3.7 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of Big Island

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Volcano area of the Big Island today.

37-volcanoThis follows the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that shook the same area of the Big Island yesterday.

Hawaii Awarded $1.5 Million Apprenticeship Grant

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced it was awarded $1.5 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand its registered apprenticeship programs by partnering with high-growth businesses and industries to train and produce skilled workers.

state-logoDLIR will initiate outreach and recruitment events to not only inform and engage employers but also to attract a wide array of persons into existing and new apprenticeship programs for both traditional and non-traditional apprenticeship programs.

“Expanding apprenticeship programs is a win-win because they allow student workers to earn a living wage while achieving continued growth in their occupation,” said Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR Director. “Apprenticeships are also a cost-effective way for employers to train their employees while fostering worker productivity, loyalty and reliability.”

Key outcomes expected include expanding employer networks and support employers’ continued engagement to ensure sustainability of health apprenticeship programs, to establish new models of post-secondary career pathways that are adaptable and flexible and meet industry’s current and future needs, to increase the number of low-income and underrepresented population through career awareness, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships. Target populations include low-income, underrepresented populations such as women, veterans, Native Hawaiians, and persons of disabilities.

DLIR will collaborate with key partners to hold outreach and recruitment events to attract new apprentices. Other important grant activities will include presentations to employer networks and meetings of professional associations to provide technical assistance, assistance to employers in developing on-the-job work processes, development of promotional materials in the healthcare, culinary, construction and hospitality industries to inform and educate potential apprentices, and sessions to provide career awareness and pre-apprenticeships.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8866

Acting Governor of Hawaii Proclaims October “Farm to School Month”

Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui proclaimed the month of October “Farm to School Month.”  Stakeholders from the community, including the Ulupono Initiative, The Kohala Center, Jack Johnson’s Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and Department of Agriculture attended the proclamation presentation held this morning at the State Capitol.

farm-to-schoolFarm to School Month in Hawai’i coincides with National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress in 2010, to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, encourage diverse careers in agriculture, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.

“It’s important that we celebrate Farm to School month to raise awareness about the movement and school gardening programs, which empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and connecting keiki to the aina,” said Acting Governor Tsutsui, who is spearheading the Farm to School Initiative, in collaboration with HIDOE and Department of Agriculture.

“The Hawaii Farm to School program provides an important connection between local farms and Hawaii’s keiki,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This program not only helps to strengthen the local agricultural community, but also creates an opportunity to educate our youth about agriculture, nutrition and food sustainability.”

The Farm to School Initiative aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.  With Hawaii importing about 85 percent of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way the State is working towards becoming food sustainable.

“The Department is excited in finding new ways to increase the amount of local produce on the menus of our schools,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. “While the schools as a whole currently purchase a higher percentage of local food than the average home, we would like to deliver more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to our students’ plates.”

HIDOE has 256 public schools and its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.  The Farm to School Initiative also seeks to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias.

In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a mixer to inform them on how to become a qualified vendor with the State.  Those events, including the invitation for bids, culminate with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.

“The Kohala Center has been involved in Farm to School for about a decade and we’re so thrilled that this pilot project is at this place of being ready to launch because of the potential of Farm to School to not only impact our agricultural community, but also the positive impact it can have on our school children from a nutritious standpoint and education standpoint as well,” said Anna-Lisa Okoye, Chief Operating Officer of The Kohala Center.  “We’re so excited for this next step that we’re going to get into the schools and make some changes on how schools cook and source food and teach kids about nutrition.”

Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from.  Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at McKinley High School

As part of the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral argument today at McKinley High School.

mckinleyAbout 470 students from McKinley High School, St. Andrew’s Priory, Saint Francis School, Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama, Damien Memorial School, Hālau Kū Māna Charter School, University Laboratory School, and Farrington High School, as well as Mid-Pacific Institute, had the opportunity to learn more about the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society.

