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Video – Hawaii Dravet Syndrome Patient Treats Seizures with Cannabis Oil

MJ Kaneshiro has Dravet Syndrome (a rare form of epilepsy) and uses cannabis oil to treat her seizures.

Please support Senate Bill 682 SD2 HD1

Measure Title: RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

Report Title: Medical Marijuana; Patients and Caregivers; Protections; Certifying Physician

Description: Establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers. Requires that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period. Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and production centers. Allows a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, or an owner or employee of a medical marijuana production center or dispensary to transport medical marijuana in any public place, under certain conditions. Replaces the requirement that a certifying physician be the qualifying patient’s primary care physician with a requirement that the physician have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient. Prohibits primary caregivers from cultivating medical marijuana after 6/30/2018, subject to certain exceptions. Appropriates funds. (HD1)

Canada Announces $243-Million Contribution for Thirty Meter Telescope Project

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will provide up to $243.5 million over 10 years for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the Government of Canada’s intention to provide significant support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an international project that will build one of the world’s largest and most advanced astronomical observatories in Hawaii. The Prime Minister made the announcement following a tour of Vancouver’s Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory. He was joined by James Moore, Minister of Industry.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

The Government’s support would provide resources over 10 years to enable Canada’s participation in the construction and commissioning of the TMT, alongside participants from the Japan, China, India and the United States.

The majority of the Government’s support for the TMT will be spent in Canada, creating high-quality jobs related to the construction and assembly of key telescope components, including a precision-steel enclosure by Dynamic Structures Limited, based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and cutting-edge adaptive optics technologies, to be developed by the National Research Council in partnership with Canadian companies. As part of the project, dozens of Canadian businesses are expected to develop advanced capabilities and products transferable to future applications in the health, defence and telecommunications sectors – helping to create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across Canada.

Canada’s contribution will also secure a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the TMT once it is operational in 2023-2024. This access will help to maintain Canadian scientific leadership in astronomy, paving the way to important scientific discoveries and helping to train highly-qualified personnel at post-secondary institutions across the country. Canada’s pursuit of new scientific discoveries will also help spark young Canadians’ interest in science disciplines for decades to come.

Quick Facts

Canada has world-leading expertise in astronomy and astrophysics, as noted by the Council of Canadian Academies in its 2012 State of Science and Technology. Canadian research publications in this field are highly impactful and Canadian expertise in astronomy is sought after internationally.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that Canada is first in the G-7 in terms of our support of research and development through our universities and colleges, relative to the size of our economy, since 1996.

Prime Minister Harper also recently announced a new $1.5 billion legacy investment to make Canadian research world-leading through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. This new program is for world-leading research that will raise Canada’s standing globally.

Canada’s Space Policy Framework positions our domestic space industry at the forefront of cutting edge space activities; it strengthens strategic relationships with international partners in the interest of science and technology; and it advances Canada’s excellence in the key capability of space optics.

The TMT will employ advanced adaptive optics systems that will allow for the correction of atmospheric turbulence (what makes stars “twinkle”) and enable the clear observation of some of the faintest celestial objects and bodies.

The TMT’s enclosure, to be built in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, will incorporate a unique design to protect the telescope both from temperature and winds.

When completed, the telescope will stand in an observatory 22 18 stories tall, with a primary mirror extending 30 metres across, giving it approximately half the surface area of a National Hockey League rink.

Hawaii Senate Honors Hokulea’s 40 Year History

In an historic gathering in the Senate chambers, Hawai’i’s State Senators recognized the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the twelve living crew members from the Hōkūle‘a’s maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. It is the first time all living members of the Hōkūle‘a’s original crew were together since the inaugural voyage.

Senatehonorshokulea

Recognizing the impact the Hōkūle‘a and the Polynesian Voyaging Society has made on the state of Hawai‘i, Senators honored the 40th anniversary of the legendary sailing canoe and its birth of the revival of traditional voyaging and wayfinding.

