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Statewide Campaign on Mosquito-Borne Diseases and Threats to Hawaii to be Announced

Governor Ige and the Mayors of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Counties will announce a new statewide public education campaign to build awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and their threat to Hawaii.

Mosquito Bite

The state and counties will also announce the state’s planning efforts to prevent, prepare, and protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne disease outbreaks this summer and throughout the year. State departments will mention special efforts underway to reach visitors, traveling residents and students with guidance on preventing the spread of Zika.

Why: As a favorite travel destination, Hawaii is identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of Zika virus. With the Aedes Aegypti mosquito present in our state, year-long warm climate, and past experience with dengue outbreaks, mosquitos pose a serious threat to our residents and visitors.

When:  Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Governor’s Ceremonial Chambers, State Capitol 5th floor

Who:

  • Governor David Y. Ige
  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City & County of Honolulu
  • Mayor Alan Arakawa, County of Maui
  • Mayor Bernard Carvalho, County of Kauai
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawaii
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director, Hawaii Department of Health
    Major General Arthur J. Logan, Adjutant General, Department of Defense
  • George Szigeti, Director, Hawaii Tourism Authority
  • Ross Higashi, Airports Division Deputy Director, Department of Transportation
  • Steven Schatz, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education

Commentary – Hawaii Department of Health Dengue Fever Survey

In a continued effort to research, document, and analyze the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) related to the recent dengue outbreak on the Big Island I’d like to ask you to complete a brief and simple survey on behalf of the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH). The survey is primarily for HI residents but there is no problem if you live outside of the State and would still like to participate.

Dengue QR Code

Results will help to describe the KAP of respondents related to mosquito illness and prevention and will help to coordinate future activities on this topic. Your individual responses, including IP address, will be kept anonymous and only one entry per device will be accepted at this time.

Please click on the link below or use a QR reader if you are so inclined to scan the QR code (that UPC looking thing with public enemy #1 in it). Better yet, help the DOH collect even more responses by sharing either the link or the QR code with your family & friends. Additional instructions are included in the link.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DOHDENV86

Mahalo,
Jason Dela Cruz, Hawaii Department of Health

Hawaii Signs Nation’s Broadest Wildlife Trafficking Ban Into Law Act Targets Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hawaii

As the “endangered species capital of the world,” Hawai‘i knows first-hand the devastating impacts of losing significant and iconic native species. The state has now taken a historic step in helping to prevent the further loss of critically endangered species within its own borders and abroad.

sb2647

With the signing of Senate Bill 2647, now Act 125, Hawai‘i passes the most comprehensive U.S. state law targeting the illegal wildlife trade.

The law goes into effect immediately, although enforcement of the law is delayed until June 30, 2017 to grant individuals and businesses with wildlife products in their possession time to lawfully dispossess of the items. The law also provides reasonable exemptions for bona fide antiques, musical instruments, guns and knives, and traditional cultural practices.

In the past two years, a number of states across the U.S. have pushed for stricter laws to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking.  New York, New Jersey, and California have each passed laws prohibiting the purchase and sale of products made with elephant ivory and rhino horn. And in 2015, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Paul G. Allen backed Initiative 1401, a first-of-its-kind statewide ballot measure that will keep products from 10 highly endangered animals out of his home state of Washington.

“The loss of species has significant and unpredictable consequences for the health of our planet. The passage of this legislation is an important step in stopping this race to extinction,” said Jared Axelrod, government affairs manager for Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.  “We believe the most effective way to save animals from extinction is to strengthen enforcement. This new law will provide enforcement officials with the tools they need to stop the traffickers and disrupt the supply chain.”

The Hawai‘i bill was supported by hundreds of local residents and dozens of grassroots groups across Hawai‘i who testified in support of the measure this session and the Hawai‘i Wildlife Coalition – Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen company, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International (HSI), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“Hawaii has long been one of the United States’ major markets for ivory and other wildlife products, and illicit trade is driving many species – from tigers and rhinoceros to sharks and pangolins – to the verge of extinction,” said Jeff Flocken, IFAW’s Regional Director for North America. “Act 125 proves that the state’s citizens and lawmakers prioritize living, breathing animals more than bangles and gaudy curios.”

“Hawaiians are determined to do their part to protect elephants and other endangered species and want the massacre of these creatures for their body parts in other regions of the world to stop. Hawaii has adopted a zero tolerance policy for wildlife trafficking and cruelty with the signing of this critical legislation,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.  Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the State Senate Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee and co-author of the Hawai‘i bill, said, “We feel a grave responsibility for protecting wildlife species from illegal trafficking, both here and around the world. This bill is a powerful step in the right direction.”

Act 125 passes just as Curtis Wilmington, owner of Hawaiian Accessories, was sentenced to a six month jail term and $40,000 fine in federal court for conspiring to smuggle ivory in and out of Hawai‘i. The company was ordered to pay an additional $50,000 fine. Wilmington and four others were charged with federal wildlife crimes after US Fish and Wildlife agents seized hundreds of products from the business, including illegal parts from elephants, whales, and walruses. “Hawaii officials are sending a strong message to wildlife traffickers that their borders are closed to all activity which is devastating wildlife around the globe,” said John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society and director or the 96 Elephants Campaign. “At WCS, we are committed to continue this fight across the United States and the world. We look forward to joining our partners at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September to take further action to end the domestic ivory trade in other countries around the world and to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade.”

The federal government is working to help ensure that the United States is appropriately fighting the poaching and wildlife trafficking crisis, and earlier this year President Obama announced a near-total ban in the interstate trade in ivory. But states must also do their part to ensure that their laws sufficiently protect endangered animals. Hawai‘i State Representative Ryan Yamane, Chair House Committee on Water and Land hopes Hawaii’s law will become the model for future state legislation across the country. “I am proud to craft this model legislation that will protect our endangered species from the threat of illegal trade to preserve our precious animals for our future generations.  This law was a collaborative effort balancing our conservation needs with our local cultural practices to erase Hawai‘i’s involvement in the global blood ivory trade.”

Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the new law, “The Hawaiian Islands have long been a sanctuary for some of the earth’s greatest creatures. Now, these protections and aloha are being extended thousands of miles away for one of the most majestic animals: the African elephant. Hawaii’s leadership shows us how we can all do our part to combat the illegal trade and trafficking of highly threatened elephants, rhinos and sea turtles. We hope their leadership will be replicated across the country and the world.”

Hawai‘i is the latest state, after Washington, California, New York, and New Jersey, to take action to address the continued threat of poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Compensation for Hawaii Consumers Under Settlements with Volkswagen Over Emissions Fraud

Volkswagen Required to Repurchase or Fix Falsely-Marketed Diesel Vehicles, Provide Restitution and Address Environmental Harms; Attorneys General Nationwide Obtain More Than $570 Million in Civil Penalties 

Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection (“OCP”) Executive Director Stephen Levins today announced a settlement requiring Volkswagen to pay more than $570 million for violating state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.

Volkswagen Recall

This agreement is part of a series of state and federal settlements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers, require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, and prohibit Volkswagen from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators.

Attorney General Chin said “This settlement punishes Volkswagen for deceiving Hawaii consumers. It affects the owners of more than 900 vehicles owned or leased in Hawaii. In addition to consumer restitution, it provides up to $10 million in payments to Hawaii.”

Today’s coordinated settlements resolve consumer protection claims raised by a multistate coalition of State Attorneys General in 43 states and jurisdictions against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG and Porsche Cars, North America, Inc. – collectively referred to as Volkswagen. They also resolve actions against Volkswagen brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), California and car owners in private class action suits.

OCP Executive Director Levins said “This settlement will provide excellent relief to the Hawaii consumers who were victimized by Volkswagen’s outrageous conduct.”

The attorneys generals’ investigation confirmed that Volkswagen sold more than 570,000 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with “defeat device” software intended to circumvent applicable emissions standards for certain air pollutants, and actively concealed the existence of the defeat device from regulators and the public. Volkswagen made false statements to consumers in their marketing and advertising, misrepresenting the cars as environmentally friendly or “green” and that the cars were compliant with federal and state emissions standards, when, in fact, Volkswagen knew the vehicles emitted harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at rates many times higher than the law permitted.

Under the settlements, Volkswagen is required to implement a restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, of the model year 2009 through 2015 listed in the chart below at a maximum cost of just over $10 billion. This includes up to 911 vehicles in Hawaii. 820 affected vehicles in Hawaii are 2.0 liter engine models. The remaining vehicles are 3.0 liter engine models. This settlement specifically pertains to the 820 2.0 liter engines in Hawaii. Lawyers continue to negotiate about what relief will be available later to owners of the 3.0 liter engines.

Once the consumer program is approved by the court, affected Volkswagen owners will receive restitution payment of at least $5,100 and a choice between:

  • A buy back of the vehicle (based on pre-scandal National Automobile Dealers Association (“NADA”) value); or
  • A modification to reduce NOx emissions provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Owners will still be eligible to choose a buyback in the event regulators do not approve a fix. Owners who choose the modification option would also receive an Extended Emission Warranty; and a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against the possibility that the modification causes subsequent problems.

The consumer program also provides benefits and restitution for lessees (restitution and a no-penalty lease termination option) and sellers after September 18, 2015 when the emissions-cheating scandal was disclosed (50 percent of the restitution available to owners). Additional components of today’s settlements include:

  • Environmental Mitigation Fund: Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce emissions of NOx. This fund, also subject to court approval, is intended to mitigate the total lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles identified below. Under the terms of the mitigation trust, Hawaii is eligible to receive $7.5 million to fund mitigation projects.
  • Additional Payment to the States: In addition to consumer restitution, Volkswagen will pay to the states more than $1,000 per car for repeated violations of state consumer protection laws, amounting to $570 million nationwide. This amount includes $2.5 million paid for affected vehicles Volkswagen sold and leased in Hawaii.
  • Zero Emission Vehicles: Volkswagen has committed to investing $2 billion over the next 10 years for the development of non-polluting cars, or Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), and supporting infrastructure.

Volkswagen will also pay $20 million to the states for their costs in investigating this matter and to establish a fund that state attorneys general can utilize for future training and initiatives, including investigations concerning emissions violations, automobile compliance, and consumer protection.

The full details of the consumer program will be available online at VWCourtSettlement.com and www.ftc.gov/VWSettlement.

State Asks Websites and Bloggers to Remove Directions to Sacred Locations

Following on its action in February 2015, the operators of the popular tourism and travel website, Exploration Hawaii, have removed information regarding King Kamehameha III’s summer palace, Kaniakapupu, on Oahu.

Kaniakapupu-VandalismLast year the website was among the first to strip information about the long-closed Sacred Falls State Park from its site.  This was after the DLNR released a video that highlighted the continuing problem of people illegally entering the park and potentially putting themselves and rescue crews at risk.

Last week, after DLNR released a video depicting recent vandalism at Kaniakapupu, Coty Gonzales of Exploration Hawaii wrote DLNR to say, “I saw that video on vandalism at Kaniakapupu and like you, was disgusted.  I posted your video to our original post about Kaniakapupu and previously had stripped away any information regarding directions to the site.”  The video news release on the vandalism has been viewed nearly 10,000 times since its release last week.

Kaniakapupu is in a closed watershed and anyone caught trespassing in the area can be cited.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We appreciate websites and social media joining us as partners to provide accurate and responsible information about all that Hawaii has to offer.  Part of that responsibility is to avoid sending visitors and locals alike, to places that are off-limits for safety and/or cultural reasons.  We applaud Exploration Hawaii for its proactive response and hope other sites that continue to send people to closed places will follow their lead.”

The DLNR has sent letters to more than a dozen websites and blogs that mention Kaniakapupu, asking that they also remove directions to the sacred location. Two blogs: “Outdoor Ohana-Happy Hiker and Traveling Thru History have indicated they will remove directions to Kaniakapupu from their sites.

