Na Leo Forks Over $75,000 for Council Meetings to be Broadcast… $140,000 and Still Not Much Public Access

You better bet Na Leo ‘O Hawaii should be coming up with money every year to pitch in to our council meetings.

Na Leo ‘O Hawaii has come up with $75,000 so the Hawaii County Council can continue to air its meetings on public access cable TV channel 52 in Hilo and Kona.

For them to even think about not giving up money would be totally against everything that community programming is for.

…Goodenow said the county’s contract with Out of the Sea Media Arts, a private video production company, totaled $131,000 for each of the past two fiscal years. He said $140,000 had been earmarked for videos of this year’s meetings.

Out of the Sea, which is owned by Jeff and Wendy Haun, records each meeting and hands Na Leo a ready-to-air DVD. The contract is renewable on a yearly basis.

“That seventy-five grand represents over half the cost of what it takes us to produce these programs,” Goodenow said. “Actually, (Hilo Councilman) Donald Ikeda said, ‘Hey, I think Maui and Oahu get some kind of funding. So I wrote a letter to Na Leo, saying that given budget cuts, we were considering reducing the number of meetings we record.”

Na Leo Board Chairman Gerald Takase, who is also a county deputy corporation counsel, said he “pretty much stayed out of the process…”

I think Big Island Video News and I could probably do a much better job and put these meetings not only LIVE On the Internet as the meetings are happening…. but also archive them for viewing later.

Anyone can videotape these meetings and then put them to DVD. With the software that is readily available people can do this in not much time at all.

I’m not trying to knock the company that is doing this… but the process and the way the county is doing this is all messed up.

That $140,000 should be spent on 3 County Employees that are hired to video document everything that happens and put it all online.

The technology is there and could be done. Why not create 3 county positions and have this done the right way where more public access could be had by all for are tax dollars.

$140,000 to watch these shows that are aired how many times? I’d like to know the actual “Viewership” numbers of the people watching them.

That could be figured out easily if they were online… well at least how many times the online copy was viewed.

…The state, which regulates cable television, charges a franchise fee, essentially a tax, to each cable subscriber, which is used in part to finance public access television, which operates channels 52-56 on the Big Island…

This is actually considered “PEG” Funding. Public-Education-Government Funding.

I don’t know what part of the “G” Na Leo doesn’t get?

Funding for PEG is managed through the government issuing the franchise agreement. This same government receives franchise fees that ultimately come from the local cable subscribers. PEG television probably experiences interruptions in contract negotiations by the local governments, late payment of contracted operating monies, or obstructive or restricting behavior from the government issuing the franchise agreement…
…PEG television stations are often poorly managed and give rise to numerous complaints. Complaints range from the poor scheduling and playback, programming playing late or not at all, or signal strength being so weak that the program becomes unviewable. Complaints may reflect viewers’ general disagreement with other people’s viewpoints that result from running programming created by other member’s of the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. Complaints may also reflect discrimination in the resources a PEG organization applies to one type of programming vs. another…

I haven’t watched any of the council meetings on TV this year, but I remember when I was a Production Assistant for the Hawaii State Legislature, we were just running one camera via remote for most of the legislative meetings. When the larger chamber meetings went on, that’s when we would switch to a multi-cam gig. I can’t see the necessity of having a multi-cam gig on a single council meeting.

I like what Dave Corrigan of Big Island Video News said about the lack of live streaming in a question I posed to him:

“…If you think about it, they are already live streaming (locations from Waimea, Kona and Hilo) so its just a matter of making that feed available to the public over the internet…”

Evidence From Distant Parts of Earth’s Crust Suggests the Core is Pulsing, Sending Up a Regular Batch of Magma to the Surface

…Evidence from Hawaii and Iceland hints that the planet’s core may be dispatching simultaneous plumes of magma towards the surface every 15 million years or so.

If the hypothesis is true, it would revolutionize our ideas of what’s happening far below our feet. Independent scientists contacted by New Scientist were split, with some scornful and others intrigued…

…Regular pulsing of plumes is not a new idea, but when the pair compared their results with similar pulsing in Hawaii, which also sits on a plume, they found a surprising correlation. Data collected by Emily Van Ark and Jian Lin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, suggests that Hawaii’s plume pulses have coincided with Iceland’s (Marine Geophysical Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11001-009-9066-0).

