Hawaii Board of Education Selects Next Superintendent

The State of Hawaii Board of Education (BOE) is pleased to announce it has selected Christina Kishimoto, Ph.D. as the incoming Superintendent to lead the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE).  After a rigorous search process that spanned several months and 92 applicants, the BOE interviewed two final candidates on May 11, 2017 before making its decision.

“Because both finalists were so highly qualified, it was a difficult decision for the Board,” said BOE Chairperson Lance Mizumoto who led the committee that conducted the search. “In the end, however, we felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the Governor’s Blueprint for Education and the BOE and HIDOE’s newly revised joint strategic plan.  We invite the state to join us in welcoming Dr. Kishimoto with respect, generosity, and warmth.”

Kishimoto signed a three-year contract and will start on August 1, 2017.  She will begin her transition out of her current role as Superintendent of the Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) district in Arizona.

“It is with great excitement and honor that I accept this critical education leadership position for the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education,” said Kishimoto.  “In partnership with Chairperson Mizumoto, the Board, and Governor David Ige, I look forward to implementing a vision of excellence for all students.  I look forward to working hand in hand with Hawaii’s teachers, leaders, staff, parents, community members, and student leaders to execute on this vision of high quality college, career, and community readiness.”

“We are excited to have someone with a track record of reducing achievement gaps and a commitment to school empowerment to lead our public school system,” stated BOE member and former HIDOE teacher and administrator Patricia Bergin.  “I am confident that Dr. Kishimoto will bring fresh ideas to our system, and her strong family ties to Hawaii and her excitement to embrace the foundational pieces of our system, such as Nā Hopena A‘o, demonstrates that she understands and respects Hawaii’s uniqueness.”

University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Education professor and a member of the advisory group to the search committee Patricia Halagao stated, “I was impressed with Dr. Kishimoto’s focus on school design models that celebrate and sustain our diversity of language and culture. As a former public school teacher and someone who now trains teachers, I also appreciate how Dr. Kishimoto elevates teachers as educational experts and aims to create a system conducive for us to thrive and do what we do best—teach.”

Kishimoto has been the GPS Superintendent since July 2014.  She is recognized nationally as a visionary leader in education for her reform work in school turnaround and portfolio school development. Kishimoto earned a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University.  In June 2014, she completed two years of board service on the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, an organization focused on student centered practices and policies.

During the selection process, the BOE conducted a thorough background check, which included civil, criminal, financial, and educational verifications. Chairperson Mizumoto added, “In addition, district officials, former Superintendents, and other individuals in the Gilbert district were contacted. Various negative statements made about Dr. Kishimoto were either inconsequential or simply invalid.”

Next month, the BOE will hold a news conference to formally introduce Kishimoto as the new HIDOE superintendent.

Outgoing HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi ends her term on June 30, 2017. The BOE plans to name an interim Superintendent to serve during the transition month of July.

“Congratulations and best wishes to Christina,” said Supt. Matayoshi. “I’m confident she will build on the progress made to improve our public education system, and continue to keep students at the center of all that we do.”

The BOE formulates statewide educational policy and appoints the Superintendent as the chief executive officer of the public school system.  For more information about the Superintendent search and process, please visit the BOE’s website at http://boe.hawaii.gov.

Statement by Governor David Y. Ige:

I welcome Dr. Christina Kishimoto to this important post. While Dr. Kishimoto will lead the effort to remodel our school system, she will need the support of the entire community. Her success will be our success. Together, we can ensure that those closest to our students are empowered to make decisions that provide the basics and add the new skills our children need to prosper in the future.

I commend the Board of Education for its hard work in making this selection. Board members conducted an unbiased search and considered many well-qualified candidates. The success of our students was at the heart of their decision.

Mahalo to Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi who led a reform effort that created a solid foundation upon which we will continue to build and improve.

Hawaii Island Humane Society Awarded Grant by Windermere Foundation

The Windermere Foundation has awarded Hawaii Island Humane Society a $2,000 grant to be used toward its New Leash on Life program. Each time a home is purchased or sold using a Windermere agent, a portion of the commission goes into the Windermere Foundation fund to benefit low-income and homeless families in their local communities.

“Our New Leash on Life program helps teens develop compassion and increased self-esteem through their bonding with a canine friend,” said Donna Whitaker, Hawaii Island Humane Society Executive Director. “We are so grateful that the Windermere Foundation and its local agents support programs in our community.”

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s New Leash on Life program affords teens who are in foster care or temporary housing a safe and fun outlet to spend time with shelter animals. Teens have the opportunity to socialize with the animals and learn basic dog obedience training. Teens gain a skill and the pets become more adoptable having learned basic commands such as sit, stay and walking on a leash.