Tourism Relations Between China and Hawaii Deepened

Tourism relations between China and Hawai‘i was deepened over the weekend with the signing of the Tourism Cooperative Agreement between the Jiangsu Tourism Administration and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

(L-R: Rep. Jon Burns, House Majority Leader, R-GA, Rep. Jan Jones, House Speaker Pro-Tempore, R-GA, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-CA, Sen. J. Kalani English, Hawai‘i Senate Majority Leader, Mme. Li Xiaolin, Pres., CPAFFC, Stephen Lakis, Pres.& CEO, SLLF, Rep. Scott Saiki, Hawai‘i House Majority Leader, Rep. Al Carson, House Speaker, R-ND) Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

(L-R: Rep. Jon Burns, House Majority Leader, R-GA, Rep. Jan Jones, House Speaker Pro-Tempore, R-GA, Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-CA, Sen. J. Kalani English, Hawai‘i Senate Majority Leader, Mme. Li Xiaolin, Pres., CPAFFC, Stephen Lakis, Pres.& CEO, SLLF, Rep. Scott Saiki, Hawai‘i House Majority Leader, Rep. Al Carson, House Speaker, R-ND) Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

The significant cooperative agreement was reached at the first Sino-U.S. State and Provincial Leadership Summit being held June 25-26, 2016 in Honolulu. The agreement was the end result of thorough discussions on legislature, tourism, trade and economic partnerships between Hawai‘i and Jiangsu, a province which harbors a population of 79.7 million.

“With the declaration of 2016 being ‘U.S.-China Tourism Year’ by President Obama and China President Xi, it marks a significant tourism milestone for both countries and this memo of understanding further encourages collaboration for the future advancement of tourism,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Jiangsu Province is one of China’s most prosperous regions accounting for one-tenth of its GDP. This partnership between Jiangsu Tourism Administration and HTA serves our mutual interest and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese citizens from the province and other parts of the country to Hawai‘i.”

The summit was part of the fourth annual Conference of State Majority Leaders with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF). Majority leaders of state legislatures from across the country were in Hawai‘i for the meeting. State Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and State House Majority Leader Representative Scott Saiki were co-hosts of the conference.

“The impact of these meetings are substantial on so many levels,” said Sen. English on the success of the summit. “This was immensely important not only for building tourism in Hawai‘i, but also for furthering U.S. – China relations.  This agreement marks just the beginning of meaningful conversations and deepening state-level cooperation between the United States and China.”

Rep. Saiki echoed the significance of the meetings. “The Summit opened the doors to a renewed relationship between China, Hawai‘i, and other states to strengthen cultural, economic and political ties,” stated Rep. Saiki.

The Sino-US State and Provincial Leadership Summit is a direct result of an agreement reached between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping last September during President Xi’s visit to the U.S. The agreements endorsed by both Presidents included language specifically mentioning SLLF as a partner with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and is the sole organization that the Chinese will deal with at a state and local level.  Sen. English and Rep. Saiki traveled to China with 12 legislative leaders and a small contingent of SLLF Advisory Council members and staff in March of this year to initiate these friendship agreements.

For more information on SLLF, visit www.sllf.org

Hawaii is 2016’s 6th Most Patriotic State

Hilton Fireworks

With the Fourth of July just days away, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its list of 2016’s Most Patriotic States as a follow-up to its recent look at the Best & Worst Fourth of July Destinations.

Hawaii ranked 6th in patriotism.

To identify the country’s patriotic hotspots, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 12 key metrics such as military engagement, voting habits and civic education.

Patriotism in Hawaii (1=Most; 25=Avg.):

  • 10th – Percent of Residents Who Enlisted in the Military
  • 1st – Number of Active-Duty Military Personnel per Capita
  • 28th – Number of Peace Corps Volunteers per Capita
  • 9th – Number of Veterans per Capita
  • 22nd – Civics Education Requirement
  • 9th – Number of Americorps Volunteers per Capita

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-patriotic-states/13680/

Governor Ige Releases Intent to Veto List

Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers that nine bills are on the Intent to Veto list. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to give notice to the Legislature by today’s deadline.

Governor Ige Profile

On July 12, any measure that has not been signed or vetoed by Gov. Ige will become law with or without his signature.

Intent to Veto List:

HB1370 HD1 SD2 CD1          RELATING TO DIVORCE

This measure authorizes the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to make direct payments to a divorced spouse of an ERS member or retired ERS member upon order of the court.

Rationale: The ERS must modify its information technology systems before direct payments can be made. It will need state resources to do so. The ERS trustfund cannot be used to pay for ITS work.

HB1739 HD2 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT

This measure prohibits employers from accessing and/or obtaining employees’ social media accounts and passwords via coercion or other means.

Rationale: In reviewing testimony on this measure, it remains unclear if this practice is occuring in workplaces at a level that requires state intervention at this time.

Also, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) was not provided with any additional financial resources to undertake enforcement. DLIR will need both time and resources to establish an enforcement mechanism.

HB1747 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES

This measure authorizes police officers to request towing of motor vehicles if a driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

Rationale: Current enforcement does not allow drivers to operate their vehicles anyway, once they’ve been arrested or cited for DUI.

Also, there are other motor vehicle violations where police should be authorized to request towing. We suggest that this bill be expanded to include the other violations for consistency across the state.

HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1          RELATING TO TAXATION

The intent of this measure is to allow transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents with the state. This would allow companies such as Airbnb to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of the hosts and visitors who use their services.

Rationale: We believe there could be unintended consequences of this proposed measure. Vacation rentals fall under the city’s jurisdiction. In order for this bill to work as intended, counties must more actively enforce their own laws on vacation rentals before they claim additional tax revenues.

HB2016 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

This measure requires the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to transfer contributions by retirees and beneficiaries to the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) for health insurance payments.

Rationale: While we understand the practical reasons for this bill, the ERS would be required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects health insurance information.  Additionally, the ERS would need sufficient time and resources to make modifications to information technology sytems to process such payments.

