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Venomous Spiders Found in Foreign Container

A venomous spider was captured by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Honolulu on Mon., April 13th.

Spider2

The spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu. The CBP agents sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider (genus: Phoneutria). The brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.

Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and  killed immediately by a worker unloading the container. The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider. The second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.

“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state.”

spider

The CBP is responsible, not only for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also screening international visitors and foreign cargo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspection of agricultural material and animals transported from foreign countries into the U.S. and the HDOA is responsible for agricultural inspections from ports within the U.S. entering the State of Hawaii.

The Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs.

This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name. Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE –

643-PEST (7378).

Kamehameha Schools Announces Four New Executives

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong today named four new leaders who will join his executive team in the next few weeks.
Kamehameha SchoolsEach brings strategic and innovative thinking to the leadership team, as well as substantial insight and career experience with Kamehameha’s educational mission and Native Hawaiian and Christian foundations.

The new leaders named today are: Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources; Darrel R. Hoke, Executive Vice President of Administration; Kevin N. Cockett, Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer; and Lauren S. Nahme, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.

“I am excited about how these new leaders will help transform the work we do, how we collaborate with others, and help drive sustainable impacts for improved Native Hawaiian educational success,” said Wong. “They all have proven leadership abilities, solid values, integrity and passion for our mission, and they will enhance the already resilient and dynamic leadership team we have in place.”

Kā‘eo Duarte, a 10-year KS employee, is promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources, a new executive position that demonstrates Kamehameha’s commitment to a community-based approach, which includes responding collaboratively to the specific needs of communities.

“The Community Engagement group is probably the most “unique and new” group in KS’ new organizational structure, but its purpose is an old one,” explained Duarte. “It is about engaging and elevating people and place . . . kanaka and ʻāina, and I am the first to admit we have a lot to figure out and even more to do, but I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard.”

Duarte will oversee management of KS resources in nine regions statewide, plus agriculture and conservation land programs, community resource centers and sustainability initiatives. Last year, Duarte was named Senior Director, West Hawaiʻi Region, charged with directing the combined endowment and education efforts in the region for more effective and efficient impact. Duarte has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S.E. in civil and geological engineering from Princeton University.

Kevin N. Cockett will join Kamehameha Schools in June 2015 as Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer. He is a 23-year veteran of the communications profession, with a strong blend of local and national experience in both corporate and agency settings. Cockett, a 1984 KS graduate, has operated his own communications business since 2011, and was previously a Senior VP at Communications Pacific, Inc., and in public relations for Best Buy Co., Inc.

“It’s a privilege to serve Kamehameha Schools in this capacity,” said Cockett. “I’m excited to join the organization at a time that feels like the dawn of a new era and to work alongside a group of such committed teams and individuals.”

Wong also named Darrel R. Hoke as Executive Vice President of Administration, affirming his extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of how KS’ support infrastructure and processes must enable KS to be a high-performing, mission-driven organization.  “I’m looking forward to moving all groups towards the strategic goal of operating as a high performing Native Hawaiian Organization,” said Hoke, “and building on the foundation established over the years, to ensure that KS is successful in delivering on our Strategic Plan targets in 2020.”

Hoke, a CPA and KS’ Internal Audit director since 2002, brings 27-years of experience in audit, accounting and finance to his new position. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. He will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Education Operations and Facilities Development and Support.

Lauren S. Nahme, previously director of Strategic Planning and Implementation, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Innovation. “Lauren brings seasoned expertise and a clear understanding of KS’ visioning and strategic planning processes to the executive team,” confirmed Wong. “She steps into this role already high up on the learning curve and with the ability and confidence to lead our current strategic planning efforts.”

Nahme had an extensive background in finance and banking when she joined KS in 2006 as Controller. In 2010, she transferred to Strategic Planning and Implementation, and has led KS’ planning efforts for SP2020. Nahme is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “It has been an intense but rewarding experience for our planning team to work with Trustees, Jack and his leaders across the organization to develop KS’ path to 2020,” Nahme explained. “Our direction is clear, commitment is strong, and momentum is building to spur us forward.”

Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first part of Wong’s November 2014 announcement that he would reorganize and streamline his leadership structure to reaffirm education as the primary focus of Kamehameha Schools, and to strengthen the organization’s ability to execute its Strategic Plan 2020.

Kamehameha Schools’ executive structure now includes seven executives reporting directly to CEO Wong: Education, Finance, Administration, Community Engagement and Resources, Communications, Legal, and Strategic Planning and Innovation. Wong expects to name the Executive Vice Presidents for Education and Finance in the next few months.

Vice president profiles:

‘Chocolate Soirée’ Dinner a Prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival

As a prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival, local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf presents the premier “Chocolate Soirée” dinner on Thursday, May 7, 5-8 p.m. at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

The seven-course feast features Original Hawaiian Chocolate, savory and sweet, in dishes created by notable chefs like Stanton Ho (Amoretti), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz), and Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf), assisted by culinary students from University of Hawai‘i Center—West Hawai‘i Campus.

Also providing chocolate for the Soirée, Kokoleka Lani Farms is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company. By special arrangement, the exclusive Chocolate Soirée event begins in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary students. Dinner will be served family-style in their adjacent home.

Chocolate cocktail concoctions will be provided by mixologist and general manager Keith Malini of Ray’s on the Bay, the oceanfront restaurant at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Ray’s on the Bay has also selected fine wines to serve with the elegant farm-to-fork feast, and the restaurant will feature one of the signature chocolate entrees on their dinner menu in the days leading up to the event.

“The Chocolate Soirée is a fun way for us to do some education. It gives the students a chance to work with top chefs in a unique environment, and to work with the more unusual Hawai‘i Island ingredients they don’t see or use every day,” said The Feeding Leaf General Manager Les Apoliona.

“It gives our guests a chance to learn about new and different aspects of local chocolate while they enjoy a beautiful, exclusive dinner at the source,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Greg and Marty for opening their home and their cacao farm for us. And, with two more days of chocolate indulgence Friday and Saturday, we think this will be and outstanding pre-event for Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

Tickets for Chocolate Soirée are limited to 100 at $125 per person, including cocktails and wines, available at Kona Wine Market and Westside Wines, online at wew.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-soiree-tickets-16328176014, or by calling 808-325-3803. Big Island Chocolate Festival takes place May 8-9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, with Chocolate Gala, Seminars, Chocolate Competition and more. Part of the proceeds benefit American Culinary Federation/Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarships.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

Family Urges Passage of “Cinderella” Bill

Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto are living separately now because the State does not allow two private pay clients in a community care foster family home (CCFFH) as space needs to be available for Medicaid clients.

noburo2Noboru and Elaine are able to pay their own way (private pay) but because of the State requirement Elaine has to live away from Noboru and only sees him on weekends. Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley and portion of Lower Kalihi) introduced HB600 which would allow married private pay couples to be cared for in the same CCFFH.

noburo1Janice Stinson, daughter of Elaine and Noboru, and her daughter Emiko, arrived on Tuesday to visit and to assist her parents in their efforts to get back together. “I find it difficult to believe that there is a State law that bars my parents from living together after 67 years of marriage.

They dearly love each other and miss each other because they are separated.” said Janice. “I am a health care professional in California with a PHD in Nursing and spent 38 years in the Navy Nurse Corps. Throughout my career I have understood the need for married couples to be together.”

Granddaughter Emiko adds “I don’t understand how there can be a law keeping a married couple of 67 years apart. My grandparents have been great role models for me my whole life and to see them kept apart now, makes me sad.”

The Kawamoto’s son Norman says “We have always been a close knit family. My Mom and Dad really miss each other very much being separated. There is nothing complicated about it; they simply want to live out their days together. They enjoy the basic things in life: watching TV together, singing songs together. The passage of HB600 will allow them to return to the life they have always enjoyed.”

Jonathan and Arlene Hanks, Noboru’s caregivers, offered “We support the Kawamoto family, Noboru and Elaine, we are here for them, and will help them in any way possible. We want to see HB600 pass into law. It’s just common sense; it’s the right thing to do.”

HB600 has passed both houses and is going to a conference committee next week to hopefully iron out the differences in the House version and the Senate version.

Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno adds “HB600 is the Cinderella bill of the 2015 legislative session because it involves a love story of a married couple of 67 years, separated by a State regulation which does not allow them to live in the same community care foster family home. I’ve always said that marriage is a fundamental right and the State should not have the right to deprive this married couple the right to live together in the same community care home.

Noboru fought in World War II and defended our country and now that he is 94 years of age, we feel the urgency to pass this bill and allow Elaine and Noboru to enjoy their golden years together.”

Ka’u Coffee Festival – April 24 to May 3

Showcasing all that makes the rural District of Ka’u so special, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks with activities for all ages April 24-May 3. Now in its seventh year, the festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s multi, award-winning coffees at numerous events, but also features stargazing, a rainforest hike and much more.

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

“We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy over 10 days,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer. “While all of last year’s great events return to the festival, we’re always trying to exceed the expectations of our guests. When you have a vibrant community producing some of the finest coffee grown anywhere, my job is actually pretty easy. We’ve added a second mauka hike to keep up with popular demand.”

One popular reprise is the tasty recipe contest using Ka’u coffee as an ingredient. The Ka’u Coffee Recipe Contest offers friendly competition in pupu, entrée and dessert categories Saturday, April 25 at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. During the 2 p.m. judging, enjoy free entertainment, coffee and recipe sampling.  Contest entry is free and the deadline is April 19. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

The Pahala Community Center is the new venue for the annual Miss K‘au Coffee Pageant where doors open at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Contestants aged 17-24 are judged in talent and gown categories and win prizes and local fame, according to pageant chair Gloria Camba.  Participants also vie for Most Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Miss Popularity.  Admission is $10 with additional donations appreciated; door prizes will be awarded.

The highlight of the 10-day activity lineup is the free Ka’u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday, May 2 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. New this year, admission into the tasty Ka‘u Coffee Experience is free and coffee enthusiasts can sample professional barista-guided tastings of Ka‘u coffees prepared a variety of ways—like a pour-over. French press or cold brew—9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers at gaily decorated booths with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during informative Ka’u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Most events are free while others require a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m. The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest hosts a cooking competition at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka’u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Sunday, April 26, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee and Miss Ka‘u Peaberry. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Pahala Community Center. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 1 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Find out how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 1 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 2 tantalize your taste buds at the friendly Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers guided coffee tastings 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 3 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

 

Senate Passes Nearly 200 Measures on Crossover

Measures include marijuana dispensaries, funding for rail tax, construction for Kona courthouse and body cameras for police

The State Senate today passed 135 House bills that addresses areas of domestic violence, beach protection, education, public safety, energy, and a number of other measures aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of the residents of Hawai‘i.

