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Hilo Community Supports State Efforts to Redevelop Banyan Drive and East Hawaii

Tonight at the Hilo Innovation Center in downtown Hilo business leaders, community leaders, tenants and lessees came together to listen to the Hilo Economic Development Plan presented by Jim McCully, spokesman of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association (KIAA).

Nearly 100 folks crowded the center and listened to presentations by McCully, HPM Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Jason Fujmoto and later on Senator Kai Kahele dropped in to say a few words.

SB1292/HB1479RELATING TO THE HILO COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DISTRICT.

Establishes the Hilo Community Economic District located in East Hawai`i and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawai`i Community Development Authority.

SB1184/HB1310RELATING TO THE WAIAKEA PENINSULA REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT.

Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee and Revolving Fund.

Jason Fujimoto opened the meeting explaining why the meeting was called together. Fujimoto stated, “I know to some that the words economic revitalization may sound big and scary but in my mind it really boils down to the definition of community and community is a place where we live, where we work, where we learn and where we play and all of the components that make that happen.”

Fujimoto turned the microphone over to Jim McCully who explained some of the history of Banyan Drive and why economic development throughout all of Hilo, especially areas like KIAA are so important.

Senator Kai Kahele was able to make the end of the meeting and he stressed how important it was for the community to stand behind all the bills introduced this session and to contact our State legislators that will hear the bills in committee. He also thanked the broad range of community members that attended and also thanked his fellow Hawaii Island Legislators, Hawaii County Council members as well as the County of Hawaii Planning Department for their support and collaboration.

Mauna Kea Recreation Area Closed Until Further Notice for Maintenance Issues

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces that the Mauna Kea Recreation Area is closed on until further notice due to maintenance issues.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the closure may cause.

For more information please contact the Brittany Kaleohano at 961-8311

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces She Will Personally Reimburse Cost of Trip to Syria

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced today she will personally reimburse the cost of her trip to Syria.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has stated that she will personally cover the costs of her Syria trip.

Though the trip has met every requirement of the House Ethics Committee, the congresswoman has decided to reimburse AACCESS-Ohio for the trip because it has become a distraction from the important issue at hand—do the American people want their taxpayer dollars to continue to be used in support of militant groups working hand-in-hand with al-Qaeda and ISIS in the effort to overthrow the Syrian government? Contrary to baseless claims in the media, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is beholden to no one in the region, her views on the situation are her own, and her determination to seek peace is beyond question.

Background: As a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard traveled to Aleppo, Damascus, and Beirut from January 14-22, 2017 to see and hear firsthand the impact of the war in Syria directly from the Syrian people. For more information on the trip, click here. Earlier this year, the congresswoman introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608), legislation that would prohibit U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS, or other terrorist groups.

Ground Crack at Kīlauea Ocean Entry is Cause for Concern

Due to the instability of the sea cliff above the ocean entry and other hazards created by molten lava flowing into the sea, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has established a viewing area (noted by yellow arrow in photo) from which the ocean entry can be seen in relative safety.

A thermal image taken during HVO’s overflight of Kīlauea Volcano’s ocean entry on Jan. 25, 2017, revealed a hot ground crack in the sea cliff just above where lava is flowing into the sea.

Because the crack suggested an unstable sea cliff, HVO geologists briefly visited the site on foot for closer observations and measurements this past weekend.

Carefully approaching the site in protective gear on Jan. 28, HVO geologists determined that the eastern end of the hot crack was about 30 cm (11.8 in) wide and deeply cut into recent lava atop the older sea cliff.

The western end could not be accessed due to poor air quality, spatter fallout, and other safety concerns. This crack could be a precursor to collapse of an unstable section of the sea cliff, making the site extremely dangerous for anyone who ventures too closely to the ocean entry by land or by sea.

Using a thermal image of the crack above Kīlauea volcano’s ocean entry (steam from lava flowing into the sea is visible at the top of the left photo), HVO geologists determined that the temperature within the eastern end of the crack is up to about 220 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit).

