Hawaii DLNR Enforcement Division Launches New DLNRTip App

Last weekend a man sent DLNR Chair Suzanne Case photographs of two hammerhead sharks, left dead near the He‘eia Small Boat Harbor on Windward O‘ahu.  It’s impossible to determine how they died.  Were they hooked and discarded?  Were they caught up in a net?  Did someone kill them illegally?  This is exactly the kind of situation the DLNR hopes people will report immediately using its new DLNRTip app.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) launched the new app to help people connect directly with conservation officers, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from smartphones. It is an important extension of the agencies DLNR & You brand.

Developed by tip411, the DLNRTip app is an innovative program that encourages people to provide DOCARE with factual information leading to the arrest of anyone who poaches or harasses protected wildlife species, pollutes, or violates any State conservation resources rules.  1400 communities around the country are currently using the application developed by and managed by tip411. DLNRTip is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the DOCARE website at dlnr.hawaii.gov/docare.

“Our stated mission is to serve to protect, conserve and manage Hawaiʻi’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawai’i nei,” said Robert Farrell, DOCARE Enforcement Chief. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “We think DLNRtip is a natural extension of the DLNR & You brand and furthers our belief that we can’t protect our state’s natural and cultural resources without the thousands of eyes and ears of concerned citizens who can serve as proxies for DOCARE officers who clearly cannot be everywhere, all the time. DLNRTip will better connect our officers to people and expedite receipt of tips of wrongdoing and our subsequent responses.”

“We’re proud to partner with agencies like DLNR/DOCARE to help better connect members of the public with law enforcement to share information,” said tip411 President Terry Halsch.  “DLNRTip powered by tip411Mobile will greatly improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels, important information, and more, to help protect natural and cultural resources in Hawai‘i.”

The DLNRTip app and tip411 are completely anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before officers see tips so there is no way to identify senders. People without a smartphone will be able to send an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to DOCARE by texting keyword DLNRTIP and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411).  Anonymous web tips can also be submitted through the DOCARE website noted above.  DOCARE will also continue to take calls and tips on its Statewide Hotline, 643-DLNR or 643-3567

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Encourages Economic Opportunity for Hawai‘i Businesses at Annual “Hawai‘i on the Hill”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke at the Hawai‘i on the Hill Policy Summit, where she thanked Hawai‘i business leaders and stakeholders for coming to Washington, D.C. and engaging with leaders to increase economic opportunity for Hawaii.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard later visited the Fourth Annual Taste of Hawai‘i reception on Capitol Hill which featured over 70 members of Hawaii’s local business community, ranging from food and beverage companies to representatives from energy, tourism, and farming industries.

“I was honored to welcome business, community, and state leaders from Hawai‘i to Washington during this annual visit, where they showcased the great economic opportunities and achievements of our state.  They brought the aloha spirit with them, and lots of lei, making great connections and leaving a strong impression on policymakers and leaders in Washington.  I look forward to continuing to work with these great partners towards policies and opportunities that will strengthen our Hawai‘i economy,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background:

Wednesday’s policy summit ushered in the third and final day of Hawai‘i on the Hill, an event organized by the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Senator Mazie Hirono to highlight Hawaii’s contributions to the country.

Beginning with the King Kamehameha I Lei Draping Ceremony on Sunday and ending with the Taste of Hawai‘i today, Hawai‘i stakeholders, business owners, and friends of our Aloha state gathered to celebrate what makes Hawai‘i unique and special. 2017 marked the fourth consecutive year that the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce has partnered with local and national organizations to introduce representatives from Hawaii’s public and private sectors to federal policymakers.

Sidewalk Repair on Pahoa Village Road Begins Next Week

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will be repairing the sidewalk on the Pāhoa Village Rd. fronting the former Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant and the Pāhoa, Puna Buy and Sell buildings that were destroyed by a fire on January 16, 2017.