“This dedicated crew has inspired generations to be proud of their Pacific heritage and to continue to seek inclusive island wisdom of sustainability, responsibility and mutual respect and caring,” said Senator Gilbert Kahele (D 1st District – Hilo, Pi‘ihonua, Kaūmana, Waiākea, Keaukaha). “Hōkūle‘a is more than a voyaging canoe, she represents a design shared by the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific and the world to perpetuate and protect our most cherished values and places from disappearing.”

“Forty years is a long time and it raises the question: ‘Is something like a voyaging canoe relevant? Does it still have meaning and value to our society?’” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator, president of PVS and crewmember of the 1976 maiden voyage. “We are grateful to have our governmental body take the time to celebrate the worldwide voyage and to me, it shows that Hawai‘i is still with us, that the canoe still matters. As the voyage now heads into the Indian Ocean, which is much more dangerous, it gives us the strength to set sail.”

Honored today on the Senate floor:

  • Ben Finney, Ph.D. – In 1973, Finney co-founded the Polynesian Voyaging Society with Herb Kāne and Tommy Holmes. He served as PVS’s first president.
  • Milton “Shorty” Bertelmann – Bertelmann first learned traditional, observational navigation from Mau Piailug during the sail from Hawai‘i to Tahiti. He served as captain on Hōkūle‘a in 1980 and 1985.
  • Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana – Often referred to as the “Mayor of Makaha,” Keaulana is the winner of the 1960 Makaha International.
  • John Kruse – Kruse is a pillar of the canoe community on Kaua‘i and continues to lead work on the Garden Isle’s own sailing canoe, Namahoe.
  • William “Billy” Richards – Richards serves as a director on several public service organizations, Native Hawiian and educational boards, including Paepae O He‘eia, Bishop Museum Association Council, and ‘Aha Kāne. He is presently the Director of Communications for Partners in Development Foundation, a public not-for-profit company that serves the Native Hawaiian community through social and educational programs.
  • Charles Nainoa Thompson – Thompson is the first Hawaiian to practice the art of wayfinding on long distance ocean voyages since such voyaging ended in Hawai‘i around the 14th century. He now teaches a system of wayfinding that he developed by synthesizing traditional principles of ancient Pacific navigation and modern science.
  • Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee – Ah Hee is a veteran of the National Guard and served a tour in Vietnam.  He credits the Hōkūle‘a’s voyage for strengthening the Hawaiian culture in spirit.
  • Francis Kainoa Lee – Lee became a part of the Hōkūle‘a’s first crew after his wife signed him up for a workshop in Kualoa to get acquainted with sailing the wa‘a. Lee has sailed on many voyages since and continues to support the crews in the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
  • Kimo Lyman – Lyman worked for the first fire department in Waialua. He is a veteran of many sails on Hōkūlea starting in 1976 and was the instrumental navigator on the voyage from Tahiti to Hawai‘i.
  • Gordon Pi‘ianai‘a – Pi‘ianai‘a’s career at sea began shortly after he graduated from the Kamehameha Schools for boys and he entered the Navy. Gordon started sailing on Hōkūle‘a in 1976 and has served as captain on numerous legs, while sailing a part of each of the voyages from 1980 through 2014.
  • Penny Martin – Martin is one of only two women who took part in Hōkūle‘a’s first voyage in 1976. She now works for Papahana Kualoa’s Lelekamanu Project where she teaches cultural- based environmental education.
  • Dr. Ben Young – Dr. Young served as the crew’s doctor on the first voyage in 1976. Young authored the article, Psychological Effects of Long Ocean Voyages, which is still used to educate new crewmembers on how to recognize and plan for the psychological effects that could be experienced during long voyages.

Volunteers and employees of the University of Hawai‘i Honolulu Community College and its Marine Education and Training Center and the                                                                                                                                                                                                        Polynesian Voyaging Society who have supported the many sails over the past 40 years were also recognized on the Senate floor.  They include:

