Senator Russell Ruderman: Reversal of Fate – “… I Support Safe Geothermal Development”

Aloha Constituents and Concerned Citizens,

I want to thank everyone who supported my position in objecting to the process used to create and pass House Bill 252. Please know that all the emails and calls that each senator received were crucial to the approval of the important amendment I proposed this morning.  Without your public comments, this may not have happened. I remain concerned that due process, including public comment, was by-passed, yet as the process was going forward regardless, including a major improvement was the best course of action to take.

Rudderman and Geothermal

I object strongly to the process that introduced geothermal permitting procedures into an unrelated bill, HB252, without public notice of the changes or opportunity to testify. While the bill has some desirable provisions, the lack of transparency is difficult to support. The procedures used to by-pass public input are potentially unconstitutional, as is the fact that HB252 now contains two unrelated subjects. It is unfortunate this kind of politics persists in our State legislature.

Earlier in the session we had two bills on this issue, HB106 and HB932.  HB106, which restored County oversight and contested case hearings, was supported by Hawaii County Council, OHA, Puna community groups, and 90% of testifiers.  HB106, which had the support of the majority of the subject matter committees, was deferred, probably in hopes of passing HB932 instead, yet HB932 did not have support in committee. HB932does restore county oversight, but replaced contested case hearings with forced mediation and made changes to the definition of geothermal.  It was opposed by all community groups and individuals, yet supported by Hawaii County Mayor and DLNR.

The last minute language inserted in HB252 is similar to HB932. Inserting this language, from the bill with the least support, thwarts the desires of the impacted community, the Hawaii County Council, and OHA. The voice of the community was ignored by this objectionable procedure. This continues a long-standing trend that has resulted in the problems and controversy we now have over poorly planned geothermal development.

Instead of voting “no,” in what appeared to be a losing battle to kill the bill, I submitted an amendment to improve HB252. My amendment removes the requirement for mediation from this bill. As senator of the only district with geothermal development, I am aware of some of the problems that result from poorly regulated planning. Required mediation processes proved profoundly unsuccessful in 1990. The agreements reached in mediation were violated, and the enforced mediation process is widely reviled by the community. The affected communities deserve the right to contested case hearings, as is the common remedial action in most planning disputes. By removing references to mediation, citizens’ rights are protected, and one of the most objectionable portions of HB252 is corrected.

My community and I support safe geothermal development. We simply desire fair treatment and due process to ensure a safe community. Given that the amendment was approved; I can now support this bill instead of opposing it, since it does provide for the reinstatement of county oversight that was taken away in Act 97.

Again, I want to thank everyone who submitted comments and will continue to remain vigilant when similar tactics are applied to legislation that could negatively affect my district and the State. You provided a voice that was heard loud & clear! No new testimony is needed at this time.

Thank you for your support and involvement!

Mahalo,

Senator Russell E Ruderman

Hawaii State Senate

Development of University of Hawaii Palamanui Campus Moves Forward

The University of Hawaii Palamanui Campus has cleared a major hurdle, and work on the long awaited project will finally move forward, according to officials from the University of Hawaii Community Colleges. After facing issues with cost overruns and procurement, the bidding process was concluded this past Friday–without any challenges—and the University will proceed with finalizing the contract for construction of the community college campus for West Hawaii.

The new Hawai‘i Community College Pālamanui campus will provide an accessible and affordable gateway to higher learning for residents who have been underserved in the region. The campus will aim for LEED Platinum certification and boast a net zero environmental impact, while academic programs will offer top quality higher education coursework and curricula.

The new Hawai‘i Community College Pālamanui campus will provide an accessible and affordable gateway to higher learning for residents who have been underserved in the region. The campus will aim for LEED Platinum certification and boast a net zero environmental impact, while academic programs will offer top quality higher education coursework and curricula.

The Palamanui Campus will be the 11th permanent campus of the University of Hawaii system. The first phase of the project will include a culinary arts building and a health science and student services building.

Big Island legislators are working together to ensure that the needed additional funding for Phase 1 of the Palamanui Campus will be in this year’s State budget. Representative Nicole Lowen, who represents State House District 6 where the new campus will be located, sits on the House Finance Committee and will participate in upcoming conference committee budget negotiations with the Senate.

“The Palamanui Campus, which has been one of my top priorities this legislative session, is an essential addition to the West Hawaii Community,” said Rep. Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau). “As a former teacher, I am personally aware of our district’s need to provide an opportunity for quality education close to home. Children who were my students when they were in preschool are now graduating high school, and many of them have had to leave West Hawaii to pursue their education, or have had to forgo post-secondary education altogether due to the lack of affordable option close to home.  With the development of the Palamanui Campus, we will finally have opportunities in our own community, and these young adults will have a greater chance of succeeding in a setting where they can remain close to home and have the support of family and friends.

