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1% Transient Accommodations Tax Increase Takes Effect January 1, 2018

Please be advised that, effective January 1, 2018, the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) applied to lodging accommodations in the State of Hawaii will be increased by 1%, raising the TAT from its current rate of 9.25% to 10.25%. This increase is scheduled to stay in effect until December 31, 2030.

The TAT increase is being put into effect to help pay for Honolulu’s rapid transit system that is currently under construction. The light metro rail system will extend 20 miles from Kapolei in Leeward Oahu to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu with 21 stations along the way, including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the State of Hawaii’s main port of entry for air transportation.

Following is a summary of State taxes that will be applied by lodging properties statewide when the 1% TAT increase takes effect on January 1, 2018:

Oahu
4.712%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.962%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Maui County / Island of Hawaii / Kauai
4.166%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.416%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Click here to see the notice issued by the Hawaii State Department of Taxation providing detailed information about the changes in State law that applies to the 1% TAT increase.

Any questions regarding the implementation of the 1% TAT increase should be directed to the Hawaii State Department of Taxation via email at Tax.Rules.Office@hawaii.gov or by calling 808-587-1530.

Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association Anniversary Celebration Set For Oct. 28-29

Since 1997, the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) has worked to promote Hawaiian culture, values and traditions in the visitor industry and beyond through consultation and workforce education, and to provide opportunities for the Hawaiian community to shape the future of tourism. Now in its 20th year, join NaHHA in celebrating two decades of service to Hawai‘i with two events in Waikīkī, October 28 and 29.

On Saturday, October 28 from 5 – 9 p.m., the community is invited to a free ‘Aha Mele: an evening of Hawaiian music at the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Royal Grove in the heart of Waikīkī. Presented by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority in partnership with Hawaiian 105 KINE and NaHHA, this event will feature the Sons of Waikīkī, Hālau ‘O Kaululaua‘e, The Pandanus Club featuring Waikīkī legends Danny Kaleikini and Marlene Sai, and Amy Hānaiali‘i.

On the evening of Sunday, October 29, NaHHA celebrates two decades of service with an Anniversary Gala at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The gala will feature cuisine from the chefs at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a silent auction, mo‘olelo (stories) from people involved with NaHHA and the visitor industry over the years, and a performance by Amy Hānaiali‘i sure to wow the crowd.

The gala will celebrate the vision and contributions of NaHHA’s founders, the late George Kanahele, Ph.D, and the late Senator Kenneth Brown. NaHHA will also honor the memebrs of its founding Board of Directors: Muriel Anderson, Peter Apo, Cy Bridges, Doug Chang, John DeFries, Albert Kanahele, Noelani Mahoe, Jace McQuivey, and Lori Sablas.

“This celebration will honor the rich history of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and the many hands who have ensured our success in the years to come. We hope you can join us in celebrating the contributions and vision of our founders, and the mission we work toward every day,” said Pohai Ryan, Executive Director of NaHHA.

Individual seats and tables are available for the gala. To reserve your seat at the gala, visit nahha20gala.eventbrite.com or call NaHHA at (808) 628-6374. Individual seats and tables are available.

About the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA)

In designating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the United Nations General Assembly noted “the importance of international tourism in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.” Twenty years ago, George Hu‘eu Sanford Kanahele, Ph.D. and Senator Kenneth Francis Kamu‘ookalani Brown had reached similar conclusions as those being expressed today by the United Nations.

Inspired by a shared vision of Hawai‘i where Hawaiian culture and the visitor industry can strengthen and enrich one another, Kanahele and Brown co-founded the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association to shape the future of Hawai‘i tourism by utilizing Hawaiian cultural values as the foundation for business development and leadership. Intuitively, they knew that Hawai‘i’s rare gift to the world is the Aloha Spirit and by sharing this gift, the world would become a better place and the spiritual essence of Hawai‘i’s people would be recognized and respected globally.

Today, NaHHA fulfills the vision of its founders by delivering Hawaiian cultural training and consultation to the visitor industry workforce, as well as businesses and organizations that support the visitor industry. Learn more about NaHHA’s offerings at NaHHA.com.

Senator Hirono Attends Dedication of Daniel K. Inouye Highway New Phase Completion

Senator Mazie K. Hirono yesterday dedicated a new phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, formerly known as Saddle Road.

Mayor Harry Kim and Senator Mazie Hirono at the Saddle Road dedication.

