Navy Releases Collision Report for USS Fitzgerald and USS John S McCain Collisions

The Navy released Nov. 1, a report detailing the events and actions that led to the collision of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan June 17, and the collision of USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and merchant vessel Alnic MC Aug. 21.

“Both of these accidents were preventable and the respective investigations found multiple failures by watch standers that contributed to the incidents,” said Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson. “We must do better.”

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released)

“We are a Navy that learns from mistakes and the Navy is firmly committed to doing everything possible to prevent an accident like this from happening again. We must never allow an accident like this to take the lives of such magnificent young Sailors and inflict such painful grief on their families and the nation.

“The vast majority of our Sailors are conducting their missions effectively and professionally – protecting America from attack, promoting our interests and prosperity, and advocating for the rules that govern the vast commons from the sea floor to space and in cyberspace. This is what America expects and deserves from its Navy.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released)

“Our culture, from the most junior sailor to the most senior Commander, must value achieving and maintaining high operational and warfighting standards of performance and these standards must be embedded in our equipment, individuals, teams and fleets.

We will spend every effort needed to correct these problems and be stronger than before,” said Richardson.


The collision between Fitzgerald and Crystal was avoidable and resulted from an accumulation of smaller errors over time, ultimately resulting in a lack of adherence to sound navigational practices. Specifically, Fitzgerald’s watch teams disregarded established norms of basic contact management and, more importantly, leadership failed to adhere to well-established protocols put in place to prevent collisions. In addition, the ship’s triad was absent during an evolution where their experience, guidance and example would have greatly benefited the ship.


The collision between John S. McCain and Alnic MC was also avoidable and resulted primarily from complacency, over-confidence and lack of procedural compliance. A major contributing factor to the collision was sub-standard level of knowledge regarding the operation of the ship control console. In particular, McCain’s commanding officer disregarded recommendations from his executive officer, navigator and senior watch officer to set sea and anchor watch teams in a timely fashion to ensure the safe and effective operation of the ship. With regard to procedures, no one on the Bridge watch team, to include the commanding officer and executive officer, were properly trained on how to correctly operate the ship control console during a steering casualty.

Click to view report

Governor Ige Appoints Three First Circuit Court (Island of O‘ahu) Judges

Gov. David Ige today announced three appointments to the First Circuit Court (Island of Oʻahu) as follows:

Rowena A. Somerville – 50, Attorney, Hearings Officer, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, is appointed to the First Circuit Court (Island of Oʻahu), to fill the vacancy left when former Circuit Judge Derrick H. M. Chan was elevated to the position of Associate Judge for the Intermediate Court of Appeals in April 2017.

Somerville has been an attorney in Hawaiʻi for over twenty years, dedicating her entire legal career to public service. She is currently an Administrative Hearings Officer at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and has presided over one hundred special education due process hearings. She previously served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Land and Transportation Division and as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. She began her career as a law clerk at the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission and followed that by a clerkship at the District Court of the First Circuit.

Somerville earned her law degree from the University of Hawaiʻi, William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1996.

“I am deeply honored and humbled that Gov. Ige has nominated me to serve as a First Circuit Court judge. It has been a privilege to serve the community for over twenty years as an attorney, and I am looking forward to the confirmation process,” said Somerville.

Matthew J. Viola – 55, Judge, District/Family Court of the First Circuit, is appointed to the First Circuit Court (Island of Oʻahu), to fill the vacancy created by the vacancy left by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Dexter D. Del Rosario in December 2016.

Judge Viola is currently the lead judge of the domestic (divorce) division of the Family Court, First Circuit Court of the State of Hawaiʻi. Since his appointment as a family court judge in August 2010, he has served as the presiding judge of the Juvenile Drug Court of the First Circuit. Prior to his appointment as a family court judge, he was in private practice, primarily handling employment law and general civil litigation cases. While working as a sole practitioner, he served as a part-time family court per diem judge since 2002 and as a contract attorney for the City and County of Honolulu Ethics Commission since 2003. From 1995 to 2002, he was an attorney with Simons, Wilson & Viola.

Viola attended Williams College, where he received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude. After attending Stanford Law School, where he graduated with distinction in 1991, he worked as an associate attorney with a San Francisco law firm for two years before moving to Hawaiʻi and clerking for Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Justice Paula Nakayama from 1993 to 1995.

“I am honored and humbled by Gov. Ige’s nomination. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of the State of Hawaiʻi,” said Viola.

