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Coast Guard Decommissions Eighth High Endurance Cutter After Nearly 50 Years

The Coast Guard decommissioned its eighth high endurance cutter after nearly 50 years of service as part of recapitalization efforts during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Tuesday.

Crewmembers aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) man the rails during the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. The decommissioning ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition that retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

The Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), a 378-foot high endurance cutter, will be decommissioned after nearly 50 years of service, including action in the Vietnam War, numerous major drug interdictions and law enforcement cases, and a variety of noteworthy rescues.

“The history of Morgenthau’s operations showcases the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out a diverse and important range of missions vital to the security and prosperity of our nation,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, who leads the service’s Pacific fleet as the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California. “The Coast Guard must be ready to protect American security and economic interests wherever called, and recapitalizing our vessels, aircraft, boats and infrastructure has been our highest investment priority.”

Capt. Edward M. St. Pierre, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), and his crew receive the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Pennant during the ship’s decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. Morgenthau was commissioned in 1969 and was the first cutter to have women permanently assigned aboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

Morgenthau, commissioned March 10, 1969, was the eighth of 12 Hamilton- class high endurance cutters built by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. High endurance cutters are the largest cutters, aside from the three major icebreakers and national security cutters, ever built for the Coast Guard.

Morgenthau was active in the Vietnam War, conducting underway replenishment, naval gunfire support, and patrol duties off the coast of Vietnam until relieved by a 311′ cutter in 1971.

In 1977, Morgenthau became the first cutter to have women permanently assigned, which paved the way for numerous women to serve aboard Coast Guard cutters nationwide.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) in full dress at the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. Morgenthau was commissioned in 1969 and has been home to more than 4,000 crewmembers during its 48 years of service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

In the fall of 1996, Morgenthau was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Morgenthau enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Morgenthau participated in Operation Noble Eagle to safeguard America’s prominent port cities through closer scrutiny of maritime traffic.

Capt. Edward M. St. Pierre, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), receives the national ensign from Vice Adm. Fred M Midget, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, during the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. The decommissioning ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition that retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances. The ensign is presented to the service member with the longest time in service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

“The significant legacy left in the wake of Morgenthau is evidenced not only by cutter’s history but also by the numerous former crewmembers who attended the ceremony,” said Midgette. “At the end of the day, this was simply a ship used by dedicated men and women to protect America, its people and their interests around the world. This cutter may leave our service, but the legacy of the men and women who served on Morgenthau will live on forever.”

The U.S. State Department is coordinating the transfer of Morgenthau through the Foreign Assistance Act. This act allows the transfer of excess defense articles as a grant to friendly, foreign governments.

Hawaii Attorney General Supports Federal Rule Requiring Retirement Advisors to Put Clients Ahead of Their Own Profits

Attorney General Doug Chin joined with a group of eight state attorneys general on Monday urging the U.S. Department of Labor to lift its delay in implementing a rule that would require financial advisors to put clients’ best interests ahead of their own.

Click to read full letter

The investment advice fiduciary rule was set to take effect April 10, but the Department of Labor delayed it by 60 days to June 9. On February 3, President Donald Trump ordered the agency to review the fiduciary rule “to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice.”

“To the contrary, postponement of its application is costing investors tens of millions of dollars each day as advisors continue to give conflicted advice and the rule should be implemented without further delay,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Edward Hugley. “This rule is long overdue and would provide substantial protections to consumers seeking retirement investment advice and create only necessary changes to the retirement investment market.”

The rule would expand the definition of fiduciary and hold all retirement investment advisors to the standard of a fiduciary. In addition to putting client interests before advisors’ profits, the rule also would require advisors to disclose conflicts of interest, and would remove advisors’ limited liability for harms resulting from their advice.

The Labor Department issued the fiduciary rule on April 6 of last year, to protect investors and address problems in the retirement investment advice market. Previously, an agency analysis found that conflicting advice issues were widespread and cause serious harm to investment plan and IRA investors. Additionally, the analysis found that investment agencies often arrange compensation ahead of clients’ interests.

“The rule addresses conflicts that lead to widespread abuse of vulnerable investors and in turn dramatically improves the quality of financial investment advice provided,” the attorneys general wrote. “Rather than self-regulating in anticipation of change, the industry has taken full advantage of their non-fiduciary status to the detriment of consumer investors.”

The letter is signed by attorneys general in the states of Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. A copy of the letter is attached.

Hawaii Nurses Can Renew Licenses Online Now

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (PVL) and the Board of Nursing encourages the more than 32,000 Hawaii licensed nurses which include registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and advanced practice registered nurse recognition (APRN) licensees to renew their licenses online at MyPVL (https://pvl.ehawaii.gov/mypvl).

Renewals are being accepted online from April 17, 2017 until midnight on June 30, 2017.  To better ensure receipt of the license pocket ID card by the license expiration date, it is recommended that renewals be submitted before May 31, 2017.  Renewals received or postmarked after June 30, 2017 will be subject to a late renewal fee.

