Governor Releases $39 Million for Facility Improvements at UH Campuses

As the fall semester kicks off, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $39 million to the University of Hawaii (UH) System for capital improvement projects (CIP) at various campuses.

abercrombieheader“These projects, at campuses from Lihue to Hilo, are long-term investments in our state university system, an anchor of our island community,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “They address needed repairs, maintenance and upgrades to ensure functional academic environments and accessible, affordable higher education opportunities for the people of Hawaii.”

$29,000,000 – Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements, statewide – Construction funds for health and safety projects at UH Manoa and UH Hilo. Projects at UH Manoa include accessibility improvements, sewer and storm drain upgrades, health and safety improvements at Lyon Arboretum, and walkway upgrades. Projects at UH Hilo include a lead roof replacement of Hale Kehau, a Kawili Street pedestrian overpass, an emergency shelter, traffic safety improvements at Panaewa Farms, sidewalk/crosswalk upgrades at Kapiolani and Lanikaula Streets, and emergency generators.

$10,000,000 – Minor CIP Projects for Campuses of the Community College System, statewide – Design and construction funds for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of UH Community College (CC) campuses, including the renovation of the cafeteria at Honolulu CC, refurbishment of Ohia Auditorium at Kapiolani CC, renovation of the Diamond Head portables at Leeward CC, renovation of storage space to science lab/classroom at Hawaii CC, renovation of the former Ceramics Building at Maui CC, and renovation of the Fine Arts I Building at Kauai CC.

Medical Grants Available for Children in Hawaii

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan or TRICARE.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have TRICARE or a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.UHCCF.org, and there is no application deadline.

In 2013, UHCCF awarded more than 1,700 medical grants, worth $5.6 million, to children and their families across the United States for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy.

UHCCF was founded in 1999. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 7,500 medical grants, totaling more than $23 million, to children and their families across the United States.

“Thousands of children struggle every day for something many of us take for granted – our health. That reality is the driving force behind UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation’s mission to help families in need access medical care that will improve their child’s health. Our medical grants have already helped thousands of children in need, and we are looking to help thousands’ more children in the future,” said David Heywood, president, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawaii.

New children’s book to raise funds

To help raise funds for its child medical grant program, UHCCF has published a new children’s book, “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” – the second book in the Oliver & Hope series.

Oliver

The new 32-page hand-illustrated book continues the story of Oliver the lovable bear and Hope the spirited butterfly as they join their friends Millie the barn owl and Chewie the English bulldog for their first camping trip. The night is filled with amazing discoveries and silly games that make the shadows a little less scary and the adventure a lot more fun. The book follows last year’s award-winning book, “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure.”

Both “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” and “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure” are available on Amazon.com for $13.95 each. The first 250 people who purchase an “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” book will receive a Chewie the English bulldog plush toy, to be shipped separately.

Proceeds from UHCCF products, including the Oliver & Hope books, help fund UHCCF grants that help families pay for children’s medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by commercial insurance. Also, organizations and private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.UHCCF.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

Both books were written and illustrated by Meg Cadts and Samantha Fitch. Meg Cadts is the pen name for the UHCCF team of writers and contributors.

The Oliver and Hope characters also host their own page on the UHCCF website, Oliver & Hope’s Clubhouse (www.UHCCF.org/oliverandhope), which features free audiobook versions of the books, activities and games.

For more information on UHCCF and to visit the clubhouse, visit www.UHCCF.org.

 

DLNR Sponsors Archaeological Violation Investigation Class

DLNR

Anyone driving by an open field on the edge of downtown Hilo recently may have spotted several dozen people gathered around holes marked with yellow flags. This was the field exercise for an Archaeological Violation Class sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD). Combining two and a half days of classroom instruction, police officers from state and federal agencies, prosecutors and archaeologists participated in the field exercise to practice and test their crime scene investigation skills. The class was taught by Archaeological Damage Investigation and Assessment, a Missoula, MT-based company.

Martin McAllister, the company’s principal and a former U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, explained that archaeological or antiquity crimes constitute a $7 billion dollar a year illegal industry in the United States. “Most members of the American public think this is a low-level, casual type of situation,”McAllister said. “Interpol, the international police force, ranks it as one of the top five crimes in money that’s made every year and certainly there are artifacts here in Hawaii that would bring hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market.”

