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Rep. San Buenaventura Hosting Community Meeting With House Leadership in Pahoa

A community meeting hosted by Representative Joy San Buenaventura and joined by State House leadership and Big Island representatives will be held on Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 5pm – 7pm at the Pahoa Community Center.
Joy Meeting
Representatives that are scheduled to appear and hear feedback on issues that matter to their constituents are:

  • Rep. Joy San Buenaventura
  • House Speaker Joe Souki
  • Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader Scott Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader Cindy Evans
  • Finance Chair Sylvia Luke
  • Rep. Mark Nakashima
  • Rep. Richard Creagan

The Community Center is located at 15-3016 Kauhale Street in Pahoa.

Two Cases of Dengue Fever Confirmed on Big Island of Hawaii – Investigating Others

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating two confirmed and four probable cases of dengue fever in Hawaii residents and visitors that was locally-acquired on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Mosquito Bite

Further testing and confirmation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pending. The department sent out a medical advisory to Hawaii County clinicians earlier today to alert them and urge them to report suspect dengue fever cases.

“Although dengue is not endemic to Hawaii, we do have the mosquito species capable of transmitting the disease,” stated State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “It’s likely an infected traveler infected the local mosquito population, which led to this cluster, so we want the public to be aware of this mosquito-borne disease and the steps they can take to prevent infection.”

“Our local environmental health assessments have not found significant mosquito activity in the affected area,” added Hawaii District Health Officer Aaron Ueno. “As a precautionary measure the department is conducting mosquito prevention activities such as spraying with consent from property owners.”

Symptoms of dengue fever typically begin within a week after a bite by an infected mosquito and can include fever, joint or muscle pains, headache or pain behind the eyes, and rash. Persons who have the above symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid further exposure to mosquitoes, which is also the best means of prevention.

Dengue virus is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Travelers to areas with infected mosquitoes where dengue fever is endemic are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease. Mosquitoes breed in areas of standing water (such as planters, old tires and pet water bowls). Use mosquito repellents containing 20–30 percent DEET and wear long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquito-borne disease is a concern. For tips on mosquito control, go to http://health.hawaii.gov/san/files/2013/06/Vector-mosquitohandout.pdf.

For more information on dengue fever, visit the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/dengue/.

Big Island Police Complete Investigation Into 2013 Hilo Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police detectives have completed their investigation into a 2013 murder in Hilo.
HPDBadgeIn response to a 5:19 a.m. call on January 7, 2013, South Hilo patrol officers found 38-year-old Lloyd Rubio of Hilo with a stab wound at a home on the 1400 block of Kaumana Drive. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died at 7:11 a.m.

That evening, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section arrested 37-year-old Cherie Sueko Moskwa of Hilo on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Two days later, after conferring with Hawaiʻi County prosecutors, detectives released Moskwa from police custody pending further investigation.

Additional follow-ups and analysis were recently completed. The case has been routed to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for review.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Kona Woman

The Coast Guard suspended the search late Wednesday for missing 33-year-old Amber Savant of Kona presumed swept out to sea while free diving near Kapoho Bay, Big Island.

Amber Savant

Amber Savant

The Coast Guard will assist Hawaii County Fire Department efforts Thursday.

“To suspend an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult decisions to make,” said Cmdr. Arex Avanni, deputy commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We saturated the area in an attempt to locate Ms. Savant, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search. Our prayers go out to her loved ones.”

On-scene assets searched approximately 4,516 square miles and deployed three self-locating datum marker buoys.

Involved in the search were an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the crews of USCGC Kittiwake and USCGC Galveston Island. Hawaii County Fire Department jet ski and helicopter crews searched as well as a Navy MH-60 helicopter crew from the 37th Helicopter Squadron out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

On-scene crews recovered a spear-gun, fins, gloves, snorkel, mask, weight belt with knife and five pounds of dive weights from Kapoho Bay during the search effort. All were identified as belonging to Savant.

