Roosevelt High School Wins Lifesmarts Hawaii State Competition

High school teams from across the state today participated in the 13th annual LifeSmarts Hawaii competition, held at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus Center Ballroom. The game-show style competition tested students on their knowledge of personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Pete Cagianno and Moanike’ala Nabarro of KITV News served as emcees of today’s competition.”

The final four teams competing today included Maryknoll, Pearl City, Roosevelt and Waiakea High Schools.  After testing their skills through written tests, a “speed smarts” activity, and gameshow style buzzer rounds, the team from Roosevelt High School emerged as this year’s state champion. Members of the team are: Bryan Kitsu (team captain), Zeheng Huang, Hajin Jang, William Li, and Elvis Tran. The team was coached by Brian Lock.

The winner of today’s state competition will now represent Hawaii at the National LifeSmarts Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 21 – 24, 2017.

“Participation in the LifeSmarts Hawaii program has increased over the years and it is very exciting to see these students take an interest in something that will provide them with valuable real-life skills,” said Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Director Catherine Awakuni Colón.  “Congratulations to all of the teams that participated today. I wish Roosevelt all the best as they continue on to the national competition.”

“We commend all the student competitors, their parents and coaches for the time, energy and support they dedicated in preparation for today’s competition,” said Acting Securities Commissioner Henry Tanji.

LifeSmarts is an educational program that prepares students to enter the real world as smart consumers by teaching them the skills needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The program is run by the National Consumers League and locally by the DCCA Office of the Securities Commissioner, in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League.

Local sponsors for the Hawaii State Competition include:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Foundation of Hawaii, Inc.
  • Coastal Construction Co., Inc.
  • Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Office of the Director
  • Experian
  • Hawaii Construction Alliance
  • Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters
  • International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 368
  • Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3
  • Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Union, Local 630
  • Hawaii Council on Economic Education(HCEE)
  • Hawaii Credit Union League
  • Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
  • Big Island Federal Credit Union
  • CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii State Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaiian Electric Employees  Federal Credit Union
  • Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Oahu Federal Credit Union
  • Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Schofield Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii Government Employees Association, Local 152
  • Hawaii Prince Hotel
  • HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Foundation
  • HMSA
  • OtterBox
  • Pasha Group and Pasha Hawaii
  • State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch
  • United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Financial Literacy Program
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE)

More information about the LifeSmarts Hawaii program can be found at www.LifeSmartsHawaii.com.

Hokulea Sets Sail for Rapa Nui and the Navigational Return to the Pacific

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea set sail today for Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, continuing the Worldwide Voyage’s Malama Honua global movement to care for our earth and marking Hokulea’s return to the navigational ocean currents that will lead her home.

During their visit to the islands of Galapagos, the crew of Hokulea invited teachers and students from James B. Castle High School, Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School to join them at the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site in learning more about the islands’ fragile ecosystem and discussing best practices for how to conserve the earth’s most critical resources.

“Heading to Rapa Nui, Hokulea carries the invaluable lessons of global sustainability that were learned and shared at other UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Galapagos Islands,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “In addition to being a recognized global resource by organizations such as UNESCO, Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage.”

Hokulea is expected to port in Rapa Nui around February 28, weather permitting. The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week  before sailing on to French Polynesia. The crew will again be joined by a contingency of teachers and students from Hawaii.  The last time Hokulea visited Rapa Nui was on a voyage that took place in 1999.

Host to famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, Rapa Nui is a remote volcanic island located in Polynesia under Chilean territory. Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the rich cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

The Malama Honua voyage will cover over 60,000 nautical miles upon its return home to Magic Island estimated this June.

Aloha Grown 2017 Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five (5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is once again giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Interested groups must complete an application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

Previous award winners have included Kohala Elementary School, Punana Leo o Waimea, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, and many more. Their sustainability programs and efforts have included community gardens, aquaponics systems, keiki farm stands, culinary programs, and outdoor educational “classrooms”.

All submissions are due by March 31, 2017. The five (5) selected recipients of the 2017 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund Awards will be contacted by April 28, 2017.