Paul B. K. Wong – 49, Judge, District Court of the First Circuit, is appointed to the First Circuit Court (Island of Oʻahu), to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Karl K. Sakamoto in December 2016.

Judge Wong was appointed to the District Court of the First Circuit on May 29, 2012. Prior to his appointment, he was a Partner with the law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, LLP, and a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu.

Wong is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Boston College Law School.

“I am deeply grateful to Gov. Ige, and his administration for the privilege and trust to serve as a Circuit Court Judge. I look forward to discussing my qualifications with the Senate, and if confirmed, will commit all my energies and skills to be deserving of the honor,” said Wong.

“All three of these appointees understand that legal issues have a real and lasting impact on our people and in our communities. They are thoughtful, innovative and deeply committed to equitable problem solving. I know they will exercise patience and dedicate the time needed to assure fair administration of justice,” said Gov. Ige.

The process used to select these appointees is the same process used in prior selections and will be used whenever Gov. Ige makes judicial appointments. Gov. Ige personally interviewed each candidate, received input from retired Hawai‘i State Supreme Court Associate Justice James Duffy, who reviewed the qualifications of the nominees and solicited feedback on each from the law community, and reviewed testimony submitted by the public. The Senate confirmation also allows opportunities for the general public to weigh in.

All three appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Military to Convoy from Pōhakuloa to Kawaihae Friday, Nov. 3

Military convoy from Kawihae Harbor to Pōhakuloa Training Area. U.S. Army Garrison-Hawai’i photo.

Soldiers and Marines are scheduled to convoy from Kawaihae Docks to Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA) on Friday, Nov. 3.

The convoys are scheduled to start at noon and finish by 3:30 p.m.

The convoy will be escorted by marked vehicles with rotating amber lights and signs. Motorists are asked to be on alert and drive with care around convoy vehicles.

For more information, contact the US Army Garrison-Pohakuloa Public Affairs Officer, Eric Hamilton, via email [email protected] or by phone to either (808) 969-2411 or (808) 824-1474.

KTA Raising Money for Hospice & Palliative Care Month

Throughout the month of November, KTA Super Stores will be raising money for Hospice of Hilo, North Hawaiʻi Hospice and Hospice of Kona in an effort to raise awareness and support for the delivery of compassionate care choices to patients and families throughout Hawaiʻi Island.

All KTA store registers will have colorful notepads with the option of donating $5 or $10 for Hospice & Palliative Care Month.

“KTA’s commitment to the health of our community is always at the forefront of what they do,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO Brenda S. Ho. “We are continually grateful.”

Studies show those who choose palliative and hospice care live longer and feel better, while maintaining more control over their lives. In addition, patients who have serious illnesses reduce or eliminate ER visits and receive support for the whole family.

“Death is the final pathway for us all, and when you make the final turn or know your loved one is on that path, it is best to stay away from the ER,” said local ER physician, Dr. Jerry Gray. “The ER results in separation from loved ones while focusing on the immediate and ignoring prior planning and preferences.”

All donations raised by the KTA register campaign will stay in the local community to ensure those who need pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care are able to access the services.

Many of the services provided by the non-profit are not reimbursed by insurance providers. Donations from the community ensure programs like grief counseling remain free for anyone in the community that has lost a loved one.

$1.2M Grant from Keck Allows Team to Explore Ocean’s Deepest Zone

A $1.2 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will allow a team from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, along with industry partners, the ability to build a Hadal Water Column Profiler and explore the ocean’s deepest zone.

UH Mānoa Professor of Oceanography Jeffrey Drazen (right). Courtesy Photo

The deepest 45% of the ocean depth range remains one of the most unexplored and inaccessible regions on the planet. Twelve people have walked on the moon while only three people have ever been to the deepest zone in the ocean—the hadal zone.

Hadal zone waters are deeper than 3.75 miles and covers an area larger than the size of Texas. According to researchers, it has pressures approaching 1,100 times atmospheric pressure.

Researchers say that due to lack of suitable instrumentation, very little is known about the circulation, mixing, chemical properties and biological communities in the water of deep ocean trenches.

With the Keck Foundation grant, HWCP, which is a uniquely capable profiling instrument will, for the first time:

  • Enable high quality physical, chemical and biological sampling of the water column from the sea surface to the seafloor at 36,000 ft depth.
  • Withstand hundreds of cycles in and out of hadal pressures (that is, up and down in the water column).
  • The instrument’s ability to create frequent depth profiles will allow researchers to observe important physical and chemical changes in the ocean environment.
  • Provide observations needed to illuminate important and vexing problems, such as how the deep ocean trenches are ventilated.

