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EPA, State of Hawaii Receive Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Tank Upgrade Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) are reviewing the draft Tank Upgrade Study for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility as part of a 2015 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with the Navy. The Navy study provides in-depth conceptual design information for six upgrade options, but does not recommend one option. EPA, DOH and the Navy will use the study, along with community input and other work produced under the agreement, to select the final upgrade option.

Click to view

“This report provides EPA and DOH with information for us to evaluate as the Navy progresses in upgrading the Red Hill tanks,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work is proceeding under our enforceable agreement with the U.S. Navy as EPA and DOH oversee long-term solutions for the Red Hill facility to protect public health and Hawaii’s aquifers.”

A public information workshop will be held in spring 2018 to explain the report and allow EPA, DOH and the Navy to respond to questions and concerns from the community. After the workshop, the Navy will propose a tank upgrade option. EPA and DOH will hold a second public meeting about the Navy’s proposed upgrade decision before approving or disapproving the Navy’s proposal.

The Red Hill Tank Upgrade Study considered more than 30 different approaches to physical improvements to the tanks. Six of the 30 were ultimately selected for in-depth study and evaluated for 20 factors ranging from construction challenges and cost to inspection and maintenance requirements. Three improvement options use a single-walled tank system and three are double-walled systems.

“The Red Hill tank upgrade is an important issue to Hawaii residents, and the AOC outlines a process of careful analysis and decision-making that will result in the most appropriate final outcomes at the facility,” said Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Health. “The Navy has met an important milestone in delivering this assessment of potential tank upgrade options.”

The Tank Upgrade Study and the Navy’s decision process for proposing a tank upgrade option are available for public review and comment at https://www.epa.gov/red-hill/tank-upgrade-alternatives-red-hill.  Any questions, comments or concerns related to the Red Hill Facility can be directed to DOH and EPA by sending an e-mail to red-hill@epa.gov or contacting agency representatives identified on our Red Hill websites.

In January 2014, while refilling Tank 5, the Navy identified a loss of jet fuel from the tank and reported it to DOH, estimating that about 27,000 gallons was released. The Navy drained the tank and collected samples from existing water monitoring wells. Results of samples taken around Tank 5 indicated a spike in levels of hydrocarbons. The Navy increased the frequency of monitoring at a nearby Navy drinking water well, and current monitoring results for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system confirmed they were in compliance with federal and state drinking water standards both before and after the January release.

Red Hill, constructed in the 1940s, is a unique facility in the United States, consisting of 20 underground bulk fuel storage tanks built into a mountain hillside. Each tank is 250 feet tall and 100 feet in diameter, constructed of steel and encased in a minimum of 2.5 to 4 feet of concrete surrounded by basalt bedrock. Each tank has a fuel storage capacity of 12.5 to 12.7 million gallons, giving the facility a maximum capacity of approximately 250 million gallons. Eighteen tanks are currently active, and two are not in use.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/red-hill and http://health.hawaii.gov/RedHill.

Half of Hawaii’s Coral Bleached in One Year

Scientists estimate that beaching affected 56 percent of the coral around the Big Island, 44 percent of that along West Maui and 32 percent around Oahu over a one-year period spanning 2014-2015.

Researchers recently completed an 88-day expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai to survey two remote regions in the Pacific. First, they traveled to the islands of Jarvis, Howland, Baker and Wake, all part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Then they traversed to the Mariana Archipelago, working their way up the island chain from the populated islands in the south to remote locations in the north.

map of mission area

During the expedition, researchers collected data to evaluate climate and ocean change, coral ecosystem health, and the extent of coral bleaching. Scientists with NOAA, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, San Diego University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution participated in the mission.

