Dead Dolphin Found Wrapped in Netting by West Hawaii Marine Mammal Rescue Network

Earlier today, a friend posted a disturbing picture of a dead dolphin that was wrapped up in some netting off the Kona Coast of Hawaii.

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

I had to inquire more about this incident and this is what was told to me about the dead dolphin they encountered:

It was a very sad encounter.  To say the least.  I’m part of the West Hawaii Marine Mammal Rescue Network, which is a NOAA group, but was out for a fun day on the water with friends.

At approximately 9:10am, I saw a spinner dolphin floating upside down with his pecs sticking out of the water.

Photo Courtesy of Julie Steelman

Photo Courtesy of Julie Steelman

I instantly knew something was amiss.  We drove closer and could clearly see a fishing net wrapped around his Rostrum, his neck, draped down his righthand side and then wrapped around his tail.  He was caught in the net from nose to tail and didn’t have a chance.  In my opinion, he drowned.

He was a very healthy looking male spinner dolphin.  He didn’t have any fresh cookie-cutter shark bites on him.  He was a little over 5′ long and was beautiful.  He was already dead when we found him.

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

We found him right near the large pipe at OTEC/NELHA, just north of Garden Eel Cove.  I could see at least 10 “swim with dolphin” boats at garden eel cove.  It was unclear if the dolphin had just surfaced and/or the dolphin swimming boats had or hadn’t seen him.

We were headed up to the Manta cleaning station to do some free-diving and then out for a whale watch.

I was instantly sickened and went into action letting NOAA know there was an entangled deceased dolphin.  He was fresh and hadn’t been there very long at all.

I felt enraged seeing this beautiful ocean animal just being himself and getting entangled in something some human put in the water.  It was so avoidable and unnecessary.  I always remind myself of Ram Das’s quote…”hold a space of infinite unbearable compassion”.  I feel so much compassion for the animals, who are completely innocent, and we STILL think the ocean is a grand dumping ground.  That the debris and garbage we put in it doesn’t hurt anything.  I feel like the animals don’t have a voice and we could certainly be more mindful of keeping their habitat clean.

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

Photo courtesy of Julie Steelman

So, my insides were a cocktail of compassion, sadness and outright anger.

With NOAA”s permission, we later transported the dolphin to the harbor.  We iced him and he was picked up and flown to Oahu.  He will be examined and used for research.  The only good that comes out of this is they get a very fresh animal to study.

Julie Steelman

Hilo’s Pi‘ihonua Gym Closing for Renovations

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will be closing Pi‘ihonua Gymnasium starting Monday, March 17, so it can renovate the popular Hilo facility located within Gilbert Carvalho Park.

Gilbert Carvahlo Park

Gilbert Carvahlo Park

Pi‘ihonua Gymnasium is expected to be reopened at the end of May.

County personnel will repair the gym’s floor, apply a fresh coating of protective wax, install new baskets and backboards, and add more interior lighting.

The Carvalho Park baseball field, parking lots and pavilion will remain available for public use while construction is occurring. However, the park’s playground is being replaced with new keiki equipment, so that area is currently closed to protect the public.

For more information, please contact Chris Drayer, recreation director assigned to Gilbert Carvalho Park, by calling 961-8737.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Attracted 1,583,209 Visitors in 2013

National Park Service (NPS) visitation figures released today show that 1,583,209 people visited Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2013 – an increase of 6.7 percent from 2012 visitation statistics.

Panoramic of Halema‘uma‘u from Kīlauea caldera rim

Panoramic of Halema‘uma‘u from Kīlauea caldera rim

“We are pleased to again report an increase of visitors eager to enjoy Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The dual eruptions from Kīlauea, the numerous cultural and scientific programs offered, and the incredibly diverse, protected ecosystem of native plants and animals, continue to attract people from the mainland, around the world, and locally,” she said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, all year long. The 333,086-acre park stretches from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa – earth’s most massive active volcano – at 13,677 feet, and encompasses seven ecological zones, 155 miles of trails and 66 miles of paved roadways. It is also home to Kīlauea, one of earth’s most active volcanoes which is presently erupting from two locations: Halema‘uma‘u Crater at its summit (since 2008), and in the remote east rift zone from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent (since 1983).

