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Get on Board Initiative Saves State Approximately $13 Million

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and TransPar have saved the state approximately $13 million annually through the Get on Board student transportation initiative.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

From 2013 to 2017, Hawaii public schools’ student bus transportation system underwent a comprehensive transformation, including the development of new procurement methods and contract models. Another key milestone for the four-year project involved incorporating new technology and the implementation of computerized routing software, GPS mapping and tracking, and the addition of video cameras to all school buses.

“We’ve successfully revamped our school bus transportation system during the four-year pilot program by using industry best practices to deliver economical, efficient and effective student transportation services,” said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “Through this pilot program, we’ve substantially reduced the annual cost of public school bus transportation services statewide by approximately $13 million.”

What started as a pilot project for 32 Central Oahu schools in 2013, has now grown and expanded statewide. During Phase 2, the program provided student bus transportation to all schools on Oahu, the Big Island and Molokai. Earlier this year, HIDOE successfully implemented the final phase of its Get on Board initiative with the awarding of new contracts on Maui and Kauai for the 2017-18 school year.

Now that the rollout has been completed, HIDOE and TransPar are focused on establishing the systems and process that support continuous improvement and sustainability. By using the technology acquired and process improvements implemented in the Get on Board initiative, the most efficient level of service continues to be provided to students.

“Despite the unexpected bus driver shortage that our bus contractors faced in August 2017, we worked with the schools and contractors to restore bus service as quickly as we could,” said Carlson. “As we look ahead and plan for the future, we’ll continue to assess the system on a daily basis, and improve service, safety and efficiency with TransPar’s guidance. We’re also exploring new ways to make our bus transportation system easier for students and their parents.”

For more information about Get on Board, please click here.

Public Schools Shine During Computer Science Education Week Festivities

Schools across the state joined nationwide celebrations of Computer Science Education with more than 170 events over the past week – from an Hour of Code at Kailua Elementary to a family friendly event hosted by Daniel K. Inouye Elementary that featured coding activities, robot obstacle courses and much more.

Schools across the state joined nationwide celebrations of Computer Science Education.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

“It’s wonderful to see students and teachers get excited about Computer Science education, not just during this Computer Science Education Week but year-round,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We’ve been working on advancing Computer Science curriculum as part of our Strategic Plan. We look forward to presenting our plans before the Board of Education on implementation across cross-disciplinary fields such as Math, Science, STEM, Advanced Placement and Career and Technical Education.”

In support of the Department’s efforts in developing rigorous K-12 computer science standards, Governor David Ige yesterday added his name along with other governors to the Governors Partnership for K-12 Computer Science.

Computer science (CS) education is tied to the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Strategic Plan and implementation strategies. Earlier this year, HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum Instruction and Student Support met with the Hawaii State Student Council to get their perspective on a CS education rollout effort.  The CS activities rolled out this week across the state is a reflection of the teacher collaboration taking place as well as raising opportunities for students to voice the importance of digital learning.

“We know that the workforce’s top jobs are in need of kids who are educated in computer science,” said Sarah Milianta-Laffin, seventh grade teacher, Ilima Intermediate. “If we’re going to get to that place, we have to get kids excited about it – we have to be their cheerleaders because we’re teaching them about a world that we haven’t been taught about ourselves.”

Many schools are incorporating courses in coding, which has been well received by students.

“Coding is a superpower,” explained Mitchell Togiai, seventh grader at Ilima Intermediate. “In the world that we live in today where technology is everywhere, it’s really important to learn how to code.”

Capping off CS Week

This evening, Superintendent Kishimoto and members of her leadership team will be attending a close out event – Momilani Elementary’s third annual CS for ALL Night. Due to the popularity of the annual festivity, the event is taking place at neighboring Pearl City High School. It will feature hands on activities connected to concepts in computer science such as computing systems, networks and the Internet, as well as algorithms and programming.

Big Island schools participating were:

  • Chiefess Kapiolani El
  • Honaunau El
  • Honokaa El
  • Kahakai El
  • Kealakehe El
  • Kealakehe High
  • Kealakehe Inter
  • Keaau El
  • Keonepoko El
  • Konawaena El
  • Mt. View El
  • Naalehu El
  • Waikoloa El & Middle
  • Waimea El

Approximately 600 Attend ‘Pearl Harbor Youth Day’

In remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack 76 years ago, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor once again sponsored Pearl Harbor Youth Day, December 9, from 10 am – 2 pm with free admission for students up to age 18. Approximately 600 attended the event. This year’s theme, “Celebrating the Pearl Harbor Child” focused on those who witnessed the attack as children and lived through the war years in Hawaii.

