• Follow on Facebook

  • air-tour-kauai
  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • puako-general-store
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    May 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

  • Recent Comments

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Trump’s Massive Budget Cuts Threaten Hawaii, American People

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today warned that the Trump Administration’s 2018 Budget Blueprint puts the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our country at risk with massive cuts to government programs that spur economic growth and provide critical services. The budget slashes $1.4 trillion from programs families in Hawaiʻi and across the country depend on, including:

  • $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid that serves over 348,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $191 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that serves over 170,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $72 billion in cuts to the Social Security’s disability program, which serves over 19,000 people in Hawaiʻi
  • $143 billion from federal student loans, including the elimination of federally subsidized loans and loan forgiveness programs that serve Hawaiʻi nurses, police officers, and teachers
  • $40.4 billion in cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which assist one in eight Hawaiʻi keiki living in poverty

Click to read

In a speech on the House floor today, the congresswoman said, “The president’s budget proposal put forward today will be damaging to the people in our communities and the places that we call home. It cuts Medicaid by over $600 billion, cuts the food stamp program by over 25%, affecting the most needy within our communities. It slashes infrastructure programs, eliminates TIGER grants, cuts student loan and financial aid programs, and includes catastrophic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. In my home state of Hawai’i, this budget zeros out federal funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant, the Native Hawaiian Loan Guarantee Program, and cuts Native Hawaiian Education programs by $33 million dollars, crippling the progress that’s been made for over 30 years to strengthen Native Hawaiian early education, literacy, gifted and talented education programs, higher education, vocational programs and more. I strongly oppose this budget, and look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass a budget that actually serves the people and our planet.”

An Analysis of Consumer Debt: How Does Hawaii Compare with the Nation?

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today, “An Analysis of Consumer Debt: How does Hawaii Compare with the Nation?” The report examined various consumer debt categories.

The report highlights why our per capita debt is high, which is due to high housing prices in Hawaii, with 77 percent of our debt from mortgage debt.

Hawaii’s home ownership increased 10 percentage points from 46.9 percent in 1970 to 56.9 percent in 2015 while the U.S. home ownership increased less than one percentage point from 62.9 percent to 63.8 percent during the same time period.

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian noted that the high mortgage debt may also have negative impacts, including less consumers spending on other goods and services by home owners, increasing rental payment for renters, and the leakage of mortgage payment to out-of-state financial institutions.

Following are some of the highlights of the report:

  • Hawaii’s total consumer debt per capita increased from $51,810 in 2005 to $67,010 in 2015, ranking it second highest in the nation.
  • For mortgage debt per capita, Hawaii has been steadily increasing in the state rankings, from the sixth highest state in 2005 to the highest state in 2015.
  • Hawaii ranks low among states for auto loans per capita, while defaults for those with auto loans are close to U.S. average.
  • Hawaii residents have relatively high credit card debt. Hawaii ranked fourth in the nation in 2010 and 2015 for credit card debt per capita.
  • Hawaii ranks the lowest in the nation for per capita student debt.
  • For the other debt category (home equity lines of credit, consumer cards, and consumer-financed debt), Hawaii leads the nation for the average amount per capita at $5,300. This partially reflects Hawaii’s high residential real estate values and the home equity loan balances supported by these high values.

The report is available at: http://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/consumer_debt_final.pdf

Hawaii Department of Education Launches Final Phase of Student Transportation Reforms

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) has successfully reached the final phase of its Get on Board initiative with the awarding of new contracts on Maui and Kauai for school year (SY) 2017-18.

On Maui, Robert’s Hawaii School Bus will service the Kekaulike Complex and Ground Transport Inc. will provide transportation for the Baldwin, Maui and Lahainaluna complexes. On the Garden Isle Akita Enterprises will service the Kapaa and Kauai complexes, while Yamaguchi Bus Service will serve the Waimea Complex.

This culminates the last of three stages of HIDOE’s reform efforts that began in 2013 as a pilot project in Central Oahu. The Get on Board initiative has improved service by streamlining processes and upgrading technology while reducing overall transportation costs by more than $13 million annually.

“The success of our Get on Board efforts can be attributed to the improved partnerships we developed with our vendors, and their willingness to work with us as we look for ways to make our student transportation services more efficient,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The Department is also taking advantage of advances in technology to improve accountability and promote transparency.”

