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State to Discontinue Mailing Disabled Parking Placard Renewal Notices

Effective immediately, the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB), Department of Health, State of Hawaii, will discontinue mailing courtesy renewal notices to persons with long-term disability parking placards expiring on or after July 31, 2017.

“The administrative cost to print and mail out over 1,500 notices a month was substantial, and as the State recently switched from issuing four-year term placards to six-year term placards, we discovered that a significant number of placard holders do not have a current mailing address on file with us,” said DCAB Executive Director Francine Wai.

The placard expiration date is printed on both sides of a placard and on the identification card issued with the placard. Placard holders are now responsible to check their placard expiration date and submit a renewal application form should they continue to have a qualifying disability.

Renewal application forms may be submitted up to 60 days before the expiration date or at any time following the expiration date. The form requires that a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) certify the applicant’s disability. The form is available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/dcab/parking/, at all County Satellite City Halls and DMV offices, the Hawaii County Office on Aging, or by calling DCAB at (808) 586-8121.

There is no charge for renewal of a long-term (blue-colored) disability parking placard.

Placard renewals are processed by mail only. Therefore, completed renewal application forms must be mailed to: DCAB, P.O. Box 3377, Honolulu, HI 96801.

Global Survey Lands to Development of Hawaii Coral Plan

Two successive summers of serious coral bleaching in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands and in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands has led to the development of the first-ever Hawai‘i Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan.

According to DLNR Division of Aquatics (DAR) administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “Recent coral bleaching events around the Hawaiian Islands have been a major cause for concern, as healthy corals are key to our nearshore ecosystems and are the very foundations for the overall and long-term health of the ocean.  After serious and unprecedented bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, we sought advice from leading experts around the world on what types of management interventions might be most successful in minimizing long-term reef degradation resulting from bleaching.”

A steering committee, made up of representatives from DLNR/DAR, the University of Hawai‘i, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), surveyed opinions and best practices from experts around the and analyzed peer-reviewed literature related to coral bleaching and recovery.  The committee then held a workshop with local coral researchers and included their recommendations in the plan.

The report notes that “establishing a network of permanent no-take Marine Protected Areas and establishing a network of Herbivore Fishery Management Areas were the top-ranked actions arising from the expert judgment assessments and the literature analysis.”

“We set out to identify specific management actions we can take to mitigate the effects of coral bleaching and we succeeded in doing that,” said Anderson.  “Our goals now may include establishing protected areas around reefs that have naturally higher resiliency to bleaching, controlling algal overgrowth in selected locations by protecting herbivores, and replacing corals killed by bleaching events with new coral from another location. Anderson noted that “This is going to be a huge challenge, but we need to give it our best shot.  We’re extremely grateful to the experts here in Hawai‘i and around the world who helped make this recovery plan a reality.”

The Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan is available for download from the home page of DAR’s web site http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar under the “Notices” section.

Hawaii AG Joins in Call for Expansion of Medicaid Fraud Authority

Attorney General Doug Chin yesterday joined the attorneys general of 37 states and the District of Columbia urging the federal government to change its policy so state attorneys general can use federal funds to investigate and prosecute a wider range of Medicaid abuse and neglect cases.

The letter was sent to Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

Click to read letter

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides free or low-cost medical benefits to millions of Americans. More than 6.4 million people enrolled in the Medicaid program are age 65 or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 persons age 65 and older who live at home will become a victim of abuse.

Attorney General Chin said, “The Hawaii Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives thousands of complaints relating to fraud and abuse and neglect every year. We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these cases. We hope that the federal government will hear our concerns and support our efforts to protect Hawaii’s most vulnerable residents.”

Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) investigate and prosecute state Medicaid provider fraud and resident abuse and neglect complaints in board and care facilities. In Hawaii, MFCU operates in the Department of the Attorney General.

According to the bipartisan letter signed by Attorney General Chin:

“[T]he current strict federal limitations on states’ ability to use MFCU assets to investigate abuse and neglect are outdated, arbitrarily restrict our ability to protect Medicaid beneficiaries from abuse and neglect as Congress intended, and should be replaced or eliminated.

We respectfully request you take swift action to eliminate federal regulations that needlessly narrow our use of these valuable assets. Instead, we request to be freed to use federal MFCU funds to detect, investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect committed against Medicaid beneficiaries or in connection with Medicaid-funded services to the fullest extent permitted by federal statute.”

The letter from NAAG offered two specific recommendations:

  • Allow MFCU federals funds to be used to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings (i.e. home health care).
  • Allow use of MFCU federal funds to freely screen or review any and all complaints or reports of whatever type, in whatever setting.

