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Hawaii Senate Committee Passes Medical Aid in Dying Bill

In the hearing today by the Senate Committee on Commerce Consumer Protection (CPH), SB1129 SD1 was passed with amendments that would establish a medical aid in dying act under which a terminally ill adult resident may obtain a prescription for medication to end the patient’s life.

SB1129 SD1 is modeled on the Oregon statute and includes safeguards to protect patients from misuse.  These safeguards include confirmation by two providers (physicians and APRN’s) of the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, mental competence, and voluntariness of the request; multiple requests by the patient: an oral request followed by a signed written request that is witnessed by two people, one of whom must be unrelated to the patient, and a subsequent oral restatement of the request; and two waiting periods between the requests and the writing of the prescription.  At all times the patient retains the right to rescind the request and is under no obligation to fill the prescription or ingest the medication.  Amendments include authorizing APRN as a consulting provider and allowing state identification cards as an acceptable document to prove residency in the State of Hawai‘i.

More than 300 people had signed up to testify on the bill, many which were emotional and thought-provoking both in support and in opposition of the measure.

“This measure is simply one that gives people a choice in end of life care,” said CPH Chair Sen. Rosalyn Baker (Dist. 6 – South and West Maui), “We have wonderful laws on the books with regards to palliative care and setting out their wishes for treatment, resuscitation and the like in an advance healthcare directive. But I think people want that ultimate choice if they have a debilitating, terminal illness and would like to have some control over their last days of life.  This is what SB1129 allows them to do.”

SB1129 SD1 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL).

Willie K Headlines 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival

Called “Hawaiian Hendrix to Polynesian Pavarotti,” Uncle Willie K has wowed world audiences since he started playing music with his dad’s band at age 6. For the first time, Willie K will make a special appearance at the 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival Saturday, March 4 at Queens’ MarketPlace.

Just part of the day-long line up of ‘ukulele superstars on three stages, Willie K is a Grammy nominee, and winner of 18 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. His talented fingers and powerful voice stretch the limits from sweet falsetto, to lowdown blues, blow-your-hair-back rock, and operatic aria.

The ‘Ukulele Festival begins with Roy Sakuma’s traditional free ‘ukulele workshop, this year at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa’s Paniolo Ballroom at 10 a.m.

From 11:15 a.m., throughout the day, live entertainment takes place on three stages at Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace.

The all-star lineup includes:

Lito Arkangel. From Keaau in East Hawai‘i, Lito is a Navy veteran, lecturer at UH Hilo and regular entertainer in resort lounges. He is an accomplished musician and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards nominee who has also played the big stage at the Merrie Monarch Festival.

Kris Fuchigami. A Hawai‘i Island musician, Kris won the Hamakua Music Scholarship Competition at the age of 15. Since then, he has released five CDs, and performed worldwide. Kris has an exciting style that pulls in elements of pop, rock and contemporary sound.

Arden Fujiwara. Born in Hawai‘i, Arden is now part of the Seattle music scene, fusing ‘ukulele tradition with the progressive, including rock and hip hop.

Kunia Galdeira. Grandson of Gabby “Pops” Pahinui, Kunia learned to play ‘ukulele at a very young age. He is an in-deman solo artist and also frequently plays with Sonny Lim and Kevin Kealoha as the trio, “Ekolu Mea Nui.”

The Humble Project, led by Tad Humble and K.U.P.A Hale, led by Alan Hale. These two groups of dedicated musicians from Kona with a common love for ‘ukulele music and for sharing it with others of all ages.

Alii Keanaaina. Originally from North Kona, Alii first toured with his twin brother Nui, before stepping into the solo spotlight in 2010, when he won the Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto Contest. He tours in Japan, Las Vegas, and around the Islands, and easily pleases crowds with his smooth falsetto and full voice Hawaiian music.

Widdy Loo. Born and raised Hawai’i Island, Widdy is a lifelong musician who plays a wide variety of music, often incorporating hula and stories of “Old Hawai‘i”.

Maluhia. George Bence and Beverly McCabe created the Hawaiian-Canadian musical blend, Maluhia  (“peace”). They share their time and music between Hawai‘i and Vancouver Islands.

