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Hawaii House Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund City Rail Project

The House of Representatives today agreed to provide an additional $1.2 billion funding package for the City’s financially troubled rail project estimated to cost a total of about $8.1 billion.

In passing SB1183 SD2 HD2, the House extended Oahu’s 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for the City’s rail project for an additional two years through 2029 which will generate an estimated $792 million.

The House also agreed to reduce the funds it collects as a GET administrative fee by 90 percent which will generate an estimated $397 million for the City project.

When adding this new funding of $1.2 billion to the $6.8 billion already committed to the project, the State is providing $8 billion for the City rail project.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the additional rail funding provided in the bill brings the City very close to its total estimated cost for the entire project.

“This bill is an honest attempt to once again provide sufficient funds for the city’s over-priced, over-budget rail project,” Luke said. “There are many more questions about the rising cost estimates that remain unanswered.”

(For the full text of Rep. Luke’s speech today, click here.)

“This was a reasoned approach and I would hope that reason would prevail at the city. It is incumbent upon the Mayor, the city, and HART to use this opportunity to take control of the cost and its budgets, and look at all viable options. Threatening the public with a property tax increase is doing a disservice to our citizens. The city must first do whatever they can to instill confidence and trust in this project. I am certain given the opportunity they will do that.”

As part of the bill, the Honolulu City Council must vote to allow city funds to be used for rail and approve the GET extension by Dec. 31, 2017 or void the additional State support.

In an impassioned speech, Speaker Joseph Souki (D, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), said building rail is the largest public works project in Hawaii’s history and will provide jobs and a new mode of transportation for commuters.

“This is for the future. The burden now goes to the City. They need to have ‘skin in the game.’ Hopefully, the (City) Council will get the courage to pass it.  I’m asking all of you to support this bill,” Souki said.

Luke said the State must be very mindful of how it spends taxpayer money, and that  lawmakers and the public have lost faith in the credibility of cost estimates by the City and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation administrators.

After providing almost all the funds needed for the project, the State cannot write a “blank check” for more taxes going into the future just in case rail goes over budget again, she said.

Luke said the City should look at cost savings either through r public private partnerships, finding creative ways of securing bond financing, or aggressively looking at their contracts and making cuts to cover the final $100 million of the total cost.

Luke said this $1.2 billion package provides the City with funds to complete the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in Federal Transit Administration funding.

SB1183 SD2 HD2’s provisions include:

  • Extending the general excise tax surcharge for two additional years, from December 31, 2027 through December 31, 2029, which will generate an estimated $792 million;
  • Redistributing 90 percent of the State Department of Taxation administrative fee to the City, which will generate an estimated $397 million;
  • Requiring the City to approve the extension on or before December 31, 2017;
  • Mandating that the City not prohibit the use of city funds for rail expenses;
  • Prohibiting the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating and personnel expenses;
  • Stating that GET funds can only be used for construction;
  • Giving all counties the option to extend the surcharge.

In addition, the House also moved the following bills on Second Crossover:

Veterans

SB 602 HD1 repeals the requirement that a disabled veteran be in receipt of disability retirement pay from the armed forces to be exempt from the payment of annual vehicle registration fees.

Climate Change

SB 559 SD1 HD2 requires the State to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement.

Affordable Housing

SB 1244 SD2 HD2 authorizes qualified nonprofit housing trusts to repurchase affordable units developed with government assistance when a government entity waives its first right of refusal to repurchase the unit.

Internet Privacy

SB 429 SD2 HD2 adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees, unpaid interns, applicants, students, and prospective students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

Condominium Law

SB 369 SD1 HD1 prohibits apartment and condominium associations, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, and apartment and condominium owners from retaliating or discriminating against an owner, board member, or association employee who takes lawful action to address, prevent, or stop a violation of Hawaii’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents, or exercises any rights as an owner.

Prison

SB 603 SD1 HD2 requires report to Legislature on solitary confinement in Hawaii and Arizona correctional facilities that house Hawaii inmates. It also requires the Department of Public Safety to expand the environmental impact statement process for potential sites for the Oahu Community Correctional Center relocation and submit a report to Legislature.

Taxation

SB 620 SD2 HD2 requires retailers or vendors that are not located in the State and not required to pay or collect general excise or use tax for sales to send certain information to purchasers in the State.

SB 686 SD2 HD1 establishes education surcharges on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations for funding public education.

SB 704 SD2 HD2 allows transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of operators and plan managers using their services for vacation rentals.

Homelessness

SB 717 SD2 HD2 makes appropriations and establishes a temporary program to clean up state real property after the departure of persons who have illegally camped or lodged on state real property.

SB 1290 SD2 HD2 allocates funds from transient accommodations tax revenues to the Hawaii Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for the implementation of initiatives to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

Pregnancy Centers

SB 501 SD1 HD2 requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services and establishes privacy and disclosure requirements for individual records and information.

In Vitro Fertilization

SB 502 SD1 HD1 removes discriminatory requirements for mandatory insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization procedures to create parity of coverage for same-sex couples, unmarried women, and male-female couples for whom male infertility is the relevant factor.

Retirement

SB 249 SD2 HD1 reduces the percentage of average final compensation used to calculate the retirement allowance for a member who first earned credited service as a judge after June 30, 2050, to 2 per cent.

Maui Hospitals

SB 207 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Budget and Finance for collective bargaining cost items related to the transition of affected Maui region hospital employees to employment with Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC.

Lifeguard Protection

SB 562 SD1 HD1 requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action against the county based on negligence, wrongful act, or omission of a county lifeguard for services at a designated state beach park under an agreement between the State and a county.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

University of Hawaii Gets New 45-Foot Education and Training Vessel for Island Students

Tomorrow, Friday, April 7, 2017, students from Ahuimanu Elementary will board the new 45-foot education and research vessel, Ka Noelo Kai (“seeking knowledge from the sea”), as part of its inaugural week of operations to support place-based experiential learning at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). Leaving from He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, students will deploy a plankton net, collect data, and watch for green sea turtles and other marine life on their transit to HIMB on Moku o Lo‘e (Coconut Island).

Ka Noelo Kai in Kaneohe Bay, photo credit F. King/HIMB.

HIMB is an internationally recognized research and education facility, situated within Kāne‘ohe Bay and surrounded by 25 acres of protected coral reef refuge designated for scientific research. While on island, the Ahuimanu students will examine plankton through microscopes, participate in an invasive seaweed lab, and tour the research facilities with stops at the lab’s touch pool and shark enclosures. They will leave with new science and stewardship skills to assist them as they become our next generation of scientists, marine managers and ocean stewards, helping to find creative solutions to Hawai‘i’s environmental issues and challenges.

UH scientists and educators Dr. Malia Rivera and Mark Heckman have been growing programs at HIMB to provide pathways to science for Hawai‘i’s underserved elementary through high school student populations for the last nine years. Currently over 4,000 students and teachers attend programs and labs on the island annually. Many students visit the research facility from as young as 5 years of age via the community and family tours. They may come back next with their elementary school or middle school classes, then as high school students in HIMB’s more science intensive programs before entering the University of Hawai‘i as undergraduates.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology/SOEST/ UH Manoa, photo credit Doug Peebles.

Ultimately a local student who visited as a child may return to gain a graduate degree and become an internationally recognized scientist or natural resource manager.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation generously provided funds to purchase the vessel, enabling more school groups and students to access the island’s facilities, gain training and delve into the mysteries of Kāne‘ohe Bay’s and Hawai‘i’s beautiful but threatened coral reef ecosystems and ocean waters.

The Ahuimanu Elementary’s fourth grade field trip to HIMB will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2017.  Student will gather at He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor located at 46-499 Kamehameha Highway in Kāne‘ohe.  Media are welcome.  For more information, contact Mark Heckman at mheckman@hawaii.edu or (808) 277-1691.

Famous Hawaii Land Saved With Support From Both Republicans and Democrats

Seven-mile coastline where Obama’s mother’s and grandmother’s ashes were spread protected with widespread bipartisan support

The Ka Iwi Coast on the eastern tip of Oahu will be forever preserved from development, ending a 40-year-long battle to preserve the area, The Trust for Public Land and a group of local partners announced today.  The announcement involved the last 182 acres which could have been developed along the 7-mile-long coast.

The area is near where the ashes of former President Barack Obama’s mother and grandmother were spread at Lanai Lookout, and he has surfed at the coast’s famed Sandy Beach.

The Trust for Public Land bought the property a year ago for $3.65 million and finished its sale last week to a local group, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.  The state of Hawaii and city of Honolulu have imposed restrictions which would block any future development.  Previous owners had proposed buildings resorts or luxury homes at the site.

Will Rogers, President of  The Trust for Public Land, noted that “both Republican and Democratic state legislators have strongly supported this project.  This is the kind of bipartisan support which has helped us save more than 43,000 acres in Hawaii since 1978.  Preserving special places is important to Hawaii residents and visitors, and all Americans, whatever their political beliefs.”

