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Improvements to Mauna Kea Recreation Area Unveiled

Located near the 34-mile marker of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway at the center of Hawaiʻi Island, Mauna Kea Recreation Area is the only rest stop for many miles in either direction. On July 1, 2014, County assumed management of the former Mauna Kea State Recreation Area from the State of Hawai‘i and immediately commenced with extensive renovations.

mauna-kea-park-entranceUse of the park has continued to increase since the Kenoi administration began improving the facilities. Since assuming management of Mauna Kea Recreation Area, the County has invested over $11 million in improvements.

“When you ask for something, local style, there’s kuleana that comes with that,” Mayor Kenoi said in reference to the expectation that the County would greatly improve the area once management was transferred from the State. “How dare us let our kupuna travel 60, 70 miles with no place to wash hands or use bathroom? No place for our children to stop, laugh and play?”

mauna-kea-park-bathroomsSpeakers at today’s ceremony included Mayor Billy Kenoi and State Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele, the son and successor of the late Senator Gil Kahele, who along with Senator Mālama Solomon led the charge at the State Capitol to turn the park over to the County. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an executive order to do so in 2014.

The first wave of work included lighting enhancements, removal of dead trees that posed a fire hazard, fumigation, and installation of new picnic areas. Those improvements were completed in-house by County plumbers, electricians, tree trimmers, grounds crews, and equipment operators from the Departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation.

In Summer 2015, a new playground was dedicated and a new comfort station was opened for the many cross-island travelers that use the park’s facilities.

mauna-kea-park-playgroundThis latest completed phase of work included repairs and improvements to the cabins, dining hall, and other facilities as well as new roadways, walkways, walking paths, fitness equipment, lighting, and other amenities. GW Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the work.

The Department of Parks & Recreation expects to open Mauna Kea Recreation Area’s cabins for overnight stays in January 2017. For more information, call the department at 961-8311.

CDC Recommends Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Should Not Be Used – Hawaii Stop Flu at School Program

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offering free flu vaccine to elementary and middle school children at public, private, and charter schools statewide. Vaccination clinics will be held in January and February 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016–2017 flu season because of data suggesting lower effectiveness of this vaccine. Therefore, only the flu shot will be offered through the Stop Flu at School program.

flu-shotInformation packets and vaccination consent forms are currently being distributed to parents through participating schools and are also available online. A fillable, electronic version of the consent form can be found at https://vaxonlinereg.doh.hawaii.gov. To sign up for the free vaccinations available to their children, parents or guardians should complete and sign the consent forms, and return them to schools by the deadline, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Translated consent forms will be available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/sfas-parents/.

“Since Stop Flu at School clinics will not take place until January and February, we are encouraging parents of children, especially those with health conditions that place them at higher risk for serious complications from the flu (e.g., asthma or diabetes), to speak to their child’s physician about receiving the flu vaccine earlier,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “The school-located clinics are another option for children to be vaccinated.”

The Stop Flu at School program is a partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, pediatric associations, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/stop-flu-at-school/ or call Aloha United Way’s information and referral service at 2-1-1.

Island Air Explorers Program Inspires Careers in Aviation

Are you or someone you know interested in exploring a career in the airline industry?  If so, Island Air’s Explorers Program is the perfect opportunity to do just that. It’s a three-month mentorship program that gives high school and college students the chance to learn about careers in the aviation industry.

island-air-planeFor the upcoming class, which starts on February 1, 2017, enrollment has been expanded to 20 students between the ages of 14 and 20 from O‘ahu high schools and colleges.  Students who attend and submit an application on orientation night will be eligible. Orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum, Atherton Hālau.

“Island Air is honored to play a role in preparing Hawai‘i’s youth for careers in aviation,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “We are proud to pave the way for Hawai‘i’s future aviation leaders.

“The Explorers Program would not be possible without the mentorship of Island Air’s dedicated employees. The 2017 program is being coordinated by a committee made up of employees from different departments throughout the airline,” added Uchiyama.

The program offers participants a unique, hands-on introduction to the aviation industry.  Students will learn everything from how airplanes operate to customer relations management and corporate responsibility. The program is divided into 10 weekly sessions that provide information for airline-related jobs such as pilots, flight attendants, ramp operators and aircraft mechanics. It also includes visits and lectures from members of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration and Air Traffic Control.

For the second year in a row, this class of Explorers will have the opportunity to participate in the same cockpit procedures training as Island Air’s pilots.  Students will get to see a visual display of taxiings, takeoffs, landings and approaches in real time.  With realistic sound, air traffic control chatter, weather, and the local Hawai‘i environment, Explorers will be able to practice the checklists used during different stages of flight operation.

Island Air Explorers is the only student workforce initiative in the aviation industry on O‘ahu. It became an official Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America when the program graduated its first class of students in April 2009. Since its founding, 136 students have completed the course. Many have returned to Island Air for internships or full-time employment. In addition to mentorship, the top two achievers in the program will earn the Jaime Wagatsuma Award, which provides each student with a $1,000 scholarship.

