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Hu Honua Filing to PUC Addresses HELCO Misstatements

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) filed its response with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide a project update as well as address incomplete and misleading information in Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) Status Report.
Hu Honua

The Status Report was required by the PUC in light of missed milestone schedule dates in the HHB power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by the PUC in December 2013.

In its filing, Hu Honua expressed disappointment with HELCO over not processing its milestone date extension request submitted more than 12 months ago. HHB requested the extension following a variety of disputes with its former contractor that disrupted the project’s construction schedule, and to provide the replacement contractor sufficient time to complete the biomass-fueled, renewable energy facility in Pepeepeko on Hawaii Island.

At HELCO’s urging, Hu Honua submitted a proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for energy purchased above the 10-megawatt (MW) minimum level for economic dispatch. Even with the price reduction, HELCO did not process Hu Honua’s milestone date extension requests, despite the fact Hu Honua’s pricing is delinked from the cost of fossil fuel, making it a natural hedge against future increases in oil prices.

HHB has invested $100 million to date in the biomass-to-energy project, which is approximately 50 percent complete. HHB has arranged full financing from its investor base and the plant can be operational in approximately 12-16 months.

At completion, the plant will be able to supply Big Island residents with firm, baseload, dispatchable renewable power at reasonable pricing, complementing intermittent resources such as wind and solar, and helping the state meet mandated clean energy goals.

In its filing, HHB asserts the value of the plant today to Hawaii Island’s electricity system is as great or greater than December 2013 when the PUC approved the HHB PPA.

HELCO’s threat to terminate Hu Honua’s PPA as a result of missed milestones was announced just days before parts of Hawaii Island experienced blackouts due to insufficient firm generating capacity; firm, reliable power is what Hu Honua’s bioenergy plant would provide.

Hu Honua’s filing to the PUC addressed incomplete and misleading statements in HELCO’s Status Report, including:

“Hu Honua does not have the ability to achieve commercial operation in the near future.”

  • Hu Honua has fully committed financing up to $125 million to complete the project, with $20 million having been invested since November 2015.

“Hu Honua failed to meet PPA obligations.”

  • HELCO’s statement appears to refer to the boiler hydro test date. Unlike solar and wind projects, Hawaii law requires high pressure/high temperature steam boiler projects to follow rigorous inspection, approval and documentation protocol throughout construction before successive work can begin. As a result of disputes with its former contractor, HHB did not have ready access to prior documentation needed to perform successive work, which resulted in disruption and delays to schedule.

“Hu Honua failed to justify a milestones extension.”

  • As early as October 2014, HHB alerted HELCO that its milestone dates could be delayed because of certain factors beyond its control, including the circumstances underlying the dispute with its former contractor.

  • In January 2015, well in advance of project milestone dates, HHB approached HELCO to proactively discuss revised milestones dates in light of circumstances. Throughout discussions over revised milestones, HELCO reported a need for pricing reductions as an exchange for milestone date relief. HHB revised pricing arrangements on three separate occasions—February, April and May 2015.

Hu Honua looks forward to working with HELCO and the PUC to resolve its milestone date extension request, along with HHB’s proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for amounts purchased above the 10-MW minimum threshold for economic dispatch.

A completed Hu Honua power plant will provide a modern, renewable, biomass fueled source of electricity that will complement Hawaii Island’s electrical system as well as provide between 100-150 jobs for the local community.

Hawaii Department of Health Takes Critical Role in National Efforts to Control Zika Virus

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) State Laboratories Division is taking an active role in national efforts to control the spread of Zika Virus. Hawaii’s State Laboratories recently provided confirmatory testing for samples from American Samoa and the Marshall Islands to support these U. S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions in verifying disease outbreak activity.

A mosquito laying eggs

A mosquito laying eggs

“Hawaii is fortunate to have an experienced and capable public health laboratory that can serve our state with timely and quality testing under emergency conditions,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “That same capability is not available in many other areas of the Pacific, and providing lab support to these areas, when we can, is critical to controlling the spread of diseases and reducing the risk of introduction to Hawaii.”

“With Zika emerging in U.S. island territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the nation is on alert,” said Dr. Thane Hancock, team leader for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) American Samoa Zika Response.

