Applications Sought for Hawaii Island Forestry Advisory Council Positions

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i island. Both forest areas are part of the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest.  DOFAW works with the Forest Service to do research in these areas.

The councils meet quarterly.  Each consists of 14 members who serve a 2 to 3 year term, staggered within different categories of expertise, such as natural resources, recreation use, cultural knowledge, neighboring landowner, business/ecotourism, and grant writing expertise/coastal zone management.  All applicants should have an appropriate background in the vacant category area as well as an interest in representing community stakeholders related to their respective categories.

Individuals who are interested in serving on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils may submit an application.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC)

Interested applicants are being sought to fill one position in the following category: Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative.

PAC members provide guidance to DLNR on management of 40,711 acres of state land in the North Kona ‘ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a. It includes grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds, tropical dry and wet forests, a forest bird sanctuary and Kīholo State Park Reserve

Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) 

Interested applicants are now being sought to represent these categories:  cultural resources, natural resource management, recreation, education, Laupāhoehoe community, Hawai‘i community at large, and scientific research. Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve is on the windward side of Hawai‘i island and includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both forest reserve land as well as a natural area reserve.

LAC members help provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua District (Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve).

Continuous recruitment is also being sought year-round for each category of expertise (recommended submittal dates are by April 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30), and applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications including submittal instructions can be found at

Hard copy application forms are also available at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo, and in Waimea at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road. Applications will be reviewed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected Advisory Council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

For more information on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils and the application process, contact the DOFAW Hawai‘i branch manager, Steve Bergfeld at (808) 974-4221.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Department of Health Launches New “Prevent Diabetes Hawaii” Campaign

It is estimated that one in every two adults in Hawaii has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and many have not been diagnosed and may be unaware that they have it. To increase prevention and awareness, the Hawaii Department of Health is launching a new innovative media campaign on March 27 to encourage Hawaii adults to take an online Diabetes Risk Test at and share the results with their doctor or health care provider. Actor and comedian Frank De Lima, who has type 2 diabetes, is the spokesperson for the campaign and will appear in television ads and in print ads in malls across the state.

“Prediabetes is a serious health condition that puts people at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the good news is you can reverse prediabetes with basic lifestyle changes,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, so it’s very important for people to get screened early and take action.

Prediabetes refers to having a blood sugar that is above the normal level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Without effective intervention, 15 to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos have the highest rates of type 2 diabetes, followed by Japanese. Furthermore, people of Asian descent tend to develop prediabetes at a lower body weight than other ethnicities, making them especially susceptible.

“Your risk for prediabetes is increased if you are overweight, 45 years or older, have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, are not physically active, smoke, and ever had gestational diabetes,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “Obesity and diabetes are generally known as “twin” epidemics, and this is true also for Hawaii.”

The Prevent Diabetes Hawaii campaign asks everyone to participate in simple 30-second online Diabetes Risk Test and then email, print or download their Diabetes Risk Test results to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to facilitate a later conversation with a doctor or health care provider. The website also contains ideas and tips for individual lifestyle change, as well as information on nationally recognized lifestyle change programs that are available at local community health centers throughout the state, the YMCA, and some hospitals. A portal for health care providers contains links to download campaign materials for waiting rooms and doctors’ offices along with resources to facilitate patient follow-up, such as email templates and phone call scripts.

Focus group testing with adults on Oahu informed the campaign’s development. Prevent Diabetes Hawaii is funded by a combination of state general funds and a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about the campaign or to view the television and print ads, go to

Hawaii Island Rotarians and Weinberg Work Day at YWCA

The YWCA of Hawaii Island was again the recipient of the labor of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay as part of its Weinberg Friends Project. The labor earned a $10,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to aid survivors of sex assault.

David Herd and Paula Uusitalo painting lot lines.

More than twenty-five Rotarians perked up the YWCA of Hawaii Island Ululani campus February 26, 2017.  They cleaned, gardened, painted inside and out, scrubbed toys, power-washed exterior areas, and removed debris at 145 Ululani Street, which houses the YWCA preschool. “They put in a hundred people hours of work and everything looks great,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island.