 

Wordless Wednesday – Deadly Game in Hawaii

This video titled “Deadly Game in Hawaii” was uploaded to YouTube today:

Deadly Game
With all of the drownings that we have been having recently… some folks still won’t get the message that the ocean is NOT THEIR PLAYGROUND!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/CBB-sYjrnEI]

 

10 Hawaiʻi Island Students Awarded Prestigious Dorrance Scholarships

The second cohort of prestigious Dorrance Scholarships has been awarded to 10 Hawaiʻi Island high school students who will begin their studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in fall 2013.

The Dorrance Scholarship is an innovative, four-year award designed to benefit local students who are the first in their family to attend college. Each year, up to 10 eligible students are awarded need-based scholarships of $8,000 per year to attend UH Hilo. Awards are renewable for a total of eight semesters of funding, and additional cohorts of scholars will be added in subsequent years.

The 2013 recipients include:

• John Alokoa, Kealakehe High School, Waikoloa
• Rachel Gristock, Kea`au High School, Kurtistown
• Tawanaka (Puki) Kaupu, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi, Ocean View
• Richard Kerr, Hilo High School, Hilo
• Cheyenne Losalio, Konawaena High School, Captain Cook
• Gabriel Lubbess, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi, Kea`au
• Stareynelle (Kaua) Mitchell, Ke Kula`o `Ehunuikaimalino, Holualoa
• Justin Shiigi, Hilo High School, Hilo
• Benjamin Wada, Christian Liberty Academy, Pahoa
• Luana Zablan, Kanu o ka `Aina, Kamuela

Prior to their freshman year, Dorrance Scholars will participate in a custom-designed summer bridge program to help them transition from high school to college. In future summers, scholars will take part in international travel and employment preparation, bringing the estimated total value of each award to over $60,000 for the entire four-year period.

“Higher education is the key to a brighter future,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “The Dorrance Scholarship goes to the heart of our mission at UH Hilo, where some 70 percent of our students are the first in their family to attend college and an equal number rely on some form of financial aid.
Dorrance Scholars
“The support from the Dorrance family is a very important gift to UH Hilo and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to our Hawaiʻi Island students,” he added.

UH Hilo’s program is an extension of the highly successful Dorrance Scholarship Programs that have operated in Arizona for the past 13 years. The program is credited with opening the doors of higher education while boosting graduation rates for more than 400 first-generation college students.

Hawaii Department of Health Sending Avian Influenza Medical Advisory to Local Healthcare Providers

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has sent a medical advisory to local healthcare providers advising that Chinese public health officials have reported cases of a novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus detected in humans. As of today, 16 cases have been confirmed in people from four different provinces in China. No cases have been reported in Hawaii or the mainland United States at this time.

Bird Flu

The DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division (DOCD), State Laboratories Division, and CDC Honolulu Quarantine Station are working together to follow the situation closely. “While it is not yet known how people have become infected with influenza A (H7N9), the public is always advised to follow proper hygiene including washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when ill,” said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist.“ Additionally, persons who become ill after travel to China are asked to notify their physician or healthcare provider.”

Influenza A H7 viruses are normally found among birds. Occasionally, H7 viruses have been found to infect humans, but no human infections with H7N9 have been reported until these recent reports from China.  At this time, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.

For more information, go to the DOH DOCD web page: http://hawaii.gov/health/DOCD/index.html

DLNR Participating in Statewide Earth Month Events

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is celebrating Earth Month in collaborations with several Earth Day events to share stewardship tips with the public. Together we can all protect our natural and cultural resources for a healthy environment and a clean world.

Earth Month

“DLNR is attending these events, along with several other organizations, to draw attention to the care of our resources during Earth Month. We encourage anyone to bring the family out to celebrate Earth Day and learn more about what the Department is doing, and what individuals can do, to be good stewards of Hawaii’s resources,” said Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., “We’re thankful for the hard work and commitment of the organization hosting community events focusing on our environment.”

Scheduled Events

Oahu

April 13, 2013
Saturday 9 am – 2 pm
Mauka to Makai Oceans Day at Waikiki Aquarium

This family-friendly event will have hands on educational displays and showcase more than 20 city, state, and federal agencies that are aimed to preserve and protect Hawaii’s environment. The City & County of Honolulu and State of Hawaii Department of Health host this Earth Day celebration at Waikiki Aquarium with an emphasis on the Island’s unique water resources from mauka to makai.

