Legacy Land Conservation Program Seeks Applications for Grants From the Hawaii Land Conservation Fund

Grants from the State of Hawai‘i Land Conservation Fund support efforts by state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land and protect resources for public benefit. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), through its Legacy Land Conservation Program, seeks applications from these partners for grants to preserve — forever — land that has natural, environmental, recreational, scenic, cultural, agricultural production, or historic value, including park and trail systems that provide access to such land.DLNR’s Legacy Land Conservation Program works with partners to spend state conveyance tax revenue for important environmental and social purposes, often leveraging the state funds to meet the matching requirements of federal and private co-sponsors. Grant applications for land acquisition, and for debt service payment on previous state-financed acquisitions, are vetted in a thorough process of public review and government approval that involves three consulting state agencies; the all-volunteer Legacy Land Conservation Commission; the President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the State House of Representatives; the State Board of Land and Natural Resources; the State Department of Budget and Finance; and the Governor.

DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case explained that the Legacy Land Conservation Program has completed transactions to conserve 30 properties over the last 11 years, with 15 more transactions nearing completion. “Through this program, DLNR has helped to secure over 11,000 acres against ongoing degradation and future land use conversion, and to save a wealth of key resources from neglect, damage, and destruction. These achievements would not be possible without the dedication of conservation-minded landowners, the commitment and persistence of community and government organizations, the generosity of private donors, and the policy decisions of our elected officials,” Case said.

Applications are due September 25, 2017, for approximately $2 million that is available for the 2017-2018 grant cycle. Application materials are available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/llcp/apply.

DLNR encourages state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations that are interested in securing a grant from the Land Conservation Fund to contact the Legacy Land Conservation Program, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, at (808) 586-0921, or by email at legacyland@hawaii.gov.

For more information about the Legacy Land Conservation Program, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/llcp/.

 

Hula Voices at Volcano Art Center Gallery

Volcano Art Center introduces Hula Voices at the gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This new, free, educational offering will occur regularly on the first Thursday of each month from 7 – 8pm at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Kumu Kaho‘okele Crabbe Photo by Christy Lassiter

Hula Voices presents an engaging, intimate “talk story” session with Hawai‘i Island’s kumu hula who eat, sleep and live lives centered on the practice of hula and its associated arts. Join VAC for an informative and fun hour as they share their hula genealogy, traditions, protocols, experiences, chants and choreography that are rooted in the ancient Hawiian practice of Hula. Each monthly event will feature a different kumu hula and occasionally their haumana (students).

This Thursday, August 10th, Desiree Moana Cruz will moderate the event with Kumu Kaho‘okele Crabbe presenting his hula experiences. Please join VAC in celebrating the Hula Arts at Kīlauea. These free cultural events are supported in part by a grant from the County of Hawai‘i, Dept. of Research and Development and the Hawai`i Tourism Authority. Park entrance fees apply.

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii’s people through the arts and education. Please visit www.volcanoartcenter.org.

Hawaii Jury Questionnaires Mailed Out – Check Your Mail!

Every August, the Hawaii State Judiciary mails juror questionnaires to individuals who have a Hawaii state driver’s license or are registered to vote in the State of Hawaii. The names of individuals who will receive a questionnaire are selected at random.

Beginning yesterday August 7, approximately 235,000 juror questionnaires will be mailed to 85,000 residents on Oahu, 55,000 in Maui County, 70,000 on the Big Island, and 25,000 on Kauai. The questionnaires are used to help select potential jurors who may be eligible to serve in 2018.Those who receive a questionnaire have 10 days to complete and return it to the Jury Pool Office in the envelope provided. Anyone who fails to respond may be penalized.

To be eligible to serve as a juror, you must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Hawaii, and able to read and understand English.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup ‘Kaimana’ to be Moved to Undisclosed Location

Multi-Agency Decision Made to Protect Seal and People

The Hawaiian monk seal pup, PO3, born on O‘ahu’s Kaimana Beach in late June will be relocated to a remote, undisclosed shoreline area where she can continue her natural growth as a wild seal with less human interaction and other hazards. The decision to move the seal was made following extensive discussion and analysis by experts, managers and scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries); the DLNR Chair’s Office and its Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). Other agencies involved in managing public and seal safety during its time at Kaimana include the City and County (C&C) of Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Division of Ocean Safety and Life Guard Services, C&C Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the Honolulu Mayor’s Office; and Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR).

“This large and expert team of people from all levels of government, carefully considered options for this seal (now named ‘Kaimana’) after it weans from its mother (‘Rocky’),” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “The determination was made that the risks of leaving this now famous seal in place are too great. The team considered a number of factors and the risks of leaving ‘Kaimana’ at her natal beach outweighed the risks of relocating her,” said Chair Case.

David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Regional Marine Mammal Response Coordinator explained, “We weighed two options with utmost consideration for safety; both for the seal and the public. One option was to simply leave the weaned seal at Kaimana Beach. The other, our chosen option, is to move the seal to a more secluded location, where she can grow up naturally in the company of other wild monk seals, without a high level of human inter-action.”

Not the least of those risks at Kaimana Beach is the seal’s propensity for swimming into the badly dilapidated Natatorium adjacent to Kaimana beach at least three times. First on Friday, July 28th, Kaimana disappeared from her mom and was then spotted in the Natatorium’s pool. NOAA staff and volunteers managed to rescue her and hand-carry her back to her mother after a forty-five-minute long separation. Then again, on Thursday, August 3rd, both ‘Kaimana’ and ‘Rocky’ found their way into the large Natatorium pool, replete with unseen, underwater hazards.

During an impromptu news conference on the beach that day, both mom and pup finally exited the Natatorium and swam a bee-line for the center of Kaimana Beach. C&C lifeguards, NOAA Marine Mammal Response Team Members, DLNR representatives, and HMAR volunteers quickly cleared the beach and the water to give the returning seals wide berth. Again last night both mom and pup swam into the Natatorium and later exited without issue.

Jim Howe of the Honolulu Emergency Services Dept. observed, “Ever since Rocky gave birth to her pup at Kaimana Beach, city lifeguards have been focused on the safety of beachgoers as well as these remarkable animals. I want to thank all of the lifeguards and our federal and state partners who remained vigilant over the past 40 days while Rocky successfully weaned her pup.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, DAR Administrator explained, “Once a pup weans from its mom it begins exploring and learning to forage for food further away from her birth site. Young seals are extremely impressionable and if Kaimana was exposed to extensive human interaction, she will likely develop unhealthy behaviors. If a seal does become conditioned to people, as it gets older, bigger and more powerful, people in the water sought out by a seal can and have been badly hurt.” Anderson continued, “One handout from a well-intentioned human and Kaimana may become troublesome and need further relocations and controls which put her further at risk.”

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell added, “This decision to relocate is not made lightly, as there are human-caused dangers elsewhere too, not the least of which is illegal unattended lay gill nets that have caused the sad drownings of four seals in recent years. We know lay gill nets are a real problem for monk seals, turtles and other animals that all too frequently get entangled in them and die because they can’t breathe. We ask everyone to help us be extra vigilant in reporting these dangers through our new app, DLNRtip or by calling the DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR.”

‘Rocky’ and ‘Kaimana’s’ long stay on one of Waikiki’s most popular beaches became a tourist draw and an Internet sensation. HMAR President Jon Gelman says the non-profit’s response to this pupping event on a busy Waikiki beach was a test of the organization’s resources and commitment. “Our folks are there to conduct public outreach and help seals have a safe, quiet place to rest and care for their pups. I think our volunteers and staff have done a great job and we have had the opportunity to educate thousands of residents and visitors while at the same time managing safety perimeters, monitoring the mom and pup’s behaviors and maintaining appropriate separation between the seals and humans in an extremely challenging environment.”

“We are so thankful and blessed that ‘Rocky’ birthed ‘Kaimana’ here in our ahupua‘a. She has been a true gift from our Akua to the residents and visitors of Waikīkī who had the opportunity to learn from her, and we are honored she will now carry the name of the place where she was born,” said area descendant Trisha Kehaulani Watson. “As Hawaiians managed natural resources in a custom that ensured sustainability, we agree with NOAA, DLNR and other officials that the best management decision for ‘Kaimana’ and the 60,000 daily resource users is to relocate her as soon as she has weaned from her mother.”

