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Commentary – Update From Councilwoman Ruggles

Aloha Kakou,

These recent months have been a time of great change on a local and global level. I would first like to express how grateful that I am for the strength, resilience and awareness of our community. The ability for us to work together in times such as these, care for each other and malama ‘aina is critical for our future and for the future of this planet. In my 3rd and 4th month in office I have been learning the ropes and have been very busy meeting with department heads, community groups, and residents. Please see below for a summary of what our office has been up to:

Legislation-  On March 8th I introduced two resolutions, Resolution 81-17 and Resolution 82-17. The first one urged the state to pass two bills currently being heard, one allowing Tiny Homes for ag land, and the other stopping counties from requiring minimum house sizes. Resolution 82-17 urged the state to prioritize the release of $15 million to the county previously authorized for the construction, repair, and maintenance of feeder roads and alternative routes for Highway 130. The council passed both resolutions.

  • Supporting local farmers- On Feb 22nd. I was able to pass a resolution giving $2,500 to the Food Basket that will double the SNAP-EBT benefits for certain days of shopping at the Maku’u market.
  • Styrofoam Ban- While the council passed the styrofoam bill out of committee, Council Members Dru Kanuha, Tim Richards, and Eileen O’Hara (sponsor), all had amendments they wanted to discuss so Council member O’Hara opted to delay the bill and create an ad-hoc committee to ensure the bill is foolproof. It should be heard again in June.
  • County Composting Facility- As you may be aware the county had a contract for a full composting facility for Hilo and Kona which the mayor recently terminated based on a report by the Environmental Management Department, saying the county was paying too much and that it didn’t meet the goals of our Zero Waste Implementation Plan. I will be reviewing the report this week and the council will be discussing next week in Kona. In the meanwhile, if you have any thoughts please let me know at 808-961-8263 or email me back. 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

Hawaiian Acres Farmers Market now open: Support your local farmers at the Hawaiian Acres Community Center on the corner of roads 8 and C, from 12- 3 pm.  For more information call 808-966-9892 or email info@hawaiianacres.org

Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee upcoming meeting: You are invited to attend the upcoming PCDP Action Committee meeting, where public comment is welcome at the beginning of each meeting. It will be held at the Pahoa Neighborhood Facility on 5/9 at 3pm. View the development plan here and contact Hans Santiago if you have any questions 808-961-8165.

Need extra money? Become a driver- Uber launching this Friday, 3/17:  On March 15th I meet with Uber representatives to discuss how they can help transportation in Hawaii, (I convinced them that there is sufficient demand for jobs AND rides in Puna). With Uber, anyone with a smartphone can locate available drivers near them and get affordable rides. Anyone can apply to be a driver if they meet certain requirements, and can apply here. I will be hosting a public meeting with a Uber representative on how you can participate in increasing transportation accessibility and our local economy next month, TBA.

Shuttle for the Disabled and Elderly- Beginning in May, there will be several vans funded by the State and County to provide free transportation to the disabled, (over 18 year old), and elderly, island wide. For more information call 961-8777.

East Hawai’i CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Basic Training Course: Free Class: March 18th at  Aupuni Conference Room from 8:30 – 4:30  For more information on CERT, visit https://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/ To reserve a space contact Patti Pinto at hawaiicert@gmail.com or call Patti at 808-935-0031

Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee (CERS) upcoming meeting: You are invited to attend the CERS monthly meeting held at the Kea’au Community Center on
03/28 at 2 pm. For more information please email Patti Pinto- pintonian@gmail.com

Free Hazardous Waste Disposal: The next will be a free Residential Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event  will be at the Hilo Transfer Station on June 3rd  between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. They will be accepting automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent lights and pesticides, for a more complete list click here. If you have any questions or comments contact Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with the Department of Environmental Management at 961-8554 or email to recycle3@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Puna Neighborhood Watch Meetings:
Neighborhood watch groups are proven to make communities safer. Here is a list of our local groups and how to can get involved:
Ainaloa Neighborhood Watch: At the Ainaloa Longhouse on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please contact Judy Haney at 808-966-8114 of haneypaws@aol.com
Fern Acres Neighborhood Watch: At the Fern Acres Community Association(FACA) Building, on the corner of Pole 7 and Lehua, on the last Tuesday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please call the FACA office at 808-968-6006
Fern Forest Neighborhood Watch: At the Fern Forrest Community Lot, on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 10 am. For more information, please contact Ron Costa by phone at 469-471-4657
or by email at rcostamhs65@outlook.com
Leilani Neighborhood Watch: At the Leilani Community Center on the last Thursday of every month at 7 pm. For more information please contact the Leilani Community Association office at 808-965-9555
Orchidland Neighborhood Watch:  At Blanes Drive-In in Orchidland on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 6 pm. For more information please contact Sharon by phone at 808-430-5048
or  by email at sfmccar@earthlink.net

Abandoned Vehicles: For private roads that are publicly traveled, call police dept non-emergency line 935-3311 with the location, make, model, and any other information on the vehicle. Officer will tag it with a notice, after 24 hours s/he will make an abandoned vehicle report, and vehicle will be towed in a few days to a week.

Vice/Drug Tip Hotlines: There is a 24-hour anonymous vice/drug tip hotline for you to provide the Police department information on drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues like prostitution, gambling (cock and dog fighting),  and other related crimes. Call 808-934-VICE (934-8423)

Student applications for Native Youth Congress being accepted:
The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center is inviting native students apply for the Native Youth Community Adaptation and Leadership Congress,  July 9-15, 2017 in Shepherdstown, WV. Students will learn  leadership skills for addressing conservation issues in their communities.

Highlights from 3/7 council presentation from the Hawaii Island Rat Lungworm Working group: 

  • Only diagnosis is spinal tap, they’re currently working on a blood based diagnostic.
  • Solutions: Best method to educate residents in rural communities is through the school system. 10,000 copies of “mystery of rat lung worm disease” booklet given has been effective for students to educate their families.
  • Properly wash lettuce: take leaves apart, wash and inspect each stalk. Wash with potable water, commercial veggie wash, or baking soda water.
  • Develop pest management methods for school gardens. The group identified 5 schools with diverse elevations and developed non-toxic, “shelters” for snails and slugs, removed more than 3,000 slugs and snails from each garden.
  • Effective non-toxic slug reduction: catch slugs in a “Slug Shelter” 2ft by 2ft cardboard on slightly wet wood boards, or lightly folded up weedcloth or plastic,  put in cleared grass area, in shade. Slugs will be drawn to the “shelter” where you can easily collect them, with gloves or chopsticks, and dispose of them in a “slug jug.”
  • The group is currently working on a study to find a catchment filter sufficient for filtering out the disease. Findings should be out by summer.
NACo-  In the last week of February I went with 3 other council members to Washington DC, for the National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conference and to meet with Hawaii’s congress members. I met city and county representatives from all over the U.S. and got to talk about issues, ideas, and solutions. I was also able to talk to experts on homelessness and opioid addiction, all relevant to our district. I drafted reports on each which are available on my Facebook page. We also met with Brian Shatz, Tulsi Gabbard, Mazie Hirono, and a staff member of Colleen Hanabusa in which I advocated for Puna’s need for help with our roads, internet and cell access, and invasive species, (including prevention).

