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Commentary: Consequences of HB1586 – Relating to Taxation

There will be unintended consequences if HB1586 passes, especially if the disbursement of transit accommodation tax revenue to the counties is eliminated. The County of Hawaii receives 19.5 million dollars in TAT funds. This is their second highest funding
source after property taxes.

The TAT revenue source is used to the mitigate the impact of tourism industry on each county. I firmly believe the residents of each county shouldn’t have to pay entire cost for lifeguard, police, fire, etc services used by these tourists.

The elimination of this funding source will force the county to increase taxes on all property classes, not just on properties owned by wealthy off island homeowners. This will undoubtedly passed on to homeowners, who rent out to individuals (and families) with lower incomes.

These individuals (and families) would be seeing relief in state taxes, but they’ll be seeing higher rental costs as a result. These folks are living on the edge and can ill afford to pay more for rental housing.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaii County Nominations Sought for UH Board of Regents

The Candidate Advisory Council (CAC) of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has re-initiated the recruitment process for a Hawaiʻi County seat on the Board of Regents. Nominations are now being accepted for an interim appointment to the Board of Regents, to begin upon approval and ending on June 30, 2018. Candidates must reside in Hawaiʻi County.

Application materials, procedures and descriptions of regent’s responsibilities are available online at http://www.hawaii.edu/rcac. This information may also be requested by calling (808) 692-1218 or by email at borapp@hawaii.edu.

Applications must be completed and received by CAC by Monday, February 27, 2017.

Members of the UH Board of Regents as well as the Candidate Advisory Council, who represent various constituent groups, serve voluntarily and are not paid.

The advisory council was created by Act 56, 2007 Hawaiʻi Legislature, in conformity with the amendment to Article X, Section 6 of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution ratified by the voters on Nov. 7, 2006. The council is tied to the University of Hawaiʻi for administrative purposes. In 2013, Act 72 was passed to further define the candidate advisory council.

Eight members, including one ex officio, comprise the advisory council. They establish the criteria for qualifying, screening and forwarding candidates for membership on the UH Board of Regents. The council advertises pending vacancies and solicits and accepts applications from potential candidates.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station AGAIN Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station AGAIN tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, February 18th  at 6:38 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 45 degrees. It will appear 12 degrees above the North Northwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the East Southeast part of the sky.

Hawaii Delegation Introduces Legislation to Protect Drinking Water and Improve Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility

The Hawai‘i congressional delegation introduced legislation to ensure the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet their obligations to the State of Hawai‘i to protect drinking water and improve the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on Oahu.

Inside one of the Red Hill fuel tanks.

“The EPA, the Navy, and the State agree that protecting the aquifer that supplies Oahu’s drinking water is essential,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “Our bill firms up that commitment into federal law by making sure the agencies responsible for improving Red Hill have the federal funding they need to implement the actions that are agreed to.”

“Red Hill is critical military infrastructure and we want the Navy to succeed in successfully remediating environmental concerns associated with past fuel leaks above Oahu’s aquifers,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “Working together, this will be a win-win for military readiness and Oahu residents.”

“Completing the necessary infrastructure upgrades at Red Hill Fuel Facility will safeguard our water and environment, while also protecting a critical asset to our national security,” said U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i). “Providing budget flexibility and conducting strict oversight of EPA and DOD’s progress towards meeting their commitments is an appropriate way to stretch a short supply of critical federal dollars.”

“These fuel storage tanks sit above aquifers that provide drinking water for up to 30% of Oahu’s residents,” said U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “It’s essential the Department of Defense commit the necessary resources to eliminate any threat these tanks pose to our most precious resource – water.”

The legislation, written and introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, ensures the Navy, DLA, and other federal agencies charged with protecting Oahu’s drinking water from fuel leaks follow a set of actions the agencies agreed to take following the January 2014 leak of jet fuel from the Red Hill facility. The Navy’s investigation of the January 2014 leak determined that it was the result of contractor error. In September 2015, the Navy, DLA, and EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent/Statement of Work (AOC/SOW) with the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Health (DOH). That agreement establishes a roadmap for how the Navy and DLA will protect Oahu’s drinking water from future fuel leaks by making improvements to Red Hill, including the fuel tanks. The bill requires the Department of Defense, which includes the Navy and DLA, and the EPA to include the necessary funding in their respective budgets to make the improvements identified in the agreement.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

New Breakout of Lava Mapped

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of January 12 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of February 16 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line marks the trace of the active lava tube (dashed where uncertain).

At Puʻu ʻŌʻō, surface flows are occurring within about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) of the 61g vent and on the coastal plain. These flows pose no threat to nearby communities at this time.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the southeastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the active flow field as of January 12 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of February 16 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Waika’alulu Gulch Bridge Repair Feb. 27th – March 1st

The Waika’alulu Gulch Bridge No.44-6 (TMK:4-4-009:009) located mauka of Highway 19 on Ka’apahu Road, near the intersection with Apelanama Road, will be closed for repair work between the hours of at 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. beginning on Monday, February 27, 2017 through Wednesday, March 1, 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting.

The bridge will re-open the end of each workday by 2:00 p.m.  Motorist are advised to use alternate routes during the bridge closure hours.

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.  If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Kona Historical Society Celebrating Girls’ Day with Dolls, Mochi Pounding

Hina Matsuri, better known as Girls’ Day Doll Festival, is a Japanese holiday still observed in Hawaii, even amongst multiethnic families. Visitors to Kona Historical Society’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook on Friday, March 3, will have the opportunity to participate first-hand in some of the beloved traditions.

Inside the historic farmhouse, the public will see a display of elaborate dolls, generously provided by Kona Historical Society members Anne Harvey and Paul Schneider of Holualoa. This doll set is called hina ningyo and represents the Japanese emperor, empress and their court, all in traditional costume and often seated on tiers. Families with young daughters display these doll sets starting in late February. The dolls are immediately taken down after March 3 to avoid a superstition. Some people believe dolls left on display too long delay the marriage of the family’s daughters.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm visitors can also make their own paper dolls. In addition, the public can help Kona Historical Society staff prepare mochi, smooth white sweet glutinous rice cakes often associated with holidays. During Hina Matsuri, Hishi-mochi, a pink-colored mochi, is often placed with the doll sets. The farm will have Hina Arare, sweet bite-sized rice crackers, for visitors to eat as a snack.

Kona Historical Society, a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii. The Society celebrates Hina Matsuri because it’s an opportunity to reflect on the rich, unique traditions the Japanese brought to Hawaii.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. The award-winning historic farm tells the stories of Kona’s coffee pioneers during 1926-45 and early Japanese immigrants. It is the only living history coffee museum in the U.S.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Hawaii Civil Defense Lava Flow Update

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reports the active lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the East Rift Zone is entering the ocean at Kamokuna located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Additional surface flows are active near Puʻu ʻŌʻō and more recently moving beyond the National Park eastern boundary onto private property near the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Bright incandescence is visible from the active lava flow field, and the lava flow does not pose a threat to any community at this time.

This image is from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana.

To maintain public safety and to extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i opened the emergency road to lava viewing since June 30, 2016. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road is limited to local residents and emergency vehicles, and is being monitored by security guards posted along the viewing area. The road is unpaved and surrounded on all sides by rough lava flows on private property. Public access is restricted to the graded roadway and viewers are asked to please respect private property and the rights of local residents.

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The viewing area is 800 meters (about one-half mile) from the ocean entry, but affords excellent views of the lava flow. HVO Photo

Visitors need to be aware of the following reminders:

  • Viewing area hours are from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, with the last car allowed to park at 9:00 p.m.
  • It is about 8.5 miles round-trip from end of the pavement on Highway 130 to the ocean entry at Kamokuna and back. The flow can be seen starting from just beyond the parking lot all along the viewing area route.
  • Restroom facilities are limited and lack running water.
  • All members of your party should dress appropriately with boots or sturdy, covered shoes, long pants and a hat.
  • Be prepared for rain, wind, sun, heat and dust exposure.
  • Bring lots of water (1-2 liters per person), there is no potable water available.
  • Bring a flashlight for walking at night.