Watchstanders at the Sector received a report at 2:52 p.m., Sunday, alerting them to the situation. They immediately launched the Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of any mariners in the area.

Lawmakers Visit Big Island – Focus on Agriculture, Medical Care and Economic Development

Members of the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Sylvia Luke, toured various sites on Hawaii Island to view first hand several projects and programs supported by the Legislature. The site visits provided committee members first hand insight into the status of ongoing projects and on other needs of the district.

House Finance Committee visits Waimea.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

House Finance Committee visits Waimea. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Representatives Richard Onishi and Nicole Lowen who serve on the Finance Committee were joined by fellow Big Island lawmakers Clift Tsuji, Mark Nakashima, Cindy Evans and Richard Creagan on a wide range of activities that included a status update and site visit of Hilo Medical Center.

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

The committee visited Hamakua Mushrooms, Ookala Dairy Farm, Big Island Beef and met with Kamuela farmers to discuss and learn about their issues and concerns.  The legislators also received a briefing by Hawaiian Homestead farmers participating in the Waimea Regional Community and Economic Development Program.

In Kona the committee toured projects at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii including the Taylor Shell Fish Farm and Cyanotech.

Half a Million Dollars of Public Pension Money Paid to Dead People in Hawaii

In a shocking example of outmoded systems leading to government waste, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has learned that $538,519.25 of public pension money was paid to dead people in Hawaii between 2010 and 2015.

Click to view full list

Click to view full list

According to the state’s own records, at least 134 deceased persons received over-payments from the Employee Retirement System, with some over-payments in excess of $50,000.  So far, reimbursements are pending.

Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute, said, “Our report shows that we are taking money from the living to pay for the dead.  Shining a light on wasteful spending is in the best interest of public pension members and Hawaii’s taxpayers.”

The Grassroot Institute obtained the information through an open records request to the Employee Retirement system.  The report, which can be found on OpenHawaii.org, showed that in 2013, $207,656 was overpaid to the deceased beneficiaries; and in 2014, the number was $138,221.  However, the real number is likely to be much higher, as the Employee Retirement System acknowledges that it hasn’t yet caught all of the errors.

Dr. Akina said, “It may be difficult for the State of Hawaii to know if a member of the pension fund has passed away, especially if the individual has left the state, or moved to another country.  Hawaii’s taxpayers continue to pay this enormous cost as we close the gap on the public pension unfunded liability crisis.”

Hawaii’s unfunded pension liability is $8.5 billion, which puts taxpayers on the hook for $21,272 per household.

Wesley Machida, State Finance Director responded in a written statement to the Grassroot Institute, “The half a million dollars of pension overpayments are due entirely to the untimely reporting of a retirant’s or beneficiary’s passing.  Within the past year, the State of Hawai‘i Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) has improved its efforts to identify overpaid pensions by working with the Department of Health, State of Hawai‘i.  A national company is also used to identify retirees and beneficiaries who are deceased.  The ERS also reviews daily obituaries and receives communications from family members and friends.  While there could be others not reported, the likelihood of these occurrences are minimized with the increased efforts of the ERS.”

Wesley Machida continued, “It can be difficult to identify pensioners or beneficiaries who passed away when there are no surviving family members and /or if the retirant or beneficiary lives out of state or out of the country.  In addition, family members and friends may not report the passing for several months, following the discovery of retirement documents while closing out the decedent’s estate.”

Wesley Machida concluded, “The ERS currently pays out more than $1.1 billion per year in pension benefits to more than 44,000 retirees and beneficiaries.”

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii will continue to research public pension abuse, and publish transparency data on OpenHawaii.org as this story unfolds.  Hawaii’s citizens should also keep in mind that record-keeping in this area wouldn’t be such an issue if government employees were enrolled in 401(k)-style retirement plans rather than the antiquated defined-benefit plans provided to government workers currently.

Zonta Service Project Presents $10K to Neighborhood Place of Puna

The Zonta Club of Hilo organized a Halloween party—“Halloween Madness”—for more than 125 individuals at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) on October 24.

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna.  Photo by Jenna Roussy

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna. Photo by Jenna Roussy

“Halloween Madness” was done as part of The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program, which gave the Zonta Club’s chosen non-profit $10,000 upon completion of a sweat equity project. The Halloween-themed event was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s 2015 project.

Hilo Zontians kicked off the event with direct work activities including installing curtain rods and curtains to help cut glare in NPP’s multipurpose room, and creating 20 holiday readiness cleaning buckets as well as 200+ personal hygiene kits for families in need.

Following the work session, 25 client families with four to six children ranging in age from months to 12-years-old, were invited to make healthy snacks including a vegetable witch’s broom and Oreo cookie spider; visit the craft station and create monster magnets, decorate trick-or-treat bags or fold origami; and select an outfit from the costume closet. Target Hilo donated $400 worth of Halloween costumes to help fill the closet.

“It was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s absolute pleasure to support the good work Neighborhood Place of Puna does to empower area families with knowledge and resources,” said Julie Tulang, organizer for event. “Hilo Zontians and volunteers found it very rewarding to be able to interact with the families in the spook-tacular spirit of Halloween.”

After the morning’s work and Halloween activity sessions, Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presented a $10,000 grant award to NPP Executive Director, Paul Norman, to support Neighborhood Place of Puna’s “Kamalama Parenting Project,” a parenting curriculum to help area families raise healthy children in a safe, stable home environment.

Queens and princesses from Lehua Hawaii Productions (LHP) were on-hand to volunteer at “Halloween Madness.” Prior to the event, LHP in partnership with Zonta Hilo, hosted a costume and personal care items drive to secure donations.

For the last 17 years, the Zonta Club of Hilo has taken part in The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program.

Wordless Wednesday – Halemaʻumaʻu During Lightning Storm

A time-lapse camera located in HVO’s observation tower captured these interesting images of Halemaʻumaʻu during an intense lightning storm at Kīlauea’s summit on October 16:

Image captured at 11:36 PM (click to enlarge)

Image captured at 11:36 PM (click to enlarge)

Image captured at 11:43 PM. (Click to enlarge)

Image captured at 11:43 PM. (Click to enlarge)

Free Youth Soccer Clinic in Hilo

Boys and girls age 6 to 14 years old are invited to a free soccer clinic that will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 4, at Dr. Frances F.C. Wong Stadium in Hilo.

Hawai‘i’s Chevy dealers, in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, is sponsoring the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic. The free clinic is open to the first 200 keiki who register. Soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, passing and shooting skills will be taught at the clinic.

Hawaii ClinicEach child must RSVP online at soccer.youthsportsclinics.com. Select the “Hawai‘i” market and enter the password “kickit” to complete the free registration process. A signed waiver form, available from the same website, also is required. Waiver forms will be offered at the event.

Concessions will not be available, so family members are encouraged to bring their own refreshments. All participants will receive a clinic T-shirt and a post-clinic snack.

For more information about the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic, please contact CYS Coordinator Beth Heyer at 770-407-8565 or bheyer@gmdealerprograms.com.

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

Community Forum on Invasive Species and Plant Pest Issues in West Hawaii

Hawaii House Representative Nicole Lowen is hosting a public forum for West Hawaii residents on Tuesday, November 10th to learn more about invasive species issues that are affecting homes, agriculture, and native forests on Hawaii Island.

coqui

Topics will include fire ants, coqui frogs, coffee berry borer beetle, ohia wilt, and other invasive species and plant pest issues.

A panel of experts will include representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Invasive Species Council, the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, and the University of Hawaii. Panelists will each give a brief presentation, followed by an opportunity for moderated questions from the audience.

