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Hawaii Department of Health Calls Press Conference Tomorrow on Dengue Fever Outbreak

The Hawaii State Department of Health has called a press conference tomorrow at noon to address the Dengue Fever outbreak.

They have also released a more detailed map that defines potential risk areas:
Dengue Fever Map 1118

Enroll for Medical Coverage by Dec. 15 to Avoid a Break in Coverage

Hawaii State Health Department is encouraging residents to enroll for medical coverage by Dec. 15 to avoid a break in coverage.

Health Insurance

Open enrollment for applying for medical coverage through the HealthCare.gov began on Nov. 1, 2015. During open enrollment, individuals who need medical coverage for 2016 can enroll.

If you are currently enrolled for medical coverage through the Hawaii Health Connector, you will need to reenroll for the 2016 plan year. To avoid a break in coverage you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2015.

You can enroll through HealthCare.gov online or via phone (1-800-318-2596 or TTY 1-855-889-4325). Or if you need in-person assistance, you can work with Kokua through the Hawaii Health Connector.

If you believe you are Medicaid eligible, get started at MyBenefits first.

Umauma Bridge Remains Closed, Unknown When Bridge Will Reopen – Expect Long Delays

The State Highways Department reports that the Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 in the area of the 16 to 17 mile marks in Hamakua remains closed to all traffic.  A detour has been set up through the Old Mamalahoa Highway and motorists are advised to drive with caution and to expect traffic delays.

Umauma Detour

Presently delays of up to 30 minutes can be expected and if possible alternate routes should be used.   It is unknown at this time when the bridge will be reopened.  All other major roadways and highways are open at this time.

72 Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever – Some Schools Will Be Treated this Weekend

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak.  As of 10:30 today the Department of Health has reported 72 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island.  These cases include 62 residents and 10 visitors.

mosquitoes

Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and not directly from person to person.  Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii. It was likely introduced by a person who contracted the virus in another area of the world and became infectious while in Hawaii.

Because dengue fever is only transmitted by mosquitoes, the Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases.  The Department of Health may be conducting spraying at various locations in the Kona, Hilo, and Puna areas today.  In addition, the Department of Health with support from the County of Hawaii and the Department of Education will be conducting preventive spraying or treating of areas around the following school campuses this weekend:

  • Konawaena High, Middle and Elementary Schools
  • Honaunau School
  • Hookena School
  • Hilo High School
  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • Waiakea Intermediate and Elementary Schools

Again, these school campuses are being treated as a preventative measure and based on proximity to confirmed cases in the area.  There are no cases directly related to any of the school facilities or campuses.

Although spraying and treatment of areas is ongoing, the most effective method to reduce the spread and possible elimination of Dengue is to minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellant and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001., Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

12th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival Accepting Submissions

The 12th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival presented by ALTRES is in prep phase and is accepting films, art, music, and interested companies!

Kona Surf Film Festival 2016The Festival is Hawaii’s premiere international surf film showcase, running Jan. 30th 2016 from 3:30 – 10pm at the Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Kailua-Kona Hawaii .

The 12th Annual promises to be another awesome year of surf movies, art, live music, and good people.  Submission deadline is Christmas, 2015.  Check the website for more info:www.konasurffilmfestival.org.

Tickets range from $12-$30

1,000 Desks Donated to South African Schools on Behalf of the Worldwide Voyage

Hokulea crewmembers and a delegation of Hawaii students, teachers and families visited St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School near Cape Town, South Africa to present 50 Tutudesks featuring artwork inspired by the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. An additional 1,000 desks will be delivered to township schools in the Durban, South Africa area in early 2016. The donation of desks will support the campaign’s goal to provide 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2020.

tutudesk

“These Tutudesks will help students have space at home to do their homework. Even in the   classroom, it’s going to help teachers do individual work with each child,” said Vuyiswa Lebenya, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Following the presentation, Ke Ka o Makalii – a group comprised of teachers and students from Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School – offered hula and mele celebrating the past voyages of Hokulea. Students from St. Mary’s then followed with their own local songs and dances before inviting the Hawaii delegation to participate.

tutudesk2

“When I saw them dancing together, that is what global peace looks like. It’s finding that rhythm that’s down deep inside that allows us to be completely the same, to be respectful and caring of everyone,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hokulea crewmembers and the Hawaii delegation are in South Africa this week as part of Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

tutudesk1

The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign provides portable school desks to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance.