Brittni Paiva. Brittni’s musical career started with piano lessons at age four in her hometown, Hilo. She picked up ‘ukulele at eleven and has since released six CDs, won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for ‘Ukulele Album of the Year, and traveled internationally. Her multi-genre style melds traditional, pop, alternative, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and more, and she has pioneered the looping technique on ‘ukulele in her YouTube videos.

Mark Yamanaka. A nine-time Hōkū winner from Hilo, Mark is known for his sweet and soulful Hawaiian music and falsetto, performs frequently in the island and Japan.

The festival includes prizes and ‘ukulele giveaways by sponsoring companies.

The 17th Annual Great Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival is a production of Waikoloa Beach Resort and ‘Ukulele Festival Hawai’i. Sponsors include Queens’ MarketPlace, Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studios, Kings’ Shops, Kamaka ‘Ukulele, Kala Brand ‘Ukuleles, Koaloha, Ko‘olau Pono Guitar and ‘Ukulele Company, Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele and others. For more information on Saturday’s ‘Ukulele Festival visit www.WaikoloaBeachResort.com or call (808) 886-8822.

GREAT WAIKOLOA ‘UKULELE FESTIVAL:  SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:  Saturday, March 4, 2017

Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Paniolo Ballroom
10-11:30 a.m.
‘Ukulele Workshop with Roy and Kathy Sakuma. BYOU (bring your own ‘ukulele). Free.

Queens’ MarketPlace, Coronation Pavilion:
12 noon    The Humble Project
1 p.m.        Kunia Galdeira
2 p.m.        Kris Fuchigami
3 p.m.        Lito Arkangel
4 p.m.        Roy Sakuma with Nelly Toyama-Baduria, Daniel Baduria and Nick Acosta
5 p.m.         Willie K
6 p.m.        Mark Yamanaka

Queens’ MarketPlace, Island Gourmet Markets Stage:
1 p.m.        Alii Keanaaina
2 p.m.        K.U.P.A Hale
3 p.m.        Maluhia
4 p.m.        Arden Fujiwara

Kings’ Shops, Center Stage
11:15 p.m.    Widdy Loo
12noon    Kris Fuchigami
1 p.m.        Roy Sakuma with Nelly Toyama-Baduria, Daniel Baduria and Nick Acosta
2 p.m.        Maluhia
3 p.m.        Arden Fujiwara
4 p.m.        Brittni Paiva

Student Leaders From Hilo and Kalaheo High Schools Chosen for Week-Long Program in Washington DC

Jessica Valdez from Hilo High and Matthew Darrah from Kalaheo High have been selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program. The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C.

Jessica Valdez (Hilo High) and Matthew Darrah (Kalaheo High) Photo Credit: Department of Education

Jessica Valdez, president of Hilo High’s Student Association, and Matthew Darrah president of Kalaheo High’s Student Association, will be heading to Washington D.C. for the 55th annual Washington Week in March. The duo was selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

“Congratulations to Jessica and Matthew for being selected for this prestigious program,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This is a wonderful opportunity for these student leaders to see how their experience serving at their school and state councils could turn into a career in public service by seeing it firsthand in our nation’s Capitol.”

The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C. where they will tour the national monuments and museums, as well as have the opportunity to attend meetings and briefings with legislators, an ambassador to the U.S., a justice of the Supreme Court and other government leaders.

“I was honored to be part of the program last year. It gave me a newly found sense of confidence, and once in a lifetime experiences that I’m applying in Hawaii as a college student and intern at the legislature,” shared Zachary Espino, 2016 USSYP Hawaii delegate. “My advice to Jessica and Matthew would be to take a lot of notes, and listen and engage in conversations with the other delegates. These are students who share the same passion and drive, and are valuable connections that you may rely on down the road.”

Valdez serves as the chairperson of the Hawaii State Student Council. She was elected to this position to effect positive change and promote the voice of Hawaii’s public school students. At Hilo High, she has served as vice president, recording secretary and representative of her School Council. Valdez has also held a variety of leadership positions including chair of the Inter-Club Council, and secretary, treasurer and president of the Rainbow Friends Club, which raises money for and awareness about a local nonprofit sanctuary protecting, caring for and sheltering the community’s animals in need.