Panelist include: Neil J. Reimer, Ph.D., Robert T. Curtiss, Christy Martin, J.B. Friday Ph.D., and Springer Kaye and will be held at the West Hawaii Civic Center – Council Chambers (Building A) from 6:00p.m. – 7:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 5:30.

Public Meeting To Address Improvements To Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

Planned improvements to Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area in Waimea between Kawaihae and Puako, are the subject of a community meeting taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 2015, at the mauka dining hall in the park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks is interested in receiving community thoughts, concerns and issues in regards to the following:

  • Park improvements of existing facilities in the makai and mauka sections of the park, including the Waialea park section – these improvements are currently in design.
  • Obtaining Old Puako Road from the County of Hawai‘i – the County roadway bisects through the park and obtaining this property will allow for security and safety measures and appropriate roadway improvements to be implemented by State Parks.
  • Future directions and improvements at the park.

Future planned renovations will include:

  • Installation of photo voltaic panels on the makai comfort stations and mauka comfort stations and dining hall – augment energy cost servicing these facilities.
  • Renovations of the mauka structures – A-frame comfort station and dining hall:  new fixtures, floor repairs, shower replacements, accessible spaces and new plumbing lines in the comfort station; new appliances, new pantry storage, new countertops and sink, drainage improvements, new wind screens, new barbecue, new lighting and accessible space improvements for dining tables.

In 2013, parking improvements were constructed for the Hapuna Beach and Waialea sections.

$54 Million in Settlements to Benefit Hawaii Purchasers/Lessees of New Motor Vehicles and Purchasers of Certain Replacement Parts

Settlements totaling approximately $54.1 million have been reached with two Defendants.  The lawsuits allege that they fixed the price of certain motor vehicle components, causing millions of consumers and businesses from around the country to overpay for new or leased automobiles and replacement parts, such as air flow meters, alternators, ATF warmers, electronic throttle bodies, fuel injection systems, ignition coils, inverters, motor generators, radiators, starters, and valve timing control devices.

Consumers and businesses in Hawaii may be included in the Class if, from 2000 to 2015, they:

  1. Bought or leased an eligible new vehicle in the U.S. (not for resale), or
  2. Indirectly paid for an eligible motor vehicle replacement part. (Indirectly means they bought the replacement part from someone other than the manufacturer of the part.)

Eligible new motor vehicles are automobiles, light trucks, vans, mini-vans, and sport utility vehicles.

autoparts

The Settlements provide monetary relief for consumers in the District of Columbia and 30 states – Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The Settlements also provide non-monetary relief, including cooperation, and an agreement by the Defendants not to engage in certain conduct for a period of 24 months.

The litigation is continuing against the remaining Non-Settling Defendants.  All funds received in this case will be distributed at the conclusion of the lawsuits or as ordered by the Court.  Notice about the claims process will be provided at a later date, and consumers and businesses should register to receive notice about the claims process or future settlements at www.AutoPartsClass.com.

Important Information and Dates:

  • Eligible consumers or businesses that want to sue the Settling Defendants regarding a particular component part must exclude themselves from that Settlement Class by March 28, 2016.
  • Eligible consumers or businesses can object to one or more of the Settlements by March 28, 2016.
  • The Court will hold a hearing on May 4, 2016, to consider whether to approve the Settlements and approve Class Counsel’s request that up to $2 million be set aside for future litigation costs and expenses.  Class Counsel will also request at the hearing, or at a later date, attorneys’ fees of up to one-third of the Settlements’ funds, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses.

For more detailed information about the Settlements and a full list of Settling Defendants and time periods:

  • Visit: www.AutoPartsClass.com
  • Call: 1-877-940-5043
  • Write to: Auto Parts Settlements, P.O. Box 10163, Dublin, OH 43017-3163

Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions Offers Guidance on Banking and Marijuana

The Commissioner of Financial Institutions, Iris Ikeda, presented considerations for banks and other financial institutions when dealing with marijuana related businesses at the Hawaii State Bar Association Convention on Oct. 23, 2015.

