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Hawaiian Airlines Leasing Plane From China – Phasing Out B767-300s

Hawaiian Airlines will dry-lease an A321neo from China with delivery scheduled for 2018.

As previously reported, Hawaiian plans to phase out its fleet of eight B767-300s by the end of 2018. To expedite the process, it has ordered one A330-200 from Airbus Industrie, and will lease one more A321neo in addition to this one.

Hawaiian plans to phase in sixteen A321neos by end of 2020, plus the two leased aircraft, which will free up some its fleet of twenty-three A330-200s for more flights to Asia. It also has eighteen B717-200s which it uses for flights between the islands of Hawaii.

Coast Searching for Downed Plane Off Molokai with Three People Aboard

The search for a possible downed aircraft with three people aboard near Ilio Point, Molokai, continues Saturday.

The search continues for a possible downed aircraft with three people aboard approximately 17 miles northeast of Ilio Point, Molokai, Dec. 31, 2016. Crews from the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) from Honolulu, an HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point are searching the area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The search now extends up to 17 miles northeast of Ilio Point.

Missing are: Michael Childers, pilot, and two passengers John Mizuno and Whitney Thomas. They were flying in a Cessna with tail number N174LL.

Crews currently engaged in the search are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Crew of USCGC Kittiwake (WPB-87316) from Honolulu
  • Air and surface assets from Molokai Fire Department and Maui County Fire Department

Aircrews from Air Station Barbers Point have deployed three self-locating datum marker buoys to aid in the search.

Weather in the area is reported as 23 mph winds with waves at 6 to 8 feet and scattered showers.

At 7 p.m., Friday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a call from personnel at the Honolulu Control Facility stating a Cessna with three people aboard reportedly disappeared from radar while enroute from Molokai airport to Honolulu.

More information will be released once it becomes available.

Hawaii Receives First Waiver for Small Business Health Options Program Under Affordable Care Act

The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced today that Hawaiʻi has been granted a State Innovation Waiver under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The waiver applies only to the Small Business Health Options Program.

Click to read

Since 1974, Hawaiʻi’s Prepaid Health Care Act has required employers to offer healthcare insurance to employees working more than 20 hours per week and to pay the majority of the premium. These provisions offer Hawaiʻi residents greater coverage than the ACA.

“This action acknowledges the success of the state’s Prepaid Health Care Act in providing insurance to a majority of Hawaiʻi’s residents and the role it plays in the continued health of our citizens. We appreciate President Obama’s and Secretary Burwell’s leadership on this important issue and the Obama administration’s recognition that Hawaiʻi stands at the forefront in delivering affordable access to healthcare,” said Gov. Ige.

As part of this waiver, the federal government will provide additional federal funds for the Prepaid Health Care Act’s Premium Supplementation Program to replace the small business tax credits that would have been provided under ACA SHOP. This program helps qualified small businesses operating in Hawaiʻi pay for their portion of insurance premiums.

The waiver approval is effective for five years from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021.

The waiver approval letter is posted online: https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/State-Innovation-Waivers/Downloads/Hawaii-1332-State-Innovation-Waiver-Approval-Letter-and-STCs-Final-123016.pdf

Individuals and families who do not currently have health insurance through their employer or a government program can sign up for coverage at healthcare.gov through January 31, 2017.

2016 Christmas Baby at Hilo Medical Center

Hilo Medical Center’s first Christmas baby of the year, Hallie-Ray Castro, arrived at 5:48 am weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Her mom, Zashalyn Adrian-Rapoza, says Hallie-Ray came 6 weeks early: “We were wrapping gifts at midnight and I started feeling contractions. By 2:00 am they were nonstop and I was like ‘Seriously…on Christmas!'”

Each of this year’s Christmas babies received a baby bag of supplies and a gift card from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Keaau. The Eagles donated the Christmas bags in memory of Karen Snare, former Eagles President, who passed away this year. Each bag was accompanied by a knitted baby blanket donated from a community member and a bear from Kay Jewelers.

