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House of Representatives Honored to Host French Legion of Honor Presentation to World War II 442nd Veterans

The Hawaii House of Representatives was honored today to host the presentation of the French Legion of Honor decoration to three Nisei veterans of US Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team for their service during World War II.

Rep. Mark M. Nakashima (from left), Futao Terashima, Vice Speaker Della Au Belatti, Dale Tateishi holding a photo of his father Tetsuo Tateishi, Harold Zenyei Afuso, and Rep. Scott Y. Nishimoto.

The veterans: Harold Aenyei Afuso, 442nd RCT, 2nd Battalion, H Company; Tetsuo Tateishi (posthumously) 442nd RCT, 100th Battalion, A Company; and Futao Terashima, 442nd RCT, 3rd Battalion, I Company; were presented their medals by Guillaume Manan, Honorary Consul of France in Hawaii.

“The House of Representatives and Speaker Scott K. Saiki are so happy that our chamber could serve as the venue to honor these brave men,” said Vice Speaker Della Au Belatti. “The Legion of Honor is France’s highest award and it recognizes the bravery and sacrifice that these men made to protect the freedoms that we enjoy today.”

The 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team was comprised of Japanese Americans, most of them from Hawaii. The men volunteered and fought in Europe during the war, becoming the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States for its size and length of service.

Representatives Scott Y. Nishimoto and Mark M. Nakashima also attended the event and presented lei to the honorees.

2016-17 Strive HI Performance System Results

The Hawaii State Department of Education shared its 2016-17 Strive HI Performance System results this evening during the Board of Education community meeting. The school accountability system focuses on state and schools’ progress on Strategic Plan Student Success Objectives and provides educators and communities with information to take action for student learning.

“The results are encouraging and show our focus moving in the right direction with college and career readiness measures remaining steady, including some growth in Science,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “As we move forward, we will be very specific and purposeful in our approach to address the achievement gap and chronic absenteeism. We will take what we have learned about effective student-centered practices since 2005 and raise our implementation work to another level.”

While statewide overall results in English Language Arts, Math and Science have shown growth over the past three years; the results have been mixed compared to 2016:

  • Science – up 4 percentage points from 2016
    (2015: 41%; 2016: 42%; 2017: 46%)
  • Mathematics – no change from 2016
    (2015: 41%; 2016: 42%; 2017: 42%)
  • English Language Arts/Literacy – down 1 percentage point from 2016
    (2015: 48%; 2016: 51%; 2017: 50%)

While overall state results were stable, the following schools showed the most growth in English Language Arts and Math over the past three years (scroll to the bottom of the release for an extended list of top performing schools):

  • English Language Arts/Literacy – Three-year average gains in percentage of students meeting/exceeding standards:
    • Kauai High – up 17 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 25%; 2016: 59%; 2017: 59%)
    • Kapaa High – up 17 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 33%; 2016: 58%; 2017: 66%)
    • Kahuku High & Intermediate – up 15 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 20%; 2016: 54%; 2017: 50%)
    • Kaiser High: up 14 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 51%; 2016: 74%; 2017: 79%)
    • Pauoa Elementary – up 11 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 56%; 2016: 78%; 2017: 77%)
  • Math – Three-year average gains in percentage of students meeting/exceeding standards:
    • Pauoa Elementary – up 17 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 47%; 2016: 72%; 2017: 81%)
    • Kohala High – up 16 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 15%; 2016: 22%; 2017: 47%)
    • Kapolei Elementary – up 13 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 30%; 2016: 52%; 2017: 56%)
    • Kealakehe High – up 13 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 19%; 2016: 39%; 2017: 44%)
    • Haleiwa Elementary – up 11 percentage points from 2015
      (2015: 49%; 2016: 49%; 2017: 71%)

Strive HI was launched in school year 2012-13 as the state’s locally designed performance system that was a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The accountability system includes multiple measures of school performance including proficiency in Science, Math and Language Arts/Literacy; chronic absenteeism; school climate; graduation rates; and achievement gaps. The system was modified earlier this year to address the federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the revised DOE/BOE Strategic Plan. The law replaces both NCLB and the state’s waiver. ESSA requires full implementation including the provisions related to school accountability this school year.

English Language Arts and Math scores are derived from the Smarter Balanced Assessment, and Science scores are from the Hawaii State Assessment in Science.

Click here to view the 2016-17 State Snapshot of Strive HI indicators. For more information about the Strive HI performance system, click here.

Below are lists of top performers across indicators in the Strive HI System. Results for schools with small student populations are suppressed to protect student privacy.

