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Mary Begier and Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce Presented With Community Hero Awards

Hawaii Invasive Species Council Recognizes Commitment to Malama Mauna Kea

Hawaii residents and visitors alike appreciate the wonderful diversity of life in the islands.  Invasive species however, threaten this diversity and are both harmful to the environment, economy, or human health; and are not native to the area where they are a problem.

Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week is intended to increase awareness of such concerns among visitors, residents, elected officials, and other community leaders while recognizing the outstanding contributions coming from all segments of society in protecting Hawaii from invasive species.

Senator Malama Solomon and  Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon and Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon presented Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce with the 2013 Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) Community Hero Award in a ceremony on Monday, March 4th during the first annual Hawaii Invasive Species Council Award ceremony at the State Capitol Auditorium. The Community Hero Award recognizes a community member or community based group that has been a shining example of dedication to prevent or manage invasive species.  Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber shine brightly in their commitment to help support the Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM),  University of Hawaii at Hilo in  its efforts to implement the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The CMP is an integrated planning tool for resource management for the UH Management Areas on Mauna Kea including the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and the Summit Access Road.  During the approval process of the CMP, Begier and the Chamber pledged to become more involved in community-based stewardship of Mauna Kea and assisted the OMKM  by rallying its members with a call for volunteers for invasive weed pulls beginning in March 2012.  Thus launching OMKM’s community invasive species control program.
In 2012, the invasive weed pull program included over 110 volunteer days totaling more than 800 volunteer hours removing several hundred bags of invasive weeds  (fireweed, mullein, telegraph weed, and others)  from the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and along the summit access road corridor.

“Stakeholder participation is critical to our programs to malama Mauna Kea and is an effective tool to help us manage the resources within UH’s managed lands on Mauna Kea. Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce have supported our efforts  from day one. When we started the discussion on engaging volunteers, they quickly pitched the business community and helped us raise awareness and understanding in addressing invasive species management issues,” said Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata.

“The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce members volunteer and collaborate as advocates for those things that make Hawaii Island a great place to live,” said Vaughn Cook, HICC President. “Mary is one of those members who gets involved and keeps us all mindful of our community commitments.  As a chamber, we supported the development of the CMP. Mary’s determination to help the University of Hawaii successfully manage their lands on Mauna Kea quickly spread and today, many Hawaii Island Chamber members continue to volunteer and kokua Mauna Kea.”

In total, more than thirty-seven statewide nominations, including individuals and organizations were submitted for the 2013 HISC Awards. Mary Begier, and Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata attended the award presentation.

USARPAC Commander Outlines Hawaii’s Importance to Army at Community Leaders’ Talk

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski joined senior military leaders of the Pacific Command at the 11th annual Hawaii Military Partnership Conference Jan. 5 in Waikiki.


Wiercinski, the U.S. Army Pacific commander, and other PACOM component commanders from each of the services based in Hawaii, presented an overview of current and projected posturing of the U.S. military in Asia and the Pacific to the Military Affairs Council, the Chamber of Commerce and other officials.

Wiercinski stressed the importance of Army forces in the Pacific.

“I’m here today to talk about the Army,” he said. “What is a fact, is that in a geopolitical and economic sense, the Pacific is the future. And it is, in this century because you are seeing a fundamental shift from Europe to the Pacific of our forces, of our priorities and where we’re headed.”

He stressed the significance of Hawaii to USARPAC.

“Obviously our center of gravity is here in Hawaii. It’s where the majority of our forces are, it’s where the majority of our families live, it’s where our headquarters are located. But we have forces prepositioned and stationed around the entire Pacific realm.”

Solider deployments from USARPAC have played a critical role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wiercinski said. Since 2001, USARPAC has deployed 115,000 Soldiers from the U.S. Army Pacific into those areas.

The commander also praised the success of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii and its partnership with the local community.

“Our garrison here in Hawaii is the fourth largest garrison that we have in the Army. Just like we’ve signed a U.S. Army Covenant to our Families and our Soldiers, we’ve signed a Hawaii Covenant that is also a commitment to the people here in Hawaii, the local community and the ohana that we all belong. We have many forums that we conduct monthly, quarterly and yearly to make sure we’re staying on that path to meet our requirements and responsibilities. Some of the things that we do is teaching partnership and watching out for the environment and culture that is so rich here in Hawaii,” he said.

Admiral Willard talks to reporters at the 12th Annual Chief of Defense Conference

The keynote speaker at the conference was Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Commander. He said Hawaii, as the forward most state, is the most strategic in terms of entry into Asia and is an important region of the world.

County Council Candidate Forum, Thursday August 31st

The public is invited to a nonpartisan, moderated candidate forum.

Thursday, August 31, County Council Candidate Forum, 6 p.m. til 8 p.m.
Come early, food sales  benefit Kealakehe High Culinary Program and Rotary Sunrise by Tante’s Restaurant at 5 p.m.

County Council District 7, South Kona:  Incumbent Brenda Ford, Enoch Friere
County Council District 8, North Kona:  Incumbent Kelly Greenwell, Debbie Hecht , Angel Pilago, Jim Rath

Forum moderator is Sherry Bracken ,  news reporter for Hawaii Public Radio and host of the LAVA 105.3 fm and KKOA 107.7 fm weekly broadcast, Island Issues.
Please submit questions in advance to sherryb@lava105.com  or at the forum.  Questions call Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, 329-1758.


West Hawaii Today
Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce
Kohala Coast Resort Association
Kona Outdoor Circle
Community Enterprises – Kona Town Meetings
Rotary Sunrise and Tante’s Restaurant
LAVA 105.3 FM/Mahalo Broadcasting
Kealakehe High School