Governor Abercrombie Outlines School Readiness Program and Budget Needs

The State of Hawaii is committed to giving its keiki the best opportunity for school success and a strong early childhood education program is a proven way toward that, Gov. Neil Abercrombie affirmed at a press conference today at Seagull School’s Early Education Center.

abercrombieheaderThrough the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL), a comprehensive and methodical approach is under way to get the first phase of a high-quality state-funded program in place by school year 2014-15.

“Education is a top priority for my administration,”Gov. Abercrombie said. “I’m pleased to say that the Executive Office on Early Learning, under the direction of Director Terry Lock, is carrying out my mandate for a comprehensive program, which will meet or exceed the best in the nation.”

The Abercrombie Administration has included $32.5 million for EOEL in the biennium budget for a school readiness program. In the first year, $3.5 million would be for critical planning and program development. In the second year, $28.9 million would support school readiness opportunities for about 3,500 4-year-olds who would not be eligible for kindergarten due to a new birthdate cutoff of July 31, starting in 2014. Eventually, the goal is a statewide early childhood education program for more 4-year-olds.

The school readiness program is part of the Hawaii Early Childhood Action Strategy — “Taking Action for Hawaii’s Children”–that EOEL is developing to help shape the state’s policy agenda on behalf of children. The action strategy also includes goals for health and development of children, support for families, and continuity in early childhood experiences. “We are focusing on understanding what the current early childhood development and learning conditions are and identifying how they can be improved,”said Gov. Abercrombie.

“Now that the action strategy is defined and we have the developmental milestones outlined in the Hawaii Early Learning and Development Standards (HELDS), we have identified the best outcomes-based criteria for children to be used in the school readiness program,”Lock said. “The HELDS provide age and stage expectations for children, birth through kindergarten.”

To learn more about the state’s school readiness program, visit:



5th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop

Quilting in Hawaii may be a dream come true for some of the 21 million American quilters who use the internet, their GPS or quilt shop locator apps to plan sightseeing trips around local quilt shops.  On the Big Island, there’s an easier way to satisfy quilt cravings, thanks to the 5th Annual Quilt Shop Hop, taking place February 1-23, 2013.

A Hawaiian Quilt

A Hawaiian Quilt

Eight different quilt shops island-wide are included in the Shop Hop circuit, each with their own personality and style—from the sunny resort area of Kailua-Kona, to lush tropics of Volcano and Pahala, charming Hilo town, and the green rolling hills of Waimea.  Along the way, shop-hoppers can have their “passport” stamped, to be eligible for prize drawings, and pick up a unique quilt block pattern to create their own 2013 Shop Hop quilt.

The 2013 Shop Hop quilt theme features the unique flora and fauna of Hawaii, with bright tropical flowers, everyone’s favorite honu (sea turtle), dolphins, Nene goose, and the native I’iwi bird.  The quilt block patterns are free, or available for purchase with fabric as a kit.
This year’s event also includes a new, custom “Big Island” fabric, designed by Shop Hop organizer Mary Moody Cox, available only from participating shops on the circuit. The vivid aloha-style 100% cotton print is covered with colorful island images from the mountains to the sea:  waterfalls, volcano, birds, flowers, plants, petroglyphs, dolphins and more.

Maps and passports can be picked up at each location, and “shop-hoppers” can start their tour at any of the venues along the route, or sign up for a scheduled bus tour.  (See details below.) The first bus trip, February 2, visits “paniolo country” for the 20th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, and the Hawaiian Quilt Show presented by Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea.

For information, email, call (808) 961-1100, or visit

Bus Tours:

  • Kona to Waimea (Cherry Blossom Festival and Hawaiian Quilt Show):  Saturday, February 2 – contact Karen Barry at Quilt Passions, 329-7475.
  • Pahala to Hilo: Thursday February 7 – contact Donna at Pahala Quilting 808-238-0505.
  • Pahala to Waimea & Kona:  Tuesday, February 12 – contact Donna at Pahala Quilting 808-238-0505.
  • Kona to Hilo:  Saturday, February 9 – contact Karen Barry at Quilt Passions, 329-7475.
  • Hilo to Kona:  Saturday, February 16 – contact Mary Moody-Cox at Kilauea Kreations II, 808-961-1100.

Shop Hop circuit:

East Hawai‘i

  • Pahala Quilting and Creative Sewing Center, 96-3196 Maile St., Pahala, HI 96777. (808) 238-0505
  • Kilauea Kreations I, 19-3972 Volcano Rd., Volcano, HI 96785. (808) 967-8090
  • Kilauea Kreations II, 680 Manono St., Hilo, Hi 96720. (808) 961-1100
  • The Fabric Workshop, 1348 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, HI 96720. (808) 933-1010
  • Fabric Impressions, 206 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720-2835. (808) 961-4468

West Hawai‘i

  • Topstitch, New location in Waimea Center: 65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI. (808) 885-4482,
  • The Fabric Gift Shop, 74-5599 Luhia St., D-5, Kailua Kona HI 96740.  (808) 329-8177
  • Quilt Passions and Needlework Shop, 75-5626 Kuakini Hwy., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. (808) 329-7475,

Natalie Gates Named as Haleakala Superintendent

Natalie Gates has been selected as the new superintendent of Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui in Hawai`i.  Dr. Gates has worked at Point Reyes National Seashore in California for the last twelve years, first as a wildlife biologist, and then as chief of natural resource management.  She will transition to her new duties at Haleakalā in March.

Natalie Gates

Natalie Gates

“Natalie has a strong track record in the protection of native species and ecosystems.  She has proven she can solve complicated issues while respecting all the voices in the room,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz.  “Natalie’s deep respect for diverse cultures and communities and her team building skills will be an asset to Haleakalā National Park.”

Dr. Gates graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Biology.  She earned a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a Master’s degree in Wildland Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley.  She has worked in small animal veterinary clinics New York, Hawai`i and California.  During her career in the National Park Service (NPS), in addition to her experience at Point Reyes, Dr. Gates has worked as acting superintendent of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in eastern Washington and has completed detail assignments with the NPS Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs in Washington, D.C. and with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the NPS Pacific West Regional Office.  In 2009 she was awarded the Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management.

Haleakalā National Park is one of the oldest in the National Park System, established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916, just weeks prior to the creation of the National Park Service itself.  It was renamed in 1960 when it was split from what then became Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawai`i.  Haleakalā encompasses both rain forests and arid ecosystems in lands ranging from sea level up to 10,000 feet, as well as significant Native Hawaiian cultural sites.

In accepting the position Dr. Gates said, “It will be an absolute privilege to work with the staff of Haleakalā National Park and local communities around it.  Haleakalā is home to a treasure of cultural resources, natural resources and wilderness, and I look forward to working hard to preserve them.”  She added: “I plan on being an avid student of Haleakalā – its stories and its vital importance to Native Hawaiians.”

In the coming weeks, Dr. Gates plans to move to Maui with her husband, Courty, their three sons, and their Labrador retriever.


NFL Coming to Hawai’i Island for Youth Clinics

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, NFL Football Players and NFL Cheerleaders will be holding Youth Clinics for Hawai’i Island intermediate and high school students at Kealakehe High School from 3:00–5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at Kea’au High School from 3:00–5:30 p.m. Players and cheerleaders will also visit a local school for an assembly before the clinics. The NFL Pro Bowl Youth Clinics, now in its 11th year, is focused on motivating our youth to realize their dreams and to maximize their potential.

Participants in last year's Pro Bowl Youth Clinic at Kealakehe High Schoolenjoyed lessons and drills with NFL Players and Cheerleaders.

Participants in last year’s Pro Bowl Youth Clinic at Kealakehe High School
enjoyed lessons and drills with NFL Players and Cheerleaders.

In the past years, players and cheerleaders from the NFL teams have come to Hawai’i Island, to present our children with inspirational messages and positive skills training. The 2-hour clinic will feature a variety of hands-on skills and techniques for both boys and girls.

“Seeing the smiles, the excitement, and the joy on the faces of the kids – its quite an honor to be part of such a positive and inspirational event”, said Mayor Billy Kenoi, Pro Bowl ‘Ohana Committee Member. “I cannot thank the NFL, Nat Moore, the Pro Bowl ‘Ohana Committee, and our volunteers enough for making this event possible. Each year we involve more students on Hawaii Island – we now get to involve over 700 of our youth Island wide. Our kids will remember this for the rest of their lives!”

All youth participants will also receive an NFL Pro Bowl t-shirt that will be autographed by each player and an NFL Pro Bowl sling backpack. The public and youth not signed up for the program are welcome to attend the event. Youth participants are selected by their respective school, however, every year there are open slots that need to be filled. Youth who are accompanied by a parent may be able to participate if there are any open slots prior to the beginning of the clinic on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, please contact Betty at 961-8343 or Char at 961-8503.

Chicago in Hawaii This Week

Grammy Award winners Chicago will perform in Hawaii as part of their 2012-2013 world tour, with shows at the Blaisdell Arena on Friday, January 11th, Waikoloa Bowl on Saturday, January 12th, and at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s A&B Amphitheater on Tuesday, January 15th.  All shows start at 7:30pm.

Chicago Members

Chicago, one of America’s most dynamic, high-energy bands, has had an amazing 25 Top Forty singles and 5 consecutive #1 albums; they are among Billboard’s Top 100 artists of all time at #13.  With 33 albums to their credit, Chicago is the first American band to chart Top 40 albums across five decades, with 25 of them certified platinum.  Worldwide, their music has sold more than 100 million records.


General Admission tickets are priced at $65 and $49.  On sale at CD Wizard in Hilo, Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, KBXtreme in Kona and Persimmon at Queens’ MarketPlace, or Ticketmaster outlets at Walmart in Hilo and Kona.  A limited number of reserved section $95 tickets are available online only at or