1. Coral Bleaching in the Pacific

The Pacific Islands experienced unusually warm ocean temperatures in the last few years, during the longest global coral bleaching event on record to date. Prior to the bleaching event, Jarvis Island had very high coral cover. Preliminary surveys in 2015 and 2016 indicated that most coral colonies died due to coral bleaching. While at Jarvis in 2017, researchers surveyed these coral reef communities and assessed the recovery potential from the thermal stress that caused the coral to bleach.
All images courtesy of NOAA:
Coral reef colonies near Jarvis Island; Image credit:Tate Wester

2. Bumphead Parrotfish

The giant bumphead parrotfish is an amazing fish that can live to be 40 years old, growing up to four feet long and 100 pounds. They use their large head bumps to literally bump heads during competitive displays, when large numbers of fish aggregate to spawn on a lunar cycle. Researchers saw many bumpheads during their first day at Wake Island. The bumphead parrotfish has been heavily targeted by fishing throughout much of it’s range and is now considered globally rare by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The giant Bumphead parrotfish; credit: Andrew E. Gray
 3. Reef Life

On the east side of Agrihan Island, an octopus takes off across the rocky reef after being discovered by a diver. All reef life is important, including this clever invertebrate. These fascinating creatures can rapidly change color to blend in with their surroundings, making them difficult to spot.

octopus near Agrihan Island; credit Louise Giuseffi)
 4. Crown-of-thorns Sea Stars

The scientists found many crown-of-thorns sea stars at Alamagan Island. These prickly invertebrates feed on coral tissue. Here, the sea star leaves only the skeleton of this Acropora coral in its wake. In large numbers, they can do significant damage to coral reefs, but in small numbers, they are a natural key component of the coral reef ecosystem.

Crown-of-thorns sea stars at Alamagan Island; credit: Keisha Bahr
 5. A Rare Sighting

An extremely rare sighting at Farallon de Pajaros, scientists found this female angelfish after completing their fish survey. Little is published about this species beyond aquarium enthusiast blogs. Some describe it as being endemic to the Bonin or Osagawara Islands just south of Japan, although the researchers discovered this fish within the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument waters during their expedition.

Rare anglefish species; credit: NOAA, Andrew E. Gray)
 6. Volcanic Vents

Underwater volcanic vents near the Maug Islands release carbon dioxide gas that cause surrounding waters to acidify—a localized example of how carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere cause global climate change and ocean acidification. Maug’s carbon dioxide vents occur near coral reef ecosystems, allowing scientists to glimpse the future of these ecosystems along a naturally occurring gradient of changing ocean chemistry conditions.

Maug's underwater volcanic vents; credit: Kaylyn McCoy)
 7. Bubble Coral

Despite their appearance, these Plerogyra corals, also known as bubble coral, are actually a type of Scleractinian, or hard coral. The tissue is soft and bubble-like, and hides the hard skeleton underneath.

Bubble coral; credit: Tate Wester
 8. Colorful Nudibranch

Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) uncover many beautiful creatures, including this nudibranch. a nudibranch; credit: Ingrid Knapp)

9. Healthy Coral

Corals at Pagan Island seem to have fared much better than other areas hit hardest by the recent global coral bleaching event. Here is a close-up of an Acropora coral (typically more susceptible to bleaching events), which appears to be doing just fine.
healthy coral in Pagan; credit: Ingrid Knapp
 10. Stars in the Sand

If you look closely in the sand, sometimes you can find “star dust,” or the star-shaped skeletal remains of Foraminifera, microscopic unicellular organisms that form an important part of the marine food chain.

Star-shaped skeletal remains of Foraminifera, microscopic unicellular protists; credit: Louise Giuseffi)

TODAY at 4:00 – Hawaii Representative to Participate in Protest Against Trump

State Representative Kaniela Saito Ing will join “Resistance” groups at 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Hawaii State Capitol to send a clear message to President Donald Trump who is visiting Oahu before embarking on a trip to Asia.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing will hold a sign that reads “Aloha means goodbye.”

“Aloha is a Hawaiian value rooted in the idea of love for one another, that we are all connected. I deeply support this concept,” said Rep. Ing. “But in order for Hawaii to remain a welcoming place of tolerance and aloha, we need to draw the line at leaders who incite fear and hate for personal gain. Trump rose to power by telling whole groups of people – ¬like immigrants, women, and transgendered individuals – that they are not welcome in our society.