Hawaii Minimum Wage Increasing on January 1, 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced that per Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaii (2014), the minimum wage for most employers will increase to $9.25 per hour beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. This is third rise in the minimum wage since 2015: from $7.25 to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2015, and to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2016. The next scheduled raise is Jan. 1, 2018 when it will increase to $10.10. Previously, the minimum wage had stayed the same for eight years ($7.25 Jan. 1, 2007—Jan. 1, 2015).

Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 3.0% in November while the record labor force included 696,850.

For more information about minimum wage, please visit: http://labor.hawaii.gov/wsd/minimum-wage/

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

Hawaii Comedian Returns Home for the New Year

Meet comedian Kermet Apio. The Oahu native has been living in Seattle over the course of his 3 decade comedy career and is returning home for three comedy shows.

He has appeared on Comedy Central, National Public Radio, and Sirius/XM Radio. He has showcased at comedy festivals in Aspen, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Grand Rapids, and he was the winner of the Great American Comedy Festival, a national competition which takes place in Norfolk, Nebraska, Johnny Carsons home town.

He is also a past winner of the Seattle Comedy Competition. He has performed in 47 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and as far as Israel and Hong Kong.

As a comedian who performs squeeky clean, family friendly material, Kermet has been performing in front of sell-out crowds in theaters across America, as the opening act for Brian Regan.

Kermet Apio returns to Hawaii to HEADLINE his own three show comedy tour, as Bud Light & KMA Productions Presents the Kermet Apio Stand Up Comedy Show.

The Hilo show featuring Simon Kaufman, Anthony Silano, & Jose Dynamite is Thursday January 5, 2017, at Hilo Town Tavern, 168 Keawe St.  Doors open at 8pm and the show begins at 9pm,

AGE: 21+ General Admission $20 advance or $25 at the door

TICKET OUTLETS: CD Wizard, Hilo Town Tavern or online at www.brownpapertickets.com

Hilo Store Owners Launch Free Education Initiative – Community Outreach Inspired by a Shoplifting Incident

Can compassion prevent crime?

That was a question Breeani Sumera-Lee, manager of Hilo’s Keaukaha Market, found herself struggling with recently after catching a young boy attempting to steal fishing equipment from her family’s general store.

Rather than call the police, Sumera-Lee decided to offer the boy some advice.  But when she suggested the boy apply for a job, he simply answered, “I don’t know how.”  When she suggested he start with resume writing, the boy again explained, “I don’t know how.”

The encounter left Sumera-Lee questioning how different the boy’s life would be if he  possessed skills that would help him make better choices.  Inspired, she set to work organizing a series of free educational classes meant to help uplift the surrounding community.

After three years of preparation including website building and discussions with professionals and community leaders, Sumera-Lee found a class facility and secured teaching commitments from experts in everything from resume writing and interview preparation to financial wellness, self defense, dance, and more.

The inaugural Keaukaha Community Class series will start on January 15 at the Keaukaha Gym, with subsequent classes held on the second weekend of each month throughout the remainder of the year.

Featured presenters for 2017 include former Miss Hawai`i Raeceen Satele, Senator Kai Kahele, 2016 Miss Aloha Hula Ka`iulani Carr, and many others.  Attendance is free and all materials will be provided, along with food and drinks.

To sign up for classes and for more information, visit www.keaukahacommunityclasses. com.  Classes are open to the public.  Self defense class attendees must be at least 18 years of age.

 

Whale Carcass Prompts Closures at ‘Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve

5TH Report of Humpback Carcass Since November

Shoreline access at ‘Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui has been closed due to a whale carcass on shore.  Carcasses often attract sharks, thus the reason for the placement of beach warning signs by Maui County lifeguards and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).

Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve

The latest Humpback whale carcass was first reported floating offshore last night. DOCARE, Maui County, and representatives from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service are on the scene now, assessing the situation.  The carcass washed on shore in a remote cove at ‘Ahihi Kinau. Depending on the carcasses movements additional closures or warnings may be imposed at Makena State Park and other areas.  Government officials are in the process of determining the best course of action for disposal of the carcass.  Options include leaving it in place or towing it back out to sea.  Additionally the officials are consulting with Hawaiian cultural experts on appropriate protocols.

