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High Technology Development Corporation Hosts Forum on Entrepreneurship with Noted Business Innovation Expert

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) will host a free brown bag lunch lecture by nationally recognized venture capitalist, technology expert, business executive and media commentator Jonathan Aberman on Wednesday, June 1 from 12 noon – 1 p.m. at the NELHA Gateway Center in Kailua-Kona. Seating is limited for Aberman’s presentation, “The Challenge of Growth: It’s a high class problem, but still a problem.”

Jonathan Aberman

Jonathan Aberman

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Jonathan Aberman address our local business leaders in Kailua-Kona,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC.  “His vast experience in the technology innovation and business startup fields has made him a highly respected voice that people across the nation look to for guidance. We’re very fortunate to welcome him to Hawaii to share his thoughts on the challenges facing small businesses today.”

Aberman is founder, chairman, and managing director of Amplifier Ventures, a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of technology innovation consulting and investment management businesses that assists technology startups and provide consulting services to government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. He has been cited as a thought leader in the areas of technology innovation and entrepreneurship by numerous media outlets. Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of its “Tech Titans,” and the Washington Business Journal tabbed him as one of the “Power 100” in the region. The Commonwealth of Virginia has also listed Aberman as one of its “50 Most Influential Entrepreneurs.”

Online registration is available at nelha-jonathanaberman.eventbrite.com. Tickets are free, but limited to 50 seats. The NELHA Gateway Center is located at 73-4460 Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island. Following his presentation, Aberman will be available for consultation. Appointments are limited and reservations are required.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact Tom Leonard at tom.ni3@htdc.org or (808) 936-0222.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots Authorize Strike

Hawaiian Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) voted today to authorize their elected union representatives to conduct a lawful withdrawal of service if contract talks do not result in a new collective bargaining agreement. Almost 98 percent of the pilot group voted, and of those voting 99 percent voted to support the strike ballot, which opened on April 25.

Hawaiian Airlines Plane in Sky

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel toward their senior management,” said Capt. Hoon Lee, chairman of the ALPA unit at Hawaiian Airlines. “We absolutely do not want to go on strike, but if that’s what it takes to get a market-rate contract, our pilots have told us loud and clear that they will stand together and take that final step.”

Pilots cheered when Lee and other ALPA leaders announced the voting results at a rally near Honolulu International Airport today. The pilots plan to hold an informational picket at the airport on May 25.

The strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent. The National Mediation Board (NMB) must first decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and extend an offer to arbitrate the dispute. If either side declines arbitration, the parties enter a “cooling off” period and are free to exercise self-help – a strike by the pilots or a lockout by the company — 30 days later.  Additional mediation sessions are not scheduled past June at this time.

The pilots’ contract became amendable in September 2015. ALPA and Hawaiian management began contract talks in May of last year and began working with a NMB mediator in January 2016.

“At a time when Hawaiian is making more money than ever before, our management stubbornly refuses to share those profits with the employees who earned them,” Lee said.

”Our patience is at an end and we demand a market-rate contract that recognizes our contributions to this airline’s astounding success.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 52,000 pilots at 30 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.

NELHA and Hawaii Tourism Authority Receives President’s “E” Award

Today in Washington, DC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in awarding two ‪#Hawaii companies—Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and Hawaii Tourism Authority—the President’s “E” Award.

HTA AND NELHA

The “E” Award is the highest honor the United States Government can give to an American exporter and export service provider. Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority were two of 123 U.S. companies and organizations recognized at today’s ceremony.

This year marks the 54th anniversary of the “E” Awards presentation. For the first time in the award’s 54-year history, winners represent every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Of this year’s 123 honorees, 105 are small and medium-sized businesses, and 64 firms are manufacturers.

In 1961, President Kennedy created the “E” Awards to recognize companies supporting the expansion of U.S. exports. The President’s “E” Award recognizes persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports. The President’s “E Star” Award affords continuing recognition of noteworthy export promotion efforts. More information on the awards can be found at: http://export.gov/exportawards/

Approved Route Between Kona and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport Expected to Bring in More Than $50 Million to Hawaii Island Economy

Gov. David Ige is applauding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of Hawaiian Airlines’ application to serve Kona from Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Hawaiian Airlines

“This creates the opportunity for us to open up Kona as an international point of entry. This is a significant step toward making that happen,” said Mike McCartney, Gov. Ige’s chief of staff.

Hawaiian Airlines has been flying passengers on the Haneda-Honolulu route since 2010, providing 107,000 round-trip seats a year and generating $564 million in direct spending.

Gov. Ige, who is traveling on the mainland, submitted a letter of support of Hawaiian Airlines’ application for a second route, which said, in part:

“Providing direct service to Kona will open a new Haneda gateway to a market that has significant pent-up demand. Kona is the third largest U.S. airport without nonstop service to Tokyo. It has more point-of-sale Japanese passengers than eleven markets that currently enjoy nonstop service to Japan’s most populous city,” said Gov. Ige.

The U.S. DOT has given Hawaiian Airlines until Jan. 29, 2017 to start the new service.

Hawaii State Urges Consumers with Sports Authority Gift Cards to Redeem Unused Balances Immediately

Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, is urging Hawaii consumers who may be holding gift cards, certificates or store credits from Sports Authority to redeem their balances as soon as possible. Consumers are also urged to return unwanted merchandise immediately for a refund or exchange.

sports authority gift card

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March of this year, and initially had received approval from the bankruptcy court to proceed with business as usual. The company has since announced plans to begin liquidating its business throughout the United States, including its operations in Hawaii. Change is expected in the coming weeks, with an auction scheduled for late May, making the future of the company uncertain.

