Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School Only Big Island Schools Affected by DOE Bus Cuts – 2,380 Students Affected Statewide

The Hawaii Department of Education today released the list of the bus routes that would be cut through out the state and the Big Island was left fairly intact.

Only Waikoloa Elementary and Middle Schools will be losing their School Bus Route W282.  The amount of students that will be affected by that bus route being cut is 96.  The total amount of students statewide that will need to find new ways to school is 2,380 students.

Here is the full list of all 103 School Bus Routes that were cut.

Total schools affected 51, Smallest Route affected = 1 student, Largest Route affected = 98 students, Total routes affected =103

Amount of students affected by district:

  • 129 Honolulu
  • 999 Central Oahu
  • 861 Leeward Oahu
  • 161 Windward Oahu
  • 96 Hawaii
  • 30 Maui
  • 104 Kauai
  • 2380 Total riders affected

The Civil Beat has run a very informative column on this whole bus issue that you can read here: Taken for a ride.

Video – Unukupukupu from Hawaii Community College Performs at the Library of Congress

Unukupukupu, a halau from Hawaii Community College on the Big Island of Hawaii, performs at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on June 26, 2012.


Hawaii Tribune Herald to Shut Down Printing Press – Workers to Be Laid Off

I’ve been away on a small staycation to the Hilton Waikoloa the last few days and haven’t had a chance to comment about the recent announcement that the Hawaii Tribune Herald will be shutting down it’s printing press operations here on the Hilo side of the island.

From the Pacific Media Workers Guild

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald announced on Wednesday (June 27) that, starting in August, the Hilo newspaper will be printed by West Hawaii Today, a sister paper in Kailua-Kona, which will cause several layoffs.

The Aug. 18 edition of the newspaper will be the last printed in Hilo, according to the company. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today are owned by Stephens Media, a Las Vegas, Nev., based chain that operates newspapers in 10 states.

The Hawaii Printing and Graphic Communications Union No. 413N was informed on Wednesday that members will be laid off.

The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally.

Workers at West Hawaii Today are not represented by labor unions. In a staff memo on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today said the Hawaii Tribune-Herald would be printed at its plant and then transported back to Hilo for packaging and delivery. West Hawaii Today said it did not expect to hire additional press employees.

At this time, the pressmens’ union said it is working out the details with Stephens Media and had no public comment.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents truck drivers and support staff at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald who could be impacted by the company’s decision to subcontract printing, is closely monitoring negotiations between the company and the pressmens’ union.

“We understand that our industry is facing financial pressure, but we believe the company owes its workers and the Hilo community a full explanation for this decision,” the guild said in a statement.

I feel sorry for the folks that will be losing their jobs, however I question the following statement:

“The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally….”

The timing of this closure is almost exactly two years to the date of when the employees most recently bargained for contract comes up.  On August 10th, 2010 I received the following media release:

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald have signed a contract after nearly six years of negotiations.

The two-year agreement covers all employees at the Hilo newspaper except pressmen, who are covered by a separate contract, and managers. The pressmen’s negotiations lasted as long as the Guild’s. The contracts are similar.

Both unions have bargained with the newspaper jointly for years, but the negotiations were prolonged this time partly because the company refused joint negotiations.

The contract provides the first wage increases for employees at the newspaper since Jan. 1, 2002.

During the negotiations, the Tribune-Herald was found guilty of 12 unfair labor practice charges by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board. The charges included the illegal firing of veteran reporters Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, both of whom were union leaders… 

More here: Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune Sign Contract After Nearly Six Years of Negotiation

I have stated for years that I think the printed version of the paper was a thing of the past.  Even when the two Honolulu papers merged I just thought it would only be a matter of time before the Big Island went the same way.

On June 6, 2010 I wrote:

“Some folks are saying that the dynamics of the the whole digital era is what really killed off the Honolulu Advertiser… I’ve been saying that for the last 6-7 years now.

Big Island papers will probably consolidate soon.  I’ve already started thinking of names.  “Hawaii Tribune Today” was the newspaper name that I think would be most feasible combining Hawaii Tribune Herald with West Hawaii Today.

The funny thing… I don’t think there would be that many lay-offs as both papers seem to use articles at will from the pool of Stephens Media writers here on the island at their expense… Silent Sunday and the Death of the Advertiser… Big Island Newspapers Don’t Have Blogs!