Under the program, the Hawaii Supreme Court convenes in schools to hear oral argument in cases pending before the court. This is the eighth argument in the program, which began in 2012.  To prepare, the participating juniors and seniors from each school studied a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

mckinley-closeupsAttorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association also volunteered their time and facilitated a moot court activity in the participating classrooms, where the students had the opportunity to argue the case themselves before attending the Courts in the Community event.

mckinley1“Our Courts in the Community program is about hands-on civics education and providing students with a chance to go beyond the textbooks by observing a real Supreme Court oral argument in person. Through this experience, we hope that the students realize it is a process with integrity, one that’s designed to get the truth. That understanding is vital to the future of our democracy,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “I would like to extend a special mahalo to the teachers, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the dozens of volunteer attorneys who helped make this happen. These invaluable partnerships are what make the program a success.”

mckinley2The Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools on Oahu.

“I’d like to thank our attorneys who enthusiastically volunteered to visit participating classrooms for pre-event discussions and preparations,” said Jodi Lei Kimura Yi, HSBA President. “It was exciting to see the students intently following the arguments and asking very probing questions after the official court proceedings.”

mckinley-vipThe court heard oral argument in the case of State v. Trinque. Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students; one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

Hawaii Fourth and Eighth Graders Show Improvement in Science in National Assessment

The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Science assessment, released today by the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics, shows Hawaii’s fourth and eighth graders are making progress.

For grade 4, the average scale score of 146 was six points higher than the score of 140 in 2009.  For grade 8, the average scale score of 144 was five points higher than the score of 139 in 2009.

naepHawaii’s gains in science exceeded national gains, but Hawaii’s scores remain currently lower than the average scale scores for national public schools, as are Hawaii’s percentages of students achieving at or above proficient and at or above basic levels.

“These results validate the gains that we reported earlier this month as part of our Hawaii Science assessments,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, HIDOE Superintendent.  “Now, with the recent adoption of Next Generation Science Standards, our schools are moving towards a more engaging approach to learning science where we expect the science instruction to connect with understanding the world around them and prepare them for community, career and college.”

NAEP achievement levels are set by the National Assessment Governing Board.  “Basic” indicates partial mastery of prerequisite grade-level knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.  “Proficient” represents competency over complex subject matter and may go beyond the grade level tested, and “Advanced” stands for superior performance.

NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.  NAEP reports are located at http://nationsreportcard.gov.

Hawaii State Judiciary Celebrates Pro Bono Week

The National Pro Bono Week Celebration, from October 23- 29,  focuses attention on the legal work that lawyers do free of charge to increase access to justice for all.  The Hawaii State Judiciary has been ranked among the top three states in the country for access to justice initiatives and volunteer attorneys play a critical role by assisting individuals who cannot afford an attorney.

judiciaryOne way that attorneys volunteer is through the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Access to Justice Rooms and Self-Help centers in courthouses statewide.  Since January of this year, more than 2,600 people have been assisted with civil legal issues thanks to the work of these volunteer attorneys.

“Many individuals in our community have critical questions about how to better navigate the legal system,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “For example, how to request a temporary restraining order, address landlord-tenant disputes, or handle issues impacting their family like adoption, child custody, and divorce.  These volunteer attorneys provide Hawaii residents with a great service by sharing their time, expertise, and professionalism.”

To thank the volunteer attorneys, the Hawaii State Judiciary will be participating in series of events planned during National Pro Bono Week and through the duration of the year:

Monday, October 24, 2016- Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (VLSH) launched a new service called “Hawaii Online Pro bono,” and is part of the American Bar Association Free Legal Answers national project.  Hawaii Online Pro bono (HOP) allows income-qualifying residents to simply register and post a question on a secured website (Hawaii.Freelegalanswers.org) where it will be reviewed and responded to by a volunteer attorney who is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

“The goal of HOP is to provide an additional tool for individuals who cannot afford an attorney,” said Michelle Acosta, Executive Director of VLSH. “This free service enhances options for rural residents to ‘HOP’ on to the website anytime to seek answers to basic legal questions and get high quality responses that will help them better understand their situation and assess their options.”