A copy of the letter is attached.

Hokulea Greeted by Mayor of Mataiea and Over 500 Community Members

As part of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia visited Mataiea and were greeted by Alpha Tearii, mayor of Mataiea and minister of Marine and Land Resources, and with an overwhelming show of support by the community.

In a grand welcoming ceremony, over 500 third graders and college students from Mairipehe Primary School, Nuutafaratea Primary School, Matairea Primary School, and Teva I Uta College celebrated the shared malama honua vision of caring for the oceans and land for future generations in Tahitian, French and English.

It has been over 40 years since Hokulea first arrived in Mataiea, which is known for its rich cultural heritage and abundant in natural beauty. “They are doing a lot of really good things here and we are witness to that,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, pwo navigator of the Hokulea. “I see us coming back with future generations to engage, because that is what the voyage is about. It’s about discovering.”

The next day, following a community breakfast and coconut tree planting ceremony with local children, Hokulea and Hikianalia departed for Tautira on Tahiti’s south-east coast.

The sister canoes will continue to travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and education outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Hokulea and Hikianalia are making their way back to Hawaii together for a homecoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.

10 Top Chefs & Fireworks Star at Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Summer Opener

The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) will launch its seventh year with a bang on June 2, 2017 at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. The seafood-themed kickoff event, Cuisines of the Sea features ten of the State’s best chefs and a fireworks finale to celebrate the talent lineup announcement for #HFWF17, happening October 20-November 5 on Maui, Hawai‘i Island, and O‘ahu.


“We aim to elevate the experience for guests at the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival every year,” says HFWF Chief Executive Officer Denise Yamaguchi. “To kick off our seventh year, we’ve invited ten of the Islands’ top chefs to craft some of the most mouthwatering dishes under a showering of fireworks at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.”

Cuisines of the Sea features James Beard award-winning HFWF Co-Founders Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi along with The Kahala’s Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi, Arancino Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto, Vikram Garg, Chris Kajioka, Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Mark Noguchi, Sheldon Simeon, and Lee Anne Wong. The event showcases seafood from our waters such as Kualoa shrimp, oysters, and ahi along with locally raised Ni‘ihau lamb and pork belly. Dishes will be paired with coveted wines such as Caymus, Insignia, Kosta Browne, Opus One, and Silver Oak and creative cocktails by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

Tickets for Cuisines of the Sea are priced at $175 per person. To purchase tickets, please visit: www.HFWF.me. The grazing event is the grand finale for a five-day Culinary Journey of farm tours and unique experiences that will be covered by national media to shine a spotlight on Hawai‘i’s dynamic culinary scene. At Cuisines of the Sea, the themes, talent, and wineries for the Fall Festival will be announced.

“We’re thrilled to be the host resort of the second annual HFWF Launch event, Cuisines of the Sea at our Kahala oasis,” said Gerald Glennon, General Manager, The Kahala Hotel & Resort. “The HFWF organization is aligned with our corporate philosophies of community, sustainability, Hawaiian culture and educational programs and we’re proud to be a partner and presenting sponsor.”

#HFWF17 will welcome more than 100 culinary masters, 50 wine makers, and a dozen mixologists to events on Maui, Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu from October 20-November 5, 2017. The participating chefs are personally recommended and invited by the Festival’s co-founders. “We try to invite chefs who have the same kind of passion as we do for food and sustainability,” shares Roy Yamaguchi. “Our job is to really promote the State of Hawai‘i to the rest of the world through food and the chefs become our ambassadors.”

Alan Wong recalls the festival’s beginnings, saying “We started as a three-day event in Waikiki with only 30 chefs. Now we have three events on Maui, one event on the Big Island, and five days on O‘ahu. The spotlight is put on Hawai‘i for three weeks on our people, our culture, our food, what we grow here. It’s a win win win.”

The Festival boosts Hawai‘i’s reputation as a culinary destination with prominent national media coverage valued at $12 million and attendance that’s grown to nearly 8,000. The HFWF mission is to showcase Hawai‘i’s food, farms, and young chef talent. Since its 2011 launch, HFWF has donated $1.7 million to community organizations that support sustainability, culinary programs and agriculture. Festival proceeds benefit the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, Hawai‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program, Hawai‘i Farm Bureau, Hawaii Seafood Council, IMUA Family Services, Leeward Community College Culinary Program, Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui Community College Culinary Arts Program, ment’Or BKB Foundation, Paepae o He‘eia, and Papahana Kuaola.

Stay connected with the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival via www.HFWF.me or follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at hawaiifoodandwinefestival.