List of Names for Baby Donkey Narrowed to Five

The newest member of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm – a 6-month-old female donkey –  needs a name and the public is being asked to help the Kona Historical Society decide what it will be.

Starting today (Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017), fans worldwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite name by making a $1 donation at the farm or on Kona Historical Society’s website, All donations will be used for the support and care of animals at the farm. Any donations in excess will go towards supporting Kona Historical Society’s educational programs and other needs.

The baby donkey arrived Jan. 31 at the historic 5.5-acre farm in Captain Cook and was the result of Kona Historical Society’s “Charlie Needs A Bestie” crowdfunding campaign, which sought a companion for the farm’s approximately 30-year-old donkey, Charlie, and upgrades to his home.

Over the past six days, there was an overwhelming response to Kona Historical Society’s call for suggested names. The public submitted a total of 125 suggested names on the Kona Historical Society and Kona Coffee Living History Farm Facebook Pages.

On Monday (Feb. 6), a Kona Historical Society committee selected the following top five finalist names:

Florence (“Flo”) – Nominated by John Gavelek, Cathy Watkins, Terri Olsem, Balbi Brooks, and Leilehua Yuen

Kona’s coffee farm donkeys are known worldwide as “Kona Nightingales” for their distinctive “song.” Another famous Nightingale is Florence Nightingale, a social reformer and founder of modern nursing. Perhaps the new donkey will demonstrate the same compassion as her human Nightingale predecessor.

Lucy – Nominated by Mary K. Soria and and Jody Holman Webster

In Charles Shultz’s beloved comic strip Peanuts, Lucy van Pelt is one of Charlie Brown’s closest friends. She’s often temperamental, bossy, and opinionated…which happens to be a pretty good description for a stubborn donkey as well! Hopefully, our Charlie will find the new donkey’s advice a little more useful that what can be found at Lucy van Pelt’s Psychiatric Booth.

Manini – Nominated by Lindsay Sieberg

Manini are small fish that can be found in Hawaii’s coral reefs and are a favorite among local kupuna. They are distinctive for their narrow black stripes, similar to the stripe on our donkeys’ shoulders. To avoid predators, manini live in large schools. With the addition of the new donkey, we’re happy to have our own “school”— or herd —of donkeys.

Mele – Nominated by Cindy Wittemore, Ashley Chamberlain, Donna S. Starr, and Jiraphon G

“Many Kona coffee farmers used Mele as their name for female donkeys,” says Miki Izu, a local kupuna and long-time coffee farmer. Mele also refers to the chants, poems, and songs of Native Hawaiians. Maybe the new donkey’s braying song will remind us of Kona’s rich traditions.

Shizu – Nominated by Pixie Navas and Leslie Christman

In Japanese, “shizu” means quiet and clear, and is the nickname for a few of Kona’s residents. Shizuka Uchida was a proud daughter of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm’s founding family. Shizuko Teshima was a long-lived, devoted businesswoman who established Kona’s famed Teshima’s Restaurant. Shizu Kahikina was a dedicated woman who worked on Pu`u Wa`awa`a Ranch. The name Shizu is a testament to Kona’s humble and hardworking women.

“We narrowed the nominations to names that were clearly very popular among social media followers and names that are significant to Kona’s history and culture,” said Kona Coffee Living History Farm Museum Manager and Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director Gavin Miculka. “We love that everyone is as excited about the new donkey as we are. We’re grateful to everyone that suggested names.”

Voting online and at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm happens now until Feb. 27. The farm is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. There is no limit to the number of times fans may vote. It’s a $1 donation per vote. The winning name will be announced on March 1.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society and Kona Coffee Living History Farm on Facebook.

Red Hill Tanks Pass Tightness Testing, Show No Leaking

The Navy completed routine tank tightness testing for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility Feb. 2. The Navy began its latest tank testing in November 2016. All operating tanks continue to pass leak detection criteria of Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.*
A tank tightness test is a procedure that determines if an underground storage tank leaks. Operators precisely fill the tank and measure pressure to ensure the tank is not leaking.