Click to view files

Click to view files

“The approval for licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries presents an upcoming challenge for banks,” said Commissioner Ikeda. “Before authorized dispensaries begin doing business, which could be as early as July 2016, banks and other financial institutions dealing with these businesses should take into account regulatory risks posed by the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act.”

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Division of Financial Institutions (DFI), which regulates state-chartered and state-licensed financial institutions, is in communication with Federal Reserve Bank and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) regulators on the implementation of Hawaii’s law for medical marijuana.

Outreach to financial institutions with guidance on opening accounts for marijuana related businesses has been conducted by DFI. DFI also hosts a collection of guidance from various federal agencies called “Banking and Marijuana” on its website http://cca.hawaii.gov/dfi/.

Coast Guard Searching for Kona Woman Swept Out to Sea

The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department are continuing the search Monday for 33-year-old Amber Savant of Kona presumed swept out to sea while free diving Sunday near Kapoho Bay, Big Island.

Amber Savant

Amber Savant

She is reportedly blonde haired, 5-feet 7-inches tall and 140 pounds. She was last seen Sunday wearing camouflage pants, a black tank top, dive weights and carrying a spear gun. She and her diving companion encountered strong tides and currents that immediately swept her offshore during their first dive at 2:30 p.m.

Currently searching are: an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point and the crew of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316), an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Honolulu. Two jet ski crews and a helicopter crew from Hawaii County Fire Department are searching as well as a Navy helicopter crew from the 37th Helicopter Squadron.

On-scene assets have completed 10 sorties and searched a total of 1,914 square miles. Based on currents and drift, the search area extends up to 35 miles (30 nautical miles) off shore.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received a report at 2:52 p.m., Sunday, alerting them to the situation. They immediately launched the Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of any mariners in the area. HCFD responded with a helicopter crew and two jet ski crews.

On-scene weather conditions are reportedly 11 mph winds and 5-foot seas.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

June 27th Lava Flow Update – Scattered Breakouts Persist

This photo looks west towards the upper East Rift Zone of Kīlauea. The fume-filled crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the foreground, and the vent for the June 27th lava flow is just out of view of the lower right corner of the photo.

Mauna Loa is visible in the upper right.  (Click to enlarge)

Mauna Loa is visible in the upper right. (Click to enlarge)

A hornito was active in the upper portion of the June 27th flow, with hissing and jetting sounds coming from a small opening at the top. The hornito here was about 2.5 m (8 feet) tall.

One side of the hornito has a small solidified flow of lava that oozed from the top, with the remainder consisting of spatter and Pele's hair. (Click to enlarge)

One side of the hornito has a small solidified flow of lava that oozed from the top, with the remainder consisting of spatter and Pele’s hair. (Click to enlarge)

A hornito is formed by gas and lava forced through a small opening in the roof of a lava tube.

The lava is quenched with water in the metal bucket.  (Click to enlarge)

The lava is quenched with water in the metal bucket. (Click to enlarge)

An HVO geologist collects a sample of active lava for chemical analysis.

A small channel feeds a lobe of pāhoehoe lava on the eastern margin of the June 27th flow.

Scattered breakouts like these were active on the flow field today, with the farthest active lava about 6.4 km (4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to enlarge)

Scattered breakouts like these were active on the flow field today, with the farthest active lava about 6.4 km (4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to enlarge)

Historic Conservation Agreement Forever Preserves North Shore Coastline

Land conservation history was made today as Turtle Bay Resort and a collaboration of entities led by the State of Hawai‘i, completed an agreement to preserve in perpetuity almost 630 acres of open space along O‘ahu’s North Shore coastline. The transaction was recorded in the State’s Bureau of Conveyances as Escrow No. 210-15066667.