Pahoa Community Meeting- Thank you to the more than 90 people attended the 2nd community meeting in Pahoa to expressed their concerns to the Chief of Police, community police officers, the fire department,and Director of Public Works, Frank Demarco and the Director of the Planning Department, Michael Yee who all listened intently.
The police department shared news of their increased presence in Pahoa since the fire, and a feeling of success in improving the level of public safety in Puna. The Fire Department, Battalion Chief shared that the recent fire was confirmed to have been started in the pawn shop, and that the damage was too extensive to confirm the exact source of the fire.
With the help of Mr. Demarco and encouragement from community members, a crosswalk was placed near Pahoa Intermediate/High School.

Infrastructure for Pahoa- Public works assured me that the sidewalk in front of Luquin’s will be re-opened in 3 weeks, if not sooner. On Feb. 9th I met with them and pushed for more street lamps and cross walks for the village, and improvement of the post office road for pedestrian use, (school children). On a side note, if you have any information on the young girl who was hit while crossing Highway 130 in front of HAAS school please call me at 961-8263.

Discussing Homelessness with Mathew Doherty-Executive Director of the US Inter-agency Council on Homelessness
Other Highlights of what I’ve been up to:
Regarding Connectivity:

  • On Feb. 1st. my staff and I walked through the district delivering surveys tothose living on streets approved for connectivity projects within our subdivisions.
  • On Fe.b 13th I met with members of the Fern Acres Community Association, the Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee and the Department of Public Works to follow up on the progress of connectivity plans, especially in the area of S. Lauko road. Public works engineers confirmed the Puhala to S. Kopua connection will be their first project.
  • On Feb. 16th  members of the Fern Forrest Community Association met with our legislative assistant, Nelson Ho to discuss their desire to open up Kaleponi road for connectivity.
  • On Feb. 28th our office aide, Amber Shouse attended the Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee meeting, where she heard community concerns and shared information regarding connectivity, Puna roads, and upcoming legislation with community members.

Support for Community Associations
On Feb. 1st myself and District 4 Council Member Eileen O’Hara met with the Ku’ikahi Mediation Center and talked about funding  a program for Ku’ikahi to provide tailored facilitation support to associations. The executive director will be bringing us a proposal in the next few months. She also sent me a list of resources for associations which our office will compile on a web platform to make available to the public.

Meeting with the Department of Water Supply: On Feb 2nd I met with the manager of the DWS to learn how the department works and discuss challenges that are facing Puna in regards to access to clean drinking water. They explained that most areas in Puna do meet the density requirements for water access, and they will be sending me those requirements. I urged them to consider Ainaloa subdivision to see if they meet the density requirements for county water hook up. They also pointed me to the correct authority to get lighting and ADA compliance at the Mt. View water spigot.

Meeting with the Corporation Counsel: On Feb. 2nd I met with newly appointed Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela. I informed him on the complex infrastructure challenges facing Puna and the federal complaint ruling in September of 2000 that found the County of Hawaii and the State DOT guilty of violating the civil rights of Puna residents, and delivered to him a follow up complaint being filed by residents alleging that the discrimination is ongoing. We are also discussing options private subdivision road improvement.

Pahoa Regoinal Town Plan Meeting: On Feb. 6th I met with Micheal Yee the Director of the Planning Department, Hans Santiago from the Planning Department, Roy Takemoto Assistant to the Mayor, and Council Member Eileen O’hara. at the meeting we discussed the proposed Master Plan for Pahoa and infrastructure challenges that are currently impeding economic development. Mr. Yee informed us the Pahoa Master Plan contract will start in 5 months.

Hawaiian Homelands: On Feb. 9th, hosted by former council member Aunty Emily Na’ole, I attended the Maku’u Homeowners Association Meeting where officials from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to see how I can support the expedition of giving displaced Native Hawaiian beneficiaries their land that they’ve already waited too long for. I gave DHHL my formal commitment to introduce any legislation that may urge the state to fund this process.

Upcoming Legislation:
Every two weeks I will send you council agenda email keeping you posted on upcoming council items, separate from these office newsletters.

As always you may contact me at my Hilo office number: 808-961-8263, or  by email at Jen.Ruggles@hawaiicounty.gov  or follow me on Facebook.

All my best,
Jen Ruggles

Coffee Berry Borer Quarantine Expanded to Maui

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture yesterday expanded the coffee berry borer (CBB) quarantine to the island of Maui, effective May 1, 2017. The quarantine, which has been in effect on Hawaii Island and Oahu, restricts the interisland movement of coffee and other CBB hosts and requires treatment and other quarantine protocols. Although recent detections of CBB were located in Hana and Kipahulu, the board decided that an island-wide quarantine was necessary to prevent the further spread of CBB in the state.

Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In December 2014, it was discovered on Oahu and in December 2016 was found on Maui. So far, CBB has not been detected on Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Since its detection in Kona, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.  It is still unknown how CBB made its way to Hawaii Island and how it arrived on Oahu and Maui. Hawaii has strict importation rules that require fumigation of all imported green coffee beans to rid the beans of pathogens and insect pests. Coffee plants and plant parts are also restricted from being imported to Hawaii under Plant Quarantine rules.

In addition, HDOA issued a quarantine order that requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from Hawaii Island to other islands that are not infested with the coffee berry borer.  The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment.

To view the Notice of Designation of Island of Maui as Expanded Coffee Berry Borer Infested Area Subject to Quarantine, go to: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/CBB-Quarantine-Maui.pdf

For more information on CBB in Hawaii go to the HDOA CBB webpage at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/ and the UH-CTAHR webpage at: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/CBB.aspx

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on Federal Stay on Travel Ban

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below after U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu issued a nationwide stay temporarily preventing the Trump Administration’s travel ban from going into effect:

“Hawaiʻi is a place where people with different ideas, backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities feel welcomed and respected. It’s only right that our Attorney General Doug Chin represent those values in working to stop this blanket travel ban from going into effect. This travel ban is bad policy, plain and simple.”