HB2277 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO THE KING KAMEHAMEHA CELEBRATION COMMISSION

The intent of this measure is to clarify the membership and mission of the King  Kamehameha Celebration Commission (KKCC).

Rationale: Unfortunately, the amendments proposed in this measure create an ambiguity in the law on how the commission will make decisions.

The specific number of commission members was deleted from the bill.  Consequently, the commission will not be able to determine a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.

SB2077 SD1 HD2 CD2           RELATING TO SEPARATION BENEFITS (Maui Region hospitals transition)

This measure offers benefits to Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force or workforce restructuring.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB2542 SD2 HD1 CD1       RELATING TO REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE

This measure establishes a full funding policy and budgetary procedures for routine repair and maintenance of state-owned buildings, including judiciary-owned facilities.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB3102 SD1 HD1 CD1           RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

This measure mandates that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourist (DBEDT) develop —  and state agencies enter into – inter-agency agreements with the department rather than memoranda of agreements (MOAs) or memoranda of understanding (MOUs).  This measure also establishes a state grant program to fund business development  for qualified businesses.

Rationale: It is not clear from the testimony why state agency inter-departmental agreements are more efficient or effective in directing resource allocation.

DBEDT Releases Data on Big Island and Kauai Consumer Spending

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released two reports today that provides data and analysis on spending patterns of Big Island and Kauai households in 2014.

Click to view report

Click to view report

The reports summarizes data obtained through household surveys conducted by DBEDT in 2015 and covers spending in 2014. DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Historically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.  The BLS survey only included Oahu residents and excluded neighbor island residents.  Data on consumer spending patterns for neighbor islands did not exist before DBEDT compiled the data through household surveys.

Some of the findings in the Hawaii County report include the following:

  • An average household in Hawaii County spent an average of $51,700 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, 71.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.H
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 40.5 percent of total expenditures or $20,921 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.3 percent or $8,405), food (14.4 percent or $7,420), and personal insurance & retirement savings (7.8 percent or $4,046).
  • In 2014, a typical Hawaii County household spent about $10,000 less than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Hawaii County consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather similar, both between 71 percent and 72 percent of total expenditures.
  • Hawaii County household’s annual expenditures were slightly lower than the U.S. average in 2014, with Hawaii County at $51,700 and the U.S. at $53,495.  Housing comprised a larger portion in Hawaii County consumers’ spending (40.5 percent for Hawaii County and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Hawaii County consumers spent relatively more on food (14.4 percent for Hawaii County and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and less on transportation (16.3 percent for Hawaii County and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 78.3 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 65.5 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on entertainment and insurance and retirement savings.
  • Homeowners with mortgages spent $65,911 in 2014, which was more than $20,000 higher than the annual expenditures of home renters and home owners without mortgages. Both homeowners with mortgages and renters spent a large share on housing, 42.2 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively, resulting in comparably smaller shares on most other spending categories, relative to home owners without mortgages.

Some of the findings in the Kauai County report include the following:

  • A typical household in Kauai County spent an average of $64,651 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, nearly 73.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 41.5 percent of total expenditures or $26,819 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.8 percent or $10,836), food (14.9 percent or $9,638), and personal insurance & retirement savings (6.8 percent or $4,398).
  • In 2014, a typical Kauai household spent more than $2,000 more than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Kauai consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather close, both at around 73 percent of total expenditures.  Kauai household’s annual expenditures were 21 percent higher than the U.S. average in 2014, with Kauai at $64,651 and the U.S. at $53,495.   Housing comprised a larger portion in Kauai consumers’ spending (41.5 percent for Kauai and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Kauai consumers spent relatively more on food (14.9 percent for Kauai and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and slightly less on transportation (16.8 percent for Kauai and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 80 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 69.8 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on transportation, insurance and retirement savings, and entertainment.
  • Homeowners with mortgages and renters had comparable shares for housing related expenses (44.5 percent versus 44 percent). However, homeowners’ annual expenditure amount was much higher than renters, with $87,460 for home owners with mortgages versus $54,139 for home renters.

The Hawaii County results are based on 554 completed surveys from the Big Island, and the Kauai County results are based on 337 completed surveys from the islands of Kauai and Lanai.

The full reports are available at:

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Big_Island_Survey_Final.pdf

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Kauai_Survey_Final.pdf

Hawaii Department of Health Release Names, Scores and Rankings of ALL Applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today released the scores and ranking of the applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses.

Honolulu Applicants

Click to enlarge

The list of applicants and their respective scores and ranking are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

Hawaii Applicants

Click to enlarge

A total of 66 applications for eight dispensary licenses were reviewed, evaluated, and scored (based on 13 merit criteria) by four members of a selection panel. Each application could receive a maximum of 520 points (10 points maximum could be awarded for each merit criterion by each of four individual panelists).

Kauai Applicants

Click to enlarge

All applicants were required to submit documentation to prove compliance with the statutory and administrative requirements for both individual applicants and applying entities.

Maui Applicants

Click to enlarge

“To meet the ambitious and expedited time schedule for the selection process and given the large number of applications to review, the vetting process was conducted concurrently with the scoring of the applications,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance.

While all applications were scored, 12 applicants who did not submit the requisite documentation or whose documentation did not establish compliance with the requirements were not ranked in the final compilation of scores.

Non Applicants

Unselected applicants

DOH notified all unselected applicants by certified mail this week prior to the posting of the applicants’ scores. To help ensure the medical marijuana dispensary program can be available for patients, DOH has been working on other requirements for the programs implementation.

The department is continuing work with Bio Track THC to establish the web-based seed-to-sale computer tracking system for dispensaries.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has established a certification process for medical marijuana testing facilities and applications are available at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab/.

“It’s an exciting time, launching this new industry in Hawaii,” said Margaret Leong, supervisor of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “So far, the licensing staff have met in person with seven of the licensees and the discussions have been really productive and beneficial to all of us. The licensees have generously shared their knowledge of the industry gained through the application process, and we’ve been able to provide more specific guidance to ensure that their facilities conduct operations in compliance with all state requirements to be able to open their dispensaries in a timely manner.”

