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Hokulea Reaches Woods Hole After Making Connections in Martha’s Vineyard

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea started the month of July with a sail to a new destination. After various engagements within the Martha’s Vineyard community, Hokulea departed at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 1 to make the journey over to Woods Hole.

Woods HoleA few members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe and local community organizers that the crew connected with at Martha’s Vineyard accompanied the Hokulea crewmembers on their latest sail.

woods hole2The canoe’s noon arrival at Woods Hole was marked by a greeting at Dyer’s Dock from representatives of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal nation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute community. A short welcome ceremony was performed, including the performance of a song written about Hokulea by the children of the Neekun School, a Wôpanâak Language immersion program.

woods hole3“In this day and age, we know that it can be confusing about what is meaningful. But this is. This gathering, this togetherness is historical and we will speak of it for generations to come,” said Ramona Peters, an elder of the Mashpee Wampanoag, during the arrival ceremony.

woods hole4Today, the Hokulea crew are attending the  Mashpee Wampanoag’s 95th annual powwow. The three-day long Native American event filled with traditional songs, dances, cultural ceremonies and other intertribal activities will honor Hokulea as part of the program.

woods hole5The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present-day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years.

woods hole6The crew and canoe are scheduled to participate in Woods Hole community events on July 4, departing July 5 for New Bedford followed by Boston.

Hawaii Relaunches “Fight the Bite” to Battle All Mosquito-Borne Diseases

As summer brings to Hawaii increased travel to and from the state, top state and local officials, including Governor Ige and Mayors Arakawa, Caldwell, Carvalho, and Kenoi stood together today to demonstrate a concerted statewide effort to “Fight the Bite” and keep Hawaii free of diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Fight the Bite at Capital

The public education campaign has been relaunched by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week and expanded to include all mosquito-borne diseases that pose a threat to Hawaii, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Zika at the highest level of activation following action by the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the Zika virus and the health problems it can cause.

In April, a team from Hawaii attended the CDC’s Zika Action Plan Summit, and this month, DOH requested federal funds totaling approximately $4 million to support statewide Zika-related control, monitoring, and prevention efforts. Federal funds are being made available through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement; Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant; and Hawaii Birth Defects Surveillance, Intervention, and Follow-up for Zika Virus Grant.

Last week, Hawaii also participated as one of a few selected states in a Zika response exercise in Washington D.C. “Hawaii is fortunate none of these diseases are endemic or native to our state, and we need to work together to make sure it stays this way,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are part of a nationwide effort to combat diseases spread by mosquitoes, and with the Department of Health leading the charge to bring partners together to raise awareness about mosquito prevention, I’m confident that communities will come together, as our state and county leadership have done, to ensure the safety of our islands.”

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “Mosquito season in Hawaii is year-round, but with increased travel and more outdoor activities during the summer months, we need to be on our guard and keep residents and visitors well-informed about mosquito-borne diseases and how to reduce the chances of outbreaks in our state. Hawaii has been identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of the Zika virus so we hope people will keep mosquito prevention and control top-of-mind all year long.”

The revamped “Fight the Bite” campaign has two key components. The first comes on the heels of the recent Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak, which began in October 2015 and continued through the spring of this year. As a follow up to the intense response to 264 cases of dengue fever, that likely began as a result of an infected traveler, DOH coordinated with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management/civil defense agencies to develop a response plan specifically for mosquito-borne diseases. It outlines ongoing preparedness activities to take place when there are no cases, as well as response measures for all imported cases and measures in the event of infected mosquitoes transmitting a disease locally.

The second component includes a research-based public education campaign that leverages numerous broadcast and social media channels to build awareness about mosquito-borne disease prevention. Starting in early July, Hawaii residents can expect to hear “Fight the Bite” messages on local radio and television stations statewide, and see graphics in malls and shopping centers. The $250,000 media campaign is being funded by the state and will include community engagement activities to spearhead and encourage grassroots efforts to reduce mosquito breeding areas across the state. All resources will be made available to the public at the redesigned campaign website at www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

DOH is coordinating closely with tourism officials to ensure the “Fight the Bite” message reaches visitors to Hawaii. With the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and State Department of Transportation, people can also expect to see updated “Fight the Bite” information this year in key points-of-entry, such as airports and harbors.