MyPVL service enables 24/7 access to information and services from a single dashboard for all PVL licensees. It was created through a partnership with PVL and the state’s internet portal manager, Hawaii Information Consortium, LLC. The service is one of many online services for citizens and businesses offered through the state’s official website, eHawaii.gov.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 42-Year-Old Kona Man

Big Island Police are searching for a 42-year-old Kona man who was reported missing.

Steven Marinelli

Steven Marinelli was last seen on March 6, 2017 on Kaiwi Street in the Kailua-Kona area. He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 180 pounds, with a bald head and blue eyes. He is also known to frequent Pāhoa and the Puna district.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Officer Bryan Ellis at 326-4646, ext. 253, via email at Bryan.Ellis@hawaiicounty.gov, or to call the Police Departments 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.

Island Air Honors Explorers Program Graduates

Island Air recently honored 25 students who graduated from its Explorers Program, a 10-week mentorship program that gives high school and college students an opportunity to learn about careers in the aviation industry.

“We are proud of these young men and women for their accomplishment and completion of the Explorers Program,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “This is the future generation of Hawai‘i’s aviation industry. We applaud their passion for airline careers and look forward to seeing them follow their dream and obtain local jobs.”

Explorers are offered an in-depth, hands-on overview of the airline industry, learning everything from how airplanes operate to customer relations management and corporate responsibility. The 10-week program provides information for airline related jobs such as pilots, flight attendants, ramp operators and aircraft mechanics, as well as visits and lectures from members of the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and Air Traffic Control.

In addition to mentorship, the Explorers Program graduates have the opportunity to receive the Jaime Wagatsuma Award, a $1,000 scholarship named in honor of the program advisor and pilot for both Island Air and Aloha Airlines who lost her battle with cancer in 2007. This year Island Air awarded two top achievers. The recipients are Mizuki Wiseman of Leeward Community College and Jordan Fines of Damien Memorial School.

The 25 graduates include:

  • Chad Alcantara-Rillamas – St. Louis High School
  • Phoebe Brandt – Castle High School
  • Carlos Bulan – James Campbell High School
  • Abigail Dang – Home School
  • Dylan Decker – Kalani High School
  • Caleb Dirks – Kaiser High School
  • Marcus Faufata-Pedrina – Damien Memorial School
  • Matthew Faufata-Pedrina – Damien Memorial School
  • Jordan Fines – Damien Memorial School
  • Kawelo Inciong – Kamehameha Schools
  • Kyo Johnson – Leilehua High School
  • Chance Kim – Roosevelt High School
  • Kristen Kop – Mid-Pacific Institute
  • Shane Kunimitsu – Kamehameha Schools
  • Elijah Lewis – Home School
  • Kealani Lui-Kwan – Castle High School
  • Kayla Malta – ‘Iolani School
  • Daylen Masaki – Moanalua High School
  • Cannan Nodine – Kaiser High School
  • Rovi Porter – Kalani High School
  • Wyatt Ross – Kaiser High School
  • Kaylin Urata – Hawaii Baptist Academy
  • Caden Warhawk – Home School
  • Mizuki Wiseman – Leeward Community College
  • Micah Yamamoto – Mid-Pacific Institute

Island Air’s Explorers Program is the only student workforce initiative in the aviation industry on O‘ahu. It became an official Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America when the program graduated its first class of students in April 2009. Since its founding, 161 students have completed the course. Many graduates have returned to Island Air for internships or full-time employment.

For more information, visit www.islandair.com/explorers-program.

Kona Brewing Company Sponsoring Earth Day Beach Clean-Up

Kona Brewing Co. employees will embrace the spirit of Earth Day on Saturday April 22, 2017 with a clean-up at Ke‘ei Beach, a site of historical significance. Ke‘ei Beach was the site of King Kamehameha the Great’s first battle where he fought for rule over the Big Island. Today, this battleground is a popular fishing and camping spot that collects unsightly trash along the coastline.

The Kona Brew Pub crew will meet at 8 AM to clean up fishing line, plastic, and other debris that mar the marine sanctuary and pose hazards to turtles and other marine life that call Kealakekua Bay home. “We wanted to do something to help the local marine environment” explains Debbie Jost, Kona Brewing Pub and Growler Shack Manager. “We’ll also donate a portion of proceeds from Big Wave sales at both of our brew pubs this week to community partners who work year-round to care for our ocean.”

Kona Brewing Co. will give a portion of proceeds from sales of Big Wave Golden Ale, the ‘Hipa Hipa’ beer special at its Hawaii Kai and Kona pubs between April 18th-22nd to long-time environmental partners Sustainable Coastlines, Surfrider Foundation, Malama Maunalua, and Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative. Kona Brewing Co. donates more than $120,000 annually to a variety of local non-profit organizations that are committed to preserving Hawaii’s unique environmental and cultural treasures.

Employees will be joined by their families and even some brewpub regulars who have expressed interest in helping out. The Earth Day project will wrap with a beach barbecue to celebrate a successful clean-up. Follow the progress on Earth Day on Instagram @KonaBrewingCo. Before and after images will be available after the clean-up.

The Earth Day campaign is part of a company-wide commitment by Kona Brewing Co. to the community, environment, and sustainability.