Hiking Kīlauea Iki Trail

Hiking Kīlauea Iki Trail

To see the complete list of recreational visitation to all 401 national park units, and other visitor-related statistics, visit

The new visitation figures come one week after NPS released its economic impact report from 2012, which revealed that 1,483,928 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that year spent $113,376,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,353 jobs in the local area. To download the report, visit

Anyone Lose a Dinghy?

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s assistance after receiving a report of an unmanned adrift, black and grey inflatable dinghy offshore approximately two and a half miles west of Kaanapali, Maui, Monday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public's assistance after receiving a report of an unmanned adrift black and grey inflatable dinghy offshore approximately two and a half miles west of Kaanapali, Maui, March 10, 2014

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s assistance after receiving a report of an unmanned adrift black and grey inflatable dinghy offshore approximately two and a half miles west of Kaanapali, Maui, March 10, 2014

The passenger ferry Molokai Princess reported the dinghy adrift at approximately 7:45 a.m., and took it in tow back to Kaunakakai Harbor, Molokai. The dinghy is approximately 10 feet long with a 6 horsepower outboard engine. There are no markings on the vessel, the oars and equipment in the dinghy appear to be stowed and it appeared to have broken free from another vessel.

No one has been reported missing or in distress in the area.

The Coast Guard advises the public to register and label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

Through the Operation Paddle Smart program, the Coast Guard offers a free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft.  The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the dinghy is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

Hapa Fund Grants Now Available for Waimea Community Nonprofits

Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) announced today that grants benefiting the Waimea community on Hawai’i Island are now available through the Hapa Fund of HCF.

Hawaii Community Foundation

Established by a local resident, the Fund supports organizations and community groups in their grassroots, hands-on fundraising activities. Organizations can receive up to $2,500 in matching grant dollars from the Fund to multiply the impact of their fundraising event efforts.

To apply to the Hapa Fund, organizations should submit a letter no longer than two pages with the following information:

  • Organization’s purpose
  • Project or event summary
  • Fundraising plan
  • Number of people involved

A project budget must also be included with the letter.  Letters may be submitted prior to the event or activity, however, evidence of the funds raised for the match requirement must be submitted before receiving the grant.

Application letters to the Hapa Fund should be mailed in duplicate (two copies) to the Waimea office of Hawai’i Community Foundation at 65-1279 Kawaiahe Road, Parker Square #203, Kamuela, HI 96743.

Friends of NELHA Continues Energy Lecture Series

Friends of NELHA (FON) will host the third in a series of free lectures regarding energy at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center on Wednesday, March 19.
NEHLA Aerial

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies Vice President and co-founder Kelly King will be the featured speaker on “Fuels and Transportation.” The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series event will start at 5:30 pm and admission is free.

Kelly King cofounded Pacific Biodiesel, a renewable energy company, with her husband Robert King in 1996. The company was the first commercial biodiesel firm in the US and was initially created to alleviate the disposal of waste cooking oil at Maui’s landfill. As director of marketing and communications, Kelly has helped to develop 13 biodiesel plants in the US and Japan.

The company’s newest venture, Big Island Biodiesel, began production in the 4th quarter of 2012.  This 5.5M- gallon-a-year biodiesel plant located in Kea’au on Hawaii Island is the most modern facility in the world.  Featuring zero-waste processing, this plant produces the highest quality biodiesel available in the country.  The company also has a grease trap and used cooking oil operation servicing the entire Big Island.

In 2006, with Daryl Hannah and Willie and Annie Nelson, Kelly co-founded the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that is developing a certification process for sustainable biodiesel practices.  In Hawaii, Kelly has been active as a board member on many local nonprofits and served on the Hawaii State Board of Education, representing Maui County.  She is currently chair of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and serves on the board of Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance, Hawaii Energy Policy Forum, and UHMC Sustainable Sciences Management Advisory Council.  She is working on several agriculture-related projects with Pacific Biodiesel.

Since its founding, Pacific Biodiesel has been involved in all aspects of the biodiesel business, from fuel crop research and waste oil collection to fuel processing, quality management, and distribution. The company designs, owns, builds, and operates scalable, multiple-feedstock biodiesel plants utilizing used cooking oil, yellow grease, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, tallow, and other feedstocks.  The company’s community-based biodiesel model has become a standard for the sustainable, renewable fuel industry.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of five lectures on energy issues. The series is sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development.