VLSH hopes that the public will take advantage of this free service and is also encouraging more local lawyers to volunteer.  All interested attorneys should contact VLSH.  Once registered, attorneys can “HOP” on anytime, login from anywhere, choose a question to respond to, and then research and write the answer.

“We applaud Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii for its efforts on making this service available at our fingertips, for lawyers and the public alike,” said Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Access to Justice Commission Chair.  “The practice of law is a magnificent privilege, one that is meant to be rendered for the betterment of all – especially the needy and disadvantaged who are often the most underrepresented.  We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our civil legal service providers and volunteer attorneys and are grateful for this week to recognize their contributions to our community.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 (MAUI) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald attended a Maui County Bar Association Luncheon to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at Hoapili Hale.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 4:00pm- The Hawaii State Judiciary will be honoring volunteer attorneys at the 2016 Pro Bono Celebration at the Hawaii Supreme Court Courtroom.  The Pro Bono Celebration is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission with the support of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (KAUAI) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a Kauai Bar Association Coffee Hour to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self Help Center at the Puuhonua Kaulike Building (the Kauai Judiciary Complex).

Friday, December 2, 2016 (HILO, HAWAII ISLAND) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a Hawaii County Bar Association Luncheon to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at Hale Kaulike (Hilo Circuit Court).

Friday, December 9, 2016 (KONA, HAWAII ISLAND) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a West Hawaii Bar Association Luncheon to thank the volunteer attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at the Keakealani Building (Kona Circuit Court).

For more information about the Self-Help Centers and Access to Justice Rooms, please visit the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website at www.courts.state.hi.us.  To request photos or more information on any of these scheduled events, please contact the Communications & Community Relations Office at 539-4909.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Chinese Mariner

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday evening for a Chinese mariner who was unreported while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran across the Pacific.
 guo-chuan
Guo Chuan, 50, remains missing.
“Mr. Chuan was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate Mr. Chuan. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community.”
Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crews conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the Quindao China and its charted course following notification of the situation Tuesday and into Wednesday. The USS Makin Island deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Chuan. Their hails over the radio went unanswered and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to the vessel. They followed up by deploying a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.
Weather on scene was reportedly 23 mph winds, seas to 5-feet with good visibility and scattered clouds.
On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 4,600 square miles over the two-day period.
Involved in the search were:
  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • USS Makin Island (LHD 8) homeported out of San Diego
  • Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew attached to the USS Makin Island
The Quindao China remains adrift, the mainsail has been doused and the vessel has been marked. A broadcast notice to mariners alerting vessel crews in the area to the potential hazard to navigation has been issued. Chuan’s racing team is making arrangements to recover the vessel.
Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China personnel that the vessel Qingdao China, with one person aboard, had not been heard from for 24 hours prompting the response.
The Makin Island is an amphibious assault ship attached to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment, Oct. 14, to provide maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the Pacific.

People’s Congress Tonight at UH Hilo

Leading non-profit and advocacy groups in Hawai‘i launched “The People’s Congress,” a new initiative to build a more just, fair and healthy future for Hawai`i. Working with organizations and individuals across the islands, this coalition seeks to end systemic barriers to justice with the launch of a “People’s Agenda” – a political and organizing strategy for lasting positive change in Hawaiʻi.

peoples-congressThe main launch event of The People’s Congress is a two-day statewide convention on December 2-4, 2016 in Honolulu, hosted by organizations and community leaders working across the islands on issues of social, economic, racial and environmental justice. Also, from October 19th – 27th, community forums will be held on each island to convene local leaders and gather input for the People’s Agenda.