In June 2012, HIDOE eliminated 100 bus routes due to rising costs and a loss of funding. Get on Board was launched to address these issues. The pilot portion immediately restored service to around 350 students at the beginning of SY 2013-14.

As part of the initiative, legislation was passed that gave the Department more flexibility in how bus contracts are awarded.

The most visible component of Get On Board is the implementation of never-before-used technology that enhances and protects student health and safety. The technology platform now includes computerized routing software, automated route and stop assignments, GPS mapping and tracking, video cameras on all school buses, and online information portals.

“Our Department transports more than 40,000 students per day statewide, and the safety of our passengers is a top priority. The upgraded technology is just another tool we can use to create a secure environment on our buses,” added Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson.

Parents can sign up for transportation by obtaining a 2017-2018 School Bus Handbook from their child’s school or online. The handbook contains important information about school bus ridership, and the back cover of the handbook is the 2017-2018 application. Completed applications should be returned to the school office prior to the first day of school. Parents may call the school office or the district transportation office for more information.

For more information about HIDOE’s transportation services and to download the application and handbook, click here.

Hawaii Board of Education Selects Next Superintendent

The State of Hawaii Board of Education (BOE) is pleased to announce it has selected Christina Kishimoto, Ph.D. as the incoming Superintendent to lead the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE).  After a rigorous search process that spanned several months and 92 applicants, the BOE interviewed two final candidates on May 11, 2017 before making its decision.

“Because both finalists were so highly qualified, it was a difficult decision for the Board,” said BOE Chairperson Lance Mizumoto who led the committee that conducted the search. “In the end, however, we felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the Governor’s Blueprint for Education and the BOE and HIDOE’s newly revised joint strategic plan.  We invite the state to join us in welcoming Dr. Kishimoto with respect, generosity, and warmth.”

Kishimoto signed a three-year contract and will start on August 1, 2017.  She will begin her transition out of her current role as Superintendent of the Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) district in Arizona.

“It is with great excitement and honor that I accept this critical education leadership position for the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education,” said Kishimoto.  “In partnership with Chairperson Mizumoto, the Board, and Governor David Ige, I look forward to implementing a vision of excellence for all students.  I look forward to working hand in hand with Hawaii’s teachers, leaders, staff, parents, community members, and student leaders to execute on this vision of high quality college, career, and community readiness.”

“We are excited to have someone with a track record of reducing achievement gaps and a commitment to school empowerment to lead our public school system,” stated BOE member and former HIDOE teacher and administrator Patricia Bergin.  “I am confident that Dr. Kishimoto will bring fresh ideas to our system, and her strong family ties to Hawaii and her excitement to embrace the foundational pieces of our system, such as Nā Hopena A‘o, demonstrates that she understands and respects Hawaii’s uniqueness.”

University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Education professor and a member of the advisory group to the search committee Patricia Halagao stated, “I was impressed with Dr. Kishimoto’s focus on school design models that celebrate and sustain our diversity of language and culture. As a former public school teacher and someone who now trains teachers, I also appreciate how Dr. Kishimoto elevates teachers as educational experts and aims to create a system conducive for us to thrive and do what we do best—teach.”

Kishimoto has been the GPS Superintendent since July 2014.  She is recognized nationally as a visionary leader in education for her reform work in school turnaround and portfolio school development. Kishimoto earned a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University.  In June 2014, she completed two years of board service on the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, an organization focused on student centered practices and policies.

During the selection process, the BOE conducted a thorough background check, which included civil, criminal, financial, and educational verifications. Chairperson Mizumoto added, “In addition, district officials, former Superintendents, and other individuals in the Gilbert district were contacted. Various negative statements made about Dr. Kishimoto were either inconsequential or simply invalid.”

Next month, the BOE will hold a news conference to formally introduce Kishimoto as the new HIDOE superintendent.

Outgoing HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi ends her term on June 30, 2017. The BOE plans to name an interim Superintendent to serve during the transition month of July.

“Congratulations and best wishes to Christina,” said Supt. Matayoshi. “I’m confident she will build on the progress made to improve our public education system, and continue to keep students at the center of all that we do.”

The BOE formulates statewide educational policy and appoints the Superintendent as the chief executive officer of the public school system.  For more information about the Superintendent search and process, please visit the BOE’s website at http://boe.hawaii.gov.

Statement by Governor David Y. Ige:

I welcome Dr. Christina Kishimoto to this important post. While Dr. Kishimoto will lead the effort to remodel our school system, she will need the support of the entire community. Her success will be our success. Together, we can ensure that those closest to our students are empowered to make decisions that provide the basics and add the new skills our children need to prosper in the future.