Work will begin on Monday, June 19th and is estimated to be completed by Tuesday, June 27th, weather and construction conditions permitting.  Work hours are between 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone. Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaii State Senators Joins 324 State Legislators in Support of Protecting Public Lands

Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz joined 324 state legislators of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) in a bipartisan effort to call on President Trump to maintain designations of national monuments, following the president’s recent executive order calling for a review of the Antiquities Act. The move could jeopardize national monuments designated by presidents in the past two decades.

Click to read the NCEL Letter

Since being enacted, the 1906 Antiquities Act has been the subject of 157 designations of national monuments by nearly every previous president beginning with President Theodore Roosevelt, and includes such areas and places as the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Chaco Canyon, Olympic National Park, Muir Woods, and the Statue of Liberty. Presidential actions under the Antiquities Act in many instances led to subsequent congressional action to provide National Park status to these very special areas of natural and archaeological values, scientific and educational interest, and importance in our nation’s history and culture.

“Hawai‘i is home to four national monuments, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area in the United States. Protecting these areas is critical to ensure a legacy of natural and archaeological resources for future generations as well as building resiliency against the effects of clime change.” said Sen. Dela Cruz (Dist. 22 – Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho).

Seven other Hawai‘i state legislators signed the letter in support of protecting public lands, including Senators Karl Rhoads (Dist. 13 – Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown) and Laura Thielen (Dist. 25 – Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock).

The letter initiated by Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker urges the president to work with Congress and state legislators to increase public funding for the management of all federal lands and water rather than pursuing a pathway that could lead to weakening protections for these important publicly owned areas and sites.

“National monuments hold an important place in our history and culture in the United States. No president has attempted to revoke a national monument before,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of NCEL. “We urge the president to work with Congress and state legislators to increase funding for public land management and boost the surrounding local economies.”

Economic benefits also have value in outdoor recreation and tourism. According to the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy Report by the Outdoor Industry Association, public lands, including national monuments, national parks, and national wildlife refuges created a significant amount of economic output.

“Public support for protecting special places is strong, and many small communities increasingly depend on tourism and the growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Ranker. “The effort to eliminate or shrink national monuments risks $45 billion generated nationwide by public lands, including national monuments.”

Nā Leo TV to Air “Hawai’i Island Conversations” on Topic of Thirty Meter Telescope

Nā Leo TV announces they will be broadcasting live their June edition of “Hawai’i Island Conversations.” This special show will feature a panel discussion on the Thirty Meter Telescope project, a proposed astronomical observatory that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea. Tentatively scheduled to appear on the panel are Harry Fergerstrom, E. Kalani Flores, Kealoha Pisciotta, along with Douglas Ing, Paul Coleman, and Richard Ha.

The show will air live, Thursday, June 15, 2017, on Channel 53 at 6:00 p.m. HWST and will stream online at www.naleo.tv and on Facebook Live at @naleotv. The show will be rebroadcast on the Nā Leo TV Channels and will be available on Video on Demand at www.naleo.tv/vod/

“Hawai’i Island Conversations” is a new series highlighting relevant topics, stories and people impacting Hawai’i Island.

Nā Leo TV, broadcasting on Oceanic Time Warner Cable public access Channels 53, 54, and 55, via the internet at www.naleo.tv and on social media at @naleotv.

USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Lake Champlain Arrive in Hawaii

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman for their final scheduled port visit of the Western Pacific Deployment with Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, June 13.

USS Lake Champlain. Navy file photo

While moored, the ships will be joined by Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), where the primary mission for the Sailors will be liberty after being out to sea for more than 65 consecutive days.

“In Hawaii, our main mission will be for Sailors to enjoy their hard-earned liberty time, by relaxing and enjoying the Hawaiian culture,” said Capt. Chris Cegielski, commanding officer of Lake Champlain. “It was a long underway period for the crew, but the Sailors remained focused the whole time and accomplished every task and mission that was put before them with both efficiency and professionalism. However, the secondary mission for our ships will be to take on fuel and cargo and to conduct preservation operations, such as painting the ship, while in port.”

