Commentary: The Need to Cry Wolf

As Hurricane Ignacio edges northward, Civil Defense has decided, on the eve of its passing, to leave county shelters closed and conduct county business as usual tomorrow. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, buses will run tomorrow, the county offices will stay open, and this reporter will be showing up at 9 a.m. for jury duty in Hilo. The National Weather Service has announced, Hurricane Ignacio is now forecast to move further north and east of the islands. The National Weather Services’ most recent announcement: “Due to the much reduced threat of tropical storm force winds for Maui county and the Big Island, all tropical storm watches have been discontinued.”

I’m glad, of course–but getting a bit professionally concerned. How many times can we in the press–and the National Weather Service, for that matter–play the boy who cried wolf? The Weather Service keeps posting these scary maps a week in advance, with the storm’s Cone of Probability pointed straight at our island, and then, once everybody’s in a lather, we get a new forecast that shows the storm veering north (this year; in the past, it’s often been south). If we downplay those initial reports and the storm hits, somebody could die. If we keep reporting them and they keep not happening, though, people could get blase, and when one actually hits–again, somebody could die …. It’s a delicate balancing act, trying to cry just the right amount of  wolf.

To make things even more complicated, there’s the Iselle experience, which proved just how vulnerable we can be to even a relatively weak storm. This island simply doesn’t have the robust infrastructure that the mainland does; there’s no nationwide power grid to tap into, and few alternate routes, and we can’t just pack up the kids and pets and drive out to the relatives in another state for the weekend. The only way we can compensate for those inherent weaknesses is to be thoroughly, personally aware and prepared.

So storm reporting remains a serious business. We’ve been very fortunate that so few have actually hit, but when one does–and we will run out of luck, eventually–we have to be ready.

And yes, there’s another powerful hurricane coming on in Ignacio’s wake.  My boss is going through some minor surgery this week, and I’ve got the aforementioned jury duty. But as those other commitments allow, we’ll try to keep you apprised of Jimena’s progress.

Let’s hope that it, too, will turn aside in the last hours.

–Alan McNarie

Ignacio Track Gets Further Away; County Leaves Shelters Closed

From County of Hawaii Civil Defense:

“As of 2:00 PM this afternoon Hurricane Ignacio was continuing on a northwest track at 12 miles per hour and remains a category 3 hurricane.  Ignacio was located approximately 380 miles east of Hilo and recording sustained winds of 115 miles per hour with higher gusts.  Hurricane force winds extend outwards from the center up to 30 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.

“Although the National Weather Service Tropical Storm Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect, the present track and gradual weakening of Ignacio is presenting with an anticipated reduced threat to Hawaii Island.  Based on the anticipated and forecasted improved outlook, evacuation centers will not be opened at this time.  The Civil Defense Agency will continue to maintain close communication with the National Weather Service and monitor the system.

“All DOE public schools and private schools will be open tomorrow.

“In addition all government offices will be open for normal business; including the Hele-On Bus system.

“The High Surf Warning issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island will remain in effect through 6:00PM Tuesday evening.  Surf heights are expected to increase today and build to possibly 15 to 20 feet.  Residents in low lying coastal areas and boat owners are advised to take necessary precautions.

“Please monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates. “

Ignacio Moving Further North?

Hawaii Island may just dodge the bullet again.  But it’s a very big bullet and the aim is questionable, so stay tuned.

The island is still unnder a tropical storm watch, but the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s latest public advisory notes, “The Center of Ignacio is expected to pass 200 miles northeast of the Big Island on Tuesday night”  It also noted that “hurricane force winds extend up to 30 miles [from the storm’s center]…and tropical storm force winds extend southward up to 140 miles.”

The arithmetic looks good, but there’s still a big probability factor involved, as indicate by the white cone in the map below.  The actual path of the storm’s eye could be anywhere within that cone.

The storm has also weakened somewhat with maximum sustained winds of about 115 miles per hour.

5 Day Track for IGNACIO

Ignacio Still Category 4 but Tropical Storm Winds Expected Here

Hurricane Ignacio, which strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane yesterday, is still a Category 4 today and likely will still  be a full fledged hurricane when it passes North of the Big Island on Monday, though the Natioonal Weather Service does say it will “weaken through Tuesday.” It’s predicted to pass far enough north of us, however, that this island is more likely to get tropical storm force winds and rain. Surf may now reach 15 to 20 feet.

Here’s the 5 a.m.  Hawaii County Civil Defense notice:

“The National weather Service Tropical Storm Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect. Hawaii Island could begin to experience tropical storm conditions starting late tonight and into early tomorrow. As of 5:00 AM this morning Hurricane Ignacio remains a category 4 hurricane and was located approximately 450 miles east of Hilo and moving in a northwest direction at 9 miles per hour. Currently Ignacio is recording sustained winds of 140 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outwards from the center up to 30 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

“A High Surf Warning has been issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island through 6:00PM Tuesday evening. Surf heights are expected to increase today and building to possibly 15 to 20 feet. Residents in low lying coastal areas and boat owners are advised to take necessary precautions.

“Based on the current forecast track and possible impacts, emergency shelters will be opened later today and the public is advised to monitor upcoming radio messages for information on shelter locations and sites. Information will also be posted on the Hawaii County Civil Defense web site at

“The Civil Defense Agency will continue to maintain close communication with the National Weather Service and monitor the system. The community is encouraged 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.”

The latest storm track. Remember, the white area is the predicted cone of possibility of the passage of the storm’s eye, not the width of the storm:

5 Day Track for IGNACIO

Th latest enhanced satellite image, which gives a better idea of the scale of the storm:

Satellite Images for IGNACIO



Guest Column: Dating Tips for Dogs and Divas

by Dr. Kai  Swigart

As a shrink who doubles as a dating coach, amidst a smorgasbord of other disenfranchised diadems; a pauperized prince who has himself emerged from the shackles of scurrilous servility a salubrious singleton; I find myself resistant to the balancing yoga posed by my own advice. Although for some a belletristic blueprint, and others a boring blather; I seek to guide, to foster healing through my words. As singles interested in dating, enchanted entrepreneurs pursuing enamored elicitations; when devoid of deeply fashioned loving bonds; we are advised to share our dinners, dances, doors, and dispensations with not one, but many bright-eyed, bushy tails. In other words, until we find that special someone, with whom we wish to share it all, we are advised to place our eggs in many baskets. Now this is good advice, if down there in those cracks and crevices, if  down there deep inside our hearts, we’re not connected.


sometimes, even when we’re already in a committed relationship, we may realize that we have met that special someone. If we are honest and responsible, we will acknowledge this to ourselves, and then file it away for a day that may never come. If we have ongoing contact with them, then we may redefine them as a friend, like a brother or sister; in order to love them in a way that is appropriate. This is honorable, while we, or they, are still in a relationship. But what happens if we both become available? Have we conditioned ourselves to believe that they are only friends, that he or she is like a brother or sister, and that is that? But what about those memories that keep tickling our fantasies, that are pumping up our hearts with inspiration? Should we just ignore them, pretending they’re not there, or should we pull them out and dust them off, our long, lost diamonds?


And then there were issues. What if we doubt ourselves and our worth, see ourselves as a victim because  of our poor choices and the abuse of others, or cannot trust because of things that we have gone through? Such perceptual frameworks may represent inadequacy, control, victimization, and trust issues. Those with inadequacy issues often want to be with someone they feel superior to, so they can pretend to be in love without becoming vulnerable. By engineering a “relationship” that supports their issues, they have a built-in way to gratify these issues. But do they want to strengthen their issues, or share love? Sharing real love requires vulnerability, right? They can feel superior, be a know-at-all, always try to prove themselves; and usually feel successful. But all they have succeeded at is strengthening the problem. This problem is a dark, destructive ego that will maintain the patterns of superficial, disingenuous relationships that leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled (which they can then blame on their partner). Similar patterns could occur if we had control, victimization, or trust issues. We could, and probably would choose the things that satisfied our issues. For instance, in a relationship, we might not only select a mate that we feel superior to, but also one that we could control, blame for our mistakes, make ourselves the victim of, and distrust. This would maintain our issue-based belief systems, keep us feeling self righteously superior, unfairly treated, and justified in our distrust of our companion. But these perceptions would not be based on truth. They would be based on issues. Do we want to keep feeding the problem, and continue re-creating unhealthy relationships in our lives; or do we want to accept ourselves, forgive ourselves, and learn to love ourselves so we can learn to love, respect, and trust another? I guess the main point here is that feeding issues, like ignoring the undercurrents described above, could keep us from taking that needed plunge into the arms of real love. The choice is always ours

Eminence and the Approach-Avoidance Dance

When we, or they,  are not single or available, it is sometimes easier to express our love for them. This may be because we, at these times, do not have to risk becoming vulnerable. When we are both available, and eminence tickles our fantasies and pushes our buttons, our fears kick in and choreograph the dance. We might treasure them, respect them greatly, and long for their companionship. But our fears may scream at us that we can’t trust them, that when we hold ourselves up to them we come up lacking, or that they could not really love us the way it seems. These are, of course, our own issues haunting, taunting, and flaunting their indulgence. But, despite our fears, we might hesitantly decide to take the risk. When we do, the resulting vulnerability may distress our sensibilities, prompting us  to take a step back, at least in terms of openness of expression, or frequency of contact; until we are again inspired by that sweet, abiding truth. So we may reach out, share deeply and vulnerably, and then retreat into the safety of our shell. In and out, back and forth, until, at some point, we learn to love and trust. This dance commonly occurs for people with trust, inadequacy, and victim issues; and for those who are highly sensitive or evolved. If this is happening, just keep dancing until you love and trust yourself. Even though it will seem much scarier  at first than the superficial, unfulfilling relationships we control; the ones in which we do not feel vulnerable; it will help us learn to love ourselves, and then to love another; and believe in unconditional love and trust. There may be no greater human joy than this. Just keep dancing.

How have you handled situations like these? Can you relate to the approach-avoidance dance? If so, which moves have helped you most?

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.