Darrah serves as sergeant at arms of the Hawaii State Student Council, the secretary of his school’s organization of clubs as well as a member and representative of state and district councils. He intends to attend the University of Florida to major in environmental studies and minor in political science, with the hopes of a career at the Environmental Protection Agency or an environmental institute.

The USSYP was established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. For more information, visit http://ussenateyouth.org.

Hawaiian Airlines Remains Top Carrier for Punctuality – 13th Consecutive Year Holding Title

Hawaiian Airlines remained the nation’s top carrier for punctuality in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), marking the airline’s 13th consecutive year holding the title.

Click to view Air Travel Consumer Report for February 2017

Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline averaged a 91.1 percent on-time performance rating in 2016, earning the top ranking in all but one month and exceeding the industry average for the year by 9.7 percentage points. For December, Hawaiian Airlines posted a leading 85.1 percent on-time performance rating. The carrier also ranked first in fewest flight cancellations with 0.1 percent, or nine cancellations out of 6,347 flights.

“It’s no secret that our more than 6,000 employees work passionately every day to ensure our guests arrive at their destination on-time,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “Our success the past 13 years is a direct result of their hard work, and I continue to be inspired by their dedication to our guests.”

Last month, Hawaiian was also named the world’s most punctual airline in 2016 by air travel intelligence company OAG in its annual ranking of on-time performance for all global airlines and airports.

Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline provides daily non-stop service to Hawai’i from 11 gateway cities in North America – more cities than any other carrier – using Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines also operates approximately 160 daily flights between the Hawaiian Islands using Boeing 717-200 aircraft.

The DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report ranking the nation’s 16 largest air carriers is available online at www.dot.gov/individuals/air-consumer/air-travel-consumer-reports.

Hawaii Department of Health Approves Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC to Acquire and Cultivate Medical Marijuana

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today issued a Notice to Proceed to Acquire and Cultivate Marijuana to Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC for their production center on Maui. Pono Life Sciences Maui is the fourth licensee to receive notice from the state and the second Maui licensee to meet all requirements to begin growing marijuana.

Pono Life Sciences Maui is now authorized to acquire and grow marijuana seeds, clones and plants, for the purpose of providing marijuana and marijuana products to qualified patients registered with the department’s Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Program. This month, in addition to Pono Life Sciences Maui, DOH issued Notices to Proceed to Maui Grown Therapies, Aloha Green Holdings, and Manoa Botanicals for production centers on Maui and Oahu.

To receive a Notice to Proceed from DOH, dispensary production centers must comply with statutory and regulatory requirements that include building a secure, enclosed indoor facility; operating a computer software tracking system that interfaces with the state’s system and submits current inventory data of all marijuana seeds, plants and manufactured products in the production center; and authorization from the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Hawaii State Department of Public Safety.

More information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/

A total of eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued in April 2016. Three dispensary licenses for the City and County of Honolulu were issued to Aloha Green Holdings, Inc.; Manoa Botanicals, LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. Two licenses for the County of Hawaii were issued to Hawaiian Ethos, LLC and Lau Ola, LLC. Two licenses for the County of Maui were issued to Maui Wellness Group, LLC and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. One license for the County of Kauai was issued to Green Aloha, Ltd.

Each dispensary licensee is allowed to operate two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center may grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

Hawaii Travel Ban Lawsuit Adds Religious Freedom Claim

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watson has partially lifted the stay he placed last week on Hawaii’s travel ban lawsuit. This action by Judge Watson allows Dr. Ismail Elshikh, a U.S. citizen and Hawaii resident, to join Hawaii’s case against the President’s Executive Order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations and suspending the nation’s refugee program.

Click to read lawsuit

Judge Watson also allowed Hawaii to add a new count, alleging violations of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Act prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening the exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

The stay Judge Watson issued last week remains in place for all other purposes, so long as the nationwide injunction against implementation of the President’s Executive Order, signed on January 27, 2017, remains in place. On Friday, February 10th, a 3-0 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the nationwide injunction to remain in place.

Attorney General Chin added, “President Trump’s executive order imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Freedom of religion is one of the most important rights and values for citizens in this country, no matter what religion that is. The additional claim in our complaint protects that right.”

