DLNR Continues to Remove Possible Japan Tsunami Debris From Hawaii Beaches

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) continues to respond to reports of possible Japan Tsunami Marine Debris items that arrive on island reefs and beaches.

beached boat

Today, a DLNR crew retrieved a reported 20’ skiff at Sandy Beach area, bearing Japanese characters and vessel registration numbers. It is the seventh boat reported since February this year, following six others that arrived on Hawaii shores. Three were on the Big Island, at Kohanaiki, Kawaihae and Kawa Bay. One was overturned on Maui near the Aston Mahana, and two on Oahu were reported, at Kahuku and Punaluu.

Beached Boat at Sandy

Two large plastic bins were also reported this week, which bore identification marks that may be traceable to Japan. One was located at Kamilo Beach, Hawaii and removed by volunteers of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The other was located on Kauai at Larsen’s beach.

Tsunami container

Items with identification numbers, Japanese characters, are reported to NOAA which works with the Japan Consulate in Hawaii to confirm provenance with the Government of Japan. Items not claimed by the original owner may then be disposed of.

To report large or unusual marine debris items, especially those that may have attached marine organisms, please email dlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov and DisasterDebris@noaa.gov. Calls may also be made to DLNR at 587-0400.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, April 25 at 8:10 PM. It will be visible for approximately 1 minute.  Maximum Height: 43 degrees, and it will appear in the West Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the Southwest.

Mauna Kea Hui Not Invited to OHA Meeting Originally… Response

To be clear, the Mauna Kea Hui, was not invited to this meeting until only yesterday and only after OHA had released its Press Statement claiming we would be in attendance.

Click to view full news release.

Click to view full news release.

So we have produced this statement in response.

It is the position of the Hui that we will to uphold the wishes of our Kupuna, those who came before us, such as Uncle Genesis Leeloy, Aunty Leina’ala Apiki McCord, Aunty Kamakahukilani Von Oelhoffen and so many more…because they are who moved us to stand for Mauna Kea so many years ago– their message was clear — enough is enough—there shall be no further development on Mauna Kea!

While the Mauna Kea Hui will continue to litigate in the courts, and has been adjudicated to have standing to do so, there is also a higher court here and we stand with our Kupuna in asserting the following positions for the protection of Mauna Kea:

  1. The TMT construction shall be halted and any new leases and/or subleases previously issued by BLNR allowing the TMT to be built and that are currently being challenged must be revoked and/or rescinded forever.
  2. The observatories currently operating on Mauna Kea shall pay fair market lease rent now and until the end of the general lease in 2033.
  3. No further development shall be allowed in any way, shape, or form and upon the decommissioning of observatories or the current general lease has ended there must be complete clean-up and restoration of the Mauna to its original state and condition as the general lease requires. There shall be no rocks, soils or other materials displaced or removed from the Mauna.
  4. We will consider working with State Official to help find solutions for: the protection of Mauna Kea waters and aquifers, clean-up, and restoration of the Mauna, to insure the “right-holders” (those who the laws are written to protect such as Native Hawaiians and the General Public) have a seat at the table of decision making and lastly we are committed to help to ensure educational opportunities and funds for all the children of Hawai`i are upheld and protected.

OHA … our beloved Mauna Kea is NOT for sale!

In Aloha We Remain,

Paul K. Neves, Clarence Ku Ching, Debbie J. Ward, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Kealoha Pisciotta, and the Flores-Case ‘Ohana and KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance.

Hawaii First State in Nation to Raise Age to Purchase Tobacco Products to 21

The Hawaii State Senate this morning passed a bill that would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.

No Sale Cigarettes

The bill, SB 1030, is being sent to Governor David Ige for his signature. This would make Hawaii the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 21. The House had previously passed the measure.

The law, geared toward preventing the initiation of tobacco use among youths, will take effect on January 1, 2016.

“Today’s passage of SB 1030 marks a significant achievement in public health,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “Hawaii is poised to become the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age. I am pleased that the State has included e-cigarettes as part of the new law. With the explosion of e-cigarette use among teens, more and more of our kids are developing an unhealthy addiction to nicotine. This law is an important step in helping to make our next generation tobacco free.”

A 2014 statewide poll of Hawaii residents by SMS Research for CTFH found that statewide, 77 percent of Hawaii voters support raising the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.

“Our state legislators clearly recognized the public health and safety impacts that SB 1030 would provide and passed this historic measure,” Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii (CTFH). “As the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age of access to tobacco products to 21, Hawaii leads in trying to cut the vicious addiction to smoking among our youth. Our state’s passage of this landmark bill provides an incredible boost to other states considering similar legislation.”

According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. A 2015 scientific report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that youth are more vulnerable to addiction as their brains are still developing.

The IOM report concluded that raising the minimum legal age nationally to purchase tobacco products would add 4.2 million years of life to the next generation of American adults. IOM predicted that smoking prevalence would fall from 17.8 percent to an estimated 12 percent with the minimum age set at 21.

“I know first-hand the negative impacts smoking has had on my generation,” said Sabrina Olaes, CTFH volunteer and senior at Kapolei High School. “I have watched former classmates skip class to smoke e-cigarettes in bathrooms and end up being held back for missing so much class time. Passage of SB 1030 means we are one step closer to creating a better and healthier future for Hawaii’s youth.”

In Hawaii, tobacco use or exposure claims 1,400 lives and costs $526 million health care bills annually.

New Lava Flow Map Released – Flow Far From Dead

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

423map

The area of the flow on April 9 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of April 23 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Who is Racist Hilo Shop Owner – I’m Calling for a Boycott

Who is this angry racist that apparently owns a shop in Hilo!
Angry HaoleHe insults everyone from Hawaiian folks to calling President Obama the N***** in the White House:

If you know what shop this is… please let me know.  I’d like to expose the owner for the bigot that he is!

For that matter, I will be calling for a boycott of this store when I do find out what store this is!

UPDATE: The man is a shoe repair man at Ace Shoe and Leather, 39 Kukuau Street, Hilo, Hawaii.

Lava Breakouts Continue – Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Reaches New High Level

Breakouts on the June 27th lava flow remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. A new, small, breakout appeared recently from the tube adjacent to Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, the small forested cone near the center of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper right portion of the photo.

The new breakout is the light-colored curved flow in the left portion of the photograph.

The farthest active breakout on the June 27th flow reached about 8 km (5 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at the top of the photograph.

The tip of this breakout was narrow and burning forest.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

A small breakout from an inflated portion of the June 27th flow. Large gas bubbles reach the surface near the source of the breakout, and are then carried and deformed as the surface advances and cools.

The June 27th flow covers much of the top of the photograph, and recent expansion of the flow margins has sent lava cascading into one of the ponds on the 2007 perched lava channel.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

Over the past week small flows have filled the bottom of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

This 2007 lava fills the bottom of the photograph, and is covered with yellow alteration.

These flows originated from vents in the south portion of the crater, and one of the flows can be seen near the center of the photograph.

hvo141The Overlook crater lava lake, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit, has been rising over the past few days, and today reached the highest point yet measured for the current summit eruption.

The lava lake this afternoon was 20 meters (66 feet) below the Overlook crater rim.

 Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

Another view of the lava lake, with several areas of spattering active.

The lava level was high enough at the lava lake this evening that bits of spatter were reaching the rim of the Overlook crater.

hvo143

 

Writers, Filmmakers Learn from the Pro’s at Big Island Film Festival Workshops

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) will present three contemporary screenwriting and filmmaking workshops, taught by top entertainment industry professionals, May 22, 23 and 24, 2015. Important topics in the art and business of film include creative financing, successful storytelling and the multi-faceted demands on today’s filmmaker.

Advance registration is required by May 20, at www.BigIslandfilmFestival.com, or by calling 808-883-0394.

On Friday, 9:45-11 a.m., screenwriter/producer/attorney Steve Edmiston shares 20+ years of experience in finding money for low budgets in the evolving indie filmmaking “ecosystem.” Topics include fiscal sponsorship, grant-writing, crowd-sourcing, government and non-government subsidies, “angels” and more.

Steve Edmiston

Steve Edmiston

Edmiston, a university instructor in screenwriting and film producing, presented his award-winning short film “The Maury Island Incident” at last year’s BIFF, and was inspired to return as a teacher to help up-and-coming filmmakers with their projects. His workshop follows the general filmmaker orientation and is available to the public at $25 per person.

Saturday’s workshop is “Telling and Selling Your Story,” taught by Jen Grisanti, author of “Change Your Story, Change Your Life,” writing instructor for NBC’s “Writers on the Verge,” acclaimed story/career consultant and longtime assistant to Aaron Spelling.

Jen Grisanti will be presenting again.