“Hawaii is the most diverse state in the nation, and just a few days ago Trump literally said, ‘Diversity sounds like a good thing, but it is not a good thing.’ That statement alone undermines the values that make Hawaii, Hawaii. So yes, aloha means ‘hello,’ but it also means ‘goodbye.’ ”

Ing explained that Trump’s policy is personal to him and many others in Hawaii.

“My grandfather was a Japanese-American WW II veteran who fought overseas for our country, despite facing discrimination back home,” Ing said. “This administration evidently supports the idea of internment camps, in 2017, people.

“I’m afraid of turning on the news around my toddler son because I fear this president will teach him it’s OK to sexually assault women. We cannot afford to normalize any of this behavior.”

Ing will also be marching and speaking at the “The Nightmare Must Go!” protest at Ala Moana Beach Park starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 4.

HDOT Statement on President Trump’s Motorcade Movements

Due to security protocols, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is not provided advance information regarding the President’s specific travel plans, times and routes. We will release any sharable information with the public as soon as possible. During previous presidential visits, the Secret Service has directed intermittent closures in both directions of the traveled roadway, in addition to closing onramps, overpasses and underpasses on the route.

Temporary Flight Restrictions are also in place.

Publicly available information suggests that presidential motorcade movements may result in delays on the following routes; however, motorists are encouraged to account for extra travel time Friday between 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • 2-3 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki
  • 4-5 p.m. Westbound closures from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor
  • 7-8 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki

HDOT will extend Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) hours to 8 p.m. Friday to assist any motorists in their service area of the H-1 Freeway between Kunia to Ainakoa Avenue, the H-201 Moanalua Freeway, and the H-2 Freeway from the H-1/H-2 interchange to Ka Uka Boulevard. Motorists needing emergency roadside assistance should call 841-HELP (4357). More information on FSP is available at www.fsphawaii.com

As always, we strongly encourage drivers to use the many applications and resources available to check up to the minute traffic conditions. HDOT offers www.GoAkamai.org which is a website with current traffic conditions and incidents on the state freeways, 200 traffic cameras around Oahu, drive times and more. With the free MyGoAkamai feature drivers can receive customized alerts and information pertinent to their specific route, time and day they are on the road. Looking at traffic conditions in advance can help people decide which route is best or if they should adjust the time they start their trip. There are also a variety of other free traffic related applications and services available to help people with their planning. Drivers should feel free to use whichever resource they are comfortable with. People should look up the information on their devices prior to getting behind the wheel of their car. Remember to drive safely and obey traffic laws.

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.

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.

DLNR, Moanalua Gardens Foundation Repairing Kamananui Valley Road October 2017-2018

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), O‘ahu Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF), in conjunction with Community Planning & Engineering, Inc. (CPE) have begun road repairs to the Kamananui Valley Road in Moanalua Valley. Kamananui Valley Road and the popular Kulana‘ahane hiking trail will remain open during regular trail hours; however, some phases of the project will require periodic, full-valley closures.

DLNR Photo

Initial stages of construction began October 16, 2017. The project will end by October 31, 2018, and will repair and extend 11 major stream crossings. These repairs will improve safety for all valley users by redirecting water flow and mitigating erosion. Additional work will allow better access for service vehicles by leveling deeply rutted portions and removing large boulders.

The project, authorized during the Legislature Regular Sessions of 2013 and 2014, is a capital improvement project (CIP) which received a total of $1,650,000 in general obligation bond funds. Funding supported planning, design, and construction for the project and was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. MGF entered a memorandum of understanding with DLNR to support portions of the project that take place in portions of Kamananui Valley located within the Moanalua portion of the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve.

Safety notice

Public access will remain open for the duration of the project. However, users are advised to exercise caution when visiting Moanalua Valley. Construction will occur every weekday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. In this time, pedestrians will be asked to yield to all motorized traffic and heed warning signs that delineate high-risk areas. Families are also asked to closely supervise all children and family pets while on-trail. Noise, dust, and periodic delays may alter the expected user experience.

To ensure the best hiking experience, O‘ahu DOFAW encourages hikers to consider visiting the valley during non-construction hours or traveling to other State-sanctioned trails. Regular visitation to Kamananui Valley Road will resume after 3:30 pm on weekdays, till sunset, and during daylight hours on weekends. Full valley closures will be issued one month in advance by Oahu DOFAW.