Hawaii Loses Ground on Business Tax Climate

In a nationwide survey of state tax structures, Hawaii continues its stagnant economic performance, ranking 31st out of 50 states in the 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index. The study, released today by the Tax Foundation, compares five different metrics in a state’s tax system to calculate the state rankings–Corporate Taxes, Individual Income Taxes, Sales Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Property Tax.
tax climate index
While other states have enacted reforms that have improved their rankings and encouraged investment in their state, Hawaii has done little to improve its tax climate. This year’s ranking represents a minor slide, down from a ranking of 30 in the 2015 Index. The worst performance came in the category of Individual Income Tax (#37), while the best was in Corporate Tax (#10). The dichotomy demonstrates that economic stimulus requires a broader approach than focusing solely on corporate taxes and tax credits.

Individual Income Tax is actually one of the best indicators for how business-friendly a state truly is. A number of businesses, including sole proprietorships, S corporations, and partnerships, report their business income via the individual income tax code. It can also affect the labor pool as high income taxes chase potential workers to friendlier states. In order to encourage small business and entrepreneurship, taxes like the individual income tax and the general excise tax need to be reexamined.

“This ranking simply demonstrates that the leadership in our state is running out of ideas when it comes to encouraging investment and growth,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grasssroot Institute. “The current scheme does nothing to help small businesses, but only contributes to the high cost of living and the state’s brain drain. We need reforms that will make Hawaii more affordable–to live, to do business in, and to work in. That starts with real, effective tax reform that will help keep people and jobs in the state.”

The 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index can be found at http://taxfoundation.org/

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New Waimea District Park

A groundbreaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing for a new 24-acre Waimea District Park were held Monday, November 16, during a public ceremony attended by Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Councilmembers, State lawmakers, and Parker Ranch Inc. executives.

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16. Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16.
Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

The project’s first phase, complete with three covered play courts, lighted ball field and keiki playground, will be opened in December 2016, well ahead of the original 2020 estimate, Mayor Kenoi said while standing in front of the green pastures to be developed into active recreation.

“It’s going to be a pu‘uhonua (place of peace and safety) in beautiful Waimea,” he said.

Parker Ranch donated the land for the park site located near its former headquarters and reached via Ala ‘Ōhi‘a Road.

“This is truly an exciting day for Waimea and the Big Island,” Dutch Kuyper, Parker Ranch president and CEO, said, noting athletic fields are where children can learn good sportsmanship and humility, even in defeat.

Contractor Nan Inc. has been hired to build the project’s first phase, which also will feature accessible walkways, more than 150 paved parking spaces, landscaping, and infrastructure.

Mayor Kenoi thanked the Waimea community, including the Waimea District Park Builders, for not giving up on the dream of a new park. He also thanked State leaders for helping obtain partial funding for the park development, the County Council for approving the balance of the necessary funding, and the Department of Parks and Recreation for managing the project.

Hawaii Electric Bills Fall to Lowest Levels in More than Five Years

Customers of Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric this month are seeing the lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years, largely due to the continued drop in fuel prices. And on Hawaii Island, customers of Hawaii Electric Light are benefitting even further, with the lowest monthly bills in more than six years.

“Lower oil prices are helping our customers right now, but we know our state needs to stay committed to long-term solutions, which means developing a diverse portfolio of low-cost renewable energy resources. It’s critical that we keep working toward our state’s goal of a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard,” said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesman.

