$35 Million Ane Keohokalole Highway Funded

Media Release:

The Federal Highways Administration and the Hawaii State Department of Transportation have authorized Hawaii County to build the Ane Keohokalole Highway using $35 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Hawaii County now has five years to complete the initial phase of  what is also referred to as the Mid-Level Road, a 1.7- mile roadway from the intersection of Palani Road and Henry Street to Kealakehe Parkway, and a third of a mile of improvements on Palani Road between Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Henry Street. Should bids be favorable, the project could also include rough grading between Kealakehe Parkway and Hina-Lani Street.

“Ane Keohokalole Highway is the number one priority of this administration in West Hawaii,” said Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We know how important infrastructure improvements are to our community, and we also recognize the significance of this project to the future of Kailua-Kona, West Hawaii and our Hawaii Island.”

Also known as the Mid-Level Road, the initial phase of the project creates a two-lane, limited-access roadway that runs parallel to Queen Kaahumanu Highway. The road will also include bike lanes, sidewalks, a multi-use path and be used as a transit route by the county’s Hele-On Bus service.

In addition to alleviating traffic on Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Palani Road, the Ane Keohokalole Highway facilitates the state’s development of Kamakana Village, an affordable housing project, commercial development by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust to support its children’s programs across the state, and further expansion of Laiopua Village by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

In addition, the highway assists the development of Laiopua 2020’s planned community center, and furthers the efforts of Kamehameha Schools to build a pre-school, West Hawaii Health Center to create a permanent clinic, and County Parks and Recreation to develop a regional park at the site of the former planned municipal golf course.

Ane Keohokalole Highway also creates easier access to the new Kona Civic Center, now being built at the intersection of the highway and Kealakehe Parkway. As federal funds become available, plans call for this road to extend northward toward the future University of Hawaii-West Hawaii Center.

“This isn’t so much about building a highway as it is about building a safe and healthy community,” said Kenoi. “Access to jobs, education, health centers and recreation can only strengthen our community.”

Brennon Morioka, State Transportation Director, agreed with Kenoi. “This project shows the commitment by government that it no longer just wants to build roads but be a part of building communities,” Morioka said. “This road is not just asphalt and concrete but represents opportunity that would not be available if not for the hard work of the many partners on this project.”

Kenoi praised the efforts of the community, partners, State and County officials who worked hard to meet deadlines and qualify for ARRA stimulus funds. A steering committee made up of Deputy Managing Director Wally Lau, Public Works Director Warren Lee and Executive Assistant Bobby Command worked with consultant Belt Collins Hawaii to complete an environmental assessment, design and engineering for this road.

“These people did what has never been done before in Hawaii County,” said Kenoi. “In less than a year, they took a dotted line on a map and brought it to the point where construction can begin.”

Furthermore, the team worked closely with the Hawaii Island Burial Council and Native Hawaiian community. There are known burials in the area of potential impact, and all will be preserved in place. The County notified the burial council early on in the process, and worked closely with cultural descendants to ensure they were comfortable with the treatment of the iwi.

In addition to the burial issue, the Federal Highways Administration agreed with Hawaii County to set aside about 10 percent of the stimulus funds on a 25-acre area established by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust to preserve and protect archaeological sites along Palani Road. This preserve area, on the trust’s property, will be celebrated with an interpretive center where children, residents and visitors can learn about a once vibrant agricultural community in this part of Hawaii.

It was the Queen Liliuokalani Trust that donated the property for most of the first phase of this highway, named after Ane Keohokalole, mother of Liliuokalani. Hawaii County worked closely with the trust and descendants of Ane Keohokalole, who recommended respectful treatment and protocol for the treatment of cultural sites and Native Hawaiian iwi.

“Ane Keohokalole Highway is a much-needed connector road that will benefit two of our Native Hawaiian Trusts in Kona ‘Akau, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, as well as island residents,” Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairperson Haunani Apoliona said.

“OHA looks forward to working with Hawaii County and the people of Kona. We congratulate Mayor Billy Kenoi and the citizens of Hawaii County for the hard work and good effort that went into making Ane Keohokalole Highway a reality,” she said.