The timely response by the Hawaii Department of Health’s State Laboratories staff provided critical support for local disease investigations and for monitoring potentially exposed pregnant women.”

This month, DOH began using the CDC developed real-time reverse transcriptase (rRT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Zika virus. With this recently developed capability, DOH provided officials in American Samoa and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Majuro), the first laboratory evidence of Zika transmission in these two U.S. affiliated jurisdictions.

“It’s always a balance to ensure our state needs are met first, but the staff here is more than willing to step up to support national efforts,” said State Laboratories Director Dr. Christian Whelen. “This work helps to better prepare us for potential issues that could arise in our state, and identifying and controlling outbreaks in the Pacific benefits all of us.”

While PCR is the best test during early onset of symptoms, testing for antibody to the viruses is preferred after about a week of illness. CDC is shipping antibody test materials to Hawaii so that the department’s State Laboratories Division can establish these capabilities over the next few weeks.

“The testing is very similar to the methodology our labs use for other RNA viruses such as Chikungunya, dengue, influenza, and measles,” added Whelen. “Our laboratory staff have been thoroughly trained to safely work with high risk specimens.”

DOH continues to work with the healthcare community, state, county, and federal officials to prepare for infectious diseases that threaten Hawaii and the Pacific. The State Laboratories Division administers a statewide laboratories program which conducts and regulates scientific analysis in support of environmental quality, health and safety, and infectious disease monitoring and control activities.

Updated Map Shows Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:
Dengue Risk 22416Of the confirmed cases, 235 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
214 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1313 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 260

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 260:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 24, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 0 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
Cases no longer infectious
260 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 2/13/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 235 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
214 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1313 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Three Big Island UPS Drivers Recognized for Accident-Free Driving

UPS today announced that three elite drivers from the Big Island of Hawaii, Glen Muraki (Kamuela), Brian Taketa (Kealakekua) and Myron Yamaguchi (Holualoa) are among 1,613 newly inducted worldwide into the Circle of Honor, an honorary organization for UPS drivers who have achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving.

UPS Patch

Hawaii boasts 11 active Circle of Honor drivers with a combined 296 years of accident-free driving. Dean Agustin of Lihue and Malcolm Toyama of Honolulu are Hawaii’s senior-most safe drivers, with 31 years of accident-free driving. There are 177 total UPS drivers in Hawaii.

Globally, 8,703 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor.  Collectively they’ve racked up more than 245,000 years and more than 5.3 billion safe miles during their careers. That’s enough miles to travel to Mars and back 19 times.

“My thanks go to all of them for their dedication and focus and for the countless lives they’ve saved,” said Tom Cuce, president, UPS South California District. “Their attention to detail has kept them safe and has helped improve public safety.”

Globally, the most seasoned UPS Circle of Honor driver is Thomas Camp of Livonia, Mich., with 53 years of driving without an accident. Ronald McKnight of Bronx, N.Y., is next in line with 47 years of safe driving. Sixty-six others have logged at least 40 years without an accident.

UPS’s 102,000 drivers are among the safest on the roads, logging more than 3 billion miles a year and delivering more than 4 billion packages safely.

Founded in 1907, UPS has a rich history of safety and training.  The company issued its first driver handbook in 1917 and began recognizing safe drivers in 1923.  In 1928, UPS recognized its first five-year safe driver, Ray McCue, with UPS founder Jim Casey presenting him a gold and platinum watch. UPS formally established its safe driving honor program in 1928.

Navy in Hawaii Wins Two Environmental Awards from Chief of Naval Operations

Two Hawaii-based Navy commands were winners of Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Awards, it was announced yesterday, Feb. 22, in Washington D.C.

Pacific Missile Range Facility

Pacific Missile Range Facility

The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, on Kauai won the award for Natural Resources Conservation for small naval installations (along with Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan).

(March 30, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) flies the U.S. Navy battle ensign while performing maneuvers off the coast of Hawaii. The ship was named for the late Senator John H. Chafee, former Secretary of the Navy and decorated veteran of the Marine Corp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan/Released)

(March 30, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) flies the U.S. Navy battle ensign while performing maneuvers off the coast of Hawaii. The ship was named for the late Senator John H. Chafee, former Secretary of the Navy and decorated veteran of the Marine Corp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan/Released)

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, was selected as the Navy’s top surface combatant ship for the CNO environmental award.