For more information on Aloha Grown or to see previous year’s Malama Honua Fund award winners, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Makahiki Traditions to be Explored in Free Kona Historical Society Lecture

Kicking off Kona Historical Society’s 2017 Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series, cultural practitioner Shane Akoni Nelson will discuss the various functions of the Makahiki season, its importance to society prior to 1820, and how its traditions continue today. His lecture, “Makahiki Traditions,” is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the West Hawaii Civic Center, located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona. It is sponsored in memory of Roland Dupree.

Makahiki is the annual four-month season in ancient Hawaii when work and warfare ceased. People devoted their days to games, sports, hula and leisure, as well as to strictly observing rules and taboos. Makahiki was observed in honor of the god Lono.

Nelson, also a producer and scriptwriter, is dedicated to the empowerment of Hawaiian people, particularly to those in South Kona on Hawaii Island.

For the past six years, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. It is a gift from the Society to the community that has supported it for so long and it is presented in cooperation with the County of Hawaii. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii to Feature World Class Pilots and Planes

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s popular remote control Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii is back for its tenth year, Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, 10am to 4pm. Guests will be able to drive on to Ford Island for this event, or take the free shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Parking is free. A family favorite, the Airshow features local and nationally acclaimed remote control pilots and their award winning Giant Scale aircraft.  Other attractions include open cockpits, hangar tours, restored World War II aircraft displays, and the return of “Snow Fields in June” for kids.

For two days, Ford Island will come alive with remote-control flying, static aircraft and full-size aircraft on display, “candy bombings” over historic Ford Island Runway for kids, hands-on modeling stations, a Kids Zone with rides, food, drinks, retail, music, entertainment, and other activities. Hangar 79 will be open, providing access to see the Museum’s many aircraft exhibits, plus the B-17E Swamp Ghost and Nakajima Kate, in restoration.

This year, the Airshow welcomes back Warbirds West, a nationally acclaimed award winning team of pilots flying giant-scale remote controlled aircraft. This year’s airshow will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, a 1942 four-day, sea-and-air battle that was the decisive turning point of World War II in the Pacific. Performances include innovative aircraft showcasing action packed in-air stunts, demonstrations and dogfights, and a tribute to the role of aviation in the defense of our nation’s freedom. On the ground, spectators will be able to explore static aircraft displays and interact with pilots and crew members.

Visitors can also enjoy free tours of Hangar 79 and climb into the open cockpits of some of the Museum’s classic aircraft. Hangar 79 still bears the bullet holes of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Inside, guests will see helicopters, fighter planes, and Lt. Ted Shealy’s Restoration Shop, the 1941 machine shop that is busy restoring the Museum’s aircraft. They’ll also get up close and personal with an F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-86s, P- 40, MiG-15, F-111, and the one and only “Swamp Ghost,” the Museum’s B-17E Flying Fortress.

Sponsors, exhibitors and vendors are invited to participate. For more information including sponsorship and booth opportunities, call 808-441-1013 or 808-445-9069.

Admission to the Airshow is $5 per person (including entry to Hangar 79). It’s free with Museum general admission and free to Museum Members. Tickets for the Airshow only and tickets for the entire Museum (2 hangars and 50+ aircraft) are available online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org. Museum admissions may also be purchased at the Museum ticketing desk and at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center ticketing desk. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes, 7:30am to 5:00pm from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, round trip to the Museum. Call 808/441-1007 for more event information or visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and @PacificAviation on Twitter, for updates.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Address U.S. Nursing Shortage

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, joined fellow lawmakers in introducing the bipartisan Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R.959). The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support the nursing workforce in the United States.

“Nurses are the heart of our healthcare system, and one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. As Hawaiʻi and states across the country face serious nursing shortages, it’s critical we support Title VIII nursing programs that help recruit, train and retain our nurses, especially in our rural and underserved communities,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “This bill will help ensure that Hawaiʻi’s nurses and future nurses get the support they need to continue to serve our communities across the state.”

“In Hawaiʻi, nurses are the largest licensed healthcare profession and work in all healthcare settings, from hospitals to home health to school nursing, and work in all areas of the state. As the healthcare needs of the state grow, including the increased demand for primary care, extended care, long term care, and geriatric nursing, nurses can serve to meet these changing demands. Educational pathways, tuition support and loan repayment programs for nurses and nurse faculty, and recruitment and retention programs are critical to ensuring that our nursing workforce in Hawaiʻi is adequate and nimble to the needs of our changing healthcare environment,” said Laura Reichhardt, Director of the Hawaiʻi State Center for Nursing.