A copy of the first amended complaint in Hawaii v. Trump is attached.

Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald announced today that he is seeking public comment on judicial nominees for three vacancies in the District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu) as a result of the retirement of Judges Gerald H. Kibe, David W. Lo, and Barbara P. Richardson.

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald

The names submitted for these vacancies by the Judicial Selection Commission, in alphabetical order, are:

Thomas J. Brady
Mr. Brady is currently employed as Assistant U.S. Attorney with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaiʻi.  Brady is a graduate of George Washington University National Law Center and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1987.

Brian A. Costa
Mr. Costa is currently employed at Costa & DeLacy, LLLC, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Costa is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 2001.

Jessi L.K. Hall
Ms. Hall is currently employed at Kleintop & Luria, LLP.  Hall is a graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1999.

Jeffrey A. Hawk
Mr. Hawk is currently employed at the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Hawk, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Hawk is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1997.

Darolyn H. Lendio Heim
Ms. Lendio Heim is currently employed at McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, LLP.  Lendio Heim is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1984.

Timothy E. Ho
Mr. Ho is currently employed as Chief Deputy Public Defender with the State of Hawaiʻi Office of the Public Defender.  Ho is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1987.

Chastity T. Imamura
Ms. Imamura is currently employed as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu.  Imamura is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 2002.

Craig W. Jerome
Mr. Jerome is currently employed as Assistant Federal Public Defender with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Hawaiʻi.  Jerome is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 2007.

Tana K. Kekina-Cabaniero
Ms. Kekina-Cabaniero is currently employed as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu.  Kekina-Cabaniero is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1995.

Trish K. Morikawa
Ms. Morikawa is currently employed at Gallagher Kane Amai and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Morikawa is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1995.

Kevin T. Morikone
Mr. Morikone is currently employed with Hosoda & Morikone, LLC, and serves as Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Morikone is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 2007.

Alvin K. Nishimura
Mr. Nishimura is currently employed at Alvin Nishimura, Attorney at Law, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Court of the First Circuit.  Nishimura is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1985.

Jonathan L. Ortiz
Mr. Ortiz is currently employed at Ortiz & Katano.  Ortiz is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1978.

Rowena A. Somerville
Ms. Somerville is currently employed as a Hearings Officer with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Somerville is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaiʻi State Bar in 1996.

Because the Chief Justice has the discretion to assign judges to the district or district family court calendar, comments about the qualifications and character of any of the nominees with regard to either calendar assignment may be sent, in writing, to:

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald
Supreme Court of Hawaiʻi
417 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Fax: 808-539-4703
Email: chiefjustice@courts.hawaii.gov

Comments must be post-marked, emailed, faxed, or hand delivered no later than Friday, February 24, 2017.  All comments will be kept confidential.

The individuals selected by the Chief Justice are subject to Senate confirmation.

Hawaii Tax Reform Bill Passes Committee

House Bill 1586, which attempts to change the basic structure of taxes in Hawaii, was passed by the House Tourism Committee Tuesday.

The bill not only addresses Hawaii’s high cost of living by reducing personal income tax brackets for low and middle income earners and seniors, but also looks at how the counties’ property tax rates are one of the primary reasons for the State’s high housing costs.

“Our residents, especially low and middle income taxpayers, are paying too much income tax,” said Rep. Kyle T. Yamashita, “At the same time, non-residents can buy homes in Hawaii, with the nation’s lowest property tax rates, and yet in most cases, they pay no income tax to the State. This has the effect of keeping the cost of buying a home out of the reach of many of Hawaii’s people and causing property valuation to continuously rise.”

The bill would also end the $103 million subsidy the state provides to the counties from a portion of the Transit Accommodations Tax. Removing this subsidy would make up for part of the reductions in personal income tax collections and encourage the counties to raise property taxes for non-residents and other categories that affect the rising housing costs, Yamashita said.

“We need to restructure how we tax to fuel positive economic outcomes. We cannot continue to make band-aid changes to our tax structure and think anything will really change,” said Yamashita. “This bill is the first step in making taxes more equitable for residents and, if the counties follow suit, will make investors buying homes in Hawaii pay their fair share.”

