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1,000 Desks Donated to South African Schools on Behalf of the Worldwide Voyage

Hokulea crewmembers and a delegation of Hawaii students, teachers and families visited St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School near Cape Town, South Africa to present 50 Tutudesks featuring artwork inspired by the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. An additional 1,000 desks will be delivered to township schools in the Durban, South Africa area in early 2016. The donation of desks will support the campaign’s goal to provide 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2020.


“These Tutudesks will help students have space at home to do their homework. Even in the   classroom, it’s going to help teachers do individual work with each child,” said Vuyiswa Lebenya, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Following the presentation, Ke Ka o Makalii – a group comprised of teachers and students from Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School – offered hula and mele celebrating the past voyages of Hokulea. Students from St. Mary’s then followed with their own local songs and dances before inviting the Hawaii delegation to participate.


“When I saw them dancing together, that is what global peace looks like. It’s finding that rhythm that’s down deep inside that allows us to be completely the same, to be respectful and caring of everyone,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hokulea crewmembers and the Hawaii delegation are in South Africa this week as part of Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.


The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign provides portable school desks to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New Waimea District Park

A groundbreaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing for a new 24-acre Waimea District Park were held Monday, November 16, during a public ceremony attended by Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Councilmembers, State lawmakers, and Parker Ranch Inc. executives.

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16. Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama performs the blessing ceremony for a new Waimea District Park on Monday, November 16.
Image provided by: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

The project’s first phase, complete with three covered play courts, lighted ball field and keiki playground, will be opened in December 2016, well ahead of the original 2020 estimate, Mayor Kenoi said while standing in front of the green pastures to be developed into active recreation.

“It’s going to be a pu‘uhonua (place of peace and safety) in beautiful Waimea,” he said.

Parker Ranch donated the land for the park site located near its former headquarters and reached via Ala ‘Ōhi‘a Road.

“This is truly an exciting day for Waimea and the Big Island,” Dutch Kuyper, Parker Ranch president and CEO, said, noting athletic fields are where children can learn good sportsmanship and humility, even in defeat.

Contractor Nan Inc. has been hired to build the project’s first phase, which also will feature accessible walkways, more than 150 paved parking spaces, landscaping, and infrastructure.

Mayor Kenoi thanked the Waimea community, including the Waimea District Park Builders, for not giving up on the dream of a new park. He also thanked State leaders for helping obtain partial funding for the park development, the County Council for approving the balance of the necessary funding, and the Department of Parks and Recreation for managing the project.

Kamehameha 6th Grader Earns National American Miss Hawaii Title – Heads to Mainland for National Pageant

Kamehameha 6th Grader Jordanna Takaki, daughter of Kori Takaki and Derek Kalai, has earned the prestigious title of 2015 National American Miss Hawaii through her successfully scored events in the local pageant.

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

She will be attending the National Pageant to be held at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week, representing Hawaii, where she will have the opportunity to win her share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Jordanna is on the “Principals List – Honor Roll” at Kamehameha School Hawaii Campus and is active in the Drama Club while also dancing Tahitian for Merahi Productions. She enjoys swimming and was recently involved in the Hilo Palace Theater production of Mary Poppins.
Jordanna at Life Care Center
Jordanna volunteers at the Life Care Center of Hilo where she enjoys singing and dancing for the patients.

The pageant will be held on November 28th at Disneyland.

EPA Awards $80,000 to Educate Hawaiian Students on Local Watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $80,000 to the Pacific American Foundation located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

pacific american foundation

The goal of the program, Wisdom of the Watershed, is to improve environmental science education by increasing the interest of Hawaii’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines through culturally-relevant curriculum and meaningful outdoor watershed educational experiences.

The program will help sixth through twelfth grade students explore and compare three different watersheds in Hawaii with different land management practices. Students will take field trips partnered with research scientists and will measure water quality in the watersheds using scientific instrumentation. The microbial and sediment environments will also be sampled. Students will analyze the collected data and engage in service learning projects to improve environmental quality throughout the watersheds.

“Hawaii’s watersheds are unique,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Pacific American Foundation will teach the next generation of scientists to protect and manage these critical natural resources.”

“The Pacific American Foundation’s program, Wisdom of the Watershed, provides environmental educational by engaging students, in current, ongoing environmental research through partnerships with University researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and public and private sector businesses, thus providing relevance in STEM learning and a profound understanding of both the scientific and engineering processes,” said Derek Esibill, Program Director of the Wisdom of the Watershed Program. “Concurrently, the program engages teachers by tailoring their curriculum to enable students to participate in ridge to reef expeditions. These expeditions use cultural, place-based research projects to create meaningful outdoor experiences, increasing the interest of Hawai`i’s youth to pursue pathways in STEM careers.”

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

For more information on Environmental Education Grants, please visit: www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants

For more information on the Pacific American Foundation, please visit: www.pacificamerican.foundation

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Time-of-Use Rates to Help Public Schools

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have proposed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission new, lower day-time electric rates for the Hawaii Department of Education that could help public schools manage their electricity costs as they add more air conditioning and cooling equipment, while also using renewable energy that is available during day-time hours.

Helco new Logo 2

“At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, we know the challenges in providing a comfortable learning environment for our students and teachers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “There’s been a big push for air conditioning and fans in our public schools so we wanted to find a way to assist in controlling their energy costs as they add this equipment.

“Our goal in proposing these rates is to give the Department of Education the opportunity to expand air conditioning in classrooms across the state with a tool to manage the increase in electricity use that could really hit a school’s utility budget,” he said.

“These schools are supported by our tax dollars,” said Alberts, “Giving schools greater control over their electric bills will allow more money to pay for education and other priorities.”

Hawaiian Electric estimates that the Department of Education would have saved about 9 percent on electric bills for the twelve months ended June 2015 had the proposed rates been in effect. These savings could help offset the increase in costs as more air-conditioning and cooling equipment is added.

“The department has been working on a number of ways to effectively cool schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The time-of-use rate proposed by Hawaiian Electric would enable us to move forward on air conditioning projects while managing energy costs as well as foster responsible energy usage.”

Each of the 240 public schools in the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ service territories (Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu) will have the option to take advantage of the new rates. Actual savings will depend on how much each school is able to change its use to fit the time-of-use rate periods. Participating schools would pay:

  • The lowest rate – about 25 percent less than the recent average effective energy charge –from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (super off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is the same as the existing energy charge rate from midnight to 8 a.m. (off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is higher — above the existing energy charge rate — from 4 p.m. to midnight (on-peak hours).

Proposed rates also support renewable energy

These rates are also designed to encourage more electricity use during the hours of the day when renewable energy – particularly solar – is adding more low cost electricity to the grid. In addition, by designing time-of-use rates to better match demand with energy supply, the utilities may also reduce the need for additional system resources, including utility generation, during evening peak hours.

The new rates provide educational as well as operational opportunities for students and teachers as well as administrators to see each participating school’s energy use. With the additional grid intelligence from the Hawaiian Electric Companies Smart Power for Schools’ program, electricity use trends with the proposed DOE time-of-use rates can be monitored, managed and evaluated by both the DOE and Hawaiian Electric Companies to refine the rate schedules in the future.

The proposed new rates are called “Schedule DOE-J, Commercial Time-of-Use Service” and “DOE-P, Large Power Time-of-Use Service.” Most schools would fall under the DOE-J rate.

Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC to allow these rates to go into effect by January 5, 2016 and stay in effect for ten years, through four to five of the Department of Education’s two-year budget cycles to ensure proper evaluation of the stated objectives.

Other time-of-use rate programs to come

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also developing time-of-use rate proposals that other customers will be able to take advantage of to help manage their energy costs and support renewable energy. Those proposals will be submitted to the PUC this month.

UH Hilo Participating in Million Student March #MillionStudentMarch

The United Hawaii Student Union (UHSU), a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo is happy to be an organizer of the national movement #MillionStudentMarch this Thursday at UH Hilo.
Student March
The event will start at 10am at the Mookini Library and will go on until 4pm. Anybody in support of student rights is invited.
Hawai’i Senator Russell Rudderman will be speaking at 12pm along with Hawai’i County Corporation Council Attorney Steven Strauss along with other speakers. A UH Hilo campus march will begin at 12:30pm. Please wear red.
The national demands consist of 3 items:
  1. Tuition-free public colleges and universities
  2. Cancellation of all student debt
  3.  $15/hr campus-wide minimum wage for college workers

Please bring local food for the all day potluck.  Facebook event here Official website www.studentmarch.org

For more information contact UHSU at Uhstudentunion@gmail.com

UHSU Commentary – Hawaii Community College Student Wants Answers on Student Funding

United Hawai’i Student Union (UHSU) member Asia Olsen sent the following email to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at Hawaii Community College Jason Cifra.

Asia Olsen

Asia Olsen Facebook picture

He is required by state law to respond within 10 business days. UHSU will keep you posted on his response.

See you at the #MillionStudentMarch this Thursday 10-4pm Library Lanai.
Facebook event here

Aloha Jason Cifra,

Per the Freedom of Information Act and the Sunshine Law I would like to request answers and / or corresponding documentation to the following:

Currently what are the names all of the individual Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs) of HawCC?

Please provide me with all of the individual CSOs of HawCC’s constitutions, charters and/ or bylaws.

Please provide me with all of the budgets for the past five years of all of HawCC’s CSOs.

How much money was collected in student fees this fiscal year?

Please provide the amount of student fees collected over the individual past 5 fiscal years.

What paid positions are paid for out of HawCC’s CSOs budgets?

Please provide the names of the individuals whose positions are funded by HawCC student fees.

Please provide the job descriptions of all positions paid for by HawCC student fees.

Please provide the names of the individuals and their job descriptions of all positions paid for by HawCC student fees over the past 5 fiscal years.

Please provide the names and job descriptions of all employees in the student affairs department at HawCC.

Please provide me with any and all documentation, guidelines, rules, policies and/or regulations of pertaining to the allocation of student fees.

Does the Student Life Center receive funding from student fees?

Please provide the current fiscal year budget for the Student Life Center.

Please provide the budgets and receipts of the Student Life Center over the past 5 fiscal years.

Who is currently in charge of the Student Life Center?

Who is the designated representative by the board of regents at HawCC who may withdraw funds on behalf of Chartered Student Organizations in reference to: §304A-2257 University of Hawaii student activities revolving fund?

Mahalo for your cooperation,

Asia Olsen
Hawaii Community College student
United Hawaii Student Union member

Operation Compassion Collects Over 70 Kits for Abused Children and Victims of Domestic Violence

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita and her daughter, Deannah Che Preston worked for two months on project, Operation Compassion to help collect therapeutic kits for abused children and victims of domestic violence.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

High School senior, Deannah Che wanted to make a difference in children’s lives.  “It really saddens me when children have to experience abuse, especially alone.”  Her purpose was to show them that they are not alone and that people care.  Together, they have seen the outpouring of support.  “We are so fortunate to live in a community that everyone pulls together to inspire change and we are humbled and grateful for all the support” says, Dr. Hannah.

Due to this support, BISAC will continue this as an annual campaign to benefit the Children’s Justice Center a program which provides support to abused children and victims of domestic violence.

Since 1964, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives.  “These kits will continue our mission and hopefully make a difference in our community” says, Dr. Hannah.    If you want to donate please contact 969-9994 ext. 827.