There are some real issues that Hilo folks may have to think about when they decide whether or not they want to continue getting a Newspaper that is driven from nearly 120 miles away from where they live.

Is it local news if its being trucked over in vans every day?  I wonder how long they will be able to afford to send a fleet of vans over to this side of the island and back each day.  Would it even be profitable?   Will the cost of the paper rise as the price of gas fluctuates?

And the biggest question… Why hasn’t the Hawaii Tribune Herald themselves tell their readers what is going on?  It’s been nearly three days since the announcement has been made.  Yep…. I understand no one wants to write their own obituary… but at least tell your readers what is going to be happening and where there favorite local journalist(s) can be found.

I will offer any laid off person from the Hawaii Tribune an opportunity to start up and learn how to make a website/blog similar to something like my site is.  I am always discouraged when good journalists just quit writing simply because they don’t have a platform or audience.

Department of Health Suspends Permit of Popular Bakery for Unsanitary Conditions

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has suspended the permit for Kanemitsu Bakery, located at 79 Ala Malama Street in Kaunakakai on the island of Moloka‘i, for producing baked goods manufactured at the facility under unsanitary conditions. State health officials met with owner George Kanemitsu on June 25, 2012 and issued the suspension which closes bakery operations until a plan of correction is completed and approved.

On June 15, 2012, the DOH received an anonymous public complaint alleging that insects and foreign substances were found in bread rolls purchased from Kanemitsu Bakery. This led to an investigation of the facility by health officials on June 20, 2012. The facility also has pending violations that resulted in the DOH issuing a $90,000 penalty for unsanitary conditions found during routine inspections conducted in March of this year.

The inspection on June 20 revealed serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility including: visual sighting of rodents during the inspection, no water available at the rinse compartment of the sink, unclean food preparation surfaces, no soap and hand towels at hand washing sinks, and general unsanitary conditions.

In order to assist Kanemitsu Bakery in correcting the conditions that led to the permit suspension, the DOH is working closely with the owner and providing a check-list of concerns that need to be addressed by the facility in order for their permit to be reinstated. The bakery portion of the Moloka‘i facility will remain closed while an intensive mitigation plan developed with the DOH is completed, and measures are taken to ensure consistent and lasting compliance with all food safety regulations. The restaurant portion of the facility remains open and was not included in the permit suspension as it operates out of a separate, permitted kitchen.

The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawai‘i residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine inspections of facilities where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed or sold. The branch also investigates possible food safety violations that may be the cause of food borne illnesses, and allegations of adulterated foods. Health inspectors work with business owners, workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation and sanitary conditions.

County of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Friends of Hawaii Charities Award Needed Funds to Volcano Art Center

Rain showers are nothing new for the Big Island’s Volcano Village, but for one local nonprofit, fresh grant funding has been pouring in along with all the wet weather. Volcano Art Center (VAC) has recently been awarded three new grants to expand their education, outreach and forest restoration programs.

Hawaii County has just approved VAC’s request to create a Hawaii Island Network of Artists (HINA) economic impact report and website, awarding $21,250 to help fund the undertaking. Particularly strong in arts administration, including sales, education and promotion, VAC is already positioned to research, promote, perpetuate and document the expanding community of artists throughout Hawaii County.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) states in their 2008 report, Artists in the Workforce, that the State of Hawaii ranks #3 per capita of the 50 states with fine artists and craftspeople. According to their report, nearly 15 of every 10,000 residents is an artist.

“Given our involvement with this community, we are certain Hawaii Island has far more than 270 visual and fine artists,” reported VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian. “Our research will provide the County and State with the documentation they need to promote Hawaii as an arts destination, directly benefit local artists and enhance our island economy.”

Hawaii’s state tourism agency, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), awarded VAC with a $35,527 grant to continue the Volcano Rain Forest Restoration and Education project that has been active since 2006. The funding enables VAC to serve as stewards of the Niaulani Rain Forest, a 5.5 acre old-growth native forest in Volcano Village that makes up most of the land on which the organization houses its administrative campus.

Preserving the forest for future generations requires VAC to assume the unending responsibility of controlling about 30 non-native plants. They have smartly involved community volunteers in ongoing restoration efforts and service learning opportunities, and offer free guided tours on Mondays and Saturdays to bring even more awareness to this rare Hawaiian treasure.