Call FON at 808.329.8073 for more information on the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series.

Hawai’i Community Foundation Restoration Partnership Announces over $400,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

The Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) today announced its 2014 recipients of the Community Restoration Partnership (CRP) grants, totaling over $400,000 to fund the protection and restoration of Hawai’i’s coastal areas.

Hawaii Community FoundationCRP is a collaboration of government agencies, foundations and private donors who provide funds to ensure healthy and sustainable fishery resources, advance innovative restoration techniques, engage local communities in active environmental stewardship, and encourage science-based monitoring to evaluate restoration project success.

“As Hawai’i’s unique coastal resources face increasing threats from invasive species, climate change, and development, it’s more important than ever to support the key organizations who help to protect our environment,” said Josh Stanbro, director of environment and sustainability at HCF. “Through the Community Restoration Partnership, we provide financial assistance for on-the-ground restoration projects that improve ecosystem function and support traditional cultural practices.”

CRP began in 2009 as a partnership with NOAA’s Restoration Center, supported by former Senator Daniel K. Inouye.  Since its inception, the partnership has provided more than $1.5 million in funding to local community organizations, actively bridging cultural and environmental stewardship efforts.

“One of the main priorities of the Hawaii Tourism Authority is to support programs that protect and enhance Hawai’i’s unique natural resources and environment, which are frequented by visitors,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Supporting HCF’s Community Restoration Partnership programs allows us to sustain our environment, which is one of our most precious destination assets.”

The Community Restoration Partnership is made possible by the Hawai’i Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center, the Weissman Family Foundation, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.  Another key partner-the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation-recently offered a new challenge grant to inspire new funders to join CRP.  All funding partners jointly review and recommend grants each year through a unique advisory process that also includes resource specialists.

“The most successful community groups have tackled their projects with multiple partners,” says Stanbro. “We’ve taken the same collaborative approach on the funding side and learned a lot in the process.”

Interested funders for the Community Restoration Partnership may contact Josh Stanbro at 808-537-6333 or Grant applications for upcoming projects will soon be available, due for submission in July 2014. For more information, visit

2014 Community Restoration Partnership Grant Recipients:

Friends of Waikīkī Aquarium: A sustainable program that seeks to restore the native marine plant and herbivore community to the reef at Waikiki, specifically addressing invasive algae (seaweeds).

Hui Aloha Kīholo: A restoration project that includes activities in six anchialine pools along the North Kona coastline, protecting the unique habitat from invasive non-native fish, as well as re-establishing a sustainable population of ‘opae’ula to reintroduce the region-specific traditional practice of palu ‘opelu fishing.

Kaiola Canoe Club: A program that clears mangrove and other invasive plants and replants native vegetation to reclaim nearly three acres near the Pu’ali Stream, organizes community work days with youth organizations, and serves the neighboring communities.

Kohala Watershed Partnership: Continued work to restore native vegetation and reduce the bare ground on the Kohala watershed, providing an opportunity for Pelekane Bay’s marine habitats to regenerate while sharing methods and knowledge with restoration projects along the Kohala coastline to multiply the impact of their work on land-based sediment pollution.

Kupu: Kupu’s CU program (formerly known as the Urban Corp), provides under-serviced youth and young adults an opportunity to gain work experience and the chance to graduate with a high school diploma, including a total of 2,500 hours of volunteer service each year at sites that focus on marine resources as well as expanding natural resource and coastal environmental knowledge to a population of young adults who often have little to no knowledge or experience with natural cultural resources.

Mālama Pupukea-Waimea: A project that protects the coral reef habitat in the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, reducing sediment flow to the reef by installing native plants to hold in place soil currently eroding from the Pupukea Beach Park.

Maunalei Community Marine & Terrestrial Management: A project to protect and restore the coral reef habitat and estuaries and reduce annual land-based sediment by fencing near shore coastal watershed habitat to eliminate overgrazing impacts, allow for native flora plantings, implement permaculture erosion mitigation methods, establish a good well source of water to support traditional farming practice, and create a multi-story agroforest to stabilize the slope and provide food crops for the community.

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i: The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i’s Kane’ohe Bay Reef Restoration Project will construct a mini-barge that will be used to remove and transport invasive algae from the reef in Kaneʻohe Bay to the Heʻeia wetlands to be used as fertilizer by the nonprofit Kakoʻo ʻOiwi’s agricultural projects, as well as support the restoration of native sea urchins and other herbivores in Kane’ohe Bay to continually manage algae regrowth.

