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Superbowl Sunday

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Today’s KO

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVqLwucV9Lo&hl=en&fs=1]

GO LOOK AT THE MOON!

Jupiter VENUS is lined up behind the moon and you can see the dark side of the moon.  It’s pretty cool.

Wish I had a decent camera now!

20 People Drowned Off the Big Island Last Year

I didn’t realize the numbers were this high:

The ocean around the Big Island claimed 20 drowning victims last year, the highest toll since 1993…

More here

Home Repair Loans for Hawaiian Home Lessees

Media Release

The Office of Housing and Community Development is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications to its Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) Home Repair Loan Program.  NAHASDA was established by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and administered by the Office of Housing and Community Development to make low-interest loans available to low-and moderate-income DHHL lessees who are interested in repairing their primary residence. The NAHASDA loan can be used for roof repairs, electrical and plumbing work, sewer improvements, termite treatment and damages caused by termites or wood rot and the installation of a solar water heating system in conjunction with repairs.  Loans range from $2,500 to $50,000 at 0% to 3% interest.  The interest rate is set based on age and income.   Applicants 62 years or older and very-low income may have a 0% interest and deferred payment loan with a possible grant provision.  For more information or an application contact Dawnelle Forsythe at 959-4642.  Application packets can also be found on-line at http://www.hawaii-county.com/directory/dir_housing.htm.

For more information about this topic please call Dawnelle Forsythe at 959-4642 or e-mail at ohcdeh@co.hawaii.hi.us.

County of Hawaii Offers Home Repair Loans

Media Release

The Office of Housing and Community Development is currently accepting applications to its Residential Emergency Repair Program (RERP).  The RERP program was established in 1997 to make low-interest loans available to low-and moderate-income homeowners who are interested in repairing and improving their primary residence.  The RERP loan can be used for roof repairs, electrical and plumbing work, sewer improvements, termite treatment and damages caused by termites or wood rot and the installation of a solar water heating system.  Loans range from $2,500 to $25,000 at 3% interest.  Loan payments are deferred for 15 years at which time full payment will be due.  Applicants 62 years or older or with special needs, may have 30% of the principal balance of the loan forgiven as a grant.  For more information or an application contact Dawnelle Forsythe at 959-4642.  Application packets can also be found on-line at http://www.hawaii-county.com/directory/dir_housing.htm.

For more information about this topic please call Dawnelle Forsythe at 959-4642 or e-mail at ohcdeh@co.hawaii.hi.us.

New Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring System

Kudos to Guavabee for blogging about the States new sulfur dioxide monitoring system.

You can check out the current Sulfur Dioxide Levels in the Puna Area here and I’ll put a link under my official sites on the left.

http://www.hiso2index.info/

NO Apartments Being Built in Pahoa: Correction!

Yesterday, I posted a blog mentioning that there would be some new apartments going up across from Paul’s Service station.  I was told the wrong thing by the person that was working on the site.

The following is an email I received from the owner of the lot:

To correct the record, though, whomever told you apartments are being built there was misinformed. The rumor mill about something being built on those lots is remarkable- we have even heard a Taco Bell is being built there! But, no, we are just having the lots cleaned up and doing some landscaping to beautify them a bit. Trash used to be dumped there such that rubbish was present which kids might have been cut on. Last year there was some fresh garbage and empty bottles laying around from where someone camping back in there was making a mess. Also seemed to be quite a few mosquitoes and rats and suchlike in the thick undergrowth, so we are just cleaning it all up to be good neighbors and constructive members of the Puna community. The fence we put up for safety, in case anyone stumbled while walking along near the edge of the drop-off just across from Paul’s. No plans at the moment for building anything in particular on those lots.

If you haven’t noticed, across from Paul’s Service station, they have begun excavating a puka.

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There was a guy working there today and he informed me that it’s going to be a “fourplex”. *However* I have found out differently now.

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The guy working there said that there was plans for 17 parking stalls on different levels of the parking lot.

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I myself think the corner is a pretty dangerous corner and it should be interesting with more in and out traffic located right at this spot as there already is a lot of traffic here.

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I apologize for any confusion and I guess I need to check my sources a bit better then just relying upon the people on site.

100,000

I never thought this day would come! 100,000 “Hits” on my blog by people other then me! I only started blogging in August and I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into… I still don’t at times. ;)

I really wanted to start a blog a long time ago, but I never really thought I had anything to talk about. You know, I still feel that same way.

