• Follow on Facebook

  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • puako-general-store
  • air-tour-kauai
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • Say When

    December 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Hu Honua Bioenergy Files Federal Complaint

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC, a baseload 24/7 biomass electric plant on the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii Island, filed a civil antitrust complaint in federal court against Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Co., NextEra Energy Resources, and Hamakua Energy Partners, Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2016).

hu-honua

Hu Honua had a Public Utilities Commission-approved power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light, which was unlawfully terminated as a result of actions by the defendants.

“Hu Honua regrets that the matter has come to this,” said Harold Robinson IV, president of Island BioEnergy, a majority owner of Hu Honua, “we’d rather have a power plant than a lawsuit. For almost two years we have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain Hawaiian Electric Light’s agreement to our reasonable requests to extend two milestone dates. Hawaiian Electric Light’s refusal to provide these extensions has left us with no recourse but to file suit to recover our substantial damages of $120 million that was invested in our 50 percent complete biomass power plant and our lost profits of $435 million.”

The complaint was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court, Hawaii District, by the legal teams of Bronster Fujichaku Robbins of Honolulu and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP of San Francisco.

The detailed allegations and the project’s complex history are outlined in the complaint, which alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Hawaii unfair competition laws, as well as breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeks to recover actual and treble damages. Hu Honua asks for a jury trial.

Robinson noted that “the concerted effort to monopolize electricity generated on the Big Island has not only blocked the state’s progress toward the achievement of its energy self-sufficiency mandates set by Hawaii Law, but also stunted the creation of almost 200 local jobs at the facility, in agriculture and ancillary services.”

Kona International Airport to Resume International Flights

Gov. David Y. Ige and the United States Customs and Border Protection announced the re-establishment of a Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). The inaugural international flight from Kona to Tokyo, Japan is scheduled to depart on Dec. 20, 2016. The flight from Tokyo to Kona is scheduled to arrive at the Kona International Airport on Dec. 21, 2016.

ige-announcement“The resumption of international flights to Kona will have a wide-ranging positive impact on Hawai‘i Island and the state as a whole by boosting tourism spending, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars for our economy,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “I especially thank our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for working with us to achieve this goal. This was a top priority for my administration and I am pleased that we were able to make the Federal Inspection Service facility in Kona a reality.”

“In fulfilling our important role protecting the border and fostering lawful travel, CBP relies on strong partnerships with stakeholders. This is why we are especially grateful for the commitment of Governor Ige and the people of Hawai‘i to providing adequate airport inspection facilities,” said Brian Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, director, field operations. “In equal good faith, CBP is committed to providing a welcoming experience to passengers in Kona while we simultaneously protect America.”

The new FIS will benefit Hawai‘i in several ways. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation estimates new international flights to Kona will result in more than $7 million in annual projected tax benefits. International visitors will also spend tens of millions of dollars at local businesses and attractions, further boosting the economy and generating jobs. Hawai‘i has seen the numbers of international travelers increase by more than one million passengers, or nearly 60 percent, since the economic downturn in 2009. The trend in international passenger arrivals in Hawai‘i is expected to continue to grow, enhancing the need for a second airport to accept flights from international destinations.

The secondary international point of entry in Kona will ease congestion at the Honolulu International Airport, especially during daily peak hours and busy travel seasons. The FIS will improve health and safety by increasing resiliency in an emergency. Should an unforeseen incident occur in Honolulu, international flights would still be able to land safely in Kona. Currently, Honolulu is the only landing option in the state for international flights.

The United States Department of Transportation approved Hawaiian Airlines’ request to fly non-stop international flights between Kona and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo beginning in December.

“We look forward to welcoming our Tokyo guests with our authentic Hawaiian hospitality as they enjoy the convenience of our direct flights to the spectacular Kona coast,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are pleased to return international flights to the Big Island and thankful to all of our government, business and community partners for their support of our newest route.”

Several improvements are being made to the international arrivals section at KOA, including the installation of security cameras and motion sensors, an upgraded access control system, 10 Automated Passport Control kiosks to process incoming international passengers quickly and efficiently, and refurbished restrooms.

“After multiple meetings and on-site visits, we finally made it across the finish line,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “I thank CBP and the Obama Administration for recognizing the potential of our visitor industry and for working with the State of Hawaii, the people of Kona, and many others in state government and the hospitality industry to finally get this done.”

