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Hawaii Bills to Address Homelessness, Housing, Health, Good Governance Head for Final Vote

State lawmakers have passed a number of important measures ahead of tonight’s final decking deadline that align with the Senate Majority’s Legislative Priorities outlined at the start of the 2016 Legislative Session.

Capital

Approved by members of the Senate and House conference committees include bills that address housing and homelessness such as SB2561 SD2 HD1 which establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units ready for occupancy between 01/01/17 and 12/31/26 and SB2559 SD1 HD1 which addresses homelessness by making available emergency and transitional shelter space and appropriates general funds to improve homeless shelter space.

Measures addressing health include SB2083 SD1 HD1 which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle in which a minor is present.

Other Legislative priorities in which lawmakers approved bills:

Mālama ‘Ohana (Providing for our Families)

SB2557 SD2 HD1 expands the concussion educational program established under Act 197, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, and incorporates additional concussion protocol program requirements. Appropriates funds to develop and implement the concussion monitoring and education program for school athletics and youth athletic activities, administer concussion testing to high school student athletes, and implement a concussion awareness program for Hawaii public school students aged 11 to 13.

SB2315 SD2 HD2 which exempts from jury duty a woman who is breastfeeding or expressing breast milk for a period of two years from the birth of the child.

SB2476 SD2 HD2 CD1 enhances early intervention language services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Mālama Honua (Nurturing the Earth)

SB2647 SD1 HD2 which prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species.

SB2659 SD2 HD1 establishes an industrial hemp pilot program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research.

Mālama Kaiaulu (Sustaining our Communities)

SB2566 SD1 HD1 CD1 transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund.

SB3077 SD1 HD1 which designates the Office of Planning as the lead state agency for transit-oriented development coordination.

SB3109 SD1 HD1 CD1 supports and appropriates funds for the manufacturing development program with the High Technology Development Corporation.

SB2618 SD1 HD2 requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.

Mālama Aupuni (Good Governance)

SB2954 SD2 HD1 which authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

SB2512 SD1 HD2 increases penalties for animal desertion, except where the animal is released as part of a game management program.

These bills will be forwarded to the full Senate for Final Reading or have passed Final Reading and have been enrolled to the Governor.

A list of all the Senate bills that have passed the Legislature or been decked for Final Reading is on the Hawaii State Legislative website.

The 2016 Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program can be viewed on the Hawai‘i Senate Majority website.

Hawaii Lawmakers Provide $100 Million for Cooling Schools and Energy Efficiency

House and Senate conferees today provided $100 million to the Department of Education to install air conditioning and heat abatement equipment to cool 1,000 public school classrooms throughout the state and to establish a sustainable schools initiative.

Capital

In his State of the State address, Governor David Ige proposed borrowing $100 million from the state’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program to cool 1,000 public school classrooms.  In response, lawmakers drafted House Bill 2569 and Senate Bill 3126, proposing varying methods of funding, but in essence, working toward the same end.  Both bills were sent to conference with unspecified funding for the conferees to decide.

During negotiations, the conferees agreed to $100 million in general funding to immediately begin carrying out the work of installing cooling and energy efficiency upgrades.  The measure now goes to the full House and Senate on Tuesday, May 3, for approval.

“The faster we can reduce our electric costs, the more money we can put back into helping students and teachers.  If the DOE can make progress reducing electric costs even a couple percent per year, that could still save millions over the long term that could be better spent in our classrooms, rather than going to utility bills,” said Rep. Chris Lee, Conference Committee chair, who took the lead for the House on the pair of bills.

Hawaii Commission Seeks Suggestions For Future Open Space Acquisitions

Do you know of a special property in Hawai‘i County that should be permanently preserved? The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) encourages the public to propose properties that should be purchased.

Click to view entire document

Click to view entire document

Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/Browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1 or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by June 30, 2016.

Commissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public. Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=71938&dbid=1

Past open space purchases total 1,287 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena, Pa‘o‘o and Hāwī Banyan Trees property in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Pohoiki Bay parcel in Puna.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues. The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties. A Maintenance Fund has also been established to provide stewardship assistance to community organizations to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is welcome.

If you need further information please contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101 at (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770.

Statewide Family-Owned Business of the Year Named by the Small Business Administration

Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART.  Photo by Fletch Photography

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART. Photo by Fletch Photography

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations.  Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement.  Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.

“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.

Hawaii Department of Health Announces the Selection of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has selected eight applicants to receive Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai as allowed in Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Medical Marijuana

While the announcement of the selected applicants is being made today, selected applicants are required to pay a licensing fee of $75,000 to the Department of Health within seven days of receiving their written notice of selection to be awarded a dispensary license. If the application fee is not timely paid by close of business on the seventh day, the selected applicant will be disqualified, and the Department shall select the next highest scoring applicant for the county, pursuant to section 329D-4(c) HRS, and section 11-850-21(b), HAR.

The applicants that have been selected for dispensary licenses are:

City and County of Honolulu

  • Aloha Green Holdings Inc.
  • Manoa Botanicals LLC
  • TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu

County of Hawaii

  • Hawaiian Ethos LLC
  • Lau Ola LLC

County of Maui

  • Maui Wellness Group, LLC
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC

County of Kauai

  • Green Aloha, Ltd.

“Upon the completion of the selection process and the awarding of licenses, the Department of Health will begin working with the selected licensees to ensure the safety of their products, and the safety of patients and the public,” said State Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We look forward to improving access to marijuana for registered patients who have medical needs, and increasing educational opportunities for healthcare professionals.”

After receiving more than 60 applications in January, the department conducted a rigorous review and selection process. A four-member selection panel reviewed and scored applications based on thirteen merit criteria, some of which include the ability to operate a business, a plan and timeline for operations, proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements, and capacity to meet patient needs.

A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing marijuana no sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health. Each dispensary licensee may operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations within the county they are licensed to serve. Margaret Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, explained that, “There are many steps the dispensaries will need to take in order to actually start production and dispensing, so we can’t say exactly when the dispensing will begin. But we are excited to start working with the selected licensees on the next steps.”

Pursuant to section 11-850-20, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Department is holding unselected applications in reserve to offer a license to the next highest scoring applicant if the selected applicants fail to timely pay the required licensing fee. When all available licenses have been issued, the unselected applications will be removed from the list of reserved applications and the Department will notify all applicants of their status, at which time they will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The department will post a list of the total scores received by applicants upon completion of the awarding of licenses, which is anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks. The scores will be posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/.

More information about both the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program are located at the website.

Hawaii Governor Names Every Student Succeeds Act Team Members

Gov. David Ige announced the names of the newly selected members of the Governor’s Team on ESSA – Every Student Succeeds Act. The team will work to develop a blue print for Hawai‘i’s public schools that is consistent with ESSA and will maximize opportunities and possibilities for Hawai‘i to transform education.

essa

The team was selected by Gov. Ige based on recommendations and applications, including one recommendation each from Senate President Ronald Kouchi and House Speaker Joe Souki.

“Our goal was to get a good cross-section of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The work of the ESSA team will be an inclusive process that will involve town meetings and a summit to allow all to participate,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige appointed Darrel Galera as chairman of the ESSA team earlier this month.