“We are working together with our travel industry partners to educate their workers, guests and customers,” said George D. Szigeti Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO. “We all need to do our part to protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne illnesses.” Educational outreach to youth is also an important piece of the campaign. “Many educators working at the Department of Education already offer information about mosquito-borne disease prevention to students,” said Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “DOH and DOE are working to identify new opportunities and to train staff so that they may better educate Hawaii’s students.”

For more information about the education campaign, response plan, and mosquito-borne diseases and how to prevent them, visit www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.


New Captain at Helm of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu

Capt. Michael Long relieved Capt. Shannon Gilreath as commander of Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Friday.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presents an award to Capt. Shannon Gilreath during a Coast Guard Sector Honolulu change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presents an award to Capt. Shannon Gilreath during a Coast Guard Sector Honolulu change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Long is a native of Florida and graduated from Florida State University with a master’s degree in public administration in addition to earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in environment resource management from the University of West Florida.

Capt. Michael Long (left) relieves Capt. Shannon Gilreath (right) as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presided over the ceremony. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Capt. Michael Long (left) relieves Capt. Shannon Gilreath (right) as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander for the Coast Guard 14th District, presided over the ceremony. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Long’s previous field assignments include serving as the deputy commander at Coast Guard Sector Miami, senior defense official and defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, response department head and search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, port operations at Marine Safety Office New Orleans, and assistant operations officer for the Gulf Strike Team.

Long’s previous staff tours include executive assistant to the Coast Guard’s director of port security, assistant director of the Coast Guard’s International Port Security Program, and a duty officer at the National Response Center.

Gilreath will be the new office chief of the Coast Guard’s Maritime and International Law Program in Washington, D.C.

Capt. Shannon Gilreath and Capt. Michael Long conduct an inspection of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu crewmembers during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Capt. Shannon Gilreath and Capt. Michael Long conduct an inspection of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu crewmembers during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, July 1, 2016. The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition, which formally transfers responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Prior to assuming command of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Capt. Gilreath was the deputy commander. His previous assignments include USCGC Northland (WMEC 904), Marine Safety Office New Orleans, Coast Guard 8th District legal office, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge, and chief of the Prevention Law Group within the Office of Maritime and International Law at Coast Guard Headquarters. He also served as a senior military fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. Vincent Atkins, commander, Coast Guard 14th District, was the presiding official for the ceremony.

Farm to School Initiative Asks Farmers to Submit Bids

The Farm to School Initiative is seeking qualified farmers and vendors to submit bids to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to various Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools statewide.  Local farmers are encouraged to submit their bids by July 13.  The invitation for bids (IFB) can be found at http://spo3.hawaii.gov/notices/notices/ifb-d17-005.

Farm to foodSpearheaded by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, the HIDOE and Department of Agriculture are working collaboratively on the Initiative.  The goal is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias.  The Initiative also aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.

“With Hawaii importing about 85 percent of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way we are working towards becoming food sustainable in our state,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “While supporting local farmers and our economy, we are also feeding our students with locally-grown fresh fruit and vegetables.”

HIDOE has 256 public schools and its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.

“We’ve made it a priority to purchase local produce, however, our options have been limited,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are hopeful that this initiative will allow for more locally-based products to be used in our schools’ food services while keeping costs reasonable.”

“We encourage local farmers to participate in this program,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “One of the challenges farmers face is the uncertainty of supply and demand and this program will help farmers plan and grow their crops with the knowledge that there will be a market for their produce.  In addition, keiki will be able to grow up with an appreciation of locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from.  Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a mixer to inform them on how to become a qualified vendor with the State.  Those events, including the IFB, culminates with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.