The Ka Iwi coast is a key navigational landmark between Oahu and Molokai for fisherman and boaters.  The Ka Iwi channel is important to native Hawaiians, and is steeped in ancient stories, such as being one of the places where the volcano goddess Pele struck her legendary digging stick looking for a fiery home.

The money to fund the purchase came from a variety of sources, including more than 1,600 individuals, who helped raise more than $600,000.  Additional funds came from the state of Hawaii and the city of Honolulu.

“It is truly inspiring to see how the entire community – both Democrats and Republicans, surfers and fishermen, keiki and kupuna (children and elders) – have come together to fight for nearly half a century to preserve this rugged, wild stretch of coastline,” said Lea Hong, Hawaii director of, The Trust for Public Land. “Each time some new development was proposed, the public rallied to protect this treasured shoreline, keeping it in its natural state for future generations to enjoy.”

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

Coca-Cola Company Expands Watershed Stewardship to Hawai`i

On April 11, 2017, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Coca-Cola Company and the Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership will announce plans for a new replenishment project designed to help restore and recharge the Waiawa watershed. It is the principle recharge area for the Pearl Harbor Aquifer, which supplies the majority of drinking water for communities across Oʻahu; more than 364 million gallons each day.

Company and its Bottling Partners Meet 2020 Water Replenishment Goal Five Years Early; Intend to Maintain Water Stewardship Performance as Business Continues to Grow

Under the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative, the State hopes to protect 253,000 acres of critical watershed like Waiawa by the year 2030. The Koʻolau project becomes one of more than 100 such partnerships Coke supports around the country.

Coca-Cola states:

Supporting healthy watersheds is a key priority for The Coca-Cola Company. With more than 100 production facilities in North America, water is essential in the manufacturing of our products and the communities in which we operate.

Water supplies across North America are becoming increasingly stressed. We are committed to doing our part to improve the sustainability of these watersheds. We are working to return to nature and communities an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our products and their production by 2020. To achieve this, we focus on improving water efficiency, recycling water used in our operations and replenishing resources through watershed restoration and protection in partnership with conservation organizations, universities and local governments.

 

Hawaii House Finance Committee Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund Rail Project

The House Finance Committee today agreed to provide an additional $1.2 billion funding package for the City’s financially troubled rail project estimated to cost a total of about $8.1 billion.

In passing SB1183 SD2 HD2, the committee amended the bill to:

  • Extend the general excise tax surcharge for two additional years, from December 31, 2027 through December 31, 2029, which will generate an estimated $792 million;
  • Redistribute 90 percent of the State Department of Taxation administrative fee to the City, which will generate an estimated $397 million;
  • Require the City to approve the extension on or before December 31, 2017;
  • Mandate that the City not prohibit the use of city funds for rail expenses;
  • Prohibit the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating and personnel expenses;
  • State that GET funds can only be used for construction;
  • Give all counties the option to extend the surcharge.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Pauoa-­Punchbowl-Nuuanu), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the $1.2 billion package will fund the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in federal funding.

“This is the second time the State has bailed out the City and County of Honolulu and HART for the rail project. The public and the Legislature has lost faith and confidence in their ability to provide an accurate budget estimate and control costs,” Luke said.

“We are concerned with the City and HART being in breach of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This is why we are providing the City and HART with an additional $1.2 billion funding package. The State is even willing to substantially reduce its administrative fee to ensure that this project is completed.

“However, we continue to be disappointed that the City and HART have not considered significant cost cutting measures and alternatives to funding. We believe the funding we are providing today will be sufficient as long as the City and HART do their part to responsibly finance and manage their rail project.”

The bill will now be voted on by the entire House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

Navy Complies with EPA, Closes Cesspools on Joint Base – Fined $94,212

The Navy recently closed the last of three remaining Large Capacity Cesspools (LCCs) located on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, settling a Consent Agreement and Final Order with the Environmental Protection Agency.  The Navy paid a penalty of $94,212 for violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act at JBPHH.

Adm. John Fuller

Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, announced the closure of the cesspools in his sixth Red Hill stakeholder letter of March 2017. “Just recently, we closed legacy cesspools that predated joint-basing in order to comply with state law.  Our Navy is not perfect, but we are committed to confronting what is not right or not in the nation’s best interest.  We are accountable for our actions, and we are committed to doing the right thing.  We are equally committed to presenting science-based evidence to enhance our understanding,” Fuller wrote.
The Navy acquired the LCCs in 2010 when Hickam Air Force Base and Naval Station Pearl Harbor became Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.  With the Navy as the lead Department of Defense agency for JBPHH, thousands of assets and inventory items were consolidated under Navy responsibility.