VAC will soon be offering a Youth Media Arts program thanks to another grant of $5,000 awarded by Friends of Hawaii Charities. Funds will be used to purchase equipment for an open Media Arts Lab, and to provide classes, courses and workshops in digital photography, storyboarding, storytelling, camera and film basics, and filmmaking. Intended for youth ages 5 to 19, technical aspects of photography and video production will be taught with an emphasis on how media enhances education, awareness and community.

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii through the arts and education.

July 4th Road Closures in Hilo

The Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to inform all motorists of the July 4th festivity road closures:

Bayfront Highway (Rte. 19) from Waianuenue Avenue to Pauahi Street

• Closed July 4th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Alternate route is on Kamehameha Avenue

Lihiwai Place

• Closed July 4th from 6:00 a.m. to July 5th 10:00 a.m.

Kuku Street and Bishop Street

• Closed July 3rd from 3:00 a.m. to July 4th 10:00 p.m.

Road Closure information phone number: 961-2350

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this celebration.

Hawai’i Health Connector Permanent Board Members Seated July 1, 2012

Hawaii Health Connector, established to create and oversee the State’s health insurance exchange, seats 15 permanent board members this Sunday, July 1, 2012.

Cliff Alakai–Maui Medical Group
Clementina Ceria-Ulep, Ph.D., MSN, R.N.–Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE)
Joan Danieley–Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
Jennifer Diesman–Hawai’i Medical Services Association (HMSA)
Patricia McManaman– Department of Human Services (DHS)
Beth Giesting–Hawai’i Office of the Governor
Michael Gleason–The Arc of Hilo
Robert Hirokawa, DC, DrPH, MPH–Hawai’i Primary Care Association
Faye Kurren–Hawai’i Dental Service (HDS)
Keali’i Lopez–Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
Sherry Menor-McNamara–Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i
Gwen Rulona–UFCW Local 480
Christina Mai’i Sakuda–Hawai’I Health Information Exchange (HHIE)
Hardy Spoehr–Papa Ola Lōkahi
Edward Wang–Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

The Connector’s aim is an exchange that is Hawai‘i-for-Hawai‘i, one that takes into account the State’s unique culture and works with the Prepaid Health Care Act, and employer mandate for health insurance coverage in effect since 1974.


During the 2011 legislative session, Senate Bill (SB) 1348 relating to the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange received strong bipartisan support. On July 8, 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 205 (SB 1348, CD1) establishing the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange Act. The Hawai‘i Health Connector (Act 205) provides the framework for a private, nonprofit quasi-governmental health insurance exchange that conforms to the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. The Act also established an interim board of directors, appointed by the Governor to provide the guidance in which the establishment of the Connector was founded. Act 205 states that the Insurance Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) shall determine eligibility for the inclusion of qualified insurers and plans. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will determine eligibility for applicants in the Medicaid adult and children’s health insurance program (CHIP). Act 205 was codified into law as chapter 435H, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, establishing the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange.

The Insurance Division of the DCCA applied for, and received, a Level I Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange in November 2011. DCCA in cooperation with the Connector is in the process of reassigning this grant to the Connector.

In December 2011, the interim board hired Executive Director, Coral Andrews to oversee the operational resources of the Connector, as well as recruit and hire the necessary staff needed to successfully implement the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange. To date, the Connector’s staff continues to grow while working towards bringing transparent and affordable health care to the state of Hawai‘i.

Laupahoehoe School Converts to Charter

Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School officially converts to Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School (LCPCS), July 1, 2012. LCPCS staff will open the school on Monday, July 2 at 7:30 a.m.

The LCPCS vision is to provide students kindergarten through 12th grade a quality public education that is both experience-based and connected to the community.

Student applications for the upcoming school year are still being accepted.

The first day of school is Wednesday, August 1, 2012. In preparation, LCPCS is holding several events:

A “Volunteer Orientation” will be held on Saturday, July 7, 10-11a.m. in the school band room. LCPCS is looking to match the school’s needs with volunteers for tutoring, classroom assistants, shop project volunteers, after-school and office helpers, assistant coaches and more. Parents and community members are encouraged to come and see how they can be involved.

A “Parent & Student Orientation/Teacher & Staff Meet and Greet” is on Saturday, July 14 from 2-4 p.m. in the school cafeteria. There will be a short presentation introducing Director Dr. David Rizor, teachers and staff, followed by games and other opportunities to mingle. Information regarding registration, school uniforms, lunch and bus fares, and after school programs will be available. Light refreshments and shaved ice will be provided.