Hepatitis Outbreak on Oahu

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating a cluster of at least 12 cases of hepatitis A infection in adults on Oahu; six have required hospitalization. Onsets of illness have ranged from June 16 through June 27, 2016.

Click to see where to get vaccinations.

Click to see where to get vaccinations.

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes. Symptoms typically last several weeks to as long as two months. Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of infected persons and is usually spread by eating contaminated food or drinking water, but can also be spread through close personal/sexual contact. Persons should seek medical attention immediately should they develop symptoms.

“Hepatitis A infection is a vaccine-preventable disease, and fortunately, most children and adolescents have been vaccinated as part of routine childhood vaccination recommendations,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “However, many adults have not been vaccinated and remain susceptible.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park added, “Healthcare providers have been informed and asked to notify us immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected. Treatment for hepatitis A infection is supportive only, and while most people will recover without complications, we are encouraging everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.”

Hepatitis A vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least six (6) months apart, are needed for lasting protection. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

2nd Annual Hawaii Island Women’s Leadership Summit

The 2nd annual Hawai’i Island Women’s Leadership Summit announces registration and Teri Bump as keynote for their summer event.  Bump will address the Summit theme of “Tools for Excellence – Self, Relationships, Career and Community.” The purpose of this one-day conference is to empower and advance women on Hawai’i Island.

womens leadership forum coverRegistration is now open for the Summit which will be at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Friday, August 26, 2016. Expected to attract nearly 400 Hawai’i Island attendees, this one-day conference will include Bump’s keynote address and 16 breakout presentations by an array of Hawai’i Island entrepreneurs, professionals, leaders and rising stars.  Attendees will also enjoy breakfast, lunch, vendor expo and a networking pau hana.

Teri Bump

Teri Bump

Bump is a partner, mother, colleague, friend and athlete with a bias for action. She has served universities nationally for 17 years, including Boston University and Oberlin College before joining American Campus Communities as Vice President for University Relations and Student Development 15 years ago.

With over three decades of coaching, speaking, and most importantly, real-life work experience, Bump’s view is action-oriented, optimistic and empowering. Her high impact presentation will encourage attendees to identify, own and expand their unique strengths and leadership potential moving steps forward on their own path.

Dr. Sulma Gandhi from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo shared the following about Bump: “I met Teri Bump at the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Alice Manicur Symposium.  Despite the jet lag I encountered, I was up and on my feet, posing as Wonder Woman at her pre-conference session.

Dr. Sulma Gandhi

Dr. Sulma Gandhi

She followed with another dynamic and engaging presentation that was invigorating, filled with laughter and brought 80 women together, joining hands, as one force.  Get ready to bring your best self.  Teri will see it and celebrate it making us all stronger.”

A special early bird rate of $99 per person is available now through July 31. The cost to attend after this date will be $109 per person.  A limited number of scholarships are available for women who may not have the financial means to attend. Event specifics including breakout descriptions, scholarship application, vendor details, a special HIWLF Hilton room rate and link to registration can be found at http://go.Hawaii.edu/8X.

For more information, including volunteer opportunities, please contact Farrah-Marie Gomes, Chair at hawaiiIslandWLF@gmail.com.  Follow HIWLF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hiwlf or on Twitter @HIWLF for future announcements about the Summit.

Kahana Drive Bridge Repair Completed

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works is pleased to announce that the Kahana Drive Bridge repair and restoration project has been completed.  The Kahana Drive Bridge No. 46, located mauka of Highway 19 on Kahana Drive is now open to the traveling public.

Kahana Bridge fixedThe repair work involved the rehabilitation of the original bridge structure replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works would like to thank the community and motorists for their patience, understanding and support throughout the repair and restoration project.

Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing and Resource Management

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is accepting registration for a workshop entitled Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing and Resource Management. Classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 11, 12 and 13, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at UH Hilo’s Edith Kanaka’ole Hall, Room 274. Tuition is $750 and includes all training materials.

Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography

The course will be taught by Dr. Ryan Perroy, assistant professor, geography and principal investigator, Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Lab in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at UH Hilo. Participants will gain the essential knowledge and organization required to safely and legally integrate UAS operations into their daily work activities through live demonstrations, hands-on UAS simulations, and computer processing techniques working with UAS-derived data.

Topics will include mission planning and execution, choosing the right fixed wing or copter platform, applying for a FAA Certificate of Authorization application (COA), creating high resolution orthorectified imagery, using Structure from Motion technology to create 3D digital surface models, and change detection applications.

Due to federal export laws, enrollment is limited to U.S. citizens only. A USB is recommended. For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu.

Hilo Fourth of July Parking Restrictions

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announces that motorists may not park on Downtown Hilo playing fields between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday, July 4.

fireworksThe temporary parking ban is being implemented to provide for the safety of people attending the Fourth of July Hilo Bay Blast celebration.

The temporary parking ban will apply to all County of Hawai‘i athletic fields located along Kamehameha Avenue in the downtown Hilo area. Signs and barricades will designate the areas where parking is prohibited.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Hawaii Belly Dance Convention to Showcase Middle Eastern Dance

Now in its 12th year, the 2016 Hawai‘i Belly Dance Convention will bring performers and teachers from near and far to Honolulu to share the beauty and drama of Middle Eastern dance October 13-17.

Belly Dancing

“We’re so excited to announce the twelfth annual Hawai‘i Belly Dance Convention. This year our amazing instructors will be taking a deeper dive into the history and culture of belly dance,” said convention founder Malia Delapenia. “We hope you’ll join us this October with some of the best belly dancers in the world sharing their knowledge and passion with dancers and dance lovers alike.”

This year’s featured visiting performers and instructors include tribal fusion belly dance pioneer Mira Betz, belly dance superstar and instructor Petite Jamilla, and pioneering male fusionist Frank Farinaro.

In a new event for this year’s convention, enjoy Cultural Seminars followed by the Reflection performance review on Thursday, October 13 at the Honolulu Museum of Arts. Cultural seminars begin at 5 p.m. Following the seminars is an intimate session of performances and commentary, an opportunity for professional feedback from HBDC’s visiting instructors. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., dancers can participate in a question and answer session and get feedback on their own performances. The evening is open to the public. General admission is $15, with discounted admission for museum members and military.

On Friday, October 14, join us for the crowd favorite Shimmy Showcase Gala at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre (900 S. Beretania Street). The Shimmy Showcase is an opportunity for convention participants to see their teachers in action, and for everyone to appreciate the enchanting art of Middle Eastern dance. The two shows will be preceded by a no-host reception with special preview performances. “Essence” the 6:30 p.m. show, will be a family-friendly show that traces the once traditional movements of belly dance to its contemporary existence. “The Reveal” will continue the modern exploration with more edgy, sensual, fusion performances for an audience 18 years and older at 9:30 p.m. Doors open an hour and a half before each show. General tickets for each show begin at $30 with VIP available and discounted admission for museum members, military, or for those enjoying both shows.

The Shimmy with Aloha Workshops, now in their ninth year, will be held at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16. Workshop teachers bring decades of experience to each workshop, and offerings will be available for belly dancers at all levels of experience.

Individual workshops are $30-$75, or day passes to all workshops are available from $200-265. A free Beginners of Belly Dance class will be taught on Sunday from 12:30-1:15 p.m. by Turkish belly dance artist Jin from Japan. All ages and levels of experience are welcome and encouraged to share in the love of the art.

Just outside the Shimmy with Aloha Workshops at the Neal Blaisdell Center, a marketplace will be set up with belly dance costumes, dance wear, and other Middle Eastern artisans from around the world. Many of these products are not available locally most of the year. The Middle Eastern Marketplace will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Following the Sunday workshops, the hotly anticipated official HBDC VIP After Party will be held at an exciting location to be announced soon.  The final day of this year’s HBDC, Monday, October 17 will begin with a day of outdoor adventures with friends old and new.

