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TRAFFIC ALERT: Māmalahoa Hwy at Nāpo‘opo‘o Junction, Kona – Motorist Can Expect Long Delays


Isemoto Contracting will be doing paving work tomorrow, Thursday, September 29th on the Māmalahoa Highway  from Shiraki’s Dry Cleaners to the Nāpō‘opo‘o Intersection.

Motorists are advised to expect delays with additional drive time of 30 – 60 minutes, as there will be traffic back-up due to alternating lane closures necessary for the paving work.

Work is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.  Isemoto Contracting and the Department of Public Works thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

Fingerprint Processing Fee for Firearm Registration to be Reduced

hpd-badgeBeginning October 1, the fingerprint processing fee will be reduced for persons applying for a first-time firearm permit or a first-time importation of a firearm into the state.

The new fee will be $12, reduced from $14.75. Payment must be made by money order or cashier’s check only, payable to Hawaiʻi Criminal Justice Data Center.

For more information about how to register a firearm, please visit the Firearm Registration page at hawaiipolice.com under the “Services” tab.

8 New Cases of Hepatitis A – Confirmed Cases Rises to 284

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 8 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 71 have required hospitalization.

hepatitis-headerFindings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Ten (10) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and five visitors have returned to the mainland or overseas.


Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 9/16/16.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes Launches Second Year of Every Kid in a Park Pass

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages all fourth graders to visit the park for free this year as part of the Every Kid in a Park program. The program gives fourth grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 public lands and waters nationwide for a year.

Starccia and a Every Kid in a Park Pass.  NPS Photo

Starrcia and a Every Kid in a Park Pass. NPS Photo

“We reached nearly 700 students and their ‘ohana last year through the Every Kid in a Park initiative,” said Park Ranger Noah Gomes. “I know we can triple that number this year and get all our island fourth-grade keiki to ‘Find Your Park’ as we celebrate 100 years of connecting with and caring for this very special place,” he said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encompasses 333,086 acres, and stretches from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa at nearly 14,000 feet. It is home to two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, as well as numerous native plant and animal species. The park connects people to the Hawaiian culture through many free programs and the place names that perpetuate a sacred landscape.

The Every Kid in a Park pass – which features a new design for this year’s students – is valid for a full calendar year from the time of issue. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters, in including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.

The newly expanded Every Kid in a Park website has links to educational activities, trip planning, field trip options, the downloadable pass, and additional information in both English and Spanish. After completing a fun educational activity, the child can download and print a pass. The paper pass can be traded for the more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.

Every Kid in a Park is part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them. The program, now entering its second year, is a call to action for children to experience America’s spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture.

For more information, please visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow the program on Twitter @everykidinapark, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For additional information about Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, visit www.nps.gov/havo.

Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige Proclaims October 2016 as “Cyber Security Awareness Month”

Gov. David Y. Ige has proclaimed October 2016 as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii, highlighting the state’s vital role in identifying, protecting its citizens from, and responding to cyber threats that may have significant impact to individual and collective security and privacy.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

Hawaii’s observance coincides with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, recognized by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, and the National Cyber Security Alliance. In addition, the annual national cybersecurity public awareness campaign “Stop.Think.Connect.” is implemented through a coalition of private companies, nonprofit and government organizations, as well as academic institutions working together to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empower the American public to be safer and more secure online.

“We have made great strides in recent years in securing the state government network and expanding our state employee-led cyber security program,” said Todd Nacapuy, state chief information officer. “However, cyber security remains a shared responsibility in which every citizen has a critical role to play. Awareness of computer security essentials will improve the security of cyberspace for all of us.”

Hawaii citizens are encouraged to visit the Stop.Think.Connect. website at https://stopthinkconnect.org for tips and resources. Additionally, throughout the month, ETS will be sending weekly cyber security tips to state personnel on issues such as the importance of using strong, unique passwords; applying two-factor authentication; being aware of phishing scans; and tips for staying safe this school year.

Cyber Tip: Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Cybersecurity experts recommend that everyone use strong, unique passwords because every day malicious cyber threat actors compromise websites and online accounts, and post lists of usernames, email addresses, and passwords online. This exposes individuals’ passwords and, worse yet, they are exposed with information that uniquely identifies the user, such as an email address. That means that a malicious actor can look for other accounts associated with that same person, such as work related, personal social media, or banking accounts. When the malicious actor finds those accounts they can try logging in with the exposed password and if the password is reused, they can gain access. This is why unique passwords matter.

Two-factor authentication is also an important layer of defense beyond your password. It decreases an individual’s risk of falling victim to a compromise because criminals need access to two separate items to compromise your account — for instance an individual’s password and smartphone (to receive the PIN code). Cyber criminals regularly “leak” login credentials from compromised websites. They then use these leaked login names, email addresses, and passwords to find other accounts using the same credentials. This allows them to easily impersonate individuals online, gain access to work and personal accounts, sign online service agreements or contracts, engage in financial transactions, or change account information. Enabling two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for criminals to use this technique because a password would not be sufficient to gain access.

Quarantine Order Issued on Maui Property Infested with Little Fire Ants

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) was granted a quarantine order by Maui Circuit Judge Peter T. Cahill that prohibits the movement of plant material and personal property in outdoor areas on a Maui property infested with little fire ants (LFA). Earlier this month, HDOA obtained a warrant to access the property at 82 Loomis St. in Haiku after the tenant continually refused to allow LFA eradication crews to survey and treat the area.


LFA were detected in the Haiku neighborhood in early 2015 and surrounding properties have been under treatment to eradicate the invasive stinging ants. Although the landowner has been cooperative, the tenant on the property has refused to cooperate for many months which forced the state to take legal action.

Under the earlier warrant, department pest control personnel were able to survey the 1.75-acre property on Sept. 12th and found LFA infestations in potted plants, kalo patches and other vegetation. On Sept. 20th and 21st, HDOA crews returned to the property to treat the infested areas. On all three occasions, HDOA crews were accompanied by members of the Maui Police Department and the state Attorney General’s office due to persistent harassment and threats by the tenant.

Treatment of the property is expected to continue for about a year. Monitoring will continue after eradication is declared for three additional years. Judge Cahill’s order regarding quarantine of the property will remain in effect until further order by the court.

HDOA has not taken this type of legal action since 2000 during the eradication efforts for banana bunchy top virus on Hawaii Island. Usually, the department tries to work cooperatively with residents, farms and nurseries to eradicate invasive pests. Eradication efforts have been extremely successful on Oahu, in Mililani and Waimanalo, mainly due to the cooperation of residents and residential associations.

LFA was first detected on Maui in 2009 on an organic farm in Waihee. The infestation was under control in one year following the treatment protocol developed by Dr. Casper Vanderwoude of the Hawaii Ant Lab and the ongoing efforts of the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC). In late 2013, LFA was found on Maui and traced to infested hapu`u logs imported from Hawaii Island, where LFA is widely established. Eradication efforts continue at another infestation site in East Maui.

When LFA was first detected on Hawaii Island in 1999, there was no treatment protocol for eradication or control. The Hawaii Ant Lab was subsequently established and has developed proven methods that can eradicate infestations if detected early.

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.  LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th of an inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly, unlike the tropical fire ant which moves quickly and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. Tropical fire ants have been well established in Hawaii since before the 1870’s. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, buildings and homes and may completely overrun a property to the point of abandonment.

For more information on LFA in Hawaii, go to the HDOA website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/lfainfo/

Charles Djou Withdraws From Scheduled PBS Hawai’i Forum

Charles Djou has withdrawn from a live, televised mayoral candidates forum, which was scheduled for Thursday, October 27 at 8:00 pm on PBS Hawai‘i.

Charles Djou

Charles Djou

Several weeks ago, the Republican mayoral candidate, along with the incumbent, Democrat Kirk Caldwell, agreed to a live discussion on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i.

This week, Sam Aiona from the Djou campaign told PBS Hawai‘i Djou was withdrawing from the appearance, stating, “We respectfully decline.” No further reason was given for the withdrawal.

Since August, candidates for State House and Senate races, as well as Honolulu and neighbor island council races, have been scheduled on Insights every week leading up to the General Election.

Insights on PBS Hawai‘i airs Thursday nights at 8:00 pm, with a live stream available on pbshawaii.org. The show’s trademark, loosely structured live format sets these discussions apart from traditional, rigid televised debate formats.

HPD Promotes Jefferson A. Grantz to Rank of Lieutenant

Chief Harry Kubojiri has promoted Jefferson A. Grantz to the rank of lieutenant.

Jefferson A. Grantz

Jefferson A. Grantz

Lieutenant Grantz is assigned to the North Hilo District in Laupāhoehoe.

Grantz joined the Hawaii Police Department in 1990. As a patrol officer, his assignments took him to the districts of Kaʻū, Puna, South Kohala, Hāmākua, and North Hilo.

He was promoted to detective/sergeant in 2006. He worked as a detective in the Area II Criminal Investigations Section and the Area I Juvenile Aid Section and as a sergeant in the districts of Hāmākua and, most recently, North Hilo.

His promotion to lieutenant took effect on September 16.

EPA Awards Hawaii Over $18.6 Million to Improve Water Quality, Protect Public Health

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded the Hawaii Department of Health a $10.3 million grant for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and an $8.3 million grant for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for projects to renew water infrastructure.

epa-logoThe Department of Health will provide low-cost loans to the counties to upgrade drinking water and wastewater facilities.  In Hawaii, where most of the wastewater treatment occurs along the coast, funding will modernize aging systems, and make facilities more energy and water efficient. Statewide, the total infrastructure needs for both clean water and drinking water are estimated at $3 billion.

“EPA continues to make substantial investments to protect Hawaii’s drinking water and incomparable coastal waters,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

Since 1989, EPA has awarded $314 million for Hawaii’s clean water infrastructure program. The state has issued a total of 89 loans totaling over $715 million, utilizing a combination of the federal funds, a 20% state funding match, plus the principle and interest returned as loans are repaid. The monies are used for a wide variety of water quality projects, including watershed protection and restoration, nonpoint source pollution control, improving water and energy efficiency, and traditional municipal wastewater collection and treatment systems.

Since 1997, EPA has awarded $168 million for Hawaii’s drinking water infrastructure program, and the state has issued 76 loans totaling $230 million. Funds support drinking water treatment and distribution projects, as well as developing water supplies, conducting sanitary surveys, and training drinking water operators.

In October 2014, EPA found the Department of Health to be in non-compliance for failing to expend its drinking water funds in a timely manner. The Department has been working under a corrective action plan since January 2015. EPA provided last year’s drinking water funding in phases as the state met the plan’s milestones. As a result of significant progress made, EPA is now awarding all 2016 funds. EPA continues to work with the Department of Health to ensure it achieves all commitments required by the plan.

Forty years ago, when the federal Clean Water Act was passed, Congress charged a fledgling EPA with the goal of making the nation’s waters “fishable and swimmable.” Achieving this goal requires communities to invest in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The state revolving funds are EPA’s primary tools for helping communities meet their continuing and significant water infrastructure needs. Each state maintains revolving loan fund programs, capitalized by the EPA, to provide low‑cost financing for water quality and drinking water infrastructure projects.

For more information about EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf

For more information about EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf

Rep. Gabbard Introduces Bill to Protect Macadamia Nuts and Fund Invasive Species Research in Hawaii

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced legislation today to help fight the macadamia felted coccid, an invasive species destroying macadamia trees and threatening the domestic macadamia nut industry at large.

Since the invasive insect was introduced to Hawaiʻi in 2005, it has cost the local macadamia nut industry millions every year, threatening the vitality of one of Hawaiʻi’s most important crops. The Macadamia Tree Health Initiative would authorize highly sought research and development to help fight the invasive insect and establish an Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) plan in affected areas to help manage the invasive pest in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and cost effective way.


“The macadamia felted coccid is one of more than 4,300 invasive species that threaten our agriculture industry in Hawaiʻi and across the United States. In Hawaiʻi alone, this pest costs our local farmers, landowners and agriculture industry millions of dollars a year, and puts hundreds of local farms, thousands of local workers, and the future of one of our most important crops at risk,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “As I visited multiple farms on Hawaiʻi Island last month, I heard story after story of how this tiny invasive insect is destroying farms and threatening the livelihood of communities like Kona, Kaʻu, and Hilo. Very little is known about this invasive pest, making it difficult for our agriculture workers to fight back. The Macadamia Tree Health Initiative will authorize much-needed research and development and establish a comprehensive management plan to help our local agriculture industry combat these invasive, harmful insects.”

“The Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau applauds Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s efforts to help the Hawaiʻi macadamia industry and fully supports the proposed Macadamia Tree Health Initiative. Federal funding is desperately needed to find a solution to controlling the macadamia felted coccid which has severely impacted the Hawaiʻi macadamia growers. The initiative can be a game changer in our farmers’ fight against this devastating pest,” said the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Federation.

