Hawai‘i County to Install Two New Playgrounds

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the upcoming installation of new children’s playground equipment at both Waiākea-Uka and Gilbert Carvalho parks in Hilo.

countylogo

Construction work will start Tuesday, January 21, at Waiākea-Uka Park located at 1200 ‘Āinaola Drive. Beginning Thursday, February 20, work will shift to Gilbert Carvalho Park located at 850 Waiānuenue Avenue.

Both parks will remain open for public use during the construction phase. However, the parks’ existing playgrounds will be removed and therefore unavailable for use. To protect the public, work areas will be fenced in. Park users are advised to be aware of construction activities and equipment at both sites.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park users and the general public for their cooperation, patience and understanding as we provide for enhanced recreational experiences for our keiki.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

Mayor Kenoi Proclaims “October 25th, 2013 – Body Glove 60th Anniversary Day” in the County of Hawaii

Last week, Body Glove International celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary with a party in Kona, Hawaii that was attended by the family of Body Glove and was open to the public.

Creature From the Black Lagoon and Mayor Kenoi

Creature From the Black Lagoon and Mayor Kenoi

The following night the party continued at the Wyland Gallery in Kona where Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker was signing merchandise and had his new Body Glove 60th Anniversary “Tiki Mug” release party.

Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker, Mayor Kenoi and Abbas Hassan

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Mayor Kenoi and Abbas Hassan

Here is a photo of the new mugs:

Brad Parker Tiki Mug

Mayor Kenoi was on hand and proclaimed October 25th, 2013 as Body Glove 60th Anniversary Day in the County of Hawaii.

Meistrell Brothers, Abbas Hassan and Mayor Kenoi

Billy Meistrell (2nd generation Owner and Co-Founder of Body Glove), Russ Lesser (President), Abbas Hassan and Mayor Kenoi

Here is the proclamation that he read to folks in attendance:

Proclamation:

WHEREAS, growing up in Missouri, twin brothers Bob and Bill Meistrell fell in love with the water. They dreamed of making a life in the ocean, and those dreams came true when the family moved to California in 1944; and

WHEREAS, in 1953, the Meistrell brothers turned their passion for the ocean into a business venture. They joined Bev Morgan and the three became business partners at Dive N’ Surf, the first dive and surf store of its kind; and

WHEREAS, Dive N’ Surf became quickly known for being the home of the first practical and commercially viable wetsuit, invented by the Meistrell brothers and Morgan. The name given to the suit – Body Glove, because it fit like a glove – has become an iconic brand worldwide; and

WHEREAS, over their sixty years in business, serious watermen and waterwomen worldwide have come to count on Body Glove’s products, and Body Glove-sponsored teams in surfing and wakeboarding are made up of many of the most skilled athletes in those sports in the world; and

WHEREAS, the values that have guided Body Glove for the past six decades – hard work, perseverance, love of family, and love of the environment – are values shared by the people of Hawai‘i Island and the many long-standing family-owned businesses that are the cornerstones of our economy; and

WHEREAS, we are honored to host Body Glove’s 60th anniversary celebration on Hawai‘i Island here in Kailua-Kona, home of local partners Body Glove Cruises and Tiki Shark Art Hawai‘i,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BILLY KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim October 25, 2013, as BODY GLOVE 60th ANNIVERSARY DAY in the County of Hawai‘i, and we hope to celebrate many more Body Glove anniversaries in the future.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused The Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed.  Done this 25th day of October, 2013 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i.

Billy Kenoi
MAYOR

You can click on the pictures in this gallery to open them up for larger views:

“Chronology of GMO Ban Legislation in County of Hawaii” By Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille posted the following chronology of the GMO Ban Legislation in the County of Hawaii on her Facebook site tonight:

Bill 79
May 14, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed with no action taken to May 29, 2013.

May 29, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Postponed Bill 79, and motion to amend with the contents of comm. 271.146, to a Special meeting to be held on July 2, 2013 in Kona.

July 2 & 3, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: 2 full days of testimony. Meeting recessed to July 30, 2013; no action taken on Bill 79 (Comm. 271.146 was withdrawn).

July 30, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Cancelled due to tropical storm Flossie

August 6, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Bill 79 withdrawn by Council Member Margaret Wille to reintroduce the bill in a cleaner format.

Bill 113
Sept. 4, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed to Sept 6, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113

Sept. 6, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Meeting recessed to Sept 23, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113

Sept. 23, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Experts on subject matter were called to share their expert opinions. Meeting recessed to Oct 1, 2013; no action taken on Bill 113.

Oct 1, 2013 Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee: Motion to amend with the contents of Comm. 393.51. Motion passed. Committee recommends passage of Bill 113, as amended to Draft 2, on first reading. 6 ayes, 2 noes, 1 absent and excused. Moves to Oct 16 Special Council meeting. Councilmembers voting no were Gregor Ilegan and Chairman J Yoshimoto. Councilmember Dennis “Fresh” Onishi was absent..

Oct 15, 2013 Special Council meeting: 4pm – 10 pm public testimony. 10 pm -10:30 pm Council discussion on Bill 113, Draft 2. Meeting recessed until Oct 16, 2013 at 1PM

Oct 16, 2013 Special Council meeting reconvened. Motion to amend Bill 113, Draft 2 with the contents of Comm. 393.68. Motion passed. Council discussed Bill 113, Draft 2 as amended. Bill 113, Draft 2 as amended passed first Council reading with vote of 6 ayes, 2 noes and 1 absent and excused. Motion passed. Committee recommends passage of Bill 113, as amended to Draft 2, on first reading: 6 ayes, 2 noes, 1 absent and excused. Moves to Oct 16 Special Council meeting. Councilmembers voting no were Gregor Ilegan and Dennis “Fresh” Onishi. Councilmember Zendo Kern was absent due to illness. Moves to November 6, 2013 Council meeting for second and final reading.

Communication 394
Discussion and formation of an Ad Hoc Committee relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants. This has been postponed to Call of the Chair because an Ad-Hoc Committee cannot be formed at the same time that Bill 113 is being discussed.

