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Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Taps Annual Industry Award Winners

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) named the recipients of its annual appreciation awards during the recent 27th Hawaii International Fruit Conference. Given to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry, the four 2017 recipients are Eli Ednie of Choice Mart supermarket, Catarina Zaragoza of the Locavore Store, Sweet Cane Café and Xavier Chung.

Inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award winner Xavier Chung with HTFGʻs ED Ken Love

Chung, a junior at Konawaena High School, received the inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award. The new service accolade remembers the late Hilo fruit and vegetable grower who was an avid supporter of Hawai‘i agriculture.
“The HTFG board instituted the new Lesley Hill Service Award to honor Lesley, who served numerous terms as an HTFG officer and enthusiastically contributed to the health and growth of our organization,” shares HTFG executive director Ken Love.

Chung was cited for orchard maintenance assistance at HTFGʻs Kona repositories, two of five throughout the state. The repositories serve as locations for propagation of fruit trees to make cuttings and scion for HTFG members.

In addition to volunteering with HTFG, Chung helps out with the National Park Service in West Hawaii, Na Maka O Papahanaumokuakea and the UH Sea Grant college program.

Recognized for a dedication to promoting locally grown tropical fruit at the Kealakekua Choice Mart, Ednie also volunteers at the HTFG Kona repositories.

Also cited for promoting local fruit was Locavore Store co-founder Catarina Zaragoza. Located in downtown Hilo, the store not only stocks a wide variety of local fruit, but also provides information on varieties and origins. The detailed labeling informs the buyer on the differences of fruit choices so purchasing can be done more accurately.

“This attention to detail is important when introducing consumers to new and different fruits like mamey sapote,” notes Axel Kratel, president of HTFGʻs East Hawaii chapter. “We want buyers to have a good experience, not just so they buy the fruit again, but also so they can better recognize what fruit variety best suits their taste and needs.”

Sweet Cane Café was recognized for serving locally grown fruit in value-added products. The Hilo business grows sugar cane in Onomea using Korean Natural Farming methods. After juicing the cane, the company features it in a line of beverages, slushies, smoothies, elixirs and drink shots served at its two cafes. Sweet Cane also uses a wide variety of fruits in its menu offerings.

“The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Love. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

’KULEANA’ Wins Best of Fest at the Guam International Film Festival

‘KULEANA’ was honored with a fourth top festival award taking home “Best OF Fest” in the Guam International Film Festival on October 1. In June the motion pictured was honored as “Audience Choice” in the Maui Film Festival, where it screened outdoors for a record 3,100 viewers. Then in August the mystery/drama earned another “Audience Choice Narrative Feature” award, followed in September with “Best Feature” in Oklahoma’s Tribal Film Festival.

Writer/director Brian Kohne

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name.

Writer/director Brian Kohne now sets sights on attending the Santa Cruz Film Festival screening on Friday, October 13 in the Collegian Plaza Theater, apart of the Tannery Center for the Performing Arts. One of the stars, Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD) will also attend and both will take part in a postscreening Q&A. For more visit the Film Festival website: https://www.santacruzfilmfestival.org

Kristina Anapau

‘KULEANA’ makes its long-awaited Oahu Premiere on Friday, November 3 at 8pm in the Regal Dole Cannery 18 in Honolulu as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival’s opening weekend.

The deeply cultural work will hold an Encore Screening on Sunday, November 5 in the same venue. For more visit the Film Festival website: http://www.hiff.org The critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing motion pictures will open in Hawaii Theaters in early 2018.

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. The provocative new mystery/drama was written and directed by Brian Kohne, produced by Stefan Schaefer, and stars Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD), Augie T, Marlene Sai, Branscombe Richmond (CHICAGO MED), and Mel Cabang. Hawaii’s legendary Willie K provides an original score; the soundtrack boasts recordings by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, and Tony Orlando and Dawn, with classic Hawaiian hits of the sixties by Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, and Marlene Sai.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kailua-Kona Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing.

Naython Perry was last seen in Captain Cook on (August 7).

He is described as Caucasian, 6-feet, 145 pounds with short brown hair, fair complexion, and brown eyes. Last seen wearing dark colored sweatpants.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

NBA Stars Help Open a Newly Refurbished Computer Lab for Students

Stevenson Middle School and the L.A. Clippers Foundation dedicated a newly refurbished computer lab earlier today before students, teachers and special guests, along with members of the L.A. Clippers Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan also joined the dedication ceremony with a special appearance by the team’s mascot, Chuck the Condor.

Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers with students on new computers in the Stevenson Middle School lab.

“Our students are so thankful for the wonderful generosity of the L.A. Clippers Foundation. The new computers will provide technology access to more students,” said Principal Linell Dilwith. “We want to thank the Hawaii Tourism Authority for connecting us with the L.A. Clippers Foundation, and a big mahalo to the foundation and Denise Booth for their hard work in making this new computer lab a reality.”