SHPD Administrator Alan Downer added: “The most common archaeological crime in Hawaii is the looting of burial caves and historical sites. This class gives investigators and archaeologists the additional skills and knowledge to conduct thorough, scientifically sound investigations as part of a multi-prong effort that begins with awareness, followed by detection, investigation and ultimately prosecution.”

In addition to the field exercise, participants learned about the looting, collecting and trafficking network; about state and federal statues used to prosecute archaeological violation cases; and about the factors associated with archaeological crimes.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Puna Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Puna boy who was reported missing.

Fernando K. Lopez

Fernando K. Lopez

Fernando K. Lopez was last seen at his Hawaiian Paradise Park home on Friday (August 15). He is described as Hispanic, 5-feet tall, 175 pounds with short black hair. He was last seen wearing blue shorts, shoes without socks and no shirt. He has a tattoo across his upper back that reads “Lopez.”

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 island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

All Public Schools Resume on Monday Except Waiakea High

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will resume regular public school schedules and student activities on Monday, Aug. 11, with the exception of Waiakea High.

DOE ReleaseDozens of DOE schools served as emergency shelters from Thursday, Aug. 7 through Saturday, Aug. 9. An estimated 400 individuals sought shelter at Waiakea High during those days. Waiakea High staff will report to work on Monday to get the school back in order for students’ return on Tuesday.

“Our employees, especially our Complex Area Superintendents and principals worked around the clock in caring for students and school communities during the stormy weather,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We appreciate their dedication in going above and beyond to help with the emergency needs of our communities.”

Hawaii Island facilities reported minimal damage due to strong winds; however, most of DOE facilities were not affected by the storm.

DOE officials continue to monitor Hurricane Julio, which is north of the state. Keep up to date with DOE’s latest announcements at HawaiiPublicSchools.org or on Twitter at @HIDOE808.

For information on Charter Schools, visit http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov/ or charter school parents are advised to contact their child’s school.

Hurricane #Iselle School Closures and Emergency Shelters Being Set Up

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is scheduling closures at designated public schools in advance of storms Iselle and Julio.

DOE ReleaseOn Thursday, Aug. 7, all public schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) will be closed. All other public schools will remain open and continue their regular school schedule and afterschool activities.

School closures are being made according to the storms’ paths and in preparation of designated emergency shelter sites.

“The force of these storms remain uncertain, however, we do not want to wait until last minute to close our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, many of our schools are designated emergency shelters and it is necessary to prepare these facilities as the storms approach.”

State and County Civil Defense officials expect Iselle to impact Hawaii Island and Maui County (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) on Thursday. Julio is forecasted to impact the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6: The following Hawaii County public schools, which are designated emergency shelters, will close at 2 p.m. This means all afterschool activities for students and staff are canceled at these schools, as well as any scheduled public meetings:

  • Laupahoehoe
  • Kohala High & Elementary
  • Kealakehe High (pet friendly)
  • Konawaena High (pet friendly)
  • Hilo High (pet friendly)
  • Waiakea High (pet friendly)
  • Keaau High (pet friendly)
  • Pahoa High & Intermediate (pet friendly)
  • Honokaa High & Intermediate (pet friendly)
  • Kau High (pet friendly)
  • Waikoloa Elementary

THURSDAY, AUG. 7: All public schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) will be closed.

FRIDAY, AUG. 8: The schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties that are designated emergency shelters will remain closed on Friday. The Hawaii County schools are listed above, Maui County designated shelters are:

  • Baldwin High
  • Lokelani Intermediate
  • Kekaulike High
  • Hana High & Elementary
  • Molokai High
  • Kilohana Elementary

In Hawaii County, three complex areas serve more than 23,000 students: Hilo-Laupahoehoe-Waiakea (7,864), Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena (10,167), Kau-Keaau-Pahoa (5,414). There are more than 21,000 students in Maui County on three islands. Statewide, the DOE serves about 185,000 students at 289 public schools and charter schools.

DOE officials continue to meet with State Civil Defense and are closely monitoring the storms’ patterns. Information regarding public schools and afterschool activities will be announced as needed.

For updated information, follow the DOE on Twitter at @HIDOE808.

