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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Island Teacher Invited to Present at Prestigious Mainland Conference

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

Kimberly Enamoria

Kimberly Enanoria

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

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

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

Kamehameha Schools Selects New CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance Keawe Wilhelm
Chair, Board of Trustees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Advises Residents Downwind of Lava Flow to Take Precautions Against Smoke

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is advising Hawaii Island residents living near the lava flow in Puna that began on June 27 to plan ahead for potential smoke exposure from burning vegetation and low levels of sulfur dioxide.

Smoke seen in the background from Highway 130

Smoke seen in the background from Highway 130

The smoke effect on nearby communities will vary largely depending on unpredictable wind and weather conditions.

Smoke contains a mixture of gases and fine particles that may trigger adverse respiratory conditions. Additionally, encroaching lava may contain low levels of sulfur dioxide, an irritant gas emitted by the Kilauea Volcano.

DOH recommends that residents in smoke affected areas avoid outdoor activities or physical exertion. People with respiratory illness or heart disease, older adults and children are urged to avoid smoke exposure. Smoke may worsen symptoms for individuals who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Individuals that have these conditions should keep their medication refilled and use daily (controller) medication as prescribed. Anyone who feels they may need medication or medical attention should contact their physician.

Lava flow approaches Kaohe Homestead.

Lava flow approaches Kaohe Homestead.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the lava flow, residents and visitors are advised to listen to Hawaii County Civil Defense updates and advisories.

EPA Awards $200,000 to Children’s Defense Fund – Will Advance Environmental Stewardship on the Big Island

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $200,000 to the Children’s Defense Fund for their “Mauka to Makai” project designed to improve environmental education in their summer learning centers and partner schools on the Big Island.
EPA LOGOThe “Mauka to Makai” (Mountain to Sea) project will incorporate environmental themes across all core and non-core academic subjects with an emphasis on resource management and habitat restoration.

“We’re pleased to be part of an environmental education effort highlighting flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The “Mauka to Makai” stewardship will increase the protection of Hawaiian ecosystems from threats like invasive species, climate change, and habitat loss.”

Using a combination of student learning experiences, professional development for classroom educators, and strengthened partnerships linking public schools and local environmental agencies, the project will implement an environmental education model to increase community-wide knowledge of important environmental issues and foster the skills needed to help students, educators, families and the community make decisions about environmental responsibility and stewardship. The Mauka to Makai project aims to increase environmental knowledge on the Big Island by educating more than 7,000 students, providing professional development to over 100 educators, and supporting community projects through sub-awards.

The larger goal is to make the Mauka to Makai a model program that can be replicated across the nation with local partners and national experts. The project can be replicated with a similar focus on land to water resource issues or its focus can change with geographic location to highlight the regional environmental priorities of any given area.

The EPA Environmental Education Model Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness about environmental issues and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Mauka to Makai project is one of two projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that received an environmental education grant.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since July

8/28/14 UPDATE – Hawaiʻi Island police have located 16-year-old Shania Akiona of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing.

She was found unharmed in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday evening (August 27).

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for 16-year-old Kailua-Kona girl who was reported missing.

Shania Akiona

Shania Akiona

Shania Akiona was last seen in Kailua-Kona on July 8.

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with long black hair and brown eyes.

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

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

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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/ 

DOE Releases Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Copies of the policy are available at public schools.

Children from households with income at or below the following levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals:

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2014-2015) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and social security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a social security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Name of Hearing Official: Glenna Owens, SFA Director
Address: 1106 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816

Phone Number: (808) 733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845

In certain cases foster children are also eligible for school meal benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for them, the household should contact the school for more information.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.