Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Rises to 160 on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 160.

Mosquito BiteAs of December 17, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 4 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 7 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
5 Illness onset 12/7/15 to 12/9/15
Cases no longer infectious
155 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/06/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
160

Of the confirmed cases, 143 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
126 cases have been adults; 34 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/9/15.

As of today, a total of 627 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 16, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

UPS Worker in Hawaii Goes “Postal” – Tosses Holiday Packages Out of Back of Truck

A UPS Worker in Hawaii obviously was having a bad today.   The following was posted to YouTube with the following comment:

UPS WORKER loses his cool at work today. I hope braddah had a better day…

Hawaii State Accepting Grants-in-Aid Applications Starting Next Week

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Jill Tokuda and House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke announced that qualified nonprofit and other organizations will again be able to apply for State Grants-in-Aid (GIA) that may become available and will be under consideration during the 2016 Regular Session.

CapitalPrevious grants were appropriated to nonprofit and other organizations for various public purposes that were recognized as priorities and seen as complimentary to state government functions, including health, educational, workforce development, and social services and cultural and historical activities.

In order to allow the Legislature time to thoroughly review applications, the deadline to submit grant applications will be 4:30pm on January 22, 2016.  Last year, the Legislature awarded nearly $30 million in grants to non-profits across the state.

Information on the GIA process will be made available on the Legislature’s website (www.capitol.hawaii.gov) next week. Any questions, contact the Ways and Means Committee at 808-586-6800 and the Finance Committee at 808-586-6200.

2016 Waimea Ocean Film Festival Announces Lineup of Films

The action-packed 2016 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a stunning lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 1-8. The annual event opens January 1, with films playing simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i January 1-4. On January 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Waimea Ocean Film Festival 2016

Ocean Film brings over 50 films to the big screen this year—most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres—with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea, and island culture. Inspirational, thought-provoking films and those that shed light on who we are infuse the program, sharing the extraordinary.

Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Hokule`a: Proud Journey Home, filmed at the time of the 1985 voyage when Hokule‘a sailed throughout the Pacific, as far as New Zealand. This year, Hokule‘a left the Pacific Ocean for the first time, in a momentous sail from New Zealand, to Australia, Bali, Mauritius and finally Cape Town, South Africa. Voyagers will discuss the 2015 Worldwide Voyage (WWV), following the showing of this film, and throughout the festival.

The Voyager Exhibit, including the 8×13-foot world map developed as part of the festival to highlight the WWV route, opens at Kahilu Theatre with a blessing and ceremony 4 p.m. January 1. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival, with a presentation on wayfinding, using an interactive star compass guide and a full-dome star show on January 8 at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

For the surf line-up, Deeper features jaw dropping footage of big wave surfers Andrew Cotton, Garrett McNamara and Kealiʻi Mamala as they charge into the enormous swells pounding the European coastline in winter—from Nazaré in Portugal to Mullaghmore, Ireland. Haleiwa-raised Garrett McNamara, who holds the world record for the largest wave surfed, at 78 feet, joins the festival this year to answers questions following his film, Nazaré Calling.

Ocean Driven chronicles the life of South African big-wave surf champion Chris Bertish as he rises determinedly to the forefront of big wave surfing, becoming a pioneer of paddling into larger waves. A corporate keynote speaker inspiring others to tackle the impossible, Chris Bertish joins the festival this year to answer questions following the film and sign copies of his book, Stoked. The Fisherman’s Son shares the life of Ramon Navarro, winner of the Monster Drop award at The Eddie, with his own true Eddie Aikau story. Nine-time world bodyboard champion, waterman and Waimea resident Mike Stewart joins the festival this year to speak after the showing of Come Hell or High Water, in which he is featured.

Bud Browne Film Archives’ Gun Ho shares a window into surfing in the 60s. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, presents the first annual Bud Browne Surf Film Award during the festival January 4. And, marking the 125th year since his birth, KGMB’s Duke Kahanamoku: Hawaii’s Soul shares the life of Hawai‘i’s legendary waterman and hero.

A Sakada Story tells the tale of Filipino plantation worker Cipriano Erice, who immigrated to Hawai‘i in 1946 to work for Waialua Sugar Plantation, with O‘ahu-based filmmaker and former Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Maribel Apuye in attendance to answer questions. Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi, hosted by Jake Shimabukuro, tells the story of the Japanese immigrants who sang as they worked on Hawai‘i’s sugar plantations, creating a Japanese-American equivalent of “the blues.”

The Birth of Saké shares the story of what it takes to make world-class saké in the traditional way at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan, with filmmaker Erik Shirai in attendance. The Roots of ‘Ulu explores the importance of the breadfruit tree to Hawaiian culture, and its potential role as a food source, with John Antonelli, Matt Yamashita and Jerry Konanuit to answer questions.

Dr. Greg Stone, Ph.D., executive vice president of Conservation International, Oceans, and one of the world’s leading authorities on marine conservation policy and ocean health issues, speaks after the inaugural episode of Ocean Stories: Greg Stone, along with Ocean Stories producers Susan and Greg Goggin.

Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Stone began his work in the ocean deep-sea treasure hunting alongside Bermuda legend Teddy Tucker. He has since written some of the world’s most important texts on marine biology, helped establish the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, and been named a hero by “National Geographic” for his work. Dr. Stone also answers questions following Teddy Tucker: Adventure is My Life and Paradise Found: Phoenix Islands.

London filmmaker Tom Mustill brings a stunning BBC production that follows Mexican biologist Dr. Rodrigo Medellin, aka “The Bat Man of Mexico,” as he tracks endangered “Tequila” bats on their 1,000-mile migration to the U.S. border, along with How To Win the Grand National, produced by Oxford Scientific Films.

Tad Fettig, producer of an on-going PBS series E2, which shares solutions to energy issues, speaks following episodes on London-Price of Traffic, Paris-Vélo Liberté, Architecture 2030, Affordable Green Housing, Portland – Sense of Place and Harvesting the Wind. Along these lines, Containment asks the question as to whether we can contain some of the deadliest, longest-lasting substances known to man for 10,000 years, let alone for 240,000 years, when they will no longer be radioactive?

The Diplomat tells the remarkable story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke whose crowning achievement, the Dayton Peace Accords, brought an end to the war in Serbia and peace to Bosnia. Told through the perspective of his eldest son, David, who joins the festival to answer questions, The Diplomat takes a riveting look behind-the-scenes at international diplomacy, as it follows Holbrooke’s career from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

When Voices Meet is about South African musician Sharon Katz and educator Nonhlanhla Wanda, who risked everything to form a 500-voice multiracial student choir on Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, intent on helping lead the way for a peaceful transition to democracy. Sharon Katz and producer Marilyn Cohen join the festival, with guitar in hand, ready to share songs from the choir.

Dr. M. Sanjayan, an Emmy nominated news contributor and executive vice president for Conservation International, returns to the festival to share stories from his dialogue with E.O. Wilson, considered one of America’s greatest living thinkers, around the showing of Of Ants and Men. Sanjayan also shares a clip from his coverage for PBS of Big Blue Live, the first live television show featuring ocean wildlife.

Set in the waters of Alaska, Hawaiʻi and Tonga, the MacGillivray Freeman Films’ Humpback Whales provides an up-close look at how and why these whales communicate, sing, feed, breach, play, take care of their young and migrate nearly 10,000 miles each year.

Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America tells the story of this man and the birds that captivated him, and his work. Medicine of the Wolf shares the insight of “National Geographic” photographer Jim Brandenburg, from his study and work with wolves over the past 45 years.

Dr. Drew Harvell, Ph.D., Cornell University professor and curator of the Blaschka Marine Invertebrates collection, brings A Fragile Legacy, which visualizes the story of the 1885 Cornell University purchase of over 500 Blaschka Glass models of marine invertabrates for use in teaching marine biology. These exquisitely crafted models enabled study of delicate creatures that could not otherwise be documented or preserved. Forgotten, the collection is receiving new attention as we try to understand the changes occuring in the ocean.

Unbranded is the spectacular story of Texas cowboy Ben Masters, who recruits three friends and develops a plan to adopt, train and ride a string of wild mustangs 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada, through the heart of the American West.

Big Island-raised Alison Teal brings another episode from her Alison’s Adventures series. Returning to the island where her Naked and Afraid episode was filmed, Alison finds it covered with plastic trash. Realizing the trash must have washed ashore with the currents, and that it had been cleared prior to filming, Alison embarks on a quest to understand how to reduce the use of plastic overall, and repurpose what we do have into useful material. On the shortlist for an Oscar nomination, Meru provides an edge-of-your-seat account of a first ascent of the 21,000-foot Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in the Himalayas.

