Governor Abercrombie on the Big Island Tomorrow

Governor Neil Abercrombie will be at the Laupahoehoe School Band Room TOMORROW TUESDAY June 17th from 4-6PM to talk story with the community.

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Please join the Governor for light refreshments with family, friends and neighbors to discuss issues that matter to you and other community members in the North Hilo District.
For more information please call 808-498-4272

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Members to Tourism, Land Boards

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Sean Dee to the board of directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Wesley Furtado to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR). Both are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval. The term for Dee’s at-large HTA seat begins July 1, while Furtado’s at-large BLNR seat is effective immediately.

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“Sean and Wes are proven leaders who each bring extensive knowledge and insight to state government,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I am confident their experience and leadership will be vital in guiding state government as we work to sustain our thriving visitor industry and manage and protect our natural assets.”

Sean Dee of Honolulu is currently executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group, Hawaii’s largest locally owned hotel company, and has more than 67 years in Hawaii’s visitor industry. As a key member of Outrigger’s leadership team, he is responsible for developing and deploying global marketing and brand strategies for the company’s portfolio of premier resorts and accommodation choices in Hawaii and across the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. From 2009 to 2013, Dee served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of global branding for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. While at AEG, Dee was appointed to the board of directors and executive committee for L.A. Inc. (now known as Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board), a nonprofit that oversees all tourism and convention center sales and marketing efforts on behalf of the city and county of Los Angeles. Prior to AEG, Dee was chief marketing officer for Hard Rock International, Inc. from 2004 to 2009, global digital marketing director and vice president of brand marketing at Levi Strauss & Co. from 1996 to 2002, and vice president and director of digital development at Foote, Cone & Belding from 1989 to 1996. Dee earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University.

Wesley Furtado, a resident of Kailua, brings to the BLNR more than 26 years of work experience at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Since 2000, he has been ILWU International Vice President, Hawaii, responsible for directing and administering ILWU programs and policies at both a national and local level in Hawaii. In addition, he works with the state’s ILWU affiliates, Locals 142 and 160, along with the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, Hawaii Region. Furtado is a member of the ILWU International Executive Board and participates on the ILWU Local 142 Executive Board. He is also a member of the Executive Boards of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO and the Asian Pacific Labor Alliance. A second generation longshoreman, Furtado was a shop steward, longshore unit officer and longshore negotiating committee member. An ILWU organizer from 1987 to 1989, he worked on and led campaigns to organize workers in Hawaii in various industries. From 1989 to 2000, Furtado was an international representative for ILWU, organizing companies and negotiating first contracts and contract renewals.

EPA Settlement with Destination Maui Will Fund Blood Lead Testing for 350 Children

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement valued at $55,000 with Destination Maui, Inc. for failing to notify its tenants about the potential presence of lead-based paint at eight properties located on Maui.

EPA LOGO“More than half a million children in America have blood lead levels that can lead to learning disabilities and behavior problems,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Household paint is the main source of exposure, so it’s crucial for landlords to provide tenants the information they need to protect their families from lead poisoning.”

In addition to a fine of $5,500, Destination Maui will spend approximately $49,500 to fund the testing of 350 children for lead exposure and provide blood lead analysis equipment to three community health clinics operated by Malama I Ke Ola Health Center on Maui that serve low income and homeless residents. The blood testing program will take place over the next three years, and will target uninsured children under the age of 6 years old.

An EPA inspection found that the firm did not provide information about the potential presence of lead based paint before leasing eight properties in Kahului, Kihei, Wailuku, Lahaina, Makawao, Kula, and Haiku. These actions violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

The inspection was one of several conducted at property management firms in May 2011 throughout Maui that rent older housing that may have a risk of lead hazards. EPA places a high priority on addressing environmental health risks like lead poisoning that disproportionately affect children and environmental justice communities. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, and other harmful health effects. Because such effects may not be immediately apparent in young children, testing is recommended to identify lead poisoning and take action to prevent further harm.

The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Federal law requires that persons and entities that sell or rent housing built before 1978, such as the units managed by Destination Maui involved in this case, provide lead hazard information to buyers or tenants. In addition, contractors who work on such housing or child-occupied facilities must be certified by EPA if they perform significant renovation, repair, or painting.

For additional information on lead in paint and the Toxic Substances Control Act requirements, please visit the EPA website at http://www2.epa.gov/lead

New Findings Show Hawaii High and Middle School Students Improve Health Behaviors

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DOE), and University of Hawaii (UH) have released new findings from the 2013 Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for the state and all four counties.

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Administered to public non-charter school students in grades 6-12 throughout the state every two years, the YRBS is the only survey that monitors youth health risk behaviors on a regular basis. The next administration of the Hawaii YRBS will be conducted in spring 2015.

“The YRBS is an important tool to identify focus areas for prevention and treatment efforts,” said Health Director Linda Rosen. “The longstanding collaboration between the DOH, DOE, and UH provides an excellent data tracking system to monitor student health risk behaviors and target interventions where they are most needed,”

“Not all student health risk behaviors are obvious,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This data provides information that our educators can use to reinforce and advise our students in making positive choices.”

Findings from the Hawaii YRBS indicate that since 2011, there have been positive changes in many student health behaviors; however, there is still room for improvement.

Physical fighting has declined, with 17 percent of high school and 22 percent of middle school students reporting that they were in a fight at least once during the past 12 months.
Marijuana use remains steady with 19 percent of high school and 8 percent of middle school students reporting use in the past 30 days.
Fewer students are binge drinking, but 25 percent of high school and 10 percent of middle school students report drinking some alcohol in the past 30 days.
The percentage of high school students who report attempting suicide in the past 12 months remains at 11 percent, while the percentage of middle school students who report attempting suicide increased to 12 percent.

For the first time, the Hawaii High School YRBS gathered information on texting and emailing by adolescents while driving. Findings indicate that the use of technology while driving continues to put youth at risk.

Among students who drove a car, 43 percent reported texting or emailing while driving during the past 30 days.

The Hawaii YRBS 2013 data also indicate varied trends in obesity-related behaviors, such as excessive screen time, physical activity, diet, and sleep.

The percentage of high school (42 percent) and middle school (41 percent) students who report using a computer for something that was not school work for three or more hours per day on an average school day has been increasing since 2007.
The percentage of high schools students who met the national recommendation for physical activity (at least 60 minutes per day on each of the past seven days) remains steady at 22 percent and the percentage of middle school students meeting this goal increased to 32 percent.
Only 27 percent of high school and 55 percent of middle school students indicate that they are getting eight or more hours of sleep on an average school night.
Soda consumption continues to decrease, with 30 percent of high school students reporting that they did not drink any sugar-sweetened soda in the past seven days.

Survey procedures were designed to protect students’ privacy by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation. Before survey administration, active parental permission was obtained. Students completed the self-administered questionnaire during one class period and recorded their responses directly on a computer-scannable answer sheet.

The Hawaii YRBS is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For a comparison of Hawai‘i data to the nation, visit http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx.

For more information on the Hawaii YRBS visit http://health.hawaii.gov/school-health/health-survey/ or http://apps.hidoe.k12.hi.us/research/Pages/YRBS.aspx.

The full survey report, more detailed data reports by county, gender, grade and race/ethnicity, and the survey questionnaires are available at the Hawaii Health Data Warehouse website at www.hhdw.org.

Educator Effectiveness System to See Changes in School Year 2014-15

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing several major changes to the Educator Effectiveness System (EES) to take effect in the upcoming school year.

DOE ReleaseThe changes reflect the DOE’s commitment to reduce burden on teachers and administrators, and are designed to simplify the EES, streamline its components and differentiate the approach for teachers based on need.

Last Fall, an EES Joint Committee was developed specifically to review the EES. The Committee includes the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), teachers, principals, administrators, technical experts and Complex Area and state staff, who met regularly throughout the past school year. The Joint Committee met with DOE leaders this week and the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Government Association (HGEA) to review proposed changes to the EES, which were sent to Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi on Friday, June 6.

“The Department will continue to collaborate with educators to further improve the EES, these changes are just the beginning to refining this system and ultimately, elevating student achievement,” stated Superintendent Matayoshi. “We appreciate the work of the Joint Committee, and all of the feedback from our principals and teachers to guide us on what best practices work in our schools. We will continue to convene feedback groups and plan a formal review and feedback process for the following school year.”

“The HSTA is pleased that the DOE has committed to improve the EES,” said HSTA President Wil Okabe. “The EES Joint Committee of HSTA and DOE members has collaboratively worked together throughout this process to assess the system and provide the Superintendent with recommendations that reflect input and concerns from all stakeholders. Our goal is to make sure that every child in Hawaii has access to great public schools and teachers. We look forward to continuing to work with the DOE to improve an evaluation system that improves the practice of teaching and student learning to produce real results.”

Based on lessons learned and feedback gathered from schools, the Department is implementing a series of 18 changes for school year 2014-15, including:

  • Differentiating the number of required classroom observations based on need from twice annually to 0 for highly effective teachers; 1 or more for effective teachers, and 2 or more for marginal, unsatisfactory, or beginning teachers. Overall this means approximately 9,000 fewer classroom observations, reducing the observation workload by almost 50 percent.
  • Providing the approximately 1,800 teachers rated highly effective in SY13-14 the option to carryover their rating in lieu of repeating the evaluation.
  • Reducing the administration of the Tripod Student Survey from twice to once annually, eliminating the survey for grades K-2, and eliminating the demographic questions from the survey. Overall this means approximately 11,700 fewer survey administrations, or a 63 percent reduction in administered surveys.
  • Reducing, for most teachers, the number of required Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) from two to one annually. Overall, this means approximately 12,400 fewer required SLOs.
  • Removing the student survey as an independent component with a stand-alone rating and embedding it as subcomponent under Core Professionalism.
  • Providing flexibility within Working Portfolio and SLOs, particularly for non-classroom teachers, to reflect job duties.
  • Improving Student Growth Percentile (SGP) to replace a percentile ranking of teachers with anchors in criterion and building in a margin of error.

Principal Linell Dilwith of Stevenson Middle said, “These EES changes will make the work at the school level more manageable and ensure that we are focused on quality, not quantity. I am glad the Superintendent listened to the voices in the field.”

HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira stated, “We are encouraged by the changes proposed by the EES Joint Committee and the opportunity for the HGEA Unit 6 Board to submit recommendations to the Superintendent. We look forward to continuing to work with the department to implement changes that will ensure the workload of principals and vice principals is manageable. Addressing the educational officers’ need for adequate systemic supports with their increasing responsibilities has been and continues to be an important issue for the HGEA.”

Some areas of future improvement include a possible cycling of evaluations; reducing the weight of the SGP and improvements to the methods and technology used to collect, store, and report information. The Department is also exploring improvements to simplify, streamline, and differentiate the implementation of the other 6 Priority Strategies.

The EES began in the school year 2011-12 as a pilot in 18 schools, and then expanded to 81 schools in the 2012-13 school year. As the EES was implemented in schools, the Department solicited feedback from a variety of sources developed specifically for EES feedback, including a Teacher Leader Workgroup, Joint Committee, Technical Advisory Group and Principal Workgroup.

To learn more about the EES, please visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Kona International Airport Dedicates New Aircraft Rescue & Fire-Fighting Station

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT) celebrated the dedication of a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at the Kona International Airport last week. The new 24,000 square-foot facility includes five truck bays and a fueling area, along with improved work and living areas for firefighters, office space, dorm rooms and a workout area.

Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) station at the Kona International Airport

“The new ARFF station will enhance our readiness capabilities and help to ensure that our fire-fighters are prepared should emergencies occur at Kona International Airport,” said Ross Higashi, Deputy Director of the Airports Division. “This vital facility will help us to continue to provide a safe environment for our air travelers.”

Nearly 88-percent of the project funding for design and construction was provided by an Airport Improvements Program grant for $17 million, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. State funds covered the remaining $2.3 million. The new station replaces the existing ARFF station which was originally built in 1980.

“In conjunction with the Kona FAA Air Traffic Control Tower, which recently opened one year ago, this new station reflects our commitment towards making our state airports safer and more efficient,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Interim Director. “These projects pave the way for future improvements at Kona International as part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects.”

Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Names Spring 2014 Dean’s List

The following students from The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have been named to the Dean’s List for Spring semester 2014.

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The Class of 2014 was performing clinical rotations and therefore this designation does not apply.

Class of 2015
Brianne Blakesley*, Andrea Brauer*, Richard Cleave, Chao Cox*, Le Du, Jozelle Gabriel*, Davis Hanai*, Daniel Hasegawa*, Kelly Ishizuka*, Brian John, Tiffany Khan*, Traci Kusaka*, Daniel Leong*, Wei Lin*, Kristina Lo*, Chelsea Murobayashi, Tracy Ng*, Darian Oshiro, Alysia Osugi*, Jessica Parker, Jarred Prudencio*, Garrett Rhodes, Lindsey Takara*, Trina Tran*, Jill Anne Villarosa*, Nichole Wilson*, Akio Yanagisawa*
(* denotes achieving Dean’s List every semester since first year)

Class of 2016
Amy Anderson, Allen Bagalso, Lance Cabanting, David Choe, Chau Dang, Walter Domingo, Ornella Fassu, Bryce Fukunaga, Sisay Kenfe Girmay, Jerilyn Gudoy, Alexander Guimaraes, Samantha Hanabaga, John Hoang, Melissa Iida, Okezie Irondi, Leilani Isozaki, Blake Johnson, Micah KimHan, Thao Le, Quynh Le, Uoc Le, Nancy Le, Tina Liu, Melissa Monette, Raymond Okaniwa, Sarah Osellame, Joson Perreira, Kasia Quintal, Eric Sanders, Arnold Sano, Huong-Thy Ta, Andy Takahata, Mireya Talavera, Jynelle Tangonan, Christopher Thai, Carlo Tiano, Eric Tsuji, Brandon Tuzon, Kimberly Victorine, Kevin Wang, Andy Wong

Class of 2017
Sean Abreu, Trenton Aoki, Lena Asano, Robert Bautista, Megan Calderwood, Christopher Cao, Rhea Castro, Nicole Chin, Ronnijean Delenia, Christopher Diaz, Andy Diep, Nicholas Ferreira, Audrey Fung, Dann Hirayasu, David Khan, Shaun Lasky, Lauren Levine, Caleb Malinski, Sean Menda, Kevin Meno, Kelsea Mizusawa, Lauryn Mow, Loc Ngo, Phuc Nguyen, Kimberlee Roseman, Nadine So, Lillian Tran, Deandra Viluan, Hoa Vo, Brenda Yuen, Zi Zhang

Big Island Police Searching for Missing Pahoa Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 49-year-old Pāhoa man who was reported missing.

Yuriy Shvydkova

Yuriy Shvydkova

Yuriy Shvydkova is described as 6-feet tall and 300 pounds, with medium-length partially gray hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion. He may be operating a 2005 White Nissan Sentra.

He was last seen in Nanawale early on the morning of Monday, June 9.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.