The 2017 Explorers Program Committee members and the departments they represent are:

Explorers Co-Committee Chairpersons:

  • Noa Kamawana, Airport Operations
  • Susie Fujikawa, Commercial
  • Tyler Nakasone, In-Flight
  • Elima Pangorang, In-Flight

Explorers Co-Committee Executive Officers:

  • Diana Higbee, Flight Operations, Pilot
  • Summer Harrell, Commercial
  • Janna Frash, Commercial
  • Kui Kinimaka, In-Flight

For more information and an application, visit www.islandair.com/explorers-program.

Big Island Police Donate 136 Boxes of Christmas Gifts for Kids Around the World

Employees from the Hawaiʻi Police Department donated 136 boxes of Christmas gifts destined for children in need around the world.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief's left is Steve Meek, the island's collections coordinator for the charity project.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief’s left is Steve Meek, the island’s collections coordinator for the charity project.

The boxes were presented to representatives of Operation Christmas Child on Thursday (November 17) at the South Hilo police station.

Operation Christmas Child is a yearly community project that reaches out to children in need who have never experienced the kindness of receiving a gift. Shoebox gifts are collected around the state in this international effort to assist those in war torn countries or suffering from famine, sickness and poverty.

Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child’s area coordinator for East Hawaiʻi, said a shipping container carrying the gift boxes will be picked up on Tuesday to sail out of Hilo for processing in California before the presents reach their final destination. Quay said she had the privilege of going to Colombia last year to help distribute Christmas boxes at a public school in the South American nation.

Steve Meek, Operations Christmas Child’s collections coordinator, said donations on Hawaiʻi Island are being accepted through Monday, November 21. Shoeboxes full of gifts may be dropped off at Big Island Toyota from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They also may be dropped off at Hilo Missionary Church from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m., to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year Hawaiʻi Island collected more than 8,300 shoe boxes to combine with a total of more than 42,000 across the state. Internationally, 11.2 million boxes were sent to 110 countries.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Offers Special Programs for Youth to Gain a Better Understanding of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

In preparation for this year’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has created three specialized programs, each designed to provide Hawaii’s youth with a better understanding and appreciation for what took place at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

pearl-harbor-youth-dayStudents, teachers and families are encouraged to participate in the following:

December 6, 2016 – Blackened Canteen Youth Symposium, 10 – 11:30 am, Pacific Aviation Museum Theater. For the last 21 years, WWII veterans from the United States and Japan have joined in silent prayer, pouring whiskey from a blackened canteen into the hallowed waters from the USS Arizona Memorial in observation of Dec 7. The annual Blackened Canteen ceremony, hosted by Pacific Aviation Museum, commemorates the friendship, honor, and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII. The canteen used in the ceremony was recovered from a B-29 bomber that was destroyed after colliding with another B-29 bomber over Shizuoka, Japan, in 1945.

Following the ceremony, a youth symposium will be held in the Pacific Aviation Museum Theater, from 10 – 11:30 am. The symposium will highlight the story and lessons of the Blackened

Canteen Ceremony, commemorating the friendship, honor and reconciliation borne out of the horror of WWII.

Students from Nagaoka, Japan and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu will participate in the program, along with Dr. Hiroya Sugano and Jerry Yellin, WWII pilot and author of The Blackened Canteen. Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng will serve as moderator.

This event is free and open to the public. Teachers at public, private, or charter schools who register their classes for the Youth Symposium will receive The Blackened Canteen classroom curriculum and an autographed copy of the book. Additionally, the cost of bus transportation to the event will be provided for registered school groups. Curriculum materials and a video of the symposium will also be available at PacificAviationMuseum.org.  Seating is very limited.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthSymposium

or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

December 8-9 – Discover Pearl Harbor Youth Program, 7:30 am on 12/8 to 4 pm on 12/9. Two-day program for teens that combines engaging, aviation-related STEM activities within the historically significant context of the Pearl Harbor sites. Open to students ages 12-15, program participants will spend two days at Pacific Aviation Museum and one night onboard the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial. The program will build upon the anticipated national and international youth participation in the 75th commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Discover Pearl Harbor provides youth with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that brought peace, and ultimately, friendship, between two nations previously at war. The cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor,” will once again serve as a vital theme, as it is now a call to action for youth to learn these stories of courage, resiliency, and innovation, and to use the lessons of WWII to create a more peaceful world. Discover Pearl Harbor offers a cross-cultural opportunity for teens to gain greater understanding about the history of WWII while also learning about the impact of scientific and technological advancements that were introduced during that era.

Students will begin the program at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument where history will come to life. They will hear stories of courage and sacrifice that transformed the entire world, and will visit the USS Arizona Memorial to gain a greater appreciation for the peace and friendship that has been forged between former enemies. Their experience continues at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, where skilled instructors and costumed interpreters will share the legacy of Pearl Harbor through guided tours, hands-on activities, and team assignments.

In the evening, students will stay onboard the Missouri Battleship Memorial, engaging in activities that emphasize the historical precedent for peacemaking that emerged from WWII.