“After six years of working closely with federal and state officials, and community partners to reestablish direct international flights to Kona International Airport, today’s announcement is good news for Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and the Hawai‘i Island economy. In particular, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Customs and Border Protection to work with the state on the Federal Inspection Service facility that made this a reality,” said Sen. Mazie K. Hirono.

“Today’s announcement not only positively impacts our tourism-based economy, it addresses a critical safety and security need for our state by providing a secondary international port in case of emergency,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This project has been a priority of mine, and became a reality through many years of hard work by community leaders, local businesses, and county, state, and Federal government.  I especially want to thank HDOT and CBP for their leadership and upholding their commitment to reopening international travel to Kona.”

Regularly scheduled international flights to Kona began in 1996 and were discontinued in October 2010.

Big Island Police Warning About Increase in Counterfeit Money in Circulation

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about an increase in counterfeit money in circulation. Kona police officers have been responding to numerous calls about fake $100 bills. The phony money looks, feels and appears to be real even after using the test pen, so police advise businesses and individuals to look for security features on the bank note itself.

c-note

  • Locate and read the plastic embedded security thread. It should say “USA” and the bill’s denomination.
  • Use an ultra-violet light to detect the thread glow color. The $5 dollar bill should glow blue, the $10 bill should glow orange, the $20 bill should glow green and the $50 bill should glow yellow. In older versions, the $100 bill should glow pink, while the current $100 bill has a 3-D ribbon.
  • Hold the bill up to a light to check for a watermark.
  • Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink.
  • With a magnifying glass, locate and examine the micro-printing.

More information on detecting counterfeit money and security features can be found at www.uscurrency.gov.

Citizens and businesses are reminded to treat the fake bill as evidence by placing it into an envelope and to call the police immediately.

Hawaii County Celebrates New Micro Units to Address Chronically Homeless

Representatives from social service agencies joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and Council Chair Dru Mamo Kanuha today for a ceremony to dedicate Hale Kīkaha, the County of Hawaiʻi’s newest housing project with 23 micro units to address a critical need in Kailua-Kona, particularly amongst the chronically homeless.

micro-unitsNumbers of homeless are increasing statewide. The January 2016 point-in-time count showed nearly 1,400 homeless people on Hawaiʻi Island, an increase of 10% from 2015. Of those people, about 500 were unsheltered in West Hawaiʻi.

“Our families who are homeless need a sense that they have a chance. They can believe that because they can sleep in a clean, safe place,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We’re creating a puʻuhonua, a safe haven, a place of refuge where people can walk around with dignity and respect.”

The $2.5 million Hale Kīkaha is on Pāwai Place in Kailua-Kona’s industrial area, adjacent to the area’s emergency homeless shelter. Hale Kīkaha will provide on-site wraparound social services to residents to increase their chances of success.

Kīkaha means to soar, and the name Hale Kīkaha represents the County’s hope for and commitment to the residents that will call the project home. Design and engineering work was done in-house. General contractor Kona-Kaʻū Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the project in nine months.

The County recognizes that housing is a primary need, especially in West Hawaiʻi. The County has worked to address homelessness through the nationally recognized best practice Housing First model with a number of projects during Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

Recognizing the most immediate need, the County constructed the $1.8 million, 31-bed West Hawaiʻi Emergency Shelter and opened it in November 2010.

The Homes of Ulu Wini provides 96 units for families, a mix of transitional housing and affordable rentals for families with low-moderate income, or no higher than 80% of the area median income. Construction of the $23.7 million project’s phases were completed throughout Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

Kamakoa Nui offers affordable home ownership to working families along the Kohala Coast. The Kenoi administration restarted a previous attempt to build workforce housing in Waikoloa Village, and the first families were welcomed into their homes in 2013. To date, all 91 lots at Kamakoa Nui have been sold and 69 homes have been built. Construction continues on the remaining homes, which include six participants in a self-help housing program by Habitat for Humanity. Kamakoa Nui offers fee-simple home ownership to families between 100-140% of the area median income.

A home at Kamakoa Nui.

A home at Kamakoa Nui

In addition to County-built housing, the Office of Housing & Community Development administers programs to assist tenants renting existing housing. Over 2,000 people and families receive over $14 million in assistance every year through Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and the Housing Choice Voucher programs.

“We are measured not by what we do for those who have the most, we are measured by what we do for those who have the least,” Mayor Kenoi said.

