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Leilehua High and Waimea High Qualify for National Leadership Bowl Championship

After advancing through two phases of online competition against 1,378 teams worldwide, the Leilehua High “Mighty Mules” JROTC Leadership Team and the Waimea High Menehune Battalion will compete at the 2017 Army JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl in Washington DC.

​After advancing through two phases of online competition, the Leilehua High “Mighty Mules” JROTC Leadership Team and the Waimea High Menehune Battalion will compete at the 2017 Army JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB) in Washington DC. The competition will be held from June 22-27, 2017, and is sponsored by the Army JROTC and conducted by the College Options Foundation.

“This will be the first time that two of our public schools have simultaneously reached this level of competition in the National Leadership Bowl Championship,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are proud of these cadets and congratulate them for being among the best teams in the country. We also send our best wishes as they head to Washington DC.”

Forty Army JROTC Leadership Bowl teams in the nation have advanced to JLAB, which includes an all-expense paid trip to the Championship event in DC. During the two fast-paced preliminary rounds, cadets were tested on their knowledge of current events, leadership values and leadership skills.

Leilehua’s team is composed of Cadet Faith Boyce-Jennings, Cadet Morgan Burks, Cadet Kobee Ledward, Cadet Janarah Jones, and team alternate Cadet Essence Johnson. The team’s coach is Nick Spiridigliozzi, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Retired.

The Leilehua High JROTC team earned top scores out of the 1,378 Army JROTC teams that competed from around the world. It is composed of Cadet Faith Boyce-Jennings, Cadet Morgan Burks, Cadet Kobee Ledward, Cadet Janarah Jones, and team alternate Cadet Essence Johnson. The team’s coach and chaperone is Nick Spiridigliozzi, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Retired.

Waimea’s team is composed of the following cadets: Micah Guillermo (Team Captain), Kristine Ruiz, Wayne Noda, Cade Tanaka and team alternate Leilani Hikashi. Chaperones are JROTC instructor Victor Aguilar, Major U.S. Army Retired and Corazon Guillermo. Photo Credit: Waimea High School

This is the fourth time that Waimea High’s Menehune Battalion has qualified and competed at the National Leadership Bowl Championship. The team earned high scores and is composed of the following cadets: Micah Guillermo (Team Captain), Kristine Ruiz, Wayne Noda, Cade Tanaka and team alternate Leilani Hikashi. Chaperones are JROTC instructor Victor Aguilar, Major U.S. Army Retired and Corazon Guillermo.

JLAB is a nationally recognized competition created exclusively for JROTC students. By participating, cadets learn the values of citizenship, academic competition, and college opportunity. The competition creates tremendous opportunities for JROTC cadets by allowing them to demonstrate leadership and academic abilities.

College Options Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the academic development of high school students and assisting them in their preparation for higher education.  Using academic competitions, college exam study guides, college admissions tutorials and personalized counseling, College Options Foundation has assisted the nation’s JROTC cadets worldwide for over a decade.

Hawaii Public Safety Committee Hearing – Update Shelter Plans in Case of Nuclear Attack from North Korea

The House Public Safety Committee (PBS) is holding a public hearing on SCR169 SD1 HD1. This resolution urges the state Department of Defense to update and modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans, as the current state of geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the United States make Hawaii a vulnerable and strategic target for a nuclear weapons.

Click to read

The resolution is proposed by PBS Vice Chair Rep. Matt LoPresti (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe), changes the way the state deals with future disasters and emergencies.

  • WHO: State Representative Matthew Lopresti
  • WHAT: The House Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1HD1 urging the State Department of Defense to modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans amidst recent actions by North Korea and the Trump Administration.
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: Room 312, House Public Safety Committee State Capitol

Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group Stops in Hawaii

Ships and units from the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group (Sterett-Dewey SAG) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 11, the first stop of the group’s Western Pacific deployment.

USS Dewey (DDG 105) sits along the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 11. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Corwin Colbert)

The command staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Dewey (DDG 105), along with embarked helicopter detachments from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 and HSM 78, deployed from Naval Base San Diego on March 31.

During the transit to Hawaii, the Sterett-Dewey SAG completed a series of training and certification exercises tailored to meet projected expectations of Western Pacific operations. The group additionally worked with Carrier Strike Group 11 in a series of communications exercises.

The Sterett-Dewey SAG will operate with regional navies to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability in the Western Pacific.

U.S. 3rd Fleet will retain control of the Sterett-Dewey SAG as it crosses the international dateline. U.S. 3rd Fleet operating forward offers additional options to the Pacific Fleet commander by leveraging the capabilities of both the 3rd and 7th Fleets. This operational concept allows both numbered fleets to complement one another and provide the foundation of stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“The Sterett-Dewey SAG has demonstrated exemplary technical and tactical proficiency and teamwork, giving this deployment a very strong start,” said Capt. David A. Bretz, commander, DESRON 31. “I’m extremely proud of the dedication and mission focus on display from every Sterett-Dewey SAG Sailor, and we are looking forward to putting these sharpened skills to use in support of maritime security and stability operations with our partners and allies in the Western Pacific.”

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, constantly coordinating with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

Hawaii House Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund City Rail Project

The House of Representatives 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 House extended Oahu’s 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for the City’s rail project for an additional two years through 2029 which will generate an estimated $792 million.

The House also agreed to reduce the funds it collects as a GET administrative fee by 90 percent which will generate an estimated $397 million for the City project.

When adding this new funding of $1.2 billion to the $6.8 billion already committed to the project, the State is providing $8 billion for the City rail project.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the additional rail funding provided in the bill brings the City very close to its total estimated cost for the entire project.

“This bill is an honest attempt to once again provide sufficient funds for the city’s over-priced, over-budget rail project,” Luke said. “There are many more questions about the rising cost estimates that remain unanswered.”

(For the full text of Rep. Luke’s speech today, click here.)

“This was a reasoned approach and I would hope that reason would prevail at the city. It is incumbent upon the Mayor, the city, and HART to use this opportunity to take control of the cost and its budgets, and look at all viable options. Threatening the public with a property tax increase is doing a disservice to our citizens. The city must first do whatever they can to instill confidence and trust in this project. I am certain given the opportunity they will do that.”

As part of the bill, the Honolulu City Council must vote to allow city funds to be used for rail and approve the GET extension by Dec. 31, 2017 or void the additional State support.

In an impassioned speech, Speaker Joseph Souki (D, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), said building rail is the largest public works project in Hawaii’s history and will provide jobs and a new mode of transportation for commuters.

“This is for the future. The burden now goes to the City. They need to have ‘skin in the game.’ Hopefully, the (City) Council will get the courage to pass it.  I’m asking all of you to support this bill,” Souki said.

Luke said the State must be very mindful of how it spends taxpayer money, and that  lawmakers and the public have lost faith in the credibility of cost estimates by the City and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation administrators.

After providing almost all the funds needed for the project, the State cannot write a “blank check” for more taxes going into the future just in case rail goes over budget again, she said.

Luke said the City should look at cost savings either through r public private partnerships, finding creative ways of securing bond financing, or aggressively looking at their contracts and making cuts to cover the final $100 million of the total cost.

Luke said this $1.2 billion package provides the City with funds to complete the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in Federal Transit Administration funding.

SB1183 SD2 HD2’s provisions include:

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

In addition, the House also moved the following bills on Second Crossover:

Veterans

SB 602 HD1 repeals the requirement that a disabled veteran be in receipt of disability retirement pay from the armed forces to be exempt from the payment of annual vehicle registration fees.

Climate Change

SB 559 SD1 HD2 requires the State to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement.

Affordable Housing

SB 1244 SD2 HD2 authorizes qualified nonprofit housing trusts to repurchase affordable units developed with government assistance when a government entity waives its first right of refusal to repurchase the unit.

Internet Privacy

SB 429 SD2 HD2 adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees, unpaid interns, applicants, students, and prospective students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

Condominium Law

SB 369 SD1 HD1 prohibits apartment and condominium associations, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, and apartment and condominium owners from retaliating or discriminating against an owner, board member, or association employee who takes lawful action to address, prevent, or stop a violation of Hawaii’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents, or exercises any rights as an owner.

Prison

SB 603 SD1 HD2 requires report to Legislature on solitary confinement in Hawaii and Arizona correctional facilities that house Hawaii inmates. It also requires the Department of Public Safety to expand the environmental impact statement process for potential sites for the Oahu Community Correctional Center relocation and submit a report to Legislature.

Taxation

SB 620 SD2 HD2 requires retailers or vendors that are not located in the State and not required to pay or collect general excise or use tax for sales to send certain information to purchasers in the State.

SB 686 SD2 HD1 establishes education surcharges on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations for funding public education.

SB 704 SD2 HD2 allows transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of operators and plan managers using their services for vacation rentals.

Homelessness

SB 717 SD2 HD2 makes appropriations and establishes a temporary program to clean up state real property after the departure of persons who have illegally camped or lodged on state real property.

SB 1290 SD2 HD2 allocates funds from transient accommodations tax revenues to the Hawaii Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for the implementation of initiatives to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

Pregnancy Centers

SB 501 SD1 HD2 requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services and establishes privacy and disclosure requirements for individual records and information.

In Vitro Fertilization

SB 502 SD1 HD1 removes discriminatory requirements for mandatory insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization procedures to create parity of coverage for same-sex couples, unmarried women, and male-female couples for whom male infertility is the relevant factor.

Retirement

SB 249 SD2 HD1 reduces the percentage of average final compensation used to calculate the retirement allowance for a member who first earned credited service as a judge after June 30, 2050, to 2 per cent.

Maui Hospitals

SB 207 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Budget and Finance for collective bargaining cost items related to the transition of affected Maui region hospital employees to employment with Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC.

Lifeguard Protection

SB 562 SD1 HD1 requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action against the county based on negligence, wrongful act, or omission of a county lifeguard for services at a designated state beach park under an agreement between the State and a county.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Kicks Off Statewide Town Hall Tour With 500 Kona Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) kicked off her statewide Town Hall Tour in Kona last night, where nearly 500 residents of West Hawaiʻi packed the Kealakehe Intermediate School cafeteria to hear from their congresswoman and discuss issues affecting the people of Hawaiʻi, our country, and the world.

More than 30,000 viewers tuned in via Facebook Live for the first of seven Town Halls that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is hosting during the April District Work Period on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress and the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that affect Hawaiʻi communities, including legislation to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and to combat invasive species like the coffee berry borer, macadamia felted coccid, albizia trees, coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fire ants, and the fungus that causes rapid ohia death. She also highlighted her bills to support local farmers, small businesses, the agriculture industry, and sustainability efforts.

The congresswoman spent the majority of the meeting answering questions from the audience on topics including ending the counterproductive regime change war in Syria, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, Trump’s recent attack on Syria, federal spending, civil liberties, healthcare, education, military issues, and veteran services.

The next stops on Tulsi’s Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Lānaʻi – Thursday, April 13th, 4:45 – 6:30 PM, Lānaʻi Senior Center, 309 Seventh Street Lānaʻi City, HI 96763
  • Oʻahu – Saturday, April 15th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Kainalu Elementary School, 165 Kaiholu Street Kailua, HI 96734
  • Molokaʻi – Monday, April 17th, 4:30 – 6:00 PM, Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa Street Kaunakakai, HI 96748
  • Hawaiʻi Island – Hilo, Tuesday, April 18th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Waiakea High School, 155 W. Kawili Street Hilo, HI 96720
  • Kauaʻi – Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Tropical Plantation, 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy Wailuku, HI 96793