The Clippers’ mascot, Chuck the Condor, tries his hand (or wing?) on the ukulele with students.

Stevenson Middle received a donation of nearly $40,000 in computer equipment from the L.A. Clippers Foundation, including 30 HP ProDesk desktops, two Canon wireless printers and a 55-inch television for instruction. In addition to converting the classroom into a computer lab, the donation will also provide a new central air conditioning unit for the room.

“These are not just computers,” said Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the L.A. Clippers, “they’re windows to the world that I hope make learning fun. That’s really what we want to do. We want to make coming to school a better experience for students.”

Students, Gillian Zucker, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, VP Sonja Samsonas and Principal Linell Dilwith untie the official maile lei opening Stevenson Middle’s refurbished computer lab.

The computer lab will be accessible to all students for the school’s digital and online programs. Stevenson’s Media/Photography Club will be housed in the new lab and will use the equipment to produce the student newsletter and document school activities. Coincidentally, the computer lab happens to have a special room number — 213 — which corresponds to Chuck the Condor’s jersey number and LA’s area code.

Hawaii Joins in Settling With Mylan Inc – Will Receive Over $700,000

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii has joined the United States, the District of Columbia, and all 49 other states in settling allegations against Mylan Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L.P. (collectively “Mylan”). The settlement resolves allegations that Mylan knowingly underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for the drugs EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. (“EpiPen”) dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. Mylan owns the exclusive rights to sell EpiPen in the United States and possesses legal title to the New Drug Codes (“NDCs”) for EpiPen.

Pursuant to a settlement Mylan entered with the United States in August, Mylan was to pay up to $465 million to the United States and the states, depending on the number of states that joined the settlement. As of Friday, September 29th, all fifty states and the District of Columbia had joined the settlement; as a result, the states will share $213,936,000 of the total settlement of $465 million. Hawaii’s share of the settlement is $742,679.02, which will be split between the Med-Quest program at the Department of Human Services as restitution and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Department of the Attorney General for its continued enforcement efforts.

The Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute was enacted by Congress in 1990 to keep costs down for Medicaid’s payment for outpatient drugs. The law requires participating drug makers and NDC holders such as Mylan to sign a rebate agreement with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That agreement is a precondition to drug makers getting Medicaid coverage for their drugs, and to pay quarterly rebates to state Medicaid programs for drugs dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. NDC holders must provide information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) concerning their covered drugs. In particular, they must advise CMS regarding the classification of a covered drug as an “innovator” or “noninnovator” drug. This is because the amount of rebates owed varies depending on the drug’s classification. The amount of the rebate also depends on pricing information provided by the manufacturer. For drugs classified as “innovator” drugs, NDC holders must report their “Best Price,” or the lowest price for which it sold a covered drug in a particular quarter.

Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that from July 29, 2010 to March 31, 2017, Mylan submitted false statements to CMS that incorrectly classified EpiPen as a “noninnovator multiple source” drug, as opposed to a “single source” or “innovator multiple source” drug. Mylan also did not report a Best Price to CMS for EpiPen, which it was required to do for all “single source” and “innovator multiple source” drugs. This meant Mylan submitted false statements to CMS and the States relating to EpiPen for Medicaid rebate purposes, and underpaid its EpiPen rebates to the State Medicaid Programs.

Lawmakers Seek Answers After Loud Party Allowed to Continue Following Repeated Calls to Police

Following a loud, late-night party with about 1,000 people in an open Kakaako parking lot September 23, State and City representatives want the Mayor to delve into why the Honolulu Police Department did nothing to shut the event down.

Rep. Scott K. Saiki, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, and City Councilmembers Ann Kobayshi and Carol Fukunaga sent a letter to Mayor Kirk Caldwell asking him to investigate the reason or reasons that police responded to many 911 calls that night about the noise but took no action to close down the unpermitted event.

“The party was held in a parking lot in a residential area and went on late into the night,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “This is clearly not the place for this type of event and should not be allowed to happen again.”

The lawmakers and residents believe the property owner and partygoers should have been cited for disorderly conduct due to the “unreasonable noise.”

“These residents suffered through a loud party right next to their homes,” said Councilmember Ann Kobayshi. “This should have been stopped immediately.”

In the letter, the lawmakers also ask the Mayor to contact the property owner and request that he voluntarily agree not to hold similar events in the parking lot located at 975 Kapiolani Blvd.

The lawmakers are requesting an immediate inquiry to HPD and information on its response.

Party letter full

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – 29th Hilo Family and Peace Walk and Vigil

Marking the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Department of the Attorney General and Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV) encourage community members to come together to keep our communities safe. While law enforcement and victim advocacy services are available, we need the community to help end domestic violence.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Domestic violence is a persistent and unacceptable condition in our communities. Please use this month to educate yourself to help stop others from being hurt.”

