On Monday, December 5th I took an oath to serve the people of our island to the best of my ability. I am deeply humbled and honored to say that I’ve officially taken office as your District 5 council representative and now the real work begins.
Our Hilo and Pahoa offices are being set up and constituent meetings have already begun. We will continue our open door policy for the Hilo Office, while balancing our residents needs to meet in the district in Pahoa.
Our Hilo Office is located in the lava rock faced County Building at 25 Aupuni St. Hilo, HI 96720 and in Pahoa we are located at 15-2879 Pahoa Village Road, two properties down from the 7/11 Store on the same side of the road.
We will have an official County website up and running within the next few months and will migrate our notices, events, and pertinent constituent information as soon as we can.
I am also pleased to introduce you to our competent hard-working staff who share my passion of service: Amber Shouse and Nelson Ho. Amber will be serving as our council aid while Nelson will be our legislative assistant.
To schedule a meeting with me please contact Amber at 961-8026 or Amber.Shouse@hawaiicounty.gov. Nelson can be contacted at 961-8536 and Nelson.Ho@hawaiicounty.gov.
Have a safe and happy holiday season. We will keep you posted on upcoming council hearings and important community events.
Councilwoman Jen Ruggles
After serving four years on the Hawai’i County Council, Greggor Ilagan is seeking a bigger audience — working with YouTube.
One week after the primary election, he launched his new venture as a content creator, Ilagan Videos, with the shaving cream challenge. Besides the Ilagan Challenges, other possible ventures that are being explored include Ilagan News and Ilagan Travel.
It’s far from his original goal of running for the State Senate, but after the hard-fought campaign, it is a way to keep moving. It is also in line with his innovative use of technology to run his office and to reach out to constituents. “Sometimes in life our path changes,” Ilagan said. “And it’s how fast we adapt to that change that matters.”
So the Puna councilman decided to follow a new path outside of government. “Thank you everyone for your support,” he said. “Continue to exercise your right to vote, and please subscribe to Ilagan Videos.”
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Comedy, County Council, Hawaii, Movies and Film, Politics, Something New? | Tagged: Ilagan Challenges, Ilagan News, Ilagan Travel, Ilagan Videos, Nate Garner, Youtube | Leave a comment »
For the safety and concern of her community due to Tropical Storm Darby, 4th District County Council Candidate Madie Greene postponed her taco fundraiser that was going to be held last weekend and has moved it to TOMORROW!
A suggested donation of $15.00 is a steal when you can eat all-the-tacos you want provided by Luquins Restaurant.
Aloha Friends and Community Members,
We cordially invite you to attend a Mahalo Event for Madie Greene this coming Saturday at the Akebono Theater, next to Luquins, 6 pm with awesome entertainment and taco buffet.
All are welcome, so please share with your friends and neighbors.
We hope to see you all there….
On the last day of 2011, former Councilwoman Brittany Smart told me that she would not be seeking a second council term at this time, but is keeping her options open for the future. “Due to personal reasons, I am unable to commit to another two year term at this time. I am honored to serve District 6, but have to think of what’s best for the people,” she stated.
Eventually in March of 2012, she made an unsuccessful attempt at running for the Hawaii State House of Representative District 3 seat and after that, she pretty much slid off the political radar scene here on the Big Island.
Today, Newsminer.com (The Voice of Interior Alaska) announced that the former council lady had been hired as the new special assistant to a mayor in Alaska.
A former elected official from Hawaii starts Monday as the new special assistant to Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel.
Brittany Smart will work on special projects, including economic development, air quality, tourism, recycling and workforce development, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. Her salary is $89,290 per year.
The 33-year-old has lived in Fairbanks since spring 2015 after she and her husband decided to purchase his childhood home here…
You can read the full article here: Borough mayor hires new special assistant
I’d like to personally thank the former councilwoman for her time in office here on this island and wish her the best in her new position with Mayor Karl Kassel.
Aloha to All!!! With the incoming Tropical Storm expected to arrive soon, Aunty Madie has decided to reschedule her Fundraiser until the following Saturday. Sal Luquin has already reserved the date for Madie, 6pm, Saturday, July 30th at the Akebono. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Please be safe out there and be prepared.
Mahalo for your understanding…
Folks are invited to a tacos, chips and salsa fundraiser for County Council Candidate Madie Green on Saturday, July 23rd at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa.
A suggested donation of $15.00 will go to her campaign funds.
Former Hawaii County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt went before a grand jury yesterday and according to her Twitter feed she says “I was denied the opportunity to testify before a grand jury today, to address these false voter fraud allegations. I am innocent”.
She then went on to comment on the way the Prosecuting Attorneys Office is handling her case:
Then ends her twitter rant with a “… bright side…” tweet:
I can say that if she read the Hawaii Tribune… she would know already who filed the allegations against her… as that has been made public. I can tell you that my name won’t be showing up in any of those papers… despite what some folks may think.