The LCPCS Interim Local School Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, July 10 from 6-8 p.m. in the school band room.

LCPCS invites and encourages the participation of parents, students, staff and the community ohana to guide its evolution into a learning institution where students succeed, families are engaged and teachers thrive.

More information on LCPCS can be found at http://www.laupahoehoecharterschool.com.


Hulihe’e Event Remembers Palace Builder John Adams Kuakini

The Daughters of Hawai‘i and Calabash Cousins present Afternoon at Hulihe‘e 4 p.m. Sunday, July 15 at Hulihe‘e Palace to remember the late John Adams Kuakini. Enjoy the voices of the Merrie Monarchs and Hawaiian performing arts by Kumu Hula Etua Lopes and his Halau Na Pua Ui O Hawai‘i.

Afternoon at Hulihe‘e is part of the palace’s series of free monthly events that honor Hawai‘i’s past monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided.

Kuakini was a cousin to Kamehameha I and governor of Hawai’i Island. A Russian explorer, Captain Otto von Kotzebue, described Kuakini in 1816 as a “herculean figure.”

“Kuakini first built Moku‘aikaua Church, finishing in 1837,” details Casey Ballao, Hulihe‘e docent coordinator. “That same year, he started construction on Hulihe‘e, with the excavation of the cellar. Kuakini employed craftsman and laborers that had jumped sailing ships to build his grand home and it was completed in 1838. It was a great source of pride.”

Kuakini didn’t enjoy his mansion for long; he died at the age of 54 in 1844. His obituary stated he was “the sole survivor of the iron-hearted chiefs that constituted the household of Kamehameha I.”

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for self-guided tours. Museum and gift shop hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hulihe‘e Palace admission includes a self-guided tour brochure and remains $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for keiki under 18. Volunteer docents are sometimes available to give guided tours. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and Calabash Cousins. The organization was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

2012 Afternoon at Hulihe‘e schedule: 4-5 p.m. on the palace grounds All Afternoons at Hulihe’e present hula by Na Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i Hula Halau and vocals by the Merrie Monarchs. Some events also include the Hulihe’e Palace Band and are noted below. On band dates, only kahiko hula is showcased. Other events offer a full hula show.

  • Jan 15: Band appearance remembering King Charles “Lunalilo” and Aunty I‘olani Luahine
  • Feb 19: Event remembering Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani
  • Mar 18: Band appearance remembering Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Prince Kuhio
  • Apr 15: Event remembering Prince Edward Albert
  • May 20: Event remembering King Kamehameha IV “Alexander Liholiho”
  • Jun 10: Band appearance remembering King Kamehameha I “Paiea”
  • Jul 15: Event remembering John Adams Kuakini
  • Aug 26: Event remembering King Kamehameha III “Kauikeaouli”
  • Sep 16: Band appearance remembering Queen Lili‘uokalani
  • Oct 21: Event remembering Princess Ka‘iulani
  • Nov 18: Band appearance remembering King Kalakaua, Palace Curator Aunty Lei Collins and Bandmaster Charles “Bud Dant
  • Dec 16: Event remembering Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Hawaii Islands Most Wanted Recent Episode

The most recent edition of the Crime Stoppers television program “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” highlights a Kona man wanted for a stabbing, a Pāhoa man wanted for auto theft, and a 40-year-old man wanted on an outstanding warrant.

The new episode begins airing Friday (June 29).

Tommy Eugan Howard

In it, police ask for the public’s help in locating 29-year-old Tommy Eugan Howard of Kona, who is wanted for a stabbing at White Sands Beach in Kona on May 22. Howard also goes by the names Casino, Tommy Washington and Cesar Waltz. He is described as African-American, 5-foot-7, 145 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes—but he might wear contact lenses that alter his eye color. He has a tattoo of a chain of musical notes that runs from his left shoulder down along his left arm. He may be in Kailua-Kona or Pāpaʻikou. He is also wanted by the Washington State Department of Corrections for failure to register as a sex offender.

Ronsten Andrade

The television program also asks for help in locating a 20-year-old Pāhoa man wanted for auto theft and other offenses. Vehicles were stolen from Pāhoa on March 3 and from Hilo on May 25. In both cases they were taken from homes in the late night or early morning hours. Ronsten Andrade is described as 6-feet tall and 180 pounds. He frequents the lower Puna area. He is also wanted for allegedly entering a vacant home in Pāhoa illegally and remaining there for an extended period of time, and for several traffic offenses—including reckless driving.

Sheldon Joaquin

(UPDATE 7/9/12 Police have located Sheldon Joaquin)

In this latest edition of “Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted,” Officer Patrick Menino also asks for information about a 40-year-old man wanted on an outstanding warrant. Sheldon Joaquin is wanted for violating terms of probation for an assault conviction. He is described as local, 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with a tan complexion. He is known to frequent the Hāmākua and Waipio Valley areas.

Police ask that anyone with information about any of these cases call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not tape record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.

“Hawaiʻi Island’s Most Wanted” is a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo, Inc., which is a partnership of the business community, the media and the police. It was inspired by the national TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” The program airs on Na Leo O Hawaii Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.

Big Island Police Investigating Robbery in Hilo Involving Firearm

Big Island police are investigating a report of a robbery in Hilo that involved a firearm.

On Wednesday morning (June 27) shortly after 6 a.m., police responded to a convenience store in the upper Kaumana Drive area, where a 41-year-old Hilo man reported that while on his morning walk at about 4:30 a.m., he was approached by two male suspects standing near a car at the intersection of Kaumana Drive and the Puainakō Avenue extension. While one of the suspects asked the victim a question, the other suspect reportedly struck him on the head from behind.

After regaining consciousness, the victim reportedly saw one of the suspects brandishing a firearm. As an approaching vehicle passed, the victim fled into the bushes.

One of the suspects is described as possibly a local male with a slightly muscular build.

The second suspect is described as possibly a Micronesian male, about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-7 with a dark complexion. He was described as wearing a black shirt and silver shorts with what appeared to be a dragon design on it.

The car was described as an older model light-colored foreign make sedan.

The victim’s wallet and an undisclosed amount of cash were reportedly stolen during the incident, which is classified as a first-degree robbery and a first-degree terroristic threatening.

Fire Department personnel treated the victim at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries and then released him.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have information on the identity of the suspects or the responsible vehicle call Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or email him at gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawai‘i County Sponsors Keiki Triathlon

Hawai‘i County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL) are teaming up to hold a Keiki Triathlon on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and Maka‘eo Park in Kailua-Kona.

Children between the ages of 7 and 14 years old are invited to race in swimming, bicycling and running events similar to the Ford Ironman World Championship that will be held one week earlier.

“We’ve designed a safe and exciting course that will challenge the children’s fitness levels,” Parks Director Bob Fitzgerald said. “This is a great opportunity for the next generation of triathletes to compete in the same environment that for years has tested the world’s best triathletes.”

There will be a $5 per-child entrance fee. Applications are available from noon to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the following locations:

  • Yano Hall in Captain Cook
  • Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona
  • Pu‘u Nui Park in Waikoloa
  • Waimea Community Center
  • And Kamehameha Park in Kapaau

To ensure the athletes’ safety, enrollment will be limited to the first 30 children who sign up in each of the four age-group categories or a maximum 120 total racers. All participants must supply their own bicycle, helmet, swim goggles and other equipment.

Racers must check in between 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. on race day Oct. 20. The youngest children will start the triathlon by entering the Kona Community Aquatics Center pool promptly at 8:30 a.m.

Individual events will consist of a 100-yard swim, 3.2-mile bicycle course and a mile-long run for all but the 7- and 8-year-old children, who will race half those distances.

Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers, both boys and girls, in each age category, while all finishers will receive commemorative certificates.

The Keiki Triathlon will be combined with Mayor Billy Kenoi’s 2012 Health Fest. Designed to promote public health and wellness, the 2nd Annual Health Fest will feature a fun run/walk, Zumba classes, tai chi, keiki activities, bicycle safety training, and informational displays promoting good nutrition, diet and exercise practices.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

New Venues for Select July Fourth Events in Hilo

Persistent rain and soggy field conditions have prompted Hawai‘i County’s Department of Parks and Recreation to move certain 2012 Hilo Bay Blast events to different Hilo venues.

Hilo Bay FireworksTo avoid damaging the Kamehameha Avenue soccer fields, the July Fourth classic car show, live entertainment and skateboarding competition will be held at the Hilo Bayfront Park canoe landing area.

Other events and all scheduling times remain unchanged.