UH Hilo Announces Trumbo, Santos & Sing Chow to Vulcans Athletic Hall of Fame

Congratulations to the Vulcans 2014 Athletic Hall of Fame class: former Athletic Director Bill Trumbo, tennis player Arthur Santos and softball pitcher Leo Sing Chow.
UH Hilo Moniker
Sing Chow (2003-07) was a 4-time all-conference, all-region and National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar/Athlete selection. During her career, the Vulcans won two Pacific West Conference championships and appeared in three NCAA Regionals. She currently coaches the Hilo High School softball team. Sing Chow was nominated by Joey Estrella.

Santos (1975-79) was a 4-year player and won the 1975 Hawaii State Collegiate Singles title. While a student, he started and coached the Waiakea High School tennis program. Since leaving UH Hilo, he has conducted prison and wheelchair tennis programs in Hawaii and Wisconsin. He has competed nationally with singles and doubles titles in the Caribbean, Middle East and Austria. He is a member of the Peter Burwash International Tennis Specialists. Santos was nominated by Kip Koross.

Trumbo (1990-2000) guided the athletic department through the transition from the NAIA to the NCAA. Along the way, he secured corporate sponsorships for various programs, founded and built the Vulcans Athletic Hall of Fame, created multiple top-level collegiate basketball tournaments and engineered nine Vulcans Athletic Scholarship Fund Drive. Trumbo was nominated by Ray Fornof.

This year’s induction ceremony will be held on:
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Nani Mau Gardens
$50 per person

Reservations can be made by calling HOF coordinator Joey Estrella at 808-895-5977. Corporate tables of eight are also available.

DOT to Host Small Business Development Workshop for Contractors in Kona

The state Department of Transportation, Minority Business Development Center, Hawaii Business Center and U.S. Small Business Administration invites the public to its free business development workshop.

sbd

This class will incorporate a six-part series to help small businesses interested in government contracting and will feature speakers who will discuss how to win federal contracts, how to write capability statements and business plans, financing, bonding, and details about Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Small Business Administration certifications. The workshop at the Hawaii Community FCU Conference Room is scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
73-5611 Olowalu Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740

Registration forms are available on the DOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/ocr/dbe/. Due to limited seating please e-mail the online registration form by Friday, August 8, to don.fukuhara@hawaii.gov or fax it to 808-587-2025. For more information, please contact Don Fukuhara at 808-587-6333 or view the workshop flyer at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/files/2013/01/Aug12.pdf.

HI-PAL Seeking Teams for Upcoming “Click It or Ticket” Tournaments

HI-PAL is seeking teams interested in playing in “Click It or Ticket” 5-on-5 basketball tournaments August 30-31 at Pāpaʻikou Gym and September 12-14 at Waiākea Uka Gym.

HI-PAL LogoBoth 5-6 division and 7-8 division teams are being sought for the August tournament. Both 9-10 division and 11-12 division teams are being sought for the September tournament.

Deadline to enter and submit all completed forms to participate in the tournament is September 1.  The age cut-off for the tournaments is December 31, 2014. Players are allowed to play on only one team per division.

All HI-PAL roster, waiver and seat belt forms are required for participation.  Interested teams may contact HI-PAL at 961-8121 to register.

Groundbreaking Held for $22.3 Million Pahoa District Park

The biggest single investment in recreational opportunity in Hawai‘i County history is coming to Lower Puna, following a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the $22.3 million Pāhoa District Park.

Photo Op

Photo Op

Mayor Billy Kenoi, Councilmembers Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern and County officials joined members of the Puna community to kick off the project, which will provide more recreational opportunities than ever before to the fastest growing region of Hawai‘i Island.

“We are committed to giving the families of Puna access to first-class recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Kenoi. “The facilities in this park will be safe places for our kids to learn good sportsmanship and teamwork, and to stay active and healthy.”

This $22.3 million, year-long project to deliver a district-level park to Lower Puna will include a covered playcourt building, two baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas. Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site immediately.

“This wonderful sports facility is going to really, truly benefit our children,” said Kel Lee, president of the Puna Panthers Pop Warner Football Association. “It’s a dream come true for Pāhoa.”

“Building this park, making this a better place for our children, is a collaborative effort,” said Councilmember Zendo Kern, who represents District 5 (Puna Mauka) and remembers playing in the existing Pāhoa Park as a youngster. “It was never a matter of if, and now it’s a matter of getting it done.”
Pahoa Park Rendering

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing facilities that include the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, Pāhoa Senior Center, and Pāhoa Skate Park.

“This park will be a place for our community to play, bond, and build memories for generations to come,” said Councilmember Greggor Ilagan, who represents District 4 (Puna Makai).

The Puna Community Development Plan, adopted by the Hawai‘i County Council in 2008, identified the need for a district park in Lower Puna. A comprehensive planning process involving the community, the County, and project designers WCIT Architecture began in 2012 to ensure these new facilities reflect the recreational needs of Puna’s residents.

UH Hilo Trio Receive Scholarship Honors

Three University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students, including a pair of incoming freshmen, are among the 2014 recipients of two prestigious UH System scholarships.

UH Hilo Moniker

Brenna Usher and Ashley Laybon received the Regents Scholarship, which is awarded to 20 outstanding freshmen who earn minimum combined scores of 1950 on all three sections of the SAT test or 29 on the ACT, maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in academic subjects in high school, and whose extracurricular achievements are shown to be remarkable.

Usher, a Hilo High School graduate from Kea’au, maintained a 3.70 GPA and will major in Linguistics. Laybon, who will major in Biology, graduated from Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama, where she earned a 3.91 GPA.

Kendra Fujioka of Kurtistown is among this year’s recipients of the Presidential Scholarship, presented to 10 college juniors with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 for all college-level work, a record of sustained progress in academic courses, and evidence of superior academic achievement or creative endeavor.

Fujioka graduated from Hilo High School in 2012 with a 4.03 GPA and has maintained a 3.91 GPA at UH Hilo. She enters the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the fall.

Both awards include full tuition waivers and $4,000 a year for the length of the scholarship, along with a one-time travel grant of $2,000. The Regents Scholarship is a four-year award, while the Presidential Scholarship is for two years.

Statement From University of Hawaii President David Lassner

As a matter of policy and in accordance with Hawaii public records law, university personnel matters are confidential and we abide by that commitment to confidentiality out of respect for our employees. Experience teaches that personnel issues are best addressed in private, and when a change in leadership is necessary, it is best accomplished with as much dignity as the circumstances permit.

David Lassner

David Lassner

It is my job as President to hold the executives who report to me accountable for their performance and the effectiveness of their leadership. At UH, this is a holistic process that spans the full range of the executive’s duties and responsibilities, not a reaction to specific incidents. I have maintained confidentiality both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption to the university’s critical work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service.

Unfortunately, many statements are circulating and the privacy I had hoped for has been compromised with a mix of truths and rumors from many sources. I regret that my attempt at maintaining privacy and dignity has been perceived by some as lacking transparency and accountability. And I am truly sorry this has become a public spectacle.

UH Manoa is Hawaii’s only research university and the flagship campus of our UH System. I am committed to fully supporting our UH Manoa students, who work every day to develop the knowledge and skills for success in their careers and as contributing citizens in our communities. I am committed to supporting our superb UH Manoa faculty members, who teach and mentor students every day and engage in scholarship to advance human knowledge and address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities. And I am committed to supporting our hardworking UH Manoa staff and administrators who every day balance the complexity of multiple missions and expectations from internal communities and external stakeholders.

At this time we all need to focus on polishing our crown jewel in the new financial environment faced by UH and public higher education across the country. The financial conditions that have developed at UH Manoa over the past two years must be addressed with thoughtful leadership and deep collaboration. I am committed to embracing this broader challenge with effective campus leadership in a considered, open and collegial manner with the faculty, students, and staff of the UH Manoa campus and our stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.

Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach Program

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is pleased to announce that it will begin its Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach “MDKEO” program on Hawaiʻi Island this Fall.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

Handpainted keiki output from the HWF workshop at the “GEMS” (Girls Exploring Math & Science) program in Keauhou last year. Photo by M Lamson/HWF

This program will bring two marine science mentors into 20 different elementary schools (K – 5th grade classrooms) to introduce topics like ocean circulation, marine ecology, and human impacts (like marine debris).  Mentors will work with receptive Hawaiʻi Island teachers to coordinate relevant student activities that meet the math and science benchmarks and “Common Core” standards for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education for each grade level.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point. Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

These in-class lectures will conclude with student presentations of potential solutions to reduce marine debris here in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Basin.

The program will culminate with a family “Beach Cleanup Day” at local marine debris hubs like Kamilo Point (Kaʻū), Pololu (North Kohala), Kānekanaka Point (South Kohala), Cape Kumukahi (Puna), Kaipalaoa (Hilo), and Oʻoma (Kona).  This MDKEO program began with financial support from a HWF t-shirt fundraiser and will now be sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

For more info about this marine debris prevention program or to sign up a classroom, please contact Catherine at spina.HWF@gmail.com; and for more info about volunteering for our next Kaʻū coastal cleanup event, contact Megan at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com  or 808/769-7629. Find additional resources and details about HWF’s ongoing conservation projects online at www.wildhawaii.org.

Successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp Concludes

A successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp concluded Thursday, July 24, attracting nearly 150 keiki athletes and coaches to the four-day skills camp held in Hilo.

Can you find my son?

Can you find my son? (Click to enlarge)

Boys and girls 9 to 17 years old received personalized instruction from legendary former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo basketball Coach Jimmy Yagi, who helped guide the Vulcans-Hawai‘i Basketball School for 37 years.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation offered the camp for the first time in 2013 to honor Coach Yagi and provide a low-cost, end-of-summer program for kids to learn basketball fundamentals.

Teenage campers again played at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, while preteens were assigned to the Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts. Shooting, defense, proper basketball stance, footwork, dribbling, and teamwork were among the lessons taught to the keiki, who displayed their skills during games played each afternoon.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks Coach Yagi, lead clinician Bill O’Rear, UHH men’s basketball Head Coach GE Coleman, UHH women’s basketball Head Coach David Kaneshiro, Honoka‘a girls basketball Coach Daphne Honma, the County’s Mass Transit Agency for use of a bus, and all the other coaches who volunteered their time and expertise to help the keiki athletes.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tours and Film Share History of World War II Detention Site at Kīlauea Military Camp

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer guided tours of the former World War II detention camp site at Kīlauea Military Camp on Tuesday, July 29, and show the documentary, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio "George" Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio “George” Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

The tours and film are free, but park entrance fees apply.

The one-hour tour is at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and will focus on the Japanese residents of Hawai‘i who were detained at Kīlauea Military Camp during World War II. No registration is required. Meet at the check-in area at Kīlauea Military Camp (KMC), near the flagpole. Park archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura and archive technician Geoff Mowrer will lead the tours. Limited copies of the new National Park Service cultural resources report, A Silent Farewell, will be available.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

At 1 p.m., the documentary The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i, will be shown at the Lava Lounge, located adjacent to the post office at KMC. That evening, the park will show the film as part of its After Dark in the Park series at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Filmmaker Ryan Kawamoto and Carole Hayashino, president and director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, will present both showings of the documentary.

While the story of the 1942 mass round-up, eviction and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in California, Oregon and Washington has been well documented, very little is known about the Hawai‘i internees and their unique experience during World War II. This is the first full-length documentary to chronicle this untold story in Hawai‘i’s history.

Video – Simulated Mars Mission Complete

The HI-SEAS Crew 2 had a live Google Hangout event today when they returned to “Earth” from “Simulated Mars”.  They have been living in a Mars simulation located on Mauna Loa for the past 120 days.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

Here is the video:
[youtube=http://youtu.be/YvUIh2Y8fns]

Pāhoa District Park Project Groundbreaking to Be Held July 31

A public groundbreaking ceremony for the Pāhoa District Park project will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the park.

Pahoa Park Rendering

Join Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council members Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, Parks Director Clayton Honma, and other dignitaries as they signify the start of the biggest recreational project in Hawai‘i County history. The $22.3 million, yearlong construction project will more than double the size of Pāhoa Park and deliver increased recreational opportunities to one of Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.

Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site on August 4. During the following 12 months, it will construct a covered play court building, two lighted baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, one of which will be lighted for nighttime use, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas.

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing 15 acres of developed recreational facilities that include a 50-meter swimming pool, community center, senior center, and skate park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Resource Caregivers Receive Increased Board Payments

Families that care for children placed with the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Service (CWS) Branch will receive a foster board pay increase, effective July 1, 2014. Called resource caregivers, families will receive their first increased payment in August.