A special County Council meeting to discuss the Dengue Fever Outbreak will take place on December 2, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers in Hilo at 25 Aupuni Street.
Public testimony will be allowed directly after presentations from the following:
- Hawai‘i County Civil Defense
- Office of the Governor
- Hawai‘i State House of Representatives
- Hawai‘i State Senate
- State Department of Health
Public attendance will be available at:
- Kona Council Office, West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-Kona
- Waimea Council Office, Holomua Center, 64-1067 Māmalahoa Highway, Suite 5, Waimea
- Conference Room adjacent to Hisaoka Gymnasium, Kamehameha Park Complex, 54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapaau
- Nā‘ālehu State Office Building, 95-5669 Māmalahoa Highway, Nā‘ālehu
- Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, 15-2710 Kauhale Street.
Live stream viewing will be available by using this link: http://hawaiicounty.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1
Come and meet your local Councilmen beginning on Monday, January 12th at the Mountain View Elementary School Gym and ending Friday, January 18th at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (Keaau Location see above).
The Inaugural Ceremonies will be held for the newly elected members of the Hawai‘i County Council on Monday, December 1, 2014, at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo at 12 noon. The public is invited to attend.
Sherry Bracken of Hawai‘i Public Radio will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Honorable Judge Ronald Ibarra will administer the Oath of Office to the newly elected council members, and the Honorable Mayor Billy Kenoi will serve as keynote speaker.
The Office of the County Clerk extends a warm welcome to the public to attend this special event.
Two Puna polling places, Keonopoko & HPP (Paradise Park) without electricity will not receive voters today!!! Voters assigned to those places will be mailed a ballot in next couple weeks, to be mailed back in. These poll results will not be final until then.
This info is verified by Stewart Maeda, Hawaii County Clerk.
Even worse news: Many residents along Red Road and in Pohoiki are trapped by fallen trees. They cannot get to their polling station in Pahoa. At this time there is no plan to extend voting for hundreds of people in this situation. I will be urging the State Elections officer, Scott Nago, to find a solution for these constituents. I hope others will do so as well.
Senator Russell Ruderman (via Facebook)
Filed under: Announcements, Big Island, Community, County Council, Environment, Hawaii, Legal, National Affairs, Pahoa, Politics, Puna, Rumors | Tagged: Polling Places Closed, Puna, Scott Nago, Senator Russell Ruderman | Leave a comment »
I’m working with Common Cause Hawaii (along with an organization I co-founded called Hawaii Open Data) to spread the word about new tools designed to help Hawaii residents get a better view of how local government works. With the Primary Election looming next week, it’s the perfect time to try them out.
I wanted to encourage you to consider covering these web apps, which all work with publicly available data from the Campaign Spending Commission, but offer different ways to make sense of it. As the data is statewide, there’s also an additional opportunity to gain insight into candidates and campaigns on Hawaii Island specifically.
Here’s a list of the free apps, each of which was created by a local developer (or team of coders) that participated in the Civic*Celerator, a tech competition that challenged geeks to build something to encourage greater participation in civic life and greater transparency in government: http://civic.celerator.org/apps/
Though we’re not talking fun and games like Angry Birds here, I hope the value of these apps to the community is clear. :)
Examples? Perhaps the most compelling web app, visually, is the Hawaii Campaign Spending Data tool by Jason Axelson. Beautiful yet intuitive graphic representations of campaign spending by office (governor, Hawaii county council, OHA, etc.), candidate, party, category… just click around for a minute or two, and some interesting patterns will emerge: http://viz.hawaiicampaignspending.com/
Or here’s an app by Royce Jones that includes both candidate filing information and campaign spending information, and links it to an easily-navigated map of the islands: http://civic-celerator.maps.arcgis.com/home/
You can figure out which voting precinct you’re in, who’s running, who’s donating to their campaigns, and even see online exactly what your ballot will look like.
These only scratch the surface of these free tools, created for everyday people by (slightly geekier) every day people. While there’s been volumes and volumes of data available for years, now a growing corps of “civic hackers” are building ways to make sense of it all.
Not only do I think these web apps would make for a great “tech for good” story, but I think bloggers like you could actually use them to generate a number of other interesting stories. Which candidate spent the most on food on Hawaii Island? Which political party, besides the Democrats, is fielding the most candidates for public office statewide? The possibilities, once you begin to explore the data in new ways, are endless.
Please let me know if you’d like to speak to someone about these tools. I can help connect you with some of the organizers of the Civic*Celerator for the big picture, or help set up a walk through from one of the developers for an in-depth tour of any of the apps. Just reply to this email and I’ll get the ball rolling. Otherwise, feel free to try them out, review them or post a tour, whatever you think will help demonstrate the value of campaign spending data and these volunteer-built apps.
Thank you very much for your consideration!
Burt Lum, Hawaii Open Data
Filed under: Announcements, Community, County Council, Economy, Guest Commentator, Hawaii, Politics, Something New?, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Burt Lum, Common Cause Hawaii, Hawaii Open Data | Leave a comment »
Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.
The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.
Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.
Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.
Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.
“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.
Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.
More here: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban
Filed under: Agriculture, Announcements, Big Island, County Council, Environment, Food & Drink, GMO, Hawaii, Health, Legal, National Affairs, Rumors, Security | Tagged: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County over GMO Ban | Leave a comment »
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation’s plans for improving the Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be the subject of a public presentation set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, in the Hawai‘i County Council Chambers located at 25 Aupuni Street in Hilo.
The purpose of this meeting is to explain the project’s entire scope to interested parties and gather their input.
Proposed improvements include replacing the clubhouse facility, waterlines and both of the course restrooms, reconstructing four greens, and performing various maintenance and repair work throughout the site. Another key component involves bringing the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and adjacent driving range into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Design work has started, and the Department of Parks and Recreation expects to solicit construction bids early next year.
The golf course, restaurant and pro shop will continue operating throughout the anticipated construction period of 12 to 16 months. However, it’s anticipated that pedestrian, vehicle and golf cart traffic will be rerouted intermittently while construction work is occurring. Also, areas of play on the course will require temporary modifications to allow construction operations to occur safely and successfully.
The 18-hole Hilo Municipal Golf Course totals 165 acres, making it the largest developed recreational site in Hawai‘i County’s inventory. It’s located at 340 Haihai Street in Hilo and is open daily, except Christmas and New Year’s Day, from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The meeting place is accessible to individuals with disabilities. To request an Auxiliary Aid or other accommodation, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or email@example.com by Wednesday, July 16. Individuals who are Limited English Proficient may also request an interpreter.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I asked Mr. Paleka Jr. how he felt about the endorsement and he said:
I am deeply honored to be endorsed by HGEA, UPW, ILWU and Hawaii Operating Engineers. I believe we share the same values and commitment to our working families and the endorsements are a reflection of that fact. I am aware that my fellow candidates did seek endorsement from these organizations which is very humbling to me considering the competition that was also vying for they’re support. Although I do anticipate further endorsements by other sectors of our community it is with the utmost sincerity that I send a Mahalo Nui Loa to our Union Ohanas.
County of Hawai‘i Law Raising the Age of Sale to 21 Years for All Tobacco Products – Takes Effect July 1, 2014
Last year the Hawai’i County Council unanimously approved a bill to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. That measure, Hawai‘i County Ordinance 13-124, takes effect on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
The law prohibits the distribution of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, to underage customers born after June 30, 1996. Retailers need to be aware that anyone who is born after June 30, 1996 is prohibited from purchasing tobacco products or electronic smoking devices until they are 21 years of age.
There is an exemption in the new ordinance for people who reach the age of 18 before July 1, 2014. Those who reach the age of 18 before July 1, 2014 are allowed to continue to purchase tobacco. The purpose of the exemption is to ease the transition for people who already use tobacco, and for the retailers.
The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i (CTFH) and staff from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids worked closely with West Hawai‘i Councilmember Dru Mamo Kanuha and his staff to pass this bill. Hawai‘i County Council unanimously passed Bill 135 on November 20, and Mayor Kenoi signed the legislation into law in December 2013.
The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawaii applauds Hawai‘i County for standing strong on tobacco control. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (www.tobaccofreekids.org), “National data show that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.” The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help prevent young people from ever starting to smoke.
Hawai‘i County joins New York City and Needham and Canton, Massachusetts, in raising the age of sale on tobacco products to 21. Four states—Utah, New Jersey, Alaska and Alabama—require tobacco buyers to be 19. Several other counties and states, including Texas, are considering similar measures.
It is important for retailers and potential buyers to know these key points for the new law:
- Any person who sells or distributes tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, to an underage customer will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
- Persons, retailers, and employees that sell or distribute tobacco products must verify proof of age of the recipient/purchaser.
- Sale is prohibited to persons born after June 30, 1996.
- Valid identification includes: state driver’s license, state identification card, military ID, or passport.
- Signs are required to be posted at every point of sale.
- From July 1, 2014 – July 30, 2017, persons who sell or display tobacco products shall post signs clearly and keep them posted at the place of business at each point of sale.
- Failure to post this sign shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.
Signs were sent to all registered tobacco retailers in May 2014. Additional signs are available at the Mayor’s Offices in East and West Hawai‘i or by contacting the East Hawai‘i Tobacco-Free Coalition Coordinator via email at email@example.com.
For more information please visit the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i website at: http://www.tobaccofreehawaii.org/community-coalitions/tobacco-free-big-island/hawaii-county-new-law-raising-the-age-of-purchase-for-tobacco-products-to-21/
Filed under: Announcements, Big Island, County Council, Hawaii, Hawaii County Public Notices, Health, Kids, Legal, Something New? | Tagged: 2014, County of Hawai‘i Law Raising the Age of Sale to 21 years for All Tobacco Products Takes Effect July 1 | Leave a comment »