Any Pet in a Storm…. Tips for Pet Safety in a Disaster

Headlines after a major storm usually chronicle the toll to people and property.  But pets are also frequent victims. They  may be outside when the storm hits, or flee in a panic, or be unhoused when their humans are. Cats, especially, can simply get lost if the scenery gets rearranged too much. And in the aftermath of a storm, humans sometimes discover that when they were laying in spam and toilet paper, they forgot about their pets’ needs.

With Hurricane Ignacio approaching the island and a second storm following close after, now would be a good time to think about not only your own storm needs, but your pet’s. Below are some tips, gathered from various reputable animal advocacy groups, for keeping your pets safe during a major storm and its aftermath.

Microchip your animals.  It’s probably too late to do this before Ignacio hits.  But there’s another major storm coming in Ignacio’s wake, and the hurricane season is far from over.  A microchip tracking device, available through your veterinarian, may make the difference between seeing your pet again or not.

Make sure that microchip and collar information, especially cell phone numbers, is up to date.

Bring your pets inside well before the storm hits. “Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster,” recommends the ASPCA.  Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis; many animals can be panicked by storm conditions such a close lightning. If you wait until it starts raining or the wind starts to howl, your pet may already have “gone to ground” somewhere and not be findable.

Have a travel crate ready for each pet. And make sure it’s somewhere where you can get at it in a hurry.  In the long term, it might be a good idea to get your pet accustomed to going in the crate by feeding it there. Put the crate somewhere where it’s readily accessible and not likely to get covered with debris or blown away.

In an emergency evacuation situation, a small cat or dog can be scooped up in a pillowcase, but don’t leave it there any longer than you have to.

A note on collars: If you’re living in a thickly forested area and your animal normally wears a collar, breakaway models are available that will allow it to free itself it becomes tangled in the underbrush. But even if your animal doesn’t normally wear a collar, it’s a good idea to have a collar and leash for each animal available  in case you have to evacuate to a temporary shelter.

Buddy Up. suggests trading “pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.”

Put a “PET INSIDE” sign in your house windows.  If something goes wrong, friends, neighbors and/or emergency workers will know to look.

Stock up on Pet Food. As Tropical Storm Iselle proved here, the power can be out and roads may be blocked for a surprisingly long time after a storm.  The Humane Society suggests a five day supply of food; suggests a week’s supply in a sealed container. But a major storm could disrupt infrastructure much longer than that, especially on an island where port facilities could be damaged, infrastructure isn’t as robust, and both alternate road options and evacuation alternatives are limited. Many large discount stores carry five gallon waterproof resealable dry pet food containers, complete with screw-down lids, for only a few dollars.

Don’t forget water. You should have at least a week’s supply of fresh water in sealed containers, not just for your pets, but for yourself.  Again, an island is even more vulnerable than a mainland community to disrupted supplies, since our power grid is less robust. It does no good to have a catchment tank full of water if you can’t get it out of the tank and/or you can’t boil it–assuming a tree doesn’t fall on the tank.

Stock up on medication.  If your pet needs medicine, it may not be available after the storm.  The same goes for you own medication, of course.

Keep copies of important documents, including pet vaccination and medical records, and phone nos. for your vet, your relatives and your doctors, in a portable, waterproof container. The Humane Society also recommends keeping “Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues.

Check to see if your veterinarian has an emergency backup number.  Vets often have arrangements with other vets to take care of their patients if the vet is incapacitated or off island. In a major storm, one vet’s office may be knocked out while another’s  is still operational.

Take Photos of your Pets in case you need to do “lost animal” postings.

Make sure your first aid kit is well-stocked–another good precaution that could help both you and your pets in an emergency.

Have more portable litter and containers, as well as garbage bags, in case you need to evacuate. The ASPCA recommends “scoopable” pet litter for evacuation situations–especially for cats–and suggests, “aluminum roasting pans are perfect” as disposable litter boxes.

Have blankets or heavy towels on hand for scooping up frightened pets.

Have “comfort items” on hand:  toys, chew toys, scratch pads, special beds, cardboard boxes–whatever familiar things might help ease your pet’s anxiety in the midst of a storm or in a strange place.

