Governor Abercrombie Appoints C. Mike Kido and Yvonne Lau to His Executive Team

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced two additions to his executive staff: C. Mike Kido as legislative advisor, effective immediately, and Yvonne W.M. Lau as education policy analyst, effective Oct. 1.

“Mike and Yvonne will be immense assets to this administration in moving our state forward from recovery to expansion,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Mike has a long, distinguished career in government affairs in Hawaii, including issues at the county, state and federal levels critical to our state. Yvonne’s extensive experience at the state Department of Education, including serving as a driving force to implement Hawaii’s Race to the Top initiatives, will prove invaluable as we work toward transforming education policy.”

C. Mike Kido

C. Mike Kido

C. Mike Kido
Kido most recently served as administrative assistant to the director of the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), where he successfully worked with DCCA leadership and divisions on priority legislative package initiatives. From 2006 to 2012, Kido was the director of external affairs for Pacific Resource Partnership and, from 1990 to 2006, government affairs manager for The Estate of James Campbell. Prior to that, he was vice president of public affairs for Hawaiian Cement, director of public affairs for Lone Star Hawaii, Inc., and research analyst for the Hawaii State Senate Legislative Reference Bureau Economic Development Committee.

Kido has an enduring commitment to supporting the community through volunteer efforts, including those with Pacific Health Ministry, Hale Kipa, Building Industry Association of Hawaii, Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Construction Labor Alliance, and Ahahui Siwila O Kapolei. Most recently, Mike served on the 2011 Honolulu Council Reapportionment Commission and the Honolulu City Council’s Neighborhood Board Task Force.

A graduate of Iolani School, Kido earned a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing research from the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. He later conducted graduate study as part of the University of Hawaii College of Business Administration Center for Executive Development Hawaii Management Program, and is a graduate of the Lone Star Management Institute Management Development Program.

Yvonne W.M. Lau

Yvonne W.M. Lau

Yvonne W.M. Lau
Lau most recently served at the state Department of Education, where she successfully worked as the acting director of the Office of Human Resources Professional Development Branch. From 2010 to 2013, Lau was the lead project manager for Hawaii’s Race to the Top initiatives relating to the Educator Effectiveness System and also served as the administrator of the Performance Management Section. She previously worked as a personnel specialist at the Office of Human Resources in the Labor Relations Section and as a supervisor and investigator with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

Lau has been actively involved with the community, including the Hawaii Women Lawyers, Japanese American Citizens League, and Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, as well as Hawaii Civil Rights Art Contest. Lau is a founding member and former vice chair of the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee.

A graduate of Aiea High School, Lau earned a bachelor’s of business administration degree in finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a juris doctorate from the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Kido and Lau reside in Honolulu.


Free Talk – “Aquarium Collection in Hawaii” With Keiko Bonk

Aquarium Collecting in Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park October “After Dark in the Park” Programs Announced

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in October. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and your $2 donation helps support park programs.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Large Earthquakes in the Hawaiian Islands: What You Need to Know
The island of Hawai‘i has a long history of damaging, deadly, and costly earthquakes.  But did you know that large earthquakes are an ever-present danger throughout the state of Hawai‘i? And do you know what to do to protect yourself during the next big earthquake?  Weston Thelen, a seismologist with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will present an overview of damaging earthquakes in Hawai‘i, including current theories on why they occur, and what you need to know about future large earthquakes. He will also talk about Hawai‘i’s first Great ShakeOut, an earthquake drill that will take place on October 17, and how you can join in on the global effort to increase awareness of earthquake hazards and how to minimize their risks.

Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 1 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium 

‘Ohe Kapala (Bamboo Stamp). ‘Ohe kapala, or stamps made from bamboo, were used to create unique designs for traditional kapa. Today, these exceptional designs are used as patterns on all types of fabric.

'Ohe kapala/NPS Jay Robinson

‘Ohe kapala/NPS Jay Robinson

Join Keiki Mercado and Nikki Kiakona as they demonstrate how ‘ohe (bamboo) is carved into beautiful designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn about this distinctive art form. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Ben Ka‘ili in Concert. Hawaiian musician Ben Ka‘ili has dedicated his life to playing and promoting Hawaiian music. He has shared Hawaiian music at festivals, including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s 33rd annual cultural festival last July, and through concerts and performances for more than 20 years.  Born on the island of Hawai‘i, Ka‘ili started playing Hawaiian music at the age of eight with his family, including his uncle, Uncle George Lanakilakeikiahiali‘i Na‘ope. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. 
Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

The Art of Hau. Learn the art of making cord and rope with hau, an indigenous plant in the hibiscus family. Malia Macabio and Kanoe Awong share the intricacies of gathering the material, preparing it, and braiding the fibers into useful and important pieces of Hawaiian art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Puna Junior Ranger Day. Keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and master lei hulu kumu, Aunty Doreen Henderson, for a hands-on demonstration and workshop on how to make kāhili, the Hawaiian feather standard. At least one adult must accompany the children. Sign up for this free program, which includes a free lunch. Registration is required. Call (808) 985-6011. Co-sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center.
Sat., Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Maku‘u Farmer’s Market in Puna