I often find myself wondering what to blog about… and then something will pop into my head, and I’ll blog about it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think other people would want to read what I’ve written or posted.

There are some people I’d like to especially thank:

My wife for putting up with me and my son for inspiring me as well as my mother for giving me the opportunity to go back to college and actually learn the skills that it takes to write a blog or accumulate the information that I do.

All the other bloggers that have linked my blog to them. I’m linked by many people that I don’t put on my blogroll for one reason or another, mainly it’s because I like to only keep a few blogs on my ‘roll at a time.

But the people I’d like to thank the most… is you folks who read my blog and actually return for a second visit.

Hope you folks are all still around for the next 100,000!

damon

Mahalo,

Damon

Just a Few Blogs With KGMB Logos and Images

I find it very interesting that KGMB would ask me to remove a logo that I copied and pasted from a twitter message I received.

So I went on a small quest of KGMB logos and some blogs that have posted images of KGMB logos and here are just a few:

Did KGMB Viewers See Liz Chun’s Bra Last Night?

Click Here to find out.

Facebook Fan Faceoff: KGMB’s Steve or Grace?

Click Here to find out.

Oceanic Digital Cable TV for “Dummies”

Click here for that logo.

Man in Prison Despite Innocence Pleas

While this is written by a KGMB writer… it’s not a KGMB blog.

And many more…


“I Have A Dream”… (Full Version)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk&hl=en&fs=1]

Today’s KO

Redneck demolition in Hawaii:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IHW5JJM1Vc&hl=en&fs=1]

Essay House Contest Promoter Makes Comments

I just received the following comment:

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Why is it that you don’t think the Hawaiian Home Essay Contest is “legit”? Skill contests like this are legal in all 50 states as long as no element of chance enters into the selection of the winners. Having a panel of unnamed judges (unnamed to all but the Attorney General’s office so as to avoid possible judge-tampering) evaluate the essays on a set of pre-selected judging criteria is not considered chance for this type of competition.

Is it that you don’t like the idea because it is not a ‘traditional’ method of selling a home? Does it all seem too easy? It really isn’t. Hiring a real estate agent and then sitting back and awaiting an offer to come in is easy, albeit not always successful.

Running an essay contest takes a lot of hard work and money over a long time period (minimum six to nine months). Most essay contest organizers don’t seem to realize this, which is why most contests fall way short of ever ending successfully, and the entry fees end up getting sent back to the rather disappointed contestants. Hardly a scam, just poor implementation of an innovative idea. I only know of one contest, held in California a few years ago, that appears to have possibly been some sort of scam (no criminal charges were filed), and in that instance, the state Attorney General, along with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, stepped in and all contest entrants received their entry fees back. In the scammer community, the word is out that there are much quicker and easier ways to scam money than with an essay contest, and with a much greater chance of getting away with it!

I’ve been working with essay contest organizers for over twelve years. My website offers tips and advice on running such contests, information that I’ve gained over the years, and that I provide free of charge. My website also draws a steady stream of folks that wish to enter skill contests and who do so on a regular basis because the odds of winning are always so much greater than that of winning a state lottery. On my website there is also a list of some big winners of homes, restaurants & pubs, businesses, cars, an airplane, cash money, a pre-paid funeral and even a cryonic body-freezing after death!

I’ve talked with Sheri Smith by phone, and she definitely knows how much work her contest is going to require, and seems quite willing to invest the time and money to do it correctly. I wish her well with her contest. As this impartial observer in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the temperature is currently down near 0 degrees, a home in Hawaii sounds mighty inviting right now. Of course I am ineligible to enter for obvious reasons, darn it. But hopefully, some lucky person will be handed the keys to their new “Sweetheart Cottage” later this year by Oprah. I’m rooting for a cold Northerner to win – you folks in Hawaii are already in Paradise!

So tell me Damon, besides posting innuendo about the contest organizers, their personal lives and their entrepreneurial ambitions, what is it that really bothers you about this contest?

— Mark Samwick,webmaster
EssayContests.com

————————————————————————–

The following is my reply:

Interesting you found your way to my website Mr. Samwick. Can you show me a list of verified winners?

I mean you say yourself the following:

“Mark Samwick of Allentown, Pa., who runs Essaycontests.com, estimated that only about 5 percent of the win-a-home essay contests launched by private citizens end with the keys being passed. Most offers die out from lack of interest, he said.”

Or is it:

Ninety-eight percent of these things don’t work out, and that’s because of the way people go into them,” said Mark Samwick, creator of the Web site EssayContests.com, who is writing a book on the subject.”