Commentary – UH Hilo Student Reporters Threatened by UH Hilo Security

On Friday, October 30, 2015 at 5:10pm UH Hilo Campus Security told student reporters that they had to leave a public University of Hawaii at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) meeting or the security guard would have to, “call HPD (Hawaii Police Department).” Campus Security said that because UHHSA requested the reporters to stop recording, and then deemed the recording a ‘disruption’ there were grounds to call the police. See video here

Click to view recording

Click to view recording

UHHSA President Lazareth Sye told the reporters, “if you wish to record that you do so not here.” He then stated, “I’m going to identify it as a disruption since the people who are involved at the meeting are not able to focus on what they are trying to do which is represent the student body.”

The reporters work for UHSUnews, the news outlet of the Registered Independent Student Organization (RISO) The Student Union, at UH Hilo.

UHHSA members maintained the student association has a right to limit access to public meetings and prevent recordings from occurring. UHHSA displayed signs at the meeting informing attendees that student IDs were required to enter the meeting and recording devices were forbidden.

UHSUnews reporters provided documentation to UHHSA and UH Hilo Security informing them of the university policies and laws protecting free press, and allowing recording public meetings.  See pictures here

At the 10/5/15 UHHSA meeting UH Hilo Dean of Students Dr. Kelly Oaks advised UHHSA that nothing could be done to prevent recording public meetings. Oaks told UHHSA, “Hawai’i is a one party consent state as it relates to recordings and that one party and the one party can be the party who is recording if this is an open and public meeting I would say its not something that we can prevent.” To which President Sye said, “ok, so  members, seeing that we are being recorded and to act as such, with that being said,:

In the following 10/23/15 and 10/30/15 meetings President Lazareth Sye claimed the recording was a disruption and closed the public meeting.

Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano was the only UH Official in the 10/30/15 meeting. She was also present when Dean Oaks informed UHHSA that nothing could be done to prevent recording of public meetings. Kusano is one of the defendants named on a lawsuit the University of Hawaii recently settled regarding free speech on campus. As a result of this lawsuit naming Kusano the university was forced to pay $50K see settlement here and was required to update its policy on free expression. See UH Hilo Free Expression Policy here

UHHSA has an annual budget of  approximately $170K and represents 4,000 UH Hilo students.  The UHHSA Constitution states, “All meetings shall be open and publicized.” See constitution here

UHSUnews reporters now say there have been student conduct code complaints filed against them.

Students have complained that UHHSA has been excessively influenced by UH Hilo Campus Center employees. UH Hilo student and Student Union President Ryu Kakazu said, “What you have are university administrators in positions of authority using their influence to promote their interests over the interests of students. It has gone on for far too long.”

A complaint has been filed with UH Hilo Security. UHSUnews student reporters say they will continue to attend UHHSA meetings and exercise their right to record as afforded by UH policy and laws. The next UHHSA meeting will be on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 8pm in CC306 at UH Hilo. see press release file here

Contact: Student Union Member Shawna Wolff swolff@hawaii.edu or call 494-8784

Zonta Service Project Presents $10K to Neighborhood Place of Puna

The Zonta Club of Hilo organized a Halloween party—“Halloween Madness”—for more than 125 individuals at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) on October 24.

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna.  Photo by Jenna Roussy

Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presents $10,000 Weinbeg Foundation grant award to Paul Norman of Neighborhood Place of Puna. Photo by Jenna Roussy

“Halloween Madness” was done as part of The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program, which gave the Zonta Club’s chosen non-profit $10,000 upon completion of a sweat equity project. The Halloween-themed event was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s 2015 project.

Hilo Zontians kicked off the event with direct work activities including installing curtain rods and curtains to help cut glare in NPP’s multipurpose room, and creating 20 holiday readiness cleaning buckets as well as 200+ personal hygiene kits for families in need.

Following the work session, 25 client families with four to six children ranging in age from months to 12-years-old, were invited to make healthy snacks including a vegetable witch’s broom and Oreo cookie spider; visit the craft station and create monster magnets, decorate trick-or-treat bags or fold origami; and select an outfit from the costume closet. Target Hilo donated $400 worth of Halloween costumes to help fill the closet.