Councilwoman Wille Continued in her next post:

Here is Bill 113 Draft 3, that passed the Council on October 16th. One more reading – on November 6th. I know it is not perfect — but solid enough to survive Kenoi administration’s scrutiny and hold up under anticipated legal and state level assaults.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE HAWAI‘I COUNTY CODE 1983 (2005 EDITION, AS AMENDED), BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE RELATING TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS AND PLANTS.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I:

SECTION 1. Findings.
(1) The public trust doctrine is memorialized in the Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article XI, Section 1 “Conservation and Development of Resources,” and in the Charter of the County of Hawai‘i, Article XIII, Section 13-29 “Conservation of Natural and Cultural Resources.” Pursuant to the public trust doctrine, our natural resources, including land and water, are entrusted to our care for the benefit of both current and future generations. The county government in its trustee capacity is subject to the precautionary principle and therefore must exercise a higher level of scrutiny in establishing reasonable measures and making appropriate assessments in order to avoid harmful impacts to our public trust resources. The Council therefore recognizes the right of the people and their government to guard against the intrusion of potential contaminants and prevent the contamination of non-genetically engineered crops, plants and lands by genetically engineered crops and plants without having to first wait for definitive science. As the United States Supreme Court made clear in Maine vs. Taylor (1986), the government is not required “to sit idly by and wait until potentially irreversible environmental damage has occurred or until the scientific community agrees on what disease organisms are or are not dangerous before it acts to avoid such consequences.” In this context the precautionary principle requires that if a new technology poses threats of harm to human or environmental health, the burden of proof is on the promoter of the technology to demonstrate that the technology is safe, not on the public or governments to demonstrate that the technology is unsafe;
(2) The Council finds that policies relating to agricultural practices are most appropriate to be determined by each county of the State of Hawai‘i given the island-by-island variation in customary and generally accepted agricultural practices and opportunities, the variation in topography and land ownership patterns, and in light of the natural geographic ocean barriers that allow for these distinctions.
(3) The Council finds that optimizing a local agricultural policy that promotes non- genetically engineered crops and seeds along with eco-friendly agricultural practices affords the County of Hawai‘i a unique economic opportunity to capture a niche market for non-genetically engineered produce, seeds, and meats. Optimizing this opportunity is consistent with the Hawai‘i County General Plan (Economic policies 2.2(h)): “Promote and develop the island of Hawai‘i into a unique scientific and cultural model, where economic gains are in balance with social and physical amenities. Development should be reviewed on the basis of total impact on the residents of the County, not only in terms of immediate short run economic benefits.”
(4) The Council finds it is important to protect the rights of farmers engaged in non- genetically engineered crop cultivation from the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms and associated pesticides.
(5) The Council finds that an expanded exemption for genetically engineered papaya is reasonable and appropriate because the genetic modification of papaya over the past decade has become so pervasive across this island that restricting cultivation of genetically engineered papaya would be near impossible at this time, the likelihood of genetically engineered cross pollination of papaya is reduced given the customary controlled manner of propagation, and in light of the substantial investment in controlled testing of this one crop over the past decade as the means of choice to address certain papaya diseases.

SECTION 2. Authority. The Council finds that its authority to impose restrictions on the cultivation, propagation, development, and testing of genetically engineered crops and plants to protect public and private property as well as surface waters, vulnerable watersheds, and our Island’s coastal waters, is granted to it by:

(1) The Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Section 46-1.5(13), which states: “Each county shall have the power to enact ordinances deemed necessary to protect health, life, and property, and to preserve the order and security of the county and its inhabitants on any subject or matter not inconsistent with, or tending to defeat, the intent of any state statute where the statute does not disclose an express or implied intent that the statute shall be exclusive or uniform throughout the State.”;
(2) The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article XI, Section 9 “Environmental Rights,” which states: “Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment, as defined by laws relating to environmental quality, including control of pollution and conservation, protection and enhancement of natural resources. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, through appropriate legal proceedings, subject to reasonable limitations and regulation as provided by law.”
SECTION 3. Chapter 14 of the Hawai‘i County Code 1983 (2005 Edition, as amended) is amended by adding a new article to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

“Article __. Restriction of Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants.

Section 14-__. Purpose.
The purpose of this article is to protect Hawai‘i Island’s non-genetically modified agricultural crops and plants from genetically modified organism cross pollination and to preserve Hawai‘i Island’s unique and vulnerable ecosystem while promoting the cultural heritage of indigenous agricultural practices. The prohibition of open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing of genetically engineered crops and plants is intended to prevent the transfer and uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms on to private property, public lands, and waterways.

Section 14-__. Definitions.
As used in this article, unless otherwise specified:
“Genetically engineered” means an organism that has been modified at the molecular or cellular level by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes. Such means include recombinant DNA and RNA techniques, cell fusion, microencapsulation, macroencapsulation gene deletion and doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the position of genes. Such organisms are sometimes referred to as “genetically modified organisms” or “transgenic organisms.” Genetically engineered or genetically modified crops and plants include crops and plants for human consumption or for any other purpose. Genetic engineering does not include modification that consists exclusively of breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture.
“Open air” means a location or facility that is not enclosed in a greenhouse or in another completely enclosed structure so as to prevent the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered organisms.
“Person” includes natural persons, partnerships, joint ventures, societies, associations, clubs, trustees, trusts, or corporations or any officer, agent, employee, or any other personal representative thereof, in any capacity, acting either for himself, his heirs, or for any other person under personal appointment pursuant to law.
“Plant pestilence” means a virulent plant disease or infestation that is causing substantial harm to one or more crops or plants.
“Register” or “Registration” means registration by persons engaged in the cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants. Registration shall include: the tax map key and the council district of the property or properties; a detailed description of the location on the property where genetically engineered crops or plants are being cultivated, propagated, developed, or tested, which description shall include the size of the location and scope of usage; the name of the owner of the property or properties; the lessee or any other party in control of the genetically engineered plant or crop operation or usage; the type of genetically modified organism or transgenic manipulation used; the produce or products involved; the type, frequency, and customary amount of pesticides, inclusive of herbicides and insecticides, used; a description of any containment procedures employed; and relevant contact information.