Vice Adm. P. H. Cullom

Vice Adm. P. H. Cullom

In a message of congratulations, Vice Adm. P. H. Cullom, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, said, “I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to all of the fiscal year 2015 Environmental Award winners. Your efforts not only embody the environmental stewardship ethic, but also aid in fulfilling the Navy’s national security mission. I applaud all of the nominees for their tireless commitment to preserving resources and bettering the environment. Bravo Zulu!”

Working with federal and state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, the public and host community, PMRF implemented numerous groundbreaking initiatives toward conservation, environmental protection and protection of endangered species. For example, under the Laysan Albatross Conservation program, PMRF transferred eggs to Campbell National Wildlife refuge on Oahu to provide new shelter for the birds and reduce the risk of aircraft strikes.  The “Dark Sky” initiative, which directed the turning off of all non-essential exterior lighting on PMRF during the Newell Shearwater, Hawaiian and Band-Rumped Storm Petrel migration season, reduced “fallout” by these endangered birds that are naturally attracted to light.

“The Ohana (family) here at Pacific Missile Range Facility is simply awesome and they truly deserve all the recognition.  I couldn’t be more proud of the daily efforts put forth by each and every member of our team,” said Capt. Bruce Hay, Commanding Officer of PMRF.

In the past year USS Chafee transited more than 37,000 miles on a seven-month deployment to the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility while participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, Talisman Sabre 15, UNITAS PAC 15, and UNITAS LANT 15.  USS Chafee conducted all operations with no impact to marine mammals and with safe and clean refueling operations.

Environmental protection and energy conservation were at the forefront of operations, according to Cmdr. Shea Thompson, commanding officer of USS Chafee.

“We’re all thrilled to have been selected for this award. We strive for efficiency in all aspects of our war fighting operations and to be good stewards of our environment,” said Thompson.

All CNO winners will go on to the Secretary of the Navy level of competition.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy to Participate in the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s 3rd Annual “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative in Washington D.C.

More Than 50 Hawaii Organizations to Participate in the Two-Day Agenda, June 7-8, 2016

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining, with his Poke recipes, culinary skills and joyful manner, some 1000+ distinguished guests that are anticipated to attend the 3rd Annual Taste of Hawaii event as part of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s “Hawaii on the Hill” initiative in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono.

Sam Choy will be featured in Washington DC. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining guests in Washington D.C. at the “Hawaii on the Hill” event. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

“Sam Choy is a pioneer of Pacific Rim cuisine, and I’m excited to have him as part of our 3rd annual Hawaii on the Hill hosted in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. For decades, Chef Choy has been committed to sharing the culture of our state through its food, and is the latest local celebrity to participate in Hawaii on the Hill, joining Willie K, Amy Hanaialii, and Aidan James. Hawaii on the Hill has grown to be one of the most anticipated state showcase events because of participants like Chef Choy and Tiki Shark Art, who truly bring a slice of the Aloha State to Washington, D.C.,” commented Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker

Sen. Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

“It was an honor for me to get a direct invite from the Senator to attend this event. My cell phone rang and it was Mazie Hirono on the other line…wow!” he exclaimed. “I am so pleased to see that Poke, a true Hawaiian food, is making its way to the mainland in a big way,” he added.

“The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii is very excited and pleased to welcome Chef Sam Choy to this year’s Hawaii on the Hill initiative and, particularly, our Taste of Hawaii on the Hill event, which has grown to over 1,000 attendees,” said Chamber President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Having Chef Choy represent the Aloha State with Tiki Shark Art will add even more stature and a colorful dimension to our line-up of participants. This will be our third year in a row to lead this effort, in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono and her team, and we’re looking forward to sharing Hawaii’s food, culture, and industries with our nation’s leaders, and other officials and representatives, again.”