Waipa Foundation: A project to continue the restoration of function and habitat in a degraded segment of Waipa Stream and its estuary as well as enhancing coastal wetland habitat, targeting another two acres in 2014 to build upon the four acres already treated.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still moving through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and a lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Mar 7, 2014: The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active, and the active flow front is moving through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The flow front today was 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the upper left of the photograph, and is partly obscured by fume.

Mar 7, 2014: Another view of the active flow front, which is burning forest and causing scattered fires. Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea (right, with a snow-covered summit) are on the skyline in this wide photograph. At the very left edge of the photo, the plume from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake can be seen.

Mar 7, 2014: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō from the south. Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s tan-colored south flank is composed of cinder and spatter erupted in its early years (mid-1980s). Since that time, the cone has partially collapsed and lava flows have erupted on the flanks and within the crater, sometimes spilling over the crater rim. In the crater, there have recently been several small spatter cones emitting fume. Mauna Kea’s snow-covered summit is visible in the distance.

Mar 7, 2014: The northeast spatter cone has had a small (10 meters, or 30 feet, wide) lava pond, which experiences a cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface called “gas pistoning”, driven by the buildup and release of gas in the pond. This photograph captured the moment of gas release, which involved vigorous spattering. In the upper left, the plume from Kīlauea’s summit lava lake can be seen in front of Mauna Loa, and in the upper right Mauna Kea is visible.

Mar 7, 2014: This Quicktime movie shows the lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, which was undergoing “gas pistoning”. Gas pistoning is the cyclic rise and fall of the lava surface, driven by the buildup and release of gas in the lava pond. This sequence shows the drop of the lava level, which corresponds with vigorous spattering and agitation of the pond surface.

Mar 7, 2014: A close-up of the lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, with snow-covered Mauna Kea in the distance. Mar 7, 2014: This thermal image, taken from the helicopter, shows an area of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow near the flow front. This area consists of numerous small, scattered pāhoehoe lobes. Areas which are white and yellow are active, flowing pāhoehoe lava, while red and purple areas are recently active, but still warm, surfaces.

3.5 and 3.1 Magnitude Earthquakes Shake the Big Island Today

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Volcano area of the Big Island this morning:
35 volcanoEarlier today a 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Kalaoa area of the Big Island:
31 kalaloa

Mahalo to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Laupahoehoe Public Charter School

Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) and Laupahoehoe Public Charter School’s sixth graders teamed up to spruce up Hilo’s bayfront on Friday.

bags full of trash, weighing in at around 55 pounds, were removed from Hilo’s bayfront Friday morning by 6th grade students from LPCS at a beach clean up hosted by a local non-profit, Hawaii Wildlife Fund"

Bags full of trash, weighing in at around 55 pounds, were removed from Hilo’s bayfront Friday morning by 6th grade students from LPCS at a beach clean up hosted by a local non-profit, Hawaii Wildlife Fund”

This cleanup was in preparation for Sunday’s Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa event. In only one hour, 10 students and 5 adults managed to remove 1,082 pieces of trash from the bayfront – approximately 55 lbs in 2 bags. The crew mostly picked up land-based trash including lots of cigarette butts along with some more interesting finds like a cow bell, a shaving razor, and several small bundles of derelict fishing nets.

A 6th grader, from Laupahoehoe Public Charter SChool (LPCS) removes a large tire from Hilo’s bayfront on Friday, March 7 during a beach clean up with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund.

A 6th grader, from Laupahoehoe Public Charter SChool (LPCS) removes a large tire from Hilo’s bayfront on Friday, March 7 during a beach clean up with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund.

HWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s native flora and fauna

To learn more about regular beach cleanup opportunities on Hawai‘i and Maui Islands, please contact HWF at or see our website at


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Help Break 3 Guinness World Records at the Waikoloa Bowl

Something crazy to do in Kona: Break 3 Guinness World Records on March 15th at the Waikoloa Bowl.

La Quinta Inn & Suites is attempting to break three Guinness World Records during their corporate stay here on Hawai`i Island and they seek your help. They will attempt the following:

#1 – Longest Human Towel Chain – They require over 1100 individuals to stand and hold towels linking each participant to another for a 5 minute period.

