Crew for Second HI-SEAS Mission Announced – Next Extended Simulation of Mars Exploration Begins March 28

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has announced the crew for the second mission of the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program. The next extended simulation of Mars exploration here on Earth begins March 28.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

“The upcoming mission is focused on the social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time,” said Kim Binsted, associate professor at UH Mānoa and principal investigator for the next three HI-SEAS missions planned for 2014 and 2015.  “Hawai‘i provides a unique setting to simulate the challenging conditions for human exploration to Mars. We have selected a strong crew for our next four-month study.”

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

HI-SEAS crew members were required have “astronaut-like characteristics,” including the ability to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination and undergraduate training as a scientist or engineer. The youngest crew member is 26; the oldest is 60 years old.  Like the astronaut mission specialists they represent, each participant is expected to bring a significant research project or other scholarly work of his or her own to complete while inside the space analog habitat.

The six crew members and the reserve (alternate) member are:

  • Ross Lockwood – A PhD candidate in condensed matter physics at the University of Alberta. Ross is from Winfield, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Casey Stedman – An officer in the US Air Force Reserve. Born in Vermont, Casey now considers Washington his home.
  • Ronald Williams – Director of the Neuropsychology Department at Fort Wayne Neurological Center, Indiana. Ron holds a PhD in Neuropsychology and is from Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Tiffany Swarmer – Research assistant studying human factors and performance for long-duration space missions at the University of North Dakota’s Human Spaceflight Laboratory.  Tiffany was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
  • Lucie Poulet – A PhD candidate at the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center.  Lucie designs hybrid lighting systems for greenhouses to enhance plant growth and is from the Lorraine region of France.
  • Anne Caraccio – A NASA researcher developing a method of turning waste from space missions into useable gases for fuel/propulsion, environmental control, and life support systems. Anne is from Bellmore, New York.
  • (Reserve crew member) James Sakai, a mechanical engineer and Captain in the US Army Reserve, is from Rupert, Idaho.

During the upcoming study, researchers from outside of the HI-SEAS habitat will monitor the six crew members isolated inside the solar-powered dome at a remote site at 8,000 feet elevation on the slopes of Mauna Loa.  The researchers will evaluate the crew’s communications strategies, crew workload and job-sharing, and conflict resolution/conflict management approaches to determine the most important factors for the success of a long-duration space mission.

Food inventory by Sian

Food inventory by Sian

This mission follows on the heels of a successful 2013 Mars food study, which simulated the experience of astronauts on a real planetary mission and compared two types of food systems:  crew-cooked vs. pre-prepared.

More information, photos, and full biographies for the 2014 crew members are available on the HI-SEAS website at http://hi-seas.org/.  Members of the media can download high-resolution photos from the previous HI-SEAS mission at:  http://go.hawaii.edu/GQ

For more information, visit: http://hi-seas.org/

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Senator J. Kalani English’s Statement on Fatal Lanai Plane Crash

Senator J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs, today issued the following statement after learning of the fatal plane crash near Lāna‘i Airport:

Sen. J. Kalani English

Sen. J. Kalani English

“It is with great sadness that I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who passed in last night’s fatal plane crash on Lāna‘i. I continue to keep the survivors who are currently under the care of Queen’s Medical Center in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We lost two officials from Maui County’s Department of Planning and the pilot of the charter plane, with three others injured. They were on their way back from a Lāna‘i Planning Commission meeting that ended at 8:30 p.m. Their flight left around 9:05, about an hour after the last commercial flight leaving Lāna‘i. The Maui Planning Department officials played an integral part in development of the county and will be remembered for their service to the community.”

“Maui County has endured great tragedy in just a few months. We are still grieving the loss of Loretta Fuddy, Hawai‘i’s State health director, to a plane crash off the shores of Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.

“As a unique and isolated county, small chartered planes are necessary for travel within the county. As such, air travel safety is an issue that is highly important to us. Maui Air had a previously unblemished record and I trust that a thorough investigation of the crash will occur. For those traveling by air to and from Lāna‘i, I want to assure you that services are safe and will continue.”

“We are grateful to the first responders in the crash and for their continued commitment to protecting Hawai‘i and those who visit our state.”

“On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Senate, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and will keep the survivors in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

Hawaii Joins National Invasive Species Awareness Week

The State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 3 at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Gov. Abercrombie has made invasive species an administration priority by supporting his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC and endorsing 2014 legislative initiatives proposing up to $5 million to meet operating costs of Invasive Species Programs.

“Protecting our islands from the threat of invasive species remains a top priority,” Gov. Abercrombie said in this year’s State of the State address. “We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops. Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask for the public’s engagement in addressing this menace.”