Hawaii House of Representatives Sends Proposed Budget to Senate

The full House today approved the state budget with the passage of HB100 HD1, which appropriates funds for both operating and capital improvements costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium fiscal years FY2017-2018 and FY2018-2019.  For FY2017-2018, the bill provides $7.08 billion in general funds and $13.9 billion in all means of financing.  For FY2018-2019, it appropriates $7.3 billion in general funds and $14.1 billion in all financing means.

The budget also includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects (CIP) throughout the state.  Of the total CIP funds, $1.1 billion go to CIP projects on Oahu, $376 million to Maui County (including Molokai and Lanai), $361 million for Hawaii Island, and $ 167 million for Kauai.

“This year we have proposed a very practical budget because income estimates for the state are declining,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Kahului). “The priority is to meet the budgetary needs of our core programs including education, kupuna care, homelessness, health programs, environmental protection and transportation. This budget accomplishes that goal.”

The state budget consists of two major funding allocations: Capital Improvement Projects funding (CIP) is money earmarked to build and maintain the state’s physical infrastructure; operating funds are monies used to actually run or operate state programs and services.

“General excise tax collections for several months now have been showing zero growth as compared to last year,” said House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). “On Monday, the Council on Revenues readjusted downwards the fiscal outlook for the next two years. This budget is the recognition by the committee that this is not the time to create new programs if they are at the expense of preserving our core services.”

Operating Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $7.08 billion General Funds
  • FY2019: $7.3 billion General Funds
  • FY2018: $13.9 billion All Means of Financing
  • FY2019: $14.1 billion All Means of Financing

Operating funding highlights

Department of the Attorney General

  • $110,000 to maintain the Criminal Justice Information System
  • $101,000 to Maintain the Upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System
  • $95,000 for the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing Program

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3,000,000 for an Excelerator program in the High Tech Development Corporation
  • $80,000 to promote Hawaii as a destination for films

Department of Budget and Finance

  • $15,001,114 to centralize vacation payout for general funded employees statewide
  • $3,695,200 for upgrades for the Employees’ Retirement System

Department of Defense

  • $360,000 for 10-year motor vehicle replacement plan
  • $80,000 for a Hawaii State Fusion Center director

Department of Education

  • $5,600,000 to expand the Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn Program
  • $2,027,645 to support the Office of Hawaiian Education
  • $1,040,593 and 20 positions to expand pre-K programs in DOE preschools
  • $844,776 and 18 positions to support children struggling with homelessness in the DOE
  • $500,000 to address R&M backlogs in state libraries
  • 40 preschool teachers and 20 educational assistants to support special education students in DOE preschools

Department of Human Services

  • $3,000,000 for Rapid Re-Housing program to keep people out of homelessness
  • $3,000,000 for Housing First Program to keep chronically homeless individuals in housing
  • $1,500,000 for homeless outreach
  • $300,000 for homeless shelter maintenance and repair
  • $2,100,000 for low income family and elderly housing facilities
  • $400,000 for services for child victims of sex trafficking

Department of Human Resources Development

  • $3,274,000 for workers’ compensation claims
  • $350,000 for pilot program to improve effectiveness of employees
  • $101,080 for professional development courses for state employees

Department of Health

  • $40,710,951 for various federal grants to support the Disease Outbreak Control Program
  • $24,000,000 for support to local hospitals responding to emergency outbreaks
  • $13,200,000 for immunizations and vaccines for children
  • $3,510,951 for other grants
  • $4,314,600 for a voluntary family planning program grant
  • $4,145,695 for Kupuna Care
  • $3,000,000 as a match for the maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting grant
  • $1,700,000 for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)
  • $1,912,836 to rebase home and community care service subsidies
  • $422,540 for vector control
  • $300,000 to increase the inventory of clean and sober housing
  • $157,168 and 1 program specialist position for the Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • $150,000 for a Statewide Telehealth Pilot project
  • $102,000 for 2 epidemiological specialists to help with surveillance of disease outbreak

Department of Labor

  • $515,386 and 1 position for Disability Compensation Division modernization
  • $205,00 for Community Services Block Grant
  • $41,197 for Commodity Supplemental Food Program Federal Grant

Department of Land and Natural Resources

  • $4,000,000 for Hawaii Invasive Species Council operations
  • $3,405,749 for Native Resources and Fire Protection operations
  • $2,832,996 for Forest Reserve Management and Development operations
  • $500,000 for Bureau of Conveyances to modernize accessibility to records
  • $500,000 to implement an Integrated Information Management System
  • $250,000 for the Ala Wai Watershed Initiative

Department of Transportation

  • $124,400,000 for 10-year replacement plans for motor vehicles, equipment, and ongoing base funding for special maintenance projects
  • $35,500,000 for airports
  • $17,600,000 for harbors
  • $71,300,000 for highways
  • $4,000,000 for highway cleanup services in Department of Transportation
  • $3,000,000 in state matching funds for Airport Rescue and Firefighting vehicles statewide

University of Hawaii System

  • $600,000 and 6 psychologist positions to address mental health concerns of students enrolled in the University of Hawaii System

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)

Capital Improvement Program Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $784.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2019: $304.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2018: $1,997.8 billion All Means of Financing Funds
  • FY2019: $926.5 million All Means of Financing Funds

CIP highlights

Agriculture

  • $10 million for the development of an agricultural park in Upcountry Maui
  • $3.7 million for improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system

Accounting and General Services

  • $19 million for Aloha Stadium to meet code, safety, and/or operational requirements
  • $25 million for improvements and maintenance of existing public facilities and sites, statewide.

Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3 million for an underground utility distribution system on Enterprise Avenue to Midway Road in Kalaeloa
  • $50 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to finance additional affordable rental housing

Defense

  • $6 million to retrofit buildings with hurricane protective measures to increase the number of emergency shelters, statewide
  • $5 million for incremental addition, replacement, and upgrade of the state Civil Defense warning and communications equipment, statewide

Education

Lump sums of CIP that total over $202 million for school facilities statewide to address equity, school condition, and program support.