I commend the Board of Education for its hard work in making this selection. Board members conducted an unbiased search and considered many well-qualified candidates. The success of our students was at the heart of their decision.

Mahalo to Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi who led a reform effort that created a solid foundation upon which we will continue to build and improve.

MUMPS OUTBREAK – Hawaii Department of Health Confirms FIVE ADDITIONAL Mumps Cases

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed five (5) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 47. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults whose infection is linked to other cases on Oahu. None of the cases required hospitalization.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu.

The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated can help protect loved ones, family members, friends, classmates and coworkers.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

Governor Ige Honors Hawaii State’s Top Employees

Gov. David Ige today recognized winners of the Governor’s Awards, which honors State Executive Branch employees, managers and work teams who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication in serving the people of Hawai‘i. The statewide program is administered by the Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD).

Governor David Ige

“Public employees have made important contributions to our continuing efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of government services,” said Gov. Ige. “We are honored to work with such dedicated individuals, and we appreciate all they do each and every day.”

Here is a list of the awards presented:

STATE MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Mark Patterson, corrections manager, Department of Human Services

Mark is directly responsible for the effective delivery of services to youth at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility. He has worked tirelessly to create a pu‘uhonua, a place of sanctuary for healing, for Hawai‘i’s troubled youth.  Plans are underway to provide a communal space for various faith-spiritual based groups to meet and share their services with the youth and their families.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: Lowell Spencer, school custodian, Department of Education

As Head Custodian at Honowai Elementary School, Lowell has transformed  the 50-year-old campus, which now features well-manicured grounds lined with native Hawaiian plants. He has built a team of staff members who have repaired and re-purposed items in innovative ways, keeping the school’s buildings in excellent condition.

STATE TEAM OF THE YEAR: NextEra-Hawaiian Electric Merger Evaluation Team, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

This dedicated 15-member team worked tirelessly to process and analyze more than a hundred thousand pages of information in their review of the proposed $4.3 billion merger between NextEra and the Hawaiian Electric Companies. In each and every instance, they upheld the division’s mission to protect and advance the interests of Hawai‘i’s regulated utility consumers.

“These exceptional state employees have selflessly given of themselves to enrich the lives of those they serve,” said Governor Ige.  “Their accomplishments perpetuate the aloha spirit and make our state a special place to live and work.”

The three winners were selected from 56 exceptional groups and individual nominees.  A volunteer Selection Committee of five prominent members of the community carefully reviewed the 56 nomination packets and rated them according to defined categories.  The committee presented their recommendations for the three awards to Governor Ige.

The five members of this year’s Selection Committee are: Paula Akana, News Anchor, KITV-4; Roy Amemiya, Jr., Managing Director, City & County of Honolulu; Christopher Conklin, Executive Director, Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board; Kim Gennaula, Executive Director of Advancement, Iolani Schools; and Scott Williams, Executive Director, Lex Brodie’s Tire, Brake & Service Company.

New Hawaii House Leadership Team Empowers Women and the Next Generation

Hawaii State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki announced his full leadership team today. His new leadership team for the House of Representatives will help to empower women and the next generation of leaders at the State Capitol.

From left: Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Rep. Mark M. Nakashima, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Henry J.C. Aquino, Rep. Kaniela Ing, and Rep. Justin Woodson

For the first time since statehood, three of the top four leadership positions will be filled by woman and seven of the total 11 leadership positions will be filled by lawmakers in their early 40s or younger. Representatives from all three neighbor island counties comprise nearly half of the leadership team.

From left: Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, and Rep. Cindy Evans

“As we look to build and reform the Hawaii State House of Representatives, it is important to ensure that women and the next generation of leaders are given the opportunity to lead under my tenure as Speaker. We have a real diversity of perspective and life experience in this leadership team that will position us well to lead the state on the many critical issues facing us today,” said Speaker Saiki.

The new House leadership includes:

  • Vice Speaker – Representative Della Au Belatti (District 24)
  • Majority Leader – Representative Cindy Evans (District 7), Hawaii Island
  • Majority Floor Leader – Representative Dee Morikawa (District 16), Kauai
  • Majority Policy Leaders – Representative Jarrett Keohokalole (District 48)
  • Representative Kaniela Ing (District 11), Maui
  • Majority Whips – Representative Henry J.C. Aquino (District 38)
  • Representative Aaron Ling Johanson (District 31)
  • Representative Chris Lee (District 51)
  • Representative Mark M. Nakashima (District 1), Hawaii Island
  • Representative Justin Woodson (District 9), Maui

Hawaii Department of Education Receives National Innovation Award From Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States announced that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is the 2017 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. The Commission sited the Department’s broadly-supported and impactful education improvement efforts, including focusing school accountability on students’ college and career readiness; teacher and education leader support across the state; development of a comprehensive longitudinal data system; and investing in data literacy as reasons why Hawaii received the award.

“Hawaii worked diligently to positively change the landscape of education in the state and dramatically improved and enhanced the structure of education in its schools, as well as outcomes for its students,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States. “The state’s thoughtfully constructed policies, reforms and capacity-building programs provide teachers and education leaders with opportunities to increase the potential for both their professional success, as well as the success of their students, and also support the state in achieving its education goals.”

HIDOE’s suite of data tools includes a longitudinal data system that provides educators with real-time access to data and even allows for targeting underperforming student populations. The Department’s accompanying long-term investment in data literacy is evidenced by their Formative Assessment/Data Team initiative which engages 11,000 teachers statewide to participate in grade-level or content-based data teams using formative assessment data to inform and improve instruction.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education approved the first iteration of HIDOE’s new accountability system, Strive HI, which shifted the system’s focus from 10th-grade proficiency to ensuring all students graduate ready to enter postsecondary institutions or the workforce. The accountability system extends beyond test scores to include broad measures, such as student growth, chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college-going. Results from the new accountability system showed increased college and career readiness from 2011 to 2015: 42 percent increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement Exams; 74 percent increase in the number of students enrolling in Early College to earn University of Hawaii credits, and about one-third decrease of number of graduates needing remediation upon entering the University of Hawaii colleges.

Through its policy and program efforts, supported by a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top grant, HIDOE developed a robust support system for its teachers and education leaders. One example is the statewide Induction and Mentoring Initiative, which pairs all first- and second-year teachers with an experienced mentor beginning their first day. This investment increased the five-year teacher retention rate, which rose over six years from 44 percent (2004 hires) to 52 percent (2010 hires). Additionally, HIDOE and the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association agreed to a progressive performance evaluation system based on evidence of both teachers’ practice and student learning and growth. To support school leaders, the Leadership Institute provides training programs with relevant and coherent curricula to the different leadership role groups, which better equips leaders to achieve success in their roles.

“This honor is a testament to the perseverance of our school leaders, teachers and community partners who supported the department in our effort to raise rigor and expectations for our students,” shared Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Thank you to Education Commission of the States for recognizing our hard work and the progress we made transforming public education for Hawaii’s students.”

Education Commission of the States will present Hawaii with the award at the 2017 National Forum on Education Policy, taking place June 28-30 in San Diego.

The Frank Newman Award for State Innovation recognizes a state for any of the following:

  • Education improvement efforts that are replicable and hold valuable lessons for other states.
  • Bold and courageous policies, including existing approaches with evidence of significant impact on student achievement in the state.

Policies or programs that have bipartisan, broad-based support.

These significant efforts to improve education honor the late Frank Newman. For more information about the award, click here.

12 New Cases of Mumps Reported in Hawaii in Last Two Days

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today (May 16, 2017: DOH has confirmed three (3) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.) confirmed three (3) additional cases of mumps in Hawaii residents, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 42.

Yesterday, Department of Health confirmed 9 new cases. Of the cases confirmed yesterday, eight (8) of the cases live on Oahu and one (1) case resides on Kauai. Thus far, no cases have required hospitalization. This ongoing investigation represents the largest number of mumps cases seen in Hawaii since 2001.The recently confirmed cases include children and adults at Central Middle School and the Job Corps Center in Waimanalo. The remaining cases are made up of individuals whose source of exposure is still under investigation. DOH is working closely with both the Department of Education and Job Corps Center to contact and notify those individuals who may have come into contact with confirmed cases during their infectious periods.

At this point in the investigation, the confirmed adult resident from Kauai cannot be linked to the clusters identified on Oahu. The case has no known travel history and investigation is ongoing to determine if this case is a new introduction or part of the larger Oahu outbreak.