House Passes Gabbard-Cook Bill Encouraging Employers to Hire More Veterans

The HIRE Vets Act (H.R.3286), introduced by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Paul Cook (CA-08), unanimously passed the House today. This bipartisan bill would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create a medallion program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. This bill will now move to the Senate.

gabbard-vet-bill-passRoughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans that have returned home since 9/11. While we’ve taken some important steps to encourage employers to hire more veterans, more than 400,000 veterans across the country are still unemployed today,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experiences, and leadership training that make them especially valuable to employers. The HIRE Vets Act incentivizes employers to hire veterans, and recognizes employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees.”

Background: The bipartisan HIRE Vets Act would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and efficient program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a four-tiered system – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.

American Indians and Native Hawaiians Mortgages Shot Down Half the Time

According to an article published today in Indian Country Today,
American Indians and Native Hawaiians when applying for home mortgages were shot down half the time:

Image via 808 Viral

Image via 808 Viral

Neither American Indians nor Native Hawaiians received half of the mortgages they applied for last year, though Hawaiians came to within a hair of it.

Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) received 46 percent of the loans they applied for, according to data lenders filed with the federal government. They applied for 70,000 mortgages in 2015 and received 32,500, the data show.

Native Hawaiians (including indigenous Pacific Islanders from Guam and American Samoa) applied for 49,000 and were successful in 24,600 cases, or a rate of 49.95 percent…

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/11/27/american-indians-and-native-hawaiians-mortgages-shot-down-half-time-166563

Web-Based System to Track Inventory and Sales at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Hawaii State Department of Health has contracted with BioTech Medical Software Inc., dba BioTrackTHC for a web-based system that will provide the department 24/7 access to real-time data of medical marijuana inventory, sales, and other information required of dispensary licensees statewide. The negotiated cost of the contract is $239,000 for the first year and $160,000 for each successive year during the five-year agreement. BioTrackTHC was selected through the State of Hawaii Request for Proposals process.

biotrack-logo“This is another major step forward to implement the medical marijuana dispensary program to ensure access for registered patients and their caregivers,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance. “After researching various options, we determined a web-based software system would be the most effective and user-friendly way for licensees and state employees to collect and report seed-to-sale tracking information.”

Ridley’s office, which performs all state licensing activities on healthcare facilities, agencies and organizations in Hawaii, is tasked with implementing Act 241, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2015.

Detailed Inventory and Sales Information

The seed-to-sale tracking system will be used to collect detailed inventory and sales information such as:

  • The total amount of marijuana at each dispensary production center, in the form of seeds or plants, including all plants that are derived from cuttings or cloning, until the marijuana products are sold or destroyed
  • The total amount of marijuana product inventory at a retail dispensing location
  • The total amount of marijuana products purchased by a qualifying patient and primary caregiver from all retail dispensing locations in any 15-day period
  • The amount of waste produced during the cultivation, harvest, and manufacturing processes.

“BioTrackTHC is an experienced company that has successfully developed and implemented a seed-to-sale tracking system in other states,” said Ridley. “We expect their experience and expertise will help to implement an effective system for Hawaii and we are glad to have them as partners in our effort to ensure patient safety, product safety, and public safety. However, we also realize it will take several weeks of training and then testing to get the system operating smoothly.”

Background

Eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued earlier this year under Act 241 Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 329D. Three licenses were issued for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center can grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

For more information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer Improved Online Calculator to Help Customers Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Are you thinking about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, but having trouble figuring out whether you will save money and help the environment compared to a gasoline vehicle? Help is now just a click away, thanks to a new tool from the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

watt-planWattPlan for Electric Vehicles is an interactive, online calculator you can use via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone to compare any make and model of plug-in electric vehicle with any internal combustion engine vehicle. It is accessible at: www.hawaiianelectric.com/wattplanforEV.

Using your personal monthly electric bill and current gasoline prices, the tool will help you decide whether an electric vehicle is right for you and your family. The calculator will show that when you charge your electric vehicle can affect your overall energy cost. With new, voluntary time-of-use rates available for residential customers of all three Hawaiian Electric companies, it is less expensive to use electricity during the day, when abundant solar power is being sent to the grid.

“We encourage prospective electric vehicle owners to consider their entire home energy bill – electricity plus gasoline – when making this decision,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “While adding an electric vehicle may slightly increase your monthly electric bill, that will likely be more than offset by buying little or no gasoline. That is my experience as a new electric vehicle owner.”