“The Edmund C. Olson Trust No. 2 is a grower of over 1,100 acres of macadamia orchards on the island of Hawaiʻi and a part owner of Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, a processor of several million pounds of nuts grown by the Trust and many dozens of independent growers around the island. We truly appreciate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s proposed Macadamia Tree Health Initiative. The invasive macadamia felted coccid is an especially damaging pest to many growers on Hawaiʻi Island. The health and wellness of our trees translates into a healthy industry able to keep our employees and their families with good jobs.  Further, healthy trees also assure consumers that Hawaiian-grown macadamia nuts will continue to be the finest macadamia products for many years to come. This bill will help not only our farm but that of the 16,000 acres of other growers and processors that combined produce some 50 million pounds of nuts each year,” said John Cross, land manager for the the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.

“Royal Hawaiian Orchards (RHO) is a grower of macadamia nuts on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and supports the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative. The threat to the macadamia orchards in Hawaiʻi from the macadamia felted coccid (MFC) is real and potentially devastating. The plan to develop and disseminate the best science based tools for treating MFC will make the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative exactly what the industry needs,” said Martin E. Ramirez, Director of Farming Operations at Royal Hawaiian Services.

Background: Last year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) Act (H.R.3893) to support long-term sustainable solutions to many pest management problems and reduce invasive species impact on agriculture and the environment. The bill would help farmers in Hawaiʻi and across the country fight invasive species like the coffee berry borer, fruit flies, and macadamia felted coccid [kok-sid]. AIPM systems reduce reliance on a single pest management tactic, reduce risks to human health and the environment, and increases economic benefits for farming communities across the nation.

Big Island Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker Having Australia Art Show

Renowned local Big Island Artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and his award winning Kona based company Tiki Shark Art Inc have confirmed their travel dates to Melbourne Australia for a highly anticipated Art Show.

The show appropriately named Kona Kustom Kulture will be featuring the artist’s latest original pieces of art and the company’s latest Hawaiian souvenir line.  The event will take place on November 4th at Kustom Lane Gallery – a well know and highly respected art gallery in Melbourne.

kustom-lane-gallery“I have a quite a large following and fan base in Australia. Folks there have been inviting me to fly out for years but other projects have kept me very busy” quoted Brad, “looks like my agent Abbas Hassan somehow squeezed in this short 4 day trip this year, so it is now or never” he added.

brad-australia-store“Its going to be a great privilege for Brad’s fans and collectors to meeting their favorite Hawaiian Tiki Artist in person in their homeland” quoted Janet Peake – Director of Kustom Lane Gallery. “We are really looking forward to hosing a Hawaiian celebrity in our town” she added.

brad-australia-store2Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and his artworks were recently featured in Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou Magazine. His company Tiki Shark Art Inc was name the 10th Fastest Growing Companies in the State of Hawaii by Pacific Business News.

For more information about this event go to www.kustomlane.com or www.tikishark.com

UH Manoa Named One of the Top “Primo, Gorgeous” Campuses

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been named one of the nation’s Top 20 “primo, gorgeous” campuses by Thrillist.com, and number 10 out of the 50 most beautiful U.S. campuses by TheBestColleges.org.

Kamakaūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Kamakaūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Thrillist.com describes UH’s flagship campus as “truly one of those 360-degree places in Hawaiʻi where you can do no wrong. On the mountain side, you’ve got some of the most lush forests abutting an urban area anywhere in the states, usually with a rainbow dawdling overhead. Look makai, you’ll see the extinct volcano Diamond Head and Waikīkī leading to the Pacific surf.”

TheBestColleges.org calls the campus location “one of the most beautiful places in the United States.”

UH Mānoa is internationally accredited as an arboretum by Morton Arboretum’s ArbNet program, and is designated as an official Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. It has also been recognized as among the 35 most beautiful college campuses in America by Deseret News, which compiled research from Thrillist, TheBestColleges.org, Forbes and Business Insider.

Said Roxanne Adams, UH Mānoa director of buildings and grounds management, “We are more than just a pretty place: UH Mānoa is home to more than 6,000 plants representing over 700 species, with numerous awards for our landscaping efforts from the Outdoor Circle, Scenic Hawaiʻi and others. We love what we do and are here to serve our university.”

Other public universities making the 2016 list include UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina.

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for 15-year-old Captain Cook girl who was reported missing.

Jade Yamashita

Jade Yamashita

Jade Yamashita was last seen in Hilo on August 27.

She is described as Native American, 5-foot-7, 155 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

AirAsia X Expects to Start Hawaii Service in 2017


According to Flight Global, AirAsia X will begin flight service to Hawaii:

AirAsia X expects to launch services on the Kuala Lumpur-Osaka-Hawaii route in the first quarter of 2017.

Speaking to journalists during World Routes, carrier chief executive Benyamin Ismail says that FAA approval has taken longer than expected, but should arrive soon.