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A total of 197 bills have passed third reading by the Senate and will be returning to the House. A majority of the bills will go into conference committees where the House and Senate conferees will convene to settle differences between the House and Senate drafts and negotiate a final amended version.

Among the most substantial bills passed by the Senate: HB321, HD1, SD2 that establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; HB134, HD1, SD2 which extends the half percent county surcharge on State tax for two, ten-year extensions to fund additional Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) transit routes; HB290, HD2, SD1 that appropriates funding for the construction of the Kona Judiciary Complex; and HB365, HD1, SD1 which appropriates money for body cameras for police officers.

“The Senate was prudent in passing out responsible House bills,” said Senator J. Kalani English (D 7th District), Senate Majority Leader. “These are reasonable proposals and we’re looking forward to conference to work out the details.”

Other significant House measures passed by the Senate include:

HB124, HD2, SD2, relating to elections. Requires the office of elections to implement elections by mail in a county with a population of less than 100,000, beginning with the 2016 primary election; and in each county with a population of less than 500,000, beginning with the 2018 primary election. Beginning in 2020, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail.

HB58, HD1, SD2, relating to protective orders. Establishes a protective order card pilot program within the Honolulu family justice center to issue protective order cards upon request of individuals holding a long-term protective order issued by a court of the first circuit of the State.

HB464, HD1, SD1, relating to health. Appropriates funds for the purchase of an additional ambulance unit for the Kakaako community, HB1063, HD2, SD1, which provides funding for an additional ambulance for the Moanalua, Aliamanu, Red Hill, Salt Lake and Foster Village

community, and HB481, HD1, SD1 that makes an appropriation for an ambulance based in Makalei on the island of Hawai‘i.

HB444, HD3, SD2, relating to beach protection. Authorizes the use of certain transient accommodations tax revenues for beach restoration and conservation.

HB1042, SD1, relating to important agricultural lands. Appropriates funds for grants-in-aid to the counties for identifying and mapping important agricultural lands, preparing the final submission package to the land use commission, and assistance with exploring county incentives for important agricultural lands.

HB1489, HD1, SD2, relating to special license plates for national parks. Authorizes the issuance of special license plates for Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

HB858, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.

HB538, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Requires wireless telecommunications service providers to release individuals from shared or family wireless plans, without charge, upon written request in documented instances of domestic violence.

HB1112, HD2, SD2, relating to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Requires the auditor to conduct a financial and management audit of HHSC every five years. Authorizes HHSC to negotiate master collective bargaining agreements for its employees. Authorizes a regional system of the Hawaii health systems corporation, in collaboration with a private entity, to transition any one or more of its facilities to management and operation by a new nonprofit management entity. Appropriates an unspecified amount to the department of budget and finance for an unspecified number of positions to coordinate the review of documents and examine the fiscal implications posed by a transition of any Hawaii health systems corporation facility to management and operation by a nonprofit management entity.

HB1354, HD1, SD2, relating to housing. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to several state agencies for the purposes of improving and increasing the existing public and affordable housing stock in the State. Requires a report to the 2016 and 2017 legislature on the set-aside plan for upkeep and maintenance of the housing facilities to be constructed.

Plane Crash at Hilo Airport Leaves 3 Injured – Incident Under Investigation

Hawaii County Fire Department press release regarding downed plane near Hilo Airport:

plane crash

Two passengers and the pilot with injuries were extricated by State Airport Fire Rescue personnel and transported to Hilo Medical Center via Hawaii Fire Department’s Medic 1 & 19.

As of this posting… the State Department of Transportation has not released a public statement on the incident.

House Passes Nearly 150 Measures on Final Crossover

Includes bills on marijuana dispensaries, turtle bay, voting by mail, sexual assault, human trafficking and transportation network companies

The state House of Representatives passed today nearly 150 Senate measures dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents.  

capital

Among the most significant bills passed by the House were SB1028 that attempts to harmonize the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with those of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care; SB1291 that establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; SB284 that sets up a funding mechanism for the purchase of the Turtle Bay conservation easement; SB287 that mandates and establishes a timetable for voting by mail for all Hawaii elections; SB1280 that requires the PUC to regulate transportation network companies such as Uber; SB387 that creates an affirmative consent task force on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking at the University of Hawaii; and SB265 that makes sex trafficking a Class A felony.

The majority of the bills, along with the nearly 140 House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

Other notable Senate measures passed by the House included:

EDUCATION

SB64, SD3, HD1, relating to the Preschool Open Doors Program.  Makes appropriations for positions and the continued implementation of the Preschool Open Doors Program and for subsidies for the program.

SB822, SD1, HD2, relating to education and student hours.  Clarifies the implementation schedule and calculation method for minimum number of days and student hours required for Department of Education schools in each school year. Applies the requirement for a 180 day, 1,080 hour school year to all school years beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.

SB1345, HD2, relating to multi-track schools.  Requires the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools and report to the Legislature regarding the plan and any proposed legislation. Requires the DOE to give priority to overpopulated schools in making its annual capital improvement budget request to the Director of Finance.