 

​Highest Achieving Schools in Meeting English Language Arts/Literacy Standards
Statewide: 50%
Lanikai El 88%
Kaelepulu El 84%
Mililani Ike El 82%
Momilani El 81%
de Silva El 80%
Mililani Uka El 79%
Hickam El 79%
Kaiser High 79%
Koko Head El 78%
Pauoa El 77%
Manoa El 77%
Aina Haina El 77%
Roosevelt High 77%
Waikiki El 76%
Noelani El 75%
Highest Achieving Schools in Meeting Math Standards

Statewide: 42%

Lanikai El 89%
Momilani El 87%
Pauoa El 81%
Noelani El 79%
Waikiki El 79%
Mililani Ike El 78%
Maemae El 76%
Wilson El 76%
Kaelepulu El 75%
Aliiolani El 75%
Mililani Mauka El 75%
Mililani Uka El 75%
Palisades El 74%
Laie El 73%
Pearl Ridge El 73%
Highest Achieving Schools in Meeting Science Standards

Statewide: 46%

Lanikai El 98%
Maunawili El 96%
Haleiwa El 96%
Kaelepulu El 92%
Mililani Ike El 92%
Manoa El 91%
Maemae El 91%
Kamalii El 91%
Pearl City El 91%
Waikiki El 90%
Mililani Mauka El 89%
Hickam El 88%
Aikahi El 88%
Waiau El 88%
Koko Head El 87%

 

​Highest Achieving Schools in English Language Arts/Literacy Growth (3-Year Average Gains)
Kauai High +17 percentage points
Kapaa High +17 percentage points
Kahuku High & Intermediate +15 percentage points
Kaiser High +14 percentage points
Pauoa El +11 percentage points
Kaewai El +11 percentage points
SEEQS +10 percentage points
Waialua High & Intermediate +9 percentage points
Waiakea High +9 percentage points
Makawao El +9 percentage points
Kapolei El +9 percentage points
Kalihi Uka El +8 percentage points
Kalaheo High +8 percentage points
Aliamanu Middle +8 percentage points
Na Wai Ola +7 percentage points
Kealakehe High +7 percentage points
​Highest Achieving Schools in Math Growth (3-Year Average Gains)
Pauoa El +17 percentage points
Kohala High +16 percentage points
Kapolei El +13 percentage points
Kealakehe High +13 percentage points
Haleiwa El +11 percentage points
Aliiolani El +11 percentage points
Kauai High +11 percentage points
Kaewai El +11 percentage points
Waiau El +9 percentage points
Kekaulike High +9 percentage points
Palolo El +9 percentage points
Waiahole El +8 percentage points
Kalihi Uka El +8 percentage points
Wheeler Middle +8 percentage points
Highest Achieving Elementary Schools in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
Maunaloa El -21 percentage points
Mountain View El -6 percentage points
Keonepoko El -6 percentage points
Na Wai Ola -6 percentage points
Lincoln El -5 percentage points
Naalehu El -5 percentage points
Maunawili El -5 percentage points
Sunset Beach El -5 percentage points
Kamalii El -5 percentage points
Kamehameha III El -5 percentage points
Likelike El -4 percentage points
Konawaena El -4 percentage points
Waimalu El -4 percentage points
Waiahole El -4 percentage points
Royal El -4 percentage points
​Kalihi Waena El ​-4 percentage points
​Kaunakakai El ​-4 percentage points
Highest Achieving Middle Schools in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
Ilima Intermediate -5 percentage points
Wahiawa Middle -4 percentage points
Waiakea Intermediate -4 percentage points
Kapaa Middle -4 percentage points
Lahaina Intermediate -3 percentage points
Stevenson Middle -3 percentage points
Aliamanu Middle -3 percentage points
Iao Intermediate -3 percentage points
Highlands Intermediate -3 percentage points
Washington Middle -2 percentage points
Waimea Canyon Middle -1 percentage point
Waipahu Intermediate -1 percentage point
Kalakaua Middle -1 percentage point
Ka Umeke Kaeo -1 percentage point
Moanalua Middle -1 percentage point
 
Highest Achieving High Schools in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism
Niihau O Kekaha -12 percentage points
KANAKA -8 percentage points
Kanu o ka Aina -7 percentage points
Laupahoehoe Community PCS -4 percentage points
Lahainaluna High -4 percentage points
Kekaulike High -4 percentage points
Kailua High -3 percentage points
Molokai High -3 percentage points
Anuenue -3 percentage points
Thompson Academy -3 percentage points
Kauai High -3 percentage points
Waialua High & Intermediate -2 percentage points
Mililani High -2 percentage points
Moanalua High -2 percentage points
Highest Achieving Schools in Graduation Rate (Four-Year Rate)
University Laboratory 100%
Thompson Academy 97%
Anuenue 97%
Moanalua High 95%
Ehunuikaimalino 95%
Mililani High 94%
Radford High 94%
Kauai High 90%
Kalani High 90%
Kapaa High 90%
​Highest Achieving Schools in College-Going Rate
16-month enrollment rate
University Laboratory 86%
Kalani High 81%
Roosevelt High 75%
Kaiser High 74%
Mililani High 72%
McKinley High 67%
Kalaheo High 66%
Moanalua High 64%
Radford High 61%
Pearl City High 60%
Waimea High 58%
​Hawaii Academy ​58%
​Kapaa High ​57%
​Kauai High ​57%
Molokai High 56%

Hawaii Senate Holds Special Session to Confirm Judiciary Appointments

A Special Session of the Hawai‘i State Senate is scheduled for September 25 – 26, 2017 to consider two judicial appointments for the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit – Hawai‘i Island.

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, the Senate received two letters of appointment from Governor Ige naming current District Family Court Judge of the Third Circuit, Henry T. Nakamoto, to the Third Circuit Court (Hilo) and attorney Robert D. S. Kim to the Third Circuit Court (Kona). Both appointees were chosen by Governor Ige from a list of candidates selected by the Judicial Selection Committee.

Pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Hawai‘i State Constitution, the Senate has 30 days from the date of the appointment to advise and consent on the two appointees. Therefore, the Senate will convene a two-day Special Session at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 25, 2017 to consider both appointments.

International Task Force Focuses on Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

Western states and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Honolulu to discuss how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills.

Annual Meeting will take place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The Hawaii Department of Health is hosting this year’s Annual Meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, comprised of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The Task Force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California, including the Hawaiian Islands.

The meeting is taking place on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The event is open to the public and attendance is free of charge. To register, go to: https://2017taskforceannualmeeting.eventbrite.com.

At this year’s event, the six Task Force jurisdictions will provide updates on their spillresponse programs, projects and initiatives. Guest presentations and panel discussions will highlight pollution prevention measures in the cruise ship industry, issue involving the clean-up of heavy oils, and the challenges with managing data during a spill.

The Task Force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation in 1989 by Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia following the Exxon Valdez and Nastucca oil spills. These events highlight the common concerns regarding oil spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The Task Force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

The Task Force members include: 

  • Thomas M. Cullen Jr., Administrator, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
  • Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaii Department of Health 
  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation 
  • Dale Jensen, Spills Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Richard Whitman, Director, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Mark Zacharias, Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of the Environment

For more information visit: http://oilspilltaskforce.org/task-force-events/annual-meeting/

Informational Briefing on Hawaii’s Planned Response to Potential Regional Military Threats

In light of recent concerns regarding North Korean nuclear and missile tests, Senator Clarence Nishihara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs will be holding an Informational Briefing on contingencies and planned responses to potential regional military threats to the State on Thursday, September 21, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the State Capitol Auditorium.

Representatives from the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency will be providing a presentation on preparation and planning efforts being conducted between the counties and other Federal and State agencies and departments.
To view the hearing notice: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_PSM_09-21-17_INFO_.HTM

Informational Meetings on Rat Lungworm Disease Revised Scheduled Around Oahu

A series of three informational meetings on rat lungworm disease (RLWD) has been scheduled on Oahu this month. The meetings are being coordinated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

The meetings have been scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 @ Waimanalo Elementary/Intermediate School Cafeteria, 41-1330 Kalanianaole Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 @ Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC), 94-340 Kunia Rd., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 @ Kahuku High School Cafeteria, 56-490 Kamehameha Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Farmers, home gardeners and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.  Agricultural and health officials will make brief presentations and provide information on how to reduce the risk of RLWD and other foodborne illnesses, especially on farms and in gardens.

Those with a Hawaii State Department of Agriculture Pesticide License will be able to obtain 2.0 HDOA Agricultural Pesticide Applicator CEUs for attending the entire presentation.

RLWD is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a parasitic nematode called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which may be carried by rodents, snails, slugs and other animals including freshwater shrimp, land crabs and frogs. Humans can acquire the infection by eating raw or undercooked snails, slugs or other animals infected with the parasite.

The DOH reports that in 2017, there have been 16 laboratory-confirmed cases of RLWD statewide:

  • Hawaii Island: nine cases
  • Maui: six cases
  • Oahu: one case
  • Kauai: no cases

The average number of cases per year statewide typically range from two to 11.

More information on RLWD may be found at:

Clarification – Cash Will Be Accepted at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

This was shared w/ Governor Ige’s followers on Facebook yesterday.

I received the following Press Release from Richard Ha this afternoon clarifying the shared Facebook post that Governor Ige shared from Civil Beat yesterday:

HONOLULU – Hawaiʻi Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare (HEALTH) has long been involved in seeking banking options for Hawaiʻi’s nascent medical cannabis dispensaries. We deeply appreciate the leadership and creativity demonstrated by Governor David Ige and Hawaiʻi Financial institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda that culminated in yesterday’s announcement that the state had secured a banking solution for its legal cannabis industry.

Partner Colorado Credit Union’s Safe Harbor Private Banking Program is a pioneering program that takes on the regulatory burden required for our industry to be in compliance with federal guidelines so that state-licensed cannabis dispensaries can access banking services. Because these services are unavailable in Hawaiʻi, we are grateful that Colorado has stepped up to help.

The CanPay debit payment application is an alternative to cash payments that will be a welcome option for patients and dispensaries alike. Unlike a credit or debit card, payment will be instantly transferred from the patient’s existing bank account to the dispensary’s account in Colorado to facilitate a cashless purchase.

We recognize that the success of Hawaiʻi’s medical cannabis dispensary program is directly linked to the ability of patients to have safe access to cannabis products to help manage their medical conditions. As employers, we also want to ensure our employees enjoy a safe work environment. These options take us in the right direction at the right time.

Hawaiʻi’s aspiration to have a predominantly “cashless system” for all medical cannabis dispensaries is admirable. However, it is important to clarify that progress toward this goal will take considerable time. We will work with all stakeholders to successfully implement the proposed system. Patients who choose not to participate in a program that requires checking account transfers will still be able to make cash purchases in all Hawaiʻi-Licensed Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. Qualified patient access and compassion are two key tenets to any successful medical program.

