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“Marvel’s Inhumans,” Boosting Hawaii’s Economy by Increasing Jobs for Residents

The State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu are officially part of the Marvel Universe, as the newest Marvel television series, “Marvel’s Inhumans,” for ABC launches a new model in television history.  For the first time ever, a version of the first two episodes, produced in conjunction with ABC Studios and shot entirely with IMAX® cameras, will premiere exclusively in IMAX® theatres for a two-week window beginning Sept. 1, 2017. ABC plans to then premiere the weekly series in the fall, with additional exclusive content that can only be seen on the network. The project is estimated to employ 150 local residents and utilize the services of dozens of local businesses, as part of the team that will bring this long-anticipated series to life.

“We are thrilled that Disney|ABC and Marvel have made the decision to film in Hawaii, which will not only create jobs and contribute to our local economy, but showcase the need to expand our infrastructure in the creative and film sectors,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “The filming of this unique and innovative television project here in Hawaii is the perfect complement to our overall growth strategy, which includes diversifying our economy by growing our creative sector.”

Key to the decision to choose Hawaii as the location, the production required a large studio space, underscoring the need for the State of Hawaii to expand stages to increase production opportunities. With the Hawaii Film Studio being occupied with Hawaii 5-0, DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division facilitated a licensing agreement with Navy Region Hawaii and Navy Facilities Engineering Command to secure the former military warehouse facilities for the production of “Marvel’s Inhumans.” The space was transformed into a complete studio production lot in West Oahu. The collaboration between agencies to secure this project extends to City and County of Honolulu, Honolulu Film Office, the U.S. Navy and National Guard.

The production hired locally based crew members, from camera to art departments, who have worked in entry-level positions on past productions, including ABC’s “Lost,” and now qualify to move up the ladder to a higher position.

“It is extremely gratifying to see these opportunities for Hawaii’s stellar professional crew base, as well as seeing the production open doors to new interns who want to hone their skills in the media industries,” said Georja Skinner, division chief for DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division, which oversees the Hawaii Film Office operations. “Marvel’s Inhumans” is a critical milestone in our media industry development, as it showcases the need for future infrastructure and workforce development to grow the industry statewide.”

Honolulu Film Commissioner Walea Constantinau is enthusiastic about what this means for the City & County of Honolulu. “We are thrilled to be a part of the Marvel universe and an integral part of such a groundbreaking show.  Oahu has been at the forefront of innovative television from being the first place to host a show being shot entirely on location, the original ‘Hawaii Five-0,’ and the home to a series credited with bringing drama back to television, ‘Lost.’  This new series takes it to another level and we are excited to be part of television history in the making.  The immediate economic boost and long term film tourism impacts will greatly benefit our community.”

“With the unique landscape and backdrop, Hawaii is an ideal place to film this innovative series,” said Mary Ann Hughes, vice president of film and television production planning for Walt Disney Studios.  “The location and incentives were key factors in our decision to bring this new series to the Aloha State.”

“Working in Hawaii is like no place else on Earth. The incredible locations, from the beaches to the city to historical landmarks like Diamond Head, our production has been treated to a visual feast. The people, the culture, the food, the weather — they all add to what makes “Marvel’s Inhumans” a unique storytelling experience. Aloha!”
said Jeph Loeb, executive producer and head of Marvel Television.

The Inhumans are a race of superhumans with diverse and singularly unique powers.  The characters were first introduced in Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1965. Since that time, they have grown in prominence and become some of the most popular and iconic characters in the Marvel Universe. “Marvel’s Inhumans” will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.

“Marvel’s Inhumans” is executive produced by Scott Buck (“Dexter,” “Marvel’s Iron Fist”) along with Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage”) and Jim Chory (“Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage”) with Buck serving as showrunner.  Roel Reine (“The Delivery,” “Black Sails”) will direct the first two episodes. This series is a Marvel and IMAX project and is co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Studios.