SB854, SD2, HD2, relating to public school lands.  Requires public school lands that are leased to benefit public educational purposes rather than simply to be used for public purposes. Authorizes the Department of Education to enter into leaseback agreements.

SB374, SD2, HD2, relating to UH/DOE dual credit education programs.  Renames the “Running Start Program” as the “Dual Credit Program.”  Broadens participation to include public and home-schooled ninth and tenth graders.  Replaces a standardized test with an assessment.  Repeals tuition and fees requirement.  Requires that all additional qualifications be uniform across all campuses. Appropriates moneys to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii for positions.

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SB273, SD2, HD2, relating to identification cards for the homeless.  Requires the examiner of drivers to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person’s address; requires the Director of Transportation’s rules to direct the examiner of drivers to waive all fees for homeless individuals; and establishes a working group to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.

KUPUNA 

SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging.  Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  Requires appointment of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017.  Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

HEALTH AND HEALTH CONNECTOR

SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers.  Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.

SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector.  Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies.  Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii.  Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board.  Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.  Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana.  Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers.  Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period.  Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.

SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana.  Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance.  Defines the term “habilitative services” to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders.  Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment.  Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services.  Appropriates funds.

SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage.  Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.

SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products.  Expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products.  Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.

SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health.  Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21.  Defines “tobacco products” to include electronic smoking devices.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

SB387, SD2, HD3, relating to affirmative consent.  Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

SB1146, SD1, HD1 requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to submit to the Legislature a program performance report for each fiscal quarter showing a comparison of actual revenues and expenditures versus budgeted revenues and expenditures.  Extends the University of Hawaii’s authority for independent fiscal management and oversight for one additional year.

SB325, SD1, HD2 makes comprehensive omnibus changes affecting the University of Hawaii System. Appropriates funds.

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB265, SD1, HD1, relating to sex trafficking.  Replaces the term “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking,” a Class A felony.  Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General’s statewide witness program.

SB1211, SD1, HD1, relating to the Major Disaster Fund.  Intends to increase the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys.  Requires the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of Fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure.

SB871, SD1, HD3, relating to highway safety.  Authorizes the director of transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another jurisdiction, under certain conditions.  Authorizes the examiner of drivers to waive the demonstration of the ability to operate a motor vehicle for individuals with licenses from other jurisdictions who receive reciprocal licensing privileges.

SB979, SD2, HD1, relating to youth.  Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program until June 30, 2021.  Establishes the Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator position.  Allows youth in crisis who are at least 14 but under 18 years of age to consent to accept services in the Pilot Program under certain circumstances.  Appropriates funds.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

SB284, SD2, HD2, relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax and Turtle Bay.  Allocates monies      to the Turtle Bay conservation easement special fund.  Authorizes B&F to issue reimbursable general obligation bonds and to use the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement in Turtle Bay, Oahu.  Requires B&F to transfer the conservation easement to DLNR.  Allocates monies to B&F to reimburse to the state general fund the debt service on the reimbursement general obligation bonds and ongoing expenses related to the bonds.  Requires the Office of Planning to investigate acquiring lands owned by Dole Food Company, Inc.

SB1260, HD1, relating to recycling.  Mandates the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor to the Department of Health regarding advance disposal fee glass containers and glass recycling. Requires the Department of Health to report on its implementation of the recommendations to the Legislature.

SB359, SD1, HD1, relating to the environmental response energy and food security tax.  Removes the revenue distribution from the barrel tax to the environmental response revolving fund beginning July 1, 2015.  Removes the sunset of the various funds related to the barrel tax.  Appropriates funds.

AGRICULTURE

SB1059, SD2, HD2, relating to invasive species.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to perform specified tasks to address the spread of invasive species, particularly between islands.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture to establish a little fire ant pesticide treatment coupon pilot project and site map. Appropriates funds.

SB1060, SD2, HD1, allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects to assist the livestock industry by establishing a low-interest biosecurity loan program within the Department of Agriculture for construction, improvements, purchase of equipment and other costs related to biosecurity projects.

SB376, SD2, HD1 establishes the Hawaii Farm to School Program and an unspecified number of Farm to School Coordinator positions.

SB512, SD2, HD1, relating to agriculture.  Establishes the Hawaii One Plan Steering Committee to provide Hawaii farmers access to the Hawaii One Plan, an online interface to develop and obtain conservation plans that are necessary to seek Federal Farm Bill funding and comply with county grading and grubbing ordinances.  Appropriates funds.

SB382, SD2, HD2, establishes within the Livestock Revitalization Program a grant program for Qualified Feed Developers.  Appropriates funds for the grant program, reimbursements to Qualified Producers for feed cost, and a survey of local feed ingredient sources.  Appropriates funds for the Future Farmers of America Program.

LABOR

SB1122, HD1, relating to wage and hour law.  Increases the amount of guaranteed monthly compensation required to exempt an individual from minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements under the Hawaii Wage and Hour Law.

TAXES

SB555, SD1, HD1, relating to tax credits.  Increases the refundable food/excise tax credit.  Repeals credit for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $30,000 or above.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM

SB1280, SD2, HD2, relating to transportation network companies.  Requires the public utilities commission to regulate transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers.  Requires drivers to register as business entities with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Establishes insurance requirements and qualifications for persons who operate or serve as drivers for transportation network companies.