House Passes Bipartisan Amendment to Appropriations Bill Cosponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Protect Against Property Seizures

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a bipartisan amendment to the appropriations package cosponsored by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) preventing police forces from seizing private property for profit without due process.

Known as adoptive forfeiture, the practice allows the federal government to accept money and property that has been seized by state law enforcement agencies from people, in some cases, before individuals are formally charged or proven guilty of a crime. This practice creates a loophole for states that have adopted stringent, constitutionally sound asset forfeiture laws and allows them to continue practices that are otherwise deemed illegal at the state level.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said: 

“Attorney General Sessions’ recent announcement to expand civil asset forfeiture allows local law enforcement to bypass state laws and seize property from people with the lowest possible burden of evidence without concern for whether the person is eventually charged or convicted. 

“While some will tell you this is necessary to go after big drug cartels, the reality is the median value of the adoptive forfeiture seizures is around $9,000. Not only is this median value not a sign of major drug trafficking operations, but seizures tend to be focused on poorer neighborhoods. Between 2012 and 2017, the median value of assets seized by Cook County police was just over $1,000; in Philadelphia in 2015, the median value was just $192.   

“This policy does not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty. Rather, this policy places the responsibility on private citizens to prove their innocence rather than put the appropriate burden on law enforcement to prove guilt. All too often, innocent people without legal representation never see their money or property again, and even those who are proven innocent have no promise their property will be returned. 

“The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution exists to protect the citizens of this country from being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In practice and in principle, adoptive forfeiture is a violation of that Fifth Amendment.”

Background: The practice of adoptive forfeiture was significantly drawn back during the Obama Administration and limited to exceptions related to public safety. However, Attorney General Sessions recently issued a policy directive reauthorizing adoptive forfeiture practices.  This decision marks a return to previous practices that run contrary to safeguarding civil liberties.

State Land Board to Consider Judge’s Recommendation in TMT Contested Case

The Hawai‘i State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) will hear oral arguments in the Contested Case Hearing for the Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Crown Room of the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo. This is not a public hearing and members of the public will not be allowed to testify, argue, or otherwise present to the BLNR.

Minute Order No. 107, posted on Sept. 7, 2017 provides that each party to the contested case will have fifteen (15) minutes to present oral arguments.  Up to five minutes of the fifteen minutes may be reserved by parties for responding/rebuttal argument. Those rebuttal arguments will take place after all parties have completed their initial arguments. There are twenty-three (23) parties to the contested case.

The DLNR is providing as much seating as possible for public observation, once space has been made for the parties. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Na Leo TV will provide live streaming of the oral arguments, but there will not be viewing available at the Grand Naniloa. Doors to the Crown Room will open at 8:30 a.m. for public entrance.  There will be no reserving of seats and any seat that’s empty for more than ten minutes may be given to the next person in line waiting outside.  Signs, posters, and other displays will not be allowed inside the Crown Room or on the hotel’s property. Food will not be allowed in the Crown Room.

DLNR continues to utilize expanded media coverage rules used during the TMT Contested Case Hearing and only designated pool media; Na Leo (broadcast) and the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald (print) will be allowed to videotape or photograph the proceedings. All other audio and photographic documentation of oral arguments is not allowed.

Hawai‘i Unveils First Cashless Payment System for Medical Cannabis

Gov. David Ige and state Financial Institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda announced a “banking solution” that allows Hawai‘i’s medical cannabis dispensaries to access financial services and use a cashless payment system.

The solution makes Hawai‘i the first in the nation to have a cashless dispensary system.

The state has secured the services of Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking that will provide limited and temporary financial services for Hawai‘i’s cannabis dispensaries. CanPay, a debit payment mobile application, will process sales transactions at retail dispensaries. Hawaii’s eight dispensary license holders have agreed to implement cashless operations by October 1, 2017.Financial services are currently unavailable in Hawai‘i because cannabis remains a federally prohibited substance.

“This new cashless system enables the state to focus on patient, public and product safety while we allow commerce to take place. This solution makes sense. It makes dispensary finances transparent and it makes it easier and safer for dispensaries to serve their patients and pay their employees and vendors,” said Gov. Ige.

While determining a banking solution, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Division of Financial Institutions focused on safety—for patients, employees, dispensaries, as well as the wider community. The department sought a cashless solution to address concerns about increased crimes committed against cash-based operations.

“This solution for the dispensaries to conduct banking services in an entirely cashless method would directly address many concerns we have and problems encountered by the dispensaries,” said Iris Ikeda, Hawai‘i Financial Institutions Commissioner. “This will establish a safe environment for medical cannabis-using patients and businesses to operate. It is our hope that a Hawai‘i-based financial institution opens accounts in the future. For now, we are appreciative of the mainland credit union for stepping in,” added Ikeda.

Hawai‘i’s cashless system will allow cannabis dispensaries to use traditional financial services to legally conduct financial transactions. In addition, dispensaries will be capable of setting up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and remit taxes, and make payments to vendors.

All transactions will be transparent, as purchases at retail dispensaries occur through the mobile application and other transactions would be recorded by the financial institution.

Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Aloha Green LLC, the state’s two operational dispensaries, have opened accounts with the mainland credit union and have begun using the mobile debit payment application. The remaining six dispensaries are now at different stages of development and varying stages of the approval process.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Registry Program and the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the banking solution can be found at https://cca.hawaii.gov/dfi/files/2017/09/MCD-FAQs.pdf.