Here is a complete list of members:

  • Philip Bossert – Community member, Director of Strategic & International Program, HAIS
  • Catherine Caine – Elementary School Teacher, Waikīkī Elementary
  • Kamana‘opono Crabbe – CEO – Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • Darrel Galera – Chariperson, Executive Director, Education Institute of Hawai‘i
  • Keith Hayashi – Principal, Waipahu High School
  • Michelle Kidani – State Senator, Chair of Senate Education Committee
  • Brennan Lee – Student, State Student council
  • Ann Mahi – DOE – Complex Area Superintendent Waianae/Nanakuli
  • Hubert Minn – Member, Board of Education
  • Lauren Moriguchi – Executive Director, Office of Early Learning
  • Steve Nakasato – Principal, Pearl Ridge Elementary School
  • Alan Oshima – President, CEO Hawaiian Electric Co.
  • Catherine Payne – Chairperson, Charter Schools Commission
  • Amy Perruso – Teacher, Mililani High School
  • Stacey Roberts – UH Professor, Chair of Educational Administration Program
  • Carol Shikada – DOE – Educational Specialist (Kaua‘i)
  • Linda Takayama – Workforce – Director of Labor & Industrial Relations
  • Stephen Terstegge – Parent/Military, Castle High School
  • Takashi Ohno – State Representative

The team had its first preliminary, introductory meeting today. Meeting minutes will be regularly distributed to the Legislature, Schools Superintendent, Board of Education, Department of Education and will be posted on the governor’s website at: governor.hawaii.gov.

The ESSA team will ultimately be responsible for assessing the current public school system and identifying areas of need.

An Education Summit will be scheduled this summer to give organizations and individuals the opportunity to discuss possibilities for a future-focused education system and solicit input on key recommendations to the state’s ESSA plan.

Kauai Man Faces Felony Charges in Connection with Pregnant Monk Seal Beating

Arrest Result of Joint Federal, State & County Investigation

19 year old Shylo Akuna of Eleele, Kauai was arrested this afternoon by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) special agents in connection with the beating of a 17-year old pregnant monk seal on April 26, 2016.

Shylo Akuna

Shylo Akuna

A short video clip of the incident was widely posted on social media and was picked up by news organizations around the country. That video, supported by eyewitness accounts led to Akuna’s arrest. He is being held at the Kauai Police Department pending further disposition on suspicion of “taking a monk seal.” This includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or collecting an endangered or threatened aquatic species or terrestrial wildlife. If convicted of this Class C felony, Akuna could face one (1) to five (5) years in prison. Additionally the state environmental court may impose a fine of up to $50,000.

DOCARE Chief Thomas Friel said, “Thanks to the joint efforts of our Kauai branch officers, special agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Kauai Police Department, and Hawaii State Sheriffs we were able to investigate this crime, make an arrest, and bring this part of the case to a quick conclusion.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “We’re grateful to the concerned citizens who brought this action to our attention and were willing to step forward with additional information to help law enforcement identify and arrest the suspect. We’re fortunate that the Hawaii State Legislature passed HRS 195D which provides very stiff penalties for these repugnant behaviors.

Ann M. Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office said, “NOAA Fisheries sincerely appreciates the outpouring of community support for RK30, the Hawaiian monk seal involved in this incident. She’s an important and productive member of the seal population. It’s clear from this outpouring that folks care a great deal about monk seals, and don’t want to see them harmed. The quick action by DLNR DOCARE, the Kauai Police Department, and NOAA OLE is very commendable, and likely would not have been as successful without the support of caring community members.”

Anyone who witnesses a monk seal or any other endangered or threatened species being threatened or injured in any manner by a person is urged to immediately call the NOAA Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR.

Hawaii Police Officers of the Month: Daniel Kuwabara and Gregory Horton

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi on Thursday (April 28) recognized Hilo Patrol Officer Daniel Kuwabara as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for March and Puna Patrol Officer Gregory Horton as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.

Officer Kuwabara was honored for his efforts in a sexual assault case, leading to a suspect being taken into custody within an hour.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Last October, an adult female reported she had been sexually assaulted in Hilo. Meanwhile, officers responded to a report of a disorderly man at a nearby location. Officer Kuwabara relayed to the officers arresting the 34-year-old Hilo man for disorderly conduct that the descriptions of the two suspects were similar except for differences in the descriptions of their clothing. Kuwabara met with the sex assault victim and was able to obtain a better description, including that of a tattoo. As a result of that detail, police were able to charge the suspect not only with disorderly conduct but also with kidnapping, burglary and sexual assault.

Officer Horton was honored for providing field training to a police recruit that included drafting a search warrant and recovering evidence that led to felony charges.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Gregory Horton.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Gregory Horton.

On February 8, Horton and his recruit were conducting a roving patrol on Highway 130 near Orchidland when they made a 2 a.m. traffic stop on a sports-utility vehicle traveling slowly without any lights. While making contact with the driver, an assisting officer identified a partially concealed rifle on the passenger side floor mat within arm’s reach of the driver. Recognizing the seriousness of the case, Horton elected to work the case through to its completion with the recruit. Over a two-day period, they drafted and obtained a search warrant, leading to the recovery of a loaded rifle, loose ammunition, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The 20-year-old driver was charged with nine drug and weapons offenses and the officers initiated forfeiture proceedings on his SUV.

As “Officer of the Month,” both Kuwabara and Horton are eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Roller Derby Triple Header – Waimea, Hawaii Pacific and Hilo Duke It Out

Paradise Roller Girls will host a full night of roller derby on April 30 including a round robin of bouts with Pacific Roller Girls and Waimea Wranglers Rough Rollers.

Roller derby triple header on April 30 will be held at the Civic at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5. Hilo Tavern will host the afterparty where the cover charge is waived if a bout ticket stub is presented.

Roller derby triple header on April 30 will be held at the Civic at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5. Hilo Tavern will host the afterparty where the cover charge is waived if a bout ticket stub is presented.

Taking place in the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, the first bout between Waimea and Pacific is scheduled for 2 p.m.. Pacific will then battle PRG at 4:30 p.m. and end the night with PRG playing Waimea at 7 p.m.

“This bout is our first home game of the season and we are pumped to have people come cheer us on,” Kelli “Kellfire” Bolger, Paradise Roller Girls skater, said. “We’ve been working really hard in preparation.”

Between each sanctioned bout will be a junior derby game where PRG’s junior skaters will be skating against each other during a 10 minute mini bout.

Vendor, sponsor, and merchandise booths will be on site. Hilo Tavern will host an after party with no cover fee if a ticket stub is presented upon entry.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under the age of 5. Tickets can be bought at Jungle Love, CD Wizzard, Mt. View Video, Kadota Liquor, Lucy’s Taqueria, at the door or from any of the Paradise Roller Girls.

Volcanoes National Park Reopens Nāmakanipaio Campground

Nāmakanipaio Campground in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has reopened. Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, which manages the campground under a concession contract for the park, is taking reservations immediately.

Volcano Cabins

The popular campground has been closed since last September for the removal of large, falling and hazardous non-native eucalyptus trees in the area.

“We mahalo the public for their patience while we ensure the campground is safe again,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are delighted to reopen ahead of summer,” she said.

Nāmakanipaio is popular with local residents and visitors, and is nestled near the summit of Kīlauea volcano at 4,000-feet, off Highway 11. Established in the 1960s, today the campground features drive-in campsites for tent camping, restrooms, showers, barbecues, and 10 rustic one-room A-frame cabins. The cabins feature bunk beds and can sleep four.

Campsite rates for tent camping are $15 a night, and the A-frame cabins start at $80 a night ($50/night for Hawai‘i residents). To make reservations for Nāmakanipaio campsites or cabins, contact Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company at (808) 756-9625, or visit http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/cabins-campsites/.  Park entrance fees apply (good for seven days).

Now that the hazardous eucalyptus trees have been removed, native tree species, including ‘ōhi‘a and koa, can flourish. The campground has a fresh light and open look during the day, Mauna Loa is again visible, and at night, campers can enjoy a wider view of the sky, illuminated by stars and the glow from the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The Jaggar Museum observation deck, the closest vantage point to this eruption site, is an easy half-mile hike from Nāmakanipaio.