Additional information about the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program is available at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

Hawaii Senator Calls for Ban on Sunscreen with Oxybenzone

Compound found in sunscreen and personal care products blamed for damaging coral reefs

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

As the 13th annual Coral Reef Symposium comes to end in Waikīkī, State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) has announced he will introduce legislation for Hawai‘i to ban sunscreen with oxybenzone beginning in 2018.

“A ban is the right thing to do in order to protect our fragile marine eco-system,” said Sen. Espero. “Since our ocean environment is key to our tourism industry and our economic lifeline, banning a chemical substance that harms our coral and other marine animals should be a top priority next year in the state legislature.”

Speakers and scientists at the Symposium shared the dangers of oxybenzone on our coral reef and other marine life. Scientists said testing has revealed high levels of oxybenzone in Hawai‘i waters. Oxybenzone is found in personal care products and is a component of many sunscreen lotions.  It has been found to kill coral and negatively affect other Marine organisms.

“At the very least, a serious discussion should be had on the value and need of oxybenzone in sunscreen and other products,” Sen. Espero noted.

Hawaii Becomes First State in Nation to Enroll Firearms Owners in Centralized Information System

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawai‘i to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed HB 625 (ACT 109) and HB 2632 (ACT 110) Relating to Firearms.

HB 625 specifies that harassment by stalking and sexual assault are among the offenses that disqualify a person from owning, possessing or controlling any firearm or ammunition.

HB 2632 requires firearms owners to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police if they have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition for the following reasons: Diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility. This measure authorizes the Chief of Police to seize firearms and ammunition if a disqualified firearms owner fails to surrender the items after receiving written notice.

Department of Agriculture Considering Rule Changes Regarding Quarantine Restrictions on Ohia and Soil

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is currently considering proposed changes to the Administrative Rules regarding Chapter 4-72, Hawaii Administrative Rules, by adding a new section: §4-72-13 Quarantine restrictions on ohia and soil from rapid ohia death infested areas.

To view the proposed rule changes, click here.

ohia death

Public hearings regarding this rule change will be scheduled in the near future.

For information on this rule change, contact the Plant Quarantine Branch at (808) 832-0566.

Hawaii Representative Asks Attorney General to Investigate School Air Conditioning Bids

Contractors bids so high that project delayed and students to suffer

As summer heats up and public schools prepare to begin Aug. 1, plans to spend $100 million to cool off 1,000 classrooms have been delayed due to the outrageously high bids from contractors to install air conditioning.

Rep. Matthew LoPresti

Rep. Matthew LoPresti

Rep. Matthew LoPresti has asked the Attorney General to investigate if there is a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers by artificially inflating bids for profit at the expense of school children – who will suffer through yet another unbearably hot summer in stifling classrooms.

“We cannot just wait for another round of bids and hope they are reasonable,” said Rep. Matthew LoPresti. “Classrooms in my district and across the state will soon be too hot for students to learn and teachers to teach. We must find a way to get this project moving forward.

“At the same time, the bids for the work came in so high that it is possible contractors who know the state is hard pressed to get this work done conspired to submit bids much higher than reasonable to make unreasonable profits.”

This past session the Legislature approved more than $100 million to add air conditioning to 1,000 classrooms by the end of the year and Gov. David Ige has been working with the state Department of Education and private companies to get the work done.

The DOE now says the project must be either delayed due to the high bids or far fewer classrooms then expected will be cooled.  As an example, the DOE said the bid for one photovoltaic-powered air conditioning project with an estimated cost of $20,000 came in more than $100,000.

LoPresti said there have also been complaints from contractors that the bid specifications for a $20,000 project were up to 100 pages long and that makes submitting a bid expensive and complicated.

“I would like the DOE to take a look at the bidding process and simplify the documents if possible,” he said. “We need to get to the bottom of why these bids are so high. Whatever the reason, we need to fix it.”

The cool schools project now is being pushed back with bidding reopened with the new fiscal year which begins July 1, 2016.

“If contractors are gouging the state at a time of great need in our schools and the students have to suffer because of this, the Attorney General must find them and prosecute to the full extent of the law,” LoPresti said. “The public deserves answers as to why bids are coming in suspiciously high and we cannot just sit by and accept this.”

As part of his “Cool Schools 4 Ewa” initiative, LoPresti is reaching out to the public to create a hui of professional volunteers willing and able to contribute to the heat abatement effort by donating their time and labor to help the DOE cool classrooms at realistic and reasonable costs.

LoPresti urges those able to install PV or PV AC systems to contact his office so he can help organize and facilitate those willing to step up and help our keiki to move beyond those who would rather profiteer from their suffering.

Commentary – Cardiac Care Unit Needed on the Big Island

THE PROBLEM:  The GOLDEN 2 HOUR WINDOW FOR CARE: People with cardiac problems- heart attacks and strokes must be airlifted to Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu or to Maui Memorial to be treated.   There is a 2 hour window when patients need to be treated in order to expect a full recovery.  Think about where you live on the Big Island.  At least from my home it would take 45 minutes to get to Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room, then the time to be diagnosed and then get the helicopter and then the 45 minute + time to Oahu, getting checked in and a cardiologist hopefully is at the hospital and you need to be seen, an Operating Room hopefully is available.  Get the picture?

THE SOLUTION?  Read the report below.

QUESTION:  How many people do you know on the Big Island that have had a heart attack or stroke?  That have needed ablations or pacemakers or stents?  Please contact me with your story. Debbie Hecht


A Cardiac Care Unit is needed on the Big Island.  Several well-known community members have been airlifted to Queens Hospital in Honolulu or Maui Memorial Hospital with heart problems or strokes:  Mayor Kim, Council Chair Pete Hoffmann, and OHA Representative Bob Lindsey.