About Creative Industries Division (cid.hawaii.gov) and Hawaii Film Office (filmoffice.hawaii.gov)

The Creative Industries Division (CID), Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), is the State’s lead agency focused on strengthening, advocating and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s creative clusters. Comprised of the Hawaii Film Office (HFO) and the Arts and Culture Development Branch (ACDB), CID acts as a business advocate supporting workforce, policy and infrastructure development. Since 1978 the Hawaii Film Office has served as the central point of contact for all film production, administering the production tax credit program for film, facilitates that statewide film permitting program, and runs the Hawaii Film Studio at Diamond Head, the only state owned and operated facility of its kind in the country.

About the Honolulu Film Office (www.filmhonolulu.com)

Established in 1993, the Honolulu Film Office is a part of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development team, situated in the Office of the Managing Director.  The Honolulu Film Office, under the direction of its founding Film Commissioner Walea Constantinau, is dedicated to assisting with the development and growth of the film industry on Oahu; marketing Oahu as a premiere on-location destination to the global film community; is the one-stop shop for film inquiries and permitting for City and County of Honolulu jurisdictions; and works closely with the Oahu Visitors Bureau and tourism partners on Destination Marketing Through Film initiatives.

Kona Family Fun Day Celebrated

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Kona.  The Kona Family Fun Day, was an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.  Over 15 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities.  In true style, BISAC had carnival games, bouncers, giveaways, family activities, an arm wrestling exhibition, and lots of good tasting food.  Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive change and helps individuals and their families reclaim their lives.  The Kona Family Fun Day was made possible by Hawaii County Council members: Karen Eoff, Maile David, and Dru Kanuha.  “This event was very successful and we will continue to provide these types of outreach events in the future” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.  “Our next annual event, Summer Jam is scheduled for July 28-29th and we hope to see you all there.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health.  They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Hawaii Supreme Court Special Session in Honor of the Late James S. Burns

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court will convene in special session to honor the late James S. Burns, former Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, on:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
4:00 p.m.
Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, Second Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi  96813

Chief Judge James Burns

The special session is anticipated to last approximately one hour, and will include remarks from representatives of the Judiciary and the legal community.

This event is open to the public.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on President’s Repeal of Clean Energy, Environment Protections

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order rolling back progress to fight climate change and promote clean energy nationwide:

“In light of President Trump’s Executive Order paving the path for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, and slashing funding for the EPA by nearly one-third, the consequence of today’s actions on our environment and precious water resources are especially concerning. Unless we make a concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions, invest in clean energy, create green jobs, and improve our air and water quality, we are moving backwards, at a time when our planet simply cannot afford for us to do so. In spite of this action today, I have no doubt that Hawaiʻi will continue to lead the nation in renewable energy production. We must continue investing in renewable energy, moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels, and moving toward our goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.”

Coast Guard Establishes Temporary Safety Zone in Vicinity of Active Kilauea Lava Flow

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawai’i, Tuesday.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8 a.m. Sept. 28.  Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey recommend 300 meters as the minimum safe distance to avoid hazards from the lava flow.

The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public. As long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur.  These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted.

According to the HVO, large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.  Based on a review of nearly 30 years of delta collapse and ejecta distance observations in HVO records, a radius of 300 meters was determined as a reasonable minimum high hazard zone around a point of ocean entry.

A Broadcast Notice to Mariners has been issued via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the safety zone. Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

To view documents in the Federal Register mentioned in this release, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0172 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. It may take up to five days for documents to publish in the Federal Register, once published public comments may be submitted for a period of 60 days.

The Coast Guard is also issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to establish a permanent Safety Zone for this region. We solicit feedback from the public on this rule making process. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0234 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

Written Comments: Written public comments will be accepted on or before 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2017, via http://www.regulations.gov. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically; however, written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

Oral Comments: The Coast Guard will provide the public an opportunity to make oral comments by holding a public meeting on May 08, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi St. #7, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

20-Year-Old Woman Dies Following Two-Vehicle Crash on Highway 270

A 20-year-old Paʻauilo woman died following a two-vehicle crash Monday night (March 27) on Highway 270 just South of the 13 mile marker.

