Mayor Kim Issues Emergency Proclamation Regarding North Kona Water Emergency

Mayor Harry Kim issued an Emergency Proclamation on Wednesday regarding the North Kona water emergency.

His statement is as follows:

“The Emergency Proclamation which was officially signed today was initially intended to be completed in August.  The purpose of this Proclamation is to ensure that all administrative readiness is established by the County in the event that assistance will be needed from the State government.

This Proclamation also allows County government to bypass certain procurement policies in the event that emergency purchases must be made. This also includes the use of emergency funds for the use of the Department of Water Supply’s needs.”

Click on the link to access the Emergency Proclamation:

http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/weblink/1/doc/89509/Page1.aspx

Confirmed Case of Mumps at Konawaena High School


The cases of mumps in Hawaii continues to climb.  The Department of Health has not been listing many of the recent cases, but today a case was confirmed here at a high school on the Big Island of Hawaii:

Aloha Konawaena Families,

We wanted to inform you that we do have a confirmed case of mumps on our campus. We have taken all the necessary steps to address this issue.

Today, all students received a pink letter with more information about mumps. Please ask your child about this letter. Those students who may have been in close contact with the student with mumps will receive an additional letter in the mail. All those students who need to be excluded from school have already been notified by phone.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Diane Spencer, Vice Principal

Big Island Police Searching for 32-Year-Old Hilo Woman

9/7/17 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 32-year-old Luci Palik of Hilo, who was reported missing.  She was found unharmed in the Puna area on Wednesday (September 6).

Hawai’i Island police are searching for a 32-year-old Hilo woman who was reported missing.

Luci Palik

Luci Palik was last seen on Tuesday (August 29), at about 1:00 p.m., in Hilo.

She is described as Micronesian about 5-feet-five, 140 pounds with brown eyes, shoulder length brown hair and a medium complexion wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans pants.

She may be in the Hilo or Puna area.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

Kailua Park Temporary Access — Route Change Begins Today to Accommodate Big Island Fair

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will temporarily change the access route into Kailua Park, also known as Old Kona Airport Park, from Wednesday, September 6 through Tuesday, September 12, 2017, to accommodate the E.K. Fernandez Big Island Fair 2017.

During this period, vehicular traffic entering Kailua Park will be diverted to the beach access road located at the north end of Kuakini Highway.  The Department of Parks and Recreation reminds all motorists not to exceed the road’s five mile per hour speed limit, which will be in effect until normal traffic patterns are reinstated in the morning of Tuesday, September 12.

Signs will be posted to inform motorists of the routing change and affected dates.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its understanding while it implements the temporary routing change aimed at protecting park users, fair attendees and fair operators, who will be setting up and disassembling carnival rides.

For more information, please call the Department of Parks and Recreation at 961-8311.

Governor Ige Secures Additional $41 Million in Highway Federal Funding

Gov. David Ige announced today that the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division will receive an additional $41,149,572 in funding for its Federal-aid Highway Program through the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) Fiscal Year 2017 fund redistribution. Hawaiʻi’s share of the funding is the largest amongst states of similar size determined by number of lane miles.

With the additional money, Hawaiʻi will receive a total of $193 million in new highway funding this federal fiscal year from the Federal-aid Highway Program.

“When I took office, I promised to make better use of federal transportation funds, and I’m proud to report that the pipeline is now the lowest it’s been in 16 years,” said Gov. David Ige. “The HDOT team has cleared $245 million and put that money to work on highway improvements in our communities to improve the quality of life for Hawaiʻi’s residents. In two and a half years we have successfully reduced the pipeline from nearly $750 million to $505 million. I thank the HDOT team for its commitment to achieving the goal.”

“The fact that Hawaiʻi was able to receive additional federal money is a testament to all the hard work the HDOT staff has done to bring down the federal pipeline,” said Division Administrator Ralph Rizzo, of the Federal Highway Administration’s Hawaiʻi Division.

The pipeline, also known as the unexpended federal balance, is the difference between what is obligated for all projects and what we have expended and have been reimbursed for by the federal government. Every state carries an unexpended balance because of the reimbursement nature of the program and the time it takes to deliver projects.

We will continue to make positive progress in reducing the pipeline and are on our way to reaching the agreed upon goal of $450 million in FFY 2018. As of August 31, 2017 the pipeline was $505 million (the goal for the end of FFY 2017 was $525m).

The projects that will benefit from the additional funding are:

  • H-1 Freeway Eastbound Improvements
  • Kuhio Highway Resurfacing
  • Kuhio Highway Safety Improvements
  • Hawaiʻi County’s Mamalahoa Highway Project

[1] Federal-Aid Highway Program Obligation Limitation – Redistribution of Fiscal Year (FFY) 2017 Obligation Limitation (August Redistribution). FHWA Resources – Legislation, Regulations and Guidance. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4520247.cfm

2 State & Urbanized Area Statistics. FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/onh2p11.htm

Hawaii Joins 16 States in Lawsuit to Protect Dreamers and Preserve DACA

Today, Hawaii joined a coalition of 16 states in filing suit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees. The lawsuit, which was filed this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details how the Trump administration has violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against the 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, violated due process rights, and harmed States’ residents, institutions, and economies.

Governor David Ige said,Hawaii is going to court – again. This time we’re joining 15 other states to fight for the future of our country’s Dreamers. 600 Dreamers currently go to Hawaii’s schools, work in our businesses, and deserve certainty and stability.”

Attorney General Chin said, “With cruel indifference the President has taken an action that immediately robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future. Many of these people, who have done nothing wrong, have only known Hawaii as their home. I am grateful to Governor Ige for his leadership and clear-eyed dedication to supporting the Dreamers and protecting DACA. Following his lead, I have joined this lawsuit not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way the President has proceeded is illegal.”

Hawaii is home to nearly 600 DACA grantees. Hawaii DACA recipients have had their protection renewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security more than 1,700 times. According to the Center for American Progress, 97 percent of DACA grantees are employed or go to school. In Hawaii alone, it is estimated that ending DACA would cost more than $28 million in annual GDP losses. Over the next ten years Hawaii stands to lose more than $126 million in tax revenues if DACA is rescinded

The complaint Hawaii joined today was led by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, and joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Today’s lawsuit also includes a number of declarations from businesses, academic institutions, local governments, DACA grantees, and others impacted by the Trump administration’s decision.

The lawsuit states in part:

“Since 2012, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to live, study, and work in the United States, and to become stable and even more productive members of their communities, without fear that they could be arrested and placed in deportation proceedings at any moment. Throughout the country, DACA grantees are employed by various companies and State and municipal agencies, which benefit from their skills and productivity. DACA grantees also contribute significantly to State and local revenues and tax bases. Yet, as a result of the DHS Memorandum, approximately 1,400 DACA grantees will lose their work authorization and risk termination of employment each day as their terms begin to expire. DACA recipients will lose their eligibility for public and employer-based health insurance programs that reduce the States’ health expenditures and promote public health. They also will lose their right to enroll in higher education institutions with in-state admissions preferences and tuition; thus, public universities will be deprived of a means by which they enrich the experience of all students and faculty through diversity and new perspectives.

“…More than 78 percent of DACA grantees are of Mexican origin, which is more than double the percentage of people of Mexican origin that comprise of the overall foreign-born population (29 percent) of the United States. Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.

“The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal. The individuals who have relied on DACA are now more vulnerable to removal than before the program was initiated, as they turned over sensitive information to the federal government in their applications. Despite the federal government’s repeated promises that it would not use such information to conduct enforcement measures, the Memorandum does not explain how the government will keep that information secure, nor does it provide any assurances that immigration enforcement agents will not use such information to find and remove those who applied for DACA.

“Rescinding DACA will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of the States’ residents, injure State-run colleges and universities, upset the States’ workplaces, damage the States’ economies, hurt State-based companies, and disrupt the States’ statutory and regulatory interests.”

A copy of the complaint is available here:

https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/new_york_et_al._v._trump_et_al_-_17cv5228.pdf

Suisan Celebrates 110th Anniversary – Hosts Poke Takeover Featuring Top Chef Finalist, Sheldon Simeon

Rooted in local values with an eye always to the future, Suisan celebrates 110 years in business.

To commemorate this milestone, Suisan is hosting a birthday event at its fish market on Lihiwai Street on Thursday, September 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Hilo’s own Top Chef finalist, Sheldon Simeon.

Simeon has five creative poke combinations that are available for this one day only, including Singulaw, ahi garnished with fried pork belly, coconut vinegar and coconut milk; Da Lox, salmon three ways mixed with cream cheese, onion, ikura and dill; and Bam Bam, chunks of tofu and watermelon seasoned with nuoc cham and a mixture of fresh herbs, peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.

The birthday event also features pop-ups by local chefs from Seaside Restaurant, Ponds Hilo and Cousins Seafood & Bento, who will prepare samples using an array of products Suisan distributes.

Throughout the month of September, Suisan will give away 110 poke bowls via social media contests.

“It is humbling and gratifying to be part of Suisan as it celebrates 110 years of service to Hawaii Island,” said Stephen Ueda, president and CEO. “We would not be here without the support of our hardworking and dedicated employees and our loyal customers. We look forward to another century of innovation and growth, while always taking care of the customer.”

Suisan celebrates 50 years in business. Photo taken in 1957 at the site where Suisan’s fish auction was once held.

Founded on September 7, 1907, Suisan has grown from a fish market cooperative to Hawaii Island’s premier broadline food distributor. Over the last 110 years, Suisan faced many challenges including two tsunamis and having its property seized in World War II and its principal, Kamezo Matsuno, sent to an internment camp. More recently, Suisan suffered a fire that claimed its main office and warehouse in 2014.

Despite these setbacks, Suisan has moved forward and thrives. Its growth has been predicated upon anticipating community demand. In the 1950s, Suisan expanded its product mix to include frozen food. In the 1970s, it established a Kona warehouse and office to better serve its customers.

Today, Suisan employs 185 and has a fleet of 33 refrigerated trucks. It inventories more than 5,000 products and serves more than 1,000 wholesale customers including restaurants, schools, healthcare and government facilities, resorts and institutions islandwide.

UH Mānoa Moves Up in Prestigious Ranking

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has received more global recognition of its academic and research excellence in an international ranking released on September 5.

The 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings rated UH Mānoa number 63 in the nation, up from 69 last year—representing its best showing ever in the Times ranking. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than 3,000 four-year universities in the nation.

“This upward movement on the Times ranking is a bright note recognizing the hard work and continued dedication of our faculty, who teach students and lead research efforts that make an impact on a global level,” said Michael Bruno, UH Mānoa interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice chancellor for research.

The Times rankings are the only global university league tables to judge research-intensive universities across all of their core missions—teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

UH Mānoa also ranks among the top 100 U.S. universities in other international rankings, including number 71 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and number 69 in the United Kingdom-based QS World University Ranking.

For more information on rankings, see the Mānoa Institutional Research Office website.