“These two are on very different parts of the Earth, so I don’t think the synchrony could be related to something in the mantle,” says Mjelde. “It must relate to the core somehow. I can’t see any other possibility.” This would mean that the Earth’s core periodically heats up the overlying mantle, generating synchronised plumes that rise to the surface at widely separated spots.

Full Article here

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Big Island Resident 1 of 200 World Wide in Bread Baking “Challenge”

For those of you who have been lucky enough to meet Devany Vickery-Davidson, you know she loves to cook.

Devany makes almost anything and everything including this salsa

Devany Makes Almost Anything and Everything Including this Salsa

I’ve been following her blog My Hawaiian Home since she started it and I’ve been enjoying salivating at the pictures of her food.

I call this Devany's Haole Style Potagee Bean Soup Because it Doesn't Have Bacon the Way I Like It.  The View is off her lanai over looking the ocean.

I call this Devany's Haole Style Potagee Bean Soup because it doesn't have bacon in it the way I like It.

Recently she is one of 200 Bread Bakers world wide to taking part in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.

I’d just like to show this picture of this great looking bread.  Someone I know from Texas says they don’t make good bread anywhere in Hawaii and judging from this picture… I think he’s wrong.

Homemade bread on a homemade ceramic shell on Devany's lanai overlooking the ocean

Homemade bread on Devany's lanai overlooking the ocean

…It is not a contest, but instead a group of mostly food bloggers who together are baking our way through the  James Beard Award baking book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice… Devany Vickery-Davidson

So if you want to check out a really cool local blog about cooking as well as life in Hilo in general… Check out My Hawaiian Home.

32 Countries to Participate in International Surfing Day

surfingdaysiteThe International Surfing Day, which will take place Sunday, June 21, gets off to a good start!!! 32 countries and territories are already participating in this great adventure dedicated to the promotion of surfing and its culture! Thousands of professionals mobilize everywhere in the world, to prepare you a whole bunch of crazy free activities to discover the joys of surfing.


The International Surfing Day is initiated by EuroSIMA (European Boardsports Industry  Manufacturers Association) and supported by the ESF (European Surfing Federation) and the Surfrider Foundation (association of environmental protection). Prepare your International Surfing Day right now and discover the events next to you on

Are involved in the event: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mayotte, the Netherlands, New-Caledonia, New-Zealand, Norway, Porto Rico, Portugal, the Reunion Island, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the USA and the Virgin Islands.

East Hawaii Cultural Center Featuring 10th Annual International Shoebox Exhibition

The East Hawaii Cultural Center is hosting the 10th Annual International Shoebox Exhibition. It will be going on until May 28th if you want to see it in person in Hilo.

No, I’m not kidding… But it’s probably not what you’re thinking:


Medical Anthropologist Sydney Singer on Potential Human Health impacts From Exposure to Biocontrol Scale Insect Infestations

The following letter was emailed to me from Syd Singer:

To: Chiyome Fukino, M.D.

Director, Hawaii Department of Health

Re: Potential human health impacts from exposure to biocontrol scale insect infestations

Aloha Dr. Fukino:

I am a medical anthropologist and director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, located on the Big Island.

As you know, Hawaii leads the nation in childhood asthma and respiratory disease. We are very concerned this may get worse from exposure to insects that will be infesting our island as part of a biocontrol experiment, and ask your attention to this matter.

The US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station’s is planning to release a scale insect from Brazil, Tectococcus ovatus, as a biological control for strawberry guava. We believe this insect poses potential threats to the health of residents and visitors which have not been adequately addressed by the Forest Service.

To our knowledge, research has never been done on the potential allergenicity or other health impacts of human exposure to Tectococcus ovatus – its eggs, waxy filament, chitinous material, crawling nymphs, winged males, and females. Chitin is known to cause pulmonary inflammation and is highly allergenic. Inhalation of these tiny insects and their eggs and nymphs may induce severe allergic response.

Given the high rates of asthma in Hawaii and the negative impact of volcanic emissions on pulmonary health, this exposure to T. ovatus may be even more problematic.