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board created by the Legislature to provide cabinet-level direction on invasive species issues, is coordinating a series of events and activities, open to the public, in recognition of Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week in partnership with the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 3, 9 a.m. – noon, Capitol Auditorium

  • Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC Co-Chairs, Scott Enright (Hawaii Department of Agriculture) and William J. Aila, Jr. (Department of Land and Natural Resources) will also offer opening remarks.
  • HISC Awards Ceremony: The HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Hottest Hotline Report, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2013. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/
  • Participation and Information Booths: presented by Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture, Malama Maunaloa, Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, University of Hawaii, and more.
  • Be a Beetle Buster & Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees: March 3 kick-off

People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining this special “mission” to survey all coconut trees in Hawaii for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. The public is invited to take photos of the crowns of coconut trees and post them to the “Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees” mission on the Project Noah website or via mobile app. The photos will be reviewed by the Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management class to assess the presence or absence of this pest across the state. Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving distinctive v-shaped cuts in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state, if they aren’t detected and eradicated. The Beetle Buster Team will flag photos that show suspected beetle damage for follow up surveys. The project will go live on Monday, March 3. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

Volunteer Events: Occurring statewide from March 3 to 9
Visit the Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/ for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:

  • Helping clear invasive weeds along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokee (March 5)
  • Learning about invasive species issues in Hawaii at the Paintballs and Digital Mapping Talk Story, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge (March 7)
  • Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds on the offshore islet of Mokuauia (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds in the Koolau Mountains (March 9)
  • Helping to restore Mauna Kea (throughout March)

To learn more about NISAW, visit http://www.nisaw.org. To learn more about the local-level HISAW, visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health, Transportation, and Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. http://www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

Governor Abercrombie Calls for Public Input on Climate Change

Having recently met with President Obama and other state governors on a variety of issues including climate change, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is asking for ideas from Hawaii residents on how the federal government can better support state and other local efforts in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Climate Change and Abercrombie

In November 2013, Gov. Abercrombie was one of 26 members appointed to the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Members have been asked to develop recommendations in the areas of:

  • Disaster Management
  • Built Systems (water, transportation, energy, facilities and coastal infrastructure)
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture
  • Community Development and Health

The public is invited to provide input through an online form at http://governor.hawaii.gov/climate-change-task-force-survey/. Since the Task Force is on an expedited timeline, the first round of input must be received by Monday, March 10.  The form is also accessible from the Governor’s homepage, http://governor.hawaii.gov, by clicking on “Your Input on Climate Change” under “Useful Links.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity to share Hawaii’s unique needs, challenges and innovative solutions, while advising federal officials on what kind of support is needed and what would be most effective here in the islands,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Members of the President’s task force from every part of the country agree this is the challenge of our time and we must work together to prepare for and mitigate impacts.”

“Gov. Abercrombie’s appointment to the President’s task force puts our state in a valuable position to share what matters most for Hawaii in building a resilient future,” said State Sustainability Coordinator Jacqueline Kozak Thiel. “The recommendations submitted will be considered by the task force for the final presentation to President Obama. Although the focus of the task force is how the federal government can better support our climate change efforts in Hawaii, this is also a chance for us to identify next steps for action that we can take together as a state.”

Resilient Hawaii Forum
Another opportunity to share recommendations and discuss next steps for addressing climate change in Hawaii will be the Governor’s second Resilient Hawaii Forum, a free and open session being held during the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO) conference on March 12, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center. As mentioned in his 2014 State of the State Address, the Governor is convening the forums this year to engage stakeholders – Native Hawaiian organizations, natural resource managers, the military, tourism officials, agricultural representatives, researchers and government at all levels – to create a climate change roadmap for Hawaii. For more information on the PRiMO conference, visit http://collaborate.csc.noaa.gov/PRiMO/Pages/index.aspx.

Navigating Change
Read Navigating Change, Hawaii’s Approach to Adaptation, a report presented by Gov. Abercrombie at the first meeting of the President’s Task Force for Climate Preparedness and Resilience in December 2013: http://governor.hawaii.gov/blog/navigating-climate-change/.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces the Creation of Agency’s First-Ever Office of Digital Engagement

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today the creation of the agency’s first-ever Office of Digital Engagement. This new office – housed within the Office of Public Affairs – serves as the frontline for digital communication with consumers, businesses, and other key Department stakeholders.