Art weaves its way throughout the 2016 festival. Bonnie Cherni offers classes in ocean-inspired origami January 1-4 at The Fairmont Orchid. Mollie Hustace, HPA faculty member and director of Isaacs Art Center, offers tours and discussion of art works 10 a.m. and noon January 4. Isaacs will also host a tribute to Mary Koski 11 a.m.-3 p.m. January 3.

Painter Sophie Twigg-Smith Teururai, granddaughter of noted artist William Twigg-Smith, presents a full exhibit of recent works at The Fairmont Orchid January 1-4 and at Four Seasons Resort January 5-8.

Tiffany’s Art Agency, founded by Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, offers an exhibit based around the book “Aloha Expressionism by Contemporary Hawaii Artists.” The display features the artwork of Kristie Kosmides, Timothy Allan Shafto, Marlene Louchheim, Kate & Will Jacobson and new works by Kathy Long at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in the Lloyd Sexton Gallery January 1-4 and at Four Seasons Resort, near the Ballroom where the festival takes place, January 5-8. Please contact the festival for details, info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

Book signing events for Aloha Expressionism, with these and other Hawai‘i Island artists represented in the book on hand, is 4 p.m. January 1 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and 4 p.m. January 7 at Four Seasons Resort.

Print-maker Caren Loebel-Fried shares an exhibit of 20 x 26 framed pieces and a demonstration on printmaking at The Fairmont Orchid January 1-4 and at Four Seasons Resort January 5-8. Loebel-Fried has published six books to date retelling Hawaiian legends with words and art.

Puako-based painter Christian Enns displays his work at the new Enns Gallery in the lobby at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and offers the chance to observe him in action to gain a sense of his process, 8 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. January 2-4 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Enns will is donating the painting he created during last year’s festival, which depicts the vantage point of the 18th hole at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. It will go to the highest bidder at the Waimea Ocean Film Festival Silent auction during the Four Seasons component of the event.

Continue reading

Cemetery Road Restoration Project Completed – Lava Removed From Road

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works is pleased to announce that the Cemetery Road Restoration project has been completed and the functionality of the original 12 foot one lane roadway has been restored.

Cemetery road1The reconstruction work of removing the lava associated with the October 25, 2014 Pu‘u O‘o Volcanic Eruption that crossed onto Cemetery Road and paving the 500-foot stretch of roadway was completed within the forty working day time frame.  The project also completed within the budget of $150,000 and 75 percent of the construction cost was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Cemetery Road2

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works is continually striving to improve the quality of service for the health and safety of the people of Hawai‘i Island and would like to thank the community for their patience, understanding and support throughout the restoration project.

3.9 Magnitude Earthquake in Volcano Area of the Big Island

A 3.9 magnitude earthquake was registered today in the Volcano area of the Big Island of Hawaii.

39 volcano2No tsunami was generated from this earthquake.

Dengue Fever Confirmed Cases Rises to 157 on the Big Island of Hawaii – Updated Map of Potential Risk Areas

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 4 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 157.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 16, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 140
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 157

Of the confirmed cases, 140 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
123 cases have been adults; 34 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/9/15.

As of today, a total of 615 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Health Posts Interim Administrative Rules for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) posted interim administrative rules for the medical marijuana dispensary licensing program today. The rules can be found at the DOH’s medical marijuana website health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana under “Dispensary Updates.”

Medical Marijauan Registry

The interim rules are effective immediately and will remain in effect until July 1, 2018, or until rules are adopted pursuant to chapter 91 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

According to Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler, “The interim rules were written first and foremost to effectively implement the medical marijuana dispensary law and get the dispensary system up and running. The rules have also been drafted to ensure patient safety, product safety and public safety, and prevent marketing to our keiki. This product is intended to be used for registered patients who need it for medical purposes and the rules are written specifically to accomplish that goal.”

The interim rules explain: the criteria and process for awarding dispensary licenses; security requirements; the standards for certifying laboratories that will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the marijuana or manufactured marijuana products distributed at the retail dispensing locations; requirements for operating the dispensaries, including tracking each dispensary’s inventory of products from seed to sale or disposal; and other requirements.

To answer questions from potential applicants and the general public, DOH will post a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) document on the medical marijuana website.

Anyone who has questions about the rules should send them in an email to DOH.MedMarijuanaDispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

The FAQ document will be updated with new questions and answers as often as possible. This updated FAQ document will be the sole method DOH uses to answer questions from the public so that the process for providing this information is as fair and transparent as possible.