Kona Historical Society Offers A Tasty Tradition

Kona Historical Society will make its famous Portuguese cinnamon bread to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. This special bake will happen on February 28 at Kona Historical Society’s stone oven, or forno, located in the pasture below its main office and its historic general store museum in Kealakekua.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the public is invited to watch Kona Historical Society staff and volunteers create these sticky, sweet loaves of cinnamon bread. Attendees will also learn about the traditional art of Portuguese bread making and the contributions of the Portuguese, who arrived in Hawaii in the 1880s. While many of these immigrants worked in the sugar plantations, a fair number did find their way to Kona dairies and are credited for helping develop this industry.

Kona Historical Society makes cinnamon bread on Shrove Tuesday to pay homage to the days of the sugar plantations of the 1800s, when resident Catholic Portuguese would mark the day by eating richer, fatty foods and desserts before the ritual fasting of the Lent season, which lasts 40 days. They would often use up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas, the well-known and beloved Portuguese doughnut without a hole. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday.

Cinnamon bread loaves, each costing $8, can be purchased starting at 12:30 p.m. Bread sales are on a first come, first served basis and go until 4 p.m. or everything is sold out. Proceeds go toward supporting the Kona Historical Society, a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For those who can’t make it to this special bake, consider joining Kona Historical Society staff and volunteers every Thursday at the forno for its weekly Portuguese bread baking program. During this free program, the crew bakes close to 100 loaves of white, wheat and sweet bread and the public is invited to lend a hand by helping roll the dough.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

Free Home Ownership Seminar

Becoming a homeowner is one of the most important steps in a person’s life, and there’s a lot of prep work to do before checking out housing listings. To help prospective buyers become happy homeowners, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is hosting “ABC’s of Home Ownership” — a free educational seminar that will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m at HCFCU’s Kaloko Facility in the John Y. Iwane Credit Union Center Training Room (73-5611 Olowalu Street, Kailua-Kona, HI).  To register for this free seminar or for additional information, contact the HCFCU Call Center at 930-7700 or marketing@hicommfcu.com.  Seating is limited.

73-5611 Olowalu Street, Kailua-Kona, HI

Presented by Reina Miyamoto, Program Director of the Hawaii Home Ownership Center, attendees will receive important information that will help them understand home ownership requirements, as well as inform them of potential obstacles to purchasing a home, such as:

  • Having too much debt (student loans, credit card, etc.)
  • Not having enough money for a down payment
  • Not knowing where to find accurate and reliable information

The Hawaii Home Ownership Center, a non-profit organization, provides information and services needed to become a homeowner, including home buyer education, one-on-one coaching, and more.

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its over 40,000 member/owners with branches in Honokaa, Kailua-Kona, Kaloko, Kealakekua and Kohala.  In addition to complete checking and savings services, the credit union offers credit cards, auto, mortgage, construction, small business, educational and personal loans; online and mobile banking; investment services; youth programs and supports numerous Hawaii Island programs and events.  Membership in Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union is open to all Hawaii Island residents. For more information visit www.hicommfcu.com.

Parker School Dedicates Athletic Field

On Tuesday, January 31 Parker School’s athletic field was named “The Goodfellow Brothers Inc. Athletic Field” in a school-wide dedication ceremony.  This special ceremony honored the fourth generation, family-owned construction company Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for their continued commitment to Parker School and the Hawai’i Island community.

Parker School administration, board members, along with Chad Goodfellow and Ed Brown both of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. unveil Parker School’s newly dedicated athletic field.

All 340 kindergarten through grade 12 students, along with current and former board members, attended the dedication ceremony held next to the school’s athletic field.  Originally constructed in 2011, Parker’s athletic field was named in honor of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its generous support of athletics at Parker School, including a newly resurfaced basketball court completed last year.

Lower school students showed their gratitude by presenting Chad Goodfellow, president, and Ed Brown, vice president of operations–Hawaii of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. with an oversized, handmade thank you card.  Upper school students presented each with a taro plant and Parker Bulls Soccer Club players gifted a signed soccer ball.

“Parker School is grateful to Ed Brown, Steve and Chad Goodfellow and Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its support of our athletic programs over the past several years.  Goodfellow Brothers Inc. isn’t just a company that focuses on making money, but making a community.  This athletic field is a testament to that generosity,” says Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster.

