All posts by Jordan La Madrid

‘i’iwi or scarlet honeycreeper

Once common from mauka to makai throughout the islands, the small red bird is now found almost exclusively in high-elevation forests on Maui and the Big Island. The population on Oahu, Lanai and Molokai is completely gone.

The ‘i’iwi are no longer in places that mosquitoes thrive, which is why they have found refuge in koa and ohia forests above 3,600 feet. Lost habitat and mosquitoes carrying avian diseases and malaria are to blame.  But as the planet warms, the mosquitoes’ range increases, further constricting the space available for the ‘i’iwi.

“In recent years, the ‘i‘iwi population has been in sharp decline, due to threats from habitat loss, invasive species and avian diseases, particularly avian malaria,” said Mary Abrams, project leader for the service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. “These threats have affected all forest birds, not just the ‘i‘iwi. Conservation that benefits the ‘i‘iwi will undoubtedly benefit other Hawaiian forest birds.” 

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Stay Strong Elton!

A teenager is fighting for his life after falling out of the bed of a pick-up truck. It happened Monday morning on Keana Road in Kaneohe. Elton Naki Jr., 17, landed on the road and was hospitalized in critical condition. Naki’s mother, Ona Naki, says he underwent brain surgery and is currently in a coma. Naki is her only son and she says seeing him in pain and in a hospital bed is too much to bear. “It was devastating. It’s something I could never imagine any other parent going through,” she said.

Naki is a starting corner on Castle High School’s football team and a guard on the basketball team. His friends will tell you the Kaneohe teen is well-liked. His family and friends remain at his beside and pray for a speedy recovery.

I didn’t know Elton personally but I watched him play basketball during the past  basketball seasons because my friend is his basketball coach. I’ve been to most of the games and he is such a good athlete. He is such a good team player and he was also one of the funny ones on the team. It definitely is sad to hear that this has happened to him. I feel for his family and I can’t even imagine what they are going through. I pray that he remains strong and he pushes through to have a speedy recovery and that he wakes up soon.

Friends and family have starts a gofundme page for Elton’s road to recovery and every bit of support will help his family out with medical expenses during this hard, devastating time. If you would like to help his family during their time of need here is the link to the gofundme account : https://www.gofundme.com/3rn27eg

Because of this accident Naki’s mother Ona is trying to get to get the law changed from not allowing anyone to sit in the back of a pick up truck because of the dangers that can happen. Current Hawaii law allows passengers 12 years and older to ride in the bed of a pick-up truck with restrictions. There must be no seating left inside the vehicle. The tailgate must be securely closed, and passengers cannot hold on to cargo.Proposals to change the law have made its way to the legislature many times, but never passed. Proposals to change the law have made its way to the legislature many times, but never passed. “It’s a hard issue for some legislators and those in the community. They depend on the pickup maybe it’s for work or family, and they need family in the back,” said Rep. Tom Brower, D, who sits on the House transportation committee. “Part of the hypocrisy is if you’re in a car in the backseat, you need a seat belt on. That’s the law. But then you can be unrestrained in the back of a pick-up truck and there’s a lot of irony there, and it is something lawmakers should look into,” he said.

 

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Zach Tapec

Zachary Tapec’s C6 spinal cord injury resulted from a diving accident in 1995.  Always physically active, his determination, strengths and love of water led him into one of sailing’s most grueling challenges last year R2AK – a 750 mile race to Ketchikan, Alaska from Port Townsend, Washington through some of the most treacherous and remote waters on the planet.  Zach joined a 3 man team, all parapalegics, in competition with able-bodied teams.  CNN Films and Great Big Films produced a 23 minute short film of this heroic effort.

(https://youtu.be/Cu3MsLc8kxo) <— WATCH PROMO VIDEO

Zach Tapec -from “Hard Ship – A Really Great Big Story” Great Big Films CNN

They made history by becoming the first team with all paralyzed members to take on the challenge. In their initial application, they didn’t even mention this because they felt it wasn’t something that held them back. Their ship, the Alula was slower than the competition’s because of additional equipment but they did make it through to the end.  If you require help, the Coast Guard is nearly half a day away. It is so hard that nearly 50% of teams quit which makes this story even more remarkable.

Although the team did end up being disqualified because one member (Bruno) had to leave and was replaced by a volunteer, Team Alula proved that anyone can do anything with the right amount of motivation, determination and heart

As a member of The Hawaii Adaptive Surf Team (HAST), a program of AccesSurf, Zach has entered world surfing competitions. In 2016 he came in first in Heat #1 Final Adaptive Prone in the  USA Surfing Championships.

In addition to surfing, Zach is an Alumni member of the non-profit organization Pure Light Racing, whose mission is to motivate, facilitate and integrate physically challenged individuals in the sport of adaptive outrigger canoe paddling.

Zach is strength and determination on land too – prior to returning to Hawaii, Zach lived on the West Coast and was an accomplished wheelchair rugby athlete.  His prowess won him a spot on the 2007 U.S. Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby National Team.

For those unfamiliar with wheelchair rugby, it includes elements of basketball, rugby and ice hockey.It’s a full contact game, often referred to as murderball, with the object of scoring a goal by crossing the goal line with possession of the ball.  Zach ”Attack” Tapec  often gave his time to playing college exhibition games to raise funds for sports programs and equipment for disabled students.

Zach Tapec training for US Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby – from En Route Productions on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/33881388 <— WATCH TRAINING VIDEO

For his enthusiasm, strong will, love of his sports and mentoring others, Zach Tapec is our Inspiration.

 

TRAFFIC UPDATES

A rehabilitation project by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division will close Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) over the weekend.

HDOT alerts Oahu motorists that Kamehameha Highway will be closed in both directions between Ka Uka Boulevard and Lanikuhana Avenue from Friday night, May 5, at 9 p.m. continuously through Monday morning, May 8, at 5 a.m. for bridge deck work.

This project will improve the structural capacity, seismic retrofit, travel surface, and railings of the existing Roosevelt Bridge.

Closures for the following weekends are tentatively scheduled:

  • Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 – Monday, Aug. 14, 2017
  • Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 – Monday, Sept. 11, 2017
  • Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 – Monday, Nov. 6, 2017
  • Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 – Monday, Dec. 4, 2017
  • Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 – Monday, Dec. 18, 2017

During these weekend closures, motorists are advised to use the H-2 Freeway as an alternate route. The weekend closures allow the overall project to be completed faster and reduces impacts during traditional commute times.

If necessary, there will also be a single northbound lane closure with a contraflow on Monday, May 8, 2017 through Friday, May 12, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HDOT advises motorists to prepare for the closures by checking traffic websites, mapping the best route, and adding extra travel time to their commutes.

Electronic message boards will be posted to warn motorists of the closures. Special Duty Police Officers will be on-site to assist with traffic control. Emergency vehicles, first responders, and TheBus have been notified of the roadwork and will be allowed through the closure.

Aloha Stadium, Graduations! Avoid The Traffic

Graduation season is just around the corner and six high schools will hold commencement ceremonies at Aloha Stadium throughout the month.

The schedule and parking information follows:

Mililani High School
Saturday, May 13, 2017 ● Ceremony: 5:00pm – 6:30pm; Reception to follow: 6:45pm – 8:00pm
Parking fee: $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:00pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 4:00pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 3:00pm
Additional parking will be available at Aiea Elementary School starting at 4:00pm
Turnstile Gates 1, 4 & 5 will open to the public starting at 4:00pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections (Makai Section F-K as needed).

Aiea High School
Thursday, May 18, 2017 ● Ceremony: 6:00pm – 7:30pm; Reception to follow: 7:45pm – 9:30pm
Parking fee: before $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:30pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 5:00pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 4:30pm
Turnstile Gates 1, and 4 will open to the public starting at 5:00pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections.

Radford High School
Friday, May 19, 2017 ● Ceremony: 6:00pm – 7:15pm; Reception to follow: 7:30pm – 8:15pm
Parking fee: $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:30pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 5:00pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 5:00pm
Turnstile Gates 1, and 4 will open to the public starting at 5:00pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections.

Pearl City High School
Saturday, May 20, 2017 ● Ceremony: 5:00pm – 6:15pm; Reception to follow: 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Parking fee: $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:00pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 4:30pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 3:00pm
Turnstile Gates 1, 4 & 5 will open to the public starting at 4:00pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections.

Campbell High School
Sunday, May 21, 2017 ● Ceremony: 5:00pm – 6:40pm; Reception to follow: 6:55pm – 8:15pm
Parking fee: $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:00pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 4:00pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 3:00pm
Additional parking will be available at Aiea Elementary School starting at 4:00pm
Turnstile Gates 1, 4 & 5 will open to the public starting at 4:00pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections (Makai Section F-K as needed).

Moanalua High School
Monday, May 22, 2017 ● Ceremony: 5:30pm – 7:00pm; Reception to follow: 7:15pm – 8:15pm
Parking fee: $7.00 per car / $30 per bus or limousine.
Main Salt Lake Gate 1 will open at 3:00pm
North Kam Gate 2 will open at 4:30pm
Halawa Gate 3 will open at 4:00pm
Additional parking will be available at Aiea Elementary School starting at 4:30pm
Turnstile Gates 1, 4 & 5 will open to the public starting at 4:30pm. Seating will be in the South Orange and Blue sections (Makai Section F-K as needed).

For more information and parking maps, visit www.alohastadium.hawaii.gov or call Aloha Stadium at (808) 483-2500.

HEP A UPDATE

 

 

The Hawaii Department of Health announced Tuesday that frozen ahi cubes distributed to a dozen grocery stores and food establishments on Oahu have tested positive for hepatitis A. The raw fish was imported from Indonesia by Tropic Fish Hawaii. It was used to prepare poke for the following vendors :

Times Supermarkets and Shima’s Supermarket:

Locations:

Aiea

Kailua

Kaneohe

Kunia

Liliha

Mililani

Waipahu

Waimanalo

GP Hawaiian Food Catering

The Da Crawfish and Crab Shack in Kapolei

Aloha Sushi near Honolulu International Airport

ABC Stores outlet at 205 Lewers St. in Waikiki.

The product has been embargoed by the state, and health officials are working with the distributor and affected facilities to ensure proper sanitation and decontamination procedures.

The department said those who have been exposed to the product should monitor their symptoms — such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes — for up to 50 days.

 

Vaccines
Vaccines are available to protect against hepatitis A infection. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all children older than age 1.

The vaccine begins to protect 4 weeks after you receive the first dose. A 6- to 12-month booster is required for long-term protection.

It generally takes two weeks for those infected to develop symptoms of hepatitis A, vaccination or immune globulin can still provide some protection against the disease for those who may have been exposed in the last week. While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent hand-washing with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

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Cayetano’s Letter

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is urging President Donald Trump to stop more federal dollars from going to Honolulu’s rail transit project. “Honolulu’s rail project does not deserve a dollar more from the federal government,” the ad states. “It has become a poster boy for how politics, incompetence, disinformation and outright lies are at the root of wasteful rail projects which do little for the public except raise taxes.”

The project is sucking up enormous amounts of tax money that could be used to help solve problems that are far more pressing for Honolulu residents, such education and housing. Cayetano said cutting $800 million from the FTA money would not necessarily kill the rail project, but instead force the city to scale back the line and consider cheaper alternatives. The project could stop at Middle Street, for example, and use a bus rapid transit system to transport passengers into town, Cayetano said. Emerging technology such as self-driving cars soon will make light train lines obsolete, he argued.

“Community college could be free,” he said, citing the opportunity costs associated with funneling $10 billion toward the train. “With a billion dollars, you could have a five-year plan to build affordable rentals.”

At the end of the letter to Donald Trump, Ben Cayetano states “The rail project plans include seven massive elevated rail stations 50-60 feet high and the 35 foot high elevated rail line through the heart of downtown Honolulu,” the ad states. “If built, this will change the beauty and ambience of the city forever.”

 

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Waimanalo is waiting….

Waimanalo gym closed for reconstruction.

The long closure has left many in the community frustrated by what they believe was a city’s slow response to problems at the gym and lack of information about the repair project. When city officials inspected the facility last June, they found metal screens on the gym’s ceiling so corroded they were in danger of collapsing. So the facility, once a gathering place for young people in Waimanalo, was closed immediately for safety reasons. The facility is scheduled to reopen in April 2018 after undergoing $3.12 million in repairs, said Nathan Serota, a spokesman for the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

Many feel that as a largely Native Hawaiian community, lawmakers sideline issues in Waimanalo. Waimanalo Neighborhood Board said they had to “just harass“ the city about the gym. “Every month we bring it up. Every month we talk to the parks and recreation director. Every month we push, and we push, and we push.” Some Waimanalo residents, frustrated by what they see as the lethargic pace of city operations, refer to the city and county as “sitting and counting.”

“Waimanalo is always put second to other communities,” Neighborhood Board member Shannon Alivado said. “And that’s unfortunate because of who we serve.” About 65 percent of Waimanalo residents are Native Hawaiian, according to 2010 data from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. That’s double the populations in neighboring communities of Kailua and Hawaii Kai.

“It’s a form of discrimination for our community,” -B. Makaawaawa

Kobayash iwho is the the new chair of the Parks Committee, said she and other committee members are touring parks around the island in part to see if the city maintains parks in all five districts equally. They weren’t surprised to find out that some parks get more attention than others. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine represents Waianae, At a Budget Committee hearing last week, she sharply questioned Robert Kroning, director of the Department of of Design and Construction, on why repairs to the gym at Waianae District Park have been backlogged for the last three years. A leaking roof has rendered a second floor room in the gym unstable, forcing after-school programs to move out. “Those parks are fine,” she said. Those parks, “don’t have after-school programs in the volume that we have in Waianae.” She criticized the administration’s request for $4.7 million to redesign Thomas Square and install a statue of King Kamehameha III in the Kakaako park.

“I’m not Kamehameha III,” Pine said. “But I think he’d want these funds to go to Hawaiian children.” -K.Pine

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Keep our oceans clean

Plastics, trash and discarded fishing gear end up on remote beaches and reefs — and in the belly of this black-footed albatross chick at Midway Atoll.

 

Huge piles of fishing buoys and nets, old footballs and volleyballs, a postal service box with rubber slippers in it, cracked construction helmets, big black tires, broken laundry baskets and even a plastic pink flamingo were stacked up Thursday morning along a federal pier at Ford Island.

For six years government workers and volunteers have been collecting the junk that drifts onto the reefs and beaches of Kure and Midway atolls and storing it in a pile on the tarmac at Midway. The mountain of marine debris grew to an estimated 100,000 pounds.

Thanks to a multi-agency state and federal effort, that mountain of rubbish was removed from the tiny Northwestern Hawaiian Islands outpost and shipped to Honolulu. The charter vessel Kahana arrived here last week carrying 12 shipping containers filled with derelict fishing gear, old nets, faded plastics and lots of other junk. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources provided funding to help the feds haul 12 shipping containers of marine debris that had been collected at Midway and Kure and stored on the tarmac at Midway. The haul of marine litter will be processed by Schnitzer Steel Corp. and transported to the city and county’s H-POWER plant, where it will be converted into electricity, officials said Thursday.

“Marine debris are not something you can clean up just once; it takes a sustained effort over time,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Superintendent Matt Brown said. “By working with the state of Hawaii, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and NOAA, we can accomplish more than any one agency on its own to clean up marine debris and educate the public to prevent it from entering the ecosystem.”

Each year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staff members and volunteers scoop up tons of marine debris from the various islands and reefs that make up the vast national monument. Over the past 20 years, NOAA staff members and partners have removed more than 1.9 million pounds from the Northwestern islands, according to the monument. In recent years, the agency has sent annual missions to the northwest to search out the marine debris and bring it back to Honolulu.

Cleaning up the shores is important, officials said, because wildlife, such as the threatened Hawaiian green sea turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seals, can become lethally entangled or starve after ingesting the debris.

 

Lets do our part and keep the trash out of the ocean. Preserve our ocean’s wildlife and keep our oceans trash free 🙂

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Ka Ivi Coast… SAVED

Last week, the mayor of Honolulu made an announcement that many locals have been waiting to hear for a long time: the last two parcels of the Ka Iwi Coast initially slated for development are officially saved with the granting of a conservation easement.

In 2015 a  group called “Livable Hawaii Kai Hui” was formed — a community-oriented nonprofit focused on cultural and environmental conservation — had risen to the challenge of purchasing Ka Iwi Mauka to protect it in perpetuity.

With Ka Iwi proudly preserved, the Hui and its partners can refocus some energy on stewarding such sites around Maunalua as Pahua heiau, Aloha ‘Āina ‘o Kamilo Nui nursery, Hāwea heiau complex and Keawāwa wetland. The Hui also aims to support other community groups and nonprofits, strengthening a network of dedicated cultural and environmental conservationists, and working with them to increase public engagement with our mutual projects.

On the Hui’s Instagram, you’ll find several reposts from and appreciation messages dedicated to a community volunteer network you’ve likely heard of before: 808 Cleanups.

You can even check out their website to read more about this at

https://www.hawaiikaihui.org/ka-iwi-coast/

 

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