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Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Kona Girl

6/22/17 UPDATE:  Hawai`i Island police have located 17-year-old Leilani Alvarado of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing.  She was found unharmed on the island of Kauai on Thursday morning (June 21).

Hawai`i Island police are searching for a 17-year-old girl who was reported missing.

Leilani Alvarado was last seen in Kailua-Kona on (May 3)

Leilani Alvarado

She is described as Caucasian, 4-feet-11-inches, 95-pounds with brown hair with red highlights, and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID Service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for 15-Year-Old Girl Reported Missing Again

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing again.

Kahli Akau

Kahli Akau was last seen in South Hilo, in the Olu street area on (May 4).

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-4-inches, 115-pounds with long brown hair, brown eyes, and a fair complexion.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Calle r ID Service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawai‘i Electric Light Company Supports Ku‘ikahi School Mediation Program

The non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center received a $1,500 grant from Hawai‘i Electric Light Company to support its East Hawai‘i Peer Mediation Elementary School Program.  The program brings conflict resolution and prevention skills to students, developing peacemakers in East Hawai‘i schools.

“I have learned as a Peer Mediator to let the students solve their own problems and not be rude and disrespectful.  I improved my communication and behavior by not interrupting conversations and to be patient when people are talking,” said fifth grader Caleilah-Estelle Ahyee.  “I am proud to be a Peer Mediator because I can make the world better.”

Keonepoko Elementary School fifth grader Caleilah-Estelle Ahyee in school year 2016-2017

During the 2016-2017 school year, 42 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders were trained on how to mediate disputes among students at Kapiolani and Keonepoko elementary schools.  In the coming school year, Mountain View will also participate.

“We appreciate Hawai‘i Electric Light’s ongoing commitment to working with local charities and other non-profit organizations toward a vision of a better Hawai‘i,” said Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell.

“Peer mediation directly contributes to Hawai‘i Electric Light’s focus on community programs aimed at promoting educational excellence.  Our East Hawai‘i Peer Mediation Program helps keiki reach their full potential,” Mitchell stated.

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center’s mission is to empower people to come together–to talk and to listen, to explore options, and to find their own best solutions.  To achieve this mission, Ku‘ikahi offers mediation, facilitation, and training to strengthen the ability of diverse individuals and groups to resolve interpersonal conflicts and community issues.  For more information, call Ku‘ikahi at 935-7844 or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.

Governor Ige to Sign New Bills Into Law Tomorrow

Hawaii Governor David Ige is scheduled to sign the following bills into law tomorrow, Thursday, June 22nd at a bill signing ceremony at the state capital building.

HB 511, HB 852: Ethics – Increases administrative fines for ethics violations, lobbying law and failure to file financial disclosure statements on time.

SB 611: Fire Sprinklers – Extends prohibition on county requirements for automatic sprinklers or sprinkler systems.

HB 1179: Rental Housing Projects – Expands the types of rental housing projects that can be exempt from general excise taxes.

SB 718: Community Courts – Establishes a community court outreach project in the City & County of Honolulu.

HB 845: Inmate Re-entry IDs – Requires the Dept. of Public Safety, various agencies, to issue civil ID cards to inmates and assist in obtaining inmates’ birth certificates, social security cards and other ID necessary for successful reentry into society.

HB 957: Heat Abatement – Authorizes the Dept. of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the HI Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

HB 916: Loan Repayment for Health Care Professionals – Makes an appropriation for the health care provider loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

HB 89, HB 90: Hospital and Nursing Sustainability – Continues the Hospital Sustainability and Nursing Facility Sustainability Programs for two years.

Schedule of signings:

  • 9:30 a.m.      Ethics — HB 508, HB 511, HB 852
  • 10:00 a.m.    Fire Sprinklers — SB 611
  • 10:30 a.m.    Rental Housing Projects — HB 1179
  • 11:00 a.m.    Community Courts — SB 718
  • 11:30 a.m.     Inmate Re-Entry IDs — HB 845
  • 2:30 p.m.      Heat Abatement — HB 957
  • 3:00 p.m.      Loan Repayment for Health Care Professionals — HB 916
  • 3:30 p.m.      Hospital & Nursing Sustainability — HB 89, HB 90

These signings will be streamed LIVE through the governor’s website.

