Hawaii House of Representative Richard Onishi Disqualified From Running for Late Senator Kahele’s Senate Seat

Hawaii House Representative Richard Onishi (D-3) has been disqualified from running for late Senator Gilbert Kahele’s Senate Seat according to the Hawaii County Democratic Party.

Richard Onishi

According to the Chair for House District 2, Micah Alamedia, Onishi submitted 11 names on his “Statement of Candidacy” to run for the vacant seat, however, only 3 of those names were registered democratic members.

Candidates needed to have at least 5 members sign the Statement of Candidacy that were in good standing with the Democratic Party.

Each candidate did have the opportunity to verify that each of the folks that signed on the Statement of Candidacy were in good standing, however it appears that Rep. Onishi did not double check the signatures against the registered voters list.

The Hawaii Island Democratic Party will be meeting tomorrow at Keaukaha Elementary School at 10:00 am where members of the party will hold a vote and then select 3 nominees to be sent on to Governor Ige.  Governor Ige will then decide which of the three will replace the late Senators spot in office.

The following folks are still in contention, Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, Donald Ikeda, Kaialii “Kai” Kahele, Shannon Matson, Kaloa Robinson, and Dolly Strazar. Representative Onishi will remain in office as a House Representative and no penalty will be held for not having 5 confirmed signatures.

Big Island Delegation Responds to Emergency Proclamation on Dengue Fever

Honolulu, Hawaii — In response to the emergency proclamation issued by Governor David Ige today, the House of Representatives’ Big Island delegation issued the following joint statement:

“From the very beginning, we have consistently said that we needed to get out in front of this outbreak and bring all the resources we have to bear to respond to this public health crisis.  The Governor’s declaration today will allow us to seek the additional funding we need now.  The long-term health of our tourism dependent economy notwithstanding, the well being of our residents are of the upmost importance and this declaration not only recognizes the seriousness of this threat but will better position us to tackle any potential future threat posed by the Zika virus.”

Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Nicole Lowen, Rep. Richard Creagan, Rep. Mark Nakashima, Rep. Clift Tsuji, Rep. Richard Onishi, Rep. Joy San Buenaventura

Click to view proclamation

Click to view proclamation

Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife Receives Major Federal Grant

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the State of Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is the recipient of more than $485,000 as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

watershed protectionThe program’s focus is on public-private partnerships that enable private companies, land owners, local communities and other non-government partners to deliver innovative watershed-scale projects to keep lands resilient, improve water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, and to promote economic growth in a variety of industries. This award is the second year of the RCPP, and the second year Hawaii’s DLNR has received funding for watershed forest protection.

Suzanne Case, DLNR Chair said, “The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife has been extraordinary at leveraging funds provided by the state legislature for watershed protection to receive additional Federal funding. We are grateful to the United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) for multiplying our investment in watershed protection. As climate change accelerates and rainfall decreases in our islands, this work is increasingly critical as our forests absorb mist and rain to supply our fresh water. When we protect our forests, we also are protecting our native plants, birds, and other wildlife. As Hawaii hosts the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September, increased funds for our innovative conservation partnerships can demonstrate Hawaii’s leadership internationally.”

Bruce Petersen, Director for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Pacific Islands Area said, “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with DLNR to protect our watershed forests by planting native trees and controlling invasive species. These simple actions dramatically reduce erosion on our beaches and the deposit of sedimentation on our coral reefs – truly affecting our islands mauka to makai.”

Governor Ige Signs Dengue Fever Emergency Proclamation for State of Hawaii

Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Friday, as a preventive measure against mosquito borne illnesses that include dengue fever and Zika. This follows the recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to open its emergency operations center at Level 1 to prepare for and mitigate the Zika risk.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

“There have been no locally acquired Zika cases in the U.S. or Hawai‘i, and we’d like to keep it that way. This is about getting in front of the situation across the state. I will be coordinating planning efforts with the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency, all county mayors and Civil Defense coordinators,” said Gov. Ige.

On Hawai‘i Island, dengue fever cases continue to be fewer and farther between. However, the battle is not over and state continues to focus resources to break the cycle of dengue fever infection and transmission.

The emergency proclamation will give the state access to the Major Disaster Fund, the option of waiving certain laws and regulations to expedite the outbreak response if and when needed, as well as pave the way for federal assistance should the state exhaust its resources.

The state previously released the State Health Department from a 5 percent budget restriction ($250,000) to fund costs incurred while responding to the onset of the dengue outbreak.

The state is also releasing the Health Department from another 5 percent restriction ($250,000) to fund eight vector control positions, one entomologist and one communications position.

The emergency proclamation can be found here.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 255

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 255:

Mosquito BiteAs of February 12, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 1 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
1 Illness onset 2/6/16
Cases no longer infectious
254 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 2/1/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 231 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
209 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/6/16.

As of today, a total of 1192 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

County of Hawaii Soliciting Proposals for Economic Development Grants

The Hawaii County Department of Research and Development is soliciting proposals for economic development grant awards in preparation for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Research and DevelopmentThe intent of the grant program is to support sustainable economic development in agriculture, business development, energy, film, STEM industries, and tourism. Proposals must address and support the program goals and objectives for the above subject areas. Proposals submitted shall be reviewed and considered for the receipt of funding to supplement existing or proposed project or program budgets for the applicant organizations.

All proposals reviewed and recommended for funding by the Department of Research and Development shall be subject to the availability of funds. Notification of the Department’s approval and recommendation for funding shall be made by June 30, 2016.

Proposal forms, specifications and special provisions can be obtained at the Department website at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development/ or call (808) 961-8366. Questions regarding clarification of any information contained in the Solicitation for Proposals document, including all attachments, must be received in writing on or before March 14, 2016. The County of Hawai‘i reserves the right to reject any proposal.

Public Information Sessions:

The Department of Research and Development is hosting two public information sessions to explain the grant program process for potential applicants.

Special guest, Tim W. O’Connell, Assistant to the State Director, Rural Development, US Dept of Agriculture, will also be there to present information on Rural Development opportunities that may complement applicants’ projects and provide sources of matching funds.
Registration for these sessions is not required, but will be appreciated so that we know how many people to expect. Please use the links below to RSVP to either of the sessions.

RSVP for the West Hawai‘i Public Information Session Tues., Feb 16th, 1:30 p.m. WHCC Bldg. G

RSVP for the East Hawai‘i Public Information Session Friday, February 19, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. County of Hawai‘i Aging and Disability Resource Center 1055 Kinoole Street, Suite 101, Hilo Training Room

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) – has identified South Kohala as a priority area for funding. NFWF will award grants to address negative impacts to coral reefs and improve coral reef management effectiveness. Average grant award range $30k – $75k and matching funds are required: http://www.nfwf.org/coralreef/Pages/crcf2016rfp.aspx  or contact Julia Rose (808) 268-0479 julia.rose@tnc.org. for more information.

USDA Federal Planning Assistance for Broadband & Sustainable Community Development – Cool and Connected –will help community members develop strategies and an action plan for using planned or existing broadband service to promote smart, sustainable community development. Submit letter of interest to Ed Fendley at Fendley.Ed@epa.gov by Wed., Feb. 24, 2016 – include “Cool & Connected” and the name of your community in email subject line.

Hawaii Legislators Seek to Establish the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Technology (DBEDT) and the Office of Aerospace Development could be tasked to develop a plan for the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus.

Gil Kahele and Marine

One of the last bills the late Senator Gilbert Kahele introduced was Senate Bill 3073, which if passed this session, would establish the School of Aeronautical Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Looking to build upon the possibility of the School of Aeronautical Science, State Senators Brickwood Galuteria (Dist. 12 – Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, and Mo‘ili‘ili) and Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Dist. 22 – Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho) have introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 and Senate Resolution 10 requesting the Office of Aerospace Development to develop a plan for the Gil Kahele Aero Technology Campus in Hilo.

“This is more than the Senate’s way to recognize the good work of the late Senator,” said Sen. Galuteria. “This is a memoir that reflects the way he operated, bringing people together to plan and build for a better Hawai‘i. And you see that in the resolution, it brings together various groups to develop a plan for the Hilo community and the state of Hawai‘i.”

Sen. Dela Cruz has been working with DBEDT in developing industry hubs to create jobs. “We are looking at all the industries and assets relating to aerospace, aeronautics, and aviation. If the School of Aeronautical Science is established at Hilo, then we need to make sure the school is supported by all industries related to these fields,” said Dela Cruz.

DBEDT has adopted a goal of creating 80,000 new jobs with salaries over $80,000 in technology and innovation by 2030. Creating an aero technology campus in the Hilo area will help the State meet this goal by supporting a new industry and retaining local graduates.

“This is an important reality for jobs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)”, said Dela Cruz. “As we continue to focus and push STEM curriculum in our schools, we need to make sure there is a pathway from our schools into the industry so our students can have the proper skills to be career or college ready.”

The plan for the aero technology campus will be facilitated and coordinated among Hawai‘i’s public, private, and academic sectors, in line with the vision of Sen. Kahele and continuing to build upon the foundation he had developed over the years.