Media Darling Monk Seal Kaimana Hooked on Labor Day

The monk seal pup (RJ58), named Kaimana, who became a public and media darling after being born on the popular Waikiki beach of the same name was hooked on Labor Day. Volunteers from Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response spotted her around noon with a hook with a lure hanging from her mouth. They’d seen her two hours earlier without a hook.

The monk seal response team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service was called in to assess the situation and remove the hook which was attached superficially. Before they arrived, Kaimana was able to shake off the hook and lure on her own and began resting on the beach where she was relocated to in August. The seal was examined and a small wound was found, but no signs of infection. She continues to be monitored, is in excellent body condition and is behaving normally.

RJ58 was hooked with a type of lure typically used by fishermen casting or “whipping” for fish like papio or ulua. It is rare for monk seals to be hooked with this type of gear. While continued collaboration with fishermen is needed to better understand how seals become hooked, available data indicate that monk seals are most often hooked with hooks associated with “slide bait” or baited hooks cast from shore and held near the bottom with a weighted line.

Between 1976 and 2016, there have been 155 documented hooking’s and entanglements in gill nets, which resulted in 12 monk seal deaths. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “NOAA and DLNR are grateful to the many people who have called into our monk seal reporting hotlines to report injured or hooked monk seals. These calls have often resulted in life-saving actions for our critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals.”

Considering the fouling (algal growth) on the lure, it was probably not being actively used when Kaimana was hooked. The likely scenario is the lure was snagged on the bottom and Kaimana hooked herself by mouthing it. Fishermen can help reduce the chances of this type of interaction by taking extra care to retrieve as much gear as possible.

NOAA and DLNR remind people to please fish responsibly by following these best practices developed in consultation with leaders in the fishing community:

  • Take care when casting if a seal is in the area
  • Fish with barbless circle-hooks
  • Clean catch away from seals
  • Seals are wild animals. Never approach a hooked seal, call for help (888-256-9840).

Hawaii Department of Education Announces 2017-18 Enrollment Figures for Public and Charter Schools

Hawaii’s public and charter schools saw a slight decrease in enrollment for a total of 179,255 for school year 2017-18 compared to 179,902 last year. This year, Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools enrolled 168,095 students (down 1,173 from last year), and charter schools saw an increase of enrollment with 11,160 students (up 526 from last year) and the addition of two new charter schools.

In 2017-18, the five largest HIDOE public schools by grade level are:

  • High Schools (all grades 9-12): Campbell (3,110), Mililani (2,571), Waipahu (2,554), Farrington (2,309), Kapolei (2,035).
  • Intermediate (grades 7-8)/Middle (grades 6-8): Mililani Middle (1,873), Kapolei Middle (1,521), Waipahu Intermediate (1,294), Maui Waena Intermediate (1,176), Kalakaua Middle (1,075).
  • Elementary Schools: August Ahrens (1,249), Holomua (1,163), Ewa (1,070), Keoneula (1,037), Waipahu (1,026).

The five smallest HIDOE schools in the state include: Waiahole Elementary (81), Olomana School (69), Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind (53), Maunaloa Elementary (41), Niihau High and Elementary (9).

The five largest charter schools are: Hawaii Technology Academy (1,111), Kamaile Academy (858), Ka Waihona O Ka Naauao (653), Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (644), Myron Thompson Academy (582).

The five smallest charter schools are: Kula Aupuni Niihau A Hakipuu Learning Center (63), Ke Kula Niihau Kekaha (54), Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (49), Kapolei Charter School (49), Ke Ana Laahana (43).

View Report

 

Department of Health’s Choose Health Now Campaign Launches in 7-Eleven Hawaii Stores Statewide

Today, the Department of Health (DOH) launched its Choose Healthy Now campaign in all 7-Eleven Hawaii locations throughout the state. As the department’s newest partner in the campaign, 7-Eleven is increasing consumer access to healthier foods and beverages and highlighting these better choices in some of the most visible areas of their 64 stores.

First Lady Dawn Ige honored 7-Eleven for their participation in the state’s campaign at a press event held at their Moanalua location, followed by a taste test of the healthy items that are offered in 7-Eleven Hawaii stores. Among the food items tested was a new creation, “Mrs. Ige’s Chicken Cilantro Sandwich,” which will be available for sale to customers later this year as part of the Choose Healthy Now campaign.

“We are honored and excited to be part of an initiative that provides our customers with an easy and quick way to make healthy food choices,” said Greg Hanna, President and CEO of 7-Eleven Hawaii. “The Department of Health provided the expertise to make all the changes needed to highlight healthier options for our customers. We encourage other businesses to join us.”

Through Choose Healthy Now, 7-Eleven customers will be able to easily identify and select foods and beverages that meet nutrition guidelines set by the Department of Health. Customers are prompted to choose these healthier snack and drink items through signage and point-of-decision prompts, which enable the customer to make a quick but informed decision. Product placement and price incentive strategies are also used to encourage the selection of healthier items.

