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67th JCCIH Installation Draws Leaders from Across the State and Japan

Continuing the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) mission to promote values-based business and interconnection, JCCIH welcomed State and Japanese leaders of government and commerce at its 67th installation at the end of June.

Audrey N. Takamine of Takamine Construction, Inc., was inducted as the 2017-18 president of the JCCIH, becoming the fourth woman to lead the organization.

Audrey Takamine, new president of Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, right, presenting Russell Arikawa, immediate past president, with mahalo plaque.

“When Craig and I founded Takamine Construction,” she said, “we set our philosophy as ‘building long-term relationships,’ and that’s a major goal I have for the Chamber. These friendships across the state and with Japanese business leaders foster that goal.”

Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui, a Maui native, gave the keynote remarks, calling on businesses to “acknowledge the rich history of the community and the State and remain grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of generations past.”

From Japan, dignitaries and delegates from sister city Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry (HHCCI) joined the celebration. Tsutsui noted that he was encouraged by the relationship between Higashi-Hiroshima and Hilo business communities “in exploring unique business opportunities while gaining a better understanding of one another.”

Also in attendance was Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (CoCH) which represents statewide business interests. JCCIH works with CoCH to promote mutually beneficial programs and legislation.

The group from HHCCI included the chamber Chair Kazuyuki Kihara, Executive Councilor Katsuhiko Muneto, Councillor Takashi Shohara and his wife Yuko Shohara, Councilor Masao Ninomiya and his wife Ruriko Ninomiya, Councilor Atsushi Isobe and Managing Director Kazunari Ohara.

Besides Takamine, the other 2017-18 JCCIH Executive Officers include:

  • First Vice President: Stephen N. Ueda, Suisan Company, Ltd.
  • Second Vice President: Donn S. Mende, HFS Federal Credit Union
  • Treasurer: Joseph F. Skruch
  • Immediate-Past President: Russell M. Arikawa, Ginoza Realty, Inc.

The installation drew a record crowd of more than 250, requiring a change of venue.

“We are very grateful that the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel opened its doors to accommodate our Installation, said Takamine.  “I look forward to working with our new officers. I also welcome the many new members that JCCIH has attracted over the past year. We intend to continue that growth.” JCCIH now has more than 300 members from businesses and professions.

Takamine is a 2002 graduate of the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Business and of Waiakea High School.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii fosters economic sustainability as well as perpetuating the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawaii. Its mission is to promote the wellbeing of our community through business and personal relationships that embody the values of Kahiau & Okage Sama De. In Hawaiian, Kahiau means giving without expecting anything in return. Okage Sama De is a Japanese proverb, which means I am what I am because of you.

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo, set this year for Sunday, October 22. The Chamber hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit www.jccih.org

Old Airport Park in Kona to be Closed August 9 and 10 for Clean-up

The Department of Parks and Recreation will be closing the Old Airport Park in Kona from 7:00 am on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017, to facilitate community clean-up efforts.Anyone camping at or using the park is being asked to leave prior to and during the park closure and clean up. Under Hawai‘i County Code (Section 15-39), camping in the park will not be allowed after the park clean up.

“Social service agencies, County Office of Housing and Community Development, Parks and Recreation personnel, and Hawai‘i Police Department are actively making site visits, and notifying people camping at the park about transitional/emergency shelters around the island,” said Charmaine Kamaka, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Various County departments, community groups, organizations and individuals are assisting with the clean-up event, and Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteers to help with clean-up efforts.

If you would like to volunteer or for more information please contact Charmaine Kamaka at 961-8561 or Charmaine.Kamaka@hawaiicounty.gov.

UH Study: Underwater Plate Size Spiders Breathes Through Its Legs

Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods in the class Pycnogonida, breathe in a way not previously known to science, according to a study involving University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Amy Moran and Zoology PhD student Caitlin Shishido.

A dinner-plate-sized Antarctic sea spider. Photo by C. Shishido

The study, published in the July 10 issue of Current Biology, was performed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, while Moran and her team were there in the fall of 2016. Sea spiders in Antarctica can reach the size of dinner plates, part of a phenomenon known as “polar gigantism.” Most animals extract oxygen from the environment using specialized structures like gills and lungs, and distribute oxygen through their bodies using hearts and blood vessels. Sea spiders, distant marine relatives of land spiders, have no specialized structures to take up oxygen and their hearts are weak. Moran and her colleagues showed that sea spiders get oxygen through the surface of their legs and move it around their bodies while digesting their food with peristaltic contractions of the gut, which extends out to the end of all of the animal’s 8 to 12 legs.