HTA Offers Funding to Programs Supporting Hawaiian Culture, Hawaii’s Natural Resources and Community-Based Events in 2018

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced today that funding support will be provided to qualified applicants for programs in 2018 that perpetuate Hawaiian culture, preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and present community-based festivals and events.


Funding will be awarded through a request for proposals (RFPs) process for three HTA programs, Kukulu Ola, Aloha Aina and Community Enrichment, which are offered to help improve the quality of life for residents and enhance the visitor experience for tourists.

“How we celebrate the Hawaiian culture, protect our environment, and share our way of life in communities is key to Hawaii’s future and why we place such importance in supporting groups and individuals committed to these ideals,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “These programs help guide how our communities embrace sustainability and uphold the qualities that make the Hawaiian Islands such a magnificent place to live and visit.”

The three programs that HTA has issued RFPs for and will provide funding support to qualified applicants statewide in 2018 are as follows.

  • Kukulu Ola (RFP 17-13): HTA is supporting programs that enhance, strengthen and help to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture by cultural practitioners, craftsmen, musicians and artists.
  • Aloha Aina (RFP 17-14): HTA is supporting programs that help preserve and enhance the quality of Hawaii’s treasured natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
  • Community Enrichment (RFP 17-12): HTA is supporting community-oriented programs, festivals and special events promoting culture, education, health and wellness, nature, agriculture, sports, technology and “voluntourism” for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

The deadline for applicants to submit proposals to HTA seeking funding support for their programs in any of the three categories is Friday, August 4, at 4:30 p.m.

Program applications are available at HTA’s website at www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/about-hta/rfps.

All inquiries should be directed to Ronald Rodriguez, HTA procurement officer, via email at contracting@gohta.net or by phone at (808) 973-9449.

RFP Information Sessions HTA is hosting public information sessions on all islands about the application and award process for the RFPs at the following locations. Interested applicants are encouraged to attend and ask questions about receiving funding support.

  • Oahu – Wednesday, July 5, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. , Hawaii Convention Center, Emalani Theatre, 1801 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu
  • Kauai – Thursday, July 6, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Lihue Civic Center, Piikoi Building, Meeting Rooms A & B, 4444 Rice Street, Lihue Friday, July 7, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Kona – West Hawaii Civic Center, Building A, Council Chambers, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-KonaFriday, July 7, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Hilo – County of Hawaii Aging and Disability Resource Center, Training Room, 1055 Kinoole Street, Suite #101, HiloTuesday, July 11, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Building D
  • Molokai – Tuesday, July 11, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Building D600,  Maunaloa Highway, Kaunakakai
  • Maui – Monday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Alexa Higashi Room, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului
  • Lanai – Monday, July 17, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Lanai Cultural and Heritage Center, 730 Lanai Avenue, #126, Lanai City

Board Unanimously Approves Hawaii ESSA Plan for Submission

The Hawaii Department of Education Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved the submission of the Hawaii Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA Plan) to the U.S. Department of Education. The plan will be submitted following a 30-day opportunity for Governor David Ige to sign it.

“We appreciate the many meetings and valuable input that led up to today’s Board action,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This decision is one step forward in greatly helping our administrators who are now tasked with implementing the plan in time for the 2017-18 school year, which starts as early as two weeks for some of our schools.”

The ESSA Plan serves as Hawaii’s application for federal funds, providing resources for our schools to support students in achieving equity and excellence. The plan takes advantage of flexibility by leading with the state’s aspirations, goals and plans as described in the Governor’s Blueprint for Public Education and the joint Strategic Plan.

In testimony submitted by Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex Area administrators, praised the process of developing the plan stating, “Ongoing participation for input and feedback via surveys and face-to-face meetings were provided to learn more about the direction of our Department. We understand that the ESSA plan aligns with our State Strategic Plan and provides overarching guidance while leaving discretion to the schools to determine customized priorities and needs of our community.”