For those concerned about climate change and the global environment, the WattPlan for Electric Vehicles tool will show the environmental benefits of driving an EV compared to a gasoline car.

“Electric vehicles don’t just result in reduced use of imported oil, exhaust fumes and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Oshima. “Using more electricity during the day will allow us to use more solar power, an important step to help us get to Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy.”

The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles was developed for Hawaiian Electric in conjunction with Clean Power Research® (www.cleanpower.com), an award-winning innovation company that delivers software products to enable customers to optimize financing, operation and integration of solar resources, engage consumers with personalized energy evaluations, and streamline business processes.

Clean Power also developed the WattPlan for Rooftop Solar, a personalized online tool that the Hawaiian Electric Companies make available to help their customers decide whether rooftop solar is right for them, and if so, what size is best and the comparative costs of buying or leasing a system.

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Closer to Striking – Possible Shutdown of Airlines

Many folks have seen Hawaiian Airline Pilots wearing lanyards that read “Fully Qualified… Partially Paid” for the last few months that represents the pilots frustrations with their contract negotiations.

I have learned that “mediation process” that was going on during November has ended without resolution.

What this means, is that Hawaiian Airline pilots are getting closer to a strike and shutdown of the airline!

mec-alertHawaiian Pilots:

Your MEC and Negotiating Committee were back in Virginia this week for the last scheduled round of mediation under the supervision of Senior Mediator Patricia Sims and NMB Board Chair Linda Puchala. Like our other sessions, mediation again ended without an agreement. To say we are unhappy is an understatement.

Management efforts to reach an agreement were completely unsatisfactory. While adding money to their previous substandard position, the company does not believe that Hawaiian pilots are due the market compensation that other pilots receive. Instead management continues to argue that we should work for less than our professional colleagues, or “buy” industry pay rates by generating offsets that fund those increases.

The MEC and NC categorically and emphatically reject that choice.  We are tired of subsidizing the company’s success. The company has no choice but to pay market rates for airplanes, and they will have no choice but to pay market rates for pilots.  It’s alarming that the CEO risks Hawaiian Airlines’ 2017 financial plans and projections, and its long-term future, by repeatedly denying the reality of the commercial marketplace.

Not only was the Company’s final pay proposal more than $20 less than the rates in recent pilot settlements, but also, management’s offer continues to pro-rate days off, keep vacation and training days at their current rate, and demand non-seniority list simulator instructors.

Early Saturday morning the NMB advised the bargaining parties that it will not schedule additional mediation sessions.  While no specific timeline was discussed, the NMB stated it will instead move forward with the actions available under the Railway Labor Act to bring negotiations to a close.  We left the meeting with renewed resolve to achieve a market-rate contract – and one that reflects our contribution to the company’s stunning and record profitability.

Senior management will no doubt try to “spin” a story about their latest proposal and argue that ALPA rejected a major pay increase without providing the full picture. We will provide additional information about the parties’ positions in the coming days.  The Association will also provide opportunities for increased pilot activity to warn the public about our looming dispute and possible disruptions to their travel plans once the RLA process is completed.  In addition, ALPA will soon be setting new informational picketing dates and other opportunities for you to show your resolve through lawful activity.

Amazingly, management continues to request contract concessions that facilitate more efficient training and operation!  In the face of management’s failure to consider the interests of Hawaiian pilots, ALPA pilot leadership has no appetite whatsoever for new LOAs like those.  In fact, we are considering whether it is even appropriate to continue existing discretionary arrangements.

It’s unfortunate that we have reached this point. Hawaiian continues to earn massive profits and its finances are stronger than ever. The company can afford your proposals. It simply doesn’t want to agree to them and considers pilot pay increases “discretionary” or “controllable.”  As the end of the year approaches, each Hawaiian pilot family must carefully review its personal financial situation to determine whether you are prepared for a strike. We recommend that major purchases or expenditures be postponed.  Be prudent and be ready.