This is the fifth dead Humpback report since November 11th, when a carcass was towed out to sea from Kailua Bay, Oahu.  Since then additional carcasses have been reported on West Oahu, West Molokai, and earlier this week off the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai’s west side.

Beachgoers and ocean users are asked to avoid whale carcasses on shore or in the ocean for their own safety.  They’re encouraged to check with lifeguards before venturing into the water. Humpback whales, dead or alive, are protected by both federal and state marine mammal laws.

Second Informational Meeting on Sea Level Rise Adaptation in Hawai’i

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold an informational meeting on sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation on Kaua‘i, Monday, January 09, 2017.  This meeting is one of a series of public informational meetings being held state wide in an effort to educate people about the impacts of sea level rise and to gather comments and input about key issues and concerns regarding preparedness and adaptation.  The first meeting was held on Oahu last June.

Climate change has the potential to profoundly impact our wellbeing and way of life.  In particular, rising sea levels will increase the occurrence and severity of coastal erosion and flooding, threatening natural resources and economic sectors concentrated along low-lying shores.  “We are in the process of developing a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability & Adaptation Report (SLR Report) that is to be submitted in anticipation of the 2018, Hawaii State Legislature and we are interested in soliciting input from our island communities to help us complete the report,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “This SLR Report is the first state-wide assessment of the impacts of sea level rise on our coastal areas.  Using the best available scientific knowledge, the SLR Report will help us prepare for future sea level rise and present recommendations to reduce our exposure to SLR hazards such as erosion and extreme flooding”, said Sam Lemmo, Co-Chair of the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee”.

The Kaua‘i meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Līhu‘e Civic Center, Moikeha Building, Meeting Room 2A-2B located at 4444 Rice Street in Līhu‘e.  Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance please contact the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) at least four days prior to the public hearing. For additional information contact OCCL at (808) 587-0377 or visit http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/.

Komohana St. Reconstruction Project Update

Reconstruction work will continue this week at the Komohana Street and Waiānuenue Avenue intersection between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.  No work will occur on the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend.

The intersection will remain open and the contractor will work on one approach at a time with Special off-duty police officers directing motorists around work area.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Yamada and Sons, Inc. at (808) 933-8434 or Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Holiday Visitation Surges at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Park visitation surges during the holiday travel season and this week is no exception with parking lots at popular destinations like Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Jaggar Museum and Kīlauea Visitor Center at capacity.

NPS Photo

And, with Kīlauea erupting from two locations, the park remains a powerful draw for visitors who want to see volcanic activity. As a result, the park is very crowded, especially during peak hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’ve had some visitors wait up to an hour to park, and we have park rangers working in traffic control. We remind everyone to please be patient and treat rangers and other drivers with respect and aloha,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Park rangers offer these tips so all visitors have a positive and memorable time in the national park:

  • Plan to arrive early and explore Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 9 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is often empty of people. Birdwatching at Nāhuku is best in the early morning.
  • Want to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m.
  • Drive and explore Chain of Craters Road. This historic and scenic road originates at the summit of Kīlauea and stretches 19 miles to Hōlei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs) abound – and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers. The Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road is the starting point for a 10-mile roundtrip hike to see lava enter the ocean at Kamokuna.
  • Night owl or early riser? The best time to observe the glow from Halema‘uma‘u is before sunrise, or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day. You can see what Kīlauea is doing before you arrive by checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.
  • Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5 p.m. (More than 8,000 people were counted one evening at Jaggar Museum earlier this week.) If you can’t avoid peak hours, consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakāko‘i, ‘Akanikōlea (Steam Vents), or Kīlauea Overlook. From Kīlauea Overlook, it’s a short walk to Jaggar Museum along Crater Rim Trail, but bring a flashlight and a jacket.
  • Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
  • Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.

Big Island Police Warn of Sweepstakes Scam With New Twist

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a new twist on a sweepstakes scam.
A 70-year-old Keaʻau woman received a phone call from someone at an 876 area code. The caller claimed the recipient had won a sweepstakes prize.

