• Follow on Facebook

  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    June 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Governor Ige Releases Intent to Veto List

Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers that nine bills are on the Intent to Veto list. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to give notice to the Legislature by today’s deadline.

Governor Ige Profile

On July 12, any measure that has not been signed or vetoed by Gov. Ige will become law with or without his signature.

Intent to Veto List:

HB1370 HD1 SD2 CD1          RELATING TO DIVORCE

This measure authorizes the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to make direct payments to a divorced spouse of an ERS member or retired ERS member upon order of the court.

Rationale: The ERS must modify its information technology systems before direct payments can be made. It will need state resources to do so. The ERS trustfund cannot be used to pay for ITS work.

HB1739 HD2 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT

This measure prohibits employers from accessing and/or obtaining employees’ social media accounts and passwords via coercion or other means.

Rationale: In reviewing testimony on this measure, it remains unclear if this practice is occuring in workplaces at a level that requires state intervention at this time.

Also, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) was not provided with any additional financial resources to undertake enforcement. DLIR will need both time and resources to establish an enforcement mechanism.

HB1747 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES

This measure authorizes police officers to request towing of motor vehicles if a driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

Rationale: Current enforcement does not allow drivers to operate their vehicles anyway, once they’ve been arrested or cited for DUI.

Also, there are other motor vehicle violations where police should be authorized to request towing. We suggest that this bill be expanded to include the other violations for consistency across the state.

HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1          RELATING TO TAXATION

The intent of this measure is to allow transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents with the state. This would allow companies such as Airbnb to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of the hosts and visitors who use their services.

Rationale: We believe there could be unintended consequences of this proposed measure. Vacation rentals fall under the city’s jurisdiction. In order for this bill to work as intended, counties must more actively enforce their own laws on vacation rentals before they claim additional tax revenues.

HB2016 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

This measure requires the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to transfer contributions by retirees and beneficiaries to the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) for health insurance payments.

Rationale: While we understand the practical reasons for this bill, the ERS would be required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects health insurance information.  Additionally, the ERS would need sufficient time and resources to make modifications to information technology sytems to process such payments.

HB2277 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO THE KING KAMEHAMEHA CELEBRATION COMMISSION

The intent of this measure is to clarify the membership and mission of the King  Kamehameha Celebration Commission (KKCC).

Rationale: Unfortunately, the amendments proposed in this measure create an ambiguity in the law on how the commission will make decisions.

The specific number of commission members was deleted from the bill.  Consequently, the commission will not be able to determine a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.

SB2077 SD1 HD2 CD2           RELATING TO SEPARATION BENEFITS (Maui Region hospitals transition)

This measure offers benefits to Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force or workforce restructuring.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB2542 SD2 HD1 CD1       RELATING TO REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE

This measure establishes a full funding policy and budgetary procedures for routine repair and maintenance of state-owned buildings, including judiciary-owned facilities.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB3102 SD1 HD1 CD1           RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

This measure mandates that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourist (DBEDT) develop —  and state agencies enter into – inter-agency agreements with the department rather than memoranda of agreements (MOAs) or memoranda of understanding (MOUs).  This measure also establishes a state grant program to fund business development  for qualified businesses.

Rationale: It is not clear from the testimony why state agency inter-departmental agreements are more efficient or effective in directing resource allocation.

Big Island Police Conducting “Active Shooter” Presentation in Na’alehu

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make an “active shooter” presentation in Nāʻālehu on Wednesday, July 6.

Active Shooter

The presentation will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nāʻālehu Community Center.

It is designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident.

Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

DBEDT Releases Data on Big Island and Kauai Consumer Spending

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released two reports today that provides data and analysis on spending patterns of Big Island and Kauai households in 2014.

Click to view report

Click to view report

The reports summarizes data obtained through household surveys conducted by DBEDT in 2015 and covers spending in 2014. DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Historically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.  The BLS survey only included Oahu residents and excluded neighbor island residents.  Data on consumer spending patterns for neighbor islands did not exist before DBEDT compiled the data through household surveys.