UH Mānoa researcher Amy Moran dives with sea spiders in Antarctica. Photo by R. Robbins

“We are really excited about these results because they show that sea spiders solve one of life’s biggest challenges—getting oxygen into the body and taking it where it needs to go—in a way that is new to science,” said Moran. “The next thing we would love to know is if this is unique to sea spiders, or if other animals also move oxygen with their guts and we just never knew about it.”

Jon Harrison, a professor of biology at Arizona State University not involved in the project, says “This study beautifully demonstrates that sea spiders use their legs like gills and their guts like hearts, illustrating the important role of basic research in revealing very fundamental attributes of animal function.”

This work was funded by grants from the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation.

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium, Tiny House and Other Bills

Gov. David Ige announced that he has vetoed 13 of 15 bills on his Intent to Veto list.

HB 523 Relating to Recycling and HB 575 Relating to Public Lands will become law.

VETO LIST:

SB 1240         RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE

This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.

Rationale: Since the release of the Intent to Veto List on June 26, this issue has been highlighted across numerous local and national media outlets. The Office of the Governor has received thousands of phone calls and emails from constituents expressing their support for and opposition to this bill. The one thing everyone can agree on is that one of Hawai‘i’s most valuable resources, the coral reef, must be protected. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Gov. Ige agree that sustainable policies and practices are needed. The governor has no objection to the first part of the bill that requires the DLNR to define “sustainable” and establish policies for sustainable collection.

The DLNR is committed to working with all stakeholders to come up with a better solution. Discussions have begun on “limited entry” aquarium fisheries, expanding Fishery Replenishment Areas (FRAs) to O‘ahu, capping permit numbers, addressing catch limits, and establishing permit fees. Gov. Ige is committed to introducing legislation and/or administrative rules that will properly address all concerns, and create policy that will establish Hawai‘i as the best managed sustainable nearshore fishery in the world.

Regarding this measure, the governor has concerns that the science does not support the claims made in this bill. In West Hawai‘i, where approximately 80 percent of Hawai‘i’s aquarium catch comes from, FRAs were established to reverse the decline in fish populations. The Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the DLNR have collected data over 17 years and completed more than 6,700 surveys in this area, and have found that aquarium fish populations are generally stable or increasing. Unfortunately, there is no similar data for O‘ahu, which is the other location where aquarium fish are caught. Based on the extensive scientific data from West Hawai‘i, it would be premature to phase out aquarium collecting permits.

Furthermore, it must be understood that this bill does not prohibit fish collecting. It simply prohibits the issuance of new permits to use small meshed nets and traps. The meshed nets and traps are an important tool for aquarium fish collectors. There is hope that this will eventually phase out the industry. This would take decades as currently proposed. The worldwide demand for aquarium species could lead to new and more destructive ways of collection.

SB 410           RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.

Rationale: This bill directly impacts the ability of state departments to effectively manage its workforce by negating management rights to direct its workforce and requiring union consent on such matters as assignment, transfer and discipline.

SB 562           RELATING TO TORT LIABILITY

This bill requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any county, based on any negligent or wrongful act or omission of a lifeguard who provides lifeguard services at a state beach park.

Rationale: This bill is objectionable because it requires the Attorney General to defend the counties for any civil action or proceeding, without exception. Although the liability protections of Act 170 lapsed on June 30, 2017, the Attorney General will defend any civil action or proceeding based on acts or omissions of county lifeguards working on state beaches that are within the scope of the lifeguard’s duties.

HB 1414        RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

This bill requires the auditor to investigate and report on problems with the Department of Taxation’s tax system modernization project.

Rationale: The Department of Taxation is awaiting the findings and results of an independent verification and validation of the tax system modernization project, a study being done by an independent contractor. The State Auditor also stated that it may be difficult to identify and assess operational issues until the project is completed and there has been sufficient time for the department and users to identify any operational problems.