Background: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Registered Nurses (RNs) is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. At the same time, the Bureau predicts there will be over 1 million job openings for RNs in 2022 due to the increasing demand for nurses.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has consistently prioritized Title VIII nursing workforce programs in annual appropriations bills. Administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration, Title VIII programs have supported the recruitment, retention, and distribution of highly-educated professionals who comprise our nation’s nursing workforce for more than 50 years. Title VIII programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry level preparation through graduate study, and provide support for institutions that educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved communities. These programs are designed to address specific needs within the nursing workforce and America’s patient population, and are, therefore, a direct investment in the nation’s health.

The legislation is endorsed by the American Nurses Association, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, and more than 50 other national nursing organizations.

Live Fire Training at Kona International Airport Next Week

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) notifies the public that there will be live fire training at Kona International Airport for the Hawaii District Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighters (ARFF) on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, and Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo by Travis Thurston

The exercise is an annual requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The ARFF section will be testing their response protocol to a live emergency scenario involving burning fuel. HDOT informs the public that the exercise will produce smoke in the area.

Hawaii’s Economy Continues to Expand

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released its first quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report, which shows Hawaii’s economy continues to expand at a slightly reduced rate.

Click to view full report

According to the most recent data released on Feb. 2 from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii’s economic growth rate during the first three quarters of 2016 was 2.1 percent, higher than the U.S. economic growth rate of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

“Hawaii had a great year in 2016 with 14,000 new payroll jobs created,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “Almost every sector saw job increases except state government and wholesale trade.  Our unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the nation in 2016, and we expect our economic condition to remain stable in 2017.”

DBEDT revised its projection on Hawaii’s economic growth, as measured by the growth of real gross domestic product (GDP), to 1.8 percent for 2017, slightly lower than the 1.9 percent projection made in the previous quarter.

“The downward adjustment in Hawaii’s economic growth for 2017 was mainly due to the new projection on visitor expenditures for 2017,” said Chief State Economist Eugene Tian.  “We expect visitor arrivals will reach more than 9 million in 2017, about the same as we forecasted in the previous quarter.  However, we now expect visitor days will grow by 1.4 percent in 2017, lower than the 2 percent we forecasted in November 2016.  We will see fewer or slower growth from those longer length-of-stay markets such as Oceania, Canada, Europe, and U.S. West.  The slower growth in visitor days will lead to slower growth in visitor expenditures.”

According to DBEDT, passenger count data, total passengers to Hawaii increased 3.8 percent in January 2017, as compared with the same month last year. Passengers on domestic flights increased 2.2 percent and passengers on international flights increased 8.1 percent.

The end of 2016 saw historic high levels of labor force, employment and payroll job count.  Statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell to 2.6 percent by the end of the year.  By December 2016, unemployment rates of all the counties fell below 3 percent, except Hawaii County where unemployment rate was slightly higher than others, at 3.1 percent.

In 2016, four sectors were the main driving forces for job gains: construction, tourism, health care and professional services.  Construction led the job gain at 4,600; followed by Food Services and Drinking Places at 2,800; Health Care and Social Assistance at 2,500; Accommodations at 1,000; and Professional and Business Services added 900 jobs.

In 2016, initial unemployment claims decreased by 6.4 percent.  However, the decrease occurred mostly in the beginning months of the year. Since October 2016, initial unemployment claims have been higher than the same period in the previous year, and the trend continued into January 2017.

In 2016, total visitor arrivals increased 3 percent and visitor expenditures increased 4.2 percent, both were higher than projected by DBEDT.

At of the end of 2016, value of private building permits was down by 18.2 percent.  Value of commercial and industrial permits decreased the most at 70 percent, while residential permits decreased by 12.3 percent.  Value of additions and alterations decreased by 1.7 percent.

