Priorities Listed of State Advisory Task Force Members on Highway 130

Here are where the priorities lie for the Keaau Pahoa Advisory Group members that are working on the Highway 130 Project.

METHODOLOGY: For this exercise, KPAG members were each given green, yellow, blue, and red dots (six of each color) and instructions on what each dot should represent in the exercise. Green dots would be placed on the most important criteria which must be met in the final alternative for it to be successful. Yellow dots would be placed on very important criterion that should be considered; but if it is not fully met, the project should still move forward. Blue dots represent criteria are nice to
have, but are not absolutely essential. Red dots represent the least important criteria which do not need to be met in the final alternative.

KPAG members were given the opportunity to add to the list of evaluation criteria. Several new evaluation criteria were added by the group. Members were then instructed to place the color dots on the poster list of potential evaluation criteria.

(Number to left is how many votes the idea or concept got)

Top Priority Category: “These are the most important criteria. They must be met in the final alternative for it to be successful.

17 Redesign intersections to improve safety (for example, roundabouts or
traffic signals)
11 Reduce number of points-of-conflict (for example, right and left turning
10 Increase roadway safety for vehicles (for example, lane width)
9 Safe use of roadway for transit, school buses, and bus riders (for example,
bus pullouts, bus waiting area)
8 Safe use of roadway for pedestrians (for example, sidewalks)
7 Reduce congestion and delay and improve levels-of-service (LOS) at all
times of day (for example, add lanes)

“Middle Priority Criteria: This is a very important criterion that should be considered; but if it is not fully met, the project should still move forward.”
17 Does it fit in the existing R.O.W.
15 Reduce congestion during peak hours (for example, reversible lanes, use
of shoulders)
11 Retain the rural character of The Puna District
9 Improve drainage
6 Impacts on the environment, including air quality, noise, flora and fauna

Lowest Priority Criteria:  These criteria are nice to have, but are not absolutely essential.
15 Costs of improvements
14 Provides for better emergency access
11 Landscape medians and road sides
9 Improvements can be made in stages or phases
9 Improve lighting for the entire length
7 Preserve scenic views (e.g. scenic pullouts)
7 Add raised median to separate vehicles and for rest points for pedestrian
6 Create connections between Hwy 130 and any new alternative route
5 Time and cost involved in land acquisition
4 Use landscape materials from the area
2 Flexibility
0 Use interpretive signage to direct residents and visitors to major locations
0 Bury utility lines
0 Canopy Trees

In case your wondering about the tally’s.  There were was not a full KPAG board at the meeting.

Other note of interest… It was not a secret vote.  I waited until all members were done with their votes… and I simply stacked my 6 votes on the categories that I knew would make actually have a say in the process since some of the stuff I wanted was already out of the picture.

It was a very non-scientific method and I find it very interesting that $56 Million dollars in funding is being allocated based on decisions such as these.

I’m a Capsun Winner

Yes folks… I’m an official Capsun Corner WINNER!

The other day, Capsun ran a contest guessing the exact minute that he was born on his birthday.

  • Contestants must guess the time of my birth, down to the hour and minute (for example, 10:10 am) and submit it as a comment to this post.  Closest to the correct time wins.  In the unlikely event of a tie (same number of minutes off), the earlier comment wins.
  • The prize:  your choice of a single Moleskine Cahier or Moleskine Volant notebook. The Cahier is black, while the Volant is a royal blue (not too dark, not too light).

Of course I threw in the time of 4:20 am just as a joke as well as a few other Price is Right references along the way… but my winning post didn’t have anything to do with time:

They say things like this come in threes, so the last prize of a Moleskine Cahier goes to Commenter #10, Damon, for this:  Old FUT! Happy Birthday! As a blogger, I have to admit that a whole blog entry wishing me a Happy Birthday is a pretty good way to help win a prize during a contest.  Thanks for that recognition, Damon.

Well today I got the prize in the mail today and I’d just like to say Mahalo Capsun for giving me a great “prize”… even though I wasn’t the actual winner.   I kind of like these moleskine things, I just need to remember not to waste paper the way I normally do.


Holding my Moleskine Notebook along with my winning "Guess" on the screen in the background. You can see the winning link here:

Would the County Put a “Gag Order” On Employees From Speaking To ME?

I’ll just file this in the “A little birdie told me” file:

Would Hawaii County specifically tell county employees to withhold information from me?  Could this have already happened without me not even knowing it?  Who is that Damon Tucker guy?  Why would the County worry so much about me?  Was there a County “Directive” to keep information from bloggers?  Did this directive actually happen for 10 days?  Why wasn’t I ever made aware of it if there was?