All of the government partners want to ensure that both visitors and residents are informed about safe and proper seal and other wildlife viewing procedures. Several videos have been produced regarding safe wildlife viewing and the media has provided extensive coverage of ‘Kaimana’. A news conference today concluded with a blessing sending young ‘Kaimana’ to a long and wild life.

Hawaii’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Lets Survivors Know They ARE NOT Alone – The Mālama Kākou Project

Attorney General Doug Chin and the state of Hawaii’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (Hawaii SAKI) multidisciplinary team today announced the launch of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video under Project Mālama Kākou.

Project Mālama Kākou was created as a result of Act 207 (2016), passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor David Ige, which assembled a statewide multidisciplinary team of victim services providers, crime lab personnel, police officials, and prosecutors to comprehensively reform the testing of sexual assault kits in Hawaii in a caring and victim-centered manner.

Attorney General Chin said: “This public service announcement is an important next step for reaching out to sexual assault survivors. We recently launched the Project Mālama Kākou website to let survivors know they are not alone and there is information and support available for them.”

The PSA will be hosted on the Attorney General’s Project Mālama Kākou website at ag.hawaii.gov/hisaki and will be distributed using social media, email and more. The video features Attorney General Chin representing law enforcement and Ms. Chelsea Crapser, Director of Crisis and Prevention Services of the YWCA of Kauai, representing victim support providers.

A joint statement from Chelsea Crapser, Director of Crisis and Prevention Services at the YWCA of Kauai and Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh, Executive Director of the YWCA of Kauai said, “As service providers, it is our sincere hope that every individual knows there are support services and resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Mālama Kākou Project is the result of collaboration to better serve sex assault survivors by implementing a new process for statewide testing of Sex Assault Kits. This process allows police, prosecutors, advocates and victim counselors to work together to provide comprehensive support. We are grateful for the collaborative spirit of this group, but most of all, we acknowledge the strength of every survivor who has come forward.”

Hawaii’s First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opens Today

Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies is the first licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state to receive the green light from the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) to begin selling medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers. The Department of Health issued a formal notice to proceed to Maui Grown Therapies today after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection.

The licensed retail center for Maui Grown Therapies is located at 44 Pa‘a Street in Kahului, Maui. The dispensary will begin selling dried medical cannabis flowers when it opens to registered patients.

“This is an important day for qualified patients and caregivers on Maui who now have assurance the medical cannabis they purchase at Maui Grown Therapies has been thoroughly tested and is safe for them to use,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception. With legal guidance from Department of the Attorney General, the DOH team paved the way for this new industry in Hawai‘i and has set a new standard for dispensary programs other states can emulate.”

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by DOH.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.

According to the StarAdvertiser:

Hawaii history will be made today when the first dispensary opens for business on Maui, nearly two decades after the state legalized medical marijuana.
Maui Grown Therapies, one of eight dispensary licensees, will begin at 11 a.m. the first legal sales of cannabis in the islands…

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. Two on Maui: Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC; and one on Kaua‘i, Green Aloha, Ltd. These dispensaries are now at different stages of development by the licensees, and at varying stages of the approval process.

Hawaii Receives Approximately $477,000 in Settlement with Drug Manufacturer

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii joined 29 states and the federal government last week in settling claims against Celgene Corporation (Celgene), a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Celgene had permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its drug Thalamid for skin conditions associated with leprosy and its drug Revlimid for transfusion induced anemia. This settlement resolves allegations that Celgene illegally marketed both drugs for cancer treatments that were unrelated to the skin conditions and anemia. Celgene’s promotions encouraged what the FDA considers “off label” uses without first securing FDA approval.

As a result of the settlement with Celgene, Hawaii will receive approximately $477,000. This money will be split between Hawaii’s MedQuest program and the Hawaii Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Attorney General Chin said of the settlement, “Money from the settlement will help with further investigations and prosecutions of medical fraud in this state.”

Celgene’s alleged illegal marketing included monetary kickbacks to doctors, forged clinical studies and medical literature, and manipulated medical diagnostic codes in order to increase sales of Thalamid and Revlimid.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the settlement negotiations with Celgene on behalf of the states. It included representatives from the offices of the attorneys general for the states of California, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.