“An important guideline with gift cards is to use them as soon as you can, because if a store closes or goes bankrupt, there may be little to no recourse for a consumer to recover an unspent balance,” said Executive Director Levins. “If you currently have a Sports Authority gift card, you should use it immediately to avoid losing whatever credit it contains.”

Sports Authority operates eight stores in Hawaii, in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kaneohe, Kapolei, Lihue, and Waikele.

West Hawaii Forum: Hawaii County Budget Review, FY 2016-17

Learn how your hard earned tax dollars will be applied to County-established budgetary priorities for the fiscal year of 2016-17 on May 12th from 6-8 pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers (Doors Open at 5:30).

Kenoi Budget

Mayor Billy Kenoi and members of his cabinet will explain the new County budget and spending priorities for Hawai`i County.

Joining the Mayor will be Department of Finance Director Deana Sako, along with Susan Akiyama – Director, Office of Housing and Community Development, Clayton Honma – Director, Department of Parks and Recreation, Warren Lee – Director, Department of Public Works, and  Tiffany Kai – Director, Mass Transit Agency.

Karen Eoff, County Council member for District 8 and Chair of the Committee on Finance, will provide the Forum’s opening remarks and explain the budget development process and how spending and revenue priorities are established.

This informational Forum will be moderated by Sherry Bracken of KKOA, LAVA, and KOA radio.

State Budget Includes Over $389 Million for Capital Improvement Project Funding on Hawaii Island

Under the state budget passed by the Legislature last week, Big Island representatives secured more than $389 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the biennium of Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 for various projects across Hawaii County.  Hawaii lawmakers were also able to secure $8.5 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Big Island nonprofit organizations.

Capital

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $126 million for Kona International Airport improvements
  • $55 million for construction for a new Kona Judiciary complex
  • $33.5 million for Keaukaha Military Reservation projects
  • $21 million for Hawaii Community Correctional Center for a new housing and a support building
  • $15 million for Highway 130 repair.
  • $12.5 million for a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $9 million for Hawaii Community College renovations
  • $8.5 million for Workforce Development to build a multi-purpose center
  • $8 million for Mamalahoa Highway, Ninole Bridge rehabilitation
  • $7.9 million for Hilo Harbor improvement.
  • $7.6 million for Saddle Road Maintenance Baseyard improvements
  • $7.1 million for Hilo International Airport improvements
  • $6.7 million for Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center Improvements
  • $5.5 million for improvements at the Research Campus at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $4.2 million for improvements at Kawaihae Harbor
  • $4 million for the improvements to the lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements
  • $3.2 million for Hawaii Belt Road improvements
  • $2.9 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $2 million for Haaheo Elementary School to design and build a covered playcourt
  • $2 million for Hilo Forest Reserve land acquisition
  • $2 million for Hilo Intermediate School for Building A renovations
  • $1.6 million for Youth Challenge Academy upgrade and improvements
  • $1.5 million for Honokaa High and Intermediate School for restrooms in the auditorium
  • $1.5 million for Zero Waste Conversion to develop biofuel and animal feed in Keaau
  • $1.5 million for Kapiolani Elementary School to build a covered playcourt
  • $1.5 million for a Kohala water study
  • $1 million for Puu Waawaa structure improvement and dam compliance
  • $1 million for a Kamuela vacuum cooling plant
  • $830,000 for Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School
  • $800,000 for the Pohakuloa Training Area construction
  • $735,000 for Mountain View Elementary School improvements
  • $660,000 for extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway
  • $600,000 for Keaukaha Elementary School for cafeteria equipment and improvements
  • $511,000 for Waikea Intermediate School for electrical upgrades and other improvements
  • $500,000 for a feasibility study for a new university hospital in Kona
  • $450,000 for Waiakea High School to build a baseball batting cage
  • $355,000 for Kahakai Elementary School road safety improvements
  • $335,000 for Konawaena High School improvements
  • $300,000 for Kealakehe Elementary School improvements and parking
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Community College at Palamanui for office space and storage
  • $300,000 for Pohoiki Boat Ramp repairs
  • $290,000 for Naalehu Elementary School repairs and maintenance
  • $200,000 for Pahoa Elementary School improvements
  • $200,000 for Keaau Elementary School improvements
  • $150,000 for Kau High School improvements

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hawaii Island community:

  • $1.2 million for Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School to plan, design, build and equip a community food kitchen
  • $1 million for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce to design and build an education facility
  • $1 million for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan design and build a health facility
  • $1 million for Lai‘i‘opua 2020 to desing and build a community center
  • $1 million for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $800,000 for Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council to build and complete the Milolii Community Enrichment Historical Center
  • $535,000 for Ho‘oulu Lahui to build a commercial kitchen in Puna
  • $500,000 for Lyman House Memorial Museum to build a new island heritage gallery exhibit
  • $315,000 for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Island Community Development Corp. to build a new adult day care facility in Hilo
  • $285,000 for Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences to plan, design and build a certified kitchen
  • $250,000 for Hamakua Health Center to design and build and equip a modular building addition to the Kohala Clinic
  • $150,000 for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan and design the Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center
  • $100,000 for Hawaii Wildlife Center to fabricate, install and operate exhibits
  • $88,000 for Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company to construct a volunteer apparatus garage
  • $35,000 for Holualoa Foundation for Art & Culture for repairs at the Donkey Mill Art Center

Kona Business Ends Affiliation With Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

Today, a well known business that was a member of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce requested to be removed from all affiliations with the Chamber of Commerce.

It all began when a deal fell through and Parker had to do what anybody would do when they were wronged.

It all began when a deal fell through and Parker had to do what anybody would do when they were wronged.

Tiki Shark Art Inc, its Owners and Board of Directors recently won a $43,000.00 judgment against a Middle Eastern Firm out of Dubai and today Tiki Shark Art Agent Abbas Hassan sent a letter to the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Kirstin Kahaloa, expressing his displeasure in the Chambers decision in having one of its board members defending the foreign corporation.

Hassan writes:

Kirstin (Kahaloa)…..thank you for taking the time to come see me.

As discussed in our meeting this morning, Tiki Shark Art Inc, its Owners and Board of Directors are not comfortable with the fact that one of your Board members is actually defending a foreign Corporation in a legal motion against us. That too when a local Hawaiian judge has already ruled in our favor over a month ago.  Furthermore, this individual may have been previewed to information via casual conversation in Chamber gatherings that could potentially effect the outcome of the case………just does not make sense to any of us!

Anyway’s it is with a heavy heart that I inform you of our immediate withdrawal as a member of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Please make sure our name is taken off and “unsubscribed” to all mailing lists.

I wish you and your Chamber the very best in the future.

Sincerely,

Abbas Hassan

Well known artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker weighed in and said, “This seems unfair. It’s a question of responsibility. Someone who sits as an officer on the board of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce represents the Chamber, and to some extent, also the City of Kailua-Kona. That’s a big responsibility. To the average guy on the beach, when he hears that a law suit is being filed against a local small business and the prosecuting attorney is a officer of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, well, in the court of public opinion, the Chamber is probably in the right and the small business man is probably in the wrong.”

Hawaii Senate District 1 Awarded Over $89 Million in Capital Improvement Project Funds

With the adoption of the supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2017, Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo) is proud to announce more than $89 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding has been appropriated for various projects for District 1. These projects address aging infrastructure, improve existing schools and facilities, and establish additional safety measures.

Kai Kahele Profile

“The projects funded by the budget will help move East Hawai‘i forward by creating jobs, enhancing our public infrastructure and facilities, and investing in education,” said Sen. Kahele. “By working collaboratively with my colleagues, Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, Representatives Mark M. Nakashima, Clift Tsuji and Richard H.K. Onishi, we will continue to secure funds to drive our economy and improve our quality of life.”

In realizing that the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren, legislators reflected a Senate Majority priority goal of providing for our families and allocated funds for a covered play court at Chiefess Kapi‘olani and Ha‘aheo Elementary Schools, providing kitchen equipment for the Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria and electrical upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School.  In passing SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, $100 million was allocated to the Department of Education to assist in moving forward their program to install air conditioning and other heat abatement measures in our public schools and providing students with a better learning environment.

Lawmakers also recognized other imperative concerns of District 1 and allocated significant resources for the airports, harbors and health services.

“Throughout my life, my father taught me the importance of community service and I’m honored to carry on his legislative initiatives,” said Sen. Kai Kahele.

Notable CIP funding highlights for District 1 include:

  • $31.8 million for renovations on the Keaukaha Military Reservation
  • $2 million for covered playcourt for Ha‘aheo Elementary School
  • $1.5 million for design and construction for a covered playcourt at Kapi‘olani Elementary School
  • $252,000 for plans, design and construction for electrical systems upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School
  • $6.75 million for improvements for the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $300,000 for construction for a new adult day care facility at the Hawai‘i Island Community Development Corporation
  • $2 million for land acquisition to expand the Hilo Forest Reserve
  • $21 million for design and construction of a new support building, housing and support offices and security system for Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center
  • $3.5 million for improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $7.95 million for demolition of pier shed and water tower and other improvements for Hilo Harbor
  • $2.2 million for plans for rehabilitation and/or replacement of Wailuku Bridge along Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19)
  • $600,000 for design and construction for cafeteria equipment installation; ground and site improvement; equipment and appurtenances at Keaukaha Elementary School

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-in-Aid (GIA) were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hilo community:

  • $1 million for design and construction for an education facility for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
  • $1 million for plans, design and construction for a health facility for Panaewa Community Alliance
  • $500,000 for construction for a new Island Heritage Gallery Exhibit at Lyman House Memorial Museum
  • $217,000 for Rainbow Falls Botanical Garden and Visitor Center
  • $200,000 for program to assist with at risk and low income school students to prevent from dropping out of High School in Hilo
  • $150,000 for Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center

Big Island Entrepreneurs Launch $25,000 Business Plan Competition

Two long-time Big Island businessmen are aiming to give would-be entrepreneurs a serious jump start.

Click for more information

Click for more information

World-renowned aquaculture expert Dr. Jim Wyban and Kelly Moran, President/Founder of Hilo Brokers, are co-chairing the upcoming “Best Big Island Business Plan” competition, to be hosted by the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the fall of 2016.

At stake is a total of $25,000 in seed money from a variety of sponsors including the Natural Energy Lab, the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and the Ulupono Initiative..  Entry is open to any and all types of businesses, from Astronomy and Agriculture to Technology and Tourism.

“As long as it’s Big Island-based, it qualifies,” explains Moran, adding, “there’s so much talent out there, and this is a great opportunity to fast-forward someone’s killer concept.”

But the purpose of the competition goes beyond jump-starting a lone entrepreneur or co-op.  Both men are confident that by encouraging budding businesses to put their ideas forward, a better entrepreneurial ecosystem can be built on the Big Island.

“Good ideas can’t thrive in isolation,” describes Dr. Wyban, adding, “it takes peers, mentors and even competitors to push a venture to its full potential.”

Dr. Wyban speaks from experience.  An aquaculture pioneer, he helped to develop pathogen-free shrimp varieties that helped to quadruple global production before selling his technology to a multinational corporation.

Moran is a 30-year real estate veteran, who has overseen more than $500 million worth of transactions in his career.

Plan entries are being accepted now.  Competition proceedings will be held at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the Fall 2016 semester, exact date and time to be announced.

For more information on the competition and to download entry forms, visit the Best Big Island Business Plan’s website at www.BBIBP.org.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Wyban by emailing jim@BBIBP.org.

Statewide Family-Owned Business of the Year Named by the Small Business Administration

Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART.  Photo by Fletch Photography

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART. Photo by Fletch Photography

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations.  Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement.  Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.

“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.

Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Hawaii House and Senate Budget Conferees Agree on Funding to Increase Vector Control Staffing – Concern for Dengue and Zika Drives Need

House and Senate conferees on the state budget today agreed to provide $1,270,120 to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease.

Mosquito Bite

Hawaii Island’s recent outbreak of dengue fever and the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which are spread by mosquitoes, have highlighted the continued importance of vector control, and House and Senate conferees want to ensure that the state is prepared to adequately short circuit, monitor and respond to any future outbreaks.

“This funding will help re-establish the vector control branch, which has been reduced over the past few years by furloughs and budget cuts,” said Sylvia Luke, chairperson of the House Finance Committee.  “In making these appropriations, the department will be able to add 20 new positions to monitor populations of vectors such as mosquitoes and rats, and to respond appropriately when a threat arises.”

Before the dengue fever outbreak in October, 2015, the state had 25 vector control positions, but 8 were vacant. With the added 20 new positions, there will be a total of 45 people in vector control when all positions are filled.

“Infectious disease has been and will continue to be one of our key challenges in a world made smaller and more connected with modern day air travel,” said Jill Tokuda, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  “The state’s recent slow response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island was a wake-up call for all us.  We must be more vigilant in anticipating and responding to such outbreaks spread by mosquitoes and other vectors.”

In addition, the budget items agreed upon today included:

  • $6.9 million for public school transportation services;
  • $5.2 million for utilities for public schools;
  • $2.5 million for new fire trucks, firefighter equipment and fire retardant suits to ensure airport safety;
  • $1.5 million to fund a U.S. geographical survey study on Hawaii streams;
  • $1.4 million for port security and safety boats to reduce impact of natural disasters;
  • $1.25 million for maintenance and replacement of equipment at UH community colleges;
  • $400,000 to support beach restoration and protection projects and studies;
  • $180,000 for hydrologist and project development specialist positions for public land management for the disposition of water rights lease management and oversight; and
  • $162,354 for physician salary increases for better access to medical services for the Department of Public Safety.

The agreements were part of House and Senate conferees continued negotiations on a final version of HB1700, the state budget bill.  Earlier in the session, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget.

Lawmakers will continue to meet to iron out differences between the two versions through April 29, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.  A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state and judiciary budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2016budget.aspx

The conference committee is scheduled to reconvene on Friday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. in room 309.

DBEDT Releases Report on Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today that examines the non-English speaking population in Hawaii based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2010 to 2014.  The department’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Click to read the report

Click to read the report

The “Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii” report looks at residents aged 5 and older, who can speak a language other than English.  The report shows 17.9 percent of the population are foreign born, and speak more than 130 languages. About one in four Hawaii residents speak a language other than English at home, which is higher than the U.S. average of 21 percent. The data shows 12.4 percent of the state’s population speak English less than “very well,” which is much higher than the U.S. average of 8.6 percent.

Some of the findings in the report include the following:

  • Non-English language speaking at home was more prevalent in Honolulu County than in the neighbor island counties.  The proportion of non-English speakers was highest in Honolulu County at 28 percent and lowest in Hawaii County at 19 percent.
  • Ilocano, Tagalog, and Japanese were the top three most common non-English languages spoken at home in Hawaii.  Speakers of these three languages made up about half of non-English speakers at home in Hawaii.
  • English proficiency of the non-English speaking population varied substantially by language.  Among the top 10 most common non-English languages spoken at home in Hawaii, the German speaking population had the highest English proficiency with 84 percent of them speaking English “very well,” followed by the Hawaiian speaking population at 82 percent.  The proportion of fluent English speakers was relatively low among Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Ilocano speaking population, with less than 40 percent of them speaking English “very well.”
  • Compared with the adult population, the proportion of non-English speakers was lower and English proficiency was better in the 5 to 17 school-age children group. The popular language spoken by the school-age children were also different.  The share of Hawaiian speakers was noticeably bigger in the school-age children group than in the adult group.
  • The most distinctive characteristic of the non-English speaking population from the English-only speaking population was their nativity.  Of the non-English speakers at home, 63 percent in Hawaii were foreign born.  Compared with the English-only speaking population, the non-English speakers in Hawaii had a gender structure with more female population, and an age distribution with higher shares of older age groups.  The overall educational attainments of the non-English speakers were lower than that of the English-only speakers.
  • English proficiency had strong impacts on an individual’s economic activities. Labor force participation rate of the non-English speakers, who could not speak English well was about 15 percentage points lower than the rates for the English-only speakers and the non-English speakers who could speak English well. The rate difference with these groups was bigger at 33 percentage points for the non-English speakers who could not speak English at all.
  • English proficiency also played an important role in the selection of occupation. The occupational composition of the non-English speakers who could not speak English well showed a high concentration in two occupation groups: “Food preparation and serving” and “building/grounds cleaning and maintenance”. About one in two non-English speakers worked in one of these two occupations if they could not speak English well.
  • Earning disparities among various English proficiency groups were evident.  The median earnings of the non-English speakers were lower than that of the English-only speaking population for all English proficiency levels, and the earnings gap amplified as English proficiency decreased.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/reports_studies/non-english-speaking-population-in-hawaii/.

Maps on the non-English speaking population in Hawaii are available on this page by Census Designated Place and by Census Tract (based on the 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5 year data).

On Equal Pay Day, Senator Hirono Leads Measure To End Gender Barriers In STEM Careers

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today marked Equal Pay Day by introducing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Opportunities Act, legislation that would improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. Equal Pay Day marks the day in 2016 when, on average, women’s wages catch up to what men earned in 2015.

mazie 412“It’s unacceptable that we are more than 100 days into 2016, but women’s salaries are only now catching up with what men made last year,” said Senator Hirono. “While the gender pay gap affects women across all fields, women in STEM careers continue to face barriers that can limit their opportunities for employment and equal pay. The STEM Opportunities Act takes a comprehensive approach to combatting factors that limit the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. For America to remain competitive in a 21st century economy, we must break down barriers for working women through passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the STEM Opportunities Act.”

Senator Hirono also took to the Senate floor to mark Equal Pay Day and highlight disparities in STEM fields. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in school year 2014-2015, men earned more than five times the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees and three times as many bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering as women.

The STEM Opportunities Act helps federal science agencies and institutions of higher education identify and share best practices to overcome barriers that can hurt the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, and also allows universities and nonprofits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act builds on legislation championed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The Senate measure is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“Science, technology, engineering and math are drivers of innovation in states like New Jersey, and across the country. If we are to remain globally competitive, we have to ensure all Americans- including women and minorities- are prepared to succeed in these important fields,” said Senator Booker. “I am pleased to support the STEM Opportunities Act to create inclusive career pathways that will help grow our economy and create opportunities for more Americans.”

“The STEM fields are critical to driving innovation and economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But we limit our potential when our STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation. I was proud to lead a successful bipartisan amendment to the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act to increase access to high-quality STEM coursework in K-12 education for students who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act will improve opportunities for advancement in STEM fields for women and underrepresented minorities further down the pipeline – in higher education, in early careers, and for STEM academics and professionals.”

“Increasing women and minority participation in the STEM economy will keep the United States at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey. “The diversity of STEM professionals will help fuel the diversity of discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. For our future scientific endeavors to produce the next generation of life-changing results, we need to ensure that our universities, laboratories and research institutions reflect the rich diversity of our nation and continue to receive the support that fosters breakthroughs and helps maintain American leadership in science and technology.”

“If we’re serious about empowering more young women and communities of color to take on STEM careers and compete in the 21st century economy, we need to ramp up our research efforts to identify and share best practices so that we can diversify the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Senator Murray. “STEM skills are so important for Washington state’s economy, so making these fields more inclusive will ultimately strengthen our workforce and our economy in the years to come.”

“By expanding access to STEM disciplines in schools and sharing best practices for recruitment and retention in STEM careers, we can help more women and minorities become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, boosting economic success and strengthening America’s competitiveness in the 21st-century global economy,” said Senator Peters. “The STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 will improve inclusion of women and minorities in STEM fields by tapping into and fostering their talents.”

The American Association for University of Women, American Women in Science, Girls, Inc., MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering, Maui Economic Development Board, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Society for Women Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the STEM Opportunities Act.

“When we reduce barriers that deter women and other underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM fields, American businesses get a leg up on the rest of the world. The STEM Opportunities Act will open doors for a more diverse science community, and in so doing help spur innovation and increase our global competitiveness,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at American Association of University Women. “Any serious attempt to modernize our science workforce and our nation’s science priorities is incomplete without this measure.

“In Hawaii, high-paying STEM jobs are boosting our island economy,” said Leslie Wilkins, Vice President, of the Maui Economic Development Board and Director of the Women in Technology Project. “To grow the education to workforce pipeline needed to keep up with STEM job demand, our Women in Technology initiative continues to engage girls and women who are under-represented in technology fields. WIT’s hands-on STEM curriculum, training, mentoring and internship programs have had a significant impact statewide but still need ongoing support.  Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing the STEM Opportunities Act, a comprehensive bill that could strengthen our efforts, as well as others throughout Hawaii and the nation.”