Inside one of the Red Hill Fuel Tanks

Planned to be a biennial test, the Navy increased tank tightness testing frequency to annually in 2015.  The Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) and Statement of Work (SOW), as regulated by the EPA and the State of Hawaii Department of Health, incorporated this test.
In his most recent letter to stakeholders, Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, said, “To address fuel tank integrity, the Navy employs a continuing process that monitors the tanks with testing and inspections and sustains them with planned preventative as well as corrective maintenance, as needed.  We take to heart and apply the lessons learned and process improvements we developed after the fuel release from Tank 5 in 2014.”

The release that occurred in January 2014 was from Tank 5, which had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance. No other tanks were involved in the 2014 fuel release. The Navy took appropriate action to fix the contracting issues of poor workmanship, lack of quality control and procedural failures.

Since then, the Navy modified its quality assurance practices and policies, increased testing frequency and capabilities, and improved facility operating procedures to help prevent fuel releases from happening again in the future.

“While we have a world class system today, the Navy will continue to improve monitoring systems under AOC section 4,” Fuller said.

In an earlier letter to stakeholders, Fuller said, “I assure you that we are applying – and will continue to actively apply – what we learned to improve our processes and that we will only return Tank 5 to service after certifying it is safe.”

Since 2006, the Department of Defense invested more than $200 million to continue modernizing Red Hill and to conduct environmental testing. The Red Hill facility is of vital strategic importance to our nation since its construction. It is vital today and will remain vital for the foreseeable future.

More information can be found on the Navy’s website on Red Hill at Information is also available on the EPA’s website at
(*Title 40: Protection of Environment is the section of the CFR that deals with the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.)

Friends of NELHA Awarded Grant for Student Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) was recently awarded a $5,000 grant by the Kona Brewers Festival (KBF) to fund tours for young Hawai‘i Island students.

“There are so many forward-thinking, innovative applications in the field of science going on here at the Natural Energy Lab,” says FON Executive Director Candee Ellsworth. “Educational tours are a great way to inform and expose local youth to opportunities in STEM careers so close to home. This funding allows us to expand our reach to be more impactful within our own community.”

In 2016, FON presented tours to over 1,300 students.

Student tours begin in the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center for an overview of the technology and cutting-edge companies in operation at NELHA’s Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park. Keiki get a lesson on green energy, aquaculture and ocean conservation. Students also visit the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant to find out how it works. Finally, tours visit a choice of another HOST site such as the Kanaloa Octopus Farm or Ke Kai Ola Hawaii Monk Sea Hospital.

Ellsworth says the grant will fund up to 250 free student tours with a matching discount through FON.

Free student tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hawai‘i school administrators or educators seeking a student tour can contact Ellsworth for details and availability.

The Kona Brewers Festival, now in its 22nd year, has donated $965,000 to Hawai‘i environmental, cultural and youth programs. The goal this year is to distribute $100,000 to 22 non-profits; all volunteer in some capacity at the festival.

“The festival is more than a fundraiser, “ says KBF Executive Director Kate Jacobson. “It’s a community celebration of sustainable practices, collaboration and responsibility to future generations.  Every ticket sold contributes to Hawai‘i’s well-being.”

In operation since 1974, FON offers three different, weekday tours for the general public: Ocean Matters, Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Aquaculture.  Book tours and find more details at or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point. Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).

Pu‘u Pua‘i Overlook Closed to Protect Endangered Nēnē

The Pu‘u Pua‘i overlook is temporarily closed to protect breeding nēnē (endangered Hawaiian geese) in the area.

NPS Photo

The gate is secured at the entrance to the Pu‘u Pua‘i parking lot, near the intersection of Chain of Craters Road and Crater Rim Drive. Visitors are able to hike about 0.4 miles of Devastation Trail from the Devastation Trail parking lot to a trail sign marking the closure.

In 1952, only 30 nēnē remained statewide.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s. The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 nēnē exist statewide.

Pu‘u Pua‘i is a massive reddish-brown cindercone that formed during an eruption at Kīlauea Iki crater in 1959. It is visible from many areas along Crater Rim and Kīlauea Iki trails.