Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Boy Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Keaʻau boy who was reported missing.

Trey Tomlinson

Trey Tomlinson

Trey Tomlinson was last seen in Hilo on August 18.

He is described as Hawaiian, 4-foot-6, 103 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

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

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

Fire at Waiakea-Uka Gym Causes Change in Venue for Winter Intersession Program

The Winter Intersession Program slated for Hilo’s Stanley Costales Waiākea-Uka Gymnasium will be held at Andrews Gym due to fire damage sustained at Waiākea-Uka Gym.

Waiakea FireOriginal program dates and times will apply to the new venue located within Waiākeawaena Park at 33 West Kawailani Street in Hilo. Open to keiki enrolled in the first through six grades, the winter Intersession classes will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekdays starting December 22 and running through January 8, 2015.

The Department of Parks and Recreation regrets any inconvenience caused by the venue change and thanks program participants for their understanding.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Police detectives are investigating a fire at the Waiākea Uka Gym in Hilo.

The fire was reported at approximately 4:30 a.m. Wednesday (December 10). Police and firefighters responded and found the fire concentrated at the northwest corner of the building.

Fire personnel extinguished the flames and estimated the damage to the walls and roof area at $65,000.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time but is being investigated.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Norbert at 961-2383 or nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

 

25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings Finds Hawaii Ranks No. 1 Among All U.S. States in Overall Health

25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings Finds Hawaii Ranks No. 1 Among All U.S. States in Overall Health

Health Rankings

  • Hawaii’s strengths include low prevalence of obesity and low rate of preventable hospitalizations; state’s challenges include high prevalence of binge drinking and high incidence of infectious disease

Nationwide, reduction in smoking, and improvements in adolescent immunization and infant mortality offset by rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity

  • Long-term analysis finds Americans have made considerable progress in avoiding premature and cardiovascular deaths in the past 25 years; life expectancy at its highest yet

HONOLULU (Dec. 10, 2014) – Rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity threaten Americans’ quality of life, even as Americans progressed in several key health metrics in 2014, according to the landmark 25th Anniversary Edition of America’s Health Rankings®: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities.

Nationwide, obesity increased 7 percent from 27.6 percent to 29.4 percent of adults. Likewise, the percentage of adults who reported not participating in any physical activity in the last 30 days increased from 22.9 percent to 23.5 percent. At the same time, the number of Americans who smoke continued to decrease, declining by 3 percent this year, and has consistently declined over the past decade.

Hawaii’s Overall Health

According to the special 25th Edition of America’s Health Rankings, Hawaii ranks No. 1 again this year when compared with other states. The 2014 report illustrates Hawaii has its share of strengths and challenges.

Hawaii’s Strengths

  • Low prevalence of obesity
  • Low rate of preventable hospitalizations
  • Low rate of cancer deaths

Hawaii’s Challenges

  • High prevalence of binge drinking
  • High incidence of infectious disease
  • Low immunization coverage among children

“Hawaii’s top ranking reflects our state’s focus on maintaining healthy lifestyles and protecting our environment,” said Acting Health Director Keith Yamamoto. “The department is pleased to see Hawaii has maintained its number- one spot from last year, however, the report also points out some areas of concern that we will continue to work to address.”

“This is encouraging news and I look forward to working with our public health and health care communities to ensure access to care and strengthen prevention efforts to reduce chronic disease and injury in our state,” Gov. David Y. Ige said. “I’m proud to say that Hawaii is the healthiest state in the nation, and we must continue to invest in our public health efforts.”

Key Hawaii Challenges Addressed by UnitedHealthcare Programs

UnitedHealthcare watches America’s Health Rankings closely to better understand the health of individuals and communities across the nation and in Hawaii. UnitedHealthcare has several programs to address the nation’s health challenges at a state level. These programs help educate people on how to live healthier lives and empower them to take action to improve health in their communities.

UnitedHealthcare’s efforts include supporting local health and community events throughout the Islands for children, families and seniors, and supporting organizations such as the local chapters of March of Dimes, YMCA and Alzheimer’s Association to help promote health and wellness for Hawaii residents.

“For the last 25 years, United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings has provided an invaluable look at the challenges and opportunities facing Hawaii and how the picture of health in our state compares with those of our region and our nation,” said Ron Fujimoto, D.O., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawaii. “We look forward to continuing to use the report as a key tool for identifying and implementing solutions to our most pressing challenges and measuring the strides we’ve made to date.”

UnitedHealthcare in Hawaii has more than 300 employees located on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island with central offices in Honolulu. With a care provider network of 21 hospitals and more than 2,900 physicians statewide, the health and well-being company serves more than 230,000 Hawaii residents including members of the United States military and their families, and people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare and Medicaid health plans.