“Investing in STEM is an investment in our nation’s future, and it is imperative that women and people of color are represented and empowered to succeed in these fields. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, and despite stereotypes, some AAPI subgroups are underrepresented in STEM overall. Disaggregated data on AAPIs at institutions of higher education and federal science agencies will highlight the need for more investment in AAPIs in STEM fields, and this legislation would benefit all women and people of color in STEM. Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for STEM inclusion, and we also thank her for her ongoing leadership on behalf of AAPI communities in all areas,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang.

“Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) enthusiastically supports the STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 and applauds its sponsors for their efforts.  Improving data collection, research and sharing best practices across federal science agencies and institutions of higher education to address systemic factors impeding the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are all key elements in the Nation’s interest.  The PAESMEM awards are particularly essential in bringing all groups into STEM; SACNAS was a PAESMEM recipient in 2004 and 20 of SACNAS’ members have received PAESMEM awards.   In order to keep our nation competitive in science and engineering, such legislation as this Act is essential. As classical Clayton Christensen ‘disruptive thinking’ implies, helping the unserved and underserved—women and underrepresented minorities in STEM in this case—enables the greatest movement forward. SACNAS has over 6,000 paid members and serves a larger constituency of over 18,000—over half of whom are females—with particular emphasis on minorities underrepresented in STEM,” said Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Vice President, Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives.

“SEARAC commends Senator Hirono’s proposed STEM Opportunities Act for taking a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce through grants for evidence-based efforts, the creation of a federal inter-agency group to create policies that include a more diverse STEM workforce, and the collection of data to examine progress towards increasing STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.  SEARAC is especially pleased that the STEM Opportunities Act collects disaggregated data for AAPI students — which will illuminate the disparities in access and participation to STEM opportunities within the AAPI community,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

Entrance Fees Waived at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for National Park Week

Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary – and the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – during National Park Week, April 16-24. Entrance fees will be waived nine full days, and a “National Park Rx Day” will be held on Sunday, April 24.

Volcano at night

Visitors gather every night at the Jaggar Museum observation deck to witness the summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day. NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi

“There’s no better way to celebrate the centennial anniversaries of both Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the National Park Service than by inviting our community and visitors to enjoy the park at no charge,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Your park ‘ohana welcomes you to join us for a special program, reconnect with your favorite trail, or stay after dark to admire the splendor of glowing lava within Halema‘uma‘u Crater,” she said.

For Junior Ranger Day on Sat., April 16, keiki 17 and younger are invited to join park rangers in Kahuku for a fun day of discovery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hike the historic lower Palm Trail, and learn to make traditional string figures called hei. Call (808) 985-6019 to register, limited to 25 participants.

On Wed., April 20 kupuna hula group Haunani’s Aloha Expressions will perform for free at the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

On the last day of National Park Week, Sun., April 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, the park will host a “National Park Rx Day,” a community health initiative to “prescribe” time in parks to promote wellness. Join park rangers and Dr. Craig Kadooka on an easy one-mile roundtrip hike of upper ‘Iliahi Trail. Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai at 10 a.m. The first 200 walkers will receive a reusable water bottle and fresh fruit. Hawaiian practitioners Edna and Sam Baldado will demonstrate the heath benefits of kalo, and Ka‘ohu Monfort will share how Hawaiians use plants to heal and cure. HMSA will also provide a table with health information.

A hiker takes in the coastal views at ‘Āpua Point in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank. ​

A hiker takes in the coastal views at ‘Āpua Point in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank. ​

National Park Week event sponsors include Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ National Park, Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th birthday in 2016. The park provides countless ways for visitors to connect with and appreciate Hawaiian culture, active volcanoes, and native plants and animals. It was designated as a World Heritage Site (1987) and an International Biosphere Reserve (1980).

Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee Proposes Fiscally Equitable Budget

The Senate Ways and Means (WAM) Committee today introduced and passed budget amendments in HB1700 HD1 SD1 that reflects the priorities facing our communities, yet broadly represents and addresses needs across the state.

Capital

The Governor’s operating budget proposed to add approximately $335 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft reduced this amount by approximately $215 million in general funds, resulting in a total operating budget add of $120 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft did not include 100% pre-funding of Other Post-Employment Benefits, which was included in the Governor’s draft, and amounted to approximately $163 million dollars.

“The Senate draft of the supplemental budget balances priority needs with existing resources, ensuring programs and services can be maintained over time,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 –Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), WAM Committee chair.  “Our Committee once again identified ways to encourage efficiencies and better utilize base appropriations to do more with less, without unsustainably adding to our budget.”

The Senate draft reflects a significant investment in operating support for homeless programs, totaling over $7.3M.  These include the following:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the Housing First Program
  • $1,100,000 in general funds for Homeless Outreach Services
  • $2,000,000 in general funds for Rapid Re-housing Services
  • $450,000 in general funds for a new homeless shelter in Kakaako
  • $200,000 in general funds for a Stored Property Program

In addition, the Senate draft included operating and capital improvement projects to increase the supply of affordable housing statewide.  These include:

 Operating

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the State Family and Elderly facilities’ operations, deferred maintenance, and repair.
  • (36) positions and $2,703,581 in revolving funds for the Multi-Skilled Worker Pilot Program in the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.  These funds will be used to repair vacant public housing units.
  • (29) positions and $1,125,584 in general funds for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to issue more housing vouchers and secure additional federal funds.

