Senator Hirono Again Pushes To Make Immigration Bill Fairer For Women

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today took to the Senate floor to highlight a major flaw in the immigration reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.

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In her remarks, Hirono pointed out how the new merit-based immigration system that gives preference to potential immigrants with high level education and technical expertise would heavily disadvantage women, since women across the globe do not have the same educational and career opportunities as men.
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“Too many women overseas do not have the same educational or career advancement opportunities available to men in those countries,” Hirono said. “This legislation increases the amount of employment based visas, immigration avenues that favor men over women by nearly a four to one margin. Using the past as our guide, it’s easy to see how the new merit-based system with heavy emphasis on factors like education and experience will disadvantage women who apply for green card status.”

Senator Hirono said she is working with her female colleagues to introduce an amendment that would correct this unfairness.

USS Jacksonville Returns to Pearl Harbor

Friends and families of the crew of USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, June 18.

PEARL HARBOR (June 18, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of operation. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 18, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of operation. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

“I am incredibly proud of the crew of the warship Jacksonville. These Sailors have impressed me from day one, and I could not be more proud of their outstanding efforts,” said Cmdr. Richard Seif, Jacksonville’s commanding officer. “Their sustained forward presence in two different theaters contributed significantly to the Navy’s combat readiness and out nation’s security,” said Seif.

During the deployment, 31 Sailors earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia. Along with this accomplishment, more than 60 Sailors also qualified in their senior watch stations.

Seif said despite half of the crew being their very first deployment, they are an experienced team of professional submariners and it’s really an honor to lead them.

Seif added that despite the challenges of deployment, the crew could not have done it without the tremendous strength, love and support of the Jacksonville families. “I’d like to especially thank our command Ombudsman, Kim Cowdrey and the Family Readiness Group for their outstanding support,” he said.

When the deployment was finally complete, the crew came home to a waiting crowd of smiling family and friends at the pier.

“It’s great to be back home. The Sailors and their families are all looking forward to a well deserved stand down,” said Sief. As for the families, many could not hold back their joy and relief.

“I am super proud of him. He has done a fantastic job. It’s been a long, tough deployment, but he’s home, and I’m happy,” said Jackie Combs, a Jacksonville spouse.

Commissioned in May 1981, Jacksonville is named for Jacksonville, Fla. Nicknamed “The Bold One,” she is a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine that is 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. She can be fitted with Mk-48 torpedoes and harpoon missiles.

 

DLNR Closes Kekaha Kai State Park Today after Shark Incident

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) this afternoon closed Mahaiula and Kua Bay sections of Kekaha Kai State Park due to a shark incident earlier today. The park is located 2.6 miles north of Keahole airport in Kailua-Kona.

Shark Sighted

Shark warning sign posted at Kua Bay, Kekaha Kai State Park. Photo by DOCARE.

At about 12:55 p.m., the victim, a 28-year-old male from Kailua-Kona, was swimming in waters off of Mahaiula Beach when he was bit by a shark.

The Hawaii County Fire Department responded and transported him via medevac helicopter to North Kona Community Hospital for treatment.

The helicopter overflight also revealed what appeared to be a large tiger shark in the vicinity of the location where the victim was attacked.

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and State Parks staff evacuated Mahaiula Bay, closed access to the bay and posted shark warning signs. Kua Bay is being evacuated as well and access closed.

Closure of these two bays will continue until at least noon Wednesday, following a flyover by Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter to assess offshore waters for any presence of sharks.

Hawaii Selected to Improve Early Learning Outcomes

In recognition of Hawaii’s progress toward improving access to early education, Hawaii was selected by the National Governors Association (NGA) as one of six states to participate in a joint effort to improve learning outcomes from early childhood through third grade.

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To effectively prepare students for college and career, educators, practitioners and researchers have recognized the importance of all children having a high quality early learning experience. As part of this partnership, Hawaii will receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA staff and faculty experts, as well as consultants from the private sector, research organizations and educators to develop and implement a plan to improve policies and practices that will support early learning academic success.