Oahu Highway and Road Closures Beginning Sunday, March 26, for a Television Production

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises Oahu motorists of closures on multiple roadways next week for a television production. See closure details below.

H-3 Freeway Sunday, March, 26, and Monday, March 27, from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

  • Closure of the H-3 Freeway in the Kaneohe-bound between the Halawa Interchange and the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
  • All onramps from the Halawa Interchange to the H-3 Freeway will be closed, including the Kamehameha Highway onramp in Kaneohe.
  • Alternate routes include the Likelike Highway and Pali Highway.

Kualakai Parkway – Tuesday, March 28, southbound from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and northbound from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the southbound direction between Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway.
  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the northbound direction between Farrington Highway and the H-1 Freeway Overpass, including the Kualakai Parkway onramp to the eastbound H-1 Freeway. Motorists may enter the eastbound H-1 Freeway at the Makakilo Drive onramp or the Fort Weaver Road onramp.

H-1 Freeway – Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Intermittent closures on the H-1 Freeway in the eastbound direction in the vicinity of the Kapolei/Ewa offramp (Exit 3). Special Duty Police Officers will hold traffic for approximately 1-2 minutes at a time and then will reopen all lanes. The lanes will remain open for the majority of the time during the closure hours.

Electronic message boards are posted to warn motorists of the closures. Emergency vehicles and first responders will be allowed through the closure zones.

HDOT encourages the public to plan their commute and check traffic apps to avoid congestion. Lane closures will be posted on our website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/oahu/  and released through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Illegal Camps Moved Out of Diamond Head State Monument – Six People Cited So Far During Cleanup & Enforcement Operation

Following six months of outreach to homeless individuals living on the slopes of Hawai’i’s iconic Diamond Head, crews from the DLNR Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with a private rubbish contractor removed tons of debris from illegal camps within Diamond Head State Monument. They were joined by state outreach representatives.

“We empathize with anyone in Hawaii who does not have a home, and thank Governor Ige’s homelessness team for the work they are doing to find shelter for people who do not have it. State lands, though, are owned by all of Hawai‘i’s residents and cannot be used as a place for long-term camps,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. Spread across the southeast flanks of Diamond Head, parks and outreach workers have found abandoned clothing, food containers, camping equipment, cans and bottles.

Last week, during the sixth outreach activity, social workers and DLNR staff again hiked to each camp. During previous outreach trips since last October, workers have informed people at camps, in person or in writing that they would need to vacate their camps sometime in mid-March. Cottrell continued, “We are encouraged that several of the 36 camps we originally posted are no longer occupied, and we have been told that some people have been placed into transitional housing.”

As with all the previous visits to Diamond Head, a team of DOCARE officers participated today. As of 9 a.m. they’d issued six (6) citations for the violation of being in a closed area. DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “Citing these people is the last step in this concerted effort to enforce park rules.” This is the third clean-up of illegal camps at Diamond Head State Monument.

Scott Morishige, the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness said, “This operation is not only about maintaining DLNR lands; it’s about connecting people to housing. We’ve been conducting ongoing outreach and notification to the estimated 30-35 people living in the area since October. These efforts have resulted in housing two veterans who had been homeless for a decade.  We will continue to work closely with the state service providers: Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Institute for Human Services, and the CHOW Project, to build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connect them to housing.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Diamond Head is Hawai’i’s best known natural landmark. Our State Parks are for the enjoyment of all kama‘aina and visitors. Other than the established, paved walking path in Diamond Head crater, the area is off-limits because it’s not managed for public access and therefore not safe.”

The State has identified at least 40 camps or rubbish locations on Diamond Head. So far today workers have filled two large roll-off bins with materials that had previously been tagged as trash or identified by campers as such.

USS Port Royal (CG 73) Returns to Pearl Harbor Friday

The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) will return from a 212-day independent deployment to the Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean, March 24.
While deployed to the U.S. 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility, the ship and crew of more than 390 Sailors conducted joint maritime security exercises with South East Asia partners, theatre anti-submarine operations, joint counterterrorism/smuggling exercises, Pacific presence operations in the South China Sea, 5th Fleet sector air defense, and carrier strike group operations with USS Dwight D Eisenhower and USS Carl Vinson. Port Royal also conducted straits transits, providing protection for U.S. and international commerce and projecting sea control in the vicinity of Yemen and Somalia.
“Port Royal’s 2016-2017 deployment was the culmination of the hard work that had been ongoing since the ship’s last deployment. Port Royal’s crew remained focused on getting their ship materially ready for operational excellence, which they demonstrated throughout their 2016-2017 deployment.  The crew has lived up to the ship’s motto, ‘The Will to Win,’ and they have never wavered in their support of the ship and its mission,” said Capt. Adolfo H. Ibarra, Port Royal’s former commanding officer.
Ibarra turned over command to Capt. Christopher J. Budde during an official change of command on Feb. 24, 2017 while the ship was operating in the Western Pacific.  Budde echoed Ibarra’s sentiments. “The Port Royal crew performed brilliantly throughout a seven month deployment spanning the 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet AORs.  More impressive was the effort that went into certification and workups.  Getting this ship prepared for its first deployment in five years was a Herculean task that required incredible work and dedicated deckplate leadership,” said Budde.
Port Royal is a multi-mission ship with air warfare, submarine warfare, surface warfare, and strike capabilities; designed to operate independently or with carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups. Lt. Cmdr. Daniel A. Hancock, Port Royal executive officer, said he was proud of the crew’s performance and execution of diverse mission sets throughout deployment.
“At the heart of it, our crew proved that our Sailors truly represent the best of America,” said Hancock. “They have the hearts of lions and showed it daily under combat conditions. I am extremely proud of the work they have done for this nation. This ship returns to Pearl Harbor materially-sound and operationally ready. That is a testament to the leadership of my chiefs and officers, but above all, it reflects the tireless dedication of my Sailors to mission accomplishment. They have exuded excellence throughout this deployment, and because of their efforts, we return to our loved ones with our heads held high, undoubtedly the finest cruiser in the fleet.”
Port Royal is home ported in Pearl Harbor and is part of Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

Hawaii Department of Health Fines Department of Agriculture for Illegal Discharge of Wastewater Into Halawa Stream

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against the Department of Agriculture for unlawful discharge of animal and human wastewater from their Halawa facility to Halawa Stream. For failing to comply with Hawaii water pollution laws that prohibit the discharge of pollutants such as sewage to state waters, the Department of Agriculture is ordered to pay a penalty of $465,000 and take corrective action to prevent future sewage discharges from their Halawa campus.

Photograph of an elevated section of the H-3 Highway above Halawa Stream. USGS photo by Reuben H. Wolff

“The Department of Agriculture has been sustaining its operations at Halawa with a wastewater system that is in dire need of modernization,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health Administration. “An emergency stand by power source and a warning system, among other corrections, must be in place to prevent future spills and protect the environment.”

The order requires corrective actions that include upgrading the Department of Agriculture’s wastewater system and adding alarms to notify the department’s management of impending spills. The agency may contest the order and request a hearing within 20 days.

Background

The Department of Agriculture operates offices and an animal quarantine facility in Halawa Valley, Aiea on Oahu. As part of its Halawa campus, the department operates a wastewater pre-treatment facility which treats animal and human wastewater before it is pumped into the local sewage system. On June 13, 2016, the campus experienced a power outage causing the pre-treatment facility’s pump system to cease operating. Without power, wastewater overflowed from the pre-treatment facility into Halawa Stream until August 15, 2016, when temporary pumps were installed and water was shut off.

Hawaii Water Pollution laws, along with the Federal Clean Water Act, prohibit discharging pollutants to state waters unless authorized by a state discharge permit. The Department of Agriculture is not authorized to discharge wastewater to Halawa Stream.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Commemorates 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the World War II Doolittle Raid with special presentations for youth and the general public by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, author, educator and granddaughter of General Jimmy Doolittle, leader of the famed Doolittle (Tokyo) Raid that took place, April 18, 1942.

On 18 April 1942, airmen of the US Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle, carried the Battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire with a surprising and daring raid on military targets at Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, and Kobe. This heroic attack against these major cities was the result of coordination between the Army Air Forces and the US Navy, which carried the sixteen North American B-25 medium bombers aboard the carrier USS Hornet to within take-off distance of the Japanese Islands.

On April 17, from 10 – 11 am, students and their teachers are invited to a free youth presentation by Hoppes entitled, “Calculated Risk: Jimmy Doolittle and the Tokyo Raid.” The presentation is named after Hoppes’ first book. Hoppes will discuss the Doolittle Raid and the brave men who, under her grandfather’s leadership, inspired a nation and changed the course of WWII.

This youth event is provided at no cost, and teachers who register their classes will receive a free copy of one of Hoppes’ books, Just Doing My Job or Calculated Risk, as well as corresponding curriculum to use before or after the event. Funding for bus transportation will be provided if requested on the registration form. Seating is limited and registration is recommended by emailing Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org or calling 808-445-9137.

On April 18, at 2:30 pm, Hoppes will conduct a Hangar Talk for the general public, followed by a book signing and meet and greet reception. Admission for the Hangar Talk is free with Museum admission, free to Museum members, and free to military and military families with valid ID.

On April 18, 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, eighty men from all walks of life volunteered to fly B-25 bombers (normally land-based aircraft) that took off from the deck of the USS Hornet. The dangerous and unorthodox mission, led by (then Lt. Colonel) Jimmy Doolittle, represented the first air strike by the United States on Japanese homelands. The raid provided a much-needed boost to American morale and changed the course of WWII. It bolstered American morale to such an extent that on April 28, 10 days after the attack, Lt. Colonel Doolittle was promoted to Brigadier General and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Theodore Roosevelt upon his return to the United States in June.

Oahu Casting Call for Channing Tatum and Tom Hardy Movie

A casting call for paid extras and actors in a movie starring Channing Tatum and Tom Hardy will be held on Saturday, March 25th from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the Olelo Television Studios in Mapunapuna over on Oahu.

Hawaii State Civil Rights Commission Decries Threat Against Jewish Preschool

On behalf of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission, Chair Linda Hamilton Krieger today strongly condemned the threatening phone call made on Monday, February 27, 2017, that necessitated the evacuation of the Temple Emanu-El preschool, and renewed the Commission’s previous call for Hawaiʻi to stand against the national upsurge in discriminatory harassment and intimidation. “We must all come together to condemn this despicable, hateful act against Hawaii’s Jewish community,” said Krieger. “No one should have to live in fear because of their religion, just as no one should live in fear because of their national origin, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status.”

“It is sobering that this happened here in Hawaiʻi, in the context of threats against 20 Jewish community centers and day schools on the same day nationwide, as well as the bias-motivated shooting that took the life of an Indian man in Kansas last week,” added HCRC Executive Director William Hoshijo. “Those who share a commitment to civil rights must stand up for those who cannot stand alone, and condemn the post-election proliferation of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant attacks and threats, acts of vandalism, and hateful rhetoric.”

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing, and will enforce, state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and

State-funded services. The HCRC stands in opposition to discriminatory harassment, whether in schools, workplaces, places of business, or in our communities.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment because of your race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, religion, sex, including gender identity, or other prohibited bases, contact the HCRC at telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov.

For more information, go to the HCRC webpage at:  http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/.

180,000 Square Feet of Pearlridge Center Acquired

Washington Prime Group Inc., in partnership with O’Connor Mall Partners, an affiliate of O’Connor Capital Partners, announced the acquisition of an additional section of Pearlridge Center, located at 98-1005 Moanalua Road in Aiea, Hawaii, for $70 million.

Pearlridge Center comprises two enclosed venues, referred to as Uptown and Downtown. The two companies have acquired 180,000 square feet of space in the Uptown section, which is anchored by Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx, with a 91 percent occupancy.

O’Connor is the partner in another joint venture that owns the property. The company’s pro rata share of the purchase price is $35.7 million and the joint venture plans to place $40 million of secured debt on the property during the second quarter of 2017. Washington Price is initially funding its share with funds from the company’s credit facility until the debt is placed.

In January 2017, O’Connor announced a $33 million redevelopment project which includes a remodel of Downtown, including new tenants, a dining space, new interior and exterior finishes, updated entranceways and the addition of a specialty grocery store, a Bank of Hawaii financial services center, Pieology, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Lindbergh store.

“The consolidation of Pearlridge Center under one management and leasing team will streamline operations and further enhance the customer experience,” said Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center, in prepared remarks. “We welcome the new Uptown tenants and look forward to providing our customers an enhanced mix of retail and dining options.”

Oahu Man Indicted for Electronic Enticement of a Child

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that an Oahu grand jury has indicted Jacob Landon Powers for electronic enticement of a child in the first degree.

Jacob Landon Powers

According to the allegations, Powers, via online messaging on his mobile phone, communicated with someone he believed was a fourteen year old girl and arranged to meet her for the purpose of sex. He then arrived at the time and place they had agreed. He was arrested when he arrived for the meeting.

The investigation was conducted by the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children task force in the Attorney General’s office. The prosecution is also being handled by that office.

Attorney General Chin said of the charges: “Luring a minor to have sex is a horrible crime. Not only is the act itself criminal, it can damage the child for the rest of that child’s life. We will vigorously prosecute anyone who does this.”

Powers is 34 years old and a Honolulu resident. He was indicted for one count of electronic enticement of a child in the first degree, a class B felony. The charge is punishable by 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation. Bail is set at $11,000.00 and a bench warrant has been issued for Powers’ arrest. Powers is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

EPA Conducting Pesticide Poisoning Training in Hawaii

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced upcoming trainings for health care workers on how to recognize and treat pesticide poisonings. The classes will be conducted by the Migrant Clinicians Network, with co-sponsors Hawaii Department of Health, the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated, with funding from the EPA.

“Quick and accurate identification of pesticide poisoning is important to provide immediate patient care,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These workshops will provide health care workers with the tools they need in such critical situations.”

The trainings are accredited courses that will focus on key decision points in the diagnosis of pesticide exposures and will highlight the usefulness of the EPA publication, “Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, 6th edition”. Copies will be provided to all participants. Through interactive case studies, this training will illustrate effective recognition and treatment of patients who may have been exposed to pesticides.

“The Department of Health is grateful for the partnerships that came together to bring this specialized medical training to the healthcare communities on Kauai and Oahu,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We urge health care professionals to take advantage of this important learning opportunity, and expect to see more offered in this area.”

The classes will be held:

Kauai – March 6, at 9:30 am and 1 pm at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, 4643 Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, HI, Conference Room AB. For more information and registration on the Kauai classes please contact Julie Sommers, (808) 338-9474 – jsommers@hhsc.org or Cheryl Tennberg, ctennberg@hhsc.org

Oahu – March 7, at 9:30 am at the AFFES Building, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI, 5th floor Conference Room. For more information and registration on the Oahu class please contact Amy K. Liebman, (512) 579-4535, aliebman@migrantclinician.org or Fenix Grange, (808) 586-4248, fenix.grange@doh.hawaii.gov

Families Reunite as USS Hopper Returns to Pearl Harbor Today

The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) returned home from a 180-day independent deployment to the Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean, Feb. 21.

While deployed to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets, the ship and crew of more than 330 Sailors, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 9, conducted presence and maritime security operations and integrated with six different Combined Task Forces while independently deployed.

While on station in the Arabian Gulf, Hopper joined Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 for integrated operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“This was an incredible deployment which saw six different Task Forces, which means six different missions and operations, some of which were ‘firsts’ and set new precedents on what is expected from an independent deployer,” said Cmdr. J.D. Gainey, Hooper’s commanding officer.

Under the operational control of 7th Fleet, Hopper conducted routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities with allies and partners to enhance regional security and stability.  Hopper also participated in the 13th iteration of the Royal Australian navy’s premier multinational maritime Exercise Kakadu.

The exercise provided an opportunity for regional nations to participate in a wide variety of maritime activities, from humanitarian assistance and search and rescue operations to high-end maritime warfare scenarios.

“It was our turn to stand the watch, forward and deployed, and we did so with aggressive excellence in every mission placed before us,” Gainey added. “This crew absolutely rocked; mission complete.”
Hopper is a multi-mission ship with ballistic missile defense, air warfare, submarine warfare, and surface warfare capabilities; designed to operate independently or with a carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups.

The ship is homeported in Pearl Harbor and is part of Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.

For more information please visit the ship’s website: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg70

Hawaii Delegation Introduces Legislation to Protect Drinking Water and Improve Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility

The Hawai‘i congressional delegation introduced legislation to ensure the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet their obligations to the State of Hawai‘i to protect drinking water and improve the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on Oahu.

Inside one of the Red Hill fuel tanks.

“The EPA, the Navy, and the State agree that protecting the aquifer that supplies Oahu’s drinking water is essential,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “Our bill firms up that commitment into federal law by making sure the agencies responsible for improving Red Hill have the federal funding they need to implement the actions that are agreed to.”

“Red Hill is critical military infrastructure and we want the Navy to succeed in successfully remediating environmental concerns associated with past fuel leaks above Oahu’s aquifers,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “Working together, this will be a win-win for military readiness and Oahu residents.”

“Completing the necessary infrastructure upgrades at Red Hill Fuel Facility will safeguard our water and environment, while also protecting a critical asset to our national security,” said U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i). “Providing budget flexibility and conducting strict oversight of EPA and DOD’s progress towards meeting their commitments is an appropriate way to stretch a short supply of critical federal dollars.”

“These fuel storage tanks sit above aquifers that provide drinking water for up to 30% of Oahu’s residents,” said U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “It’s essential the Department of Defense commit the necessary resources to eliminate any threat these tanks pose to our most precious resource – water.”

The legislation, written and introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, ensures the Navy, DLA, and other federal agencies charged with protecting Oahu’s drinking water from fuel leaks follow a set of actions the agencies agreed to take following the January 2014 leak of jet fuel from the Red Hill facility. The Navy’s investigation of the January 2014 leak determined that it was the result of contractor error. In September 2015, the Navy, DLA, and EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent/Statement of Work (AOC/SOW) with the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Health (DOH). That agreement establishes a roadmap for how the Navy and DLA will protect Oahu’s drinking water from future fuel leaks by making improvements to Red Hill, including the fuel tanks. The bill requires the Department of Defense, which includes the Navy and DLA, and the EPA to include the necessary funding in their respective budgets to make the improvements identified in the agreement.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Six Foot Iguana Found on Oahu While Doing Yard Work

A six-foot-long iguana was turned in on Sunday by a resident in Waimanalo who found the lizard while doing yard work. The resident contained the animal and called the State’s toll-free Pest Hotline at about noon and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked up the iguana later that afternoon.

When fully grown, iguanas may reach up to six feet in length from head to tip of tail. Its tail is quite powerful, acting as a dangerous weapon in fending off enemies. Iguanas are native to central Mexico through South America and are typically vegetarians, but are known to disturb bird nestlings and feed on eggs.

Although they are believed to be established in some areas on Oahu, it is illegal to import, possess or transport iguanas in Hawaii. Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, municipal zoo or Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii to Feature World Class Pilots and Planes

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s popular remote control Biggest Little Airshow in Hawaii is back for its tenth year, Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, 10am to 4pm. Guests will be able to drive on to Ford Island for this event, or take the free shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Parking is free. A family favorite, the Airshow features local and nationally acclaimed remote control pilots and their award winning Giant Scale aircraft.  Other attractions include open cockpits, hangar tours, restored World War II aircraft displays, and the return of “Snow Fields in June” for kids.

For two days, Ford Island will come alive with remote-control flying, static aircraft and full-size aircraft on display, “candy bombings” over historic Ford Island Runway for kids, hands-on modeling stations, a Kids Zone with rides, food, drinks, retail, music, entertainment, and other activities. Hangar 79 will be open, providing access to see the Museum’s many aircraft exhibits, plus the B-17E Swamp Ghost and Nakajima Kate, in restoration.

This year, the Airshow welcomes back Warbirds West, a nationally acclaimed award winning team of pilots flying giant-scale remote controlled aircraft. This year’s airshow will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, a 1942 four-day, sea-and-air battle that was the decisive turning point of World War II in the Pacific. Performances include innovative aircraft showcasing action packed in-air stunts, demonstrations and dogfights, and a tribute to the role of aviation in the defense of our nation’s freedom. On the ground, spectators will be able to explore static aircraft displays and interact with pilots and crew members.

Visitors can also enjoy free tours of Hangar 79 and climb into the open cockpits of some of the Museum’s classic aircraft. Hangar 79 still bears the bullet holes of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Inside, guests will see helicopters, fighter planes, and Lt. Ted Shealy’s Restoration Shop, the 1941 machine shop that is busy restoring the Museum’s aircraft. They’ll also get up close and personal with an F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-86s, P- 40, MiG-15, F-111, and the one and only “Swamp Ghost,” the Museum’s B-17E Flying Fortress.

Sponsors, exhibitors and vendors are invited to participate. For more information including sponsorship and booth opportunities, call 808-441-1013 or 808-445-9069.

Admission to the Airshow is $5 per person (including entry to Hangar 79). It’s free with Museum general admission and free to Museum Members. Tickets for the Airshow only and tickets for the entire Museum (2 hangars and 50+ aircraft) are available online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org. Museum admissions may also be purchased at the Museum ticketing desk and at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center ticketing desk. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes, 7:30am to 5:00pm from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, round trip to the Museum. Call 808/441-1007 for more event information or visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and @PacificAviation on Twitter, for updates.