“It was the Zonta Club of Hilo’s absolute pleasure to support the good work Neighborhood Place of Puna does to empower area families with knowledge and resources,” said Julie Tulang, organizer for event. “Hilo Zontians and volunteers found it very rewarding to be able to interact with the families in the spook-tacular spirit of Halloween.”

After the morning’s work and Halloween activity sessions, Zonta Club of Hilo president, Tonya Ozone, presented a $10,000 grant award to NPP Executive Director, Paul Norman, to support Neighborhood Place of Puna’s “Kamalama Parenting Project,” a parenting curriculum to help area families raise healthy children in a safe, stable home environment.

Queens and princesses from Lehua Hawaii Productions (LHP) were on-hand to volunteer at “Halloween Madness.” Prior to the event, LHP in partnership with Zonta Hilo, hosted a costume and personal care items drive to secure donations.

For the last 17 years, the Zonta Club of Hilo has taken part in The Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Foundation’s Weinberg Friends Program.

Free Youth Soccer Clinic 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 4, at Dr. Frances F.C. Wong Stadium in Hilo.

Hawai‘i’s Chevy dealers, in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation, is sponsoring the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic. The free clinic is open to the first 200 keiki who register. Soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, passing and shooting skills will be taught at the clinic.

Hawaii ClinicEach child must RSVP online at soccer.youthsportsclinics.com. Select the “Hawai‘i” market and enter the password “kickit” to complete the free registration process. A signed waiver form, available from the same website, also is required. Waiver forms will be offered at the event.

Concessions will not be available, so family members are encouraged to bring their own refreshments. All participants will receive a clinic T-shirt and a post-clinic snack.

For more information about the Chevy Youth Soccer Instructional Clinic, please contact CYS Coordinator Beth Heyer at 770-407-8565 or bheyer@gmdealerprograms.com.

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

Commentary – UH Hilo’s Secret Student Government

University of Hawaii Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) seems to be getting more and more secretive these days.

Last night, for the first time, they posted these signs in front of the meeting:

UHHSA2Only students and faculty with a UH ID were permitted to enter. A student was denied access because he didn’t have his ID. What is going on over there?


From the UHHSA Constitution:

The UH Hilo Student Association Senate has a responsibility and obligation to provide open government. All meetings shall be open and publicized. Communication shall be accomplished by the publication of the UHHSA Constitution and By-Laws, budget, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and schedule of UHHSA and committee meetings in a timely manner for the purpose of informing and encouraging student participation in student government.

UHHSA Constitution lead
Why are they not following their own constitution? What’s the big secret?


University of Hawaii Student Union

College Fairs Hosting More then 70 Universities

The Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling (HACAC) is pleased to announce two Fall 2015 college fairs happening on Hawai`i Island.

  • The East Hawai`i fair will take place on October 29, 2015 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Edith Kanakaole Mulit-Purpose Stadium.
  • The West Hawai`i fair will take place on October 30, 2015 from 9:00 am – 11:00 am in the Hilton Waikoloa Village Ballroom.

Both fairs will feature over 70 colleges from Hawaii and across the mainland.

College Fair

A general advising and financial aid center will be available to students and their families to answer specific questions regarding the college admission process and financial aid.

The college fair is free of charge and is designed to include all Hawai`i Island students interested in pursuing higher education opportunities.  Students and parents may attend with their schools or on their own.

For more information, please see your school counselor or email Hawai`i Island HACAC representative, Joanie Brotman, at <jbrotman@parkerschoolhawaii.org>.

Fall Pre-Teen Dance Party

The Hui Hīnano (a consortium of extracurricular clubs at Nāwahī) is hosting a pre-teen dance at Andrews gym for students currently in grades 6-8 on Oct. 3.
fall danceTickets are $7 pre-sale.  This is a drug and alcohol free event.

Kamehameha Schools Girl Wins Hawaii Stars Competition

Hawaii Island Kamehameha Schools Middle School (KMS) student Kyra Gomes was crowned the 2015 Hawaii Stars Teen Competition champion on tonight’s broadcast of Hawaii Stars.

Kyra on Hawaii StarsGomes, a talented 8th grader at KMS Kula Waena, started her career at a young age and has been in many performances over the years.  She received rave reviews as the lead role in the Broadway Musical “Annie” that was performed at Kamehamea Schools when she was still in elementary school and recently performed at the Hilo Palace Theater in “A Century of Hapa Haole Songs”.

Kyra, daughter of Jeffrey and Wendy Gomes of Hilo, Hawaii, performed “Proud of Your Boy” from the Disney Broadway show Aladdin.  She took initiative and went outside of the box and made a creative turn in the song and changed the lyrics to “Proud of Your Girl”.

In order to advance to the finals, there were two preliminary rounds at the 50th State Fair held at Aloha Stadium.   According to sources on the scene… “she actually made the women judges cry there as well…”

Big Island State Champs Heading to Washington D.C. – Seeking Sponsor

Hawaii’s defending girls basketball state champs are headed to Washington D.C.

WildcatsThe Konawaena Wildcats, six-time state champions in the last dozen years, are one of 48 teams across the nation that have been invited to participate in the prestigious Title IX Tournament  and Conference to be held Dec. 27-30 at the D.C. Armory  in our nation’s capital.

This three-day, four-bracket tournament widens opportunities for female student-athletes as teams with highly recruited players compete against local talent before a wide range of coaches and scouts seeking to award scholarships  — scholarships made possible because of the passage of Title IX.

Konawaena returns a strong lineup of six returnees who were part of the team that defeated Lahainaluna of Maui 51-41 to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament in March. The wildcats feature Chanelle Molina, the state’s top player and the most recruited girls basketball player in Hawaii high school history.

Also returning are starters Mercedes “Ihi” Victor, Mikayla Tablit, and sisters Celena Molina and Cherilyn Molina. They are joined by returnee Mahie Kaawa and newcomer Jenny Fong. The Wildcats, who were ranked 20th in the nation last year, are favored to repeat as state champions in 2015.

While participating in the tournament and conference in D.C., the team will also tour important institutions, monuments and sites within the District of Columbia. The event is sponsored by the Sankofa Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the bar of expectations for girls, particularly as scholar-athletes. It also seeks to raise the expectations of the systems and communities that support them.

The team is seeking a title sponsor for this event in return for any type of marketing opportunities for the sponsor as amateur athletics will allow. If a title sponsor cannot be identified, the committee hopes to seek smaller donations by businesses and individuals who have supported the program in the past and see the value of the Konawaena girls basketball program. Many of Coach Bobbie Awa’s players have had the opportunity to receive college educations, and some of them have returned to Kona and Hawaii and become role models to new generations of scholar athletes.

The companion conference will allow participants to learn about Title IX, but more importantly. the girls will be empowered to self advocate in the area of sports, STEM careers, leadership, public speaking, financial literacy, citizenship and civics.

“This experience will last a life time for some of our girls,” said Awa. “We’ve been invited to other good tournaments, but this is an opportunity for them to learn about Title IX, where their opportunities came from.”

A committee has been formed by Athletic Director Bill Trumbo to come up with donations to defray the cost of this trip for the team and coaches. This committee is made up of Trumbo, head coach Awa and Bobby Command, Konawaena booster and deputy planning director for the County of Hawaii. Separate travel packages will also be available for basketball fans who would like to accompany the team to Washington D.C.

“The success at Konawaena doesn’t just happen,” said Trumbo. “It takes the passion and commitment of someone like Coach Awa. I see this trip as recognition for all her years of  building this program.”