Some of the findings in the Hawaii County report include the following:

  • An average household in Hawaii County spent an average of $51,700 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, 71.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.H
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 40.5 percent of total expenditures or $20,921 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.3 percent or $8,405), food (14.4 percent or $7,420), and personal insurance & retirement savings (7.8 percent or $4,046).
  • In 2014, a typical Hawaii County household spent about $10,000 less than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Hawaii County consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather similar, both between 71 percent and 72 percent of total expenditures.
  • Hawaii County household’s annual expenditures were slightly lower than the U.S. average in 2014, with Hawaii County at $51,700 and the U.S. at $53,495.  Housing comprised a larger portion in Hawaii County consumers’ spending (40.5 percent for Hawaii County and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Hawaii County consumers spent relatively more on food (14.4 percent for Hawaii County and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and less on transportation (16.3 percent for Hawaii County and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 78.3 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 65.5 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on entertainment and insurance and retirement savings.
  • Homeowners with mortgages spent $65,911 in 2014, which was more than $20,000 higher than the annual expenditures of home renters and home owners without mortgages. Both homeowners with mortgages and renters spent a large share on housing, 42.2 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively, resulting in comparably smaller shares on most other spending categories, relative to home owners without mortgages.

Some of the findings in the Kauai County report include the following:

  • A typical household in Kauai County spent an average of $64,651 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, nearly 73.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 41.5 percent of total expenditures or $26,819 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.8 percent or $10,836), food (14.9 percent or $9,638), and personal insurance & retirement savings (6.8 percent or $4,398).
  • In 2014, a typical Kauai household spent more than $2,000 more than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Kauai consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather close, both at around 73 percent of total expenditures.  Kauai household’s annual expenditures were 21 percent higher than the U.S. average in 2014, with Kauai at $64,651 and the U.S. at $53,495.   Housing comprised a larger portion in Kauai consumers’ spending (41.5 percent for Kauai and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Kauai consumers spent relatively more on food (14.9 percent for Kauai and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and slightly less on transportation (16.8 percent for Kauai and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 80 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 69.8 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on transportation, insurance and retirement savings, and entertainment.
  • Homeowners with mortgages and renters had comparable shares for housing related expenses (44.5 percent versus 44 percent). However, homeowners’ annual expenditure amount was much higher than renters, with $87,460 for home owners with mortgages versus $54,139 for home renters.

The Hawaii County results are based on 554 completed surveys from the Big Island, and the Kauai County results are based on 337 completed surveys from the islands of Kauai and Lanai.

The full reports are available at:

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Big_Island_Survey_Final.pdf

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Kauai_Survey_Final.pdf

Siren Testing on Hawaii Island Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday June 30

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), together with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, will conduct siren testing on Hawaii Island on Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday June 30, 2016.

SirenTesting will be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Kapaa Beach Park, North Kohala
  • Mahukona Beach Park, North Kohala
  • Waiaka, Waimea
  • Puako Beach Road, Waikoloa
  • Historic Park, Waikoloa
  • Holoholokai Public Beach Park, Waikoloa
  • Kealakehe Elementary School, Kailua Kona

These new sirens are part of the Statewide Siren Modernization Project. Residents nearby may hear the siren sound six to eight times for 30-second to one-minute intervals during the identified timeframe. Testing will include short blasts known as “burps.” During the tests, emergency management officials and technicians will check that installation work on the sirens has been completed properly.

Residents can direct questions about this siren testing to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency at (808) 935-0031.

Hawaii EMA encourages the public to make use of other supplemental methods of warning including, but not limited to, Hawaii County’s mass text notification system, Blackboard Connect, and NOAA Weather Radio.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Girl Missing Since May

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai was last seen in Hilo on May 10. She may now be on Oahu.

She is described as part Hawaiian, 5-foot-6, 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

USS Chung-Hoon to Return From Deployment

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) is scheduled to return from a five-month deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) June 28.

Chun hoon Bridge

While on deployment, the ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.

“The Sailors and officers of Chung-Hoon performed exceptionally while deployed to the Western Pacific,” said Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer. “During exercises and operations with our allies and partners in the Asia Pacific, we flew helicopters and sailed the ship in accordance with international laws and were able to show strong, persistent presence in the region.”