Potential visitors to Moanalua Valley are encouraged to visit the Na Ala Hele, DOFAW Trail and Access website at:  hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov for up-to-date project information and alternate routes. Hunting permits for Moanalua Valley will be issued on a case-by-case basis. For more hunting information, please contact the DOFAW offices at (808) 587-0166 or via email at dlnr@hawaii.gov

Real Estate Commision to Hold “Condorama” Education Event

The Real Estate Commission, together with Community Association Institute Hawaiʻi Chapter (CAI) will hold a free “Condorama” event at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol Auditorium on Saturday, November 4, 2017.  The event runs from 9:00 am – 11:00 am and will feature three speakers recognized in the condominium community for their expertise in law, property management and insurance.

In collaboration with the Real Estate Commission, the Community Associations Institute of Hawaiʻi provided the speakers for this event and will assist with condominium education outreach for the public.

The event is open to the public and registration is available online at www.caihawaii.org. For more information the public can call the Real Estate Branch at 808-586‑2643.

AGENDA

8:30 a.m.  – 9:00 a.m.                        Registration

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.                         Welcome and Introductions

9:10 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.                         Do’s & Don’ts of Association Contracts. Lance Fujisaki, Esq. – Partner, Anderson Lahne & Fujisaki

9:40 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.                       Communication, Meets & Volunteerism. Kanani Kaopua – VP, Hawaiian Properties, Ltd.

10:10  a.m. – 10:40 a.m.                    Insurance – How Much is Enough. Sue Savio – President, Insurance Associates, Inc.

10:40 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.                     Questions & Answers

10:55 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.                     Evaluations & Adjournment

Responders Continue Efforts to Remove Fishing Vessel Grounded Off Honolulu – Pacific Paradise Catches Fire

Responders will continue efforts to remove the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise aground off Honolulu Sunday.

At first light the salvage team will reassess the vessel and attempt another towing evolution if weather allows this to be done safely.

The vessel remained grounded Saturday despite several attempts to tow it from the reef located off Waikiki’s Kaimana Beach during the most favorable tide.

During work to dewater the vessel gasoline used to fuel a dewatering pump splashed on hot surfaces causing it to ignite and start a fire aboard. The seven members of the salvage team abandoned ship, were picked up by Ocean Safety crews, and returned to the salvage vessel with no injuries.

Surf lessons continued as the Pacific Paradise fishing boat continued to burn off-shore of Kaimana Beach. Photo via Kaimana Pine

Hawaii Fire Department crew dropped water on the vessel from a helicopter with a bambi bucket attached knocking down the blaze to a smolder. The fire rendered the vessel unsafe to board. Salvage crews continued efforts to tow the vessel making little progress and were forced to cease towing operations as the tide went out.

Front row seats to Honolulu Fire Department’s Air 1 effort at extinguishing the flames. Photo via Kaimana Pine

A release of roughly 200 gallons of diesel fuel was detected by responders. Until crews can access the vessel and survey the damage it is unknown exactly where this release came from. After lightening efforts during the week two-thirds of the fuel was removed along with the marine batteries leaving a maximum of 1,500 gallons aboard prior to the release of fuel.

NOAA crews are standing by to assist marine mammals as necessary, none have been affected thus far. The Department of Health has also reached out to residents and beach goers in the area to caution them against swimming in the vicinity of the vessel and discuss water quality monitoring.

A safety zone remains in effect around the vessel extending out 500 yards in all directions. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittieake (WPB 87316) will remain on scene to monitor the vessel and enforce the safety zone.

Partners in the effort include personnel in several divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party, commercial salvors and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel are forecast as 28 mph winds with 3 to 5 foot waves and a long 3-foot south southwest swell. Rain showers are possible. These conditions are expected to remain through midweek. The vessel is somewhat sheltered from the wind by Diamond Head as it’s on the south shore of Oahu.

The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports that the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. Those crewmen were released to Customs and Border Protection. The cause of the grounding remains under investigation.

Response to Grounded Vessel Off Honolulu Continues

Responders continue work, Friday, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf.

Responders continue work, Oct. 12, 2017, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf. The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides after removing about two thirds of the the fuel aboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

“We are working diligently with the salvage team and our partners to ensure a safe and deliberate response,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “The safety of the public and the environment remain our top priority. We have removed about two-thirds of the fuel aboard significantly reducing the pollution threat. Due to the tides and incoming weather we have transitioned to the towing evolution to take advantage of our best window for removal of the vessel prior to the arrival of stronger winds, surf and swells this weekend.”

The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides.

Roughly 3,000 gallons of fuel was removed by the salvage team before operations were suspended Thursday. Approximately 1,500 gallons remain.

Further assessment by the salvage team Thursday revealed the initial amount of fuel aboard to be 4,500 total gallons of diesel, less than previously reported. No pollution has been sighted in the water or on shore.

A safety zone remains in effect around the vessel extending out 500 yards in all directions from position 21-15.69N 157-49.49W. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations.

Partners in the effort include personnel in several divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party, commercial salvors and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel are 11 mph with waves of up to 3 feet with a long south southwest swell. Rain showers are possible. These conditions are expected to degrade through the weekend. Weather for Oahu is forecast as 25 mph winds with wind waves to 6 feet, but the vessel is somewhat sheltered from the wind by Diamond Head as it’s on the south shore of Oahu.

The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports that the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

Responders Work to Remove Fuel, Vessel Grounded Off Honolulu

Responders are working to lighter all potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu.“The safety of the public is our primary concern as we work with our state partners and responsible party to address the potential pollution threat and salvage the vessel,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and captain of the port. “I want to thank our state and federal partners who worked with us to affect a safe rescue of the crew and continue to work with us on the response. The Coast Guard is also investigating the cause of the grounding.”

An incident management team has been established. The Coast Guard is working with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party and commercial salvors to mitigate the potential pollution threat and salvage the vessel. The salvage team is stabilizing the vessel with anchors and will attempt to lighter the vessel fully before dark Wednesday with the intent to remove it from the reef during the next optimum high tide, currently forecast for late morning Thursday.

Approximately 8,000 gallons of diesel, 55 gallons of lube and hydraulic oils and four marine batteries are reported aboard.

A safety zone has been established and is being patrolled by Coast Guard crews. The vessel is about 1,000 feet offshore of Kaimana Beach. The zone extends 500 yards in all directions from position 21-15.69N 157-49.49W. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations.

The Coast Guard is working with NOAA’s marine mammal protection division, sanctuaries division, Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Fisheries and DLNR to minimize impact to any marine mammals. DLNR’s divisions of Aquatic Resources, Boating and Ocean Recreation and the HEER and DOH are assisting in evaluating and minimizing risks to aquatic resources from the grounding and salvage operations and potential fuel spills. No marine mammals have been impacted. Coast Guard survey crews will walk to the beaches as an additional impact assessment tool.

Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. The crew was released to Customs and Border Protection personnel for further action.
The Pacific Paradise a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. The vessel’s last port of call was American Samoa and they were en route to the commercial port of Honolulu. No injuries or pollution are reported. Weather at the time of the incident was not a factor.

1% Transient Accommodations Tax Increase Takes Effect January 1, 2018

Please be advised that, effective January 1, 2018, the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) applied to lodging accommodations in the State of Hawaii will be increased by 1%, raising the TAT from its current rate of 9.25% to 10.25%. This increase is scheduled to stay in effect until December 31, 2030.

The TAT increase is being put into effect to help pay for Honolulu’s rapid transit system that is currently under construction. The light metro rail system will extend 20 miles from Kapolei in Leeward Oahu to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu with 21 stations along the way, including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the State of Hawaii’s main port of entry for air transportation.

Following is a summary of State taxes that will be applied by lodging properties statewide when the 1% TAT increase takes effect on January 1, 2018:

Oahu
4.712%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.962%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Maui County / Island of Hawaii / Kauai
4.166%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.416%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Click here to see the notice issued by the Hawaii State Department of Taxation providing detailed information about the changes in State law that applies to the 1% TAT increase.

Any questions regarding the implementation of the 1% TAT increase should be directed to the Hawaii State Department of Taxation via email at Tax.Rules.Office@hawaii.gov or by calling 808-587-1530.

Coast Guard, HFD Rescue 20 Fishermen From Aground Vessel Off Honolulu

Twenty fishermen were transported to shore from an aground vessel less than a half mile off Honolulu early Wednesday morning.

 

Honolulu Fire Department Jet Ski crews transported fishermen from the vessel to a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium for further transport to awaiting emergency responders at Ala Wai Harbor. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew hoisted two of the fishermen and the master of the vessel and transported them to Honolulu airport.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received three reports of the 79-foot commercial fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded off Diamond Head near the Outrigger Canoe Club Channel Tuesday night. They responded by directing the launch of response assets.

The RB-M crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu arrived on scene at 11:48 p.m. Tuesday followed by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point at midnight. HFD Jet Ski, boat and shore crews also arrived on scene.The Pacific Paradise is homeported in Honolulu and the vessel’s last port of call was American Samoa. No injuries were reported.

The vessel is carrying a maximum of 13,000 gallons of diesel as well as assorted lube and hydraulic oils. No pollution has been reported. Further evaluation will be done after first light.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding. Responders will work with the owner to assess damage and develop a salvage plan.

Weather at the time of the incident was reportedly winds at 11 mph, seas 1-foot or less with partly cloudy skies.

Hawai`i Department of Health Approves Fourth Dispensary to Begin Retail Sales of Medical Cannabis

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a formal notice to proceed to Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Noa Botanicals is the fourth licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state (and the second on O‘ahu) to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The licensed retail center for Noa Botanicals is located at 1308 Young Street in Honolulu, and the dispensary expects to begin sales at the site this month.

“We are continuing to closely work with both the licensed dispensaries and private laboratories in each of the counties to help them meet all of the requirements as efficiently as possible without compromising product or patient safety,” said Keith Ridley, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program for the Hawaii State Department of Health.

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by the Hawaii Department of Health.

The other licensed retail centers are:

  • Maui Grown Therapies, located at 44 Pa‘a Street in Kahului, Maui, which was the first licensed dispensary in Hawai‘i to receive a notice to proceed on Aug. 8, 2017;
  • Aloha Green, in the Interstate Building at 1314 South King Street in Honolulu, received its notice to proceed on Aug. 9, 2017; and
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC, at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului, Maui, was the second Maui dispensary to receive a notice to proceed on Sept. 29, 2017.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure O‘ahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. The two Maui dispensaries include Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies; and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. The one dispensary located on Kaua‘i is Green Aloha, Ltd. Each licensed dispensary is an independent business and operates based on their individual business plans.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program is available at www.health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Online Tool to Streamline Solar Application Process

Customers submitting new applications to install private rooftop solar can now complete the process entirely online using a new tool launched by the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

The Customer Interconnection Tool (CIT) is believed to be the first of its kind to provide a seamless, start-to-finish online solar application process that allows customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to check the status of their applications. The tool provides a user-friendly interface to guide contractors and customers through all steps of the Customer Self-Supply program application process, from submittal to finalizing the agreement.

“We’re excited to offer a streamlined electronic process to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service. “The tool is able to show customers exactly where they are in the application process, which eliminates guesswork. This is one more way to make interacting with our companies as smooth and as easy as possible.”

CIT allows applicants to submit all of their information, including electronic documents, online. For convenience, customers and their designated representatives will have the ability to submit electronic signatures as well.

Applicants are prompted to provide required documentation, reducing the potential for delays caused by errors of omission. The tool also automatically calculates the system size based on four design guidelines, which simplifies the procedure.

Customers will receive regular status updates by email as various milestones are reached, keeping them informed every step of the way.