Find out that and more in the next few days… Trust me, the suspense is killing me and a couple other bloggers more then it will ever hurt you folks reading this.

Rumor has it… that for 10 days a gag order was put out to some County Officials to not speak to me specifically, as well as at least two other bloggers on this island that I will not mention by name unless it mentions it in the upcoming newspaper piece.

More to come in the next few days.

Would the local newspapers actually run a story about Bloggers?  And further more… Will they stand up for bloggers and “public information”.

Same Bat Blog… Same Bat Smuck… Same damn government Bullshit!

More to come in the next days.

I have the feeling someone is going to end up with a Smuck Award after this is all said and done with.

Lingle Release $670,000 for Hilo High School

Mediar Release

Governor Linda Lingle has released $670,000 for two projects at Hilo High School on the Big Island.

The projects are in addition to the $1.8 billion public infrastructure construction plan unveiled by Governor Lingle in December 2008 to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

“These projects will provide students on the Big Island and other organizations that use our public schools with a safe, accessible and positive environment,” said Governor Lingle.

Hilo-Laupāhoehoe-Waiākea Complex Alternative Learning Center – $500,000
Funds will be used for the design and construction of an extended trailer for the Lanikila Learning Center, a full-day program located at Hilo High School for at-risk high school students who attend public schools in the Hilo-Laupāhoehoe-Waiākea complex area. The new facility will include two instructional spaces with restrooms.

Governor Lingle previously released $375,000 for project design and construction.

Design is scheduled to begin this month and be completed in October 2009. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2010 and be completed in December 2010.

Hilo High School – $170,000
These funds will cover the design and construction of accessibility enhancements, including the installation of a chairlift to the second floor of Building C and improved directional signage to accessible entrances. Design is scheduled to begin in September 2009 and be completed in February 2010. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2010 and be completed in December 2010.

How Humpbacks Warn Other Whales About Approaching Superferry


Ok… well maybe not.

*Update* Honolulu Department of Emergency Management on Twitter

*UPDATE* see today’s post (this blog post is no longer valid)

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Honolulu County Civil Defense had joined Twitter. I was incorrect.

Kudos to Keith Higa over at for correcting a Tweet that I had been putting out.

I’ve been saying that the Honolulu County CIVIL DEFENSE has joined Twitter, when it’s actually The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management that has joined twitter @honalert

Department of Emergency Management Response

Department of Emergency Management

Whatever the names are, both County agencies are responsible for saving our lives and I sure wish that Hawaii County would jump on the Twitter Bandwagon already.

Highway 130 Minutes from January Meeting Now Available… Questions Asked, Questions Answered… Questions Remain

• Confirm selections for reasonable alternatives
• Identify types of evaluation criteria for reasonable alternatives
• Establish date and time for Public Informational Meeting and discuss KPAG participation
• Establish date and time for KPAG meeting no. 6

I. Welcome and Remarks – Jiro Sumada, Deputy Director, State of Hawai‘i
Department of Transportation (HDOT) Mr. Sumada welcomed everyone and thanked guests for attending. He described the similarities between the typical HDOT design process and KPAG process which include developing purpose and need, identifying solutions, comparing benefits with costs and

making positive decisions. He talked of the importance of public input and the opportunity to engage the community at the next public meeting. Per Mr. Sumada’s request, meeting attendees observed a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Carlos Caraballo of Pāhoa. Consequently, Mr. Sumada expressed his condolences for Caraballo’s friends and family and stressed the importance of making roads safer as well as moving people and goods. He concluded by encouraging the group to stay positive and keep working together to find the right solutions for this important project.


Ms. Gentry initiated self-introductions of all meeting attendees. The following representatives of the project team were present:
State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) – Jiro Sumada; Ken Tatsuguchi, Nelson Sagum, and Dina Lau from the Planning Branch; Stanley Tamura, Robert Taira, and Sal Panem from the Hawaii District Office;
SSFM International, Inc. – Cheryl Soon, Robin Barnes, Jared Chang, Jo-Anna Herkes and Genevieve Runningwind; Learning Unlimited – Barbara Lively and Diane Gentry; and Geometrician Associates – Ron Terry.

