Hawaiian Electric Companies Seek to Connect Renewable Energy Developers With Landowners

To help achieve Hawaii’s renewable energy goals, the Hawaiian Electric Companies recently sought out landowners to determine their willingness to host renewable energy projects.

As a result of that effort, Hawaiian Electric has compiled a list of potential sites that could be available to experienced developers of renewable energy projects.

“By reaching out to potential developers and sharing information with them, we are helping landowners and developers get together to streamline the process of developing renewable energy projects. Together, we are all working toward achieving our state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of strategic planning and business development.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light will require all developers to engage with communities near proposed renewable energy projects and solicit public input before developers can negotiate a final agreement with the utility. All agreements will require approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Hawaii has the nation’s most ambitious clean energy goal, requiring 100 percent of electricity sales to come from renewable resources by 2045. By December 2016, the companies achieved nearly 26 percent of the state’s renewable energy mandate across the five islands served. Hawaii Island, for example, has the state’s highest level of renewables at 54 percent. With new developer agreements recently approved by regulators, it is expected more than 80 percent of the electricity used by Hawaii Electric Light customers will come from renewable sources by 2020.

The companies are now moving even more assertively to encourage renewable project development while federal tax incentives that can lower prices for customers are available.

To reach 100 percent, Hawaii will need a broad mix of clean resources. Private rooftop solar, energy storage, and electricity-use management (also known as efficiency and demand response) will increasingly be options for individual customers. Grid-scale projects are still essential to complement these choices to provide power reliability and ensure all customers benefit from renewable energy.

The companies have requested Public Utilities Commission approval to start the regulated procurement process and expect soon to issue formal requests for proposals for developers to propose grid-scale projects.

When contacting Hawaiian Electric, developers must sign a non-disclosure agreement and provide information to demonstrate experience and capability in completing renewable projects. For information, go to hawaiianelectric.com/landrfi or email landrfi@hawaiianelectric.com.

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Hawaii Departments of Health and Human Services to Hold Job Fair Aug. 11 at State Capitol

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Human Services (DHS) will co-host a job fair on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hawaii State Capital chamber level (basement) on the mauka side. Admission is free and open to the public.

The job fair will have informational display tables staffed by employees from various DOH divisions and branches, including Adult Mental Health Division; Hawaii State Hospital and Environmental Resources Office; Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division; Developmental Disabilities Division; Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division; and Office of Health Care Assurance.

Various programs will be representing DHS. Managers and employees from the Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division, Statewide Branch; Social Services Division, Child Welfare Services Branch; Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority will be on site to promote various employment opportunities with their programs.

For those seeking a new job or a career change, DOH is looking for qualified applicants for the following positions:

  • Accountant III
  • Clinical Psychologist 
  • Epidemiological Specialist IV 
  • Hospital Billing Clerk 
  • Human Resources Assistant III & IV 
  • Human Services Professional III, IV and V 
  • Information Technology Band A 
  • Janitor II 
  • Licensed Practical Nurse I and II,
  • Hospital & Mental Health 
  • Mental Health Supervisor II 
  • Occupational Therapist III 
  • Office Assistant II & III 
  • Para-Medical Assistant (Entry Level) 
  • Planner V
  • Program Specialist IV-VI 
  • Psychiatrist III, Inpatient, Outpatient 
  • Public Health Administrative Officer 
  • Registered Nurse III and IV 
  • Research Statistician 
  • Secretary II and III 
  • Social Worker IV

The following are positions available with DHS:

  • Assistant Chief Financial Officer (exempt) 
  • Chief Housing Planner (exempt) 
  • Eligibility Worker I, IV and V 
  • Housing Contract Specialist (exempt) 
  • Housing Compliance and Evaluation Specialist (exempt) 
  • Human Resources Assistant IV 
  • Human Services Professional II and III (Human Services/CWSB-Intake Unit, Shiftwork) 
  • Human Services Professional III and IV (Health and Human Services) 
  • Human Services Professional IV (Intake and Crisis Response Team) 
  • Office Assistant III 
  • Plumber I 
  • Project Engineer (exempt) 
  • Property Management and Maintenance Services Branch Chief (exempt)
  • Property Management Specialist (exempt) 
  • Public Housing Specialist I 
  • Public Housing Supervisor III, IV and V 
  • Social Service Aid III and Social Service Assistant IV 
  • Social Worker III (Human Services/CWSB-Intake Unit, Shiftwork) 
  • Social Worker III and IV (Health and Human Services) 
  • Social Worker IV (Intake and Crisis Response Team) 
  • Stores Clerk II (89-day hire) 
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist III and IV

The purpose of the job fair is to connect job seekers with potential employment opportunities within DOH and DHS—two of the larger state departments in Hawaii that employ 2,700 workers and 2,000 workers, respectively, on every major island.

“We offer a number of rewarding career opportunities in public service,” said Ian Greene, Chief of the DOH Human Resources Office Recruitment and Examination. “If you are a job seeker, the Hawaii Department of Health may be the perfect place for you. The work we do is very challenging and powerful. Every day we make a difference in the lives of the people of Hawaii.”