Let Your Horses Out: “Pick up and put away everything sharp, make sure your fences are solid, leave the shed or stall doors open, and let them stand in the middle of the field. Most likely that is what they will do,” says local horse and donkey rescue expert Bird McIver. “Mine all stood out in the middle of the big arena. And don’t worry. They know how to cope with a storm.”

Special Recommendations for Birds, mostly from the ASPCA:

  • Have a secure travel cage or carrier, and USE IT. If your bird gets loose, it could starve or die of exposure. Or it could become an invasive species.
  • The ASPCA recommends,  “In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • Bring paper towels to line the carrier, and change the frequently.
  • Find a quiet area to keep you bird.
  • Buy a a timed bird feeder. “If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule,” notes the ASPCA
  • More “items to keep on hand,” according to the ASPCA: “Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.”

Keep your chickens in:  So long as the hen house survives, they’re probably better off inside than blowing around.  One danger with a large flock is panicked birds piling up and smothering each other; keep the coop dark, and you may need to spend the night with them, if the danger to yourself isn’t too great.  For a few pet chickens, one chicken-oriented Web site advised setting up a small enclosure in the garage and covering it with a tarp or blanket.

Tips for reptiles, hamsters and gerbils: Turn them in to the Department of Ag. You’re not supposed to have them, anyway, and  if they get loose, you’ll be responsible for another damned invasive species on the island.

If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.   Here’s a list of “pet friendly” emergency shelters, but be aware that you’ll have to keep your animals confined:

Kealakehe High

Konawaena High

Hilo High

Waiakea High

Kea’au High

Pahoa High & Intermediate

Honoka’a High & Intermediate

Kau High


Storm Watch Declared; Ignacio Now Category 3 Hurricane

At  5:00 a.m. today,  the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Big Island because of Hurricane Ignacio. Ignacio, currently a Category 3 Hurricane with sustained windsos 115 miles per hour near its core, is still predicted to pass a little to the north of the Hawaii Island chain.

“Hurricane force winds extended  outwards from the center up to 35 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles,” noted Hawaii Civil Defense.

A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.  This may include high surf and surge, strong winds, and heavy rains.

At the time the watch was issued the storm’s center was approximately 625 miles east/southeast of Hilo and moving in a west/northwest direction at 8 miles per hour.

High Surf Advisory has been issued for both the east and west facing shores of Hawaii Island effective from 6:00 a.m. this morning through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow evening, as waves from both from both Ignacio and former Typhoon Atsani collide in waters near Hawaii Island.   Surf heights of 5 to 8 feet can be expected on Saturday, and 10 to 14 feet on Sunday.

“Residents in low lying coastal areas and boat owners are advised to take necessary precautions and to complete all preparations by noon today.  Emergency personnel will be conducting door to door notifications in surf and surge vulnerable areas of Kapoho in the Puna District and parts of Hilo.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting “Tropical Storm Conditions Possible,” from Sunday night through Tuesday. The most current forecast map, below now, shows Ignacio’s core maintaining hurricane strength winds until it’s north of Kauai on Wednesday.

The storm watch area currently covers only Hawaii County, but According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, “Watches may required for additional islands later today or tonight.”

The NOAA satellite image below shows Ignacio now with the well-defined eye of a major hurricane:

GOES West Hawaii Visible image

This image map shows the predicted path of the storm.   Note, however, that the conical shape is the “cone of probability,” for the storm path, not the actual size of the storm, which is shown in the satellite image above.

5 Day Track for IGNACIO

High Waves from Two Storms at Once may be Coming to a Beach Near You

While Big Island residents watch to the east for Hurricane Ignacio, they could get slapped on their backsides by waves from former Typhoon Atsani.

National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory starting for Saturday and sunday.  Waves from Atsani are expected to peak tonight on the west shores of the island and continue on the east shores tomorrow, while surge from the Ignacio to the east are expected to arrive late tonight…build to advisory levels on Saturday, and approach “warning levels late Sunday.”Swells of 5-8 feet are expected on Saturday, building to 10- 14 feet on late Sunday. Whether the high surf continues further into next week is “highly dependent upon the strength and track of Ignacio.”

5 a.m. Weather Map: Ignacio may Arrive as a Hurricane

The latest forecast map from the National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center still shows Hurricane Ignacio passing a little north of the islands, but possibly arriving as a full fledged hurricane.