Commerce Digital Engagement

“I am proud to announce the launch of the first-ever Office of Digital Engagement within the Department of Commerce. The Office of Digital Engagement is an important component of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ and will help us engage in a two-way, 21st Century dialogue with America’s business community,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “By using the power of digital media, the Department of Commerce and our bureaus are working together to ensure that American businesses have access to more agency information and resources that can help them grow and hire.”

To further amplify the “Open for Business Agenda” and the priorities of the Department of Commerce, Secretary Pritzker has used LinkedIn, Vine, Youtube and other platforms and hosted a number of digital events including Twitter and Facebook chats that attracted interest from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including small business owners, exporters and venture capitalists. The Office of Digital Engagement also launched Secretary Pritzker’s Instagram account last month, making her the first-ever Cabinet official to have an Instagram account.

The Office of Digital Engagement is directed by Director of Digital Strategy, Mike Kruger, and Deputy Director, Rand Ruggieri.  The office is part of the Department of Commerce Office of Public Affairs, run by former technology communications executive Jim Hock.  The team also includes Quintin Haynes in the Office of the Secretary and a Digital Engagement Council made up of representatives from the following Commerce bureaus:

•             Ryan Poole, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

•             Lisa Wolfisch, U.S. Census Bureau

•             Chris Higginbotham, International Trade Administration (ITA)

•             Tami Holzman, Economic Development Administration (EDA)

•             Lucas Hitt, Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA)

•             Alicia Sowah, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

•             Mark Esser, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

•             David Miller, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

•             Juliana Gruenwald, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

•             Paul Rosenthal, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Follow Secretary Pritzker on:

•             Twitter – www.twitter.com/PennyPritzker (@pennypritzker)

•             Instagram – www.instagram.com/PennyPritzker

Find out more about the Department of Commerce at:

•             www.commerce.gov/blog

•             www.twitter.com/CommerceGov

•             http://www.linkedin.com/company/u.s.-department-of-commerce

•             https://www.facebook.com/Commercegov

•             https://www.youtube.com/user/CommerceNews

China and Hawai’i Linked by Sister Park Agreement

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Wudalianchi National Park in China have announced a sister park agreement to strengthen their shared volcanic heritage by promoting international cooperation and support for the mutual benefit of both parks.

Courtesy photo of the five barrier lakes of Wudalianchi/Mr. Guo Bailin provided by Wudalianchi National Park in China

Courtesy photo of the five barrier lakes of Wudalianchi/Mr. Guo Bailin provided by Wudalianchi National Park in China

Both Hawai‘i Volcanoes and Wudalianchi national parks feature active volcanoes and are celebrated throughout the world for their geological, biological, and cultural attributes. In Hawai‘i, Kīlauea volcano, which is currently erupting from two locations, and Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984, draw more than 1.5 million visitors a year to the park. Wudalianchi has 14 volcanoes, two of which are active but not erupting. The last significant eruptive period from Laoheishan and Huoshaoshan volcanoes occurred between 1719 and 1721, resulting in large quantities of lava that formed a plateau in the center of the park, and blocked the north-south flowing Shilong River in several places – forming a string of five lakes, which translates to “Wudalianchi.” The Chinese park is also known for its mineral springs, giant boulders, and lava  tubes. Approximately a million people a year visit Wudalianchi National Park, which is located in northeast China in the Heilongjiang province, near the Russian border.

The sister park relationship enables both parks to enrich their personnel through projects of international cooperation, accomplished primarily through the exchange of managerial, technical and professional knowledge, information, and data technology.

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

“As an International Biosphere Reserve and the first World Heritage Site in Hawai‘i, our responsibilities transcend national boundaries,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes Superintendent, Cindy Orlando. “Working with colleagues from around the world, through sister park agreements, we are able to share best practices and programs that encourage biodiversity recovery and ecosystem protection.”

While not “twins,” the two parks share enough in common to be “sisters,” according to the sister park agreement, which is posted on the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website. The heart of the mission of both parks is to protect the geological and biological resources that not just belong to the parks, but to the entire world.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park also has a sister park agreement with Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes in South Korea. Like Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Jeju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UH Hilo Students to be Featured at 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting

Thirteen students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Science Department and Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program will attend this year’s Ocean Science Meeting February 23-28 at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center in Honolulu.

Ocean Science Meeting

The meeting is the largest gathering of ocean scientists in the world and is expected to attract more than 5,000 people.

The students will be among presenters sharing the results of their research via posters and oral presentations. They will also showcase Hawaiʻi’s cultural heritage by performing a series of traditional Hawaiian chants, including a chant about voyaging that follows the introduction of the opening speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Kapu`uwailani Lindsey, who will be recognized and honored for her role as a way-finder.

The trip is sponsored by various scientific endeavors. Seven students have received travel grants from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Multicultural Program. The other six are supported with funds from the Hawaiʻi EPSCoR grant.

Body Glove Wake/Surf Team to Travel to the Middle East – “Making Wave History”

The official green light has been posted for the Body Glove Wake / Surf Team to travel to the Middle East for an exhibition performance as the world watches and awaits in anticipation!

Photos courtesy of Xtreme Wake PJ Cutting– Dubai, www.xtremewakeuae.com and Centurion Boats, www.centurionboats.com

Photos courtesy of Xtreme Wake PJ Cutting– Dubai, http://www.xtremewakeuae.com and Centurion Boats, http://www.centurionboats.com

This is the first time in history that we are sending our team to perform in that part of the world” quoted Billy Miestrell, Body Glove Owner and SVP, “and we are very excited about the opportunity!”  he added.  The magic of their performances is going to take place on April 4, 2014 at the world famous Xtreme Wake facility in the ultimate high glamour City of Dubai – UAE..

To mark this occasion, Centurion Boats will be unveiling their brand new, ultra cool Body Glove Limited Edition ENZO FX22 in the ruby blue waters of the Arabian Peninsula that very same day!

Body Glove Enzo

Riders participating in “Making Wave History” are:

  • Rusty Malinoski – Current WWA World Champion
  • Harley Clifford – 2012 Pro Tour and “King Of Wake” Series Champion
  • Bob Soven – Alliance WAKEBOARD Magazine’s 2013 “Rider Of The Year”
  • Melissa Marquardt – Alliance WAKEBOARD Magazine’s 2012 Female “Rider of the Year”
  • Keenan Flegel – Current World Wakesurfing Champion

This unique and extraordinary event is going to be highly published and filmed thru our partners Alliance Wakeboard magazine www.alliancewake.com and our very own award wining Body Glove Entertainment team headed by Greg Browning.  “Our Team is thrilled to be preforming on the high profile world stage” quoted Browning ……”what an great back drop the skyline of Dubai will make for our film!”  he added.

Photos courtesy of Xtreme Wake PJ Cutting– Dubai, www.xtremewakeuae.com and Centurion Boats, www.centurionboats.com

Photos courtesy of Xtreme Wake PJ Cutting– Dubai, http://www.xtremewakeuae.com and Centurion Boats, http://www.centurionboats.com

The team will be on camera during their entire visit to the Middle East with the Grand Finale one –day exhibition held at the facilities of Body Glove’s newest partners in the region, Xtreme Wake.  www.xtremewakeuae.com Get ready to make wave history and for some jaw dropping action!  https://www.facebook.com/XtremeWakeUAE

“We are extremely proud and excited to have this opportunity to presented to us by our local partners in the Emirates,” says Robbie Meistrell, Body Glove International CEO. “We know the folks there will never have seen a performance as specular as this one”.

USS Lake Erie to Deploy to Western Pacific

The Hawaii-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) will depart Feb. 18 for a Western Pacific deployment, the ship’s last while being homeported in Pearl Harbor.

My Uncle and Aunt before they got a private tour of the USS Lake Erie.

My Uncle and Aunt before they got a private tour of the USS Lake Erie.

While deployed, Lake Erie will conduct theater security operations with partner nations while providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, preserving freedom of the seas and providing humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

Upon completion of this deployment, Lake Erie is expected to replace John Paul Jones as a rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployer out of San Diego.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 27, 2014) Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) operates with other cruisers off the coast of Hawaii during Koa Kai 14-1. Koa Kai is a semiannual exercise in the waters around Hawaii designed to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas and provide training in multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/ Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 27, 2014) Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) operates with other cruisers off the coast of Hawaii during Koa Kai 14-1. Koa Kai is a semiannual exercise in the waters around Hawaii designed to prepare independent deployers in multiple warfare areas and provide training in multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/ Released)

“We are trained and ready for deployment,” said Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan. “I am very proud of this crew and all that they have accomplished. We have an amazing team of professionals, and I have the utmost faith in their abilities. I could not ask for a better group of Sailors to go to sea alongside.”

Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan talks to some of his crew.

Lake Erie Commanding Officer Capt. John S. Banigan talks to some of his crew.

Lake Erie is one of 11 surface ships of Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. USS Lake Erie is named in commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie fought Sept. 10, 1813. During the pivotal engagement, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry hoisted a crudely stitched flag bearing the dying words of his friend, Capt. James Lawrence, “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP!” That proud motto served as the battle cry that day, and continues to inspire today.