Section 14-__. Prohibition.
No person shall knowingly engage in the open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing of genetically engineered crops or plants.

Section 14-__. Exemptions.
The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
(1) Persons engaged in the open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered crops or plants, other than genetically engineered papaya, but only in those specific locations where genetically engineered crops or plants have been customarily open air cultivated, propagated, or developed by that person prior to the effective date of this article, provided that those specific locations or facilities are registered within ninety days of the effective date of this article; and
(2) Any person engaged in the open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered papaya, whether prior or subsequent to the effective date of this article, provided that each location or facility wherein open air cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered papaya occurs or will occur is registered as provided in this article.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, these exemptions shall not allow for open air testing of genetically engineered organisms of any kind.

Section 14-___. Emergency exemption.
(a) A person who is engaged in the cultivation, propagation, or development of a non-genetically engineered crop or plant that is being harmed by a plant pestilence as defined in this article may apply to the council for an emergency exemption from the provisions of this article to use a genetically engineered remedy. The council may grant an emergency exemption by way of resolution, provided the council makes an affirmative finding that:
1) The cited plant pestilence is causing substantial harm to that person’s crop or plant;
2) There is no other available alternative solution; and
3) All available measures will be undertaken to insure that non-genetically engineered crops and plants, as well as neighboring properties and any water sources, will be protected from contamination or any other potentially adverse effects that may be caused by the genetically engineered organism or associated pesticides.
(b) Any exemption granted pursuant to subsection (a) shall include reasonable restrictions and conditions, including, but not limited to, full compliance with the registration requirements of this article and that the exemption shall expire on a certain day occurring within five years from the date of its issuance. Prior to expiration of the exemption, the council may adopt a resolution to extend the exemption for a specified period of time.

Section 14-__. Registration.
(a) All persons engaged in any form of cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants of any kind shall register annually beginning within ninety days of the effective date of this article, and shall pay an annual registration fee of $100 per location, payable to the director of finance. All contiguous land shall be treated as a single location. The director of the department of research and development, or the director’s authorized representative(s), shall administer the registration provision of this section.
(b) All persons engaged in non-commercial cultivation or propagation of genetically engineered papaya, in any stage or form, shall be exempt from this section. This registration exemption does not exempt persons engaged in research, development, or testing of genetically engineered papaya.

(c) Pursuant to section 92F-13 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, information such as the name of the registrant and the exact location of the genetically engineered crops or plants may be withheld from the public to the extent that disclosure of that detailed information would otherwise frustrate the ability of the County to obtain accurate information.

Section 14-__. Penalties.
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a violation, and upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to a fine of up to $1,000 for each separate violation. The person shall be deemed to be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day a violation of this article is committed, continued, or permitted for each location. To the extent permitted by law, the person found in violation of this article shall also be responsible for all costs of investigation and testing, as well as for court costs, including but not limited to witness fees and witness expenses.

Section 14__ . Declaratory and injunctive relief.
A court of competent jurisdiction may hear proceedings for declaratory relief or injunctive relief, or both, for violations or potential violations of this article. To the extent permitted by law, the person found in violation of this article shall be responsible for all costs of investigation and testing, as well as for court costs, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees, witness fees, and witness expenses.
.
Section 14__. Cumulative remedies.
The provisions of this article are cumulative. Nothing in this article shall affect any other remedy or relief that may be available to any adversely affected person or to the County or other governmental entity.
SECTION 4. If any provision of this ordinance, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.

SECTION 5. This ordinance shall take effect upon approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________________¬¬¬___
COUNCIL MEMBER, COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I

_______________, Hawai‘i

Pahoa Town Meeting on Proposing Amendments to Hawaii County Code

The Pahoa Regional Town Center Steering Committee will be hosting a public talk story meeting where a draft ordinance proposing amendments to Chapters 3 and 25 of the Hawaii County Code to create a Pahoa Village District in the Zoning Code (Chap. 25) that includes the requirement for compliance with architectural design guidelines being proposed for concurrent adoption by resolution.

Future site of the Pahoa Office Plaza

Future site of the Pahoa Office Plaza

The ordinance further proposes to create a separate article establishing signage standards in the Pahoa Village District.

You can view the proposed documents:

The talk story will be on Wednesday Evening, August 21st from 6 p.m. till 7:30 pm. at the Pahoa Community Center.  For more information, please contact PahoaPlan@gmail.com

Commentary: Retired Councilmen Bob Jacobson on Resolution 123-13… “End of Recycling and Mulch Programs”

Aloha kakou

On Tuesday June 4th, Councilmember Wille is introducing a measure to end our current policy of ruling out garbage incinerators (also called waste to energy) as our method of handling our solid waste.

The County of Hawaii (you) spent $1 million, plus countless hours of County workers on a study considering the merits of using an incinerator during rosy economic times. It clearly demonstatrated that unless we stopped all recycling and greenwaste operations and burned everything, we did not generate enough solid waste to make the system economically sound.  Ironically, this study was done by pro-incinerator professionals who usually promote incineration as the soluton to all waste problems.

Even my successor Councilmember Enriques voted to pass the last policy of keeping organics out of our landfill as did most of that Council.  Resolution 123-13 attempts to reverse all recycling and green waste efforts on this island and give massive amounts of our hard earned cash to snake oil salesmen who have contributed to Mayor Kenoi’s campaigns over the years.

If we had built the incinerator in 2008 we would have paid penalties of millions of dollars for the lowered solid waste amounts we experienced during this economic depression.  In 2009, Current Environmental Management Director Bobby-Jean bemoaned this decreased amount of solid waste we had to handle.  She should have been happy! Keeping solid waste out of the landfills and out of incinerators protects our air, land, water and assets.  Incinerators still have a lot of very toxic residue that must be landfilled.  Snake oil salesman will come with their honeyed tongues and promise the sun, the moon, the stars and jobs.  What they have in their other hand behind their backs is; pollution, massive tax payments to offshore interests, tax increases, corruption of local official, increased pollutions and an end to recycling and greenwaste programs.