“Working for DHS gives you the opportunity to make a difference in Hawaii,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot. “Our team touches Hawaii’s children, families and kupuna in ways that make impacts and could change the trajectories of their lives. We hope those with experience in the field and a passion for making a difference will join our team.”

DOH’s mission is to protect and improve the health and environment for all people in Hawaii. DOH employees ensure core public health functions and support programs such as health promotion, disease and injury prevention, disaster preparedness and emergency response, environmental health services, and other areas of public health.

DHS strives to provide timely, efficient and effective programs, services and benefits for the purpose of achieving the outcome of empowering Hawaii’s most vulnerable people; and to
expand their capacity for self-sufficiency, self-determination, independence, healthy choices, quality of life, and personal dignity.

The State of Hawaii offers many benefits to employees, including competitive salaries, career advancement, health and dental insurance, paid vacation and sick leave.

Visit the DOH and DHS websites at: http://health.hawaii.gov/employment/job-opportunities/ and http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/employment-opportunities/ for more information on the employment opportunities currently available with each department.

Applicants are also encouraged to visit the State Recruiting Office’s website at http://dhrd.hawaii.gov/job-seekers/ to learn more about civil service job opportunities that are currently available at other state departments and to complete an online application.

County, Social Services Agencies Move Homeless People to Temporary Shelter in Kona

The County of Hawai’i together with social services provider Hope Services have moved a group of homeless people from the Old Airport Park to temporary facilities on County property in Kona.

The one-acre property at Hale Kikaha is accommodating approximately 20 adults in facilities consisting of tents, portable toilets, a temporary water spigot and showers.

The move came as the County on Wednesday enforced a no-camping policy at the Old Airport Park, whereby all belongings and housing structures in the park were removed.  This was aimed at improving this facility as a community park.

Prior to Wednesday’s move, outreach workers from HOPE Services, Veterans Outreach, the West Hawai’i Health Clinic, Access Capabilities, County Parks and Recreation, Office of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office (Kona), and faith-based volunteers were able to find a limited number of spaces at other homeless shelters and relatives’ homes.

Available housing options were offered to the most vulnerable homeless people first, i.e., families, the elderly, chronically homeless, as well as those with substance abuse or mental health issues.

While the team of County and social services agencies tried to absorb the entire homeless population from Old Airport Park, the available housing inventory was insufficient.  Approximately 25 individuals remain without housing.  The County is working to increase the number of beds at the Hale Kikaha shelter, while exploring a permanent site to house the homeless population.

The Police Department will be monitoring to ensure that campers do not return to the park. The enforcement took place as the Department of Parks and Recreation gears up for clean-up efforts on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017.

On Tuesday, Mayor Harry Kim issued an emergency proclamation under which zoning, building and fire codes were temporarily waived to enable the homeless people to be accommodated at the Hale Kikaha facility.

Hawaii Governor Announces Stepped Up Efforts to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease and Expanded Role of Joint Task Force

Gov. David Y. Ige, together with the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced today the state’s plans to place a stronger emphasis on the prevention of rat lungworm disease.

This year, the state confirmed a total of 15 cases of the serious parasitic infection, which is the highest number of cases reported in the state over the last decade.

“We are bringing together local experts from relevant fields to increase public awareness, improve our response activities, and explore ways to control and treat the disease,” said Gov. Ige. “They will work together with the Joint Task Force we established last year to step up prevention efforts beyond Hawai‘i Island, where the first cases were reported.”Dr. Kenton Kramer, Associate Professor of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology with the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM), who is serving as Joint Task Force chair said, “The Joint Task Force to combat rat lungworm disease will reconvene in August. Experts from the medical, scientific, environmental, and public health communities will collaborate to develop guidelines for schools, farms, food establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and treat rat lungworm disease.”

The Joint Task Force, established in May 2016, consists of members from UH-JABSOM, Pacific Biosciences Research Center; The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo; HDOA’s Plant Industry and Quality Assurance Divisions; USDA Agriculture Research Service; Kaiser Permanente Hawaii; Hilo Medical Center; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Hawaii County; and the DOH’s State Laboratories Division, District Health Offices of Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i, Vector Control Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Disease Outbreak Control Division, and Sanitation Branch.

Because of rising concerns over the recent increase in confirmed cases this year, the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislature appropriated $1 million ($500,000 over two years) to the DOH to increase public education and improve control and prevention of rat lungworm disease. The funding will make possible a statewide media campaign in partnership with the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters to build public awareness of ways to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We appreciate the Legislature’s support in allowing the state to accelerate our efforts on this important initiative. The funds will provide much needed resources for our public health communications efforts as well as strengthen our disease investigation and vector control measures for rat lungworm disease.”

In addition to a statewide public awareness campaign, the DOH will work in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Hawai‘i, HDOA, and other agencies to conduct a targeted rat, slug and snail study to identify disease routes and provide data on disease risks from these vectors. A statewide study of this kind has never been conducted in Hawaii before because of limited resources. Findings from the study will guide vector control activities for rat lungworm prevention.

Funding from the Legislature will also support two temporary full-time staff positions to coordinate prevention efforts between county, state, federal, and private sector partners.

Currently, the DOH’s food safety inspectors and vector control staff are collaborating with HDOA to investigate any reports of produce shipments from any farmer or vendor (local or mainland) with an infestation of slugs or snails. If the shipment is traced to a local farm, inspectors work with the farmer to ensure proper pest reduction measures are implemented.

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasite can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. People can become infected when they consume infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts (slugs, snails, freshwater prawns, frogs, crayfish, and crabs).

Although the rat lungworm parasite has been found in slugs and snails throughout the state, Hawai‘i Island has experienced the majority of the confirmed cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe and debilitating, and can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or pain on the skin or in extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may occur, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare and serious type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

To prevent the spread of rat lungworm infection, the public is urged to take these important steps:

  • Always practice safe eating habits by inspecting, thoroughly washing, and properly storing raw produce, especially leafy greens, regardless of where it came from, and/or cooking it properly to kill any parasites. Washing raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly under running water before eating not only prevents rat lungworm, but also rinses off other contaminants.
  • Eliminate snails, slugs and rats — all of which are potential vectors for the disease  — both around residential home gardens and agricultural operations of all scales.
  • Prevent the consumption of snails and slugs by covering all containers, from water catchment tanks to drink and food dishes. Supervise young children while playing outdoors to prevent them from putting a slug or snail in their mouths.

Watch todays video here: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/856480491194011/

For more information on preventing rat lungworm disease, go to the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov

Committee Assignments for the Second Biennium of the Twenty-Ninth Legislature Announced

The committee assignments for the Second Biennium of the Twenty-Ninth Legislature were announced today and it reflects the division of the former Judiciary and Labor committee into the two separate committees, Labor (LBR) and Judiciary (JDC) committees:

  • President: Ronald D. Kouchi
  • Majority Floor Leader: Will Espero
  • Vice President: Michelle N. Kidani
  • Majority Whip: Kaiali’i Kahele
  • Majority Leader: J. Kalani English
  • Majority Whip: Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Brickwood Galuteria

AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT (AEN) – Gabbard, Mike (Chair) Riviere, Gil (Vice Chair) Nishihara, Clarence K. Rhoads, Karl Ruderman, Russell E.

COMMERCE, CONSUMER PROTECTION, AND HEALTH (CPH) – Baker, Rosalyn H. (Chair) Jill N. Tokuda (Vice Chair) Chang, Stanley Espero, Will Ihara, Jr., Les Nishihara, Clarence K. Ruderman, Russell E.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM, AND TECHNOLOGY (ETT) –  Wakai, Glenn (Chair) Taniguchi, Brian T. (Vice Chair) Baker, Rosalyn H. Galuteria, Brickwood Thielen, Laura H.

EDUCATION (EDU) – Kidani, Michelle N. (Chair) Kahele, Kaiali’i (Vice Chair) Espero, Will Riviere, Gil Taniguchi, Brian T.

GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS (GVO) – Kim, Donna Mercado (Chair) Ruderman, Russell E. (Vice Chair) Galuteria, Brickwood Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C. Rhoads, Karl

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS (HWN) – Shimabukuro, Maile S. L. (Chair) Galuteria, Brickwood (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Green, Josh Riviere, Gil

HIGHER EDUCATION (HRE) – Kahele, Kaiali’i (Chair) Kim, Donna Mercado (Vice Chair) Espero, Will Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S. C. Kidani, Michelle N.

HOUSING (HOU) – Espero, Will (Chair) Harimoto, Breene (Vice Chair) Kahele, Kaiali’i Nishihara, Clarence K. Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

HUMAN SERVICES (HMS) – Green, Josh (Chair) Chang, Stanley (Vice Chair) Harimoto, Breene Tokuda, Jill N. Wakai, Glenn

LABOR (LBR) – Tokuda, Jill N. (Chair) English, J. Kalani (Vice Chair) Chang, Stanley Ihara, Jr., Les Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

JUDICIARY (JDC) – Taniguchi, Brian T. (Chair) Rhoads, Karl (Vice Chair) Gabbard, Mike Kim, Donna Mercado Thielen, Laura H.

PUBLIC SAFETY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL, AND MILITARY AFFAIRS – (PSM) Nishihara, Clarence K. (Chair) Wakai, Glenn (Vice Chair) Baker, Rosalyn H. Ihara, Jr., Les Thielen, Laura H.

TRANSPORTATION AND ENERGY (TRE) – Inouye, Lorraine R. (Chair) Espero, Will (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Harimoto, Breene Shimabukuro, Maile S. L.

WATER AND LAND (WTL) – Rhoads, Karl (Chair) Gabbard, Mike (Vice Chair) Inouye, Lorraine R. Kim, Donna Mercado Thielen, Laura H.

WAYS AND MEANS (WAM) – Dela Cruz, Donovan M. (Chair) Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C. (Vice Chair) English, J. Kalani Galuteria, Brickwood Harimoto, Breene Inouye, Lorraine R. Kahele, Kaiali’i Kidani, Michelle N. Riviere, Gil Shimabukuro, Maile S. L. Wakai, Glenn