HB 1309        RELATING TO GRANTS

This measure requires the Director of Finance to seek repayment of operating grants appropriated by the Legislature, if the grantee discontinues the activities or services approved in the grant.

Rationale: This bill is contrary to the intent of Chapter 42F, Hawai‘i Revised Statues, which authorizes the Legislature to appropriate general funds to nongovernmental organizations for operations serving the public, only to require the reimbursement of such funds at a later date. Further, the Director of Finance does not have the capacity to monitor all grantee programs, and relies on each state agency to enforce the provisions of the grant application and contract between the agency and grantee. It would be more appropriate for repayment negotiations to be handled by the expending agency that has had the initial contractual relationship with the grantee, and not the Department of Budget and Finance.

SB 722           RELATING TO EFFICIENCY MEASURES

This measure requires the Director of Finance and a selected state department to develop and implement the efficiency measures pilot project as part of the state’s budget system.

Rationale: Imposing additional requirements for data collection on our state budget system requires re-programming older software on mainframe computers at a time when the state is upgrading its IT systems to cloud-based applications. Limited state resources would be better spent updating our budget IT programs into cloud-based applications.

SB 713           RELATING TO BUDGET DOCUMENTS

This measure requires the six-year program and financial plan and budget to include information on tax expenditures.

Rationale: Chapter 23, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, currently requires the State Auditor to conduct periodic reviews of certain state tax credits, exemptions, exclusions, and deductions, and report such amounts for the previous three years, the current year, and the ensuing two years. These reviews and reports are essentially the same information as the additional reporting required in this bill. The Department of Taxation needs to focus its existing resources on improving tax collections by completing the implementation of our tax system modernization, rather than providing additional reports that may be of limited use to the overall budget process.

SB 1588        RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS

This measure prohibits the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the repair and maintenance of capital assets where the repair and maintenance costs incurred add value to, and prolong the life of the assets for a period of less than ten years.

Rationale: This measure aims to more closely align the financing of debt with the depreciation of the state’s assets. However, like many other state and county governments, Hawai‘i is faced with a growing number of deferred maintenance projects and a limited pool of operation funds for such projects. Further, the record-keeping necessary to ensure compliance with the tiered structuring of the debt could not be done within existing resources, and would therefore increase the costs of the state’s debt management program.

SB 1073         RELATING TO THE STATE FOUNDATION ON CULTURE & THE ARTS

This measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to support its artist fellowship program.

SB 1074        RELATING TO THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HAWAII STATE CAPITOL

This bill appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to plan and coordinate the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hawai‘i State Capitol.

Rationale for SB 1073 & SB 1074: These bills appropriate funds from the Works of Art Special Fund, which generally consists of proceeds from tax-exempt bonds. Under the Internal Revenue Code, proceeds from tax-exempt bonds cannot be used to finance operating expenses except under limited circumstances. This could potentially jeopardize the fund’s tax exempt status and adversely affect the state’s bond ratings.

HB 2               RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.

Rationale: The Hawai‘i County Zoning Code (HCC Chapter 25) already allows for a “farm dwelling” as a permitted use of agricultural-zoned lands. By Zoning Code definition, a “farm dwelling” means a single-family dwelling located on or used in connection with a farm, or if the agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling.

In 2015 and 2016, a total of 27 additional farm dwellings were approved by the County of Hawai‘i Planning Department. During that period, all applications for farm dwellings were granted. The administration is committed to working with Mayor Harry Kim and the County of Hawai‘i on addressing the affordable housing issue for farm workers on Hawai‘i Island.

HB 727          RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES

This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.

There is concern that this will compromise road safety. The shoulder lane is designed to accommodate stopped vehicles and emergency vehicles on highways, and bicycles on arterial roadways. While the intent of the bill is to reduce risk or injury or loss of life, there is concern that allowing shoulder lane use to these types of vehicles will instead create more danger for the operators of these vehicles.

HB 627          RELATING TO PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

This measure establishes the Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and appropriate funds for a state public-private partnership coordinator position.

Rationale: Rationale: My administration is fully supportive of public-private partnerships when they are shaped in the right way.  Over the past few years, many departments have engaged in exploring public-private partnerships to leverage private monies to improve on the services provided to the public. Recent affordable housing projects such as Kapolei Lofts are prime examples of how the state can partner with private developers to build affordable units on state lands.