Since January 2016, the Hawaii State Department of Education sought input from educational communities to inform development of the ESSA Plan. Engagement included:

  • 230 meetings to share information and gather feedback with legislative leaders, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, school leaders, the Hawaii State Student Council, and more;
  • 35 presentations and 450 pieces of testimony considered by the BOE; and
  • 458 online survey submissions providing feedback as part of a public comment period.

In his letter of support for the ESSA Plan, Governor Ige noted, “The past year has been unprecedented in the engagement of our statewide community in the development of our education blueprint, strategic plan, and state plan for ESSA. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all teachers, administrators, and community members who submitted testimony and provided input into this plan.”

For more information about the ESSA Plan, click here. To view today’s BOE presentation, click here.

Hawaii Department of Health Approves Production Centers for Medical Marijuana Licensees on Kauai and Oahu

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today issued Notices to Proceed to Acquire and Cultivate Marijuana to Manoa Botanicals LLC for their second production center on Oahu and to Green Aloha Ltd. for their first production center on Kauai. The licensees have met all requirements to begin growing marijuana at their approved facilities.

Manoa Botanicals is the third dispensary licensee to complete and operate two medical marijuana production centers. Green Aloha Ltd. is the is the fifth dispensary licensee to receive approval to acquire and grow marijuana at their first production center.  In May, Aloha Green Holdings and Maui Grown Therapies received approvals for their second production centers on Oahu and Maui respectively. In February, Pono Life Sciences on Maui became the fourth licensee to operate a production center.

“The dispensary licensees have made excellent progress in developing their production sites in compliance with all state laws and regulations to provide a safe product and ensure patient and public health and safety,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance. “All of the licensees have worked hard to meet state standards to create a quality industry in Hawaii.”

Brian Goldstein, chief executive officer of Manoa Botanicals said, “We’ve put considerable research, time and money into building a growing facility with the most current technology available to ensure consistent high quality products for our patients. Our nursery plants are ready to go, and we can’t wait to see our first harvest this summer.”

Justin Britt, chief executive officer of Green Aloha said, “It took a lot of work to comply with the state laws and regulations to grow cannabis, but it is all worth it because the result is safer, higher quality medicine for Kauai’s patients.”

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.

Puna Community Town Hall – June 27th

An evening of legislative discussion and insight with Senator Russell Ruderman and his special guest, Senator Josh Green.Take advantage of this opportunity to weigh-in on the 2017 Legislative Session and give your input on legislation for 2018!

Additional information will be provided about participating directly in the legislative process.  Light refreshments will be served.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Members of Congress Sue Trump Administration for Violation of Foreign Emoluments Clause

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, announced today their lawsuit against President Trump to enforce the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution dealing with gifts or benefits the President, or other Administration officials, might receive from foreign governments and businesses. The lawsuit would give Congress the authority to vote on, and approve, any foreign emoluments on a case-by-case basis.


“The American people deserve a president who is a servant leader who they can trust to represent the people’s interests, rather than his or her own. Those who voted for President Trump took him at his word – that having accumulated enough of his own personal wealth, he would be solely focused on serving the American people.

“It is paramount that President Trump divest himself from his properties, especially those abroad, so Americans can trust that this Administration’s foreign policy decisions are not being influenced by the President’s investments. We need to be assured, for example, that U.S.-Saudi policy is not being influenced by a Trump resort or other investments in that country, rather it is crafted to serve the best interests of the American people.

“If President Trump does the right thing by seeking and receiving appropriate congressional approval, stops accepting financial benefits from foreign government officials, and divests himself from his properties, I will withdraw my support from this lawsuit. The people of this country deserve transparency and confidence that the President is acting on their behalf,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui Earns LEED Platinum Status for Sustainable Campus Design

The Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui (Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui) campus has earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest rating possible in the sustainable building program.

Photos by Andrew Richard Hara

“Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui is committed to being a community leader in West Hawai‘i in the areas of science, culture and conservation,” said Director of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui Dr. Marty Fletcher. “By designing a campus to achieve the highest possible rating in the LEED sustainable building program we are demonstrating our commitment to those principles.”