Yesterday’s ceremony marked the completion of the Saddle Road Improvement Project. Construction on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway began in 2004, and the project’s completion creates the shortest route between East and West Hawaii Island.  (*Editors Note… the project will be extended all the way down to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway)

“This project has been in the making for decades, and it’s only through coordination between federal, state, and local governments, and the Hawaii Island community that we were able to complete the Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” said Senator Hirono. “Saddle Road was one of the most dangerous roads in the state, but now we have a roadway that will reduce accidents, save lives, and fulfill Senator Inouye’s vision to connect East and West Hawaii.”

Statement by Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige on Hawai‘i’s Medicaid Expenditures

The State of Hawai‘i has responded to Sen. Ron Johnson’s request for information on Hawai‘i’s Medicaid expenditures for the Medicaid expansion. (Letter attached).

I am setting the record straight. Hawai‘i’s overall Medicaid costs per capita are at or below the national average. We have among the lowest rates in the nation. I am proud of our program and its effectiveness in providing our residents with quality health care they can afford.

Let me be clear. This is not about politics or data. This is about people, their lives and our responsibility to ensure that they receive quality health care.

We must stop wasting our time and energy on politics and blame. I ask our public servants to reach across the aisle and talk to each other so that we can resolve this issue.

For Hawai‘i, it is clear. We have a model Medicaid program and we will continue to be one of the nation’s leaders in quality health care.

Letter to Senator Ron Johnson

Hawaiian Monk Seal “Kaimana” to go up for “Adoption,” Benefit to Support Marine Mammal Response and Rescue in Hawai‘i

For weeks, thousands flocked to Kaimana beach to get a glimpse of the Hawaiian monk seal “Rocky” and her new pup, “Kaimana.” The new pup, the first born in Waikīkī in decades, captured the hearts of millions across Hawai‘i and the world. Now, some lucky individual will have the opportunity to “adopt” the pup at an upcoming fundraiser for marine mammal conservation.

Photo by Jason O’Rourke

Kaimana and three other monk seal pups born this year will be up for “adoption” at the event. The “adoption” includes a large individual framed photo of the pup, a certificate of “adoption,” and an opportunity to visit your “adopted” pup with a monk seal volunteer team (conditions apply).

All of this and more will be part of an event Dolphin Quest Oahu and The Kahala Hotel & Resort are hosting to raise funds for Hawai’i Marine Animal Response and their extraordinary network of volunteers who help to preserve Hawaii’s protected marine species. The event takes place on Friday, October 20, 2017 at The Kahala Hotel & Resort (5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI) from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The event will feature live Hawaiian music from five-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winners Waipuna, delectable food and drinks from The Kahala, and a silent auction featuring local fashion and art.

Individual tickets are available for $125.00 and can be purchased at bit.ly/alohaformonkseals

Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response (HMAR) is Hawaii’s largest non-profit marine species conservation and response organization. HMAR covers approximately 300 miles of coastline on the islands of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi with a support staff of volunteers, interns and employees. Members of this staff are deployed to the field in response to sightings and to perform surveys, outreach activity, and interventions nearly 9 times per day, on average. Their past annual activity includes over 2,400 protected marine species sightings, over 2,700 occasions of team members engaged in shoreline responses and surveys, and over 50 Hawaiian monk seal and sea turtle related escalations or emergency responses.

Proceeds from the event will go to much needed supplies and equipment for the organization. “We are a small organization with some mighty big responsibilities on our hands, but we have a team of passionate volunteers and staff who dedicate thousands of hours of their time caring for the animals they love. This event is both an opportunity to thank them and to raise money for our nonprofit,” explains Jon Gelman, founder of HMAR.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

E Ho‘onui i ke Aloha no ke Kai Ola (To increase our aloha for the living sea) is a benefit for Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR) and their network of staff and volunteers who help to preserve Hawaii’s protected marine species every day. This public event will be held at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, and it is sponsored by Dolphin Quest Oahu.

The anticipated high point of the benefit will be the auction, which will feature art, photos, and crafts from throughout Hawai‘i. Also up for auction will be the symbolic “adoption” of each of the four Hawaiian monk seal pups born on Oahu this year, including Wailea, the monk seal born off Ka‘ōhao (Lanikai) and Kaimana, the now-famed pup born in Waikīkī. The symbolic “Adoption” will include:

• A large framed photo of the seal
• A certificate of adoption
• A unique opportunity to visit the seal with the volunteer network (conditions apply)

HMAR also conducts public outreach and education for schools, the public and Hawai’i organizations. Earlier this year, Dolphin Quest was recognized by HMAR as a Hawaii Marine Animal Steward in partnership with Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

Dolphin Quest provides ongoing support and hands-on training for Hawai’i’s stranding network volunteers. In May of this year, Dolphin Quest hosted veterinarians from multiple Hawaiian islands providing valuable experience with healthy dolphins to aid their wild stranding response efforts.

Tickets to the event are available for purchase online for $125 per person as well as premium sponsorship packages for $1000. Availability is limited and the organizers are urging the public to secure tickets as soon as possible to attend this evening of music, food, festivities and marine animal conservation.

Tickets include a gift, heavy gourmet pūpū, and signature non-alcoholic drinks. $1000 Sponsorships include five tickets to the event and promotion of a business or organization in the program and leading up to the event.

Police Seek the Public’s Assistance with Fatal Industrial Accident

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a fatal industrial accident involving a 45-year-old man falling through the roof of a warehouse in the Panaʻewa area yesterday, (October 10).

At 1:42 p.m., officers responded to a business on Kealakai Street to a report of a man who fell approximately 40 feet through a fiberglass portion of a roof to a warehouse he was painting, landing on the concrete floor. The victim, 45-year-old Peter Tosie of Hilo, was an employee of a painting company contracted by the business.

The victim was transported by medics to the Hilo Medical Center in critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries at 2:19 p.m.

Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation. An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday, (October 13), to determine the exact cause of his death.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Todd Pataray of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2382 or Todd.Pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Coast Guard, HFD Rescue 20 Fishermen From Aground Vessel Off Honolulu

Twenty fishermen were transported to shore from an aground vessel less than a half mile off Honolulu early Wednesday morning.

 

Honolulu Fire Department Jet Ski crews transported fishermen from the vessel to a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium for further transport to awaiting emergency responders at Ala Wai Harbor. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew hoisted two of the fishermen and the master of the vessel and transported them to Honolulu airport.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received three reports of the 79-foot commercial fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded off Diamond Head near the Outrigger Canoe Club Channel Tuesday night. They responded by directing the launch of response assets.

The RB-M crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu arrived on scene at 11:48 p.m. Tuesday followed by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point at midnight. HFD Jet Ski, boat and shore crews also arrived on scene.The Pacific Paradise is homeported in Honolulu and the vessel’s last port of call was American Samoa. No injuries were reported.

The vessel is carrying a maximum of 13,000 gallons of diesel as well as assorted lube and hydraulic oils. No pollution has been reported. Further evaluation will be done after first light.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding. Responders will work with the owner to assess damage and develop a salvage plan.

Weather at the time of the incident was reportedly winds at 11 mph, seas 1-foot or less with partly cloudy skies.

Hawaii Governor – Regarding the Repeal of the Clean Power Plan

The Trump Administration’s irresponsible decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan will have devastating effects on our planet for generations to come.

Climate change is real. Hawaiʻi recognizes this and is seeing the impacts firsthand with rising tides, a shrinking biodiversity, massive coral bleaching and eroding coastlines. Weather is becoming more extreme, severely impacting our neighbors.

This island in the Pacific has already taken matters into its own hands by committing to the Paris Accord and hitting key milestones in its ambitious plans to power Hawai‘i on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. The State of Hawai‘i is already lowering emissions while growing jobs and the economy. As the federal government steps down in its leadership role for clean energy, Hawaiʻi is rising to the occasion and remains committed.

Governor David Y. Ige

Beware of Fake State Investigators

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) is warning the public about at least one individual who posed as a RICO investigator.

The office received information that a letter was sent to a local business asserting a violation and that RICO would be conducting an investigation at that location.  The letter, however, was not sent by an investigator from the RICO office.

Notices from RICO are sent on official letterhead and include contact information for all RICO offices.  Legitimate RICO investigators carry official badges and credentials with their name and organization. Members of the public may request to view the credentials of a RICO investigator to confirm the investigator’s identity. To verify the authenticity of an investigator or a written notice from RICO, the public also may call the RICO office at (808) 587-4272.

The Regulated Industries Complaints Office has opened an investigation into the matter. The impersonation of a public servant is a crime in the State of Hawaii.

