Finance Committee Passes Budget Bill to Fund Kona Courthouse

The House Committee on Finance passed today its drafts of several budget bills, including the budgets for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the Judiciary and the Executive operating and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

Kona Judiciary

Kona Judiciary

 

Included in the CIP allocations is $55 million to fully fund the Kona Judiciary Project, which received partial funding in the last biennium. With this final allocation, the project would be able to finally move forward and begin construction.

“As a member of the House Finance Committee, I helped to ensure that the House position is to fully fund the courthouse this year. Hopefully, the Senate will leave the funding in there. West Hawaii has been waiting a long time for this and if we continue to wait, costs will increase and conditions in the current facilities will continue to deteriorate. It’s crucial to get this project funded this year,” said Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6 – Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa).

The budget bills will now move to the House floor for a full vote, and then to the Senate for their consideration.

Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawaii: Artistic Perspectives of Hawaii

The Lyman Museum will present a new special exhibit to the public from April 17, 2015 through September 19, 2015.  The exhibit, Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawai`i: Artistic Perspectives of Hawai`i, will bring together paintings, prints, and photographs from the 18th to the 21st centuries, covering five major themes:  The Time of Contact, Hawaiian Royalty, Hawaiian Culture, The Volcano, and Hawaiian Landscape.

Halemaumau Crater in Kilauea Caldera, by D. Howard Hitchcock, 1893.

Halemaumau Crater in Kilauea Caldera, by D. Howard Hitchcock, 1893.

Each section will include a selection of paintings, most from the permanent collection of the Lyman Museum and some on loan for the exhibit.  The paintings featured are by artists from the time of Cook’s visit until the recent past.  Contemporary photographs will provide a recent perspective on similar themes from two local photography organizations, the Kona Camera Club and the Hilo Photo Club.

Since 1778, when the Resolution and the Discovery under Captain James Cook made contact with the thriving culture and beautiful islands of Hawai`i, artists have been using their skills to bring their perspectives of “paradise” to a wide audience.  Some of the works will be familiar to many, and others have never been seen before in any exhibit.  Many of the works of art in the special exhibit have come to the Museum through the generous bequest of Donn Carlsmith.  Others have been donated to the Museum by a number of individuals and some have been loaned specifically for this exhibit.  The Isaacs Art Center of Hawai`i Preparatory Academy has been a generous source of works by Herb Kane.

Paul Dahlquist, former Director and current Trustee of the Lyman Museum, serves as guest curator for the special exhibit.  “How exciting would it be to see a 19th-century painting of Kīlauea erupting displayed next to a contemporary photograph interpreting the same scene?  Or to compare an 18th-century print depicting the death of Captain Cook at Kealakekua Bay with a 19th-century image of the same event, and a 20th-century painting by Herb Kane based on meticulous historical research into Cook’s death?

Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawai`i: Artistic Perspectives of Hawai`i, will present artists’ perspectives of nature and culture in Hawai`i by joining 18th- and 19th-century paintings and prints with 20th- and 21st-century works by painters, printmakers, and photographers.  As curator, I am very excited to be bringing these works together in a single show at the Lyman Museum. Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind exhibit!”

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  During the run of this special exhibit the Museum will be closed May 25 (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), and September 7, 2015 (Labor Day).  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Rep. San Buenaventura Bills Pass House, Advances to Senate

As the 2015 Legislature reached its midway point this week, a number of bills introduced by Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura are now up for consideration by the Senate after being passed by the full House of Representatives.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep these bills alive halfway through the very rigorous process of creating legislation,” Rep. Buenaventura said.  “They represent real solutions to everyday issues and problems faced by the people of Puna in the aftermath of life changing natural disasters, and I will continue to push for them even as they move to the Senate chambers.”

Among the bills are several measures that seek to address concerns raised by residents affected by the recent natural disasters that have impacted the Puna region.

  • HB737, HD2 helps current and future homeowners who reside in lava zone areas that has been declared to be in a state of emergency to obtain and renew property insurance policies.  This Act also enables a homeowner, in such a lava zone, who had no prior property insurance coverage to purchase insurance coverage to be effective within six months from the date of policy acceptance. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1314 HD1 establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster by providing for infrastructure development, grants, and loans. (Primary Introducer)
  • HB376 HD2 makes specific changes to the Chief Election Officer including designating the position as an at-will employee; and requires the State Elections Commission to conduct a performance evaluation and to hold a public hearing on the performance of the Chief Elections Officer. (Primary introducer)

Others bills introduced by Rep. San Buenaventura and passed by the House include:

  • HB847, HD1 appropriates funds for an Interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center to address the shortage of primary care physicians—particularly on the neighbor islands and in rural communities. (Co-introducer)
  • HB851, HD1 appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance based in Puna. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1107 appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that will serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii. (Primary introducer)
  • HB1370, HD1 provides statutory authority for the Employees’ Retirement System Administrator to make direct payment to a former spouse of a member of benefits or portion thereof pursuant to valid court judgment, order or decree. (Primary introducer)
  • HB87 shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties. (Primary introducer)

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

Ulu Wini Playground Project Breaks Ground

HOPE Services Hawaii joined residents of Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini (The Homes at Ulu Wini) to break ground on a brand-new outdoor playspace at the Ulu Wini housing complex in Kailua-Kona on February 25.

ulu wini blessing

The $180,000 state-of-the-art Miracle Mega Tower is a first for Ulu Wini and was made possible through a donation from the Roberts Foundation. Anne Bailey from the Office of Housing and Community Development was present on behalf the County of Hawaii administration.

“The residents and keiki of Ulu Wini are so excited and grateful to have a beautiful and safe outdoor play structure in their backyard,” said Brandee Menino, Chief Operating Officer of HOPE Services. “We have so much aloha for the Roberts Foundation.”

The 62’ X 52’ Mega Tower will feature four play structures including a heptagon double decker tower and water fountain, spiral and wave slides, a fish bridge, play panels and climbing apparatuses including stairs, risers, ladders and a fossil bluff climbing wall. The play structures, with the exception of the water fountain, will be covered with recycled steel roofing or commercial grade fabric umbrellas.
ulu wini renderingThe Mega Tower playspace allows access to multiple levels and is meant to encourage social inclusion and sensory play.

Volunteers from Lake Mead Christian Academy and residents from Ulu Wini will be assisting NyLawn with construction of the playground, which is expected to be complete by the end of March 2015.

Built in 2013 by the County of Hawaii’s Office of Housing & Community Development and operated by HOPE Services, The Homes at Ulu Wini provides 96 two-bedroom units—23 transitional housing for homeless families, 72 affordable housing dedicated to low-income families and one unit for the resident manager.