After this port visit, Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Chaplain are scheduled to embark friends and family members of the crews for a tiger cruise as they head back to their homeport in San Diego.

Since leaving Singapore April 8, Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Champlain have conducted routine operations and participated in multiple training exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

“During this last underway period, CSG-1 operated with the ROK Navy and JMSDF doing exercises such as live-fire gun shoots, visit, board, search and seizure drills, formation steaming exercises, cross decking with aircrafts, and undersea warfare exercises,” said Cmdr. Vincent A. Fortson, commanding officer of Wayne E. Meyer. “The multiple exercises were successful due to the communication between all the ships. We were able to gain an increased familiarity with one another due to the extended time period CSG-1 operated with the JMSDF and ROK Navy.”
Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Champlain are on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.

The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security. Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983, a year after commissioning.

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

Waimea Ocean Film Festival Sets January Dates

The eighth annual Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) kicks off the new year January 1-9, in Waimea, as well as The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Mauna Kea Resort and Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Festival passes are available online at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org with extra early purchase pass rates available starting July 30, 2017.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival brings an immersive visual experience to the island each January, offering guests heart-pounding adventure, giant surf, marine life, international expeditions and ocean action, all while garnering greater insight and understanding into the ocean environment and island culture. Over 60 films feature ocean experience, ocean environment, island culture, inspiring stories and epic adventure.

In addition to the non-stop program of films, interactive presentations, exhibits and Breakfast Talks, ocean-based activities add a dynamic element to the festival. Breakfast Talks provide an intimate setting for guests to connect with filmmakers and special guests to ask questions and hear the behind-the-scenes stories that bring the films to life.

“Breakfast Talks provide a unique and special opportunity to connect with festival special guests and hear behind-the-scenes stories,” says Tania Howard, Ocean Film founder and executive director. “Along with filmmaker Q&As and special presentations, they form perhaps my favorite part of the event.”

Films and programs will be Monday, Jan. 1 to Thursday, Jan. 4 at venues in Waimea, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel and The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai`i, before moving Friday, Jan. 5 to Tuesday, Jan. 9 to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. New this year, films screen outdoors at Four Seasons each evening at Hoku Amphitheatre. Waimea venues include Kahilu Theatre, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Parker School Theatre and Anna Ranch.

The 2018 festival program will be completed and posted to the website in PDF format around December 20 for convenient download.

A painting by Sophie Twigg-Smith Teururai, “Parea,” has been chosen as the festival’s 2018 cover art. Born and raised on Hawai`i island, Teururai lives in Tahiti with her husband and paints scenes of the islands. She is the granddaughter of noted Hawai‘i artist William Twigg-Smith and an exhibit of her work will be on display during the festival.

For event updates, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or follow the Waimea Ocean Film Festival on Facebook. For questions, contact the festival at 808-854-6095 or info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a 501c3 organization made possible through the support of patrons, sponsors and the community. Mahalo to the 2017 Ocean Film sponsors: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Holualoa Inn, Big Island Traveler, Matson, K2 Imaging, Sushi Rock, Palani French Bakers, Big Island Brewhaus, Mai Grille, Maile Charters, Starbucks Coffee, Kamuela Inn, Anna Ranch Heritage Center, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Parker School, Kamuela Inn, West Hawaii Today, Hawaii Tribune Herald, Kona Law, Emily T. Gail Show, The Beach FM and The Wave FM.

North Kona Water Restrictions – URGENT All Customers Reduce Use By 25%

Due to ongoing repairs of four (4) wells in the North Kona area, the Department of Water Supply’s mandatory 25 percent Water Restriction remains in effect.

Monitoring over the past several months indicates little to no change in water usage.  It is extremely urgent that all customers reduce their water use by 25 percent.

To ensure continued water service to all customers in the Kona community, your help is needed.  Please do your part.

For information on what you can do to reduce your water usage please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org.  You can also call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8060 for more information or to report misuse during normal business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For after-hours emergencies, please call 961-8790.

Hawai‘iʻs Child Well-Being 17th in Latest National Rankings

Economic conditions may finally be improving, and families continue to offer a strong foundation for Hawaiʻi’s children, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Data Book, which examines trends in child well-being during the post-recession years, found that Hawaiʻi now ranks 23 in child economic well-being, and 17 for child well-being overall.

“We’re seeing a steady decrease in the number of children living in families where the parents lack secure employment,” says Ivette Rodriguez Stern, the Hawaiʻi KIDS COUNT project director at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center on the Family. “As parental employment improves, we begin to see improvements in other indicators of economic well-being.”

The rate of children living in households with a high housing cost burden—defined as a household spending more than 30 percent or more of income on housing—is one indicator that has steadily improved, decreasing from 46 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2015. However, Hawaiʻi still has among the worst housing cost burden rates in the nation, ranking 46th for this indicator.

“High housing costs remain a significant challenge in our state. When families spend so much of their income on housing, they have fewer resources to meet other basic needs. We all—including government and the private sector—need to come together to build more affordable housing in Hawaiʻi,” said Nicole Woo, senior policy analyst at the Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Despite some improvements on individual indicators, Hawaiʻi is lagging in the education domain, ranking 36th. Although there have been some improvements in reading and math proficiency, Hawaiʻi’s children are still below national proficiency rates and more than half of 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool programs.

“Access to high-quality, affordable child care and preschool must remain a priority in our state,” said Barbara DeBaryshe, interim director of the UH Center on the Family. “Strong programs support school readiness and give an extra boost to children facing the difficult odds of poverty or family hardship. Sadly, we simply do not have enough child care seats in our state, especially for infants and toddlers. We need policy incentives that allow providers to serve more children, give families more assistance paying for care and help more programs reach quality benchmarks. Investments in our keiki now will have large payoffs in the future.”

Significant Hawaiʻi findings

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains that represent what children need most to thrive. Findings for Hawaiʻi include the following:

  • Three of four economic indicators—the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment, children in households with a high housing cost burden, and teens not in school and not working—have improved since the release of the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The percentage of children living in poverty has failed to improve past 2010 levels and returned to 14 percent in 2015.
  • There were improvements in three of the four indicators in the education domain compared to 2010 data—reading and math proficiency and the percentage of high schoolers graduating on time—however, the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in preschool increased by 18 percent from 2010 to 2015.
  • With only 2 percent of our children lacking health insurance coverage, Hawaiʻi continues to lead the nation in health, ranking eighth in this domain. This represents a 50 percent decrease in the percentage of kids without insurance compared to 2010.
  • Hawaiʻi is also doing well in the family and community context, ranking 10th in this domain. The teen birth rate has continued an impressive decline of 36 percent since 2010, and we have fewer children living in high poverty neighborhoods in 2015 than in 2010.

Besides emphasizing investments in early childhood education programs, with the Data Book, the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates the need for protecting health insurance coverage for children and expanding programs that create economic stability for families at the state and federal levels.

“We’ve done well in making sure that our children have health insurance coverage. However, health care reforms that limit federal funds coming to our state for Medicaid or that allow insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions will threaten the well-being of our most vulnerable children and youth. We must continue to work hard at all levels to make sure that coverage is not jeopardized,” said Stern.

Woo adds, “On a positive note, this year the Legislature approved a state earned income tax credit (EITC). Unfortunately, the state credit is non-refundable, which will limit tax refunds available to families when the amount of their EITC is larger than what they owe in state income tax. Nevertheless, this is a great start and represents breakthrough legislation that supports low-income families and children in our state.”

Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against State of Hawaii Dismissed

Hawaii federal judge Susan Oki Mollway yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a private landowner against the State of Hawaii after the State Land Use Commission in 2011 reverted more than 1,000 acres of land in South Kohala on Hawaii island from urban to agricultural use, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

Earlier this year Plaintiff DW Aina Lea Development, LLC (DW) sued the State claiming that the decision by the Land Use Commission was a constitutional taking of DW’s property without compensation. The State argued that DW was not damaged and that the lawsuit was brought too late after applicable statutes of limitation had passed. Judge Mollway agreed with the State that DW’s lawsuit was time-barred.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “The attorneys in my office take very seriously all claims against the State and will fight to not pay anything to claimants who are not entitled to payment or who fail to follow the rules. This owner came to court too late and will leave with nothing.”

The Land Use Commission had taken action in 2011 to revert the South Kohala land because a requirement to build affordable housing there remained unfulfilled more than 20 years after the original reclassification. The Hawaii Supreme Court later reversed the Commission’s decision based on money various developers spent on preliminary work.

The same land is the subject of another lawsuit brought by a prior landowner and developer, Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, that is claiming up to $40 million in damages based on the same action by the Commission. Bridge Aina Lea, LLC, filed its lawsuit against the State in 2011. Trial in this other case is scheduled for March of 2018.

Older Women in Hawaii are 57% More Likely to Live in Poverty Than Older Men

A new analysis finds that Social Security benefits are especially crucial for older women in Hawaiʻi, who are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to have access to assets or savings in retirement. The report, released by the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is a first in examining more closely the economic status of older adults in Hawaiʻi by gender and race/ethnicity.

Just over nine percent (9.1 percent) of older women in Hawaiʻi live in poverty, compared with 5.8 percent of older men. Single older women in Hawaiʻi, however, are three times more likely than married older women to be living in poverty (13.0 percent and 4.1 percent poverty rates, respectively). The majority of older women in Hawaiʻi are single, while the majority of older men are married. There are also differences by race/ethnicity: Rates of pension coverage are highest among older Japanese women and lowest among older Filipinas, and rates of marriage also vary, with Filipinas most likely and Native Hawaiian women least likely to be married.

Dr. Colette Browne

“Many of the economic challenges that older women experience stem from inequities that women face earlier in life, including a persistent wage gap, the high cost of child care and a shortage of affordable housing. This builds up over the course of a lifetime and limits women’s ability to lay the foundation for economic security in retirement, especially for the many older single women living without a spouse,” said Dr. Colette Browne, the Richard S. and T. Rose Takasaki Endowed Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Work and author of the report’s recommendations.

The paper finds that Social Security is the most common source of income for both older men and women in Hawaiʻi, and is especially crucial for women. In Hawaiʻi, nearly 40 percent (39.4 percent) of older women’s annual income is from Social Security, compared with 29 percent of older men’s. Still, Social Security benefits received by older women in Hawaiʻi total about 80 percent of the amount older men receive ($12,000, compared with $15,158).

Older men have greater access to pensions, retirement savings and asset income than older women. Nearly half (47 percent) of older men receive income from a pension or retirement savings plan, compared with just over a third (35.5 percent) of older women in the state. Even for those with a pension or retirement savings plan, women’s median annual income is about 60 percent of men’s ($12,596 compared with $21,344).

The report concludes with recommendations for Hawaiʻi policymakers to focus on strategies and programs that alleviate age-, gender- and race-based inequalities and poverty across the lifespan.

Strategies to address inequity and support the health, educational and employment aspirations of women of every age in Hawaiʻi, coupled with policies that support women with child and elder caregiving responsibilities, such as paid sick days, paid family leave and an affordable and secure long-term care funding mechanism, would bolster women’s financial security throughout their life course and especially in their later years.

“Today’s younger woman is tomorrow’s older woman, so improving the economic status of older women in Hawaiʻi must start with addressing inequality at school, work and home,” said Browne. “But, we must also pay attention to the needs of older women today, and this means honoring women’s contributions to family and community, protecting Social Security and committing ourselves to funding for health and long-term care if and when disabilities occur.

The findings are presented in a paper by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work funded the analysis and authored the paper’s recommendations through the school’s Takasaki Endowment.

For more information, visit: https://iwpr.org/publications/economic-security-older-women-men-hawaii/