Visitors heard first-person accounts from former Pearl Harbor children such as Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson, award-winning author. The new Mattel American Girl Doll “Nanea Mitchell,” based in part on Ms. Nicholson’s experiences, was featured through a variety of activities that provided insight into the lives of those who were in Hawaii during the 1940s. Two “Nanea” dolls were given away during the day, compliments of American Girl.

Other highlights included a scavenger hunt, swing dancing, the ever popular open cockpits of some of the Museum’s most iconic aircraft, machine shop riveting with “Rosie the Riveter,” lei making, hula lessons, and costumed interpreters representing historic characters.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Historic Ford Island, where bombs fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visitors to the Museum can see remnants from that day of infamy, including the 158-foot tall, red and white iconic Ford Island Control Tower, Hangars 37 and 79, and bullet holes in Hangar 79. Through its preservation and restoration of World War II fighter planes and accompanying artifacts in the Museum’s historic hangars, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor shares the story of the vital role aviation played in the winning of World War II, and its continuing role in maintaining America’s freedom.

Hawaii Public Schools Serve Local Grass-Fed Beef in December

This month, Hawaii public schools are serving locally raised, grass-fed beef in its hamburger patties. Elementary and middle school students will be served teri hamburger steak, while high school students will enjoy teri loco moco lunches.

High school students will enjoy teri loco moco lunches (pictured above), while elementary and middle school students will be served teri hamburger steak.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

This is part of the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) effort to include more fresh local agriculture in student meals. It is made possible through a joint partnership with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the State Department of Agriculture, the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and the Hawaii Beef Industry Council.

“This is a great step forward in providing healthy options in our meal program and working with partners to make these opportunities possible,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “We appreciate the support of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and the Hawaii Beef Industry Council. Their partnership allows our students to understand the connection and importance of local agriculture.”

In 2015, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui spearheaded a partnership effort called, “Farm to School” (also known as ‘Aina Pono), with HIDOE, the Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center to increase local food in school lunches using products from the local community.

The Farm to School Initiative addresses the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our State school cafeterias. The Initiative also aims to systematically increase state purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with the ‘āina (land) through their food, using products from the local agricultural community.

“This initiative is a major game-changer in the way we are feeding our kids in schools. Along with changing what our keiki eat, we are serving them food made with local, fresh ingredients,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui. “This is a win-win for our students because they eat healthier, and for our farmers and ranchers because we are supporting our local agricultural industry.”

Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under ‘Aina Pono, which HIDOE has now adopted as its own. In addition to school gardens, nutrition, agriculture, health and food education, ‘Aina Pono has expanded to include test kitchens, meal programs, menu planning and efforts to include more fresh local agriculture in student meals.

Tomorrow: Kona Choral Society Youth Choruses – “Let Your Light Shine”

The Kona Choral Society Youth Choruses invites the public to a free concert tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 8th at 5:30 p.m.

Come enjoy the voices of three youth choruses as they present “Let Your Light Shine.”

Children from grades K-12 join together for this festive concert under the direction of Wendy Buzby, Youth Director.

Hale Halawai is located at 75-5760 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona.

Discovery of New Twin Planets Could Solve Mystery

Scientists are getting closer to the answer of how did the largest planets get to be so large, thanks to the recent discovery of twin planets by a University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy (UH IFA) team led by graduate student Samuel Grunblatt.

Upper left: Schematic of the K2-132 system on the main sequence. Lower left: Schematic of the K2-132 system now. The host star has become redder and larger, irradiating the planet more and thus causing it to expand. Sizes not to scale. Main panel: Gas giant planet K2-132b expands as its host star evolves into a red giant. The energy from the host star is transferred from the planet’s surface to its deep interior, causing turbulence and deep mixing in the planetary atmosphere. The planet orbits its star every nine days and is located about 2000 light years away from us in the constellation Virgo. PC: Karen Teramura, UH IFA

Gas giant planets are primarily made out of hydrogen and helium, and are at least four times the diameter of Earth. Gas giant planets that orbit close to their host stars are known as “hot Jupiters.”

These planets have masses similar to Jupiter and Saturn, but tend to be much larger—some are puffed up to sizes even larger than the smallest stars.