Karen Seddon, Executive Director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) said the highway paves the way for the Kamakana Vilages at Keahuolu.

“The Ane Keohokalole Highway project further advances our efforts with Forest City to build the necessary infrastructure to deliver over 1,000 new homes which are affordable to Hawaii’s workforce and lower income households,” said Seddon.

“Public-private partnerships such as this are vital to providing affordable housing opportunities and this is a perfect example of government agencies partnering with an experienced developer to help improve the quality of life for the people of Kona,” she said.

The county today advertised requests for bids on the project. A pre-bid meeting will be held on Dec. 3, and bids are scheduled to be opened on Dec. 30.  The County has 30 days to formalize a deal with the contractor. Once that is completed, the contractor has up to 45 days to begin work. It is estimated that this project will take about two years to complete.

Punatic Cyber Cafe Closing – Big Auction Saturday

The Punatic Cyber Cafe is closing its doors and will be auctioning EVERYTHING off in the premise this Saturday beginning at 10:00 am.

40 + Computers, 6 laptops, 10 printers, networking gear, all the parts and accessories you can imagine.

Chairs, tables, furniture, sofa, counter bars, workstations.

1000 DVD’s, 1000 +Books, household items, toys, sunglasses, appliances, office supplies.

Fridges, freezers, carpet cleaner, cleaning supplies, a big screen TV, video games, new IPOD, and more.

Did I mention they are auctioning a daybed headboard and why don’t we throw in a kitchen sink… make that a 3 part kitchen sink.

So come on by Saturday at 10:00 am to the Punatic Cyber Cafe.


A working Commodore 64 Computer

County of Hawaii Offers Free Holiday Shared Ride Taxi Coupons to Stop Drunk Driving

Media Release:

County Motorists are strongly urged to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol this holiday season.

Hawai‘i County is bringing back its free Holiday Shared Ride Taxi program this year to make our Big Island roads safer.

Now through January 1, 2010, selected establishments in East and West Hawai‘i will be offering inebriated patrons free shared ride taxi coupons as an alternative to driving away from the bar while under the influence.

At the same time, police will be on heightened alert for motorists under the influence, and will be setting up more DUI enforcement roadblocks around the island.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi cited alarming rates of alcohol-related fatalities on Big Island roads for bringing back the free Holiday Shared Ride Taxi Program. It was discontinued in 2006.

“I am committed to making this a safe holiday season for all of our island families and visitors,” said Mayor Kenoi.

Last year 63 percent of the Big Island’s traffic deaths (19 of 27) involved alcohol. This year through November 17, half the fatal accidents on Big Island roads (10 of 20) involved alcohol, according to the Hawai‘i County Police Department.

On a per capita basis, the rate of traffic-related deaths per 100,000 people in Hawai‘i County is nearly three times higher than Honolulu’s, and twice the rate on Maui and Kauai.

So far this year’s 50 percent rate of alcohol-related fatalities is slightly lower than in past years. From 2001 through 2008, 58 percent of all fatal crashes on the Big Island involved alcohol. Yet the Big Island’s rate still exceeds the statewide average of 47 percent and the national average of 40 percent.

“Too many people” are still dying on Big Island roads,” said Dr. Sharon Vitousek, director of the North Hawai‘i Outcomes Project, which recently published the 2008 Hawai‘i Island Traffic Safety Report.

“Because of the increased DUI arrests, increased DUI convictions, and some improvements in roads, progress on the Big Island is being made,” said Dr. Vitousek. “Unfortunately, all the recent tragic traffic deaths since Labor day remind us that there is a lot more work to be done.”

While the lower rate of DUIs this year is encouraging, this is no time to let down our guard, said Mayor Kenoi. “We hope that the DUI road blocks and public service campaigns against driving while impaired are making a positive impact. But too many alcohol-related tragedies have occurred on our roads already this year,” he said. “Just one is too many.”

Police will be on heightened alert for drunk drivers again this holiday season, working with a federal DUI grant of $95,340 to set up enforcement roadblocks.

“Among our highest priorities is to make this holiday season as safe as possible for everyone on our Big Island roads,” said Hawai‘i County Police Chief Harry K. Kubojiri.

Chief Kubojiri also cautioned holiday revelers not to rely on the free shared ride coupons as they may not be available at every bar or nightclub, or supplies may run out. “Always have a designated driver available or make other arrangements to get yourself home,” he said.

Under the free Holiday Shared Ride Taxi Program, selected bar and restaurant managers will have a limited number of shared ride taxi coupons provided by the County for free distribution to patrons who have had too much to drink. Brochures, flyers and table place cards will be distributed to participating establishments to make patrons aware of the program and the extreme dangers of driving drunk. To insure the coupons are used only for their intended purpose, taxi drivers record the origin and destination of each fare to be turned in with the coupons for reimbursement.

The shared ride taxi coupons are the same as those available year-round from the Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency. Trips are limited to four miles with one coupon, or

up to nine miles with two coupons. Coupons are available for purchase throughout the year for as low as $2 each in a book of 15 ($30).

The Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecutor is allocating $1,000 in drug forfeiture funds to purchase 500 specially marked coupons that will be distributed to area drinking establishments for their customers. Taxi companies redeem the coupons for reimbursement by the County Mass Transit Agency.

This year’s program for the first time includes a participating taxi company in West Hawaii, J&A Taxi of Kailua. Participating East Hawai‘i taxi companies are Ace One Taxi, Ali`i Taxi, Bay City Taxi, Bobby Taxi, Hot Lava Taxi, Marhysa’s Taxi, and Percy’s Taxi.

“I want to thank the taxi companies and the restaurants and bars for their willingness to participate in this important program,” said Mayor Kenoi.

“We have to stop drinking, driving and killing each other on our island’s roads. The tragedies are happening far too often and they are preventable. It’s about highway safety, and protecting our families.”

“Reducing deaths from drunk driving is a shared responsibility,” said Dr. Vitousek. “If friends really didn’t let their friends or family drive after drinking, we’d all be a lot safer this holiday season.

“I’m very pleased that the Mayor and County are so committed to even more enforcement over the upcoming holidays and to prevention through public awareness and the safe rides program.”

The holiday shared ride program is sponsored jointly by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Hawai‘i County Police Department, Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency, Department of Liquor Control and Office of the Mayor.

For more information, call Hunter Bishop, 961-8565.

Butt Ugly’s Cousin? Caught on Video!

I was first visited by “Butt Ugly” (Bipalium Kwense) back in December of last year when I blogged “Just Butt Ugly or Bipalium Kwense“.

The worm looked like this:

He returned a visit to me a few times after in a few different sizes as you can see here and here.

Well today I went out side and there was this worm that was moving around very similar to it, except it was black.

The thing that struck me most about this worm… is that it’s head was almost complete opposite of “Butt Ugly” and it was just this tiny little point.

The head is circled in red

This time I decided to take a short video to show you how the worm crawled.


When Pele Burps

This is what she looks like:


University of Hawaii at Hilo Begins Search for New Chancellor

Media Release:

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has announced it will begin its search for a new chancellor.  Chancellor Rose Tseng has led the campus since 1998 and will step down at the conclusion of her term of appointment on June 30, 2010.  During her tenure, Chancellor Tseng has increased enrollment, grants and global recognition of UH Hilo, as well as built new facilities and started new degree programs.

The UH Hilo Chancellor’s Search Advisory Committee has been constituted. The committee is co-chaired by Sevki Erdogan, UH Hilo faculty congress and professor in computer science and David Lassner, UH System vice president for information technology and chief information officer. The 16-member search advisory committee also includes:
  • Dan Brown, professor of anthropology, UH Hilo
  • Barbara Leonard, associate professor of accounting, UH Hilo
  • Ken Morris, professor of pharmaceutical science, UH Hilo
  • Pua Kanakaole Kanahele, director of research and development for Hawaiian related programs, Hawaii Community College
  • Kelson Hoomano Pakele, president, UH Hilo Student Associate
  • Andrea Adrian, secretary III, UH Hilo Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Jeff Scofield, executive coordinator for Enrollment Services, UH Hilo
  • Marcia Sakai, dean, UH Hilo College of Business and Economics
  • Ross Wilson, president, Current Events and chair, UH Hilo Chancellor’s Advisory Board
  • Ron Terry, private consultant
  • Eugene Nishimura, vice president, Hawaii National Bank
  • Barbara Hastings, partner, Hastings & Pleadwell
  • Mike Fujimoto, president, HPM Building Supply
  • Gladys Sonomura, member, UH Hilo Chancellor’s Advisory Board
The national search firm Issacson, Miller has been selected to assist in the search. Issacson, Miller handles nationwide searches for a wide variety of organizations, including leading universities, research institutes, academic medical centers, foundations, cultural institutions, economic development organizations, human service agencies, and national advocacy groups.
The committee will be asked to recommend candidates to UH System President M.R.C. Greenwood, who will then make a recommendation to the Board of Regents, which selects the chancellor. The committee’s intent is to complete the search and announce UH Hilo’s new chancellor by summer 2010.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, a comprehensive university of 3,500 students is located on the Hawai‘i Island, a natural living laboratory of active volcanoes, deep oceans, the world’s best telescopes and a rich cultural landscape. UH Hilo bachelor’s and master’s degree programs take advantage of it all. UH Hilo is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Kender Energy Signs Hawaiian Distributor for Its Solar Technology

Media Release:

Kender Energy Inc. today announced that it has signed a Distribution Agreement with Kahalehoe Solar Inc. in Waianae, Hawaii.

In Hawaii, 1 in 3 homes have solar water heating systems and the state offers one of the most generous incentive packages to convert to Solar Energy with incentives of over $20,000 per conversion in State Tax incentives and direct rebates to the home owner.

“With an abundance of sunlight and no other natural energy resources, the introduction of the Kender Energy technology into the Hawaiian market is a natural fit. We are very excited to have Kahalehoe Solar Inc. as our distributor into this important market,” expressed Sean Kelly, President and CEO of Kender Energy Inc.

About Kender Energy Inc.: Kender Energy Inc. is a development phase company active in the field of solar energy. Its present prototypes of solar panels are being developed into a full-scale solar energy production system. The particularity of the Kender solar panel system and technology is to allow, via a closed circuit of gas (usually helium), to create a heat exchange with the sunlight and the air from the environment. The exchange generates the spinning of the helium gas in the closed circuit, propelling a turbine, which produces electricity in a 100% clean and renewable process. The system’s main advantages are that it is efficient, cheap in production, and modular. The company is based near Geneva, Switzerland. Its Website is www.kendersolar.com.

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar Starting Online Paper in Hawaii

Pierre Omidyar http://www.omidyar.com or http://ebay.com

Well the buzz has been out for a few days now that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is going to be starting up an online newspaper geared towards the Hawaii audience.

Of course I applied for the position of “Editor” for this new online start up, however, I also encourage others to apply for the position that he initially tweeted about:

Very excited to finally be able to tell someone about our new local news venture. Help us build it! http://bit.ly/23O8p4

I was pretty stoked that he was quite receptive to my tweet telling him about the FBI Blogs that I started and currently administer.  I recently tweeted him the following:

Would be great to somehow tie in blogs to your new project. Let me know if http://fbiblogs.com is of interest.

And I was shocked and stoked that he actually responded with this:

@damontucker I agree. Lots of great bloggers here. Your site looks great. about 2 hours ago from Tweetie in reply to damontucker

What I think would be really cool, is if he decided to bring on neighbor island representatives and accepted bloggers as a form of media… and hey… we’d love to get a nickle now and then if things work out!

Any rate @Pierre I hope you do look at some of us neighbor island folks in this new venture that you are taking upon yourself.

Wish you the best of luck Pierre, even if I’m not one of the lucky ones chosen and I wish the best to those that are.  Hawaii has long lacked a great online paper and I can only do so much with the FBI Blogs!