More than 50 organizations from Hawaii are participating in the Taste of Hawaii representing made-in-Hawaii products and the tourism, agriculture, innovation and technology, manufacturing and military industries. The Taste of Hawaii is one of several events slated for the two-day Hawaii on the Hill agenda, which also includes a “Talk Story” hosted by Senator Hirono and a Policy Summit with Congressional committee members and other officials.

This year’s Hawaii on the Hill will take place June 7-8. For additional information, please contact Lori Abe with the Chamber at email: labe@cochawaii.org or by calling (808) 380-2605.

Coast Guard Searching for Owner of Found Kayak Near Kahaluu Beach Park

The Coast Guard is searching for the owner or operator of an unmanned adrift black kayak found one mile offshore of Kahaluu Beach Park, on the Big Island, Tuesday.

The Coast Guard is searching for the owner or operator of an unmanned adrift black kayak found 1 mile offshore of Kahaluu Beach Park, on the Big Island, Feb. 23, 2016. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The Coast Guard is searching for the owner or operator of an unmanned adrift black kayak found 1 mile offshore of Kahaluu Beach Park, on the Big Island, Feb. 23, 2016. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point is currently searching for a possible person in the water.

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

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu Command Center received a report at 10:40 a.m., from a good Samaritan stating they had recovered a black kayak in the vicinity of Keauhou Bay near Kahaluu Beach Park.

Sector Honolulu issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and launched the Dolphin crew. There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.

“The Coast Guard encourages ocean goers to always file a float plan and leave it with a reliable person who can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard, or other rescue agency, should you not return or check‐in as planned,” said Lt. Nicholas Spence, a command duty officer at Sector Honolulu. “In addition, it’s important to label your watercraft with contact information so that if found adrift, we can help identify the owner and determine whether or not that person is in distress.”

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

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

Parking on Kamehameha Highway to Be Restricted Near Waimea Bay for the Eddie Aikau Tournament

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is alerting motorists of parking restrictions on Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf tournament. No parking will be allowed on either side of Kamehameha Highway from Iliohu Place to the Saints Peter & Paul Mission beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 at 10 pm through the duration of the tournament.

Eddie contest

Temporary barriers will be placed in the shoulders to prevent parking and allow safe pedestrian access. Honolulu Police officers will be patrolling the area enforcing the parking restriction. Vehicles parked within the restricted area will be cited and/or towed at the owner’s expense. Should the event be cancelled the barriers will be removed as quickly as possible and the parking restriction will be lifted.

HDOT is postponing planned lane closures on Kamehameha Highway along Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the crowds of people venturing to Waimea Bay. Previously planned utility installation and repair work on Thursday, Feb. 25 will be postponed.

Electronic message boards will be strategically placed at key decision making points including Wahiawa, Kahaluu and Kahuku to alert motorists of parking restrictions and heavy traffic on the North Shore. Additional signs will be placed on both ends of the designated area near Waimea Bay to notify drivers of the parking restriction.

We ask those travelling to the North Shore to be patient, drive safely, and expect delays. As with past Eddie’s, we expect the number of cars on the road to significantly exceed the capacity. HDOT has been in coordination with the Honolulu Police Department, City & County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation Department, and Department of Transportation Services to mitigate impacts to the best extent possible.

To view a complete list of the scheduled roadwork around the state visit the Hawaii Department of Transportation website by clicking here.

Former OHA Staffer Lukela Ruddle Joins Office of Mauna Kea Management as Cultural Resource Program Manager

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM), charged with the management of approximately 12,000 acres of State-owned land on Maunakea, continues to advance its mission to malama (take care of) Maunakea resources with the recent hiring of Lukela Ruddle as its Cultural Resource Program Manager.

Office of Maunakea Management Logo

In her new position, Ruddle’s responsibilities include assisting Kahu Ku Mauna with project reviews, policy development, community consultation, and implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan, in particular, the Cultural Resources Management Plan. Ruddle will also initiate an educational campaign for cultural landscape preservation and a collection of the traditional, contemporary, and customary cultural practices on Maunakea.

“Lukela’s vast knowledge and problem-solving skills has already made her a key addition to the OMKM team. We are delighted to have her onboard and part of the OMKM team as we move forward with our management of the resources on Maunakea. Lukela will play a key role in providing and implementing high quality solutions and implementation of new programing,” said OMKM’s Director Stephanie Nagata.

“The job of a Cultural Resources Program Manager on Maunakea needs to be done. My desire is to contribute to the ongoing work of integrating a cultural view into meaningful management of the mountain,” said Ruddle. “I look forward to working with lineal descendants and persons having historical ties to Maunakea and developing culturally appropriate procedures and protocols.”

For fourteen years, Lukela served as an Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Aide to Hannah Kihalani Springer and as OHA’s East Hawaii Community Resource Coordinator. She conducted community outreach, advocacy and community coalition building. Her working familiarity with county, state and federal laws enabled her to advise OHA on various matters and boosted the creation, review and implementation of OHA policies and programs. With this understanding of community needs and available public resources, Lukela also collaborated in drafting legislation, securing capital improvements funds and expanding programs to directly advance OHA beneficiaries.

Hawaii DLNR To Hold Public Hearing On Nāpu‘u Conservation Project

Concerns draft habitat conservation plan for game management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), pursuant to Chapter 195D, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the Nāpu‘u Conservation Project Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Game Management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu

The DLNR  Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages lands in the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve and the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area, in North Kona, on the island of Hawai‘i.  Current land management in the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area is primarily for maintenance of non-native game mammal populations for hunting, in addition to conservation of native habitat. Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve is a multi-use area where management includes game population maintenance for hunting, natural resource conservation and restoration, and other activities such as cattle grazing and trail use. The habitat conservation plan is intended to consider and mitigate for the potential impacts from game mammal management activities on endangered species within the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu areas.

  • DATE:             March 1 and 7, 2016
  • TIME:              5:30 p.m.      
  • PLACES:           March 1, 2016: Auntie Sally’s Luau Hale, 799 Piilani Street, Hilo, HI  96720 and March 7, 2016: West Hawaii Civic Center, Community Hale, 74-5044 Ane   Keohokalole Highway

The anticipated life of the project is 25 years. Prior to the expiration of the 25-year period, DOFAW will evaluate whether to pursue an extension of the incidental take license.

DOFAW has prepared a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) – in consultation with staff and local experts, – for authorization and issuance of an incidental take license for incidental take of endangered species associated with game management activities.  The draft HCP was published in the November 8, 2015 Office of Environmental Quality and Control’s Environmental Notice and is currently available for public review and comments for a one hundred and twenty day period.

The purpose of the draft HCP is to mitigate for potential impacts to the threatened and endangered species found in the project area.

It is anticipated that game management activities have the potential to result in the incidental take of one animal species, Blackburn’s sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni), and 15 state and federally listed  plant species:  Asplenium peruvianum var. insulare, Hala pepe (Chrysodracon hawaiiensis), Kauila (Colubrina oppositifolia), Honohono (Haplostachys haplostachya), Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. brackenridgei), Koki‘o (Kokia drynarioides), Neraudia ovata, ‘Aiea (Nothocestrum breviflorum), Uhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiense) Po‘e (Portulaca sclerocarpa), Hawaiian Catchfly (Silene lanceolata), Pōpolo kū mai (Solanum incompletum), Creeping Mint (Stenogyne angustifolia), A‘e (Zanthoxylum dipetalum var. tomentosum), and A‘e (Zanthoxylum hawaiiense).

Potential negative impacts on these listed plant species are primarily in the form of take from grazing, browsing, and trampling associated with the management of game mammals and cattle in the project area.

Potential impacts to Blackburn’s sphinx moth larvae and eggs are from the clearing and maintenance of fuel breaks and four-wheel drive access roads.

No other listed, proposed, or candidate plant or animal species are anticipated to be taken by project activities. The HCP outlines provisions for net benefit to the covered species and environment, and contributes to the recovery of each of these species.

The appointed hearing officer will be: James Cogswell, wildlife program manager, DOFAW. Should Jim Cogswell be unable to act as hearing officer, DOFAW will substitute appropriate staff as needed to conduct the public hearing.

Copies of the draft HCP are available for review at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices in Honolulu and Hilo, as a link provided in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s November 8, 2015 issue of the Environmental Notice, and copies will be available at the public hearing.