Services will initially run four-times-weekly, but this will grow to daily in the summer season. The carrier has fifth freedom privileges throughout Japan, except for Tokyo.

You can read the full article here:  ROUTES: AirAsia X expects to start Hawaii service in 1Q 2017

GOT ‘UKE? Grand Opening of Hawaiian ‘Ukulele and Guitar

One of the top music shops in the state, Hawaiian ‘Ukulele and Guitar will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, October 1, 2016, in the Queens’ MarketPlace Coronation Pavilion. Music lovers can enjoy free mini-concerts, a live remote by KAPA radio, and the chance to win guitars, ‘ukulele and other prizes, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
got-ukesThe outstanding entertainment lineup includes 2010 Clyde Kindy Sproat Falsetto Contest winner, Hawaiian singer-songwriter Ali‘i Keana‘aina and his hālau, Kaleilaniakeali‘i Hula Studio, plus the 2016 Junior Hawaiian Idol Michael Hanato, and Robert Yates, “Uncle ‘Uke” himself, in a special appearance.

“We’re giving away two guitars, one on the radio and one at the Grand Opening,” said Yates. “These are two complete ‘gig packs,’ with electric guitar, amp, and all the cords and straps you need. And we’ll have at least four ‘ukulele from some of our favorite brands, and other merchandise from the store.”

With decades of experience building and playing instruments, Yates has connected with some of the best luthiers in Hawai‘i and across the planet. As a result, his shop is a showroom for in-demand brands like Kala, Kamoa, Koaloha and Pono ‘ukulele, plus Cordoba, Guild, Prestige, Jose Ramirez and Breedlove guitars.

Since it opened this spring, Hawaiian ‘Ukulele and Guitar has become one of Kala Music’s “Custom Elite Vendors.” The status allows them to carry Kala’s custom-made instruments, available nowhere else in Hawai‘i.

“We are able to order unique, one-of-a-kind ‘ukuleles from Kala, like the ‘21 Pilots’ ‘Ukulele,” said Yates. “They are one of the hottest bands in the country, now sponsored by Kala. Theirs uses a combination of three different tone woods for an incredible sound.”

“We also have a really nice lap steel by Iseman, the leading lap steel builder in the world.  We have a ‘lute-ulele,’ a ‘Baroque-ulele,’ and a ‘balalaika-lele.’ These are custom instruments you won’t see anywhere else.”

In addition to their collection of upper-echelon, professional instruments, Hawaiian ‘Ukulele and Guitar offers more affordable lines for beginners and everyday enthusiasts.  The shop also features a large selection of sheet music, CDs and DVDs, quality strings, picks, tuners, instrument cases, stands, humidifiers and much more.

For more information, visit www.hawaiian-ukulele.com or call 315-2919.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Conversion to L.E.D. Streetlights Continues in Kona

The Department of Public Works, Traffic division will be conducting streetlight work on Wednesday, September 28th along Hualālai Rd. from the intersection of Kuakini Hwy. and Hualālai Rd. and then along Ali’i Dr. from the intersection of Hualālai Rd. and Ali’i Dr. heading in the southern direction.


Streetlight work will continue on Thursday, September 29th on Palani Rd. from the intersection of Hina Lani St. and Palani Rd., to the Palani Rd. and Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. intersection.  Work for both days is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.



This work is part of the County public streetlight conversion program.  The program converts streetlights from current low-pressure sodium lamps, or LPS, to light-emitting diode lamps or LED.

Special off-duty police officers will facilitate traffic movement during intermittent lane closures.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

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

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, September 27, at 6:30 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a Maximum Height of 89 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Southwest part of the sky and disappear 12 degrees above the North Northeast part of the sky.

President Obama Signs Schatz’s Native Tourism Bill Into Law

New Law Will Help Empower Native Communities in Hawai‘i and Across the Country to Tell Their Own Stories

President Barack Obama signed the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act into law.  The bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and John Thune (R-S.D.) will enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States.

schatz-and-obama“I’m incredibly proud to have worked with our native communities on this legislation, and I’m pleased the president has signed it into law,” said Senator Schatz.  “This new law gives our native communities a real opportunity to grow their local economy and share their history and culture with the rest of the world.”

The NATIVE Act will require federal agencies with tourism assets and responsibilities to include tribes and native organizations in national tourism efforts and strategic planning. It will also provide Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and American Indian communities with access to resources and technical assistance needed to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel and tourism infrastructure and capacity; spur economic development, and create good jobs.

U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) are cosponsors of the NATIVE Act.

The NATIVE Act is supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders including the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly, U.S. Travel Association, American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, Southeast Tourism Society, Western States Tourism Policy Council, National Congress of American Indians, Alaska Federation of Natives, and the Native Enterprise Initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Hawaii Public School Students Outpace Nation in Gains on AP Exams

Hawaii’s public school students are exceeding the nation in gains on the Advanced Placement Program (AP) Exams over the year prior. In a report released today, the AP results for Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) students who were tested last May show increases in the number exam takers, exams taken and scores of 3 or higher.

Hawaii Advanced Placement Exam results 2014-15 vs. 2015-16 Photo Credit: Department of Education

Hawaii Advanced Placement Exam results 2014-15 vs. 2015-16
Photo Credit: Department of Education

“In just one year, between 2015 and 2016, the number of AP Exams in Hawaii that were scored 3 or higher increased by 7.5 percent,”said Scott Hill, a vice president at the College Board, which administers the AP Program. “That significant increase is a testament to the hard work and commitment of Hawaii’s students, parents, teachers, and education leaders, all of whom deserve commendation for this great achievement. We will continue to partner with Hawaii educators to ensure that all students ready for the challenge of AP are able to access those opportunities.”

Compared with last year, Hawaii’s public schools exceeded the nation’s growth in all categories –number of exam takers, exams taken and scores of 3 or higher.

Since 2012, the number of exams taken by Hawaii public school students has increased by 26 percent (from 6,669), and the number of passing scores increased by 29 percent (up from 2,599).

“Growth is crucial for our public schools and these results show promising system-wide improvement as we continue to raise the rigor and prepare our students for post-high school endeavors,”said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “These gains also reflect the hard work and professional development being done by our educators to prepare for and teach these college-level courses. Their dedication to their craft and students is evident in these positive results.”

The AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.

Students taking AP Exams also qualify for AP Scholar Awards, which recognizes exceptional achievement on the exams. For SY 2015-16, 616 students from 33 HIDOE schools earned AP Scholar Awards.

  • 10 students from 6 HIDOE schools qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more exams.
  • 26 students at 23 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
  • 16 students at 26 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least a 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
  • 374 students at 31 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.

The College Board also awards the AP International Diploma (APID) for students interested in pursuing university study outside of their native country, and who earn scores of 3 or higher on five or more total AP Exams in specific subject areas including world language and culture courses, global perspectives, science, math and computer science. Miki Kinnamon, a senior at Kalaheo High School, earned the APID for SY 2015-16.

Since 2012, Hawaii has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education to subsidize test fees for low-income students. Funding has increased year-over-year with HIDOE receiving $114,168 in 2015.

“These grants have been a tremendous help in making sure that we are able to provide college and career readiness opportunities for all of our students. For many of them, earning college credits at no cost in high school will help with the financial burden associated with completing a post-secondary degree,”Superintendent Matayoshi added.

The push behind providing opportunities for more students to take AP courses and exams are part of a range of recent transformational efforts to increase students’ college and career readiness. Learn more about these efforts in an Expectation of College. The results include strong increases in college enrollment, enrollment in early college programs at the high school level, as well as significant declines in college-level remediation in English and Mathematics.

For more information about AP courses and participation at HIDOE schools, visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hawaii State Law Enforcement Officials Association Officer of the Year: Detective Derek Morimoto

Detective Derek K. Morimoto was selected as the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 2016 Hawaiʻi State Law Enforcement Officials Association (HSLEOA) Officer of the Year.

Chief Harry Kubojiri, Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira and Lieutenant Gregory Esteban pose with HSLEOA Officer of the Year Derek Morimoto.

Chief Harry Kubojiri, Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira and Lieutenant Gregory Esteban pose with HSLEOA Officer of the Year Derek Morimoto.

Morimoto, an 18-year veteran of the department, was honored for his exceptional investigative work as a detective assigned to the Area I Criminal Investigations Section.

According to Lieutenant Gregory Esteban, Morimoto’s strength is his ability to analyze investigative data, identifying strengths and weaknesses in his assignments, and finding the information or subjects he needs to build a strong and prosecutable case. For that reason, Esteban wrote in nomination papers, Morimoto was assigned to re-investigate cold cases and & has made excellent progress on several, including providing information that led to murder indictments against the parents of a notorious missing child case.

Detective Morimoto has found his calling and continues to excel in the investigative arena, Esteban said.

The award was presented September 9 at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort in Poipu.