“Mumps is a highly contagious disease and we expect to see more cases as this outbreak continues,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “We have alerted healthcare providers and ask them for vigilance in controlling the disease and its spread with careful, early diagnosis. If people think they may have mumps, seek medical attention immediately as this illness is most contagious in the several days before and after the onset of parotitis, which is the swelling of the salivary glands in front of the ears.”

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect the public’s health across the state.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

Timeline:

  • May 16, 2017: DOH has confirmed three (3) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.
  • May 15, 2017: DOH today confirmed nine (9) additional cases of mumps in Hawaii residents, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 39.  Of the cases confirmed today, eight (8) of the cases live on Oahu and one (1) case resides on Kauai.  This ongoing investigation represents the largest number of mumps cases seen in Hawaii since 2001.
  • May 12, 2017: DOH today confirmed three (3) additional cases of mumps in residents in East Oahu.  This brings the total number of cases in 2017 to 30. The Department is investigating a cluster of cases exposed at the Job Corps Center in Waimanalo.  Those who came in contact with the individuals during their infectious period are being notified.  The Department of Health is working closely with the Job Corps Center to monitor all program participants and staff to identify, control, or prevent additional cases.
  • May 11, 2017: DOH has confirmed four (4) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.  As of May 11, there are a total of 27 cases reported for 2017.  Mumps is currently circulating not only in Hawaii, but also nationwide and in international areas.  The Centers For Disease Control’s (CDC) webpage at: (https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html) shows many mumps outbreaks and clusters, some of which have been on-going since last year.  Nationwide from Jan. 1 to April 22, 2017, a total of 42 states and the District of Columbia reported mumps infections in 2,570 people.  DOH’s investigation of reported cases is continuing.
  • May 8, 2017: DOH continues to investigate an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide.  The number of confirmed cases of mumps for 2017 is 23.  The disease has been confirmed in children and adults, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.  As the numbers of cases investigated related to the initial two clusters increases, the identification of new isolated (i.e., no travel and no relation to those clusters) cases grows.  To date, none of the infected individuals have required hospitalization for mumps.
  • April 28, 2017: DOH has been investigating an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide. Since March 2017, DOH has become aware of two clusters of cases, together involving at least nine (9) individuals on Oahu, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide this year to fourteen (14).

Pasha Hawaii Announces Shipyard for Two New Containerships – Delivery of Vessels Planned for 2020

Honolulu-based Pasha Hawaii announced that the company has selected Keppel AmFELS in Brownsville, TX, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) for the construction of two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fueled containerships, with the option to order two additional vessels. Pasha Hawaii is in the process of finalizing contract specifications.

The new U.S. Jones Act vessels will carry 2,525 TEUs, including a fully laden capacity of 500 45-foot containers, 400 refrigerated containers, and 300 40-foot dry containers, with a sailing speed of 23.0 knots. Delivery of the first vessel is expected 1Q 2020, with delivery of the second vessel in 3Q 2020.

“Keppel O&M’s technical expertise in LNG propulsion and commitment to customer service were two very important factors in our selection decision,” said George Pasha, IV, President and CEO. “From the start, they went above and beyond and worked closely with us in customizing a vessel design that matched our requirements. Their experience in LNG vessel conversions will also prove to be very valuable as we build LNG dual-fueled vessels for the Hawaii trade.”

The new vessels will operate fully on LNG from day one in service, dramatically reducing environmental impact and increasing fuel efficiency. Energy savings will also be achieved with a state-of-the-art engine, an optimized hull form, and an underwater propulsion system with a high-efficiency rudder and propeller.

When compared to conventional fuels, LNG is a much cleaner alternative fuel for shipping and offers significant environmental benefits, including the reduction of up to 95 percent sulphur oxides, nearly 100 percent particulate matter, up to 90 percent nitrogen oxides, and up to 25 percent carbon dioxide emissions from engine exhaust emissions.

“As with the construction of our Jean Anne and Marjorie C, we look forward to working with an extremely qualified shipyard, based in the United States,” added Pasha, IV. “Pasha Hawaii is a firm believer in the Jones Act, and is proud to support our shipyards and the highly skilled workers who make valuable contributions to this important industry on a daily basis.”

Pasha Hawaii is a wholly owned subsidiary of the family-owned global logistics and transportation company, The Pasha Group, one of the nation’s leading Jones Act shipping and integrated logistics companies.

Maps of Cesspools on Hawaii Island and Hilo – 90,000 Banned Statewide By 2050

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency required the County of Hawaii to close 7 large cesspools here on the Big Island of Hawai.