Before going to Kona, I discussed a cardiac care unit for West Hawaii with Jon Luft, Architect and Teri Oelrich, medical planner at NBBJ Architects, who specialize in planning and designing hospitals. They are currently involved in building a one million square foot, state-of-the-art replacement hospital for Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. Jon lived on the Big Island in the 1980’s and Teri has also worked in Hawaii.  Teri thought that a hybrid Operating Room (OR) and Catheterization Lab would be a first step to assessing the need/use of a Cardiac Care Unit.  She was helpful in explaining the process for a Certificate of Need.

From these discussions, I learned that hospitals make money on their operating rooms.  North Hawaii Community Hospital is booked solid with orthopedic and gastroenterology procedures.  Queens Medical has taken over the operations of North Hawaii Community Hospital.  There is currently no facility or any cardiologists to staff a dedicated cardiac care unit for West Hawaii.

We came to the conclusion that Kona Community Hospital (KCH) was the best location for a Cardiac Care unit.  I also learned there is additional, unused land adjacent to the Kona Community Hospital for expansion if a full-scale cardiac care unit is needed in the future. I also learned that here is a 2-hour window where a patient must receive intervential care to recover completely. By the time a cardiac victim would get from their home to KCH is evaluated and airlifted to Maui or Oahu, much more than two hours have elapsed- 4 hours is a more likely estimate. All of the people I talked to expressed the need for a new hospital closer to the Kona International Airport.

Kona Community Hospital has one cardiologist listed on their list of specialists, Dr. Michael Dang who comes periodically from Honolulu.  Dr. Larry Derbes has applied for privileges at KCH and is an interventional cardiologist in private practice in Kona.  He agrees that a Catheterization Lab to do stents and ablations and to treat strokes is very necessary for West Hawaii, would save lives and result in better outcomes and quality of life for cardiac patients. He is interested in helping to establish, and in working at a Cardiac Care Facility.  He also outlined the challenges of a doctor trying to make a living on the Big Island because of the Medicare reimbursement rate, which is roughly 93% of the actual cost of living. He was working in Waimea, but is closing that office and moving his practice to downtown Kona, approximately 20 minutes from KCH.

Jay Kreuzer, is the CEO of KCH, and has also been a cardiac patient. He said that the problem with the the Medicare reimbursement rate of only 93% of the actual cost, is compounded by Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA-the State of Hawaii’s biggest healthcare insurer) compensates at only 110% of the Medicare Reimbursement Rate as compared with most mainland insurance companies which reimburse at 130% of the Medicare rate.  These explanations further illustrate the negative impacts of insufficient reimbursement rates for attracting and retaining good doctors on the islands.

He told me that there is an airlift almost every day from KCH to either Queens in Honolulu or Maui Memorial and they are usually for heart or stroke patients.  He confided that Queens and KCH are in negotiations to acquire KCH.   He said the difficulty with a Cardiac Care unit is finding cardiologists to staff the clinics,  “There is no sense in building it if we don’t have the staff.”  If Queens acquires KCH, he believes more doctors would be available for rotations at KCH for specialties.

Queens’ strategy would be to enable more patients to stay on the outer islands instead of going to Oahu because their beds are always full. He also told me that the recent heavy rains had caused extensive flooding and damage to one of the Operating Rooms, which might represent an opportunity to remodel for a hybrid OR and Cath Lab.

I also met with Dr. Frank Sayre, Chair of the Board for the West Hawaii Regional Hospital Board of Directors, which oversees Kona Community Hospital and the North Kohala Community Hospital.  He reiterated what Jay Kreuzer said about why it is difficult to keep good doctors.  He told me that he had discussed setting up a “funded chair” for specialists (similar to academic chairs) as a stipend to keep doctors on the island.

This discussion was between Frank and a staff member from the Hawaii Community Foundation. Frank and I also discussed setting up an annuity pool with the Kona Hospital Foundation to fund several stipends for cardiac specialists who are willing to be “on call” at the hospital.  We talked about the possible need to hire a grant writer and/ or approaching several donors interested in better cardiac care on the island.

SOLUTIONS:

A HYBRID CATHETERIZATION LAB/ OPERATING ROOM FOR KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: According to the medical planner, Teri Oelrich, affiliated with NBBJ architects, many rural areas first create a hybrid Catheterization Lab out of an existing Operating Room.  She estimated that this could be accomplished for approximately $1.5 million for equipment only; remodeling would be an additional cost.

The recent flooding of the Operating Room at KCH presents an opportunity to remodel the Operating Room and accommodate Cath Lab equipment.

STAFFING: Funding mechanisms could be established through donations to the Hawaii Community Foundation or the Kona Community Hospital Foundation

Establish a funded “chair position” for each specialty that is needed with a yearly stipend.

OR establish a pool of money as an annuity that will provide a stipend each year for several specialists.

STEPS TO ACHIEVE:

COMPILE STATISTICS to show the need for the Catheterization Lab by using billing for the last 2 years, or assessing airlifted patients as to why they were being carried off-island. The goal of this would be to establish the need for a Catheterization Lab or other specialties and give direction to the hospital and the Board as to what doctors, staff and facilities would be needed. This is important because:

With this data KCH would know what specialties and specialists were needed to treat and allow patients on the island to recover, which is a huge benefit for better outcomes for the patient and keeps interventions in the 2-hour window.  In the event of a Queen’s acquisition, it would expedite a facilities upgrade and staff hiring.

Having this data available would help determine the best strategies on how to repair the flood damaged ER (possibly into a cath lab hybrid).

Having the data could illustrate the need for a cath lab, and support the Board and CEO’s strategic planning.

FUNDRAISING

Consider hiring a grant writer to apply for grants from the Hawaii Community Foundation, HMSA Foundation, Kona Community Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary of Kona, Heart Association, Bill Healy Foundation, Ironman Foundation etc.

Establish an annuity to provide stipends of $50,000 for one or two on call cardiologists or a visiting cardiologist for KCH.  For example:  An annuity could be set up for $1,000,000 to invest at 5% to raise $50,000 per year for a stipend to pay a cardiologist to be on-call in addition to their private practice.

