Hirono Endorsed by International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers Local 121

Today, U.S. Democratic Senate nominee Mazie Hirono welcomed the endorsement of Local Union 121 of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE).  IFPTE Local 121, a prominent alliance of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard engineers, scientists and technical employees, represents 1,300 island members and their families.

“Honoring Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka today–mahalo to a man who represents the best of Hawaii: the embodiment of love and aloha, what we all aspire to be.”

“It has unfortunately become fashionable in Washington to attack Federal Employee pay, pensions and jobs.  Everything from pay freezes and pension cuts to hiring freezes and reductions in force are being proposed by members in Congress, particularly in the U.S. House,” said Jamie Kobayakawa, President of IFPTE Local 121.“Fortunately for our IFPTE Local 121 members, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has fought against all of those attacks.  She has stood firm in support of Federal Employees, and for the health of our Federal Agencies, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, NAVFAC and DLA, in Hawaii.  IFPTE Local 121 members and Federal Employees throughout our Aloha State and our country need Congresswoman Mazie Hirono in the United States Senate.”

Hirono, honored to have received the IFPTE Local 121’s endorsement, said, “Mahalo to the members of IFPTE for endorsing my candidacy for U.S. Senate.  The crucial work that the men and women of Local 121 perform at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard keeps our Navy strong and efficient, and it is essential to the security of our nation.  That is why I have always sought to ensure that they have adequate resources to perform their jobs.”

More Funding Needed for Statewide Invasive Species Programs

The interagency Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC) has approved a $1.8 million annual budget for fiscal year 2013 to support statewide programs promoting invasive species prevention, control and outreach.

State Department of Agriculture Chairperson Russell S. Kokubun, co-chair of HISC, joined Office of Planning Director Jesse Souki and Department of Health Deputy Director for the Environment Gary Gill in approving the annual budget at the council’s August 3, 2012, meeting. Senator Clarence Nishihara (Dist. 18), chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, was also present to review the budget.

“Invasive species pose real threats to our agriculture, environment, economy and public health,” Kokubun said. “We need to make sure that we spend the available funds on programs that have the greatest impact on the most serious threats to our community.”

Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., also HISC co-chair, added: “Hawai‘i’s environment is the backbone of our visitor industry and way of life. The recipients of this year’s HISC funds are experts in assessing and managing environmental threats. We will continue to look for ways to support their critical efforts.”

Funding awarded for fiscal year 2013 will include support for:

  • The Hawai‘i Ant Lab for research and response to infestations of aggressive fire ant species
  • Research on biological control methods for the highly destructive plant species Miconia and Christmas berry
  • A statewide coordinator to monitor for aquatic invasive species that may arrive in ballast water
  • The island-based Invasive Species Committees (ISCs), which monitor and control a variety of harmful species.

The ISCs were formally recognized earlier this year by Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 19) for their outstanding work across the state in responding to pests like Miconia, fire-prone fountain grass, coqui frogs, and mongoose.

The HISC also provided two awards this year relating to axis deer. The first was to the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, a partnership working with DLNR to eradicate axis deer from Hawai‘i Island. If incipient axis deer populations were to expand there, it would be extremely detrimental to the natural resources and economy of the island.

The second award was to the Maui Axis Deer Working Group, a collaboration of farmers,

natural resource managers and staff from the County of Maui and DLNR, which has the goal of reducing the number of deer on Maui.

The funding from the HISC will provide a full-time coordinator to implement a population assessment on Maui and explore options for reducing the harmful impacts of axis deer on agriculture and human health, including collisions with automobiles.  Kenneth Yamamura, agricultural specialist for Maui County, estimates that axis deer have cost farmers, ranchers and resorts on Maui more than $1.6 million over the last two years in damage and control costs.

“We are trying to maintain the progress that our core programs have made in each county, while at the same time responding to new invasive species issues as they arise, such as mongoose on Kaua‘i or axis deer on the Big Island,” said Dr. Joshua Atwood, coordinator for the HISC. “Unfortunately, the amount of funding needed to deal with the large number of invasive species problems across the state simply isn’t there.”

While the HISC received nearly $3 million in requests for funding this year, the estimated amount of total funding needed to achieve the organizational goals of this year’s applicants was more than $13 million annually.

The HISC was created in 2003, when the Hawai‘i State Legislature declared invasive species “the single greatest threat to Hawai‘i’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawai‘i’s people.” Since 2009, however, a reduction in general fund appropriations has decreased the total funds available annually to the HISC from $4 million to $1.8 million. That number may decrease further, as a temporary authorization to receive funds for invasive species control from the Legacy Land Conservation Program expires after the current fiscal year.

“The Council members agree that more funds are needed to protect Hawai‘i from the impacts of invasive species. As an interagency initiative, the HISC seeks to fill gaps between agencies and respond to annual priorities, but with limited funding, it will become more difficult to get the job done,” said Aila.

Wave Gliders to Be Deployed Off Hawaii this Winter – Could Track Sharks

Wave gliders are going to be deployed off the Hawaii Islands for ocean research beginning this winter according to the video below:

What could be mistaken for a surfboard missing its surfer is now the latest tool to help scientists take measurements for critical science missions at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL).

“Wave gliders are quickly becoming the future of ocean research. They require no expensive research ships and can be deployed off the back of a small fishing vessel and run along pre-determined or custom courses. A single pilot with an internet connection can fly up to 10 at one time, depending on the mission,” said Christian Meinig, Director of Engineering at PMEL.

Manufactured by Liquid Robotics, the wave gliders, classified as Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMV), are one of the latest technological advances in the field of autonomous vehicles. Each wave glider is made up of a 7-foot long surfboard-like float that is tethered to 23-foot-cord attached to a submerged glider that controls speed and direction.

The wave glider immediately converts wave motion into thrust, pulling the float along a programmed or piloted path, while solar panels replenish the batteries for sensors and communications. Data are transmitted to shore via satellite and pilots can control the wave gliders from any device with an Internet connection.

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The cool thing about these wave gliders… is they can be mounted with gear to track sharks!

…The solar powered network of floating robots will essentially create hot spots to track already-tagged sharks, whales and other predators in the Pacific and then transmit their location to land-based researchers, according to BBC Nature.

And the information can actually be viewed on a new app called “Shark Net.”

Hawaii Waterman’s Hall of Fame Next Week

C4 Waterman co-founders, Brian Keaulana and Archie Kalepa join the list of world-renowned watermen and women when they are honored by the Duke Kahanamoku Hawaii Waterman’s Hall of Fame on Thursday, August 23rd at the Waikiki Outrigger Canoe Club.

The Waterman’s Hall of Fame acknowledges recipient’s legacies and all that they have represented to Hawai‘i’s ocean sports community. Other recipients this year include famed big-wave surfer and oceanographer Ricky Grigg and Michael Tongg, an instrumental leader in the growth of canoe paddling statewide.

C4 Waterman co-founders, Brian Keaulana and Archie Kalepa

“I am really proud of Brian and Archie and I could not think of any one more deserving of this honor,” said friend and business partner Todd Bradley. “They have spent a lifetime dedicated to the ocean and have made significant impact in not just their community but the surf, rescue and movie industry as well.”

The Hawai‘i Waterman Hall of Fame Awards Dinner is presented by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) and Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Along with paying tribute to the new Hall of Fame honorees, the evening’s festivities will feature a concert by Henry Kapono and music by Maunalua.

“We are honoring truly remarkable watermen who have meant so much to modern-day ocean sports in Hawai‘i and whose influence is seen in generations of young people throughout our islands,” said Tim Guard, event co-chair and ODKF board member.

Table sponsorships seating eight are available for $3,500, $2,500, and $1,000, with individual seats at $65 each. Net proceeds raised will benefit ODKF’s college scholarships and athletic grants program. Tickets and information are available at www.DukeFoundation.org.

The Hawai‘i Waterman Hall of Fame was initiated in 2010 to create a lasting tribute to the Hawaiian Islands’ water sports legacy and honor the achievements of Hawai‘i’s standout watermen and waterwomen. The criteria used to select inductees are:

• Keiki o ka ‘äina / keiki o ke kai

• Sustained outstanding contribution to the sport

• International, national and local accomplishment and recognition

Past Hawai‘i Waterman Hall of Fame honorees include Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau, Wally Froiseth, Fred Hemmings, Buffalo Keaulana, Rabbit Kekai, Keo Nakama, Nappy Napoleon, Rell Sunn, Peter Cole, Ethel Kukea, Aileen Soule, and Nainoa Thompson.

Hilton Waikoloa Village to Host National Tour Association’s 2013 Contact Conference

The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the site of next year’s Contact, National Tour Association’s (NTA) tour operator-exclusive event, slated for August 15–17, 2013. The announcement was made at this year’s Contact by Jim Reddekopp Jr., NTA Board chairman and CEO, who lives on Hawai‘I and operates Earth Bound Tours and the Hawaiian Vanilla Co.

“You may have seen Hawai‘i before, but you’ve never see the Big Island like you’ll see it next year,” Reddekopp told the gathering of travel professionals here. “You can look forward to this as a barefoot native adventure.”

Last year NTA rejuvenated its Tour Operator Spring Meet by switching to a late-summer date and incorporating an education program with three tracks: CEO/owner, sales/marketing or operations/product development. Contact allows tour operators to connect in an intimate setting where they can explore business opportunities, discuss challenges and continue their professional development.

Along with conducting business appointments, Contact attendees engage in sightseeing and familiarization trips. Reddekopp, a lifelong resident of Hawai‘i, is eager to showcase his home state. “We have been working with our local suppliers to provide a fantastic Hawaiian event,” he said.

The conference will take place at Hilton Waikoloa Village, a 62-acre resort on the Kohala Coast on Hawai‘i Island, where conferees can swim, golf, dine, dolphin-watch and participate in a 5-K run.

About the folks of NTA:

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Jon Yoshimura to Run in Special Election for Honolulu City Council

Former Council Chair and Communications Director for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka Announces Candidacy

After serving as U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka’s communications director for more than six years, former City Councilman Jon Yoshimura returned to Hawaii last year to join the clean energy movement. Today, he expressed his desire to expand his service to the people of Honolulu by declaring his intention to run in the special election to fill the Honolulu City Council District VI seat recently held by his former Akaka co-worker, Tulsi Gabbard.

John Yoshimura and his wife Yuki

“The people of Hawaii have chosen well in their resounding support for Tulsi Gabbard. She has actively served District VI with honor and integrity that I will continue,” said Yoshimura.

Honolulu District VI includes Makiki, Downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl, Liliha, Pauoa Valley, Nuuanu, Alewa Heights, Papakolea, Kalihi Valley, and a portion of Kalihi. If elected, Yoshimura would fill the remaining two years of Gabbard’s term. A special election will be held in conjunction with the general election on Tuesday, November 6.

“This is an election for a two-year term. There is no time to learn on the job,” said Yoshimura. “Having served two full terms, eight years on the City Council, I have the experience and the passion to serve the people of District VI.”

A lawyer and former television reporter, Yoshimura was first elected to the Honolulu City Council in 1994. His Council colleagues called upon him to serve as council chair from 1999 to 2002, during which time he lead the Council’s effort to renew Waikiki, including the successful Waikiki Beach Walk project.

Yoshimura was also the author of two City Charter amendments, overwhelmingly approved by Honolulu voters in 2002, that created the Office of the City Auditor and set renewable five-year terms for the Honolulu Police Chief. “I believe both strengthened government accountability and that’s good for the people of Honolulu,” said Yoshimura.

Within his Council district, Yoshimura actively supported community policing teams, initiated annual work days in Papakolea, worked to protect the interests of senior citizens, was a key figure in the revitalization of Honolulu’s Downtown-Chinatown corridor.

But Yoshimura’s rising political career was marred by a 1999 drinking and driving incident in which he left the scene after hitting a parked car. Humiliated and embarrassed, Yoshimura publicly apologized for his mistake and readily accepted his suspension from practicing law for six months for lying to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Since then he has spoken out about the negative effects of drinking and driving.

“Professionally, I did a lot of things I’m proud of. But personally, I made mistakes that I’m ashamed of. While I regret the gross error of judgment, it has proven to be one of the biggest and most important lessons in my life,” said Yoshimura. “Ten years have passed since I left the City Council. I’ve learned a lot, matured, gained wisdom working for one of Hawaii’s most beloved public servants, and the passion for public service still burns in my heart.”

Yoshimura returned to the islands last year to accept a position as an executive with SolarCity, a national leader in clean energy services with local operations in Mililani.

Courtroom Video Coverage – Tyson Dagley Kills Kristen Fonseca with Jetski

Australian Journalist Mike Amor covers the heartbreaking story of 20 year old Aussie tourist Tyson Dagley.

Tyson Dagley

Dagley is accused of accidentally killing a 16 year old Kristen Fonseca with a jet ski.

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Day 2

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Congresswoman Hirono Calls for National Renewable Energy and Efficiency Standard

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono rallied energy leaders at the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit in Honolulu.

She wants more accountability from politicians in Washington who are holding back our clean energy future and support a national energy policy modeled on the clean energy successes of the U.S. military by instituting a national renewable energy and efficiency standard.

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Congresswoman Hirono delivered her keynote speech on August 15, the last day of the summit