“Education, and in particular early learning, has been a priority of my administration,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Upon establishing the Executive Office of Early Learning last year, one of my stated goals was to ensure that every young child in Hawaii has access to high quality preschool. Our participation in this policy academy will help Hawaii learn alongside other states how to best implement and strengthen effective learning strategies.”

Charged with leading coordinated efforts, the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) formulated the application in partnership with Hawaii P-20.

“This joint effort brings us one step closer to meeting our goal of every child reading at grade level by third grade,” said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. “Early childhood education sets the foundation for lifelong learning and this partnership will provide the guidance and expertise to help us along the way.”

The goal of this policy academy is to help participating states build awareness and commitment among parents, educators and board of education officials to support a continuum of high-quality opportunities for early learning, as well as develop and begin to carry out a state-specific plan to implement learning objectives. NGA will work with the selected states to improve policies and practices related to educator effectiveness and the use of appropriate assessment systems.

Funding for the policy academy is provided by the Alliance for Early Success, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Heising-Simons Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

To learn more about NGA’s education division, visit nga.org/cms/center/edu.

The Executive Office on Early Learning was established in 2011 to guide the development of a comprehensive and integrated early learning system for Hawaii. The goal is to ensure that all of Hawaii’s children are healthy, safe and ready for school. In 2013, the Hawaii State Legislature along with the EOEL created the School Readiness Program that will enable children to have an early learning experience in the year prior to starting kindergarten, thus providing a solid educational foundation. The EOEL also has implemented “Taking Action for Hawaii’s Children,” a strategic plan that focuses on coordinating programs for children prenatal to age 8. For more information, visit earlylearning.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education is a statewide partnership led by the EOEL, the state Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii System. This partnership is working to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so that all students achieve career and college success. Hawaii P-20’s partners share a sense of urgency about the need to improve Hawaii’s educational outcomes in an increasingly global economy, and have established goals of 55 percent of Hawai‘i’s working age adults to have a two- or four-year college degree and for 100 percent of working age adults to be prepared for careers and college by the year 2025. For more information, visit p20hawaii.org.

The Hawaii P-3 Initiative (Hawaii P-3), a program within Hawaii P-20, focuses on the critical, early-education component of the education pipeline. With the goal of every child reading at grade level by third grade, Hawaii P-3 establishes partnerships with early learning providers to promote a cohesive continuum of experiences from birth to age eight. Through the lessons learned by these partnerships, the P-3 Initiative is able to improve the alignment and integration of programs, strengthening the Hawaii P-20 education pipelines. For more information, visit p3hawaii.org.

 

Shark Attack Off Kona

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a public accident case in connection with a shark attack Tuesday afternoon in waters off a Kona beach.
Kekaha Kai State Park
A 28-year-old Kailua-Kona man was swimming about 100 feet off shore shortly before 1 p.m. when he spotted a shark in waters off Kekaha Kai State Park, also known as Kona Coast State Park. As the man was swimming to shore, the shark bit him on the right thigh and right calf and then released him. The swimmer made it to shore, where a Fire Department helicopter took him to Kona Community Hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening.

A 12-14-foot tiger shark was sighted in the area shortly after the attack. The park was closed to the public until further notice.

And from the Hawaii Fire Department:

A 28 year old male shark bite victim was found conscious and alert. The patient was attended to by bystanders and a volunteer firefighter. The patient was transported to Kona Hospital by Chopper 2.

Fire rescue and medical units from Kailua-Kona and South Kohala Fire Stations responded to a 28 year old male with lacerations to his right leg above and below the knee due to a shark bite. The male patient was attended by bystanders and a volunteer firefighter who helped to control the bleeding. The victim was conscious and responsive. He was taken to Kona Hospital by Chopper 2 of the South Kohala Fire Station. A shark estimated to be 10 to 14 ft in length was observed near shore in the area.