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Currently, 22 percent of the electricity needs of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers are met using renewable resources and Hawaii is by far the national leader in the percentage of customers with rooftop solar. And the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to increase renewable resources and develop new options for customers to manage their bills. Recent actions include:

  • Proposed time-of-use rates for residential customers, public schools and electric vehicle owners
  • Expansion of utility-owned electric vehicle fast chargers
  • Piloting intelligent energy storage systems
  • A proposed community-based renewable energy program that would benefit customers who cannot or chose not to take advantage of rooftop solar to receive the benefits of renewable energy
  • Plans to install 137 megawatts of solar power from grid-scale projects to be completed in 2016

Chief Justice Recktenwald Honored with Peacemaker Award

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald was honored by the Kuikahi Mediation Center, in partnership with the Hawaii County Bar Association (HCBA), at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015, in Hilo.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku'ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the 'Peacemaker Award' at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku’ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the ‘Peacemaker Award’ at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

“This year Kuikahi is giving our ‘Peacemaker Award’ to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Recktenwald is nationally recognized for his leadership and commitment to increasing access to justice,” said Judge Andrew Wilson, Kuikahi’s board president. “He has been a strong supporter of alternative dispute resolution and has forwarded our efforts in the courts with programs such as the Hilo Self-Help Center and the Foreclosure Mediation Program.”

Under the Chief Justice’s leadership, Self-Help Centers were established in six locations statewide, including in Hilo and Kona.  More than 3,860 individuals, who otherwise could not have afforded legal representation, have been assisted on the Big Island, alone.  Statewide, the volunteer attorneys at the Self-Help Centers have assisted more than 10,000 people.

“More than half of our clients are at or below the poverty level,” said Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Kuikahi Mediation Center.  “The Hawaii State Judiciary has made tremendous strides in increasing its access to justice for all by increasing its services both in the courts and online.  We applaud Chief Justice Recktenwald for his vision and continued efforts.”

In addition, mediation services are available at the Hawaii State Judiciary’s district, circuit and appellate courts.  Chief Judge of the Third Circuit, Ronald Ibarra said: “The Chief Justice has always recognized the value of conflict resolution and conciliation methods and has supported programs, such as our Third Circuit Foreclosure Mediation Program, Family Court’s Ohana Conference, and our Court Annexed Arbitration Program.”

The Chief Justice has also helped expand services such as the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project, a divorce mediation program on Kauai, and a paternity mediation pilot project on Oahu.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Kuikahi Mediation Center and the HCBA,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.   “It is because of our community partners like the Kuikahi Mediation Center that we are able to expand programs that encourage litigants to use mediation, so that they can attempt to resolve their conflicts on their own terms and at less cost.  We are grateful for this partnership and their continued support.”

HCBA also recognized Attorney Addison M. Bowman, who is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and an appellate mediator for the Hawaii Supreme Court, for his many years of service.

Kamehameha 6th Grader Earns National American Miss Hawaii Title – Heads to Mainland for National Pageant

Kamehameha 6th Grader Jordanna Takaki, daughter of Kori Takaki and Derek Kalai, has earned the prestigious title of 2015 National American Miss Hawaii through her successfully scored events in the local pageant.

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

She will be attending the National Pageant to be held at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week, representing Hawaii, where she will have the opportunity to win her share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Jordanna is on the “Principals List – Honor Roll” at Kamehameha School Hawaii Campus and is active in the Drama Club while also dancing Tahitian for Merahi Productions. She enjoys swimming and was recently involved in the Hilo Palace Theater production of Mary Poppins.
Jordanna at Life Care Center
Jordanna volunteers at the Life Care Center of Hilo where she enjoys singing and dancing for the patients.

The pageant will be held on November 28th at Disneyland.

Hilo Photographer Receives Second Award at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Today

Bruce Omori, co-owner of Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery in Hilo, received the Windland Smith Rice International Award for his lava photo titled “Ribbons in the Sky,” which will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s annual exhibition which opened on October 24, 2015.