YWCA Honoring Rose Bautista, Barbara Hastings as Remarkable

The YWCA of Hawaii Island will honor local immigration lawyer Rose Bautista and public relations professional Barbara Hastings as its 2016 Remarkable People.

Barbara Hastings

Barbara Hastings

The pair will be honored at the eighth annual Remarkable Person Luncheon Thursday, June 2, at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Ballroom.

Rose Bautista

Rose Bautista

“The YWCA is proud to recognize Barbara and Rose for their achievements and leadership,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA of Hawaii Island. “These glass-ceiling-breaking women have inspired those around them with their raw dedication in business and commitment to helping women, children and community.”

For more than a quarter century, Bautista has helped immigrants with legal matters, and is a tireless advocate on their behalf. Hastings, a former newspaper journalist and founding partner of Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company (H&P) has provided thought-leadership and support to clients and community groups across Hawaii.

There are a limited number of tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Naomi at the YWCA of Hawaii Island office at 930-5705 or via email: tuyemura@ywcahawaiiisland.org.

Bautista was born in Sinait Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She immigrated to the United States at age seven and was raised in North Kohala. Bautista received her bachelors in political science from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1983. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor in 1989 from the Seattle University School of Law, formerly the University of Puget Sound School of Law. In 1990, she opened the Law Offices of Rose Y. Bautista in Washington State and practiced immigration and personal injury law. Bautista was appointed immigration specialist for Hawaii County in 2001. She was instrumental in bringing the Honolulu Philippine Consulate General to Hawaii Island for the first Consulate on Wheels service, and initiated the county’s first Citizenship Day celebration.

Bautista’s experience of immigrating and adjusting to a new country served as a foundation for her understanding, empathy and zealous advocacy for immigrant communities.

She is founder of Ating Bahay, a group dedicated to addressing domestic violence in the immigrant community, and is a representative to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Bautista is an active member of the Washington State Bar Association and a member of many law associations. She is the Children and Youth Group coordinator of Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha and sits on the boards of St. Joseph School and Micronesians United Big Island. Bautista is past president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce and for years has volunteered with Filipino associations around the island. In 2013, she received the Purple Ribbon Award in recognition for her work in domestic violence prevention. Bautista lives in Hilo and is married to Steve Bader. They have two college-age children, Sam and Alexa.

Hastings has been a public relations professional in Hawaii for a quarter century. She has been a newspaper journalist and professional communicator for 40 years in Honolulu and on the Mainland. As a journalist, she worked as both editor and reporter, and for a time specialized in energy and science reporting. She has received local and national recognition for her writing, campaign strategy and crisis management.

Hastings was the communication director for the Hawaii Department of Health in the early 1990s, and helped the Office of Hawaiian Affairs with communication strategies in the mid 90s. She worked for the Honolulu Advertiser, Trenton (NJ) Times and earned a fellowship to Stanford University for her energy writing.

H&P, which has offices in Honolulu and Hilo, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. In 2007, Hastings and partner Barbra Pleadwell received the Small Business Administration’s Champion of Women in Business Award for Hawaii and Region IX.

Hastings is deeply involved with organizations that advance community wellbeing. She sits on the boards of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii, Hawaii Public Radio, the Lyman Museum and Zonta International District 9. She is area director for Zonta’s Hawaii Clubs and is past president of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Hilo Bay and Zonta Club of Hilo. Hastings is married to retired journalist Mike Middlesworth. She has one daughter, Rhea Olsen, and two grandsons, Logan and Brendan.

Milestone Reached in Hawai‘i Island Dengue Fever Outbreak

With no reports of recent incidences of locally acquired dengue fever in 30 days, the state and County of Hawai‘i announced a significant milestone in the Hawai‘i Island outbreak that began in October. While the outbreak seems to have come to a halt, Gov. David Ige, along with other state and local officials caution the public not to let their guard down in the fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit.