Anyone who plans to attend the hearing and requires auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter), please request assistance by contacting the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to provide testimony, please send comments to the aforementioned address, attention Afsheen Siddiqi. Comments should be received by March 7, 2016.

Hawaii Island Prom Dress Drive to Help Local Ladies go to Prom

Friends of the Children’s Justice Center are having a Prom Dress Drive to help local young ladies go to a prom. Donate a formal dress to give a local high school student an opportunity to join their friends at a memorable High School event and do so with confidence.

Prom Dress Drive

Collecting new and gently used prom/party dresses & evening gowns, shoes, jewelry & accessories.

Collection Location, Hilo Naniloa Hotel, 93 Banyan Dr. Hilo, HI:

  • Friday, March 11th 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, March 12th 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM & 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, March 13th 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM

S-STEM Program at UH Hilo Accepting Applications

The Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 academic year.

UH Hilo Moniker

The S-STEM Program supports academically talented and highly motivated students from economically disadvantaged families to complete STEM degrees in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Marine Science, Mathematics, Natural Science, or Physics. Application deadline is March 15, 2016.

The S-STEM Program provides each scholar with a $20,000 scholarship for four years of their undergraduate studies (up to $5,000 per year) while they maintain a good academic standing in their STEM major. The program also integrates and expands existing educational services for STEM students at UH Hilo.

“We are very pleased with the success of our first cohort, accepted in S-STEM in Fall 2015,” said Raina “Reni” Ivanova, professor of mathematics, principal investigator and director of the program. “Our scholars came from different cultural and academic backgrounds. Along with the kama`aina students from the Big Island and O`ahu, we have scholars who travelled thousands of miles, from places like Montana and Saipan, to join us at UH Hilo. With the S-STEM support, they are able to pursue their dream careers in STEM. We are very proud of their progress. Our S-STEM team and I look forward to welcoming our second cohort in Fall 2016.”

For more information about eligibility requirements and an application form, visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/affiliates/s-stem/ call (808) 932-7587, or email mmellott@hawaii.edu.

Zonta Club of Hilo to Honor Jackie Pualani Johnson with Rose Award

The Zonta Club of Hilo will honor Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson with its biennial “Rose Award of Excellence” on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson

Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson

The Zonta Rose Award of Excellence recognizes women who have made significant impact on the lives of others through their employment, volunteer activities and associations. The award is part of Zonta International’s observance of International Women’s Day and Zonta Rose Day. Zonta’s mission is to empower women through service and advocacy.

“Zonta Hilo is proud to play a part in celebrating Jackie’s extraordinary achievements and contributions to the arts, education and throughout the community,” said Julie Tulang, Zonta Hilo Service Chair. “For nearly four decades, Jackie has worn many hats—teacher, mentor, performer, director—inspiring and sparking creativity wherever she goes.”

Johnson was born and raised in Hilo. She is a graduate of St. Joseph High School, where she began singing under the direction of Clarence Waipa. Johnson received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in drama from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has performed hula and chanted oli for international audiences, and played a number of roles in local theater productions including Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. Johnson helped organize, and appeared in, Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare-in-the-Park, now in its 39th year. For the outdoor summer production’s 25th anniversary, she fulfilled a lifelong dream, presenting a pidgin version of a Shakespeare classic re-titled One Uddah Mid’summah.

Johnson is professor and chair of the Performing Arts Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, where she began teaching in 1979. She has taught acting, stage make-up, costuming and directing, and provided oral interpretation of literature with an emphasis on works by local writers. Johnson has directed more than seventy productions, and plans to retire from UHH in May 2017.

Recently, she acted in and directed historical performances for Kona Historical Society including Isabella Bird at Kealapuali, Kona Coffee Days and A Visit to Kalu Kalu as well as scripts based on the lives of female monarchs in Hawaii including Queen Kaahumanu and Queen Liliuokalani. Johnson is married with three daughters and six grandchildren.

For more information about the Zonta Rose Award event or to purchase tickets—$25 includes dinner—contact Ashley Kierkiewicz at (808) 989-4004 or via email: alk@hastingsandpleadwell.com by March 9.