As of 5 a.m., Ignacio’s center was 840 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 900 miles from Kailua-Kona. The new track shows the storm most probably arriving in the vicinity of Hawaii Island late Monday or early Tuesday.  Ignacio is currently a Category 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of up 90 miles per hour and gusts higher than that. “Ignacio will slowly strengthen through late Saturday…then begin to weaken,” predicted the latest forecast.

As of 5:15 a.m., Hawaii County Civil Defense reported no storm watches or warnings currently in effect, but urged the public to “take the time to prepare early for possible storm impacts that could include high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains.  Please monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”

5 Day Track for IGNACIO


Five P. M. Forecast Chart Bends Ignacio to the North

The latest forecast storm track for Hurricane Ignacio, which in earlier predictions had been pointed straight at the Big Island, now has it tracking north of the island on around Monday evening, but still in range to possibly give residents some nasty weather.  As of 5 p.m. today, Ignacio was a  Category One Hurricane, with its eye located 975 miles east-southeast of Hilo.  The forecast suggests it will be downgraded to a tropical storm again by the the time it nears Hawaii.5 Day Track for IGNACIO

Hilo Mom Invents Superheros

Hilo mom Kim Gitzel noticed something was missing when she went shopping for her 6 year old daughter Grace.

“There were no girl super-hero brands that were truly inspirational out there,” she says.

So instead of agonizing on buying something she didn’t like, she had an idea – to create her own super-hero action brand that girls of all ages could connect with and aspire to. She created Sirenz of Truth: The Wheeled Warriors (SOT): “SOT represents strong, empowered, athletic girls who have deep friendships, a team bond, and super-hero powers that they use to fight for Truth, protect their community and the world!”

Kim partnered with toy industry vet Caryl Liebmann of Liebmann Licensing to take this brand to the world.
“I met Kim and got that feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me Sirenz of Truth (SOT) was a winner. It’s just what the industry is missing – strong, realistic role models for girls!” Liebman says. “We have designed SOT for an animated TV series, with merchandise to include toys, games, electronics, apparel and much more.”

Now, Kim is reaching out to her local community to help support her endeavor. She has created an Indiegogo campaign ( where the community can be part of the process and help fund the development of an animated show: “With your donation, you not only become a Wheeled Warrior yourself, but you also help fund the first episode!”

Sirenz of Truth will be attending Hawaii Con 2015 on September 10th-13th, held at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The community is invited to meet Kim, learn more about the brand and get firsthand information on how to get involved.

Tune into the Sirenz of Truth™ on Facebook and Instagram (@sirenz_of_truth) and watch the unveiling of the characters over the next few months.



Police Investigate Kapoho Woman’s Death

From the Hawaii Police Department:

Hawai?i Island police have initiated a murder investigation in connection with the discovery of a woman’s body on her Puna property.

On Tuesday evening (August 25), Puna District officers responded to reports of a disturbance on Kaphoho Kai Drive. Investigation led to the discovery of a woman’s body, outside her home, with suspicious injuries.

The victim has been identified as 63-year-old Nadean Rutledge of P?hoa.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are actively investigating the case. They have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2255.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Five Local Nurseries Pass the “Plant Pono” Test