Thank you for your continued interest, support and activity.  Regrettably, we will soon ask you to do even more to help bring home the market rate contract you have earned and deserve.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Help Protect Customers by Joining Anti-Scam Coalition

Yesterday, the Hawaiian Electric Companies joined with fellow electric companies across the country, as well as utilities in the natural gas and water sectors, to observe the inaugural Utilities United Against Scams Day (UUAS Day). The day was supported by awareness and education activities throughout the week.

utility-scamsMost utility scams involve criminals posing as electric, natural gas, or water provider employees-either in-person, over the phone, or online-and demanding immediate payment via cash or reloadable debit cards while falsely threatening to disconnect the customer’s service. These criminals can be very convincing and often target those who are most vulnerable, including small business owners, seniors, and non-native English speakers. However, with the right information, customers can learn to avoid and report these predatory scams.

Customers who believe they have been targeted by scammers impersonating an employee of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light Company should follow these tips:

  • Hang up the phone or close the door, and call our customer service center at:
    • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
    • Maui: (808) 871-9777
    • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
    • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
    • Kona: (808) 329-3584
    • Waimea: (808) 885-4605
  • Decline to pay any caller or visitor claiming to be a Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light representative using a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or similar forms of payment – especially those requiring an intermediary.
  • Ignore suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers,user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
  • Delete all emails that demand immediate payment or personal information.
  • Contact local police or contact the Federal Trade Commission at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

UUAS is a collaborative effort among the electric, gas, and water utility industries to help prevent utility service fraud through education, awareness, and customer advocacy initiatives. A primary goal of this collective effort is to help customers learn how to identify and avoid utility-related scams.

You can learn more about the Utilities United Against Scams effort at www.hawaiianelectric.com, www.mauielectric.com, www.hawaiielectriclight.com, or www.eei.org, including further tips and resources to help spot and avoid utility scams.

Hawaii Senate Accepting Applications for Upcoming Legislative Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate is accepting job applications for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

capitalWorking at the Hawai‘i State Senate offers individuals an opportunity to work in a dynamic public service organization, work closely with elected officials and the public, and learn more about the legislative process.

Session jobs require a 4 to 6 month commitment, depending on the position. Most begin on January 3, 2017 and end on the last day of the legislative session.

Senate employees working 20 hours or more per week are eligible for health insurance through the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.

More information about employment opportunities with the Hawai‘i State Senate can be found online at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sjobs.aspx.

To apply, please send a cover letter, position reference number, and resume to sclerk2@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Update

In April of 2015, “Distinguished officials attended a blessing and seed planting ceremony for the University of Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Project in Waimanalo. This project was the result of Act 56 which established an industrial hemp research project to be conducted by Principal UH Researcher Dr. Harry Ako to study hemp for soil phytoremediation (cleaning) as well as for a potential biofuel.”

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

Currently The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is:

  • Registering as a Schedule 1 importer of controlled substances with the DEA.
  • Identifying optimal seed sources for importation.
  • Drafting administrative regulations to govern the hemp pilot program.

Upcoming

The Department Plans to:

  • Release a request for proposals (RFP) to secure a contractor(s) to develop a line of Hawaii acclimated industrial hemp seed for distribution to licensees in the upcoming industrial hemp pilot program.
  • Import seeds to be further developed into a line of industrial hemp for Hawaii by the contractor/(s) selected at the end of the RFP process.

Projected Timeline*

  1. November 2016 Administrative rules drafted, review process begins.
  2. January 2017 Hemp Seed Development RFP Posted
  3. February 2017 Hemp seed development contract awarded, seed development begins.
  4. Fall 2017: Program Coordinator and Inspector selected.
  5. January 1-April 1 2018: Growers may begin applying for licenses.

*All date and times are rough estimates, and subject to change without notice, being contingent upon funding and approval processes.

Resources

  • AT THIS TIME: If you are interested in participating in the State industrial hemp pilot program, please examine Act 228 to see the infrastructure which will be required of applicants, and the recording and fee requirements licensees must meet.
  • http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1330_.PDF

Pahoa Bee Company Wins $25,000 in 2016 HIplan Competition

A Pahoa based bee company was awarded $25,000 today at the University of Hawaii Campus Center for their business plan they entered in the 2016 Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition.

Ono Queens LLC owned by Christopher and Wendy Klepps won the grand prize beating out 49 other Hawaii Island Business Plans.

Wendy and Christopher Klepps of Ono Queens LLC accept a check for $25,000.

Wendy and Christopher Klepps of Ono Queens LLC accept a check for $25,000.

49 original competitors were trimmed down to 8 finalists and today they presented 15-minute PowerPoint Presentations to judges Howard Dicus, Murray Clay, Jared Kushi and Chuck Erskine.

hiplan-judgesAfter the judges listened to the 15-minute power point presentations, there was a short break and then the companies followed up with a 2-minute “Elevator Pitch” to try and win the judges over.

The overall judging was weighed in their two presentations given today as well as their submitted 7-page written plans.

The Finalists were (in order of presentation):

  • Aloha Nui Family Practice
  • Big Island Wasabi, LLC
  • Dam Fine Farms
  • Easybotics
  • Hawai’i Ulu Producers Co-op
  • Hawaii Family Health
  • Ono Queens, LLC
  • The Spoon Shop, LLC

The third place runner up was Big Island Wasabi LLC:

Sara Phillips authored the business plan for Big Island Wasabi LLC

Sara Phillips authored the business plan for Big Island Wasabi LLC

The second place runner up was Hawaii Family Health:

Michelle Mitchell was the author of the Hawaii Family Health business plan.

Michelle Mitchell was the author of the Hawaii Family Health business plan.

After the winners were announced, there was a short reception held for the folks and sponsors that were in attendance.

Some of the sponsors mentioned were, Ulupono Initiative, University of Hawaii Hilo, Big Island Toyota, HTDC, DeLuz Chevrolet, Darren T. Kimura, HIGROWTH, NELHA, Hilo Brokers, Marine Genetics and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce.  The Official Media Sponsor was Pacific Media Group.

Hawaiian Electric Time-of-Use Rates Program Off to a Brisk Start

In slightly more than a week, more than 500 residential customers have signed up for the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ new Time-of-Use rates, a program that will charge customers less for power used during the day – when solar energy production is highest – and more at night.

As of Oct. 28, 508 customers had enrolled. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) set a limit of 5,000 customers for the program, meaning 10 percent of the total enrollment has already been reached.

The strongest response has been on Oahu, with 426 customers enrolled, followed by Maui County with 61, and Hawaii island with 21.

Developed under the direction of the PUC, this program provides customers with an opportunity to save money if they shift their energy use to daytime hours. For example, customers who do laundry, cook, or heat water during the day may be able to save. Customers who charge electric vehicles or energy storage systems in the day may also benefit.

The amount of savings, if any, will depend on how much a customer can shift the use of electricity from night to day. As a result, this program may not fit the needs of all customers.

helco-rates

As directed by the PUC, this program is voluntary and will run for two years. The rates are only available to residential customers.

Participating customers will receive information on their bills that compares their costs under this program and the standard residential rate for electricity. Customers may opt out of the program if they feel it isn’t the right fit for them.

To enroll or for more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/timeofuse or call:

  • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
  • Maui: (808) 871-9777
  • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
  • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
  • Kona: (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea: (808) 885-4605

Hawaii Recovers $130,367 in Prevailing Wages for Work Done on UH Hilo College of Hawaii Language Building

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced it has assessed Tradewind Plastering and Drywall, Inc. a total of $143,000. $130,367 is for wages owed to construction workers, with $13,037 added for penalties. Tradewind Plastering and Drywall, Inc. was a subcontractor of Jacobsen Construction Co., Inc. on the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Hawaii Language Building construction project.

tradewind-drywallThe most costly of the violations was underpaying construction workers by misclassifying them as apprentices, and paying lower apprentice wages, with no registered apprenticeship in evidence. This was in violation of Hawaii’s prevailing wage law covering public works construction.

“Our State prevailing wage law intends that all construction contractors bid on a “level playing field” with regard to labor costs,” said DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama. “Bids are to be won because of better, more efficient contracting methods, rather than by pushing down the standard of living for Hawaii’s workers.”

Director Takayama explained, “This is a different sort of misclassification from the case at the presumptive Holiday Inn Express at the Maile Sky Court. In that case, workers were wrongly misclassified as independent contractors, and protections and benefits required for employees were not provided. In this case, workers were classified as lower paid apprentices, but there was no registered apprenticeship. In both types of cases, law-abiding bidders face unfair competition, and the workers lose.”

DLIR also notes that it recently recovered wages for hair salon workers who were paid nothing for work performed. They were labelled as apprentices, and kept off-the-books for employment purposes. DLIR has been working with the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer affairs to educate salon owners and workers on the matter.

Coordinated State Efforts Aim to Increase Employment for People with Disabilities

State of Hawai‘i departments are coming together to increase opportunities and support for the employment of people with disabilities. The agreement was announced during a ceremony today that also celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the success of employees, employers, and training programs that have brought down barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

service-auditoriumThe Departments of Labor and Industrial Relations, Human Services, Education, and Health, along with the University of Hawai‘i Center for Disability Studies are working together to develop and sustain a coordinated approach to develop and expand business and employer networks. These networks will provide greater job search, job referrals, vocational training, and work-based learning opportunities to individuals with disabilities.

service-dog“This agreement is among the first of its kind. It brings together various stakeholders in state government to support individuals with disabilities and their opportunities to work in our communities,” said Department of Human Services Director Pankaj Bhanot.

The Cooperative Agreement positions the State of Hawai‘i to maximize resources and shift policies to serve a more diverse audience and improve workforce outcomes. The agreement also calls on departments to identify and leverage resources to provide training and build capacity of employers. It will simultaneously work to expand work opportunities for people with disabilities by identifying career pathways, coordinating assistive technology programs and services where appropriate, and streamlining services.

service-auditorium2“The Department of Health is proud of the collaborative partnerships reflected in the Cooperative Agreement,” said Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler. “It promotes a shared value of stakeholders to provide opportunities to advance the employment and workforce development for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The announcement of this agreement was marked by the ceremony which featured employers, employees, and state government agencies partnering to increase opportunities and reduce barriers to employment. The event also honored Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland for her service to this community in her years as a legislator.

Hawaii Awarded $1.5 Million Apprenticeship Grant

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced it was awarded $1.5 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand its registered apprenticeship programs by partnering with high-growth businesses and industries to train and produce skilled workers.

state-logoDLIR will initiate outreach and recruitment events to not only inform and engage employers but also to attract a wide array of persons into existing and new apprenticeship programs for both traditional and non-traditional apprenticeship programs.

“Expanding apprenticeship programs is a win-win because they allow student workers to earn a living wage while achieving continued growth in their occupation,” said Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR Director. “Apprenticeships are also a cost-effective way for employers to train their employees while fostering worker productivity, loyalty and reliability.”

Key outcomes expected include expanding employer networks and support employers’ continued engagement to ensure sustainability of health apprenticeship programs, to establish new models of post-secondary career pathways that are adaptable and flexible and meet industry’s current and future needs, to increase the number of low-income and underrepresented population through career awareness, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships. Target populations include low-income, underrepresented populations such as women, veterans, Native Hawaiians, and persons of disabilities.

DLIR will collaborate with key partners to hold outreach and recruitment events to attract new apprentices. Other important grant activities will include presentations to employer networks and meetings of professional associations to provide technical assistance, assistance to employers in developing on-the-job work processes, development of promotional materials in the healthcare, culinary, construction and hospitality industries to inform and educate potential apprentices, and sessions to provide career awareness and pre-apprenticeships.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8866

HCFCU Presents Hawaii Island United Way with $16,531

Through the support of donations and pledges across all of its five branches, the staff of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is pleased to announce that they raised $16,531 during its Hawaii Island United Way (HIUW) annual employee campaign.  All monies will be donated to HIUW to support its mission “to unite people, organizations, and resources to build a healthier community.”

Bottom row, L-R;  Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director   Middle Row, L-R:  Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO   Top row, L-R:  Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services.  Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

Bottom row, L-R; Jessica Kaneakua, HIUW, President & CPO, Wally Lau, HIUW Board Director
Middle Row, L-R: Steve Bader, HIUW Board Director; David Miyashita, HCFCU Marketing Coordinator, Nellie Medeiros, HCFCU Corporate Development & Marketing Manager; Tricia Buskirk, HCFCU President & CEO
Top row, L-R: Toby Taniguchi, Board Director; Sasha Payao, HIUW Campaign & Special Events Coordinator; Dean Uemura, HCFCU Executive Vice President Support Services. Photo credit: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union

“Each year our staff opens their hearts—and wallets—to support those in need,” said Tricia Buskirk, President and CEO of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union.

The Hawaii Island United Way invests in 54 health and human service programs that reach over 75% of Hawaii Island families and individuals each year.  All funded programs fall within the parameters of its Community Care Impact Initiatives, which include, Education (encouraging and nurturing positive values to develop skills in children, youth and adults), Income (empowering families and individuals to become financially stable; increasing self-sufficiency and independence) and Health (providing for basic needs and a safety net of services that promote prevention and encourage healing and recovery).

HCFCU branches are located in Kaloko, Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua, Kohala, and Honoka’a.  For more information, contact us at 808-930-7700, marketing@hicommfcu.com or visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents.

Groundbreaking Held for Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial – Affordable Senior Housing

Yesterday afternoon, Mayor-Elect Harry Kim and Big Island Veterans broke ground on the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial.
harry-kim-at-hivmThe project has been in the works for quite some time and it’s good to see that it is finally going to happen.The location is located off Kawili Street below the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus and across the street from Waiakea High School.

hivm-site-planEarlier this year, after HIVM received the first increment of our $425,000 state grant to help us start the project, we had an engineer prepare a plan for a box culvert common-use entrance into our lots along Kawili Street. Isemoto Construction was selected from our list of bidders to construct the common-use driveway entrance and perform related construction tasks and they have begun the installation of the box culvert and new entryway. We are in the final stages of an agreement with a large and respected non-profit housing development corporation, EAH Housing, Inc., to develop and operate 75 units of affordable senior-living units on our upper 5+ acre lot.

Artist rendition

Preference for these units will be given to veterans and their spouses. Other income-qualified senior Hawaii residents will also be able to rent these units in the event there is an insufficient number of qualified vets, their spouses or vets’ widows on the wait list at the time of vacancy. This senior independent living community will also include a centrally located community center for socializing, educational, recreational, and leisure activities.

 The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

History: Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) all-volunteer non-profit corporation privately organized in 1997 to serve as a development entity for the island’s many veterans and veterans groups. Our mission was to develop a one-stop combined veterans center (CVC) together with a senior independent living community complete with a multi-purpose activity center and dining facility for our islands’ 20,000+ active, reserve, retired, veterans, and other eligible seniors. A site was identified on an overgrown 7 acre parcel of unplanned public lands in Hilo along Kawili St. just below the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and was obtained for this purpose in 2004 by a Governor’s executive order.

After acquiring a start up lease in 2005, funds were raised privately to complete an approved final environmental assessment (FEA) including a master plan with all preliminary engineering. This was developed with all stakeholders, including the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH), neighbors and neighboring institutions, AARP, all the veterans organization on Hawai’i and the county of Hawai’i. The FEA was completed in 2006 and was accepted and approved by the County.

Re-zoning and subdivision into 3 separate lots for each project component were completed by mid-2007 when the lots were graded, partially grubbed and a sewer tap installed on the lower lot planned for the one-stop CVC as Phase 1. With an agreement in hand with the USDVA (VA) to build and lease to them a 5000 sq ft facility estimated at $2.1m. $1m in state and county matching funds were then sought, approved, and appropriated for FY 2008 to enable HIVM to privately finance the balance and begin the project. However the national financial meltdown reached Hawaii in the summer of 2008 and stopped all planned construction because of no available private or public financing. With development actions at a stop for the next 4 years, HIVM subleased the site to a private contractor to use as a base yard in exchange for periodic mowing and essential maintenance.

We resumed progress in 2012 with an improved economic outlook, a new lease, new opportunities, and a rejuvenated board of directors to move us forward to our current status.

Body Glove Hawaii is Hiring

Pro Surfer Jamie O'Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Pro Surfer Jamie O’Brien in front of the Body Glove Hawaii boat.

Body Glove Hawaii is hiring two separate positions:

Deckhand Position – This is a FULL TIME position. Must be able to work in a fast paced environment, providing world class customer service. CPR and Lifeguard certified a plus. Pay will commensurate with experience. Candidates must be able to work flexible hours, including early mornings, afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Some heavy lifting are required. Pay will commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits; medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, paid vacations, simple IRA and tips!

Apply online at https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=2

Prep Cook – Candidate must have basic food prep knowledge, excellent communication skills, be multi task oriented, enjoy working with people in a fast paced environment, have strong organizational skills, be a self-starter with the ability to keep on task and in line with programs. Must have flexible availability, hours to include mornings, afternoons and weekends. Hawaiian drivers license, and clean drivers abstract required. Kitchen Experience Required.  Pay will be based upon qualifications and experience.

Please apply online at: https://bodyglovehawaii.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=8

Body Glove Cruises is a drug free work environment. Pre-employment Drug testing required.