  • $13.4 million for a new classroom building at Campbell High School
  • $77 million for the construction of the new East Kapolei Middle School
  • $28.2 million for the construction of the new Pohukaina Elementary School
  • $10 million for health, safety, accessibility, and other code requirements for public libraries, statewide

Hawaiian Home Lands

  • $74 million for lot development, repair, and maintenance of Hawaiian Home Lands

Human Services

  • $2 million for site and dwelling improvements, site utilities, rock fall protection, exterior building repairs, and roof repairs at Puahala Homes
  • $10.7 million for interior and exterior building and site improvements at Hale Po‘ai
  • $1.5 million for rockfall mitigation at Hauiki Homes

Health

  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to the Kahuku Medical Center
  • $24.4 million for improvements and renovations to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, statewide
  • $4.4 million for improvements to health facilitates, statewide
  • $2.1 million to modernize elevators at Diamond Head, Lanakila, and Leeward Health Centers
  • $4.5 million for re-roofing, interior and exterior improvements to the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center

Land and Natural Resources

  • $4.5 million for assessments, maintenance, and remediation of dams under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • $5 million for dredging and related improvements to the Ala Wai Canal
  • $6 million for rockfall and flood mitigation at various locations, statewide
  • $200,000 for hazardous tree mitigation in forest reserves, game management areas, natural are reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries
  • $800,000 to provide statewide support for fire and natural disaster response
  • $4.5 million for improvements at various boating facilities, statewide
  • $9 million for flood damage reconstruction at the Iao Valley State Monument, Maui

Public Safety

  • $53.5 million for electrical and mechanical infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation of buildings, at Public Safety facilities, statewide
  • $6.7million for a new consolidated women’s housing associated support office, and other improvements at the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC), Oahu

Transportation

  • $46.1million for renovations and new restroom facilities at airports statewide
  • $170 million for improvements to the overseas terminal ticket lobby at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $30 million for improvements at gates 29 and 34 to accommodate A380 Aircraft at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $8.7 million for a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Inspection Station at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $50 million for a Federal Inspection Stations (FIS) at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $39.2 million for holdroom and gate improvements at Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $10.5 million for inbound baggage handling system improvements, Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $7.2 million for terminal improvements at Molokai Airport, Molokai
  • $4.5 million for a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) garage, renovation of the terminal, and replacement of airfield lighting at Kalaupapa Airport, Maui
  • $17.8 million for ticket lobby and holdroom improvements at Lihue Airport, Kauai
  • $6.3 million to address safety needs, optimize energy and operational efficiencies, and provide essential infrastructure to Pier 24-28 at Honolulu Harbor, Oahu
  • $7.5 million to address storm water run-off, erosion, passenger safety issues, ineffective drainage, and/or subsurface irregularities at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai
  • $172.7 million for rehabilitation and/or replacement of bridges, statewide
  • $7.5 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways, statewide
  • $89 million for a new roadway and/or realignment, and extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo Terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Hawaii
  • $25.9 million for improvements and installation of drainage systems on state highways, statewide
  • $50 million for shoreline protection, highway realignment, and beach fill/nourishment for state highways, statewide

University of Hawaii

  • $30 million for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Phase II at Kapiolani Community College, Oahu
  • $5 million for renovations at Snyder Hall, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu
  • $15 million for renovations and new facilities at community colleges and neighbor island university campuses, statewide
  • $550,000 for renovations and improvements for University of Hawaii athletics facilities to address Title IX compliances, statewide
  • $1.8 million for replacement and, renovation of fire alarm systems at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu

Kona Family Fun Day

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) is hosting their 4th Celebrating Our Community event in Kona on March 25, 2017, 11:00am to 2:00pm.

BISAC has successfully provided family friendly events in the last three years which include our Summer Jam, Puna Fall Fest, and Splash Bash events.  In continuation of bringing these types of events into rural communities, BISAC’s Kona Family Fun Day is another free fun-filled event which will be held at the Kailua Kona Park Grounds.

This free Family Wellness event will bring resources to the community; promote anti-drug and health and wellness messages.   The event will feature a health and resource fair made up of community organizations, games, food, bouncers, and an arm wrestling tournament.   There will be many free giveaways: bikes, razors, iPods, cameras, beats, etc.    Come out and meet our MC, Kona’s very own and 808 Viral celebrity Kona Kaipo.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old female who was reported missing.

Casey Baker-Fien was last seen in Hilo on December 8, 2016.
She is described as caucasian, 5-foot-3, 114 pounds with blond hair, blue eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

April After Dark in the Park & Hawaiian Cultural Events at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017. Two consecutive fee-free weekends celebrate National Park Week in April, and many programs honor the 54th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival.

ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but entrance fees apply except for the fee-free weekends and Kahuku events. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Endangered Marine Wildlife: Threats & Mitigation Measures. What do monk seals, green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and false killer whales have in common?

Honu & monk seal courtesy of the Marine Wildlife Program

They are all endangered marine wildlife found in waters around the island of Hawai‘i. Susannah Welch of the Marine Wildlife Program shares innovative ways to protect species, including the promotion of barbless hooks and their usefulness is sustaining the fisheries of Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 4 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Hei Demonstration. Hei are traditional Hawaiian string figures, and are used with oli (chants) to tell stories and connect with the elements around us.

Hei string figure, NPS Photo

No‘el Tagab-Cruz teaches the protocol and meaning behind this intriguing practice. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

National Park Week Fee-Free Weekends. Come celebrate “America’s Best Idea” and explore your national parks for free, two weekends in a row!

  • When: April 15 & 16, and again April 22 & 23
  • Where: All fee-charging national parks are free, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park in Kona, and Haleakalā National Park on Maui.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore Pu‘u o Lokuana Trail in the park’s Kahuku Unit, and practice their Global Positioning System (GPS) skills. Darlyne Vierra will share Kahuku’s compelling paniolo history as well. Call (808) 985-6019 to register by April 7. Bring lunch, snacks, water, light raingear, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

  • When: Sat., April 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Kahuku Unit

Celebrate World Heritage Day with a Wilderness Hike. Hawai‘i Volcanoes was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its outstanding natural values, and to commemorate World Heritage Day this month, join a ranger-guided hike into the Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone wilderness. This challenging 14-mile, seven-hour, round-trip interpretive trek includes Makaopuhi Crater; the 1965 and 1969 lava flows; a centuries-old archeological site, the hapu‘u pulu (fern) processing area; and Nāpau Crater. For more information, call (808) 985-6017. Hikers must bring four liters of water per person, lunch and snacks, sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, sunscreen, hat and raingear. Free.