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner said, “Congratulations and thanks to our entire team for certifying another LEED Platinum building at UH. The University of Hawaiʻi stands firmly committed to addressing the challenges of climate change and achieving our sustainability goals across our operations, education, scholarship, cultural connections and community engagement.”

Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui is the West Hawai‘i campus of Hawai‘i Community College with over 500 students enrolled during the past academic year in programs such as Liberal Arts, Digital Media Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, and more. The first phase of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui was completed in August 2015 and includes 24,000 square feet of learning space comprised of classrooms, culinary arts kitchens, science labs and more.

The campus earned the LEED Platinum rating by incorporating numerous sustainable design elements in the facility. This includes on-site photovoltaics for electricity; efficient use of water, including a “living machine” natural wastewater recycling system; certified sustainable wood; low-emitting paints and adhesives; and much more.

The campus was designed by Honolulu-based architecture firm Urban Works. In 2016 the design won a Renaissance Building & Remodeling Grand Award for new commercial construction from the Building Industry Association of Hawai‘i.

This is the second Hawai‘i CC building to earn a LEED rating. Hale Aloha on the Manono campus in Hilo earned a LEED Gold rating for a renovation project that incorporated many sustainable design features such as a green roof and use of recycled materials.

Students interested in enrolling at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui for the fall 2017 semester can visit hawaii.hawaii.edu/palamanui or call 969-8816. The deadline to apply is August 1.

McDonald’s of Hawaii to Start Serving Lobster Rolls for a Limited Time

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii is giving lobster lovers a reason to celebrate. Starting June 28, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be selling the popular Lobster Roll in stores for a limited time. The Lobster Roll is made with 100 percent real North Atlantic lobster, mixed with mayonnaise dressing, and served atop crisp leaf and shredded lettuce on a buttered, toasted roll. A huge hit on the East Coast, McDonald’s of Hawaii is confident local residents will also enjoy the tasty sandwich.

“Hawaii residents are seafood lovers, so when the opportunity to bring the Lobster Roll to Hawaii arose, we knew we had to get onboard,” said Miles Ichinose, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. “This is the first time in our company’s 49-year history of doing business in Hawaii that we will be serving the Lobster Roll and we look forward to sharing this unique sandwich with our customers.”

This summertime special is priced at $9.99 at participating restaurants and will only be here for a limited time, through the end of July or while supplies last. Each Lobster Roll is 290 calories and made with 100 percent all-natural lobster meat, with no additives or preservatives.

“Our lobster meat is a quality artisan product caught by veteran lobster fishermen, and is similar to what you would find at top seafood restaurants around the world,” said Ichinose. “We are constantly listening to what our customers are requesting and then responding by introducing unique quality menu items. We are confident the Lobster Roll will meet their expectations.”

To celebrate the launch of the Lobster Roll, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be hosting a social media contest that will begin at 8 a.m. on July 4. Customers can enter the contest on Facebook or Twitter by simply snapping a photo of themselves eating a Lobster Roll at McDonald’s. The first 10 customers who share their selfies on Facebook and Twitter will win a Lobster Roll prize pack (valued at $30) when they use the hashtags #LovinLobsterRollHawaii and #Sweepstakes. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. on July 10, 2017. They will have seven days, until July 17, 2017 at 5 p.m., to claim their prize. For official rules and store information, please visit any of our 74 McDonald’s of Hawaii Facebook pages, our McDonald’s of Hawaii Twitter account, or: goo.gl/M9nt9Y.

Grid-Scale Vanadium Flow Energy Storage System to be Installed at NELHA

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA), Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO), Ulupono Initiative and UniEnergy Technologies (UET) announced today their intent to install a 100kW/500kWh advanced vanadium energy storage system later this year at the Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST Park) administered by NELHA.

UET’s modular ReFlexTM energy storage system (ESS) is planned to be in operation at the NELHA Gateway Center early next year. The ESS utilizes advanced vanadium flow battery technology and was developed by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Vanadium flow batteries have a longer life cycle than common lead acid or lithium-ion batteries. With regular maintenance, they can last more than 20 years and operate in very warm weather without much need for cooling to optimize performance.