At Kīlauea’s ocean entry on Jan. 28 and 29, the interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater caused pulsating littoral explosions that threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) high into the air.

During one exceptionally large burst, spatter was thrown about twice the height of the sea cliff. These ocean entry littoral explosions, both large and small, create hazardous conditions on land and at sea.

Some of these incandescent clasts fell on top of the sea cliff behind the ocean entry, forming a small spatter cone.

Hawaii State Land Board Approves Carbon Credits Initiative

Growing Trees will Provide Opportunity for Purchase of Credits

If you drive a car, fly in a plane, use air-conditioning to cool your home, or engage in other activity powered by fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gas, you may soon have new ways to offset your emissions locally, by supporting Hawaiian forest restoration.

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved Hawai‘i’s first ever carbon offset project in State forests. DLNR and its Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will now issue a request for proposals for private entities to create a carbon forestry project in the Pu’u Mali Restoration Area in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve on Hawai‘i island.

Pu’u Mali Forest Restoration Area. All images courtesy: Hawaii DLNR

BLNR and DLNR Chair Suzanne Case explained, “Creating new ways to fund restoration of Pu’u Mali and other State forests is a win-win for the public, foresters, and our watersheds.”

DLNR is also in the process of creating a carbon offset pilot project on southern Maui, where carbon credits will be sold directly by the State to buyers.

The Kahikinui State Forest Reserve (SFR) and the adjacent Nākula Natural Area Reserve (NAR), high on the south slopes of Maui’s Haleakala, are steep, generally dry, and windswept. Over the course of many decades, uncontrolled grazing by introduced invasive hooved animals, like goats and cattle, virtually destroyed the native koa and ʻōhiʻa forest in this area. This has caused serious erosion, loss of native habitat for endangered plants and animals, increased wildfire threats, and reduced watershed function.

Kahikinui State Forest Reserve

DOFAW Administrator David Smith explained, “Ultimately this will give individuals, organizations, and companies the opportunity to purchase credits directly from the State to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. Trees and forests store carbon, so the way we remove it from the atmosphere is by planting more trees.” The carbon offset pilot project is proposed for funding from the Hawai‘i State Legislature.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, DOFAW’s Resource and Survey Forester said, “Both the Pu’u Mali and Maui carbon forestry projects will help implement Governor Ige’s Sustainable Hawaii Initiative and the Aloha+ Challenge, by mitigating climate change, restoring forest and native species, and enhancing watersheds.”

The Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, a voluntary watershed protection alliance of 11 public and private landowners encompassing 43,000 contiguous acres, has led forest restoration at Kahikinui and Nākula to date. Over the last three years DOFAW and its partners have constructed more than 7 miles of ungulate proof fencing, removed 700 invasive animals, and planted 45,500 native plant seedlings in the Kahikinui SFR and 71,000 trees in the Nākula NAR.

On a recent visit to Kahikinui SFR, Maui-based DOFAW forester Lance DeSilva had a gleam in his eye as he surveyed young koa trees, that six months ago were barely a foot tall and now have grown to 4 to 5 feet.  DeSilva said, “From the last time I came out here, you could barely see the seedlings that our crew had planted. Ample rain has helped. It’s very promising. It’s a feel-good moment to see this. It’s really nice.”

Volunteers and staff have primarily planted koa along with māmane, ʿaʿaliʿi, pilo, ʻōhiʻa, ʻōlapa and other native understory plants. It’s all in an effort, as DeSilva explained, “to return Kahikinui back to its native condition, which started with fencing, invasive animal removal, and planting native plants. The goal is to one day have this functioning as a fully intact and productive watershed.  Eventually we’d like to look at reintroducing some of the native birds here, but first the habitat for them has to recover.”

