Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pelekane Bay Watershed Project

Recently, Senator Takamine and I joined Melora Purell and Barrie Moss in a tour of the Kohala Mountains from the Waimea side. The tour started just below the Kohala Mountain Road and proceeded up to the forest line where Melora and Barrie educated us on their goal of re-creating the native forest that once thrived in this area and their hope that this re-growth would end years of erosion spilling tons of soil into Pelekane Bay.It is hoped that plantings such as these will take root in the harsh windswept areas of the lower Kohala Mountains and transform the pasture/desert into lush native forests.
For more information on this project, visit:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aloha Lt. Col. Richardson!

In a change of command like no other, a hula was offered by the Kunishige family dedicated to the friendship that they held with departing commander Lt. Col. Warline S. Richardson. Lt. Col. Richardson then handed over the garrison flag to Lt. Col. Rolland C. "Chris" Niles, officially marking the change of command and leadership of the U.S. Army’s Big Island training complex.

In an emotional speech, Richardson thanked the families, communities, employees, troops for embracing her during her three-year command. She praised the members of the cultural advisory council for teaching her the traditions and history of Hawaii and the meaning of aloha.

A native of North Carolina, Richardson and her dog Starsky are moving to San Antonio, Texas, where she will step into her new role as Missile Officer, Headquarters, U.S. Army North (Homeland Defense) Fort Sam Houston.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Best Wishes Jeanne!

Jeanne Abe, Hale Ho'ola Hamakua’s Director of Nursing, was the guest of honor at a "surprise" retirement celebration held for her. Jeanne's career spanned 43 years as a nurse, including 39 years in public health for the state on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

As Interim Director of Hale Ho'ola, Jeanne oversaw patient care for residents after the facility sustained considerable damage from the 2006 earthquake that required all patients to be evacuated from the facility. In December 2009, HHH’s expansion began and was completed in May 2010, bringing the total number of beds in the facility from 50 up to 77. The expansion wing is scheduled for occupancy in July 2010.
Jeanne is also responsible for much of the community outreach that has created a cadre of volunteers and supporters for Hale Ho'ola Hamakua. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Masters Degree in Public health from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She first started as a staff nurse at Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital on Oahu in 1967. She continued her nursing career on Maui for 30 years.

In 2002, she became HHH’s Director of Nursing for Hale Hoola Hamakua and served as Interim Administrator from February 2007 through October 2009 before returning to her post.
I'm sure that retirement for Jeanne will only free up more time for her to do good things in the community.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Federal Grants Available for Energy Audits

FYI. See opportunity below.


Timothy W. O'Connell Assistant to the State Director Rural Development Rural Energy Coordinator
U.S. Department of Agriculture
154 Waianuenue Ave., Room 303 Hilo, HI 96720 (808) 933-8313 (808) 933-8326 (F) Committed to the future of rural communities

$2.4 million available to units of State, tribal, or local government; instrumentalities of a State, tribal, or local government; land-grant colleges and universities and other institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; and public power entities for the provision of energy audits and renewable energy development assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses. This funding will be available in the form of grants.

The above entities are eligible to apply, however the energy audits conducted under this program are only for a rural small business or a farmer/rancher.

Applications for grants must be submitted on paper or electronically no later than 4:30 p.m., local time July 26, 2010. Neither complete nor incomplete applications received after this date and time will be considered for funding in FY 2010, regardless of the postmark on the application.

Limit per grant application is $100,000. Recipients of the audits are required to pay at least 25% of the cost of the audit.

Eligible projects directly related to conducting and promoting energy audits and renewable energy development assistance, which include but are not limited to:

(i) Salaries directly or indirectly related to the project;
(ii) Travel expenses directly related to conducting energy audits or renewable energy development assistance;
(iii) Office supplies (e.g., paper, pens, file folders); and
(iv) Administrative expenses, up to a maximum of 5 percent of the grant,
which include but are not limited to:
(A) Utilities;
(B) Office space;
(C) Operation expenses of office and other project-related equipment (e.g., computers, cameras, printers, copiers, scanners); and
(D) Expenses for outreach and marketing of the energy audit and renewable energy development assistance activities, including associated travel expenses.

Micro Robotics Flyer, Schedule, Registration

1st Hawaii Micro Robotics Conference and Tournament

Last November, at the invitation of Mr. Art Kimura of the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, I had the privilege of accompanying Waiakea and Waialua High Schools as they travelled to Japan to attend in the Micro-Robotics Tournament at Nagoya University and to participate in the first VEX Tournament in Tokyo.

Here, in the midst of a mostly college/university crowd, I was able to witness our own Hawaii high school students completing with some of Japan's best students in micro-robotics as they each worked to meet the challenges of their individual competitions with robots measuring less than an inch and in the case of the mini-micros, less than a centimeter square. Designing, building, and programming their robots is only the beginning as the tournament challenges teams to analyze issues, trouble shoot problems, adjust programming and re-fabricate designs to accomplish the task at hand.

This month, we hope to replicate that experience at the 1st Hawaii International Micro Robot Conference and Tournament which will be held at the Imiloa Astronomy Center on the Campus of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The conference will run from July 16-19, 2010.
I believe that the exciting thing about this endeavor is the idea that the Big Island could become a center for the development of a micro-robotics industry. Conferences such as this will help to stimulate high technology education and assist in the creation of a technically capable workforce by developing the infrastructure and skill sets necessary to support high technology robotics based activities. Once this is in place, the next step will be identifying the real world potential and application for this growing technology as we invite new industries to the Big Island to take advantage of our newly skilled work force.