Guinness Records Photo

Guinness Records Photo

#2 – Longest High Five Chain – Requires over 700 people to participate in a “wave of high five’s” down the chain.

Longest High Five Chain

#3 – Largest Towel Mosaic – Will create a 27,845 square foot mosaic of the American Flag using towels, including the 50 stars.

Flag Mosaic

This mosaic will be filmed in time lapse fashion and posted on YouTube.

La Quinta is offering to support the Kohala Chamber of Commerce by providing $15 for each person who signs up through the Chamber. Minimum age to participate is ten years old. This is a unique opportunity that will showcase our island and provide marketing exposure on a global scale.

The last Guinness World Record was achieved by La Quinta in 2011.


This was the Human Mattress Dominoes where they donated 850 mattresses to local charities in New Orleans. This event is still getting exposure today as it is getting close to 2 million viewers.

Date: March 15, 2014
Time: 08:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Waikoloa Bowl at Queens Garden
Contact: Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce
Date/Time Details: Saturday, March 15, 2014
8 am – 12:30 pm
Fees/Admission: Free to participate!
Age 10 and up only

UH Hilo HOSA Students Headed to Nationals

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students recently competed in the 9th annual Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Statewide competition on O`ahu and received several honors that qualified them for the national competition in Orlando, Florida, June 25-28, 2014.

UH Hilo Moniker

The Public Service Announcement Team, categorized as a Teamwork Event, took first place with their 30-second PSA on “Educating the Community about Child Hunger.” The topic was to promote a healthcare service organization and bring awareness to a healthcare situation. Team members, all freshmen, include Lark Jason Canico (team captain), Ridge Cabacang, Sheldon Cabudol, and Guinevere Davenport. Each member gave an oral presentation in addition to displaying the PSA.


Kimberly Cabreros, a sophomore, took first place in Pharmacology. Categorized as a “Knowledge Test,” the test was related to a specific career or specialty area from within the healthcare community that measured proficiency at the recall, application, and analysis levels.

Junior Mandee Miyake took third overall in Prepared Speaking, which was categorized as a Leadership Event. She wrote a paper and presented a speech on “The Future Starts Now.”

The UH Hilo team also received an award for having the highest increase in membership in the Post Secondary Chapter for 2013-2014.

Dr. Cecilia Mukai, UH Hilo HOSA faculty adviser, shared, “By competing in these events detailing healthcare provider skills, students learn invaluable lessons to last them a lifetime. We are all very proud of these students’ efforts and accomplishments.”

Hawaiʻi HOSA provides opportunities for secondary and postsecondary students to develop character and apply leadership skills within the area of the healthcare industry. It is one of the five Career and Technical Student Organizations in Hawaiʻi. UH Hilo HOSA is a Registered Independent Student Organization (RISO).

Kona Man Arrested for Boating Under the Influence

A Kona man was arrested early Thursday for boating under the influence.

Spencer Erwin

Spencer Erwin

At 10:13 p.m. Wednesday (March 5), the U.S. Coast Guard notified police that a commercial dive boat and its operator had been reported missing.  Another tour company picked up the boat’s customers from a dive spot off the Kailua-Kona coast.

The inflatable boat Sea Wolf and its operator were later found drifting offshore and were towed to Honokōhau Harbor by another boat. Shortly after midnight Thursday, police arrested the operator of Sea Wolf, 30-year-old Spencer Erwin of Kailua-Kona, on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. He was released at 1:30 a.m. pending further investigation.

Big Island Police Looking for Stolen Truck

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a stolen pickup truck.

HPDBadgeSometime between December 28 and December 29, a lowered primer-black 1986 Toyota 2-wheel-drive pickup truck was taken from Honokaʻa town. The truck’s license plate is HJV 353. It may be in the Hilo area.

Police ask anyone with information about the whereabouts of the truck or the identity of the person operating it to call Officer John Kalauli at 775-7533 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Pahoa High and Intermediate to Get New $3.5 Million Dollar Expansion On Gymnasium

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $65.6 million to the state Department of Education (DOE) for capital improvement projects (CIP) that will improve dozens of public schools across the state, while adding local jobs and enhance economic conditions.

“Including the $62.4 million released for DOE projects last week, my administration has now announced the release of more than $600 million dollars for education improvements,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This is an investment in our keiki and our strengthening economy.”