Attendees can save over $100 and gain admission to all HBDC events with the Ku‘uipo Package. The $480 pass includes VIP access to the Cultural Seminars & Reflection, Shimmy Showcase Gala, Shimmy with Aloha Workshops, and the HBDC VIP After Party. This package, which saves $120 over purchasing individual events, is only available until August 31.

For more information, to purchase tickets for the Shimmy Showcase, or to register for workshops or other convention events, visit HawaiiBellyDanceConvention.com or call (808) 234-1006.

Three Big Island Beaches Closing Early for 4th of July

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks reminds park users that the use of fireworks and alcohol is prohibited in all state parks, at all times.

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

In addition, State Parks division will conduct early closures of three West Hawaii parks on the Fourth of July holiday. (All other parks will close at normal times posted on the Hawaii State Parks website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/ )

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area (including the Waialea Bay section), Kekaha Kai State Park (including the Maniniowali Beach / Kua Bay and Mahaiula Beach sections) and Kiholo State Park Reserve will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2016.

“We are closing these facilities early to discourage use of fireworks, which is prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the areas,” said DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case.

Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, as follows:

  • Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Kekaha Kai State Park – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Kiholo State Park reserve – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As a reminder, tents are not permitted at Wailoa River State Park in Hilo.

DLNR Enforcement officers will be checking parks to ensure compliance.

Cool Schools Initiative – Hawaii First State to Mandate Clean Energy Schools

The Department of Education is expected to spend nearly $1 billion on electricity by 2035, but can save hundreds of millions through progress toward clean energy goals established by House Bill 2569, signed by Gov. David Ige today.


“This bill will save hundreds of millions in future operating costs that can be better spent in classrooms and higher paid teachers instead of utility bills,” said Rep. Chris Lee, the bill’s introducer. “It also creates important accountability and transparency requirements for the $100 million the state has already given the DOE to cool classrooms.”

The measure requires the DOE to:

  • Establish a goal of becoming net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035;
  • Expedite the cooling of all public school classrooms; and
  • Submit an annual transparency and accountability report to the Legislature containing information about its progress toward the cooling of all classrooms and net-zero energy goal.

The state Department of Education spends about $48 million a year on electricity. By installing more efficient lighting, using natural ventilation, and investing in renewable technologies such as solar panels and batteries to power schools, energy costs will be reduced and student performance improved, according to Lee.


Hawaii is the first state to mandate that clean energy be used by all its public schools.

RIMPAC Begins… May Affect Garage Door Openers

Dozens of ships from 26 nations are arriving in Pearl Harbor this week for the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. RIMPAC 2016 will be held in and around the Hawaiian islands and off the coast of Southern Calif. June 30-Aug. 4.

RIMPAC brings international participants together to foster and sustain cooperative relationships.  Training during RIMPAC builds credible, ready maritime forces that help to preserve peace and prevent conflict.

RIMPAC is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, headquartered here, and led by U.S. 3rd Fleet. The exercise will be based at Navy Region Hawaii, which includes Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. Training will also be held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and several other locations in the state.

Hawaii’s operating areas and ranges offer realistic, relevant training opportunities like nowhere else in the world and environmental stewardship and protection of marine mammals are always top priorities during RIMPAC.  During the in port portion of the exercise, crews receive training on sighting marine mammals and required protective measures. Participants follow established and approved procedures to minimize the potential impact on marine life.

Some Temporary Noise and Crowds

With 25,000 participants coming to Hawaii, noise, crowds and traffic will increase in the last week of June and through the end of July. Some residents in Hawaii can expect aircraft noise temporarily in certain areas, including the early evening.

According to the Hawaii State Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism Research and Economic Analysis Division, RIMPAC 2016 is initially anticipated to bring $52.5 million to Hawaii, based on the number of exercise participants and their time in port.

By the end of RIMPAC, the overall economic benefit is expected to be tens of millions of dollars higher than $52.5 million after purchases of supplies, fuel and food or the spending by family and friends of participating personnel are calculated.

