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Ehime Maru – 8 Years Ago

Yesterday, marked 8 years since the Ehime Maru incident off Oahu waters that left 9 crew members dead including 4 high school students after the submarine USS Greenville slammed into it as it was rising to the surface of the ocean.

The Ehime Maru before being hit by the US Submarine Greenville.

The Ehime Maru before being hit by the Submarine USS Greenville

The following is from a Japanese newspaper out of the Ehime Prefecture:

MATSUYAMA, Ehime Pref. (Kyodo) About 340 people offered silent prayers Tuesday for the nine people who died eight years ago when a U.S. submarine surfaced under a Japanese fisheries high school training ship off Hawaii.

At a memorial service at Uwajima Fisheries High School in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, students, family members and teachers rang a bell recovered from the sunken Ehime Maru nine times at 8:43 a.m. — 1:43 p.m. Hawaii time — the exact moment when the 499-ton ship was struck from below by the USS Greeneville.

“Tremendous anger and grief have not gone away even after eight years. It is our duty to learn the lessons from the accident,” said Shinzo Imaoka, principal of Uwajima Fisheries High School.

In Honolulu, 60 people, including relatives of three of the victims, held their own memorial ceremony Monday.

“I don’t want to bring back the memory of the accident, but I really appreciate so many people attending the ceremony every year,” said Tatsuyoshi Mizuguchi, who lost his 17-year-old son, Takeshi, in the accident.

Mizuguchi’s son is the only victim whose body was not recovered.

Hawaii’s Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro produced the following Ukulele Song for the people of Ehime Maru and entitled it appropriately “Ehime Maru”:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbYidBm5GE&hl=en&fs=1]

Here is a clip of the salvation mission under sea:

Some shots of Canyon’s XL-16 and Quest ROV during salvage operations of the ‘Ehime Maru’.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HefMaDULYnM&hl=en&fs=1]

“Project Better Place” An Interesting Debate

I was the first in the State to mention Project Better Place coming to Hawaii back on September 7th of last year.

I’ve thought about the project for awhile, and I think it might work on the other islands the way they have the stations planned now, but I just don’t see how they can be feasible with only four stations on the Big Island.

charging1

In this recently released youtube clip, Project Better Place CEO Shai Agassi talks about the Hawaii Project at  about the 7:00 minute mark.  Towards the end of the video, a managing editor at Forbes explains why this might not work.

Better Place CEO and founder Shai Agassi wants to change the automotive industry by switching gas stations with battery replacement and charging stations for the next generation of electric cars.

Although current plans include smaller areas like Hawaii, Israel, Denmark, and San Francisco, Better Place aims at nothing short of an industry-transforming revolution. Will it be possible?

In this extended interview (at end of clip), Shai Agassi discusses his companys plans and challenges. Bruce Upbin, a managing editor at Forbes Magazine, comments on Better Places challenges and why the network may not work in the U.S.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXL76NyTSKU&hl=en&fs=1]

Things to think about:

1. Prices of Gas have fallen…

2. Building a network… is there enough stations

3. Capital… does Project Better Place have enough money?

Hawaiian Airlines Jet Loses Power to One Engine on Mainland Trip… Lands Safely in Oregon

A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Maui to Portland with about 200 passengers lost power in one engine, but it landed safely last night at Portland International Airport.

More Here

Like I Said Earlier: Contra-Flow 0… Shoulder Lane 1

I’m not sure what the big fuss is about with this latest announcement that Contra-Flows aren’t going to fly… at least right now.  It really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Back in September, I blogged about the State quick-fix project to use the shoulder lane.   The State told us then that Contra-flowing was not going to be possible.

Of note something that will be happening soon. The Shoulder lane that is used in the mornings from 6-8 AM are going to be opened up for 24 hour usage

In today’s Hawaii Tribune, it talks about how Councilwoman Naeole is now thinking twice about the meeting:

…”We can’t seem to get the state people to come,” she (Naeole) said of Department of Transportation administrators. “No sense we have the meeting, and they not there…”

What I don’t understand, is that Emily has known about the quick-fix shoulder project for quite some time as she is a member of the KPAG group.

At the last meeting in front of the State people, she mentioned this resolution to have a contra-flow, however, the State people just kind of blew her off like nothing was going to be done with the resolution.