The following KPAG members were present:
Hunter Bishop1 Mayor’s Representative
Larry Brown County of Hawaii Project Manager for PRCP & PCDP
Susan Cordell Paradise Park resident
Oliver English W.H. Shipman, Limited
Dina Lau HDOT, Highways Planning
Keith Lawrence Sitting in for Frank Lawrence
Manny Mattos Retired Police Office
Emily Naeole Council Member, District 5
Jon Olson Puna Traffic Safety Committee & PCDP Chairman & Sierra Club Big Island
Chapter, Moku Loa Group
Wesley Owens VP of Orchidland Association & Cyclist
Jennifer Perry Kapoho resident & Produce and Flower Transporter
Nelson Sagum HDOT, Highways Planning
Elizabeth Salfen PCDP Community Liaison & PMAR Working Committee; & Weed and Seed
Damon Tucker Friends of Puna’s Future
Absent Members included: Fred Blas, Neil Erickson, and Faye Hanohano.
Members that have resigned this meeting include: None
Friends of the Advisory Group and public participants in attendance included: Douglas Zang, Roxanne Hampton, Sativa Upright, Elizabeth Weatherford, Brooks Maloof, Gail Clark, and Kaniu Stocksdale.

II. Review of The Reasonable Set of Alternatives from KPAG No. 4
Presented by Ms. Soon. A discussion of the alternatives ensued and reference was made to three (3) handouts 1) Purpose and Need Statement, 2) Outcome of Alternatives Exercise by KPAG Breakout groups, and 3) Alternatives for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road (with 3-D
renderings). A brief description of each handout was provided by Ms. Soon. Following the discussion, KPAG members were asked to vote on whether the range of alternatives described in the handout “Alternatives for Keaau-Pahoa Road, January 9, 2009” reflected the “reasonable set of alternatives”. Ms. Soon explained that the “reasonable set of alternatives” will be presented at the public informational meeting and then will be used

for further review in the environmental process. The majority of the members voted in affirmative.,

1 New KPAG member as of this meeting

Wesley Owens asked, What will be the treatment for the median?

Response: Final treatment will be determined at a later time. It may be grass, pavement, Jersey barrier, etc.

Damon Tucker asked, Who is responsible for the upkeep of a grassed median? Are these costs included in the project construction and design cost estimates?

Response: State Department of Transportation is responsible for the upkeep but these costs are considered maintenance and not included in construction and design costs.

Damon Tucker asked, Can you see the opposing traffic over a Jersey barrier?

Response: Yes, since jersey barriers are about 3 to 4 feet tall.

Jon Olson asked, From a planning perspective, which alternative or combination of alternatives would best suit the population in 2020?

Response: The alternative analysis will address the needs of today’s conditions, the conditions of 2018, and the conditions of 2038. Some improvements may not be needed today, but may be needed in the future. Thru this context-sensitive planning process, we [HDOT and KPAG] will be assessing the impacts of the alternatives at each interval.

At this point, KPAG has the opportunity to add any other alternatives before reaching group consensus that these are a complete set of reasonable alternatives to compare and move forward.

Damon Tucker asked, How can the reasonable alternatives be selected without discussing the intersections at this time?

Response: At this time, the focus of KPAG is to agree upon the range of lanes that will be considered in the alternatives analysis. The current alternatives include a range from 3 lanes up to 6 lanes. Intersections improvements are also important and will be discussed in detail at the next KPAG meeting.

Larry Brown asked, What factor determines the necessary width of a lane?

Response: Per federal design guidelines, 12 foot lanes are desirable for both urban and rural facilities. Lane widths, however, can be modified due to certain circumstances such as the availability of existing right-of-way.

Jennifer Perry reminded fellow members to remember that larger trucks and vehicles also utilize Highway 130.

Nelson Sagum asked, What are the KPAG’s thoughts on including sidewalks for pedestrians and curb and gutter treatments?

Response: Manny Mattos suggested that consideration of sidewalks remain as a component of the set of alternatives. There were no objections by other KPAG members.

III. Discussion of the types of evaluation criteria that will be identified for the reasonable set of alternatives Presented by Ms. Soon and Ms. Gentry.

For this exercise, KPAG members were each given green, yellow, blue, and red dots (six of each color) and instructions on what each dot should represent in the exercise. Green dots would be placed on the most important
criteria which must be met in the final alternative for it to be successful. Yellow dots would be placed on very important criterion that should be considered; but if it is not fully met, the project should still move forward. Blue dots represent criteria are nice to have, but are not absolutely essential. Red dots represent the least important criteria which do not need to be met in the final alternative.

KPAG members were given the opportunity to add to the list of evaluation criteria. Several new evaluation criteria were added by the group. Members were then instructed to place the color dots on the poster list of potential evaluation criteria. A summary of Exercise Evaluation Criteria for Comparing Alternatives is included with this document as Attachment 1.

