North Market Street between Vineyard and Mill Streets in Wailuku is closed due to a traffic accident. The incident was first reported at 8:15 p.m. yesterday. No word on the cause of the accident or the extent of any injuries.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a WIND ADVISORY for the HALEAKALA SUMMIT in effect until 6 p.m. this evening.
A Wind Advisory means that winds of 30 mph and gusts of 50 mph are expected.
EFFECTS: East winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph are expected through this afternoon.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. SECURE ANY LOOSE OBJECTS THAT MAY BECOME AIRBORNE OR MOVE THEM INDOORS.
INFORMATION: Maui County Civil Defense will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts for any updates.
NOAA Weather Broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. NOAA Weather Internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
HONOLULU – After an exciting three days of competition, the 2012 FIRST Championship robotics competition ended today with Kalani High School receiving the Making FIRST Accessible Award. The Kalani Falcon’s outreach into the community and ability to introduce robotics to new people of all ages, were a few of the reasons they recieved the award. Total, seven Hawaii High Schools competed in the event in St. Louis, from April 25-28. Waialua High and Intermediate, Kealakehe High School, Island Pacific Academy, Punahou School, Baldwin High School, Kalani High School, and Kohala High School competed at the Edward Jones Dome.
All of the teams competed well in their division, and Waialua High School made it to the semifinals of the Archimedes division, representing Hawaii well. Waialua has won the FIRST Hawaii Regional two years in a row, and was awarded the 2011 Championships Chairman’s award last April.
“The interest in STEM education that this program instills is not only important for preparing these student for their future careers, it is important for Hawaii, as they are future leaders of our state. Hawaii has a bright future ahead with these students at the helm,” said Corrie Heck, Hawaii ROC Coordinator. “To say the least, Hawaii can be proud with how these students represented our state.”
The teams will be flying back to Hawaii tomorrow, and preparing for the next robotics competition at the Hawaii Botball Tournament on May 12 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Maui Police today took a former Iao School band teacher into custody.
Police say Jim Alan BALICANTA (40), was arrested after being indicted for several Sexual Assault offenses. BALICANTA is believed to have been sexually involved with a former female student. The sexual relationship began sometime during the eighth grade year of the student and continued for over a year.
BALICANTA is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Bail is $750,000. There are 27 counts of Sexual Assault First Degree and 25 counts of Sexual Assault Third Degree.
Hawaii hotels saw occupancy gains last week, while room rates slipped by 2 percent, according to a report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research.
Hawaii hotels were 75.4 percent full statewide during the week ending April 21, which was 8.4 percentage points higher than the same week a year ago. However, the average statewide daily room rate of $194.35 was 2 percent lower than a year ago.
Hotels on Oahu and the Big Island enjoyed gains in occupancy and room rates, while Kauai hotels and Maui hotels gained occupancy but saw room rates decline.
Oahu hotels were 80.4 percent full last week, a 9.7 percentage-point increase from last year, while the average daily room rate rose 3.5 percent to $171.35.
Occupancy at Big Island hotels rose 3.9 percentage points to 57.2 percent, while the daily room rate rose 3.4 percent to $184.69.
Maui hotels were 79.1 percent full, a gain of 9 percentage points, but the average daily room rate fell 9.6 percent to $244.34. Hotels on Kauai had an occupancy rate of 66.4 percent last week, 6.2 percentage points higher than a year ago, while the daily room rate fell 3.6 percent to $207.52.
HONOLULU — Six Hawaii trees received national titles in this year’s American Forests’ newly released National Register of Big Trees, which recognizes the biggest tree of hundreds of species, gave six Hawaii trees national titles. The Department of Land and Natural Resources submitted nominations for the state’s largest trees from community recommendations and the following trees were winners:
* Acacia Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i
* Two Coconut in Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park, Moloka‘i
* Hau tree at Hulihe‘e Palace, Hawaii
* ‘A‘ali‘i at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Maui
* Manele/Soapberry at Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu, Volcano National Park, Hawaii
All of the trees except for the koa are accessible to the public. For information, map and a page for each of the trees, including their pictures, go to
“With forests covering approximately 749 million acres in the U.S., it’s a special honor to have a tree recognized as the biggest of its kind,” said Paul Conry, Administrator of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
Conry added, “In a year with 14 different billion-dollar weather disasters, America’s biggest trees proved that they’re survivors. For trees to grow bigger than their competition, it usually means that they’ve been protected and nurtured over the years. And, they’ve been lucky. Having grown into large, healthy trees, they now do their own job of protecting and nurturing the plants, trees, wildlife and even humans in their habitats.”
The full list can be found at the following website http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/forestry/big-trees
“These trees form the uniquely Hawaiian rainforest, an essential part of Hawaii’s biological and cultural heritage. Because these native trees absorb rainfall and cloud water, protecting these forests is the most cost effective and efficient way to secure Hawaii’s water supply,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.
Since more than half of Hawaii’s original forest has been lost, immediate action is needed to protect the trees and forests that are essential to Hawaii’s water supply and provide many other benefits.
Governor Abercrombie has released a plan to protect these forested watersheds and steward the natural resources that Hawaii’s survival, economy, and quality of life depend on.
Priority actions of the plan include managing invasive species, increasing Hawaii’s ability to withstand impacts from climate change, and restoring capabilities of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by finding additional sources of funding. The plan can be viewed at hawaii.gov/dlnr/rain and a short video, “The Rain Follows the Forest” is posted on the DLNR homepage.
“We hope that including Hawai‘i on the national Big Trees register will help educate and encourage conservation of our native and culturally important trees,” said Sheri Mann, DOFAW Cooperative Resource Management Forester. “It is our goal to eventually create our own State of Hawai‘i Big Trees Program.”
To nominate a tree, three measurements are needed: Trunk Circumference (inches), Height (feet), and Average Crown Spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score.
DOFAW staff also needs to know the exact location to verify any candidates. To learn more about the specific measuring requirements please review the guidelines at the American Forests website: http://www.americanforests.org/our-programs/bigtree/big-tree-measuring-guidelines/
Please send your measurements along with GPS coordinates or specific directions to a candidate big tree to:
Sheri Mann, CRMF
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813
Or email her at Sheri.S.Mann@hawaii.gov
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