We have met at least 5 times now with “State Officials” regarding the H-130 traffic.

Why is the STATE not listening to are needs?  Our own council lady is making resolutions that won’t even be heard by State Reps.

That’s ok… at least I know I wasn’t hearing things wrong 5 months ago.  It is a bit of waste of money attempting to do things that you already know aren’t going to work in the long run.

“Morioka said the DOT plans to convert the morning shoulder lane into a permanent lane and widen the road to create a Pahoa-bound shoulder lane for use during evening rush hour.”

Is anyone listening to what I previously stated on my blog?… Once again back in September I said:

Of note something that will be happening soon. The Shoulder lane that is used in the mornings from 6-8 AM are going to be opened up for 24 hour usage

Folks… we just have to get used to the STATE over riding most of what we want at county level.

Lingle Releases $833,00 for Advanced Traveler Information System for Oahu Travelers

Governor Linda Lingle has released $833,000 to implement the first phase of an Advanced Traveler Information System for H-1, H-2 and H-201 (Moanalua) Freeways to help motorists avoid traffic and reduce their commute times

More Here

Bank Repo’s Air Kauai Helicopters… Again

On November 11th, I blogged that Air Kauai had it’s helicopters repossessed.

The following day, they were able to get them back.

Well now… they have lost them again!

airkauai

Air Kauai Inc., a Lihu’e, Hawaii-based company that specializes in island tours, had its helicopter fleet repossessed.

According to The Garden Island, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris gave the Bank of Hawaii the go-ahead to repossess two Eurocopter AS 350 helicopters last week.  Air Kauai failed to make its December payment of $31,402 to the bank and a $47,600 down payment to the insurance company, the newspaper reported.According to The Garden Island, the company took out two loans…

More here

Honolulu City Council Passes Bill Banning Text-Messaging While Driving

From KITV:

The Honolulu City Council has passed a bill banning Oahu motorists from text-messaging on their cell phones and playing video games while driving.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann hasn’t decided whether he’ll sign the bill. He’s concerned the measure will be difficult for police to enforce.

Council member Charles Djou introduced the bill after a city bus driver was suspended for playing a video game while driving a bus.

Army Helicopter Emergency Lands in Kapiolani Park… Video

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfHi4oGGisM&hl=en&fs=1]

Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director Jiro Sumada on Recent H-130 Death of Bus Passenger… Video

At tonights Highway 130 meeting, Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director had the following to say about the recent death of Carlos Caraballo, who died after he got off a bus on Highway 130 last week.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZh43qNdtqY&hl=en&fs=1]

Police Report:

A 51-year-old Pahoa man died Wednesday (January 21) from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle/pedestrian crash at the intersection of Route 130 and Shower Drive in the Puna District.

The victim was identified as Carlos Caraballo of a Pahoa address.

Responding to an 11:49 a.m. call, Puna patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit officers determined that the victim had exited a Hele-On bus that was stopped on the makai side of the road, walked in front of the bus and walked out into the highway. He was struck by a 1992 Nissan pickup truck that was traveling west on Route 130.

The victim then struck the front end of a 2006 Mini Cooper that was stopped in the left-turn lane on Route 130.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 43-year-old Pahoa man, and the driver of the Mini Cooper, a 60-year-old Ninole woman, were not injured.

Fire Rescue personnel took the victim to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:33 p.m.

It is unknown at this time if alcohol was involved. Police do not believe that speed was a factor in this crash.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone with information about the crash to call Officer Clarence Davies at 961-8118.

This is the second traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with one at this time last year.

Lingle Unveils Comprehensive Highway Modernization Plan… $524 Million for Big Island

Governor Linda Lingle, together with Senate Transportation Chair Kalani English, House Transportation Chair Joe Souki and State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka today unveiled a $4.2 billion dollar, six-year Highway Modernization Plan.  The statewide plan would implement critical highway projects and programs aimed at reducing traffic congestion, improving highway safety, maintaining roads, and saving motorists time and money.

“This is a truly innovative proposal that will change the way the state Department of Transportation does business when it comes to funding, planning and implementing highway upgrades and maintenance,” said Governor Lingle.  “This Highway Modernization Plan will provide the type of results that all users of our roadways have been waiting for and deserve.  It builds on the State’s overall efforts to upgrade Hawai‘i’s transportation infrastructure, and will complement our Airports Modernization and Harbors Modernization plans that are already underway.”