“The state’s new partnership with 7-Eleven will make a huge impact on peoples’ ability to make fast, easy, healthy snack choices,” said Lola Irvin, Chief of the DOH Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Division. “With the addition of 7-Eleven’s important commitment to health, Choose Healthy Now can now be found in grocery and convenience stores, hospitals, cafeterias, and snack shops at more than 145 locations statewide!”

The Department of Health has also produced new Choose Healthy Now television commercials that began airing today; these ads encourage customers to look for snacks and drinks labeled Choose Healthy Now, and ask other stores and retail locations to join in the effort. Aloha Island Mart and KTA are also partners in the campaign since 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Poor nutrition contributes to obesity and chronic disease. More than half of adults in Hawaii are overweight or obese (57.2 percent); similarly, over 50 percent (58.5 percent) have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Annual direct healthcare costs for obesity among adults in Hawaii has been estimated at $470 million and an additional $770 million for diabetes. These numbers are expected to continue to rise in conjunction with national rates.

Programs like the state’s Choose Healthy Now campaign are effective at increasing access and availability of healthier foods and beverages. “The time to address obesity and chronic disease is now,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “Partnering with retail locations allows us to reach Hawaii residents where they make their everyday food choices.”

Choose Healthy Now first began as a partnership between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Ho‘opono Vending Program. It launched in May 2014 with six snack shops in state and federal government buildings on Oahu. Today, more than 145 retail locations across the state are promoting Choose Healthy Now.

Visit ChooseHealthyNowHawaii.com to view the full list of participating stores, watch the commercials, and download print materials for use in retail locations, snack shops, or other venues that sell food.

Close Family Relatives and Refugees May Enter United States, Federal Appeals Court Rules

This afternoon the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the July 13, 2017 Hawaii district court order in the travel ban case, Hawaii v. Trump, allowing the entry to the United States of close family members and refugees with formal assurances from a United States resettlement agency.

Click tor read full opinion

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued an order in this case that the travel ban could not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including those with a “close familial relationship.” The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. The federal government subsequently issued guidance that such “close familial relationships” did not include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of people currently living in the United States.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit keeps families together. It gives vetted refugees a second chance. The Trump administration keeps taking actions with no legal basis. We will keep fighting back.”

The Ninth Circuit’s order states in part:

[I]t is clear that the Supreme Court’s use of “close familial relationship[s]” meant that the Court wanted to exclude individuals who have no connection with the United States or have remote familial relationships that would not qualify as “bona fide.” The Government does not meaningfully argue how grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States can be considered to have “no connection” to or “lack any bona fide relationship” with persons in the United States. Nor does the Government explain how its proposed scope of exclusion would avoid the infliction of concrete hardships on such individuals’ family members in the United States. Stated simply, the Government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not.

*** The Government offers no explanation as to why it relied on its selected provisions of the INA, while ignoring other provisions of the same statute as well as other immigration laws. The INA was implemented with “the underlying intention of . . . preservation of the family unit.” The Government’s artificially narrow interpretation of close familial relationships directly contradicts this intention.

*** Resettlement agencies will face concrete harms and burdens if refugees with formal assurances are not admitted. In the same way that the Court considered the harms of the U.S. citizen who wants to be reunited with his mother-in-law and the permanent resident who wants to be reunited with his wife, the employer that hired an employee, the university that admitted a student, and the American audience that invited a lecturer, the district court correctly considered the resettlement agency that has given a formal assurance for specific refugees.

*** Refugees’ lives remain in vulnerable limbo during the pendency of the Supreme Court’s stay. Refugees have only a narrow window of time to complete their travel, as certain security and medical checks expire and must then be re-initiated. Even short delays may prolong a refugee’s admittance.

A copy of the Ninth Circuit’s decision is attached.

Oral arguments on the merits of the travel ban appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to occur on October 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Annual Stop Flu and Schools Vaccination Program Limited to Selected Public Schools Statewide

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offered to all elementary and intermediate public schools in Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Counties later this year. On Oahu, the program will be made available to selected public schools. Stop Flu at School, which provides free flu shots to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will no longer be offered in private schools.Information packets and vaccination consent forms will be distributed to families in participating schools in early October. Vaccination clinics are scheduled to begin November 1.

“We recognize that many families relied on the Stop Flu at School program as a free and convenient way to vaccinate their children, so scaling back the program’s offerings was not a decision taken lightly,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “After careful consideration, we understood it was critical to prioritize eligible schools based on students with the greatest need for assistance, which allowed us to maximize the benefit to the public while utilizing the limited funds and resources available.”

The program will be offered to approximately 90 Oahu public schools which in previous years had at least 40 percent of their student enrollment participating in the Department of Education’s Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. All neighbor island public schools will be eligible to participate in this year’s program as access to healthcare in those counties can often be a challenge.

“Parents of students attending schools no longer eligible for the Stop Flu at School program are encouraged to have their child vaccinated by their healthcare provider,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “As an additional resource, pharmacies are now able to provide flu vaccine to children ages 11 through 17 with a prescription from their healthcare provider.”

In addition to vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older, DOH recommends other flu prevention strategies, which include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands frequently. For more information about the flu, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/influenza-flu/.

The Stop Flu at School program is a continuing partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawaii Chapter, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/about-us/programs/stop-flu-at-school/.