UH says the research from HWCP will help create a new understanding of the deep ocean’s impact on the climate and biological communities.

“HWCP will open up new, exciting and potentially transformative avenues of research with global impact,” said David Lassner, UH president and interim UH Mānoa chancellor. “This is a powerful example of how private support is helping propel globally relevant, leading edge UH research. We are most grateful to the W.M. Keck Foundation for the funding necessary to explore exciting new frontiers.”

The three-year project will involve a highly qualified team of scientists, engineers and technicians from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and industry.

The UH Mānoa team includes:

  • Glenn Carter, a physical oceanographer who made the first turbulent mixing measurements in the 3-mile deep Samoan Passage, the primary flow pathway of Antarctic Bottom Water into the North Pacific
  • Jeffrey Drazen, a deep-sea ecologist and a founding member of the Hadal Ecosystems Studies program and chief scientist for a hadal cruise to the Mariana Trench
  • Bruce Howe, the lead investigator on the Aloha Cabled Observatory, the deepest observatory in the world
  • Chris Measures, a chemical oceanographer who was one of the authors of the international GEOTRACES Science Plan.

The industry partners will include Rockland Scientific Inc., which will provide a custom turbulence sensor payload, and Ron Allum Deepsea Services, which will provide the flotation, pressure tolerant batteries and design consulting.

Governor Ige Celebrates Re-dedication of the Princess Victoria Kamāmalu Building

Gov. David Ige, cabinet members, state employees and representatives from the royal societies celebrated today the re-dedication of the Princess Victoria Kamāmalu Building on the 179th anniversary of the princess’ birth.

“I made it a priority to move our public servants back into this state-owned facility to improve efficiency, enhance collaboration and increase cost savings. I’m pleased that the state will see a lease cost savings of $2.2 million going forward” said Gov. Ige.

Employees of the departments of health and human services occupy the building. For the first time in decades, three of the four Department of Human Services’ division administrative offices are housed in one central location. Additionally, the attached agency, the Office of Youth Services (OYS) also moved to the Princess Victoria Kamāmalu Building.

“Having three of our four divisions and one attached agency in one building will help us achieve our collective department goals. I believe that our move into Kamāmalu building is a win-win – it brings the department closer as an ‘ohana so we can serve Hawai‘i more efficiently and effectively,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.

“I’m delighted to have our staff work in this historic building which is conveniently located near the Capitol, providing better access to the public, said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Our Early Intervention Services, Disability and Communication Access Board, and State Council on Developmental Disabilities are excited to serve the public in their new location.”

Princess Victoria Kamāmalu Building Facts

  • The total cost to rehab the building was $27,203,900.
  • Lease cost savings to the state are approximately $2.2 million per year.
  • The contractor was Ralph Inouye Co. Ltd.
  • The project began in March 2015 and was accepted by the state on Feb. 28, 2017.
  • The building has nine floors, and there are offices in the basement.
  • Three divisions of the department of human services occupy floors 2-7:
    • Social Services Administrative Offices for Child Welfare Services and Adult Protective and Community Services
    • Benefit, Employment and Support Services for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program) and related aid to families, Child Care Program, and Homeless Program
    • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Office of Youth Services (an attached agency)
  • The department of health occupies floors 8-9, and the Disability Communication Access Board is in the basement.

New State Highway Data Now Available on HDOT Website

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Highways Division recently added useful datasets to its website.

Screen shot image of HDOT map. Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The public can now view pavement conditions and average annual daily traffic volume for state roads on all islands, and view the locations of fatal traffic crashes from 2012 to 2016. The new data also provides monthly updates on current and future road projects.

In July, HDOT released a user-friendly map that shows the schedule, scope, and estimated cost for all current State Highways projects as well as all projects planned to begin construction in the next two years.

“We’re sharing the data we’ve collected with the public in the interest of transparency,” said HDOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “Now members of the public can easily access highways safety and other helpful information that is used to guide our programs.”

The new data shows Average Annual Daily Traffic as the total volume of vehicle traffic over a road over the course of a year divided by 365 days. HDOT gathers AADT through a combination of permanent, in-ground traffic counting stations, overhead cameras, and temporary traffic counters or tubes.

The Fatal Crash data is compiled from completed traffic investigation reports. To be considered a motor vehicle fatality in the state of Hawaiʻi, a fatal crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a traffic way customarily open to the public and must result in a death of at least one person (occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist) within 30 days of the crash. The data is provided for highway safety and educational purposes only.

