Hawaii House Finance Committee Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund Rail Project

The House Finance Committee today agreed to provide an additional $1.2 billion funding package for the City’s financially troubled rail project estimated to cost a total of about $8.1 billion.

In passing SB1183 SD2 HD2, the committee amended the bill to:

  • Extend the general excise tax surcharge for two additional years, from December 31, 2027 through December 31, 2029, which will generate an estimated $792 million;
  • Redistribute 90 percent of the State Department of Taxation administrative fee to the City, which will generate an estimated $397 million;
  • Require the City to approve the extension on or before December 31, 2017;
  • Mandate that the City not prohibit the use of city funds for rail expenses;
  • Prohibit the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating and personnel expenses;
  • State that GET funds can only be used for construction;
  • Give all counties the option to extend the surcharge.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Pauoa-­Punchbowl-Nuuanu), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the $1.2 billion package will fund the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in federal funding.

“This is the second time the State has bailed out the City and County of Honolulu and HART for the rail project. The public and the Legislature has lost faith and confidence in their ability to provide an accurate budget estimate and control costs,” Luke said.

“We are concerned with the City and HART being in breach of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This is why we are providing the City and HART with an additional $1.2 billion funding package. The State is even willing to substantially reduce its administrative fee to ensure that this project is completed.

“However, we continue to be disappointed that the City and HART have not considered significant cost cutting measures and alternatives to funding. We believe the funding we are providing today will be sufficient as long as the City and HART do their part to responsibly finance and manage their rail project.”

The bill will now be voted on by the entire House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

A Message From Senator Kahele – Student Loan Debt

Senator Kahele and some kid!

Aloha, I hope this week’s update finds you well. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I have made it my mission to address the ever increasing costs associated with getting a University of Hawai’i System (UH System) degree.

To address this issue, my team and I crafted a Hawai’i Promise Program bill to create a “last-dollar” scholarship program for all UH System students who fell just short of the funds they would need to get a degree. We also introduced a Tuition Moratorium bill to preclude the UH System from increasing student tuition for an unspecified period, during which a detailed review of the UH System’s expenditures and revenue could take place.

In July 2015, President Barack Obama recognized the burden of the cost of higher education and issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 15-14 to forbid loan guaranty agencies from charging fees for up to sixteen percent of the principal and accrued interest owed on Federal Family Education Program Loans (FFEPL), if the borrower entered the government’s loan rehabilitation program within sixty days of default. However, on March 16, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 17-02 meant to revoke the federal guidance issued by President Obama.

By this action, President Trump is forcibly removing a safety net for FFEPL borrowers at the worst possible time. The total national student loan debt has grown to $1.3 trillion with a corresponding increase in the national average of debt per borrower at $37,172. Of the 44.2 million borrowers across the nation, 11.2% or just under 5 million borrowers are in default.

In response to President Trump’s action, my team and I put together SCR139 SD1, which urges the reinstatement of GEN 15-14 and requests legislative support or administrative action to allow borrowers in default a chance to rehabilitate their loans and successfully repay student debt without being charged steep collection fees by guaranty agencies. I hope you will join me in supporting this resolution. 

As the session continues, we will remain vigilant and committed to make higher education more affordable. We know education is the key to better paying jobs, job security, and economic stability for our families. That’s why it is critical that we make higher education 100% accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

NASA Scientific Double Play in Hawaii

NASA pulled off a scientific double play in Hawaii this winter, using the same instruments and aircraft to study both volcanoes and coral reefs. Besides helping scientists understand these two unique environments better, the data will be used to evaluate the possibility of preparing a potential future NASA satellite that would monitor ecosystem changes and natural hazards.

NASA coral reef studies in Hawaii this winter will help scientists understand this unique environment.  Credit – NOAA

The advantages of studying active volcanoes from the air rather than the ground are obvious. Coral reefs may not offer the same risks in a close encounter that volcanoes do, but there’s another good reason to study them by remote sensing: they’re dotted across thousands of square miles of the globe. It’s simply not feasible to survey such a large area from a boat. So NASA has been monitoring coral reefs by satellite and aircraft for several decades. Recent airborne efforts have used sensors that provide better spatial and spectral resolution than currently available from NASA satellite systems.

“Reefs are threatened by bleaching due to rising sea surface temperatures as well as, to some degree, by increasing acidification of ocean waters,” said Woody Turner of NASA Headquarters in Washington, the program scientist for the recent Hawaii study. “On top of that, since they’re coastal ecosystems, they are also subject to sediment and other effluents running offshore. We have an urgent need to get a handle now on how reefs are changing.”

Over the past four years, NASA has flown a series of research flights over California, carrying airborne prototypes of instruments in preparation for a possible future satellite mission called the Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI), now in the conceptual design phase. The Golden State has many diverse landscapes to test the instruments’ observational capabilities, but not coral reefs or erupting volcanoes. This winter’s HyspIRI Hawaii field campaign filled that gap.

To get the next best thing to a satellite’s point of view, HyspIRI Hawaii used a high-altitude ER-2 aircraft from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Palmdale, California. During the study, the aircraft was based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. Flying at approximately 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) and thus above most of Earth’s atmosphere, the ER-2 carried the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the MODIS-ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER), developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. AVIRIS is an imaging spectrometer that observes the complete reflected spectrum of light in the visible and shortwave infrared wavelengths. MASTER has multiple observational channels in the thermal infrared wavelengths. Together AVIRIS and MASTER provide the same combination of spectral bands planned for the future HyspIRI mission — and powerful data for current coral reef research.

Six coral reef-related projects with diverse objectives are using imagery that AVIRIS and MASTER collected around the Hawaiian archipelago in January through early March.

  • Under principal investigator Steven Ackleson (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington), a team investigated how coral reefs and water quality vary, in both space and time, over the huge distance encompassed by the Hawaiian Islands and the 1,200-mile-long (2,000-kilometer-long) Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument north of the main islands. Ackleson’s team used the airborne instruments and in-water observations to collect data on reef condition and water quality and compared them with data collected from 2010 to 2014 with a different hyperspectral imager.
  • To study reefs’ responses to stress, Kyle Cavanaugh (UCLA) led a study of the composition of shallow reefs (coral, algae and sand) and the extent of their bleaching. The team hopes to uncover the practical limits of the proposed HyspIRI instrument in observing these features. Like Ackleson’s and most of the other investigators’ projects, this study combined airborne imagery with ocean measurements.
  • Heidi Dierssen (University of Connecticut) used in-water spectrometers in conjunction with the airborne AVIRIS imaging spectrometer products to look at pigment differences among corals’ photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae. A goal is to determine the degree to which differences in pigment — which relate to different types of algae with different biological characteristics and responses to environmental change — can be detected from an airborne platform and ultimately from space.
  • To determine how changes in a reef’s environment — cloudiness, water temperature, water murkiness — might affect coral health, and how these environmental factors themselves might be influenced by changing land use on the islands, Paul Haverkamp (supported by Cramer Fish Sciences, West Sacramento, California) will be comparing this year’s AVIRIS data with observations from AVIRIS campaigns flown between 2000 and 2007. The study focuses on reefs in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, and Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii.
  • Eric Hochberg (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences) and his team will compare this year’s AVIRIS measurements with AVIRIS data from 2000 to study how human and climate stresses may be affecting reefs around the islands. They will quantify reef composition and primary productivity and correlate them with oceanographic conditions, land use and land cover on the islands, and local human threats to investigate how the reefs’ condition and relationship to their environments may have changed in the last 16 years.
  • ZhongPing Lee of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, took field measurements of reefs concurrently with the HyspIRI flights, using a special system that precisely measures the spectrum of colors in ocean water, which provides important information about what’s in the water. Lee and his team measured the shape of the seafloor, the water’s optical properties, and other characteristics to compare with the same measurements made by AVIRIS.

Get a 360-degree view of the ER-2 landing on Oahu during the HyspIRI Hawaii mission:

Hawaii Governor Approves Energy Code That Will Significantly Reduce Energy Use

Gov. David Ige has approved a Hawai‘i Administrative Rule that requires the use of the updated 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for the construction of state buildings. The updated code will reduce energy use by almost two-thirds and make a significant contribution toward achieving Hawai‘i’s clean-energy goals.

“It’s important that the state lead by example as we move toward a 100 percent clean energy future for Hawai‘i,” Ige said. “Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings will allow us to reduce Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported oil, while protecting our environment and strengthening our economy.”

The new energy code is the result of work done by the Hawai‘i Building Code Council to adopt the 2015 IECC with Hawai‘i-specific amendments. Buildings that were constructed to the 2015 code use about 30 percent less energy than those built under the 2006 code. Hawai‘i’s amendments reduce energy use by another three percent.

Gov. Ige’s signing of the new IECC will pave the way for the eventual adoption of the code by Hawai‘i’s counties, requiring that all new commercial and residential construction meet the code. The greatest energy savings in the residential sector will come from decreasing cooling loads, increasing comfort with natural ventilation, and eliminating electric water heating.

The payback period for homes built in Hawai‘i to the new code is estimated at 4.3 years, according to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The first-year energy cost savings for homes built to the new code is $1,097 when compared to the 2006 IECC. Over 25 years, the savings would be $27,425.

Explore Kahuku at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – April – June 2017

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from April through June 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A visitor explores the geologic formations of Kahuku 1868 lava flow in Kahuku. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

New! Join us for ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon. On April 21 learn how to make tī leaf lei; on May 19, learn to make a miniature kāhili (feather standard); and come weave a small decorative fish out of niu (coconut fronds) on June 23. Programs are free.

New! Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of the month. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on April 28, May 26, and June 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered April 23, May 28, and June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered May 20 and June 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered April 8, May 7 and June 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered April 9, May 21 and June 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered April 15 and May 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered April 16, May 14 and June 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered April 22, May 27 and June 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered April 29, May 13 and June 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 18-Year-Old Honoka’a Man

4/6/17 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 18-year-old Desmond Kaluhimoku-Dela Cruz, who had been reported missing.

He was located in Honokaʻa on Wednesday morning (April 5) in good health.

Hawaiʻi Island Police are searching for an 18-year-old Honokaʻa man who was reported as missing.

Desmond Kaluhimoku-Dela Cruz was last seen in the Paʻauhau subdivision in the Hāmākua District early Tuesday morning (April 4). He is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-5, 120-130 pounds, slim build, short black hair, and was last seen wearing a hoodie and surf shorts.

Desmond Kaluhimoku-Dela Cruz

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Officer Robert Border at the Hāmākua Police Station or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hospice of Kona Seeks Community Volunteers

Families of a loved one with a long-term illness or who are grieving a loss appreciate the range of supportive services provided by the Hospice of Kona (HOK) volunteer team.  West Hawaii residents wanting to help their neighbors and give back to the community can become a Hospice of Kona “Stars of Service” volunteer by attending the mandatory trainings that will be held at the HOK offices (75-5925 Walua Road, Suite 102) from 8:30am to 4:30pm on April 11th and 12th.

To register, please contact Adriana DeGress, Director of Volunteer Services/Events, 808-443-2936 or adegress@hospiceofkona.org.  Attending both meetings is mandatory to become a Certified Hospice Volunteer. Please bring a brown bag lunch; beverages and dessert provided.

“We have volunteers of all age ranges, from teenagers to retirees,” said Adriana.  “They’re the heart of our organization, because they extend their hearts to families and friends of patients with life-limiting illnesses.”

Volunteer positions include massage therapists, hair stylists, patient companions, bereavement support, Reiki therapists, musicians, and many others. Volunteers may have specific roles within the home setting or assist Hospice of Kona in other areas.

Alchemy of Aloha: A New Play Showcase

Two original theater performances centered around Hawaii Island’s people and their stories are set to debut in Downtown Hilo during Aloha First Fridays, this Friday, April 7 at 7pm at East Hawaii Cultural Center. The event is open to all ages and admission is free.

Alchemy of Aloha is produced under the direction of Seattle-based The New Alchemists, in partnership with Waiakea High School and Full Life Hawaii. The goal of the community theater project is to uplift local voices and showcase the unique stories of the island’s diverse communities.

Performances are inspired by Full Life participant Jennifer Poblano’s published short story, ‘FUZZY LAND,’ and Waiakea High School’s recent production of an original script dealing with adolescent LGBTQ identity titled ‘FriENDship’ by Zoi Nakamura.

Alchemy of Aloha is directed by Lily Raabe, with original music by Ahmed Alabaca, and production support from Hilo native Brandon Estrella. Custom performance masks crafted by local artist Kathleen Kam.

Hawaiian Island Creations Launches HIC Wahine at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani is pleased to announce their newest store, HIC Wahine, the latest brand by Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC). This new, 1,500 square foot boutique is HIC’s fifth Hawai‘i Island location, and their only store focused entirely on clothing, swimwear, and accessories for women and girls.

“We’ve listened to requests from the Mauna Lani shoppers for more women’s products, and that’s what led to the expansion,” said Leigh Tonai, CEO of HIC. “We have assigned an all-female crew to head buying and management of the store to make sure we are carrying the best items for our wahine customers.”

HIC Wahine features women’s fashion, apparel and accessories from Amuse Society, Roxy, Volcom, Billabong, Oakley, Nixon, Reefs, Love Stitch, Havaianas and Dakine.

Hawaiian Island Creations was started in 1971 by brothers Stephen and Jimmy Tsukayama, who opened their first store in Kailua, on Oahu’s windward side. For over 45 years HIC has offered Hawai‘i the best selection of surfboards, skateboards, clothing and accessories. Through a commitment to quality, service and aloha spirit, the brand has built a reputation as an icon of Hawaiian surfing recognized worldwide.

HIC made its first move to Hawai‘i Island and The Shops at Mauna Lani in 2011, and quickly realized it had tapped a market thirsty for top quality surf brands. HIC Wahine is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.hicsurf.com, or call 808-238-0251.

Hilo Sewage Spill Cleaned Up – Beaches and Parks Now Open

This is a Civil Defense sewage spill information update for Wednesday April 5 at 3 PM.

The Department of Environmental Management reports that water quality levels in the spill area have returned to normal. The Department of Health confirmed that all Hilo Bayfront area beach parks can now be opened. The County is mobilizing to open up the area at this time.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding throughout this incident. Have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Navy Complies with EPA, Closes Cesspools on Joint Base – Fined $94,212

The Navy recently closed the last of three remaining Large Capacity Cesspools (LCCs) located on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, settling a Consent Agreement and Final Order with the Environmental Protection Agency.  The Navy paid a penalty of $94,212 for violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act at JBPHH.

Adm. John Fuller

Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, announced the closure of the cesspools in his sixth Red Hill stakeholder letter of March 2017. “Just recently, we closed legacy cesspools that predated joint-basing in order to comply with state law.  Our Navy is not perfect, but we are committed to confronting what is not right or not in the nation’s best interest.  We are accountable for our actions, and we are committed to doing the right thing.  We are equally committed to presenting science-based evidence to enhance our understanding,” Fuller wrote.
The Navy acquired the LCCs in 2010 when Hickam Air Force Base and Naval Station Pearl Harbor became Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.  With the Navy as the lead Department of Defense agency for JBPHH, thousands of assets and inventory items were consolidated under Navy responsibility.

YWCA Honors Dr. Lynda Dolan, Mitch Roth as Remarkable

The YWCA of Hawaii Island will honor local physician Dr. Lynda Dolan and Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth as its 2017 Remarkable People.

The pair will be honored at the ninth annual Remarkable Person Luncheon Thursday, April 13, at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Ballroom.

“The YWCA is proud to recognize Lynda and Mitch for their exceptional achievements in the workplace and throughout the community,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island. “Our honorees exemplify what it means to be remarkable, and have truly gone above and beyond in service to others.”

Dolan has provided comprehensive medical services in East Hawaii for 20 years, and serves as a mentor for the next generation of healthcare providers. Roth, a former deputy prosecutor on Oahu and Hawaii Island, is Prosecuting Attorney for Hawaii County, and works tirelessly to create safe and healthy communities.

There are a limited number of tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Naomi at the YWCA of Hawaii Island office at 930-5705 or via email tuyemura@ywcahawaiiisland.org

Dolan found her way to Hilo from Upstate New York in 1997 after she met island-boy Michael Costales, whom she later married. As a family practice physician, she is passionate about caring for the community and has her eye on continuously improving the overall healthcare experience. Dolan strategizes and works with stakeholders to ease the administrative burden on physicians while empowering patients to be more in tune with their own healthcare.

Dolan’s reach into the community extends beyond her practice, The Family Medicine Center. A strong believer in the continuum of care, she serves as medical director for Hospice of Hilo. She serves on the board of East Hawaii Independent Physician Association with the goal of keeping private practices alive and thriving. Dolan also lends a physician voice to various HMSA committees and initiatives.

For years, she has served on Hilo Medical Center’s Medical Executive Committee, holding several positions including Family Medicine Department Chair, Vice Chief of Staff, and was the first female Chief of Staff. Dolan currently serves on HMC’s Utilization Review committee, and is a former chair of the Focused Review, Quality, and Credentials committees. She sits on the Hilo Medical Foundation Board of Trustees and is an active volunteer at St. Joseph School. Dolan spends time precepting at the Hawaii Island Family Residency Clinic, and mentors students pursuing careers in healthcare. She lives in a multigenerational household with her husband, children, Dylan, Evan and Michaela, and her mother, Rita. Their oldest child, Mahina, son-in-law Bryce and granddaughter Khloe visit as much as possible.

Roth has been a prosecutor in Hawaii for more two decades. He’s served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City & County of Honolulu and Hawaii County. In 1994, while at the City, he developed a community-oriented prosecution program and became the first Community-Oriented Prosecuting Attorney in the State.

Roth joined the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office in 1998 where he supervised the Asset Forfeiture program, the Community-Oriented Prosecution project, and was designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. He helped start a Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety Big Island chapter, was the Interagency Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Interagency Team, and helped bring the Shattered Dreams Youth Alcohol Prevention project to the island. He was elected Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney in 2012 and 2016.

Roth’s commitment to community is evident in his involvement in many organizations including the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii Island, Exchange Club of Hilo, Rotary Club of Hilo, and the Western Community Policing Institute, where he’s been a trainer since 1996. He’s served on numerous boards and steering committees across the state including the Community Empowerment Organization, Turning Point for Families, Hawaii Community Resource Center, and YMCA Hawaii Island.

Roth received his bachelors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and earned his Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. He is happily married to his wife, Noriko; together they have three children.