Kaiser High School Head Football Coach Rich Miano said, “This project will have an immediate impact on four schools that use Kaiser’s athletic facilities as their home venue. It will also benefit the whole state of Hawaii because we will be able to host a variety of events including Special Olympics and NFL combines.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$25,850,000 – King Kekaulike High New Auditorium, Maui – Construction funds for an auditorium to complete previously-initiated design work. The school currently uses its cafeteria stage and student dining area for performing arts and assembly-type functions. The new auditorium will be a standalone structure and will provide support for performing arts and music programs at the school.

$15,000,000 – Farrington High Campus Modernization (Phase 1), Oahu – Design and construction funds to implement Phase 1 of the school’s campus modernization project. The project will start with upgrades to athletic facilities and include a new synthetic track and field and a new locker/shower facility. Future phases will replace the backlog of repair and maintenance projects associated with a master rehabilitation plan of the entire campus.

$5,000,000 – Kawananakoa Middle Auditorium, Oahu – Design and construction funds to renovate the school’s auditorium to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, building and fire codes, along with modernization of the facility as a performing arts center.

$4,850,000 – Kaiser High Girls Athletic Locker Room, Oahu – Design and construction funds for new athletic and locker and shower facilities for female students to meet gender equality requirements at the school. There is currently only a physical education (PE) locker room for female students.

Pahoa's New Gym

$3,500,000 – Pahoa High and Intermediate Gym, Hawaii Island – Design and construction funds for renovations and expansion of the school’s gymnasium to include a wrestling and locker/showers room.

$3,000,000 – East Kapolei Middle, Oahu – Design funds for a new school to address projected needs in the Kapolei area, which is currently served by Ilima Intermediate, Ewa Makai Middle and Kapolei Middle. By completing this school in the near future, a reduction in student enrollment will allow Kapolei Middle to transition off its current multi-track schedule.

$1,000,000 – Pearl City Elementary Electrical Upgrades, Oahu – Design and construction funds to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at the school. Electrical work includes upgrading electrical transformers and panels, telecommunication systems, electrical outlets and data ports.

$1,000,000 – Campbell High Electrical Upgrades, Oahu – Design and construction funds to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at the school. Electrical work includes upgrading electrical transformers and panels, telecommunication systems, electrical outlets and data ports.

$880,000 – Honowai Elementary New Classroom Building, Oahu – Design funds for a building with eight classrooms, restrooms, a faculty workroom and custodial closets.

$700,000 – Mauka Lani Elementary Electrical Upgrades, Oahu – Design and construction funds to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at the school. Electrical work includes upgrading electrical transformers and panels, telecommunication systems, electrical outlets and data ports.

$755,000 – Waipahu High Track & Field Facility Improvements, Oahu – This project will start the design phase of a new synthetic track and field surface at the school. An old cinder track and grass field presently exists, and this project will allow for a competition track venue in the Leeward District, which presently has none.

$550,000 – Pearl City High Track & Field Facility Improvements, Oahu – This project will start the design phase of a new synthetic track and field surface at the school. An old cinder track and grass field presently exists, and this project will allow for a competition track venue in the Leeward District, which presently has none.

$550,000 – Niu Valley Middle New Classrooms, Oahu – Design funds for four new classrooms to support the “International Baccalaureate Middle Year” (IBMY) program at the school. Niu Valley is an accredited IBMY school and all of its students are required to take a second language.

$550,000 – Kohala High Architectural Barrier Removal, Hawaii Island – Construction funds to complete architectural barrier removal at school and provide program accessibility for the disabled in accordance with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

$500,000 – Hilo Intermediate New PE Locker Room and Renovations, Hawaii Island – Design funds to replace and renovate the PE locker room and shower facilities at the school.

$475,000 – Kanoelani Elementary New Portable Classroom, Oahu – Design, equipment and construction funds for a portable classroom to address school enrollment (approximately 800 students/year), which has required moving a kindergarten class into a teachers’ workroom due to lack of space.

$450,000 – Kaiser High Track & Field Facility Improvements, Oahu – This project will start the design phase of a new synthetic track and field surface at the school to replace the aged synthetic track and grass field and also provide related improvements for facility maintenance and support.

$400,000 – Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate New Science, Technology & Media Building, Oahu – Design funds for a new building. Classroom building on campus, built in the early 1950s through 1962, do not meet standards relating to science, technology or media education.

$200,000 – Waipahu High Campus Retaining Wall, Oahu – Design and construction funds for a retaining wall behind Buildings C to Q in order to alleviate ground movement affecting these buildings. The project may also include landscaping and related improvements adjacent to the planned retaining wall.

$175,000 – Waikele Elementary Play Courts Resurfacing and New Playground Installation, Oahu – This project is to resurface the basketball court and replace aged, outdated and non-functioning play equipment in order to provide age appropriate pre-kindergarten playground equipment.

$120,000 – Pearl City Highlands Elementary Building G Administration Expansion and Renovation, Oahu – Design funds for additional administration space in Building G, which currently has an administration space deficit of more than 60 percent compared to the size of a typical elementary school.

$75,000 – Lahaina Intermediate Pedestrian Safety Improvements, Maui – Design funds addressing issues such as safe crosswalk placement, an island for pedestrians within the wide driveway and improvements for proper drainage.

$70,000 – Nuuanu Elementary Walkway Roof Repair and Renovation, Oahu – Construction funds for repairs and renovation of the walkway roof from between the administration building and the covered play court. The school has regular rainfall and this has resulted in some parts of the covered walkway to sag.

$2,500 – Moanalua High Auditorium/Performing Arts Center, Oahu – Additional construction funds for a rehearsal hall/band room and instructional support spaces.

Pahoa Round-A-Bout to Cost an Estimated $4.8 Million

The Highway 130 round-a-bout that will be going in soon in Pahoa at the Malama Market intersection went out to bid on March 6th and the bidding ended with Isemoto Construction putting in the lowest bid.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout

Former blogger Aaron Stene said, “The bid result has to be verified and awarded. Then the HDOT has to give a Notice to Proceed. That’s when the clock starts for Isemoto to begin work. This may take a couple months to work though.”

Nan, Inc. and Jas W. Glover also submitted bids, however Isemoto was the lowest bidder at $4,819,150.00.

Isemoto Bid

Governor Names Jessica Wooley as Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced that subject to her confirmation by the state Senate, he has appointed Jessica Wooley to serve as the state’s Director of Environmental Control. In addition to serving as the head of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC), Wooley will serve the Governor in an advisory capacity on all matters relating to environmental quality control.

Jessica Wooley

Jessica Wooley

“Jessica is knowledgeable and experienced in issues pertaining to the environment, water resources, agriculture and land use,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Her legal and public service background will be a great asset in protecting Hawaii’s fragile environment. Her energy and commitment to the issues involved with the OEQC is a big plus for Hawaii.”

“Today I am announcing that, if confirmed, I will be leaving the Hawaii State Legislature to work as the OEQC Director,” Jessica Wooley said. “As a public servant, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact. I will be honored to work with the Governor and his administration as we continually work to make sure our environment is resilient and able to support the public interest and all of Hawaii’s policy goals. We must always keep in mind that our very economy, our health and our safety depend on our ability to care for our environmental resources.”

Elected in 2008, Wooley currently represents District 48 (Kahaluu-Ahuimanu-Kaneohe) in the state House, serving as chair of the Agriculture Committee. Previously, she was an attorney at Legal Aid, an economist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Deputy Attorney General under Governors Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle.

Wooley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics and a Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley.

Big Island Chocolate Fest Seeks Culinary Participants

Organizers of the third Big Island Chocolate Festival are looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i. Last year’s event sold out and 500-plus attendees are expected this year.

Big Island Chocolate FestivalParticipating chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can also enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of judged categories, plus people’s choice. “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torrres, Food Network celebrity from New York City, will lead the team of celebrity judges. Other celebrity chocolatiers participating in the festival include Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona Chocolates Asia-Pacific and Donald Wressell of Guittard.

The two-day chocolate decadence opens Friday, May 2 with farm/factory tours at the Kona Soap Company in Keauhou and a culinary competition between students from Hawai’i, Maui and O’ahu. Public culinary and agriculture-themed, hands-on seminars and demonstrations are Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid. Fun culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom.

Chocolate Festival

Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup at

Pre-sale tickets are $75 and will be $100 at the door. New this year is the VIP Fast Wine Pass with early event admission and personalized wine service. Buy tickets and find event details online at Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Chocolate Fest

Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that includes a two-night’s stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, plus all festival activities at the ocean-side Four Diamond resort; contact Attendees who want to stay at the resort during the festival can get a discounted room rate of $269 per night including daily breakfast for two and can book direct with the hotel at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit

Video: Collapse of the Pu’u ‘O ‘o Crater Floor on March 5th

Video showing the collapse of the Pu’u ‘O ‘o crater floor on March 5th, 2011. The video starts at 4 am and ends at 11 pm. The floor of the crater dropped about 115 meters (377 ft) in just a few hours.


University of Hawaii Partners on $5.3 Million Cyberinfrastructure Award

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) is one of the founding partners of a new initiative led by Clemson University to enable a national network of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Education Facilitators (ACI-REFs) that will broaden the research and education impacts of advanced computing resources at campuses across the country.
UH LogoAdvanced cyberinfrastructure refers to high-performance computing systems, massive data storage systems, and visualization environments, all linked together by software and high-performance networks to enable human collaborations that improve education and research productivity and enable breakthroughs not otherwise possible.

The National Science Foundation awarded the group $5.3 million over two years to broaden cyberinfrastructure education and outreach through this network. Besides Clemson and UH, the other collaborating institutions are the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University.

The project, called the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure – Research and Educational Facilitation: Campus-Based Computational Research Support, is a consortium that brings together education and research institutions that are committed to the vision of advancing scientific discovery by creating a national network of advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitators.  UH will be able to hire two advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitators for two years under the initial project grant.

“The University of Hawai‘i is delighted to be working with Clemson and our other partners to develop this innovative consortium,” said David Lassner, the Interim President at the University of Hawai‘i.  “Data-intensive science and engineering is a major thrust for the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative (HI2), and the advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitator capability that will be supported is exactly what we need to help many of our gifted faculty and students take their scholarship to the next level by leveraging local and national cyberinfrastructure and collaborations.”

Working together in a coordinated effort, the consortium is dedicated to the adoption of models and strategies that will leverage the expertise and experiences of its members to maximize the impact of investment in research computing and related cyberinfrastructure technologies. The project staff will be located on the six collaborating campuses.  They will be fully embedded in their local technology support environments so they can both extend the reach and impact of the campus as well as make national research computing infrastructure available for local students and faculty.

Gwen Jacobs, UH Director of Cyberinfrastructure in Information Technology Services, will lead UH participation in the project.   She will be working with faculty throughout the UH System to identify opportunities where local and national cyberinfrastructure assets can advance UH research and innovation.  Jacobs said, “UH is an international research leader in astronomy, earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences, and biomedical research – all disciplines that generate massive amounts of data.  With access to a wealth of computational resources and professional expertise, UH researchers will be able to apply new methods in big data analytics to their research programs, speeding scientific discovery and innovation and creating new educational opportunities for UH students.”

The consortium is forging a nationwide alliance of educators to empower local campus researchers to be more effective users of advanced cyberinfrastructure.  In particular, the project seeks to work with scholars and faculty members who traditionally have not benefitted from the power of high-performance computing but who recognize that their research requires access to more computational power than can be provided by their desktop machines.

“This project complements and magnifies the work we have underway to establish our first university-wide high-performance computing cluster,” said Vassilis Syrmos, UH Vice President for Research and Innovation.

That high-performance computing cluster will be located in UH’s new $41-million Information Technology Center.  Interim Vice President for Information Technology Steve Smith said “The new high-performance computing cluster is the first initiative that will leverage the capabilities of our state-of-the-art Information Technology Center to advance research and innovation at UH.  This project couldn’t have moved forward without the new building.”

The national project team will be led by Jim Bottum, the Chief Information Officer at Clemson with a leadership team that includes co-principal investigator Gwen Jacobs of UH, and lead scientists from each institution.   The steering committee includes Glenn Ricart, Chief Technology Officer of the US Ignite Project; Greg Monaco, Director for Research and Cyberinfrastructure Initiatives at the Great Plains Network; and John Towns, the principal investigator of the NSF-funded national scale XSEDE high-performance computing program. Miron Livny, Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin and principal investigator of the NSF-funded Open Science Grid will also serve on the project’s steering committee and serve as the Chief Scientist for the project.