SB1001, SD2, HD1, relating to manufacturing.  Establishes a temporary, nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who incur certain expenses for manufacturing products in Hawaii.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.  Sunsets Jan. 1, 2023.

SB519, SD2, HD3, relating to vacation rentals.  Extends Act 326, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, for one year and requires the Department of Taxation to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the implementation of the law.  Authorizes DOTAX to enforce civil penalties for operators and plan managers who fail to display the certificate of registration and registration ID numbers for transient accommodations.  Authorizes fines to be deposited into the Tax Administration Special Fund.  Amends the definition of “transient accommodations.”

SB892, SD2, HD3, relating to omnibus Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.  Makes various appropriations for the Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.

ENERGY

SB717, SD2, HD1, relating to ethanol. Adds two individuals from the biotech and biofuel industries to the Petroleum Advisory Council.  Requires the Petroleum Advisory Council to study the effects that repealing the requirement that gasoline sold in the state for use in motor vehicles be composed of ten percent ethanol would have on Hawaii.

SB1050, SD2, HD3, relating to energy.  Requires electric utilities to file proposed community-based renewable energy tariffs with the public utilities commission by Oct. 1, 2015. Authorizes ratepayer participation in eligible community-based renewable energy projects.

SB1316, SD2, HD2, relating to electric vehicles.  Establishes a working group to examine the issues regarding requests to the board of directors of an association of apartment owners, condominium association, cooperative housing corporation, or planned community association regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.

SB1047, SD1, HD1, relating to waste to energy.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Pelatron Q, LLC, with the development of waste-to-energy power plants in Hawaii.

SB349, SD2, HD2, relating to renewable energy tax credits.  Establishes a renewable fuels production tax credit and repeals the ethanol facility tax credit.  Allows qualifying taxpayers to claim an income tax credit for qualifying renewable fuel.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

SB1214, HD1, relating to the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Maui Electric Company, Limited, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.  Requires electric utilities to unbundle customer rates and charges to be eligible to receive financing assistance through SPRBs. 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

SB464, SD1, HD2, relating to consumer protection.  Requires disclosure in a form that may be retained by a consumer of terms, conditions, and cancellation procedures for automatic and continuous service offer contracts.  Requires a means for cancelling a contract prior to the expiration of a free trial period.

SB737, SD1, HD2, relating to check cashing.  Creates standards, including authorization for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules, for check cashing businesses, including requirements for registration, surety, recordkeeping, examinations, and confidentiality.  Sets new penalties for check cashing businesses that violate the established standards.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

SB181, SD1, HD1, relating to veterans.  Allows the Department of Education to continue awarding (until June 30, 2020) high school diplomas to qualified veterans who did not receive a high school diploma as a result of compulsory induction into active service in the Armed Services of the United States or any person whose high school education was interrupted due to wartime practices such as internment during World War II.

SB559, SD2, HD2, relating to the military.  Establishes and funds a Military Affairs Advisor position and an Assistant Military Affairs Advisor position in the Office of the Governor, with the Military Affairs Advisor reporting directly to the Governor.

TRANSPARENCY AND GOOD GOVERNMENT

SB286, SD2, HD1, relating to the Office of the State Inspector General.  Establishes the Office of the State Inspector General, to be headed by the State Inspector General, to investigate complaints alleging fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption by a state agency or quasi-public agency, or by the officers or employees of a state agency or quasi-public agency.  Appropriates funds.

SB140, HD2, relating to government records.  Requires agencies to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of all government records under its control that are required to be made available for public inspection under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act.

SB996, SD2, HD2, relating to ethics.  Appropriates funds to the State Ethics Commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the State Ethics Commission.

SB475, SD1, HD2, relating to open government.  Allows the electronic mailing of meeting notices; requires the posting of the notice on the state or appropriate county’s electronic calendar; and clarifies potential posting disputes.  Adds emergency meetings to the public meeting notice requirements.

SB652, SD1, HD2, relating to public agency meetings.  Requires a public agency board to report any discussion or final action taken during an executive meeting; provided that such disclosure is not inconsistent with the purpose of convening the executive meeting, but giving the board discretion to maintain confidentiality.

ELECTIONS AND CAMPAIGN SPENDING

SB287, SD2, HD2, Beginning with the primary election in 2016, requires the office of elections to implement election by mail in a county with a population of fewer than 100,000.  Beginning with the 2018 primary election, implement election by mail in each county with a population of fewer than 500,000.  Thereafter, election by mail is required for all elections.  Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB654, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign contributions.  Reduces from less than $500 to less than $100, the aggregate contribution amount a candidate may receive from ten or more anonymous persons at the same political function.

SB452, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign spending.  Requires that supplemental campaign spending reports be filed annually on January 31.

SB364, SD2, HD1, relating to elections. Establishes a process for the recounting of ballots cast in a contest. Authorizes that contests for cause challenging a contest result may also be based upon unlawful activity or force majeure.

FISCAL INITIATIVES

SB254, SD1, HD1, relating to the state’s CIP operating and deferred maintenance costs.  Requires information on the estimated operational costs of proposed capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance costs of state-owned buildings, facilities, and other improvements to be summarized in the multi-year program and financial plan and supplemental budget, as applicable.

CULTURE AND THE ARTS

SB1177, SD1, HD1, appropriates funds to establish four full-time equivalent positions with the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to address the findings contained in Auditor’s Report No. 14-11, “Audit of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.”