About Zonta Club of Hilo
The Zonta Club of Hilo was founded in 1950 and is part of Zonta International, a global organization whose mission is to empower women through service and advocacy. To learn more about the club’s service projects, special events, advocacy efforts and scholarship opportunities, visit zontahilo.org.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

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

Hawaii Residents can spot the International Space Station tonight depending on the clouds.

Hawaii Residents can spot the International Space Station tonight depending on the clouds.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Monday, February 22, at 7:07 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a Maximum Height of 88 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the Southeast part of the sky

Thunder From Down Under – Coming to Oahu and Big Island of Hawaii

Bamp Project Presents Thunder From Down Under on the Big Island of Hawaii for two nights at the Kahilu Theatre.  Shows will be on Monday, June 06, 2016 and Tuesday June 07, 2016 with both shows beginning at 7:00 PM. Prices are $62.50/$52.50 and $42.50. Door sales to increase in price by $5.00 at the door.

Thunder from Down Under will be performing at the Kahilu Theatre

Thunder from Down Under will be performing at the Kahilu Theatre

They will also be playing on Oahu on June 10th, 11th and 12th at The Safehouse (the Lounge within The Republik).  More information on the Oahu shows can be found here: Thunder from Down Under on Oahu.

AUSTRALIA’S THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER – The PERFECT Girl’s Night Outback! Australia’s HOTTEST Export – Thunder From Down Under – hits an intimate Vegas stage every night of the week showing off chiseled bodies, seductive dance routines, cheeky humor and boy-next-door charm that you won’t be able to resist! Each sexy performer embodies a different female fantasy and brings it to life, turning your wildest dreams into reality.

Thunder from Down under 2

This isn’t the type of show you just sit and watch – Thunder is a fully interactive experience. The blokes dance on tabletops, make their way through the crowd and even select a few lucky ladies to join in the fun on stage. Don’t miss your chance to get up close and personal with these Aussie hunks! Critics, celebrities and fans from around the world rave that Thunder From Down Under is the best male revue show on the Strip! This show is the ultimate bachelorette party, divorce party and girls’ night out destination.

Hawaii State BOE Approves Science for the Next Generation

The Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) earlier this week, approved the adoption of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which brings a more engaging and enjoyable approach to learning science.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

Photo Credit: Department of Education

The new standards are interwoven across disciplines, including connections to language arts and mathematics. They set the following student performance expectations:

  • Disciplinary Core Ideas (science specific concepts in the life, earth, engineering and physical sciences),
  • Science and Engineering Practices (the practices of engaging in scientific investigation to answer questions, and engineering design to solve problems),
  • Crosscutting Concepts (conceptual ideas common to all areas of science).

NGSS replaces the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III for Science.

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) now starts a four-year implementation plan, which will be presented at an upcoming BOE meeting.

“Unlike previous content standards the NGSS is aimed to excite young people about science and engineering,” said Suzanne Mulcahy, assistant superintendent of the office of curriculum, instruction and student support. “The NGSS aligns with our strategic approach to preparing students for life because it effectively connects scientific concepts to careers.”

HIDOE is targeting full implementation of NGSS in school year (SY) 2018-2019 for secondary schools and SY 2019-2020 for elementary schools. HIDOE is moving forward to develop resources, supports, and assessments with teacher input, and collaboration with local education partners including Hawaii P-20, University of Hawaii, regional National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA; as well as national educational organizations including the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Science Teachers Association and Council for State Science Supervisors.​

For more information about NGSS visit http://ngss.nsta.org/.


Hawaii (Big Island) Democratic Dance and Rally Information

With voters soon to vote on candidates from the U.S. Presidency down to the smallest precinct official, Hawaii County Democrats are stepping up to help inform Puna’s citizens of their choices. St. House Districts 3 and 4, which includes all of lower and upper Puna, invite the public to a Dist. 3 & 4 Fundraising Rally and Dance Party on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Democratic Party of Hawaii

Russ Ruderman’s Terrapin Station are the headline performers. The event, which is free to the public, will be held from 6-10 PM at the Eagles Club off Hwy. 130 in Kea’au, according to HCDP Dist. 3 Chair Mike Klungness and Dist. 4 Chair Philip Matlage.