IV. Presentation II on Intersections (Roger Dyar)
Ms. Soon explained that Roger Dyar was not present due to a recent death in his family. Mr. Dyar’s presentation will be re-scheduled for KPAG meeting no.

6. An introduction on the intersections study was shared by Ms. Soon and a brief discussion on roundabouts ensued. There are six (6) intersections within the project corridor which were identified as having the potential to warrant a roundabout. Lead by Ms. Soon, a short discussion of each intersection took place.

Damon Tucker requested names of intersections which would be considered for roundabouts.

Response: This information will be provided to KPAG members. Unfortunately, the discussion for this topic has been postponed to KPAG no. 6 due to Mr. Dyar’sexcused absence.

Hunter Bishop asked, What is the “Kahakai Pāhoa Road Complex?”

Response: The area encompassing the Old Pāhoa Road intersection (to enter
Malama Marketplace) and includes the Kahakai intersection with Highway 130.

V. Preparing for a Public Informational Meeting
A discussion for the Public Information Meeting (PIM) ensued. Since Mr. Dyar’s presentation on intersections is postponed, the KPAG members voted to hold KPAG meeting no. 6 prior to the PIM. Subsequently, KPAG meeting no. 6 will be held on March 30th, at 5:45 PM in Kea‘au Elementary School Cafeteria.

VI. What’s next for KPAG? – KPAG meeting no. 6.
VII. Q & A open to Friends and Visitors – No questions.
VIII. HDOT Quick Fix Update
A “Quick Fix” update was presented by Robert Taira and group discussion ensued. Mr. Taira reported on the results of the scoping team analysis who recently conducted a study to identify problems found on Highway 130 in the Kea‘au to Pāhoa corridor. The final report and recommendations are expected to be completed shortly.

Tentative recommendations for the department by the scoping team would include the following:
• A roundabout should be considered for the Kahakai Pāhoa Road Complex.
• Speed limit reduction from 55 mph to 45 mph should be considered for only between Shower Drive and Ainaloa Drive. However, this may create a “speed trap” and be undesirable according to HDOT policy.
• Crosswalks are not expected to improve pedestrian safety and thus not likely to be recommended as a quick fix.

Several KPAG members asked, Who can the community contact at HDOT to provide comments for the scoping team?

Response: Mr. Sumada directed KPAG members to send their comments to his office and he would direct them to the scoping team or appropriate person.

Keith Lawrence asked, Would having flashing lights on each side of a crosswalk improve the safety of pedestrians using the crosswalk?

Response: A crosswalk warning system using flashing lights was not studied as part of the quick fix, but HDOT will check into it. Furthermore, HDOT has not installed anything similar to that on State highways.

Jon Olson asked, Isn’t there a flashing crosswalk on Highway 19 near Mountain View School?

Response: The flashing light is not for the crosswalk, it’s a warning for vehicles to reduce their speed during school hours.

Damon Tucker asked, Why hasn’t the scoping team come to any KPAG meetings?

The two groups have different functions and follow separate processes. The
KPAG is responsible for the long-term improvement of Keaau-Pāhoa Road and the scoping team is looking at quick-fix solutions.

Hunter Bishop asked, How much time does it normally take for quick fix improvements to be implemented?

Response: HDOT works to implement the improvements as soon as possible,
however the time it takes for each improvement depends on the type of change. Typically, quick fixes are identified and implemented within a period under 18 months.

For the complete document, click here

IBM Tests Smart Charge in Denmark for Project Better Place

The computing giant is making another smart grid foray, simulating how to match intermittent wind power to charging electric vehicles on a Danish island with 40,000 residents. Dong Energy and Better Place are also eyeing Denmark…

…IBM is trying to figure out how to match the ebb and flow of intermittent wind power to the needs of charging electric vehicle batteries in Denmark – needs that could grow if the country’s biggest utility and Better Place get their way…

More Here

And of course everything I have already said here regarding Project Better Places aspirations of getting up and running in Hawaii.

Pahoa Brothers Sought by Police

The Hawai’i Police Department is searching for two brothers wanted for questioning in connection with violation of order and harassing phone call investigations.

Angelo Scrigna

Angelo Scrigna

Angelo Scrigna is wanted for violating a restraining order. He is described as Caucasian, 6-feet tall, approximately 160 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Sundown Scrigna

Sundown Scrigna is wanted for questioning about phone calls and has an outstanding restraining order. He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot 2, approximately 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

The Scrigna brothers were last seen in the Pāhoa area of the Puna District.

Police ask that anyone with information on their whereabouts call Officer Joseph Stender at 887-3080 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

MMA X-1 “New Beginnings” Friday, February 27th Maui


X-1 New Beginning Press Conference featuring Falaniko Vitale, Scott Junk, Lolohea Mahe, Brysen Hansen, Michael Brightman, and Jared Mercado Pro MMA in Maui Hawaii

Part I


Part II


Water Main Break Forces Early Closing of Hilo Transfer Station, Landfill, Recycling, HI-5, et.

Media Release


Due to a water main break on the access road between the Hilo Baseyard and the HI-5 redemption area, the Department of Environmental Management will be closing the Hilo Solid Waste facilities at the Leilani Street entrance at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday February 26, 2009 until close of business.

The road will reopen on Friday February 27, 2009 at 6:30 a.m.

For further information, please contact Suzanne Andrade, Solid Waste Division at 961-8270

Local Beer Company Starts Interesting Blog

Even though I don’t drink anymore… I still love reading blogs about all different types of subjects.  Especially when the subject matter is of a local nature.


Local Brewing Company Sunset Amber Ale has an interesting new blog that talks mostly of course about their beers, but they also seem to have a keen interest in the Matterhorn.

In todays post, entitled Why Do We Love the Matterhorn they make the following parallel between the Big Island and the area of Zermatt:

In my mind, the Big Island of Hawai’i is the only place that can compare in beauty to the Zermatt area.

Physically, both are high valleys set amid mountain ranges. The Big Island of Hawai’i is comprised of five volcanic mountains…


…Two of our Big Island mountains are internationally famous. Mauna Kea, home of Hawaiian Snow Goddess Polihau, hosts astronomical observatories from many nations. Kilauea, home of the Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele, hosts Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park…


Similarly, although Matterhorn is the iconic mountain of Switzerland, it is everything around the Matterhorn that makes the area so spectacular. The Swiss have named many of their ski areas with superlatives: Sunnega Paradise, Rothorn Paradise, Schwarzsee Paradise and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise…

So go check out the blog yourself for an interesting read:

Sunset Moment

I don’t put commercial product blogs on my ‘roll, but if they keep writing excellent posts, I might have to reconsider.

Governor Jindal: $140 Million for Volcano Monitoring… Where Can I Sign Up?

The $140 million to which Jindal referred is actually for a number of projects conducted by the United States Geological Survey, including volcano monitoring. This monitoring is aimed at helping geologists understand the inner workings of volcanoes as well as providing warnings of impending eruptions, in the United States and in active areas around the world where U.S. military bases are located, such as the Philippines…

More Here

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a photo with Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle during a visit to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. Lingle had her first face-to-face contacts with Hawaii-born President Barack Obama as the nation's governors visited the White House. The Republican governor's decision not to attend a meeting with Obama in late November created a bit of a stir in Hawaii when some Democrats portrayed it as a snub.

LA Tech Womens Basketball Player Busted for Shoplifting on Hawaii Trip

Louisiana Tech freshman guard Kiara Young was suspended indefinitely as she faces shoplifting charges.

La Tech Basketball Player Kiara Young

La Tech Basketball Player Kiara Young

Sports information director Malcolm Butler confirmed Tuesday that Young was charged with shoplifting during the team’s visit to Hawaii on Sunday. Specific details about the alleged theft were not released and team officials said they wouldn’t comment further until an investigation was complete.

Young scored six points and had three rebounds in 11 minutes as La. Tech beat Hawaii 89-71.

Japan’s Hawaii Tourism Office Closes

Citing market conditions and budgetary concerns, Hawaii Tourism Japan on Monday said it will close its Honolulu office.

Takashi Ichikura, HTJ’s executive director, said in an e-mail statement, “We have decided to downsize our Hawaii office, and are currently reviewing our operations. Therefore, we unfortunately will not have any representation in Honolulu as of the end of this month, and until further notice…”

More Here

Kauai Resort in Default on Mortgage

When Gaylord Entertainment Co. and Deutsche Bank AG’s RREEF asset-management business teamed up to buy the ResortQuest Kauai in Hawaii in 2006 for $85 million, they were probably hoping the investment would be like a walk on the beach.


Alas, a fire, started by a smoldering prop left over from a performance destroyed the resorts luau facility, which had brought in up to $2 million a year in revenue, according to debt-rating company Fitch Inc. The 32-year-old resort now hosts luaus in a tent, according to Fitch.

The struggling, 311-room resort on Kauai is in default on its mortgage and on the verge of going into receivership or being sold. It has lost significant business as air travel to Hawaii has plummeted. Occupancy has fallen from 79% in 2006 to 51% last September, according to Fitch.

More Here