Mosquito Bite

The state and Hawai‘i County are standing down certain emergency response activities related to the dengue fever outbreak after 30 days of no new locally acquired cases. This decision rests on the fact that three periods of the maximum human incubation period of ten days have passed. The final day of the infectious period for the last reported case was March 27. However, as per routine operations, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) continues to immediately investigate all travel related cases and conduct mosquito assessments and/or treatment of potential areas of mosquito exposure.

“This milestone could not have been reached without the diligent efforts and teamwork by the Department of Health and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency,” said Gov. Ige. “While this outbreak seems to be ending, our statewide response to mosquito-borne diseases must continue. We must remain vigilant in our mosquito prevention and abatement practices, be ready to respond to the Zika virus, and continue working together as a state to ‘Fight the Bite.’”

Since Oct. 28, 2015, DOH and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency (HCCDA) have been actively investigating and responding to locally-acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawai‘i Island. Dengue is not endemic to Hawai‘i, but it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. As of April 27, 2016, 264 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever have been confirmed on Hawai‘i  Island with illnesses occurring as early as Sept. 11, 2015.

“By no means are we out of the clear,” said Darryl Oliveira, administrator of the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency. “Cooperation and collaboration between the state and county have been exemplary but we continue to identify actions and efforts that we can improve on in the future. We appreciate the tremendous initiative shown by the community in assisting with mosquito abatement and encourage everyone to continue taking proactive measures around their homes and neighborhoods to keep our state safe.”

Over the course of the outbreak, DOH’s Vector Control team surveyed a total of 523 private properties and 310 public spaces. Of that count, 220 private properties and 65 public spaces were sprayed and/or treated for mosquitoes. A total of more than 1,900 reported potential cases were evaluated and/or tested by DOH disease investigators and State Laboratories Division staff.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “The fight against mosquitoes is far from over and we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our communities from the risk of mosquito borne diseases. We continue to receive and investigate reports of travel-related suspect cases of dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya on all islands. As Zika continues to spread rapidly overseas, we must take precautionary measures to prevent any locally acquired cases from taking hold in our state.”

“Knowing the dengue fever outbreak has been halted is welcome news for Hawaii’s tourism industry, especially for the travel partners, employees and residents who rely on its continued success,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Travelers considering a visit to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months can make their plans with confidence and without the hesitation that dengue may have been causing them.”

On April 11, Gov. Ige signed a supplemental proclamation to extend the state’s emergency period for mosquito borne illnesses. Under the extended emergency proclamation, DOH and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), with input from county partners, will continue ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive response plan detailing appropriate actions and measures dependent on the state’s current risk associated with mosquito borne diseases. A statewide public awareness and education campaign will kick off this year to ensure people understand the risks of mosquito-borne diseases and how to best prevent these illnesses in Hawai‘i.

Pregnant women need to take special precautions against the Zika virus and should avoid travel to areas where Zika is actively circulating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly in newborns, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with other babies of the same sex and age. CDC has also confirmed that Zika can be spread from an infected man to his sexual partners. It is still unknown how long the virus can be spread in this way after the infected male’s symptoms have cleared.

For additional information about Zika virus and precautions, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/. For travel information and advisories, visit CDC’s website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Hawaii Senate Confirms Ching Nagata to Hawaii Third Circuit Court

Members of the State Senate today confirmed Darien W.L. Ching Nagata to serve as a district court judge of the Third Circuit, State of Hawai‘i.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Ms. Ching Nagata was born and raised on Oahu, attended Iolani School, and graduated from Santa Clara University.  After studying in Shanghai and Singapore, she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i, where she was a Student of the Year and served as president of the Student Bar Association.

