Hawaii’s 2013 Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Announced

Brian Kahele, a single father who works full-time, overtime and on weekends as a painter and still finds the time to coach baseball to underprivileged kids 5 to 9 and also assistant coach older kids 9 to 11 every day except Sunday, was selected as the top finalist at the 20th Annual Luncheon celebrating Hawaii’s Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth today at Washington Place.

Washington Place

Washington Place

“Brian’s unselfish desire to help kids that really need help – he searched Goodwill and Savers all over the island for baseball shoes for the kids who couldn’t afford them – stood out for me.” said Vice Speaker John Mizuno, co-chair of Children and Youth Month/Day. “Some of these kids come from the projects, some don’t even speak English, but Brian stepped forward, even using his own money, to ensure that these underprivileged youth had an opportunity for a normal childhood.”

“Brian epitomizes the outstanding Advocate for Children and Youth” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, co-chair of Children of Youth Month/Day. “His willingness to help kids in need, not for the recognition or other rewards, but simply because the need to help them existed, is what I find special about Brian.”

The other finalists include:

  • Daniel Caluya, principal of Na Wai Ola Public Charter School
  • Phil Chun, founder of the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM)
  • Imelda Gazmen, Filipino Community Center’s Kids Summer Enrichment Program
  • Cedric Gates, founder of Active Hawaii Organization Inc.
  • Lisa Pakele, program director for Keiki Steps
  • Judge Karen Radius , retired Oahu First Circuit Family Court judge
  • Dave Shoji, UH Wahine Volleyball coach.

There were two organizations in the Top Ten:

  • HI HOPES (Hawaii Helping Our People Envision Success) Leadership Boards composed of young adults ages 14 through 26 who are currently or formerly in foster care
  • Surfing the Nations, a non-profit that serves at-risk children through the sport of surfing and other activities

Office of Mauna Kea Management Hires Wally Ishibashi as Cultural Officer

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM), charged with the management of approximately 12,000 acres of State-owned land on Mauna Kea, continues to advance its mission to malama (take care of) Mauna Kea resources with the recent hiring of Wallace “Wally” Ishibashi Jr. as Cultural Officer. 

Wallace Ishibashi

Wallace Ishibashi

“The University of Hawai‘i through the Office of Mauna Kea Management is committed to protecting the cultural resources and fostering a greater understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Mauna Kea.  Wally’s role as cultural officer is to help OMKM instill awareness and understanding about Mauna Kea’s deep cultural significance through outreach and educational programs.  As long as the University has a presence on Mauna Kea, OMKM will continue to monitor, document and protect the archaeological and cultural sites for future generations,” stated OMKM’s Director Stephanie Nagata.

Ishibashi will assist with implementation of OMKM’s Cultural Resource Management Plan and will develop and provide a cultural training program for those using Mauna Kea for cultural, scientific, and recreational purposes. In addition, Ishibashi will serve as cultural monitor and as a cultural advisor for staff including Rangers and the Visitor Information Station at Hale Pohaku. He will assist with outreach efforts within the Hawaiian community and the general public, and will work closely with the Kahu Ku Mauna Council.

“I look forward to promoting a greater understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Mauna Kea and ensuring that Native Hawaiians continue to have a voice in the management and stewardship of the mountain,” said Wally Ishibashi.

A Hawaii Island native of Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese ancestry, Ishibashi was born in Hilo and raised in the Keaukaha Panaewa Hawaiian Homestead. His KealohaPoliahu and Makuakane families have ties to the Kaohe ahupuaa (land division) and specifically to Kukaiau Ranch, Kukuihaele and Waipio Valley. Poliahu is known in Hawaiian mythology as one of the snow goddesses and is believed to have lived on Mauna Kea.

Every year we would go up Mauna Kea to learn about different areas of the mountain. Lessons we learned from my uncles who were rangers for the Department of Land and Natural Resources included respect and proper care for animals and the aina (land). I was always taught the importance of balance between the old ways and new ideas. Cultural preservation is essential and balance is pono (righteous),” said Wally Ishibashi.

For the past 20-plus years, Ishibashi has served as a Business Agent and Division Director for ILWU Local 142. He was recently appointed by Governor Abercrombie to the Hawaiian Homes Commission representing East Hawaii. He is a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Keawe, Moku O Mamalahoa Heiau, Hawaiian Community Representative for Hawaiian Homes Keaukaha Panaewa Association, Hawaii Island United Way Executive Board Member and the Democratic Party Precinct Chair for Papaikou.

Wordless Wednesday – Playing With Lava

A Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory geologist shields his face from the intense heat as he takes a sample of active lava on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The chemistry of the lava is analyzed through time and used to study changes in the magmatic system.

More information on this flow here:  Lava flows at forest boundary northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

UH Hilo Student Wins International Business Strategy Competition

A student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Business and Economics (CoBE) recently finished first in his industry in the international version of the Business Strategy Game (BSG). Mark Tokuuke was invited to take part in the competition following his first-in-class performance in MGT 490 (Strategic Management), which is CoBE’s required capstone class.

Business Strategy Game

The BSG is a popular simulation used by both undergraduate and MBA programs. Over the last 12 months, the game has been used by 48,314 students in 2,729 classes at 566 campus locations in 51 different countries.

In the Business Strategy Game, students are assigned to operate an athletic footwear company that produces and markets both branded and private-label footwear, competing in the global market arena with up to 12 companies in a single industry grouping.

The players are responsible for assessing market conditions, determining how to respond to actions of competitors, forging a long-term direction and strategy for the company, forecasting sales volumes and making related decisions.

Each company’s performance is based on a balanced scorecard that includes brand image, earnings per share, return on equity investment, stock price appreciation, and credit rating.

Players who finish first in their institution’s BSG simulation exercise advance to the next level by receiving an invitation to participate in the Best-Strategy Invitational (BSI): a global competition among high-performing BSG companies from around the world.

Tokuuke’s team “K” competed within an industry that included teams from California, Nevada, Malaysia, Canada, Greece, Mexico, and Nigeria. He finished first in his industry by earning a perfect score of 100 in performance plus six bonus points for accurate forecasting.

“Mark approached the game very systematically. He put in the time to understand the algorithms, anticipated the likely moves of his competitors, and consistently planned and executed his strategy,” said Dr. Emmeline de Pillis, UH Hilo professor of management. “The strategy class is where the student has the opportunity to use everything they’ve been exposed to up to this point, and Mark was really able to show what he’s learned in the program. Congratulations to Mark on a job well done!”


Hawaii SNAP Program Receives Federal Award for Improved Access to Services

The State of Hawai’i Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Bonus of $724,139 for the most improved Program Access Index for fiscal year FY 2012.

EBT Card

“This award is the result of great work by the DHS Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD),” says DHS Deputy Director, Barbara Yamashita.  “It’s nice that the Federal SNAP program recognized the staff’s commitment to program integrity and customer service, and Hawaii’s improved performance.”

Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Hawaii SNAP recipients increased from 93,956 to more than 179,700 participants.  The DHS also was operating with a severely reduced workforce and limited program funding.  In some locations, timely application processing rates dropped to about 75%.

The DHS BESSD developed and implemented the Business Process Re-engineering Program (BPRP) in late 2011 to address the applications backlog. The BPRP converted the former Case Management system to a Process Management system. BESSD eligibility workers now consistently review and determine applicant eligibility within the federally-mandated period of 30 days; 7 days for emergencies.

“Through the BPRP and extraordinary staff effort, the DHS has significantly improved the timeliness of eligibility reviews and shortened the waiting period for individuals and families applying for SNAP benefits,” says BESSD Administrator, Pankaj Bhanot.  “Over the past year, timeliness rates across the state have hovered between 95% and 97%, and BESSD continues to exceed federal requirements.”

A Food and Nutrition Service representative is traveling to Hawaii to present an award plaque to BESSD on December 3, 2013.


Hilo’s Kawamoto Pool Closed Temporarily

Hilo’s Charles “Sparky” Kawamoto Swim Stadium will be closed Monday, October 28, through Thursday, October 31.

Showers for swimmers only

The temporary shutdown is necessary so workers may replace the pool’s sand-filter covers and repair leaks in the hose bib.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks pool users and the general public for their understanding and patience while the maintenance is being performed.

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

After Dark in The Park Programs for November

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 November. 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:

How Ecologists Pick a “Winning Team” in Forest Management. Natural ecosystems today are forever changed by the introduction and establishment of non-native species like never before. Some non-native species, however, may be playing important roles in the community in terms of providing ecosystem goods and services. Susan Cordell, senior scientist and research ecologist for the USDA Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, explains the objective of the agency’s lowland tropical wet forest restoration project.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Nov. 5 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

NPS photo

NPS photo

Poke, From the Ocean to Your Table. Join April Kekoa and Teana Kaho‘ohanohano as they share their knowledge of preparing this popular island dish. Poke (pronounced “po-keh”) means “to slice or cut.” As a food dish served as an appetizer or snack, it usually consists of bite-size pieces of raw, fresh fish mixed with seaweed and kukui nut relish. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Darlene Ahuna in Concert. Vocalist and musician Darlene Ahuna is one of the most esteemed ambassadors of Hawaiian music. She is best known for her seamless falsetto renditions of traditional Hawaiian, hula and hapa-haole standards, yet she conveys a mesmerizing style all her own. Bestowed with numerous Na Hōkū Hanohano awards for her vocals, Darlene is a mainstay at the Merrie Monarch Festival, and has represented the island of Hawai‘i while entrancing audiences in Japan, and across the U.S. mainland.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., Nov. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku Junior Ranger Day. Keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and explore the park’s southernmost section of Kahuku, in Ka‘ū. Connect the culture, people, and ‘āina through ‘oli, GPS, and compass on a short and easy walk. Ka‘ohu Monfort shares her knowledge and love of the island’s native medicinal plants and how they are used to heal and nourish. Bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants, jacket and closed-toe shoes. At least one adult must accompany the children. The event and lunch are free, but registration is required. Call (808) 985-6019 by Nov. 15. Co-sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center.
When: Sat., Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: The Kahuku Unit is located on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Meet near the parking area.

Rescheduled! 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. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Nov. 26 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

The Art of Lei Making. Join Patricia Kaula as she shares the art of lei making. Hawaiians use lei for blessing crops, adornment for hula dancers, in healing and sacred rituals, and much more. Lei can be made from many items, including leaves, flowers, shells and seeds, and is offered to express friendship, love, respect, and honor. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai