Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 81st Recruit Class Recognized Today

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 81st Recruit Class was recognized Friday (February 14) during ceremonies held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

81st Recruit Class (left to right) - Bottom row: Melissa K. D'Angelo, Bradley M. Llanes, Samuel P. Sagario, Duane J. Rapoza Jr., David D. Poʻohina, Luke W. Sitts, Alexis L. Molina, James M. Rinkor, Briana M. Boyce, Chad E. Fontes, Shane K. Hanley. Top row: Roberto J. Segobia, John G. Kari, Bryson S. Miyose, Paul J. Wright III, Gibson G. K. Kahele, Chandler B. Nacino, Jeremiah J. Hull, Ewoud A. Bezemer, Jacob M. Obermiller, Daniel K. Tam, Len K. Hamakado. (Click to Enlarge)

81st Recruit Class (left to right) – Bottom row: Melissa K. D’Angelo, Bradley M. Llanes, Samuel P. Sagario, Duane J. Rapoza Jr., David D. Poʻohina, Luke W. Sitts, Alexis L. Molina, James M. Rinkor, Briana M. Boyce, Chad E. Fontes, Shane K. Hanley. Top row: Roberto J. Segobia, John G. Kari, Bryson S. Miyose, Paul J. Wright III, Gibson G. K. Kahele, Chandler B. Nacino, Jeremiah J. Hull, Ewoud A. Bezemer, Jacob M. Obermiller, Daniel K. Tam, Len K. Hamakado. (Click to Enlarge)

The police recruits, who just completed six months of intensive training, will undergo four months of on-the-job field training with veteran police officers before they are qualified to work alone.

During Friday’s ceremony, Class President John G. Kari said the class started with 30 individuals from all walks of life who evolved into a cohesive unit of 22.

In recognition of Valentine’s Day, Police Chaplain Renee Godoy advised the recruits to “guard your heart” and Police Commission Chair John Bertsch talked about love and passion for the job. “Love means that we love what we do,” Bertsch said. “Passion means that we are passionate about what we do.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi congratulated the recruits for “having the courage to dream and the determination to make those dreams come true.” He told them that in addition to their commitment to their job, they should take care of themselves and appreciate their families. “The most important thing is not the job, it’s your family,” he said. “Always go home and hug them and tell them, ‘Thank you.’”

County Council Chairman J Yoshimoto told the recruits that the Police Department has the support of the council. “You have our gratitude and appreciation,” he said.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Christian Kimo Alameda, statewide director of the Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity, who provides “aloha training” to members of the police department. He stressed the importance of making positive choices. “I wish you guys the best,” he said. “It’s a tough world out there.”

During the ceremony, three officers received special recognition for excellence. They were Luke W. Sitts, who excelled in academic training, Daniel K. Tam who excelled in firearms training, and class Vice President Roberto J. Segobia, who excelled in physical fitness training.

The other members of the 81st Recruit Class are: Ewoud A. Bezemer, Briana M. Boyce, Melissa K. D’Angelo, Chad E. Fontes, Len K. Hamakado, Shane K. Hanley, Jeremiah J. Hull, Gibson G. K. Kahele, Bradley M. Llanes, Bryson S. Miyose, Alexis L. Molina, Chandler B. Nacino, Jacob M. Obermiller, David D. Poʻohina, Duane J. Rapoza Jr., James M. Rinkor, Samuel P. Sagario and Paul J. Wright III.

The class motto is “Pūpūkahi I Holomua,” which means “Unite to Move Forward.”

Hawaii Drivers License Exams Now Available in Variety of Languages Including Hawaiian

The state Department of Transportation (DOT), the City & County of Honolulu, along with Maui, Hawaii and Kauai Counties announce that beginning Monday, March 17, 2014, the state driver license exam will be available in a variety of languages.

Hawaii Drivers License Sample

In addition to English, twelve languages are being offered to better serve our diverse communities. The languages include the following: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tongan, Samoan, Tagalog, Ilocano, Hawaiian, Spanish, Chuukese and Marshallese.

Driver license exams are offered at the following locations:

City and County of Honolulu
• Kalihi-Kapalama – 1199 Dillingham Blvd., Driver Licensing A-101, (808) 532-7730
• Wahiawa – 330 North Cane St., (808) 621-7255
• Waianae – 85-670 Farrington Hwy., (808) 768-4222
• Kapolei – 1000 Ulu`ohi`a St., (808) 768-3100
• Koolau – 47-388 Hui Iwa St., Suite 19, (808) 239-6301

Maui County
• Kahului – 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Suite A-17 (Maui Mall Shopping Center), (808) 270-7363
• Kihei – 303 East Lipoa St., (808) 270-7363
• Lahaina – 900 Front St., Unit I-17, (808) 270-7363
• Pukalani – 91 Pukalani St. (Hannibal Tavares Community Center), (808) 270-7363
• Hana – Hana Hwy. and Uakea Rd. (County Public Works Office), (808) 248-7280
• Lanai – 309 Seventh St. #101, (808) 565-7878
• Molokai – 100 Ailoa St. (Mitchell Pauole Center), (808) 553-3430

Hawaii County
• Hilo – 349 Kapiolani St., (808) 961-2222
• Kona – 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. (West Hawaii Civic Center), (808) 323-4800
• Waimea – 67-5185 Kamammalu St. (808) 887-3087
• Pahoa – 15-2615 Keaau-Pahoa Rd., (808) 965-2721

Kauai County
• Lihue – 4444 Rice St.,Suite A-480, (808) 241-4242

Ka’u Coffee Festival Schedule and Information

The Ka‘u Coffee Festival celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events that kickoff May 2 and culminate the weekend of May 10-11 with a ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday and coffee “college” on Sunday. Serving as an economic stimulus for the rural Ka‘u region, the festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Kau Coffee FestivalOn Friday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Pa‘ina Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House with Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce to kick off 10 days of activities for the 2014 Ka‘u Coffee Festival. Music, hula with Halau Hula O Leionalani, food and house tours. Donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 3 Taste Success: 4th Annual Ka‘u  Farmers’ Table at Kalaekilohana Inn and Retreat features locally sourced fine dining, premium live entertainment, and has been sold out three years running. Advance only tickets are $75 at www.kau-hawaii.com.

On Sunday, May 4 the Triple C Recipe offers competition in cookies, candies and crackers at 12:00 noon, all made with provided Ka‘u coffee. Attendance and coffee tasting are free; find contest entry info at kaucoffeemill.com.

Also on Sunday, May 4 doors open 6 p.m. for the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. For more information visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday May 7 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $40 includes lunch. Limited to 30. Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday May 9 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm at 10 a.m., where descendants of the first coffee farmer in Ka‘u explain how coffee is integrated into other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday May 9 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments. To sign up, see www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 10 tantalize your taste buds at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours at the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience with guided coffee tasting $5; farm tours $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 11 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. Free, donations appreciated. Also farm/ mill tours continue. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park “After Dark in the Park” Events for March

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 March. 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:

Lava flows erupted from the Northeeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa on March 25, 1984. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo

Lava flows erupted from the Northeeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa on March 25, 1984. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo

From Ka‘ū to Kona: Stories of Lava Flows and Volcanic Landscapes. While driving between Ka‘ū and Kona, have you ever wondered about the prominent lava flows you see along Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Māmalahoa Highways?  If so, you are invited to join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists Jim Kauahikaua and Janet Babb on a virtual road trip, during which they will talk about the origin and history of lava flows along Highways 11 and 190, and recount the stories of people impacted by the eruptions that created the volcanic landscape we see today. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

‘Ohe Kapala Demonstration. ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, were utilized to present many unique designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa.  Today, these exceptional designs are being used as patterns on all types of fabric. Join Keiko Mercado as she demonstrates how ‘ohe (bamboo) are 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., March 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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 the 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 eight years old with his ‘ohana, including his uncle, George Lanakilakeikiahiali‘i Na‘ope. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., March 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Mauna Loa: Eruptive History and Current Status of Earth’s Largest Active Volcano. March 25, 2014, marks the 30th anniversary of the most recent eruption of Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth. Mauna Loa comprises more than half of the surface area of Hawai‘i Island, and 95 percent of this volcano is covered with lava flows less than 10,000 years old.  Since 1843, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times – and when it erupts, fast-moving and voluminous lava flows can reach the ocean in a matter of hours, severing roads and utilities, repaving the flanks of the volcano, and building new land.  Join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Frank Trusdell as he talks about the eruptive history and current status of Mauna Loa, an active volcano that will undoubtedly erupt again—perhaps in your lifetime.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Uhana Lauhala. Learn to weave a star from leaves of the pandanus tree. Join members of ‘Aha Pūhala o Puna as they share the art of lauhala weaving to perpetuate this Hawaiian art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., March 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Awards $1.5 Million for Charter Schools

The Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to seventeen Hawaiian-focused public charter schools for the 2013-2014 school year to address the budgetary shortfalls the schools have continued to face over the past five years.

The Nā Lei Na‘auao – Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance (NLN) is truly grateful for OHA’s continued commitment to support these unique values-based models of education, that are at once ancient and modern. The schools’ successes validate NLN’s capacity to design and control the process of education dedicated to perpetuating Hawai‘i’s language, culture and traditions. The process helps the native learning communities honor the past, address the present and serve the future.

Haunani Seward, the Director of Ke Kula Ni’ihau ‘o Kekaha on Kaua’i explains, “Our culture is defined by our values.  When we learn our genealogy, we honor our ancestors.  When we recognize a place as piko, we aloha ʻāina.  Accepting and recognizing our leadership roles is kuleana and we mālama these relationships.  These beliefs are the kaula or rope that binds us together.  NLN captures this kaula, creating relevant curricula for today’s haumāna.  Whether through language, reforestation, hula drama, or sailing canoes, the outcome is ultimately the same – passing on these important cultural values.”

An innovative, culturally-driven educational approach, known as EA-Education with Aloha presents unprecedented potential to address the distinctive needs of Hawai’i’s largest, most undereducated major ethnic population.  The success of EA-Education with Aloha is also an indicator that Hawaiians can design, implement and evaluate quality models of education and that public school children in Hawai’i, particularly native Hawaiian students, should be given an option to choose Hawaiian-focused ways of education.  Furthermore through public, private partnerships and sharing of resources, we can develop a parallel system of education that is culturally-driven, family-oriented and community-based for all Hawai’i nei.

Research have confirmed that Hawaiians in charter schools perform better on standardized reading and math tests and are significantly less chronically absent than Hawaiians in standard public schools. NLN schools have high levels of school engagement and positive achievements due to culturally-grounded, strength-based approaches, which are sensitive to student and family needs.

Co-Administrator Allyson Tamura of Kanu o ka ‘Äina New Century Public Charter School (KANU), located in Waimea on the island of Hawai’i, is extremely appreciative for OHA’s continued support of Hawaiian-focused public charter schools.  “OHA’s support allows KANU to remain steadfast to our school’s vision and mission, positively impacting our students, staff, their families and our community.  Mahalo nui loa!”

OHA’s generous funding will support over 4,000 students at seventeen Hawaiian-focused public charter schools with enrollments that are up to 90-percent Hawaiian. These schools are located on the islands of Kauai, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i and Hawai’i Island.

OHA is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawai‘i State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawai‘i. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation.

Kamehameha Schools to Purchase Buildings and Land Comprising the Hualalai Academy’s Campus – Kamehameha Schools Kona Campus???

Leaders from Kamehameha Schools and Hualalai Academy have signed a Letter of Intent that allows for a due diligence period for Kamehameha Schools to purchase the buildings and land comprising the Hualalai Academy’s campus.

Hualalai Academy

Hualalai Academy

“We only recently learned that this property was available to purchase so we are not prepared at this time to share more details,” said Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of Kamehameha Schools. “I can say, though, that we recognize and appreciate the good work and effort that the leadership, faculty and staff have dedicated to the Academy over the years in serving their community.”

Dr. Matthew James, President of Hualalai’s Board of Directors said, “We have as our priority the closure of our school in the best of ways, allowing us to meet our obligations to our students and families, our teachers and staff through the end of the school year. Having an offer from Kamehameha Schools is good news in that it allows us to cement our plans to successfully complete our school year and close school operations prior to turning over the facility.”

“We are excited by this opportunity,” CEO Mailer added. “However, our due diligence is just beginning and there is much to do before we conclude this transaction. In the meantime, we send our aloha and best wishes to the entire Hualalai Academy ‘ohana and the community they serve as they complete this most important school year.”

Governor Abercrombie Names Dr. Linda Rosen as Department of Health Director

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Dr. Linda Rosen as director of the Department of Health (DOH). Dr. Rosen’s appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation.

Dr. Linda Rosen

Dr. Linda Rosen

“Linda has more than 30 years of experience in the medical field and has held administrative positions for more than a decade,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Drawing from existing leadership within the Health Department, I have full confidence that Linda will continue the significant progress realized under late Director Loretta Fuddy for the remainder of her term.”

With the DOH since 2000, Dr. Rosen has served as medical director of the Family Health Services Division and Pediatric Emergency Services, deputy director for Health Resources Administration and, most recently, chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, where she was responsible for administering a comprehensive emergency medical services system, including 911 ambulance services, trauma system development and community injury prevention.

Dr. Rosen is a pediatrician by training, working in the emergency and critical care and neonatology departments at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children from 1985 to 2000. She has also been a faculty member of the John A. Burns School of Medicine since 1987, as assistant and associate professor of pediatrics, and is currently an associate clinical professor of pediatrics and surgery.

Serving on a number of health boards and committees, Dr. Rosen is particularly passionate about reducing death, disability and health disparities through the application of a comprehensive public health approach to illness and injury, focusing on primary prevention and risk reduction.

A graduate of Punahou School, Dr. Rosen earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, a medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

37 Facilities in Hawaii Reported 2.7 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Being Released in 2012

Nationally, total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report and Pacific Southwest state fact sheets published today.

In Hawaii, a total of 37 facilities reported a total of 2.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2012. Hawaii’s total reported on-site and off-site releases increased when compared to 2011 data.

Highlights of data from 2012 in Hawaii show that since 2011:

  • Air: Air releases increased 2 percent
  • Water: Water releases increased 6 percent
  • On-Site Land: On-site land releases increased 46 percent.
  • Underground Injection: Underground Injection releases increased 21 percent
  • Off-Site Transfers: Total off-site transfers have decreased 9 percent

For detailed Hawaii information and the state’s Top 5 releasing facilities please see the state fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/region9/tri/report/12/tri-2012-hawaii-report.pdf

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“Our yearly analysis of chemicals being used by industry helps residents understand which chemicals are used in their neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This year we have enhanced our fact sheet system to aid in getting TRI information about specific locations.”

New for this year is an updated fact sheet system that allows users to explore customized data. Scroll down at the link www.epa.gov/tri to enter your zip code, city, or county, and the new tool will create a fact sheet to show you toxic releases near you.

The annual TRI report provides citizens with critical information about their communities. The TRI Program collects data on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water, and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country.

The TRI data reports are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Many of the releases from facilities that are subject to TRI reporting are regulated under other EPA program requirements designed to limit harm to human health and the environment.

Release data alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. TRI data, in conjunction with other information, such as the toxicity of the chemical, the release medium (e.g., air), and site-specific conditions, may be used to evaluate exposures from releases of toxic chemicals.

Tomorrow! Kamehameha Schools Hawai’i Ho’olaule’a

Ho'olaulea 2014

Mahalo to the following companies for donating to the silent auction various gift certificates:

  • Black Rock Cafe
  • Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
  • Dahana Ranch Horseback Ride
  • Fun Factory
  • Divas Boutique
  • Hana Hou Photography
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Hawaiian Style Cafe
  • HBW Banners & Wraps
  • Hilo Bay Cafe
  • Hilo Hawaiian Hotel
  • Hilo Rice Noodle
  • Hualalai Resort Spa Massage
  • Imiloa
  • Kaleo’s Bar & Grill
  • KTA
  • HELCO credit
  • Kuhio Grille
  • BI Toyota Detail
  • Lyman Museum
  • Macy’s
  • Maui Divers Jewelry
  • Miyo’s
  • Nagareda Chiropractic
  • Natural Beauty Spa & Massage
  • Pizza Hawaii & Deli
  • Roy’s Waikoloa
  • Thirty-One Bag
  • Waipio Ride The Rim
  • Longs Drugs

The following items will also be available to bid on:

  • Big Island Delights
  • Big Island Candies
  • Handmade Ceramic Trivets
  • Hand Crafted Jewelry
  • Ceramics
  • Jade Bracelets
  • Dooney & Burke Drawstring Purse
  • Lots of various artwork
  • Poi Board
  • Poi Pounder
  • Lauhala Hat
  • Lots of KOA & hand crafted wood items!
  • Manuheali’i totes
  • Sig Zane Hat & shirts
  • Scenty Gift Basket
  • Pipipi Shell Leis
  • Handmade quilt piece
  • Handcrafted Hawaiian shirts
  • Konane Board
  • Ka’u Coffee
  • Hawaiian Rainforest Gift Pack
  • Wooden Walking Sticks

And more!!! Come check it out in the dining hall stage area.

DLNR and NOAA Fisheries Ask Public’s Help to Protect Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are advising people to be “dolphin smart.”To avoid potential harassment of spinner dolphins, ocean and beach goers should keep the recommended distance of 150 feet (50 yards) when observing dolphins in the wild. Hawaiian spinner dolphins move near shore into bays and coves during the day to rest, care for their young, and avoid predators. During this time it is important not to disturb them as these activities are critical to their survival. At night they move offshore to feed.

Dolphin Smart

“It is tempting to approach and interact with these animals; however, research has shown that these interactions can interfere with their natural behavior and could have population-wide effects,”said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator Michael Tosatto added: “Close interactions with the dolphins are not only potentially harmful to them, but can lead to harassment, which is illegal. By following the responsible viewing guidelines, we can limit the impacts our activities may have on the animals.”

Spinner dolphins are named for their unique behavior of leaping out of the water and spinning in the air. These social animals travel in groups of 10, 100 or more and are believed to live over 20 years.

They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which prohibits the “take”of marine mammals. “Take”means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

DLNR and NOAA Fisheries encourage all ocean users to follow Dolphin SMART guidelines, which are:

  • Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
  • Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance
  • Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near
  • Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins
  • Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

The Dolphin SMART program recognizes commercial tour operators that voluntarily adhere to responsible guidelines. For more information and a list of approved businesses, visit www.dolphinsmart.org.

Report any violations of the MMPA to NOAA Fisheries’Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

Hawai‘i Bidding for Major Conservation Gathering Event Would Be a First for the U.S

As a four-person delegation representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visits Hawaii this week, the state is showcasing its position as the anchor of the Pacific in a bid to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. The congress is the world’s leading summit on the environment.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A Hawai‘i-hosted congress would be the first time it has been held in the United States since the founding of IUCN in 1948, and the event would provide a unique opportunity to share with the world, the state and nation’s values and dedication to conserving nature on both national and international levels. As many as 8,000 delegates are expected to attend the 2016 meeting.

“Based on our success hosting the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference, I believe we have a compelling case as to why the United States and Hawaii provide the ideal venue to host this gathering,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The Aloha State is the anchor of the Pacific, and our bid is financially competitive and highlights the unique benefits of our location and host culture. We’re encouraging the IUCN evaluating team to review all that Hawai‘i has to offer for this preeminent conference.”

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

“IUCN has been fortunate to always receive strong invitations to host our World Conservation Congresses and the 2016 Congress is no exception. There are two excellent candidates in the running to host the event: Honolulu, Hawai‘i, United States of America and Istanbul, Turkey.

We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Hawai‘i and thank the team for their warm welcome throughout the site visit. The IUCN Council will make a decision regarding the venue and hosts of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in May 2014,”said Dr. Enrique Lahmann, Global Director, Union Development Group; Congress Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

The delegation is receiving broad exposure to a wide-range of the natural and cultural attributes of the Hawaiian Islands through site visits on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, as well as meetings and receptions with government, hospitality industry, conservation and Native Hawaiian leaders. A cross-discipline, multi-agency organizing team, led by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), is showing the delegation convention facilities, transportation, lodging and security infrastructure, attractions and meeting/marketing expertise. Members of the IUCN evaluating team also received a 107 page-long Hawai‘i Nature + Aloha, Imagine 2016 proposal, which documents broad support for the conference and includes in-depth detail about the Aloha State’s bid for the event.

DLNR Chairperson William Aila said, “With environmental and conservation issues very much at the forefront of worldwide attention, Hawai‘i is in a unique position to demonstrate what we are doing to advance conservation issues like climate change, watershed management, coral reef protection, and traditional knowledge. Having Hawai‘i host the 2016 Congress will show the world how our core values of Aloha Aina connect to nature and our diversity.”

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome the IUCN Site Visit Team to Hawai‘i,”said Chipper Wichman, director of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and CEO and co-chair of the Hawai‘i IUCN 2016 Steering Committee. This is a diverse group of individuals and organizations who have been working for the past five years to bring the IUCN World Conservation Congress to Hawai‘i. “Our state is a world leader in biocultural conservation, and Gov. Abercrombie has put together a dynamic group led by William Aila and Esther Kia‘āina from the DLNR to host the IUCN team and show them the facilities and organizations that make Hawai‘i the best location for the world to convene and discuss global conservation issues. It has been an amazing week so far –we are leaving the IUCN delegation with a strong and lasting impression of Hawai‘i.”

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Hosts for the IUCN delegation are demonstrating that Hawai‘i is a destination where “hospitality is not a sideline.”The IUCN World Congress bid has the full support of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC). During this week the delegation is having meetings with HCC staff and management and many of Hawai‘i’s leading HTA-member hospitality providers. Both HTA and HCC have been working for the past five years to support the bid process.

Kupuna Talk-Story Night Offered

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation cordially invites the public to a “Kupuna Talk-Story Night: Perpetuating the Art of Storytelling” event at 5:30 p.m. Friday, February 28, at Waiākea-Uka Park in Hilo.

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Noted kupuna will share their first-hand stories of old Hawai‘i. Admission is free. Families and individuals of all ages are welcome.

Waiākea-Uka Park is located at 1200 Ainaola Drive and includes Stanley Costales Gymnasium. The talk-story session will be held on the gym’s lanai.

For more details, please call Mark Osorio at 959-9474.

 

New Playground Equipment Being Added at Kailua Park

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce the upcoming installation of new children’s playground equipment at Kailua Park, also known as Old Airport Park, in Kailua-Kona.

The A.J. Watt Gymnasium in Mt. View. This playground is similar to the one being added at Kailua Park.

The A.J. Watt Gymnasium in Mt. View. This playground is similar to the one being added at Kailua Park.

Construction work will start Tuesday, February 18, and is expected to be completed by the end of May.

While the park will remain open, the existing playground will be removed and therefore unavailable for use. To protect the public, the contractor’s work area will be fenced off. Park users are advised to be aware of construction activity and equipment.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its cooperation, patience and understanding as it provides enhanced recreational opportunities for the island’s keiki.

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

House Bill 2533 Moves for Citizen-Funded Elections

The House Committee on the Judiciary today passed legislation that would revive Hawaii’s old partial public funding program for elections, which was originally implemented in 1980 by a mandate from citizens during the Constitutional Convention.

HB 2533

Representative Karl Rhoads (D – dist 29), Judiciary Chariman, said “Today was an important step in moving HB 2533 through the legislative process.  I’m hopeful that by the end of the legislative session we’ll have a viable public financing option for House candidates.”

House Bill 2533 would create a citizen-funding option for state House elections.  Last year a similar bill, HB1481, made it to the final hour of a Conference Committee, where it was stopped, but carried over to the 2014 Legislative Session and is still alive.  Advocates are counting on one of these bills to pass this year.

According to Carmille Lim, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, “This bill is one of the most significant democracy reform measures currently before the Hawaii Legislature. HB2533 has the potential to change Hawaii’s political landscape by requiring the candidates who opt-in to this program to focus on the concerns of the average constituent, instead of large donations from the wealthy donors and special interests who currently have a stronghold on Hawaii’s politics.”

A similar experimental program was implemented on the Big Island for County Council elections in 2010 and 2012 and was considered a success by citizens and candidates.

House Bill 2533 would allow candidates to go out and collect 200 signatures, accompanied with $5 donations, from voters in their districts, in exchange for a sum of money from the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund with which to run their campaigns.  The Election Fund, a special trust fund, currently has $2.9 million dollars and was established during the ’78 Constitutional Convention for the purpose of limiting the influence of private money on the lawmaking process.

“Delegates in the ’79 Constitutional Convention knew that big donations would corrupt politics, and they were visionary when they created the citizen-funded elections program,” said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii.  “Over time, legislators have let the program decay in favor of more private funding, so we applaud the legislators who are making an effort to revive this epic law,” he said.

The Election Fund is funded by an option three dollar check-off on state income tax forms.  The three dollars is allocated from tax money that an individual would already pay to the state.

Robert Harris, executive director of the Sierra Club agrees with the bill’s advocates.  “Developers and polluters pour millions of dollars into elections every year,” said Robert Harris, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii. “Clean elections help ensure smart growth development and clean water for all of Hawaii’s residents.”