“Today marks the formal beginning of a partnership that will forever preserve this precious stretch of land for generations to come,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige signed into law Senate Bill 284 on June 12, 2015, following the initiative of the Hawai‘i State Senate and the State House of Representatives which created legislation supporting this historic agreement. The details of the agreement were approved by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources on September 25, 2015.

The property protected by this conservation agreement covers more than four miles from Kahuku Point to Kawela Bay and represents nearly four percent of O‘ahu’s coastline.

The agreement between Turtle Bay Resort, the State of Hawai‘i, City and County of Honolulu, U.S. Army and The Trust for Public Land is supported by a host of community groups and stakeholders, including the North Shore Community Land Trust.

North Shore Community Land Trust

The land acquired by the City and County of Honolulu under its Clean Water Act grant funding is located in Kawela Bay near a 4.9 acre site that will be dedicated as a public park for recreational use by residents and visitors.

 “Today is a victory for everyone who believes in private public partnerships and the ability to find solutions that fairly and wisely balance the interests of landowners, the environment and the community. We are very grateful to Gov. Ige for his leadership and partnership, and are thankful for all the support from our state and county lawmakers and community residents. This settles decades of disagreement on the future of Turtle Bay Resort. Everyone wins with this conservation agreement,” said Drew Stotesbury, chief executive officer for Turtle Bay Resort.

The U.S. Army, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, contributed $2.5 million toward the conservation agreement via the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB), which preserves land around military installations. The Army’s Kahuku Training Area is its largest on O‘ahu and is used by all of the military services for ground and aviation training.

At the grassroots level, the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) was vital in providing Turtle Bay Resort officials with both perspective and guidance from the Ko‘olauloa and North Shore communities on the need to reach an agreement acceptable to residents’ interests.

Scott McCormack, vice president, Turtle Bay Resort noted that the resort’s remaining development rights – 725 units, or 20 percent of what was allowable before this agreement – represent an opportunity to create much needed employment for area residents, while also conserving massive amounts of open space. Moreover, gaining approval of this residual development plan from key stakeholder groups was key to the agreement.

Reactions to the closing

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

“This is a victory for the community that has fought for so long and so hard to ‘keep the country country’. More than 600 acres of conservation land will be preserved in perpetuity. This historic agreement is the result of a collaborative effort by many to reach a resolution on the future of one of the last undeveloped coastlines on Oahu. I thank Governor Ige, Mayor Caldwell, other State, City and County officials, and conservation leaders who came together to protect the natural beauty of Kawela Bay. This agreement ensures the availability of healthy coastline that is home to monk seals, sea turtles, whales and other fish and wildlife unique to our state. It also provides community access to the area so that it can be enjoyed for generations.”

U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, member of the Senate Armed Services and Energy and Natural Resources Committees

“The preservation of nearly five miles of coastline along O‘ahu’s north shore ensures that this open space will be enjoyed by future generations. Today’s agreement reinforces the value of public-private partnerships coming together to find meaningful solutions that benefit the community. I appreciate the work of the Ige administration, City and County of Honolulu, Turtle Bay Resort, the North Shore community, and the U.S. Army through its program to protect habitat and buffer training.”

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard

“This collaboration between state and local government, the North Shore community, and private businesses is what made this historic agreement possible.  The preservation of one of our most iconic and precious resources – O‘ahu’s North Shore coastline – is something that current and future generations will benefit from.”

U.S. Representative K. Mark Takai

“I would like to applaud Governor Ige, Turtle Bay Resort, the City and County of Honolulu, US Army, The Trust for Public Land and the North Shore Community Land Trust for their work on securing this public-private venture that is good for the community, good for conservation efforts, and good for the U.S. Army. This is a win-win deal that allows the Hawaii tourism industry to thrive, allows the Army to continue much-needed training, all while protecting and preserving the natural beauty for those that live in the community and that attracts many to vacation in the Turtle Bay area.”