However, there is concern that the lone position of a state public-private partnership coordinator will not be sufficient to adequately coordinate interagency collaboration, maintain analysis reports, and develop future public-private partnership opportunities. Having one office manage all public-private partnership contracts, proposals, and negotiations for the state may create a bottleneck that will slow the progress for agencies already involved in these partnerships.

HB 523 Relating to Recycling will become law with the governor’s signature.

HB 575 Relating to Public Lands will become law without the governor’s signature.

Comanche Sets New Race Records In 2017 Transpac

First Power-Assisted Monohull finishes at Diamond Head this morning

The next boat to come over the eastern horizon into the Molakai Channel towards the finish was Jim Clark’s 100-footer Comanche, and at 11:55:26 local time today, they too decisively established a new course record for monohulls with an elapsed time of 5 days 1 hour 55 min 26 sec. This new record is half a day faster than the previous mark set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. (It is very important to note that Comanche is not in contention for the Transpac Overall Winner, “Kalakaua Cup”, which is awarded to the fastest, corrected time Monohull, not power assisted.)

Photo by, Sharon Green, Ultimate Sailing

Skipper Ken Read had high praise for the team, saying “This was the perfect boat with the perfect crew. We did a lot of work to mode this boat to the lowest safety limits of stability and to minimize the weight wherever possible.” This included crew, with only 15 on board (“one for every handle on the grinders”), and sails, which is ironic given that Read is President of North Sails: for this trip the inventory was reduced to a main, masthead Code 0, three jibs two staysails, and – amazingly – only one A3 spinnaker. For an offshore greyhound of this size, its several crew and sails less than normal.

“This was another proof of concept for this boat,” he continued. “we can adapt it to be competitive in any race around the world. We are all just stunned at what this boat can do.”  For navigator Stan Honey this was his 7th first-to-finish achievement in Transpac, and the 4th time he has helped win the Elapsed Time Record Trophy (aka The Clock Trophy) as navigator. The hands on the clock on this trophy will now be set to the new record time.

One week and one day after the first start, the bulk of the 55 entries in this year’s 49th edition of the Transpac have passed their halfway points to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu. On the 2225-mile course less than a dozen are still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race. This year’s race conditions of relatively steady 10-20 knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division are the same as yesterday and include: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68′ Pyewacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6, and Rod Pimentel’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

For more information – position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website at https://2017.transpacyc.com and www.facebook.com/TranspacRace/.

Hawaii County Seeking Applicants for Boards and Commissions

The County of Hawai’i is seeking applicants to fill vacancies in various Boards and Commissions, notably the Salary Commission, Arborist Commission, the Board of Appeals (Planning), Committee on People With Disabilities, Kailua Village Design Commission (Planning), Kona Community Development Plan Action Committee, No. Kohala Community Development Plan Action Committee, Fire Board of Appeals, and Veterans Advisory Committee.

Members of Boards and Commissions serve for staggered terms ranging from four to five years, on a voluntary basis.  Travel expenses to and from meetings are reimbursed.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawai’i, and may not hold any other public office.

The Mayor’s Office will fill the vacancies on Boards and Commissions from a list of applicants.  The complete list of Boards & Commissions and Application forms are available online at https://hawaiicounty.wufoo.com/forms/m1xiduev1c02e62/

Hundreds of Species of Fungi in Deep Coral Ecosystems Discovered by UH Manoa Botanists

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ‘Au‘au channel off Maui. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130 to 500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances in closed circuit rebreather diving. Previously overlooked—being too precarious for conventional SCUBA and too shallow to justify the cost of frequent submersible dives—mesophotic reefs continuously disclose breathtaking levels of biodiversity with each dive, yielding species and behavioral interactions new to science.

Manipulator arm of the Pisces V sub collecting algae in ‘Au‘au channel. Credit: HURL.               

The UH Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) used the Pisces V submersible to collect native algae from the mesophotic reefs in the ‘Au‘au channel. Using the DNA sequencing facility at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, Benjamin Wainwright, lead author of the study and a botany postdoctoral researcher, and colleagues determined which species of fungus were associated with the native algae.

Fungi have been documented in almost all habitats on Earth, although marine fungi are less studied in comparison to their terrestrial counterparts. Scientists have found fungi in deep and shallow water corals, marine sponges and other invertebrates. The recently discovered fungi, however, were found living in association with algae.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented evidence confirming fungi in MCEs,” said Wainwright.

Additionally, the research team discovered that 27% of the species detected in these deep dark environments are also found on terrestrial rainforest plants in Hawai‘i.

Rebreather diver and Pisces V sub collecting coral and macroalgae. Credit: Robert K. Whitton.

“Finding such high overlap of fungal diversity on terrestrial plants was surprising. Mesophotic reefs are as dark as it gets where photosynthesis is still possible, so to find the same species of fungi on forest plants illustrates the remarkable ability of some fungi to tolerate, and thrive, in extremely different habitats,” said Anthony Amend, senior author of the study and UH Mānoa associate professor of botany. “This ecological breadth is something that seemingly sets fungi apart from other organisms.”

Plant-associated fungi provide many benefits to society. For example, Taxol, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancers, is produced by a fungus found inside tree bark and leaves. Additionally, research has shown that fungi are useful in bioremediation efforts (for example, oil spill and industrial waste treatment) and capable of breaking down plastic waste.

It is currently not known whether the newly discovered fungal species are pathogens, helpful symbionts or unimportant to their algae hosts.

“Further, we don’t currently know what metabolic capabilities they have that may prove to have medical or environmental applications,” said Wainwright. “We know other undiscovered species are present in these ecosystems. Unfortunately, if we do not look now we may miss our opportunity to benefit from them and conserve them.”

Deep reefs, like those in the ‘Au‘au channel, may act as a refuge as Earth’s climate changes, providing habitat for any marine creatures that can take advantage of this deeper habitat. If this is indeed the case, understanding how this habitat functions and how the corals, algae and fungi interact with one another will be vital to preserving the refuge in the deep.

Volcanoes National Park Identifies Man Who Jumped in Caldera

Park officials have identified the 38-year-old man recovered early Sunday morning near the bottom of Kīlauea caldera as Gregory Michael Ure, also known as Leo Michael Adonis, of California. His last known address was La Mesa, CA.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park officials confirm the finding of a note in the backpack belonging to the victim. Details concerning the note and circumstances of the death will not be publicly discussed until the National Park Service has concluded its investigation and the county pathologist has ruled on the cause of death.

On Sat., July 8, two visitors discovered a backpack on Crater Rim Trail at approximately 7 p.m. Park dispatch was notified, and rangers searched the caldera rim and floor on foot, but were unable to locate its owner. The search was suspended due to unsafe conditions at night, and resumed at dawn on Sun., July 9.

Rangers aboard a helicopter found the victim about 250 feet below the caldera rim, in an area that is not currently erupting, around 5:35 a.m. Sunday.

Mighty Merloe Breaks Transpac Record

The Mighty Merloe breaks the Transpac record with an elapsed time of 4 Days, 7 Hours, 3 Minutes, 30 Seconds.

Hospice of Kona’s Royal Tea Fundraiser Set for Sunday August 13th

Raise a pinkie finger as you sip hot tea and cold Champagne at the Hospice of Kona Royal Tea Party. This ninth annual event — which is a fundraiser for Hospice of Kona’s residential hospice home, Nakamaru Hale — will be held on Sunday, August 13 from 11am -1pm at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.

Guests will enjoy a traditional high tea with a Hawaiian twist as the chef creates tasty mini sandwiches, pastries, scones and much more with local fruits and vegetables. Tickets are just $55; purchase a commemorative Champagne glass and receive unlimited Champagne or mimosas at the event. Table purchases include commemorative glasses for each guest plus a special gift item for the purchaser.  Discounts available online only at www.HOKRoyalTea.com.

Guests are invited to wear festive hats and outfits as they enjoy live music, performances by Kona Dance & Performing Arts and an extensive silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind jewelry, works by local artists, activities, services, gift certificates and more.

“The community really comes out for this celebration of life, love, friendship — and great hats!” said Laura Varney, Hospice of Kona CEO. “The support we receive goes a long way to ensuring that we can continue to provide our Nakamaru Hale residents and their families with the best hospice and palliative care available.”

To date, the event is sponsored by Ultimate Electric, Altres Staffing, Big Island Honda, ChoiceMART, The Wave@92FM and XpressReprographics.  Additional sponsorships are available online or by contacting alex@pivotalshiftconsulting.com.

Nakamaru Hale provides a comforting and compassionate home-like setting for up to five hospice patients who need an alternative to home care. The hale offers respite, transitional or longer-term care during the final months of life. Hospice of Kona’s health care team works closely with patient, family and doctors as they develop a customized plan to care for physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.

Cincinnati Bell Will Take Over Hawaiian Telcom for $650 Million

Hawai‘i’s leading fiber-based integrated communications provider, and Cincinnati Bell, a leading fiber and IT services and solutions business, today announced that their boards of directors approved a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $650 million, including the assumption of net debt.

Under the agreement, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will have the option to elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom, subject to proration such that the aggregate consideration to be paid to Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will be 60 percent cash and 40 percent Cincinnati Bell common

stock. This consideration represents a 26 percent premium to Hawaiian Telcom’s closing price of $24.44 on July 7, 2017, 24 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 20 calendar days of $24.86, and 31 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 12 months of $23.55. Upon the closing of the transaction, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will own approximately 15 percent and Cincinnati Bell stockholders will own approximately 85 percent of the combined company.

Read full details of the merger here: http://www.hawaiiantel.com/Portals/15/News%20PDFs/20170710_Hawaiian%20Telcom%20Enters%20into%20Definitive%20Agreement%20to%20Merge%20with%20Cincinnati%20Bell.pdf

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, released the following statement on the proposed merger between Hawaiian Telcom and Cincinnati Bell.

“Hawaiian Telcom has been an engaged corporate citizen in Hawai‘i for generations. The hundreds of jobs it provides and the services it offers are vital to Hawai‘i’s local economy. As the lead Democrat on the Commerce Committee’s telecommunications subcommittee, I will carefully review the proposed merger and closely monitor its potential impact on local jobs as well as the telecommunications services it provides for Hawai‘i consumers.”

First Transpac Boats Arriving

Mighty Merloe and Comanche on race record pace in 2017 Transpac – Most of the remainder of the fleet at halfway point in the race

One week after the first wave of starters and four days after the last wave, the bulk of the 55 entries in this year’s 49th edition of the Transpac are at about their halfway points to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu. On the 2225-mile course less than a dozen are still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race.

Mighty Merloe

The conditions of relatively steady 10-20 knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head. At 0900 Hawaii Time today the three leading multihulls – H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo and Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati – have been locked in battle, with Merloe in the lead ahead of Phaedo by 57 miles with only 168 miles to go on their final approach to Oahu.

At current speeds, Merloe’s finish time tonight will not only break the multihull race record set in 1997 by Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer of 5 days 9 hours 18 min and 26 sec, but possibly smash it by more than a day. (This is not the overall, main winner of Transpac as this is a multihull, which has a class of its own.) The other two MOD 70’s also likely to beat the previous mark by coming in only a few hours later.

“We’re still dealing with marine debris,” said Will Suto, reporting on board Might Merloe just hours before being in sight of the islands. “Today I had to crawl out onto the sterns of both the starboard and port amas and dangle off the very back to clear chunks of polypropylene fishing net from in between the top of the rudders and the hull. We had to keep going at full speed to keep the hull out of the water. If we had touched down the force of the water would have dragged me off. I was tied to the boat three different ways, but it was still a nice moment of clarity.”

Comanche

At 1130 HST Jim Clarke’s 100-foot monohull Comanche is comparatively close, only 482 miles out and also going fast: 20.2 knots. After having set a new 24 hour position report record (0800 Friday – 0800 Saturday) of 484 miles, she is also on track for breaking the monohull race record set in 2009 of 5 days 14 hours 36 min 20 sec set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. Comanche has to cross the finish line at Diamond Head tomorrow night before 12:36:20 AM HST on Wednesday morning to set a new record time.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division include: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52 Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68 Peywacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6, and Rod Pimental’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

Since Saturday veteran Transpac sailor and offshore racing analyst Dobbs Davis has provided his race analysis show viewable on the Transpac website. For this and more information – position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website at https://2017.transpacyc.com and www.facebook.com/TranspacRace/.

USS John Finn (DDG 113) Arrives in Pearl Harbor, Set for Commissioning

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) will be commissioned at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s Pier Kilo 10. Media are invited to cover commissioning week events, including media availability and tour on July 13.

PEARL HARBOR (July 10, 2017) The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam July 10 in preparation for its commissioning ceremony. DDG 113 is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, who as a chief aviation ordnanceman was the first member of our armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Justin R. Pacheco)

Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Laura Stavridis, the wife of retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, will serve as sponsor of the ship.  The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Stavridis will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Cmdr. Michael Wagner, a native of Minnesota, is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 350 officers and enlisted personnel.  The 9,140-ton Finn was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  The ship is 509 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet.  The ship uses four LM2500 GE Marine Gas Turbines and two propellers to speeds up to 31 knots.

The ship’s namesake, John Finn, is a Medal of Honor recipient who Adm. Chester Nimitz said displayed “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman, used a machine gun at the former Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station to fire at Japanese aircraft for two hours during the attack. He remained on duty for 18 hours despite receiving as many as 21 wounds. Finn retired as a lieutenant in 1956 and lived to be 100 before passing in 2010. At the time of his death, he was the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. As multi-mission platforms, they are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

USS John Finn will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.

Hawai‘i Island Enforcement Officer Recognized with First-Ever Award

Veteran DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Officer James Ridzon has been selected as the first recipient of the DLNR/DOCARE Officer of the Year award.  Ridzon has been with DOCARE for more than eight years and has earned a reputation as an effective investigator and strong protector of Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural resources.

Officer James Ridzon

In announcing the award, DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said, “I know Jim well from my time as an officer on the Big Island.  His supervisor described him as competent, knowledgeable and capable…exactly the traits I noticed and I would add diligent and extremely competent. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “Officer Ridson’s work ethic and overall efforts exemplify the best in what we expect from our DOCARE officers.”

Ridzon was nominated by his peers and his supervisor.  He has a broad orientation to the job and has consistently been a team player in his current assignment to the North District of Hawai‘i island. Over the weekend Ridzon joined fellow officers in an operation to crack down on illegal entry into the Kohala Restricted Watershed by hikers trying to traverse what has become known as the White Road hike.  He again demonstrated his professionalism in encounters with people who were arrested for trespass into a closed area, by treating them with respect and compassion.  Ridzon said, “My goal was to always work in conservation resources enforcement as it combines my life-long passion for the outdoors with protecting the all of the places and resources Hawai‘i is recognized around the world for.”

As part of this recognition Officer Ridzon will be attending the annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers (NAWEOA) conference in Ontario, Canada later this month. NAWEOA is an organization that was formed solely to advance the needs of natural resource and wildlife officers throughout North America. It has membership from all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories. Ridzon will be the first ever, State of Hawai‘i, Officer of the Year to attend.

$10K Rebate on 2017 Nissan LEAF Sedan Extended for Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customers

Nissan North America’s $10,000 rebate offer on the all-electric 2017 LEAF® sedan has been extended through September 30, 2017 for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company customers. This is expected to be the last extension of this offer.

Customers should take their electric utility bill and the promotional flyer available at hawaiianelectric.com/nissanleaf to any participating Nissan dealer on Oahu, Maui or Hawaii Island to receive $10,000 off the sticker price of a new 2017 LEAF S, SV, or SL, while supplies last. With potential federal tax incentives, savings could total $17,500.

So far this year, over 300 customers have driven off Nissan dealership lots across the state in their new electric LEAFs, never to stop at a gas station again.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are leaders in the effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawaii to help customers save money, to put abundant and less-expensive solar resources to work and to move the state toward its clean energy goals.

The rebate is funded by Nissan. To find a participating Hawaii Nissan dealer, go to nissanusa.com/nissandealers/location/hawaii. The 107-mile range 2017 LEAF, which needs no gasoline, no oil changes and very little maintenance, has a starting price of $30,680.

Sewer Spill in Vicinity of Wailuku River, Kaipalaoa Landing

Location of Discharge: Vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Description:  Discharge of untreated wastewater at shoreline in the vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing in Hilo, Hawai‘i

Cause of Discharge:  The cause of the discharge was due to wastewater entering the Storm Drain system from a broken sewer lateral at the corner of Waiānuenue Avenue and Kino‘ole St.

Remedial Action Taken:  While the discharge into the Storm Drai n system was small and estimated to be in the order of one (1) gallon per hour; the shoreline area in the vicinity of the Storm Drain discharge has been posted with Warning Signs in accordance with State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health requirements and the sign-posted area is closed to recreational activity until further notice.

The Wastewater Division is testing shoreline waters in the vicinity of the discharge.  Testing will continue until authorization is obtained from the State of Hawai`i, Department of Health to remove Warning Signs posted in the area.  The County is currently in the process of coordinating repair of the broken sewer lateral.

Hawaii State Legislature Will NOT Convene Override Special Session

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kauai, Niihau) and State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kakaako, Kaheka, Downtown) today announced that the Hawaii State Senate and the Hawaii State House of Representatives will not convene a special session to override any bills on Governor David Ige’s Intent to Veto list.

On June 23, Gov. Ige notified the legislature of his intent to veto 15 bills passed during the 2017 Legislative Session. The Hawaii State Constitution requires the governor to notify the Legislature of the bills he intends to veto by June 26.

The Governor has until July 11 to officially veto any of these measures by returning them to the Legislature with his statement of objections. The House and Senate will review the Governor’s rationale for returning any measure and consider those concerns next session.

Bills on the Governor’s intent to veto list include:

SB 1240 RELATING TO AQUATIC LIFE

This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.

SB 410  RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.

HB 2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.

HB 727 RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES

This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.

Click here to view all bills on the Governor’s Intent to Veto list.

Big Island Police Searching for Suspects Who Damaged Statue at Pacific Tsunami Museum

Hawaiʻi Island Police are asking the public for assistance in identifying suspect(s) in a criminal property damage case. A statue fronting the Pacific Tsunami Museum located at the corner of Kamehameha Ave and Kalākaua St was damaged between (June 24-26). The heads of a mermaid and a turtle were broken off the stone statue.

Police ask anyone with information regarding this case to call the Police Department’s non emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Officer Gregg Silva of the South Hilo Community Police Unit at (808) 961-8121.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Launching “Summer of Resistance and Renewal” Program

This week, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) is launching their “Summer of Resistance and Renewal,” a nationwide organizing program geared toward engaging and activating party members and activists in the grassroots.

“The goal of the program will be to reconnect Hawai‘i Democrats with one another and with voters, rebuild a sense of political unity, and afford our residents an opportunity to identify mutual areas of concern and address their issues through the vehicle of party activism” said Tim Vandeveer, State Party Chair. “With these efforts, we seek to recruit new members, train new leaders, and increase voter turnout in Hawai‘i by 10% in the 2018 elections.”

Through a fellowship program made possible by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the DPH selected five local organizers, each of whom bring a unique perspective to the program and diverse background in electoral politics, labor organizing, or community activism. DPH leadership engaged traditional allies such as labor organizations, as well as newer grassroots “resistance” groups to apprise them of the project and invite them to participate in the program.

The Hawai‘i organizers recently spent a full week at a training camp in Washington D.C. where they met with DNC leadership and learned about national issues from prominent Democratic elected officials. They also participated in Congressional town halls, Resistance events, and a Healthcare vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Though much of the focus of the national program has focused on converting the energy generated in resistance to the Trump administration into political power during next year’s midterms, Vandeveer feels that this is only part of the goal.

“We cannot focus on resistance alone,” Vandeveer said. “Saying ‘no’ to the cruel and draconian policies of this administration is important, but we must also demand bold action and do the hard work of organizing for social change. We need to renew our historical role as the party of ideas and solutions that benefit working people. This means building upon our proud local history as a party of diversity and inclusion.”

“The ‘Summer of Resistance and Renewal’ begins this month with plans to knock on doors, engage Democratic Party members, host events, and make a difference in our communities. Make sure you’re a part of the movement and find an event near you at resistsummer.com.”

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. (Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.)

Serving as pollinators and seed dispersers, birds have an important role in ecosystem function and their presence in restoration areas can be a measure of success for conservation efforts.

“The study results show the birds are responding positively to restoration efforts faster than anyone thought possible,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher and the study’s lead author Eben Paxton. “Birds are now in parts of the refuge where they weren’t found 10 to 20 years ago.”

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