“The funds for the grant award were donated and raised by our local Windermere agents who care deeply about their community,” said local Foundation Representative John Kennedy. “Helping the next generation develop their skills is a really great feeling.”

Ka’u Coffee Festival Underway – Jami Beck Crowned Miss K’au Coffee

The ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival is in full swing with newly crowned Miss K‘au Coffee Jami Beck of Wai‘ohinu presiding at a host of upcoming events. The UH-Hilo student swept all pageant categories, winning career outfit and interview, evening gown and swimsuit trophies, plus the titles of Miss Popularity, Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality.

Photo of Miss Ka’u Coffee Jami Beck by Pamela Taylor

Upcoming festival fun includes a Pa‘ina and Open House today, May 19 at Pahala Plantation House and the Ka’u Coffee Recipe Contest Sun., May 21 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Java jumping activities continue Mon., May 22 with Ka’u Star Gazing and May 24-25 with Ka‘u Mountain Water Systems Hikes.

The festival percolates on Sat. May 27 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m., inside and out of the Pahala Community Center at the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a. Enjoy a full day of live music; Hawaiian performing arts; keiki activities; broke ‘da mouth local food, crafts, product and informational booths; plus barista-guided coffee tastings. Guided farm tours with van transport are $20. On Sun., May 28 at 9 a.m, The Ka’u Coffee College features local and visiting coffee industry experts offering seminars focused on enhancing coffee quality and best farm management techniques.

Enter the “Buy Local, It Matters” contest for a chance to win! Simply visit festival sponsors and redeem purchase receipts, product labels and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win cash and prizes.

All activities are open to the public; for details on ticketed events and full festival info, visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Rejects All PAC Contributions

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard today announced that she will reject all political action committee (PAC) donations to her campaign moving forward and released the following statement regarding her decision:

“From the day I was elected to Congress, I promised myself I’d never allow money to influence the decisions I make on behalf of the people who elected me to serve them. Furthermore, I’ve refused to accept contributions from industries like Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, Tobacco, Liquor, and, more recently, Defense. However, from here on out, I’ve made the decision not to accept money from any political action committees.

“Here’s the bottom line: we cannot allow the future of our nation and our politics to be driven and shaped by special interests. Citizens United has exposed a major problem for the future of our country—there is far too much dark money influencing our politics. Our policies and our future must be driven by the American people and their interests.

“I believe in the power of the people and our ability to take action toward a brighter future. When we are informed, involved, and working together toward a common goal, we are more powerful than any special interest group. This is why we need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics and elevate the voices of the people of our country.”

K’au Coffee Festival Names Presenter Lineup for Annual Coffee College

Leaders in the specialty coffee industry present a host of educational opportunities for island coffee farmers at the annual Ka‘u Coffee College 9 a.m.-pau Sunday, May 28 at the Pahala Community Center.

“This year’s college offers a number of hands-on workshops.  The first is on how to breed the flat bark beetle to make the insect act as a biological control to fight the coffee berry borer,” explains long-time festival organizer Chris Manfredi. “Second is an introduction to the science of coffee fermentation and we cap it off with a workshop on how to maximize efficiency and quality of your wet mill.”

Courtesy photo from the 2016 Coffee College

The Ka‘u Coffee College has proven to be a place of learning, sharing and networking—and has featured some of the industry’s leading professionals from around the globe. The 2017 program follows in this tradition with the theme, “Boosting Coffee Quality and Profits.”

The Ka‘u Coffee College is part of the ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival through May 28.

The college opens with “Rearing and Releasing Flat Bark Beetles on Your Farm” presented by Andrea Kawabata and Jen Burt with the University of Hawai‘i CTAHR cooperative extension service. Working out of the Kona Research and Extension Center, Kawabata is an associate extension agent who provides outreach to the coffee, tropical fruit and nut industries. She has been coordinating coffee berry borer integrated pest management recommendations to statewide growers and conducts research applicable to farmers.

Also located at Kona’s Extension Center, Burt provides technical support to the Areawide Mitigation and Management for Coffee Berry Borer and Flat Bark Beetle Projects.

Dr. Peter Follett presents “Flat Bark Beetle Predators-Behavior in the Field and Next Generation Breeding Stations.” Follett, a research entomologist with Hilo’s USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, studies integrated pest management, biological controls and postharvest technology in support of Hawai‘i’s tropical fruit and coffee industries.