The unusually large sizes of these planets are likely related to heat flowing in and out of their atmospheres, and several theories have been developed to explain this process.

“However, since we don’t have millions of years to see how a particular planetary system evolves, planet inflation theories have been difficult to prove or disprove,” said Grunblatt.

To solve this issue, Grunblatt searched through data collected by NASA’s K2 Mission to hunt for hot Jupiters orbiting red giant stars. These stars, which are in the late stages of their lives, become themselves significantly larger over their companion planet’s lifetime. Following a theory put forth by Eric Lopez of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, hot Jupiters orbiting red giant stars should be highly inflated if direct energy input from the host star is the dominant process inflating planets.

The search has now revealed two planets, each orbiting their host star with a period of approximately nine days. Using stellar oscillations to precisely calculate the radii of both the stars and planets, the team found that the planets are 30 percent larger than Jupiter.

Observations using the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea on Hawai‘i Island also showed that, despite their large sizes, the planets were only half as massive as Jupiter. Remarkably, the two planets are near twins in terms of their orbital periods, radii and masses.

Using models to track the evolution of the planets and their stars over time, the team calculated the planets’ efficiency at absorbing heat from the star and transferring it to their deep interiors, causing the whole planet to expand in size and decrease in density. Their findings show that these planets likely needed the increased radiation from the red giant star to inflate, but the amount of radiation absorbed was also lower than expected.

It is risky to attempt to reach strong conclusions with only two examples. But these results begin to rule out some explanations of planet inflation, and are consistent with a scenario where planets are directly inflated by the heat from their host stars. The mounting scientific evidence seems to suggest that stellar radiation alone can directly alter the size and density of a planet.

The Sun will eventually become a red giant star, so it’s important to quantify the effect its evolution will have on the rest of the Solar System. “Studying how stellar evolution affects planets is a new frontier, both in other solar systems as well as our own,” said Grunblatt. “With a better idea of how planets respond to these changes, we can start to determine how the Sun’s evolution will affect the atmosphere, oceans, and life here on Earth.”

The search for gas giant planets around red giant stars continues since additional systems could conclusively distinguish between planet inflation scenarios. Grunblatt and his team have been awarded time with the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope to measure the sizes of these twin planets more accurately. In addition, the search for planets around red giants with the NASA K2 Mission will continue for at least another year, and NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launching in 2018, will observe hundreds of thousands of red giants across the entire sky.

“Seeing double with K2: Testing re-inflation with two remarkably similar planets orbiting red giant branch stars” has been published in November 27th edition of The Astronomical Journal as and is available online.

UH Researchers Discover New Fish – The Marianna Snailfish

The ocean’s deepest fish doesn’t look like it could survive in harsh conditions thousands of feet below the surface. Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fishes that roam the deepest parts of the ocean are small, translucent, bereft of scales — and highly adept at living where few other organisms can.

A specimen of the new species, Mariana snailfish. Credit: Mackenzie Gerringer, UW and UH.

Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), that discovered it. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) thrives at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. The team published a paper describing the new species this week in the journal Zootaxa.

“This is the deepest fish that’s been collected from the ocean floor, and we’re very excited to have an official name,” said lead author Mackenzie Gerringer, graduate student at SOEST at the time of this work and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. “They don’t look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful.”

Snailfish are found at many different depths in marine waters around the world. In deep water, they cluster together in groups and feed on tiny crustaceans and shrimp using suction from their mouths to gulp prey. Very little is known about how these fish can live under intense water pressure; the pressure at those depths is similar to an elephant standing on your thumb.

This new species appears to dominate parts of the Mariana Trench, the deepest stretch of ocean in the world that is located in the western Pacific Ocean. During research trips in 2014 and 2017 aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor, scientists collected 37 specimens of the new species from depths of about 6,900 meters (22,600 feet) to 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the trench. DNA analysis and 3-D scanning to analyze skeletal and tissue structures helped researchers determine they had found a new species.

Since then, a research team from Japan has recorded footage of the fish swimming at depths of 8,178 meters (26,830 feet), the deepest sighting so far.

“Snailfishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches. Here they are free of predators, and the funnel shape of the trench means there’s much more food,” said co-author Thomas Linley of Newcastle University. “There are lots of invertebrate prey and the snailfish are the top predator. They are active and look very well-fed.”

A handful of researchers have explored the Mariana Trench, but very few comprehensive surveys of the trench and its inhabitants have been completed because of its depth and location, Gerringer explained. These research trips involved dropping traps with cameras down to the bottom of the trench. It can take four hours for a trap to sink to the bottom.

After waiting an additional 12 to 24 hours, the researchers sent an acoustic signal to the trap, which then released weights and rose to the surface with the help of flotation. That allowed scientists to catch fish specimens and take video footage of life at the bottom of the ocean.

“There are a lot of surprises waiting,” Gerringer said. “It’s amazing to see what lives there. We think of it as a harsh environment because it’s extreme for us, but there’s a whole group of organisms that are very happy down there.”

The Mariana snailfish’s location was its most distinguishing characteristic, but researchers also saw a number of differences in physiology and body structure that made it clear they had found a new species. With the help of a CT scanner at the UW’s Friday Harbor Labs, the researchers could look in close digital detail to study elements of the fish.

The authors, including SOEST oceanography faculty Jeffrey Drazen and Erica Goetze, acknowledge the broad collaboration needed for deep-sea science, particularly in this discovery, and decided the new fish’s scientific name should reflect that collaborative effort. The fish is named after a sailor, Herbert Swire, an officer on the HMS Challenger expedition in the late 1800s that first discovered the Mariana Trench, and in recognition of the critical role of crew members on board research vessels.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.

Department of Health Conducts TB Testing at Lihikai Elementary School

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is notifying the parents of students and staff members of Lihikai Elementary School on Maui of possible exposure to tuberculosis (TB) at the school. An informational session for affected families and employees will be held next week. Precautionary TB testing will be offered to roughly 80 individuals who may have had exposure.

“The risk of catching TB from someone at school is very low,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the DOH Tuberculosis Branch. “TB is not as contagious as many other illnesses such as colds or the flu. Testing may help us find others with early, noncontagious TB and gives us the opportunity to prevent TB for those who might have been exposed. The school screening is an extra measure of safety, and everyone who may have been exposed is being notified.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case at the end of October. Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law. DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient, and all student families and school employees are receiving a letter describing the situation and whether testing is recommended.

Informational meetings will be held in the cafeteria at Lihikai Elementary School to give families and employees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their concerns. Meetings will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. for school employees, and at 6 p.m. for families and the general public. TB screening at the school is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 27.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can be spread from person-to- person through the air with close, continuous contact. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops, there is a chance that they may become infected with TB. Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them from active TB infection. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the infection to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis or TB testing, please call the DOH Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit http://health.hawaii.gov/tb/.

The Tuberculosis Control Program works to reduce the incidence of TB in the state by providing effective prevention, detection, treatment, and educational services. The program offers diagnosis and treatment of TB; ensures that all cases and suspected cases of TB are identified and appropriate therapy is provided; and provides preventive therapy for patients at high risk of developing TB disease including contacts of active cases, persons who are HIV positive, and those with evidence of untreated TB. Through its clinics located in four counties, the program conducts direct TB services including chest X-ray, sputum smear and culture for mycobacteria, tuberculin skin testing, treatment with anti-tuberculosis therapy, and directly observed therapy.

Kohala HS Takes Robotics Competition Sportsmanship Award

Na Paniolo robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau. PC: Art Kimura.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High School in Kapaʻau on the Big Island, took home the VEX VRC Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships for demonstrating courtesy and enthusiasm at the event.

The team also was a runner-up in the VRC competition.

Seventy-nine teams from Hawaiʻi, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium.

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School on O‘ahu won their respective competition Excellence Awards, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is
presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics
program.

In the VEX IQ Championships, comprised of student teams in grades three to eight, the all-girl Sacred
Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team, 2437B, as the top-seeded
alliance.

Ultimately, team 2437A took home the Robot Skills Champion Award and won the Excellence Award.

According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship, comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High
School’s team, 4142A, earned the Design Award for their organized and professional approach
to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all
program elements that helped them win the Excellence Award.

This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokaʻi High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the
Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California, was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC
Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found online.

Big Island Robotics Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Championships

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship, photo credit: Art Kimura

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School won their respective competition “Excellence Awards” at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky. Seventy-nine teams from Hawaii, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaii and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics program.