  • Cecelia Lindo — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Haʻaheo Mansfield — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Bert Kaihe Barber — one of the first volunteers for PVS and Hōkūleʻa
  • Robert Perkins — Director of the Marine Education and Training Center (where Hōkūleʻa and PVS are housed)
  • Laura Thompson — PVS Board Member, wife of Pinky Thompson and mother of Nainoa Thompson
  • Clyde Nāmuʻo — CEO of PVS
  • Dennis Kawaharada — Kapiʻolani Community College, English faculty and long-time PVS documenter
  • Neil Hannahs — PVS Board Chair
  • Marisa Hayase — PVS Communications Director
  • Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa — PVS Board Member
  • Billy Ornellas — PVS Board Member
  • Erika Lacro — Chancellor of Honolulu Community College

“Hōkūleʻa continues to be Hawai‘i’s canoe, a floating classroom for Hawai‘i and Island Earth, building on the awareness and understanding generated from her historic launching forty years ago,” said Sen. Kahele. “We extend our best wishes for the safety and success in their journey on their Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage.”

For more information on the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage: www.hokulea.com

Big Island Police Seeking Woman Caught Stealing From Woman’s Purse

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman wanted for questioning in connection with a theft in Hilo on March 16.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe woman, shown with sunglasses atop her head, is pictured exiting a Hilo business establishment where items were taken from a Hilo woman’s purse that was in an unattended shopping cart.

Police ask anyone with information about her identity to call Officer Jacob Obermiller at 961-2213 or the police non-emergency number at 935-3311.

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

Keonepoko Elementary School to Reopen – Lava No Longer Immediate Threat

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will begin the planning process to reopen Keonepoko Elementary School in Hawaiian Beaches now that lava is no longer an immediate threat to the area. The planning will also include addressing all of the adjustments made in October 2014 that affected 1,700 students and 300 employees.

Keonepoko

“Many families were affected by our contingency plans to safeguard access to education and we appreciate their cooperation and understanding through all of it,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We now have a ton of details to work out before making any official announcement on dates or assignments, however it is important to let families and staff know where we stand. The decision to reopen Keonepoko Elementary extends beyond just the facility. We want to be very thoughtful about our approach.”

The decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. In upcoming weeks, principals in the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area and DOE administrators will map out a course of action. The DOE is aiming to have details solidified by May to provide families ample time to plan for School Year 2015-16.

In late October 2014, DOE closed Keonepoko Elementary in response to the rapidly advancing lava flow. It was determined then that the lava would be crossing Highway 130. DOE built a temporary facility in the Keaau High lower parking lot and adjusted classroom assignments for students and staff within the complex area.

Recently the lava flow changed in threat status from ‘warning’ to ‘watch.’ Hawaii County Civil Defense has informed the Department that based on the most current information available the lava is no longer headed toward Pahoa.

Complex Area Superintendent Chad Farias stated, “We continue to evaluate what all possible futures might be for the education of children within Puna and are thinking not just about the current situation, but how to provide quality education to all of the families in our area for years to come.”

The DOE will provide more information to its staff and the public once it is available.

 

Commentary – Call for Moratorium on TMT is “Grandstanding”

The Thirty Meter Telescope project went through a seven year public vetting process, which included a lengthy contested case hearing for the conservation district use permit. The hearing officer upheld the BLNR’s findings, so the BLNR granted the CDUP and the site lease.

The University of Hawaii also implemented a comprehensive management plan for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. This was mandated after the Keck Outrigger decision. The comprehensive management plan has imposed strict conditions on future telescope projects on Mauna Kea. The TMT will be last new telescope constructed on Mauna Kea; future telescopes will recycle existing facilities and footprint.

In short, I strongly believe OHA Trustee Apo’s call to place a temporary moratorium on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is pure and simple grandstanding.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaii Volcano Observatory – Breakouts Persist Northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: 1) at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, 2) just north of Kahaualeʻa, and 3) the most distal breakout, about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph.  (Click to enlarge)

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

A closer look at the lava flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left portion of the photograph.

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

Slightly above and to the right of the center of the photograph, the light colored area of lava is the active breakout (which started on February 21) on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The breakout north of Kahaualeʻa has one lobe that has traveled along the west side of the perched lava channel that was active in late 2007. This breakout consists of blue glassy pāhoehoe, which is easily visible in the photograph on the left.

breakout6

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. Active (flowing) portions of the breakout are shown by yellow and white colors, while the red and purple areas show hot, but solidified, portions of the surface crust.