Governor Ige Secures Additional $41 Million in Highway Federal Funding

Gov. David Ige announced today that the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division will receive an additional $41,149,572 in funding for its Federal-aid Highway Program through the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) Fiscal Year 2017 fund redistribution. Hawaiʻi’s share of the funding is the largest amongst states of similar size determined by number of lane miles.

With the additional money, Hawaiʻi will receive a total of $193 million in new highway funding this federal fiscal year from the Federal-aid Highway Program.

“When I took office, I promised to make better use of federal transportation funds, and I’m proud to report that the pipeline is now the lowest it’s been in 16 years,” said Gov. David Ige. “The HDOT team has cleared $245 million and put that money to work on highway improvements in our communities to improve the quality of life for Hawaiʻi’s residents. In two and a half years we have successfully reduced the pipeline from nearly $750 million to $505 million. I thank the HDOT team for its commitment to achieving the goal.”

“The fact that Hawaiʻi was able to receive additional federal money is a testament to all the hard work the HDOT staff has done to bring down the federal pipeline,” said Division Administrator Ralph Rizzo, of the Federal Highway Administration’s Hawaiʻi Division.

The pipeline, also known as the unexpended federal balance, is the difference between what is obligated for all projects and what we have expended and have been reimbursed for by the federal government. Every state carries an unexpended balance because of the reimbursement nature of the program and the time it takes to deliver projects.

We will continue to make positive progress in reducing the pipeline and are on our way to reaching the agreed upon goal of $450 million in FFY 2018. As of August 31, 2017 the pipeline was $505 million (the goal for the end of FFY 2017 was $525m).

The projects that will benefit from the additional funding are:

  • H-1 Freeway Eastbound Improvements
  • Kuhio Highway Resurfacing
  • Kuhio Highway Safety Improvements
  • Hawaiʻi County’s Mamalahoa Highway Project

[1] Federal-Aid Highway Program Obligation Limitation – Redistribution of Fiscal Year (FFY) 2017 Obligation Limitation (August Redistribution). FHWA Resources – Legislation, Regulations and Guidance. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4520247.cfm

2 State & Urbanized Area Statistics. FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/onh2p11.htm

Hawaii Joins 16 States in Lawsuit to Protect Dreamers and Preserve DACA

Today, Hawaii joined a coalition of 16 states in filing suit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees. The lawsuit, which was filed this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details how the Trump administration has violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against the 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, violated due process rights, and harmed States’ residents, institutions, and economies.

Governor David Ige said,Hawaii is going to court – again. This time we’re joining 15 other states to fight for the future of our country’s Dreamers. 600 Dreamers currently go to Hawaii’s schools, work in our businesses, and deserve certainty and stability.”

Attorney General Chin said, “With cruel indifference the President has taken an action that immediately robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future. Many of these people, who have done nothing wrong, have only known Hawaii as their home. I am grateful to Governor Ige for his leadership and clear-eyed dedication to supporting the Dreamers and protecting DACA. Following his lead, I have joined this lawsuit not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way the President has proceeded is illegal.”

Hawaii is home to nearly 600 DACA grantees. Hawaii DACA recipients have had their protection renewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security more than 1,700 times. According to the Center for American Progress, 97 percent of DACA grantees are employed or go to school. In Hawaii alone, it is estimated that ending DACA would cost more than $28 million in annual GDP losses. Over the next ten years Hawaii stands to lose more than $126 million in tax revenues if DACA is rescinded

The complaint Hawaii joined today was led by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, and joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Today’s lawsuit also includes a number of declarations from businesses, academic institutions, local governments, DACA grantees, and others impacted by the Trump administration’s decision.

The lawsuit states in part:

“Since 2012, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to live, study, and work in the United States, and to become stable and even more productive members of their communities, without fear that they could be arrested and placed in deportation proceedings at any moment. Throughout the country, DACA grantees are employed by various companies and State and municipal agencies, which benefit from their skills and productivity. DACA grantees also contribute significantly to State and local revenues and tax bases. Yet, as a result of the DHS Memorandum, approximately 1,400 DACA grantees will lose their work authorization and risk termination of employment each day as their terms begin to expire. DACA recipients will lose their eligibility for public and employer-based health insurance programs that reduce the States’ health expenditures and promote public health. They also will lose their right to enroll in higher education institutions with in-state admissions preferences and tuition; thus, public universities will be deprived of a means by which they enrich the experience of all students and faculty through diversity and new perspectives.

“…More than 78 percent of DACA grantees are of Mexican origin, which is more than double the percentage of people of Mexican origin that comprise of the overall foreign-born population (29 percent) of the United States. Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.

“The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal. The individuals who have relied on DACA are now more vulnerable to removal than before the program was initiated, as they turned over sensitive information to the federal government in their applications. Despite the federal government’s repeated promises that it would not use such information to conduct enforcement measures, the Memorandum does not explain how the government will keep that information secure, nor does it provide any assurances that immigration enforcement agents will not use such information to find and remove those who applied for DACA.

“Rescinding DACA will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of the States’ residents, injure State-run colleges and universities, upset the States’ workplaces, damage the States’ economies, hurt State-based companies, and disrupt the States’ statutory and regulatory interests.”