Day Two brings the students to the 21st century with an array of learning challenges that spotlight the role of technology in the increasingly global culture, and emphasize the need for collaboration and critical thinking. The program ends with a closing ceremony of remembrance and honor in historic Hangar 79.

Cost is $225 per student, $202.50 for museum members and includes meals, snacks, overnight accommodations and program on the USS Missouri Battleship, program materials and souvenir T-shirt.

Registration is limited to 50 youth.

December 10, 2016 – Pearl Harbor Youth day, 9 am – 3:30 pm. Families and visitors of all ages can explore the lessons and legacy of WWII through special presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Event will engage and educate youth about the history of Pearl Harbor and its impact on young people in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

Featured activities include:

  • Special screening of “Under the Blood Red Sun,” followed by a presentation and Q & A session with author Graham Salisbury.
  • Historical exhibits designed and created by local high school students.
  • Thematic tours of the Museum
  • Costumed interpreters and historical demonstrations

Event is free to students 18 years and younger, free with museum admission, and free to museum members. Registration required for teachers and youth organizations that are interested in bringing large groups and wish to apply for funding assistance for bus transportation.

For more information or to register for these events, please visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Events/75YouthDay or call Lynda Davis at 808-445-9137.

“Hawaii: Next 50 Contest” Offers New Prize

A new prize will allow students winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest to interface with innovation professionals and navigate their ideas from conception to reality.

hawaii-next-50Sultan Ventures will provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities for the winners in each contest category as well as host an innovation boot camp for the top-24 scoring participants.

The 2017 contest focuses on using technology to solve problems in affordable housing, food sustainability, or economic industries. All students in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to submit their solutions now through January 31, 2017. In addition to the mentorship, winners will be honored at the Hawaii State Capitol, attend a luncheon with key legislators, and receive a monetary prize.

“This contest hinges on the premise that the next big, great idea to help our state can come from anyone,” said Representative Takashi Ohno. “These opportunities to hone their ideas into actual solutions are a way we can show kids that it’s possible for them to make a real-world impact now.”

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi’s book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, and students will read the book before launching their own ideas for Hawaii’s future in an essay or multimedia creation. Free copies of the book can be requested online at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, aio Foundation, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Sultan Ventures.

More information can be found online at www.HawaiiNext50.com or email HawaiiNext50@gmail.com.


Hawaii: Next 50 Contest

WHO:      Students enrolled in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to enter.

WHAT:     Students are asked to read Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years and respond to the question Looking ahead to the next 50 years, imagine how we can use current technology or future technology to:

  • Create more affordable housing
  • Achieve food sustainability
  • Promote new and innovative industries

Students are encouraged to get creative and find solutions using technology in one of the three topics. The technology utilized can exist currently or be an idea that might be possible in the future as long as the details are explained in the contest entry.

Submissions will be accepted in two categories: essay or multimedia (e.g. drawing, painting, other art piece, video, etc.)

Free copies of Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years are available by request at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

WHEN:    All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2017. Winners to be announced in March 2017.

WHY:   To challenge the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping our future. Prizes include:

  • Floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol
  • Luncheon with state legislators
  • Two-hour mentorship program with Sultan Ventures
  • Monetary prize
  • Winning entry published online

The top-24 scoring entries will also be invited to an innovation boot camp hosted by Sultan Ventures.

Temple Children Completes Six Murals in Downtown Hilo

Seven renowned artists recently completed six large-scale, sustainability and Hawai‘i Island-themed murals throughout Downtown Hilo. Artists painted – through rain and shine – October 17-24, 2016.

The murals were driven by Temple Children, a local arts and sustainability organization that coordinates projects to strengthen communities, promote social and environmental innovation, and incite positive global change.

The October mural series is the third public art activation by Temple Children aimed at beautifying and revitalizing the Downtown Hilo community.

During the visiting artists’ stay, all were immersed in Hawai‘i Island culture, educated on local food sustainability, and fed nearly 100 percent locally-sourced on-island fare. In addition to painting, artists participated in a lo‘i restoration workday in Waipi‘o Valley organized by local non-profit Pōhāhā I Ka Lani. Kilauea EcoGuides led an educational hike to the lava flow prior to artists’ departure.

Completed murals may be viewed at:

Hilo Backpacker’s Hostel on Waianuenue Ave //
Artists: Rick Hayward and Emily Devers @frankandmimi (Brisbane, Australia)

Frank and Mimi’s mural is inspired by hands-on immersion in Waipiʻo Valley, where they worked collectively with the Temple Children crew to restore a loʻi for non-profit, Pōhāhā I Ka Lani. As a duo, they explore sustainable food production methods and use their artwork to stimulate necessary discussion about the future of food. Frank and Mimi believe it is our responsibility to regenerate what we take, allowing the earth to heal from human touch. Their Hilo mural celebrates the indigenous papaya, taro and ʻolena, with the phrase ‘Land of Plenty’ layered over imagery of the powerful Hawai‘i Island foods. The text is illustrated using topographic line work directly referencing Mauna Kea, framing negative space in which sustainable food production conversations can continue.

Agasa Furniture Store on Ponahawai St //
Artist: Yoskay Yamamoto @yoskayyamamoto (Toba, Japan)

Yosaky’s piece draws inspiration from the vast skies and oceans of Hawai‘i. His on-island experience with Temple Children has provided him with the opportunity to deepen his connect with Mother Earth.

Yosaky’s piece draws inspiration from the vast skies and oceans of Hawai‘i. His on-island experience with Temple Children has provided him with the opportunity to deepen his connect with Mother Earth.

Downtown KTA Super Stores on Keawe St //
Artist: Kai Kaulukukui @artworkofkai (Puna, Hawai‘i)

Kai’s two murals– focused on food sustainability and utilizing locally grown produce to feed our ‘ohana–are located at the iconic Downtown Hilo KTA market. The two panels directly next to Kai’s were painted murals by local artist Kathleen Kam, and are also about food sustainability. Kai felt a responsibility to the existing art to continue the story. While Kathleen painted the farming and harvesting aspect, Kai concentrated on preparation and consumption. One mural depicts a lu’au set in the past to show the similarities of how we dine together now. The second mural is a collage of fresh and healthy harvested foods.

Former Ebesugawa Flower Shop on Furneaux Ln //
Artist: Jet Martinez @jetmar1 (Oakland, California)

Jet’s mural is a celebration of the Ebesugawa sisters’ lifetime of work with flowers in Downtown Hilo. It was a great coincidence for Jet that the site of his mural was formerly a flower shop as his subject specialty is flowers. In Jet’s research of the Ebesugawa family, he found repeated references of the sisters often talked about serving their clients with kindness and openness, which really resonated with him. The mural features a Hilo-inspired floral arrangement, creating a bright, uplifting, and harmonious space.

Jet’s mural is a celebration of the Ebesugawa sisters’ lifetime of work with flowers in Downtown Hilo. It was a great coincidence for Jet that the site of his mural was formerly a flower shop as his subject specialty is flowers. In Jet’s research of the Ebesugawa family, he found repeated references of the sisters often talked about serving their clients with kindness and openness, which really resonated with him. The mural features a Hilo-inspired floral arrangement, creating a bright, uplifting, and harmonious space.

Hana Hou Hilo on Bayfront //
Artist: Brandy Serikaku @b_alia (Hilo, Hawai‘i)

Brandy’s piece honors the famous rain of Hilo, Ka Ua Kanilehua. The name speaks about the sound it makes when it rains on the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree. The artist worries about losing lehua trees to rapid ʻōhiʻa death and never hearing this special rain again. To the artist, growing up in Hilo, the rain is everything. She calls the rain a source of inspiration, life and the only way one can enjoy rainbows. Brandy wanted to honor the town and hālau she grew up in, by honoring the one thing Hilo is famous for since our kūpuna, Ka Ua Kanilehua.

Brandy’s piece honors the famous rain of Hilo, Ka Ua Kanilehua. The name speaks about the sound it makes when it rains on the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree. The artist worries about losing lehua trees to rapid ʻōhiʻa death and never hearing this special rain again. To the artist, growing up in Hilo, the rain is everything. She calls the rain a source of inspiration, life and the only way one can enjoy rainbows. Brandy wanted to honor the town and hālau she grew up in, by honoring the one thing Hilo is famous for since our kūpuna, Ka Ua Kanilehua.

Nikisa Properties Building on Ponahawai + Kinoole //
Artist: Sam Yong @saminthewolf (Auckland, New Zealand)

Sam’s piece depicts an ‘io, endemic to Hawai‘i Island and a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. The bird’s history teaches the community to look at life from a different perspective, to love nature, and take care of the land.

Sam’s piece depicts an ‘io, endemic to Hawai‘i Island and a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. The bird’s history teaches the community to look at life from a different perspective, to love nature, and take care of the land.

The public art and sustainability project was made possible with financial support from Novo Painting (Cole and Lisa Palea), OluKai, K. Taniguchi, Ltd., Hana Hou Hilo, Agasa Furniture Store and Keaukaha One Youth Development.

HPM Building Supply donated Pratt & Lambert paint; ladders and lifts supplied by Takamine Construction; and artist meals donated by Sweet Cane Café, Aloha Mondays and Loved by the Sun. Additional local donations were provided by Aiona Car Sales, Two Ladies Kitchen, Moon and Turtle, Big Island Booch, OK Farms, The Locavore Store, Island Naturals, Shark’s Coffee and MaruMaru Hawaii. Onsite support and keiki volunteers provided by Circle of Life Hilo’s Leandra Keuma and local artist Kathleen Kam.

The October project was led by Temple Children founders, Miya Tsukazaki and David “MEGGS” Hooke, and Regional Director Ashley Kierkiewicz. It was documented by Cory S. Martin, a freelance cinematographer, director and editor based in Buffalo, New York.