By the way, the landfill at Puuanahulu could easily and cheaply be upgraded to handle all of our waste for another 50-100 years.  I suppose we should close it and raise taxes to pay for a polluting waste burner if we believe our Mayor.  Of course the last time Mayor Kim and Billy Kenoi were pushing incineration in 2008, their literature said we could build an incinerator for $45 million or less, not the $120+ million the study said it would cost even if we had enough waste to make it feasible.

Please let the County of Hawaii know you are not going to be fooled by corrupt officials, construction interests, greedy bankers and incineration company paid liars.  Vote against this resolution.

Sincerely,

Retired Councilmember Bob Jacobson

Public Invited To Suggest Properties For Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission Purchase

The County of Hawai’i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission, commonly referred to as PONC, is inviting the public to submit suggestion forms for properties to be included in its annual prioritized list and report to Mayor Billy Kenoi.
Hawaii County Logo
These suggestion forms can be downloaded from http://hawaiicountymayor.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013-01-14-PONC-Suggestion-Form-fillable.pdf or by obtaining a form at the Property Management Division, County Building on 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101. Completed forms can be mailed or e-mailed to the addresses listed on the form. Suggestion forms are due by the last business day of June which in the current year is June 28, 2013.
Past purchases, which total nearly 1,000 acres have included the Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena and Pa‘o‘o oceanfront parcels in North Kohala; and the Kingman property (across Magic Sands Beach) in Kona. PONC funds are generated from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues.
There are nine PONC commissioners that represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. These commissioners meet every other month rotating between the Hilo County Building and West Hawai’i Civic Center. Public testimony is allowed during each meeting. Commissioners review the current submittals and consider the significant factors of each property that may include historic and culturally important features; public outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; and the general benefits to the public. The potential acquisitions are then prioritized and the list and accompanying report is sent to the Mayor at the end of the calendar year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Council where resolutions are passed to purchase the properties.
If you need further information, please contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division at (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/boards-and-commissions

County of Hawaii Issues $98.8M in Bonds, Saving Hawai’i Island Taxpayers $8.5M

The County of Hawai’i sold $98.8 million in bonds in a sale that closed Feb. 12, obtaining funding for new projects and refinancing old loans and bonds in a move that will save taxpayers about $8.5 million over the life of the bonds.

Hawaii County Logo

The County’s ratings were affirmed in January by all three major rating agencies: Aa2 from Moody’s, AA- from Standard & Poor’s, and AA- from Fitch. These positive ratings, which recognize the County’s strong fiscal position and effective management, allowed the County to achieve a very favorable combined interest rate of 2.58% on these new bonds.

“Our County found itself in a great position – with a trio of positive ratings and the excellent market conditions for municipal bonds, we could refinance some of our pre-existing obligations for a lower cost,” said Finance Director Nancy Crawford. “The savings we realize with this bond issuance will free up resources to do more for the people of Hawai‘i Island.”

In addition to refinancing previous loans and bonds, $27.5 million in new money was obtained to fund projects previously authorized by the County Council. Some of these projects include the improvements to the Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium in Hilo, the La’aloa Avenue Extension in Kona, and an islandwide public safety radio upgrade.

“We’re pleased that we were able to leverage our County’s strong financial position to save our taxpayers money. It is truly a credit to the hard work of our employees and our finance team for managing our resources wisely,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We’re excited to have funds available to invest in projects that will upgrade our public facilities, better connect our communities, and keep our island safe.”

 

County of Hawai’i’s Strong Bond Rating Affirmed

Fitch Ratings on Wednesday affirmed the County of Hawai’i’s strong bond rating, citing the county’s sound financial management and conservative budgeting as grounds to maintain the county’s “AA-” classification.  Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services also affirmed the County’s ratings.

Fitch Ratings“This rating review by nationally recognized experts is a testament to our careful, conservative approach to balancing the budget in very challenging economic times,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This demonstrates that we have taken a responsible approach to cutting costs and controlling spending, and I am very pleased that these agencies recognize the hard work by all of our employees. I want to thank all those who worked so hard to keep our county on sound financial footing.”

The ratings reviews were prompted by county plans to issue $97.52 million in bonds on Jan. 29, including $47.52 million that will be used to refinance existing debt to take advantage of today’s exceptionally low interest rates.

 

 

County of Hawaii: “Technical Challenges Initially With Our Siren System During Last Night’s Tsunami Warning”

 

Media Release:

The tsunami advisory for the State of Hawai‘i ended this morning at 3:58 a.m. following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Queen Charlotte Islands region off the coast of Canada at 5:04 p.m. HST. We are grateful this morning to report that through the coordination of our first responders and the cooperation of the community, all of our shoreline and low-lying areas were evacuated safely during last night’s tsunami warning. We have received no reports of injury or serious property damage.

Although there were technical challenges initially with our siren system during last night’s tsunami warning, the challenges were addressed. The sirens are just one facet of our comprehensive emergency notification strategy, which includes sounding sirens, sending phone, text, and email alerts through mass notification systems, Civil Defense messages on radio and television stations, and manual notification by Police, Fire, and Civil Air Patrol.

Police and Fire personnel were deployed immediately to shoreline areas to notify people of the evacuation. Two fire helicopters, a privately contracted helicopter, and a Civil Air Patrol plane were in the air to monitor the shoreline and further notify people in difficult to access shoreline areas and ensure that the areas were clear.

Our human response was executed according to plan. In spite of the technical challenges earlier in the evening, we were able to safely execute a complete island-wide evacuation of shoreline and low-lying areas by 10:05 p.m.

During our next monthly siren test on Nov. 1, we will be stationing personnel at all sirens to ensure that they are operating as expected in concert with Hawai‘i State Civil Defense. State Civil Defense owns the sirens and takes care of repairs, while Hawai‘i County Civil Defense coordinates the operation of the sirens and conducts monthly tests.

County of Hawai‘i Still Accepting Entries for Keiki Triathlon

Children 7 to 14 years old are invited to enter the Keiki Triathlon to be held Saturday, October 20, at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and Maka‘eo Park in Kailua-Kona.

Entry forms will be accepted through Friday, October 12. The triathlon will start at 8:30 a.m. on October 20.

A link to the entry form is available at hawaiicounty.gov under the Department of Parks and Recreation’s October events. Forms also may be obtained island-wide at the department’s Recreation Division facilities, swimming pools and many gymnasiums. There is a $5 per-child entry fee to participate in the Keiki Triathlon.

To ensure the athletes’ safety, enrollment will be limited to the first 30 children who sign up in each of the four age-group categories or a maximum 120 total racers. All participants must supply their own bicycle, helmet, swim goggles and other equipment.

Completed entry forms and payment should be mailed to the Recreation Division, 799 Pi‘ilani Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

Sponsored by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL), the inaugural Keiki Triathlon will consist of a 100-yard swim, 3.2-mile bicycle course and a 1.0 mile run; children in the 7-8 age-group category will race half those distances.

Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers, both boys and girls, in each age category, while all keiki who complete the course will receive commemorative certificates.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Blessing Held for Former Bank of Hawai‘i Branch Donated to County

The County of Hawai‘i today held a blessing and recognition ceremony at the former Bank of Hawai‘i branch in Kohala, which will now be used by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Office of Aging for expanded senior citizens programs.

The building, on Akoni Pule Highway in Kapa‘au near the Kamehameha statue and North Kohala Civic Center, was constructed around 1900. Bank of Hawai‘i purchased the building in 1922, serving Kohala for 90 years before closing earlier this year. The Bank of Hawai‘i automated teller machine and depository will remain available at the front of the building.
The building had been severely damaged in the October 2006 earthquake. As part of the complete restoration after the earthquake, a photovoltaic system was installed making the building energy self-sufficient – Bank of Hawai‘i’s first green building.
Members of the Kohala Senior Club entertained the crowd at today’s ceremony.
“The bank looked at several options, and it was so right to give this building to the County,” said Bank of Hawai‘i Senior Vice President Roberta Chu. “When we understood further what the County’s limitations were [at the existing Kohala Senior Center] across the street, it was natural to make this building available to the people of Kohala. It’s an honor for us.”
“Our hearts are filled with aloha today,” said Kealoha Sugiyama, President of the Kohala Senior Club, who performed the blessing today. “It was such a treat when I was a youngster to tag along with my father or my grandfather to come and make deposits to this bank. To see it continue to live in our community is such an honor.”
“We’re very thankful to the Bank of Hawai‘i for their kindness and generosity in turning over this wonderful facility for our kūpuna. As our senior population grows, we have greater needs for our services. As the need grows and programs expand beyond our current facilities in Kohala, we now have a beautiful, green place for all of their activities,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Everything we have is what we’ve learned from all our kūpuna. Our community is a special place because all of them have given so much for so long.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi with Senior VP Art Taniguchi, Senior VP Roberta Chu, and Branch Manager Jeff Craft of Bank of Hawaiʻi.

53rd Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament – First Time Teams from Portugal and Russia Expected

In the summertime…..the fish are biting.

An unforgettable week of famous deep-sea fishing in Kona awaits anglers from around the world as teams gather for the 53rd running of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament August 13-17 2012. This summer, HIBT anglers, aboard some of sportfishing’s finest fleet of vessels, will fish for prized Pacific blue marlin and a chance of capturing the HIBT’s prestigious Governor’s trophy.

Kona’s billfishing water is considered unique for two reasons, calm seas and big marlin. And summertime in Kona is where the billfishing action is. Just ask last year’s winning team. Port Vila Game Fishing Club of Vanuatu prevailed and captured the 2011 HIBT Governor’s Trophy, earning them first place. Port Vila’s lead going into Day 5 was strong enough to hold off several other teams high on the scoreboard, finishing the 2011 HIBT with an even 2,000 points.

The 2012 HIBT scoreboard promises to bring much anticipated excitement. Expect even more fishing action as teams return to fish HIBT from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vanuatu and teams from across the USA. However, don’t underestimate angler skill as the 2012 HIBT welcomes new teams to the Tournament including Portugal and Russia.

For more information, to register a 2012 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament team and IGFA world-record rules, log onto www.hibtfishing.com.

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii and sponsored in part by KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.

2013 HIBT August 4-10, including five days of fishing August 5-9

2014 HIBT July 27-August 2, including five days of fishing July 28-August 1

Here is a video recap of the 2011 tournament:

2nd Annual World Peace Festival Features Grammy Award Winner Sonny Lim

County of Hawaii

In ancient times Moku Ola, also known as Coconut Island, was considered a safe haven, a place for healing and refuge.  Today, the Hawai’i County park hosts an array of events from family picnics, to celebrations of King Kamehameha.  A relative newcomer; the World Peace Festival, first produced in 2010, is scheduled for Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  “Moku Ola continues to be a sacred place, held in the hearts of many as a peaceful refuge.  It is the perfect location for the festival, a multi-cultural event dedicated to peace and harmony,” said coordinator Desiree Moana Cruz.

World Peace Festival

Hawai’i County is presenting the festival in partnership with the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association (HDIA) with sponsorship support from the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) assisted by Sokka Gakkai International.  The free family event offers a global line-up of Hawai’i Island talent including traditional Hawaiian Slack key stylings from Na Hoku Hanohano and GRAMMY  Award winner Sonny Lim, exciting percussion from Hui Okinawa’s Kobudo Taiko Troupe, fun Kachi Kachi  music performed by El Leo-The Jarican Express, riveting Tahitian dance and music of Merahi o Tapiti, a Chuukese warriors dance performance by members of Micronesians United-Big Island, and the dynamic UH-Hilo Samoan Club-Tupulaga o Samoa Mo A Taeao.  Soka Gakkai International youth and women’s division participants will also offer a range of cultural dances.

“We are featuring a wonderfully diverse line up of some of the best talent on the island for a entertaining and inspiring day full of peace and joy.” said Cruz.  “And there will be a free Jumping Castle and Water Slide for keiki, information booths, displays, artists and craftspeople selling their works plus a variety of ‘ono food booths.  The public is invited to attend.”