Hawai‘i Classic Cruisers’ Car Show & Shine will feature hundreds of classic automobiles staged for public viewing along the park’s makai lane, which is the former section of Bayfront Highway located between Pauahi and Manono streets. Part of the 10-day-long Cruise Paradise 2012, the car show will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4.

Accompanying the car show will be a variety of dancers and musicians who will perform near the park’s canoe judging stand from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Making space for the car show and stage will be the Hilo Skate Plaza Coalition, which has graciously agreed to move its “Street Seen” team skateboarding competition to the park’s mauka lane, near the Pauahi Street intersection. Skaters will be performing between noon and 5 p.m.

Also, a free drive-in movie night will be held in the Civil Air Patrol’s parking lot on Kekūanaō‘a Street, near Hilo International Airport. That’s where “American Graffiti” will be shown from approximately 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 7. Food and drinks will be available from on-site vendors.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public, 2012 Hilo Bay Blast participants and event organizers for understanding the need for new venues and apologizes for any inconvenience the changes may have caused.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hi.hawaii.us.

Chef Ippy Aiona, Hawaii’s Own Food Network Star is Cooking Up a Little Competition of His Own at Kings’ Shops this Fourth of July

Whether you are a fierce competitor or prefer to watch friendly competition, the Kings’ Shops is the place to be this Fourth of July.  Chef Philip “Ippy” Aiona, who is currently competing in the 8th Season of the Food Network Star; is cooking up a little competition of his own for his fans here in Hawaii at the 21stAnnual Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race at Kings’ Shops in Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Chef Ippy Aiona

Starting at 11:45 a.m., Chef Ippy will host a “Chopped” style food competition between two local amateur chefs, Darde Gamayo and Kelvin Dela Cruz, vying for a prize from Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea.  Local farms in Waimea – Mitchell’s Farm, Nakamoto Farm and Aganus Farm – will all donate locally grown products and produce for the competition.   Solimene’s Restaurant owned by Ippy’s parents and where Ippy is the executive chef, will host the pantry and chef help.  Three guest judges will preside over the competition.

It is a full day of fun!  Be one of the first 500 to arrive at 9:30 a.m. and receive a FREE Kings’ Shops goodie bag filled with promotions and discounts and a rubber duckie.

Kings’ Shops, Hawaii Island’s premier shopping and dining destination is located at 250 Waikoloa Beach Drive in the Waikoloa Beach Resort.   For more information call the Adoption Headquarters, Kings’ Shops Management Office at (808) 886-8811 or visit www.kingsshops.com.

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Commentary – Passage of HB 280 is Important for Hawaii Coffee Industry

Coffee is one of Hawaii’s signature products. The legendary Kona origin has been part of the mystique of Hawaii for nearly 200 years. High-quality Hawaiian coffee is a unique export crop in that it is almost exclusively grown on small family farms that help to support resilient rural communities. However the very success of Hawaii’s coffee has led to problems of counterfeiting that the coffee industry must address in order to protect the integrity of Hawaiian coffee in a global marketplace.

HB280 seeks to repeal mandatory coffee certification for quality standards while giving Hawaii’s valuable coffee origins more protection.

Deep budget cuts in 2009 set Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture on its heels, shrinking the department’s budget by 19%. Numerous positions were eliminated, including coffee inspectors. With the loss of all but one inspector position in Kona, the viability of the inspection service was crippled. This year’s growing season has been marked by increasing delays for inspection and certification. Coupled with impacts from Coffee Berry Borer, severe drought, and rising shipping costs, the coffee industry has reached a tipping point. Delays of up to four weeks hurt the industry, crimping cash flows to farmers and producers alike, strangling commerce.

The certification process has become a restrictive bottleneck, damaging the industry it was intended to protect. Inspector positions have not been restored notwithstanding industry efforts. The pain will continue if a remedy is not found. Our primary competition is not within our borders, but overseas where our wage and benefit burdens don’t exist. Long delays combined with relatively high production and shipping costs combine to make one of Hawaii’s signature crops less competitive in the global marketplace. Clearly a change is needed.

There are two aspects of coffee certification that inspections address: minimum quality standards and origin. Currently, in order to sell coffee as of Hawaiian origin, minimum quality standards must be met. Sophisticated buyers who pay the prices that Hawaiian coffees command typically request samples in advance. These samples are evaluated to a much higher standard than HDOA’s standards by panels of highly skilled, accredited cuppers with discerning palates. The ultimate arbiter of quality is the buyer. If coffee buyers are not demanding minimum quality certification by HDOA, HB280 will make quality certification voluntary. If they are, it would continue to be available on a fee-for-service basis.

Secondly is certification for origin. This inspection helps ensure that the coffee is accurately represented by the seller with respect to where it is grown. Maximum penalties are currently up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, or both, and enforcement lies with HDOA. These penalties are not having the necessary deterrent effect. A fine of $1,000 is less than the value of a single bag of quality Hawaiian green coffee and HDOA has never put anyone in jail.

Passage of HB280 would make false labeling (counterfeiting) of Hawaii-grown coffee a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison. The bill provides for enhanced record keeping and reporting and gives law enforcement statutory authority to enforce the laws. HB280 gives Hawaii’s valuable coffee origins more protection than they have ever had before; certainly more than what exists today. The ability for producers to opt out of minimum quality certification will reduce HDOA’s workload, eliminate delays and help rural locations that have been historically underserved by inspectors.

It’s important to note that Hawaii’s current certification rules do not regulate roasted coffee nor any coffee not moved out of the growing region. If the market can voluntarily regulate quality in these trading environments, the same is true at other levels.

While much of Hawaii’s coffee is produced on small family farms, large scale production is also found on plantations located on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Oahu. Given this diverse spectrum of producers, it’s uncommon when such a broad array of stakeholders agrees upon any issue. This is one of those landmark occasions when growers and producers, large and small, government and law enforcement agree on a solution.

HB 280 is less costly, improves Hawaii’s competiveness, helps rural underserved locations and protects Hawaii’s valuable origins better than ever before.

That sounds like a change for the better.

Chris Manfredi

Ka’u Farm Bureau

This opinion is endorsed by the collective membership of the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kona Coffee Council, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association and the Maui Coffee Association.

Quarterly Summary of State & Local Tax Revenue

The Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides quarterly estimates of state and local government tax revenue at a national level, as well as detailed tax revenue data for individual states.  This quarterly survey has been conducted continuously since 1962. The information contained in this survey is the most current information available on a nationwide basis for government tax collections.

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The Local Non-property Tax Survey has been redesigned. A new sample was designed and selected to replace the nonprobability sample used in the past. The first quarter for 2012 presents data from the new sample. Estimates released in the past used the old methodology. We have provided a report that contains the bridge between the old and new units for the fourth quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2012. You can access this publication, #2012-3, here [PDF, 220KB] or at the following web page: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/govern.html

Quarterly Tax Information Sheet [PDF, 565KB]

Table 1 – Latest National Totals of State & Local Taxes

Table 1 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides national totals of state and local government tax revenue for current and prior quarters, as well as 12-month calculations.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 46KB]
  • Table 1a TQRR [EXCEL, 29KB]
  • Table 1b CVs [EXCEL, 31KB]
  • Table 1c Margin of Error [EXCEL, 31KB]


Table 2 – Latest National Totals of State Tax Revenue

Table 2 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides national totals of state government tax revenue for current and prior quarters, as well as 12-month calculations.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 54KB]


Table 3 – Latest State Tax Collections by State

Table 3 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides state government tax collections by state and by type of tax for the current quarter.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 108KB]


A Special Note Concerning Revised Data

Revisions reflect tax collection amounts obtained from three general sources. State and local government respondents have submitted revisions to amounts as originally reported. In other cases, governments have reported data, which we used to replace data that were previously imputed or estimated. Finally, some of the revisions were compiled from government sources, both published and unpublished. Current revisions are noted in each table by an “R” or, for Table 3, by a label next to the applicable figure, for appropriate quarters.

Wordless Wednesday – Smile Enjoy Life

Richard Smart Fund Grants Now Available to the Waimea Community

Hawai’i Community Foundation announced today that grants benefiting the Waimea community on Hawai’i Island are now available through the Ho’ohui ‘O Waimea grant program.  The deadline for submitting applications is on August 13, 2012.

The grant program was established in honor of Richard Smart, a philanthropist who gave generously to support education, healthcare, culture and the arts and other charitable activities for the Waimea community. Smart’s legacy continues to support the community and lifestyle that he loved, a community where people know each other and care about maintaining the special qualities of Waimea.

The Hawai’i Community Foundation encourages residents and community organizations to submit grant proposals that help to make Waimea a better place to live.  Proposals may include (but are not limited to):

  • Community volunteerism and/or the scope of volunteer opportunities
  • Raising awareness of local civic issues affecting the residents
  • Collaboration between nonprofit organizations
  • Participation in community-building activities
  • Increasing communication between long-time and newer residents

To be eligible for a grant of up to $10,000, a group must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization – such as schools, units of government or neighborhood groups– or have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. Community organizations without 501(c)(3) status are eligible to apply for a grant up to $2,000, provided the activities to be supported are charitable.

Grants proposals must benefit the Waimea community and can include ongoing or one-time events. Grants awarded will be for a 12 month project.

Proposal information is available at www.hawaii.communityfoundation.org. All proposals should be mailed to Hawai’i Community Foundation, Attention: Richard Smart Fund, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813 and must be post-marked on or before August 13, 2012.

In the first round of Ho’ohui ‘O Waimea grants in 2012, the following organizations received awards:

  • Big Island Mediation – in support of Community Mediation
  • Five Mountains Hawai’i – in support of Lifeplan Youth Leaders of Waimea
  • Friends of the Future – in support of the Better Choices program
  • Hawai’i Preparatory Academy – in support of the Hoku a’Aina Global Sustainability Local Applicability – Go Green Hui
  • North Hawai’i Community Hospital – in support of the Senior Fair
  • North Hawai’i Women and Children’s Services – in support of Summer Academic Enrichment Camps
  • The Earl & Doris Bakken Foundation – in support of the North Hawai’i Outcomes Project
  • The Kohala Center – in support of the Kohala Watershed Partnership Community Volunteer Program
  • The Kohala Center – in support of the Science and Technology High School for the Waimea Community
  • Waimea Preservation Association – in support of Coqui Free Waimea

About Hawai’i Community Foundation
With 95 years of community service, the Hawai’i Community Foundation is the leading philanthropic institution in the state.  The Foundation is a steward of more than 600 funds, including more than 160 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities.  In 2011, more than $44 million in grants and contracts were distributed statewide.  The Foundation also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector.

Ironworkers, Laborers and Sierra Club endorse Gil Kahele for Hawaii State Senate District One

With 46 days before the August 11th primary election we are proud to announce that Senator Gil Kahele has received endorsements from the Ironworkers, Laborers Local 368 and the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter . These three endorsements continue to carry momentum into our campaign and show continuing support from Hawaiiʻs working class as well as the most widely recognized environmental organization in the country.

The Ironworkers of Hawaii (Stabilization Fund) represents thousands of island workers who work on bridges, structural steel, ornamental architectural and miscellaneous metals and rebar.

The Laborers International Union of North America Local 368 represents 4,369 members throughout the State of Hawaii. Formed in December of 1954 the union represents members working in the construction, environmental remediation, maintenance, food service, clerical and health care occupations.

The Sierra Club is the largest and most influential grassroots organization in the country. Formed in 1892 the Sierra Club has a membership of 1.4 million people and advocates for safe and healthy communities, smart energy solutions to combat global warming and creates an enduring legacy for Americaʻs wild places. The Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club focuses on our beaches, oceans, watersheds, forests, clean and renewable energy and our native eco-systems. Sierra Club chapters exist on every island and the Hawaii Chapter is the Moku Loa Group.

To date, Senator Gil Kaheleʻs candidacy for State Senate District One has been endorsed by the ILWU, HSTA, UHPA, Ironworkers, Laborers and the Sierra Club.

“I am humbled and honored to accept the endorsement of the Ironworkers, Laborers and the Sierra Club. These endorsements reflect my strong support for Hawaiiʻs working class citizens as well as our precious environment. The economy is the #1 issue in this campaign and putting people back to work in East Hawaii is my top goal as a legislator. Growing up in the fishing village of Miloliʻi I know the value and respect for our precious environment, watersheds, oceans and marine ecosystems. The endorsement of the Sierra Club reflects my belief that we should be “stewards” of the ʻaina and therefore are responsible to take care of it, cherish it and preserve it for future generations. As a legislator I play a vital role in the success of these issues and if elected, I will continue the mission I started less than two years ago when I took office which remains the cornerstone of my campaign, making government work for the people”

Hauʻoli Ka Manaʻo,

Senator Gil Kahele

Battle of the Islands – Roller Derby Tournament

The Battle of the Islands, a Roller Derby Tournament featuring the best roller derby teams in the entire State of Hawaii will happen on July 14th, 2012 at the Hilo Civic Auditorium and is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am.