According to the February 2017 Blue Chip Economic Indicators, most of the economies in the world will see steady economic growth in 2017 and 2018, especially the three major Hawaii visitor source countries – U.S., Canada, and Japan.  The U.S. economy will expand 2.3 percent, Canadian economy will grow 1.9 percent, and Japanese economy will increase 1 percent in 2017, where all of the growth rates are higher than those experienced in 2016.

With the economic data currently available, DBEDT expects that the economic growth rate will be 1.8 percent in 2017, and will slightly decrease to 1.6 percent by year 2020.

Non-agriculture payroll job count will grow by 1.2 percent in 2017, the same as projected in the previous quarter. Job growth is projected to be at 1.1 percent for the years after 2017.

DBEDT expects the unemployment rate will increase slightly in 2017 to 3.4 percent and will rise to 3.6 percent in 2020.

Nominal (no inflation adjustment) personal income is projected to grow at around 4.7 to 4.8 percent during the next few years, same as the projection in the previous quarter.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii personal income grew by 4.5 percent during the first three quarters of 2016.  DBEDT projects that real personal income will increase in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent in the next few years.

DBEDT lowered its projection on the consumer inflation rates to a range between 2.3 and 2.5 percent during the 2017-2020 period.  The actual consumer inflation rate in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 2 percent, lower than the 2.3 percent projected by DBEDT in November 2016.

The DBEDT Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report contains more than 120 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawaii’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/qser/.

Big Island Police Renewing Request for Information on Unsolved 1997 Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for information about an unsolved murder from 1997.

Sean Burgado

On May 21, 1997, the body of 27-year-old Sean Burgado was discovered in his home on Malaʻai Road in the upper Waiākea Uka area. An acquaintance of the victim was contacted by Burgado’s employer, who grew concerned about him after he failed to show up for work several days with no explanation.

Burgado was working at a health care facility at the time of his death and was last seen leaving work at the end of his shift during the evening of May 19, 1997.

An autopsy determined that he died from a gunshot wound. His death was ruled a homicide.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380 or derek.morimoto@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

Coast Guard Responds to Increase in Illegal Lava Boat Charters on Big Island

In the last 24 hours, the Coast Guard has identified two tour boats operating illegally out of Pohoiki Boat Ramp and is ramping up enforcement in response to a perceived increase in illegal charters operating in the area to view lava streaming into the ocean from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The viewing area is 800 meters (about one-half mile) from the ocean entry, but affords excellent views of the lava flow.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said Capt. David McClellan, chief of prevention, Coast Guard 14th District. “For boat operators, it is important to maintain situational awareness and not unnecessarily put yourself, your passengers or your boat in danger. For visitors, it’s important they check that their hired boat operators are licensed ensuring they possess the experience and training required to get them to the viewing area and back safely.”

Commercial tour boat and charter operators must possess the appropriate merchant mariner credential to operate. Masters of commercial charters operating in state waters are also required by the State of Hawaii to have a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and to keep that permit on the vessel.

For vessels carrying six or fewer passengers for hire, the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued operator of uninspected passenger vessel license and operate on near coastal waters not more than 100 miles offshore, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101 (42)(B).

For vessels carrying seven or more passengers for hire on vessels less than 100 gross tons (not including auxiliary sail), the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued master of self-propelled vessel license to operate on near coastal waters. The vessel must also have a Coast Guard-issued certificate of inspection posted in a visible location.

According to the National Park Service, the spot where lava meets the ocean is referred to as the “bench.” It is one of the most dangerous areas of the park because it could potentially collapse, sending dangerous projectiles into the air. The steam emitted where lava meets the water contains hydrochloric acid and glass particles. Tour boat operators are urged to maintain a safe distance from both to ensure their safety as well as that of their passengers.

More on information regarding licensing for charter boat captains can be found at: https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/credentials/charter_boat_capt/default.asp.

Hepatitis A Second Dose Recommended in Coming Months for Those Vaccinated During 2016 Outbreak

In August 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) identified raw scallops imported from the Philippines as the source of the hepatitis A outbreak, which sickened hundreds of Hawaii residents. According to data from the Hawaii Immunization Registry, healthcare providers reported 90,259 hepatitis A vaccinations were administered in the state between July and November 2016. Vaccine manufacturers estimate more than 100,000 doses were distributed to Hawaii providers during the outbreak.