County of Hawaii Redistricting Meetings

Map of Hawaii highlighting Hawaii County

Image via Wikipedia

Here is some information on upcoming redistricting public hearings and regular meetings that are open to the public. If you have any questions about these meetings, please contact Karen Eoff at (808) 323-4264 or by email at keoff@co.hawaii.hi.us.

  • September 23, 2011, (Friday) – WHCC, Kona @ 10:00 a.m. – Regular Meeting
  • October 1, 2011 (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. @ Pāpa‛aloa Gym, 35-1994 Government Main Road, Laupahoehoe, HI 96764 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 1, 2011 (Saturday) 2:00 p.m. @ Waimea Community Center, 65-1260 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela, HI, 96743 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 6, 2011 (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. @ Kamana Senior Center, 127 Kamana Street, Room 1, Hilo, HI 96720 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 11, 2011 (Tuesday) 6:00 p.m. @ Pāhoa Neighborhood Center, 15-2710 Kauhale Road, Pāhoa, HI 96788 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 12, 2011 (Wednesday) 6:00 p.m. @ Nā‘ālehu Comm. Cntr, 95-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy, Nā‘ālehu, HI 96772 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 15, 2011 (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. @ Hilo Council Chambers, 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, HI 96720 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 15, 2011 (Saturday) 2:00 p.m. @ Kea‘au Community Center, 16-186 Pili Mua Street, Kea‘au, HI 96749 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 17, 2011 (Monday) 6:00 p.m. @ WHCC, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy. Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 – Pub. Hearing
  •  October 20, 2011 (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. @ Yano Hall, 82-6156 Mamalahoa Hwy. Captain Cook, HI 96704 – Pub. Hearing – PLEASE NOTE:  CORRECTION TO OCTOBER 20TH PUBLIC HEARING AT YANO HALL MEETING TIME IS 6:00 PM (NOT 2:00 PM AS PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN)
  •  October 21, 2011, (Friday) – Hilo, @ 10:00 a.m. – Regular Meeting
  •  November 3, 2011, (Thursday) – Hilo, @ 10:00 a.m. – Regular Meeting
  •  November 10, 2011, (Thursday) – Hilo, @ 10:00 a.m. – Regular Meeting (Decide on Draft Plan)
  •  November 21, 2011 (Monday) 6:00 p.m. @ WHCC, 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy. Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 – Pub. Hearing
  •  November 22, 2011 (Tuesday) 6:00 p.m. @ Hilo Council Chambers, 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, HI 96720 – Pub. Hearing
  •  November 30, 2011, (Wednesday) – 10:00 a.m. – Regular Meeting (Decide on Final Plan)

Tomorrow the County of Hawaii Will Enter Into a Sister City Relationship with the Island of Kumejima, Okinawa, Japan

Seal of Hawaii County, Hawaii

Image via Wikipedia

The County of Hawaii will enter into a Sister City Relationship with the island of Kumejima, Okinawa, Japan on Sunday during a Ocean Thermal Energy Workshop (OTEC) at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA).

The signing ceremony will take place at noon. The Mayor of Kumejima, Choukou Taira, and County of Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi will enter into the agreement, which will stress economic ties rather than the traditional cultural bonds of sister city relationships.

Kumejima is an island about 50 miles east of Naha, Okinawa. Much like Hawaii Island of about 20 years ago, Kumejima’s economy is based on the visitor industry and sugar cane, known as sato kibi in Japan.

Kumejima, which has a climate and appearance similar to Kauai, also shares another similarity with Hawaii Island, a deep sea pipeline which has allowed aquaculture to blossom on the island, which is about the same size as Molokai.

In November, public and private officials visited Kumejima to take part in an OTEC Workshop, where the possibility of a partnership between Kumejima and Hawaii Island was discussed. This pact, which could result in the establishment of a demonstration plant at NELHA using the 55-inch pipelines already installed at the facility on Keahole Point, will be further discussed at the workshop by Japanese and American officials.

It was during this visit in November that the governments of Kumejima and Hawaii County realized that a sister city relationship would be a natural extension of the proposed natural energy partnership taking place at the time.

“We are honored to enter into this agreement with Kumejima,” said Mayor Kenoi. “The similarities between our islands are striking, including the fact that we are both outlying islands of island groups far away from their mainland countries. I think we can learn many things from each other as we both strive to break our dependence on fossil fuels.”

OTEC technology, which was successfully tested off Keahole Point in the 1970s, uses the temperature difference of deep sea and surface water to make a working fluid — in this case ammonia — to “boil.”

The boiling fluid releases “steam” which is used to drive a turbine.

Intensive OTEC research is now taking place in a number of places in the world, including NELHA, where Lockheed-Martin recently blessed a facility, and at Saga University in Saga, Japan, where scientists are generating electricity using a small demonstration unit.

“OTEC has the potential to provide virtually inexhaustible, clean energy in the equatorial regions of the earth,” said Kenoi. “This is an opportunity for Hawaii Island to play a role in furthering a technology that could have worldwide implications.”

Hawaii County Offers Pa’auilo Lands for Long-Term Leasing

Media Release:

The County of Hawai`i is inviting farmers, ranchers and other interested applicants to bid on long-term leases for 718 acres of county-owned lands at Pa`auilo.

The 16 parcels of land range from less than 13 acres to nearly 110 acres, and are available for 10-year leases. The minimum rental price will be $11.63 per acre per year, which is based on an outside market appraisal of the land.

“We are pleased to be offering these lands up to the community to put them back into productive agricultural use,” said County of Hawai`i Mayor Billy Kenoi. “These lands have been sitting idle since the county first acquired them about 16 years ago, and we believe putting these lands back into production will provide a welcome boost to our agricultural sector.”

The county will host an informational open house at Pa `auilo Gym from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on September 1 to discuss the details of the new leasing program, and to answer questions from the public.