The medical marijuana dispensary law, chapter 329D, HRS, allows DOH to award a total of eight licenses initially: three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations. The initial open application period for licensing begins Jan. 12, 2016 and closes on Jan. 29, 2016.

Department of Health Releases Interim Assessment of Response to Dengue Outbreak on Island of Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is releasing the Interim Assessment of the Response to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii provided to the State and County of Hawaii by Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Petersen’s assessment of current response efforts was conducted at the request of the State and County. The assessment is posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2015/12/CDC-Hawaii-assessment_final.pdf

Click to read

Click to read

“We thank Dr. Petersen and the CDC team that have been working with us on this dengue outbreak and their work on the interim assessment,” said Health Director Virginia Pressler, M.D. “The assessment moves us forward, providing a frank evaluation and recommendations. Clearly this outbreak is about more than the state health department, the county, or CDC –it’s about all of us. We must all fight the bite if we are to break the cycle of infection and protect ourselves.”

According to the 10-page report, the response by DOH to the ongoing outbreak has been timely, well considered, and appropriate. Coordination between State and County is excellent, and operations within Hawaii County are proceeding under an effective incident command structure at the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

All facets of a public health response to a dengue outbreak have been addressed adequately: community outreach, surveillance, diagnostic testing, medical care, and vector control. The report identifies two critical deficiencies that should be urgently addressed: communications and medical entomologic (entomology is the study of insects) capabilities.  “Communications capacity at the State Department of Health is inadequate,” notes Petersen.

He adds that the dengue outbreak overwhelmed the one full-time communications professional at DOH. A public relations firm was hired and CDC communications experts were brought in to assist with the ongoing outbreak.

Longer-term, hiring additional communications personnel is recommended.  Regarding entomologic capabilities the report states that the response to the outbreak has been hampered by a “lack of technical and general staffing capacity at the Department of Health”.

The report cautions that introductions of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya are likely and will require entomologic expertise that does not currently exist in DOH. The report recommends restoring entomologic capacity lost in the DOH.

The report addresses both laboratory testing and the epidemiology capacities, highlighting a strong state lab capacity and stating the current laboratory testing protocols are state of the art and turn-around of results rapid. The report determined that the epidemiological response was timely and well considered but warns that current resources are taxed, and there is little surge capacity if another significant health event arises in the state.

Dr. Lyle Petersen and Hawaii County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliviera

Dr. Lyle Petersen and Hawaii County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira

The report concludes that the coordination of response efforts between DOH and county offices of Civil Defense, Fire, Parks & Recreation, and Public Works has been extremely well organized and serves as a model for others.

Introducing Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 83rd Recruit Class

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 83rd Recruit Class was recognized Tuesday (December 15) during ceremonies held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

83rd Recruit Class—Back Row: Terence G. Scanlan Jr., Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Adam M. K. Cho, Jason W. K. Rabang, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Sheldon M. Adviento, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Conrad S. K. Iranon Front Row: Chad S. P. Sato, Tristin C. K. Allen, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Christopher R. Barto, Wilson A. Gani, Dayson K. Taniguchi, Bryson K. Pilor

83rd Recruit Class—Back Row: Terence G. Scanlan Jr., Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Adam M. K. Cho, Jason W. K. Rabang, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Sheldon M. Adviento, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Conrad S. K. Iranon Front Row: Chad S. P. Sato, Tristin C. K. Allen, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Christopher R. Barto, Wilson A. Gani, Dayson K. Taniguchi, Bryson K. Pilor (Click to Enlarge)

The police recruits, who just completed six months of intensive training, will undergo four months of on-the-job field training with veteran police officers before they are qualified to work alone. Class President Adam M.K. Cho said the recruits built a strong bond over the course of their training. They chose “Imua e nā ikaika Loa,” which means “The mighty push forward,” as their class motto. “This motto represents us with our motivation and drive for whatever was thrown our way,” Cho said.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, friends or family members pinned new police badges on each police recruit. Chief Harry Kubojiri described the badge as a symbol of public trust. “Keep it always shining as an example of your inner self,” he said.

Mayor Billy Kenoi noted that of the 2,500 county employees, only 400 are presented with a gun, a badge and the power to make arrests. With that, he said, comes “incredible responsibility.”

Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra emphasized the importance of credibility, humility, courtesy, objectivity, awareness that the public is watching, expectation of the unexpected, and common sense.

Police Commissioner Robert Gomes, a retired police officer who continues working as a reserve officer, told the recruits it is “a great honor” to get into the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

The keynote speaker was Deputy Prosecutor Ricky Roy Damerville. He stressed that a member of the public who comes into contact with any police officer is a “future juror” who can form an opinion about police officers as a group. “Being polite pays off,” he said.

During the ceremony, three officers received special recognition for excellence. They were Terence G. Scanlan Jr., who received the academic award, Christopher R. Barto, who received the firearms award, and Bryson K. Pilor, who received the physical fitness award.

The other members of the 83rd Recruit Class are Sheldon M. Adviento, Tristin C. K. Allen, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Wilson A. Gani, Conrad S. K. Iranon, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Jason W. K. Rabang, Chad S. P. Sato, and Dayson K. Taniguchi.

4 More Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii – 153 Total Confirmed

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 4 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 153.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 15, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 136
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 153

Of the confirmed cases, 136 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
120 cases have been adults; 33 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/8/15.

As of today, a total of 571 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 9, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE.  (Updated December 2, 2015)

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hawaii Ranked in Bottom Five States for Economic Freedom

An extensive survey of economic freedom in the United States, Canada, and Mexico shows Hawaii as one of the five worst performing U.S. states, tied for 46th place with New Mexico. The report, Economic Freedom of North America, is published by the Fraser Institute and co-published by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the Aloha state’s free market think-tank.
economic freedomThe comparative survey of economic freedom is based on ten different factors in the areas of government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom. Overall, the report notes that economic freedom has been declining in North America as further constraints are added to the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere. The localities with the best scores on the Index are Canadian, with New Hampshire coming in as the most economically free state.

Placement on the Index not only indicates comparative economic freedom in a region, but also economic success. The report notes a positive correlation between economic freedom and economic growth, per-capital size of the economy, and entrepreneurial activity. Per capita income also reflected the position on the Index, with the least free quartile having a average per-capita income nearly 8% below the national average, while the most-free quartile was almost 7% above it.

“Hawaii’s abysmal showing as one of the least economically free states in the U.S. is no surprise to those of us who have been advocating for change in the state,” said Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “It is well-known that the burdensome regulation and taxation schemes of our state discourage investment and entrepreneurship–and are especially unwelcoming to small business.”

“With the legislative session nearly upon us, it is critical that we address the lack of economic freedom with new policies based on best practices and a focus on real reform,” Dr. Akina continued. “In the next month, the Grassroot Institute will be hosting a panel where we will discuss the necessary steps to making our state more economically free and in which we will release a special Hawaii supplement to the EFNA report. We will, of course, be inviting all legislators to join us for that event and we hope they will take advantage to learn more about the policies that can turn around the state’s economic performance.”

The Economic Freedom of North America can be viewed at:  http://www.freetheworld.com/efna.html

Updated Map Pinpoints Further Big Island of Hawaii Dengue Cases

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Monday, December 14th at 2:45 PM.

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak. As of 1:00 PM today the Department of Health had reported three additional confirmed cases since Friday, December 11th and bringing the total number of confirmed cases to date to 149. These cases include 132 residents and 17 visitors.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hawaii Community Foundation Makes Available $4.5 Million in Scholarships

The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) invites applications for post-secondary student scholarships, making available in excess of $4.5 million through more than 200 scholarship funds to benefit Hawaii residents. A single application, which must be submitted online, will match high school seniors and college students to all the scholarships that they are eligible to receive.

Hawaii Community Foundation

“There is a greater need than ever for financial assistance to enable higher education in Hawaii, empowering students to achieve their dreams,” said Kelvin Taketa, president & CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation. “Owing to the generosity of our donor community, we are able to offer scholarships to make it possible for thousands of students to take the next step toward reaching their full potential.”

To make the application process easy, HCF offers a portal through its website at www.HawaiiCommunityFoundation.org/scholarships that allows applicants to search available scholarships, fill out and save their application, and track their progress.

Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria defined by the donor when the fund is established, and may require additional questions or documentation. General criteria that apply to most scholarships include:

  • Residence in the state of Hawaii
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Attendance at an accredited two- or four-year college or university within the United States as either an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Status as full-time student as determined by the institution (typically 12 credits undergraduate; 9 credits graduate)
  • Minimum 2.7 GPA (unless otherwise stated)

Applications submitted by the early deadline of January 29, 2016 will be reviewed to ensure that all required supplementary materials are valid and have been properly submitted. The final deadline for applications is February 18, 2016 at 4:00pm HST.