The woman was suspicious that it was a scam, so the caller asked for her credit card number and said he would pay off her credit card in an act of good faith. He told her to check with her bank for confirmation. The bank confirmed that a deposit to her account was pending, which alleviated the victim’s suspicions. It was later determined that the deposit was never completed.

Meanwhile, the suspect called the victim, claiming that tax and lottery laws require Hawaiʻi residents to pre-pay taxes before receiving prize winnings. He persuaded her to send a large sum of money to an address he provided.

Police caution the public not to fall prey to such scams and not to respond to requests for information or payment that come by telephone or through the internet.

50 Nene Killed by Vehicles on Kaua’i Highways in the Last Two Years

In the final weeks of 2016, eight Nene (Hawaiian Goose) have been killed by vehicles along a two mile stretch of the Kaumuali‘i Highway in Kekaha. Nene are only found in Hawai‘i and are listed as endangered due to their low number, with an estimated 1,200 remaining on Kaua‘i. In the past two years 50 Nene have been struck and killed by cars across the roadways of Kaua‘i. Typically the majority of vehicle strikes occur in Hanalei and Kilauea, however the most recent strikes are occurring on the west side of the island.

It is believed that 25,000 Nene were present in the Hawaiian Islands when Captain Cook arrived in 1778. By the mid 1940’s only 50 birds remained. Since then, through captive breeding efforts and extensive predator control the population is beginning to grow with almost 3,000 birds statewide. Even with ongoing conservation efforts Nene are still considered to be the rarest goose species in the world.

Nene begin building nests and laying eggs as early as August although the greatest number of road strikes occur  between December and April during the peak of the breeding and molting season. It is during this time of year that both adults and goslings are flightless for a period of time and are especially vulnerable. Nene are often seen foraging along the edges of highways  and ditches as a result of regular mowing and runoff from the pavement creating especially desirable grass in these areas.

Jean Olbert, a Nene biologist with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “With recent rains on the west side, reports of Nene crossing the highway in Kekaha have increased dramatically. Nene regularly cross the road in the evening and early morning hours making it even more important to be on the lookout during these times. Nene remain with their mates for life and travel with their families during this time of year. After a Nene is killed on a road the remaining family members are often unwilling to leave the body, resulting in multiple birds being killed over a short period of time.”

Nene crossing signs have recently been posted by the Department of Transportation along the Kaumuali‘i Highway in Kekaha and the Kuhio Highway in Hanalei in regions where birds frequently cross roadways. DLNR/DOFAW is working with county and state transportation departments and federal partners to potentially add more signs in high-strike zones. Drivers are asked to please slow down and be extra attentive in these areas, especially in low light conditions.

To report an injured or dead bird on Kaua‘i please contact the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 808-274-3433.

Zika Found in Hawaii Years Before Caribbean Outbreak

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) scientists have discovered that severe birth defects related to infection with the Zika virus (ZIKV) occurred much earlier than in 2016, when the connection was first made between the virus and an increased likelihood of microcephaly during outbreaks of ZIKV infection in Brazil and Puerto Rico.

UH scientists published their findings in December in the scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, adding to the potential evidence of a link between ZIKV infection and microcephaly, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development and characterized by an abnormal smallness of the head.

Patient information and blood samples were collected voluntarily from mothers in Honolulu who delivered babies between 2007 and 2013 at the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children, a Hawaiʻi Pacific Health hospital affiliated with JABSOM. The samples were collected and stored at the UH Biorepository (UHB) after obtaining written informed consent from the mothers.

“As per the information in the UHB, no mothers gave birth to babies with microcephaly in 2007 and 2008,” said Vivek R. Nerurkar, chair of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology. “However, from 2009 onwards, we identified six mothers who gave birth to babies with microcephaly. Of the six, ZIKV antibodies were detected in three, fifty percent, of the mothers who delivered babies with microcephaly, suggesting presence of positive Zika virus cases and associated microcephaly in the United States as early as 2009.”

Potential changes to women’s health practices

Nerurkar believes the growing evidence of an association between ZIKV infection and the devastating brain damage in infants justifies a new practice in women’s health.

“We need to be more proactive in tracking pregnant women and testing for the ZIKV ahead of time (before birth),” he said. “It may be time for health care professionals to routinely caution newly pregnant mothers (or those planning to become pregnant) about the ZIKV, and offer pre-natal tests to detect for the presence of the virus.”

Ideally, Nerurkar said, families can plan for safe pregnancies by avoiding travel to areas of known ZIKV outbreaks. In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization have issued travel alerts about locations with confirmed, locally acquired Zika virus infections.

The UH researchers expressed their gratitude for the women who agreed to voluntarily donate blood and placenta samples to build the UH Biorepository archive. “This has been an indispensable resource in our research,” said Nerurkar.

Nerurkar leads a team of scientists at UH working to develop a vaccine for ZIKV infection as well as robust diagnostic assays to rapidly detect ZIKV and other mosquito-borne viral infections. After the award of a Zika emergency response grant this year from the National Institutes of Health, his team members are also working to understand how ZIKV infection in men makes them susceptible to transmit the virus to their sexual partners, even though the men may appear symptom-free.

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help Locating Owner of Kayak Found Off Big Island

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a two-person kayak found approximately two miles west of the Captain James Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Wednesday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a two-person kayak found approximately two miles west of the Captain James Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Wednesday. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600. (Courtesy photo)

The kayak is orange and red with the words Tropic II on both sides. The paddles appear to be in the stored position.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

At 10:37 a.m., watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center received a relayed report from the Department of Land and Natural Resources informing them that the operator of the Makana Lani had recovered the kayak while transiting two miles west of Kealakekua Bay.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to conduct a search of the area.

There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.

“The Coast Guard strongly encourages owners to label their gear with a name and contact information. Also, if the gear is lost, report it to the Coast Guard with a good description so that we can eliminate any unnecessary searches,” said Lt. Nicholas Spence, a search and rescue coordinator at the Sector Honolulu command center.

The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program.  The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Restrictions for Use of Kailua-Kona Pier New Year’s Eve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is advising the people that the Kailua-Kona pier will be actively monitored from 4  p.m. December 31, 2016, until approximately 3  a.m. January 01, 2017.

Vehicle access will be restricted to commercial permittees and government vehicles that are actively conducting official business.  The pier will still be open.

As a reminder, the following activities are strictly prohibited on the pier:

  • Fireworks
  • Consumption of Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Sleeping
  • Use of Grills or Barbecues
  • Erecting of tents or canopies
  • Entering into the fenced area or climbing on any structures

Division of Conservation and Enforcement Officers will be present on the Kailua pier throughout the evening to enforce all applicable laws and ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo Featured on New U.S. Postage Stamp

The Postal Service announced more stamps to be issued in 2017 and one of them features Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

“The new year is shaping up to be exceptional as the Postal Service continues to produce stamps that celebrate the people, events and cultural milestones that are unique to the history of our great nation,” said Mary-Anne Penner, U.S. Postal Service Director, Stamp Services. “We are very excited to showcase these miniature works of art to help continue telling America’s story as we add to the lineup of 2017 stamps announced earlier.”

Lili‘uokalani Gardens (Priority Mail)
This Priority Mail stamp is being issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Built on land donated by Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838–1917), the last Hawaiian monarch to govern the islands, the gardens were dedicated in 1917 and named in her honor. Hilo’s Lili‘uokalani Gardens are Japanese in style with influences of Hawaiian remains of lava flows, plantings of tropical trees and flowers, and a view of the Mauna Kea volcano — Hawai‘i’s highest point. The stamp art features one of the gardens’ most iconic structures, the red wooden shelter on a stone bridge spanning a portion of the pond. The bridge is surrounded by three stone lanterns and lush tropical plants. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.

Hawaii Women’s March: January 21, Day After Inauguration

The day after the inauguration of the new President of the United States, Hawaii, other states and at least seven countries will hold marches in solidarity with the Women’s March at the Capitol in Washington D.C. These non-partisan events are focused on the protection of women’s rights, safety, health and families. In Hawaii, there will be five marches: on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and two on Hawaii Island (Hilo and Kona). Several thousand are expected at the Oahu March.

The marches on the Hawaiian Islands will be the closing events for those across the United States. Families, friends and allies interested in supporting human rights and social justice will take part.

WHO: All Hawaii residents and visitors are invited to participate
WHEN: January 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m. March start 10 a.m.
WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol (Ewa side), 415 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu. Rally to follow. Brown bag lunch. Download march route map.

“We are sending a message to the new administration on its first day in office,” said Amy Monk, Oahu Womens March co-chair. “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized and threatened many of us. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. We will move forward in solidarity with all individuals, our partners, and our allies who are committed to empowering women and strengthening communities.”

Participating organizations: AF3IRM, Ceeds of Peace, Friends of Hawaii Commission on the Status of Women, Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights, Hawaii State AFL-CIO, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Pretty Peacock Productions, Pride@Work-Hawaii, and The AiKea Movement of Unite Here! Local 5.

Co-chairs of Oahu Women’s March: Della Au Belatti, Khara Jabola, Amy M onk, Essence Malaya Jane Kaiulani Sylvester, Morgen Trube, and Elizabeth “Annie” Valentin. Additional co-chairs to be announced.

Route for the march: Start on the Ewa grounds of the State Capitol along Richards Street, left onto South King Street, left up Alapai Street, left onto South Beretania Street, and ending in the Capitol Rotunda.

Donations for O‘ahu’s Women’s March can be made: https://womensmarchoahu.wordpress.com/support/

If your group or organization would like to participate in the march as a team, please contact co-chair Amy Monk at amonk20@yahoo.com.

If your group or organization would like to have a table or participate in the rally program, please contact co-chair Della Au Belatti at Honoluluwomensmarch@gmail.com.

For more information about how to support or participate in the Women’s Marches in Hawaii, please email Honoluluwomensmarch@gmail.com.

The Women’s March movement began when Teresa Shook of Maui took to Facebook the night after the election and began inviting friends to join her in a march on Washington. She awoke the next day to more than 40,000 people expressing interest in the event.

Hawaii Partnership Aims to Teach Kids Importance of Dental Hygiene

In an effort to provide oral health services for students who need it, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the Hawaii Dental Association (HDA) are joining forces. The agencies have established a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to promote oral health by teaching students proper dental hygiene techniques and providing information about access to free dental health services.

Click to read memorandum

Dentists will be visiting HIDOE first and second grade classes on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island from Jan. 16-Feb. 28, 2017, which coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month in February.

“When students do not get the health care they need we find that it affects their performance in school. This partnership is a huge step to provide services to many children who are not getting proper oral healthcare,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “As we work towards closing the achievement gap, we must look at the whole child and that includes their experiences outside of the classroom. We’re grateful to the Hawaii Dental Association for making this opportunity available for students.”

In October, the Hawaii Department of Health released “Hawaii Smiles,” a statewide report that showed a need for oral health improvement for Hawaii’s children. A few of the key findings included:

  • More than 7 out of 10 third graders (71 percent) are affected by tooth decay;
  • About 7 percent of Hawaii third grade children are in need of urgent dental care because of pain or infection;
  • Children from low-income families, as defined as those who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, have a disproportionate amount of tooth decay (about 31 percent of children eligible for National School Lunch Program have untreated tooth decay compared to 13 percent who are not eligible).

These efforts are also part of a national initiative from the American Dental Association to bring preventative education and dental services to underserved children, which include 92,000 economically disadvantaged public school students in Hawaii.

“The goal of this partnership is to educate children from a young age on the importance of proper dental care. We also want to raise awareness about services that provide free dental care so their families can encourage and foster these new habits,” shared Melissa Pavlicek, president, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates who coordinated the MOA on behalf of HDA.

In ensuring that students come to school healthy and ready to learn, Superintendent Matayoshi has made the health and wellbeing of public school students a priority. She has worked on other innovative partnerships and programs that range from proper nutrition to healthcare access. In 2014, HIDOE launched the “Hawaii Keiki” program with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The program builds school based health services that screen for treatable health conditions; help prevent and control communicable disease and other health problems; and provide emergency care for illness or injury.

5,000th Electric Vehicle Registered in Hawaii, Drive Electric Hawaii Formed to Promote Electric Transportation

Eight key organizations have agreed to collaborate on electrification of ground transportation in Hawaii as an essential part of achieving the state’s clean energy goals.

Drive Electric Hawaii seeks to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated collaboration, and to make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

The new organization’s launch coincides with registration of the 5,000th electric vehicle in Hawaii.

Click to read memorandum

Founding participants who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding are: Blue Planet Foundation; Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation (HDOT); Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT); Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy; the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light); Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; Rocky Mountain Institute; and Ulupono Initiative. Other agencies and organizations are expected to join as the initiative moves forward.

“The primary focus of the Drive Electric Hawaii Initiative is to accelerate the cost-effective electrification of transportation in all passenger vehicles, public transit vehicles, and fleet vehicles…,” the memorandum states. “This effort will play a meaningful part toward the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative objective of increasing energy security and self-sufficiency by eliminating Hawaii’s dependence on imported fuels for both electricity and ground transportation.”

Hawaii is second in the nation (after California) in per capita electric vehicle registrations and a leader in charging facilities. Despite low gasoline prices, plug-in passenger vehicles registered in the state increased 26 percent last year. At the same time, gasoline and diesel vehicle registrations fell by 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

“We are in the midst of a massive transformation,” said Richard Wallsgrove of Blue Planet Foundation. “Electric vehicles can use renewable energy, enabling us to drastically reduce our state’s carbon pollution. At the same time, electric vehicles can help to lower the cost of energy for everyone. This can be a true win-win.”

With over one million vehicles registered in the state, Wallsgrove said, “Reaching 5,000 electric vehicles is an early milestone. But every great journey starts with one step. The goal of Drive Electric Hawaii is to accelerate this progress, reaching our clean energy goals faster, together.”

“Being able to offer EV users power that is generated from renewable sources is a high priority for us at Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. At 36 percent, we are well on our way to reaching – and exceeding – our goal of 50 percent renewables by 2023,” said David Bissell, KIUC president and CEO.

The initiative grew out of Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator initiative – “a boot camp for electricity innovation”– where earlier this year Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaiian Electric, Ulupono Initiative, and other Hawaii representatives brainstormed ways get more electric vehicles deployed and successfully integrated into the grid. Colorado-based RMI is an independent, global non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability, with a focus on market-based innovations for energy and resource efficiency.

“We think smartly integrated electric vehicles could be a boon — not a burden — for a Hawaii grid that is increasingly renewable, and Drive Electric Hawaii will help all stakeholders consider how to approach EV integration holistically,” said Jesse Morris, a principal at Rocky Mountain Institute focused on enabling the integration of distributed energy resources like EVs.

The Drive Electric Hawaii shared vision includes:

  • Building a broad coalition in support of renewable transportation
  • Encouraging use of electric vehicles
  • Increasing electric vehicle charging opportunities that support 100 percent renewable energy
  • Developing policies, regulations and laws to unlock the full value of electrified transportation

“The memorandum reinforces much of the ongoing work being done at DBEDT and elsewhere to improve the synergies between the electricity and transportation sector,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “We are grateful for the leadership taken by energy and transportation stakeholders in advancing this very important piece of our clean energy transformation.”

“Drive Electric Hawaii is a great opportunity for the public, private and nonprofit sectors to collaborate on accelerating Hawaii’s bold energy and transportation goals,” said Greg Gaug, vice president of investments for the local impact investment firm Ulupono Initiative. “As part of our energy system strategy, we look forward to working with the state, utilities, and transportation and energy stakeholders to get more EVs on our roads.”

“Many individuals, organizations and agencies must work together to achieve a clean transportation energy future. No one can do it alone,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “We believe that, along with renewable generation of electricity, transportation electrification can help us achieve stable, reliable and lower-cost service for all our customers,”

With signing of the memorandum, participants will begin to establish a work plan and initiatives to move forward.