Hawaii House Bill 1244 has passed and is headed to Governor Ige to sign into law.

Cesspools on the Island of Hawaii.

The bill as written would ban the currently 90,000 cesspools that are already here in Hawaii (50,000 of those on the Big Island alone) by the year 2050.

Cesspools in Hilo (I did not zoom into each TMK property… I just checked to make sure I was in the clear!)

Hawaii House Bill 1244:

According to the Hawaii Department of Health:

Cesspools are substandard systems.  They don’t treat wastewater, they merely dispose of it. Cesspools concentrate the wastewater in one location, often deep within the ground and in direct contact with groundwater, causing groundwater contamination.  This groundwater flows into drinking water wells, streams and the ocean, harming public health and the environment, including beaches and coral reefs.

 What are cesspools?

  • Cesspools are little more than holes in the ground that discharge raw, untreated human waste.
  • Cesspools can contaminate ground water, drinking water sources, streams and oceans with disease-causing pathogens, algae-causing nutrients, and other harmful substances.
  • Untreated wastewater from cesspools contains pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis and cholera.

 How many cesspools do we have in Hawai`i?

  •  There are approximately 90,000 cesspools in the State, with nearly 50,000 located on the Big Island,  almost 14,000 on Kauai, over  12,000 on Maui, over 11,000 on Oahu and over 1,400 on Molokai.
  •  Hawai`i is the only state in the US that still allows construction of new cesspools.
  •  Approximately 800 new cesspools are approved for construction in Hawai`i each year.

How many cesspools pose a risk to our water resources and how do they impact our environment?

  •  There are 87,000 cesspools that pose a risk to our water resources.
  •  There are approximately 6,700 cesspools that are located within 200 feet of a perennial stream channel  throughout the State.  There  are approximately 31,000 cesspools that are located within the perennial  watersheds on the islands of Hawai`i, Kauai, Maui, and  Molokai.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release approximately 55 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each  day.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release as much as 23,700 pounds of nitrogen and nearly 6,000 pounds of  phosphorus into the ground each  day each day, which can stimulate undesirable algae growth, degrade  water quality, and impact coral reefs.

Click here to see if your property needs certification or is near a cesspool: Act 120 Eligibility Cesspool Finder

Hawaii Senate Announces New Chairs and Reorganization – Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele New Majority Whip

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi announced several new committee chairs and an addition to Senate leadership as part of the Senate’s recent reorganization.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele was named the new Majority Whip today.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz will be the new Ways and Means committee chair with Senator Gil Keith-Agaran serving as the Ways and Means committee vice chair.

The current Senate committee on Judiciary and Labor will be divided into two committees with Senator Brian T. Taniguchi chairing the Judiciary committee and Senator Jill N. Tokuda chairing the Labor committee.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele is the new Majority Whip.

These new positions are effective at the close of business on May 12, 2017.

Public Informational Meeting Scheduled for the Saddle Road Extension Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Highways Division, invites the community to an informational meeting for the extension of the Western terminus of Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Route 200), formerly known as Saddle Road, to connect with the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Route 19) and Waikoloa Beach Drive.

The meeting is scheduled at the following time and location:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Waikoloa Village Elementary and Middle School
68-1730 Hooko Street
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

The Federal Highways Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD) and HDOT are collaborating for a solution to extend D.K.I Highway in anticipation of the expected traffic growth in this area. Project information, display boards and proposed options of the extension will be presented at 6:30 p.m., following with a short presentation at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to ask questions and share their input with the staff available to determine the best solution for the community.

Purposes of the project include improving safety, providing a modern State Highway link connecting motorists traveling between Hilo and coastal South Kohala/Kona on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and improving general efficiency and operational level of traffic movement designed to save time.

For additional information on the project please click on the following link:
https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/hi/saddle-ext/

The meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. To request language interpretation, an auxiliary aid or special services (e.g., sign language interpreter and accessible parking), please contact Mr. Darrell Young prior to the meeting date.

Mr. Darrell Young
Project Manager
HDOT Highways Division, Planning Branch
869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813
Darell.Young@hawaii.gov

Text telephone (TTY) users may use telecommunication relay service (TRS) to contact HDOT.

Persons unable or desiring not to appear at the public meeting may file a signed statement presenting their views on this project. Statements should be submitted up to and including June 7, 2017 and should be addressed to Darell Young.