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 Detachment 7, homeported at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, embarked aboard Chung-Hoon during the deployment. They flew 245 sorties, totaling more than 680 hours with two MH-60R aircraft in support of multi-national exercises and presence operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific.
chun hoon front
“The relationship with Chung-Hoon was outstanding from day one,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Eckhoff, HSM-37, Detachment 7 air boss. “The crew was professional and very welcoming, allowing us to form a great team.”

According to Eckhoff, the camaraderie he experienced during the evolution was not only remarkable, but valuable and directly impacted mission success.

“As a detachment, we adopted the nickname ‘Paniolo,’ a word for the cowboys of the Hawaiian Islands. The original Paniolo were hard working, resourceful, and shared a strong tie of brotherhood. Those same traits were evident every day from the maintainers, aircrew, and pilots of HSM 37, Detachment 7. Thanks to their efforts, we operated the world’s most advanced helicopters night after night, safely, and effectively.”

During the deployment, Chung-Hoon made port visits to Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines, and participated in numerous community service projects including volunteering at local elementary schools, orphanages, and soup kitchens.

In February, Chung-Hoon participated in Foal Eagle, an annual bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of United States and Republic of Korea forces and their ability to work together during a crisis.
Me at helm of chung hoon
In June, Chung-Hoon participated in Malabar, a trilateral naval exercise with Japan and India to increase bilateral nation inoperability. During Malabar, Chung-Hoon received fuel from the Indian oiler INS Shakti further showcasing the  ability of the nations to operate together.

Chung-Hoon also participated in a group sail across the Pacific Ocean with Indian, Singaporean, Indonesian, and Japanese navies in preparation for the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

Twenty-six nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the RIMPAC exercise scheduled June 30 through August 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

Chung-Hoon is assigned to Carrier Strike Group 3 and Destroyer Squadron 21 and is homeported in Hawaii as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet. It is also part of the Great Green Fleet, an initiative that highlights the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

Chung-Hoon was commissioned Sep. 18, 2004 and was named after Rear Admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon, who served during World War II and was the first Asian-American flag officer. He is a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

For more information please visit the ship’s website:
http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg93/Pages/default.aspx

Editors note: To see my trip out to sea with the USS Chung Hoon click here:  Out to Sea on the Destroyer USS CHUNG HOON

Free Orchid Show – 34th Annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club Show

It’s an “Eruption of Orchids” at the 34th annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale Sunday, July 17 at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. This year’s theme salutes the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with a central blooming display backdropped by a volcano.

Orchids

The free event offers attendees complimentary refreshments, plus an orchid boutonniere corsage—while they last.  Time is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with the Daifukuji Taiko Drummers performing at 10 a.m.

Enjoy an elaborate and colorful display of live blooming cattleya, cymbidium, dendrobium, phalaenopsis, miltonia, vanda and more. Cameras are welcome. In addition this year’s show will have a display of orchids appearing on “Plates, Platters and Plaques.”

Got growing questions? Veteran members will staff a Question and Answer Booth where attendees can get expert advice on caring for orchids. The club boasts eight charter members who each have been growing orchids at least 30 years at different Kona elevations.

In addition to the other displays, the annual event offers an outdoor sale of high-quality orchid species and hybrids grown by club members and Big Isle commercial growers.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.kdoc.us, get club updates at www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise or phone 808-325-3261.

Hawaii Department of Health Release Names, Scores and Rankings of ALL Applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today released the scores and ranking of the applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses.

Honolulu Applicants

Click to enlarge

The list of applicants and their respective scores and ranking are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

Hawaii Applicants

Click to enlarge

A total of 66 applications for eight dispensary licenses were reviewed, evaluated, and scored (based on 13 merit criteria) by four members of a selection panel. Each application could receive a maximum of 520 points (10 points maximum could be awarded for each merit criterion by each of four individual panelists).

Kauai Applicants

Click to enlarge

All applicants were required to submit documentation to prove compliance with the statutory and administrative requirements for both individual applicants and applying entities.

Maui Applicants

Click to enlarge

“To meet the ambitious and expedited time schedule for the selection process and given the large number of applications to review, the vetting process was conducted concurrently with the scoring of the applications,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance.

