewardship,” said Gary Sanders, Project Manager for TMT. “It is an honor and a privilege to now begin building our next-generation observatory in so special a place.”

Other work has already been proceeding off-site and will continue now apace.

“Design of the fully articulated main science steering mirror system in the telescope, as well as development of the lasers, laser guide star systems and other high-tech components, is proceeding in China,” said Yan Jun, Director General of the National Astronomical Observatories of China.

“Japan has seen to the production of over 60 mirror blanks made out of special zero-expansion glass that does not alter its shape with temperature changes. The blanks will be highly polished for use in the telescope’s 30-meter diameter primary mirror. The final design of the telescope structure itself is nearing completion,” said Masanori Iye, TMT International Observatory Board Vice Chair and TMT Japan Representative for the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

In Canada, the TMT adaptive optics facility is in final design. Ernie Seaquist, Executive Director of the ACURA, added, “The TMT enclosure design is complete and the enclosure is now ready for construction by a Canadian industrial firm.”

“Prototyping of TMT’s primary mirror assemblies and the building of mirror actuators, edge sensors, and support systems is ongoing in India,” noted Eswar Reddy, Program Director of the India TMT Coordination Centre.

Three “first-light” instruments are also under development with major contributions from all of the TMT partners.

The Path to Construction

The announcement of an imminent start to on-site work, where all of these initial developments will come together, is welcome news to scientists worldwide.

“The start of construction means that TMT is becoming real, and that’s exciting news for astronomers,” said Catherine Pilachowski, an astronomer at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and an observer representing the United States astronomical community at TMT board meetings. “The science TMT will do is breathtaking, and will engage all astronomers in the adventure of new frontiers.”

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

“I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and all of our partners and supporters,” said Edward Stone, the Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and the new Executive Director of TIO. “We are looking forward to starting construction this year and moving ahead.”

A Boost for Hawaii

The start of TMT on-site construction will directly benefit the local Hawaiian community. TMT will now make its first annual contribution to The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund, a program that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education across grades K-12, secondary, and post-secondary education. Over the life of the TMT lease on Mauna Kea, TMT will give $1 million per year to the THINK Fund.

In the construction sector, TMT will create about 300 full-time construction jobs. TMT has committed to the hiring of union workers for these positions. Looking further ahead, during operations, TMT will have a staff of about 120-140, which will be drawn as much as possible from Hawaii Island’s available labor pool. A workforce pipeline program in the meantime will also educate and train island residents for jobs with TMT, as well as other observatories and high-tech industries.

“The start of construction of TMT is great news for Hawaii Island residents,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT’s Manager of Hawaii Community Affairs. “We are proud to be a good citizen of the community as we all work toward building a revolutionary astronomical instrument.”

 

Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach Program

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is pleased to announce that it will begin its Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach “MDKEO” program on Hawaiʻi Island this Fall.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

Handpainted keiki output from the HWF workshop at the “GEMS” (Girls Exploring Math & Science) program in Keauhou last year. Photo by M Lamson/HWF

This program will bring two marine science mentors into 20 different elementary schools (K – 5th grade classrooms) to introduce topics like ocean circulation, marine ecology, and human impacts (like marine debris).  Mentors will work with receptive Hawaiʻi Island teachers to coordinate relevant student activities that meet the math and science benchmarks and “Common Core” standards for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education for each grade level.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point. Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

These in-class lectures will conclude with student presentations of potential solutions to reduce marine debris here in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Basin.

The program will culminate with a family “Beach Cleanup Day” at local marine debris hubs like Kamilo Point (Kaʻū), Pololu (North Kohala), Kānekanaka Point (South Kohala), Cape Kumukahi (Puna), Kaipalaoa (Hilo), and Oʻoma (Kona).  This MDKEO program began with financial support from a HWF t-shirt fundraiser and will now be sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

For more info about this marine debris prevention program or to sign up a classroom, please contact Catherine at spina.HWF@gmail.com; and for more info about volunteering for our next Kaʻū coastal cleanup event, contact Megan at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com  or 808/769-7629. Find additional resources and details about HWF’s ongoing conservation projects online at www.wildhawaii.org.