Parker’s athletic field is also home to the Parker Bulls Soccer Club, a player development program for youth soccer players open to the Waimea community.

Gabbard-Backed Bill to Expedite Veterans Claims Process Passes House

Legislation cosponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) to streamline the veterans claims process unanimously passed the House today. The bipartisan WINGMAN Act (H.R.512), which would allow congressional offices to directly access information on behalf of a constituent without having to go through a middle-man at the VA bureaucracy, now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:

“One of the things I appreciate most about the job that I have to represent Hawaiʻi’s Second District is to be able to respond to and provide assistance to the hundreds of veterans from across my state that contact our office every single year. They call to ask for help with things like compensation and pension issues, healthcare, mileage reimbursement—especially for our veterans who live on the neighboring islands where they don’t have a VA clinic on island—education, home loan benefits, and more. This is a responsibility as a Member of Congress and as a fellow veteran that I take very seriously.

“Right now, if a veteran contacts my office for assistance, we are required to go directly through the Congressional Liaison at the VA. We act as veterans advocates to try to get answers for them on things that they haven’t been able to get answers on and things they haven’t heard back on.

“Too often, we’re faced with bureaucratic layers within the VA and a slow turnaround that leaves congressional staff, like mine and my colleagues’, jumping through hoops to access basic but critical information on behalf of our veterans and their families. At times, we have waited for months to get answers from the VA on behalf of a Hawaiʻi veteran for something that should be a quick turnaround, like a status update.

“This is unacceptable, and it’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the WINGMAN Act, legislation introduced by my friend and colleague Ted Yoho of Florida, which allows us to cut through the red tape and ensure that our certified caseworkers within our offices can provide quicker, more efficient and effective service to our veterans. It would help streamline the veterans claims process by allowing congressional offices, on behalf of our veteran constituents, to directly access the status of pending claims, rating decisions, statement of the case, and more.

“I urge my colleagues to support this common sense legislation, so that all of us working here in the people’s house can better serve our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our communities and our country.”

Background: The WINGMAN Act would streamline the veterans claims process between congressional offices and their constituents by eliminating the requirement to use the VA as a middle-man. Under WINGMAN, certified constituent advocates would be able to directly access the status of pending claims, medical records, rating decisions, statement of the case, supplementary statement of the case, notice of disagreement, and Form-9 files within a reasonable amount of time, without having to go through a middle-man at the VA.

Each year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office helps hundreds of veterans get assistance from the VA and other federal agencies. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “office hours” to help constituents, including veterans, with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

Former Professional Midget Wrestler Goes Missing on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaiʻi Island for police are searching a 56-year-old Keaʻau man who was reported missing.

Curtis Dudoit

Curtis Dudoit (AKA Coconut Kid and Coconut Willie) was last seen Tuesday (February 7) in the Orchidland subdivision in Keaʻau.

He is described as 4-foot-7, 154 pounds with a muscular build and black hair in a crew cut. He has a tribal-style tattoo on his left bicep and the word “Molokai” tattooed across his back. He was last seen wearing a black tank-top, blue jeans and white slippers.

Dudoit was known as  Coconut Willie and Coconut Kid during his professional wrestling career where he wrestled locally in the “midget circuit” back when professional wrestling was real popular in the Hawaii Islands.

From Dudoit’s Facebook page.

Online World of Wrestling posted the following profile of Coconut Willie:  http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/midgets/coconut-willie.html
Police ask anyone with any information on his whereabouts 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 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.

Thunderstorms Drenching Maui

At 511 PM HST, a strong thunderstorm was located near Kihei, or 8
miles southeast of Kahului, moving northeast at 15 mph.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible with this storm.

Locations impacted include Kahului, Kihei, Pukalani, Haliimaile, Pauwela, Ulupalakua, Wailea, Huelo, Haiku-Pauwela, Paia, Makawao, Puunene, Kula, Keokea, Makena, Kaupo, Hana, Kipahulu, Maalaea and Nahiku.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm.  Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe shelter inside a building or vehicle.

INFORMATION:  Maui County Emergency Management Agency will continue to monitor the situation.  Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for any updates.  NOAA Weather broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025.  NOAA Weather internet services can be found at www.weather.gov/hawaii.