While all applications were scored, 12 applicants who did not submit the requisite documentation or whose documentation did not establish compliance with the requirements were not ranked in the final compilation of scores.

Non Applicants

Unselected applicants

DOH notified all unselected applicants by certified mail this week prior to the posting of the applicants’ scores. To help ensure the medical marijuana dispensary program can be available for patients, DOH has been working on other requirements for the programs implementation.

The department is continuing work with Bio Track THC to establish the web-based seed-to-sale computer tracking system for dispensaries.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has established a certification process for medical marijuana testing facilities and applications are available at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab/.

“It’s an exciting time, launching this new industry in Hawaii,” said Margaret Leong, supervisor of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “So far, the licensing staff have met in person with seven of the licensees and the discussions have been really productive and beneficial to all of us. The licensees have generously shared their knowledge of the industry gained through the application process, and we’ve been able to provide more specific guidance to ensure that their facilities conduct operations in compliance with all state requirements to be able to open their dispensaries in a timely manner.”

Additional information about the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program is available at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

Hawaii Senator Calls for Ban on Sunscreen with Oxybenzone

Compound found in sunscreen and personal care products blamed for damaging coral reefs

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

As the 13th annual Coral Reef Symposium comes to end in Waikīkī, State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) has announced he will introduce legislation for Hawai‘i to ban sunscreen with oxybenzone beginning in 2018.

“A ban is the right thing to do in order to protect our fragile marine eco-system,” said Sen. Espero. “Since our ocean environment is key to our tourism industry and our economic lifeline, banning a chemical substance that harms our coral and other marine animals should be a top priority next year in the state legislature.”

Speakers and scientists at the Symposium shared the dangers of oxybenzone on our coral reef and other marine life. Scientists said testing has revealed high levels of oxybenzone in Hawai‘i waters. Oxybenzone is found in personal care products and is a component of many sunscreen lotions.  It has been found to kill coral and negatively affect other Marine organisms.

“At the very least, a serious discussion should be had on the value and need of oxybenzone in sunscreen and other products,” Sen. Espero noted.

Hawaii Senate Confirms Judges for District Court and District Family Court

The Hawai‘i State Senate today unanimously confirmed M. Kanani Laubach to the District Family Court of the Third Circuit and James S. Kawashima to the District Court of the First Circuit.

Judges confirmed

Kanani Laubach is a Partner at Laubach & Frenz, AAL, LLLC in Hilo, where she focuses her legal practice on criminal cases heard in District, Family, and Circuit Courts and family law cases involving temporary restraining orders. Prior to entering private practice, Laubach served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney at the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawai‘i. She also previously served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney at the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu.

In addition to her legal experience, Laubach previously worked as a family therapist for Felix assigned families and a visitation specialist with Parents and Children Together where she taught parenting skills and child development.  Laubach attained her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Chaminade University. She earned her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawai‘i State Bar in 2003.

Laubach will fill the vacancy created by the appointment of the Honorable Melvin H. Fujino to the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.

“Ms. Laubach’s legal experience in the government and private sectors makes her a well-rounded practitioner with substantial trial experience. Her background in psychology, her extensive courtroom experience, and her many years of interaction with the community through her personal and family experiences will no doubt provide her with the special insight and temperament necessary for the often challenging cases brought in family court,” said Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “Her reputation for being a person of integrity who treats everyone equally and fairly and has the ability to relate to and is respectful toward everyone makes her an exceptional appointment to the court system.”

Since 2010, James S. Kawashima has received appointments as a per diem judge with the District Court of the First Circuit.  He maintained a private legal practice specializing in labor and employment law, state and federal criminal defense, trust and probate litigation, commercial litigation and personal injury, although he has devoted himself to his per diem judicial appointments over the last four years. Earlier in his career, Kawashima served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Special Prosecution Unit of the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.  He went on to serve as a Deputy Attorney General in the Hawai‘i Department of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  He also worked at private law firms in both Hawai‘i and California, handling litigation in construction, bankruptcy, employment cases, and insurance defense.

Kawashima graduated from Princeton University and received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Southern California Law Center. He was admitted to the Hawai‘i State Bar in 1992.

“Along with the experience he’s gained and judgment displayed during his periodic duties as a per diem judge, Mr. Kawashima brings experience and skills to the bench in areas other than the usual legal research, writing and reasoning expected,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran.