Ms. Ching Nagata joined the office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawai‘i in 1998.  Currently, she oversees litigation in the district court and family court, including domestic violence and juvenile cases. Her career has also included serving as the Violent Crimes Unit Litigator, and Circuit Court Unit Supervising Attorney and Litigator. She has been cross-deputized since 2008 to serve as a Special Assistant to the United States Attorney’s Office to assist with their Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

“Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Darien Ching Nagata has shown patience, compassion, diligence and a willingness to put in the long hours necessary to seek justice for the people of the Big Island,” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D 5th District), chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.  “I have no doubt that the Third Circuit Court as a whole and the district court to which she has been nominated will benefit greatly from her experience, energy and dedication.”

Ching Nagata was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Barbara T. Takase. Ching Nagata will serve a term of six years.

Fight The Tuition Hike – Rally and UH Hearings Tomorrow

The University of Hawai’i will be holding 2 hearings in Hilo this Thursday to discuss the proposed tuition increase. Students at Hawai’i Community College and UH Hilo are organizing a “Fight the Hike” Rallies on both campuses.

Click to view

Click to view

“These tuition increases are making public education too expensive for the public. We need affordable higher education,” said Associated Students of Hawai’i Community College (ASUHawCC) Member Asia Olsen.

On Friday, 4/22/16 ASUHawcc passed a resolution opposing the tuition increase highlighting rapidly increasing student debt and tuition see resolution here.

The proposed tuition increase comes in the wake of a student led lawsuit alleging mismanagement of student fees see 4/11/16 Hawaii Tribune Herald article here.

Lack of fiscal record keeping is currently being addressed at UH Hilo. UH Hilo business student Jen Ruggles recently requested a Hawai’i State Audit after numerous Freedom of Information (FOI) requests went unanswered see FOI requests here.

“UH Hilo Campus Center has not been able to provide basic fiscal records on how student fees are being spent including entire months of budgets, agendas, and minutes. How can UH request a tuition increase when there is still 11 months of student money that remains unaccounted for?” Ruggles said.

Students, the university community and public are invited to listen to a presentation on the University’s proposed tuition schedule and to present testimony (written or oral) at the meeting. The proposed tuition schedule and supporting documentation are available at www.hawaii.edu/offices/aa/tuition.html. Contact or email testimony to:tuition@hawaii.edu.

Students will organize rallies on both upper and lower campuses.

Lobster and Kona Crab Season Closes May 1

If you love your fresh-caught local lobster or Kona crab, you’d best catch it quick because the season closes this Sunday.  The closed season for ula (spiny lobster), ula papapa (slipper lobster) and Kona crab runs from May 1 through the end of August.  During that time it’s illegal to take, possess, or sell these shellfish.

Spiny Lobster

According to Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, “These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable.”

Kona Crab

However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first obtaining a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

During the open season catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited.  Also, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.

The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.  Or go online to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/how-to-determine-sex-of-regulated-invertebrates/

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/  or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

Puna Geothermal Warning System TEST TODAY

The Puna Geothermal Venture plant will be conducting a test of their facility emergency warning system to include the sounding of the drill rig warning siren today, Wednesday April 27th at approximately 11:30 a.m.

PGV

This is only a test that is necessary to ensure the proper working order and function of their warning system.

Residents in the immediate area and communities of Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, and the upper Kapoho and Pohoiki areas may hear the siren and we apologize for any disruption or inconvenience this may cause.

Again, this is a test of the facility’s emergency warning systems and no action is needed.

Update on Response Activities for Big Island Dengue Fever Outbreak – Health Department Daily Web Site Updates End

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

What: The State and County will announce the status of the Hawai‘i Island dengue fever outbreak and a new phase of response activities

Who:             

  • Governor David Ige
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawai‘i
  • Darryl Oliveira, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health
  • Maj. Gen. Arthur “Joe” Logan, State Adjutant General and Director of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency
  • George Szigeti, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President & CEO

When: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. 

Where: State Capitol, 5th floor, Governor’s Ceremonial Room

We plan to live stream the event through the governor’s website.