In the VEX IQ Championships comprised of student teams in grades 3-8, the all-girl Sacred Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team 2437B as the top seeded alliance. Ultimately, team 2437A took home the “Robot Skills Champion Award” and won the “Excellence Award.” According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High School’s team 4142A earned the “Design Award” for their organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all program elements that helped them win the “Excellence Award.” This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokai High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found at www.robotevents.com.

UH Hilo Announces New Director of Security

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo announced the appointment of a new director of campus security. Effective Nov. 6, 2017, Richard Murray will take over the position.

Murray brings to UH Hilo more than 16 years of experience in college security administration in Hawaiʻi. He is currently the safety and security manager at Honolulu Community College, where he is responsible for all safety, security and emergency preparedness programs in addition to supervising and providing in-service training for campus security officers and contracted security guards.

He held the same title and responsibilities at Windward Community College from January 2011 until he assumed the HCC post in July 2016, and previously served as associate director of security and safety at Hawaiʻi Pacific University beginning in October 2001.

UH Hilo Security is responsible for providing 24-7, year-round security for the campus, including routine patrol duties, parking and traffic enforcement, conducting investigations, responding to emergencies and alarms, communicating emergency notifications, as well as securing rooms and buildings.

Gabbard’s Clean Energy Act Gains Momentum in Congress

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act) is gaining traction in Congress with eleven new House cosponsors since it was first introduced in September.

The act is based on Hawai‘i’s legislative mandate aiming for 100% clean energy and would put the U.S. on track to completely replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources by 2035.

The OFF Act builds on a growing number of state initiatives designed to address climate change head-on by focusing on clean energy alternatives.

“It’s long overdue for Congress to take action to address the threat of climate change to our people and our planet,” said Rep. Gabbard. “We must end our addiction to fossil fuels and transition America toward a clean, sustainable energy economy and prioritize our future. I urge my fellow lawmakers to join us in supporting the OFF Act to put our country on the path to a 100% clean energy economy.”

“Americans deserve a Congress that will step up and act to solve climate change,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said. “We simply cannot afford to continue using taxpayer dollars to prop up the coal and oil industries. It is long past time to transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Scientific experts across the world are in clear agreement that climate change is happening and we are quickly running out of time to do something. This bill would take the strong action needed to aggressively combat climate change and lay the groundwork for the 100 percent clean energy economy our country needs.”

“As recent monster storms and raging wildfires clearly demonstrate, our climate crisis is acute,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Science shows that to keep a decent chance of avoiding deeper climate chaos, we must move off fossil fuels aggressively, and the transition needs to be complete by 2035. The OFF Act is the strongest, most comprehensive climate and energy legislation we’ve got, and we’re mobilizing across the country to make it the law of the land.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s OFF Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, H.R. 3671 is currently supported by environmental advocates and co-sponsors including Reps. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton, (DC-AL), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), and James McGovern (MA-02).

Adult and Keiki Printmaking Workshops

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers adult and keiki printmaking workshops on Saturday, November 18 on the Manono Campus, Building 389.

The “Manono” Building is considered to be located at Hawaii Community College.

Art for Keiki: Encaustic Monotype Printing is for ages 6-11, and will be held from 8:30 am-10 am. Cost is $45 and includes all required supplies.

Art for Everyone: Encaustic Monotype Printing is for ages 12 and up, and will be held from 10:30 am-12:30 pm. Cost is $55 and includes all required supplies.

Encaustic monotype printing is a fun and simple way to produce quick, colorful works of art with bees wax, damar crystals, and ground pigments. Participants will take home multiple prints and will mount a single piece on a wood panel as a completed work of art ready for display.

Instructor Kevin Diminyatz received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from Mills College and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Printmaking and a minor in Art History from Sonoma State University.  He is currently a lecturer in the Art Departments at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.

Workshop on Emotional Intelligence Offered by CCECS

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers a mindfulness-based workshop entitled “Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Personal and Professional Success” on Saturday, November 18, from 1 – 5:30 p.m. in the UH Hilo Old Gym. Cost is $35.

Bernie Schreck, a longtime instructor of meditation and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), will teach participants simple mindfulness practices and how to use them to develop their capacity to observe feelings and actions, take responsibility for them, and cultivate empathy. No experience is necessary.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.

27 Schools Receive Incentives for Well-Rounded Education

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education is working with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health to meet the needs of children and provide a well-rounded education for all public school students.