50-State Snapshot: Hawaii the Healthiest; Mississippi Least Healthy

Hawaii has again taken the title of healthiest state. Vermont came in second, followed by Massachusetts, which improved to third after being ranked fourth for two years. Connecticut came in fourth, rising three slots from last year. Utah came in fifth. Mississippi ranked 50th this year, preceded by Arkansas (49), Louisiana (48), Kentucky (47) and Oklahoma (46). West Virginia and Alabama moved out of the bottom five.

To see the Rankings in full, visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

Nationwide: Obesity and Physical Inactivity Increase after Short-Lived Improvements

“We applaud hard-won advances in several key measures, including smoking prevalence, even as this year’s America’s Health Rankings is a solemn reminder that we have a lot more work ahead of us,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “It is inevitable that increases in the rates of obesity and physical inactivity will result in more people suffering from significant chronic diseases that will compromise the quality of their lives, adversely affect their families and will be unaffordable for the nation.”

United Health Foundation is marking 25 years of America’s Health Rankings by introducing new online tools to inspire health advocacy across states and communities.

  • A “Change My Rank” online tool allows users to see how improving several key measures affects the state’s overall rank (for example, if a state reduced its prevalence of obesity by 5 percent, what would its overall rank be?).
  •  A Thought Leader Perspectives portal showcases notable leaders from the public health, government, academic, business, technology and consumer arenas reflecting on the achievements and challenges in America’s health over the last 25 years, and their thoughts for the next 25 years.

United Health Foundation will discuss the 25th edition Rankings at an event Wednesday, Dec. 10, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event will feature remarks from leading health experts and thoughtful conversation about the past, present and future of America’s health. To watch the event live – and to get more information about America’s Health Rankings – visit www.americashealthrankings.org.

25th Anniversary Report Reveals Major Long-Term Health Strides, Challenges

With the launch of this year’s report, America’s Health Rankings commemorates 25 years of comprehensive health reporting and advocacy for a healthier America. The special 25th Anniversary America’s Health Rankings report finds Americans have made meaningful strides in health since 1990, particularly as it relates to life expectancy:

  • At 78.8 years, Americans’ average life expectancy is at a record high.
  • The past 25 years have seen considerable declines in:

o            infant mortality, decreasing 41 percent

o            cardiovascular death, decreasing 38 percent

o            premature death, decreasing  20 percent

  • U.S. cancer mortality rates have also shown a steady decline, dropping 8 percent between 1996 and 2014.

The decline in smoking rates stands out as a significant health improvement over the past 25 years. Since 1990, smoking rates have decreased 36 percent, from 29.5 percent to 19 percent of adults who smoke regularly. Cigarette smoking is still associated with one of every five deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country.

While Americans are living longer, the past 25 years have seen a steady rise in chronic conditions, many of them preventable, that compromise their quality of life.

  • Obesity – now a leading contributor to death in the United States – more than doubled over the last 25 years, from 11.6 percent of adults in 1990 to 29.4 percent of adults today. One possible explanation for the increase: levels of physical inactivity remain high, with 23.5 percent of adults reporting no physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days.
  • Adults who say they have diabetes currently stands at 9.6 percent, more than double the number from 20 years ago when America’s Health Rankings first started tracking diabetes.

“The challenge for the next 25 years is to achieve widespread, uniform success in fighting the chronic conditions that threaten Americans’ quality of life and adversely affect our nation’s health care system,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer and executive vice president, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “Obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity rates are troublingly high. We must continue to promote positive health behaviors and help prevent the devastating consequences of chronic illnesses that are often left unchecked.”

Hilo Folks are Big Spenders During the Holidays

Yep… us folks in Hilo are big spenders come Christmas time.  According to Nerdwallet, Hilo ranks 2nd in the most expensive places for holiday spending.

The average family in Hilo spends about $1,172.02 during the holidays.  The national average for a family of four is $877.22.

spending

Commentary – Palamanui Developers Asking for Concessions From County

The developer of the Palamanui project, which is home to the future Hawaii Community College at Palamanui, is again asking for concessions from Hawaii County.

The ground breaking of Palamanui Campus

The ground breaking of Palamanui Campus

This time they’re asking for a time extension to construct the University Drive Extension between the college campus and Queen Kaahumanu Highway . In addition, they’re asking for relief from constructing a new mauka-makai roadway between the college and Mamalahoa Highway.

The developer(s) of this project have spent over 20 million dollars on infrastructure improvements for their project and the new college campus. I firmly believe they’ve gone above and beyond with their investment back into the community. This is why I believe the county, the developer and the community need to work together to find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue. It would be a real loss for the community if Palamanui’s hand is forced and they have to suspend their project. Everyone would lose in this in scenario.

Palamanui has offered to contribute 3 million dollars to start work on the next segment of the Ane Keohokalole Highway in lieu of construction of the new mauka-makai connector. The county could expedite the design and obtain the environmental clearances for this highway segment as a result.

