United Airlines Adding Denver/Kona Route

Flights from Kona/Denver to begin this summer

United Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for customers in both domestic and international markets. Subject to government approval, the carrier will add a seasonal route between San Francisco and Munich for the first time ever, and one of the carrier’s daily flights between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, Israel will be upgauged with the new Boeing 777-300ER. The airline is also growing its domestic network, adding even more connections and additional service to 30 destinations across the U.S.

“Starting this summer we’re offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we’ll be getting you to the moments that matter most – relaxed and ready to go.”

United is also introducing daily summer service in six markets. Flights to Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, Tucson and New Orleans not previously offered in the summer, will now move to year round service.

Hawaii Attorney General Questions President Trump in D.C. About Travel Ban

During a question and answer session at the White House today with President Donald Trump and state attorneys general from across the country, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin asked the President about the travel ban that prompted lawsuits across the country challenging the ban’s constitutionality, including one filed by Chin on behalf of the State of Hawaii on February 3, 2017.

Attorney General Chin told President Trump he understood a new executive order might be released this week relating to a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Chin asked the President to explain the President’s thinking behind the executive order and what the President wanted to accomplish.

Attorney General Chin stated, “President Trump asked if my state had sued him and I said, ‘we did.’  The President then answered my question by saying that his goal was to make America safe again and extreme vetting was part of achieving that goal.”

Attorney General Chin added, “The security and safety of our nation is a universal goal. I firmly believe you don’t have to target people based on national origin or religion to get there – in fact, doing so harms our nation’s security. Our Constitution does not allow such discrimination. The State of Hawaii will review future executive orders from the federal government with this in mind and will sue if we have to.”

After the question and answer session, which Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also attended, the Vice President spoke with Attorney General Chin and, according to Chin, told Chin that the administration cared about Hawaii’s concerns.

Katsu Goto: Slain Honoka’a Hero – Film Sneak Preview and Talk

In 1889 Katsu Goto, one of the very first Japanese immigrants to come to Hawai‘i, was killed for helping plantation laborers. His body was found hanging from a telephone pole in Honoka‘a, not far from where a memorial in his honor stands today.

Katsu Goto memorial

For many years his story was almost unknown, however thanks to a dedicated group of writers, filmmakers and researchers, that is changing.

On Sunday, March 5, at 10 a.m. the Honoka‘a Hongwanji will host a free presentation about Goto, featuring a talk by researcher Dr. Yoshinori Kato from Oiso, Japan, Goto’s hometown, that reveals new information on Goto’s life. In addition UH Hilo professor/filmmaker Patsy Iwasaki will present a preview of the film “Honoka‘a Hero, the Story of Katsu Goto” by Danny Miller, Iwasaki and the Katsu Goto Memorial Committee.

Katsu Goto

The event will be attended by 23 students from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, as part of the U.S. Japan Council Sen. Inouye Tomodachi Kakehashi exchange program.

Katsu Goto gave up his family name and birthright as eldest son, to sail on the S.S. City of Tokio in 1885 bound for Hawai‘i Island. He went to work on Soper, Wright & Co’s O‘okala Plantation, for $9 a month, and when his three-year contract was fulfilled, he elected to stay and opened a store, selling general merchandise, Japanese products and medicines. Goto’s general store success and advocacy of labor led to animosity and eventual conflict with plantation staff and others.

Researcher Yoshinori Kato Ph.D. translated the inscription on a recently discovered gravestone in memory of  Goto in Oiso that provided new information on him. A resident of Oiso, Kato has a bachelor of engineering degree from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan and a doctoral degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

According to Kato, Goto published a business journal in Yokohama and was involved with democracy advocates influenced by the Meiji Restoration of 1868. In Kato’s March 5 talk, entitled “Deciphering the Stone: Revealing the footprints of Katsu Goto through a gravestone inscription,” Kato uses ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) to help visualize the town of Oiso and Goto’s early years.

In 2010, the 125th anniversary of Katsu Goto’s arrival as a “first boat” immigrant, Goto’s great-nephew, Kiichi Kaya, and daughter, Toyoko Saeki, traveled from Japan to attend the annual memorial service in Honoka‘a. They met Patsy Iwasaki, author of the graphic novel, “Hāmākua Hero, A True Plantation Story,” illustrated by Avery Berido.

Iwasaki, a professor of communication at UH-Hilo, was inspired by Goto’s story. She was also the first recipient of the Goto of Hiroshima Foundation scholarship in 1993, a project of Goto’s adopted niece, Dr. Fumiko Kaya, a hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivor.

In 2011, Iwasaki was contacted by a curator at the Bishop Museum. Her book was included in the exhibit, “Tradition and Transition: Stories of Hawai‘i Immigrants,” alongside Goto’s pocket watch.

Iwasaki met with filmmaker Danny Miller, and they interviewed members of the Hāmākua community to create two videos for the Museum exhibit. From there, the concept of a Goto documentary grew, with financial support from the Hawai‘i State Legislature, YWCA, UH Diversity and Equity Initiative and others. A “living history” documentary, the film will also include reenacted scenes starring students from the UH Hilo Theatre Department, shot in historic locations around the island.

Iwasaki will present a 20-minute preview and behind-the-scenes segment of the documentary on March 5, following Dr. Kato’s talk. Subtitled in English and Japanese, the clip was aired on Nippon Golden Network in Hawai‘i. To learn more about the film, and to make a donation to help complete the film, please visit www.katsugotomovie.org.

The programs are free and presented as a service to the community, and attendees are invited to stay for light refreshments and to talk story with the presenters and the Kyushu students. For more information, contact Miles Okumura by text 808-640-4602, or email misterokumura@yahoo.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Welcomes Tima Kurdi as Her Guest to President’s Joint Address to Congress

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will be welcoming Tima Kurdi, co-founder of the Kurdi Foundation and advocate for refugees worldwide, as her guest to tonight’s Presidential Joint Address to Congress. Kurdi’s sister-in-law Rehanna and two nephews, Alan and Ghalib, drowned en route to Greece on their way to seek refuge from the Syrian war in 2015.

Tima Kurdi

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “In the face of unimaginable heartbreak, Tima has been a voice for the voiceless, a champion for refugees worldwide, and a strong advocate for ending the regime change war in Syria. I am honored to welcome her to Washington tonight as we raise our voices to call on our nation’s leaders to end the counterproductive regime change war in Syria that has caused great human suffering, refugees, loss of life, and devastation. We urge leaders in Congress to pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act and end our destructive policy of using American taxpayer dollars to provide direct and indirect support to armed militants allied with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.”

Tima Kurdi said, “I am proud to stand with Tulsi and support her work to end regime change war in Syria. My people have suffered for more than six years—enough is enough. Tulsi understands that arming the so-called “rebels” in Syria has only led to more bloodshed, more suffering, and created more refugees. A military solution in Syria is not the answer. I hope that President Trump will stop arming terrorists and commit to a political solution in Syria—it is the only way to restore peace.”

Click here to read Tima Kurdi’s op-ed: My country was destroyed on why she opposes regime change in Syria.