“Understanding the Science of Fermentation,” by Dr. Shawn Steiman, delves into the science of coffee fermentation and its importance. A coffee scientist, consultant, entrepreneur and author, Steiman’s research has focused on coffee production, entomology, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, organoleptic quality and brewing.

If you’re wet-milling coffee, you won’t want to miss “Getting the Most Out of Your Wet Mill” presented by Diego Botello, which will be followed by a field visit for a hands-on demonstration of wet milling equipment. Botello is with Penagos Hermanos y Compania S.A.S., a leading manufacturer of agricultural processing equipment. Penagos wet mills are used globally—including in Ka‘u.

“This wet mill presentation affords a rare opportunity to meet first-hand with the manufacturer—to achieve the best possible results from their equipment—from an efficiency and quality perspective. Even if you’re not using Penagos equipment this is must-see event if you’re wet-milling coffee,” notes Manfredi.

Admission to the Ka‘u Coffee College is free, though donations are appreciated.

All activities at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival are open to the general public; some require a fee. Find details at www.KauCoffeeFest.com. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

Transpac Race to Hawaii This July

In less than 6 weeks, dozens of boats will make the 2,225-mile journey from Los Angeles to Honolulu in the 49th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race, more commonly known as Transpac. There are currently 59 monohull and multihull entries from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Norway, Italy and Canada, ranging in size from 33 to 100 feet. Once class divisions are decided, there will be three separate waves on July 3, 5 and 6, 2017.

All entered teams are ticking off their lists of race requirements before they make the trek from Point Fermin in L.A. to Diamond Head, including assembling of safety gear, receiving training, accumulating offshore qualifying miles, building crew lists, planning boat logistics, scheduling pre-race inspections, and arranging boat and sail measurements for rating certificates.

“This is an important time for every entry in Transpac, whether a veteran or a newcomer,” said Transpac Race Chairman Tom Trujillo. “Preparation determines success in this race, and we are pleased to have a deep pool of talent to assist everyone in being ready for their start. We’re also pleased to have the new ORR-MH rating system available for us to use to rate our multihulls, given the broad variety of boat types we have racing in this class.”

Transpac was originally inspired by King David Kalakaua to initiate the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. His yacht, Healani, won the first Challenge Trophy on July 4, 1889. During the years that the king was an active yachting enthusiast, it was his custom to invite the skippers and crews of the competing boats to join him at his boat house following the July 4 race. He would fill the Challenge Trophy, as it was originally named, with champagne and pass it around for all to enjoy; hence the trophy’s colloquial name—the Kalakaua Cup.

There is currently one entry from Hawaii: last Transpac winner, Grand Illusion, skippered by James McDowell. In 1999, 2011 and 2015, McDowell and Grand Illusion won the King Kalakaua Trophy, which is awarded to the first place overall yacht in corrected time.

There will be traditional Aloha Welcoming parties as each boat crosses the finish line and a variety of celebratory events for all participants. (Full Transpac Race 2017 Event Schedule below.) The prestigious King Kalakaua Cup and other trophies will be handed out at the Honolulu Awards Ceremony at The Modern Honolulu ballroom on Friday, July 21.

Entries are being accepted until May 30. For more information visit 2017.transpacyc.com.

Hospice of Hilo Volunteer Training

Hospice of Hilo is looking to add to its volunteer team and will conduct a training session in June for those members of the community interested in giving a few hours a week to uplift others.  “Hospice of Hilo is an excellent organization to be part of. They treat all patients, as well as volunteers with lots of aloha,” said volunteer, Marion Kittleson-Villanueva.  “I have been a volunteer for over a dozen years. Serving others brings much joy and is an opportunity to give back to our Hilo.”

2017 Hospice of Hilo Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon attendees

New volunteers can choose to provide services like companionship, respite, transportation, light housework, yardwork, or administrative support.  Hospice of Hilo is especially in need of Licensed Massage Therapists who wish to share their gift of care, and volunteers who would like to take a shift on a night or weekend.

Training dates are:  June 20, 22, 27 & 29 from 4:30pm to 8:30pm.  Interested trainees should contact Volunteer Manager, Jeanette Mochida at jeanettem@hospiceofhilo.org or call 969-1733 to arrange a required pre-training interview.

Hospice of Hilo provides specialized comfort care for patients facing a life-limiting or serious illness.  Services are delivered to patients in their place of residence from Laupahoehoe to South Point, Ka‘u, or at the Pōhai Mālama a Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center.  In addition to hospice services, Hospice of Hilo also provides free bereavement counseling to any and all residents who have lost a loved one (regardless of whether the loved one received hospice care). For more information about Hospice of Hilo visit www.hospiceofhilo.org or call 969-1733.