Smith pointed to the many benefits of both the Big Island and Maui restoration and carbon offset projects, saying, “We and our partners look forward to converting degraded pastureland or forests back to native forest, to store carbon, reduce erosion, increase water supply recharge, re-establish endangered species habitat, mitigate wildfire threats, and support many other natural and cultural benefits.”

Hawaii State Legislative Candidate Charged for Distribution of Unauthorized Mailers

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Eric H. L. Ching, a candidate in 2016 for the state house of representatives district 31 seat (Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge), was charged yesterday with two misdemeanors for sending mailers without identifying the individual or organization that had paid for it. Incumbent state representative Aaron Ling Johanson defeated Ching in the general election.

Click to read the complaint

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission required Ching to pay a civil penalty of $25 on four previous violations. After repeatedly being warned to follow the same campaign law related to advertisements. Ching sent two more mailers that lacked the required disclaimers. The Commission only referred the matter to the Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution after the fourth civil fine was assessed.

Ching is now charged with two counts of Unauthorized Advertisements, in violation of sections 11-391(a)(1) and 11-412(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. The maximum penalty for each count is a $2,000.00 fine and up to one year in jail.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Campaign laws keep Hawaii elections fair and transparent.”

Office of Consumer Protection Announces Settlement with Western Union

The State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection today announced a settlement with Colorado-based The Western Union Company, resolving a multistate investigation which focused on complaints of consumers who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.  In addition to Hawaii, 48 states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement.

“Scammers prey on our citizens with bogus telemarketing and mail scams on a daily basis.” “We believe that the anti-fraud program outlined in this settlement will make it harder for them to succeed,” said Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director, Stephen H. Levins.

According to Levins, “The biggest sign of a scam is if someone asks you to wire money to recover your winnings.” “This is the reason why Federal law bars telemarketers from receiving payments through money transfer, such as provided by companies like Western Union or MoneyGram.”

The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers who have been the victims of fraud use Western Union to wire money to scam artists.

That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:

  • Anti-fraud warnings on send forms that consumers use to wire money;
  • Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers;
  • Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances such as increased fraud complaints;
  • Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers;
  • Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to prevention of fraud-induced money transfers;
  • Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerning anti-fraud measures;

Western Union also has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to the states for the states’ costs and fees, from which Hawaii will receive approximately $46,000. In addition to this settlement with the states, Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice that was announced on January 19, 2017.  As part of those related settlements, Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the Department of Justice will administer to provide refunds to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide, including victims in Hawaii.

In addition to Hawaii the following participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

Bills to Ban Coral-Killing Sunscreens Move Forward

The House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection today passed House Bill 600, introduced by Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6, Kailua-Kona, Holualoa), which would prohibit the sale of sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone.

The bill was introduced in response to recent studies that have concluded that oxybenzone disrupts coral development and growth.

“Our reefs are an essential economic driver of our tourism industry, they sustain our fish populations for fishermen, and are home to many species found nowhere else in the world. Safe, effective, and affordable alternatives to oxybenzone are available already. How can we, in good conscience, continue to needlessly allow the use of this chemical that we know causes damage to coral?” said Rep. Lowen.

The committee also moved a bill forward that would allow continued sale of oxybenzone products, but impose new labelling requirements. HB 600 will next go to the House Floor and then to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

Kona Historical Society Welcomes Baby Donkey – Public Can Submit Names

Charlie, the approximately 30-year-old donkey at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, got a late Christmas present. His new bestie, an estimated 6-month-old female donkey, arrived Jan. 31, 2017, at Kona Historical Society’s 5.5-acre historic farm in Captain Cook.

This new donkey is part of Kona Historical Society’s first-ever crowdfunding campaign, “Charlie Needs A Bestie,” which project aimed to get Charlie a friend and an upgraded home. At the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, these donkeys are ideal ambassadors for helping tell the story of Kona Nightingales.

“Donkeys were a crucial part of Kona coffee farm families in the early 20th century. Coffee farming was and is labor-intensive and would have been near-impossible without donkeys,” said Kona Coffee Living History Farm Museum Manager and Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director Gavin Miculka. “I’m very excited about bringing a second donkey to the farm. Our campaign inspired interest from visitors from all over the world. I know that they will all be pleased to know that Charlie has a bestie!”

Yamagata Farms, a South Kona family farm started in 1898, donated the young donkey to Kona Historical Society on Dec. 27, 2016. Yamagata Farms has been paying for its feed, board and training with Kala’i Nobriga of K.N. Performance Horses at Mahealani Ranch. Nobriga is an established horse trainer in the state of Hawaii. Over the past couple of weeks, he has been teaching the baby donkey to lead, as well as to be comfortable when handled and when surrounded by crowds. He thinks the donkey is adjusting well and describes her as shy, but curious.

The baby donkey was brought this week to the Kona Coffee Living History Farm for some acclimation. Later in February, she will be receiving additional training with Nobriga at Mahealani Ranch. Following this training, she will make a permanent return to the farm. Kona Historical Society plans to eventually use her to demonstrate some of the jobs Kona Nightingales performed on coffee farms, such as hauling coffee and other farm goods. Until the donkey is deemed ready, she will mostly serve as Charlie’s companion and visitors to the farm will be able to observe the budding friendship from afar. Kona Historical Society staff believe the good-natured Charlie will befriend her and can serve as a mentor to the juvenile donkey as she grows into an adult.

This new donkey will soon reach one of her most important milestones yet — getting her name. She will be named on March 1, 2017. From now until Feb. 5, 2017, the public is invited to submit names on Kona Historical Society’s Facebook Page. A Kona Historical Society committee will select the top three to five names, which will be announced on the Society’s Facebook Page, website and at the farm. Fans worldwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite name by making a $1 donation at the farm or on Kona Historical Society’s website. All donations will be used for the support and care of animals at the farm. Voting opens Feb. 7, 2017, and closes Feb. 27, 2017.

Kona Historical Society, a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii, launched the “Charlie Needs A Bestie” campaign Dec. 9, 2015, on Razoo.com. By January 31, 2016, Kona Historical Society raised roughly $9,658.16 for the project from more than 90 donors.

Over the course of a year, the farm’s pasture was transformed, thanks to community collaboration and partnerships. During the summer of 2016, Steven Equipment cleared the farm’s pasture areas that were once overgrown with invasive plants while Affordable Tree Care trimmed overgrown trees and removed unwanted trees. A group of teens and their leaders from Wilderness Adventures spent a couple of hours removing weeds around the hitching post and in the farm’s front entrance pasture that Charlie likes to spend time in. This fall, Paradise Lawn & Garden Care installed the new fencing and utilized the 70 kiawe posts, which were donated by The Nature Conservancy from its Kiholo Preserve and delivered to Kona Historical Society by volunteers. Kona residents Aaron Mitchell and Kai Auld, updated the plumbing and installed a self-watering trough. A crew of volunteers from Ali’i Woodtailors cleaned up the stall area and built the hitching rails. Hardwoods Hawaii donated wood for rails, which Kona Historical Society volunteers Jack Nessen, Ted Quist and Stephen Ratcliff installed to enclose the pen.

In the future, Kona Historical Society hopes to make improvements to stone walls in the pasture area and expand the stall for feed and equipment storage. The Society will likely start planting grass, particularly suitable for the donkeys’ diets, in the lower pasture later this spring.

“The community was a crucial component in making improvements to our pasture and bringing the second donkey to the farm,” Miculka said. “We’re excited to now have the community play an active role in naming her.”

The award-winning Kona Coffee Living History Farm tells the stories of Kona’s coffee pioneers during 1920-45. It is the only living history coffee museum in the U.S. Located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110, this historic farm is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Parents Asked to Provide Feedback on Their Child’s Public School

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) begins its annual School Quality Survey (SQS) this week to gather important feedback from students, parents/guardians and staff about our public schools. The deadline to complete and return the SQS is March 17, 2017. All responses will remain anonymous.

The survey provides information on how schools are doing with respect to school culture, satisfaction, safety and engagement.  The feedback gathered is used to support school planning and improvement efforts, and meet legislative and Board of Education requirements.​

  • Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will take the survey online at school, as will teachers, administrative office staff, and instructional support staff.
  • A parent or guardian of the students in the surveyed grades will have the option to take the survey online or via a paper format.  Each school communicates to parents on how to complete the SQS whether digital and/or hard copy.

“We’re hoping to get more responses from parents this year, as last year’s return rate was only 25 percent,” said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance.  “This feedback goes towards improving our schools and the learning experiences of our children and we ask parents to take the time and submit their opinions.”

The public can view the SQS for their community schools and statewide results via the Report Finder on HIDOE’s website: bit.ly/ReportFinder. Search for “School Quality Survey” and add the name of a school for school-level results.

Anyone with questions about the survey is encouraged to contact HIDOE at 808-733-4008 (Neighbor Island toll-free at 855-276-5801) or via email: SQS@notes.k12.hi.us.

Mobile Biometrics Route Launch on Maui – Rep. Woodson Supports Federal Immigration Efforts

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is piloting a one-time, one-week biometrics collection for immigration benefits on Maui, from February 27 to March 3, 2017.

“I am pleased to announce that this much needed immigration service is coming to Maui,” said Representative Justin Woodson (Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani). “This will be very helpful in saving time, money, and resources for people who previously needed to travel to and from Oahu to get biometrics work done.”

The Mobile Biometrics Station will be at the Royal Lahaina Resort located at 2780 Kekaa Drive. Notices for appointments (Form I-797) will be mailed out beginning Feb. 10, and will include specific instructions.  If there are any questions, please contact USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.  This pilot is for biometric services only, and no interviews or case specific inquiries will be accommodated.

“I’d like to thank the USCIS for their support for this important program,” said Woodson. “This is a great relief to the Maui community. I want to let everyone know that this service will be available to them so they can take advantage of it while it is there. Hopefully the successful turnout will encourage this service to spread to other neighbor islands as well.”

For more information about this pilot program, please email: Hawaii.CommunityRelations@uscis.dhs.gov

Business Community to Host Meeting on Legislative Efforts to Revitalize Hilo and Banyan Drive

On Tuesday, January 31, a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on improving the East Hawaii economy will hold a community meeting to discuss legislative efforts that will guide in the revitalization of Hilo and Banyan Drive.

The coalition includes Kanoelehua Industrial Association (KIAA), Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hawaii (JCCIH) and Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB).

The public is invited to attend and hear from coalition representatives and area legislators on the various, proposed economic development measures that have been introduced this legislative session (see full list below). The measures are aimed at providing much-needed tools and mechanisms to attract investment and foster partnerships that will help revitalize the local economy while promoting a healthy environment where East Hawaii families can thrive.

  • When: Tuesday, January 31
  • Time: 4:30–5:30pm
  • Location: Hawaii Innovation Center, 117 Keawe Street in Hilo, Room #105 (corner of Keawe and Kalakaua Streets)
  • Parking: Street parking only

After the community meeting, the coalition will work with the public and the Hawaii Island delegation to advocate for the various proposed measures (full list and descriptions below, with links to download bills).

The coalition thanks the hard working East Hawaii Caucus that introduced the bills: Representative Mark Nakashima, Representative Richard Onishi, Representative Joy San Buenaventura, Representative Christopher Todd, Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senator Kaialii Kahele, and Senator Russell Ruderman

List of 2017 29th Legislature bills promoting East Hawaii’s economic interests introduced by members of the East Hawaii caucus:

HB 575 / SB 274 – Authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend state land leases when the lessee makes qualifying substantial improvements to leased public lands. Download HB 575, SB 274.

HB 1310 / SB 1184 – Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee, and Revolving Fund. Download HB 1310, SB 1184. 

HB 1469 / SB 1185 – Establishes procedures for designating public land redevelopment districts, planning committees (including powers and duties), district redevelopment plans, and designated revolving funds. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Download HB 1469, SB 1185.

HB 1479 / SB 1292 – Establishes the Hilo community economic district and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. Establishes a revolving economic development fund and designates a percentage to be transferred to the special land and development fund under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Download HB 1479, SB 1292.

University of Hawaii Keeping Close Watch on Impact of U.S. Travel Restrictions

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner and the chancellors of the 10 campuses shared a message on January 30 to UH students, faculty and staff.

UH President David Lassner

To our UH System ʻohana:

With the issuance of the recent Executive Order on travel, our first concern is for our impacted students, faculty and staff who are currently abroad or have plans to travel abroad. The situation is fluid as courts weigh in and different guidance is provided to holders of green cards. Out of an abundance of caution, the best advice as of this writing is that individuals with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or with green cards who are originally from the seven named countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) should defer travel outside the U.S.

Our international students and scholar support offices are already reaching out directly to the impacted students and faculty we know of with additional support and guidance. Faculty and scholars from across the UH System with specific questions and concerns about their situation can reach out to our Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services office. Students who have specific questions should reach out to their campus international student service office.

More fundamentally, we stand in support with the broader higher education community in our concern over the impact of this restriction on the free flow of information and ideas that is enriched by our international students and scholars. The University of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi and our nation have been immeasurably strengthened through the diversity of the students and faculty we attract. The fundamental values of our nation and our state have long supported the welcoming of others to our shores and embracing them into our communities.

Diverse knowledge, ideas, cultures and perspectives enrich us immensely as we work toward a better future for all. We will support our professional associations and colleagues who are working to promote more effective solutions to keeping our nation safe.

Aloha,
President and Chancellors

Hawaii Insurance Consumers Encouraged to Explore Options

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division released its annual premium comparison publications for motor vehicle, homeowner, condominium, and renters insurance.

“These publications help consumers make the right decisions for their insurance needs,” said Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito.  “We encourage people to use these guides as a tool to shop and compare for the appropriate coverage and price.”

The lists of sample premium rates can be used as a guide to see what consumers’ insurers are charging compared to its competitors.  The premium publications help consumers research and explore options and ensure greater competition in the insurance marketplace.

Feel free to download and share the consumer information below. If you have any questions, please contact the Insurance Division at (808) 586-2790 or insurance@dcca.hawaii.gov.

(PDF) Insurance Division Overview

Health Insurance

(PDF) Hawaii Patients’ Bill of Rights

(PDF) 2017 ACA Individual Rates

(PDF) 2016 ACA Small Group Rates

Small Business Health Options (SHOP)

Home Insurance

(PDF) Homeowners Premium Comparison Publication 2017

(PDF) Condominium Unit Owners Premium Comparison Publication 2017

(PDF) Renters Premium Comparison Publication 2017

Prior Home Insurance Premium Comparisons

Motor Vehicle Insurance

(PDF) Motor Vehicle Insurance Premium Comparison & Consumer Complaints Publication 2017

Prior Motor Vehicle Insurance Premium Comparisons

Natural Disasters

(PDF) Lava Flow Informational Brochure

(PDF) Tips for Storm Claims

(PDF) Guide to Hurricane Strengthening for Hawaii Single-Family Residences

Insurance Fraud

(PDF) What is Insurance Fraud?

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

Insure U – Get Smart About Insurance

Grammy Nominated Eroica Trio at Kahilu Theatre

Sunday, February 12, at 4pm, the Eroica Trio, considered by many to be the most sought-after classical music trio in the world, makes their way back to Kahilu Theatre for the first time in over ten years.

The Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio enraptures audiences with flawless technical virtuosity, irresistible enthusiasm, and sensual elegance. Sara Sant’Ambrogio, Erika Nickrenz, and Sara Parkins make up this celebrated ensemble that electrifies the concert stage with their passionate performances.

The Eroica Trio

The Trio will weave their way through musical masterpieces, including “Chaconne” by Bach, “Otoño Porteño” and “Primavera Porteña” by Piazzolla, “Aria” by Villa-Lobos, and Dvorák’s “Dumky Trio”.

Winners of the prestigious Naumburg Award, the Trio has extensively toured the United States, Europe, Middle East, South America and Asia. While maintaining their demanding concert schedule, the Eroica Trio has released eight critically lauded recordings for Angel/EMI classics Records, garnering them multiple Grammy nominations. The first all-female chamber ensemble to reach the top echelon of the field, the women of the Eroica Trio has shattered the age-old gender barrier, leading the vanguard and inspiring many to follow.

Doors open at 3pm for the performance and there will be beverages and snacks available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar.

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $48 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday – Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

The Trio will also give a Youth Show at the Theatre on Monday, February 13 at 10:30am. For more information about Youth Shows offered at the Theatre please contact Education Coordinator Lisa Shattuck at youth@kahilutheatre.org.

This performance is made possible by generous sponsorship from Michael & Ruth Bernstone, Phillip & JoAnn Conley, Carol & Clive Davies, Sherm & Elaine Warner, and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Kojo Couture, 19th & Whimsy to Headline Zonta Fashion Frenzy

The Zonta Club of Hilo presents Zonta Fashion Frenzy, Hawaii Island’s premier fashion event, February 9-11, 2017, headlined by Maui’s Koa Johonson of Kojo Couture and Oahu’s Lauren Hayashibara of 19th & Whimsy. More than 60 local designers and businesses will participate over the course of the three-day event.


Fashion Frenzy puts the clubs mission – empower women through service and advocacy – into action by creating a venue for local designers and women-owned businesses to showcase their unique talents and products.

The event kicks off Thursday, February 9 with Dine Like a Diva at 6:30 p.m. at Wainaku Executive Center. Jasmine Silverstein of HeartBeet Catering and Casey Halpern of Café Pesto will prepare a locally-sourced, fashion-inspired menu. Each pupu will incorporate a fashion element by a participating designer, from garment silhouette and fabric texture/color to collection theme. For dessert, attendees will enjoy a chocolate fountain with fresh local fruit and cookies, and Kau coffee and espresso. Tickets are $65, which includes food and wine bar curated by Kadota Liquor.

On Friday, February 10, the community is invited to attend the Friday Night Market from 5:30-9:00 p.m. at Sangha Hall. The night market features nearly 45 fashion, art and food pop-ups, specialty cocktails, craft beer and wine, live music, fierce photo booth and mini fashion shows on the hour. There is no cover charge and all ages are welcome.

The finale Runway Fashion Show takes place Saturday, February 11 at Imiloa Center and is a showcase of Hawaii’s leading and emerging designers. Headliners Kojo Couture (Koa Johnson, Maui) and 19th & Whimsy (Lauren Hayashibara, Oahu) are joined by Alohiwai, Wehi Designs, Colors of Life, Simply Sisters, Hana Hou Hilo and Vested Interest Hawaii from Oahu. Tickets are $60 and includes fashion show followed by a pupu reception and exclusive shopping experience with designers. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 6:00 p.m.

All event proceeds go to the Zonta Club of Hilo Foundation to support local service projects including “Pay it Forward,” a program that provides micro-grants to women starting or expanding a business; scholarships for young women furthering their education in STEM, business and nursing; and a “Dress for Success” program to benefit Hawaii Island women in need.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.ZontaFashionFrenzy.org. Event sneak peeks available on Facebook and IG @ZontaHilo; find posts using #ZontaFashionFrenzy.

Fashion Frenzy 2017 is made by possible by Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company, Crush Skincare, Markham Insurance, A3 Telecom, Aloha All Natural Cleaning, Edward Jones, Day-Lum Rentals & Management, Mary Begier Realty, Altres Staffing, GUM Design, Mermade Spa, HeartBeet Catering, Cafe Pesto, Kadota Liquor, OK Farms, Big Island Delights and Kau Coffee Specialty.

Hawaii Governor Issues Statement on Immigration to United States

Gov. David Ige today issued the following statement on immigration to the United States:

“I have been in contact with Attorney General Doug Chin regarding several orders issued by the federal courts in the last 24 hours. We believe these orders apply to all U.S. international airports, including those in Honolulu and Kona, and expect legal travelers to this country to be welcomed in Hawai‘i without being detained unlawfully by the federal government.

Refugees entering the United States are screened by the National Counter terrorism Center, FBI, Defense and State departments, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Refugees fleeing from war and persecution seek, simply, a better life.

Hawai‘i has a proud history as a place immigrants of diverse backgrounds can achieve their dreams through hard work. Many of our people also know all too well the consequences of giving in to fear of newcomers. The remains of the internment camp at Honouliuli are a sad testament to that fear. We must remain true to our values and be vigilant where we see the worst part of history about to be repeated.”

Missing Fisherman Found Dead Off Maui

The Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department ended their search, Saturday, for a missing fisherman near the Pokowai Sea Arch, Maui.

Photo by Frank Kovalchek

After being located by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui recovered the man unresponsive at 9:22 a.m. approximately one mile from Pokowai Sea Arch. He was then transported to shore where he was declared deceased by awaiting medical personnel.

On-scene Coast Guard assets conducted a total of 3 searches covering 41 square miles prior to locating the man.

Involved in the search were:

  • An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew
  • The crew of USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364)
  • Ground crews and a rescue boat with divers from Maui Fire Department

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification at 2 a.m., from Maui Fire, of a 49-year-old man who fell off the sea arch and was last seen floating on his back.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area to keep a sharp look out and report any sightings to command center watch standers at ‪808-842-2600.

Hawaii Attorney General Opposes White House Executive Order on Immigration

Attorney General Doug Chin has joined 17 other state Attorneys General opposing the White House’s Executive Order on immigration.  The statement reads in part:

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.”

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Hokulea Arrives at Galapagos Islands

Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived yesterday at  Puerto Ayora, the capital city of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands. The crew will be joined by a contingent of teachers and students from Hawaii as well as representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International for an educational visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site. During their stay, the crew and participating schools will engage in activities to further their understanding of the area’s fragile ecosystem and how its preservation aligns with the Worldwide Voyage’s Malama Honua mission.

Situated in the Pacific Ocean more than 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique “living museum and showcase of evolution.” Similar to Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands is an isolated volcanic archipelago known for its endemic species and rich biodiversity. The location became famous after naturalist Charles Darwin visited in 1835 to study the area’s rare animal species which led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

This stop on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage will be an opportunity for the voyage mission crew to learn about the Galapagos Islands’ conservation management and environmental sustainability efforts while bringing attention to science, evolution and the importance of protecting the earth’s most fragile resources.

Educators and students from Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School, Kamehameha Schools, and James B. Castle High School will all be present throughout Hokulea’s stay in the Galapagos. Groups will engage in a series of land tours, dives, and a Hoike event, or final presentation, to showcase their scientific findings and share the potential impacts the learning from this visit could have on education in Hawaii.

The learning journey will include visits to the Charles Darwin Research Center and the Tomas de Berlanga School, which focuses on developing a sense of stewardship in its students for the society and environment in which they live.  The school was launched in 1994 by a group of Galapagos residents who believed that improved education was a prerequisite to a more sustainable Galapagos.  They sought to launch an educational model that could serve as a showcase of best practices and as a future training ground for educators from other schools on the islands.

After the Galapagos Islands, Hokulea will continue on her voyage to Rapa Nui and French Polynesia for further community outreach and opportunities to share the Malama Honua message. In June 2017, Hokulea will make her long-awaited return to the Hawaiian Islands with a historic homecoming ceremony at Magic Island