Blue Angels to Fly at “Wings Over the Pacific” Air Show

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam “Wings Over the Pacific” Air Show featuring the Blue Angels, U.S. Navy’s world-famous flight demonstration squadron.
blue angels
The Blue Angels flight demonstration will use the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, to exhibit the choreographed refinement of skills possessed by all naval aviators on Sept. 27 & 28, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Hickam Field on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The Leap Frogs, the United States Navy Parachute Team will also perform, and there will be demonstrations by Blue Angels C-130 Hercules support aircraft affectionately known as “Fat Albert” and a C-17.  “Wings Over the Pacific” will offer static displays of vintage and modern aircraft, food booths and an Xtreme Fun Zone for the kids featuring rides, games and more.  The show is free and open to the general public. Security restrictions will be in place.  For more information visit www.wingsoverthepacific.com.

Meet the Blue Angels
Navy Capt. Stan Keeve, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, said “On behalf of our Navy and Air Force community, I invite you to join our `ohana for this great event.  We think you will be entertained by the Blue Angels and other air show performers, and you will have an opportunity to see static displays of a variety of aircraft.”

“Members of our armed services are forward-deployed around the world today – dedicated to supporting our freedoms.  As you enjoy the air show, please keep this in mind as you witness firsthand the dedication, integrity and professionalism of your service members.”

Blue Angels

The mission of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and inspire a culture of excellence and service to country by conducting flight demonstrations and community outreach.  For more information: www.blueangels.navy.mil

Holy Crap… Drama at the District 5 Forum

A forum was held at Pahoa High School and fireworks happened.  I’ll just let the two videos speak for themselves (video by Big Island Video News).

Candidate Hampton:

Candidate Edwards Hunt:

Tonight at the Akebono Theater – Willie K and YOZA

YOZA and WillieK

Skydiver Seriously Injured on North Shore – Pacific Skydive Has Another Incident

This afternoon at Pacific Skydive on the North Shore of Oahu, a man was was seriously injured skydiving, when the steering line on his canopy broke and he was not able to land properly.

Guy Banal, President at Pacific Skydiving

Guy Banal (sunglasses), President at Pacific Skydiving looks on.

The Emergency Medical Team and the Hawaii Fire Department are on the scene now:

Paramedics on the scene

Paramedics on the scene

A skydiver at the scene stated, “…Broken steering line on landing. Check your gear, especially if it is older, for degradation.

State General Fund Ending Balance at $664.8 Million

The State of Hawaii concluded fiscal year 2014 with a $664.8 million ending balance, according to the preliminary close of 2014 accounts by the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS). The Department of Budget and Finance is providing this release as an annual update to the budgetary ending balance concluding fiscal year 2014.
Dags“Our financial house continues to be on a solid foundation, due to strong fiscal management,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “In 2013, we posted an ending balance of $844 million. We have now posted a positive ending balance of $664.8 million for 2014, after contributing $55.5 million to our state reserves via the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund and setting aside $100 million for the state’s unfunded liability for retiree health care benefits.”

DAGS is responsible for reconciling all the revenues and expenditures for every state department.  Based on its calculations, the state ended with $1.1 billion in cash, with $394.3 million in accrued expenses for an unreserved fund balance of $664.8 million.

“The Department of Budget and Finance reviewed the report from DAGS along with data from the state’s Financial System and concluded that of the $664.8 million approximately $126.3 million came from lapses or unexpended appropriations from state departments while still meeting significant financial obligations of the State,” said Finance Director Kalbert Young.  “Our consistent vigilance and administration in ensuring expenses are kept in check with projected revenues has once again assured Hawaii taxpayers that the fiscal condition of the state is and will remain soundly in the black.”

The Department of Human Services Announces QUEST Integration

The Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division (MQD) is launching a more patient centric Medicaid program to better serve clients.  QUEST Integration effectively combines and replaces the QUEST and QUEST Expanded Access (QExA) programs.

Department of Human Services

“The benefits of QUEST Integration include more health plan choices for aged, blind or disabled individuals, and a greater ability for a beneficiary to remain with the same health plan upon turning 65 or developing a disability,” explained Dr. Kenny Fink, MQD Administrator.  “Additionally, eligible beneficiaries will gain expanded access to home and community based services to prevent decline to institutional level of care.”  QUEST Integration also reduces administrative burden by creating a single managed care program.