Bruce Omori standing with his image "Ribbons in the Sky" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Bruce Omori standing with his image “Ribbons in the Sky” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Omori with his family by his side traveled to Washington, DC to be honored amongst all the other recipients in a formal ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on November 12, 2015. His winning photograph was selected from almost 20,000 submissions from photographers in 46 countries.

“It’s such a tremendous honor to receive this award again, as many previous WSR winners are the very photographers who have been my source of inspiration over the years…   I’m truly grateful for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and humbled to share this experience with so many other talented photographers in this competition as well.” Omori said.
Omori’s winning entry in the Art in Nature category, “Ribbons in the Sky,” is a wild airborne abstract created by a huge lava bubble explosion at the ocean entry.  “Lava bubbles are definitely one of my favorite aspects of volcanic activity, as its infrequent and unpredictable nature make it difficult, yet exhilarating to shoot.

omori2

The bursts are so spontaneous, there is no way to plan for a precise composition, and this 50 to 60 foot wide bubble was no exception.  The early morning light gave a perfect balance to the expanding ribbons of lava against the contrasting background for a one of a kind image.  And, about being in the right place at the right time…  I’m just so thoroughly blessed to have the opportunity to witness, let alone photograph, this incredible living and breathing planet we dwell on, from this perspective…  at home, here in Hawaii!”

New Lava Flow Map Shows Recent Changes to East Rift Zone

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

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on October 23 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on November 12 is shown in red. Not all changes at the northern edge of the flow in the forest were mapped due to poor weather and visibility. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Former Hawaii Resident Denny Burniston Calls Cops on My Website

Denny Burniston the Hawaii Police Department has contacted me today and I wish that you would quit stalking my website, quit harassing me, and just get a life in general.

Denny Burniston

Denny Burniston

No I will not be removing anything from my website… especially a Hawaii Police “Media Release” that can still be found online other places!

I’m sorry you don’t understand a thing about the internet and that you think that you can make the Mayor, the Prosecutors Office, My Internet Service Provider and now the Hawaii Police Department remove something from my website.

No you can’t comment here and no I won’t remove this either.  May this be a lesson learned for you!

EPA Awards $80,000 to Educate Hawaiian Students on Local Watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $80,000 to the Pacific American Foundation located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

pacific american foundation

The goal of the program, Wisdom of the Watershed, is to improve environmental science education by increasing the interest of Hawaii’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines through culturally-relevant curriculum and meaningful outdoor watershed educational experiences.

The program will help sixth through twelfth grade students explore and compare three different watersheds in Hawaii with different land management practices. Students will take field trips partnered with research scientists and will measure water quality in the watersheds using scientific instrumentation. The microbial and sediment environments will also be sampled. Students will analyze the collected data and engage in service learning projects to improve environmental quality throughout the watersheds.

“Hawaii’s watersheds are unique,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Pacific American Foundation will teach the next generation of scientists to protect and manage these critical natural resources.”

“The Pacific American Foundation’s program, Wisdom of the Watershed, provides environmental educational by engaging students, in current, ongoing environmental research through partnerships with University researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and public and private sector businesses, thus providing relevance in STEM learning and a profound understanding of both the scientific and engineering processes,” said Derek Esibill, Program Director of the Wisdom of the Watershed Program. “Concurrently, the program engages teachers by tailoring their curriculum to enable students to participate in ridge to reef expeditions. These expeditions use cultural, place-based research projects to create meaningful outdoor experiences, increasing the interest of Hawai`i’s youth to pursue pathways in STEM careers.”

EPA’s Environmental Education Local Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Pacific American Foundation project is one of seven projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that will receive an environmental education grant.