Contributors (Alphabetical Order) – Dr. Lawerence Derbes, Debbie Hecht, Jay Kreuzer, John Luft Teri Oelrich, Dr. Frank Sayre


Here is the Response from the West Hawaii Regional Board of Directors.

The response:  WHRBOD Decision Letter Cath Lab Proposal 6.10.16

To see the Board members in case you might want to speak to them about this:  http://www.kch.hhsc.org/about-us/senior-leadership/regional-board-of-directors/default.aspx

There is an ongoing problem to keeping doctors in Hawaii that is outlined in the report.  There is more information needed on how to best serve the Community.

Please contact me to become part of the movement to have community needs met by the Kona Community Hospital.  Mahalo!    Debbie Hecht

Vandals Damage One Of Hawaii‘s Most Important Cultural Site

Kaniakapupu, in the forest above Honolulu, in the Nuuanu district, is central to the story of modern Hawai‘i.  Not only was it the summer palace of King Kamehameha III and Queen Kalama, it was the first government building built in western style with mortar and plaster.  Completed in 1845, Kaniakapupu was the “scene of entertainment of foreign celebrities and the feasting of chiefs and commoners.  The greatest was a luau attended by 10,000 celebrating Hawaiian Restoration Day in 1847,” (from a plaque erected on-site by the Commission on Historical Sites). Earlier it was the site of a notable heiau for Hawaiian royalty.

Kaniakapupu-Vandalism

Recently vandals etched a series of crosses on at least three of the inside walls of the crumbling structure.  For more than 15 years, volunteers from Aha Hui Malama O Kaniakapupu have worked tirelessly to protect and preserve this historically and culturally significant place.  During a recent trip to the site, the vice-chairman of the group, Baron Ching, pleaded, “Leave it alone. Don’t scratch it, don’t do anything to it, come with respect.  Criminy sakes, I don’t know where you’re coming from, but this is not a graffiti palette to do your thing.  This is important to a lot of people.  This is important to the Hawaiian nation, yea.  It’s just utter disrespect, utter disrespect.  How does it make me feel?  It makes me feel awful.”

On the day Ching visited the site with Ryan Peralta of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, a family spread a blanket over the top of a stone structure just outside the walls of Kaniakapupu and prepared for a photo shoot.  Even this seemingly innocuous activity is viewed as culturally disrespectful. Ching added, “Come with respect. There is history going back to the beginning of time in this area. Modern Hawai‘i was forged in this place…inside these walls every single monarch, every single high chief or chiefess were inside these walls…and it’s entirely inappropriate to put graffiti on the walls, to move the stones around. It’s entirely inappropriate to be climbing around this place.”

A DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer also checked out the site and the vandalism.  Unfortunately unless vandals are actually caught in the act of desecrating the sacred site, it’s difficult to identify them and subsequently cite them.

Within the past month, vandals also etched marks on the walls underneath the newly restored fence surrounding Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu.  Reflecting on this kind of activity, DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “It’s hard to understand how anyone thinks it is okay or pono to draw or etch graffiti on any of Hawai‘i’s historical or cultural treasures.  They need to understand that their actions not only potentially destroy the cultural integrity of these sites and structures, but also show tremendous disrespect toward our host culture and to the countless volunteers and staff who work hard to preserve these places for future generations.”

Ching concluded, “It’s not the first time they’ve carved all kinds of stuff in there.  They’re carving happy faces, all kinds of stupid stuff.  This plaster is 180 years old; was put here by the hands of the kapuna. It was the first government building built by the government of Hawai‘i. When you vandalize it or damage it in anyway, there’s no way we can repair that.”

Social media sites have potentially exacerbated vandalism by failing to point out that Kaniakapupu is closed to visitation and no one should be in the area. Anyone who witnesses or has knowledge of vandalism to any historical or cultural site in Hawai‘i is encouraged to call the statewide DOCARE Hotline at 643-DLNR.

Kaniakapupu Vandalism Video News Release, June 23, 2016 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Hawaii Companies Cited for HI-5 Violations – Costco Fined Nearly $16,000

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is reminding all beverage distributors in the state of reporting requirements for HI-5 beverage containers. Failure to properly meet reporting deadlines or improper reporting can result in penalty fines of up to $10,000 per violation per day. The next upcoming HI-5 beverage container reporting deadline is July 15, 2016.

HI-5Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit semi-annual distributor reports and payments to DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the semi-annual payment period. DOH conducts regular inspections of beverage distributors and certified redemption centers to ensure compliance with Hawaii laws.

“The department issued notices to nine companies for violations during the last reporting period,” said Darren Park, manager of the Deposit Beverage Container Program. “Distributors and recyclers are reminded to comply with all upcoming deadlines and requirements to avoid penalty fees or suspension of certification.”

The department’s Deposit Beverage Container Program issued Notices of Violation and Order (NOVO) against nine companies in the past year for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the State’s Deposit Beverage Container law. All of the companies were delinquent for the semi-annual reporting period of July 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 and each company was fined an administrative penalty fee of $400 for failure to comply with deposit container requirements. Each company was provided the opportunity to request a hearing to contest the alleged facts and penalty.

The companies cited were:

  • BEM, Inc. dba Kona Kombucha located at 32-2032 Old Mamalahoa Highway in Papaaloa on Hawaii Island;
  • Celestial Natural Foods, Inc. located at 66-443 Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa on Oahu;
  • Gauranga Live LLC located at 200 Kanoelehua Ave. in Hilo on Hawaii Island
  • Genesis Today located at 6800 Burleson Road in Austin, Texas;
  • Instapressed located at 856 Ilaniwai St. in Honolulu on Oahu;
  • Jeonju Makeolli USA Company located at P.O. Box 1313 in Honolulu on Oahu;
  • Kauai Natural Waters LLC located at 5694 Ohelo Road in Kapaa on Kauai;
  • Nalo Juice LLC located at 402 Opihikao Place in Honolulu on Oahu, and
  • Pacific Hi-Tak, Inc. located at P.O. Box 701 in Honolulu on Oahu.