I got to tour the ship in December of 2013.

I got to tour the ship in December of 2013.

U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of supporting carrier strike groups, amphibious readiness groups, surface action groups or operating independently.

Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific leads and manages the overall warfighting capability of the Surface Combatant Force homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii to achieve the highest levels of combat readiness; to coordinate with external organizations for products and services to directly support surface combatant force mission readiness; and to support the type commanders and numbered fleet commanders in the development of surface warfare requirements, policies, programs, standards, and business practices to meet operational readiness goals.

37 Facilities in Hawaii Reported 2.7 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Being Released in 2012

Nationally, total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report and Pacific Southwest state fact sheets published today.

In Hawaii, a total of 37 facilities reported a total of 2.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2012. Hawaii’s total reported on-site and off-site releases increased when compared to 2011 data.

Highlights of data from 2012 in Hawaii show that since 2011:

  • Air: Air releases increased 2 percent
  • Water: Water releases increased 6 percent
  • On-Site Land: On-site land releases increased 46 percent.
  • Underground Injection: Underground Injection releases increased 21 percent
  • Off-Site Transfers: Total off-site transfers have decreased 9 percent

For detailed Hawaii information and the state’s Top 5 releasing facilities please see the state fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/region9/tri/report/12/tri-2012-hawaii-report.pdf

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“Our yearly analysis of chemicals being used by industry helps residents understand which chemicals are used in their neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This year we have enhanced our fact sheet system to aid in getting TRI information about specific locations.”

New for this year is an updated fact sheet system that allows users to explore customized data. Scroll down at the link www.epa.gov/tri to enter your zip code, city, or county, and the new tool will create a fact sheet to show you toxic releases near you.

The annual TRI report provides citizens with critical information about their communities. The TRI Program collects data on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water, and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country.

The TRI data reports are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Many of the releases from facilities that are subject to TRI reporting are regulated under other EPA program requirements designed to limit harm to human health and the environment.

Release data alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. TRI data, in conjunction with other information, such as the toxicity of the chemical, the release medium (e.g., air), and site-specific conditions, may be used to evaluate exposures from releases of toxic chemicals.

Hawai‘i Bidding for Major Conservation Gathering Event Would Be a First for the U.S

As a four-person delegation representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visits Hawaii this week, the state is showcasing its position as the anchor of the Pacific in a bid to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. The congress is the world’s leading summit on the environment.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A Hawai‘i-hosted congress would be the first time it has been held in the United States since the founding of IUCN in 1948, and the event would provide a unique opportunity to share with the world, the state and nation’s values and dedication to conserving nature on both national and international levels. As many as 8,000 delegates are expected to attend the 2016 meeting.

“Based on our success hosting the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference, I believe we have a compelling case as to why the United States and Hawaii provide the ideal venue to host this gathering,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The Aloha State is the anchor of the Pacific, and our bid is financially competitive and highlights the unique benefits of our location and host culture. We’re encouraging the IUCN evaluating team to review all that Hawai‘i has to offer for this preeminent conference.”

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

“IUCN has been fortunate to always receive strong invitations to host our World Conservation Congresses and the 2016 Congress is no exception. There are two excellent candidates in the running to host the event: Honolulu, Hawai‘i, United States of America and Istanbul, Turkey.

We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Hawai‘i and thank the team for their warm welcome throughout the site visit. The IUCN Council will make a decision regarding the venue and hosts of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in May 2014,”said Dr. Enrique Lahmann, Global Director, Union Development Group; Congress Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

The delegation is receiving broad exposure to a wide-range of the natural and cultural attributes of the Hawaiian Islands through site visits on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, as well as meetings and receptions with government, hospitality industry, conservation and Native Hawaiian leaders. A cross-discipline, multi-agency organizing team, led by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), is showing the delegation convention facilities, transportation, lodging and security infrastructure, attractions and meeting/marketing expertise. Members of the IUCN evaluating team also received a 107 page-long Hawai‘i Nature + Aloha, Imagine 2016 proposal, which documents broad support for the conference and includes in-depth detail about the Aloha State’s bid for the event.

DLNR Chairperson William Aila said, “With environmental and conservation issues very much at the forefront of worldwide attention, Hawai‘i is in a unique position to demonstrate what we are doing to advance conservation issues like climate change, watershed management, coral reef protection, and traditional knowledge. Having Hawai‘i host the 2016 Congress will show the world how our core values of Aloha Aina connect to nature and our diversity.”

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome the IUCN Site Visit Team to Hawai‘i,”said Chipper Wichman, director of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and CEO and co-chair of the Hawai‘i IUCN 2016 Steering Committee. This is a diverse group of individuals and organizations who have been working for the past five years to bring the IUCN World Conservation Congress to Hawai‘i. “Our state is a world leader in biocultural conservation, and Gov. Abercrombie has put together a dynamic group led by William Aila and Esther Kia‘āina from the DLNR to host the IUCN team and show them the facilities and organizations that make Hawai‘i the best location for the world to convene and discuss global conservation issues. It has been an amazing week so far –we are leaving the IUCN delegation with a strong and lasting impression of Hawai‘i.”

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Hosts for the IUCN delegation are demonstrating that Hawai‘i is a destination where “hospitality is not a sideline.”The IUCN World Congress bid has the full support of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC). During this week the delegation is having meetings with HCC staff and management and many of Hawai‘i’s leading HTA-member hospitality providers. Both HTA and HCC have been working for the past five years to support the bid process.

Bruno Mars Ticket Fiasco Has Lawmaker Introduce Resolution to Assist Local Residents in the Future

If you’re a loyal fan standing in line to purchase a coveted concert ticket, and plan to attend that concert, you should be able to have more than six percent of a chance to purchase that ticket, said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. The lawmaker has introduced a resolution urging concert and entertainment venues to require only in-person ticket sales for the first 48 hours.

Capital Logo

The resolution was triggered by the disappointment of local residents after the quick sale – three concerts sold out in 2-hours – of tickets for local boy Bruno Mars’ Hawaii shows in April. It was later announced that people from the mainland and Canada snagged 42 percent of the 17,000 tickets. Even more frustrating was for those who stood in the long lines at the Blaisdell box office, only six percent of tickets were bought there. It’s also been reported that scalpers who purchased tickets in bulk are selling them for exorbitant prices. Kim is hoping to change this for concertgoers so that those who will actually go to a performance are able to purchase tickets from the original venue at the actual ticket price, and not from a secondary market at inflated prices.

“Despite waiting in line for hours, many fans were unable to purchase tickets to the upcoming Bruno Mars concert at the Blaisdell Center,” said Kim. “Anyone who takes the time to show up in person should have the opportunity to purchase tickets for at least the first two days before opening up to online sales. It’s unfortunate that out-of-state ticket brokers and scalpers will resell these concert tickets back to local residents for an enormous profit.”

The resolution names and urges the following entities to set purchasing terms: Hawaii Community Development Authority, Stadium Authority, Department of Enterprise Services of the City and County of Honolulu, Board of Regents, President of the University of Hawaii and Chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

These entities hold concerts at venues such as Kakaako Park, Aloha Stadium, the Neil S. Blaisdell Center, Waikiki Shell, University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center and the Hawaii Convention Center.

“Our residents should enjoy a night of entertainment without having to pay inflated prices,” said Kim.

Hawaii Tuskegee Airmen a Big Hit at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Today

Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, USAF (Ret.) from Michigan, Hawaii’s own Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham, Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, PhD, and a panel of members of the Baham Goldsborough Chapter of the Hawaii Tuskegee Airmen discussed the legacy of the first African-American military aviators who served during WWII. The Hangar Talk, “Tuskegee Airmen Then and Now” in the Museum Theater was followed with a Meet & Greet in the Gallery. Both in Hangar 37.

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Lt. Col. Alexender Jefferson, USAF (Ret.) flew P-51s with the “Red Tail”  332nd Fighter Group 301st Fighter Squadron escorting B-17s and B-24s. He was shot down over Germany after flying 18 long range missions and was a prisoner of war for nine months. After the war, he became a science teacher and later an assistant principal in the Michigan school system. He is the author of Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW.

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One of the original WWII Tuskegee Airmen, Philip Baham was drafted into the Army Air Corps at 21 years of age and served as crew chief assigned to the 377th Composite Group at Tuskegee Field.

Dr. Dorothy Goldsborough, PhD, is a Professor Emerita at Chaminade University and a lecturer at University of Hawaii Manoa. She is the wife of the late Romaine Goldsborough, another documented original Tuskegee Airman who served in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.

On the panel, also were: Mario Taryer, Tuskegee Airmen Hawaii Chapter vice president and Master Chief Dewayne Barnes of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

For more information, call (808) 441-1007, email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or visit online http://www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, which depends on membership and donations for support. A Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, it is rated one of the top 10 aviation attractions nationally by TripAdvisor®. It is located at 319 Lexington Boulevard, Historic Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818.  www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Governor Neil Abercrombie Responds to Obama’s State of the Union Address

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today commented on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which mirrors his investment in early childhood education and his push for increasing the minimum wage.

abercrombieheaderGov. Abercrombie stated:

“It’s encouraging that President Obama’s national priorities echo those I’ve outlined as top initiatives for the State of Hawaii.

“The President’s emphasis on early childhood education are in line with Hawaii’s plans to expand access to pre-kindergarten for all four year olds. We are investing in new partnerships to provide our keiki with the educational opportunities they deserve.

“As I stated in last week’s State of the State address, a hard-working sector in Hawaii has gone seven years without seeing their wages rise. I applaud the President’s proposal to increase the minimum wage for all federal employees.”

Big Island Police Still Conducting Marijuana Raids in Puna

One man has been charged and another released following their arrests during the execution of a marijuana search warrant last week in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Puna.

1/28/14 UPDATE: Vice officers served the search warrant Friday morning (January 24) at a home on Road 1 and recovered 51 marijuana plants [corrected number] (ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet), 168.5 grams of dried processed marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Raymond Eastridge

Raymond Eastridge

Two 45-year-old residents, Raymond Eastridge and John Holloway, were arrested at the scene and taken to the South Hilo police cellblock while Vice detectives continued the investigation.

After conferring with prosecutors, Holloway was released without charges. Eastridge was charged with second-degree promoting marijuana, second-degree promoting a detrimental drug, third degree promoting a detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $7,250. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance Monday afternoon (January 27).

Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan Receives National Award

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is honored to be selected for the 2014 National Planning Excellence Award for Transportation Planning by the American Planning Association.  HDOT’s Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan was chosen as part of the best planning efforts that create communities of lasting value.

Click to learn more

Click to learn more

Hawaii’s Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan prioritizes pedestrian safety, mobility, and accessibility, and is the first in the nation to have a statewide pedestrian focus.  In conjunction with other efforts, the pedestrian master plan focuses on infrastructure improvements that may help lower pedestrian fatalities while enhancing connectivity.

“The Hawaii Pedestrian Toolbox is a key component of the plan and includes guidelines and best practices for the planning, design, operation and maintenance of pedestrian facilities,” said DOT Director Glenn M. Okimoto.  “The Toolbox offers a one-stop resource for pedestrian improvements that planners and designers will use as they move forward on HDOT’s many highway projects.”

For more information on Hawaii’s Statewide Pedestrian Master Plan go to the HDOT website at hidot.hawaii.gov.

To view all of the APA 2014 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit http://www.planning.org/awards/2014. APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

Senator Introduces Anti-Child Pornography Bill “Alicia’s Law”

Senator Will Espero, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, today announced the introduction of Senate Bill 2595, also known as “Alicia’s Law,” a measure that would provide a dedicated revenue stream for Hawaii’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).

Senator Will Espero, Chair of the Public Safety Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; Alicia Kozakiewicz, for whom the law is named, abducted at age 13 by an Internet predator; Alison Arngrim, celebrity advocate, best known for her portrayal of Nellie Oleson on the NBC television series “Little House on the Prairie.”

Senator Will Espero, Chair of the Public Safety Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; Alicia Kozakiewicz, for whom the law is named, abducted at age 13 by an Internet predator; Alison Arngrim, celebrity advocate, best known for her portrayal of Nellie Oleson on the NBC television series “Little House on the Prairie.”

The initiative is named after Alicia Kozakiewicz, who was abducted by an Internet predator, held hostage and tortured in her Virginia basement at the age of 13.

“I’m here today because the ICAC Task Forces were there,” said Kozakiewicz. “I was the needle in the haystack. I received the miracle. Because of that, I feel a moral obligation to help save as many other children who are subjected to abuse.”

There are thousands of ICAC leads in the state of Hawaii trafficking in sadistic images and videos of children being raped and tortured.  Nationally, 50% to 70% of these cases lead detectives to rescuing children from sexual abuse. The FBI reports that “the scope of the problem is worse than anticipated and growing exponentially.”

“The Hawaii ICAC task force is doing the best job they can with the limited resources of a Federal grant,” said Sen. Espero. “However, they are only able to investigate one to two cases per month.  With thousands of children needing protection this is unacceptable, and Hawaii needs a permanent revenue stream to fund the ICAC task force.”

“We know that most internet predators are also hands-on offenders and we know that child sexual abuse is a stealth crime,” said Grier Weeks, Executive Director of The National Association to Protect Children. “We can’t let children languish in abusive situations if we have the ability to provide law enforcement with a tool that allows for the immediate rescue of that child.”

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“This bill, should it become law, will help to keep our keiki safe,” added Sen. Espero. “Internet-based social media applications have become popular and easily accessible over the years especially amongst youth. These technologies and other internet sites can leave minors exposed to a litany of abuses and exploitations. It is imperative that we provide the necessary tools and resources to fight this growing epidemic.”

Hawaii Representative Introduces Legislation for the Cultivation and Exportation of Marijuana

In the interest of economic development, Representative Rida Cabanilla (Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ocean Pointe, West Loch) has introduced HB2124 that asks the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism in consultation with the Department of Agriculture to convene a working group to develop an action plan to legalize cultivation of marijuana in Hawaii for sale and export to foreign jurisdictions where usage is lawful.

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All commercial activities from the production and export of marijuana and marijuana-related products will be taxed and revenues would be utilized for public education, health care and human services programs.

“Commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana is a bold approach toward generating revenue while capitalizing on Hawaii’s inherent strengths.  Hawaii’s rich soil, coupled with its temperate climate, provide ideal conditions for year-round farming and cultivation. Hawaii is well situated to provide an abundant supply of quality marijuana to fill a growing international demand,” said Cabanilla.

Sen. Solomon Thanks Supreme Court For Hawaii Island’s Right to Equal Representation

State Sen. Malama Solomon today issued a public “Mahalo” on behalf of all Hawai’i Island residents to both the U.S. Supreme Court and the legal team working “to protect Hawaiʻi Island’s right to equal representation as guaranteed by both the U.S. and State of Hawaiʻi Constitutions.”

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Solomon’s message of gratitude comes as more than two years of intense litigation concluded Tuesday, January 21, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court formally resolved a case she and several Hawai’i Island residents had taken to the State Supreme Court challenging the 2011 State Reapportionment Commission’s initial plan based on the 2010 Census to count out-of-state military members and their families stationed in the islands and out-of-state students when re-drawing legislative districts.

Sen. Solomon and her legal team – working with the State Attorney General – challenged the plan on the basis that it denied Hawai’i Island residents equitable representation which they believed required adding a 4th State Senate seat for Hawaiʻi Island because of the nearly 25% increase in resident population on the island between 2000 and 2010.  During this same period of time, the island of Oahu had experienced only an 8% growth.

The addition of a 4th Senate seat to Hawaiʻi Island meant Oahu would lose a Senator.

It became a very complicated case but the heart of the issue was inequitable representation for Hawaiʻi Island residents in the first reapportionment plan.  The State Supreme Court agreed with Sen. Solomonʻs challenge and the plan was revised, adding a 4th Senate seat for Hawaiʻi Island in the 2012 elections.

In the meantime, however, opponents to the decision filed a judicial challenge to the U.S. Federal District Court (Kostick v. Nago (Case No. 13-456).  A three-judge U.S. Federal Court upheld the Hawaii Supreme Court decision.  The opposition had an automatic right to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. and did so.

“The battle is over; let us move forward working together for all the people of Hawaiʻi,” said Sen. Solomon, who added her acknowledgement of the legal team that served to protect the rights of Hawaiʻi Island residents, including Stan Roehrig of Hilo, Robert Kim of Kona and Peter Esser of Honolulu, and also State Attorney General David M. Louie and Deputy Attorney General Charleen M. Aina.

Sen. Solomon also thanked Public Utilities Commission Chair Hermina M. Morita, a former State Representative, for providing testimony for the Supreme Court docket related to her experience representing a “canoe district” – a now illegal practice of combining residents from more than one island into a representative districts of approximately the same population size.  Such districts were banned in recent years by the State legislature because they “seriously undermine equitable representation for all residents of the district,” said Sen. Solomon.  Both Hermina Morita and Sen. Solomon represented “canoe districts” before the Legislature banned this practice.

Hawai’i Mayors Attend U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington

Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi travels to Washington, D.C. today to join more than 280 of the nation’s mayors as well as congressional leaders and members of President Obama’s cabinet at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Winter Meeting.

Mayor Kenoi greets President Obama at the 78th U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayor Kenoi greets President Obama at the 78th U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayor Kenoi, who is chair of the Hawai‘i Conference of Mayors, will attend the meeting with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, and Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho. Mayor Kenoi is also a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors National Advisory Board.

The Mayor's last year

The Mayor’s last year

The mayors will join President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet at the White House for a discussion of issues that affect municipalities, including trade, technology, climate change and affordable health care.

78th U.S. Mayor's Conference

78th U.S. Mayor’s Conference

Participants at the conference will include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is designed to strengthen federal-city relationships, and promote effective national urban and suburban policy.

Managing Director Wally Lau will be acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns.