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Hawaii Attorneys Providing Free Legal Support to Texans in Need

Hawaii attorneys have been answering the urgent call for legal help to Texans in need due to Hurricane Harvey. Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order authorizing out-of-state lawyers to practice law in Texas temporarily to help tens of thousands of Texans needing legal assistance resulting from the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald

“The utter devastation we have witnessed in the Texas Gulf Coast is heart breaking,” said Hawaii Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

“Although thousands of miles away, we are gratified that lawyers in Hawaii are able to help by volunteering either on the ground in Texas or remotely through a free virtual legal advice line.”

Hurricane victims will likely have legal questions about insurance, benefits, employment, tenant rights, and property damage issues. Hawaii attorneys wanting to volunteer to help them may register with the Texas.Freelegalanswers.org site. Once registered, they will receive confirmation from the Texas site administrator and may then start answering questions posted by those in need.

I want to thank Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii for coordinating Hawaii’s participation in the Texas Free Legal Answers program,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the Hawaii State Bar Association for quickly taking the lead in recruiting attorneys.”

Coming Soon – First Annual Tiki Festival On The Island of Hawaii

Mark your calendars Tiki Tribe.  Renowned local celebrity, magician and businessman “Kozy” (Paul Kozak) along with Tiki Shark Art Inc. will be hosting the First Annual Tiki Festival on the Island of Hawaii.  This Star Studded three day FREE Art event will start at the Royal Kona Resort on Thursday November 16th and end at Kozy’s Tiki Palace at The Shops at Mauna Lani on Saturday November 18th.

Hawaii’s own celebrity artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with mainland Tiki greats, Doug Horne, Ken Ruzic and Tom “Big Toe” Laura will be showing and selling their latest work, Grammy nominated Henry Kapono and local favorite LT Smooth will be jamming their tunes with celebrity Chef Sam Choy giving out samples of his famous Poke.

From left to right are:
Tom “Big Toe” Laura, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Doug Horne and Ken Ruzic

This is the first of its kind three day, free event where folks will have a chance to meet and talk story with world class artists, chef’s and entertainers.  Everyone is encouraged to participate, have fun and buy some Tiki Art at great prices.

“I am honored to be able to put together this annual event for the community. It’s the first time in Hawaii history that these Tiki artists will gotten together for a group show”  said Kozy – sponsor and owner of Kozy’s Tiki Palace.

According to Abbas Hassan – Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and Chef Sam Choy’s agent: “This will be a yearly event on the Island of Hawaii held in an authentic Tiki environment and is going to raise the bar of all Tiki Festivals that are currently held on the mainland”.  “Tiki enthusiasts from all around the world will flock to it” he added confidently.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be serving up some of his famous poke.

More details of the event will be provided on social media as time comes closer.

For more information on the event please contact:

Media Darling Monk Seal Kaimana Hooked on Labor Day

The monk seal pup (RJ58), named Kaimana, who became a public and media darling after being born on the popular Waikiki beach of the same name was hooked on Labor Day. Volunteers from Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response spotted her around noon with a hook with a lure hanging from her mouth. They’d seen her two hours earlier without a hook.

The monk seal response team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service was called in to assess the situation and remove the hook which was attached superficially. Before they arrived, Kaimana was able to shake off the hook and lure on her own and began resting on the beach where she was relocated to in August. The seal was examined and a small wound was found, but no signs of infection. She continues to be monitored, is in excellent body condition and is behaving normally.

RJ58 was hooked with a type of lure typically used by fishermen casting or “whipping” for fish like papio or ulua. It is rare for monk seals to be hooked with this type of gear. While continued collaboration with fishermen is needed to better understand how seals become hooked, available data indicate that monk seals are most often hooked with hooks associated with “slide bait” or baited hooks cast from shore and held near the bottom with a weighted line.

Between 1976 and 2016, there have been 155 documented hooking’s and entanglements in gill nets, which resulted in 12 monk seal deaths. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “NOAA and DLNR are grateful to the many people who have called into our monk seal reporting hotlines to report injured or hooked monk seals. These calls have often resulted in life-saving actions for our critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals.”

Considering the fouling (algal growth) on the lure, it was probably not being actively used when Kaimana was hooked. The likely scenario is the lure was snagged on the bottom and Kaimana hooked herself by mouthing it. Fishermen can help reduce the chances of this type of interaction by taking extra care to retrieve as much gear as possible.

NOAA and DLNR remind people to please fish responsibly by following these best practices developed in consultation with leaders in the fishing community:

  • Take care when casting if a seal is in the area
  • Fish with barbless circle-hooks
  • Clean catch away from seals
  • Seals are wild animals. Never approach a hooked seal, call for help (888-256-9840).

Hawaii Department of Education Announces 2017-18 Enrollment Figures for Public and Charter Schools

Hawaii’s public and charter schools saw a slight decrease in enrollment for a total of 179,255 for school year 2017-18 compared to 179,902 last year. This year, Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools enrolled 168,095 students (down 1,173 from last year), and charter schools saw an increase of enrollment with 11,160 students (up 526 from last year) and the addition of two new charter schools.

In 2017-18, the five largest HIDOE public schools by grade level are:

  • High Schools (all grades 9-12): Campbell (3,110), Mililani (2,571), Waipahu (2,554), Farrington (2,309), Kapolei (2,035).
  • Intermediate (grades 7-8)/Middle (grades 6-8): Mililani Middle (1,873), Kapolei Middle (1,521), Waipahu Intermediate (1,294), Maui Waena Intermediate (1,176), Kalakaua Middle (1,075).
  • Elementary Schools: August Ahrens (1,249), Holomua (1,163), Ewa (1,070), Keoneula (1,037), Waipahu (1,026).

The five smallest HIDOE schools in the state include: Waiahole Elementary (81), Olomana School (69), Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind (53), Maunaloa Elementary (41), Niihau High and Elementary (9).

The five largest charter schools are: Hawaii Technology Academy (1,111), Kamaile Academy (858), Ka Waihona O Ka Naauao (653), Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (644), Myron Thompson Academy (582).

The five smallest charter schools are: Kula Aupuni Niihau A Hakipuu Learning Center (63), Ke Kula Niihau Kekaha (54), Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (49), Kapolei Charter School (49), Ke Ana Laahana (43).

View Report

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Send Federal Aid to Hurricane Victims, and Ensure the Government Remains Open

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted for H.R. 601, which provides over $15 billion in emergency federal aid to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and other extreme weather events throughout the country. This funding ensures FEMA can provide immediate emergency response and relief as well as longer-term recovery efforts. The bill also extends the federal debt limit and ensures that the government remains open and able to deliver services until December 8, 2017.

“National tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma test our country’s resolve. With today’s funding bill, Congress came together, putting the American people before partisanship and politics, to support the emergency response and recovery efforts serving the people most affected by these disasters.  Since Hurricane Harvey hit, we have seen the aloha spirit coming from people all across the country who have turned out to support those struggling in the wake of this disaster.  We are reminded that when one part of the country faces adversity, our nation comes together and perseveres. In the last week, we have witnessed compassion from neighbors, bravery from first responders, and responsiveness from public institutions. As communities in Texas and Louisiana begin the process of recovery and renewal, the entire country sends its thoughts, prayers, and support to the people of the Caribbean and Florida who are dealing with Hurricane Irma,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Scheduled Power Outage in North Kohala on Sept. 21-22

Hawaii Electric Light announces a scheduled power outage that will affect customers in North Kohala. The outage will be from 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21, to 6 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

This temporary outage is necessary to allow Hawaii Electric Light personnel to safely perform maintenance and upgrade equipment to improve system reliability. The affected communities are Hawi, Kapaau and Halaula, as well as customers along Kohala Mountain Road between mile marker 6 and mile marker 9.Customers are advised to unplug sensitive equipment prior to the outage and to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Those who depend on medication or life support equipment should make arrangements for a back-up power supply or transportation to a facility outside the affected area.

The County of Hawaii Department of Water Supply (DWS) recommends that residents store enough water for their use for the night. DWS will set up a temporary spigot on a fire hydrant near the Kaauhuhu Transfer Station for the community’s use during the power outage.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any disruption this outage could cause and thanks customers for their patience and understanding. If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Department of Health’s Choose Health Now Campaign Launches in 7-Eleven Hawaii Stores Statewide

Today, the Department of Health (DOH) launched its Choose Healthy Now campaign in all 7-Eleven Hawaii locations throughout the state. As the department’s newest partner in the campaign, 7-Eleven is increasing consumer access to healthier foods and beverages and highlighting these better choices in some of the most visible areas of their 64 stores.

First Lady Dawn Ige honored 7-Eleven for their participation in the state’s campaign at a press event held at their Moanalua location, followed by a taste test of the healthy items that are offered in 7-Eleven Hawaii stores. Among the food items tested was a new creation, “Mrs. Ige’s Chicken Cilantro Sandwich,” which will be available for sale to customers later this year as part of the Choose Healthy Now campaign.

“We are honored and excited to be part of an initiative that provides our customers with an easy and quick way to make healthy food choices,” said Greg Hanna, President and CEO of 7-Eleven Hawaii. “The Department of Health provided the expertise to make all the changes needed to highlight healthier options for our customers. We encourage other businesses to join us.”

Through Choose Healthy Now, 7-Eleven customers will be able to easily identify and select foods and beverages that meet nutrition guidelines set by the Department of Health. Customers are prompted to choose these healthier snack and drink items through signage and point-of-decision prompts, which enable the customer to make a quick but informed decision. Product placement and price incentive strategies are also used to encourage the selection of healthier items.

“The state’s new partnership with 7-Eleven will make a huge impact on peoples’ ability to make fast, easy, healthy snack choices,” said Lola Irvin, Chief of the DOH Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division. “With the addition of 7-Eleven’s important commitment to health, Choose Healthy Now can now be found in grocery and convenience stores, hospitals, cafeterias, and snack shops at more than 145 locations statewide!”

The Department of Health has also produced new Choose Healthy Now television commercials that began airing today; these ads encourage customers to look for snacks and drinks labeled Choose Healthy Now, and ask other stores and retail locations to join in the effort. Aloha Island Mart and KTA are also partners in the campaign since 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Poor nutrition contributes to obesity and chronic disease. More than half of adults in Hawaii are overweight or obese (57.2 percent); similarly, over 50 percent (58.5 percent) have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Annual direct healthcare costs for obesity among adults in Hawaii has been estimated at $470 million and an additional $770 million for diabetes. These numbers are expected to continue to rise in conjunction with national rates.

Programs like the state’s Choose Healthy Now campaign are effective at increasing access and availability of healthier foods and beverages. “The time to address obesity and chronic disease is now,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “Partnering with retail locations allows us to reach Hawaii residents where they make their everyday food choices.”

Choose Healthy Now first began as a partnership between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Ho‘opono Vending Program. It launched in May 2014 with six snack shops in state and federal government buildings on Oahu. Today, more than 145 retail locations across the state are promoting Choose Healthy Now.

Visit ChooseHealthyNowHawaii.com to view the full list of participating stores, watch the commercials, and download print materials for use in retail locations, snack shops, or other venues that sell food.