Today, Thursday Oct. 27th, from 6pm-9pm in UCB 100 at UHH 200 W. Kawili St. Free parking on campus after 4pm. This event is free and will include some light pupus from local restaurants and farmers, feel free to bring something to share.

There will be food/refreshments at the event and free HAPA T-shirts for the first 15 people to sign-in.

The People’s Congress will provide an opportunity to engage in shared movement building and concrete action. More information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesCongressHI. (Upcoming website address: www.PeoplesCongressHI.org)

People’s Congress Partner Organizations include Aikea Movement, Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Hawaiʻi Center for Food Safety (HCFS), Hawai‘i People’s Fund, Hawai‘i SEED, Hawai‘i Teachers for Change Caucus, Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends, Life of the Land, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), Sierra Club of Hawai`i, the Aloha ‘Aina Project, and Unite Here! Local 5 Union and Global HOPE.

Why Now? Hawai‘i residents are facing fundamental challenges: historic wealth inequality and a high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, an education system in crisis, and the 6th highest rate of poverty in the United States. And Hawai‘i’s lands and waters are at increasing risk: local funding for environmental protection is dropping as the climate crisis worsens; streams are diverted even as we face drought. Because Hawai`i imports 80% of our food and much of our energy, we are vulnerable to high food and energy prices, shortages in basic necessities, and unstable job markets. Hawaiʻi’s residents need fundamental change. That is why The People’s Congress will convene concerned citizens throughout the islands to focus on positive solutions to these long-standing problems.

“Hawai‘i Appleseed is excited to be a part of the People’s Congress because of its potential to bring together a strong, unified voice to address the most pressing issues facing Hawai‘i,” said Gavin Thornton, Co-Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. “So many of our residents struggle with high housing costs, low wages, inequitable tax burdens, and other widespread problems that threaten their ability to achieve economic stability and fulfill their potential.

The People’s Congress can help create a shared vision of a better Hawai‘i and raise the chorus for positive change.” Cade Watanabe, of Unite Here! Local 5 and Aikea Movement said, “We live in a Hawai`i that today provides less and less opportunity for Hawai‘i’s working families. The People’s Congress is an exciting opportunity for our members to connect, strategize and organize for a better Hawai‘i. It’s time for us to take back our community.” Tiare Lawrence, Project Coordinator for HAPA, and also a founder and community organizer for the Aloha `Āina Project, believes that the People’s Congress “will allow us the opportunity to build partnerships and help us help each other. I believe these partnerships will assist us in achieving our goals for a better Hawai‘i.”

Moses K.N. Haia, Executive Director for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) said, “The People’s Congress represents cooperative and collaborative work which seeks proactive change for the benefit of the entire community. For NHLC, this initiative provides a partnership opportunity that will greatly assist with identifying the issues important to members of the larger community as a means of engaging in a collective effort to align those interests with the best interests of the Hawaiian community.”

The head of the Hawai`i “Teachers for Change” Caucus, Mireille Ellsworth, makes clear “we want to establish connections with activists on other issues that also affect our students, members and the larger community. Without developing shared understanding of the need for crosscutting solidarity in action, we will always be easily isolated and defeated.”

Marti Townsend, Director of Sierra Club of Hawai‘i said, “People’s Congress provides a unique opportunity for us to work together with others of like-mind and mission. The Sierra Club’s mission is to protect both the natural and human environment. To achieve this mission we need a fair and open government committed to serving the interests of the people, not corporations. We need a system that respects and includes all of us equally. We need a community united in our collective best interest to overcome the oppression and fear that dictates so much of our decisionmaking today.”

“There are so many good people working on important issues, from protecting our natural resources for future generations, to issues of homelessness, wealth inequality, open government, education and equal rights,” said Anne Frederick, Executive Director of HAPA. “We believe that if we come together through the People’s Congress to identify the barriers we face in common and illuminate the root causes of injustice we all face, that we (and our work) can be more powerful and effective.”