Our goal is to maintain public safety, protect the interests of Kalapana residents, and extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130.  We ask for your patience and kokua (help).

Two Men Indicted for Attempted Murder of Kauai Police Officers – One Still at Large

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that a Kauai grand jury yesterday indicted Kalei Hiilei Goodwin and Kanbert A.T. Alapai for the attempted murder of three Kauai police officers while in the performance of their official duties. On February 9, 2017, Goodwin and Alapai, while driving separate vehicles during the same incident, allegedly attempted to run over Officers Brian Silva, James Rodriguez, and Kapena Wilson.

Kalei Goodwin, left, and Kanbert Alapai

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Our police officers put themselves on the front line every day to keep us safe. If their lives are ever threatened, the law demands severe consequences.”

Attempted murder of a law enforcement officer is punishable by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

In addition to the attempted murder charges, the grand jury indicted Goodwin for resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle. Goodwin and Alapai were also indicted for drug offenses.

Alapai is currently in custody and his bail has been set at $250,000. Goodwin is still at large. A warrant has been issued for Goodwin’s arrest with bail set at half a million dollars ($500,000.00). Goodwin is 31 years old, 5’3” tall, weighs approximately 175 pounds, and has brown eyes and black hair. A photograph of Goodwin is attached. Anyone with information that could help locate Goodwin should call the Kauai Police Department dispatch line at (808) 241-1711 or Kauai CrimeStoppers at (808) 246-8300.

Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Coast Guard Rescues 7 People in Two Separate Incidents in Less Then 12 Hours

Six people were rescued by the Coast Guard Thursday evening after their 34-foot sailing vessel grounded while entering the Keehi Channel off Honolulu.

To listen to or download mayday audio click here 

A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point safely hoisted the people from sailing vessel Malia and took them back to the air station.

“We are very proud of our search and rescue assets and that we could assist these six people in distress safely and efficiently,” said Lt. j. g. Victoria Lacefield-Rodriguez, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Our crews are always ready to respond to emergent search and rescue.”

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification at 6:43 p.m. from the vessel’s crew hailing mayday on VHF channel 16.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu launched, but upon arriving on scene was only able to get within 30-yards of the vessel due to shallow water.

The RB-M crew remained on scene until the helicopter crew arrived and successfully hoisted the six people.

There have been no reports of injuries or pollution. The owner of the vessel will work with Sector Honolulu personnel to develop a salvage plan.

In a second incident in less then 12 hours, the Coast Guard rescued a mariner in distress near the Kalaupapa Lighthouse off Molokai early Friday morning, less than 12 hours after rescuing six boaters from a grounded sailing vessel off Oahu.

Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur | The captain from the 22-foot sailing vessel Harmony B stands with an MH-65 dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point, following their rescue off Molokai, Feb, 17, 2017. Coast Guard responded to a mayday call from the mariner that was made on VHF channel 16.(U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

A Coast Guard MH-65 dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point safely hoisted the 52-year-old man from his homemade 22-foot fiberglass vessel the Harmony B.

“We are very pleased to have brought seven people to safety overnight,” said Petty Officer 1st Class William Cusic, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “This is what our crews train for and their dedication to our search and rescue mission paid dividends.”

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a mayday call at 1:43 a.m. from the master of the Harmony B hailing on VHF channel 16.

The master believed his anchor was no longer holding and was concerned that the weather conditions would push his vessel onto the nearby rocks.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched the dolphin crew and crew of Coast Guard Cutter Kiska (WPB 1336).

At 3:08 a.m., the dolphin aircrew was on scene safely hoisting the man aboard and took him back to the air station. No injuries were reported.

On scene weather was reportedly 18 mph winds with 7-foot seas. The master will work with Sector Honolulu personnel to develop a salvage plan.

 

Hawaii Residents Can Possibly Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, February 17th at 7:30 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes at a maximum height of 69 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 32 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

Six Foot Iguana Found on Oahu While Doing Yard Work

A six-foot-long iguana was turned in on Sunday by a resident in Waimanalo who found the lizard while doing yard work. The resident contained the animal and called the State’s toll-free Pest Hotline at about noon and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked up the iguana later that afternoon.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to six feet in length from head to tip of tail. Its tail is quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Although they are believed to be established in some areas on Oahu, it is illegal to import, possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii. Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, municipal zoo or Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.

Hawaii Electric Light to Conduct Aerial Line Inspections Next Week

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company will conduct aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Tuesday, Feb. 21, to Friday, Feb 24, 2017.

The island-wide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruption this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaii Senators Kim and Inouye Appointed to Leadership Position for National Organization

Two Hawai‘i State Senators have been selected to serve in leadership roles for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), the nation’s oldest non-partisan organization addressing the needs of elected women at the city, county, and state levels of government.

Senator Donna Mercado Kim (Dist. 14 – Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea) was recently appointed to serve on the 2017 Policy Committee for the NFWL.

As a member of the Policy Committee, Sen. Kim will contribute to all committee business by developing education policy programs on policy issues, engaging with policy partners, and recommending which areas of policy the Foundation shall focus on.  The Committee will focus on shared legislation by encouraging elected women to exchange legislative ideas.  This is a new emphasis for NFWL and the Policy Committee will play an integral role in the launch and maintenance of shared legislation.

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve on the Policy Committee,” said Sen. Kim, who has been a member of NFWL since 2015. “This year more than ever, there are timely, pressing issues facing our communities.  Hawai‘i is not alone in many of these problem areas such as homelessness, the economy, and education. Being on this Committee allows me to collaborate with other women legislators across the country and find creative solutions.”

Senator Lorraine Inouye (Dist. 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) was recently appointed to serve as the 2017 State Director for the NFWL.

“I’m proud to serve as the State Director for this distinguished organization,” said Sen. Inouye.  “The greatest rising force in politics is not a political party, but women. I know that there is much that can be accomplished to help our state and our country by working together as elected women.”

“We are so honored Senators Kim and Inouye have accepted leadership positions in our foundation,” shared Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud, NFWL’s 2017 Chair. “They will play a crucial role in the continued success of NFWL, as we embark on our most exciting year yet.”

Sens. Kim and Inouye begin serving in their new positions immediately, and will hold this office through the end of 2017.

About the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)

Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance.   As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.   www.womenlegislators.org

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls for University of Hawaii Consolidation of Administration

Representative Kaniela Ing, a member of the House Higher Education Committee, responded to University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s decision to end the search for a Chancellor of the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus with a call to consolidate the administrative offices.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing stated that regardless of what Lassner intended, his decision to cease the search for a new chancellor raises some important questions on the efficiency and redundancy in the University of Hawaii’s administration.

“If the president or his administration can provide the services assigned to the chancellor, and the university can still function, why does the chancellor’s office even exist in its enormous capacity? This points to a probable waste of taxpayer and student tuition dollars,” Ing said.

Ing noted a stark change between his time as the Student-President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH) in 2009 and his experience as a legislator today.

“I always felt that the University of Hawaii administration was top-heavy,” Ing said. “When cuts were needed, students and faculty suffer through tuition raises and slashed salaries, while the administration remained bloated. President Lassner’s leadership, through his dual-capacity as Chancellor, has resulted in much greater efficiency.”

Ing is currently writing a House Concurrent Resolution calling for a study to explore the cost savings and other benefits of consolidating the chancellor and president’s offices. Ing claims that this is how the UH administration was structured for most of its existence.

“Tuition and taxes keep rising, making it harder for everyday people to get by. I just want to make sure that working folk’s hard earned dollars are ending up where it counts, and not being wasted in redundant, wasteful, administrative expenses,” he said.

“The last full-time chancellor made nearly $439,000 dollars a year before benefits. Imagine how many students that money could help?”

First Hawaiian Bank Chief Information Officer Retiring

First Hawaiian Bank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Harrison announced that Gary Caulfield, First Hawaiian Bank vice chairman and chief information officer, is retiring after a distinguished 34-year career as an executive at Hawaii’s largest bank.

Gary Caufield

Caulfield began his banking career with First Hawaiian in 1983 as an assistant vice president and quickly rose through the ranks. He was named vice chairman in 2003 and chief information officer in 2009 and has been a member of the bank’s senior management committee since 1995.

“Throughout his tenure with the bank, Gary has played a pivotal role in leading numerous technology systems conversions and operational changes while minimizing disruption to customer service,” said Bob Harrison, chairman and CEO of First Hawaiian. “Through his skillful oversight in the areas of technology, data management, operations and research, the bank has been able to achieve greater efficiencies across the board, resulting in significant process optimization.”

“Gary is an accomplished leader, a wise sage, and is a teacher at heart. I am grateful for him generously sharing his institutional knowledge with all of us,” said Eric Yeaman, president and COO of First Hawaiian. “We want to thank Gary for his friendship, his years of outstanding leadership, and his unwavering dedication to our customers, his team and to our bank.”

Caulfield will be succeeded by Derek Baughman, executive vice president, as the bank’s chief information officer. Baughman assumes his new role effective March 1, 2017.

Derek Baughman

Baughman has over 27 years of experience in the IT industry with 22 of those years in the banking industry and joined the bank in 2014. He is responsible for leading the bank’s development of strategic technology initiatives, overseeing all aspect of technology operations and managing enterprise-wide technology programs to ensure the bank’s systems provide optimal results.

First Hawaiian Bank (fhb.com) with assets of $19.7 billion was founded in 1858 as Bishop & Co., and today is Hawaii’s largest bank offering a diversified range of banking services to consumer and commercial customers, including deposit products, lending services, wealth management, insurance, private banking and trust services. The bank has 57 branches in Hawaii, three on Guam and two on Saipan. First Hawaiian, Inc. (NASDAQ: FHB), the parent company of First Hawaiian Bank, is the largest publicly traded company based in Hawaii.

Hawaii Ranked 1st Nationally in School Internet Connectivity

Hawaii’s public school system is the top ranked school district in K-12 broadband connectivity according to the 2016 State of the States annual report released by EducationSuperHighway, an advocacy group dedicated to upgrading Internet infrastructure in K-12 public schools.

“In 2014 we accomplished our goal to deliver Wi-Fi to all public schools statewide, which was a huge undertaking by our Office of Information Technology Services and Office of School Facilities and Support Services,” noted Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work of our teams have paid off and we’re very proud to be recognized as number one in the country for our Wi-Fi connectivity.”

From 2010 to 2015, the Hawaii State Department of Education increased its broadband at schools from 0.3 gigabytes/second to 8.0 gigabytes/second.

“Having access to the Internet allows our teachers to enhance classroom lessons and gives our students vast digital learning resources that make learning an interactive, hands-on activity. Complete connectivity is a large step forward towards 21st Century Learning initiatives and preparing our students for college and careers,” added Superintendent Matayoshi.

Hawaii’s national No. 1 ranking is based on full 100 percent scores in the report’s four criteria:

  • Connectivity, reflecting the percentage of school districts meeting 100 kbps per student;
  • Fiber, reflecting the percentage of schools with fiber optic connections needed to meet bandwidth targets;
  • Wi-Fi, reflecting the percentage of school districts reporting sufficient Wi-Fi in all classrooms; and
  • Affordability, the percentage of school districts maximizing their bandwidth within set budgets.

EducationSuperHighway is a non-profit advocacy group focused on providing equal access to high-speed broadband for all K-12 public school students.

Kupu Receives National Recognition with 2017 Project of the Year Award

Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, received The Corps Network’s 2017 Project of the Year Award at The Corps Network 2017 National Conference in Washington, D.C., last night. Kupu is one of four organizations in the nation, and the only in the state to receive this prestigious accolade. This year’s award recognizes the Kupu’s critical role in establishing youth-focused programming at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Kupu Receives The Corps Network 2017 Project of the Year Award in Washington, D.C. (L-R: Janice Kim, Kim Matsukawa, Kana Smith, Matthew Bauer, Bettina Mok, Luella Costales, Marie Walker)

“This award is a true celebration of our incredible team and partners, who helped strengthen our impact and create a robust platform of educational opportunities at last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “When we focus our efforts in elevating our youth, we’re establishing a new generation of stewards that will lead our communities towards a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Kupu played a significant role in developing and launching various youth-based programs during the 10-day conference, which helped to engage over 1,500 students from more than 20 countries throughout the world. The Congress included 10 education-focused events, including: He Puko’a Kani ‘Aina – Biocultural Conservation Stories from Pacific Island Youth; a youth symposium; student-guided media workshops; and eco-system restoration projects. In addition, Kupu kicked off the inaugural IUCN Students’ Day: Hawai‘i Youth Challenge 2020, which brought together 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers throughout the state. The program included conservation-related presentations and discussions, as well as a Design Thinking workshop led by Oceanit, which encouraged students to develop collaborative and sustainable solutions for their communities.

“Hawai‘i set a precedence for engaging youth in the IUCN Congress,” said Randall Tanaka, president of the IUCN National Host Committee. “Kupu’s leadership development program is second to none, and with their experience and partnerships, last year’s Congress was the biggest and most successful youth engagement initiative in the history of the IUCN. Through their efforts and our partners’, we were able to accomplish one of Committee’s critical priorities of building the next generation’s capacity, while integrating our unique culture and values.”

Kupu recently also helped to launch one of the 2016 IUCN Congress Legacy Initiatives – the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) is a new educational mini-grant program that provides financial support to environmental projects proposed by Hawai‘i’s K-12 students and educators. The HYSC was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

For the past decade, Kupu has served as a member of The Corps Network, which leads and supports over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps that engage participants in service projects, job training and academic programming. The organization delivers three distinguished accolades each year, chosen through a competitive nomination process: Corpsmember of the Year, Project of the Year and Legacy Achievement Awards. For more information about the organization and awards, visit http://www.corpsnetwork.org/.

Hawaii Senate Committee Passes Medical Aid in Dying Bill

In the hearing today by the Senate Committee on Commerce Consumer Protection (CPH), SB1129 SD1 was passed with amendments that would establish a medical aid in dying act under which a terminally ill adult resident may obtain a prescription for medication to end the patient’s life.

SB1129 SD1 is modeled on the Oregon statute and includes safeguards to protect patients from misuse.  These safeguards include confirmation by two providers (physicians and APRN’s) of the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, mental competence, and voluntariness of the request; multiple requests by the patient: an oral request followed by a signed written request that is witnessed by two people, one of whom must be unrelated to the patient, and a subsequent oral restatement of the request; and two waiting periods between the requests and the writing of the prescription.  At all times the patient retains the right to rescind the request and is under no obligation to fill the prescription or ingest the medication.  Amendments include authorizing APRN as a consulting provider and allowing state identification cards as an acceptable document to prove residency in the State of Hawai‘i.

More than 300 people had signed up to testify on the bill, many which were emotional and thought-provoking both in support and in opposition of the measure.

“This measure is simply one that gives people a choice in end of life care,” said CPH Chair Sen. Rosalyn Baker (Dist. 6 – South and West Maui), “We have wonderful laws on the books with regards to palliative care and setting out their wishes for treatment, resuscitation and the like in an advance healthcare directive. But I think people want that ultimate choice if they have a debilitating, terminal illness and would like to have some control over their last days of life.  This is what SB1129 allows them to do.”

SB1129 SD1 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL).

Willie K Headlines 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival

Called “Hawaiian Hendrix to Polynesian Pavarotti,” Uncle Willie K has wowed world audiences since he started playing music with his dad’s band at age 6. For the first time, Willie K will make a special appearance at the 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival Saturday, March 4 at Queens’ MarketPlace.

Just part of the day-long line up of ‘ukulele superstars on three stages, Willie K is a Grammy nominee, and winner of 18 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. His talented fingers and powerful voice stretch the limits from sweet falsetto, to lowdown blues, blow-your-hair-back rock, and operatic aria.

The ‘Ukulele Festival begins with Roy Sakuma’s traditional free ‘ukulele workshop, this year at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa’s Paniolo Ballroom at 10 a.m.

From 11:15 a.m., throughout the day, live entertainment takes place on three stages at Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace.

The all-star lineup includes:

Lito Arkangel. From Keaau in East Hawai‘i, Lito is a Navy veteran, lecturer at UH Hilo and regular entertainer in resort lounges. He is an accomplished musician and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards nominee who has also played the big stage at the Merrie Monarch Festival.

Kris Fuchigami. A Hawai‘i Island musician, Kris won the Hamakua Music Scholarship Competition at the age of 15. Since then, he has released five CDs, and performed worldwide. Kris has an exciting style that pulls in elements of pop, rock and contemporary sound.

Arden Fujiwara. Born in Hawai‘i, Arden is now part of the Seattle music scene, fusing ‘ukulele tradition with the progressive, including rock and hip hop.

Kunia Galdeira. Grandson of Gabby “Pops” Pahinui, Kunia learned to play ‘ukulele at a very young age. He is an in-deman solo artist and also frequently plays with Sonny Lim and Kevin Kealoha as the trio, “Ekolu Mea Nui.”

The Humble Project, led by Tad Humble and K.U.P.A Hale, led by Alan Hale. These two groups of dedicated musicians from Kona with a common love for ‘ukulele music and for sharing it with others of all ages.

Alii Keanaaina. Originally from North Kona, Alii first toured with his twin brother Nui, before stepping into the solo spotlight in 2010, when he won the Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto Contest. He tours in Japan, Las Vegas, and around the Islands, and easily pleases crowds with his smooth falsetto and full voice Hawaiian music.

Widdy Loo. Born and raised Hawai’i Island, Widdy is a lifelong musician who plays a wide variety of music, often incorporating hula and stories of “Old Hawai‘i”.

Maluhia. George Bence and Beverly McCabe created the Hawaiian-Canadian musical blend, Maluhia  (“peace”). They share their time and music between Hawai‘i and Vancouver Islands.

Brittni Paiva. Brittni’s musical career started with piano lessons at age four in her hometown, Hilo. She picked up ‘ukulele at eleven and has since released six CDs, won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for ‘Ukulele Album of the Year, and traveled internationally. Her multi-genre style melds traditional, pop, alternative, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and more, and she has pioneered the looping technique on ‘ukulele in her YouTube videos.

Mark Yamanaka. A nine-time Hōkū winner from Hilo, Mark is known for his sweet and soulful Hawaiian music and falsetto, performs frequently in the island and Japan.

The festival includes prizes and ‘ukulele giveaways by sponsoring companies.

The 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival is a production of Waikoloa Beach Resort and ‘Ukulele Festival Hawai’i. Sponsors include Queens’ MarketPlace, Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studios, Kings’ Shops, Kamaka ‘Ukulele, Kala Brand ‘Ukuleles, Koaloha, Ko‘olau Pono Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company, Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele and others. For more information on Saturday’s ‘Ukulele Festival visit www.WaikoloaBeachResort.com or call (808) 886-8822.

GREAT WAIKOLOA ‘UKULELE FESTIVAL:  SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  Saturday, March 4, 2017

Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Paniolo Ballroom
10-11:30 a.m.
‘Ukulele Workshop with Roy and Kathy Sakuma. BYOU (bring your own ‘ukulele). Free.

Queens’ MarketPlace, Coronation Pavilion:
12 noon    The Humble Project
1 p.m.        Kunia Galdeira
2 p.m.        Kris Fuchigami
3 p.m.        Lito Arkangel
4 p.m.        Roy Sakuma with Nelly Toyama-Baduria, Daniel Baduria and Nick Acosta
5 p.m.         Willie K
6 p.m.        Mark Yamanaka

Queens’ MarketPlace, Island Gourmet Markets Stage:
1 p.m.        Alii Keanaaina
2 p.m.        K.U.P.A Hale
3 p.m.        Maluhia
4 p.m.        Arden Fujiwara

Kings’ Shops, Center Stage
11:15 p.m.    Widdy Loo
12noon    Kris Fuchigami
1 p.m.        Roy Sakuma with Nelly Toyama-Baduria, Daniel Baduria and Nick Acosta
2 p.m.        Maluhia
3 p.m.        Arden Fujiwara
4 p.m.        Brittni Paiva