Makaylyn Kalani

She was identified as Makaylyn Kalani.

Responding to a 8:40 p.m. call Monday evening, police determined that a 2008 Honda four-door sedan operated by Kalani had been traveling North on Highway 270 near the 13 mile marker when it crossed left of center of the roadway and collided head on with a 2009 Toyota pickup truck that was traveling south.

The occupants of the Toyota, a 24-year-old man and a 19-year-old women, both of Kohala, were taken to the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Kalani was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. Tuesday (March 28).

Police believe speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the 7th traffic fatality this year compared to five at this time last year.

Annual Waimea College Fair – April 6th

Hawaii Preparatory Academy will host the annual Waimea College Fair sponsored by the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, in the schoolʻs Castle Gym.  The event is free and is designed for all Waimea area students interested in pursuing higher education opportunities.

This yearʻs program will feature 80 colleges, including all colleges and universities within the state of Hawaii.  Other colleges represented include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Dartmouth College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Colorado State University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Oregon
  • West Point

A general advising and financial aid center will be available to students and their families to answer specific questions regarding the college admission process and financial aid.

For more information, please visit the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling website at www.hawaiiacac.org, or email HawaiiACAC@gmail.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces Hawaiʻi Students Nominated to Military Service Academies

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the names and photos of her nominations to the U.S. Military Service Academies for classes entering Summer 2017.  After an exhaustive application and interview process, she nominated twenty-two students from across Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. Their applications are now being considered for final selection by the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Air Force Academy.

“Across Hawaiʻi, high school seniors will soon begin gearing up for graduation, summer plans, and either beginning college, serving in our military, or entering the work force. A select few will be enrolling in one of the U.S. Military Service Academies, and I’ve had the privilege and great responsibility of nominating twenty-two phenomenal applicants to represent our Aloha State in service to our country.  I wish each of these nominees the very best in the final weeks of the selection process and in their promising futures,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

The nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated. Nomination does not guarantee an appointment. The honor of attending a Military Service Academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. More information about the nominations process is available here.  

The following students from Hawaii’s Second Congressional District were nominated by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to the corresponding military academy / academies below (photo available for download by clicking the nominee’s name).

HAWAIʻI ISLAND RESIDENTS

KAUAʻI RESIDENTS

MAUI RESIDENTS

OʻAHU RESIDENTS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Commits Funds to Protect Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Stilt

The Department of the Interior announced that through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) more than $3.74 million is being committed to nine projects on 12 national wildlife refuges across 12 states to help recover some of the nation’s most at-risk species on or near national wildlife refuges.

Hawaiian Coot (Photo by Dick Daniels http://carolinabirds.org/)

“We are targeting our work where it will do the most good for America’s resources,” said FWS Acting Director Jim Kurth. “This initiative is a unique way to engage in conservation work with states and partners, giving the taxpayer a good return on investment.”

Species to benefit from CRI funding include the Miami blue butterfly, ocelots, Puritan tiger beetles, masked bobwhite and spectacled eiders.

Since 2013, FWS has funded 66 projects for nearly $27 million through the CRI. Other species that have benefited include the Oregon chub, the first fish in the nation to be taken off the endangered species list; Sonoran pronghorn; dusky gopher frog; and red-cockaded woodpecker. These projects often provide conservation benefits to other imperiled species and encourage partnerships with states and private groups.

Project Details:

Hawaiian Stilt

Pacific Region
Protect Two Endangered Hawaiian Waterbirds and Core Wetland Habitats at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will establish long-lasting protections for two endangered birds, the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt, against predators and ungulates and create new habitat, resulting in a large-scale restoration of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a critically important wetland habitat in Hawaii.

Enhance the Conservation Status of Spalding’s Catchfly
A project team will establish five additional viable subpopulations of 500 individual threatened Spalding’s catchfly on protected habitat at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington and three other partner and privately-owned locations within the Channeled Scablands and Palouse Prairie regions in Washington and Idaho.

Southwest Region
Protect Endangered Species Corridors in the Rio Grande Valley

Staff at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas will work with partners to acquire a 400-acre conservation easement to expand habitat between the refuge and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge for the endangered ocelot. The increased habitat will also aid the endangered northern aplomado falcon.

Establish Second Captive Breeding Population of Masked Bobwhite Quail in North America
A project team will expand the endangered masked bobwhite population by creating a captive population in a rearing facility at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona and establish a second captive population and biosecurity program at Sutton Avian Research Center.

Southeast Region
Protect and Enhance Watercress Darter Habitat at Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will maintain the current pool habitats on Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama for the endangered watercress darter to improve migration and genetic diversity, promote additional aquatic habitats on the refuge, and monitor restored and developed habitats. They will also remove a failing water control structure, promote connectivity for fish passage between pools, and enhance habitats downstream or adjacent to the pools.

Habitat Restoration through Prescribed Fire at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge for 11 Listed Plant Species and the Florida Scrub Jay
A project team will restore fire-suppressed scrub and sandhill habitat to enhance populations of 11 listed plant species and the endangered Florida scrub jay at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. In particular, the staff will augment the only protected population of endangered Garrett’s mint through seed collection and strategic dispersal, which will significantly increase the population.

Restore Populations of the Critically Endangered Miami Blue Butterfly
A project team will establish new viable populations of the endangered Miami blue butterfly over a much larger geographic range in south Florida, including on National Key Deer Refuge, Great Heron National Wildlife Refuge, and local state parks.

Northeast Region
Puritan Tiger Beetle Habitat Enhancement and Population Stabilization in the Connecticut River Watershed

Two new viable subpopulations of the threatened Puritan tiger beetle will be established by a project team from Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on state-owned lands in New Hampshire and Vermont, within the Connecticut River watershed. The project will optimize a captive rearing protocol, enabling the beetle to be reared in the lab and translocated to protected habitat sites.

Alaska Region
Estimate Global Abundance and Evaluate Changes in At-Sea Distribution of Threatened Spectacled Eiders.

A project team will estimate the global population of threatened spectacled eiders as well as evaluate changes in distribution at marine molting, staging, and wintering areas, including in Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The team will also evaluate changes in non-breeding distribution of adult females captured on the refuge breeding area.

For more information on the 2017 projects and those in previous years, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/whm/cri/.

Nainoa Thompson Receives Explorers Club Medal, the Most Prestigious Recognition in Exploration

Navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson was honored this evening with the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, the most prestigious recognition in exploration. The award was presented to Thompson at the 113th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at Ellis Island in New York City.  The medal is awarded annually to select individuals for their extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity.

2017 Explorers Club Medal winner Nainoa Thompson with ocean explorer, Sylvia Earle.

Thompson was recognized for his historic work to revive and perpetuate Polynesian wayfinding and for leading the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. Thompson has dedicated his life to teaching the art and values of wayfinding to generations of navigators throughout Polynesia and from across the globe. He was the first Native Hawaiian to practice long-distance wayfinding since the 14th century and consequently inspired a voyaging renaissance throughout the Pacific.

Today, Hokulea is completing the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a journey to inspire communities to care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments for a more sustainable future. To date, Hokulea has sailed over 31,000 nautical miles around the world.

Hokulea is currently on her way to the Marquesas Islands. The canoe’s last stop will be in Tahiti where she will meet up with her sister canoe, Hikianalia and sail back to Hawaii together on the final leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

The Explorers Club also honored Hokulea at a special Presidential Dinner in June 2016 on World Oceans Day.

In addition to Thompson, Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, M.D. received the Explorers Club Medal for Solar Impulse, a solar powered airplane circumnavigation project that has raised public awareness and encouraged political actions in favor of clean technologies and energy efficiency around the world. The event was hosted by two-time Academy Award winning actor, Robert DeNiro, who introduced a congratulatory video from past Explorers Club Medal recipient, award-winning filmmaker, and fellow Ocean Elder, James Cameron. Cameron’s video discussed the importance of education, conservation, and oceans exploration, lauding the night’s awardees for their landmark endeavors and environmental stewardship.

Founded in 1904 in New York City, The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The Club serves as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide, promoting the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. An illustrious series of first explorations are credited to members of the Club, including the first visit to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon.

The Explorers Club Medal is the Club’s highest honor. Past recipients of the Explorers Club Medal include James Cameron, for his outstanding contributions to ocean science; Walter H. Munk, for his extraordinary oceanography achievements that span his 75-year career; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., for his significant contributions to the welfare of humanity through science and education.

For information on the Explorers Club Awards and other 2017 recipients, please click here.

Sen. Kahele & Rep. Todd Urge County of Hawaii to Reconsider Terminating East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract

We write to express our sincere concern regarding the County of Hawaii’s recent decision to terminate the East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract.

As you are well aware, the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill has a remaining usable life of one to three years and the County has worked hard to find a solution to this problem.  The proposed composting facility is the perfect antidote to this issue and will provide multiple benefits to our community, such as diverting 54% of our County’s organic waste, providing nutrient rich compost to our vital agricultural industry, eliminating invasive species through enhanced mulching aw well as promoting a renewed sense of self sustainability and recycling education on our Island.

The project would work with all Department of Education schools on our island by directing all food waste, paper, compostable dishes, and plastics to the landfill at $21.25 per ton, $63.75 less than what it currently cost.  It would also enable us to educate and instill in our State’s next generation the value of composting, sustainability, and what it truly means to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  This project can be a model for the rest of the State and we have no doubt would be implemented statewide in a few years.  We envision every Island; one day will have its own organic composting facility.

In addition there are potentially several new initiatives to stimulate the agriculture industry on our Island and part of these initiatives require the availability of nutrient rich compost to encourage farming and growing our own food among local farmers and private residents.  The proposed composting facility will produce 40 tons of organic, naturally rich compost once fully operational and this can have a major impact on the agriculture and horticulture industry on Hawai’i Island as well as future farming sustainability initiatives.

The proposed composting facility will also directly address our Islands invasive species epidemic by converting green waste and untreated wood pallets to enhanced mulch and heating it to a specific temperature that will eliminate all known invasive species to include: rapid ohia death, little red fire ants, coqui frogs, coconut rhinoceros beetle, coffee berry borer and the banana bunchy top virus.  Although this process is already occurring at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, the enhanced mulch from the composting facility would be of better quality and a product that would be safe for our farmers and community.  This enhanced mulch, in high demand in East Hawai’i, would continue to be distributed at no cost and would substantially decrease the mulch currently imported from the U.S. Mainland.

We also understand the concerns of our neighbors in Pana’ewa and Keaukaha and the proposed sites proximity to the Department of Hawaiian Homes Land agricultural farm lots.  These concerns must be addressed and there are alternate sites in East Hawai’i that the proposed project could be relocated to.  We are willing to work with the County to locate an alternative site on State land should the project be allowed to proceed.

Finally, we are concerned that the termination of this project, which was approved unanimously by the previous County Council that provided for the issuance of a $10.6 million bond, will send the negative message to private industry and investors that the County of Hawai’i does not honor its contractual obligations and decisions. Pending litigation to recover costs associated with the contract termination could amount to millions of dollars in legal fees that County taxpayers will have to shoulder.  This is clearly not in the County’s best interests.

In conclusion, we strongly urge the County of Hawai’i to reconsider terminating this critically important project.

Sincerely,

Hawai’i State Senator Kaiali’i Kahele and Hawai’i State Representative Chris Todd

Hawaii Island Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight – Image Via @IgnazioMagnani

Big Island of Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Image sent to me from International Space Station Astronaut Ignazio Magnani

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, March 25 at 7:05 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 62 degrees. It will appear 10 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

Applications Sought for Hawaii Island Forestry Advisory Council Positions

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i island. Both forest areas are part of the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest.  DOFAW works with the Forest Service to do research in these areas.

The councils meet quarterly.  Each consists of 14 members who serve a 2 to 3 year term, staggered within different categories of expertise, such as natural resources, recreation use, cultural knowledge, neighboring landowner, business/ecotourism, and grant writing expertise/coastal zone management.  All applicants should have an appropriate background in the vacant category area as well as an interest in representing community stakeholders related to their respective categories.

Individuals who are interested in serving on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils may submit an application.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC)

Interested applicants are being sought to fill one position in the following category: Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative.

PAC members provide guidance to DLNR on management of 40,711 acres of state land in the North Kona ‘ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a. It includes grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds, tropical dry and wet forests, a forest bird sanctuary and Kīholo State Park Reserve

Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) 

Interested applicants are now being sought to represent these categories:  cultural resources, natural resource management, recreation, education, Laupāhoehoe community, Hawai‘i community at large, and scientific research. Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve is on the windward side of Hawai‘i island and includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both forest reserve land as well as a natural area reserve.

LAC members help provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua District (Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve).

Continuous recruitment is also being sought year-round for each category of expertise (recommended submittal dates are by April 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30), and applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications including submittal instructions can be found at http://www.hetf.us/page/home/.

Hard copy application forms are also available at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo, and in Waimea at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road. Applications will be reviewed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected Advisory Council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

For more information on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils and the application process, contact the DOFAW Hawai‘i branch manager, Steve Bergfeld at (808) 974-4221.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Department of Health Launches New “Prevent Diabetes Hawaii” Campaign

It is estimated that one in every two adults in Hawaii has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and many have not been diagnosed and may be unaware that they have it. To increase prevention and awareness, the Hawaii Department of Health is launching a new innovative media campaign on March 27 to encourage Hawaii adults to take an online Diabetes Risk Test at PreventDiabetesHawaii.com and share the results with their doctor or health care provider. Actor and comedian Frank De Lima, who has type 2 diabetes, is the spokesperson for the campaign and will appear in television ads and in print ads in malls across the state.

“Prediabetes is a serious health condition that puts people at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the good news is you can reverse prediabetes with basic lifestyle changes,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, so it’s very important for people to get screened early and take action.

Prediabetes refers to having a blood sugar that is above the normal level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Without effective intervention, 15 to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos have the highest rates of type 2 diabetes, followed by Japanese. Furthermore, people of Asian descent tend to develop prediabetes at a lower body weight than other ethnicities, making them especially susceptible.

“Your risk for prediabetes is increased if you are overweight, 45 years or older, have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, are not physically active, smoke, and ever had gestational diabetes,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “Obesity and diabetes are generally known as “twin” epidemics, and this is true also for Hawaii.”

The Prevent Diabetes Hawaii campaign asks everyone to participate in simple 30-second online Diabetes Risk Test and then email, print or download their Diabetes Risk Test results to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to facilitate a later conversation with a doctor or health care provider. The website also contains ideas and tips for individual lifestyle change, as well as information on nationally recognized lifestyle change programs that are available at local community health centers throughout the state, the YMCA, and some hospitals. A portal for health care providers contains links to download campaign materials for waiting rooms and doctors’ offices along with resources to facilitate patient follow-up, such as email templates and phone call scripts.

Focus group testing with adults on Oahu informed the campaign’s development. Prevent Diabetes Hawaii is funded by a combination of state general funds and a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about the campaign or to view the television and print ads, go to www.PreventDiabetesHawaii.com.

Hawaii Island Rotarians and Weinberg Work Day at YWCA

The YWCA of Hawaii Island was again the recipient of the labor of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay as part of its Weinberg Friends Project. The labor earned a $10,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to aid survivors of sex assault.

David Herd and Paula Uusitalo painting lot lines.

More than twenty-five Rotarians perked up the YWCA of Hawaii Island Ululani campus February 26, 2017.  They cleaned, gardened, painted inside and out, scrubbed toys, power-washed exterior areas, and removed debris at 145 Ululani Street, which houses the YWCA preschool. “They put in a hundred people hours of work and everything looks great,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island.

Rotary Day president Kevin Hopkins

The Weinberg grant was awarded to the Big Island Coalition Against Physical and Sexual Assault (BICAPSA). BICAPSA will use the money to provide nursing assessments to children reported to be victims of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, regardless of their ability to pay. “We are so pleased to partner with BICAPSA as we serve survivors of sex assault.  We expect over 300 abused children could need these services this year,” McGilvray said.

Sandy and Selina Custodio

As the YWCA Hawaii Island has been a recipient of Rotary Club of Hilo Bay’s Weinberg projects before, it was quickly able to respond to the Club’s request for a proposal.  “The end result proved the value of a bunch of strong business and community leaders working together on a service project,” said Kevin Hopkins, president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. He invited non-profit agencies to go to www.hilobayrotary.com and learn more about previous projects and how to apply.

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see http://jazzday.com/about/

Oahu Highway and Road Closures Beginning Sunday, March 26, for a Television Production

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises Oahu motorists of closures on multiple roadways next week for a television production. See closure details below.

H-3 Freeway Sunday, March, 26, and Monday, March 27, from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

  • Closure of the H-3 Freeway in the Kaneohe-bound between the Halawa Interchange and the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
  • All onramps from the Halawa Interchange to the H-3 Freeway will be closed, including the Kamehameha Highway onramp in Kaneohe.
  • Alternate routes include the Likelike Highway and Pali Highway.

Kualakai Parkway – Tuesday, March 28, southbound from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and northbound from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the southbound direction between Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway.
  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the northbound direction between Farrington Highway and the H-1 Freeway Overpass, including the Kualakai Parkway onramp to the eastbound H-1 Freeway. Motorists may enter the eastbound H-1 Freeway at the Makakilo Drive onramp or the Fort Weaver Road onramp.

H-1 Freeway – Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Intermittent closures on the H-1 Freeway in the eastbound direction in the vicinity of the Kapolei/Ewa offramp (Exit 3). Special Duty Police Officers will hold traffic for approximately 1-2 minutes at a time and then will reopen all lanes. The lanes will remain open for the majority of the time during the closure hours.

Electronic message boards are posted to warn motorists of the closures. Emergency vehicles and first responders will be allowed through the closure zones.

HDOT encourages the public to plan their commute and check traffic apps to avoid congestion. Lane closures will be posted on our website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/oahu/  and released through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots Ratify Contracts, Get Pay Increases

Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced today that the union’s membership ratified a 63-month contract amendment that provides significant compensation increases for the airline’s 670 pilots.

Pilots approved the contract amendment outlined in a tentative agreement reached last month between Hawaiian and ALPA. The amendment takes effect April 1 and its term extends through July 1, 2022.

“This contract amendment recognizes the contributions our pilots have made to our company, while allowing us to continue to grow and compete as a world-class airline,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s chief operating officer and the company’s lead negotiator.

Hawaiian Airlines reached new accords in 2016 with three labor unions representing more than 2,200 employees. It is currently in negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants, whose contract became amendable in January.

Hemp Day at the Capitol

State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 – Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will lead a day focused on the production and uses of industrial hemp at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 29th.

Waimanalo, Oahu Hemp field blessing on April 15, 2015

“Hemp is an incredible crop that has big potential in our islands”, said Senator Gabbard. “This is an opportunity to bring some attention to what kind of exciting opportunities are just around the corner as our state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is rolled out. I’m confident hemp will be a niche crop for our farmers that will make good use of the Hawai‘i brand.”

The day begins with a floor presentation in the State Senate Chambers at 11:30 a.m. as Senator Gabbard honors Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project, and his team for their efforts in proving industrial hemp can grow well in Hawai‘i. In December 2015, the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources released a report on a successful, two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research project that was conducted in Waimanalo in compliance with Act 56 (2014): https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/eaur/govrel/reports/2016/act56-slh2014_2016_industrial-hemp_report.pdf

The Senate floor presentation will be followed by a joint Informational Briefing at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 224 to provide an update about industrial hemp research, the current status of the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, and the future of hemp development in Hawai‘i.

The informational briefing will include presentations by the following:

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-AGR_03-29-17_INFO_.HTM

For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.