For more information, visit:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/DistributedEnergyResources

www.hawaiianelectric.com/CITonline

Monk Seal Drops in at Haumana Bay Nature Preserve

Early morning visitors to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in East Oahu were delighted to see a Hawaiian monk seal resting on the beach.  At first, it was thought the seal might be “Rocky,” the female who pupped a seal on Kaimana Beach over the summer, prompting worldwide media attention for mom and her precocious pup.  Since Rocky has never been tagged, volunteers and staff from Hawai’i Marine Animal Response (HMAR) now say they can’t be sure of this seals identity.

DLNR Photo

Seals “haul-out” at Hanauma Bay regularly, but typically up onto the rocky tidal shelves on either side of the popular snorkeling destination. Swimmers report the seal was swimming parallel to the beach prior to it hauling out on the sand on the left side of the beach at about 6:50 a.m.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case and DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson happened to be at the bay for a tour and helped set up cones around the resting seal to keep curious people and photographers back.  HMAR staff and volunteers arrived a little later and set up caution signs.  Shortly after nine the seal went back into the water and was last seen swimming back toward the open ocean.

DLNR Photo

Its visit this morning again highlights the safe viewing recommendations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DLNR, HMAR and other partners. Basically, people are asked to keep a safe distance from seals resting or sleeping on the beach.  Harassing endangered Hawaiian monk seals in any way violates both federal and state marine mammal protection laws.

NBA Stars Help Open a Newly Refurbished Computer Lab for Students

Stevenson Middle School and the L.A. Clippers Foundation dedicated a newly refurbished computer lab earlier today before students, teachers and special guests, along with members of the L.A. Clippers Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan also joined the dedication ceremony with a special appearance by the team’s mascot, Chuck the Condor.

Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers with students on new computers in the Stevenson Middle School lab.

“Our students are so thankful for the wonderful generosity of the L.A. Clippers Foundation. The new computers will provide technology access to more students,” said Principal Linell Dilwith. “We want to thank the Hawaii Tourism Authority for connecting us with the L.A. Clippers Foundation, and a big mahalo to the foundation and Denise Booth for their hard work in making this new computer lab a reality.”

The Clippers’ mascot, Chuck the Condor, tries his hand (or wing?) on the ukulele with students.

Stevenson Middle received a donation of nearly $40,000 in computer equipment from the L.A. Clippers Foundation, including 30 HP ProDesk desktops, two Canon wireless printers and a 55-inch television for instruction. In addition to converting the classroom into a computer lab, the donation will also provide a new central air conditioning unit for the room.

“These are not just computers,” said Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the L.A. Clippers, “they’re windows to the world that I hope make learning fun. That’s really what we want to do. We want to make coming to school a better experience for students.”

Students, Gillian Zucker, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, VP Sonja Samsonas and Principal Linell Dilwith untie the official maile lei opening Stevenson Middle’s refurbished computer lab.

The computer lab will be accessible to all students for the school’s digital and online programs. Stevenson’s Media/Photography Club will be housed in the new lab and will use the equipment to produce the student newsletter and document school activities. Coincidentally, the computer lab happens to have a special room number — 213 — which corresponds to Chuck the Condor’s jersey number and LA’s area code.

Lawmakers Seek Answers After Loud Party Allowed to Continue Following Repeated Calls to Police

Following a loud, late-night party with about 1,000 people in an open Kakaako parking lot September 23, State and City representatives want the Mayor to delve into why the Honolulu Police Department did nothing to shut the event down.

Rep. Scott K. Saiki, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, and City Councilmembers Ann Kobayshi and Carol Fukunaga sent a letter to Mayor Kirk Caldwell asking him to investigate the reason or reasons that police responded to many 911 calls that night about the noise but took no action to close down the unpermitted event.

“The party was held in a parking lot in a residential area and went on late into the night,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “This is clearly not the place for this type of event and should not be allowed to happen again.”

The lawmakers and residents believe the property owner and partygoers should have been cited for disorderly conduct due to the “unreasonable noise.”

“These residents suffered through a loud party right next to their homes,” said Councilmember Ann Kobayshi. “This should have been stopped immediately.”

In the letter, the lawmakers also ask the Mayor to contact the property owner and request that he voluntarily agree not to hold similar events in the parking lot located at 975 Kapiolani Blvd.

The lawmakers are requesting an immediate inquiry to HPD and information on its response.

Party letter full

Halona Street Bridge Replacement Project Completed on Schedule

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are pleased to announce the completion of the Halona Street Bridge replacement project on time and within budget nine months after construction began. On Friday, Governor David Ige was joined by federal and state officials in a blessing ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new bridge and road.

View of the Halona Street Bridge from Kohou Street.

“This project is a result of positive coordination between federal and state agencies working together for a common goal of improving transportation infrastructure,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are proud to be working with the FHWA on a dozen additional projects that will benefit Hawaii’s residents and visitors across the state.”

“The successful completion of the Halona Street bridge project exemplifies the virtues of applying innovation to successfully advance transportation improvement projects,” said FHWA’s Central Federal Lands project manager Mike Will. “Prefabricated bridge elements, Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil and contracting innovations where industry is allowed to innovatively compete on both price and contract time, were contributing elements to early project completion.”

Gov. David Ige, area residents and legislators, representatives from the Federal Highways project team, and Kahu Kordell Kekoa gather to bless the new Halona Street Bridge. From Left to Right: Nida Laganse; Nieves Joaquin; Ralph Rizzo, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Hawaii Division Administrator; Sen. Donna Mercado Kim; Dusty Escamilla, FHWA Regional Engineer; Gov. David Ige; Rep. Takushi Ohno; Jane Higa; Florence Higa; Kahu Kordell Kekoa

The improvement project is an example of positive collaboration between Federal and State government. The project cost to replace the structurally deficient bridge was $7.2 million, 80 percent of which was provided by federal funding and 20 percent from HDOT Highways Division revenue.

The bridge was originally built in 1938. Construction began January 2017. Project highlights included replacing the bridge foundation, pavement and railings, as well as replacing the water and gas lines beneath the bridge, all of which improve the safety and reliability of the structure.

Halona Street has reopened for use connecting North Vineyard Boulevard to Houghtailing Street. We thank all the residents who live near the construction site and along the detour route for their patience as crews worked on the necessary improvements.

For more information on the Halona Street Bridge project or the additional bridge and highway improvement projects being delivered through the federal and state partnership, please visit https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/hi/hidot/.

Pearl Harbor Welcomes USS Chicago to New Homeport

The Pearl Harbor submarine community welcomed the crew and families of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721) to Hawaii following a homeport change from Guam, Sept. 28.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Sept. 28, 2017) Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a change of homeport from Guam. Chicago steamed hundreds of thousands of nautical miles in support of national and Pacific Fleet objectives, and participated in numerous national and international exercises while based in Guam over the past five years. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton)

“The crew and I were sad to leave Guam, but at the same time we’re excited to see our new home and start the next chapter for Chicago,” said Cmdr. Brian Turney, commanding officer of the submarine. “We are very happy to finally be in Hawaii and reunited with our families.”

Shifting a boat from one port to another can be a complicated task involving, families, Sailors and many civilian and military organizations working together, and Chicago was no different.

“It took a lot of planning and communication across many organizations to accomplish this change of homeport,” said Turney.

Turney thanked the Chicago’s Ombudsman Kalyn Kasten for her hard work ensuring families were taken care of during the transition.

“I just wanted to make sure all the families were squared away,” said Kasten. “That meant ensuring things like their pay was up to date, and they were met at the airport by someone.”

Kasten also said that while she loved Guam, she was excited to be in Hawaii and try new activities.
Chicago is scheduled for a maintenance period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Once complete, the boat will return to the fleet ready to support the nation as one of the most advanced submarines in the world.

Turney noted how effective the Chicago has been in recent operations while maintaining a robust schedule.

“Since 2012, Chicago served as the tip of the spear in Guam,” said Turney. “She steamed hundreds of thousands of nautical miles in support of national and Pacific Fleet objectives, and participated in numerous national and international exercises.”

Now that the boat has arrived in Pearl Harbor and the focus of the crew will shift to work in port and capitalizing on local training opportunities.

Chicago was commissioned September 27, 1986, and is the Navy’s 34th Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine. Measuring 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Chicago has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Chicago is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The submarine is now assigned to Submarine Squadron 7 headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.