A dozen Maui Fire Department units and crews from County and State agencies responded to a brushfire this morning on the Kahului Airport side of Stable Road in Speckelsville. UPDATE: A second helicopter has been added to the fire battle. Fire is 20 percent contained as of 1:16 p.m.
One person evacuated from one home. No structures lost, but some roof damage due to flying embers.
The report first came in at 10:18 a.m. Units E-10, T-10, E-2, T-3, E-3,M-2, T-14, E-6, E-5, BC-1, BC-4, ARFF, DOFAW, Air-1, and Public Works dozers and tankers are on scene working this brushfire. Due to heavy smoke conditions unable to determine size, but estimate looks like 15-20 acres involved.
More details will be released as they become available.
Honolulu Zoo staffers were growing more concerned Friday about the health of three exotic birds that escaped earlier this week after vandals cut holes in their cages.
By Friday afternoon, only a male buff-headed ground dove remained at the zoo. A red Eclectus female parrot that had hung around a couple days probably left, and a gray tawny frogmouth remained unaccounted for, said Tommy Higashino, acting zoo director.
“Very worried about the tawny because it was a hand-fed bird,” he said. “And also very concerned about the Eclectus. It’s going on four days now.”
Zoo officials said someone cut open 24 bird cages between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, allowing the three birds to escape. Police said on Wednesday they had no suspects. Higashino said the holes in the cages have since been patched.
ALBANY, N.Y. » Whole Foods Market said Friday that it will stop selling fish caught from depleted waters or through ecologically damaging methods, a move that comes as supermarkets nationwide try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.
Starting Earth Day, April 22, the natural and organic supermarket chain will no longer carry wild-caught seafood that is “red-rated,” a color code that indicates it is either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species. The ratings are determined by the Blue Ocean Institute, an advocacy group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
Among the seafood disappearing from Whole Foods shelves will be octopus, gray sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod caught by trawls, which can destroy habitats. The company will stock sustainable replacements like cod caught on lines and halibut from the Pacific.
“In the long term, what we’re really looking to do is help reverse trends of overfishing and bi-catch, so that really we can move the industry as a whole toward greater sustainability,” said seafood quality standards coordinator Carrie Brownstein. She added that Whole Foods is making the shift a year ahead of its internal deadline.
Retail prices could be higher in some cases in which sustainable suppliers have lower yields.
Whole Foods, which has been strengthening its buying practices for years, is among a number of supermarket chains responding as consumers become more concerned about the sources of their seafood.
In the past month, BJ’s Wholesale Club announced a policy to ensure its seafood is sustainable or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014, and Supervalu announced a comprehensive policy to ensure its farm-raised seafood is sustainable. Supervalu, which operates Albertsons, Shop ‘n Save and seven other retail brands, also stopped selling six wild-caught species because of sustainability concerns.
The changes have come fast. In 2008, when Greenpeace first published its seafood sustainability scorecard of supermarkets, all 20 of the major chains surveyed failed. Last year, 15 of 20 companies had passing scores, said John Hocevar, the environmental group’s oceans campaign director.
“It’s pretty impressive to see that it was an issue that really wasn’t on most of these companies’ radar,” Hocevar said, “and with encouragement from us and many others, they really did for the most part step up.”
Greenpeace is among a number of private groups that certify or offer guidelines for seafood, meaning consumers sometimes must sort out multiple ratings.
For instance, some Whole Foods seafood will continue to feature labels from the Marine Stewardship Council, which maintains a widely used system that certifies seafood from sustainable fisheries. But Brownstein said the council doesn’t assess every fishery, so Whole Foods relies on the color coding for seafood from fisheries not covered by the council. Whole Foods will now only sell green- and yellow-rated seafood, which is more sustainable.
Shrimp, salmon and other seafood grown on farms have yet another separate labeling system.
Hocevar said the profusion of ratings can confuse customers, which is why Greenpeace urges supermarkets to only sell sustainable products.
The average price in Hawaii of a gallon of regular gas, already the highest in the nation, set a record today and is likely to continue rising for the next few weeks.
The AAA Hawaii Daily Fuel Gauge Report estimates the state-wide average price of regular gas reached $4.597 a gallon, beating the old record of $4.594 set in May 2011. Hawaii’s average gas price is a little less than a penny higher than Friday. The price of gas here has risen about 25 cents in the last month and is about 33 cents higher than the same time last year.
Nationally, the average price of gas is $3.925 for regular and some analysts believe it could reach a record high next month.
Analysts think pump prices will top $4 a gallon nationally within the next couple of weeks, perhaps sooner. Then they could start to fall.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, expects the national average for gas to hit about $4.05 per gallon by mid-April. It could level off there, and some analysts think it will start to fall. But Kloza also has said that the average could go as high as $4.25 per gallon later in the month, which would top the national record of $4.11 set in 2008.
In Honolulu, the average regular gas price is $4.47 cents a gallon and could beat the record price of about $4.48 cents a gallon by Monday if prices continue rising at the same pace.
Hilo’s gas prices set another record today of about $4.76. Gas prices in Hilo have been setting records daily since March 22.
Wailuku’s average price of about $4.77 a gallon for regular is 22 cents a gallon less than the record of $4.99 set in May 2011.
HONOLULU, Hawai’i-The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, has released a request for written fixed price proposals from qualified applicants to provide leisure tourism destination marketing management and island support services that drive incremental visitation and revenue for Hawai’i from its U.S. and Canada leisure major market area.
Applicants are invited to submit proposals in accordance with the Request for Proposals for the U.S. and Canada Leisure Tourism Destination Marketing Management Services, Solicitation No.: HTA-RFP-12-03 (RFP).
The RFP includes the following:
• Development and deployment of an annual tourism marketing plan that will increase leisure travelers and visitor expenditures for the Hawaiian Islands;
• Integration of activities with the travel trade (retail and wholesale) and consumers through multi-faceted, traditional and non-traditional means;
• Development and facilitation of partnerships or other relationships with Hawai’i's visitor industry; and
• Management of island-based destination services on the islands of O’ahu, Maui, Lāna’i, Moloka’i, Kaua’i and Hawai’i Island for all visitors.
The HTA will select the offer determined to be the most advantageous to the HTA, taking into consideration multiple factors, including applicant qualifications, the merits of the proposed services, and price, in accordance with the evaluation criteria set forth in the RFP.
The new contract to be awarded under this RFP will replace an existing contract that ends on Dec. 31, 2012. The desired date to award a contract under this RFP is Aug. 1, 2012. The period of performance under the new contract runs from Aug. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2014 with optional renewals for three (3) one-year periods beginning Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2017.
The written proposals are due no later than May 15, 2012 at 4:30 p.m., HAST (Hawai’i-Aleutian Standard Time) and in the manner described in the RFP.
The RFPs are available beginning Friday, March 30, 2012 at the HTA office located at the Hawai’i Convention Center, First Level, 1801 Kalākaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96815, during normal business hours, or may be downloaded at www.hawaiitourismauthority.org (click on the link to “Request for Proposals”). The HTA will not accept a request for the RFP to be mailed.
Inquiries regarding this RFP should be directed to the HTA Procurement Officer for this RFP, Mr. Winfred Pong, at 1801 Kalākaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawai’i, 96815, or by telephone: (808) 973-2255, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following list of ”Bills of Interest” has been supplied by the Hawai’i State Office of the Senate:
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
SB3050 RELATING TO FILM, TELEVISION, DIGITAL AND NEW MEDIA DEVELOPMENT
Authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources to lease public lands for purposes of developing creative media production and post-production facilities by negotiation, without public auction. Effective July 1, 2112. (SB3050 HD1)
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
SB2774 RELATING TO GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS
Updates the existing chapter 93, Hawaii Revised Statutes, in response to changes in technology and reduces printing, workload, and delivery costs for all state and county agencies; requires the chief information officer, with the assistance of the office of information management and technology and the Hawaii state public library system, to review the technology, personnel, training, fiscal, and other requirements necessary to implement a program through which state and county agencies would make all of their publications available in electronic format for online distribution; requires report to 2013 legislature. (SD2)
SB2226 RELATING TO TAXATION
Prohibits penalties for substantial understatements or misstatements and for erroneous claims for refund or credit from being added to tax underpayments on which certain other penalties are already imposed. Unless preempted by federal law, requires the collection of use taxes by sellers of tangible personal property who enter into agreements under which a person in the State refers potential purchasers to the seller, including by an internet link or web site, or performs related services in the State on behalf of the seller. Effective July 1, 2112. (SB2226 HD1)
SB2947 RELATING TO TAXATION
Establishes monetary awards for whistleblowers for a Department of Taxation administrative or judicial action. Authorizes the Director of Taxation to appoint an administrative appeals officer. Prohibits certain penalties from being added to tax underpayments on which certain other penalties are already imposed. Requires all advertisements and solicitations for transient accommodations to display the registration identification number or the website address containing the registration identification number. Effective July 1, 2112. (SB2947 HD1)
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
SB2769 RELATING TO INSURANCE
Requires the Insurance Commissioner to publish a list of homeowners insurers and homeowners insurance annual premiums, and motor vehicle insurers and motor vehicle insurance annual premiums on the Insurance Division’s official website. Allows the Insurance Commissioner to intervene to adjust insurance rates. Provides for written notice of disapproval and hearing requirements. Includes advisory organizations in the rate filings and regulation process under Article 14, Chapter 431, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Effective July 1, 3000. (SB2769 HD2)
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
SB2434 RELATING TO THE HAWAII HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE
Requires the Hawaii Health Connector to conduct an assessment before establishing a program to serve the individual and the small group markets. Establishes a navigator program. Clarifies the conduct of board meetings. Establishes staggered terms for board members and clarifies board composition. Clarifies role of the Department of Human Services in determining Medicaid eligibility. Effective July 1, 2050. (SB2434 HD2)
SB3010 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION
Temporarily exempts DOT and its contractors from certain state requirements for certain bridge rehabilitation projects. (SD2)
SB755 RELATING TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Part II temporarily exempts airport structures and improvements from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements when the structures and improvements are necessary to comply with FAA regulations. Part III temporarily authorizes the department of land and natural resources and department of transportation, with the approval of the governor, to exempt department projects from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements. Part IV exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district. Part V temporarily authorizes a more streamlined process for exempting state and county projects from the environmental review process of chapter 343, HRS, and reduces the deadline for challenging the lack of an environmental assessment for a state or county project. (SB755 HD2)
SB2111 RELATING TO FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT
Extends the motion picture, digital media, and film production tax credit to January 1, 2025, from January 1, 2016. Raises the qualified production tax credit ceiling to $16,000,000 from $8,000,000. Separates the calculation of the credit amount based on wages and salaries from the credit amount based on other qualified production costs, plus an additional five per cent credit amount on wages and salaries of cast, crew, and musicians who are state residents and qualified production costs paid to Hawaii venders and suppliers. Effective January 1, 2112. (SB2111 HD1)
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