KAHULUI AIRPORT PARKING DAILY RATE RISES TO $9

The fee for parking at Kahului Airport will increase from $7 to $9 per day under a new rate plan set to go into effect on Monday, August 17, 2009.

Photo Courtesy:  Hawaii State Department of Transportation

Photo Courtesy: Hawaii State Department of Transportation

The fee increase is even greater at Honolulu International Airport where daily rates will increase from $10 to $13.  Rates at other neighbor island airports including Kona, Hilo, and Lihue will undergo the same rate increase as Kahului.

The increase is the first to be implemented since 1993 and aims to offset the capital costs of parking improvements under the state’s Airports Modernization Plan.

“We realize any increase in the price for parking is difficult, but this increase is necessary to continue building for the future and improving the level of service to the traveling public,” said Brian Sekiguchi, deputy director of airports.  “We are making additional accommodations and offering alternatives to help offset this cost to the traveling public.”

The state Department of Transportation is providing a new economy parking lot (Lot J) at HNL.  The lot is located between the new parking structure and the main terminal parking structure, and is scheduled to open today, Friday, July 31.

The DOT will also implement a grace period at all state airports, allowing travelers to park at airport parking facilities for free for the first 15 minutes.  Coupled with airport cell phone lots, DOT officials say this will give the traveling public another option when dropping off or picking up friends and families at the airport.

From fiscal years 2007 to 2009, $343.6 million has been invested in various airport modernization projects, including a new air conditioning system at HNL, security enhancements and a new sterile corridor at the HNL International Terminal, currently under construction.

Between fiscal years 2007 and 2010, the state will have invested approximately $67.3 million in parking improvements alone, including a new parking structure at HNL (adding 1,800 spaces), three new surface lots at Kona (adding 880 spaces), one new surface lot at Kahului (adding 1800 spaces), and lot expansions at Hilo (adding 450 spaces) and Lihue (adding 786 spaces)—for a statewide total of 5,716 new airport parking spaces.

Hawaii’s new rates remain lower than at least 15 other international airports in the U.S. including Los Angeles and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International airports where the daily rate is $30 with economy parking offered for $10 and $15 respectively.

(Posted by Wendy Osher, Information provided by the Hawaii state Department of Transportation.)

50 TIME CAPSULES TO COMMEMORATE STATEHOOD

Image Courtesy: State of Hawaii, 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission.

Image Courtesy: State of Hawaii, 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission.

Fifty time capsules will be buried statewide as part of the events commemorating Hawaii’s anniversary of statehood.  The public has an opportunity to contribute items for a capsule that will be opened in 25 years on the 75th anniversary in 2034.

The capsule concept was crafted by the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission.

The 50 time capsules will be buried statewide and will contain memorabilia representing both Hawai‘i’s past and present.  Seven of the capsules have been made available for Hawai‘i residents to contribute memorabilia and will be buried on the grounds of the State Capitol in August. The remaining 43 time capsules will be distributed to the neighbor islands and schools throughout the state.

“As we look back on Hawai‘i’s accomplishments and evolution over the last half-century, we are always keeping an eye on our future,” said Kippen de Alba Chu, the chair of the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission.

“These time capsules are a way for us to reach out and touch future residents of our state, and share with them the Hawai‘i of 2009,” said Chu.

Small items are being accepted by the commission at the State Capitol in Honolulu.

Here on Maui, a 50th Anniversary of Statehood event will be held on Saturday, August 8 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the A&B Amphitheater Lawn of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Activities include sharing personal mana`o about 50 years of statehood for Hawai`i, and signing a community banner. Additional festivities include 50 cent hot dogs, shave ice, beverages, games, community booths, bouncy castles and a walk down memory lane with a performance by Jimmy Mac and the Kool Kats.

Admission is free.  The event is sponsored by the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission and presented by the County of Maui.

Following the event…”America” will have a concert on the Event Lawn. Tickets for that event are on sale at the MACC Box Office.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

KAHULUI BOAT RAMP IMPROVEMENTS EXPECTED TO FIX PONDING

The state begins phase two improvements to the Kahului Boat Launch Ramp on Monday, August 3, 2009.

Kahului Harbor file photo by Wendy Osher.

Kahului Harbor file photo by Wendy Osher.

The $379,228 project includes the construction of a new 55-foot long by 5-foot wide engineered aluminum loading dock with fiberglass grating, adjacent to the existing concrete loading dock.

It also includes removal of the existing asphalt paved access road fronting the launch ramp, and construction of new concrete paved access road and new boat trailer turn around area.  There are also plans for the construction of an accessible trailer boat parking stall and washdown area, electrical and lighting improvements, and resurfacing of the paved area next to the existing washdown section.

The first phase of improvements began in 2006 to modernize the facility.  DLNR and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked together on the project which included the dredging of the entrance channel and turning basin, demolishing the existing ramp and breakwater, constructing a new breakwater, adding a three-lane boat launch ramp and two loading docks, and other miscellaneous improvements.

“These improvements will increase the usability of the launch facility, provide reliable service with less maintenance, improve accessibility, and correct ponding problems at the existing washdown area,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

“We request that boaters and other harbor users exercise caution when using the boat ramp, which will remain partially open throughout the construction.  One-half of the boat ramp and one of the two loading docks will be open at all times during the construction period,” said Thielen.