Capital Improvements Projects

  • $29,150,000 in general funds and $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority
  • $50,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Rental Housing Trust Fund
  • $33,289,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund

Working with the housing agencies in each county, an additional $59,612,000 in revolving funds was provided for shovel ready housing projects statewide, which will provide for the renovation of 850 current units and the creation of an additional 1,600 units for our communities.

The Senate draft also provides extensive support for hospitals and healthcare needs for the State, including:

Operating

  • $10,000,000 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, to be used at the discretion of the Board in allocating to the regions as well as for any necessary seed capital for the Maui Health System
  • $7,900,00 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation in order to meet the shortfall of the corporate allocation costs due to the Maui transition, which would have otherwise been assessed to the regions without additional funding support
  • $21,000,000 in general funds for an operating subsidy to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to continue to provide healthcare services statewide

Capital Improvement Projects

  • $160,000,000 in general obligation bonds is provided for the Hawai‘i State Hospital for a new forensic facility to house the high-risk patients
  • $5,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the purchase of two parcels owned by the Wahiawa Hospital Association, resulting in an immediate cash infusion ensuring greater financial stability for the hospital.  The intent is for the State to provide a long-term lease to the Wahiawa Hospital Association at a nominal rate.

 Other operating and capital improvement funding highlights include:

Department of Agriculture
Funding for efforts to support Hawai‘i farmers

Operating:

  • $500,000 in general funds for pesticide regulation expenses
  • (1) position and $98,800 in special funds for General Administration for the Farm to School Program

Capital Improvement Projects:

The Senate draft includes $107,074,000 in general obligation bond funds to purchase over 8,000 acres of agricultural land which will help support local farmers, decreasing Hawaii’s dependence on importing agricultural products and another $33,700,000 in general obligation bond funds for upgrades and improvements to water infrastructure systems statewide.

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
Funding for programs that are sustainable and bolster the economy

Operating:

  • $30,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance for the statewide film program for Creative Industries Division
  • $100,000 in general funds for Creative Industries Division for Creative Lab Program
  • $150,000 in general funds for unmanned aerial systems test site for Office of Aerospace Development
  • (1) temporary position and $100,000 in general funds for Hawaii broadband initiative
  • $5,000,000 in general funds and $5,000,000 in revolving funds for HI Growth initiative for Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation

Capital Improvement Projects:

Focused on reversing the brain drain, creating jobs, diversifying our economy, the Senate draft includes investments of $3,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to develop the Entrepreneur’s Sandbox in Kakaako, $5,200,000 in general obligation reimbursable bond funds to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in Kona, $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for infrastructure upgrades at Kalaeloa, and over $38,800,000 in general obligation bond funds for a Creative Media Facility at the University of Hawaii West Oahu.

Department of Defense
Funding to support and recognize Hawai‘i veterans

Operating:

  • (7) positions and $160,036 in general funds for multi-skilled worker team to provide services at the Hawaii State Veterans’ Cemetery
  • $500,000 in general funds for veterans’ memorials and commemoration events

Department of Education
Funding to provide student services support, transportation and libraries

 Operating:

  •  $10,000,000 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula for English Language Learners
  • $16,537,791 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula
  • $1,000,000 in general funds for classroom supplies and equipment for new facilities
  • $6,984,689 in general funds for Public School Transportation Services
  • $5,215,919 in general funds for Utilities
  • $200,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance backlog for public libraries statewide
  • Add $250,000 in general funds and $250,000 in special funds for Hawaii State Public Library System

 Capital Improvement Projects:

$358,175,000 in general obligation bond funds, $30,603,000 in federal funds and $4,349,000 in general funds for funding Department of Education projects including $30,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to address the cooling and air conditioning needs of public schools, $40,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for a new secondary school in Kapolei and $38,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the continued construction costs for new high school in Kihei.

Office of the Governor

Funding to provide staff support

Operating:

(2) temporary positions and $300,000 in general funds for Office of Military Affairs and Federal Grants Maximization

Department of Human Services

Funding to ensure social safety nets and improve IT infrastructure for better service delivery

Operating:

  • $6,000,000 in general funds for Preschool Open Doors Program
  • $4,799,926 in general funds and $7,664,177 in federal funds for preventive adult dental benefits
  • $4,294,333 in general funds and $3,343,667 in federal funds for increased cost of Medicare Part B supplements
  • $4,878,120 in general funds and $5,721,880 in federal funds for services to Medicaid recipients through age 6 with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • $8,000,000 in general funds and $9,383,746 in federal funds for Medicaid recipients with chronic Hepatitis C infections
  • $1,553,559 in general funds and $1,775,971 in federal funds for increase in nursing home payments by the Data Resources Incorporated Rate
  • $5,905,962 in general funds and $17,717,886 in federal funds for Department Enterprise System maintenance and operations
  • $770,000 in general funds for A-Plus Program fee subsidies for employed low-income families
  • $3,196,346 in general funds and $17,714,682 in federal funds for information technology for the Department of Human Services

Department of Human Resources Development
Funding to increase effectiveness

Operating

$250,000 in general funds for workers’ compensation claims

Department of Health
Funding to support healthcare services, assist in fight against Dengue Fever, address Red Hill Consent Order

Operating:

  • (33) positions and $1,777,362 in general funds for the management of the dengue fever outbreak and newly emerging public health threats
  • (3) positions and $88,362 in general funds for Red Hill Administrative Order of Consent for Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch
  • $2,829,923 in general funds for the home and community based services waiver

Capital Improvement Projects:

To continue to provide quality healthcare services for our communities, $31,982,000 in general obligation bond funds and $19,704,000 in federal funds to address critical repairs and maintenance for health safety needs statewide.