The health plans participating in QUEST Integration are AlohaCare, Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (Oahu & Maui only), ‘Ohana Health Plan and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

The open enrollment period for QUEST Integration is September 2 through September 30, 2014.  Enrollment packets will be mailed to all eligible QUEST and QExA members the week of August 25, 2014. To help beneficiaries select a health plan the enrollment packet will include a newsletter and health plan informational flyers.  If beneficiaries want to stay in their current health plan, they DO NOT need to make a plan choice.  All current health plans are participating in QUEST Integration.

Beneficiaries who want to change to a different health plan must notify the MQD by September 30, 2014.  They can notify the MQD by:

  • Returning their completed plan change form to the MQD address provided in the enrollment packet;
  • Faxing the completed form to the MQD at 1-800-576-5504; or
  • Calling the Med-QUEST Enrollment Call Center at 524-3370 or 1-800-316-8005 toll-free

In mid-December 2014, the MQD will mail Health Plan Confirmation notices to eligible beneficiaries.  The notices will identify the beneficiary’s new (if selected) or unchanged QUEST Integration health plan that takes effect January 1, 2015.  The MQD will facilitate transfer of client information from the old health plan to the new health plan, including primary care provider information, specialist care, and special care needs.

The QUEST Integration health plans will mail out identification cards in January 2015.  If beneficiaries must access medical care prior to receiving their plan identification card, providers will accept the Health Plan Confirmation notice.

The MQD took multiple steps to inform the public about QUEST Integration, including holding public hearings, conducting community outreach and soliciting public comments.  The MQD staff made numerous and substantive changes in response to public input.  As a result, QUEST Integration is an innovative program shaped by the community for the community.

For more information about the DHS Med-QUEST Division and QUEST Integration, please visit www.humanservices.hawaii.gov

Successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp Concludes

A successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp concluded Thursday, July 24, attracting nearly 150 keiki athletes and coaches to the four-day skills camp held in Hilo.

Can you find my son?

Can you find my son? (Click to enlarge)

Boys and girls 9 to 17 years old received personalized instruction from legendary former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo basketball Coach Jimmy Yagi, who helped guide the Vulcans-Hawai‘i Basketball School for 37 years.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation offered the camp for the first time in 2013 to honor Coach Yagi and provide a low-cost, end-of-summer program for kids to learn basketball fundamentals.

Teenage campers again played at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, while preteens were assigned to the Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts. Shooting, defense, proper basketball stance, footwork, dribbling, and teamwork were among the lessons taught to the keiki, who displayed their skills during games played each afternoon.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks Coach Yagi, lead clinician Bill O’Rear, UHH men’s basketball Head Coach GE Coleman, UHH women’s basketball Head Coach David Kaneshiro, Honoka‘a girls basketball Coach Daphne Honma, the County’s Mass Transit Agency for use of a bus, and all the other coaches who volunteered their time and expertise to help the keiki athletes.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tours and Film Share History of World War II Detention Site at Kīlauea Military Camp

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer guided tours of the former World War II detention camp site at Kīlauea Military Camp on Tuesday, July 29, and show the documentary, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio "George" Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio “George” Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

The tours and film are free, but park entrance fees apply.

The one-hour tour is at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and will focus on the Japanese residents of Hawai‘i who were detained at Kīlauea Military Camp during World War II. No registration is required. Meet at the check-in area at Kīlauea Military Camp (KMC), near the flagpole. Park archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura and archive technician Geoff Mowrer will lead the tours. Limited copies of the new National Park Service cultural resources report, A Silent Farewell, will be available.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

At 1 p.m., the documentary The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i, will be shown at the Lava Lounge, located adjacent to the post office at KMC. That evening, the park will show the film as part of its After Dark in the Park series at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Filmmaker Ryan Kawamoto and Carole Hayashino, president and director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, will present both showings of the documentary.

While the story of the 1942 mass round-up, eviction and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in California, Oregon and Washington has been well documented, very little is known about the Hawai‘i internees and their unique experience during World War II. This is the first full-length documentary to chronicle this untold story in Hawai‘i’s history.