Gil Riviere, Senator, District 23, O‘ahu’s North and Windward Shores

“The people of Hawai‘i and our visitors will forever enjoy the beautiful Kawela Bay and miles of pristine coastline because of this landmark agreement. The Senate is pleased to have helped make this land conservation plan a reality under the leadership of Governor Ige and with the cooperation of so many diverse parties.”

Joseph M. Souki, Speaker, State House of Representatives

“This is a day to celebrate. Kawela Bay is now preserved for future generations thanks to the efforts of the many who recognized its importance to the community.”

Kirk Caldwell, Mayor, City and County of Honolulu

“This is the successful result of an effort that has spanned decades, with the kokua of government, the private sector, and community organizations. The fact that over 600 pristine acres are being preserved forever is a testament to the North Shore community and a tremendous gift to future generations of residents and visitors. This historic agreement is proof that great things are possible when everyone works together with aloha.”

Ernest Martin, chair, Honolulu City Council

“The Honolulu City Council, which committed the first investment in this endeavor through a $5 million budget appropriation in 2014, is very pleased with the result. The recordation today concludes a long and complex process. The real winners in this are the people, who can now rest assured that this land will be forever preserved and protected in its near pristine form. Future generations will be able to experience this unique area in the same manner as we are able to today. The City looks forward to its role in this historic partnership and develop the planned park and recreational area for all to enjoy.”

Col. Richard Fromm, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai‘i

“For the Army, these kinds of partnerships are a necessity. We have to preserve our soldiers’ ability to train, and ACUB projects allow us to do that in a way that benefits the community and the military.”

Gregg Takara, chair of The Trust for Public Land’s Hawaiian Islands Advisory Board

“Conserving this land would not have been possible without the North Shore community’s decades long commitment, the strong support of our congressional delegation for buffer funding, and the U.S. Army Garrison Hawai‘i’s coordination with public agencies and community organizations on its buffer program. Mahalo to the governor, the legislature, the mayor, the city council, the landowner Turtle Bay Resort and the thousands of people who made phone calls, sent emails and testified in support of saving this land for our children and generations to come.”

Doug Cole, executive director, North Shore Community Land Trust

“The community is forever grateful to everyone who helped us preserve one of the island’s only remaining undeveloped shorelines. This is a wonderful example of how much can be accomplished when government, community and the private sector all work together. Thanks to this excellent collaboration, future generations will enjoy this special place forever!”

Concert of Peace Next Tuesday at UH Hilo

At 7:30 PM on Tuesday evening, October 27, 2015, the Hilo Community Chorus joins with composer Joseph Martin and his “Peace in the Pacific” Vocal Tapestry Tour Choir, and the UH Hilo Kapili Choir to present “Concert of Peace” at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center, 200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720.

Concert of Peace

The first half of the concert will be presented by Joseph Martin and his wife Susan Martin, with special guest Nancy Price.  The second half of the concert will be performed by the Vocal Tapestry Tour Choir, Hilo Community Chorus, and UH Hilo Kapili Choir.

 

“Uncorked” Food & Wine Festival at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani “Uncorked” Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, November 14, 2015 is a one-night getaway for those who love exceptional food and wine, in the friendly, open-air atmosphere of The Shops at Mauna Lani. Running from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., attendees are invited to sample special dishes from eight top Hawai‘i chefs as well as a variety of wines from around the world, craft beer and other libations. The festival benefits the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i Island (VASH) which assists Hawai‘i visitors touched by adversity during their stay.

VASH, a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides supportive services to help visitors cope with adversity, from a lost wallet to a serious medical situation or the death of a loved one. In 2015 so far, VASH has seen a significant increase in visitor requests, increasing the need to train and recruit people to help handle the increased workload while maintaining spirit of Aloha in difficult situations.