The Highway Modernization Plan focuses on 183 projects, including 161 projects in the four counties:  76 projects on O‘ahu ($1,905,033,000), 36 projects for Maui County ($578,940,000), 27 projects on the Big Island ($524,712,000) and 22 projects on Kaua‘i ($263,410,000).  In addition, there are 22 statewide projects ($968,119,000)…

More Here

County Expands Bus Service, Adds Accessible Buses

Media Release

COUNTY EXPANDS BUS SERVICE, ADDS ACCESSIBLE BUSES

The Hawaii Island’s county Mass Transit Agency will increase bus service on some of the transit system’s most popular and heavily used routes beginning February 17, 2009, as part of the ongoing effort to make the system more convenient and accessible to users.

Additional bus service will be added on the route between Pahoa and Hilo; on the route between the Ka’u and Ocean View areas and Kona; and the route between Hilo and Waimea.

Service will also be increased on routes within the Kona and Hilo areas.

Saturday service will also increase on various routes around the island, and the Mass Transit agency recently received two new 33-passenger accessible buses to assist people with disabilities. The new buses will be placed in service in February.

Hawaii County offers bus riders the only free, island-wide network of bus routes in the state.

Bus ridership is growing rapidly, with ridership for the period from July 2008 to December 2008 totaling 384,000 passenger trips. That was a 34 percent increase over ridership in the same period in 2007, said Transit Operations Administrator Tom Brown.

For more information, please call the Mass Transit Agency at 961-8744.

$100,000 Allocated to “Consultants” for Bus Stop Projects

Yesterday, there was a fatal pedestrian accident involving the Counties buses.  Bus stops along H-130 have long been a problem.  I mean, there are none!  Drivers do not know when buses are pulling off and pulling back on, people don’t understand some of the laws regarding buses, and the lack of crosswalks all contribute to just a few of the problems with the public transportation system on H-130.

I was looking at the line item of 12/10/08 on this Professional Services Awarded by the County and I just noticed that $100,000 was awarded to SSFM to consult on Bus Stops.

I’ve been working with the SSFM people on the H-130 Project and I’m telling you now that I could do an island wide “consultation” of where these bus stops should be laid out for a lot less then $100,000!

They are currently “Consulting” the KPAG group… so trust me, I know what’s going on at some of these “Consulting Meetings”.

Anyone want to give me a 6 figure contract to tell people where bus stops should go.  It’s really not that difficult thing to do.

I mean sheesh, we don’t have any now.  It seems ridiculous to pay money to a firm to figure out where they should go.  Just put some in for god’s sake.  It’s not that tough of a job.

$100,000… I really need to get in on some of this easy money some time.

Hele-On Bus Rider Killed After Getting Off Bus on Highway 130

A Hele-On bus rider suffered fatal injuries today when he was struck by a pickup truck after exiting the bus.

Police said Carlos Caraballo, 51, of Pahoa, got off the bus around 11:49 a.m. at the intersection of Route 130 and Shower Drive in the Puna District.

The victim walked in front of the bus and out into the highway, where he was hit by a 1992 Nissan pickup truck traveling west on Route 130. Caraballo was then thrown into the front end of a 2006 Mini Cooper that was stopped in the left-turn lane on the highway.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 43-year-old Pahoa man, and the driver of the Mini Cooper, a 60-year-old Ninole woman, were not injured.

Caraballo was pronounced dead at 12:33 p.m. at Hilo Medical Center.

Anyone with information about the crash should call police officer Clarence Davies at 961-8118.

There have been two traffic fatalities on the Big Island so far this year, compared with one a year ago.

From the Advertiser

Matson Cutting 10% of Employees… 60 Jobs

Alexander & Baldwin said Tuesday it will cut 10 percent of its workforce at Matson Navigation Co., Hawaii’s largest ocean shipper…

…Matson will eliminate 60 non-union positions, which come on top of a hiring freeze that began in 2007 and continued into 2008…

…In less than four months, A&B stock has lost more than half of its value, tumbling from $44 a share at the end of September.

More Here

Parking Wars Honolulu (Repo Hawaii)… The Video

I previously blogged about a Big Island repoman video taping his repos and posting them on youtube here and here.

It now appears that a Honolulu guy is doing something similar, however, he has made it more into a movie with captioning and all!

I know the economy sucks right now, and I know these repo guys are just doing there job, but is there really a reason to post the videos to youtube other then to scare people into making payments?

I mean if they are doing their job correctly and have videotaped the repo, that’s one thing… but to post them online just seems a bit harsh.  Not only are they posting them online, but often times, like in this clip… they show the person that is having their car repoed.

Talk about shame:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0RFNEiFcIo&hl=en&fs=1]

Electric Car Firms Push Alternatives to Project Better Place

I’m still not a big fan just yet of this proposed Project Better Place idea that will be sweeping through Hawaii in the next few years.

Representatives from Miles Electric Vehicles, Phoenix Motorcars and Global Electric Motorcars say they believe the future is fast-charging stations, not battery-replacement stations, for electric vehicles.

…representatives of several electric-vehicle companies said fast-charging stations would be more successful in the United States than Project Better Place’s plan to exchange empty batteries for charged ones.


I was the first to blog about this project coming to Hawaii way back in September and I’m still skeptical about it.



New Legislation Proposed to Improve Safety on Roadways

Governor Linda Lingle, Senator Kalani English, Rep. Joe Souki and the state Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled five pieces of legislation today all aimed at improving traffic safety on Hawai‘i’s roadways…

  • Distracted Driving Bill for New Drivers
  • Reckless Driving Bill
  • Driving Under the Influence for Commercial Drivers Bill
  • Moped and Motor Scooter Helmet Law Bill
  • Red Light Photo Enforcement Program

More on these in the Governors release here.

Governor Calls for Contraflow and Other Road Projects… Puna Left Out of This Batch of Projects

This hurts!

I’ve been trying to suggest contra flowing H-130 since I started on this dang Highway 130 Project and now Oahu seems to be able to get one with no problems at all.

We get $56 Million for 11 miles of widening and beautification for the H-130 Project that will take 10 – 20 years, and they get $40 million for 5-6 miles of contraflow that will be done in a few years.

The state Transportation Department is asking for $40 million to build an afternoon contraflow lane on the H-1 Freeway west-bound…

…Construction would start in January 2010, and wrap up within 12 to 18 months

…The afternoon contraflow lane, which would extend for a 6.2-mile stretch, is expected to save west-bound commuters about 5 to 10 minutes, the DOT said…

More Here

From Lingles News Release today:

Governor Linda Lingle, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Rep. Marilyn Lee and the state Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled two major initiatives today aimed at easing traffic congestion along the most heavily traveled corridor in the state.

“Traffic congestion has a significant impact on the lives of our residents as well as our overall economy,” said Governor Lingle.  “My Administration is committed to continuing to work with the Legislature, our federal and county partners, the private sector and the community to develop transportation solutions that will ultimately improve the quality of life in Hawai‘i by allowing residents to spend less time in traffic and more time at home with their families.”

PM Contraflow

The first project focuses on improving the westbound afternoon rush hour commute on the H-1 Freeway from Honolulu to Central and Leeward O‘ahu by adding a 6.2-mile contraflow lane starting at the Radford Drive overpass and ending at the Waiawa Interchange (H1-H-2 merge).  The PM Contraflow Lane is expected to increase westbound capacity by about 17 percent during the afternoon rush hour commute, which translates to a five- to 10-minute reduction in average commutes…

More Here

Continental Successful Using Jatropha as Jet Fuel

A few weeks ago I blogged about how Continental Airlines was planning to use jet fuel derived from Jatropha to lift off.

Then a week ago I posted the video of the New Zealand jet that took off using Jatropha.

Today, Continental Airlines finally demonstrated the use of it.

“…Continental Airlines on Wednesday became the first U.S. commercial carrier to conduct a demonstration flight powered in part by alternative fuels, though large-scale use of such fuel is forecast to be several years away…”

More Here

Marzi Asks a Legal Question on His Blog

Anyone want to help Anthony Marzi answer a short legal question he asked on his blog yesterday?

I’m not sure of the location. Maybe someone else knows of it.