OTHERS

SB868, SD1, HD2, relating to liquor commissions.  Requires county liquor commissions to prescribe regulations on dancing in establishments licensed to serve alcohol through the adoption or amendment of administrative rules.

Big Island Police Warn About Towing Scam

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a possible towing scam.
HPDBadgeA 76-year-old Hilo man reported that when he returned to his 2001 Toyota 4Runner that was parked at Liliʻuokalani Gardens in Hilo on Friday morning (April 10), he found a strip of paper on his windshield warning him that his vehicle registration had expired, that he was not to move the vehicle and that a tow truck had been called. The owner then discovered that his vehicle registration sticker was missing. As he drove away, he observed a tow truck in the vicinity.

Police advise the public that when an officer requests a tow truck, the officer stays with the vehicle until the tow truck arrives. Police ask anyone who sees any suspicious activity around parked vehicles 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.

Big Island Police Charge Man in Officer-Involved Shooting in Puna

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Puna man whose actions on Friday (April 10) resulted in an officer-involved shooting in Puna.

Daesyn Pacheco-Muragin

Daesyn Pacheco-Muragin

At 9 p.m. Monday (April 13), 24-year-old Daesyn Pacheco-Muragin of Mountain View was charged with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, one count of second-degree reckless endangering, three counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia and one weapon offense. His bail was set at $102,000.

He remained at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Tuesday (April 14).

What the TMT Will Look Like on Top of Mauna Kea

There have been many reports and computer generated memes about what the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will look like on top of Mauna Kea.

Here is another rendition of what it will look like:

Click to enlarge

Artist rendition of what the TMT will look like on top of Mauna Kea (TMT Located at Bottom left of photo) Click to enlarge

KHON2 News has reported that the University of Hawaii has stated that the TMT will be the last project on Mauna Kea and that other telescopes will be decommissioned.

…The university, which manages observatory activity on the mountain, says this will be the last project for the area.

In the years to come, the university also plans to shut down, or decommission, some of the 13 observatories already on the mountain.

“This is the last new site that will be developed,” said Gunther Hasinger, director of the university’s Institute of Astronomy. “We have made a promise that in the long run, there will be fewer telescopes on the mountain, so we will see some of them go away.”

In the past, all the state got from the telescopes now on Mauna Kea was free access to viewing time. The state collected no money, not even rent.

“But for us, that is not the central point,” said Hasinger. “It is the creation of knowledge.”

That will not be the case with the Thirty Meter Telescope.

According to the lease rent schedule, the project last year cut the first check to the state, $300,000, with most of the money going to help
manage the conservation land where the telescope will sit on Mauna Kea. Some of the money will also go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The rent will eventually climb to $1 million a year…

More here: http://khon2.com/2015/04/13/uh-says-tmt-will-be-last-project-plans-to-decommission-telescopes/

On Thursday April 16th at 11:30, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents will have ANOTHER meeting to discuss the TMT Project and the public is invited to attend and submit public testimony.

10th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival

The 10th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival is 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park.

Non-profit organization Malama Hawaii Nei along with Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School have organized the festival this year to help raise scholarship money for Laupahoehoe area students and to fund community projects.

lmf

Organized in 2005 under the foresight of Laupahoehoe resident musician Braddah Smitty, the nonprofit Malama Hawaii Nei has awarded nearly $27,000 in scholarships to date. Under the current plan, every student who applies receives a scholarship.

This year’s Hawaiian-style event features some of the island’s best music and hula entertainers performing at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park, noted for its sacred and natural beauty and was a regular stopover by Kamehameha in his canoe voyaging conquest of the islands.

Tickets are $12 in advance at Hilo Guitars, Basically Books and Hilo Music Exchange in Hilo, and Sakado Store in Laupahoehoe, Taro Patch and Grandma’s Kitchen in Honokaa, and in Kona at Music Exchange, or $15 at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.LaupahoehoeMusicFestival.org Age 10 and under free.

It’s a day of music, music, music, ono grinds and crafts. Drinks available on site. No coolers please.  This is an alcohol- and drug-free event.

For more information, call (808) 962-2200 or email gerry.delgado@lcpcs.org

27th Annual North Hawaii Senior Health Fair

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) continues a caring tradition and invites North Hawaii seniors 55 years and older to attend their 27th Annual North Hawai‘i Senior Health Fair on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015.

North Hawaii seniors 55 years and older participate at last year’s 26th Annual Senior Health Fair at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

North Hawaii seniors 55 years and older participate at last year’s 26th Annual Senior Health Fair at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

“This health fair is often the only time seniors in our community have the opportunity to receive health screenings by physicians, registered nurses and other medical professionals,” says Gary Goldberg, NHCH Medical Director and Emergency Physician. “This mission-driven event provides complimentary health screenings and wellness education to more than 200 seniors 55+ in North Hawaii,” says Goldberg.

Complimentary health screenings offered at this event include: oral screenings, hearing tests, skin checks, foot checks, holistic care services, blood pressure, blood tests for cholesterol and glucose by Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc., and more. Health education and resources will also be available to North Hawai‘i seniors by the following vendors: Tutu’s House, North Hawai‘i Hospice, NHCH’s Kohala Home Health Care, NHCH Trauma Team, NHCH’s Rehabilitation Services, NHCH’s Waimea Women’s Center, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Alzheimer’s Association, Ho’onani Place and more.

