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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.