“The response from the community during the outbreak was tremendous,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, played a key role in ensuring hepatitis A vaccine was available for those needing and wanting to be vaccinated. They truly rose to the challenge of vaccinating a large number of people in a relatively short amount of time.”

“Hepatitis A outbreaks will continue to occur worldwide and a local outbreak could occur again,” warned State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “While one dose of hepatitis A vaccine provides good protection, two doses are necessary for nearly 100 percent protection and lasting immunity. We’d like to remind people now, if they received their first dose during the outbreak, to get their second dose at least six months after the first one was administered.”

DOH is recommending those who are due for their second dose of the hepatitis A vaccine contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment. If choosing to be vaccinated at a pharmacy, the public is encouraged to return to the same pharmacy that administered their first dose of vaccine to receive their second dose. This allows the pharmacy to use an existing physician prescription and ensure the vaccine is administered at least six months after the first vaccination. Those not returning to the same location for vaccination should provide documentation of their first dose, if possible, and contact their physician if a prescription is needed. To ensure vaccine availability, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacy in advance.

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy or clinic near you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/where-to-get-your-adult-and-flu-vaccinations/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about hepatitis A is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Isles Water Company for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Isles Water Company for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the state’s Deposit Beverage Container law. The department found Hawaiian Isles Water Company delinquent for the monthly reporting period of July 1 – 31, 2016 and a penalty fee of $3,600 was assessed.

Hawaiian Isles Water Company complied with the department’s enforcement order by submitting its required corrective action plan and paying in full the entire penalty and late distributor payment.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly reports and payments to the Department of Health no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Hawaiian Isles Water Company received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

Since January 2005, Hawaii’s Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program has assisted residents to recycle more than 7 billion containers. Through recycling, consumers are helping to remove beverage containers from the waste stream and reduce litter in the community. The DBC program certifies independent recycling companies to operate Certified Redemption Centers (CRCs) statewide. CRCs provide Hawaii consumers with refunds of the five cent deposit fee that is paid for eligible containers. Beverage distributors submit payments and reports to the program each month for all HI-5 containers sold within the state.

Commentary: Caldwell Appoints Marc Alexander to Lead Honolulu Housing Office, Victims Respond

Shame on Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. He has given a powerful city job to a man who has been sued for for child sexual abuse and who left a previous government job in disgrace because of an unethical affair with an adult woman while he was a priest.

Marc Alexander

In fact, because secret Diocese of Honolulu personnel documents and other evidence in Marc Alexander’s recently settled civil child sex abuse case have not yet been made public, we do not know the details of what happened, or the scope of the risk that Alexander could pose to adult women and children. Is this a risk that the people of Hawaii should be willing to take? Is this a personnel investment that Hawaii’s taxpayers should make?

We ask that Caldwell at least put this decision on hold until a thorough public review of Alexander’s Diocese of Honolulu personnel file can be completed. We also urge city and county leaders to immediately enact new hiring regulations that ensure that men and women arrested or sued for sexual assault or child sexual abuse are not given city jobs where they have positions of power over vulnerable populations.

If you have information about abuse or have been abused, no matter the abuser, it is safe to come forward and report. Help is available.

Joelle Casteix, SNAP Volunteer Western Regional Director

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested in all institutional settings, including churches, schools, clubs, and homes. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Ailey II at Kahilu Theatre

On Saturday, February 18 at 7pm, the Kahilu Theatre presents the dance company Ailey II. Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Ailey II is one of the most popular dance companies in the country, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.  In his fifth year leading the company, Artistic Director Troy Powell welcomed four dynamic new commissions, three of which will be performed at the Kahilu: Circular, Stream of Consciousness, and Sketches of Flames.

Ailey II in Bridget L. Moore’s Sketches of Flames. Photo by Kyle Froman

“I am excited to introduce audiences to the outstanding premieres by talented rising choreographers that we’ve welcomed into the repertory,” said Troy Powell. “These diverse and powerful new works showcase the strength, grace, and versatility of these gifted young dancers.”

Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer Jae Man Joo’s Circular is a heartfelt conversation through movement. The Korean-born Joo’s distinctive choreographic style – a blend of classical and contemporary ballet – is showcased in this large ensemble work that captures the full circle of human emotions. The melodic soundscape is by a diverse group of composers including Denisov and Handel.

Stream of Consciousness, by former Ailey company member Marcus Jarrell Willis, gives physical life to our inner thoughts. Willis weaves six simple gestures into “the stream,” the tumultuous monologue within each person’s mind. Set to a contemporary reimagining of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Max Richter, this work echoes the tension and poignancy of the music’s ever-changing tides.

In Sketches of Flames, Bridget L. Moore fuses flamenco influences with her African-American and contemporary aesthetic to create a rapturous ensemble dance.  Set to a series of passionate folk songs and drawing upon the writings of Federico García Lorca and others, each section of this eight-part work depicts a different facet of the joys and sorrows of love.

This season, six new dancers – Tara Bellardini, Khalia Campbell, Yazzmeen Laidler, Jessica Amber Pinkett, Martell Ruffin, and Christopher R. Wilson – join the six returning members – Lloyd A. Boyd III, Gabriel Hyman, Jacob Lewis, Jacoby Pruitt, Courtney Celeste Spears, and Terri Ayanna Wright.

Doors open at 6PM for the performance and there will be beverages and snacks available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar. In the Kahilu Galleries the exhibit Solo Exhibits 2017 will be on display featuring works by Eli Baxter, Margaret Shields, and Jean René Leblanc.

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $48 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday – Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

This performance is made possible by sponsorship by Kate Bell & Tom Blackburn, and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

List of Names for Baby Donkey Narrowed to Five

The newest member of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm – a 6-month-old female donkey –  needs a name and the public is being asked to help the Kona Historical Society decide what it will be.

Starting today (Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017), fans worldwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite name by making a $1 donation at the farm or on Kona Historical Society’s website, www.konahistorical.org. All donations will be used for the support and care of animals at the farm. Any donations in excess will go towards supporting Kona Historical Society’s educational programs and other needs.

The baby donkey arrived Jan. 31 at the historic 5.5-acre farm in Captain Cook and was the result of Kona Historical Society’s “Charlie Needs A Bestie” crowdfunding campaign, which sought a companion for the farm’s approximately 30-year-old donkey, Charlie, and upgrades to his home.

Over the past six days, there was an overwhelming response to Kona Historical Society’s call for suggested names. The public submitted a total of 125 suggested names on the Kona Historical Society and Kona Coffee Living History Farm Facebook Pages.

On Monday (Feb. 6), a Kona Historical Society committee selected the following top five finalist names:

Florence (“Flo”) – Nominated by John Gavelek, Cathy Watkins, Terri Olsem, Balbi Brooks, and Leilehua Yuen

Kona’s coffee farm donkeys are known worldwide as “Kona Nightingales” for their distinctive “song.” Another famous Nightingale is Florence Nightingale, a social reformer and founder of modern nursing. Perhaps the new donkey will demonstrate the same compassion as her human Nightingale predecessor.

Lucy – Nominated by Mary K. Soria and and Jody Holman Webster

In Charles Shultz’s beloved comic strip Peanuts, Lucy van Pelt is one of Charlie Brown’s closest friends. She’s often temperamental, bossy, and opinionated…which happens to be a pretty good description for a stubborn donkey as well! Hopefully, our Charlie will find the new donkey’s advice a little more useful that what can be found at Lucy van Pelt’s Psychiatric Booth.

Manini – Nominated by Lindsay Sieberg

Manini are small fish that can be found in Hawaii’s coral reefs and are a favorite among local kupuna. They are distinctive for their narrow black stripes, similar to the stripe on our donkeys’ shoulders. To avoid predators, manini live in large schools. With the addition of the new donkey, we’re happy to have our own “school”— or herd —of donkeys.

Mele – Nominated by Cindy Wittemore, Ashley Chamberlain, Donna S. Starr, and Jiraphon G

“Many Kona coffee farmers used Mele as their name for female donkeys,” says Miki Izu, a local kupuna and long-time coffee farmer. Mele also refers to the chants, poems, and songs of Native Hawaiians. Maybe the new donkey’s braying song will remind us of Kona’s rich traditions.