Democratic Party candidates running for any office for which Dist. 3 and 4 residents can vote will have tables set up outside the building to talk to voters and get their names out to the public. Elections this year include races for mayor and county council, state senate and representative, U.S. House and U.S. President. OHA at-large candidates have also been invited.

Another goal of the rally is to help Puna Democrats get to know their fellow precinct neighbors. Matlage and Klungness are encouraging people to run for precinct offices and sign up as state delegates at the March 26 Presidential Preference Poll and Caucus meetings. Funds raised at the event are to help send Puna delegates to the State Democratic Party Convention in Waikiki over the Memorial Day weekend.

The public is invited to bring a potluck pupu or dessert dish to share, questions for the candidates and their dancing shoes. The Eagles Club will maintain the no-host bar (outside liquor not allowed). A fun time should be had by all!!!

For more information, contact Klungness at 968-6789, Matlage at 430-0835, or Frankie Stapleton at 965-8945.

Big Island School Visited by Paralympic Alpine Skier Josh Dueck

On Monday, February 8, Parker students in grades 4 and 5 were treated to a visit and presentation by famed Canadian Paralympic alpine skier Josh Dueck.

Parker students in grades 4 and 5 were treated to a visit and presentation by famed Canadian Paralympic alpine skier Josh Dueck on February 8.

Parker students in grades 4 and 5 were treated to a visit and presentation by famed Canadian Paralympic alpine skier Josh Dueck on February 8.

Paralyzed from the waist down from a ski accident in 2004 at the age of 23, Josh shared his personal story of perseverance and overcoming adversity with students. Dueck fought hard to get back on the slopes and did so in a big way winning a gold medal in men’s super-combined and a silver in sitting downhill at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In addition, he won gold in mono skier X at the 2011 X Games, bronze at the 2012 X Games and multiple other top honors, including the title of the world’s first sit-skier to complete a back flip.

Students were enthralled during his presentation which ended with a dynamic question and answer session. “Josh was such an inspiration to our 4th and 5th graders – they were amazed and truly engaged in learning about his life journey and the lessons learned through his experiences,” says Heather Emmons, Parker School grade 4 teacher.  “He spoke to our 9 and 10 year olds in a way that captured their attention and, like a teacher, taught students very important life lessons to be remembered.” Dueck personally signed a photo for each student.

Retired from skiing in 2014, today Dueck travels the world as a public and motivational speaker and has been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as featured in a documentary called Freedom Chair.  Learn more about Josh Dueck at www.joshdueck.com.

New Waipi’o Kalo Festival Receives OHA Support

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded a $5,000 ‘Ahahui Grant to support the Waipi‘o Kalo Festival being organized by the community-based Hā Ola O Waipi‘o organization.

Waipio Valley Taro FestivalThe inaugural event, planned for Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., will honor Waipi‘o, the multi-generational kalo farmers, musicians, cultural practitioners, families with genealogical ties, and those who perpetuate Hawaiian culture in the Valley. The event is free and open to all, offering numerous opportunities to learn about kalo, plus lei-making, lau hala and lau niu (coconut frond) weaving demonstrations, a Kalo Cookoff, wonderful entertainment, great food and a Taro Team Relay.

Through moʻolelo (stories), lessons and information, participants may come to understand how sacred and important Waipiʻo Valley and taro farming are within Hawaiian culture and history. The Festival is designed to encourage people of all ages to reconnect with the ʻāina, feel empowered to grow their own kalo and provide healthy food for their ʻohana.

In addition, Festival presenters will teach about different varieties of kalo and their nutritional value and health benefits, various farming styles, and how to kuʻi kalo (pound kalo). Other information booths will teach about healthy soil agro-forestry, the importance of water, and the history of Waipiʻo and the Hāmākua district.

Friends of the Future serves as the fiscal sponsor for projects of Hā Ola O Waipio Valley. Founded in 1991, Friends of the Future’s mission is to facilitate a vision of lokahi among the diverse peoples of Hawaiʻi, encouraging each person to contribute their deepest values, to create shared visions, and to continuously improve our communities.

For more information about the Kalo Festival, email HaolaoWaipioValley@gmail.com or follow Hā Ola on Facebook.