Maintenance Work to Close Muliwai Trail, Waimanu Valley Campground

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be conducting maintenance work on Muliwai trail and Waimanu campground between May 15-19. The campground and trail will be closed during this period.

This is part of DOFAW’s routine maintenance of this trail and campground, including maintaining proper function of the Clivus composting toilets, litter pick up, removing fallen trees, and clearing land slides and use of herbicide to control invasive plants. This trail and campground is closed and maintained about four times a year.

For more information on state forest hiking trails and wilderness campgrounds, go to the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program website (https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/), or to the DOFAW Hilo and Waimea offices.  For more information call (808) 974-4221.

State to Discontinue Mailing Disabled Parking Placard Renewal Notices

Effective immediately, the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB), Department of Health, State of Hawaii, will discontinue mailing courtesy renewal notices to persons with long-term disability parking placards expiring on or after July 31, 2017.

“The administrative cost to print and mail out over 1,500 notices a month was substantial, and as the State recently switched from issuing four-year term placards to six-year term placards, we discovered that a significant number of placard holders do not have a current mailing address on file with us,” said DCAB Executive Director Francine Wai.

The placard expiration date is printed on both sides of a placard and on the identification card issued with the placard. Placard holders are now responsible to check their placard expiration date and submit a renewal application form should they continue to have a qualifying disability.

Renewal application forms may be submitted up to 60 days before the expiration date or at any time following the expiration date. The form requires that a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) certify the applicant’s disability. The form is available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/dcab/parking/, at all County Satellite City Halls and DMV offices, the Hawaii County Office on Aging, or by calling DCAB at (808) 586-8121.

There is no charge for renewal of a long-term (blue-colored) disability parking placard.

Placard renewals are processed by mail only. Therefore, completed renewal application forms must be mailed to: DCAB, P.O. Box 3377, Honolulu, HI 96801.

Global Survey Lands to Development of Hawaii Coral Plan

Two successive summers of serious coral bleaching in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands and in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands has led to the development of the first-ever Hawai‘i Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan.

According to DLNR Division of Aquatics (DAR) administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “Recent coral bleaching events around the Hawaiian Islands have been a major cause for concern, as healthy corals are key to our nearshore ecosystems and are the very foundations for the overall and long-term health of the ocean.  After serious and unprecedented bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, we sought advice from leading experts around the world on what types of management interventions might be most successful in minimizing long-term reef degradation resulting from bleaching.”

A steering committee, made up of representatives from DLNR/DAR, the University of Hawai‘i, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), surveyed opinions and best practices from experts around the and analyzed peer-reviewed literature related to coral bleaching and recovery.  The committee then held a workshop with local coral researchers and included their recommendations in the plan.

The report notes that “establishing a network of permanent no-take Marine Protected Areas and establishing a network of Herbivore Fishery Management Areas were the top-ranked actions arising from the expert judgment assessments and the literature analysis.”

“We set out to identify specific management actions we can take to mitigate the effects of coral bleaching and we succeeded in doing that,” said Anderson.  “Our goals now may include establishing protected areas around reefs that have naturally higher resiliency to bleaching, controlling algal overgrowth in selected locations by protecting herbivores, and replacing corals killed by bleaching events with new coral from another location. Anderson noted that “This is going to be a huge challenge, but we need to give it our best shot.  We’re extremely grateful to the experts here in Hawai‘i and around the world who helped make this recovery plan a reality.”

The Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan is available for download from the home page of DAR’s web site http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar under the “Notices” section.

Hawaii AG Joins in Call for Expansion of Medicaid Fraud Authority

Attorney General Doug Chin yesterday joined the attorneys general of 37 states and the District of Columbia urging the federal government to change its policy so state attorneys general can use federal funds to investigate and prosecute a wider range of Medicaid abuse and neglect cases.

The letter was sent to Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

Click to read letter

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides free or low-cost medical benefits to millions of Americans. More than 6.4 million people enrolled in the Medicaid program are age 65 or older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 persons age 65 and older who live at home will become a victim of abuse.

Attorney General Chin said, “The Hawaii Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives thousands of complaints relating to fraud and abuse and neglect every year. We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these cases. We hope that the federal government will hear our concerns and support our efforts to protect Hawaii’s most vulnerable residents.”

Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) investigate and prosecute state Medicaid provider fraud and resident abuse and neglect complaints in board and care facilities. In Hawaii, MFCU operates in the Department of the Attorney General.