Department of Human Services

To ensure that resource caregivers receive the funds necessary to provide safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children awaiting permanent placement, the DHS requested a legislative appropriation of $8,502,936 in 2014. The budget request was passed in its entirety as part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s 2014 executive budget package.

“Hawaii’s rate increase is based on the DHS’ review of foster care rates and practices in 46 other states,” explained DHS Director Patricia McManaman, “and the benefits that Hawaii resource families currently receive in addition to tax-free monthly foster care payments.”

Children enter and exit the foster care system throughout the year. They can remain in resource family homes for days, months, or years in some cases. While siblings are often placed together, resource families also may care for two or more unrelated children.  In 2013, the average number of children per month in resource homes was 1,096.  In June 2014, a total of 1,156 children were in foster care across the State.

Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, was a strong supporter of increasing foster board payments.  “The bill is a huge step forward to help support the foster families that are integral members of our communities.”  Her Senate counterpart, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland agreed.  “I am very happy with the passage of this legislation and am grateful to the Department of Human Services, Governor, Legislature, advocates and foster families for this team effort!”

The increase in basic board payment also applies to families eligible for adoption assistance, permanency assistance, youth receiving higher education board allowance payments, and to young adults who choose to enroll in DHS’ new program of extended Voluntary Care to Age 21.

Foster board payment rates vary across the nation. Hawaii based its new rates on an age-tiered system indexed to documented costs contained in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families annual report.   The monthly per child payment to Hawaii resources caregivers has been increased from a base rate of $529 to $575 for 0-5 year olds, $650 for 6-11 year olds, and $676 for children aged 12 and above.

Similar to other states, Hawaii’s resource caregivers also receive QUEST health insurance benefits for their foster children, difficulty of care payments, and a clothing allowance. Difficulty of care payments are provided to resource caregivers that support children who require more intensive physical, emotional, psychological or behavioral care and supervision, as determined by a treating professional.

Resource families also are eligible to receive special circumstances or events payments, designated transportation costs (school bus fare or private car mileage, local bus fare) that effect child placement or promote family reunification, and $500 per child per year for extracurricular activities, social activities, hobbies, and camp funds.

Reimbursable costs include attendance at authorized meetings, respite care and child care coverage, limited liability insurance training, and  enhancements necessary for the child’s growth and development (e.g. Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, community soccer, community baseball, community swimming, Boys and Girls Clubs).

To learn more about becoming a resource care giver or attending one of the statewide informational briefings, please visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/ssd/home/child-welfare-services/foster-and-adoptive-care/ 

Ni’ihau ‘Alilea Shell Workshops at Lyman Museum

For the very first time ever, men (and women too!) will have the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind Ni’ihau shell lei that traditionally is made and worn by men for very special occasions such as a wedding, or a hula hālau performance.

Lei created from 'alilea shells.

Lei created from ‘alilea shells.

At the Lyman Museum, Kele Kanahele of the Island of Ni’ihau will teach the authentic creation of these rarely seen pieces of Ni’ihau heritage for the first time anywhere, twice in August on Friday, August 15 and Saturday, August 16, from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

On either day you may learn how to make an18-inch necklace/lei ($380 for Museum members, $410 for nonmembers), or a pair of earrings for ladies ($105 for members, $130 for nonmembers)—or more than one piece, as long as you sign up for specific pieces in advance.  All pieces will be created in the pikake style, using ‘alilea ke’oke ‘o shells (white).  The ‘alilea is known as the large dove shell because it closely resembles but is slightly larger (about ¾ inch long) than the better-known momi or dove shell.  Such lei are rarely made because piercing is very difficult due to the thickness of the shell.  For the earrings, much smaller shells will be used to create pieces appropriate for ladies.

Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.  Reservations must be made, pieces specified, and the workshop fee(s) paid by Friday, August 8, to ensure your place and the availability of shells.  Space is limited to 24 persons per day; only people who have registered can be permitted in the classroom.

Kane, follow in the footsteps of generations of Ni’ihau men by creating and wearing this classic lei on important occasions of your own!  And wahine, these pieces will look just as lovely on you … or you can give your special someone a treasure of Hawai’i that shows everyone he’s a treasure too!  For more information or to register, please call 935-5021 or stop by the Museum’s Admissions desk.  The Lyman Museum is located at 276 Haili St in Hilo and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 4:30 pm.

Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.