“This effort builds upon the various initiatives by the County of Hawaii, Hawaii Electric Light Company, U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, Sandia National Laboratories and NELHA to partner, share resources, and attract companies interested in testing and evaluating energy storage systems on the Island of Hawaii,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA Executive Director. “NELHA is very grateful to Dr. Imre Gyuk, Director of the U.S. DOE energy storage program, for his very strong support and guidance to formulate this project.”

“Long duration flow batteries are particularly suitable for island systems to serve as a buffer between the load, variable renewable generation, and expensive fossil fuel generation, allowing for more effective asset utilization”, said Dr. Gyuk.

In 2017, more than 56 percent of the electricity generated on Hawaii Island comes from renewable resources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy to an island grid is challenging.

“Electricity from renewable resources is produced when the resource is available and not necessarily when it’s needed. To maintain grid stability and prevent an oversupply situation, it’s critical that we have the tools to control and balance the energy supply with customer demand,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Energy storage is one of several solutions we’re considering. This partnership allows us to test a variety of applications for current and future renewable energy interconnections while maintaining high standards of safety and reliability.”

“The UET advanced vanadium ESS can provide many benefits such as improved grid stability through frequency, voltage and reactive power control as well as dispatch capability of distributed renewable energy,” said Gary Yang, UET CEO. “This battery technology is long-lasting, safe, recyclable, and cost effective.”

The ESS installation is funded in part by Ulupono Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, and Hawaii Electric Light. NELHA is providing the land and will connect the ESS to its data acquisition system.

“Ulupono is pleased to participate in this project,” said Kyle Datta, Ulupono Initiative’s general partner. “Installing adequate grid-scale storage is an important step in furthering Hawaii’s energy resiliency and increasing the amount of highly variable solar energy that can be integrated into the Hawaii island grid.”

Sandia National Laboratories will provide technical consulting and conduct research to analyze how a flow battery performs in an island climate and on an island grid. “The more installations we have of various energy storage technologies, the more we learn and disseminate,” said Dan Borneo, Sandia National Laboratories’ ESS demonstration program lead. “This will help the energy storage industry proliferate.”

Hawaii Argues to U.S. Supreme Court that Trump Travel Ban is Unnecessary and Unlawful

Today, Hawaii filed a supplemental brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, in which it argues that a new memo issued by President Trump on June 14, 2017 has rendered his controversial travel ban and refugee ban both unnecessary and unlawful.

Click to read

On May 25, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an injunction against the travel ban in International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) v. Trump. On June 1, 2017, the Trump Administration asked the United States Supreme Court to stay the Fourth Circuit injunction issued in IRAP v. Trump, grant discretionary review (called certiorari) in IRAP v. Trump, and stay the injunction issued by Hawaii federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii v. Trump. On June 12, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Watson’s order on statutory grounds. The Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s injunction blocking the travel ban and the refugee ban. The only portions of the district court’s injunction that were not upheld concerned internal studies undertaken by the Government and whether the President, rather than his cabinet members, should be named directly. Neither change reduces the effectiveness of the injunction against the travel and refugee bans.

Following the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court for supplemental briefing to address the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The Trump Administration filed its supplemental brief on June 15, 2017, requesting both a stay of the injunction pending appeal and that the Supreme Court grant certiorari in Hawaii v. Trump, alongside IRAP v. Trump.

Two days after the Ninth Circuit’s decision, on June 14, President Trump had issued a memorandum instructing agencies to begin internal vetting reviews within hours of the Ninth Circuit’s decision taking effect, and to put the travel and refugee bans into effect whenever the remaining injunctions are lifted. Yesterday Judge Watson ordered the injunction to be revised consistent with the Ninth Circuit opinion.

In today’s filing, Hawaii argues in part that since the alleged rationales for the bans were to allow the Government to conduct these internal vetting reviews, the new memo from the President makes clear that the Order’s travel and refugee restrictions are no longer required to accomplish what the Government intended. “The President’s memorandum also empties the present petition for certiorari of any compelling justification. The Government does not explain why this Court’s review would be warranted once the supposed purpose of the Order – the completion of the vetting upgrade – has lapsed, as it almost surely will have by the time this case is heard in October,” Hawaii asserts.