End of Dengue

2016 Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Into Town

Honoka‘a Western Week rides into town May 23-30, 2016, kicking off with Monday’s Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread cookoff and winding up with Friday night’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party on Mamane Street, with the 60th Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo over the weekend.

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Mamane Street will close for the Parade and Block Party, and roving Sheriffs will be on the lookout for attendees not wearing the commemorative HWW buttons. Buttons may be purchased to show support for the festival, and to automatically enter the “lucky number” drawings during the Block Party. Although not required for admission, buttons will keep attendees from being thrown into “jail” (all in good fun).

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

PHOTO BY Sarah Anderson

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, The Hāmākua Farm Bureau and the Hāmākua Lion’s Club, Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Steinlager, and others, celebrating Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend. Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. For more information, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or visit www.honokaawesternweek.org.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  Subject to change.

  • May 20. Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests. For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777 or check out the website.
  • May 23-30. Celebrate Honokaʻa Western Week with Honokaʻa Business Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style, visit Honoka‘a town merchants, and enjoy different paniolo-themed activities every night.
  • Monday, May 23, 5-7:30 pm Portuguese Paniolo Night hosted by the historic Andrade Building’s ‘Ōhi‘a Lānai, with Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread contests. Attendees can buy $5 tasting tickets, and vote for People’s Choice. Hot dogs, chili and rice available for sale, and the event includes music, Portuguese dancing and line dancing. For more information call Marlene Hapai 966-9894 or email mhapai@aol.com.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. Stick Horse Creation at Hāmākua Youth Center (HYC). Kids are invited to come and make their own mounts for the Stick Horse race on Friday. Limited to the first 30 applicants to turn in registration forms at HYC. Please call 775-0976 for more information.
  • Wednesday, May 25. Munch popcorn and cheer for the heroes of Western movies at the Peoples Theater. At 5 p.m., the animated feature “Home on the Range,” followed by “Traditions and Family Values: A Blueprint for our Community, Pa‘auilo Mauka Kalopa.” At 7 p.m., “8 Seconds,” the story of Lane Frost, 1987 PRCA Bull Riding World Champion.
  • Thursday, May 26. 4-6 p.m., Historic Honoka‘a Talk Story with authors Dr.Billy Bergin, “Loyal to the Land,” and Laura Ruby, “Honoka‘a Town,” at the Honoka‘a Public Library. Meet the community’s successful writers and learn what inspires and motivates them. This event coincides with the library’s Summer Reading program kickoff.  6:30 p.m., Hāmākua Ranchers Branding at The Landing restaurants. Local ranchers are invited to BYOB (Bring Your Own Branding iron) and brand a special wall display.
  • Friday, May 27. 3 p.m., Stick Horse Races 4 p.m., Paniolo Parade down Mamane Street, with mounted and marching units, pā‘ū riders, gleaming vintage cars and more. 5-10 p.m., Block Party, Steak Fry, Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests, great music and dancing in the Street. New this year, a free “Keiki Corral” for the kids from 5-7 p.m., with carnival-style games. Vendors interested in booth space for the Block Party may email Sue Dela Cruz, westernweekhonokaa@gmail.com, or download forms from the website.
  • Saturday, May 28- Hamakua-Kohala Health 50th Anniversary Health Fair, 10 am – 2pm Honoka‘a Gym Complex.  A free, family style celebration with beautiful Hawaiian music and hula, a healthy lū ‘au, helpful information from AlohaCare, HMSA, Aloha Insurance (Medicare) and Hale Ho‘ola, and much more. The ‘ono menu includes kālua turkey, pork laulau, chicken long rice, fernshoot salad, sweet potatoes, hapa rice, fresh fruits and haupia.
  • Saturday, May 28-Monday, May 30, Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo. Tickets $7 in advance $9 at the gate.

Hawaii Electric Light Conducting Aerial Line Inspections

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company is conducting aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Tuesday, April 26, to Friday, April 29, 2016.

Helicopter Line Inspection

The islandwide 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 disruptions this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

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