All proposals by bidders must comply with the current agricultural zoning on the Pa`auilo lands, and must meet the terms of Hawai`i County Council Resolution 38-11. All proposals must be received by the county by 4:30 p.m. on October 14, 2011.

For more information, please visit www.co.hawaii.hi.us, or contact the county Property Management Division at (808) 961-8069.

 

Is Hawaii County Really Going to Get Serious About Technology?

The Hawaii County Cost of Government Commission has released the latest “DRAFT REPORT” for  Cost of Government Commission Agendas and Minutes, this afternoon.

It looks like Hawaii County might finally be getting serious about technology!

DRAFT REPORT

As the Commission investigated how our County government could reduce costs and enhance revenues, we found that changing the way we do business as a County is imperative if we are to move fully into the 21st century. Just as innovation and adaptability are the action words for private enterprise, these same concepts must motivate the public sector if we are to contain the costs of County government yet still provide essential services to support the quality of life its citizen’s desire.

As the Commission gathered input from departments, legislators and County employees, we found that many excellent suggestions to save costs and enhance revenues were not being taken into consideration. The lack of flexibility in the negotiation of union contracts prevents the application of reasonable and efficient cost saving measures. The absence of a county-wide technology plan reduces the efficiencies of operations. A resistance to adoption of simple cost saving measures such as online approvals and electronic signatures makes the County’s contracting process slow and unresponsive. Continuing practices such as extending homeowner exemptions to unpermitted buildings not only short changes the County coffers, but encourages unsafe and unsanitary living conditions while forcing all the County’s residents to pay higher tax rates to fund this practice.

The Commission decided to tackle its mandate by looking not only at ways to reduce the costs of government, but also by identifying ways to enhance revenues. Are building permit fees too low? Could the County charge user fees for services that are currently offered for free? We looked at what services really are the responsibility of the County to provide and how we can continue to support the needs of the island’s population and visitors without being forced to reduce public services to an unacceptable level. This Commission served during an especially difficult economic downturn as reflected by furlough days and implementation of other drastic measures to contain costs, yet the recommendations provided herein should be guiding principles for our County government even when the economy is expanding.

We organized our efforts to address a theme which was to identify the essential services of County government. We then identified three overarching issues that the County must address: Technology, Contracting, Collections and Fees. The Commission organized into subcommittees and solicited input from all of the County’s workforce, its elected and appointed officials, and members of other Boards and Commission. We used the information and feedback to develop the recommendations in this report. The specific recommendations of the Commission are presented in a top down manner. First we present county-wide actions that need to be addressed. Then we provide recommendations specific to some of the County’s departments. Lastly we address changes that impact the rank and file workers of the County. The bottom line for our findings is that the way we do business as a local government has to change.

You can read the full draft report here: Hawaii County Draft Report County Cost of Government Commission

2011 Big Island Film Festival… And the Winners Are

The 2011 Big Island Film Festival awards were held this morning at the Fairmont Orchid Resort.

group shot

The group shot (click for larger version)

Festival Director Leo Sears addressed the group around 10:00 and folks started in on their food.

Leo Sears

Leo Sears addresses the audience

Anna Akaka, wife of Danny Akaka, Jr., lead off the opening pule and blessed the crowd and the filmmakers for making it a great festival this year.

The filmmakers enjoying brunch

The filmmakers enjoying brunch

Golden Honu Award recipient Kristina Anapau and her boyfriend Moran Cerf were in attendance.

Kristina Anapau and her boyfriend Moran Cerf

Mr. Sears began by thanking the Sponsors of the Festival such as the Fairmont Orchid, the Shops at Mauna Lani, the County of Hawaii and John Mason with the Hawaii County Film Office, “Redeeming Light International” as well as others were also thanked.

Sponsors

Kenwood Vineyards was recognized as a “big sponsor” since they have sponsored the festival for so many years.

Some Kenwood wines

Some Kenwood wines

Naketha Mattocks was recognized for her support and workshop that she put on called “The Inside Pitch” and Ron Osborn was recognized for his continual work with the festival.

Ron Osborn

Ron Osborn

Mayor Kenoi was on hand and signed a bottle of wine that all of the celebrities and filmmakers signed that would be auctioned off later for the Wounded Warriors project.

Mayor Kenoi signs a bottle of Kenwood Vineyards wine

Mayor Kenoi signs a bottle of Kenwood Vineyards wine while BIFF Director Leo Sears looks on

Actress Sarah Wayne Callies who was the recipient of the “No Ka Oi” award earlier in the week was also present.

Mayor Kenoi, Film Commissioner John Mason and Actress Sarah Wayne Callies

Mayor Kenoi, Film Commissioner John Mason and Actress Sarah Wayne Callies

An autographed picture of Kristina Anapau was auctioned off for charity as well and I just had to drop the big bucks to keep my son happy!

Hayden with an autographed photo of Kristina Anapau

Hayden with an autographed photo of Kristina Anapau

I’d like to thank all those that worked so hard to put this on and especially thank Leo Sears for working so hard at ensuring such a smooth festival happens.

Leo Sears

Mahalo Leo... Who needs drive-in movies when we have the Big Island Film Festival?

Media Release:

Twelve films received Golden Honu Awards at the 6thAnnual Big Island Film Festival today.  Best Feature went to “Queen of the Lot,” starring Tanna Frederick and Noah Wyle, written and directed by Henry Jaglom, produced by Rosemary Marks.

Celebrity actresses Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”) and Hilo’s own Kristina Anapau (“Black Swan”) were present to receive special “No Ka Oi” awards from Big Island Film Festival Executive Director Leo Sears.

Leo Sears and Kristina Anapau

Leo Sears and Kristina Anapau (Photo Courtesy of Devany-Vickery Davidson)

Winners were selected from 63 entries from across the country and around the world, including 10 made in Hawai’i.  The made-on-Maui film, “Get A Job,” starring Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Augie T, Henry Kapono and many other top Hawaiian entertainers, won 2011 Audience Choice Feature.

Get a Job!

Get a Job!