Hawaii Opposes Travel Ban 3.0

Today the State of Hawaii, Dr. Ismail Elshikh, the Muslim Association of Hawaii, and two prospective Doe plaintiffs filed a proposed Third Amended Complaint in Hawaii v. Trump. The proposed complaint was accompanied by a motion for temporary restraining order.

Click to read

As stated in the memorandum in support of the motion for temporary restraining order:

On September 24, 2017, the President issued a proclamation that imposes an indefinite nationality-based ban on travel and targets an overwhelmingly Muslim population. The President has fulfilled his prior promises: He has issued a “larger, tougher, and more specific” version of the travel ban that this Court and the Ninth Circuit found violative of the Nation’s laws and most basic constitutional commitments.

It should come as little surprise, then, that the new order replicates all of the legal flaws evident in its precursors. It again openly “discriminate[s] * * * in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of * * * nationality.” It still fails, despite its elaborate rationalizations, to make any “find[ing]” remotely adequate to support its sweeping ban of millions of foreign nationals. It exceeds the limits on the President’s exclusion authority that have been recognized for nearly a century, by supplanting Congress’s immigration policies with the President’s own unilateral and indefinite ban. And it continues to effectuate the President’s unrepudiated promise to exclude Muslims from the United States.

Copies of the proposed third amended complaint and memorandum in support of the motion for temporary restraining order are attached.

Kona Brewing Co. Debuts “Kanaha” Blonde Ale

Hawaii locals receive exclusive first taste of new blonde ale with tropical mango

Kanaha Beach, a world-renowned kitesurfing destination located on Maui’s north-central coastline, inspires the newest year-round beer from Kona Brewing Co., Kanaha Blonde Ale. To bring the spirit of Kanaha Beach to life, Kona’s brewing team created a refreshing light blonde ale featuring a distinctive tropical flavor with real mango that weighs in at less than 100 calories. Kanaha Blonde Ale, is the perfect beer – whether celebrating an epic kiting session or relaxing at the end of the workday with friends. Kanaha Blonde Ale will debut exclusively in Hawaii in October before rolling out in 6-packs and draught on the mainland.

Of the new brew, Kona Brewing Company Innovation Brewmaster Ryan McVeigh says, “What better inspiration for our liquid aloha than the famous trade winds and free spirit of Maui’s kiteboarding mecca?” With its light tropical flavor and aroma, Kanaha Blonde Ale pairs well with grilled seafood and salads.

Starting this week, the new brew is available on tap at the two Kona Brew Pubs located in Hawaii Kai on Oahu and in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii and other restaurants and bars throughout the islands prior to a U.S. mainland roll out in bottles and draught later this year.

The beer debuted with a launch celebration at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa on October 5, 2017. The launch celebration was in support of Maui non-profit, IMUA Family Services . Kona Brewing Co. is proud to support IMUA’s work with local families facing challenges with developmental disabilities on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Photos of the check presentation and launch party are available at this link.

Kona Brewing Co. has a long-standing history of supporting groups that make a positive contribution to the community through service, education and preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique environment and culture. Kona Brewing Company donates more than $120,000 annually to non-profits like IMUA Family Services. Through its Makana program, the company celebrates non-profits like Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, Waipā Foundation, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Easter Seals, Sustainable Coastlines, Surfrider Foundation, Malama Maunalua, and Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

Kona Brewing Co. Kanaha Blonde Ale:

  • OG: 8.1°P
  • Apparent Extract: 1.26°P
  • Alcohol by volume: 4.2%
  • IBU: 18
  • Color: 5˚L
  • Malt: Pale Malt, Caramel Malt
  • Hops: Millennium, Mosaic, Amarillo
  • Adjuncts: Mango
  • Calories: 99

Kona Brew Pubs are located at:

  • Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Hawaiʻi Kai, Oʻahu
  • 74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaiʻi

For more information, visit KonaBrewingCo.com

Big Island Mayor Requests Release of Money for Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim sent a letter to Governor David Ige on October 4th  requesting the release of money appropriated for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to fund the Career Criminal Prosecution Unit in 2018:

Dear Governor Ige,

This letter is a formal request for the release of $150,000 appropriated for the County of Hawai’i for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to use to fund the Career Criminal Prosecution Unit in the fiscal year 2018. This was authorized in the Hawaii State Budget, SB26, SD1, HD1, CD1, ACT 204 enacted on July 11, 2017.