Registration and health screenings are available between 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., followed by complimentary lunch, bingo and prizes in the Lucy Henriques Medical Center at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

This event is one of two annual events hosted by North Hawaii Community Hospital to help fulfill its mission “to improve the health status of the people of North Hawaii by improving access to care and providing high quality services at a reasonable cost. The other event is Girls’ Night Out, held in October, to promote breast cancer awareness. For more information, please contact Laurie Edmondson by calling 808-881-4425.

Grassroot Institute Investigates Questionable Procurement by Native Hawaiian Roll

A request by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for information about the expenditures of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has led to additional questions about the Commission’s possible violation of the state procurement code.

Former Hawai`i Attorney General Michael Lilly has requested that the Directors of the Departments of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Accounting and General Services review whether the expenditure of over $800,000 on two vendors by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission without public bid violated the State’s procurement code.  Such a violation of the code is subject to possible criminal and civil penalties.

The Grassroot Institute requested from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs the check register of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission as part of their ongoing government transparency effort. With the Commission’s response now made public, citizens and government observers have been stepping forward with more questions about the expenditures listed and the process behind them.

Click to view

Click to view

In his letters sent as a private citizen to the state department directors, Michael Lilly states:

Some $4 million was reportedly transferred by OHA to the NHRC. The attached ledger summarizes payments by the NHRC to various vendors including over $600,000 to Makauila, a multimedia company … Another some $200,000 went to “1013” which is a branding company found on your web site here as “One Zero Ten Three” … None of these payments to vendors apparently complied with the procurement code, Chapter 103D.

According to Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO of Grassroot Institute, “Much of the money being spent by OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission could better be used to meet the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, job opportunities, education, and health-care.  And, if any of this public money is being fraudulently used, OHA and the Roll Commission must be held accountable.”

Mr. Lilly added in a statement to Grassroot Institute: “The procurement code was established to ensure transparency and openness in public bidding, to ensure everyone has an equal right to bid on public contracts and to protect public funds from being overspent on insider deals.”

The letters from Mr. Lilly referenced above as well as the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s check register and expenses are posted at Grassroot Institute’s Transparency website, OpenHawaii.org.

About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.

Office of Information Practice Advising Agencies to Disclose P-Card Records to Requesters

In light of numerous inquiries about the disclosure of P-Card usage by government employees, the state Office of Information Practices (OIP) is generally advising agencies to disclose unredacted P-Card records to requesters, because all purchases made on the cards are supposed to be justified as work-related expenses.

pcard

In rare circumstances, there may be confidential information that should be redacted because of a significant privacy interest, such as medical information.

P-Card usage is distinguished from personal credit card reimbursements sought by employees for work expenses.  In the case of employees’ requests for reimbursement of work-related expenses paid for by their personal credit cards, it is proper to redact all personal or confidential information on the personal credit card invoices, such as all non-work related purchases, personal address, credit card number, interest rates, balances, payments due, and rewards points.

P-Card records to requesters, agencies are further cautioned to redact confidential P-Card account numbers and any taxpayer identification numbers for vendors.  Oftentimes, a vendor’s taxpayer ID number is a person’s social security number, which should be redacted prior to disclosure.

For the latest open government news, check for archived copies of What’s New articles that are posted here, or e-mailed upon request. To be added to OIP’s e-mail list, please e-mail oip@hawaii.gov.  Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a Word format, please contact OIP at (808) 586-1400 or oip@hawaii.gov.

Another Big Island Police Shooting Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a Puna man whose actions on Friday (April 10) resulted in an officer-involved shooting in Puna.

HPDBadgeAt 6:30 a.m. Sunday (April 12), detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Division executed a search warrant at the Mountain View home of 24-year-old Daesyn Pacheco-Muragin and arrested him on two outstanding bench warrants. He was also arrested on suspicion of the following offenses: attempted first-degree murder, four counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and one count of attempted criminal property damage.

Pacheco-Muragin had no apparent injuries from the shooting incident on Friday. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continue the investigation.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, a Puna patrol officer came upon a suspicious car at the end of Mokuna Street in the Royal Hawaiian Estates subdivision. The car then drove directly toward the officer’s vehicle, swerving at the last moment, and continued to flee the area.

A few moments later, the same car was observed traveling north into oncoming traffic on the southbound lane of Highway 11 in the Mountain View area. It continued through an active road construction site and drove directly toward an officer who was directing traffic. In response, that officer fired three shots toward the driver, striking the car, which continued traveling toward Hilo.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation.

Big Island Police Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a non-fatal officer-involved shooting in Hilo on Saturday (April 11).

Cherish Torres

Cherish Torres

Shortly before 4 p.m., a South Hilo patrol officer observed a black Honda Civic traveling down Lanikaula Street. When the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop due to a traffic violation at the intersection of Lanikaula and Nowelo Street, the suspect failed to stop and fled from the officer.

The Honda then ran into a vehicle at the intersection Komohana Street and Ainaola Drive, as well as colliding into a police officer’s vehicle and then fleeing down Haihai Street. At the intersection with Kilauea Avenue, the Honda headed toward an officer on foot. In response, the officer discharged one shot toward the Honda. The Honda then struck a police vehicle in pursuit, causing both vehicles to end up in a gulch.