I firmly believe extending Ane Keohokalole Highway will help with regional traffic circulation more than extending University Drive between the Mamalahoa Highway and the college campus.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

THINK Fund at HCF – Grant Opportunities Available for Big Island

The newly formed THINK (The Hawai‘i Island New Knowledge) Fund at Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) was started by the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory to better prepare Hawai‘i Island students to pursue STEM-(science, technology, engineering, and math) related professions through community grants and scholarships.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT has committed a minimum contribution of $750,000 per year to THINK Fund at HCF. This commitment is for the life of the Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo.

“HCF is thankful to TMT for providing this opportunity for the community and to the dedicated volunteer advisory committee members who have worked hard to determine the best way for the fund to benefit Hawai‘i Island,” stated Kelvin Taketa, president & CEO of Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “By improving STEM education and increasing the number of students going into STEM careers, it will make a difference for our local economy and build the confidence of our youth that there is a bright future for creative and hardworking students.”

THINK Fund at HCF’s focus is to support and encourage Hawai‘i Island students to pursue STEM-related professions. These are lucrative and growing career fields where by 2017, the STEM-related jobs across all industries in Hawai‘i are estimated to increase to 63,000, which means the state needs approximately 16,500 more workers with STEM skills annually. However, Hawai‘i is not currently producing enough graduates in STEM fields locally to fill jobs.

The initial strategic goals for THINK Fund at HCF are to:

  • Increase the number of Hawai‘i Island students who are inspired to pursue postsecondary STEM fields of study
  • Increase the number of Hawai‘i Island students who complete STEM degree and training programs
  • Increase the number of effective STEM teachers on Hawai‘i Island
  • Increase the number of effective STEM programs on Hawai‘i Island that also promote cultural competency or place-based learning

HCF staff based on Hawai‘i Island will implement the strategy and grantmaking of THINK Fund at HCF, which is guided by an advisory committee of Hawai‘i Island residents. The advisory committee currently includes Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons, and Barry Taniguchi.

“As a lifelong educator, I am known to say ‘If can, can. If no can, how can?’ THINK Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation provides our Hawai‘i Island students and educators with a wonderful ‘how can’ opportunity to reach to the stars, literally,” said Mary Correa, advisory committee member for THINK Fund at HCF and Complex Area Superintendent for Kau-Keaau-Pāhoa. “Through this support, our young people will have the opportunity to be inspired, be prepared to participate in the world-class discovery that occurs on our own island, and allows us to keep more of our homegrown talent on island to raise their families and contribute to the community.”

THINK Fund at HCF will support important steps for students along the “cradle-to-career” STEM education pathway. For more information on any of the grant or scholarship opportunities and to apply, visit www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/THINKFund. Grantmaking from the fund will focus in three areas:

  • Learning Grants to nonprofit organizations or schools – Grants are available for nonprofits or schools to provide in-school, intersession or afterschool STEM learning experiences for K-12 students that integrate Hawai‘i’s cultural context or promote place-based learning opportunities. Grants can also provide training or professional development for teachers to increase content knowledge and pedagogy in STEM subjects. The online THINK Fund application opened on December 1, 2014 and the deadline to apply is January 30, 2015.
  • Educator Grants for teachers – Grants are available to support Hawai‘i Island public and charter school teachers of grades 6 through 12 who have projects that encourage STEM learning. Teachers who submit proposals to DonorsChoose.org and are eligible to receive support for classroom materials, supplies, guest speaker expenses, or on-island field trips for their students. THINK Fund at HCF will provide grants for all but $100 for qualified projects that are less than $2,500. The application opened on November 24, and in just one week, the program funded nine projects at five Hawai‘i Island schools with over $11,187, that will impact over 1,100 students. A completed list of projects can be found at http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/matching.html?id=20516351&historical=true
  • College Scholarships for students – Hawai‘i Island students interested in pursuing a STEM career with the intention of working or teaching on the island are encouraged to apply. The online application for scholarships opened on December 1, 2014, and closes on February 19, 2015. By completing the application, students will be matched to multiple scholarship opportunities. THINK Fund at HCF will award scholarships in two areas:
  • Undergraduates or graduate level degrees, certificates or other professional development coursework to become a STEM educator on Hawai‘i Island.  Current educators or students working to towards a teaching degree that want to teach STEM subjects or professionals in a STEM-related field that would like to teach are encouraged to apply.
  • Degrees or certificates in STEM-related fields being completed by students from Hawai‘i Island. There is a wide range of STEM-related studies students can pursue that will qualify for these scholarships.

“We very excited and gratified that THINK Fund at HCF has been launched,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT Manager Hawai’i Community Affairs. “It is the beginning of our many-year commitment to STEM education on Hawaii Island, and is also the culmination of years of work by a hard-working and dedicated group of local citizens who provided the philosophy and goals of THINK Fund. We are also very happy to be in partnership with HCF and the very impressive, multi-talented advisory committee who is guiding this effort.”

Initially established by TMT, THINK Fund at HCF is designed to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawai‘i Island’s workforce. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawai‘i Island students in the long term. THINK Fund is one of several funds, initiatives, partnerships, and programs at HCF dedicated to supporting students and the STEM fields in Hawai‘i.

Saturday – Pāhoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olau’lea

The Pāhoa Holiday Parade and Ho’olau’lea is this Saturday, December 6 on Pāhoa Village Road starting at Pāhoa High School at 9:30am and continuing to Post Office Road. Our theme is “Pāhoa, Center of the Punaverse”.

This year’s Grand Marshall is Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Santa at the 2013 Parade

Santa at the 2013 Parade

Road closure for the parade route will occur at 9am so people are encouraged to get their cars parked before the closure if they want to be in the heart of the action. The County will open the parking lots at the Neighborhood Facility and the Swimming Pool at 7am. There is no street parking available along the parade route.

Senator Joy Buenaventura at the 2013 Parade.

House Rep. Joy SanBuenaventura at the 2013 Parade.

Immediately following the parade, there will be a Ho’olau’lea in the heart of Pāhoa with a vendor fair, FREE Santa photos for all keiki, entertainment, the Sacred Heart Holiday Fair and merchant specials.

 

MainStreet Pāhoa Association is committed to helping our communities enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Pāhoa and Lower Puna. We are actively involved with the Mayor’s Office, Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the County Council and our state legislators as well as the Visitor’s Bureau.
Come out and join us in celebration of Pāhoa, Center of the Punaverse.

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls In National Baby Safe Haven Cavalry

Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Lower Kalihi) announced today that he has contacted the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign to promote the State’s Baby Safe Haven Law.

baby safe

Vice Speaker Mizuno has reached out and secured the assistance of the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign, based in Boston, Massachusetts, for support of  a major youth driven, technologically enhanced campaign to inform half a million people in Hawaii of the State’s Baby Safe Haven Law.

According to Mizuno, “I contacted Jean and Mike Morrisey, the Directors of the Baby Safe Haven national campaign. We have an excellent relationship and they helped us pass our Baby Safe Haven law back in 2007. In the wake of a newborn baby found dead in a Waikiki hotel, could we have saved the life of that innocent newborn and kept the Mom from prosecution?”

The Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend campaign concurred with Vice Speaker Mizuno on an ambitious, coordinated campaign lead by their over a dozen professional young spokespeople is what it will take to get our message to radio stations of all genres, news stations, and newspapers from high school publications to the major daily press.  With heightened awareness of the Hawaii Baby Safe Haven Law the message will carry over to the tourism sector, as well military families and incoming students. “Our goal is to inform a half a million people in the State of Hawaii, within weeks, of the Baby Safe Haven Law” said Mizuno. “We don’t want to have another baby abandoned again.”

In 2007, Rep. Mizuno’s first year in office, he introduced HB1830 (passed into law as Act 7), to save the lives of newborn babies from abandonment and ultimately death. Act 7 provides immunity from prosecution for leaving an unharmed newborn baby at certain baby safe havens, such as a hospital, fire station, police station, or with emergency medical services personnel (EMS), within 72 hours of birth.  The measure also provides immunity from liability for personnel at the safe havens receiving a newborn baby.

Vice Speaker John Mizuno has received the personal video messages of several of the nation’s top Baby Safe Haven spokespeople/advocates who have made hundreds of media appearances in several regions across the country. The following are links to videos by Viennie V and Despina Drougas in response to the recent tragedy at a Waikiki hotel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEhIupI9sVg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LZiZZ0IYyU

Mizuno provided the following statement, “Government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of every single citizen and person in Hawaii and it is absolutely crucial for our government to do everything in its power to save and preserve their lives.  This law is targeted at saving our newborn babies, the most vulnerable and innocent among us.” Mizuno added “Abandoned babies are a worldwide issue, and I am grateful for all the support we received in Hawaii from baby safe haven advocates from across the country. I am especially grateful for the Baby Safe Haven Friend to Friend national awareness campaign’s assistance, as well as his youthful and talented team of spokespersons who have been so willing to donate their time and talent to save the lives of newborn babies, and help their peers to make proper decisions in a time of crisis.”

42 Children Adopted into Local Families on National Adoption Day

On National Adoption Day, November 21, 2014, the First Circuit Family Court finalized the adoptions of 42 children at the Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex in Kapolei. The children, ranging in age from 4 months and older, were adopted into 40 families from across Oahu.

42 Children Adopted into Local Families on National Adoption Day

42 Children Adopted into Local Families on National Adoption Day

Senior Family Court Judge R. Mark Browning presided over the hearings to finalize adoptions all day today and Judges Bode Uale, Paul Murakami, Jennifer Ching, Catherine Remigio, and Lanson Kupau devoted their afternoon calendars to preside over the adoptions.

