Big Island’s Own Bruce Omori at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Here is Big Island’s own Bruce Omori at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History standing next to his image, Volcanic Vortices, after receiving his Windland Smith Rice International Award tonight.

Bruce standing next to his award winning photo at the Smithsonian

Bruce standing next to his award winning photo at the Smithsonian

The public exhibit will open tomorrow and be on display through 2014. Please congratulate him with us! We are so proud of you Bruce! Mahalo to Nature’s Best Photography WSRIA Exhibition 2012 via Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery

Governor Abercrombie Releases $41.2 Million for Various Capital Improvement Projects Statewide

Spurring continued job growth and positive economic momentum, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $41.2 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) ranging from state health and agriculture facility improvements to business and information technology upgrades.

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“Since taking office, this administration has released more than $1.5 billion for capital improvement projects across the state, investing in priority improvement and upgrades that will directly benefit the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These projects are contributing to Hawaii’s improving employment and economic growth, predicted to outpace the national growth rate over the next year.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

Health/Hospitals

  • $2,923,000 – Department of Health Facilities, statewide – Additional design and construction to fund reroofing and an emergency generator connection at Kamauleule Building on Maui, and reroofing and improvements at the Waimano Ridge, Building 5, on Oahu, and other miscellaneous improvements
  • $2,200,000 – Kohala Hospital, Hawaii Island – Design and construction for hospital renovations, including parking lot improvements, installation of an air conditioning system, replacement of doors and windows, and fire and safety upgrades
  • $1,303,000 – Department of Health (DOH) Facilities, statewide – Additional design and construction for office space and accessibility improvements at Halawa Vector Control Facility, building and site improvements at various DOH Oahu facilities (includes installation of perimeter barriers at Waimano Hale Complex to prevent vehicles from driving on the grass and behind buildings), construction of new sidewalks at Windward Health Center, and other building and site improvements
  • $452,330 – Hawaii State Hospital, Oahu – Additional design and construction for the replacement of deteriorated doors and frames in 12 buildings, as well as the replacement of windows and frames in seven buildings on the property
  • $173,000 – Hawaii State Hospital, Oahu – Design for the demolition of the Goddard Building; the building was built in 1950 and has not been in active use since 1990
  • $149,500 – Leahi Hospital, Oahu – Completion of repair and renovation of various structures and buildings, including the lobby flooring, sewer line repairs, bathroom renovations, and various roof repairs
  • $104,500 – Department of Health, Waimano Ridge Feasibility Study for Army and Air Forces Exchange Services (AAFES) Building Staff Relocation, Oahu – Additional planning funds necessary for preparation of an environmental assessment at Waimano Ridge; the AAFES building was recently transferred to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and DOH intends to transfer 325 employees to various facilities at Waimano Ridge and the Halawa Vector facility
  • $20,000 – Leahi Hospital, Oahu – Completion of remodeling of several antiquated laboratories that are no longer in use for alternate use as office space (Additional funds were requested to cover added construction costs)

Agriculture

  • $3,600,000 – State Packing and Processing Facility, Oahu – Land acquisition to purchase agricultural lands and infrastructure owned by Castle and Cooke in Wahiawa; the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) is facilitating the acquisition of a total of 24 acres of land in conjunction with the ADC’s land acquisition of the Galbraith Estate Land (This project will involve acquiring the property and retrofitting the present Dole facilities to become the processing facility for farmers in the region)
  • $1,000,000 – Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant, Hawaii Island – Design and construction for improvements to the plant, which is a large processing facility owned by the state Department of Agriculture and operated by the Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Cooperative; improvements may include replacement of aging cooling chambers that are used to cool down and extend the shelf-life of Waimea-grown agricultural products before being shipped to market

Technology

  • $3,692,200 – Statewide Financial System Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), statewide – Planning of the first phase of the ERP project that will reengineer and transform the statewide financial management processes; includes identifying the business requirements associated with a new integrated system to support the financial management activities within the state and develop the documents needed for procurement actions for an integrated financial management system (Link to conceptual images: http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/DataCenterServerRoomMedium.jpg; http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ERP_Medium.jpg)
  • $2,725,000 – Information Technology/Information Resource Management (IT/IRM) Transformation Project, statewide – Program management and subject matter expertise to continue the state’s Chief Information Officer’s ability to manage and oversee the multiple programs and projects associated with state business and the IT/IRM Transformation process to include the Enterprise Resources Planning program
  • $1,930,500 – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Program, statewide – Enterprise architecture services to aid in the development and deployment of ERP by capturing detailed models of the current processes, technologies, and information exchanges in the organizations and/or business areas that will interface with proposed planning and provide other support services
  • $75,000 – Statewide Financial System Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), statewide – Procurement of contract services for the State of Hawaii’s new ERP solution for all organizations; the funds will be used to finalize the development of the request for proposal for the ERP system
  • $75,000 – High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) Facility, Oahu – Preparation of a project development report (PDR) and miscellaneous planning tasks for a new HTDC facility; the existing lease with the University of Hawaii Manoa Innovation Center expires in April 2015, and the PDR will clarify the long-term objectives and identify the infrastructure requirements needed before proceeding with the site selection
  • $65,344 – Uniform Chart of Accounts, statewide – Consultant services to work with the Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA) Ad Hoc Work Group to prepare a project plan incorporating critical success factors, risk and risk mitigation, and key milestones for the preparation of a UCOA structure for the State of Hawaii

Civil Defense

  • $475,000 – State Civil Defense, Building 303, Oahu – Design and construction to replace/upgrade the existing air conditioning system and make accessibility improvements for Building 303 administrative office spaces; a structural assessment on Building 303 will be conducted prior to design to ensure that any improvements will be lasting and appropriate for this building
  • $256,566 – State Civil Defense, Birkhimer Tunnel, Oahu – Design and construction for plumbing improvements to the restrooms for staff and visitors

Correctional Facilities

  • $668,980 – Kauai Community Correctional Center, Kauai – Funding for an air conditioning system in the administration building; the current equipment is severely corroded and some of the structural supports have failed (The building provides space for the warden, secretary and case workers, and also houses 87 medium-security inmates)
  • $66,720 – Maui Community Correctional Center, Maui – Additional construction funds for replacement of central boiler system

Other

  • $6,500,000 – Dams Assessments, Maintenance & Remediation, Kauai and Maui – Design and construction for various dam and reservoir maintenance and remediation improvements (Link to images: http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Wailua.jpg; http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/wailua-catwalk.jpg; http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Wailua-132.jpg; http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Wailua-112.jpg; http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Wailua-108.jpg)
  • $4,573,000 – Public Libraries, statewide – Design and construction at various public libraries; improvements include roof replacement, air conditioning replacement, foundation stabilization, termite tenting, painting, and flooring
  • $3,500,000 – Rockfall and Flood Mitigation, statewide – Design and construction for rockfall mitigation projects to address areas where boulders and rock outcroppings on state lands have fallen and caused damages or have a high potential for becoming dislodged and threatening public health and safety or property; includes Menehune Road and Hanapepe on Kauai and Kaluanui Stream, Wailupe Stream and Mokuleia on Oahu, as well as other areas statewide that are deemed necessary to address
  • $1,500,000 – Maui County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Maui – Capital improvement grant for repairs and improvements primarily to Camp Maluhia, the largest Boy Scout camp in Hawaii
  • $1,000,000 – Mana Drag Strip, Kauai – Construction to repair the facilities on the site and remove and resurface the pavement at Kauai Raceway Park, also known as Mana Drag Strip, located on state property (The track was last resurfaced in 1972)
  • $660,000 – Waiohuli Hawaiian Homesteaders Association, Inc., Maui – Capital improvement grant to complete Phase I of the Waiohuli Community Center
  • $610,000 – Moanalua Gardens Foundation, Oahu – Capital improvement grant to the Moanalua Gardens Foundation for construction for road improvements to the Kamananui Valley Road in Moanalua Valley; part of the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve, Kamananui Valley spans 3,700 acres and is classified as “restricted preservation property,” scattered with cultural artifacts and serving as a sanctuary for several endangered and rare forest bird species
  • $275,000 – Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) Facilities, Hawaii Island – Planning and preparation for a project development report, site evaluation report, environmental assessment, and other miscellaneous planning tasks
  • $260,000 – Aloha Stadium, Oahu – Planning to assess optimal usage of the stadium property and facility; project scope includes data collection and solicitation of community input
  • $200,000 – Mala Boat Ramp and Loading Dock, Maui – Construction to replace existing concrete loading docks and launch ramps and construct parking lot improvements and other related improvements; total project cost is $1,109,300: $277,325 in state funds; $831,975 in federal funds (Link to image: http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Mala-Boat-Ramp.jpg)
  • $120,000 – Lump Sum Improvements at Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement Office/Baseyard Facilities, Maui – Replacement of roofs and flooring as well as upgrades to electrical systems at the DOCARE Maui facility
  • $106,500 – Aiea Public Library, Oahu – Furniture and equipment acquisition for the new Aiea Public Library, which will serve the Aiea, Halawa, Waiau, Pearlridge, Newtown and Royal Summit communities; this new library will replace the existing library and the present library staff will be brought over for its operations

 

Ground Breaking for Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor Improvements Will Happen Tomorrow

A ground breaking for Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor Improvements will happen tomorrow, Friday June 7th.

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

WHEN: Friday, June 7, 2013, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) in Kawaihae, Hawaii

WHO:

Welcome

  • William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson

Remarks

  • Senator Malama Solomon and Representative Cindy Evans
  •  William Wilson, President, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company

Acknowledgements

  •  Edward Underwood, Administrator, DLNR Div. of Boating and Ocean Recreation

Facility Blessing

  •  Keoni Atkinson

WHAT:
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation invites boaters and the public to attend a ground breaking ceremony on Friday, June 7, for the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) Improvements Phase 1 project at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South).

The Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) was dredged in the 1970s, and the breakwater was built in the 1990s and has remained relatively unused since. This project will develop the Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor to include an ADA accessible 435-foot long floating dock, finger pier, moorings, water system, vehicle and trailer parking, a comfort station, and boat wash down area.

608 People Participate in Big Island Police Department Community Survey

Chief Harry Kubojiri wishes to thank the 608 members of the public who participated in the Hawai’i Police Department’s Community Satisfaction Survey and the news media for helping to attract this record number of participants during the month-long survey in May.

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The chief and his staff are in the process of analyzing all the individual comments collected so the Police Department can identify common concerns. The chief will then respond to the most common concerns expressed by the community members and visitors who participated in the survey. The responses to those comments and questions will be posted (along with the questions) on the Police Department’s website.

As in previous surveys, Chief Kubojiri said the survey and follow-up analysis are tools to assist him in

– identifying problem areas the community is experiencing with the Police Department
– determining if he can rectify those issues through specific training of Police Department personnel
– making changes to policies and procedures if necessary
– clarifying misinformation about laws and/or police practices

“Your feedback in past surveys has allowed us to make changes that were beneficial to the Police Department and the public we serve, and we will continue to publish surveys in the future,” Kubojiri said. “Your input is one of the many tools that we use in our continuing efforts to improve how we provide services to the public.”

In addition to processing comments from the survey, the Police Department will continue to hold monthly public meetings around the island to respond to concerns from the public. Chief Kubojiri encourages community members to attend these public meetings or communicate their concerns or comments using the “Feedback” link on the Police Department’s website.

 

Hawaii Participates in Multi-State, Multi-National Case Against Deceptive Travel Promoters

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection announced Thursday that it joined in a multi-state, multi-national law enforcement initiative, coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission, to combat deceptive travel promoters.

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The state wants consumers to be alert to unscrupulous promoters tricking consumers into purchasing deeply discounted or “free” vacation packages or future travel-related products or services supposedly worth thousands of dollars.

However, most consumers are required to attend lengthy high-pressure sales presentations and often receive nothing of value after paying thousands of dollars in fees.

Thursday’s announcement coincides with the announcement of more than 80 civil enforcement actions by the FTC and 28 states; more than 58 criminal prosecutions brought by U.S. attorneys nationwide and local law enforcement agencies; and 24 enforcement actions by international law enforcement agencies in eight countries.  

Travel Scams
To protect themselves against deceptive travel offers, Bruce Kim, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection, advises consumers look out for these warning signs:

  • You “won a free vacation,” but you have to pay some fees first.
  • The prize company wants your credit card number.
  • They cold-call, cold-text, or email you out of the blue.
    • Before you do business with any company you do not know, call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company’s home state to check for complaints; then search online for consumer complaints.
  • They do not — or cannot — give you specifics.
  • You get pressure to sign up for a travel club for great deals on future vacations.
  • You get a robocall about it.
    • Robocalls from companies are illegal if you have not given a company written permission to call you, even if you have not signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry.

“Before signing anything, check the company out with the BBB or the DCCA for consumer complaints against the company.  You should ask to see the company’s written cancellation policy and ask a lot of questions, including that they put all their promises in writing before you agree to anything,” Kim said.

Consumers are also advised to consider making travel arrangements through licensed travel agents.  They will provide more protection from scams, and they earn their commissions through the business that consumers patronize, not the individual consumer.

If anyone believes he or she has been a victim of deceptive sales practices, please contact the DCCA’s Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272 and file a complaint.

Visit FTC.gov/travel to learn more about travel scams.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection is responsible for reviewing, investigating and prosecuting allegations of unfair or deceptive trade practices in consumer transactions.  It has jurisdiction over a wide range of businesses and commercial activities.

 

45-Year-Old Man Dies from Injuries Received in Motor Vehicle Collision in Kona

A 45-year-old Kawaihae man died Wednesday (June 5) from injuries he received as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway north of the Palani Intersection in Kailua-Kona.

HPDBadgeA 45-year-old Kawaihae man died Wednesday (June 5) from injuries he received as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway north of the Palani Intersection in Kailua-Kona.

Responding to an 8:23 p.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that a 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser, driven by 44-year-old Daphne Reeves of Kailua-Kona, rear-ended a 2002 Chevy C7500 boom truck that was stopped in the outside lane with workers changing burnt out street lamps. A 41-year-old Keaʻau man who was standing outside the boom truck and a 53-year-old Hilo man who was inside the raised boom bucket were not injured.

Reeves and her male passenger were both taken by medics to Kona Community Hospital. Reeves, who was wearing a seat belt, was being treated for serious injuries. The passenger, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m.

The passenger was identified as David Arbon of a Kawaihae address.
Reeves was arrested on suspicion of negligent homicide, driving under the influence and inattention to driving. She was released pending further investigation.

Both speed and alcohol appear to be factors in this traffic crash. Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call Officer Thomas Koyanagi at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 17th traffic fatality on Hawaiʻi Island this year compared with 14 at this time last year.

Island this year compared with 14 at this time last year.