UH Hilo Accepting Applications for Marine Science and Conservation Project

Applications are currently being accepted for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Project Maʻa. The year-round Mānowai o Hanakahi project, funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, provides up to 15 students marine conservation and outreach training.

manowai-o-hanakahi-projectHawai’i Island middle and high school students currently attending grades 8-12 are eligible to apply for the free program. The application deadline is Friday, November 11, 2016.

Activities will include field trips, mentored research projects and career pathway exposure beginning in mid-November and running until mid-May. A kick-off tide pooling event will be held on Sunday, November 6, from noon – 3 p.m. at Onekahakaha Beach Park, where more can be learned about the project.

For more information, to apply, or to RSVP for the tide pooling kickoff, call 933-0707, email hperry@hawaii.edu or visit http://stem.uhh.hawaii.edu/manowai.php.

Acting Governor of Hawaii Proclaims October “Farm to School Month”

Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui proclaimed the month of October “Farm to School Month.”  Stakeholders from the community, including the Ulupono Initiative, The Kohala Center, Jack Johnson’s Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and Department of Agriculture attended the proclamation presentation held this morning at the State Capitol.

farm-to-schoolFarm to School Month in Hawai’i coincides with National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress in 2010, to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, encourage diverse careers in agriculture, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.

“It’s important that we celebrate Farm to School month to raise awareness about the movement and school gardening programs, which empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and connecting keiki to the aina,” said Acting Governor Tsutsui, who is spearheading the Farm to School Initiative, in collaboration with HIDOE and Department of Agriculture.

“The Hawaii Farm to School program provides an important connection between local farms and Hawaii’s keiki,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This program not only helps to strengthen the local agricultural community, but also creates an opportunity to educate our youth about agriculture, nutrition and food sustainability.”

The Farm to School Initiative aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.  With Hawaii importing about 85 percent of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way the State is working towards becoming food sustainable.

“The Department is excited in finding new ways to increase the amount of local produce on the menus of our schools,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. “While the schools as a whole currently purchase a higher percentage of local food than the average home, we would like to deliver more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to our students’ plates.”

HIDOE has 256 public schools and its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.  The Farm to School Initiative also seeks to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias.

In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a mixer to inform them on how to become a qualified vendor with the State.  Those events, including the invitation for bids, culminate with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.

“The Kohala Center has been involved in Farm to School for about a decade and we’re so thrilled that this pilot project is at this place of being ready to launch because of the potential of Farm to School to not only impact our agricultural community, but also the positive impact it can have on our school children from a nutritious standpoint and education standpoint as well,” said Anna-Lisa Okoye, Chief Operating Officer of The Kohala Center.  “We’re so excited for this next step that we’re going to get into the schools and make some changes on how schools cook and source food and teach kids about nutrition.”

Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from.  Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at McKinley High School

As part of the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral argument today at McKinley High School.

mckinleyAbout 470 students from McKinley High School, St. Andrew’s Priory, Saint Francis School, Kamehameha Schools – Kapālama, Damien Memorial School, Hālau Kū Māna Charter School, University Laboratory School, and Farrington High School, as well as Mid-Pacific Institute, had the opportunity to learn more about the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society.

Under the program, the Hawaii Supreme Court convenes in schools to hear oral argument in cases pending before the court. This is the eighth argument in the program, which began in 2012.  To prepare, the participating juniors and seniors from each school studied a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

mckinley-closeupsAttorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association also volunteered their time and facilitated a moot court activity in the participating classrooms, where the students had the opportunity to argue the case themselves before attending the Courts in the Community event.

mckinley1“Our Courts in the Community program is about hands-on civics education and providing students with a chance to go beyond the textbooks by observing a real Supreme Court oral argument in person. Through this experience, we hope that the students realize it is a process with integrity, one that’s designed to get the truth. That understanding is vital to the future of our democracy,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “I would like to extend a special mahalo to the teachers, the Hawaii State Bar Association, and the dozens of volunteer attorneys who helped make this happen. These invaluable partnerships are what make the program a success.”

mckinley2The Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools on Oahu.

“I’d like to thank our attorneys who enthusiastically volunteered to visit participating classrooms for pre-event discussions and preparations,” said Jodi Lei Kimura Yi, HSBA President. “It was exciting to see the students intently following the arguments and asking very probing questions after the official court proceedings.”

mckinley-vipThe court heard oral argument in the case of State v. Trinque. Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students; one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

Hawaii Fourth and Eighth Graders Show Improvement in Science in National Assessment

The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Science assessment, released today by the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics, shows Hawaii’s fourth and eighth graders are making progress.

For grade 4, the average scale score of 146 was six points higher than the score of 140 in 2009.  For grade 8, the average scale score of 144 was five points higher than the score of 139 in 2009.

naepHawaii’s gains in science exceeded national gains, but Hawaii’s scores remain currently lower than the average scale scores for national public schools, as are Hawaii’s percentages of students achieving at or above proficient and at or above basic levels.

“These results validate the gains that we reported earlier this month as part of our Hawaii Science assessments,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, HIDOE Superintendent.  “Now, with the recent adoption of Next Generation Science Standards, our schools are moving towards a more engaging approach to learning science where we expect the science instruction to connect with understanding the world around them and prepare them for community, career and college.”