Mele‘uhane

Mele‘uhane

A highlight of this year’s festival is “Mele‘uhane,” the melodic collaboration of Keikilani Lindsey and son Leokani, fifth and sixth-generation Hawaiian musicians and storytellers. Their first duo album, “Mele‘uhane” (spirit of the music) was a Hōkū Hanohano nominee this year, and they are often invited to play with John Cruz, Henry Kapono and other Hawaiian music stars.

The “Uncorked” dining experience features food tastings from the “izakaya-style” menu of Monstera, European flavors of The Blue Room, upscale vegan cuisine from Under the Bodhi Tree, contemporary island style by Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, and the traditional sizzle of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Guests will also be among the first to taste selections from the new Mai Grille by Allen Hess, plus items from Village Burger of Waimea and Shiono Sushi Mauna Lani.

Young’s Market and Southern Wine and Spirits will be presenting wines from around the world, while craft brews from Kona Brewing Company will be available to toast the occasion. Tickets are $50 in advance, $70 on the day of the event. A silent auction will be held the night of the event. As a special bonus, ticket holders will not only receive great offers from participating stores and restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani on the night of the event, they will also be able to show their “Uncorked Passport” during future visits for additional discounts valued at over $100.

Tickets are limited and may be purchased from participating stores and restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani including Tommy Bahama Restaurant, The Blue Room, Monstera, Under the Bodhi Tree, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery, Third Dimension Gallery, Lahaina Gallery, or buy online at www.BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets will also be available for sale from VASH members.

For more information, call 808-885-9501, or visit www.ShopsAtMaunaLani.com.

New Home Decor Boutique Opens in Queens’ MarketPlace

Chic, beachy designs, unique gifts and home décor have created a winning formula for SoHa Living’s quick success with Hawaii’s visitors and residents. SoHa Living opened for business at Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Soha living

Their first on Hawai‘i Island, this soon-to-be-favorite shop joins a family of four boutiques, which are located in Kahala Mall and Kailua, O‘ahu and The Shops at Kukuiula in Koloa, Kaua‘i which opened in August.

The brand was was founded in 2002 by sisters Brooke Watson and Shyrah Maurer, who created SoHa (short for “South of Hawai‘i”) to personify “a lifestyle of leisure, vacation, discovery, coastal chic and tropical luxury.” Specializing in unique gifts that evoke relaxing ocean imagery, SoHa Living’s shelves are filled with exotic seashells and decorative signs, pillows, linens, gourmet foods, jewelry, artwork, and anything that epitomizes the beach lifestyle.

SoHa is open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.sohaliving.com or call (808) 464-4268.

 

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

 

 

Major Players in Energy Debate for Live Televised Discussion

Should the state allow a major Florida company, NextEra Energy, to buy Hawaii’s largest public utility provider, Hawaiian Electric?

PBS Hawaii Presents

This week, PBS Hawaii’s live public affairs program, Insights on PBS Hawaii, brings together some of the leading figures on different sides of this hotly contested issue.

President of NextEra Energy Hawaii Eric Gleason; Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection; Jeffrey Ono, Executive Director of Consumer Advocacy for the State of Hawaii; and HECO President and CEO Alan Oshima have agreed to take part in this live unscripted discussion about the potential merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries and its subsidiaries and NextEra Energy, and the future of Hawaii’s largest power utility, on Insights at 8:00 pm Thursday, October 22. Daryl Huff will moderate the discussion. Viewer questions are welcome.

While NextEra Energy says the proposed multi-billion-dollar merger would provide a more affordable clean energy future for Hawaii, opponents have concerns over how a merger might impact consumers and Hawaii’s renewable energy goals. The proposed deal also has prompted some to examine the merits of other options, such as utility cooperatives and county-run utilities.

The one-hour program also will be streamed live at pbshawaii.org. Viewers are encouraged to phone in questions at (808) 973-1000 or (800) 238-4847; send an email to insights@pbshawaii.org ; or tweet the hashtag #PBSInsights on Twitter.