The term of office for both judgeships is for six years.

International Ships Sail to Hawaii for Rim of the Pacific 2016

Four multinational groups have set sail toward Hawaii in support of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise commencing on June 30.

The Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) leads a group of multinational ships during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010.  RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise.  Since 1971, this large-scale biennial exercise has been designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea.   (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Taylor/RELEASED)

The Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) leads a group of multinational ships during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. Since 1971, this large-scale biennial exercise has been designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Taylor/RELEASED)

Participating in Group Sail, 10 ships departed from San Diego, while 12 ships met in the Western Pacific Ocean.

  • USS America (LHA 6) departed San Diego on June 21, leading Canadian ship HMCS Vancouver, Chilean ship CNS Cochrane, USS San Diego (LPD 22), and USS Howard (DDG 83).
  • USS Princeton (CG 59) departed San Diego on June 22 along with Canadian ship HMCS Calgary, USCG Stratton, and USS Pinckney (DDG 91). USS Coronado (LCS 4) departed San Diego on June 23.
  • Singaporean ship RSS Steadfast departed the Western Pacific Ocean on June 18 with Japanese ship JS Hyuga, Indonesian ship KRI Diponegoro, Indian ship INS Satpura, and USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93).
  • USS Stockdale (DDG 106) departed the Western Pacific Ocean on June 18 with USS William P Lawrence (DDG 110), and the People’s Republic of China vessels PLA(N) Hengshui, PLA(N) Peace Ark, PLA(N) Xian, PLA(N) Gaoyouhu, and PLA(N) Changdao.

The ships participating in Group Sail are expected to arrive in Pearl Harbor during the last week of June.

USS Chung Hoon gets fuel during an exercise in 2010.

USS Chung Hoon gets fuel during an exercise in 2010.

Conducted prior to the start of RIMPAC, Group Sail offers participating units the chance to operate together and conduct basic training like tactical maneuvering drills and communication system checks. Group Sail helps prepare participating units for the more complex exercises conducted during RIMPAC.

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by U.S. Third Fleet in the Hawaiian operating area. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber Joins JCCIH Installation Ceremonies

Officials of the Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry flew to Hilo to participate in the installation of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) officers for 2016-17.

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

During the 66th annual ceremony on June 8, Russell Arikawa of Ginoza Realty, Inc. was installed as president of JCCIH. The two Chambers continue to explore beneficial opportunities between the business communities of Higashi-Hiroshima and East Hawaii.

Arikawa, a realtor, has served the Chamber as government affairs chief and as a chair of the popular Taste of Hilo. He is a director of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, and a commissioner with the Department of Water. Born in Hilo, he graduated from University of Hawaii-Hilo.

During his remarks, Arikawa said East Hawaii faces many challenges, old and new. “It is an era distinguished by community service,” he said, but it is also a time “which challenges every elected official and public servant. We must be more accountable and more accessible to the people.”

Arikiawa received the gavel from immediate past president, Darren Nishioka of CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union.
Other officers of JCCIH include: first VP, Audrey Takamine of Takamine Construction; second VP, Stephen Ueda of Suisan; third VP, Donn Mende of County of Hawaii; treasurer, Joseph Skruch; auditor, Ivan Nakano of I. Kitagawa & Company, Ltd.; and Japanese secretary, Naomi Menor of Naomi’s World Travel Service. The officers and 34 directors were installed by Attorney Peter Kubota.

Sandra Dawson of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) gave the installation keynote address, reporting on the status of the project and its challenges. JCCIH has been a staunch supporter of TMT and has worked closely with the astronomy community to promote culturally appropriate scientific research.

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

JCCIH fosters economic sustainability and perpetuates the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawaii. The two value pillars that the JCCIH is built on are the Hawaiian Kahiau (giving without expecting anything in return) and the Japanese Okage Sama De (I am what I am because of you.)

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo. It also hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit the website at www.jccih.org

Lava Flow Approaches Royal Gardens Subdivision

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 on June 16 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow field as mapped on June 23 is shown in red. The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. The Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, 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 a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

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 a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to enlarge)

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The areas covered by the recent breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō as of June 16 are shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on June 23 is shown in red.