Second Round of Public Informational Meetings Scheduled for Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

The Hawaii Department of Transportation will be holding its second round of statewide public informational meetings to discuss the fiscally constrained draft of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 (+2). The STIP is a four-year plan that identifies state and county transportation projects to be funded, in part, with Federal Highway and Transit Funds.

Round a Bout

Fiscal constraint of the new STIP was done using technical information from management systems, project schedules and readiness information, and coordination with relevant public agencies and the public. Survey results gathered from the first round of public meetings will be shared, along with information about next steps.

Meetings for the island of Oahu are being scheduled by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization. For more information, please visit the OahuMPO website at: http://www.oahumpo.org/plans-and-programs/transportation-improvement-program-tip/

Upcoming public meetings on neighbor islands are scheduled as follows:

Pahoa, Hawaii
Monday, July 28, 2014, 6 PM
Pahoa Community Center
15-2910 Puna Road
Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

Hilo, Hawaii
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 6 PM
Hilo State Office Building Conference Rooms A, B, & C
75 Aupuni Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720

Kamuela, Hawaii
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6 PM
Waimea Civic Center, State Office Building Conference Room
67-5189 Kamamalu Street
Kamuela, Hawaii 96743

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 6 PM
Kealakehe Intermediate School Cafeteria
74-5062 Onipaa Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

 Kula, Maui
Monday, August 4, 2014, 6 PM
King Kekaulike High School Cafeteria
121 Kula Highway
Pukalani, Hawaii 96768

 Kihei, Maui
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 6 PM
Kihei Elementary School Cafeteria
250 E. Lipoa Street
Kihei, Hawaii 96753

Lahaina, Maui
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 6 PM
West Maui Senior Center Cafeteria
788 Pauoa Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

 Kahului, Maui
Thursday, August 7, 2014, 6 PM
Maui District Office Conference Room
650 Palapala Drive
Kahului, Hawaii 96732

More information on the fiscally constrained DRAFT Fiscal Years 2015-2018 (+2) STIP, can be found at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/stip-fiscal-years-2015-2018-2-development-information/

Comments may also be submitted by August 15, 2014 through E-mail, mail, or FAX to:

E-mail Address: Hwy.Stip.Projects@hawaii.gov

Mailing Address: Highway Planning Branch

869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Phone: (808) 587-6355

FAX: (808) 587-1787

To request language interpretation, an auxiliary aid or service (i.e., sign language interpreter, accessible parking, or materials in alternative format), contact Tracy Ho at (808) 587-1831 fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting date, if possible. TTY users may use TRS to contact HDOT at 808-587-2210.

More STIP information can also be found at the following web address:

http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/other/other-related-links/stip/general-stip-information/

Big Island Police Searching for Four Wanted for Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for three men and a woman who are wanted for fraudulent use of a credit card.

The card was stolen Wednesday (July 23) from a car on Kuakini Highway and then used at a Kailua-Kona business three times.

Colvin Gaspar

Colvin Gaspar

Colvin Gaspar, 22, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-6, 155 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He is also wanted on eight bench warrants with bail totaling $300,000.

Theodore "Kahui" Casuga

Theodore “Kahui” Casuga

Theodore “Kahui” Casuga, 39, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-8, 245 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He is also wanted for reckless endangering, reckless driving and resisting an order to stop.

Luke Kaniaupia

Luke Kaniaupia

Luke Kaniaupia 21, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-6, 165 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Leilani Parent

Leilani Parent

Leilani Parent, 26, of Kailua-Kona is described as 5-foot-5, 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of any of these individuals 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.

Video – Simulated Mars Mission Complete

The HI-SEAS Crew 2 had a live Google Hangout event today when they returned to “Earth” from “Simulated Mars”.  They have been living in a Mars simulation located on Mauna Loa for the past 120 days.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

Here is the video:

“The Feeding Leaf” – New Culinary Partnership Features Hawai’i Island Food From the Source

“He lau ma‘ona” is a Hawaiian expression that means “the leaf that feeds until satisfied,”referring to the kalo plant, a key food source from root to tip. As the new name for an up-and-coming culinary partnership, “The Feeding Leaf” means sharing food rooted in culture, prepared and served with a high level of artistry.