Raising Discussion of Garage Door Openers

During RIMPAC some remotely operated garage door openers may be temporarily affected. This can occur if the device is a type (FCC-regulated but unlicensed Part 15) that operates on frequencies reserved for federal government systems.
Garage Door
Remotely controlled garage door openers legally operate at a very low power on an unlicensed basis. Therefore, they can be affected by electromagnetic activity that is generated by navy ships, civilian boaters or other sources.

Such devices may not work properly from time to time, especially if they are not pointed directly at the door.  If that happens, drivers may have to remove the opener from their sun visor and point it directly at the door.  If the opener still doesn’t work right, garage door owners may have to open and close their doors manually or consider other options for a short time.

The Navy is required to test commercial surface search radars in port prior to getting underway and as part of scheduled maintenance.  Surface search radars are available commercially, used by civilian boaters and not a safety issue.  Exercising safety is a top priority for the Navy.

To be sure their garage door opener will function properly, owners may want to check with their garage door company.  At least one company in Hawaii asks their customers to be patient in dealing with the inconvenience, “for a short bit of time, [but] for a lifetime of safety and freedom.”

To learn more about RIMPAC, please visit http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/2014/
For concerns, noise complaints or general questions about RIMPAC, please call the Combined Information Bureau at (808) 472- 0235. Media interested in covering RIMPAC can call 808-472-0239.

High Technology Development Corporation Announces Three New Graduates

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), the state of Hawaii agency that promotes and supports innovation and technology business startups, has graduated three more companies from its successful business Incubator Program at the Manoa Innovation Center (MIC).

High technology development corporation announces three new graduates.

High technology development corporation announces three new graduates.

Having graduated from the program, these firms have moved out of the MIC into their own headquarters, where they will continue to develop and grow. The graduating companies are:

  • The Collective, a startup created by Hawaii fashion designers Allison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi that helps independent designers use technology to streamline manufacturing and develop ways to provide high quality, locally produced clothes to consumers.  The Collective has helped launch a number of Hawaii designers and has managed DBEDT’s Creative Industries inaugural Creative Lab Fashion Immersive.  The Collective recently expanded their operations to Ward Village with retail space.
  • MeetingSift, a “meeting collaboration platform” that uses technology to bring meeting attendees closer and encourage participation, no matter where they may be in the world. MeetingSift’s products make meetings more efficient, allowing participants to use their smartphones to provide real-time feedback and communication, keep track of minutes, and provide more focus to discussion topics.  The company is moving closer to its investors.
  • Slickage Studios, a Honolulu-based company specializing in creating full-stack software solutions including customized website backend development, web applications, and native mobile apps.  Downtown Honolulu is their new home where they will be closer to their clients.

“We are happy to partner with the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii to host this celebration, which honors the three graduating companies from the Manoa Innovation Center,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees HTDC and promotes Hawaii’s innovation economy. “MIC’s mission to accelerate the growth of local tech companies by providing business development services, funding, and training are part of the state’s overall growth strategy to build a strong innovation economy.”

Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC adds: “It’s always an honor to see companies graduate from our incubation program. The creativity and innovation that propelled these startups from dreams to functioning business entities will ensure they will make their mark in the marketplace, no matter their field. Birthing a startup takes immense drive, talent, and perseverance, and we congratulate the principals of all three companies for moving on to the next step.”

The three companies graduated at a ceremony during HTDC’s Wetware Wednesday on June 29, 2016, a monthly networking event for the innovation and technology industry.  The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii sponsored the graduation celebration.

“We are grateful to HTDC for the support and guidance,” said Allison Izu Song. “In today’s fast-paced society, it’s nice to find an organization that sees the potential in small businesses, and offers the tools and guidance to learn and grow.  We are especially thankful for the guidance and mentorship from Innovate Hawaii’s, Wayne Inouye, and HTDC’s, Len Higashi.  Their doors were always open for us to talk about our issues, roadblocks, ideas and successes!”

Philippine Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Forge Code-Share Partnership

Philippine Airlines (PR)  and Hawaiian Airlines (HA) recently forged a code-share partnership which will provide passengers convenient connections between the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands.

Philippine Airlnes
“Philippine Airlines is proud to forge a codeshare partnership with Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu in O‘ahu to the  inter-island points of Līhu‘e, Hilo, Kona, and Maui.  From these points, passengers can visit other neighboring island destinations including Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island,”  PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said.

Passengers on PAL’s five times weekly Honolulu flights will have a seamless transfer to Hawaiian Airlines. PR passengers will be checked-in all the way to their final destination.

“As we widen our route network, we aim to not only provide point to point travel, but to create passenger traffic beyond the main gateways. All these are geared towards providing passenger convenience and satisfaction,” Bautista added.

The code share flights will be made available in conjunction with the flag carrier’s weekly service to Honolulu. Passengers on the HA/PR code-share flights between the inter-island points and Honolulu now have the chance to seamlessly connect to PAL’s regular flights between Honolulu and Manila and journey onto any of the flag carrier’s 30 domestic destinations.

Hawaiian Airlines (HA) is the 1st US Carrier Code Share Partner of PAL.

Governor Ige Signs Housing, Health Care Bills Into Law

Yesterday, Gov. David Ige signed into law six housing bills that aim to address the long-standing, complex housing shortage that has been a problem in Hawai‘i for decades.

Governor Ige Profile“My administration and the Legislature worked tirelessly and collaboratively on various measures to address the housing shortage this past session. We focused on maximizing the use of financing tools, we re-oriented target policies to boost production and we collaborated with the private sector and the counties to increase the housing supply,” said Gov. Ige.

The governor also signed into law bills relating to foster children, insurance and gender identity, long-term care facilities, health care and aging.

Here is a complete list of bill signed by the governor on Wednesday, June 29:

Housing Bills: SB 2561 (Act 127), SB 2566 (Act 128), SB 2833 (Act 129), SB 3077 (Act 130), HB 2293 (Act 131), HB 2305 (Act 132)

HB 2350 (Act 133) Relating to Foster Children – Expands opportunities for children in foster care to participate equally with classmates and peers by providing qualified immunity from liability for caregivers and childcare institutions for decisions regarding child’s participating in age or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities…

SB 2878 (Act 134) Relating to Youth Transitioning from Foster Care – Extends the application deadline for financial assistance for higher education available to foster or former foster youth.

HB 2084 (Act 135) Relating to Insurance – Prohibits all insurers in the state, including health insurers, mutual benefit plans under chapter 87A, HRS, from discriminating with respect to participation and coverage under a policy, contract, plan or agreement against any person on the basis of a person’s actual gender identity or perceived gender identity.

HB 1943 (Act 136) Relating to Long-Term Care Facilities – Provides an inflationary adjustment to the methodology used to reimburse facilities for long-term care of Medicaid recipients for FY 2016-17.

SB 2076 (Act 137) Relating to Health Care – Establishes a license program for suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and related supplies through the Office of Health Care Assurance.

HB 1878 (Act 138) Relating to Aging – Appropriates funds for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly.

Lava Flow Front Reaches Base of Pali

The flow front was reaching the base of the pali today, burning vegetation in the adjacent kipuka.

The front consisted of ʻaʻā that was fed by a narrow channel extending down the steep section of the pali.

The front consisted of ʻaʻā that was fed by a narrow channel extending down the steep section of the pali. Pictures via USGS

A mango tree is surrounded by the ʻaʻā flow:

hvo 6292The flow front as it approaches another mango tree.

hvo 6293The flow front was supplied by a narrow channelized section on the steep portion of the pali.

hvo 6294A close-up of clinker at the flow front

hvo 6295

County Opening Emergency Road for Lava Viewing Tomorrow

The active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō is making its way over the Pulama Pali along the western boundary of the former Royal Gardens Subdivision.  The lava flow does not pose a threat to any community.