A copy of the complaint is available here:

https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/new_york_et_al._v._trump_et_al_-_17cv5228.pdf

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement On Trump Administration Decision To End DACA

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI -02) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stated:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.

“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”

Hawaii Representative Responds on Why She Voted Yes With Reservations During Special Legislative Session


Hawaii Island Representative Joy SanBuenventura posted the following response on her Facebook page as to why she voted Yes (with reservations) on the recent controversial rail bill:

Representative Joy SanBuenaventura

“Why I voted Yes with Reservations: For the reason I voted no in 2015 because I did not like the rail fiasco, I don’t trust Caldwell’s numbers & the amendment to exempt neighbor island from TAT surcharge (which I voted for and spoke up for) overwhelmingly failed. The 2015 rail bill passed which led to the rock & hard place we are in now: If this current bill failed by 9/15, we would be stuck with an $800 million bill to fed govt (That’s why Hanabusa and Schatz stepped in when they stayed away previously – they saw that the leg was willing to let rail fail by our lack of agreement when 2017 session ended & our unwillingness to schedule a special session- the special session was scheduled at the last possible minute prior to 9/15 fed deadline & only after Hanabusa & Schatz stepped in). We no longer have Dan Inouye nor President Obama and our fed legislators keep speaking out against trump- so fed relationships needed to be retained with the day-to-day non-appointees who actually administer the fed grant $. Hanabusa & Schatz were concerned that if rail died, ALL our fed grants are subject to re-review. Half our highways our funded by feds, including Hwy 130. Someone needs to keep nagging DoT so that Hwy 130 doesn’t lose its place in the STIP and I didn’t want to give DoT another excuse not to fund 4-lanes (they already allowed the $15 mil for the alternate access to lapse & they already blame me for the failure of the gas tax they wanted in 2016 session). DoT was in every rail hearing even if sometimes they don’t testify.

The TAT was always a state tax created in 1986 to help the tourist industry create a convention center and to advertise Hawaii as a destination. In 1991 various grants were given to the counties so that they can promote their own tourism on their island. The big island gets 18.6% of the county share (at least 4% more than we are entitled to because Harvey Tajiri who was once finance chair juiced it) – with this county vs. state debate, a tracking-down of where the money is generated is going to occur and I suspect the big island will lose this advantage because our visitor count shows only 14% of visitor arrivals vs. statewide. The huge pressure to vote “no” has already cost the Big Island to lose statewide power when Cindy Evans lost her majority leadership position – so this huge pressure to vote “no” when the “yes” votes were going to win only led the big island to a worse bargaining position when state monies are used for grants and capital improvements. Most neighbor island reps supported the amendment making this an Oahu-only TAT but we were overwhelmingly outvoted – so the “yes” votes were going to win regardless.

The current bill was a compromise between the 2 chambers & the hotel/tourist industry – It was originally 2-3% of TAT. It was meant to export the tax to tourists after Caldwell’s testimony that tourists paid for most of it and Hanneman stating that 90-99% of hotels are rented to out-of -state residents. The original neighbor island tax referred to in Civil Beat was a statewide GE surcharge which option was soundly rejected by all. TAT is deductible by residents but GE is mostly deductible based upon income. Moreover, I felt this bill was a move towards a more equitable tax away from the regressive GE which is a tax on everything and is paid by everyone including those who cannot afford a hotelroom. Everyone was already paying the Oahu GE surcharge without knowing it because the GE is a tax on wholesale items and even on the tax itself that’s why its 4.1666666 not just 4%.

As to lack of notice: Unless there is a constitutional amendment for a year-long legislative session, this lack of notice will always be a problem because we have 60 days to parse through hundreds of bills and every year we asked for funding for neighbor island residents to testify, we lose. The rail bill like all bills had the 48-hour notice and in this case because there was a special session, it got even more notice than the other bills; and frankly, I called a certain councilperson when this bill was going through the transportation committee in the original session as to the county position before it got to the yes or no stage – but got no response back (I suspect she did not want to violate the sunshine law by just polling members & the mayor on interim positions before getting back to me). Again I remain committed to lessen the burden on local B-n-B’s caused by this bill by introducing a bill next session and I invite the local b-n-b’s to give me a proposed draft of such a bill.”

 

Notices to Women Regarding Access to Family Planning Services Must Be Allowed, State Argues

Yesterday the Department of the Attorney General filed a memorandum opposing an attempt by certain religiously-affiliated organizations to prevent a new law concerning women’s access to information regarding reproductive health services from being enforced. The law, Senate Bill 501 (2017), was passed by the Hawaii state legislature on May 4, 2017, and signed into law as Act 200 on July 12, 2017. It requires limited service pregnancy centers to notify women in writing regarding the availability of state-funded reproductive health services.

The Department’s memo argues that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over several Western states including Hawaii, already upheld a similar law passed by California in 2015.
The opposition memo states in part:

The Legislature has found that “[m]any women in Hawaii … remain unaware of the public programs available to provide them with contraception, health education and counseling, family planning, prenatal care, pregnancy-related, and birth-related services.” To address this concern, [Act 200] was enacted into law. It requires “limited service pregnancy centers,” as defined in the Act, to disseminate a written notice to clients or patients informing them that Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services.

A similar filing was made in a related case yesterday as well.