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi'o Valley.  Anna Pacheco Photography

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi’o Valley. Anna Pacheco Photography

The Feeding Leaf’s culinary partnership—Chef Scott Hiraishi and mulit-talented event planner Tracey Apoliona—make a strong team, cumulatively bringing decades of creative organizational and culinary skills to the table. Now working with clients on a variety of private parties and social functions, The Feeding Leaf focuses, almost exclusively, on Hawaii’s wealth of local foods.

The idea began with the Hawai‘i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai last March. Hiraishi was Executive Chef, and took a leadership role on the event, supported by Chef Sam. Working with partners in the agricultural and education community, the Ranchers Dinner promoted their joint mission to not only “grow farmers” by nurturing agriculture, but to “grow chefs” who will use these excellent regional foods in their restaurants.

Energized by the sold-out dinner’s success, Hiraishi and Apoliona began to think about a partnership of their own, while planning for the “Roast & Roots” event, collaborating with Hawai‘i Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools—Land Asset Division, and the Department of Agriculture. Held July 19 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Convention Center, Roast & Roots was the perfect stage to premier “The Feeding Leaf.”

“We want people to understand that there’s a real and significant difference between mainstream and local foods,” said Tracey. “We want the farmers and ranchers to be appreciated for the work they do. We’ve gone to their farms and ranches, and met the people behind the food.”

“Farmers know Scott, and they are understanding of his style of cooking,” said Tracey. “No matter where we go—for example when we went to farmers markets to do food demos—they bring their products and want to give him something to try in his recipes.”

A trip into Waipi’o Valley for a photo shoot turned into an education opportunity, as the crew ventured into the ancient lo‘i amdist centuries-old rock walls. “It was pouring rain and we were drenched, but it all kind of fell into place,” said Tracey. Traditional Hawaiian farmers believed water is life. “It was almost as if Waipi‘o was giving us water, trying to feed us so we could go back and feed other people… The Feeding Leaf is a very good vehicle to teach, not just others, but to teach ourselves,” said Tracey.

Already active in Hawaii’s culinary scene, Hirasishi has been invited to cook for Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s exclusive “Pā‘ina on the Pier” event on O‘ahu. And, The Feeding Leaf will participate in Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range, Friday, September 26, 5-8 p.m. at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Now accepting bookings for the holiday period and beyond, The Feeding Leaf looks forward to bringing Hawaii-raised food to a higher elevation for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Tracey Apoliona, (808) 960-3094 or Scott Hiraishi, (808) 987-9794, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

State, Federal, Private-Sector Collaboration Conveys Sign Of ‘Hope’ To Japanese Village

The people of Tanohata Village, in the Iwate Prefecture, on Japan’s northeast coast “are slowly, but surely walking on the path to recovery as a united body,”according to Tanohata Village Mayor Hiroshi Ishihara. The tiny village was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.

Tsunami two

Now, a sign being returned from Hawaii may provide further sense of hope and renewal.  Today, the large wooden sign from the village, which washed up on a beach near Kahuku, Oahu, was loaded into the cargo hold of a Hawaiian Airlines jet and shipped to Sendai International Airport. From there a delegation from Tanohata Village will transport it home.

“This small gesture, a result of cooperation between state and federal agencies, the government of Japan, and Hawaiian Airlines, symbolizes the concern the people of Hawaii continue to have for the victims of the 2011 tsunami,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “We hope, in some small measure, the return of this sign from the distant shores of Hawaii will further the healing and recovery of the people of Tanohata Village.”

Return of the Tanohata Sign from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

In a letter sent by Mayor Ishihara, he writes, “Thank you very much for finding and saving the sign –our village’s irreplaceable memento –which was lost during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, from a tremendous amount of debris items –we imagine as many as the number of stars in the sky –that ended up on Kahuku Beach on the Oahu Island. We are truly and deeply moved by the fact that you took the time to deliver the message to us, connecting many people and their compassion. Our village will treasure the memento that is coming back to our hands through your cooperation.”