According to the bipartisan letter signed by Attorney General Chin:

“[T]he current strict federal limitations on states’ ability to use MFCU assets to investigate abuse and neglect are outdated, arbitrarily restrict our ability to protect Medicaid beneficiaries from abuse and neglect as Congress intended, and should be replaced or eliminated.

We respectfully request you take swift action to eliminate federal regulations that needlessly narrow our use of these valuable assets. Instead, we request to be freed to use federal MFCU funds to detect, investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect committed against Medicaid beneficiaries or in connection with Medicaid-funded services to the fullest extent permitted by federal statute.”

The letter from NAAG offered two specific recommendations:

  • Allow MFCU federals funds to be used to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings (i.e. home health care).
  • Allow use of MFCU federal funds to freely screen or review any and all complaints or reports of whatever type, in whatever setting.

A copy of the letter is attached.

New Portable Testing Tool Speeds Detection of Suspected Rapid `Ōhi`a Death Pathogens

Researchers have developed a new, more efficient tool for detecting the pathogens believed to be the cause of Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), according to a recently published study by the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center (PIERC), and USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
The authors of the report have developed a portable lab for diagnostic field testing for the two species of fungal pathogens that infect `ōhi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha). The portable lab, which provides quick results and reduces instrumentation costs, is currently being used by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) to detect infected trees and identify the distribution of the pathogens.

“Having this portable lab gives us the capability to do our own diagnostics and get a quicker answer about whether or not a tree is positive for ROD. The result then allows us to take management actions right away or do more targeted testing,” said Bill Buckley, Forest Response coordinator for BIISC and leader of their ROD Early Detection and Rapid Response Team.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture is also planning to use the portable lab to help screen shipments of `ōhi`a logs for the pathogens.

ROD was first identified in the lower Puna District in 2014, and now infects more than 50,000 acres of private and state forest lands on Hawaiʻi Island. ROD is a serious threat and imperils long-term sustainability of watersheds managed by Department of Interior agencies, the State of Hawaiʻi, and State Watershed Partnerships.

For more information on the study and its findings, visit https://dspace.lib.hawaii.edu/handle/10790/3025.

Governor Ige Announces 32 Percent Decrease in Hawai‘i County’s Homeless Count

Gov. David Ige announced today that the homeless population across the state decreased for the first time in eight years. The annual Point in Time count—a census of people experiencing homelessness—showed a nine percent overall decrease in the number of homeless individuals across the state.

Click to see brochure

This year’s count found 7,220 homeless individuals across Hawai‘i compared to 7,921 in 2016.

Hawai‘i County saw the largest decline in homeless individuals – a 32 percent decrease.

“We have partnered with every mayor in every county, along with the private sector and service providers. We’ve had housing summits to identify the benefits of renting to the homeless. We have service providers to provide supportive care so that we can place families in permanent housing. It’s terrific news that homelessness is down 32 percent on Hawai‘i Island,” Gov. Ige said.

Maui County saw a 22 percent decline in homeless individuals and Kaua‘i County experienced a seven percent drop compared to 2016. O‘ahu saw a half percent increase in homeless individuals.

“I commend the many partners who have gotten out of their silos, come to the table and rolled up their sleeves. Together, we are finding more efficient ways to move people off the streets and into homes. This report is proof that our collective efforts are working,” said Gov. Ige. “While today’s news indicates that the tide has turned, there is more to do. My administration remains focused on increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness in the State of Hawai‘i.”

A link to the overview of Point in Time’s full report, compiled by Hawai‘i’s two Continuums of Care—Bridging the Gap and Partners in Care—can be found on the governor’s website at governor.hawaii.gov.

Hope Cermelj Issued Citation for Mauna Kea Graffiti

Assistance provided by the Native Hawaiian community allowed officers from the Hawai‘i Branch of the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) to make contact with a suspect in the recent case of graffiti damage found at the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (NAR).

As a result of this contact and investigation, Hope Cermelj of Kalapana, Hawai‘i was issued a citation for violating Rule 13-209-4 (3), Prohibited Activities within a Natural Area Reserve. Cermelj will be required to appear in Hilo District Court.

Graffiti was discovered on several rocks in the NAR on April 28th, as well as on structures belonging to the Office of Mauna Kea Management.

DLNR/DOCARE thanks community members who stepped forward to provide information and assistance. This was instrumental in locating and identifying the suspect.