Shizu – Nominated by Pixie Navas and Leslie Christman

In Japanese, “shizu” means quiet and clear, and is the nickname for a few of Kona’s residents. Shizuka Uchida was a proud daughter of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm’s founding family. Shizuko Teshima was a long-lived, devoted businesswoman who established Kona’s famed Teshima’s Restaurant. Shizu Kahikina was a dedicated woman who worked on Pu`u Wa`awa`a Ranch. The name Shizu is a testament to Kona’s humble and hardworking women.

“We narrowed the nominations to names that were clearly very popular among social media followers and names that are significant to Kona’s history and culture,” said Kona Coffee Living History Farm Museum Manager and Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director Gavin Miculka. “We love that everyone is as excited about the new donkey as we are. We’re grateful to everyone that suggested names.”

Voting online and at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm happens now until Feb. 27. The farm is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. There is no limit to the number of times fans may vote. It’s a $1 donation per vote. The winning name will be announced on March 1.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society and Kona Coffee Living History Farm on Facebook.

Red Hill Tanks Pass Tightness Testing, Show No Leaking

The Navy completed routine tank tightness testing for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility Feb. 2. The Navy began its latest tank testing in November 2016. All operating tanks continue to pass leak detection criteria of Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.*
A tank tightness test is a procedure that determines if an underground storage tank leaks. Operators precisely fill the tank and measure pressure to ensure the tank is not leaking.

Inside one of the Red Hill Fuel Tanks

Planned to be a biennial test, the Navy increased tank tightness testing frequency to annually in 2015.  The Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) and Statement of Work (SOW), as regulated by the EPA and the State of Hawaii Department of Health, incorporated this test.
In his most recent letter to stakeholders, Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, said, “To address fuel tank integrity, the Navy employs a continuing process that monitors the tanks with testing and inspections and sustains them with planned preventative as well as corrective maintenance, as needed.  We take to heart and apply the lessons learned and process improvements we developed after the fuel release from Tank 5 in 2014.”

The release that occurred in January 2014 was from Tank 5, which had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance. No other tanks were involved in the 2014 fuel release. The Navy took appropriate action to fix the contracting issues of poor workmanship, lack of quality control and procedural failures.

Since then, the Navy modified its quality assurance practices and policies, increased testing frequency and capabilities, and improved facility operating procedures to help prevent fuel releases from happening again in the future.

“While we have a world class system today, the Navy will continue to improve monitoring systems under AOC section 4,” Fuller said.

In an earlier letter to stakeholders, Fuller said, “I assure you that we are applying – and will continue to actively apply – what we learned to improve our processes and that we will only return Tank 5 to service after certifying it is safe.”

Since 2006, the Department of Defense invested more than $200 million to continue modernizing Red Hill and to conduct environmental testing. The Red Hill facility is of vital strategic importance to our nation since its construction. It is vital today and will remain vital for the foreseeable future.

More information can be found on the Navy’s website on Red Hill at www.cnic.navy.mil/redhill. Information is also available on the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/region9/waste/ust/redhill/index.html.
(*Title 40: Protection of Environment is the section of the CFR that deals with the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.)

Friends of NELHA Awarded Grant for Student Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) was recently awarded a $5,000 grant by the Kona Brewers Festival (KBF) to fund tours for young Hawai‘i Island students.

“There are so many forward-thinking, innovative applications in the field of science going on here at the Natural Energy Lab,” says FON Executive Director Candee Ellsworth. “Educational tours are a great way to inform and expose local youth to opportunities in STEM careers so close to home. This funding allows us to expand our reach to be more impactful within our own community.”

In 2016, FON presented tours to over 1,300 students.

Student tours begin in the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center for an overview of the technology and cutting-edge companies in operation at NELHA’s Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park. Keiki get a lesson on green energy, aquaculture and ocean conservation. Students also visit the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant to find out how it works. Finally, tours visit a choice of another HOST site such as the Kanaloa Octopus Farm or Ke Kai Ola Hawaii Monk Sea Hospital.

Ellsworth says the grant will fund up to 250 free student tours with a matching discount through FON.

Free student tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hawai‘i school administrators or educators seeking a student tour can contact Ellsworth for details and availability.

The Kona Brewers Festival, now in its 22nd year, has donated $965,000 to Hawai‘i environmental, cultural and youth programs. The goal this year is to distribute $100,000 to 22 non-profits; all volunteer in some capacity at the festival.

“The festival is more than a fundraiser, “ says KBF Executive Director Kate Jacobson. “It’s a community celebration of sustainable practices, collaboration and responsibility to future generations.  Every ticket sold contributes to Hawai‘i’s well-being.”

In operation since 1974, FON offers three different, weekday tours for the general public: Ocean Matters, Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Aquaculture.  Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point. Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook Closed to Protect Endangered Nēnē

The Pu‘u Pua‘i overlook is temporarily closed to protect breeding nēnē (endangered Hawaiian geese) in the area.

NPS Photo

The gate is secured at the entrance to the Pu‘u Pua‘i parking lot, near the intersection of Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive. Visitors are able to hike about 0.4 miles of Devastation Trail from the Devastation Trail parking lot to a trail sign marking the closure.

In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s. The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 nēnē exist statewide.

Pu‘u Pua‘i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. It is visible from many areas along Crater Rim and Kīlauea Iki trails.

Big Island Artist Parker and Hawaii Island Creations Expand Into Dubai Market

Renowned local artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with his company’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) based partner, Tiki Style ME have inked a deal with Redondo Beach based Dive N Surf and our very own Honolulu based Hawaii Island Creations (HIC Surf) to expand into the UAE market.

This deal will cover opening of several retail stores under the 2 brand names – Dive N Surf scheduled to open late April 2017 in Kite Beach Dubai. HIC Surf scheduled to open later 3rd quarter 2017. The introduction of the Hawaiian Beach culture is heavily supported by His Excellency Abdulla Alsaboosi – Consul General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Los Angeles who is a frequent vacationer to the Islands and also has deplomatic responsibility of the Pacific Region.

Billy Meistrell – Second Generation Owner of the Brand Dive N Surf signs with Brad Parker

“I look forward to installing mural sized artwork into these high profile stores” commented Brad Tiki Shark Parker “as well as designing a Tiki/Hawaiiana themed line for both Dive N Surf and HIC Surf – Dubai.

“It was 3 years in the making of this historic deal” commented Abbas Hassan – SVP of Global Operations. “It is my pleasure to represent the Island and the Aloha spirit across the globe” he adduced.

“Tiki Shark Art has been a very active and supportive member and we’re so pleased to see their business continue to thrive and grow,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Artist Brad Parker reflects the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurialism that is representative of our members. We look forward to continuing to support and partnering with Tiki Shark.”

In keeping with the Dubai culture, the company plans to have a high end and extravagant Grand opening in late April.

Inaugural Maunakea Speakers Series Begins

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), in collaboration with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, is launching a new monthly lecture series giving community members unprecedented access to scholars and their knowledge-based work. The Maunakea Speakers Series brings scholars to Hilo to present on diverse subjects including fauna, biodiversity, climate change, botany, geophysics and other topics; all components of the immense resource diversity found on Maunakea.

“Our intent is to provide thought-provoking lectures and presentations while deepening our collective knowledge and understanding of the resources on Maunakea and strengthening educational opportunities —goals we all share,” said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata.

Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawai‘i’s Birds

The first program under the Maunakea Speaker Series kicks off with a one-hour presentation, Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawaii’s Birds by Dr. Rob Fleischer, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park. Dr. Fleischer will discuss Hawai‘i’s native birds and how he and his colleagues use DNA methods to study evolutionary relationships, population genetics, diet, and the impacts and mitigation of introduced disease.

Dr. Fleischer’s Smithsonian research involves application of DNA and genetic analyses to studies in conservation, evolution and animal behavior. His research often focuses on the use of DNA and genetics to document changes in genetic variation and to study the evolutionary interactions between hosts, vectors and infectious disease organisms (such as introduced avian malaria in native Hawaiian birds).

The Birds of Paradise Lost presentation will be held on Thursday, February 9 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the UH Hilo Science & Technology Building auditorium (Room 108) and is free and open to interested community members. On-campus parking is available without charge.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.