This Brazilian scale insect has never before been used for biocontrol, nor has it been introduced into any alien environment, so this release is unprecedented and completely experimental. Little was known about this insect prior to research into its use as a biocontrol agent for strawberry guava, and it is relatively rare in Brazil.

Expected population densities in Hawaii could be very large, since there are no natural predators of this insect in Hawaii to limit its numbers, and there will be hundreds of thousands of acres of infested strawberry guava trees.

Since its primary mode of travel is with the wind, this proposed experimental infestation could create dangerous quantities and densities of airborne Tectococcus ovatus eggs, nymphs, and flying males to which people will be exposed.

Many residents live near strawberry guava and will contact and inhale these eggs, nymphs, and flying males. The nymphs and males, like tiny mites, will crawl over the skin and get into eyes, ears, mouths, noses, hair and clothes. Fruit will also have galls containing adult females, as well as having nymphs crawling on them and eggs adhering to them, all of which will be unintentionally eaten.

However, legitimate concerns over potential health impacts from this insect infestation have been brushed aside as insignificant by the Forest Service, without the benefit of evidence or necessary research.

The following quoted statements are the extent that this issue has been addressed, from the “Petition for field release of Tectococcus ovatus (Homoptera: Eriococcidae) for classical biological control of strawberry guava, Psidium cattleianum Sabine (Myrtaceae), in Hawaii”, May 10, 2005, by Tracy Johnson of the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station.

“Human Impacts

“Direct contact between humans and T. ovatus is likely to (be) minimal because the insects are enclosed within leaf galls most of their lives.”

This statement is misleading, since it does not consider the direct contact with eggs and nymphs, or with flying males.

“Humans near infested P. cattleianum (strawberry guava) may experience chance contact with the eggs, crawlers and waxy filaments which emerge from female galls, but are unlikely to be aware of them because of their small size.”

This statement is not based on any scientific evidence. Many people are aware of small arthropods crawling on their skin, in their eyes, and into their ears, such as mites, tiny ants, and other small crawling insects. People living or hiking near dense areas of strawberry guava may be exposed to thousands of eggs and nymphs at one time.

“Allergenicity of substances generated by homopterous insects is rare. It appears very unlikely that T. ovatus poses any risk to human health.”

As far as we know, there has never been a study of the potential allergenicity of Tectococcus ovatus – its tiny eggs, waxy filament, chitinous material, crawling nymphs, winged males, and females. Given the expected density of scale infestation and numbers of insects and insect parts that will be airborne, if this scale does prove allergenic, it could be devastating to human health.

“Simultaneous emergence and dispersal of large numbers of male T. ovatus could possibly cause occasional nuisance to humans if the winged males are attracted to lights. However, males are tiny (2 mm long) and appear to be weak fliers.”

If these flying males are attracted to light, they could become a major nuisance, and increase human exposure to and contact with these insects. This statement also shows how little is known about this insect.

We believe the following questions should be answered before this biocontrol experiment is allowed:

How will inhaling airborne T. ovatus eggs, crawling nymphs and flying males affect asthmatics?

What other health problems might be caused, both acutely and chronically, by exposure to this insect, its eggs, nymphs, and chitin?

I am extremely concerned about potential allergic sensitization. Is the scale insect or any of its parts or in any of its stages of life an allergen?

How many eggs, nymphs, and male insects floating and blowing in the wind will people be exposed to, especially in heavily infested strawberry guava areas?

Will people be annoyed by these insect eggs, crawling nymphs, and flying males?

Eggs, crawling nymphs, and scales will be on the strawberry guava fruit of infested trees. What will be the health impacts of ingesting these?

Will there be eye, ear, nose, or throat irritation as a result of exposure?

Will people itch and scratch themselves in response to contact, creating rashes and potentially harmful skin infections?

To what degree is consumption of strawberry guava fruit beneficial for public health, given its high fiber, vitamin, mineral, and anti-oxidant content, and its current widespread availability, and to what degree might this consumption fall as a result of this infestation, adversely affecting public health?

On behalf of thousands of residents concerned about this infestation of our environment and its potential health impacts, we would appreciate your attention to this issue and a prompt response to the above questions.

Thank you.

Sydney Ross Singer

Medical Anthropologist

Director, Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease

P.O. Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778