In 2014, HCF distributed over $4.5 million in scholarships to deserving students, making it the third largest private provider of post-secondary scholarships in Hawaii.

Hawaii State Department of Health Completes More Than 10,000 Inspections of Food Service Establishments

Consumers can have greater peace of mind this holiday season. The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Sanitation Branch, which launched inspections of food establishments with a color-coded placard system in July 2014, recently completed inspections of virtually all of Hawaii’s more than 10,000 food establishments statewide to ensure they are in compliance with the rules of the state’s food safety code.

This covered about 6,000 such establishments on Oahu, 1,800 on Hawaii Island, 1,700 in Maui County, and 690 on Kauai. The food code requires inspections of restaurants, hotels, caterers, food warehouses, markets, convenience stores, lunch wagons, push carts, and institutional kitchens for healthcare facilities, preschools, elementary schools, adult and child day care centers, and prisons.

A total of 45 Hawaii Department of Health inspectors completed the inspections. On Oahu, there are currently 30 Hawaii Department of Health inspectors in the field; seven on Hawaii Island; four for Maui County; and three on Kauai.Health Department Placard“Consumers now look for the green placards posted as validation that their favorite eating spots are protected from foodborne illnesses and other health hazards,” said Peter Oshiro, who oversees the Hawaii Department of Health’s inspection program. “The good news is that the majority of Hawaii’s establishments are in compliance with the state’s food safety code.”

Green placards are issued for those establishments with no more than one critical violation that must be corrected at the time of inspection; yellow cards are issued to those with two or more critical violations; and red placards are used for those food establishments that need to be immediately closed because they pose an imminent health hazard to the community.

Of all the establishments that were inspected since the program began, the Hawaii Department of Health has issued only three red placards with monetary fines – all on Oahu – that required the suspension of their permit and were ordered to temporarily close their operations.

The Department of Health issued 2,105 yellow placards or conditional passes that require the establishments to address violations. “We’ve found that those establishments that received yellow placards are motivated to address any shortcomings and change their practices to come into compliance,” Oshiro said. “The average time for corrections is two to three days.”

“There has been a voluntary compliance rate of over 99.8% for those food facilities that were issued a yellow placard. This confirms that the placarding program has been a huge success in terms of influencing rapid and voluntary correction of food safety violations,” Oshiro said.

“The Department of Health has long recognized that litigating solutions through permit suspensions and the levying of fines is counter-productive and time consuming when compared with voluntary compliance, which is truly a win-win-win outcome for the regulatory agency, the food facilities, and most importantly public health, by reducing the public’s exposure to food illness risk factors,” Oshiro added.

Oshiro said there may be some mobile food service establishments or others that have not yet been inspected. If the public does not see a placard at an eatery, they are encouraged to inform the Hawaii Department of Health so that an inspection can be scheduled at that site. The public can notify the Department of Health about these sites at 586-8000.

There is more good news: The online portal that will allow the public to access the inspection results is targeted to be operational in the first quarter of 2016. The system, which also allows food establishments to apply and pay for permits, is also scheduled to be ready in the new year. These functions are now being tested before they are officially launched in 2016, Oshiro said.

Castle House or Puppy Mill – Resident Threatens to Release 30 Dogs in Seaview

The “Castle House” in the Kalapana-Seaview area of the Big Island has had their share of problems in the last few years.

Many years ago I blogged about the illegal scam they were running by inviting folks to “Pay $100 to write an Essay” to possibly win a brand new house.  That scam pretty much fizzled out with no one winning a house and a bunch of folks out $100.00.

Castle House
Now a resident that is staying at the Castle House has threatened to release approximately 30 dogs that apparently are staying at the Castle House into the Seaview area if folks don’t start to adopt them.

Castle House resident Morgan Birdwell posted the following on Facebook:

“Hey want a puppy or 5 with great genetics? Come to the Castle we have about thirty of them!”

MorganThe Facebook post immediately drew the attention of one person who posted:

That is a joke right?

The post also caught Kalapana Seaview Neighborhood Watch member Mark Hinshaw’s attention and I’ll just post what was said between the two of them:

Mark Hinshaw Interesting info for the Humane Society….

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell No this please help these puppies find a home or they will be free range puppies running around seaview

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Morgan, are you saying the Castle has 30 puppies that are going to be released as “free range puppies running around Seaview” if you can not adopt them out?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell They’ll replace all your chickens

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Dogs have more meat than chickens anyways

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw That is about as irresponsible as one could be. Call either the humane society or the other animal shelter. I will be contacting Humane Society tomorrow morning and advising them that you intend on releasing 30 puppies that have not be fixed into our community. Thanks for the heads up.

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell You really want all these. Puppies to be crammed into one cage there I’m trying to find good homes for them and they’re free so what’s the problem

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw Because you advised that unless these puppies are adopted that “they will be free range puppies running around seaview”

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Nothing like a pack of hungry dogs running around. #CujoAtTheCastle

Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Morgan Birdwell do you live at the castle? what’s the rent? How many folks are staying there now? How many runaways are there?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell Like five people live there right now and no runaways

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker What’s the rent?

Morgan Birdwell
Morgan Birdwell im tired of all these questions good night

Damon Tucker
Damon Tucker Yep… people get tired of being questioned when they know that they are involved in doing something wrong. Mark Hinshaw you call the Humane Society yet?

3 More Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 149.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 14, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 132
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 149

Of the confirmed cases, 132 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
116 cases have been adults; 33 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/7/15.

As of today, a total of 571 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 9, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE.  (Updated December 2, 2015)

U-Haul Opens First Store on Hawaii’s Big Island

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul has made a substantial commitment to meeting the moving and storage needs of Hawaiian residents, opening its first store on the Big Island and its third store in the Aloha State.

U-Haul Moving at Kailua-Kona at 74-5484 Kaiwi St. is located in the Old Industrial Park, previously called Gold Coast Business Centers. U-Haul closed on the property in December 2014 and opened for business last month.

“We have two U-Haul store locations on Oahu, and we’re excited to be able to offer our products and services on the Big Island at our new Kailua-Kona location,” U-Haul area district vice president Doug McIntier said.

The highlight of the store, once build-out plans and renovations are completed, will be the 164 climate-controlled indoor storage units. Air conditioning with be pumped into the units throughout the facility to keep your possessions cool at a low cost – a luxury that is difficult to find on the Big Island.

“We’re one of only two locations in Kona that will offer climate-controlled storage,” U-Haul Company of Hawaii president Kaleo Alau said. “From everyone we’ve talked to, this is a big deal. People have to drive miles and miles to find climate-controlled storage.”

Five buildings are included in the acquisition. Multiple restaurants and bars, retailers and other tenants will share the property with U-Haul. The primary building was last occupied by a coat upholstery shop and a mechanic business.

General manager Cerise Huihui and her team are pleased to currently offer truck and trailer rentals, towing equipment, boxes and moving supplies and U-Box portable moving and self-storage containers. There are 15 U-Haul trucks available at the facility. A hitch bay will be added for easy installations.

It’s a huge undertaking to open a store in Hawaii since each piece of U-Haul equipment is shipped from the mainland to Oahu by barge – and shipped again if its destination is another island. U-Haul boasts 246 box trucks, pickup trucks and cargo vans across the state. U-Haul is moving toward a goal of 400 or more trucks in Hawaii one day, McIntier added.

The Kailua-Kona store adds to U-Haul Company’s expanding presence in Hawaii. The two Honolulu stores, along with the neighborhood dealer locations and self-storage affiliates on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and the Big Island, give U-Haul 28 locations statewide.

“Our new store has a wonderful staff,” McIntier said. “Cerise is an outstanding manager who worked for a huge storage facility on the island and we brought her to U-Haul.”

“I’m very excited and thankful U-Haul is here in Kailua-Kona,” Huihui noted. “People are excited. The community has given welcoming responses to our surveys, knowing they can count on a family-owned business with local Aloha.”

The acquisition of U-Haul Moving & Storage of Kailua-Kona was driven by U-Haul Company’s Corporate Sustainability initiatives: U-Haul® supports infill development to help local communities lower their carbon footprint. Our adaptive reuse of existing buildings reduces the amount of energy and resources required for new-construction materials and helps cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.

Contact U-Haul Moving at Kailua-Kona at (808) 374-2049 or visit the store. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-3p.m. Sunday. Reserve equipment online and find additional locations at uhaul.com or contact U-Haul Reservations at 1-800-GO-UHAUL.

Waimea Cherry Blossom Fest Taps Two Honorees

The 22nd Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 6 honors long-time contributing festival organizations Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club and the Waimea Arts Council; both community groups are celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2016.  These busy, productive organizations will each be recognized at the festival’s opening ceremony. Time is 9 a.m. on the entertainment stage at the rear of Parker Ranch Center.

Club members (seated) Ruth Dick and Bob Abdy offer plant advice help an attendee with a bonsai plant during last year’s Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival.  Photo courtesy Waimea Bonyu Kai

Club members (seated) Ruth Dick and Bob Abdy offer plant advice help an attendee with a bonsai plant during last year’s Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival. Photo courtesy Waimea Bonyu Kai

Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club

The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club celebrates its 60th year in 2016. The club has a long and somewhat special relationship with the Cherry Blossom Festival as the club’s longtime sensei (teacher), the late Isami Ishihara, propagated the cherry trees planted in Church Row Park that eventually became the signature element for the annual festival. The club has participated in all festivals.

Bonyu Kai means “friendship club” and some of the club’s current members have been active members for over two decades and pass along what they learned from Mr. Ishihara throughout the years to newer members at meetings and events.

The practice of bonsai has a long tradition grounded both in artistic form and science. Club President Bob Male explains, “It is a continuous sharing and learning experience about the relationship and interaction we humans have with not only the plant kingdom, but all other elements of our environment (including other people).”

Club members have bonsai plants that range in age from a few years to more than 50. Many of the plants can be traced back to other bonsai masters, while the plants change every year due to their ongoing relationship with the environment and the perspective and care of their current trainer.

The Waimea Bonyu Kai Bonsai Club functions as a dynamic artistic, scientific, social experience that club members continue to embrace and practice. Club membership is open to all; for info email WaimeaBonsai@gmail.com.

Waimea Arts Council

Marking its 40th year, the Waimea Arts Council (WAC) is one of the state’s oldest arts organizations and made up of North Hawai‘i residents from all walks of life who are supportive of the arts: educators, business owners and artists. The all-volunteer council was founded in 1974 and designated a non-profit organization in 1978. WAC sponsors a variety of programs, exhibits and visual arts education, plus supports local artists with services.

The Firehouse Gallery is the most visual project of the Waimea Arts Council. Housed in South Kohala’s former fire engine garage and bunkhouse, the gallery is strategically located in the heart of Waimea at the Historic Corner where Mamalahoa Highway 19 becomes Highway 190 at Lindsey Road.

With exhibits changing monthly, The Firehouse Gallery serves as a venue for Big Island artists by providing educational and creative opportunities for sharing work. Artists donate a percentage of any sales to the organization. Staffed by artists and local volunteers, the gallery offers a variety of mixed media from watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings to glass, woodwork, photography and jewelry.

On of the original participants of the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, the gallery annually presents a cherry blossom-themed art display and invites attendees of all ages to get creative with chalk on the sidewalks winding through Waimea’s Historic Corner.

Regular hours of gallery operation are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and Sunday, plus 9 a.m-3 p.m. Saturday. Visit www.waimeaartscouncil.org.

The Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival annually celebrates the Japanese tradition of viewing the season’s first blooms, called “hanami,” which literally translates to hana, “flower” and mi, “look.” Held the first Saturday of February, the festival includes a variety of activities 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations sprawling from Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

Spend the day to experience an all-day lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, fun mochi pounding, plus a host of colorful craft fairs, a large quilt show and food booths. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. For info, 808-961-8706.

TripAdvisor Ranks Kailua-Kona as One of the Top Cities on the Rise

A travel site named Kailua-Kona as one of the top cities “on the rise” to visit in the United States this year.

Kailua-Kona was ranked as number 10 in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice list of “Top Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

Click to view the other destinations

Click to view the other destinations

TripAdvisor says Kailua-Kona “Coffee drinkers will recognize Kona as the source of some of the best beans in the world. Get your blood pumping with a walk along the “Royal Footsteps” waterfront stretch of Alii Drive, or take stargazing to the next level with a nighttime visit to the summit of Mauna Kea. Waterfalls, volcanoes, and soft black sands are just some of the natural features that make Kailua unique. Shimmy your hips at a hula-filled luau, or get an eyeful of native history at the Kamakahonu compound.”

Gatlinburg, Tenn., Orange Beach, Alabama and Destin, Florida were the top three on the list.