For more information on Environmental Education Grants, please visit: www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants

For more information on the Pacific American Foundation, please visit: www.pacificamerican.foundation

Navy Rethinks Pacific Training that Endangers Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Life

The US Navy today said it plans to prepare a new environmental impact statement for training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean from December 2018 onward, including the use of sonar and explosives that threaten widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and imperiled sea turtles. The move follows a March 31 federal court ruling that the Navy illegally failed to consider restricting military exercises in biologically important areas within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area to reduce harm to marine mammals.

USS Lake Erie

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the areas that are particularly important for whales and dolphins.”

The Navy’s current five-year training plan was overturned after a legal challenge in federal court by Earthjustice, representing Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ocean Mammal Institute. In a September 2015 settlement, the Navy agreed to put important habitat for numerous marine mammal populations off-limits to dangerous, mid-frequency sonar training and testing and the use of powerful explosives during the remainder of the five-year plan, which expires in December 2018.

“The science is clear.  To avoid permanent injuries and death to whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, it is vital to keep Navy sonar and explosives out of the areas these animals need for essential activities like feeding, resting and caring for their young,” explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represented the conservation groups in the federal court case.  “When it voluntarily agreed to the settlement, the Navy made clear that it can both perform its mission and stay out of important marine mammal habitat.”

“We urge the public to get involved and tell the Navy its new study needs to examine ways to keep destructive training out of vital marine mammal habitat,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

The public comment period on the new environmental impact statement ends January 12, 2016. The public can submit comments online at http://www.hstteis.com. The public can also attend one of three scoping meetings: December 1 in San Diego, CA; December 3 on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i; and December 5 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Despite the March ruling and September settlement, the Navy continues to conduct military exercises that can injure and kill marine wildlife. On November 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it is investigating the death of two dolphins that washed ashore near San Diego after Navy ships were using sonar in the area.

“The bottlenose dolphins that died last month off San Diego likely came from a population that numbers less than 400,” said Susan Millward, executive director at the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We need to keep up the pressure on the Navy to do more to protect these highly intelligent and vulnerable animals.”

Background
Ocean mammals depend on hearing for navigation, feeding and reproduction. Scientists have linked military sonar and live-fire activities to mass whale beaching, exploded eardrums and even death. In 2004, during war games near Hawai‘i, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i.

The Navy and Fisheries Service estimate that, over the current plan’s five-year period, training and testing activities will result in thousands of animals suffering permanent hearing loss, lung injuries or death. Millions of animals will be exposed to temporary injuries and disturbances, with many subjected to multiple harmful exposures.

A video on the effects of Navy sonar training on marine mammals is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gDk29Y_YY

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Time-of-Use Rates to Help Public Schools

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have proposed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission new, lower day-time electric rates for the Hawaii Department of Education that could help public schools manage their electricity costs as they add more air conditioning and cooling equipment, while also using renewable energy that is available during day-time hours.

Helco new Logo 2

“At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, we know the challenges in providing a comfortable learning environment for our students and teachers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “There’s been a big push for air conditioning and fans in our public schools so we wanted to find a way to assist in controlling their energy costs as they add this equipment.

“Our goal in proposing these rates is to give the Department of Education the opportunity to expand air conditioning in classrooms across the state with a tool to manage the increase in electricity use that could really hit a school’s utility budget,” he said.

“These schools are supported by our tax dollars,” said Alberts, “Giving schools greater control over their electric bills will allow more money to pay for education and other priorities.”

Hawaiian Electric estimates that the Department of Education would have saved about 9 percent on electric bills for the twelve months ended June 2015 had the proposed rates been in effect. These savings could help offset the increase in costs as more air-conditioning and cooling equipment is added.

“The department has been working on a number of ways to effectively cool schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The time-of-use rate proposed by Hawaiian Electric would enable us to move forward on air conditioning projects while managing energy costs as well as foster responsible energy usage.”

Each of the 240 public schools in the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ service territories (Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu) will have the option to take advantage of the new rates. Actual savings will depend on how much each school is able to change its use to fit the time-of-use rate periods. Participating schools would pay:

  • The lowest rate – about 25 percent less than the recent average effective energy charge –from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (super off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is the same as the existing energy charge rate from midnight to 8 a.m. (off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is higher — above the existing energy charge rate — from 4 p.m. to midnight (on-peak hours).

Proposed rates also support renewable energy

These rates are also designed to encourage more electricity use during the hours of the day when renewable energy – particularly solar – is adding more low cost electricity to the grid. In addition, by designing time-of-use rates to better match demand with energy supply, the utilities may also reduce the need for additional system resources, including utility generation, during evening peak hours.

The new rates provide educational as well as operational opportunities for students and teachers as well as administrators to see each participating school’s energy use. With the additional grid intelligence from the Hawaiian Electric Companies Smart Power for Schools’ program, electricity use trends with the proposed DOE time-of-use rates can be monitored, managed and evaluated by both the DOE and Hawaiian Electric Companies to refine the rate schedules in the future.

The proposed new rates are called “Schedule DOE-J, Commercial Time-of-Use Service” and “DOE-P, Large Power Time-of-Use Service.” Most schools would fall under the DOE-J rate.

Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC to allow these rates to go into effect by January 5, 2016 and stay in effect for ten years, through four to five of the Department of Education’s two-year budget cycles to ensure proper evaluation of the stated objectives.

Other time-of-use rate programs to come

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also developing time-of-use rate proposals that other customers will be able to take advantage of to help manage their energy costs and support renewable energy. Those proposals will be submitted to the PUC this month.

UH Hilo Participating in Million Student March #MillionStudentMarch

The United Hawaii Student Union (UHSU), a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo is happy to be an organizer of the national movement #MillionStudentMarch this Thursday at UH Hilo.
Student March
The event will start at 10am at the Mookini Library and will go on until 4pm. Anybody in support of student rights is invited.
Hawai’i Senator Russell Rudderman will be speaking at 12pm along with Hawai’i County Corporation Council Attorney Steven Strauss along with other speakers. A UH Hilo campus march will begin at 12:30pm. Please wear red.
The national demands consist of 3 items:
  1. Tuition-free public colleges and universities
  2. Cancellation of all student debt
  3.  $15/hr campus-wide minimum wage for college workers

Please bring local food for the all day potluck.  Facebook event here Official website www.studentmarch.org

For more information contact UHSU at Uhstudentunion@gmail.com

New Tool – Vog Measurement and Prediction Project

A paper published this month by University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory researchers in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society details the development and utility of a computer model for the dispersion of volcanic smog or “vog,” which forms when volcanic sulfur dioxide gas interacts with water and coverts it to acid sulfate aerosol particles in the atmosphere.

Vog poses a serious threat to the health of Hawaiʻi’s people as well as being harmful to the state’s ecosystems and agriculture. Even at the low concentrations, which can be found far from the volcano, vog can provoke asthma attacks in those with prior respiratory conditions. It also damages vegetation and crops downwind from the volcano.

vmap

Click to check out the project

News tools for predicting vog

Scientists from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), under the leadership of Professor of Meteorology Steve Businger, and in collaboration with researchers at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, developed a computer model for predicting the dispersion of vog. The vog model uses measurements of the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted by Kīlauea, along with predictions of the prevailing winds, to forecast the movement of vog around the state.

The team of scientists developed an ultraviolet spectrometer array to provide near-real-time volcanic gas emission rate measurements; developed and deployed SO2 and meteorological sensors to record the extent of Kīlauea’s gas plume (for model verification); and developed web-based tools to share observations and model forecasts, providing useful information for safety officials and the public and raising awareness of the potential hazards of volcanic emissions to respiratory health, agriculture and general aviation.

“Comparisons between the model output and vog observations show what users of the vog model forecasts have already guessed—that online model data and maps depicting the future location and dispersion of the vog plume over time are sufficiently accurate to provide very useful guidance, especially to those who suffer allergies or respiratory conditions that make them sensitive to vog,” said Businger.