The only occupant of the Honda, 25-year-old Cherish Torres of Hilo, was arrested for eight traffic offenses, two counts of first-degree criminal property damage, second-degree theft and first-degree terroristic threatening.

The Honda was reported stolen from Hilo on Monday (April 6). The license plates on the Honda belonged to a vehicle reported stolen from Hawaiian Paradise Park on Friday (April 10).

Torres sustained minor injuries from the crash. No other injuries were reported. She is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

As is standard practice in any police involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the incident to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

University Board of Regents Holding Special Meeting to Discuss TMT Future – Public Comments Welcome

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will be having a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus.
Board  Meeting

The Future of Outdoor Recreation in Hawaii – DLNR Seeks Public Comment on the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Plan

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks in partnership with PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc., is inviting the public to review the draft of the 2015 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

2015 SCORP

The comprehensive recreation plan is updated every 5 years to assess Hawai‘i’s outdoor recreation trends, needs and priorities. The plan also provides direction for the State’s recreational future and allows Hawai‘i to remain eligible to receive funds for outdoor recreation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal grants program administered by the National Park Service.

Using the priorities for outdoor recreation identified in the comprehensive recreation plan, the National Park Service selects projects to receive conservation funding that best meet Hawai‘i’s recreational needs and help resolve recreational conflicts.

The 5-year strategic plan for outdoor recreation as presented in the draft 2015 recreation plan is based on comments received from recreation agencies and the public through online surveys and public meetings held between January and March 2014. More than 1,100 people participated in the process and identified the operation and maintenance of recreation facilities as the number one issue and priority for investment in outdoor recreation.

The public and recreation agencies both recognize an increasing demand on outdoor recreation facilities due to a growing population of residents, military, and visitors. While County leaders have placed an emphasis on the maintenance of their parks, they also recognize the need for public-private partnerships. Ocean recreation continues to be a high recreation priority for Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors, but user conflicts in the ocean remain a challenge. Sports fields are in high demand, especially with year-round seasons that stress the demand and maintenance for these multi-purpose fields.

The 2009 recreation plan identified multi-use paths for walking, jogging, and bicycling as one of Hawaii’s recreational priorities and this trend continues into the 2015 SCORP.

In response to this demand, LWCF grants were awarded in 2014 to the County of Hawai‘i and DLNR to assist with the construction of the new Hilo Bayfront Trails. This multi-use trail system will run through several County parks, including Mo‘oheau Park, Hilo Bayfront Park and Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields, as well as Wailoa River State Recreation Area.

Ocean recreation and hiking trails are major recreational activities that are experiencing higher demand and user conflicts as the population grows and the funds and staffing to expand and maintain the resources and facilities remain limited.

The increase in ocean and hiking related accidents and rescues points to the popularity of these recreational activities but also the dangers and concerns for public safety when recreating in Hawai‘i’s natural environment.

In response to the demand for hiking opportunities, another current project being assisted with an LWCF grant is the repair of, and improvements to the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.

“We have seen the popularity of the Makapu‘u Trail continue to grow among both residents and visitors. The repairs will promote a safe, enjoyable hiking experience while the new viewing areas with interpretive signs will share the resources and history of this park,” said Dan Quinn, State Parks administrator. The Makapu‘u Trail work is currently underway with completion scheduled for July 2015.

A 14-page summary of the SCORP findings and strategic plan, as well as the full draft SCORP document with appendices, can viewed on the State Parks website: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/
Public comments are due by April 30, 2015 and can be submitted by e-mail or in writing to:

ccullison@pbrhawaii.com
or
PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc.
Attn: Catie Cullison, AICP
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650
Honolulu, HI 96813-3484

BACKGROUND
LWCF grants provide a match for State and County funds to acquire new land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate recreational facilities. Since 1967, the State of Hawai‘i and the four counties have received more than $38 million in LWCF grants for acquisition and development of outdoor recreation lands and facilities. In recent years, LWCF grants have been awarded to the County of Hawaii to install new playground equipment at Panaewa Zoo in Hilo, to the City and County of Honolulu to replace the ball field lights at Ala Wai Community Park, to the County of Maui to construct a new skate park within the Lahaina Recreation Center, and to State Parks for renovation of the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on O‘ahu.

 

NAVY Ship USS Chung-Hoon Denied Entry to Hilo Harbor

The US Navy Ship USS Chung-Hoon was spotted this morning off the Big Island of Hawaii this morning as it was expected to arrive in Hilo for the Merrie Monarch festivities.
Chung Hoon Refuel

Unfortunately the ship had to turn around once it got to the Big Island because the water in Hilo Harbor was not deep enough for the ship to port.

The NAVY has released the following statement:

In an abundance of caution and as advised by the embarked State Dept. of Transportation Harbor Pilot,  the Commanding Officer of USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93)  felt it was prudent to not proceed with entering Hilo Harbor this morning due to the shallow depth of the harbor.

Sharing the Navy with the people of Hilo is important. We certainly value the opportunity to showcase our Navy to the American people. Our partnership with the Hilo Council is an outstanding example where a community and the military join together to create an environment of mutual support and broad benefit and the Navy looks forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come, and we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused to our friends and neighbors in Hilo.

Capt. Mark Manfredi, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii will still attend tonight’s Merrie Monarch Festivities and the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will be flown over here to  march and perform in the Merrie Monarch Parade tomorrow morning.