The children being adopted vary in age and come from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and economic backgrounds. Adoptive parents from diverse backgrounds do not have to be married, wealthy, or have a specific education or background.

“We celebrate and honor those who have opened their hearts and families to children who need a permanent home.  It’s a celebration of love and testament to the goodness of our community.  As judges, it is a privilege to be able to be able to be part of this joyful event,” said Judge Browning.

U.S. Air Force Pilot to Head Hawaii DOE Facilities and Support Services Branch

The Hawaii State Board of Education today confirmed U.S. Air Force executive and fighter pilot, Dann S. Carlson, to head the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of School Facilities and Support Services. As an assistant superintendent, Carlson will bring more than 25 years of diverse active duty leadership experience to the DOE.

Dann Carlson

Dann S. Carlson

“While this job will be full of incredible challenges, it is obvious that the DOE is making measurable improvements in educating our next generation,” stated Carlson. “I’ve always had a desire to directly influence our nation’s future leaders through education. This position within the DOE allows me the opportunity to make an impact in a way that I never could have imagined. It is truly an honor.”

Carlson has a record of success in leading visionary work through organizational change. He will be leaving his position at the Pentagon as the special assistant to the under secretary of international affairs and will start with the DOE on December 1.

From 2011 to 2013, Carlson was the deputy joint base commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. He led more than 900 Air Force personnel in six squadrons: civil engineering, security forces, contracting, communications, logistics and force support. He also led operations for more than 1,100 Navy personnel and civilians providing base and operating support on an installation that serviced over 80,000 personnel, spanned 35,000 acres, with an annual budget of over $500 million and a plant replacement value of over $18 billion. During his tenure he spearheaded a complete organizational change to a Navy led Joint Base while still garnering the top rank of 77 Navy installations.

“In addition to his responsibilities of running the day to day operations of a large military base, Dann was actively involved with education,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are excited to welcome him to our team.”

Carlson was a board member for the Joint Venture Education Forum, a member of the Interstate Compact for Military Children, served on the Blue Ribbon Schools Commission and was very active at Radford High School where his three children attended, one of whom graduated as valedictorian.

Aside from his various leadership roles in the military, Carlson also served as mission commander and fighter pilot. He was an advance pilot and narrator for the USAF Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services exercises technical staff oversight of business, construction and maintenance of facilities, food services, transportation, and safety and security support for the public school system. It is charged with developing and administering administrative rules and regulations, publishing operational guidelines and providing related in-service training, monitoring and technical assistance to schools to ensure that the support is being provided in accordance with laws, policies and accepted principles of management.

Mālamalama Waldorf School Visits Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge

Mālamalama Waldorf School’s seventh and eighth grade students recently took part in a two-day trip to Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as part of the Teaching Change program. Teaching Change led by Scott Laursen of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa is a program implementing conservation education curriculum for local youth using Hakalau NWR as an outdoor classroom. Students learned concepts and methods of environmental science; climate change; phenology; conservation and restoration on the island of Hawai‘i.

Day one consisted of a service-learning project where students removed invasive Banana Poka from the native forest.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Mālamalama Waldorf School students at Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge.

Day two included a guided bird walk led by Dr. Pat Hart of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and a visit to the U.S. Geological Survey bird banding station where Dr. Eben Paxton (USGS) and crew shared with students about mosquito-borne bird diseases such as avian malaria and avian pox, both, significant threats to Hawai‘i’s native forest birds. Students observed some of Hawai‘i’s most rare and endangered birds.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

Students removing banana poka from the native forest.

When asked about her experience at Hakalau NWR, student Zoey Block said, “Removing the banana poka was cool, because I was helping the forest and all the threatened and endangered species that depend on it. Also, getting to see the native birds up close was exciting.”

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

Dr. Pat Hart leads MWS students on a bird walk, introducing them to a variety of different threatened and endangered native forest birds.

School Director Kelley Lacks, who accompanied the students, had this to add, “To see the students engaged in learning about native species and working directly with them, it was obvious there will be long term effects … future scientists and care takers of our land”.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

Dr. Eben Paxton hands Kai Biegler an i‘iwi bird to release.

TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT’s THINK Fund initiative benefits Hawaii Island students pursuing STEM endeavors with an annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process.

“During our numerous meetings, TMT and the community discussed how to collaborate to fulfill the shared dream of building the world’s most advanced telescope. The idea for the THINK Fund to invest in the education of students in the STEM field was germinated,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “With the launch of the THINK Fund, we are embarking on two transformational adventures – exploring the frontiers of the universe and providing educational opportunities for Hawaii’s students, both now and for future generations.”

The Thirty Meter Telescope initiated dialogue on the formation of THINK Fund in 2008 by asking a group of community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund benefitting Hawaii Island students. The Organizing Committee that developed TMT’s THINK Fund structure was comprised of Hawaii Island residents.