“The world watched stunned and heartbroken by the devastation the tsunami caused in terms of  loss of life and property,”said William J. Aila, Jr., the chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). “My department has worked closely and in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to track and recover Japan tsunami debris believed to have washed up in Hawaiian waters,”Aila explained. “Debris that makes its way to Hawaii is usually returned at the owner’s expense; however, Hawaiian Airlines volunteered to ship the sign back at no charge.”

The Tanohata village sign is one of fewer than 20 items that have been positively identified as arriving in Hawaii as a result of the Japan tsunami.

Kyle Koyanagi, regional coordinator for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program in Hawaii said, “The websites both NOAA and DLNR established for people to report possible tsunami debris has resulted in numerous small vessels (skiffs) and other items being recovered. People are asked to provide specific information about where they find debris and to take pictures. Based on this information a determination is made about whether further investigation is necessary to prevent the introduction of invasive species or other things that could damage Hawaii’s environment.”

Some of the Tanohata Village sign’s lettering broke off during the tsunami or during its open ocean voyage from Japan to Hawaii. Koyanagi was instrumental in coordinating with the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu to try and identify the origin of the sign.

Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, Toyoei Shigeeda said, “The lettering on the sign, 「しまのこし村営住宅, means “Shimanokoshi village housing.”The people of Tanohata village wanted it returned for an exhibit and to serve as a useful reference for future generations to learn about and understand the tsunami disaster of March 11, 2011. We’re all excited that now, more than three years after the tsunami, this sign can be returned as a reminder and symbol of what was lost.”

The sign was wrapped and crated by DLNR staff before Hawaiian Airlines cargo personnel loaded it onto HA 441 for the direct flight to Sendai. Tim Strauss, vice president of cargo for Hawaiian Airlines, remarked: “We deeply value our relationship with the people of Japan, and it is our great honor to do our part in returning this precious piece of cargo to the people of Tanohata.”

To report large quantities of marine debris, debris with living organisms on it, or debris too large to remove by hand, call (808) 587-0400 and then email any photos to:

DLNR.marine.debris@hawaii.gov  and DisasterDebris@noaa.gov

For more information on marine debris visit: (Hawaii) http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/marine-debris/ or (nationally) http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/

Boaz Johnson Investigator Honored as Officer of the Month

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Detective Robert Almeida as “Officer of the Month” for June and Officer Eddie Cardines as “Officer of the Month” for July in a luncheon ceremony Thursday (July 24).

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Detective Robert Almeida.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Detective Robert Almeida.

Almeida, who is assigned to the Area I Criminal Investigations Section, was honored for his work as lead investigator of a high-profile murder case. Cardines, a Puna Patrol officer, was honored for helping to save the life of a choking woman.

From the onset of Almeida’s investigation into the strangulation death of a woman whose body was found floating in the ocean off Kalapana, he was able to accurately evaluate the facts supporting his theory of the crime. While the case was still under active investigation, it received nationwide news coverage, much of which contained misinformation and false speculation. Ultimately, scientific and forensic analysis corroborated Almeida’s findings.

According to Lieutenant Gregory Esteban, Almeida’s “unwavering commitment” was instrumental in resolving the case, leading to a Grand Jury indictment.

“Detective Almeida received well-deserved praise from the victim’s family members, his peers, and superiors,” Esteban said. “He is an excellent example of a resourceful and proficient investigator who continues to enhance his skills through application.”

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Eddie Cardines Jr.

Hilo Exchange Club President Andy Iwashita presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Eddie Cardines Jr.

On April 26, Officer Cardines was sent to a home in Mountain View, where a 23-year-old woman was choking and had stopped breathing. When Cardines arrived at the scene, the woman’s frantic mother said her daughter was dying. The victim was lying on her back with a weak pulse and turning blue.

Officer Cardines immediately went into action, taking steps to clear her airway and perform chest compressions. He continued his efforts for four or five minutes until Fire Department personnel arrived and rushed the woman to the hospital.

According to Sergeant BJ Duarte, Officer Cardines considered his response just part of a day’s work as a patrolman and sought no recognition.

“Officer Cardines’ actions and quick thinking on this call likely were key contributing factors in saving the victim’s life, assuring family members that every effort was being made to do so,” Duarte said. “He later learned that the victim was able to make a full recovery from this incident.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Detective Almeida and Officer Cardines are each eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club

Department of Health Urges Screenings for HIV and Hepatitis B and C

Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer, which is the second largest form of cancer that leads to deaths. Worldwide, viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people each year.