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
Funding to provide support to ensure protection of civil rights

Operating:

(1) position and $25,388 in general funds for Hawaii Civil Rights Commission

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Funding for protection of land and wildlife, small boat harbor access

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in special funds from transient accommodation tax to Special Land and Development Fund for various programs
  • $1,700,000 in special funds from conveyance tax to Land Conservation Fund for land acquisition
  • $400,000 in special funds for beach restoration
  • $600,000 in general funds for wildfire contingency Aloha+ initiatives
  • $250,000 in general funds for endangered species management
  • $1,500,000 in general funds for United States Geographical Survey study on Hawaii streams
  • (18) positions and $617,544 in general funds for operation of small boat harbor facilities six days a week

Department of Public Safety
Funding to enhance safety enforcement

Operating:

$869,165 in general funds for the Department of Public Safety Administration building and State Narcotics Enforcement Division offices

Department of Taxation
Funding to reinforce ability to bring in revenues for the state

Operating:

  • (9) positions and $503,327 in general funds for Investigation Branch
  • (2) positions and $69,462 in general funds for Criminal Investigation Section
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Maui
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Hawaii
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Kauai

Department of Transportation
Funding to support requests that are sustainable and targeted

Operating:

Honolulu International Airport

  • $402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement
  • $252,500 in special funds and $682,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement

Hilo International Airport

$580,000 in special funds for airport seating replacement

Kahului Airport

$402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement and other current expenses

Lihue Airport

$613,500 in special funds for routine maintenance contracts

Harbors Administration

$1,000,000 in special funds for pier and wharf insurance

Kauai Highways

$800,000 in special funds for replacement of bridge inspection equipment

Highways Safety

$517,000 in federal funds for highway safety improvement program flex funding

University of Hawai‘i
Funding to support UH Cancer Center, UH West Oahu

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for University of Hawaii Cancer Center for faculty and administrative support
  • (4) positions and $197,604 in general funds for University of Hawaii, West Oahu Campus

Capital Improvement Projects:

Acknowledging the deferred maintenance and backlog of projects at our University of Hawai‘i  campuses, the Senate draft provides the funding for the full capital improvement request of the University and it’s Community Colleges by providing $224,925,000 in general obligation bond funds, $113,000,000 in revenue bond funds, and $5,750,000 in special funds and by granting the University of Hawai‘i revenue bond authority.

House Hawaiian Affairs Chairman Responds to Governor’s Proposal to Fund Department of Hawaiian Homelands

Capital

Rep. Kaniela Ing ((Kihei, Wailea, Makena) today issued the following statement:

“The Governor’s DHHL appropriation message to the legislature represents a huge first step in meeting the state’s constitutional obligation to native Hawaiians. Now the legislature needs to do its job and ensure DHHL’s operations and maintenance costs are covered so that from now on the proceeds from the trust funds are used solely for putting native Hawaiians back on the land.This appropriation also represents a test for DHHL as the public money being used for these new positions will all be a matter of public record and must be reported back to the legislature. This additional funding needs to be attached to a clear timeline of hard outcomes to reduce the waitlist and restore native Hawaiians to the land.”

Agriculture Workshops Offered in West Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers two agriculture workshops with Zach Mermel this month at the Hawai’i Community College Palamanui campus in Kailua-Kona. Both workshops will be held in Room B-125.

edible plants
The Secrets of the Soil series is held on Saturday, April 23. Part 1 meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will explore the basics of soil biology. Topics include soil formation, types of soils found on Hawaiʻi Island, the dynamics of the soil food web, and fundamentals of soil testing at the homestead and farm scale. Part 2 will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. This hands-on session will teach participants how to make a high-quality compost and includes constructing a biologically active compost pile. The cost is $40 for Part 1, $30 for Part 2, or $60 for both sessions.

Edible Landscaping will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn how to transform their land into an abundant oasis of edible and multifunctional plants. Mermel will cover edible landscaping and provide hands-on experience in creating a basic landscape plan. Participants should bring an aerial photo or TMK map of their land as well as colored pens and pencils. Tuition is $55.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/ccecs/.

Former Hawaii Superferry Renamed USNS Puerto Rico and Will Run Between US and Canada

The former Hawaii Superferry Alakai is being renamed by the US Navy to USNS Puerto Rico and will now run routes between the United States and Canada.

SuperferryAccording to Fosters.com:

High-speed ferry service will return this summer between Maine and Nova Scotia on a vessel that is smaller and faster than one that operated for two financially disastrous seasons.
Mark MacDonald, president of Canada-based Bay Ferries, said the company will operate a twin-hulled vessel under a lease agreement with its owner, the U.S. Navy.
The ship, USNS Puerto Rico, can make the 212-mile trip in 5 1/2 hours. The Nova Star, which ended service in October, took 11 hours to make the crossing…
…The Puerto Rico was built in Mobile, Alabama, in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry LLC and designed to operate in the Hawaiian islands. The federal government obtained the vessel after Hawaii Superferry went bankrupt in 2009.

More information here: High-speed ferry to run between Portland and Nova Scotia