According to the data, 495 fatal crashes occurred in the state of Hawaiʻi between 2012 to 2016. The primary contributing factor to 188 (38%) of those crashes was alcohol. Drugs was the contributing factor to 90 (18%) of those crashes, followed by speeding resulting in 52 (10.5%) of the fatal crashes.

According to HDOT data, on Hawaiʻi island there were 112 fatal crashes that occurred between 2012 and 2016. Alcohol was the primary factor in 41 (36.6%) of the fatalities, followed by drugs with 26 (23.2%).

Pavement condition data is gathered through Laser Crack Measurement System, a remote sensing method that compiles three-dimensional information, such as cracking or rutting, on roadways. The LCMS data HDOT uses is gathered by a vehicle mounted unit that drives over state roads on a biennial basis (each individual road under state jurisdiction is surveyed once every other year).

The majority of roads on Hawaiʻi island were considered fair.

Datasets such as the pavement conditions and average annual daily traffic figures will be updated on an annual basis. HDOT says fatal crash data is updated as traffic incident reports are finalized and the last year of available data is 2016.

The ESRI powered map is currently optimized for the Chrome browser. Questions or comments on the map may be sent to [email protected]

Stop Flu at School Vaccination Clinics Start Today

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s annual Stop Flu at School program begins today, Nov. 1, and will continue in more than 167 public schools statewide through Dec. 21, 2017.

The voluntary program administers free flu shots to Hawai‘i students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled at participating schools. (See below for participating Hawai‘i county schools and dates).

The DOH says approximately 35,000 students are expected to be vaccinated during the seven-week program.

“Vaccination is our best defense against the flu,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “Since flu can cause severe illness in people of all ages, we encourage everyone to talk to their doctor to learn more and get vaccinated.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older. The CDC says that each year, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths in the United States.

In addition to vaccination for everyone six months of age and older, DOH recommends other flu prevention strategies, which include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently.

For those unable to be vaccinated through the Stop Flu at School program, flu vaccine is available through healthcare provider offices, clinics, and pharmacies. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies statewide, visit the DOH Vaccine Locator.

Click here for more information about the Stop Flu at School program or call the Aloha United Way’s information and referral line at 2-1-1.


Nov. 1-7, 2017

Kau Learning Academy – 11/1
Naalehu Elementary & Intermediate – 11/1
West Hawaii Explorations PCS – 11/1
DeSilva Elementary – 11/2
Kaumana Elementary – 11/2
Konawaena Elementary – 11/2
Hilo Intermediate – 11/3
Holualoa Elementary – 11/3
Hilo Union Elementary – 11/7
Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino – 11/7

Nov. 8-14, 2017

Honaunau Elementary – 11/8
Ke Kula Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Lab PCS – 11/8
Keaau Elementary – 11/9
Kohala Elementary – 11/9
Kohala Middle – 11/9
Ka Umeke Kaeo PCS – 11/13
Waiakea Elementary – 11/13
Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate – 11/14
Kealakehe Elementary – 11/14

Nov. 15-21, 2017

Innovations PCS – 11/15
Mountain View Elementary – 11/15
Kahakai Elementary – 11/16
Pahoa Elementary – 11/16
Pahoa High & Intermediate – 11/16
Honokaa High & Intermediate – 11/17
Keaau Middle – 11/17
Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate – 11/17
Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School – 11/20
Volcano School of Arts & Sciences PCS – 11/21
Waikoloa Elementary & Middle – 11/21
Waters of Life NCPCS – 11/21

Nov. 22-30, 2017

Waiakeawaena Elementary – 11/22
Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary – 11/27
Connections NCPCS – 11/28
Honokaa Elementary – 11/28
Waimea Elementary – 11/28
Haaheo Elementary – 11/29
Kanu o ka Aina NCPCS – 11/30
Kau High & Pahala Elementary – 11/30


Dec. 1-19, 2017

Waimea Middle PCCS – 12/1
Keonepoko Elementary – 12/6
Kealakehe Intermediate – 12/7
Ke Ana Laahana PCS – 12/8
Keaukaha Elementary – 12/8
Hookena Elementary – 12/19

Trump to Stay in Waikiki – Temporary Flight Restrictions Ordered for Hawaii Visit

The following airspace on Oahu has been restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Hawaii while President Donald Trump is on Oahu.The coordinates of this restriction also reflect that he may be staying in Waikiki during his visit from Nov. 3 to 4, 2017.