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

The area covered by the inactive June 27th flow is shown in orange. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. (Click to enlarge)

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Lava Flow “61g” Continues Advancing Downslope

The episode 61g flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues advancing downslope.

In this photo, the current flow is the lighter color area along the center of the image. The flow front has advanced about 770 m (0.5 miles) since the June 16 overflight, which equates to an advance rate of about 100 m per day (330 ft per day).

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image.  (Click to enlarge)

The flow front was roughly 100 m (330 ft) from the northern boundary of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and its plume, are visible near the top of the image. (Click to enlarge)

The lava pond in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater remains active, and has enlarged since our last observation.

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin.  (Click to enlarge)

The pond today was about 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, with spattering along the western margin. (Click to enlarge)

An HVO geologist collects a fresh lava sample for chemical analysis.

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today.  (Click to enlarge)

The lobe being sampled was typical of the many scattered pāhoehoe breakouts along the flow margin today. (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube.  (Click to enlarge)

HVO geologists conduct a VLF (very low frequency) survey across the episode 61g lava tube to measure the depth and cross-sectional area of lava flowing within the tube. (Click to enlarge)

Incandescent vents are still open on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

From the ground, no views of the lava were possible because the area around the vent was too unstable and dangerous to approach. (Click to enlarge)

An aerial view of the same vent shown at left provided a look of the lava stream within the deep cavity.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

25th Annual Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race

Kings’ Shops is celebrating the 25th year of the Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race, which benefits the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawai’i.

rubber duck

The festivities at Kings’ Shops start at 10:00 am on Monday, July 4, and will include food booths, children’s entertainment, live music on the stage, and special promotions at participating stores including Tiffany & Co., Sunglass Hut, Jourabchi, Crazy Shirts, Genesis Gallery, Macy’s, Na Hoku, Da Big Bags, and Tori Richard. The Rubber Duckie race will begin at 3:00 pm on Kings’ Lake followed by a special performance by Anuhea at 3:30 pm on the stage. The evening will end with the awards ceremony at 5:00 pm at the Kings’ Shops stage and then a fireworks extravaganza at the Waikoloa Bowl at 8:00 pm.

Free activities will also be available including photo booths, airbrush tattoos, balloon sculpting, lei making, bouncy houses, and EMS and fire trucks to explore. Restaurant booths will include featured menu items from The Three Fat Pigs and A-Bay’s Island Grill. Local Big Island beers will also be available at the beer garden located at The Three Fat Pigs’ front lanai.

Adoption certificates for the Rubber Duckie race are on sale until 3:00 pm on race day (July 4) and offer a chance to win over $37,000 in prizes. Individual duckie adoptions are $5 each and Quack Packs are $25 each and include four adoption certificates and one event T-shirt (while supplies last).

For a complete list of entertainment, promotions and activities, please visit www.KingsShops.com.

 

Hawaii Becomes First State in Nation to Enroll Firearms Owners in Centralized Information System

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawai‘i to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed HB 625 (ACT 109) and HB 2632 (ACT 110) Relating to Firearms.

HB 625 specifies that harassment by stalking and sexual assault are among the offenses that disqualify a person from owning, possessing or controlling any firearm or ammunition.

HB 2632 requires firearms owners to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police if they have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition for the following reasons: Diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility. This measure authorizes the Chief of Police to seize firearms and ammunition if a disqualified firearms owner fails to surrender the items after receiving written notice.

Food Producers Invited to Exhibit at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Local food producers are invited to display and sample their product at the 21st annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Taste Kam Item

The state’s premiere ag showcase again offers a free opportunity for Hawai‘i farmers, ranchers and food producers to hookup with participating chefs and attendees during the 6-8 p.m. Taste.

The event is also open for agricultural and sustainability-themed organizations wanting to present informational displays.

Producers and ag-related educational organizations interested in participating may signup online at www.tasteofthehawaiianrange.com or by contacting Jill Beaton at tasteexhibitors@gmail.com or 808-937-0314. The deadline is July 31.