2011 Big Island Film Festival Golden Honu Awards:

Actress “No Ka Oi” - Sarah Wayne Callies

Leo Sears presents Sarah Wayne Callies the "No Ka Oi" Award

Leo Sears presents Sarah Wayne Callies the "No Ka Oi" Award (Photo Courtesy of Devany Vickery-Davidson)

Actress “No Ka Oi” – Kristina Anapau

Kristina Anapau

Kristina Anapau

The Barbara Award – “Regular Kids”

Best Family Short – “The Green Tie Affair”


Best Animated Short – “Bait”

Best Hawaiian Short – “Layover, On the Shore”

Best Foreign Short – “Futility”

Best Student Short – “Thief”

Best Short – “Wounded”

The Producer of "Wounded" receives his award

The Producer of "Wounded" receives his award

Best Family Feature – “Trainmaster II: Jeremiah’s Treasure”

“Best Student Feature” – “Farmer’s Tan”

Best Hawaiian Feature – “Get A Job”

Writer/Director Brian Kohne, Leo Sears and Eric Gilliom

Best Foreign Feature – “The Drummond Will”


Best Feature – “Queen of the Lot”

Audience Choice Short – “The Historian Paradox”

The Historian Paradox

The Historian Paradox wins an award


Audience Choice Feature – “Get A Job

Some of the winners that were present to receive their awards:

Winners

Some of the 2011 Big Island Film Festival Winners


Hawaii County Government’s Carbon Footprint Released

State’s First Government Operation Emissions Inventory

Media Release:

The County of Hawai ‘i has released the state’s first government operation greenhouse gas emissions inventory.  Prepared by a group of county employees with the assistance of the Department of Research and Development, the study quantifies emissions created by county government during the delivery of services to the public.

Hawaii County Green Team

Hawaii County Green Team

Hawai‘i County’s first carbon footprint will serve as baseline which officials can use to track the effectiveness of energy, waste and emission reduction efforts.  The release of this study puts the County of Hawaii at the forefront of climate protection strategies in the state.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “The threats posed by our dependence on fossil fuels and climate change continue to grow, but in difficult economic times it is essential that our efforts to reduce our energy use, waste, and emissions are targeted to where they will be most cost effective.  This inventory provides a roadmap for these actions and shows county government is leading by example.”

The study found that in Fiscal Year 2007-2008, providing services such as public safety, parks and recreation, water delivery, solid waste disposal and wastewater services produced 134,130 metric tons of carbon emissions or the equivalent to using 311,930 barrels of oil.

Delivery of water to residents via electric pumps was the largest contributor of greenhouse gases emissions, representing 40 percent of the county’s total carbon footprint. The county’s solid waste facilities released 31 percent of direct greenhouse gases, followed by County Mass Transit and fleets (12 percent of total direct emissions) and county buildings and facilities (5 percent).

When combined, wastewater, streetlights and commuting employees accounted for the remaining 12 percent.  Overall, the county spent $33 million to pay for electricity and fuel in Fiscal Year 2007-2008.  This represents 7 percent of the island’s usage of electricity.

“Accounting for local government operation’s fossil fuel use and its associated financial and environmental costs are the first step to understand local government’s contribution to climate change,” said Alex Frost, coordinator of the group known as the Mayor’s Green Team. “The report provides an initial baseline to develop benchmarks and metrics to track results and help identify strategic opportunities that will save money and reduce pollution.”

The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions was conducted with ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability USA’s Clean Air and Climate Protection software (CACP).  The findings will be included in the Mayor’s Vision 20/15: Green Government Action Plan to be released in May.

This plan identifies programs and projects that can be used by county government to save money through the reduction of emissions, waste and energy usage.

Results of the current inventory and sustainability assessments conducted by Mayor’s Green Team can be downloaded at http://www.hawaiicountyrandd.net/hcrc/green-government.

Mayor Kenoi and Mayor Akutsu Sign New Sister City Pact

Media Release:

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Mayor Sadaji Akutsu of Shibukawa , Japan, reaffirmed a sister-city relationship between Shibukawa and the County of Hawaii in a ceremony in Hilo on Jan. 14, 2011.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Mayor Sadaji Akutsu of Shibukawa , Japan, reaffirmed a sister-city relationship between Shibukawa and the County of Hawaii in a ceremony in Hilo on Jan. 14, 2011

The sister-city relationship was established in 1997 to promote friendship and good will between the peoples of Ikaho-Machi and the County of Hawaii . In 2006, Ikaho-Machi, along with the villages of Komochi, Onogami, Akagi and Kitatachibana, were merged into the expanded City of Shibukawa .

Sister cities share in the coordination and planning of official visits, and promote the exchange of cultural, trade, agricultural, scientific and educational opportunities. The people of Shibukawa and the Island of Hawaii have enjoyed an active and productive Sister City relationship since 1997.

Mayor Kenoi said the reaffirmation will “continue the meaningful interaction that has characterized the relationship for well over a decade. In addition to the reciprocal benefits enjoyed by our two communities, we share a larger, international benefit in setting an example of friendship and good will for the world to see and emulate.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi, left, shakes hands with Mayor Sadaji Akutsu of Shibukawa, Japan

Mayors Kenoi and Mayor Akutusu also committed to develop a stronger economic relationship between the Sister Cities.“Mayor Akutsu and I held economic discussions over two nights, agreeing to joint tourism and agricultural promotions and to have our chambers of commerce explore new opportunities over the next year,” Mayor Kenoi said. “These times require more than just goodwill. We need to promote positive economic relations that benefit both sides.”

Ikaho, now part of Shibukawa, is home to the world’s largest hula festival with more than 4,000 participants. In 2002, organizers of the festival obtained permission from the late Dottie Thompson, former director the Hilo ’s Merrie Monarch Festival, to name the Japanese festival in honor of Hawaii ’s Merrie Monarch King David Kalakaua.

Since then, representatives of the “Ikaho Hawaiian Festival, King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch,” attend the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo each year and invite the winning halau to perform at their Ikaho festival the following August.

Ikaho is about 3 ½ miles by bus from Tokyo ’s Narita Airport and is well-known as a hot spa resort area that attracts many visitors, including members of the Japanese Royal Family.