A statewide concern

Kīlauea volcano, the most active volcano on earth, is situated in the populous State of Hawaiʻi. The current eruption has been ongoing since 1983, while a new summit eruption began in 2008.

The most significant effect of this new eruption has been a dramatic increase in the amount of volcanic gas that is emitted into Hawaiʻi’s atmosphere. While the effects of lava eruption are limited to the southeastern sector of the Big Island, the volcanic gas emitted by Kīlauea is in no way constrained; it is free to spread across the entire state.

“Higher gas fluxes from Kīlauea appear to be the new norm. For the State of Hawaiʻi to understand the effects of vog and then come up with strategies to efficiently mitigate its effects, accurate forecasts of how vog moves around the state are vital,” said Businger.

The American Recovery Act award that originally funded the development of the vog model program has long since expired. Funding for a PhD candidate, Andre Pattantyus, to help keep the online vog products available has been provided by SOEST and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.

Because Pattantyus, the lead vog modeler, is set to graduate this winter, the vog program is at a crossroads. Businger is working with stakeholders that include federal, state, commercial and private interests to jointly fund an ongoing vog and dispersion modeling capability for the residents of Hawaiʻi.

Public support of the vog modeling program is critical for the program to continue providing vog plume predictions in future.

Kona Attorneys Recognized for Volunteer Service to the West Hawaii Community

Thirty attorneys were recognized for their volunteer service during the Self-Help Recognition Awards on November 6, at the Kona Courthouse in Kealakekua.

These attorneys provided free legal information to West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse.

These attorneys provided free legal information to West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse.

The Kona Self-Help Desk was established in October 2013 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts.  Since opening, the Self-Help Desk has helped more than 1,000 people, with volunteer attorneys providing approximately 400 hours of legal information on District and Family Court civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce.  These services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.

“I am grateful to the attorneys who volunteer their time at our Self-Help Desk, assisting individuals who must represent themselves in court.  The generous donation of professional services by these attorneys has been essential to advancing our goal of ensuring that all Hawaii residents have equal access to justice,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

The volunteers were recognized by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Deputy Administrative Director of the Courts Iris Murayama, District Family Court Judge Aley Auna, Chief Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Lester Oshiro, and Third Circuit Deputy Chief Court Administrators Dawn West and Cheryl Salmo.

The individual attorneys who were honored are as follows:  Joanna Sokolow (recognized for the most volunteer shifts), Al Lerma, Charlie McCreary, Herman Heimgartner, Dean Kauka, Kaua Jackson, Dawn Henry, Kim Taniyama, Cynthia Tai, Michael Schlueter, Jason Kwiat, Catherine Gibson, Mark Van Pernis, Rebecca Colvin, Daniel Peters, Gerald Garcia, Fred Gianinni, Ann Datta, Stephen Whittaker, Mitch Roth, Jennifer Heimgartner, John Powell, Andrew Kennedy, Shawn Nakoa, Mike Matsukawa, Bob Borns, Wendy DeWeese, Peter Olson, Carol Kitaoka, and Robert Olson.

Also acknowledged were Erin Henschel, Madeline Taomia, and Heather Basham, the AmeriCorps Advocates who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, organize the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse each week.

Dawn Henry, Managing Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Kona said, “I am so pleased by the support the West Hawaii Bar Association and our local attorneys have given to this effort.  Every week, West Hawaii residents use the Self-Help Desk to gain information on how to file court papers and be active participants in legal actions.  The Kona Self-Help Desk is the result of a statewide collaboration of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and our local bar has enthusiastically gotten behind the effort. With the donation of their time, today’s honorees are helping to make justice a living reality in our community.”

The Chief Justice also thanked the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Self-Help Desk.

For more information on the Kona Self-Help Desk as well as the Self-Help Center at Hale Kaulike in Hilo see:  http://bit.ly/1MpcAOd