Taste headlines 30-some statewide chefs who dazzle diners using various cuts of forage-fed meats and a cornucopia of island fruits, vegetables and other farm products. Also on tap is a 3 p.m. culinary activity, “Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101,” presented by chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason Schoonover of the award-winning 12th Ave. Grill.

taste2Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10. Tickets are for sale online and available starting July 1 at Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Purchase tickets online at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone 808-322-4892.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Taste Hayden

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Hokulea Crewmembers Conduct Crew Switch for the Next Leg in the Worldwide Voyage

While docked on Block Island on Wednesday, crewmembers of Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea began the detailed process of a crew switch. The latest crew of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage arrived safely on Block Island, where they spent the day in training, preparing and receiving information from the canoe’s leg 20 crew, for leg 21 of Hokulea’s sail. Captain Bruce Blankenfeld conducted an orientation for the canoe’s latest crewmembers, as well as a brief overview of future port stops.

crew change

The Hokulea crew’s time on Block Island was spent engaging the local community through canoe tours and educational outreach. The canoe’s next stop is about 50 nautical miles away in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut where crewmembers will conduct lectures and interactive demonstrations of Polynesian wayfinding, voyaging and navigation at the Mystic Seaport Museum’s 25th Annual Wooden Boat Show.

Department of Agriculture Considering Rule Changes Regarding Quarantine Restrictions on Ohia and Soil

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is currently considering proposed changes to the Administrative Rules regarding Chapter 4-72, Hawaii Administrative Rules, by adding a new section: §4-72-13 Quarantine restrictions on ohia and soil from rapid ohia death infested areas.

To view the proposed rule changes, click here.

ohia death

Public hearings regarding this rule change will be scheduled in the near future.

For information on this rule change, contact the Plant Quarantine Branch at (808) 832-0566.

Hawaii Representative Asks Attorney General to Investigate School Air Conditioning Bids

Contractors bids so high that project delayed and students to suffer

As summer heats up and public schools prepare to begin Aug. 1, plans to spend $100 million to cool off 1,000 classrooms have been delayed due to the outrageously high bids from contractors to install air conditioning.

Rep. Matthew LoPresti

Rep. Matthew LoPresti

Rep. Matthew LoPresti has asked the Attorney General to investigate if there is a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers by artificially inflating bids for profit at the expense of school children – who will suffer through yet another unbearably hot summer in stifling classrooms.

“We cannot just wait for another round of bids and hope they are reasonable,” said Rep. Matthew LoPresti. “Classrooms in my district and across the state will soon be too hot for students to learn and teachers to teach. We must find a way to get this project moving forward.

“At the same time, the bids for the work came in so high that it is possible contractors who know the state is hard pressed to get this work done conspired to submit bids much higher than reasonable to make unreasonable profits.”

This past session the Legislature approved more than $100 million to add air conditioning to 1,000 classrooms by the end of the year and Gov. David Ige has been working with the state Department of Education and private companies to get the work done.

The DOE now says the project must be either delayed due to the high bids or far fewer classrooms then expected will be cooled.  As an example, the DOE said the bid for one photovoltaic-powered air conditioning project with an estimated cost of $20,000 came in more than $100,000.

LoPresti said there have also been complaints from contractors that the bid specifications for a $20,000 project were up to 100 pages long and that makes submitting a bid expensive and complicated.

“I would like the DOE to take a look at the bidding process and simplify the documents if possible,” he said. “We need to get to the bottom of why these bids are so high. Whatever the reason, we need to fix it.”

The cool schools project now is being pushed back with bidding reopened with the new fiscal year which begins July 1, 2016.

“If contractors are gouging the state at a time of great need in our schools and the students have to suffer because of this, the Attorney General must find them and prosecute to the full extent of the law,” LoPresti said. “The public deserves answers as to why bids are coming in suspiciously high and we cannot just sit by and accept this.”

As part of his “Cool Schools 4 Ewa” initiative, LoPresti is reaching out to the public to create a hui of professional volunteers willing and able to contribute to the heat abatement effort by donating their time and labor to help the DOE cool classrooms at realistic and reasonable costs.

LoPresti urges those able to install PV or PV AC systems to contact his office so he can help organize and facilitate those willing to step up and help our keiki to move beyond those who would rather profiteer from their suffering.