Jen Grisanti will be presenting again.

Since she launched her own company in 2008, Jen Grisanti Consultancy has worked with over 500 writers specializing in television, features and novels with numerous successes.

Grisanti will focus on three areas that have helped propel her writers: “Writing a Script They Can’t Ignore,” “Developing a Strong Personal Narrative,” and “Strategy, Action Plan and Creating Your Brand.” Her workshop takes place 8:30-11 a.m., at $50 per person.

Sunday features “Indie Motion Pictures: Concept to Completion,” by award-winning Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne (“Get A Job,” Kuleana”), entertainment marketing specialist, and music producer/promoter (Willie K, Hapa).

Brian Kohne Interviewing Eloise Mumford

Brian Kohne Interviewing Eloise Mumford

“Media technologies, once populated by specialists, have converged; and now, seasoned industry veterans wear multiple hats, with marketing factoring into every major creative decision,” says Kohne, who has worked in Silicon Valley with interactive television, corporate video, sports broadcasting and more. “There has never been a better time to refine, empower and unleash our own unique creative voice!”

Kohne’s workshop takes place 8:30-11 a.m., $50. Advance registration is required for workshops by May 20, at www.BigIslandfilmFestival.com, or by calling 808-883-0394.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, May 21-25, 2015. Events include free family films under the stars at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies and nightly double features at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (free parking), networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, awards brunch and more.

Closing night “Best of the Fest” stars The Rough Riders in concert, with Hawaiian music legends Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. Best of the Fest is a fundraising event for Hawai‘i Island Food Basket, silent auction for the Tripler Army Medical Center’s Fisher House for military families, and a “hana hou” screening of the audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short films of BIFF 2015.

Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP and many others. For more information, complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call 808-883-0394.

North Hawaii Students Learn Bike Safety from PATH and NHCH

Over the past three months, staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Program have partnered with Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii (PATH) to provide free bicycle training and safety education to more than 250 fourth grade students at Kohala Elementary School, Honokaa Elementary School, Kanu o ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School and Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.

Path kids

“Partnering with PATH offered an ideal opportunity to provide injury prevention and safety education to North Hawaii students,” says Kimberly Bastien, RN and NHCH Trauma Program Manager. “While PATH taught students proper riding techniques and skills through their Bike Ed program, we provided bicycle safety education and emphasized the importance of wearing a helmet.” Each participating student was properly fitted with a free multi-sport safety helmet, provided by the hospital’s Trauma Team. “Students were thrilled once they learned the brand new helmet was theirs to keep. It made bike education more interesting and fun for them.”

Tina Clothier, Executive Director with PATH added, “We are delighted to partner with North Hawaii Community Hospital’s Trauma Program in our mutual quest to keep North Kohala youth safe while they explore the joys of bike riding. The participants are excited about receiving their own brand new helmets and wear them with pride. Having the NHCH Trauma Program as our partner had raised the bar for our ever popular Bike Ed classes.”

PATH is a non-profit bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization dedicated to safely connecting the people and places on Hawaii Island with pathways and bikeways. PATH’s Bike Ed program is a bicycle skills program offered to all Big Island schools and youth clubs. During this three-day bicycle program, students learn important bicycle and safety skills, including: the fundamentals of traffic and road safety, hand signals, proper bicycle clothing, as well as how to navigate an intersection, to yield and to ride in control with others.

“Today, children are riding bicycles, scooters, skate boards and other ride-on vehicles,” said Bastien. “Wearing a helmet is crucial to injury prevention and results in fewer injuries in our emergency room.   Not only do helmets reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by 80 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but Hawaii State law requires kids younger than 16 years of age wear a helmet. We understand many families may not have the means to purchase a helmet; that’s why we’re doing our part to help keep our keiki safe.”

NHCH’s Trauma Team will offer free helmets to children ages 3 to 12 at the 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest on Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center in Waimea. NHCH was designated as a Level III Trauma Center in 2013, which allows the hospital to treat injured patients that would otherwise be diverted to trauma centers located over an hour away. The mission of NHCH’s Trauma Program is to continually improve and optimize the care provided for injured patients through an evolving multidisciplinary performance improvement committee, data collection, injury prevention, community outreach and education. For additional information about the hospital’s Trauma Program, please contact Kimberly Bastien, RN and Trauma Program Manager, at 808-881-4820 or Kimberly.Bastien@NHCH.com.

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!