The County of Hawaii is committed to the implementation of ACT 204 and looks forward to collaborating with other County and State criminal justice agencies in fulfilling the goal prosecuting and bringing justice to cases that involve career criminals. As provided for in the Career Criminal Prosecuting plan, we intend to fund eleven (11) positions described on the attached “Budget Detail” The Hawai’i County Council has approved the funding provided to the County in ACT 204 as an Intergovernmental Agreement between the State of Hawai’i and the County of Hawaii.

Please contact Lee Lord, Business Manager, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawaii, at (808) 934-3315, if you require any additional information.

Sincerely,
Mayor Harry Kim

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Ban “Bump Stocks”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today supported bipartisan legislation as an original cosponsor to ban the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” and similar devices. The legislation would also make violation of the law a felony and allow for increased penalties for offenders through a review of federal sentencing guidelines.

“In the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, this bill is an important bipartisan measure that will ban devices that exploit loopholes in existing laws prohibiting automatic weapons. I urge my colleagues to take action and support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation. There is clearly more that Congress can and should do, like passing legislation that will require background checks to those seeking to purchase a gun, which the majority of Americans support. Bills like the one we are introducing today are an important first step to bringing people together around issues that best serve the safety and wellbeing of the American people,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: “Bump stocks” are devices that use a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to allow rapid fire at a rate mirroring that of a fully automatic weapon — 400 to 800 rounds a minute. These devices are legal, unregulated, widely available, and can be purchased online for as little as $100. Their sole purpose is to exacerbate the rate of fire.

The bipartisan legislation introduced today is supported by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, including Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Peter King (NY-2), Jared Polis (CO-2), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Robin Kelly (IL-2), Patrick Meehan (PA-7), Jacky Rosen (NV-3), Ed Royce (CA-39), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Chris Smith (NJ-4), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Erik Paulsen (MN-3), Ruben Kihuen (NV-4), Ryan Costello (PA-6), John Delaney (MD-6), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Gene Green (TX-29), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R.3947).

Senator Schatz Statement on Trump Administration’s Decision to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Co-Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force, released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

“Once again, the administration has put partisan ideology above the health of the American people, our economy, and our planet.  Like their failed attempts to undermine clean water and methane rules, this effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan has no basis in law and will absolutely be challenged in court.

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation. It’s our obligation as the indispensable nation to lead and take action. The administration’s short-sighted decision today abdicates that role. But in the absence of leadership from the White House, momentum behind clean energy is growing, as states, cities, and the private sector continue to move ahead. Our commitment to fighting climate change won’t be weakened. We will continue to take action, with or without the administration’s help.”

Asteroid Named After Hawai’i County Traffic Engineer

Ronald Thiel (Courtesy Photo)

Hawaiʻi County Traffic Division Chief Ronald Thiel knows lights.  Much of his work focuses on keeping local streets safe with street lights, traffic lights and hazard lights.

He also knows where lights are not helpful – when light pollution interferes with the work of astronomers and the lives of native wildlife.  For Thiel’s work preserving “dark skies” in Hawaiʻi County, an asteroid was recently named in his honor – 9923 ronaldthiel.

The asteroid naming ceremony took place on September 28, 2017, presented by Dr. Richard Wainscoat of the University of Hawai’i at a meeting of the Mauna Kea User’s Committee in Hilo.  The asteroid was first discovered by astronomer Bobby Bus on March 7, 1981, with an orbit of 1,723 days around the sun.  It has a diameter of 2.55 miles.

Over the years, Thiel has doggedly pushed for innovation, sometimes going against the flow of traffic.  Industry naysayers said it could not be done with Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) lamps, so he waited for technology to catch up, and he searched for the right manufacturer.

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made it possible to take small steps with the purchase of the first LED street lamps.  Subsequent County investments and a partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi resulted in the installation of 11,000 LED lamps on County and State roadways across Hawaiʻi Island.  Hawaiʻi County, which is nearly the size of the state of Connecticut, became the first county in the nation to convert all of its street lights to LED lamps.

The LED lamps support the Island’s $58.4 million astronomy industry’s needs for dark skies.  Island observatories scan the heavens to improve our understanding of the far reaches of space, including asteroids like the 9923 ronaldthiel.