There is reason to believe that the Kona girls have a shot at faring well in this tournament. The 2014 version of the Wildcats gained national prominence during the Iolani Classic by defeating No. 23-ranked Miramonte 63-62 and No.  1-seeded Riverdale Baptist (Md.) 49-41, before falling to St. Mary’s of California 68-59 in what would be the team’s only loss of the season. The Wildcats finished 31-1 and ranked 23rd in the nation.

“This is just like the movie ‘Hoosiers,'” said Command. “This is a small team from a tiny school in a far off corner of an isolated state traveling to the big city miles to play some of the top teams in the nation.”

Konawaena High School is a firm supporter of equal opportunities for female scholar athletes, which were made possible by the 1972 passage of Title IX co-authored and introduced by Sen. Birch Bayh (Ind.) and Hawaii Rep. Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress.

Now known as the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, it states, in part, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Mary Poppins at the Hilo Palace Theater

My son will be starring as “Michael” in the the Palace Theater Production of the 14th Annual Fall Musical “Mary Poppins”.
Mary Poppins PosterTickets are $15.00 in advance or $20 the day of the shows.

Seven Hawaii Schools to Offer Free Meals to All Students

This school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program this school year at seven public schools, which will allow all students at those schools to receive free meal service.

Free Lunch

The program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to everyone even if they do not qualify for the free or reduced lunch reimbursement.

The CEP program has been adopted by jurisdictions around the country. “One major factor in the future of the program is the high cost of a meal in Hawaii compared with the much lower rates around the country,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to participate in this pilot to benefit families in need.”

The schools participating in the pilot program are:

To qualify for CEP, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school lunch for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state.​

Under the program, all students in a CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven pilot schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

“The schools were chosen so that the Department can analyze how families and students in a single island community such as Molokai, respond to the program while also giving officials the chance to study the impact of individual schools in separate and distinct districts on Oahu and Hawaii Island,” Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson said.

For more information about CEP visit: http://bit.ly/HawaiiCEP


This Weekend – BISAC Summer Jam 2015

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is inviting the public to come out to celebrate the fun-filled days of summer at its Summer Jam 2015 on Saturday July 25, 2015 at Waiākea High School from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This year’s entertainment line up features New Zealand pop sensation Pieter T and Hawaiʻi’s own Nesian N.I.N.E.

Pieter T

Pieter T

Pieter T has been steadily climbing up the New Zealand radio charts since his days with the musical group, Boyband. In 2009 Pieter T debuted as a solo artist with the single “Cold Nights” followed by the singles, “Stay With Me”, “Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Something Else”, which peaked at number six on the NZ Radio Charts. His latest release is the single “Business” featuring PNC and Dei Hamo off his debut album “Life”.

Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era)

Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era)

Island Reggae Music group Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era) hit the charts in 2009 with their Hōkū-nominated album “Press Play,” and has been going strong ever since, appearing with BoyZ II Men, Klymaxx, El Debarge and others.

Other featured artists in the line up include, 2014 Brown Bags to Stardom winners One Rhythm 808, Beyond Paradise, and Kolea.

“It’s really very exciting to once again have so many talented artists coming to play at the Summer Jam,” said BISAC CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.

This year’s event will also feature a National Qualifier Strongman Competition, ‘ono food and keiki crafts and activities including the Zoo Choo, Bouncy Houses, Human Hamster Ball, Laser Tag, Bungee Run and a Sticky Wall. Keiki ride wristbands purchased online are 50% off. Entry is a $2 suggested donation.

All funds raised above the cost of producing the event go towards BISAC’s adult and school-based Poʻokela Vocational program, Mom and Babies program, and Keiki School Based Services.

For more information about BISAC’s Summer Jam go to www.summerjamhawaii.com.


Department of Education Updates Income Qualifications for Free and Reduced Lunch

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is announcing its policy update 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 for the 2015-16 school year. 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: 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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 (2015-16) 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. View our program page here​.

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:

Glenna Owens, SFA Director, 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. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.