The event is free; trolley service from Waikiki Elementary school will start at 8:45AM.

DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources Sea Urchin Hatchery, Commission on Water Resources Management, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the co-managed Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary are participating and will have informational booths and activities for kids. DAR Sea Urchin Hatchery is donating 200 native collector sea urchins to the Waikiki Aquarium as part of the Mauka to Makai Expo.

For more information visit
www.waquarium.org/news-events.html or www.cleanwaterhonolulu.com/storm/

April 13-14, 2013
Saturday 9 am – 7 pm and Sunday 9 am – 5 pm
Ocean Expo at Neil Blaisdell Convention Center – Exhibition Hall

DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the Aquatic Invasive Species; DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) will team with the USCG Auxiliary, Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron, Hawaii Ocean Safety Team (HOST); and the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are participating to meet and greet the public and provide information and family activities. Special guest appearance of Coastie the Safety Boat.

For more information visit
www.hawaiioceanexpo.com/

April 20, 2013
Saturday, 9:30 am – 3 pm
Honolulu Zoo Earth Day

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary are participating in a family friendly Earth Day event coordinated by The Honolulu Zoo. DLNR DOFAW staff are participating to share information on Project Learning Tree and forestry information on landowner assistance programs along with samples of educational posters, coloring books, and activities for kids. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary booth will share information about the sanctuary program, the humpback whales and the disentanglement program and children’s marine science activities.

Note: Event requires zoo admission.

For more information visit
www.honoluluzoo.org

April 20, 2013
Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm
Earth Day at Windward Mall Center Court

DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is participating in a family friendly Earth Day event coordinated by The Nature Conservancy. Along with informational booths the Aquatic Invasive Species booth will have invasive algae samples, juvenile urchins, a Super Sucker video and the Marine Wildlife Program will have a hands on activity to teach kids how to make barbless circle hooks and to share information about the population, diet, and responsible viewing of monk seals and sea turtles.

For more information visit
www.windwardmall.com/event/earth-day-at-windward-mall/

April 20, 2013
Saturday, Noon – 4 pm
Earth Day at Sea Life Park

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Sea Life Park are hosting the annual Earth Day Cleanup and continuing the fun with an Arts & Music Festival. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary booth will share information about the sanctuary program, the humpback whales and the disentanglement program and children’s marine science activities.

For more information visit
www.facebook.com/SeaLifeHawaii

April 20, 2013
Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
Earth Day at Pearl Harbor

Hosted by Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) will team with the USCG Auxiliary to provide boating safety outreach materials for ocean users and make custom ColorOn t-shirts for children. Special guest appearance of Coastie the Safety Boat. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary will share information about the sanctuary program, the humpback whales and the disentanglement program and children’s marine science activities.

Note: The event is open to NEX patrons and those that can obtain access to the base.

For more information visit
www.hookelenews.com

April 22, 2013
Monday, 10 am – 1 pm
Navy Earth Day 2013 at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor, Kilo-8 Pier

DLNR Division of State Parks, Division of Aquatic Resources – Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership are participating with informational booths and family activities at this event hosted by Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor.

Note: The event is open to anyone can obtain access to the base.

April 24, 2013
Wednesday, 1 – 4 p.m.
Earth Day Festival at Schofield Barracks at the Kalakaua Community Center

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary are participating with informational booths and family activities at this event Sponsored by Island Palm Communities and the U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Public Works.

For more information visit
www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sustainability/EarthMonth/IPC_EarthDay_24thPoster.pdf

April 27 2013
Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm
Earth Day at Fort Shafter

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary booth will share information about the sanctuary program, the humpback whales and the disentanglement program and children’s marine science activities at this event Sponsored by Island Palm Communities and the U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Public Works.

For more information visit
www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sustainability/EarthMonth/IPC_EarthDay_27thPoster.pdf

Molokai

April 19, 2013
Friday, 5 pm – 9 pm
Molokai Earth Day at Mitchell Pauole Center in Kaunakakai

DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) are participating in a family friendly Earth Day event coordinated by The Nature Conservancy. DAR staff will share information on the Hawaii Marine Recreational Fishing Survey, measurement guides, fishing regulations, etc. DOFAW staff will share information on Project Learning Tree and landowner assistance programs along with samples of educational posters, coloring books, and activities for kids.

For more information visit
www.molokaievents.com/

For more information on the Department programs visit
dlnr.hawaii.gov or find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/HawaiiDLNR to keep up with the latest events, activities, and news. Or feel free to call or stop by a DLNR office, contact information is available under the “contact us” tab.

 

 

House and Senate Ready to Begin Conference Meetings

House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige have announced that the first conference committee meeting on the state budget will be held on Thursday, April 11, 9:30 a.m. in room 309 at the State Capitol.

capital

The conference committee meetings for the state budget are being held a week earlier than normal to avoid last minute rushes to get conference bills out for final vote.

“Both the Senate and the House moved quickly to get the budget moved out of their respective legislative bodies to get us into a position to negotiate differences a week earlier and allow for more discussion time. This also allows the public the opportunity to better follow the work of the conference committee,” said Representative Luke.

“We look forward to working with the House to make strategic investments in our community and provide a solid financial foundation for the State,” said Senator Ige.

The House Conferees are: Representatives Sylvia Luke, Chair; Scott Nishimoto, Aaron Ling Johanson, Ty Cullen, Mark Hashem, Kaniela Ing, Jo Jordan, Bert Kobayashi, Nicole Lowen, Dee Morikawa, Richard Onishi, Gregg Takayama, James Tokioka, Justin Woodson, Kyle Yamashita, Beth Fukumoto, Gene Ward.

The Senate Conferees are: Senators David Ige, Chair; Michelle Kidani, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, J. Kalani English, Will Espero, Gilbert Kahele, Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Ronald Kouchi, Russell Ruderman, Laura Thielen, Jill Tokuda, Sam Slom.

The meeting’s hearing notice can be found on the Capitol website.

 

The “Swamp Ghost/B-17E” Arrives at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

You may have seen it on the freeway this morning, April 10, in seven Matson containers, with a Honolulu Police escort. One of the most talked about artifacts of American aviation history–the Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress bomber #41-2446 “Swamp Ghost”–makes its home at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, today, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

B172

The remarkable story of this WWII aircraft has been featured in numerous media, including National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Daily News, and Smithsonian magazine.

B-17E 41-2446 was one of the bombers in the Kangaroo Squadron stationed in Townsville, Australia. It was to have been one of the B-17s in the flight that made it to Hickam Army Air Field during the December 7, 1941 attack. It was delayed due to engine problems but flew to Hickam on December 17 and then leapfrogged its way to Townsville, Australia. On the night of February 22, 1942, five B-17s took off from Townsville with the mission of attacking ships at Rabaul, a harbor of Japanese-held New Britain. The mission was the first American heavy bomber offensive raid of World War II.

b174

Unfortunately, this B-17 never made it back. Having sustained damage from enemy fire causing the aircraft to run out of fuel, it crash-landed in the remote primitive Agaiambo swamp on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Over the next several days, the nine-member crew battled malaria, fatigue, and heat exhaustion, while they hacked their way through razor-sharp swamp grass to safety. Amazingly, all nine men made it back to the base alive.

b173

Having crash-landed in one of the most remote locations on Earth, the aircraft virtually “disappeared” and slipped into an oblivion that lasted almost three decades, until Australian soldiers on routine maneuvers spotted the aircraft in 1972, still partially submerged in the swamp and nicknamed it Swamp Ghost.

B17

To the soldiers’ amazement, it was found to be in remarkable condition and fully intact; the machine guns were in place, fully loaded and, in the cabin, there was a thermos with what used to be coffee. It soon became obvious that this plane would become the best-preserved example of a combat B-17 in existence.

The amazing story of this aircraft doesn’t end there. Over the next 30 years, David C. Tallichet and the Swamp Ghost Salvage Team attempted to recover the bomber. The government of Papua New Guinea became involved, which further stopped the process. Finally, after years of negotiations, it was cleared to return to the United States in 2010. In 2011, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor began negotiations to receive the aircraft.

“We are absolutely thrilled that this national treasure will call Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor home,” said Kenneth DeHoff, Museum Executive Director. “The B-17E ‘Swamp Ghost’ will be one of the crown jewels in our aircraft collection. While we restore these aircraft to static display standards of aviation museums globally, this one will take us several years to raise the funds to do so. We expect it to cost $5 million dollars,” said Mr. DeHoff.

b175

When funds are received and restoration is complete, the B-17E Flying Fortress will be on display in a specially constructed outdoor exhibit, resembling the Papua New Guinea swamp in which it was found, the perfect backdrop for this historic artifact. Donors are invited to purchase a brick for a loved one or WWII pilot, in the garden setting of the exhibit, and help restore the aircraft. The Museum invites donations of historic aircraft and aviation memorabilia. Donated artifacts are professionally cared for and enjoyed by millions of visitors from all over the world. The Museum also invites monetary donations for its restoration and education programs, as it is a nonprofit, private Museum, which depends on members and donors. To support the Museum, call 808-441-1006 or donate online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in the Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.