  • When: Sat., April 15 at 9 a.m. A fee-free weekend!
  • Where: Meet ranger at the Mauna Ulu Parking Lot, off Chain of Craters Road

Tuesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo.

Ulana Niu, NPS Photo

Practitioners on Tuesday will share lau hala (weaving of the pandanus leaf), lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage), hū kukui (Hawaiian spinning top game), and ulana niu (coconut leaf weaving). Falsetto singer Kai Ho‘opi‘i performs. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

The Value of Plantation-Era Archives in Today’s World. From the 1850s to the 1990s, big sugar plantations dominated the agricultural landscape of Hawai‘i Island. The Edmund Olson Trust Archive is home to an amazing array of maps, records, and documents from these plantations, and traces an important part of island history. John Cross of the Olson Trust will lead a visual journey through these irreplaceable historic resources and the era that was “Big Sugar.” Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 18 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Wednesday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo. Practitioners on Wednesday will share the arts of lei making (both the wili and hulu styles), pala‘ie (Hawaiian ball and hoop game), and kāpala mea ulu (Hawaiian plant stamping). The Young Brothers will perform local melodies. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kai Ho‘opi‘i in Concert. Enjoy an evening of Hawaiian music, and the leo nahenahe (sweet voice) of Kai Ho‘opi‘i, an Aloha Festival Hawaiian falsetto contest winner.

Kai Ho‘opi‘i, NPS Photo

Kai will share the traditions and music of his ‘ohana from Kahakuloa, Maui. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Thursday’s Special Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Join us as we celebrate and honor the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival, the annual hula competition of Hilo.

Keiki ‘ohe kāpala, NPS Photo

Practitioners on Thursday will share the arts of lei making, haku hulu (Hawaiian featherwork), ‘ohe kāpala (bamboo stamping), and kuku kapa (making fabric from bark cloth). Multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning composer, singer and musician Kenneth Makuakāne will perform. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Thurs., April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

National Park Rx Day. Join the growing movement to prescribe parks and nature for the improvement of our health. Our “prescriptions” include a morning yoga session with Danielle Makaike from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; various presentations including lomilomi (Hawaiian massage), and kalo (taro) from 10 a.m. to noon; and a “Walk with a Doc” from noon to 1 p.m. with Dr. Craig Kadooka. Other presenters include Hilo Medical Center, HMSA Community Engagement, State of Hawai‘i Department of Health and Hui Mālama Ola Nā ‘Ōiwi.

  • When: Sun., April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Eruption: Nine Years and Counting. On March 19, 2008, a new volcanic vent opened in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at Kīlauea volcano’s summit. Nine years later, the eruption continues.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo of Halema‘uma‘u

The vent has grown to a gaping crater that’s roughly 195 x 255 meters (about 640 x 840 feet) in size. A lava lake within the vent rises and falls, with spattering on the lake surface sometimes visible from the Jaggar Museum observation deck. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick presents an update and overview on the summit eruption, including stunning imagery. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., April 25 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Weave Ulana Niu (Coconut Fronds). Learn how to weave coconut fronds into useful and beautiful items. The coconut palm is one of the most useful and important plants in the world. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., April 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Zonta Club of Hilo Scholarships, Award Available

The Zonta Club of Hilo is accepting applications for its 2017 Nursing, Math & Science Scholarships, the Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship, and the 2017 Young Women in Public Affairs Award (YWPA).

Each scholarship awards $1,000; the YWPAA awards $500.

The Nursing Scholarship is open to women enrolled in a nursing degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) or at Hawaii Community College (HCC).

The Math & Science Scholarship is open to women enrolled full-time at UHH or HCC, working towards a degree in mathematics, physics, engineering, technology, computer science, pharmacy and astronomy.

The YWPAA recognizes young women who are committed to volunteering, demonstrate leadership skills and are dedicated to empowering women and girls. YWPAA applicants are asked to reflect on their volunteer work and the problems limiting the advancement of the status of women in their community and worldwide. YWPAA applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 19 on April 1, 2017, and be a resident of Hawaii County.

The application deadline for scholarships and the YWPAA is Friday, March 31, 2017.

Applications are available at zontahilo.org or through Zonta Hilo’s Service Chair, Julie Tulang at info@zontahilo.org.

The Shops’ New Art Event to Benefit Kona Historical Society

The Shops at Mauna Lani presents “Art in The Park,” a live art auction featuring collections by Lahaina Galleries, Third Dimension Gallery, Kozy’s Tiki Gallery and The Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery. The event takes place Saturday, April 1, in the central courtyard area, commencing with a reception at 5 p.m., provided by The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Monstera Noodles & Sushi.  The auction will be led by Brent Hawley with music provided by Dave and Maile Lee Tavares.

Paul Kozak (Kozy’s Tiki Gallery) and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

During the reception, guests will be able to meet and talk story with artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Jacob Medina and Richard Rochkovsky, while Rod Cameron personally paints a piece that will be offered to the highest bidder later in the evening. The auction highlights a compilation of paintings and sculptures of the featured artists as well as other works from the galleries.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit Kona Historical Society, a community based non-profit organization that was founded in 1976 to collect, preserve and share the history of the Kona districts.

Tickets for Art in The Park are $50 each and are available at Brown Paper Tickets, http://artinthepark.bpt.me. Admission includes a souvenir auction book, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and two beverages (beer, wine or soda). For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

About The Shops at Mauna Lani. From simple to elegant, The Shops at Mauna Lani is the premier shopping, dining and lifestyle destination on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. The Shops at Mauna Lani is home to Hawaii Island’s only 4D Adventure Ride theater, housed inside the Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery, which offers unique and affordable made-in-Hawaii products.  The Shops offers twice weekly Polynesian Hula & Fire shows, free community cultural events along with a selection of retail stores such as Reyn’s by Reyn Spooner, Tommy Bahama Store, Jams World, Oasis Lifestyle, Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC), Hulakai and others. The Shops at Mauna Lani is also home to Hawaii Island’s only Foodland Farms gourmet grocery market, R. Field Wine Company, as well as galleries, lifestyle stores, and a wonderful selection of seven restaurants. For more information, call (808) 885-9501, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Volunteer of the Year Named at Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center honored its valued cadre of volunteers on February 17 with a Volunteer Appreciation Party at Hilo Bay Café.  Forty-seven volunteers, staff, and board members attended the festive event, whose theme for Valentine’s month was, “We Heart our Volunteers.”

Joan Shafer was selected as Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

“We were humbled to name Joan Shafer as our Volunteer of the Year for 2016,” said Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell.  “Joan is one of our most active mediators, helping at small claims court and our offices.  In 2016, she conducted over 40 mediation sessions.  Joan is also a volunteer facilitator and trainer who gives tirelessly of her time, talents, and treasures to helps our communities find solutions and grow peace.”

During fiscal year 2015-2016, 155 volunteers total gave over 2,467 hours of service at the non-profit community mediation center, including 40 mediators and apprentices who gave over 1,370 mediation hours.

“You are the heart of our organization’s efforts to build a more peaceful and collaborative community in East Hawai‘i,” noted board president Jeff Melrose in the event program.  “Thank you for all you do!”

At the appreciation party, Arabel Camblor and Shakti Hoku Douglas were recognized for completing their mediator apprenticeships.

“Most people don’t know that our mediation services are provided entirely by professionally trained volunteer mediators,” Mitchell said.  “These are amazing folks from all walks of life and career backgrounds who donate their time to help community members resolve issues that matter to them.”

Mediators go through a four-day Basic Mediation Training in the fall and then a year-long apprenticeship program before being selected to become Ku‘ikahi mediators.  In addition, mediators take continuing education to increase their skills and knowledge, especially in specialized areas like domestic mediations, employee and employer civil rights cases, and mediations for kupuna and their caregivers.

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center provides mediations for a wide variety of situations, including divorce, child custody and parenting time, elder issues, neighbor-to-neighbor, consumer-merchant, real estate, landlord-tenant, workplace, business, small and large group facilitations, and more.  For more information, call 935-7844 or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.

Commentary – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: CBO Confirms AHCA Is Bad Deal for American People

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis on the American Health Care Act (AHCA):

“The CBO released the AHCA cost estimate today, confirming what many have been saying—the AHCA is really a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies that will further exacerbate the burden on American families. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, our seniors will see their costs rise and low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. The proposed AHCA would slash funding for Medicaid by $880 billion over the next decade, threatening the health of millions of vulnerable Americans, and shifting costs to state and local governments that already face tight budgets. Seniors could see their premiums increase up to five times under new age-rating rules that do nothing except continue lining the pockets of insurance companies.

“While I have long called for serious improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is imperative that any reforms to our healthcare system actually serve the health and wellbeing of people. This bill does the opposite—it will have a negative impact on the people of Hawaiʻi and our country. I strongly oppose this harmful legislation, and will continue working for true healthcare reform that puts people above the profits of corporations.”

Click to view report

Background: The AHCA is opposed by AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the AFL-CIO, and others.

Entangled Whale Off Maui Cut Free

Sunday, an entangled subadult humpback whale was cut free by a team of trained responders off Maui. The animal was entangled in large gauge electrical cable that was deeply embedded in the whale’s mouth. All gear except what could not be pulled from the whale’s mouth was successfully cut and removed.

The response was part of a two-day effort by responders from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, U.S. Coast Guard, Maui Ocean Safety, Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, and the West Maui response team. The team of responders are authorized under NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response program (NOAA MMHSRP permit # 18786 and state PMAL-2016-212).

The whale was first reported Saturday, off the Pali lookout. A response was mounted from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s response vessel, Kohola, with assistance provided by a patrol boat from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui. Saturday’s assessment determined that the whale was entangled in gear exiting both sides of the mouth and heading straight down to the ocean floor. Initial efforts to cut the gear were unsuccessful.

Sunday, the animal was re-sighted in the same vicinity but headed south before letting the trailing gear settle on the ocean floor in about 60 feet of water off Kamaole Beach I. While underway, several tour operators monitored the animal, including Ocean Odyssey (Pacific Whale Foundation), Quicksilver, Redline Rafting, Blue Water Rafting, and Maui Diamond II.

Sunday’s assessments by the response team revealed that the gear was heavy-gauge (~ 5/8-inch) electrical cable. The team used cable cutters to cut both cables leading to the whale’s mouth. It is estimated that around 500 feet of cable was removed from the animal with little gear remaining. The cable had already embedded itself too deeply at the back of the whale’s mouth to pull out remaining gear. However, this represents a significant improvement and the animal illustrated this in its movements and behaviors afterwards. The source of the gear, which is a PVC-insulated electrical-type cable, is still unknown.

Although the animal is slightly emaciated and has gear embedded at the back of the mouth, its overall present condition is good. With the removal of the gear, the chances of its survival have been greatly improved.

Mariners are asked to keep a sharp lookout for this and other whales in distress, but not to approach closely or attempt to assist them. Only trained and well-equipped responders that are authorized under NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program are permitted to assist whales and other marine mammals.

If you sight any marine mammal in distress, maintain 100 yards distance and please call the NOAA 24-hour hotline at 1-888 256-9840. If unable to call, please radio the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH. 16 and they will relay the report.

It is illegal to approach a humpback whale closer than 100 yards by any means by sea and 1,000 feet by aircraft.

Tourist from France Dies on Mauna Kea Access Road

An unidentified woman died following a one-vehicle crash Sunday night (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to the 7:30 p.m. traffic crash, Hilo Patrol Officer’s determined that a 2001 Nissan sports-utility vehicle was traveling down Mauna Kea Access Road approximately 1.2 miles below the Visitor’s Center when the vehicle ran off the roadway and overturned several times.

The operator of the Nissan, the unidentified woman, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on March 13 at 12:29 a.m.

The front seat passenger, a 35-year old female of Lyon, France was also transported to the Hilo Medical Center in stable condition and later medevaced to Queen’s Medical Center on Oʻahu for treatment to her injuries.

Police have initiated a Coroner’s Inquest investigation and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police believe that speed was a factor in this investigation.

This is the fifth traffic fatality this year compared with five at this time last year.

According to Doug Arnott of Arnott’s Lodge:

OMG…an associate just called and the two girls involved in the Mauna Kea crash were our guests at Arnotts…they had rented a camper truck with a structure on top that folds out. Tragically one was killed in the accident and one is in Queens…They asked about activities to do and I had suggested the Volcano Park and asked them if the truck had 4 wheel drive…they were from Lyon in France and had planned to visit Kauai after the Big Island…

Apparently police were on scene for a previous accident when this one happened literally in front of their eyes…previous reports of one accident above VIS and one below were wrong…both were at the sweeping right turn at the bottom of the very steep paved section immediately below the VIS.

Hawaii Awards Highlight Successes in the Fight Against Invasive Species

Governor David Ige proclaimed the 5th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) at a ceremony Friday that included agency leaders, legislators, industry champions, and citizens who help project Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. The Governor presented the proclamation to members of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board responsible for policy direction and cross-sector coordination on invasive species issues. Addressing invasive species is a critical component of this administration’s vision for Hawaii’s future, as described in the recent Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan and the Sustainable Hawaii Initiative.

In partnership with the HISC, legislators presented a series of awards to community members and businesses who have made substantial contributions to invasive species prevention and control. Representatives Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen, James Tokioka, Dee Morikawa, and Nadine Nakamura joined Senators Mike Gabbard and J. Kalani English in highlighting the importance of this issue for Hawaii. The Governor, legislators, and HISC members were joined by two giant invasive species: costumed versions of a Little Fire Ant and Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, provided by the Oahu Invasive Species Committee.

The awardees for Greatest Hit of 2017, Community Hero, and Business Leader were selected from community nominations, and County MVP awards were selected by the University of Hawaii’s Invasive Species Committees. An award for the Hottest Pest Hotline Report was nominated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

“While there is much work to do, this event is an opportunity for us to celebrate successes,” said DLNR chair Suzanne Case. “The awardees today exemplify how much Hawaii’s communities care about protecting Hawaii’s natural resources, agriculture, and way of life from invasive species.”

HISAW is organized in coordination with the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts. The event promotes information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawaii State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.” In addition to the proclamation from Governor Ige and awards ceremony, HISAW 2017 included a student video contest, community presentations, and numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the state. Full information is available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/.

2017 HISAW Awards

COMMUNITY HERO

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes The Pacific American Foundation for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I’a. During 2016, the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) diligently worked to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species to the Waikalua fishpond. By positively engaging with the local community, the PAF has shown an outstanding commitment to the continued to protection and preservation this historic community resource.

BUSINESS LEADER

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Serina Marchi, of Seascapes Nursery for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species. Serina is the Owner of Kauai Seascapes Nursery on the North Shore of Kauai. Seascapes Nursery is a family owned business operating on Kauai for over 30 years and is one of the largest nurseries on the island. Serina has shown a very strong interest in helping to minimize the spread and introduction of invasive species by supporting Kauai Invasive Species Committee’s (KISC) Pono Endorsement Program. In April 2016, Seascapes Nursery became one of the first nurseries to become endorsed. When choosing the best management practices for her business to follow, Serina has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to become Pono Endorsed. She not only chose to immediately discontinue the sale of the Pono Endorsement Program “Black List” plants, but also the “Phase Out” list plants”. Her actions during 2016, and continued dedication to reducing the introduction and spread of invasive species will help to minimize future impacts of invasive species on Kauai.

GREATEST HIT

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Solomon Champion for his efforts in stopping the spread of Miconia calvescens on Oahu. During a routine aerial survey, Solomon spotted an immature Miconia tree beneath the canopy on the leeward side of the Ko’olau Range within the Waiawa watershed. This particular individual has been identified as the farthest documented tree within an intact native forest, as well as an extension into a new watershed. By spotting this individual tree, Solomon has helped to protect the Waiawa watershed and prevent the spread of a highly invasive species.

HOTTEST PEST REPORT

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of Mongoose on Kauai. As a proactive community member, Shawn promptly reported sighting a Mongoose on Kauai to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). His diligent action allowed for rapid response from the appropriate agencies, and clearly highlights the usefulness of the 643PEST reporting system, and how the community can personally take actions to protect Hawaii from invasive species.

HAWAII COUNTY MVP

The Hawai’i Invasive Species Council recognizes Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawaii Island. Throughout 2016 Carolyn has diligently worked to organize her community in a coordinated effort to combat Little Fire Ants (LFA) in her community in Holualoa, West Hawaii Island. Beginning in Late 2015, she became aware of the size of the infestation in her neighborhood and took it upon her to engage community members to treat this pest.  More recently, Carolyn has formed a LFA coalition on the Big Island consisting of members of the County Council and State Legislature, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Department of Health, the Governor’s Liaison, and the Kohala Center, with the express purpose of furthering LFA education and training, as well as mapping the West Hawaii Infestations. The coalition intends to train business owners on LFA best management practices in order to provide treatment services to homeowners. As a community organizer, Carolyn moved extremely swiftly to increase awareness and has brought many organizations to the table to work together. Her actions and continued dedication showcases the need for community involvement in the fight against invasive species.

MAUI COUNTY MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes the Community of Haiku Hill for their efforts to control Coqui frogs on the Island of Maui. Haiku Hill is a small a suburb of 39 properties along the border of Maliko Gulch, the site of a major infestation of coqui frogs on Maui. Over the last decade, the Haiku Hill community has transformed from a group of concerned homeowners reporting frogs to partners in coqui control. In 2016 the community truly took matters into their own hands, building tanks, purchasing sprayers, cutting back vegetation, and advocating to funders to address coqui on Maui. Residents sprayed over 1600 gallons of citric acid on their own properties, facilitated a neighborhood citric and sprayer distribution center, and spent countless hours keeping the coqui from spreading from their neighborhood. Their effort not only reduce the frog density in their community, but also helps to stop the spread of coqui to new areas.

OAHU MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures Program. Sandy has encouraged her students to delve deeper into citizen science by incorporating invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures program (YES! Futures). http://www.yes-futures.org/about/. This interdisciplinary program she helped found with other Mililani teachers allows students to utilize the skills they develop in many of their classes to address problems in their community and build relevance into their educational experience.  For the past two years, Sandy has lead the Little Fire Ant (LFA) Hoike Activity independently in her classes; resulting in the submittal of 269 samples from the Mililani area in the past two years, with 134 samples submitted in 2016 alone. By incorporating invasive species into her teaching, Sandy has encouraged her students to students learn about relevant issues relating to invasive species impacts, and become part of the solution.

KAUAI COUNTY MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Kawika Winter for his efforts to protect priority watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the island of Kauai. As part of his role as the Director of Limahuli Botanical Garden and Preserve, Kawika has played a crucial role in the protection and preservation over 1000 acres of priority watershed area on the north shore of Kauai.  In addition, Kawika aims to create a model of a functioning, 21st-century ahupua`a. This model focuses on a mountain-to-sea resource management strategy and includes both modern and traditional techniques. By incorporating landscape scale invasive species control efforts, native plant restoration, sustainable fisheries practices, and community engagement into his management practices, Kawika has demonstrated a lasting dedication to protecting and restoring key resources on the Island of Kauai.