This year, DOH is providing a competitive award up to $5,000 per school to 27 schools statewide that completed an application and showed a demonstrated commitment to the whole child and well-rounded education, as described by the HIDOE wellness guidelines, which establish standards for foods and beverages on campus, health and physical education, and overall wellness.

Click to view Hawaii State Department of Education Wellness Guidelines

Applications for the financial incentive had to be completed collectively by the school’s wellness committee in order to broaden and strengthen support for achievement of the guidelines.

Schools will be able to use the DOH awards on school wellness-related programs, including community outreach and education campaigns for students, families and staff.

The funds may also be used to purchase equipment or technology to support health education or physical education.

“Our students’ well-being and health play major roles in their readiness to learn,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Teaching about wellness and encouraging healthy habits at an early age allow our students to develop these important life skills and continue using them even after high school.”

Research has shown that policies like the wellness guidelines contribute to academic achievement as well as overall student health and wellness. Supporting whole-child and well-rounded education aligns with the DOH’s student health goals and the HIDOE Strategic Plan.

“Whole-child education means that each and every child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Part of providing a well-rounded education includes health and physical education classes, as well as educational activities about nutrition and healthy eating.”

The HIDOE wellness guidelines were updated in March 2017 for the first time in 10 years, to meet requirements of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and in response to stakeholder feedback. The new guidelines take effect in all public K-12 public schools during the school year.

HIDOE and DOH have been working together since 2007 to encourage schools to meet the HIDOE wellness guidelines.

School scores on the Safety and Wellness Survey, which measures schools’ implementation of the wellness guidelines, have gone up consistently each year since 2010. Last year, the average score was 85%. DOH will provide “Excellence in Wellness” banners to 110 schools who achieved 90% or more of the guidelines during last school year to commemorate their accomplishment.

“We commend our state’s public schools for their efforts towards implementation of the wellness guidelines,” said Dr. Pressler. “More schools will proudly display wellness banners this year than ever before, meaning that principals and administrators clearly understand that providing a healthy environment fosters academic achievement as well as lifelong healthy habits.”

To view the SAWS results, click here.

For more information on the current HIDOE wellness guidelines, click here.

6-Year-Old Wins Jamba Juice for a Year

Kolten Wong and 6-year-old Matyx Camero.

A 6-year-old boy from Hilo won Jamba Juice drinks for a year at the Hilo homecoming for Major League Baseball player Kolten Wong on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.

Jamba Juice, located at the Prince Kuhio Shopping Plaza in Hilo, hosted the meet-and-greet for the star, a Hilo native, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., where fans got chances to take pictures, get autographs and talk with Wong.

At the event, Jamba Juice gave out free drinks and coupons to patrons, as well as offering one lucky customer a chance to win Jamba Juice for a year.

The winner of Jamba Juice for a year, was 6-year-old Matyx Camero of Hilo.

Wong graduated from Kamehameha High School on Hawai‘i Island, and also attended and played ball for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Rainbow Warriors. He has been playing Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals since 2013.

This past season Kolten batted .285 his highest batting average in the big leagues.

Hawai‘i Island High School Students Attend Construction & Career Day

Big Island high school students had the opportunity to get firsthand experience working with heavy equipment that is used in construction of road projects on the Island of Hawaiʻi at the annual Hawaiʻi Construction and Career Day held at the Hilo Civic Center on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017.

The nonprofit event was intended to provide high school students an insight into career opportunities available in the multi-faceted construction industry.

The event offered high school students exposure in two areas: Heavy Equipment, in which students were able to operate heavy construction equipment, and the Educational Exhibits and Trades area, which consisted of displays from construction companies, engineering firms, government agencies, educational institutions and trade associations.

The students were able to learn about career opportunities and participate in interactive displays that involved the students in fun and challenging games.

Hawaiʻi Construction and Career Days mission is to “provide Hawaiʻi’s youth with an insight into career opportunities available in the multi-faceted construction industry.”

This event was sponsored in part by the HDOT, trade and labor organizations, private construction companies, corporate sponsors and many more.

UH Hilo Ranks No. 2 for Top College/University in Hawai‘i

In a recent study published by WalletHub, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was ranked the top college and university in Hawai‘i followed by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Chaminade University of Honolulu.

To help college-bound seniors choose the best schools within their states, WalletHub’s analysts compared nearly 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. based on 26 key measures grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The data set ranges from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.