The project was designed by R.T. Tanaka Engineers, Inc., ECM Electrical Engineering Consultants, and Arnold T. Okubo and Associates, and will be constructed by Maui Master Builders.  The project is slated for completion by January 2, 2010.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

MCMACKIN TAKES PAY CUT AND SUSPENSION FOR SLUR

University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin will be suspended for 30 days and take a salary cut as part of the actions handed down by the University of Hawaii administration today.  The actions come after McMackin used a gay slur in a WAC media briefing yesterday to describe a dance performed by the Notre Dame football team before a banquet for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl last year.  The comments sparked widespread attention and prompted a written apology from McMackin and school officials yesterday.

Photo Courtesy: University of Hawaii, Athletics Department.

Photo Courtesy: University of Hawaii, Athletics Department.

McMackin addressed the community in a short, but choked up apology at a press conference this afternoon at the Stan Sherrif Center saying, “I made a big mistake.  I want to apologize to everyone and anyone that I offended with my remarks.  I am committed to do whatever I can to use this as a life lesson to learn from my mistake.”

McMackin has agreed to volunteer his time while under suspension without pay, to continue coaching the Warrior team.   Part of the money from his salary reduction will be used to support a student intern from the LGBT support group on campus to assist in awareness training. McMackin will also be tasked with participating in a public service announcement describing how words can hurt.

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw said, “This has been a painful experience for all involved, but we must now consider actions that will help everyone learn from this very negative event and improve for the future.”

University actions include the following:

  • Coach McMackin will be suspended without pay for 30 days. However, Coach McMackin has agreed to volunteer to coach the team for those 30 days because he doesn’t want the team or the university to be harmed by his mistake.
  • In addition, Coach McMackin will be voluntarily participating in the salary reduction.
  • Coach McMackin will personally participate in activities directed at improving the environment for our community through working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community on campus.
  • That will include Coach’s participating in a public service announcement describing how words can hurt, presenting during student orientations, and supporting awareness training for the athletics program.
  • Also, a part of the money from his salary reduction will be used by the University to support a student intern for LGBT to assist in conducting campus-wide workshops in awareness training.

“I am entirely devoted to providing every opportunity for Coach McMackin and the Department of Athletics to serve as advocates for change in support of LGBT people in Hawai`I,” said Camaron Miyamoto, Coordinator for the University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services.

“It is my hope that our combined resources and efforts will build a more respectful and inclusive campus,” said Miyamoto.

“In my own interactions with Coach McMackin, he has always been respectful in dealing with all people and set an excellent example for our student-athletes,” said Hinshaw.  “Yet he still made a serious mistake and we all know that words carry painful consequences so we are all striving to deal with the damage that was done,” said Hinshaw.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information courtesy: UH Athletics Department)

MAUI MEADOWS POWER OUTAGE

A vehicle accident with a power pole has resulted in an isolated power outage in the Maui Meadows subdivision. MECO crews are on scene and are advising motorists to avoid travel in the Kupulau Drive area. There is no estimated time for when power will be restored.  The trouble line for MECO is 871-7777.

3,300 ADDITIONAL HAWAII SALES ANTICIPATED UNDER REVIVED CASH FOR CLUNKERS PROGRAM

Congress approved a measure today to revive the popular Cash for Clunkers program by extend funding.  U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono of Hawaii joined more than 300 other representatives in voting today to increase funding by $2 billion, a move that is expected to boost sales by an additional 800,000 vehicles.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono of Hawaii voted today in support of extending funding for the popular Cash for Clunkers program.  File photo by Wendy Osher.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono of Hawaii voted today in support of extending funding for the popular Cash for Clunkers program. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The program allows consumers to trade in their old, gas-guzzling cars for vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Nearly 200,000 vehicles had already been purchased through the program before funding ran out.

“It is clearly a successful and popular program…One dealership on ‘Oahu’s windward side reports making 20 ‘Cash for Clunkers’ deals in the program’s first week,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

“These additional funds will maintain the increased purchasing power of island drivers who are looking to upgrade their vehicles.  And with this added support, island auto dealers project some 3,300 older automobiles will be taken off Hawai‘i roads and replaced with 3,300 more fuel efficient vehicles by the end of the year,” Hirono said.

The legislation provides rebates for cars and trucks in the following four categories:

  • Passenger Cars: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 4 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 10 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
  • Light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 5 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
  • Large light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 15 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 1 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher or trade-in of a “work truck.” New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
  • Work Trucks: The old vehicle must be a pre-2002 model. New vehicles in the same or smaller weight class will get a $3,500 voucher.

The initial bipartisan legislation was supported by a coalition that includes the AFL-CIO, UAW, car dealers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information provided by the office of Congresswoman Mazie Hirono)

TROPICAL STORM LANA EXPECTED TO PASS WELL SOUTH OF HAWAII

Tropical Storm Lana continues moving far southeast of the Hawaiian Islands.  At 11 a.m., the National Weather Service reported the center of the storm at about 640 miles southeast of Hilo Hawaii.

Image courtesy NOAA/National Weather Service.

Image courtesy NOAA/National Weather Service.

The system was moving toward the west at about 16 mph and was expected to continue at that strength for the next 48 hours.

The area of the strongest winds should pass well to the south of the Hawaiian Islands in about 36 to 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds were at near 65 mph with higher gusts and tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 100 miles.  Lana is expected to weaken from Saturday into Sunday.

The next update will be issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. HST.

(Posted by Wendy Osher @ 11:15 a.m., Friday, July 31, 2009. Information provided by the National Weather Service and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center)