In the time since our last overflight (March 24), a new collapse pit has formed in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

This circular pit can be seen in the lower left portion of the photograph, and measures about 27 m (roughly 90 ft) in diameter.

A closer look at the new pit in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Views inside the crater with the naked eye were obscured by thick fume, but the thermal images (right) revealed two areas of ponded lava, separated by a pile of collapse rubble, deep within the pit.

ZipMobile Repairs Successful – What Went Wrong

The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) two ZipMobiles used for the H-1 Freeway ZipperLane are both in operational condition after breaking down on Tuesday, Mar. 31, due to electrical malfunctions.

Zipmobile

The original ZipMobile breakdown on Tuesday morning was caused by an intermittent electrical problem with its computer battery pack unit.  As a result, the on-board CPU card was corrupted.  A replacement was attempted using the computer battery pack unit and CPU card from the backup ZipMobile, but it suffered the same electrical problem.

A technician from ZipMobile vendor, Lindsay Corporation, was flown from California to Hawaii and was able to diagnose the problem, replace the battery pack units and reprogram the CPU cards on Wednesday.  All other mechanical components of the vehicles were unaffected.

Both ZipMobiles were restored to full operational condition on Wednesday with the first at approximately 1 p.m. This ZipMobile closed the deployed ZipperLane between 2 and 4 p.m.  The second ZipMobile was fully restored at approximately 5 p.m. and opened and closed the ZipperLane overnight for normal rush-hour operation this morning.

HDOT will be examining all aspects of the vehicle maintenance plan and its public outreach plans to better inform motorists of large-scale traffic incidents.  These will include such items as:

  • Backup units for the computer battery pack that failed will now be held in reserve in the event of future problems. Previously, this unit was not held in reserve due to its limited, one-year shelf life in storage.  HDOT and Lindsay Corp. are also preparing a list of additional electronic backup parts that are practical to keep on hand.
  • Lindsay Corp. will allow HDOT use of its proprietary software and train local staff on reinstallation procedures.
  • HDOT is submitting a budget proposal to the State Legislature this week for the long-term rehabilitation or replacement for one or both ZipMobiles.
  • Highway operational improvements are being considered to formalize use of freeway shoulder lanes during afternoon rush-hour traffic in various locations, such as the H-1 right shoulders from Pearl Harbor to Salt Lake and from Aiea to Pearl City, that were used in the Tuesday and Wednesday traffic backups.
  • HDOT will be working with the City & County of Honolulu to improve public outreach for future traffic incidents. This will include regular media updates to television, radio and social media outlets.
  • HDOT will be working will all counties and other state departments for major event coordination.

All H-1 ZipperLane operations next week will proceed as normal. HDOT again sincerely thanks Oahu’s motorists for their patience and kokua this week.

Increased Vigilance for Bird Flu Encouraged for Hawaii Poultry and Bird Owners

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is encouraging Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be vigilant due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific flyway (migratory bird path). Hawaii bird and poultry owners are encouraged to institute and maintain good biosecurity measures, which include good sanitation practices and making sure that their birds do not come in contact with other wild and migratory birds.

Flyways

“Hawaii may be geographically far from other land masses, but some migratory birds do fly to Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Bird owners, particularly those who keep their birds outdoors should take precautions, be vigilant and report any symptoms of diseased or dead birds in their flocks.”

Since December 2014, there have been several confirmed outbreaks of HPAI H5 in the Pacific flyway (California, Utah, Nevada and Idaho). In March, new infected premises were also detected along the Central and Mississippi flyways (Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas). The strain that is circulating is a mix of the highly pathogenic Asian and low pathogenic North American strains and has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from the current strains of HPAI to be low. No human cases of these strains have been detected in the United State, Canada, or internationally.

Fortunately, HDOA already has established strict bird import laws that require permits, inspections, health certificates, and in some cases, isolation periods prior to arrival and physical identification. There is also an embargo on importing birds through the mail.

The HDOA veterinarians have been closely monitoring the outbreaks and have implemented pre-entry avian influenza test requirements on imported poultry and birds. In addition, import restrictions have been placed on all poultry, other birds, hatching eggs and day-old chicks from affected zones within states to prevent the importation of infected birds. HDOA also conducts continuous surveillance on poultry within the state for avian influenza.

In Canada and affected states in the U.S., the outbreaks have occurred in domestic turkey farms and some back yard poultry farms that have association with wild waterfowl. There have been no farm-to-farm transmissions and no human illnesses associated with this disease outbreak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the departments of agriculture in the affected states have quickly quarantined, disposed of infected flocks and set up quarantine and surveillance zones to help insure the disease does not spread.

Poultry and bird owners in Hawaii who notice high mortality in their poultry or birds should contact the HDOA, Division of Animal Industry at (808) 483-7106 to report their losses.

For more information on avian influenza, go to the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/ldc/adconcerns/aiinfo/

Or, USDA website: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=avian_influenza.html

Or, CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5/index.htm

Critically Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals Returned to Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Two critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi) were successfully returned to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument after being rehabilitated at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kona, March 25, 2015. The seals were rescued last year in an emaciated state, one on Kure Atoll and another on Laysan Island, during NOAA Fisheries Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program’s field camp season.

Lt. Andrew Kauffman, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, observes the onload of a Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kona, Hawaii, March 18, 2015. Coast Guard crew members, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Land and Natural Resources partnered together to transport two rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals to Midway Atoll where they would be transferred via ship to Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle)

Lt. Andrew Kauffman, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, observes the onload of a Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kona, Hawaii, March 18, 2015. Coast Guard crew members, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Land and Natural Resources partnered together to transport two rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals to Midway Atoll where they would be transferred via ship to Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle)

“The successful rehabilitation and release of these young seals demonstrates the collaboration and innovation that will be necessary to save Hawaiian monk seals from extinction,” said Dr. Rachel Sprague, NOAA Fisheries’ Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator. “The dedicated efforts displayed by NOAA, The Marine Mammal Center, U.S. Coast Guard, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show how it will take every one of us to help protect these extraordinary animals. As a result of our intervention, two young female monk seals are now returning home to a bright future where they can contribute to the recovery of their species.”

The two juvenile females, Pua ‘Ena O Ke Kai (“fiery child of the sea”) and Meleana (“continuous song”), or Pua and Mele for short, were transported last September aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette to the Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona, established by the Center in mid-2014. Once at Ke Kai Ola, staff and volunteers with the Center spent five months nursing the animals from their malnourished state to the fat healthy seals they are now. Now these females have a better chance of surviving their first two years of life and will hopefully grow to have their own pups.

Shortly after the hospital opened last year, Ke Kai Ola staff and volunteers also rehabilitated four other young seals, which were returned to French Frigate Shoals and Laysan Island within the Monument last September. In less than a year of the new hospital’s opening, it has made a significant difference in the future of these young seals, who would almost certainly have died without rehabilitation.

“With 40 years of experience caring for seals and sea lions, The Marine Mammal Center is a primary authority on preventing the extinction of the Hawaiian monk seal,” says Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center. “After providing Mele and Pua with life-saving medical care, we’re proud to partner with NOAA Fisheries, the Coast Guard, the state of Hawaii and the Monument to release these healthy seals back to their ocean home.”

A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point on Oʻahu picked up the seals in Kona and flew them to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on March 18.

On the evening of March 20, 2015 the seals were loaded onto the offshore supply ship Kahana and departed for Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, located at the northernmost point in the Hawaiian archipelago, about 1,350 miles northwest of Honolulu. From the pickup in Kona until their release, the seals were monitored around the clock. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and The Marine Mammal Center cared for the seals during transport and at Midway Atoll. After arrival at Kure Atoll on March 21, 2015, they were watched over by biologists from NOAA Fisheries and Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) until their release on the 25th.

“The Coast Guard works closely with NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect marine mammals and endangered species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act,” said Lt. Lauren Gillikin, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. “By promoting the conservation of these mammals the Coast Guard helps to preserve the existing ecosystem.”

The Hawaiian monk seal is critically endangered, with fewer than 1,100 individuals in the wild, including about 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Fewer than one in five Hawaiian monk seal pups in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands survive their first year due to threats like starvation, entanglement in marine debris, male aggression due to abnormally small population size, and more. NOAA Fisheries implements numerous strategies to combat these threats; their monk seal recovery program is the most proactive marine mammal conservation initiative in the world. At least 30 percent of the Hawaiian monk seal population is alive today because of the collaborative efforts to help save them.

Hawaiian monk seals transported from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the Kona facility for rehabilitation may only be released back to the NWHI. Release at Kure Atoll is favorable given its recent good survival rates for young seals and opportunities for weekly visual surveys by DLNR staff stationed there. Seal movements will also be tracked via satellite for post-release monitoring.

Lava Flow Map and Video Shows Flow Far From Pahoa

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

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on March 10, before shutting down near Pāhoa, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow based on satellite imagery from April 1 is shown in red. Some recent changes north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō are not shown, as that part of the flow field was hidden from satellite view by clouds.

Video from Mick Kalber:

DLNR Statement on Arrests of “Protectors” of Mauna Kea

Today Department of Land and Natural Resources, along with Hawaii County Police and assisted by Public Safety Department, took necessary action to preserve and protect public safety and public access on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Arrest

We are working with the University of Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope project to ensure that the Mauna Kea summit road remains clear for workers, and to ensure access to Mauna Kea for other public use. Persons expressing their views may peacefully protest if not blocking the road. Anyone impeding public safety or public access will be arrested.

In addition to enforcement action by Hawaii County Police, DLNR enforcement also arrested eight (8) adults who were obstructing the road for disobedience to police officers, and another eleven (11) adults were arrested for trespass after refusing to leave the TMT construction site at the summit. The arrests were peaceful, and there were no injuries or medical issues.

DLNR will be working closely with its partners to monitor the situation.

Big Island Senator Named State of Hawaii Small Business Person of the Year

Senator Russell E. Ruderman was named the State of Hawaii Small Business Person of the Year, 2015 by the US Small Business Administration Hawaii District Office.

Along with awardees in 8 other categories, Senator Ruderman was honored by colleagues on the Senate and House floor.

Along with awardees in 8 other categories, Senator Ruderman was honored by colleagues on the Senate and House floor.

The award was given to Senator Ruderman as President and Founder of Island Naturals, a group of natural and organic food stores on the Big Island known for its commitment to quality and creativity. Established in 1997, Island Naturals now employs 150 people at three locations in Kona, Hilo, and Pahoa.

The U.S. Small Business Administration was founded in 1953, largely as a response to the pressures of the Great Depression and World War II. It has since delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

The Hawaii District Office, under the leadership of District Director Jane A. Sawyer, oversees the delivery of SBA’s programs throughout the State of Hawaii, the Territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Expands

Craving chocolate? Who doesn’t? The fourth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival delivers with an array of fun, elegant and taste-tempting activities, seminars and culinary adventures May 7-9.
Big Island Chocolate Festival 057

Most of the chocolatey goodness will be offered at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, but three new events take place at Kona farms.

Thursday, May 7: The festival lineup starts 9 a.m.-noon with a hands-on, chocolate-making class Thursday, May 7 by Una Greenaway at her Kuaiwi Farm in Captain Cook. Next up is a 5-9 p.m. farm-to-plate, chocolate-themed dinner at Kokoleka Lani cacao farm in Holualoa.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 097

Dubbed a “Chocolate Soiree,” the scrumptious, seven-course meal will be prepared by celebrity pastry chef Stanton Ho, Clayton Arakawa of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows and Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf.

Friday, May 8: Find public culinary demonstrations and agriculture-themed seminars at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i starting at noon with “Cacao Fermentation and Chocolate Micro-Terroir” by Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate. “Hawai‘i Cacao Farming-Tree-to-Bar” is presented 1 p.m. by Tom Menezes of Hawaiian Crown Hilo and Una Greenaway of Kuaiwi Farms.

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Learn “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation” during demonstrations by Ecole Valrhona Western USA Pastry Chef Derek Poirier at 2 p.m. and Chef Stanton Ho at 3:30 p.m. Geared for home cooks, each culinary seminar offers sampling.

Saturday, May 9: The festival moves 9 a.m. to Kokoleka Lani Farm to see how cacao is grown and used in the production of Kona Natural Soap Company products. Also during this time, statewide college food service students compete in a culinary competition using chocolate at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

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The contest is open to the public for viewing 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; come cheer on these future chefs! Winners of the annual contest will be announced that evening during the gala.

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Chocolate fun culminates 5:30-9 p.m. in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom for the festival gala. Attendees can enjoy both savory and sweet chocolate cuisine by top island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners while voting for their favorite culinary station.

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Diners can also visit the “all you can enjoy” mole and salad bars.

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Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, Bacardi cocktails, chocolate sculpting by Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, chocolate body painting, a photo booth and a silent auction. Culinary tasting will be accompanied by harp and violin duo String Beings, followed by a disc jockey offering dance music from 8-9 p.m.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 082Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

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Find pricing details and ticket locations at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Purchase Friday seminars online as four classes for $75 or at the door individually at $30 each. The Kokoleka Lani Farm tour is $25. To book the $50 Kuaiwi Farm chocolate-making class, phone 808-328-8888. Purchase $125 Chocolate Soiree tickets, at http://bit.ly/ChocolateFarmToPlate.

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Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are being offering by the Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

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

Mauna Kea “Protectors” Arrested – Names Released

Twelve persons were arrested Thursday (April 2) after blocking access to construction workers who were en route to the summit of Mauna Kea to begin work on the Thirty-Meter Telescope.

Mauna Kea Via UH

“During the arrests, our officers practiced the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s core value of compassion,” said Assistant Chief Henry Tavares, who oversees police operations in East Hawaiʻi.

Earlier in the week, police were in communication with protesters opposed to the telescope, informing them that they had the right to protest peacefully and asking for a peaceful resolution and cooperation in keeping the roadway open. At that time, police informed the protesters that anyone who blocked the public road leading to the construction site would have to be arrested.

The arrests began at approximately 8 a.m. Thursday and were still in progress at noon. These individuals were taken to the Hilo police station for processing and then released after posting $250 bail:

Ronald Fujiyoshi, 75, of Hilo
Moanikeala Akaka, 70, of Hilo
Joseph Kanuha, 56, of Kailua-Kona
Eric Heaukulani, 38, of Kealakekua
Kelii Ioane Jr., 63, of Hilo
James Albertini, 68, of Kurtistown
Erin O’Donnell, 40, of Kamuela
Craig Neff, 56 ,of Pāpaʻikou
Gary Oamilda, 66, of Ocean View
Chase Kahookahi Kanuha, 26, of Kailua-Kona
Dannette Henrietta Godines, 45, of Hilo
Lambert Lavea, 27, of Mountain View

Tonight’s Civil Defense Meeting Has Been Cancelled

The civil defense meeting scheduled for this evening at Pahoa High School has been cancelled.

Civildefense

Good morning,
I apologize for the late notice however we will be postponing the Pahoa Community Meeting scheduled for tonight at 6:30 at the Pahoa High School cafeteria. The County and our partner agencies are meeting with FEMA this morning to discuss the closing of the lava flow incident and there will be many questions asked as to what the implications may be with regards to the various projects and expenses incurred in response to the lava flow threat. It is our goal and desire to provide the community with this information and to share how the federal reimbursement program will apply to the projects and costs. Realizing that for some questions FEMA may need to internally have further discussion as well as for some of the applicant representatives at the meeting there may be a need to provide additional information or to review with their executives; it would be prudent to obtain the final answers and outcomes and share that information at the community meeting. Therefore the meeting will be postponed pending the final outcome of the public assistance program application review and approvals. We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to sharing all information with the community.
Thank you,
Darryl J. Oliveira
Administrator, Hawaii County Civil Defense

Big Island Police Warning Public About Telephone Scam

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a telephone scam from persons claiming to be from the Department of Water Supply.

HPDBadgeThe individuals call Water Supply customers and threaten to shut off their water service because of a past due water bill.

According to the Department of Water Supply, the calls are fraudulent and are an attempt to gain access to credit card information.

The public is advised that if they receive such a call, they should report it to the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Members of the community also may call the Department of Water Supply’s office at 961-8050 to file an additional report.

University of Hawaii Responds to TMT Protests

The construction phase beginning on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island has prompted protests and media coverage. The telescope is being built in the 525-acre Astronomy Precinct, which is the only area astronomy development can take place. It is part of the 11,288-acre Maunakea Science Reserve that UH has leased from the Department of Land and Natural Resources since 1968.

Mauna Kea Via UH

UH supports the TMT project because it contributes significantly to the university’s mission of advancing knowledge. With a primary mirror thirty meters in diameter, the TMT will have nine times the light collecting area of the largest telescopes now on Maunakea. It will be able to see much fainter and more distant objects than is possible with existing telescopes and to study them in greater detail. It will help to maintain Hawaiʻi’s worldwide leadership in astronomy.

The Office of Maunakea Management

Through the Office of Maunakea Management, which reports directly to the UH Hilo Chancellor, UH is responsible for the sustainable management and stewardship of the Maunakea Science Reserve. The university understands that Maunakea is one of the most culturally significant sites in Hawaiʻi.

The Master Plan adopted in 2000 by the UH Board of Regents requires community based management that protects, balances, integrates and enhances Maunakea’s resources while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy. The university is also responsible for providing safe access for everyone on the mountain: local residents, observatory personnel, cultural practitioners, visitors and UH staff.

UH’s commitment to free speech

UH is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and affirms the rights of all individuals to engage in their first amendment right to free speech. The university respects everyone opposed to the TMT project and their right to a lawful protest.

The open and extensive public process

Over the last seven years, TMT has met all legal requirements in obtaining the necessary permits to build a next generation telescope from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources and the County of Hawaiʻi, including a sublease from the university.

More than 20 public hearings have been held during the process and the project has been approved by then Governor Neil Abercrombie, the UH Board of Regents and the Board of Land and Natural Resources. The Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Office of Hawaiian Affairs along with numerous unions and Hawaiʻi Island community groups have expressed support. The project has also cleared legal challenges and was upheld in the Third Circuit Court.

Inaccurate claims

There have been inaccurate claims made about the project recently. The most common is that TMT is a danger to the Maunakea aquifer and drinking water on Hawaiʻi Island. Comprehensive research by expert hydrologists confirms that TMT and the existing 13 telescopes pose no such danger. Furthermore, TMT is designed to be a zero waste discharge facility with all waste securely transported off the summit. There is also very little precipitation above 8,000 feet and the observatories are located well above that at the top of Maunakea at 14,000 feet.

Another claim is that TMT did not meet the eight criteria for a conservation district use permit issued by the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2011. The Third Circuit Court ruled that TMT did meet the criteria by being consistent with state laws governing the districts, not causing substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources, being compatible with the surrounding area, preserving the existing physical and environmental aspects, not subdividing or increasing the intensity of the land use and not being materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare. State regulations specifically identify astronomy as a permitted use in the Maunakea Science Reserve.

Stewardship and community involvement

The Office of Maunakea Management has expanded community involvement. Its seven-member board is comprised of Hawaiʻi Island community leaders. There is also a Kahu Kū Mauna council that consists of Hawaiʻi Island residents who are knowledgeable about the cultural significance of Maunakea and are consulted on all projects proposed on UH-managed lands and cultural matters. The Office of Maunakea Management is responsible for continuing to address public access, cultural resource management, cultural resources management, natural resources management and the decommissioning of telescopes.

The University of Hawaiʻi and the Office of Maunakea Management will continue to treat everyone with respect and aloha.

Honouliuli National Monument Dedicated

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel was in Hawaii today to dedicate the Honouliuli National Monument.

Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today.  Secretary of State Sally Jewel

“Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today,” said Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel

The monument will help tell the sad but important story of Japanese internment in Hawaii during WWII.

Mayor Kenoi Extends Emergency Proclamation for Puna Lava Flow

Yesterday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a fourth proclamation relating to the events of the June 27th Lava Flow.

Click to view proclamation

Click to view proclamation

A fourth supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued March 30th by Mayor Billy Kenoi, extending the emergency for another 60 days.