Did you forget your own rule?

Essay contests are illegal in a handful of states and restricted in others; however, in ALL states it is illegal to incorporate any element of chance in an essay contest.

And what ever happened with the results of this one?

“Claudia Johnsen is giving away more than $3 million in property for a song. Or a poem. Or an essay.

“I don’t care what it is as long as it isn’t anything vulgar,” said the 79-year-old Alexandria, Va. resident and sponsor of U.S. Dream Properties, the largest essay contest of its kind.”

Samwick you have been taking people for a ride for nearly half a decade now. Please show me a list of winners that I can verify and I’ll get off your ass.

Until then… Keep your scams out of Hawaii!

“…it reads like at any time they can just call the whole thing off and send everyone their money back minus $11 “administration fees”

Hell that’s $66000.00 right there…

Not bad money for a very little work..”

Storm Updates:

I’m trying out some twitter feeds on this storm… but I’m not sure what the ping reply time is between wordpress and twitter so I may just pull the twitter feed if I don’t find it suitable.

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Lingle Closes State Offices Tomorrow… Does This Include the Big Island?

I just got the following tweet from the former Starbulletin Webmaster:

“Just got the call: Lingle has closed state offices tomorrow. OHA administrator followed suit.”

Curious if this includes the Big Island. Will find out more and post as soon as I can.

I just received this tweet from a UH Hilo professor that states:

The “State Employee” stories I’ve read have been unclear. Read the state release & Hawai’i island employees are not getting off tomorrow.

—————————————-
State Capitol to Shut Down Tomorrow

*update* It’s now official.

Just got a tweet that said:

“Hawaii State Capitol will be shut down tomorrow due to weather…”

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Kua o Ka La Charter School on Big Island Closed Tomorrow

So far this is the only school that I have heard that is closing on the Big Island tomorrow due to the pending weather.

Today’s KO: Effing Coqui

Effing Coqui… I was just about to KO it!

I hate it when these frogs are INSIDE the house.

Who ever said coqui’s don’t come out in the daytime forgot to tell was where they do go!

Audio a must:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joYcCoGJ2kI&hl=en&fs=1]

Go Daddy… Going Again

Noticed that the Go Daddy sites that were down… seem to be up again!
godaddycomic

Big Island Internet Problems?

I’m trying to check out a few of my favorite sites, but they seem to be having network timeouts.

Anyone else having this difficulty?

Kenoi’s Testimony at Todays Legislature

Mayor Kenoi Giving Testimony to the Legislature

Mayor Kenoi Giving Testimony to the Legislature from http://www.allhawaiinews.com/

Good afternoon Senator Kim, Representative Oshiro and distinguished members of the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to appear before all of you to share our priorities on issues important to the County of Hawai’i. We look forward to working with all of you throughout the legislative session.

These are challenging times, but as we confront the economic obstacles before us, it is essential that we work together in a partnership between the state, the counties, the federal government and the private sector to meet the growing needs of our communities. As you know, we submitted requests for federal assistance we hope will be included in the federal stimulus program being formulated by President-elect Obama and the United States Congress. We must also work collaboratively here at home to find resources to shelter our most vulnerable residents from the economic storm, and to position ourselves to take full advantage of the brighter long-term future we all know is ahead.

Like the other counties, we are trying to cope with both a projected reduction in property tax collections, a decline in the transient accommodations tax, and increases in expenses in the coming fiscal year. To deal with this budget crisis we have imposed a temporary suspension of hiring, excluding only essential public safety personnel such as police, fire and civil defense employees.

We are requesting state assistance for projects that can be quickly implemented to create jobs to help our local economy, and we are working with state and county departments to identify where we can combine our efforts to provide the greatest benefit for our citizens.

PRIORITY PROJECTS

Transit Expansion, $4 million

Residents of Hawaii County face difficult challenges commuting for work, school, health and recreational purposes, due in part to the distances they must travel to their destinations, fuel costs and lack of transportation alternatives. Providing public transportation and reducing the cost of travel is one of the few ways we can reduce the cost of living for our residents and help them to weather challenging economic times. We are seeking $2 million to purchase six additional 40-foot buses, and $2 million to begin work on a badly needed transit base yard including a maintenance and repair facility and fueling station. Expanding transportation services will improve the quality of life of our residents and visitors by providing greater access to jobs and educational institutions, easier access to healthcare facilities, and transportation for our youth to after-school facilities.

Safe Haven After School Program, $600,000

There is a consensus that our island lacks positive educational and recreational activities for our youth in the after school and evening hours. Today there is no “A-Plus” Program for teenagers, but our schools can be a positive place for our kids beyond the traditional school day. The Safe Haven After School Program would establish safe, structured and supervised after-school learning environments for our youth. It will allow our communities to take responsibility for our children, for our schools and for our communities’ health and safety.

Big Island Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center, $1.6 million

These centers are proposed to provide a single point of entry for intake, assessment and case management of delinquent and at-risk youth. Start-up funding is requested for a pilot site in Pahoa that will serve about 40 youth per month over the next two years, with future sites proposed for Naalehu, Waimea, Kailua-Kona and Hilo. A survey of Big Island police found that officers often have no good options when dealing with arrested juveniles who need supervision, but cannot go home, and who do not need secure custody. Existing programs are fragmented, and may not accept youth who are disruptive or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Effectively intervening and providing services to these at-risk youth can keep them from graduating into the adult correctional system, and will save the state money in the long run.

Mid-Level Road (Ane Keohokalole Highway), Kona, $15 million

We offer our strong support to the state Department of Transportation’s request for design and construction money for the Mid-Level road, a project that is part of the Hawaii County General Plan and the Community Development Plan. It would relieve congestion on the crowded Queen Kaahumanu Highway by linking Henry Street, Palani Road and the Kealakehe Parkway. It would also provide access to a 300-acre state parcel at Keahuolu designated for a badly needed state affordable housing project, and provide access for additional development of the Villages of Laiopua on Hawaiian Home Lands.

HEALTH CARE

We also continue to be deeply concerned about the status of healthcare on the Big Island and the shortage of physicians. The Legislature wisely appropriated funding in Act 277 in 2007, joining in a partnership with HMSA Foundation and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare to fund a residency program on the Big Island to encourage physicians to take up practice here.

As you know, funding for the residency program was never released by the administration, but the worsening physician shortage cannot wait. We ask that the Legislature renew the appropriations in Act 277 to finance the expansion of the family medicine residency program of the John A. Burns School of Medicine to provide rural primary health care services, and give the badly needed Big Island residency program another chance.

Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room, $10 million

(Hawaii Health Systems Corporation)

The Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room was built to accommodate 10,000 patient visits per year, and is now seeing 18,500 visits per year. The emergency department needs to be expanded and modernized to improve patient access, flow and privacy to provide for a better working environment for staff, and the county would like to support HHSC’s request for this essential improvement.

Hilo Medical Center Cardiovascular Laboratory, $9.5 million

(Hawaii Health Systems Corporation)

This facility is needed to help with the recruitment of cardiologists and other specialists to care for a growing population, and is also an important investment to help make the state hospital system more self-sufficient. East Hawai’i has very high rates of diabetes and obesity, conditions that are linked to heart disease, but has only three cardiologists available to serve a growing population. One of those three physicians is about to retire, which will make the shortage more acute. Building a cardiovascular laboratory will help attract the needed specialists and deliver critically needed health care services, and it will also help with HHSC’s bottom line. Nationally, cardiovascular services account for about 25 percent of most hospitals’ income, but account for far less at Hilo Medical Center because the hospital does not have the facilities necessary to provide these specialized services.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Our proposals this year stress higher education projects as part of a strategy to develop university and community college infrastructure to help our campuses to grow and train our residents to fill the jobs of the future. As an important part of this effort, we ask that the Legislature this year support state plans for the long-awaited permanent community college site in West Hawai’i.

College of Pharmacy Modules, $4 million

Additional funding is needed to construct modules to house classrooms, teaching labs and related workspace for the college under construction in the University of Hawaii at Hilo Research Park. The additional space will help the college meet the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The Legislature has already provided $6 million for this project, and the additional money is needed to meet additional space requirements.

Science and Technology Building Sewer Line, $5 million

Work on the Science and Technology Building is scheduled to begin this month, and this sewer line is needed to service the new facility. The line would begin on Lanikaula Street below the bridge on Kumukoa Street and extend from campus down Lanikaula and along Manono Street to a pump station near the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. This line is essential to complete the project.

Kawili Street Widening, $8 million

Improvements to Kawili Street will begin this month including addition of signal lights, but further widening of Kawili Street from Kinoole Street to Puainako Street and additional bike lanes are necessary to accommodate the growing campus and the planned China-U.S. Center.

