Video: Fly HI with The Maka Project – Big Island of Hawaii

The Maka crew enjoying life on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii.


Capturing the Big Island of Hawaii from a slightly different perspective!

Full of aloha and adventure, the Island of Hawaii is an epic place to call home- especially for the Maka crew. Filmed by Joshua Lambus and Eric Franke.

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection on the Big Island of Hawaii

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

HHS ‘Dragon Jazz’ Band to play with Marcia Ball and Johnny Nicholas in Four-Island Concert Tour

The Honokaʻa High School Jazz Band has created a musical legacy during the last four decades, under the award-winning direction of teacher Gary Washburn. This month, members of the Band will perform onstage with soulful blues storyteller Marcia Ball and career R&B bandsman Johnny Nicholas and his band Hellbent, in an unprecedented four-island concert tour.

honokaa Jazz Band 2016

Dragon Jazz Band photo by Sarah Anderson

“Johnny got in touch with me through a friend, said Washburn. “He’s been working with kids, involving kids in the music business—and he invited the band to play with them. I said OK,” said Washburn, himself winner of the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award by the National Society of High School Scholars.

“So, on this island, the Band will play a 30-minute warm-up set for them at their two shows in Waimea and Hilo, and then we’ll play a few tunes with Johnny, and with Marcia, including ‘Foreclosed on the House of Love,’ which is on our CD,” said Washburn.

After a kickoff concert January 24 at Waimea’s Kahilu Theatre, eight young musicians will travel to Hilo, Kauai, Maui and Oahu, to perform with Ball and Nicholas (see schedule below). The new Dragon Jazz Band includes: Kamea Phenicie on tenor sax, Elliot Reddekopp on trumpet, Emma Reddekopp on piano, Kamaehu Arraujo-Duldulao on trumpet, Andrew Connors on trombone, Nick Rohfeld on drums, Ron-Jon Pira on bass, and Lexi Dalmacia on guitar.

This unique performance opportunity tops an already impressive list for the Band. They’ve played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” and opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were recognized by the State Legislature. They do a yearly multi-concert tour of Oahu to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month, and their 14th CD (an annual fundraiser) has just been released. In 2011, they received a national Grammy Signature Schools Award.

Marcia Ball, courtesy Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball, courtesy Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball’s signature Gulf Coast blues is a sound described as “a one-of-a kind-musical gumbo.” Known as a musical storyteller, the New York Times says, “Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time.”

Four of her previous five releases received Grammy Award nominations. In 2014, Ball received the Blues Music Award (BMA) for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Of The Year, for a total of 10 BMAs and 44 nominations. She recently received a 2015 Living Blues Readers’ Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard) and now holds eight Living Blues Awards in all. She was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Since the 60’s, Johnny Nicholas has played rhythm and blues with great bands from Rhode Island to Chicago, Louisiana and Texas. After some time off to raise a family, he returned to music in 1991, teaming up with Johnny Shines and Snooky Pryor on the album “Back to the Country.” Nichols has kept the momentum going with a studio album and three live albums on Topcat Records in addition to regular live shows.

The kickoff concert is Sunday, January 24, 2016 at 6 p.m., at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. Projected to be a sell-out, tickets for the show are available online at

The inter-island schedule for Marcia Ball, Johnny Nicholas and Dragon Jazz is:

  • January 24, 2016, Kahilu Theatre in Waimea
  • January 27, Hilo Palace Theater
  • January 28, Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon, Maui
  • January 29, Kauai Beach Resort, Lihue, Kauai
  • February 2, Hawaii Theatre Center, Honolulu

The Honokaʻa High School Jazz Band and their boosters have set up a GoFundMe account to help with travel costs. Contributions can be made online,

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 207

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 5 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 207.

Mosquito BiteAs of January 6, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 5 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 6 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
6 Illness onset  12/27/15 to 12/31/15
Cases no longer infectious
201 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/26/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 187 are Hawaii Island residents and 20 are visitors.
168 cases have been adults; 39 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/31/15.

As of today, a total of 805 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 30, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

CDC Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Health Selects BioTrackTHC for its Seed-to-Sale Tracking Contract

The Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has selected BioTrackTHC  as the winner apparent for its state contract for tracking the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana.


“The development of a healthy and successful medical cannabis program is a top priority for Hawaii, and we are extremely proud to have been chosen to be a critical part of it,” said Patrick Vo, CEO, BioTrackTHC. “The islands of Hawaii are truly unique and we very much look forward to applying our expertise in solving the cannabis traceability challenges unique to Hawaii.”

BioTrackTHC’s government software solution will provide the Hawaii Department of Health real-time visibility into the seed-to-sale tracking data of every licensed medical marijuana dispensary in the state, including plant and inventory quantities, production activity, laboratory testing results, transportation activity, and dispensing activity.

This marks the fifth cannabis-related government contract won by the company. BioTrackTHC’s seed-to-sale Traceability System for government agencies is currently being utilized by the states of Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois, and is in the process of implementation by New York. The company’s Enterprise System for businesses is used in more than 1,500 medical and recreational cannabis facilities in 23 states, Washington D.C., Canada, Jamaica and South America. These technologies enable government agencies and businesses to track every plant and every fraction-of-a-gram of cannabis throughout the production lifecycle—cultivation, harvest and cure, quality assurance testing, transportation, destruction, and sale—bringing transparency, accountability, and meaningful insights to cannabis operations.

The Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in November of last year and posted a Notice of Award naming BioTrackTHC on December 28, 2015.

Alexander & Baldwin Announces Transition of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company to a Diversified Farm Model

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. today announced that it is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (“HC&S”) plantation on Maui.

Alexander and BaldwinSugar operations will be phased out by the end of 2016, and the transition to a new model will occur over a multi-year period. No immediate layoffs will result from today’s announcement and approximately half of the 675 employees will be retained through the end of the sugar harvest, which is expected to be completed late in 2016. Beginning in March, employees will be laid off as their specific functions are completed. Under the new diversified model, the plantation is planned to be divided up into smaller farms with varied agricultural uses, potentially including energy crops, food crops, support for the local cattle industry, and the development of an agriculture park.

“A&B’s roots literally began with the planting of sugar cane on 570 acres in Makawao, Maui, 145 years ago,” said Stanley M. Kuriyama, A&B executive chairman. “Much of the state’s population would not be in Hawaii today, myself included, if our grandparents or great-grandparents had not had the opportunity to work on the sugar plantations. A&B has demonstrated incredible support for HC&S over these many years, keeping our operation running for 16 years after the last sugar company on Maui closed its doors. We have made every effort to avoid having to take this action. However, the roughly $30 million Agribusiness operating loss we expect to incur in 2015, and the forecast for continued significant losses, clearly are not sustainable, and we must now move forward with a new concept for our lands that allows us to keep them in productive agricultural use.”

“This is a sad day for A&B, and it is with great regret that we have reached this decision,” said Christopher J. Benjamin, A&B president and chief executive officer, who ran HC&S as its general manager from 2009 to 2011. “Having had the privilege of working alongside the employees of HC&S for two years, I know firsthand the professionalism and dedication with which they perform their jobs. The longevity of the plantation is a testament to their resourcefulness and hard work. This transition will certainly impact these employees and we will do everything we can to assist them. The cessation of sugar operations also will have a significant impact on the Maui community and we will do our best to minimize that impact. A&B remains committed to Maui and will continue to be a significant corporate supporter of Maui charities and organizations.”

Employee Transition & Support
A&B is committed to supporting its impacted employees. The Company will provide transition coordinators to assist HC&S employees in finding alternate employment opportunities. The coordinators will identify and coordinate available federal, state, county and private job assistance programs (including employment counseling, job training, financial counseling, job placement and education services).  A&B will offer all employees enhanced severance and benefit packages. Retirement benefits accrued by eligible employees, retirees, and past employees will not be affected by the transition out of sugar. Additionally, the Company will consider displaced employees for positions in its new operations as they become available.

“We are very focused on helping our employees during this time,” Benjamin said. “Many of our employees have dedicated their careers to HC&S and have followed in the footsteps of previous generations of family members that worked on the plantation. We are grateful for their years of service and we will support them through this transition period.”

Transition to Diversified Agriculture
“A&B is committed to looking for optimal productive agricultural uses for the HC&S lands,” said Benjamin. “Community engagement, resource stewardship, food sustainability and renewable energy are all being considered as we define the new business model for the plantation. These are leading us toward a more diversified mix of operations.”

The Company is evaluating several categories of potential replacement agricultural activities. These include energy crops, agroforestry, grass-finished livestock operations, diversified food crops, and orchard crops, among others.

HC&S has several test projects underway to further assess these opportunities, and the Company plans to expand the scope and scale of the trials during the coming year. Initial projects include:

  • Energy crops:  Building upon its extensive experience with crop-to-energy production, HC&S has initiated crop trials to evaluate potential sources of feedstock for anaerobic conversion to biogas. This on-farm testing currently is being expanded from plot to field-scale and HC&S has entered into a confidential memorandum of understanding with local and national partners to explore market opportunities for biogas. HC&S also is assessing the potential of cultivating purpose-grown oilseed crops for biodiesel production and has entered into preliminary, but confidential, discussions with other bioenergy industry players to explore additional crop-to-energy opportunities.
  • Support for the local cattle industry:  The Company is exploring the costs and benefits of irrigated pasture to support the production of grass-finished beef for the local market. HC&S has converted a test site of former sugar land to cultivated pasture and is working with Maui Cattle Company to conduct a grass-finishing pasture trial in 2016. High-quality grazing lands could enable Maui’s cattle ranchers to expand their herds and keep more cattle in Hawaii for finishing on grass.
  • Food crops/Agriculture park:  A&B plans to establish an agriculture park on former sugar lands in order to provide opportunities for farmers to access these agricultural lands and support the cultivation of food crops on Maui. HC&S employees will be given preference to lease lots from the company to start their own farming operations.

“Transitioning HC&S to a diversified agribusiness model underscores A&B’s commitment to the community and our intention to keep these lands in active agricultural use,” said Benjamin. “It will take time but, if successful, these efforts could support the goals of food and energy self-sufficiency for Hawaii, preserve productive agricultural lands, and establish new economic engines for Maui and the state.”

“Pipe Bomb” Found on Car Determined Not Explosive

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an incident reported in South Kohala on Tuesday (December 5) by a local vehicle tow company.
HPDBadgeAt about 9:40 a.m. the tow company reported receiving a phone call from an individual about a car in the company’s possession. After taking a closer look, the owner of the tow company became very concerned about a device resembling a “pipe bomb” affixed to the front of the vehicle.

Responding officers confirmed the description given by tow company employees and conferred with U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) personnel about the suspicious device. After reviewing photographs of the device, EOD personnel elected to fly to Waimea from Oahu, along with special agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Late Tuesday night the device was disassembled and it was determined that the contents were not explosive.

The investigation will be continued by detectives with the Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Division with assistance from the FBI and ATF.

As a result of this incident, approximately 12 homes and their 21 occupants in the Nani Waimea subdivision were displaced while personnel worked to identify and safely disassemble the suspicious device. Police apologize for the inconvenience caused to those residents but, given the circumstances, it was the prudent thing to do.

Police ask anyone with information about the vehicle and/or the device to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Global Energy Expert to Speak at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosts a public lecture on the big picture issues facing human society. “Energy, Resources, and Human Demand on a Planet Well Past Its Human Carrying Capacity” by Nate Hagens will be held on Tuesday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m. in UCB Room 100.

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Hagens is the former lead editor of “The Oil Drum,” a website that provides analysis and discussion of global energy supplies and the future implications of energy decline. He is currently a board member of the Post Carbon Institute, Bottleneck Foundation, the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER) and the Institute for the Study of Energy and our Future. His presentation will address the opportunities and constraints people face after the coming end of economic growth.

The event is sponsored by the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM). For more information, call CAFNRM at 932-7038.

Miloli’i Village “Fight the Bite” Dengue Fever Outbreak Community Update

Miloliʻi Village “FIGHT THE BITE” Dengue Outbreak Community Update THURSDAY, JANUARY 14th 2016, 5:30PM to 7:30PM, Miloliʻi Beach Park Hālau.  Hawaiian beef stew & rice dinner, dessert & refreshments will be served.

dengue milolii

KING Mosquito Coils & Repellant will be distributed to each head of household

Community Update Presentations by:

  • County of Hawaiʻi Office of the Mayor
  • District Six Councilwoman Maile David
  • County of Hawaiʻi Civil Defense
  • Hawaiʻi County Police Department CPO
  • Hawaiʻi County Fire Department
  • State of Hawaiʻi DLNR
  • State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health
  • Miloliʻi CERT Team
  • Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi

Q&A to Immediately Follow Presentations