NAEP achievement levels are set by the National Assessment Governing Board.  “Basic” indicates partial mastery of prerequisite grade-level knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.  “Proficient” represents competency over complex subject matter and may go beyond the grade level tested, and “Advanced” stands for superior performance.

NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.  NAEP reports are located at http://nationsreportcard.gov.

School Children Help Release Rescued Shearwaters

School children from Island School helped release five fledgling ‘A‘o (Newell’s Shearwaters) and one Leach’s Storm-petrel yesterday as part of the annual E Hoopomaikai ‘ia na Manu ‘A‘o (A Cultural Release of the Native Newell’s Shearwater) event.  The event was organized by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP) and the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) project.

 Island School teacher Rebecca Snowden and Tracy Anderson of SOS release a Newell's Shearwater


Island School teacher Rebecca Snowden and Tracy Anderson of SOS release a Newell’s Shearwater

Every year, young shearwaters are attracted to artificial lights on the island of Kauai, where they are rescued by concerned members of the public and passed over to the Save Our Shearwaters project.  There the birds are examined by trained staff, rehabilitated as necessary and then released to continue their journey out to sea.

Mike McFarlin, a KESRP staff member who helped organize the event, explained. “We do this once a year with the Save Our Shearwaters project – giving local school children the opportunity to take part in the release of these endangered seabirds.  Each bird is also offered a pule (Hawaiian prayer) by Kupuna Sabra Kauka just before it is released, which makes the event even more special and serves to highlight the importance of this species in Hawaiian culture.”

sheerwater

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Leach’s Storm-petrel

The ‘A‘o is one of two threatened seabirds found only on the Hawaiian Islands.  Kaua‘i holds an estimated 90% of the World population of this species, making it a vital refuge for the species.  The ‘A‘o breed mainly in remote and mountainous parts of the island, and populations have declined dramatically in recent years.  The decline is due to a number of issues, which include predation by introduced predators (such as feral cats, rats and pigs), collisions with man-made structures and fall-out of fledglings due to artificial lights.

Newly fledged birds are very vulnerable to lights and as they leave their burrows in the mountains for the first time and head out to sea.  On dark or stormy nights in particular they often become attracted to bright lights, which they circle until exhausted.  This often leads to them landing on the ground, where they are eaten by cats and dogs or run over by cars if they are not rescued.

Tracy Anderson, Coordinator for the Save Our Shearwaters project said, “This is always a busy time of year for us.  In recent years, we typically receive a hundred or more of these endangered seabirds, which – while a lot – is a far cry from the thousands received by the project twenty years ago.  This just goes to show how badly this species is doing, and highlights the importance of on-going conservation efforts to save the species.”

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Newell's Shearwater

Kupuna Sabra Kauka releases a Newell’s Shearwater

Members of the public can help at this time of year by keeping an eye out for fallen birds.  If birds are found, they should be carefully collected and placed in one of the aid stations located at Kauai County fire stations and other locations around the island, where they can be collected by the Save Our Shearwaters project staff.  The fall-out season starts at the end of September and ends in mid-December.

KESRP is a State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife project, administered by the Pacific Co-operative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.  SOS is a DLNR project housed at the Kaua’i Humane Society and financially supported by the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative.

Hawaii Awarded $1.5 Million from U.S. Department of Education to Improve Schools in Need

The U.S. Department of Education (DoED) announced today that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will receive $1.5 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG). Priority schools in a number of states are recipients of the grant as part of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The program will be phased out next school year with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

doe-logo“Providing the additional supports to schools that need it most is key to their success,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve seen the impact extended learning opportunities and professional development for teachers have made. In order to make improvements, we need to provide schools resources. This grant allows us the opportunity to move forward.”

In school year (SY) 2013-14, Waianae Elementary used SIG funds towards extending the school year to enable teachers to participate in professional development and students to learn for an additional 300 minutes each week. Most recently, Waianae Elementary was one of the participating Priority schools actively involved in the national Turnaround Arts Program. The initiative provided monies for in-school Professional Development (PD) embedding the arts into curriculum, summer leadership programs and supplies. At the end of SY 2016, some of the students participating in the program were invited to perform at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show.

Dole Middle School received funds in SY 2014-15, which was used to focus on four main areas: 1) development of a multi-tiered System of Instruction and Intervention; 2) increasing student engagement through the integration of technology; 3) increasing PD opportunities for faculty and staff; and 4) building a positive school climate that is safe and conducive to student learning.

Dole used part of the monies to host their first annual Middle School Conference where staff members including teachers, educational assistants and custodians, complex, and Title I State personnel, were invited to participate and share best practices. Similar to Waianae Elementary, Dole students benefitted from extended learning opportunities, while teacher rewards ranged from recognition to attendance to national conferences. Dole combined other resources (Uplinks, Title I, Hawaii Keiki Nurse and other community partnerships) allowing for implementation of the middle school philosophy and addressing student needs.