The lamps use filters to remove the LED’s blue spectrum, resulting in improved visibility, safer roads, and reduced eye fatigue by cutting glare.  The filtered lamps have also proven to be far less of an attraction for Hawaiʻi’s endemic threatened and endangered birds and bats.  The highly-efficient lamps have also reduced electrical and maintenance costs by over 50 percent, so the new fittings, lamps and installation expenses will pay for themselves in five years.  An added benefit is that the LED lamps have a life of 20 years.  The low-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced typically lasted just over four years.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Awarding $3.5 Million to Support 124 Hawaiian Culture, Natural Resources and Community Programs in 2018

In keeping with its commitment to foster sustainable tourism in the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is providing funding of more than $3.5 million to 124 programs that are perpetuating Hawaiian culture, protecting natural resources and showcasing community events in 2018.Recipients of the funding are nonprofit groups, community organizations and individuals statewide who have demonstrated through proposals submitted to HTA their dedication to strengthen the enduring qualities of Hawaii’s legacy that distinguish the islands as a place to live and visit.

“Sustainable tourism starts at the community level and that’s the focus of our support for initiatives by groups and individuals who have pledged to make Hawaii a better place for future generations,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Collectively, these community-based programs will help manage tourism’s impacts by preserving the quality of life we treasure as residents through culture, the environment and the sharing of festivals and events ingrained in the traditions of Hawaii’s people.”

Funding is being provided to recipients on all islands for usage in 2018 as part of three HTA program categories: Kukulu Ola, Aloha Aina and Community Enrichment. HTA issued a request for proposals on June 21 with submittals from qualified applicants received by August 4.

  • A total of $1,240,000 is being awarded to 33 recipients that are perpetuating Hawaiian culture through HTA’s Kukulu Ola program. Awardees include community groups, practitioners, craftsmen, musicians and artists committed to strengthening a broader understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian culture through place-based activity engagement. Founded on the value of ma ka hana ka ike (in working one learns), the Kukulu Ola program assists recipients steeped in ike Hawaii to share within communities the Hawaiian values inherent in each respective practice.
  • A total of $1,150,000 is being awarded to 26 recipients that are helping to protect Hawaii’s natural resources through HTA’s Aloha Aina program. Focused on the lasting value of stewardship by responsible community-based entities that emphasize aina-kanaka relationships and knowledge, the Aloha Aina program supports efforts to manage, conserve and revitalize Hawaii’s natural resources and environment.
  • A total of $1,153,300 is being awarded to 65 recipients through HTA’s Community Enrichment program, which supports quality experiences created by communities to be shared with residents and visitors for their enjoyment. The Community Enrichment program invests in a diverse array of festivals, events and year-round programs in support of culture, education, health and wellness, nature, agriculture, sports, technology and voluntourism.

Click here for the listing of awardees receiving funding from HTA.

Hawai`i Department of Health Approves Fourth Dispensary to Begin Retail Sales of Medical Cannabis

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a formal notice to proceed to Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Noa Botanicals is the fourth licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state (and the second on O‘ahu) to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The licensed retail center for Noa Botanicals is located at 1308 Young Street in Honolulu, and the dispensary expects to begin sales at the site this month.

“We are continuing to closely work with both the licensed dispensaries and private laboratories in each of the counties to help them meet all of the requirements as efficiently as possible without compromising product or patient safety,” said Keith Ridley, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program for the Hawaii State Department of Health.

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by the Hawaii Department of Health.

The other licensed retail centers are:

  • Maui Grown Therapies, located at 44 Pa‘a Street in Kahului, Maui, which was the first licensed dispensary in Hawai‘i to receive a notice to proceed on Aug. 8, 2017;
  • Aloha Green, in the Interstate Building at 1314 South King Street in Honolulu, received its notice to proceed on Aug. 9, 2017; and
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC, at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului, Maui, was the second Maui dispensary to receive a notice to proceed on Sept. 29, 2017.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure O‘ahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. The two Maui dispensaries include Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies; and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. The one dispensary located on Kaua‘i is Green Aloha, Ltd. Each licensed dispensary is an independent business and operates based on their individual business plans.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program is available at www.health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/.

Bank of Hawaii Foundation Grants $100,000 for PBS Hawai’i’s HIKI NO

Bank of Hawaii Foundation, an early backer of PBS Hawai‘i’s award-winning HIKI NŌ statewide student digital media initiative, has renewed its support with a $100,000 grant.

HIKI NŌ, primarily an education program, encourages students to hone progressive “real world” learning skills. These skills are showcased in a weekly on-air and online newscast, in which students meet national PBS professional journalism standards.

“Kudos to Leslie Wilcox and PBS Hawai‘i for championing HIKI NŌ and helping students from all islands to develop skills in a digital world,” said Peter S. Ho, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii. “HIKI NŌ students tell the stories of their communities with a voice and perspective that is powerful and authentic.”

Bank of Hawaii Foundation’s support dates back to the launch of HIKI NŌ in 2011. Since then, HIKI NŌ schools have become digital media stand-outs at local and national competitions.

At no cost to schools, HIKI NŌ serves 90 public, private and charter schools across the Islands, middle and high schools. Under the guidance of teachers, participating students create their stories of their communities after school hours. The Hawaii State Department of Education is considering making HIKI NŌ an official elective course in public schools.

Says PBS Hawai‘i Director of Learning Initiatives Robert Pennybacker: “Bank of Hawaii Foundation has helped open career paths to students by enabling them to gain the ability to problem-solve, persevere and meet deadlines with quality digital media work.”

New Phase of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Opens

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are pleased to announce the opening of the final phase of reconstruction on the east side of Saddle Road, now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. The improvement connects the existing highway near milepost 11 to the west end of the Puainako Street extension.

“The importance of the combined Saddle Road Improvement projects as a cross-island route cannot be overstated. It is a huge accomplishment,” said Governor David Ige. “Senator Inouye’s vision when he initiated the Saddle Road Community Task Force in 1993 is an excellent example of government and the community working together to benefit generations to come.”

“This project was of great importance to Dan as it connects east and west, providing safer access for all travelers, as well as economic opportunities for Hawaii Island residents. He tried to make every groundbreaking and celebration, dating back to 2004. I am pleased that the 48-mile road is complete and so honored that it bears Dan’s name,” said Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

Saddle Road/Daniel K. Inouye Highway task force committee being recognized during the ceremony. DOT Photo

The Saddle Road East Side project encompassed a total of nearly six miles of highway, reconstructing approximately three miles of the existing Daniel K. Inouye Highway, upgrading the roadway to modern design standards and including safety features such as 8-foot shoulder lanes, straighter alignment and a climbing lane, and adding three miles of new road. The project also increased the overall highway capacity and removed potential conflicts between military operations and public traffic. The cost was $57 million, which was within the allocated budget.

This joint project between HDOT and FHWA presented unique challenges such as varying subsurface conditions from aʻa, pahoehoe, dense basalt, and volcanic ash and the need to address precautionary measures necessary for containment, treatment and placement of cleared timber to help prevent the spread of the Rapid Ohia Death fungus.

Funding for the Saddle Road projects was made possible through the U.S. Department of the Army Defense Access Road and Ecosystem Management Programs, U.S. Congress, and Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“The completion of the Saddle Road East Side project provides a safe, efficient, cross-island route with access across Hawaii between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa,” said FHWA’s Central Federal Lands project manager Mike Will. “In addition, the use of the Pohakuloa Training Area quarry resources is estimated to have saved approximately $20 million of state and federal funding.”

Previous phases of the Saddle Road Improvements widened and aligned more than 41-miles of road. The east side phase opened today makes for a total of nearly 48 miles of road that has been improved to modern standards at a total approximate cost of $316.5 million, of which the U.S. Army contributed more than $100 million. Saddle Road was initially built as a one-lane road by the U.S. Army in 1942 to connect military training facilities.

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway, State Route 200, begins at the outskirts of Hilo near milepost 6 and extends westward to Mamalahoa Highway State Route 190. The road passes through the saddle between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. The Daniel K. Inouye Highway climbs nearly 5,500 vertical feet from its eastern terminus to its mid-point. The rainfall gradient along the highway ranges from 10 inches to 200 inches per year, which posed an additional challenge for crews during construction. The 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

North Hawai’i Community Hospital Lobby to Close Temporarily

The lobby at North Hawai’i Community Hospital will close for several weeks starting Thursday, October 12.

The closure is required while flooring in the lobby is replaced. This is the last phase of a large-scale flooring replacement project ongoing at the hospital since November 2016.

Patients and visitors are directed to enter the hospital through the emergency room entrance. Signage will be placed throughout the campus to help redirect visitors.

For patient convenience, all parking near the emergency room will be designated for patients and visitors only.

Visitors to the Lucy Henriques building will continue to enter through that building.

The project is expected to be completed by November 3.