Many immigrants to Hawaii who were born in Asia and the Pacific Islands (excluding Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii), where hepatitis B is common, are especially vulnerable.  Unfortunately, many may not recognize the signs or symptoms of hepatitis.

The good news: viral hepatitis can be prevented and those with disease can be treated. More good news: most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover the entire costs of one-time tests for the disease.

World Hepatitis Day 2014

World Hepatitis Day – The Hawaii Department of Health is drawing attention to this health issue and the importance of screenings for early detection as part of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2014. World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2014. This day has also been designated Hawaii Hepatitis Day by Governor Neil Abercrombie’s Office.

“We’re urging Hawaii’s healthcare providers to screen their patients and encouraging Hawaii residents to request screenings because many people with HIV and most people with hepatitis B or C don’t know that they have been infected,” said Peter Whiticar, chief of the STD AIDS Prevention Branch in the Hawaii Department of Health.

“If undetected, these infections can lead to serious health complications, including liver cancer or even death. Today, more effective HIV and hepatitis treatments are available, and people have better options to take care of themselves before they become ill. The earlier people know they have HIV or hepatitis, the better their health outcome.”

Aligned with National, Evidence-Based Recommendations – The Hawaii Department of Health’s urgent request aligns with recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an independent, volunteer panel of physicians in the fields of preventive medicine and primary care. This past May, the task force recommended a one-time screening for hepatitis B for anyone born in countries where hepatitis B is common, including most of Asia and the Pacific.

In addition to the hepatitis B screenings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends screenings for HIV for everyone 15 to 65 years of age as well as a one-time hepatitis C screening test for baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965.

It is important to note that these one-time screening test recommendations are for individuals without risk factors or evidence of infection. Patients with risk factors or medical evidence of infection should be tested more frequently.

Early Detection is Critical – “By identifying and treating these diseases early, we hope this improves patient and community health outcomes, especially since most persons at risk for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are not regularly screened,” Whiticar said.

“If your loved ones might be at risk, they can speak with their medical provider to discuss appropriate testing options. We also encourage medical providers to reach out to us to learn more about these recommendations.  Providing these simple tests now can mean that they can have their patients avoid liver disease or even liver cancer later,” he said.

Insurance Coverage – Individuals with medical insurance can go to their primary care physician to request a test for HIV, hepatitis B and/or C. Individuals without insurance can call Aloha United Way 211 or go to www.hepfreehawaii.org to find the free HIV and hepatitis screening location nearest them. Not all sites will offer hepatitis B testing. Testing will be based on eligibility and availability at each site.

For more information about hepatitis resources and events in Hawaii, go to www.hepfreehawaii.org.

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Participates in “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce participated in the first-ever Hawaii on the Hill initiative July 22 and 23 at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Co-chaired by Senator Mazie Hirono and the rest of the Hawaii delegation, this event highlighted the State’s businesses, food and culture on Capitol Hill. The two-day affair included a Hawaii Policy Summit, tours of the White House and Capitol, and concluded with a “Taste of Hawaii” reception with over 700 invited guests experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of Hawaii.

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Colette Masunaga prepares to greet attendees at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and County of Hawaii product table at “Taste of Hawaii.”

Over 30 Hawaii businesses and organizations were welcomed on the “Hill.” Hawaii Policy Summit discussions included Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Director Patricia Loui with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director for Export Promotion Leila Aridi Afas, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Margaret Cummisky. Hawaii attendees were able to share issues and concerns, as well as promote Hawaii as a place to do business.

Senator Hirono asked the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii to spearhead this event, with neighbor island chambers and statewide industry associations invited to participate. The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the County of Hawaii and Tiki Shark Art represented the Island of Hawaii in Washington, D.C. Products offered at the KKCC/County table for the “Taste of Hawaii” reception included ohia lehua honey from The Big Island Bee Company, Spirolina and BioAstin samples from Cyanotech, over 600 anthuriums from Green Point Nursery, chocolate samples from Kona Mountain Coffee Company, and macadamia nuts from Mauna Loa. Tiki Shark Art shared their unique, local Hawaiian style art designs and beach apparel by Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker.

Brad holding his original art piece "Forbidden Island".

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker holding his original art piece “Forbidden Island”.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce provides leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawai‘i. The result of KKCC’s work is a community of choice as reflected in our quality of life, business and individual opportunity and manifest respect for our culture and our natural resources. For info, 329-1758 or visit kona-kohala.com.

Search Continues for Man Who Went Missing During Plane Crash Near America Samoa

Coast Guard and local agencies are searching for a man who went missing during a plane crash approximately one mile from Pago Pago Tuesday night.

This is the search area developed by watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu using the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System. We are currently searching for a man who went missing during a plane crash off American Samoa July 22, 2014. Watchstanders at the JRCC use SAROPS to develop the best search area for missing passenger Babar Suleman. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

This is the search area developed by watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu using the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System. We are currently searching for a man who went missing during a plane crash off American Samoa July 22, 2014. Watchstanders at the JRCC use SAROPS to develop the best search area for missing passenger Babar Suleman. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo)

Search efforts for 58-year-old Babar Suleman continued throughout the day and suspended Wednesday night due to decreased visibility. The search resumed Thursday morning and will continue throughout the day.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu is currently coordinating search efforts with the HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point, the American Samoa Marine Patrol, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel and good Samaritan Tug Lillie.

American Samoa is currently under small craft and high surf advisories. Weather conditions will continue to be closely monitored.

Debris recovered from the crash includes sections of the fuselage and interior components of the plane.

Watchstanders are using the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System to determine the search area. The Hercules crew dropped a Self-locating Data Marker Buoy to calculate current drift, water temperature and sea conditions. That information is then used in the SAROPS to better ascertain the optimal search area.

At 9:55 p.m. Tuesday, Coast Guard watchstanders at the JRCC received notification from the Regional Command Center in New Zealand that a Beechcraft Bonanza with two passengers aboard crashed into the water approximately one mile from shore. The RCC in New Zealand attained that information from the plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter.

The Hercules crew departed Honolulu at 2:38 a.m. Wednesday and arrived at the crash site approximately eight hours later.

Wednesday’s total search area consisted of 275 nautical square miles. Thursday’s projected search area consists of 1,027 nautical square miles.

Tahiti Fete of Hilo Returns to the Big Island

The drums will be pounding and hips will again be gyrating as the Tahiti Fete of Hilo returns to Hawaii Island on Saturday and Sunday July 26 and 27, thanks to founding producer Pua Tokumoto. “The last year we did it in Hilo was 2008 and so many performers and audience members kept asking us to bring it back, I just decided we’d try again,” said Tokumoto.

tahitiTahitian halau and individual performers are invited to sign up for the dance competition for this year’s event that takes place at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Several halau have already signed up from around Hawaii, the mainland and Mexico with a few inquiries from Japan so residency in Hawaii is not mandatory. “We have fantastic prizes that attract very high quality performers,” said Tokumoto.

Tahiti2

At the fete, it isn’t all about the dancers and drummers. To help create the right festival atmosphere, arts, crafts, food and product vendors are also being sought.

With over two decades of producing the much larger Tahiti Fete of San Jose (largest of its kind in the US), Tokumoto brought the fete to Hilo in 2000, where she and award-winning steel guitarist husband Dwight Tokumoto call home. “There is such a wide interest in and connection to Tahitian culture in Hawaii, it was a natural to start a fete here,” she said. “Actually Tahitian culture is global and since we started the Hilo fete, we established a smaller No Te Here i Tahiti Mexico in Mexico City that includes workshops on ori (Tahitian dance) and hula” as well as a mini-fete.

Tahiti3

Sponsors are being sought to help to keep ticket prices reasonable and insure quality prizes while providing experiential marketing opportunities for corporations and businesses. Benefits of sponsorship include branding in advertising materials, logo placement in the program and VIP seating at the fete, among others. For general information go to FACEBOOK: Tahiti Fete of San Jose & Hilo or to www.tahitifete.com. For more sponsor or vendor information or to sign up for the dance competition, contact Pua at 935-3002 or pua@tahitifete.com.