Roosevelt High School Wins Lifesmarts Hawaii State Competition

High school teams from across the state today participated in the 13th annual LifeSmarts Hawaii competition, held at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus Center Ballroom. The game-show style competition tested students on their knowledge of personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Pete Cagianno and Moanike’ala Nabarro of KITV News served as emcees of today’s competition.”

The final four teams competing today included Maryknoll, Pearl City, Roosevelt and Waiakea High Schools.  After testing their skills through written tests, a “speed smarts” activity, and gameshow style buzzer rounds, the team from Roosevelt High School emerged as this year’s state champion. Members of the team are: Bryan Kitsu (team captain), Zeheng Huang, Hajin Jang, William Li, and Elvis Tran. The team was coached by Brian Lock.

The winner of today’s state competition will now represent Hawaii at the National LifeSmarts Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 21 – 24, 2017.

“Participation in the LifeSmarts Hawaii program has increased over the years and it is very exciting to see these students take an interest in something that will provide them with valuable real-life skills,” said Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Director Catherine Awakuni Colón.  “Congratulations to all of the teams that participated today. I wish Roosevelt all the best as they continue on to the national competition.”

“We commend all the student competitors, their parents and coaches for the time, energy and support they dedicated in preparation for today’s competition,” said Acting Securities Commissioner Henry Tanji.

LifeSmarts is an educational program that prepares students to enter the real world as smart consumers by teaching them the skills needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The program is run by the National Consumers League and locally by the DCCA Office of the Securities Commissioner, in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League.

Local sponsors for the Hawaii State Competition include:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Foundation of Hawaii, Inc.
  • Coastal Construction Co., Inc.
  • Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Office of the Director
  • Experian
  • Hawaii Construction Alliance
  • Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters
  • International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 368
  • Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3
  • Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Union, Local 630
  • Hawaii Council on Economic Education(HCEE)
  • Hawaii Credit Union League
  • Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
  • Big Island Federal Credit Union
  • CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii State Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaiian Electric Employees  Federal Credit Union
  • Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Oahu Federal Credit Union
  • Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Schofield Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii Government Employees Association, Local 152
  • Hawaii Prince Hotel
  • HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Foundation
  • HMSA
  • OtterBox
  • Pasha Group and Pasha Hawaii
  • State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch
  • United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Financial Literacy Program
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE)

More information about the LifeSmarts Hawaii program can be found at www.LifeSmartsHawaii.com.

Aloha Grown 2017 Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five (5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is once again giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Interested groups must complete an application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

Previous award winners have included Kohala Elementary School, Punana Leo o Waimea, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, and many more. Their sustainability programs and efforts have included community gardens, aquaponics systems, keiki farm stands, culinary programs, and outdoor educational “classrooms”.

All submissions are due by March 31, 2017. The five (5) selected recipients of the 2017 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund Awards will be contacted by April 28, 2017.

For more information on Aloha Grown or to see previous year’s Malama Honua Fund award winners, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Makahiki Traditions to be Explored in Free Kona Historical Society Lecture

Kicking off Kona Historical Society’s 2017 Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series, cultural practitioner Shane Akoni Nelson will discuss the various functions of the Makahiki season, its importance to society prior to 1820, and how its traditions continue today. His lecture, “Makahiki Traditions,” is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the West Hawaii Civic Center, located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona. It is sponsored in memory of Roland Dupree.

Makahiki is the annual four-month season in ancient Hawaii when work and warfare ceased. People devoted their days to games, sports, hula and leisure, as well as to strictly observing rules and taboos. Makahiki was observed in honor of the god Lono.

Nelson, also a producer and scriptwriter, is dedicated to the empowerment of Hawaiian people, particularly to those in South Kona on Hawaii Island.

For the past six years, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. It is a gift from the Society to the community that has supported it for so long and it is presented in cooperation with the County of Hawaii. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.

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.

Live Fire Training at Kona International Airport Next Week

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) notifies the public that there will be live fire training at Kona International Airport for the Hawaii District Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighters (ARFF) on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, and Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo by Travis Thurston

The exercise is an annual requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The ARFF section will be testing their response protocol to a live emergency scenario involving burning fuel. HDOT informs the public that the exercise will produce smoke in the area.

Hawaii’s Economy Continues to Expand

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released its first quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report, which shows Hawaii’s economy continues to expand at a slightly reduced rate.

Click to view full report

According to the most recent data released on Feb. 2 from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii’s economic growth rate during the first three quarters of 2016 was 2.1 percent, higher than the U.S. economic growth rate of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

“Hawaii had a great year in 2016 with 14,000 new payroll jobs created,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “Almost every sector saw job increases except state government and wholesale trade.  Our unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the nation in 2016, and we expect our economic condition to remain stable in 2017.”

DBEDT revised its projection on Hawaii’s economic growth, as measured by the growth of real gross domestic product (GDP), to 1.8 percent for 2017, slightly lower than the 1.9 percent projection made in the previous quarter.

“The downward adjustment in Hawaii’s economic growth for 2017 was mainly due to the new projection on visitor expenditures for 2017,” said Chief State Economist Eugene Tian.  “We expect visitor arrivals will reach more than 9 million in 2017, about the same as we forecasted in the previous quarter.  However, we now expect visitor days will grow by 1.4 percent in 2017, lower than the 2 percent we forecasted in November 2016.  We will see fewer or slower growth from those longer length-of-stay markets such as Oceania, Canada, Europe, and U.S. West.  The slower growth in visitor days will lead to slower growth in visitor expenditures.”

According to DBEDT, passenger count data, total passengers to Hawaii increased 3.8 percent in January 2017, as compared with the same month last year. Passengers on domestic flights increased 2.2 percent and passengers on international flights increased 8.1 percent.

The end of 2016 saw historic high levels of labor force, employment and payroll job count.  Statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell to 2.6 percent by the end of the year.  By December 2016, unemployment rates of all the counties fell below 3 percent, except Hawaii County where unemployment rate was slightly higher than others, at 3.1 percent.

In 2016, four sectors were the main driving forces for job gains: construction, tourism, health care and professional services.  Construction led the job gain at 4,600; followed by Food Services and Drinking Places at 2,800; Health Care and Social Assistance at 2,500; Accommodations at 1,000; and Professional and Business Services added 900 jobs.

In 2016, initial unemployment claims decreased by 6.4 percent.  However, the decrease occurred mostly in the beginning months of the year. Since October 2016, initial unemployment claims have been higher than the same period in the previous year, and the trend continued into January 2017.

In 2016, total visitor arrivals increased 3 percent and visitor expenditures increased 4.2 percent, both were higher than projected by DBEDT.

At of the end of 2016, value of private building permits was down by 18.2 percent.  Value of commercial and industrial permits decreased the most at 70 percent, while residential permits decreased by 12.3 percent.  Value of additions and alterations decreased by 1.7 percent.

According to the February 2017 Blue Chip Economic Indicators, most of the economies in the world will see steady economic growth in 2017 and 2018, especially the three major Hawaii visitor source countries – U.S., Canada, and Japan.  The U.S. economy will expand 2.3 percent, Canadian economy will grow 1.9 percent, and Japanese economy will increase 1 percent in 2017, where all of the growth rates are higher than those experienced in 2016.

With the economic data currently available, DBEDT expects that the economic growth rate will be 1.8 percent in 2017, and will slightly decrease to 1.6 percent by year 2020.

Non-agriculture payroll job count will grow by 1.2 percent in 2017, the same as projected in the previous quarter. Job growth is projected to be at 1.1 percent for the years after 2017.

DBEDT expects the unemployment rate will increase slightly in 2017 to 3.4 percent and will rise to 3.6 percent in 2020.

Nominal (no inflation adjustment) personal income is projected to grow at around 4.7 to 4.8 percent during the next few years, same as the projection in the previous quarter.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii personal income grew by 4.5 percent during the first three quarters of 2016.  DBEDT projects that real personal income will increase in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent in the next few years.

DBEDT lowered its projection on the consumer inflation rates to a range between 2.3 and 2.5 percent during the 2017-2020 period.  The actual consumer inflation rate in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 2 percent, lower than the 2.3 percent projected by DBEDT in November 2016.

The DBEDT Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report contains more than 120 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawaii’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/qser/.