DISASTER SHELTER

Community Center and Disaster Shelter, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, $6 million

This project would provide space for education, health, social and cultural programs for youth and seniors in a fast growing rural community. It would also provide a hurricane and natural disaster shelter for an isolated area. About 5,000 people live in the surrounding area, and are some 30 miles from the nearest state-approved shelter.

DRINKING WATER

North Kona Water System Improvements, $12 million

The county supports the Department of Water Supply’s plans to improve the quality and reliability of the North Kona water system by constructing two new wells with tanks and 7,000 feet of transmission water lines. The department has already allocated $30 million to serve the current and future needs of this region to shift from low-level water sources to higher elevation sources, and to accommodate new development.

Ahualoa Production Well, $9 million

The county supports these Department of Water Supply improvements to the Hamakua Water System by outfitting the existing Ahualoa well with a pump and motor, water tank and 19,000 feet of transmission line to supply drinking water to the Honokaa area. The project is essential to relieving existing water sources that are near their production capacities.

Waimea Water Treatment Plant Reservoir, $500,000

The county supports the Department of Water Supply request for design money for a 5 million gallon reservoir at the Waimea treatment plant in South Kohala. This would replace a 4 million gallon structure damaged in the Oct. 15, 2006 earthquake that has been temporarily patched. The only permanent solution is a new reservoir that can withstand intense earthquake activity.

ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS

The recent surge in fuel prices has driven up the cost of fertilizers, feed and shipping, putting a big squeeze on the finances of our Big Island farmers and threatening to put many out of business. At the same time the rise in food prices underscores our need to grow more of our own food. Agriculture preserves open space and is an important economic driver in our state, generating about 14,000 jobs statewide and farm revenues that topped $576 million in 2005.

If farmers and ranchers are forced out of business in the current economic downturn, we lose more than just farming and its supporting sectors. We also lose the economic “ripple effect” from keeping food expenditures in state; we risk the deterioration of agricultural infrastructure that will be too expensive to replace; and ultimately irreplaceable crop lands will be given up to urban and other uses. We ask that you keep Hawai’i’s farmers in mind this session, and help transform Hawai’i’s agricultural sector to increase our food and energy self-sufficiency.

Purchasing Preference

Hawai’i Department of Agriculture has proposed amendments to the state Procurement Code to afford Hawai’i grown and raised products a 15 percent price preference when competing to provide food products to state agencies. That would be an increase from the current 10 percent preference. We support this change as a way to make Hawai’i farmers and ranchers more competitive with outside suppliers, keep dollars in the local economy, and advance our efforts at food security.

Agricultural Shipping Rates

We understand the Hawaii Farm Bureau has proposed giving the Public Utilities Commission authority to set discounted agricultural rates for industries that are regulated by the PUC, including transportation industries that serve agricultural areas by importing feed, fiber or fertilizer. The discounted rates would be designed to benefit Hawai’i agricultural producers. We believe this proposal deserves serious consideration by the Legislature as one way to provide meaningful assistance to our farmers at a time when the state has few resources.

The County of Hawai’i looks forward to working with all of you, our distinguished state legislators, as we navigate the challenging and uncertain economic obstacles that lie ahead. I would like to thank all of you for your support and your commitment to our children, our families, and our community.

Billy Kenoi

Mayor

Parents Demonstrating Outside Honoka’a School Now

I don’t know what’s up right now… but apparently there are some parents holding a demonstration outside of Honoka’a School.

BIVN will be having a video of this coming up soon I guess according to a recent twitter.

County Gives $35,000 Contribution to Puna Community Medical Center… Grand Opening Pictures

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The much needed Puna Community Medical Center had it’s grand opening today. More then 100-200 people packed in the Pahoa Marketplace for this joyous occasion.
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Mayor Kenoi surprised the clinic with a $35,000 check from the County of Hawaii.

Hunter Bishop holds up check for $35,000!

Hunter Bishop holds up check for $35,000!

The cast of the upcoming musical RENT was on hand to perform a few numbers from the production.

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As well as local musicians.

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Government officials were on hand for the dedication that has been a long time coming.

Keep your paws off of me cuz!

Keep your paws off of me cuz!

Dr. Dan Domizio has done so much to get this open that everyone in the community should really give him a pat on the back the next time you see him.

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A good time was had by all and I’m glad that this vision Dr. Domizio had, finally has happened.

The board members below also deserve a big round of applause.

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BIVN has great video coverage of the ceremony here.

Click on pictures for larger version: