Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management Understaffed and Overworked – Appliances Stack Up

The recent Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island of Hawaii has had everyone on edge the last few months and both State and County officials have had their hands full dealing with this outbreak.  Thousands and thousands of tires have been disposed of since the county started accepting tires at the transfer stations.

Folks have been noticing that the Hilo Transfer station in general has had a lot of e-waste and appliances stacking up.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Recently Doug Arnott, from Arnott’s Lodge in Hilo, asked the following question in the Facebook Group Opala in Paradise to Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, Head of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Environmental Management:

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd can you give us an update on the ever growing pile of refrigerators and stoves at the Hilo Station…it seems that a good economy is causing old units to be dumped faster than they can be removed….or is this related to refrigerant removal or a slowdown in scrap metal buying by China…can we get an update please

Leithead-Todd responded:

We’ve had to pull manpower and equipment away to deal with tires and other dengue related clean ups. Earlier we had it pile up as we had a contract dispute and we could not move them until the contract issue was resolved at the state level. Now we are moving the white goods out but they seem to be coming back in as fast as we dispose of them. We hope to get ahead of it after we stop accepting tires.

USDOE Grants Waiver Extension to Hawaiian Language Test

For the second consecutive year, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) will issue a specialized assessment to Hawaiian immersion students. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) granted HIDOE’s request for an extended waiver that allows Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) students to take a specialized assessment in lieu of the state’s English language arts and math student assessments.

“The continued opportunity for our Hawaiian Immersion students to be tested in their language of instruction has been a highlight for the Department, and we appreciate the USDOE’s recognition of our progress in this initiative,”said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work continues as we are piloting an innovative Hawaiian Language State Assessment in science and look forward to federal approval next year.”

Click to view entire letter

Click to view entire letter

The double testing waiver response by the USDOE advised that HIDOE’s Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Language Immersion) schools lacks the data required for a specialized science assessment to provide student results during this pilot year of testing.

Two years ago, HIDOE, in partnership with the University of Hawaii-Manoa (UHM), developed a field test for HLIP students that measures progress toward mastery of academic standards given in the English language Smarter Balanced Assessments. In Spring 2015, a field test in language arts and math for third and fourth graders enrolled in Ka Papahana Kaiapuni schools was used. This year, the pilot becomes operational and assessment scores will be recorded in the Kaiapuni students’ records.

The field test foregoes the statewide assessment, Smarter Balanced, which is administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11.

Last year, the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) was established under the Office of the Superintendent, a result of a policy audit of Hawaiʻi State Board of Education (BOE) policies 105.7 (2104) and 105.8 (2105) pertaining to Hawaiian Education and Hawaiian Language Immersion programs.

OHE is currently implementing a new policy, known as Nā Hopena Aʻo, which provides for the expansion of Hawaiian education across Hawaiʻi’s K-12 public education system for all students and adults. Together, this work helps HIDOE meet its obligations to both BOE policies and the Hawaiʻi State Constitution (Article X, Section 4 and Article XV, Section 4).