Rotary Day president Kevin Hopkins

The Weinberg grant was awarded to the Big Island Coalition Against Physical and Sexual Assault (BICAPSA). BICAPSA will use the money to provide nursing assessments to children reported to be victims of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, regardless of their ability to pay. “We are so pleased to partner with BICAPSA as we serve survivors of sex assault.  We expect over 300 abused children could need these services this year,” McGilvray said.

Sandy and Selina Custodio

As the YWCA Hawaii Island has been a recipient of Rotary Club of Hilo Bay’s Weinberg projects before, it was quickly able to respond to the Club’s request for a proposal.  “The end result proved the value of a bunch of strong business and community leaders working together on a service project,” said Kevin Hopkins, president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. He invited non-profit agencies to go to and learn more about previous projects and how to apply.

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see:

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see

Oahu Highway and Road Closures Beginning Sunday, March 26, for a Television Production

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises Oahu motorists of closures on multiple roadways next week for a television production. See closure details below.

H-3 Freeway Sunday, March, 26, and Monday, March 27, from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

  • Closure of the H-3 Freeway in the Kaneohe-bound between the Halawa Interchange and the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
  • All onramps from the Halawa Interchange to the H-3 Freeway will be closed, including the Kamehameha Highway onramp in Kaneohe.
  • Alternate routes include the Likelike Highway and Pali Highway.

Kualakai Parkway – Tuesday, March 28, southbound from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and northbound from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the southbound direction between Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway.
  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the northbound direction between Farrington Highway and the H-1 Freeway Overpass, including the Kualakai Parkway onramp to the eastbound H-1 Freeway. Motorists may enter the eastbound H-1 Freeway at the Makakilo Drive onramp or the Fort Weaver Road onramp.

H-1 Freeway – Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Intermittent closures on the H-1 Freeway in the eastbound direction in the vicinity of the Kapolei/Ewa offramp (Exit 3). Special Duty Police Officers will hold traffic for approximately 1-2 minutes at a time and then will reopen all lanes. The lanes will remain open for the majority of the time during the closure hours.

Electronic message boards are posted to warn motorists of the closures. Emergency vehicles and first responders will be allowed through the closure zones.

HDOT encourages the public to plan their commute and check traffic apps to avoid congestion. Lane closures will be posted on our website at  and released through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots Ratify Contracts, Get Pay Increases

Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced today that the union’s membership ratified a 63-month contract amendment that provides significant compensation increases for the airline’s 670 pilots.

Pilots approved the contract amendment outlined in a tentative agreement reached last month between Hawaiian and ALPA. The amendment takes effect April 1 and its term extends through July 1, 2022.

“This contract amendment recognizes the contributions our pilots have made to our company, while allowing us to continue to grow and compete as a world-class airline,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s chief operating officer and the company’s lead negotiator.

Hawaiian Airlines reached new accords in 2016 with three labor unions representing more than 2,200 employees. It is currently in negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants, whose contract became amendable in January.

Hemp Day at the Capitol

State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 – Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will lead a day focused on the production and uses of industrial hemp at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 29th.

Waimanalo, Oahu Hemp field blessing on April 15, 2015

“Hemp is an incredible crop that has big potential in our islands”, said Senator Gabbard. “This is an opportunity to bring some attention to what kind of exciting opportunities are just around the corner as our state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is rolled out. I’m confident hemp will be a niche crop for our farmers that will make good use of the Hawai‘i brand.”

The day begins with a floor presentation in the State Senate Chambers at 11:30 a.m. as Senator Gabbard honors Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project, and his team for their efforts in proving industrial hemp can grow well in Hawai‘i. In December 2015, the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources released a report on a successful, two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research project that was conducted in Waimanalo in compliance with Act 56 (2014):

The Senate floor presentation will be followed by a joint Informational Briefing at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 224 to provide an update about industrial hemp research, the current status of the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, and the future of hemp development in Hawai‘i.

The informational briefing will include presentations by the following:

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link:

For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, March 24 at 7:57 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes at a maximum height of 44 degrees. It will appear 10 degrees above the West Southwest part of the sky and disappear 37 degrees above the North Northeast part of the sky.