Lava ViewingTo maintain public safety and to preserve the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i will open the emergency road to lava viewing on June 30, 2016.  Lava viewing along the three mile stretch of the County’s portion of the emergency road is permitted between the hours of 3 pm to 9 pm, daily. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.

Security guards will be posted on the emergency road or Highway 130 before the entrance to Kalapana Gardens to provide lava viewing information and to direct parking. As in previous lava viewing events, visitors will be asked to park in marked areas near the end of the paved portion of Highway 130.  Again, it is approximately three (3) miles from this parking area to the end of the County portion of the emergency road, and vehicular traffic on the emergency road will be limited to local residents and emergency vehicles.

Visitors are reminded that the emergency road is a gravel road that traverses over older lava flows and ends at the National Park Service boundary.  Visitors are also reminded to prepare for the trek with proper footwear, sun screen, warm clothing, and water.

The County has established lava flow viewing areas along Highway 130 as far back as 2001 and most recently in Pāhoa in 2014.

Our goal is to maintain public safety, protecting the interests of Kalapana residents, and the protection of the emergency road or Highway 130.  We ask for your patience and kokua.

Hokulea Arrives at Martha’s Vineyard for the First Time in Her History

Hokulea achieved another first in her epic Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage: the famed voyaging canoe and her crew arrived at Martha’s Vineyard yesterday, an area accessible only by boat or air travel.

Marthas VineyardThe canoe’s interaction with the local community highlighted the area’s thriving Native American tribes and innovative sustainability practices.

Marthas Vineyard2Hokulea’s sail to the dock was escorted by a mishoon, a traditional dugout canoe that the Wampanoag – a Native American tribe on the US east coast – had just finished building.

Marthas Vineyard3The mishoon is the first one built on the island in over 300 years. Captain Bruce Blankenfeld displayed two strands of wampum (beads made from shell) that the crew received from the tribe, to acknowledge the Wampanoag nation’s welcome.

Marthas Vineyard4Hundreds of local community members on the dock greeted the crewmembers from Hawaii with a welcoming ceremony.

Marthas Vineyard5Customary chants and speeches were exchanged between the Hokulea crew and the Wampanoag, in honor of each group’s respective traditions. The crew was also presented with gifts of school-grown food from the Edgartown School students.

Marthas Vineyard6The canoe’s arrival was particularly meaningful to Sanford Low, a Hokulea crewmember and current resident of Martha’s Vineyard. “To me, this day could not have gone better; it was full of aloha, it was full of spirit, and it was just plain joy,” Low said. “This is really a joining of two different islands across a massive ocean… This canoe has come, these people, this crew has come to learn from the people of Martha’s Vineyard and take back to Hawaii.”

Marthas Vineyard7Hokulea will remain docked at Martha’s Vineyard for a few days, and crewmembers will set up tents and exhibits for the local community to learn more about the Malama Honua message of taking care of Island Earth.

Marthas Vineyard8The canoe is slated to continue her sail to Woods Hole, Massachusetts on Friday.

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Donates $17,100 to Kahi Mohala

Sutter Health Kahi Mohala received a $17,100 donation from The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Public Health Fund.
Kahi Mohala
The funds will be used to support Kahi Mohala’s Healing Forces Trauma Recovery Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), a specialized outpatient day program designed for military personnel and veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related mental health problems caused by trauma during their service.

“The Chamber’s generous gift will increase operational capacity and treat more of our military service members and veterans exposed to things like combat and multiple deployments,” said Dr. Ken Delano, clinical director for Healing Forces. “Through our partial hospitalization program, we help patients improve their coping skills and implement permanent lifestyle changes to maintain long-term recovery.”

The program provides treatment five days a week and is aimed at preventing further de-compensation and inpatient hospitalization. The program is the only one of its kind in Hawaii treating both military men and women.

“We are deeply committed to helping the military personnel and veterans who served our country recover from their time abroad by contributing to the innovative, high-quality treatment,” said Phyllis Dendle, Administrator for the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s Public Health Fund.