HSCADV Executive Director Stacey Moniz said, “This October marks the 30th year we have been honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage our communities across the state to engage with your local domestic violence programs. Please get involved, donate or volunteer, follow them on social media and help raise awareness of the valuable resources available on every island. Let’s all stand together and say, Hawaii Says No More to domestic violence.”

For information on what is domestic violence, go to the U.S. Department of Justice webpage https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence. There are many ways to get involved. It could be as simple as wearing the color purple to bring domestic violence awareness on October 19th, National Purple Thursday. You can also participate in a number of free events around the state, including:

  • A Domestic Violence Awareness Fair being held at the Maui Queen Kaahumanu Center on October 14th;
  • The 29th Hilo Family and Peace Walk and Vigil on October 27th; and
  • ‘Slippa’ Donation to benefit Child and Family Service emergency shelters and domestic violence programs on October 14th at the Pearl City Walmart.

For a complete listing of events, go to HSCADV’s website at https://www.hscadv.org/

In 2015, there were 10,830 Protective Orders filed in Family Court in addition to 1,280 arrests for Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order and 2,774 arrests for Violation of a Protection Order. For a listing of domestic violence victim advocacy services go to https://www.hscadv.org/resources, and other important contacts https://www.hscadv.org/other-important-contacts

 

Hawaii Receives $427,000 in Federal Grants for Agriculture

Hawaii has awarded 11 projects to eligible non-profit and for-profit entities totaling more than $427,000 through the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal program, funded by the Farm Bill, provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

Click for more information

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) submitted the application to the USDA in June 2017 and will be administering the program. The approved projects support activities for research and increasing production of specialty crops, including cacao, taro, mango, cucumber, banana, legumes and Christmas trees. The projects funded include farmer education and agricultural marketing programs. A list of the projects funded by the SCBGP is attached.

The USDA SCBGP has awarded more than $60.5 million nationwide for this coming fiscal year. The grant period runs from September 2017 to September 2020.

For more information on the USDA SCBGP, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Calls On Administration & Congress to Pass Aid Package for Puerto Rico Now

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke on the House floor calling on the Trump administration & Congress to pass an aid package for Puerto Rico now in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard demanded that the administration immediately send all available resources to help with recovery efforts.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“Right now 3.5 million Americans, our fellow citizens, are facing a humanitarian crisis. In Puerto Rico, the majority of people still lack basic electricity, clean drinking water and medicine — the basic necessities just to stay alive. What to speak of the basic resources they need to begin the great task of rebuilding their lives and their communities. It has been days since the hurricane passed over Puerto Rico, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

“The people of Puerto Rico are literally crying out for help. There are far too many, especially those in rural communities, who still have not been reached by those bringing aid. As a representative from the island state of Hawaii, I can only imagine their frustration and desperation. I urge the administration to dedicate all available resources for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and work with Congress to pass an emergency aid package to ensure that those delivering aid have what they need to help the people of Puerto Rico and save lives.”

Changes in Hawaii House Leadership

After much consideration, Speaker Scott K. Saiki today accepted the resignation of Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, Kohala) as House Majority Leader. Evans offered her resignation as Majority Leader during the legislative special session held in August of this year.

Saiki has appointed Hawaii Island Rep. Mark M. Nakashima (Hamakua, Hilo), to Vice Speaker of the House. He replaces Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) who has been named House Majority Leader.

Rep. Evans will assume Nakashima’s chairmanship of the Economic Development & Business Committee.

With Nakashima’s appointment and with Kauai Rep. Dee Morikawa as Majority Floor Leader, neighbor island representatives continue to occupy two of the top four positions in House leadership.

Big Island Burritos Bring ‘Fresh Kitchen’ Flavors to Queens’ MarketPlace

The only Food Court on the Kohala Coast is about to serve up the tasty new flavors of Big Island Burritos, scheduled for opening in October. The new eatery will offer more than the expected stuffed tortillas, with their innovative “Fresh Kitchen Pacific Island, Mexican fusion restaurant concept.”

A variety of ‘fresh kitchen’ Mexican fusion cuisine will be offered at the new Big Island Burritos in Queens’ MarketPlace food court.

The menu will feature signature island style gordo burritos, loaded rice bowls, local farm salads, and fresh soft tacos, prepared in multiple styles and with a variety of flavors to choose from.

“We are thrilled to become a part of the prestigious Queens’ MarketPlace community,” said Hawai‘i restaurateur Pat Kashani. “From our chefs and culinary experts to our operations team, we will truly be honored to add our name alongside all the other excellent food and beverage names that serve the Queens’ MarketPlace and Waikoloa community.”

Kashani operates Auntie Pasto’s restaurants on Oahu, My Big Fat Greek Restaurants in Arizona, and two Hawai‘i Island establishments: Tropics Ale House in Waikoloa Beach Resort and Tropics Tap House in Keauhou.

Heading the kitchen is Donn Rodriguez of Waimea, who is also Chef at Tropics Ale House, and has cooked for top quality restaurants, most recently at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Burritos will be open in the Queens’ MarketPlace Food Court from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.bigislandburritos.com or call (808) 479-0620.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call (808) 886-8822.

Hawaii Department of Health Awarded $361K in Funding for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Efforts

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Children with Special Health Needs Branch has been awarded $361,956 in cooperative agreement funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the Hawaii Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (HI-CLPPP).

The federal funding will support the state’s efforts to reduce lead exposure and lead poisoning for Hawaii children under the age of six. Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health; increase the risks for damage to the brain and nervous system; slow growth and development; and result in learning, behavioral, hearing and speech problems. Young children are at the highest risk for lead exposure because they engage in more hand-to-mouth activity, and a child’s developing nervous system is more susceptible to the effects of lead.

“Early screening and testing to identify and prevent lead exposure in young children helps ensure the healthy development of our keiki,” said Dr. Patricia Heu, chief of the DOH Children with Special Health Needs Branch. “This new funding will improve our processes to identify lead-exposed children and link their families with services to find and remove the source of lead. This will help to protect that child and other children in the family from further exposure.”

According to DOH data from 2011 to 2015, nearly 60,000 children under the age of six in Hawaii were tested for lead. Of those tested, 1,700 children (about 3 percent) had elevated blood lead levels.

“Recent research shows that there is no safe blood lead level in children.” said Danette Wong Tomiyasu, Health Resources Administration deputy director. “Keeping our keiki safe from lead hazards and lead poisoning requires collaborative efforts between our state programs, healthcare professionals, and our community. The department is committed to working with these groups to promote the healthy development of young children and to support their future success in school and life.”

The cooperative agreement funding will enable DOH to address the complex problem of childhood lead poisoning using a collaborative approach with state and community partners. The department’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office, Indoor and Radiological Health Branch/Lead-Based Paint Program, and Public Health Nursing Branch are working together with the Children with Special Health Needs Branch to implement the HI-CLPPP program.

HI-CLPPP’s purpose is to reduce lead exposure and lead poisoning for children under the age of six through strengthening blood lead level testing, surveillance, prevention, and processes to identify lead-exposed children and link them to services. Strategies and activities under the new grant will include:

  • Updating guidelines for blood lead testing.
  • Implementing a new lead database as a public health management tool.
  • Education and outreach to communities and providers.
  • Coordinating with other agencies, partners and stakeholders serving children to ensure that a comprehensive system of identification, referral, services and follow-up is in place for lead-exposed children.

Sources of lead exposure for children may include lead in paint or paint dust in houses built before 1978 when lead-based paint in housing was banned. Children may also be exposed to lead by family members who work with or have hobbies that involve contact with lead such as auto repair, welding, construction and home renovation. Other sources of lead may include fishing sinkers, jewelry, toys, glazed pottery and folk medicine made in foreign countries.

Being aware of the sources of lead and taking precautions can help protect young children from the serious effects of lead poisoning. Families can ask their doctor to test their child for lead, even if the child seems healthy. Families living in homes built before 1978 should keep children’s play areas free of paint chips and dust and take extra precaution when doing home renovation to prevent the spread of lead dust. Family members who work with lead are advised to keep work clothes and shoes away from children.

More information can be found at the department’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention website at http://health.hawaii.gov/cshcn/leadpp/.

Parts of Shower Drive and Pohaku Drive to Close Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8 for Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the following traffic modifications in the Hawaiian Paradise Park neighborhood this weekend as part of the ongoing Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion, Phase 2.

SATURDAY, OCT. 7, 6 A.M. TO 6 P.M.

  • Shower Drive from Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) to 28th Avenue will be closed to thru traffic.
  • Lane shift on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) in both directions in the vicinity of the Shower Drive/Pohaku Drive intersection.

SUNDAY, OCT. 8, 6 A.M. TO 6 P.M.

  • Pohaku Drive from Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) to Pohaku Circle will be closed to thru traffic.
  • Lane shift on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) in both directions in the vicinity of the Shower Drive/Pohaku Drive intersection.

Hawaii County has been notified and emergency vehicles will use alternate routes, if necessary, as the work involves milling of the existing roadway and fill with hot mix asphalt.

Use of the hot mix asphalt and extended weekend work hours will allow HDOT to complete the necessary paving in this area in one weekend versus over the course of a week.

Electronic message boards notifying the public of this weekend’s work will be posted in the area of the planned closures.