Examining the ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua Ecosystem with Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois. In the early 1970s, a multidisciplinary team of forest biologists began a study of the intact native ecosystems in and around Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, in particular the ‘ōhi‘a lehua rainforest. Patches of dead ‘ōhi‘a stands were reported from the windward slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Aerial photo analyses by a team of federal and state foresters revealed rapidly spreading ‘ōhi‘a dieback. A killer disease was suspected to destroy the Hawaiian rain forest in the next 15-25 years, yet that never happened. In his new book, Rainforest: Born Among Hawaiian Volcanoes, Evolved in Isolation: The Story of a Dynamic Ecosystem with Relevance to Forests Worldwide, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa professor Dieter Mueller-Dombois explains what really happened and why the ‘ōhi‘a lehua rainforest survived intact as witnessed today. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 29 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium


Hawaii Prison Gang “USO Family” Indicted for Racketeering

A federal grand jury indicted 18 men on racketeering-related charges related to their membership or association with a criminal organization identified as the “USO Family,” in an indictment which was unsealed when several defendants were taken into custody on September 24, 2013.

US Department of Justice

The indictment alleges that the USO Family is the dominant prison gang in Hawaii and operates both inside and outside the State of Hawaii prison system.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that the indictment charged the following six defendants with a racketeering conspiracy consisting of multiple acts of fraud, methamphetamine and marijuana distribution, and bribery:

Charlie Esera, 46
Billy Wond, 38
Opherro Jones, 39
David Kahui, 34
Robin Lee, 52
Feso Malufau, 54

The indictment further charges the following 13 defendants with assaulting three different persons (in three different counts of the indictment) for the purpose of gaining entrance to or maintaining or increasing position within the USO Family:

James Moser, 24
Paul Togia, 33
Vaofele Iiga, 35
Clarence Butler, 34
Potaufa Ula, 27
Shadrach Unea, 28
Moses Thompson, 34
Daniel Kenolio, 28
Opherro Jones
William Shinyama, 43
Tineimalo Adkins, 33
Akoni Davis, 24
Travis Nishioka, 24

Defendant Lee is also charged with six counts of making false claims for income tax refunds for four of the other defendants. The indictment alleges that the filing of fraudulent tax returns for refunds is an activity the USO Family used to fund its operations, including bribing prison guards.

According to the indictment, the USO Family has evolved into an organized group with rules and regulations to ensure loyalty by members and participation by members in the criminal activities of the organization. The USO Family enterprise is alleged to have a defined structure, with leadership and “soldier” positions.

For each of the four racketeering-related counts, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The maximum penalties on each of the false claim charges are five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. An indictment is merely an accusation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety, and the Honolulu Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Nammar.


Robotic Mules to Participate in 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercises

A new diesel iteration of the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is turning heads at the Modern Day Marine industry trade show this week. The semi-autonomous four-legged, robotic mule is designed to carry loads of up to 400 pounds and follow a squad of Marines through rugged terrain, while interacting with them intuitively.

3 Legged Squad Support Systems  will take part in RIM PAC next year.

Three Legged Squad Support Systems (LS3) will take part in RIM PAC next year.

The newest diesel variant of LS3 is slightly larger than the two previous prototypes, which have Polaris Engines. It moves more quietly. And while its load-bearing capacity is similar to the previous versions, it’s designed to be easy to fuel along with other, more traditional diesel Marine Corps vehicles.

The LS3 is making its first appearance at Modern Day Marine, said Maj. James Richardson, LCE Branch Head at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. But the robotic mule has a busy season ahead of it. It will visit the the Army’s Fort Devens, Mass., Nov. 4-8, where Marines will be trained in how to use it and work with it. Next summer, all three LS3 variants will travel to Hawaii to participate in the Advanced Warfighting Exercise that is part of the Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercise.


UH Manoa Joins Network of Pacific Rim Research Universities

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been elected to membership in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, the leading consortium of research universities for the region. APRU represents 45 premier research universities—with a collective 2 million students and 120,000 faculty members—from 16 economies in the most dynamic and diverse region of the world.

UH Manoa Campus

To join APRU, a member university must be rated as a leading university of the country or a premier university within its geographical region. It should have attained broad excellence in carrying out the activities of its educational mission, must embrace and achieve a mission of promoting research and scholarship and have a strong international orientation. APRU universities are located in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.

“We are honored by this news, and to be one of only 12 U.S. universities in this impressive international roster of membership,“ said UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple. “We thank our students, faculty, staff, alumni, lawmakers and supporters for their efforts in helping us to achieve research and academic excellence, culminating in this honor.”

UH Mānoa is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university producing “very high” research activity, with extramural funding averaging $333 million per year over the past five years. It is among the top 30 public research universities in the nation for federal research funding in engineering and science (National Science Foundation) and ranks 51st overall. UH Mānoa is one of only a handful of land-, sea- and space-grant universities.

APRU was established in 1997 by the presidents of Caltech, Berkeley, UCLA and USC. Henry Yang, chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and chair of APRU, wrote in his welcome letter, “I congratulate you and look forward to engaging with you and your colleagues as, together, we advance the cause of higher education and research through the activities of this important alliance.”