This year, Kekaha Elementary is an applicant for the part of the $1.5 million awarded to HIDOE. The Department and school are currently in the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hawaii State Teachers Association on how to best utilize the funds.

“We have seen a major shift in the campus culture these past three years including more parent involvement and better student engagement because of the programs and services we have been able to provide through the grant,” shared Waianae Elementary Principal Wendy Takahashi. “The partnerships we have gained through this opportunity from the Hawaii Arts Alliance to celebrities like Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and Alfre Woodard has helped to energize our students, teachers and school community.”

The SIG program has invested more than $7 billion to transform some of the country’s lowest performing schools. Nationwide, the efforts have been credited with the decline in dropout rates and an increase in graduation rates.

Parker School Announces Scholarship Opportunities and Open House

Parker School announces scholarship opportunities for the 2017-2018 school year, as well as admission events for prospective families.

parker-schoolThe Kahilu Scholarship is a $3,000 grant awarded to two new students entering grades 6, and one current Parker School students rising into grade 6. These three Kahilu Scholarships will be given in recognition of a student’s academic merit, character, and demonstrated passion in an area of interest to the student (for example: sports, the arts, a community organization such as a church or cultural activity, or any other area that is meaningful to the student and in which their participation is notable). The Kahilu Scholarship is renewed each year of the student’s Parker School career based upon academic progress, good citizenship, and upholding the school’s code of conduct.  These awards may be given in conjunction with need-based financial aid.

The Richard Smart Merit Scholarship is a $5,000 grant awarded to students entering their freshmen year. A total of two grants will be given on the basis of exceptional academic merit and potential. Students applying to attend Parker School and returning Parker School students are eligible to apply. The award renews each year of the recipient’s high school career based upon excellent academic progress and an exemplary disciplinary record. These awards may be given in conjunction with need-based financial aid.

Prospective families are invited to attend one of the following admission events to see the campus, meet faculty and students and speak one-on-one about Parker school.

  • K-12 Open House (adults/children welcome):  Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 9:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Kindergarten and First Grade Preview (adults only):  Wednesday, November 9, 2016 from 8:30–10:00 a.m.

To learn more about Parker School’s scholarships or to register for an event, please visit parkerschoolhawaii.org

Free Youth Soccer Clinic November 2 in Hilo

Boys and girls age 6 to 14 years old are invited to a free soccer clinic that will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 2, at Dr. Frances F.C. Wong Stadium in Hilo.

wong-stadiumHawai‘i’s Chevy dealers, in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, are sponsoring the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic. Special needs participants of all ages are welcome to attend.

Players will be divided into age groups and rotate through skills stations to learn the essentials of dribbling, passing, shooting, and more. Instruction will be provided by soccer.com staff. All players will receive a T-shirt and post-clinic snack.

Clinic spots will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited.

To register, go to http://soccer.youthsportsclinics.com/, select “Hawai‘i” in the drop-down menu, enter the password “kickit” in lowercase, and click “Submit.” Then, click “Register Now” for the desired session, enter registration information, click “Add Attendee” on the next screen to add players, and click the blue “Complete Registration” button at end of the page to submit the registration. Don’t forget to download the wavier. Each keiki must have a completed waiver to participate.

Questions should be directed to Beth Heyer at 678-852-5379 or bheyer@gmdealerprograms.com.

‘Ohana Health Plan Donates Fans to Help Maui Kids Stay Cool in School

Although a recent addition to the Maui Waena Intermediate School includes nine air-conditioned classrooms, many of the school’s 1,100 students are still in rooms with little relief from the Maui heat. To help create a better educational environment for all students, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company, today presented 40 tower and mini fans to the school.

ohana-health-plan-logo‘Ohana representatives were joined at the ceremony by Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui and State Representative Justin Woodson (D-9).

“There is a significant relationship between education and health. We thank Rep. Woodson for recognizing this and connecting ‘Ohana to a school in need,” said Scott Sivik, market vice president at ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The best learning takes place in comfortable settings, and we are honored to help create an environment at Maui Waena that helps every student have the opportunity to succeed.”

“I would like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for taking the initiative to engage with the community to help fill needs that assist students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Woodson.

“A big mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous fan donation to Maui Waena and for recognizing that it’s important for members of the community to pitch in to help create a conducive learning environment for our students,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “I’d also like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for becoming a partner in other initiatives that support the overall health and well-being of our keiki, such as the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative.”

“I want to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous donation and really appreciate the community support of our school. It helps with student learning,” said Jamie Yap, principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

As of June 30, 2016, ‘Ohana Health Plan has more than 230 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 57,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund Releases New Marine Debris Prevention Curriculum for Elementary School Students

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF) is excited to announce the release of our new marine debris prevention curriculum designed for elementary school students around Hawaiʻi.

hwf-kidsOver the past two school years, HWF mentors piloted this curriculum in 20 public schools working with over 52 different teachers and 1,140 students (grade kindergarten to 5th).  HWF mentors worked with students at schools around Hawaiʻi Island: in Kona, Kohala, Kaʻū, Hāmākua, Hilo, and Puna.

beach-clean-up-hwfThe “Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach” program teaches children about:

  • Understanding aquatic life and ecosystems (basic marine biology concepts)
  • Marine debris and how land-based litter sources find their way into the sea
  • Exploring what a “discard” really is and how our daily choices affect the amount of trash we produce
  • Vulnerability of island ecosystems and communities and the responsibility (kuleana) that we each have to protect them.

The curriculum was designed as a 3-visit program that challenged students to put forward innovative solutions to this global marine-debris problem.  The lessons are aligned with all Common Core and Next Generation Science and other benchmarks relevant to the elementary school level.

innovations-posterAll of the lessons and activities are available for free download from the HWF website or at the following link: http://wildhawaii.org/MDKEO/Su mmaryTeacherEdition.pdf

“It was a great pleasure guest teaching in the many different classrooms around the island.  We look forward to deepening our relationships with Hawaiʻi Island students and teachers in the coming years” said HWF mentor and Education Coordinator, Stacey Breining.

school-reached

In addition, nine cleanup events were conducted as an optional follow-up component of this program (6 beach cleanups, 2 stream cleanups, 1 campus cleanup).   During these nine cleanup events, 286 students participated in removing over 1,500 lbs. of marine and land-based debris items from the coastline, stream banks, or their campus.

Please contact HWF at marine.debris.KEO@gmail.com or 808-769-7629 for more information or visit the HWF website (www.wildhawaii.org).

Kaiser High Hosts Cultural Exchange With Students From Japan

Kaiser High’s gymnasium was filled anticipation and excitement this morning as the school welcomed more than 300 students from Hokkaido Sapporo Intercultural & Technological High School (HSITHS). The visitors arrived for cultural exchange activities, which included musical performances, speeches and traditional Japanese dance demonstrations.

kaiser-elementary2Before the assembly started sophomore Noah Matsumoto said, “I’m looking forward to meeting the students from Hokkaido. I’m Japanese and have never been to Japan, so it’ll be interesting to have a chance to talk with them and learn about their culture and be able to teach them about ours.”

kaiser-elementary3The group comprised of 13 dignitaries from Hokkaido including Vice Governor Yoshihiro Yamaya who presented a gift to Principal Justin Mew and shared his goal of increasing educational opportunities between Hokkaido and Hawaii.

“Sharing music is a wonderful way to showcase any culture,” said Principal Mew. “We were honored to be able to make our visitors feel welcomed this morning by having our Kaiser High band play the Hokkaido school song to conclude the assembly. It was heartwarming to hear their song and our alma mater played with such pride in front of a packed gym.”

MCLC at Kaiser High.

MCLC at Kaiser High.

Following the assembly, students spread out in small groups throughout the campus to discuss a variety of topics such as Foreign Studies, Science, Engineering, and Global Business. The students also discussed pop culture.

“I was really excited to talk to the students from Hokkaido about fashion,” said sophomore Grailee Caldwell. “This was an incredible opportunity and experience because we were able to meet with them one-on-one and really get to talk about our similarities and differences, like our high school experiences.”

This morning’s cultural exchange was part of ongoing efforts to establish a Sister-State agreement between Hokkaido and Hawaii in 2017. It will be the fifth prefecture in Japan to establish a formal relationship with the State.

The Hokkaido students will be in Hawaii until Oct. 23. Their only school visit was with Kaiser High because of the school’s prestigious International Baccalaureate accreditation.

For more information about Kaiser High School, visit www.kaiserhighschoolhawaii.org. Information about the State of Hawaii’s current Sister-States is available at http://bit.ly/2ed14Sl.

Donations Secured to Replace Kids Stolen Laptops

Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz  secured donations to help in replacing some of the 27 Chromebooks that were taken in a burglary at Wahiawa Middle School last month. Sen. Dela Cruz and the Leilehua Alumni and Community Association will be launching a fundraising drive to raise additional funds to replace the remaining stolen items.

chromebookThe computers that were stolen are needed for a proper learning environment. Sen. Dela Cruz, who is an alumnus of Wahiawa Middle, wanted to act quickly so students would not be without the computers for a long period.

“As schools move forward with an education based in science, technology, engineering, and math, the right equipment is vital to building their skills,” said Sen. Dela Cruz. “The Leilehua Alumni and Community Association will play a critical role as schools make this transition. Whether it be donating computers or receiving grants for educational programs, the Association exists to assist all schools in the Leilehua complex.”

Additional Chromebooks, along with a MacBook Pro laptop, and an LCD projector are still needed. The Leilehua Alumni and Community Association is asking the community to make a small donation so they can continue to support our students. More information on the fundraising drive is forthcoming.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Honolulu Police Department. Police are still seeking leads on the suspects wanted for the burglary.

Kids Halloween Party Moved to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it has moved the Halloween Hilo Kids Party from Pana‘ewa Park to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium located at 350 Kalanikoa Street in Hilo.

halloween-partyOpen to all ages, the free event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the venue change might cause and thanks the public for its understanding to utilize a different venue with more parking to accommodate the large number of participants.

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