Six retail nurseries on the Big Island are the latest to receive an endorsement for their commitment to preventing the spread of invasive species. The Plant Pono program, a state wide initiative being implemented on Hawai’i island by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), recognizes nurseries who implement best practices for control of certain pests and who agree not to import, sell or propagate any potentially invasive plant species.
“I really want to improve the land and beautify it, not cause damage with invasive plants and animals [like] little fire ant and coqui,” says Jacque Green, owner of Green’s Garden Gifts and Things. Her nursery is one of the latest to have earned the Plant Pono endorsement, along with ESP Nursery, Nui Loa Hiki nursery, Sustainable Bioresources, Tropical Edibles, and Pana’ewa Foliage. They joined The Nursery, Inc., Southern Turf, Kalaoa Gardens, and South Kona Nursery, which were the first Big Island businesses to receive endorsements in early 2015.
To maintain the endorsement, nurseries must undergo annual surveys by BIISC early detection specialists and implement stringent prevention measures against invasive pests developed by the Hawaii Ant Lab and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii. Nurseries can play a critical role in preventing the spread of pest plants and animals. Invasive species are defined as introduced organisms that cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health. Worldwide, 10–?15% of introduced species become invasive. Many invasive plants, such as miconia and Himalayan (kahili) ginger, were originally introduced as ornamentals and spread through planting by garden enthusiasts before expanding into natural areas and disrupting native ecosystems.
Potted plants were identified as one of the top vectors in the spread of Little Fire Ant, which have cost millions for government and businesses in Hawai’i since they were first detected on the Big Island in 1999. Subsequent surveys completed in 2002 revealed populations of LFA from Kalapana to Laupahoehoe, indicating the ants were already present and well spread across the Puna and Hilo areas before they were noticed.
“Getting nurseries involved in detecting and preventing the spread of pest animals and plants just makes sense,” according to Jimmy Parker, botanist and coordinator of BIISC’s early detection team. “Very often we find that invasive plants are sold unknowingly by nurseries and then planted by well–?meaning citizens and landscapers. A Plant Pono endorsement lets the public know the plants they have purchased will not become the next albizia or miconia.”
The likelihood of a plant being invasive in Hawaii can be predicted accurately thanks to an online assessment tool called the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA). HPWRA was developed by botanists from Hawaii and around the globe, and uses 49 questions about a plant’s biology, ecology, and weedy tendencies elsewhere in the world to score its potential invasive threat. HPWRA is 95% accurate in identifying invasive plants. More than a thousand plants have already been assessed and can be viewed on the website, which also suggests safe alternatives to invasive ornamentals. While the Plant Pono program reserves the endorsement for exemplary nurseries, the risk assessment tool is free and available on to any nursery or home gardener considering adding a new plant to their collection. The Plant Pono program was initiated in 2014 by the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) and is funded through the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and the U.S. Forest Service.
Contact information for all Plant Pono nurseries is available on the BIISC website at

Pahoa Pantry Seeks Donations through Foodland’s “Give Aloha” Fundraiser

From Jen McGeehan

“Give Aloha”, an annual statewide September fundraiser in honor of Foodland founder Maurice J. (Sully) Sullivan, is slated for September 1 – 30. All Foodland, Sack N Save and Foodland Farms locations offer their Makai card customers the opportunity to donate to their favorite participating 501c3 non-profit. A portion of their donation will be matched by Foodland and Western Union Foundation up to a total of at least $300,000 for all organizations combined.

The newly resurrected Pahoa Pantry and Soup Kitchen, under the guidance of New Hope Puna, is participating in the 2015 Give Aloha Program. Supporters can visit any Foodland, Sack N Save or Foodland Farms statewide, and make a donation or cumulative donations of up to $249.00. Each checkout clerk will make sure the donation is deposited using the designated code number of 78821. And, all donations are tax-deductible!

Thomas Manago, Director for the Pahoa Pantry and Soup Kitchen, shares, “On average, approximately 900 meals are served per month to the residents of Mountain View, Kea’au through Kalapana. They are sustained solely through individual, corporate and fundraisng dollars. Hawaii Island Food Basket serves as one of our major suppliers of USDA meats, rice, canned goods and occasionally fresh produce, with thousands of pounds of food donated monthly.”

The Pahoa Pantry and Soup Kitchen (PPSK) is located in Downtown Pahoa at 15-2710 Kauhale Steet under the Sunday Farmer’s Market tents, and operates solely by community volunteers. Open hours for the Soup Kitchen are Tuesdays and Fridays at 4:30 pm (first come first serve), and the Pahoa Pantry the second Friday of every month.

For further PPSK information please visit, or contact Thomas Manago at 808.464.5846 or And, families in need are encouraged to visit PPSK for their food needs.

Flash Flood Watch Extended; Puna Council Meeting Cancelled

From Hawaaii County Civil Defense at 6:15 p.m., Monday, August 24:

The National Weather Service Flash Flood Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect.  Due to unstable weather conditions and very moist air across the state, the flash flood watch will remain in effect through 6:00PM tomorrow.

Currently heavy rains and occasional thunder and lighting can be expected across all areas of the island.

With the ongoing upper slope rains and runoff, Highway 11 near the Whittington Beach Park in Ka’u is experiencing intermittent road closure due to flooding conditions.  Presently the highway is open to one lane traffic; however, motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.