“After years of THINK Fund planning and reflection, the aspirations of dedicated community members are being realized with TMT’s first annual $1 million contribution, set in motion by the start of our construction phase,” said TMT Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “As a mother of two teachers, I am so pleased with the THINK Fund’s potential to furnish Hawaii Island students with an easier path to reach for the stars. TMT’s THINK Fund initiative will not only help Hawaii Island students with the tools to excel in STEM areas and the channels to get into college, it can also provide students with the means to get through college.”

The Organizing Committee determined that scholarships, grant making and the establishment of an endowment would ensure the sustainability of improving educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students in STEM disciplines. It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture.

TMT’s annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. The foundations will administer their respective THINK Funds independently and will have autonomy in administering grant funds, determining scholarship recipients, and the selection and governance of Advisory Committees.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation

Grants are available by application to THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation beginning November 20th and will support a variety of Hawaii Island STEM student activities in and after-school, internship programs and teacher-generated STEM classroom projects. Scholarships will support current and future STEM teachers on Hawaii Island as well as students pursuing STEM degrees and training. Scholarship applications will be available online on December 1st, 2014.

“For the past 98 years, Hawaii Community Foundation has had the privilege of serving our island communities across the state,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawaii Community Foundation. “We’re honored to be the stewards of the THINK Fund at HCF that will support STEM education on Hawaii Island for generations to come.”

Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation are Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Mary Correa, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira, Doug Simons and Barry Taniguchi. The Advisory Committee, facilitated by Hawaii Community Foundation staff, will assist with strategy development, review grant proposals, make grant decisions and encourage STEM education for Hawaii Island.

THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students including Native Hawaiians, teachers with STEM classroom projects and organizations providing STEM and internship programs that directly benefit Hawaii Island. Learn more and apply at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org <http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org> .

The Hawaii Island office of Hawaii Community Foundation is located in Waimea.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation

Scholarship Programs will be the initial focus of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. Grant making is being considered for the future.

“With Hawaii Island having the second largest population of Native Hawaiians in the state of Hawaii, our partnership with TMT provides much-needed financial support for Hawaiian learners from Hawaii Island to pursue educational opportunities in STEM,” said Hawaii Island resident and Pauahi Foundation Executive Director Keawe Liu.

Advisory committee members of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation are Roberta Chu, Kaeo Duarte, Leinaala Enos, David Kaapu, Bob Lindsey, Gail Makuakane-Lundin and Maile Wong.

THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students with a preference given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law. Scholarship applications will be available online on February 4, 2015 at www.pauahi.org <http://www.pauahi.org> .

THINK Fund Collaboration

THINK Fund was designed as an initiative to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawaii Island’s workforce, and TMT is serving as the founding member of the THINK Fund initiative. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawaii Island students long term.

What’s Next For TMT?

Construction activities in Hawaii include site preparation and grading.

tmt

Offsite work has begun in earnest as well. In China, partners are designing the telescope’s fully articulated main science steering mirror system and developing the laser guide star system. Japan has produced over sixty special zero thermal-expansion glass mirror blanks for the main mirror and is designing the telescope structure in detail. Fabricating the mirror support system is ongoing in India. The adaptive optics facility is in final design and the enclosure is ready for construction in Canada. The primary mirror and mirror control system is in final design in California.

The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.

2,000 Students and Employees Affected By Puna Lava Flow

Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High today welcomed new students from the Pahoa Complex who are transitioning schools due to the ongoing lava flow. The remainder of the students will return to classes on Nov. 10.

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On Oct. 29, the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) announced the indefinite closure of Keonepoko Elementary as the campus is in the anticipated path of the lava flow. Since then, preparations have been made for the transition of those students and others. On Oct. 30, schools closed for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea‘au Middle and Kea‘au High to allow for preparations and transitions.

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About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea‘au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary.

The transition of the complexes includes:

  • About 200 Pahoa High students will go to Kea‘au High.
  • About 75 students from Pahoa High & Intermediate and another 75 sixth graders from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will attend Kea‘au Middle.
  • About 300 Keonepoko students will be attending “Keonepoko North,” which is the temporary school that has been set up in Kea‘au High’s lower parking lot. In addition, 150 Pahoa Elementary students will also be attending Keonepoko North.
  • An estimated 20 Keonepoko preschool students will go to Kea‘au Elementary.
  • Fifteen special needs students from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will transition to Mountain View Elementary.
  • On Monday, Nov. 10, school begins for students assigned to Keonepoko North, and students who are currently enrolled at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary.

In all, 1,700 students and 300 employees are affected in this transition process.

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“Our administrators, faculty and staff have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition,” stated Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa. “During this process, furniture was moved, school schedules had to be redone and other student services were adjusted. It is important that our transitioning students feel welcomed in their new school, as well as employees who have been assigned to other schools. Individuals and community organizations have also contributed to this effort and we are very grateful for their support.”

DOE officials were in attendance at last night’s weekly community meeting at Pahoa High. Schools have also held parent meetings throughout this process.

 

Breaking Lava News – Students Who Wish to Stay at Pahoa CAN Through Geographic Exemptions

Pahoa and Keonopoko students living north of the flow have been transferred to Kea’au.

Pahoa High and Intermediate
After speaking with complex superintendent Mary Correa, Senator Russell Ruderman is happy to announce that those students that wish to stay at Pahoa may do so through a geographic exemptions (GE’s).

These exemptions will allow Pahoa High students living north of the lava flow to continue to attend school ion Pahoa – as long as they can secure transportation to and from Pahoa. A special accommodation will allow these students to continue to compete for Pahoa teams.

Applications for a Geographic Exemption can be found at Pahoa High School at the Registrar’s Office (F106).

 

HELCO Thanks Folks Who Shared Ideas for Protecting Utility Poles

The June 27 lava flow is spurring innovation and promoting collaboration despite its threat to the Puna community and the utility infrastructure that lies in its path.

Hawaii Electric Light would like to thank the many people who shared their ideas for protecting utility infrastructure from the lava’s extreme heat. The design process started in late August and involved numerous drafts. Multiple factors were considered, and the final design was a collaborative effort between Hawaii Electric Light, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The partnership was instrumental in helping the company understand the characteristics of lava and how to best reduce the short and long-term heat impact to the infrastructure. Our partners continue to assist us with post-impact evaluations. The key contributors were:

Hawaii Electric Light

  • Michael Iwahashi, Assistant Superintendent, Construction & Maintenance
  • Construction & Maintenance Division

University of Hawaii at Hilo

  • Dr. Kenneth Hon, Professor of Geology

U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

  • Tim Orr, Geologist
  • Matthew Patrick, Geologist

Among those submitting a pole protection design was Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS) Public Charter School in Pahoa. Although the design was not used, Hawaii Electric Light recognizes their innovation which paralleled the efforts of experienced professionals.

The design was created by high school students in the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program. Their assignment began with a question: “What can you do to help the community?”

“Our STEM class firmly feels necessity is the mother of invention,” said Eric Clause, lead STEM instructor. “When the students designed the power pole barriers, we looked at using materials that were ready and available and would work under the harsh conditions a lava flow would pose. We were really stoked when HELCO released similar design plans.”

PHOTO (L-R): HAAS STEM students Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, Michael Dodge, Logan Treaster, Maya Anderson, and Jordan Drewer. Photo credit: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science PCS

PHOTO (L-R): HAAS STEM students Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, Michael Dodge, Logan Treaster, Maya Anderson, and Jordan Drewer.
Photo credit: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science PCS

The students are Maya Anderson, Michael Dodge, Jordan Drewer, Henry LaPointe, Lyric Peat, Chalongrat Boat Prakopdee, and Logan James Treaster. In addition to the pole protection design, the STEM students designed an air purifier that can filter hydrogen sulfide, a heat resistant bridge that is cooled by flowing clean water, and a desalinization system that can provide quality drinking water. Some students also are involved in the Hope for HAAS project using social media to raise funds to help HAAS accommodate displaced students in areas affected by the flow.

“Hawaii Electric Light applauds the students at HAAS for their innovation, creativity, and foresight,” said spokeswoman Rhea Lee. “With a lava flow headed their way, they responded proactively and not only developed a conceptual design to help protect power poles, but searched for other ways to help the community in which they live. These are qualities that we value and look for in our employees.”

Schools Shut Down in East Hawaii in Preparation of Lava Flow – More Contingency Plans Announced

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is closing some schools ahead of the rapidly advancing Kilauea lava flow on Hawaii Island. The pace of the flow has accelerated the implementation of DOE’s contingency plans, which will affect about 1,700 students and 300 employees beginning this week.
Pahoa High and Intermediate
Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa, has announced that beginning Wednesday, October 29, there will be no school for students at Keonepoko Elementary School. This is to allow DOE faculty, staff, administrators, facilities’ teams enough time to complete administrative work in preparation of the new facility to receive students. The work will also include moving the school, furniture and equipment to the Keonepoko North facility at Kea‘au High School from Wednesday through Friday, October 29-31, and longer as needed. Wednesday will mark the indefinite closure of Keonepoko as it is in the anticipated path of the lava flow.

Additionally, beginning on Thursday, October 30, there will be no school for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle to allow administrators, faculty & staff from those schools to help with administrative work and prepare for the transition of students affected by the move.

About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea‘au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary and report to school on Monday, November 10. Bus pickup sites will be disseminated tomorrow.

The Pahoa secondary students moving to Keaau complex will report to their new campuses at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle on Friday, November 7. Keonepoko and Pahoa Elementary students who are moving will report to their new school at Keonepoko North on Monday, November 10.

The students who remain at Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary will report to school on Monday, November 10. Students who are currently enrolled at Kea‘au High and Kea‘au Middle will return to school on Monday, November 10.

“Our teachers and principals have been tremendous in their efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy in our schools, all while preparing for this week,” said Correa.

Last month, the DOE announced it was allowing teachers and students to continue teaching and learning, while making plans to accommodate them at alternate sites.

The DOE and its teams have been working with many in the community to erect a temporary school to be named “Keonepoko North” for elementary students at Kea‘au High’s parking lot that would accommodate at least 17 classrooms.

“The flexibility of our staff, the cooperation of our families, and the collaboration with Hawai‘i County agencies have been instrumental in making these adjustments for all schools,” stated Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Keonepoko and Pahoa High School will remain as election polling sites for the General Election on Tuesday, November 4.

About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 185,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. The DOE is in the midst of a range of historic efforts to transform its public education system to ensure graduates succeed in college or careers. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Big Island Teacher Invited to Present at Prestigious Mainland Conference

A Big Island Teacher has been selected by the Gates Foundation to serve as a presenter at an upcoming conference in New Orleans.

Kimberly Enamoria

Kimberly Enanoria

Kimberly Enanoria, a National Board Certified High School English Teacher has been personally invited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to serve as a Presenter at the upcoming Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching Conference in New Orleans.

Approximately 500 Educators are expected to be in attendance at this prestigious invitation only event.

Kimberly is a Pahoa High School alumni and is currently employed at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus as a Teacher Trainer/Evaluator.

Hawaii TechWorks Presents Rodrigo Romo

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Kamehameha Schools Selects New CEO

On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I am pleased to share with you that we have selected Livingston “Jack” Wong as Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools.

Jack WongIn the last six months, we have had the opportunity to work closely with Jack, to experience the skills, and professional and personal qualities he brings to the position. Jack has demonstrated his leadership ability to work closely with the Board, the organization’s staff and the community.  In so doing, he has built relationships, trust and loyalty while advancing the mission of Kamehameha Schools.

We believe there is no better indicator of Jack’s devotion to our mission than the extraordinary work he has already done for us. After nearly two decades, Jack knows and understands our organization, and has been protecting and cultivating its legacy. He exemplifies the values of Pauahi and our schools, and we are confident you will find him to be a thoughtful, intelligent and selfless leader.

Jack joined KS in 1997 as senior counsel specializing in commercial real estate. He was promoted to director of KS’ Endowment Legal Division in 2000, and shortly thereafter helped lead Kamehameha’s defense of its Hawaiian preference admission policy. In 2013, Jack was named Vice President for Legal Affairs, and he has been serving as interim CEO since April 2014, when Dee Jay Mailer retired.

We will be sharing this news more broadly within the community today, and we wanted to make sure you heard it directly from us in advance.  The news release will be posted to www.ksbe.edu shortly.

Please join us in affirming Jack as our new CEO. We look forward to introducing Jack to you and the broader community in the weeks and months ahead.  Mahalo nui loa for your continued support of the mission and purpose of Kamehameha Schools.

Lance Keawe Wilhelm
Chair, Board of Trustees

Contingency Plans Announced for Pahoa Schools in Case of Highway 130 Closure

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) continues to work on contingency plans for public schools, students and staff in preparation for lava to eventually cross Pahoa’s Highway 130. The lava flow stalled Sunday on its approach toward Pahoa town. However, volcanic activity is ongoing.

Pahoa High and Intermediate
“We are doing our best to keep a sense of normalcy in our schools and we stand ready to adjust our operations as needed,” stated Mary Correa, complex area superintendent for Ka‘u, Kea‘au, Pahoa.

Given the information from the subject-area experts, the DOE is committed to doing what is necessary to allow public school teachers and students to continue teaching and learning. This includes preparing for the potential loss of an elementary school. The DOE is building an alternate site for elementary students in the Kea‘au High lower parking lot that could hold a number of classrooms. The site would accommodate at least 17 classrooms and up to 500 students and staff. The initial estimated cost to the DOE is $9 million.

“We believe that setting up an alternate site is necessary in order to ensure that our teachers and students have everything ready should we lose a school,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We continue to tackle a number of scenarios and we appreciate the flexibility of our staff, the cooperation of our families, and the collaboration with Hawai‘i County agencies in our preparation efforts.”

Based on the expectation that access to Keonepoko Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary will be compromised, plans are being made for students who reside north of the flow to be rerouted to the Kea‘au complex when the flow crosses Highway 130. Students who reside south of the flow will remain in their homeschools if those facilities are not negatively impacted.

“When the lava crosses the highway, we want to make sure everything is in place in order to provide continued school services,” said Correa.

Pahoa complex currently has an estimated 1,800 students and roughly 300 employees.

Plans have been shared with parents at all three schools via letters and school meetings. Besides student planning, the DOE is also initiating plans that would guide affected employees on necessary changes. Earlier this month the DOE asked parents and staff who may have changed their residence to immediately update their contact information with school administrators.