DOH also cited a number of companies in 2015 and 2014 for other violations of the Deposit Beverage Container Law.

Costco Wholesale Corporation located at 525 Alakawa Street in Honolulu on Oahu was cited for failing to properly label deposit beverage containers for Kirkland brand water during compliance inspections in 2015 on Oct. 9 and Nov. 10. Costco paid a penalty of $15,998.

Garden Isle Disposal, Inc. located in Lihue on Kauai was cited for multiple violations within the period of March 18, 2014 to June 27, 2015 that included failing to inspect deposit containers for redemption labels, failing to pay only on eligible containers, and failing to inspect deposit containers for contamination. Garden Isle Disposal (GID) was fined an administrative penalty fee of $12,000. A settlement reached between DOH and GID through a consent order requires GID to pay $3,000 and submit a corrective action plan to avoid future violations. GID will forfeit the $9,000 in suspended penalty fees if there are additional Deposit Beverage Container Law violation(s) within one year of the consent order.

Wow Wow Lemonade, LLC located in Kahului on Maui was cited for late payments and reports that were delinquent for the semi-annual reporting period of Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015. The company paid a penalty fee of $400.

Kale’s Natural Foods located in Honolulu on Oahu was cited and fined a penalty fee of $400 for failure to submit their semi-annual report for Jan. 1 to June 30, 2014.

FRS located in Chantilly, VA was cited for late payments and reports that were delinquent for the semi-annual reporting period of Jan. 1 to June 30, 2014 and paid a penalty fee of $400.

Kukuiula Store located in Koloa on Kauai was cited for late payments and reports that were delinquent for the semi-annual reporting period of Jan. 1 to June 30, 2014 and paid a penalty fee of $440.

HaHa Hawaiian Organics, Inc. located in Honolulu on Oahu was cited and paid a penalty fee of $400 for late payments and reports that were delinquent for the semi-annual reporting period of July 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. The company was cited again and fined a penalty of $400 for non-payments and delinquent reporting for Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015. DOH withdrew the penalty after the dissolution of the company.

DOH issued a total of 17 Notices of Violations and Orders for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to deposit beverage container distributors for failing to submit their reports and payments and to certified redemption centers for various redemption violations. Despite the DOH’s compliance assistance attempts, these companies continued demonstrating non-compliance with the deposit beverage container program.

Governor Ige Town Hall Meeting in Kailua-Kona Friday

Governor David Ige has announced a town hall meeting this Friday in the Kailua-Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Governor Ige Profile

What: Governor David Ige’s Community Connection town hall meeting in Kailua-Kona on Hawai‘i Island. This is an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with the governor and members of his administration on issues that are important to the West Hawai‘i community.

Who:              

  • Governor Ige
  • Scott Morishige, Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Agriculture                                               

When:  Friday, June 24, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm 

Where: Hawai‘i Community College — Palamanui 73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-Kona

Animal Control Activities and Temporary Closure Planned at Mauna Kea Forest Reserve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities on Hawaii island on designated dates in July and September.

Mouflon

These planned activities are specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids; staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters of feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids.

These activities will take place within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), as well as in the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K), Palila Mitigation Lands, and the Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawaii.

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.

Control schedule dates are July 5 and 6, and September 20 and 21, 2016.  Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, the Kaohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed BY PERMIT ONLY for animal salvage purposes on the following dates:

  • 7 a.m. July 5, and September 20, 2016
  • 6 a.m. July 6, and September 21, 2016

These actions are pursuant to Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 13-130-19 and 13-104-23(a) (3). The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.  The temporary closure is needed to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:

  • Locked 7 p.m. July 4, 2016, and reopened 7 p.m. July 6, 2016
  • Locked 7 p.m. September 19, 2016, and reopened 7 p.m. September 21, 2016

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office.

Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Kamuela Office at (808) 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. June 29, 2016, to 10 a.m. the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only.

Applicants can have their names added to a stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed access. The driver, occupants, vehicle license plate, and make/model of vehicle are needed when calling in.  A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed at the Ahumoa location and 15 permitted vehicles at the Pu’u Mali location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicle are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

Salvage locations are subject to change:

  • On July 5, and September 20, 2016, at Ahumoa. Permittees must meet at Kilohana Hunter Check Station at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On July 6, and September 21, 2016 at Pu’u Mali. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation in Hawaii

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a fifth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until August of this year. The supplemental proclamation provides an additional 60 days in which to continue the state’s cross-sector collaboration and coordinated efforts with the counties.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

“The state has taken strides forward in creating a truly client-centered system among federal, state, county and community organizations,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige. “We are seeing unprecedented alignment of services and a commitment to the common goal of connecting people to permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible.” Morishige made the statement from the Maui Landlord Summit, where he outlined progress in the state’s unified response to homelessness:

Section 8 Landlords Recruited

The Maui Landlord Summit is the fourth in a series of state-supported events aimed at increasing government-assisted housing inventory. It serves to introduce potential landlords to homeless service providers and government agencies providing landlord support. The summit dispels misperceptions about Section 8 and the Housing First program, and is a collaborative effort between the State of Hawai‘i, County of Maui and Maui’s nonprofit service providers.

100 Homeless Families to be Housed

The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) board has approved emergency rules to establish a special rental subsidy program, which will make available approximately $600,000 to quickly move at least 100 homeless families statewide into housing. HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi said, “With partnership with local nonprofits, this program is specifically focused on homeless families, where we expect to have an immediate, noticeable and lasting impact across generations.”

Scott Morishige underscored the importance of the developments: “These are two examples of community partnerships the state is forging to effectively and quickly address homelessness.  We are looking at new and creative ways for the community to pool funds, leverage resources, and work in alignment across all sectors to house and stabilize people experiencing homelessness.”

Over the past week, representatives from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Governors Association have been in Hawai‘i as the Governor’s office has convened cross-sector meetings with stakeholders from every county and every sector.