Emergency Proclamation for Hakalau Bridge Signed by Mayor Kim Last Month

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief, with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establish a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i, and prescribe said agency’s powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empower the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that one of the bridge abutment footings for the County’s Hakalau Stream Bridge over Old Māmalahoa Highway, Bridge No. 001290001100003, 29-3 has been undermined by scouring; and

WHEREAS, the FHWA has communicated to the County that the scouring has undermined the abutment to severely compromise its integrity and stability, which may affect the bridge’s ability to safely carry vehicular loads and creates an imminent threat of the bridge suddenly collapsing; and

WHEREAS, the bridge is open to and traversed by the public for vehicular and pedestrian access; and

WHEREAS, due to the possibility of property damage and/or bodily injury to residents of Hawai‘i Island, and the need for government agencies and/or representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a local state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7 of the Hawai‘i County Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim and declare that a local state of emergency exists on Hawai‘i Island, effective February 9th, 2017, to authorize the County’s Department of Public Works to take whatever actions are necessary and/or appropriate to address this local state of emergency, to continue for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed this 9th day of February, 2017, in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.

HARRY KIM

Mayor, County of Hawai‘i

 

Hawaii Electric Light Opens Third Electric Vehicle Fast Charger on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Electric Light announces the opening of a new utility-owned and operated electric vehicle DC fast charger accessible to the Hawaii Island community. The company held a dedication ceremony for the unit located at KTA Super Stores in Waimea Center today. This is the first DC fast charger, also known as a Level 3 charger, to serve the Waimea community. The unit joins two fast chargers located at Hawaii Electric Light’s offices in Hilo and Kona.

“We’re pleased to have KTA Super Stores as our first host on Hawaii Island and applaud them for supporting electric transportation and clean energy,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “The Taniguchi family and their employees have humbly served island residents for more than a hundred years. KTA excels at anticipating and meeting customer needs, and this partnership is one example of their commitment to give back to the community in which they serve.”

Hawaii Electric Light operates the equipment at no cost to the host for installation, maintenance or electricity. Hosts provide the requested space and minimal assistance for operation. Hosting a fast charger helps with compliance of the Hawaii state law that requires public parking lots with at least 100 parking spaces to have at least one exclusive parking space equipped with a charging station for electric vehicles. Additional host sites are being sought.

“We are excited to partner with Hawaii Electric Light in helping to bring our North Hawaii community its first Level 3 DC fast charger. Access to charging stations for electric vehicles gives our community more options and opportunities to support a clean environment,” said Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores president. “On behalf of KTA Super Stores, congratulations to Hawaii Electric Light for their leadership in bringing North Hawaii its first Level 3 DC fast charger to fruition.”

Level 3 fast chargers can recharge a near-depleted EV battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, and even less time for smaller recharges. The DC Fast Charger has both a CHAdeMO connection (used mostly by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV) and a CCS connection (used by the BMW i3). The chargers are available 24/7 with three different rates ranging from $7.00 to $8.00 per session depending on time of use. Session prices may change based on the changing cost of electricity. Drivers will be able to safely operate the charger and pay by major credit card or by a Greenlots subscription.

“The Big Island Electric Vehicle Association (BIEVA) is committed to working with Hawaii Electric Light and Nissan with helping to move the EV movement forward and that’s the key thing,” said Richard Castro, BIEVA vice president. “There are many road blocks with range anxiety but knowing these fast chargers are here makes a big difference.”

To become a DC Fast Charger host site, call 808-969-0358 or mail Hawaii Electric Light (GoEV), Engineering Department, P.O. Box 1027, Hilo, HI 96721. Detailed information on electric vehicles also is available at https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/goev.

New Satellite Image of Lava Flow Released

This satellite image was captured on Wednesday, March 8, by the NASA/USGS 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.

The image shows that breakouts continue in several areas on the flow field. The largest breakout is about 2 km (1.2 miles) southeast of the vent. Smaller breakouts are present above and on the pali. Near the base of the pali, on the coastal plain, a small breakout is active. A thermal anomaly is also present at the Kamokuna ocean entry.

Hokulea Departs from Rapa Nui for the Pitcairn Islands

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea yesterday departed from Rapa Nui as they continue on their Malama Honua voyage and head to Pitcairn. Hokulea returns to the Pitcairn Islands for the first time since her voyage in 1999, when the canoe sailed around the Polynesian Triangle.

While in Rapa Nui, the crew worked alongside the Nahiku Student Delegation to help fulfill the mission of the Worldwide Voyage by connecting with the local community and representing Hawaii. The Nahiku Student Delegation and Hokulea crew activities included meetings with both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the Kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. Hokuleawas honored with a traditional landing ceremony on Anakena Beach, the site of historic seafaring welcomes for the small island community of Rapa Nui.

“Returning to Rapa Nui and reconnecting with our ohana and other community members is an important milestone for Hokulea and the Worldwide Voyage, marking our return to the Polynesian triangle and the deep history of Polynesian voyaging,” said pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, captain of the Hokulea. “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our shared commitment to preserving traditions, values, and environment, but also to discuss the challenges that we face in light of changes to our ocean and well-being as island people.”

The Pitcairn Islands are a cluster of volcanic islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean forming the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. The area around Pitcairn Islands is one of the most pristine places on the Earth.

Following Pitcairn, Hokulea will head to the Marquesas Islands and to Tahiti, where she will be greeted by the local community in mid-April.  From Tahiti,  the crew will continue their journey home to Hawaii and will be welcomed at Magic Island, on June 17, 2017.

Applicants Sought to Serve on Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court

The Nominating Committee of the Hawaii Supreme Court is seeking qualified applicants to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board.  Four attorney and two non-attorney board positions are expected to be available.  Applicants from all islands are invited to apply.
The term of each position is three years, beginning July 1, 2017.  These positions are not compensated; however, expenses to attend board meetings are reimbursed.

The Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board oversees the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates allegations of attorney misconduct and incapacity, and recommends appropriate action to the Hawaii Supreme Court to effectuate the purposes of its Disciplinary Rules.

The application deadline is April 14, 2017.  Those interested in serving should submit a resume and letter of interest to:

Gayle J. Lau, Chair
Nominating Committee
Supreme Court of Hawaii
P.O. Box 26436,
Honolulu, Hawaii  96825

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Keaau Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Keaʻau boy who was reported missing.


Jason Kua-Cantan was last seen in Hilo on February 19, 2017.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot tall, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

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 island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.