The following is a closer look at some of the top schools and how each performed in certain metrics (1=best):

University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo

  • 1st – Admission Rate
  • 1st – Net Cost
  • 2nd – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 3rd – On-Campus Crime
  • 3rd – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 3rd – Graduation Rate
  • 3rd – Post-Attendance Median Salary

University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa

  • 2nd – Admission Rate
  • 3rd – Net Cost
  • 2nd – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 2nd – On-Campus Crime
  • 1st – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 2nd – Graduation Rate
  • 1st – Post-Attendance Median Salary

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • 3rd – Admission Rate
  • 2nd – Net Cost
  • 1st – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 1st – On-Campus Crime
  • 2nd – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 1st – Graduation Rate
  • 2nd – Post-Attendance Median Salary

Related Links
Best Colleges & Universities Overall
Best Colleges
Best Universities

Stop Flu at School Vaccination Clinics Start Today

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s annual Stop Flu at School program begins today, Nov. 1, and will continue in more than 167 public schools statewide through Dec. 21, 2017.

The voluntary program administers free flu shots to Hawai‘i students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled at participating schools. (See below for participating Hawai‘i county schools and dates).

The DOH says approximately 35,000 students are expected to be vaccinated during the seven-week program.

“Vaccination is our best defense against the flu,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “Since flu can cause severe illness in people of all ages, we encourage everyone to talk to their doctor to learn more and get vaccinated.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older. The CDC says that each year, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths in the United States.

In addition to vaccination for everyone six months of age and older, DOH recommends other flu prevention strategies, which include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently.

For those unable to be vaccinated through the Stop Flu at School program, flu vaccine is available through healthcare provider offices, clinics, and pharmacies. For a list of vaccinating pharmacies statewide, visit the DOH Vaccine Locator.

Click here for more information about the Stop Flu at School program or call the Aloha United Way’s information and referral line at 2-1-1.

November

Nov. 1-7, 2017

Kau Learning Academy – 11/1
Naalehu Elementary & Intermediate – 11/1
West Hawaii Explorations PCS – 11/1
DeSilva Elementary – 11/2
Kaumana Elementary – 11/2
Konawaena Elementary – 11/2
Hilo Intermediate – 11/3
Holualoa Elementary – 11/3
Hilo Union Elementary – 11/7
Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino – 11/7

Nov. 8-14, 2017

Honaunau Elementary – 11/8
Ke Kula Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Lab PCS – 11/8
Keaau Elementary – 11/9
Kohala Elementary – 11/9
Kohala Middle – 11/9
Ka Umeke Kaeo PCS – 11/13
Waiakea Elementary – 11/13
Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate – 11/14
Kealakehe Elementary – 11/14

Nov. 15-21, 2017

Innovations PCS – 11/15
Mountain View Elementary – 11/15
Kahakai Elementary – 11/16
Pahoa Elementary – 11/16
Pahoa High & Intermediate – 11/16
Honokaa High & Intermediate – 11/17
Keaau Middle – 11/17
Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate – 11/17
Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School – 11/20
Volcano School of Arts & Sciences PCS – 11/21
Waikoloa Elementary & Middle – 11/21
Waters of Life NCPCS – 11/21

Nov. 22-30, 2017

Waiakeawaena Elementary – 11/22
Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary – 11/27
Connections NCPCS – 11/28
Honokaa Elementary – 11/28
Waimea Elementary – 11/28
Haaheo Elementary – 11/29
Kanu o ka Aina NCPCS – 11/30
Kau High & Pahala Elementary – 11/30

December

Dec. 1-19, 2017

Waimea Middle PCCS – 12/1
Keonepoko Elementary – 12/6
Kealakehe Intermediate – 12/7
Ke Ana Laahana PCS – 12/8
Keaukaha Elementary – 12/8
Hookena Elementary – 12/19

Former Charter School Principal Charged with Theft

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Laara Allbrett was charged yesterday by way of felony information with four counts of Theft in the Second Degree, a class C felony punishable by up to five years jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Allbrett, 64, is the former principal of the Halau Lokahi public charter school, a Native Hawaiian-focused charter school whose recurring financial difficulties led to the revocation of its charter by the State Public Charter School Commission on March 30, 2015.

The felony information alleges that Allbrett committed theft by deception during her tenure as the principal of Halau Lokahi. A felony information is merely an allegation of criminal wrongdoing against Allbrett, and she is presumed innocent until found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury.

A copy of the charging document is attached.

Click to read full document