Hawaii’s supplemental brief also states:

“Two Courts of Appeals are now united in enjoining Executive Order No. 13,780—a policy that flouts the limits of Executive power, denigrates Muslim-Americans, and threatens the Nation’s reputation as a place of refuge for immigrants and refugees alike. … Both courts saw that rationale for the sham that it was, one that can neither mask the Order’s denigration of Muslims nor justify ignoring the immigration laws’ finely reticulated limits.”

A copy of Hawaii’s supplemental brief in opposition is attached.

Supplemental Addendum. 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management to Host Telephone Town Hall on Hurricane Preparedness

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a telephone town hall on Monday, June 26 at 4:00pm HST on hurricane and disaster preparedness. The congresswoman will be joined by Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi, Anna Foust of Maui Emergency Management Agency, Elton Ushio of Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency, Talmadge Magno of Hawaiʻi Island Civil Defense Agency, and Melvin Kaku of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to answer questions from the community, discuss the forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, and review new recommendations that Hawaiʻi residents prepare an “emergency kit” with a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.

“We are so fortunate to live in Hawaiʻi, but we have some seasonal disasters that are unique to our islands, and it’s important to be prepared. With hurricane season kicking off this month and running through November, I’m hosting a telephone town hall meeting with emergency management leaders in each of our counties to talk about how Hawaiʻi families can prepare and stay safe,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

How to register for this event:

To receive a call reminding you to join this event on Monday June 26, 2017 at 4:00pm:

  • Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR
  • Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration
  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Monday June 26.

HURRICANE CHECKLIST:

Informational Meeting On Hawaii Coral Reef Bleaching

Senator Will Espero, in cooperation with the Friends of Hanauma Bay, is co-hosting an informational meeting on Wednesday, June 21 in conference room 229 from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the eroding health of Hawai‘i’s coral reefs due to pollution from personal health products such as sunscreen.

During the meeting, Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory will present his latest scientific findings on sunscreen pollution and its damaging impact on Hawai‘i’s coral reefs, including the creation of what researchers call “coral reef zombies.”“The health of our coral reefs is important not only for the protection and preservation of our oceans, but also to our state’s economy and tourism industry,” said Sen. Espero. “Efforts were made to mitigate the toxic effect of pollution from oxybenzone on our coral reefs through a number of bills introduced this past legislative session. Through meetings like this, we’ll continue to work collaboratively with scientists and stakeholders to address the protection of our reefs for future generations.”

  • WHO:  Sen. Will Espero, Friends of Hanauma Bay, Dr. Craig Downs
  • WHAT:  Informational Meeting
  • WHERE:  Conference Room 229, Hawai‘i State Capitol
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Hawaii Auction of Seized and Forfeited Property this Weekend

A public auction will be held by the State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General on June 24, 2017, in the Pikake room of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The auction will include property that was acquired through the State’s Asset Forfeiture Program.  It will also include property from other government agencies and sources. Examples of property to be auctioned include:

  • 2006 Toyota Tacoma Crew Cab 4×4 Pickup
  • 2007 GMV Envoy SUV
  • 2003 Toyota Tundra SR5 Access Cab Pickup
  • Lifted and supercharged 2001 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4×4 Pickup
  • Avionics repair equipment
  • Growing lights
  • Gold and Silver Collectible jewelry and coins (including Ming)
  • Rolex watches
  • Artwork
  • Other miscellaneous property

The property to be auctioned may be inspected starting at 11:00 a.m. The auction, conducted by Rosen Auctions, will begin at noon.

For a list, pictures, and more information on the property to be sold, visit www.rosenauctions.com.

The auction is the result of ongoing efforts by state and county law enforcement agencies to fight crime by seizing and forfeiting assets used or acquired in connection with criminal activities.

Assets that were used in, or obtained from, the commission of certain criminal offenses can be seized and forfeited under the state’s asset forfeiture law.