All other major highways and roadways are opened at this time however motorists are advised to drive carefully and to be prepared for hazardous conditions, ponding, and runoff, and to anticipate traffic delays.

Lastly, in consideration of the hazardous road conditions, the joint Puna Council public meeting scheduled for tonight at the Mt. View School has been cancelled.

Flash Flood Warning Issued; Hwy. 11 Closed in Ka’u

From t County of Hawaii Civil Defense:

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Hawaii Island effective through 12:30PM this afternoon.  Heavy rain fall is expected in various areas of West Hawaii from South Kona through North Kohala.  Many of these areas have experienced significant rainfall over the past days and may be prone to flooding.

 Due to heavy runoff and flooding, Highway 11 near the Whittington Beach Park in Kau  is closed to all traffic.  The road closure extends from Punaluu to Naalehu.  Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.  All other major highways and roadways are open at this time, however motorists are advised to drive carefully and to be prepared for hazardous conditions to include  ponding and runoff, and to anticipate traffic delays.

 The Flash Flood Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect.  Due to unstable weather conditions and very moist air across the state, the flash flood watch will remain in effect through 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Floods, Thunder–but not a “Tropical Storm”–Hit Big Island

Due to unstable weather conditions and very moist air across the state, a flash flood watch will remain in effect through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, Monday, August 24.  As of 6:30 this evening Highway 250,  the Kohala Mountain Road had been closed at the 9-mile mark due to heavy flooding.   Currently heavy rains and thunder and lighting is being reported across parts of West Hawaii from Waimea through Kona.  Residents in the Honoka’a area have reported close lightning strikes on Facebook.

Civil Defens reports that “North Kohala traffic is being detoured through the Kohala Ranch Subdivision. All other major highways and roadways are opened at this time however motorists are advised to drive carefully and to be prepared for hazardous conditions, ponding, and runoff,  and to anticipate traffic delays.

The current weather on the island is not, however, part of an organized tropical storm.  The nearest such storm, Tropical Depression Kilo, is currently over 800 miles west-southwest of Hilo, and its current projected path takes it well to the west of all the main Hawaiian Islands.

Commentary: Kama’aina Blues

by Alan McNarie

Kama’aina: someone who’s been here long enough to look at a place in the present, see it as it once was, see it as it will be, and care deeply about all three.  I just spent two days on the Kona side for the first time in years–met my lady friend Kersten’s brother and his wife for the first time and enjoyed the visit, but that enjoyment was tempered by Kama’aina pain. They’d rented a time-share in Waikoloa. I took them to see Kalako-Honokahau National Historic Park, one of my favorite spots on the island: one of the few places left in the islands where, in the past, I’ve seen not just endangered species such as ae’o (black-necked stilts) and ‘alae ke’oke’o (Hawaiian coots), but whole flocks of them. Yesterday, though, all I saw were a single ‘alae ke’oke’o and a few sandpipers. On previous visits I’ve seen dozens of green sea turtles, either hauled out to sun or grazing on algae in the tide pools; yesterday I only saw three or four. I’m hoping that the birds and turtles were just displaced temporarily by the storm, and will return…. Yesterday evening, while Kersten nursed a migraine at our darkened room, I went snorkeling with Kersten’s brother at Anaeho’omalu. We saw only two yellow tangs; almost all 0f the few fish we did observe were small, drab species–probably thanks to the damned aquarium trade.

But one thing was getting more abundant on the Kona Coast:  shopping centers. New developments seemed to be sprouting like fungi all along Highway 19 from Waikoloa to Kailua-Kona. The whole North Kona Coast, which was the home mainly to feral donkeys, a few beach parks and the ruins of ancient Hawaiian villages when I first got here, appears to be on its way to becoming a strip city….

I’m sure many or most of the tourists who sunbathe and play golf at the Waikoloa resorts don’t share this kind of temporal migraine, this painful triple vision; they just see the luxurious cocoon of the resorts, without seeing how much the land is changing. The only glimpses they get of the past may be the petroglyphs along the golf course trails, the romanticized biographies of Hawaiian royalty on the plaques in the King’s Market, and the bowdlerized and inaccurate  “Hawaiian luaus” where they feast on roast pig and pineapple while “hula dancers” shake their hips furiously to the wild rhythms of Tahiti. I think Kersten’s brother and his wife are probably more sensitive than many to these conflicts of place and time; they edit a newsletter for their own community in Arizona, where some of the same conflicts must be happening.  But how could they know that the very place where they came for a happy getaway was arousing such deep conflicts in their resident relatives?  How can they guess that, when our smiles fade too quickly, the smile at seeing them is genuine, but the sadness comes from seeing the land? How can they possibly discern the difference between what we feel about this place and what we feel about them?

How many other visitors notice the tired scowls and forced smiles of the wait help, who likely caught the Hele-On from Puna or Ka’u in the wee hours of the morning in order to reach their minimum-wage jobs? How many of them realize that once, all along this coast, every bay and cove held a Hawaiian village instead of a luxury hotel or subdivision?  How many of them glimpse the pain of what was lost, and will be lost, to give them their few days in an artificial “Paradise”?

And yet it’s not their fault.  They’re trying to get away from their own troubles in their own homes in far-off places, and paying dearly for the privilege.  So we hide our pain and we smile, and some of us get a few dollars from the resorts’ corporate owners to help maintain the illusion.

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day that I first stepped off the plane in Hilo. Since that day, I’ve worked first as a teacher, then as a paralegal helping the victims of family violence, then as a journalist, giving people information that they needed to know and might not have learned otherwise. I’ve celebrated local artists and local culture, have tracked off-island money in local elections, and have helped to provoke at least four full-fledged grassroots rebellions with the stories I’ve reported. I like to think that I’ve given enough back overall to earn my place on this island that I love so much, though sometimes I wonder.  For the past 15 years or so, I’ve been joking that I was “almost a kama’aina”–and would be until the day I die.

I’m going to stop saying that now.  I’m at least a novice kama’aina.  It hurts too much, now, for me to think I’m anything else. But I know that what I feel is only a scratch compared to the pain of those with older roots. How magnified would my sadness be, if my ancestors had lived in one of those vanished coastal villages–if they’d toiled for generations, piling the rocks of those mighty fishpond dikes at Kaloko-Honokahau? What would I feel if my great-great-grandmother had left my great-grandfather’s piko in one of those holes pecked in the pahoehoe beside what is now the seventh green, but I’m only welcome to come to visit that spot, now, if I’m a corporate employee or the guest of one of the guests? How would I feel if my ancestral village  lay under the foundation of a time-share condo?

There is too much pain, too much sadness deep in the bones of this beautiful island. Kama’aina are the ones who are gifted to feel it.


Feds Issue Order to Protect Monk Seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands

The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a final rule designating 7,000 square miles of beaches and coastal waters around the main Hawaiian Islands as “critical habitat” for Hawaiian Monk seals. The new ruling grants more protections for the seals, some of the most critically endangered marine mammals on the planet. There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left, and the population is believed to be falling about 3 percent per year. Critical habitat for the seals had already been designated in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands in 1986, but he seals have been seen more frequently in the main islands in recent years.

The new ruling would place stronger restrictions over federal activities about Hawaiian coastal waters and on its beaches–but only on Federal activities and those funded or permitted by the United States Government. It “does not interfere with fishing, gathering, swimming, or other beach activities. The critical habitat designation affects only federal, not state or local, actions … The designation does not make the lands federal, restrict public access, or forbid activities or developments. Critical habitat merely identifies the areas where federal government projects must give extra consideration and minimize destruction and degradation of the coast, something that beach- and ocean-loving Hawaiians would want anyway,” according to a joint press release from nine environmental organizations, three of which— the Center for Biological Diversity, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, and Ocean
Conservancy—had first petitioned the Feds to enact the restrictions in 2008.

“Without a growing, healthy population in the main Hawaiian Islands — where seals are successfully foraging and reproducing — the seal could go extinct in our lifetime. Federal data show that endangered species with critical habitat protections are twice as likely to recover as those without,” maintained the press release.

“In the seven years since we filed the petition to designate critical habitat around the main Hawaiian Islands, there has been a lot of critical discussion about how to use environmental regulations to care for Hawai`i’s wildlife and coastal resources. We appreciate that discussion and, although we had hoped it would be more comprehensive, we’re glad to see the final rule,” said Bianca Isaki of KAHEA.

Hawaiian monk seals are among the oldest and most primitive of all seal species. Their closest relatives are halfway around the globe, in the Mediterranean; a Caribbean monk seal species is already believed to be extinct. Among the dangers they face are habitat degradation and the danger of becoming by-catch in fishing nets. If global warming submerges the atolls of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, then the main Hawaiian Islands will become even more critical to their survival. But they’ll still have to share the beaches with human bathers and surfers—a problem, since they’re notoriously solitary creatures and can be surly if disturbed. Messing with a monk seal on a beach is not a good idea for either humans or seals, Federal restrictions or no.

“Protecting coastal and marine habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal is also good for Hawai`i’s people, culture and economy,” noted Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai`i. “The critical habitat rule does not restrict public access — people can still swim, surf, snorkel, fish and gather.”

“Preventing the monk seal from going extinct is not rocket science; we can do this,” believes Said Mike Gravitz, directs policy for the Marine Conservation Institute and heads its monk seal program: “The seals in the main Hawaiian Islands need critical habitat, NOAA has to be serious about implementing its own recovery plan, and we need to work with the communities and fishers in Hawaii to listen to their concerns and reduce any conflicts with the seals. If we lose the battle to save the Hawaiian monk seal, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.”

More information on the seals can be found here

Big Island Craftsman Exhibition Seeks Local Artists and Artisans

Big Island Artists are invited to participate in The Hawaii Craftsman 48th Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition on  Oct 27-Nov. 20 at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. Emerging and established artists residing in the state of Hawaii are welcome to enter traditional or non-traditional crafts with a fresh approach or point of view. The exhibition is open to functional and non-functional 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art in categories of clay, fiber, glass, wood, metal, stone and mixed media. Juror selected cash awards presented at the Honolulu opening reception Oct. 27, 2015.

September 15 is the closing date for on-line entry registration. No mail-in or intake/jurying day entries accepted. All artists are required to enter online through All Big Island entries will be physically viewed by the juror, Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator Emerita of the Museum of Art and Design in New York, for jurying on Sunday, Oct. 18 at Hilo’s Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art (EHCC) with intake from 10 to noon; Jurying from noon to 2 p.m. and a  Juror’s Lecture from 2:00  to 2:45 p.m. Artwork pickup will be from 3:00-4:00 p.m. Location: 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo, Theater Room Upstairs. Selected Big Island entries are then shipped to Oahu by the artist with delivery no later than Oct. 23. See for complete prospectus. If you need assistance with online entry, please feel free to contact Big Island Co-Chairs: Patti Pease Johnson,, (808) 966-8861 or Evan Jenkins,, (808) 640-0283.

Ching Foundation Sponsors “Inspired in Hawaii” Contest for Students

The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation has announced its
Sixth Annual “Inspired in Hawaii” Essay, Poster and Video Contest
The contest encourages Hawaii’s students to “dream big and make Hawaii a better place.” This year’s contest, which is open to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 who are current residents of the state of
Hawaii,  offers $10,000 in cash awards for winning students and their teachers.

Poster and Essay Division Awards:
First Place: $125 student, $50 teacher
Second Place: $100 student, $50 teacher
Third Place: $50 student, $50 teacher
Video Division Awards*:
First Place: $300 team, $100 teacher
Second Place: $250 team, $100 teacher
Third Place $200 team, $100 teacher
Fourth Place $150 team, $100 teacher
Fifth Place: $100 team, $100 teacher

Students may enter only one division.
Essay Division: Grades 6-12, individual
Poster Division: Grades K-12, individual
Video Division: Grades 7-12, individual or team entries

Each entry must identify an existing problem in Hawaii and offer a thoughtful solution to the problem. Go to the Web site for rules, entry forms, prizes, judging criteria and information on Clarence T.C. Ching. You can also see last year’s winning entries there.
Entries must be received no later than 4:00 p. m. on Friday, November 6, 2015. Mail or deliver entries to:

ATTN: Inspired in Hawaii Contest, The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 770, Honolulu, HI 96813

If there’s a question that isn’t answered at the Web site, contestants can email contest coordinator

Award winners will be contacted through their schools and invited to an awards program in February 2016.