Officer Coley Rowe “Officer of the Month” for September 2017

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee has recognized Officer Coley Rowe as the “Officer of the Month” for September 2017.

Officer Coley Rowe

On (June 30), at around 5:00 p.m., Hawaiʻi Fire Department Rescue personnel reported that a man had been observed sitting on the rooftop of a Kona-area Harbor building for a few hours and had threatened to jump off. He also threatened harm on anyone who would try to stop him. Compounding this was an event scheduled at the building that had now drawn about 100-200 people.

After HFD Rescue and Police personnel attempted to convince the man to come down, it became apparent that the man was being very uncooperative and was not going to come down. Police and Fire personnel were concerned for the man’s safety, as well as the safety of the many people at the event.

At one point, Officer Coley Rowe volunteered to climb on to the rooftop and attempt to talk the man down. After receiving instructions to not engage physically with this person, Officer Rowe climbed up and placed himself in a non-threatening position that allowed him to safely communicate with the man.

Officer Rowe was able to establish a dialogue with the man, and after talking with him for about 30 minutes, the man reached his hand out to Officer Rowe for help. Officer Rowe assisted the man off of the roof to waiting Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel. The man was transported and admitted to the Kona Community Hospital.

Officer Rowe’s actions resulted in a peaceful and injury free resolution to this tense and unpredictable situation.

Officer Rowe is a 9-year veteran of the Hawai‘i Police Department.

Hawaii Ranks Among Top 20 States for Percentage of Graduates Taking ACT College Prep Test

This was the fourth year that HIDOE 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which landed Hawaii in the top 20 states for the percentage of graduates taking the college prep test according to the ACT’s Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report released today by the ACT, a research-based non-profit organization, shows that Hawaii’s public school students have continued to see steady growth in meeting college readiness benchmarks in Reading and Science. This was the fourth year that Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which landed Hawaii in the top 20 states for the percentage of graduates taking the college prep test.

“The growth that Hawaii graduates have shown in college readiness since the state began administering the ACT to all students in 2013 has been remarkable. Steady gains in states are not unusual, but we rarely see this type of improvement over such a short period of time,” said Paul Weeks, ACT senior vice president for client relations.

Hawaii’s public school students continue to show improvements in performance since the test became part of the curriculum four years ago. The 0.7 point composite score increase (36 point scale) outpaced the national average, which remained flat during the same time period.

The results for The ACT’s college readiness benchmarks for HIDOE’s Class of 2017 resulted in these year-over-year changes for the state:

  • A 2 percentage point improvement in Science and Reading
  • A 3 percentage point decrease in Mathematics
  • Unchanged English scores

In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark – the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The benchmarks are set based on national-level data. Similar to the composite scores, Hawaii’s percentage increases in meeting college readiness benchmarks outpaced the national increases.

“The results from the ACT provides valuable insight and highlights areas we should focus our efforts and resources in order to help our students compete with their peers on a national level,” added Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We will continue to work towards improving our testing portfolio to align with our ESSA and Strategic plans, and will rely on our students to continue to tell us what we can do to help them achieve their college and career goals.”

HIDOE supports high schools that administer the ACT by providing funding and support. The department views it as part of the college and career readiness process.

The ACT results provide students information about their readiness or postsecondary education, a score they can use for college admissions and placement, and information about how to better prepare for postsecondary education during their senior years. It is one of only two readiness examinations used for U.S. college and university admissions and was taken by approximately 2 million 2017 graduates nationwide, and 10,051 Hawai’i public high school students.

Click here to view The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017 report.

Close Family Relatives and Refugees May Enter United States, Federal Appeals Court Rules

This afternoon the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the July 13, 2017 Hawaii district court order in the travel ban case, Hawaii v. Trump, allowing the entry to the United States of close family members and refugees with formal assurances from a United States resettlement agency.

Click tor read full opinion

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued an order in this case that the travel ban could not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including those with a “close familial relationship.” The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. The federal government subsequently issued guidance that such “close familial relationships” did not include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of people currently living in the United States.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit keeps families together. It gives vetted refugees a second chance. The Trump administration keeps taking actions with no legal basis. We will keep fighting back.”

The Ninth Circuit’s order states in part:

[I]t is clear that the Supreme Court’s use of “close familial relationship[s]” meant that the Court wanted to exclude individuals who have no connection with the United States or have remote familial relationships that would not qualify as “bona fide.” The Government does not meaningfully argue how grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States can be considered to have “no connection” to or “lack any bona fide relationship” with persons in the United States. Nor does the Government explain how its proposed scope of exclusion would avoid the infliction of concrete hardships on such individuals’ family members in the United States. Stated simply, the Government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not.

*** The Government offers no explanation as to why it relied on its selected provisions of the INA, while ignoring other provisions of the same statute as well as other immigration laws. The INA was implemented with “the underlying intention of . . . preservation of the family unit.” The Government’s artificially narrow interpretation of close familial relationships directly contradicts this intention.

*** Resettlement agencies will face concrete harms and burdens if refugees with formal assurances are not admitted. In the same way that the Court considered the harms of the U.S. citizen who wants to be reunited with his mother-in-law and the permanent resident who wants to be reunited with his wife, the employer that hired an employee, the university that admitted a student, and the American audience that invited a lecturer, the district court correctly considered the resettlement agency that has given a formal assurance for specific refugees.

*** Refugees’ lives remain in vulnerable limbo during the pendency of the Supreme Court’s stay. Refugees have only a narrow window of time to complete their travel, as certain security and medical checks expire and must then be re-initiated. Even short delays may prolong a refugee’s admittance.

A copy of the Ninth Circuit’s decision is attached.

Oral arguments on the merits of the travel ban appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to occur on October 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Annual Stop Flu and Schools Vaccination Program Limited to Selected Public Schools Statewide

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offered to all elementary and intermediate public schools in Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Counties later this year. On Oahu, the program will be made available to selected public schools. Stop Flu at School, which provides free flu shots to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will no longer be offered in private schools.Information packets and vaccination consent forms will be distributed to families in participating schools in early October. Vaccination clinics are scheduled to begin November 1.

“We recognize that many families relied on the Stop Flu at School program as a free and convenient way to vaccinate their children, so scaling back the program’s offerings was not a decision taken lightly,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “After careful consideration, we understood it was critical to prioritize eligible schools based on students with the greatest need for assistance, which allowed us to maximize the benefit to the public while utilizing the limited funds and resources available.”

The program will be offered to approximately 90 Oahu public schools which in previous years had at least 40 percent of their student enrollment participating in the Department of Education’s Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. All neighbor island public schools will be eligible to participate in this year’s program as access to healthcare in those counties can often be a challenge.

“Parents of students attending schools no longer eligible for the Stop Flu at School program are encouraged to have their child vaccinated by their healthcare provider,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “As an additional resource, pharmacies are now able to provide flu vaccine to children ages 11 through 17 with a prescription from their healthcare provider.”

In addition to vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older, DOH recommends other flu prevention strategies, which include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently. For more information about the flu, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/influenza-flu/.

The Stop Flu at School program is a continuing partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawaii Chapter, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/.