Taking away the tools criminals use to commit crimes and the profits from those crimes are ways to deter and impede criminal conduct.

Proceeds from this auction will be used by state and county law enforcement agencies to combat crime.

Employees (and their immediate family members) of county police departments, county prosecuting attorney’s offices, and the Department of the Attorney General are not eligible to purchase forfeited property.

Anyone having information about individuals who are profiting from criminal activity should call the Crime Stoppers hotline at (808) 955-8300.

VIDEO: Battle Against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Includes Top-Notch Technology

With 75,000 acres of Hawai‘i island ʻōhiʻa forest now showing symptoms of the fungal disease known as Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death, federal and state agencies and non-profit partners are using an array of high technology to detect its spread.

“The battle against the two types of Ceratocystis fungus that causes Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death has always been a hugely collaborative effort,” said Rob Hauff, State Protection Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “Now,” Hauff explained, “the collaboration between the agencies and organizations engaged in the fight against this devastating disease not only continues, but is expanding, particularly on the detection front.”  Early detection is considered critical in helping to identify Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death’s spread on the Big Island and to other islands and to provide data and scientific information to aide researchers working hard to find a way to stop it.

During a demonstration today, researchers showed off three of the high-tech survey/detection tools currently involved in mapping and on-site testing for the presence of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.

Dr. Carter Atkinson a Research Microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey based at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, developed what the team from the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BISC) fondly calls a “lab in a suitcase.”  Recently the BISC team collected ʻōhiʻa samples from towering trees in the Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve on the Big Island’s east coast. Prior to the development, earlier this year, of Atkinson’s portable testing laboratory, all samples were sent to the USDA ARS Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.  Since the cause of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death was first discovered in 2014, Dr. Lisa Keith who runs the main testing lab, has been overwhelmed with samples.  Bill Buckley, the Forest Response Program Coordinator for BISC said, “The lab in a suitcase has been really nice.  We can collect our samples in the field, and nearby under a portable tent the testing equipment is set and ready to go.  Within a few hours we get preliminary results. In the remote location’s we often work in, this is really beneficial. If we get a positive result, we then can go immediately back out and do additional sampling to get a better sense of how widespread the infection is. This greatly speeds up management decisions.”  Positive samples are sent to Dr. Keith’s lab for further testing and verification.

On the same day BISC tested samples in the Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve, another team of researchers prepares to launch an unmanned aerial system (UAS) off the side of Stainback Road, one of the epicenters of the infection. Dr. Ryan Perroy of the Department of Geography & Environmental Science at UH Hilo and his team are now spending about 25% of their time flying the UAS for Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death mapping and detection.

Perroy said the “drone” has been in use in the battle against Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death for about a year and a half.  “It’s very good for monitoring changes in the forest on an individual tree basis, because the resolution of the imagery is so fine that you can see individual leaves and branches,” Perroy explained. That allows researchers not only to see changes over areas already infected by the fungus, but to detect suspected new cases. As valuable as the UAS imagery is, Perroy said it’s very difficult to fly over ʻōhiʻa forests every month and see the rapidity of tree decline. “It’s not the best day when we come back and we see more and more trees down since the last time we flew. Our efforts are one piece of the larger effort to better understand the disease and better protect our forests,” Perroy concluded.

Above, at 8,000 feet, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) is in the process of remapping roughly 650,000 acres of ʻōhiʻa forest on Hawai‘i island. This is the second time this twin-engine aircraft with millions of dollars of highly sophisticated equipment on board has peered into the very structural makeup and chemistry of individual trees to measure forest health.  The first time was in January 2016. This month’s flights will provide additional 3D imaging and data to fuse with ground data and the UAS data to give scientists and resource managers a really clear picture of the scope of spread of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.

Dr. Greg Asner leads the CAO effort. He explained, “Our 3D imaging system means we see the leaves in the forest canopy on individual trees.  We can determine tree heights, the tree’s structure and the chemical make-up.” Utilizing imaging spectrometers, mounted in the rear of the plane, along with laser-based technology, super high resolution GPS, and a high-end, military-grade intertial motion unit (IMU) Asner and his team are about two-thirds finished remapping the Big Island’s ʻōhiʻa forests, in this second round of flight missions.

He added, “Our work provides the whole island view and that interfaces with all the field work and with some of the high-resolution mapping that’s happening locally within some of the canopies.  We give the big picture, landscape scale view, but also with a lot of detail.”

All of the researchers and managers working to combat Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death agree that their collaborative efforts are about the only silver lining to what is a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s most important native tree. Ōhiʻa protect the state’s watersheds by providing a sponge-effect to allow rainwater to slowly seep into underground aquifers.  They also help prevent erosion and the spread of invasive species and they are very culturally significant and prized in lei making.

“I think it’s really encouraging in this daunting threat to our precious native ecosystem, to have a community of natural resource managers and scientists come together to find a solution,” said Philipp LaHaela Walter, State Survey and Resource Forester for DLNR/DOFAW. He added, “I think this experience of having dedicated partners, complete collaboration and the deployment of top-notch technology has greatly improved cross-agency communications and efficiency and we all hope eventually leads to a treatment for Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.”

Top-Notch Technology in the Fight Against Rapid Ohia Death VNR 7-19-17 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Department of Health – Lead Tests Can Give False Results, Advises Parents About Re-Testing Their Children

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) recommends parents with children less than 6 years old who had a venous blood lead test drawn before May 17, 2017 consult with their health care provider to determine whether their child should be retested. This advisory does not apply if the child was tested with a finger or heel stick. Additionally, pregnant women and nursing mothers who had a venous blood lead test before May 17, 2017 should consult a health care provider about retesting.

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers used by some Hawaii laboratories. Magellan blood lead tests on blood drawn from a vein may provide falsely low results. The warning does not apply to capillary blood test results collected by finger stick or heel stick.When the warning was issued, DOH contacted local independent testing laboratories using Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers. The DOH also contacted the chief medical officers of all health care facilities statewide. Working closely with laboratories throughout the state, and as more information became available, it was determined that a substantial number of children’s test results in Hawaii may have been affected. At this time, the exact number of inaccurate blood lead test results received within the state is not known.

“It’s very important to identify children who may have been exposed to lead” said DOH Director, Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The faulty test underestimates low blood lead levels and even low levels of lead exposure may cause adverse health effects such as learning and behavior problems in young children. If your child was tested for lead with blood drawn from a vein from 2014 to May 17, 2017, please contact your health care provider to discuss the need for retesting.”

For further questions on lead exposure contact the Hawaii Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Information on the national safety alert is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/about/blood_lead_test_safety_alert.html

Hawaii Legislative Leaders Target Special Session on Rail for July or August

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kauai, Niihau) and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kakaako, Kaheka, Downtown) sent a joint letter to the Executive Director of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) advising the FTA of the Legislature’s commitment to convene a special session in July or August.

Click to view full letter

Although no specific dates have been set for the special session and no rail funding mechanism has been agreed upon, Speaker Saiki and President Kouchi said that, “after working with members of our federal delegation, it was deemed necessary and prudent to assure the FTA that the Legislature recognizes and understands the requirements under the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) between the City and County of Honolulu and the FTA.”

USS Carl Vinson, Embarked Tigers, Depart Pearl Harbor for Home

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, after a scheduled four-day port visit, June 17.

While in Hawaii, Carl Vinson Sailors hosted tours and greeted family and friends who will ride the ship on her easterly transit to her homeport of Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

“Being able to have my family get a feel of the ship when we’re out here grinding every day is really special,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Jason Stanfield, of Cypress, Texas. “I’m really looking forward to showing them my spaces and the air power demonstration the ship has coordinated. It’s a rare opportunity.”

Stanfield’s father shared his son’s enthusiasm, noting that he is excited to see what life is really like on a Navy warship at sea.

“We see many portrayals of life at sea in the media, but I am looking forward to experiencing it firsthand,” said Chad Linna. “As I do that, I get to spend the final days of my son’s deployment with him. It’s an all-around rewarding and unique experience.”

U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups have patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific regularly and routinely for more than 70 years and will continue to do so. Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983 a year after commissioning. Most recently in 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea.