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Big Island Police Kill Man Wielding Crossbow

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Saturday (April 29), in Papaʻaloa.

At about 3:35 p.m., police were investigating a disturbance at a residence when they encountered a man wielding a loaded crossbow. One officer fired several shots, resulting in the death of the man.

The man’s name is being withheld pending positive identification.

As is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this incident cal l the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Lieutenant Miles Chong at 961-2252, or via email at miles.chong@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on NSA Ending Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) announcement to end its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that may include mentions of a foreign intelligence target. The announcement marks a break in years of NSA policy to collect email, texts, and other Internet communication that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance.

“For years, Americans have been kept in the dark about our government’s unconstitutional collection of their personal communications and data in the name of national security. This change in NSA policy is an important step in the right direction. In order to ensure we do not backtrack on this progress, I will be introducing legislation to permanently codify this policy change to permanently ban this privacy-invading collection.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital

East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April – Thomas Chun-Ming

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized South Hilo Patrol Officer Thomas Chun-Ming on Thursday (April 27) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.
On March 27, 2017, Officer Chun-Ming was patrolling the Honomū area following a recent increase in property crimes when he received information about a suspicious vehicle in the garage of a vacant home. Upon further investigation, Officer Chun-Ming arrested a male and female for Criminal Trespass in the first degree. The male suspect received additional charges of Promoting a Dangerous Drug and Drug Paraphernalia.

Later that same evening, while supplementing another shift, Officer Chun-Ming observed a pickup truck without a safety inspection sticker on the rear bumper. As he followed the t ruck onto a side-street in Pepeʻekeo he observed the vehicle to stop suddenly and two males immediately exit from the driver and passenger sides. As he ordered them back into the vehicle and then made further contact with the driver he detected the odor of burnt marijuana and observed drug paraphernalia inside the truck. At this time Officer Chun-Ming arrested the driver for Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the third degree and Driving without a License. The passenger was arrested for a no bail warrant and Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the third degree and the truck was recovered as evidence. The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s VICE section was assigned to continue the investigation and recovered 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and “meth pipe” after serving a narcotics search warrant on the truck. The two males were given additional charges, three counts of Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the third degree and three counts of Drug Paraphernalia.

On March 28, 2017, Officer Chun-Ming spotted a vehicle which had recently been reported stolen to be traveling in the opposite direction of him on Highway 19. After losing sight of the vehicle he continued to make diligent checks of the area and the vehicle was located along a muddy, unpaved road. As Officer Chun-Ming approached, two males immediately fled from the vehicle on foot. After a short foot pursuit, Officer Chun-Ming was able to apprehend one of the males until back-up officers arrived. With the assistance of the Hawaiʻi Police Departments tracking dog, the second suspect was located hiding in the brush and was subsequently also arrested. Both men were arrested for Theft in the second degree and one of them was also arrested for Promotion of a Detrimental Drug.

Chun-Ming was nominated for the award by Sergeant BJ Duarte who stated that he “demonstrates on a daily basis, his attention to detail, superb investigative skills, his dedication to duty and his proactive approach to police wor k.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Chun-Ming is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Hilo Boy

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

No photo was made available

Anthony Souza was last seen in Hilo on January 31, 2017. He is also known to frequent the Puna district.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6, 130 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. He has the word “Puna” tattooed on his right forearm and a tribal tattoo on his left calf. Souza was last seen wearing a maroon-colored shirt, gray shorts, knee-high socks and camouflage-colored Crocs.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Officer Daniel Kuwabara at 961-2213, or to call the Police Departments non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Former Heald College Students Eligible for Federal Student Loan Cancellation and Refunds

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP), joined with at least 42 other states and the District of Columbia, is notifying nearly 2,500 Hawaii residents who attended schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. – including Heald College in Honolulu – that they are eligible for cancellation of their federal student loans used to attend those schools.  If a student’s federal loan is cancelled, the student will make no more payments on the loan, and any payments already made will be refunded.

Approximately 2,474 Hawaii residents are eligible for federal student loan cancellation and will receive a letter explaining the relief available and enclosing a short application that must be filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

After intense scrutiny by various government entities, for-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015, transferring some of its campuses to a non-profit called Zenith Education Group.  The U.S. Department of Education then found that while it was operating, Corinthian Colleges made widespread misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates at its Heald College campus, and elsewhere across the nation. Lists of the affected campuses, programs, and dates of enrollment are available at https://www.StudentAid.gov/heald-findings and at https://www.StudentAid.gov/ev-wy-findings.  Students who first enrolled in the identified campuses and programs during the specified time periods are eligible for streamlined discharge of their federal student loans.

“Former students are still unnecessarily paying for loans that should be forgiven,” said Bobbi Lum-Mew, HPEAP Program Administrator.  “This is the latest effort by state and federal officials to reach these Hawaii residents and put money back in their pockets.”

 HPEAP’s outreach will be sent to students who fall within the U.S. Department of Education’s findings of fraud discussed above, and who are eligible for a special “streamlined” process to discharge their federal student loans.  However, any student who attended Corinthian Colleges and believes that the school lied about job prospects, the transferability of credits, or other issues may apply to have their federal student loans canceled using the Department of Education’s universal discharge application at https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov.  More information is available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/borrower-defense.

Borrowers should beware of student loan scams.  You can apply for loan forgiveness, or get information on loan forgiveness, for FREE through the U.S. Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education never charges application or maintenance fees, so if you’re asked to pay, walk away.

It may take time for the U.S. Dept. of Education to process applications, so anyone who applies for loan discharge should continue making payments on the affected loans until informed by the U.S. Dept. of Education or his loan servicer that his federal loans are in forbearance while his application is pending or that his loans have been cancelled.

If you have questions, more information about the Office’s outreach to former Corinthian Colleges students can be found at http://www.HealdOutreach.com.  Students can also call the U.S. Department of Education hotline at 1-855-279-6207 or e-mail questions about discharge of their federal student loans to FSAOperations@ed.gov.

Travel Ban Case Update: Hawaii Files Answering Brief with the Ninth Circuit Court Appeals

Last Friday afternoon the State of Hawaii filed its answering brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii v. Trump.

Click to read

On March 15, 2017, Judge Derrick Watson issued a 43-page opinion temporarily enjoining the federal government nationwide from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of a second Executive Order issued by President Trump (the travel ban).

The travel ban would have restricted immigration from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, and also temporarily suspended refugee admissions. The travel ban had been scheduled to become effective on March 16, 2017.

The temporary restraining order blocking the travel ban was converted to a preliminary injunction on March 29, 2017. On April 7, 2017, the Department of Justice filed its opening brief seeking to overturn that preliminary injunction.

Hawaii’s answering brief states in part:

“The Executive Order flouts [the] protections [in the Constitution]. While the Constitution commits the immigration power to Congress, the President claims it for his own, recognizing no statutory limits on his powers of exclusion. And while the Bill of Rights guarantees Due Process and forbids the establishment of religion, the President seeks to enact a thinly veiled Muslim ban, shorn of procedural protections and premised on the belief that those who practice Islam are a danger to our country. The Constitution is not so easily cast aside.”

The Trump Administration is expected to file a reply brief on April 28, 2017. The appeal is scheduled to be heard before a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 15, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. in Seattle, Washington.

National Take-Back Day on the Big Island of Hawaii

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies on the Big Island of Hawaii on Saturday, April 29th to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets.

Locations:

  • Hilo – Ka Waena Lapa‘au Medical Complex (Upper Parking Lot), 670 Ponohawai St., Hilo, HI 96720
  • Kona – Hawai‘i Police Department Kealakehe Police Station Parking Lot, 74-0611 Hale Māka‘i Pl., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety from accidental poisonings and groundwater contamination.

This recurring one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse and provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

  • The program is free & anonymous.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
  • Liquid medications – cough medicine with codeine and other over-the-counter liquid medications accepted.
  • Injectables (pre-loaded with medication) and needles/sharps/syringes will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

Hawaii Lawmakers Approve State Budget

House and Senate conferees met today to approve a final version of HB100 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The committee agreed on funding for pesticide regulation and studies and three Department of Agriculture positions for pesticides compliance; special funds for an enhanced 911 dispatch software upgrade; general funds for the Hawaii Promise Program to provide college tuition support; and general funds to support housing, outreach and legal services for homeless people.

The committee also decided to add $1 million to the budget for the Department of Health to fight Rat Lungworm Disease citing the need to act quickly in preventing the spread of the disease.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means conference committee met several times to iron out the differences between the two budget versions which must be completed by April 28, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.

The final conference draft will be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, sent to the governor for his signature.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (Dist. 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), said the conference committee was able to come up with a successful budget because of the hard choices made initially by both the Senate and the House.

“When we first received the budget from Governor David Ige, we were looking at a very different financial picture,” said Luke, the House Finance Committee Chair. “As it became clear that the state would have less revenue, we needed cut millions of dollars from the governor’s request. We were able to do that because of the hard work of the committee members.”

“Our ability to reach agreement on the budget reflects a shared belief that as resources are constrained, we must focus on priority needs that can be sustained. Even as fixed costs and unfunded liabilities rise, our communities look to us to provide support for the most basic and essential programs and services from homeless and health care to protecting the environment and resources for our keiki and kupuna,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kaneohe, Kaneohe MCAB, Kailua, Heeia, Ahuimanu), chair of the Senate committee on Ways and Means.

At today’s meeting, the committee highlighted many budget items upon which the House and Senate reached agreement.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Agricultural Loan Revolving Fund (AGR101/GA).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (1) position and $115,772 in general funds in each FY for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance (AGR846/EE).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for pesticide regulation expenses and studies (AGR846/EE).

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • Add (1) permanent position and $39,000 in FY18 and $77,000 in FY19 in general funds for contract audits (AGS104/BA).
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission (AGS871/NA).
  • Add $7,800,000 in special funds in FY18 for Enhanced 911 Board Computer Aided Dispatch Software Upgrade (AGS891/PA).

DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Litigation Fund (ATG100/AA).
  • Add $70,000 in special funds in each FY for maintenance of internet based registration systems and charity registration databases (ATG100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

  • Add (1) permanent position and $25,386 in FY18 and $50,772 in FY19 in general funds for compliance with decisions and orders of Land Use Commission (BED103/DA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for feasibility and benefits study for establishing a small satellite launch and processing facility in the State (BED128).
  • Add $200,000 in general funds in FY18 for a market assessment and feasibility study for the development of a basalt fiber manufacturing plant in Hawaii (BED128).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,584 in FY18 and $57,168 in FY19 in general funds for economic research (BED130/FA).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Excelerator Program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for manufacturing grant program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for small business innovation research program (BED143).
  • Add (1) temporary position and $27,618 in FY18 and $55,236 in FY19 in general funds for Special Action Team on Affordable Rental Housing (BED144/PL).

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Add $34,625,428 in FY18 and $70,673,178 in FY19 in general funds for additional retirement benefit payments funding for the State to reflect phase-in of employer contribution rate increases.
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,116 in FY18 and $51,432 in FY19 in general funds for the Administrative and Research Office’s Information and Technology staff (BUF101/BA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $55,671 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in funds for Hawaii Domestic Relations Orders implementation (BUF141/FA).
  • Add $9,700,000 in each FY for statewide centralized vacation payout (BUF103/VP).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $148,930 in trust funds in FY19 for investment analysis (BUF143/EU).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $445,768 in general funds in each FY for Community Court Outreach Program (BUF151).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

  • Add (1) permanent position and $51,000 in FY18 and $84,000 in FY19 in trust funds for condominium education (CCA105/GA).
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training (CCA901/MA).

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • Add $325,000 in general funds in FY18 for Diamond Head Sewer Lift Station Emergency Generator (DEF110/AA).
  • Add $768,000 in general funds in FY18 for tree trimming and removal at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery (DEF112/VA).
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $27,556 in FY18 and $54,112 in FY19 in general funds for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning maintenance (DEF110/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative (EDN100/BX).
  • Add $2,027,645 in general funds in FY18 for Office of Hawaiian Education (EDN100/CJ).
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in FY18 for Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn program (EDN100/BX).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (EDN200).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $703,980 in general funds in each FY for Homeless Concerns Liaisons (EDN200/GQ).
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in FY18 for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion (EDN300/UA).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $135,216 in FY18 and $270,432 in FY19 in general funds for Workers’ Compensation Program (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in FY18 for Alternative Teacher Route Programs (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $293,557 in general funds in FY18 for Community Engagement Office (EDN300/KD).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance Capacity (EDN300/KH).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for student transportation services statewide (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $100,000 in general funds in FY18 for athletic travel to and from Molokai and Hana (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for environmental health services (EDN400/OC).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for utilities (EDN400/OE).
  • Add $283,403 in FY18 and $207,445 in FY19 in general funds for personal services and food provisions for School Food Service programs (EDN400/MD).

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

  • Add (3) permanent positions and $50,592 in FY18 and $101,184 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library (EDN407/QD).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in FY18 for repair and maintenance backlog (EDN407/QB).

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Add $9,797,069 in FY18 and $10,668,406 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment (EDN600/JA).

EARLY LEARNING

  • Add $136,688 in FY18 and (10) permanent positions and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program (EDN700/PK).

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations (GOV100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Housing First Program (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for homeless outreach services (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for legal services for homeless persons (HMS224/HS).
  • Add (29) permanent positions and $1,828,585 in FY18 and $2,510,996 in FY19 in general funds for multi-skilled worker pilot program (HMS229/HA).
  • Add $1,553,559 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in each FY for nursing facility inflation factor (HMS401/PE).
  • Add $240,000 in general funds in FY18 for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention (JJDP) (HMS501/YA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

  • Add $3,274,000 in FY18 and $3,524,000 in FY19 in general funds for worker’s compensation claims (HRD102/SA).

HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION

  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions (HTH212/LS).
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for working capital or region operating subsidy (HTH212).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).
  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for employee separation benefits related to the transfer of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Maui Region.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges (HTH420/HO).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in FY18 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders (HTH440/HO).
  • Add $1,340,000 in FY18 and $1,613,000 in FY19 in general funds for purchase of service contracts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (HTH460/HO).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $422,540 in general funds in each FY for vector control (HTH610/FN).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for Rat Lung-worm Disease (HTH610).
  • Add $799,833 in general funds in FY18 for statewide emergency ambulance services (HTH730/MQ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $46,638 in FY18 and $93,276 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources (HTH849/FD).
  • Add $4,145,695 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Care (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in FY18 for Aging and Disability Resource Center (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $157,168 in general funds in each FY for long term care ombudsman program (HTH904/AJ).

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for enrichment programs of the advisory boards for health care, agriculture, and STEM (LBR111).
  • Add $450,000 in general funds in each FY for transition to the federal workforce innovation and opportunity act (LBR135).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $24,966 in FY18 and $48,280 in FY19 in general funds for labor law enforcement (LBR152/CA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for legal support (LBR153/RA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,530 in each FY for grants management (LBR903/NA).

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Add (3) temporary positions and $152,520 in general funds in each FY for ocean resources management plan support (LNR401/CA).
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Invasive Species Council (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for Rapid Ohia Death response (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for fire protection program (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in FY18 for second phase of new integrated information management system and digitization of reports, records, and files (LNR802/HP).
  • Add (15) temporary positions and $1,065,147 in FY18 and $1,097,047 in FY19 in general funds for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of Kahoolawe Island Reserve (LNR906/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for malpractice insurance (PSD421/HC).
  • Add $92,500 in general funds in FY18 for psychological testing for deputy sheriffs (PSD900/EA).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for lease rent for Department of Public Safety Administration building and moving costs (PSD900/EA).

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • Add $93,860 in general funds in each FY for security for medical marijuana tax collections (TAX107/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office (TRN102/BC).
  • Add $300,000 in each FY for custodial and janitorial supplies for Custodial Services Unit (TRN102/BC).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station (TRN114/BE).
  • Add $400,000 in each FY for Automated Passport Control Kiosk Maintenance Statewide (TRN195/BB).
  • Add $200,000 in each FY for underwater and superstructure pier inspections (TRN395/CB).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $101,809 in FY18 and $203,618 in FY19 for H-3 Tunnel Management Center (TRN501/DC).
  • Add (10) permanent positions and $679,152 in special funds in FY18 and $1,243,998 in special funds and $216,000 in federal funds in FY19 for Intelligent Technology Systems Branch (TRN595/DB).
  • Add $800,000 in FY19 for trash reduction plan implementation (TRN501/DC).
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 for information technology projects (TRN995).

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for concussion awareness (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2.64) permanent positions and $240,800 in general funds in each FY for Heeia Reserve (UOH100/AA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Investigator for UH Manoa (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2) permanent position and $150,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Educator/Advocate for UH Hilo (UOH210).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $70,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX for UH West Oahu (UOH700).
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Promise Program (UOH800).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Coordinators, Confidential Advocates, and Legal Support (UOH800).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $375,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX System-wide Legal Support (UOH900).

Budget worksheets detailing the appropriations in the overall Executive, Judiciary and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2017budget.aspx.

Kohala Officer of the Quarter: Tyler Prokopec

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association has recognized Officer Tyler Prokopec as the “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” for the first quarter of 2017. A ceremony was held on Friday (April 21), at the Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo.

Pictured from left to right: Captain Randall Ishii, Mayor Harry Kim, Officer Tyler Prokopec, Bill King of Securitas, and Wesley Taketa of Royal Kona Resort

Officer Prokopec was honored for his actions while off-duty which resulted in the arrest of a disorderly male at the Waikoloa Queen’s Market Place in February.

On February 15, 2017, at 9:30 p.m., Officer Prokopec, who was off-duty, was driving along Waikoloa Beach Drive when he observed a security guard and a civilian struggling to detain a disorderly male near the Queen’s Market Place. The disorderly male, upon being alerted that Prokopec was a police officer, immediately jumped up and ran to the roadway in an attempt to flee. The male then attempted stopping a moving vehicle before jumping onto the hood of a pickup truck and then shattered it’s windshield by kicking it. Officer Prokopec was then able to remove the suspect from the truck and safely place him under arrest. It was later learned that the suspect had caused damages to two other vehicles in the area.

Sergeant Erich Jackson commented in his nomination papers that “without Officer Prokopec’s immediate and decisive intervention, the suspect may have harmed himself further or committed more crimes. Officer Prokopec exemplified the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s core values of Professionalism, Integrity and Community Satisfaction and is deserving of this award.”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association is an organization of hotel and airport security managers and visitor industry professionals. Its “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding officers from the North Kohala and South Kohala Districts.

Commentary – Mayor’s Administration Has Taken Action Against Me

Mayor Harry Kim ran on a platform of transparency, and restoring trust in county government. Nonetheless,  his administration has taken action against me, which goes against those campaign promises.

The problems started on February 6th, 2017 when the Department of Public Works director Frank DeMarco sent me an official e-mail stating that I cannot communicate with anyone in the Department of Public Works going forward. Mr. DeMarco also states all further inquiries from me have to be sent to the mayor’s office through postal mail. This e-mail was disseminated to all DPW managerial staff, and to the mayor’s secretary.I was able to get  that  part rescinded, so I could go through DPW’s public information officer for any future inquiries. This somewhat addressed the issue at hand, but not completely. This directive made it impossible to provide feedback about future county highway projects.

In addition,  I still couldn’t communicate with front line engineers,  or division heads. I’ve established relationships with these individuals that  have lasted ten or more years in some cases. These individuals have always appreciated my efforts to report traffic signal and pothole issues, along with my assistance with getting various highway projects completed.

DPW Director DeMarco has painted a different picture of my efforts, which he stated in recent testimony to the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee on April 11th. He stated that I was making too many inquiries with DPW staff, which was causing issues for DPW and other county departments.

This statement doesn’t make any sense whatsoever based upon the positive feedback I’ve received from public works  staff over the years. This is why I believe  this directive is smokescreen for the real reason why I’ve been treated this way. Mayor Kim simply doesn’t welcome, or want, feedback from from community.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Commentary – How Lawmakers Can Deal With “Annoying” Citizens

Dear Damon,

This was the year when we learned how “annoying” the public can be to government agencies, what with their constant demands for transparency, sunshine, and access to government records.

In fact, some state agencies were so annoyed that they sought help from the legislature, which responded with a bill to limit the rights of “vexatious records requesters.” That bill (HB1518) is still alive, but fortunately the latest version requires a decision from a court before stripping government watchdogs of their rights.

The funny thing is that if anyone is entitled to feel “vexed” by the state’s transparency laws (and process), it’s the public. According to Civil Beat, state and city officials have regularly tried to hide records or withhold them by charging ridiculously high fees to the person requesting them.

The Grassroot Institute frequently requests public documents, and our researchers could share a few stories about the tactics agencies use to delay or avoid a response. When we worked with Judicial Watch to gain a copy of the Native Hawaiian Roll — a public voter list — we even had to go to court to get the records released.

Ironically, there’s a shockingly simple solution that would make everyone happy: just be more transparent.

It’s perfect. Requesters would get the documents they want and state workers could be spared the stress of coming up with reasons to avoid handing them over. In fact, if agencies were more open in their operations, some of those requests wouldn’t even be necessary.

There’s even a proposal already in place at the legislature. HB165 (now headed to a Conference Committee) would modernize the existing Sunshine Law by requiring electronic posting of public agency meeting notices and minutes and making board packets available for public inspection.

It’s an important step forward for transparency in Hawaii and a common sense way to reduce the work associated with records requests. After all, there’s no need to make a request when something’s already online.

Of course, several state agencies oppose HB165 and have testified about why they would find it difficult to comply with the bill. It’s almost as if they prefer being “vexed.”

Still, we hope that the legislature will embrace greater openness in government and take advantage of the internet to make more records publicly available. They could even think of it as a public health service. Because all that stress and vexation can’t be good for our state workers.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. – President/CEO Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Attorney General Responds to Attorney General Session’s Comment

Attorney General Doug Chin issued the following statement today in response to the statement from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he is “amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.”

“President Trump previously called a federal judge in California a so-called judge. Now U.S. Attorney General Sessions appears to dismiss a federal judge in Hawaii as just a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific. Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason. Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President. It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Beverage Distributors for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued Notices of Violation and Order against seven local beverage distributors for failure to comply with the State’s Deposit Beverage Container law.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit semi-annual or monthly reports and payments to DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period.

Delinquent semi-annual reporting companies cited:

  • Jugo Life, located at 2463 South King Street in Moiliili
  • Monsarrat Juice Co., dba Shaka Pressed Juice, at 3118 Monsarrat Avenue near Diamond Head
  • Dragononi Inc., dba Hawaiianola, at 89-1368 Mamalahoa Highway on Hawaii Island
  • Penta Water Company, LLC in Colton, California
  • Pressed Juicery Hawaii, LLC at 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard #1375

Delinquent monthly reporting companies cited:

  • Hawaiian Springs, LLC at 3375 Koapaka Street in Honolulu.
  • Eurpac Service, Inc. in Norwalk, Connecticut

Companies were assessed with administrative penalty fees ranging between $400 and $3,240. They were also provided an opportunity to request a hearing to contest the alleged facts and penalty. To date, Shaka Pressed Juice and Eurpac Sevice, Inc., have complied with the enforcement order. The companies submitted a corrective action plan and paid the penalty in full.

“Distributors are reminded to comply with all upcoming deadlines and requirements to avoid penalty fees,” states Deposit Beverage Container Program Manager Darren Park. “Late distributor payments and reports negatively affect the accurate calculations of redemptions rates and impact the DBC funds used to recycle redeemed containers.”

TMT Contested Case Deadlines Set

Presiding Officer Issues Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Deadlines

In an order (Minute Order No. 43) issued today, contested case hearing officer Judge Riki May Amano (ret.) notified the parties of upcoming filing deadlines in the Contested Case Hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. During the evidentiary portion of the Contested Case Hearing, spread over five months in late 2016 and early 2017, twenty-five parties to the case presented testimony and evidence.

Today’s order sets May 30, 2017 as the deadline for the parties to submit proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law.  Responses to these proposals are due by June 13, 2017.  Each response shall identify by Document Number the specific decision and order, findings of fact and conclusions of law to which it responds.

Minute Order No. 43 and all other minute orders and documents related to the TMT Contested Case can be viewed at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/mk/documents-library/.

Complete transcripts from the TMT Contested Case Hearing were made available yesterday at Hilo Public Library, Kailua Kona Public Library, Thelma Parker Memorial Library, and Edward H. Mookini Library on Hawaii island, and at the Hawaii State Public Library on Oahu.

Judge Amano will consider all filings and submit her proposed recommendation.  The matter will then go back to the State Board of Land and Natural Resources for argument, review and final decision.

“Epic Boat After Party” Results in Citation at Kaneohe Bay

A boat operator, who advertised his “Epic Boat After Party,” on social media, was cited by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) on Easter Sunday for conducting commercial activities without a permit.

Among the 15 passengers Adam Taylor carried on his boat to the Ahu o Laka sand bar in Kaneohe Bay, were undercover DOCARE officers who paid Taylor fees for a boat ride. All commercial activities conducted from State small boat harbors, facilities, and near shore waters require a permit from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

“We were alerted to this Easter afternoon party at Ahu o Laka by a social media posting,” said DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell. “When the possibility of unpermitted activities are blatantly advertised via social media or in blogs and we become aware of it, we will aggressively investigate and take appropriate actions against anyone caught breaking the law,” Farrell added.

Officers had prepared for a major “flotilla” at Ahu o Laka, but overcast skies and cool temperatures likely kept big crowds from developing.  In past years and particularly on major holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, enormous crowds have descended on the popular windward O‘ahu sandbar.  This has resulted in a prohibition against open containers and alcohol consumption and possession at Ahu o Laka during the summer season holiday weekends. In addition, the state boating rule, first established in 2012, prohibits loud, abusive or disorderly conduct; and the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or non-prescription drugs in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone. The safety zone in the middle of Kane‘ohe Bay is just over a square mile in area and comprises the majority of the sandbar and is defined by six marker buoys.

A first offense for failing to have a commercial activities permit can carry a maximum fine of $5000.

Hawaii Attorney General Supports Federal Rule Requiring Retirement Advisors to Put Clients Ahead of Their Own Profits

Attorney General Doug Chin joined with a group of eight state attorneys general on Monday urging the U.S. Department of Labor to lift its delay in implementing a rule that would require financial advisors to put clients’ best interests ahead of their own.

Click to read full letter

The investment advice fiduciary rule was set to take effect April 10, but the Department of Labor delayed it by 60 days to June 9. On February 3, President Donald Trump ordered the agency to review the fiduciary rule “to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice.”

“To the contrary, postponement of its application is costing investors tens of millions of dollars each day as advisors continue to give conflicted advice and the rule should be implemented without further delay,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Edward Hugley. “This rule is long overdue and would provide substantial protections to consumers seeking retirement investment advice and create only necessary changes to the retirement investment market.”

The rule would expand the definition of fiduciary and hold all retirement investment advisors to the standard of a fiduciary. In addition to putting client interests before advisors’ profits, the rule also would require advisors to disclose conflicts of interest, and would remove advisors’ limited liability for harms resulting from their advice.

The Labor Department issued the fiduciary rule on April 6 of last year, to protect investors and address problems in the retirement investment advice market. Previously, an agency analysis found that conflicting advice issues were widespread and cause serious harm to investment plan and IRA investors. Additionally, the analysis found that investment agencies often arrange compensation ahead of clients’ interests.

“The rule addresses conflicts that lead to widespread abuse of vulnerable investors and in turn dramatically improves the quality of financial investment advice provided,” the attorneys general wrote. “Rather than self-regulating in anticipation of change, the industry has taken full advantage of their non-fiduciary status to the detriment of consumer investors.”

The letter is signed by attorneys general in the states of Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. A copy of the letter is attached.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 42-Year-Old Kona Man

Big Island Police are searching for a 42-year-old Kona man who was reported missing.

Steven Marinelli

Steven Marinelli was last seen on March 6, 2017 on Kaiwi Street in the Kailua-Kona area. He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 180 pounds, with a bald head and blue eyes. He is also known to frequent Pāhoa and the Puna district.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts contact Officer Bryan Ellis at 326-4646, ext. 253, via email at Bryan.Ellis@hawaiicounty.gov, or to call the Police Departments non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Hosts 4/20 Forum to Discuss the Future of Cannabis in Hawaii – Forum Will Be Live-Streamed on Facebook

On Thursday (April 20th), the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) will host a forum to discuss the future of cannabis in the state. The informational forum will serve to educate party members and the public at large on the debate surrounding cannabis and efforts currently underway at both the state and federal levels.

The conversation will be wide-ranging and touch upon decriminalization and descheduling efforts in Congress, decriminalization bills at the Hawai‘i State Legislature, the national trend toward legalization in other states and municipalities, the current status of measures relating to medical dispensaries across the state, and the health benefits of cannabis for Hawai‘i patients.

Panelists include U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (with a brief presentation via videoconference), Sen. Will Espero, Me Fuimaono-Poe (Medical Director and founder of the Maile Cannabis Clinic), and Pamela Lichty, MPH – (President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i). A member is the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives has also been invited to join and will be confirmed tomorrow.

The forum will be moderated by Christopher Garth, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance (HDA). The event will begin at 5:30pm with a legislation summary by Rep. Gabbard and continue with presentations from other panelists and a Q & A until 7:30pm. Tickets to the event are sold-out, so the DPH will be live-streaming the event via Facebook through the DPH page: https://www.facebook.com/HawaiiDems/

For more information contact: tim@hawaiidemocrats.org

Big Island Police Searching for Puna Woman Reported Missing Again

Big Island police are searching for a 35-year-old Puna woman who was reported missing… AGAIN.

Sarah Cain

Sarah Cain was last seen at around 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2017, in the area of Isaac Hale Beach Park in Puna. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-6, 120 pounds with shoulder length brown wavy hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing an orange and yellow bathing suit.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts contact Officer Louie Ondo Jr. at 961-2252 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who wa nt to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Information from her previous missing case here:  http://damontucker.com/2012/11/30/big-island-police-searching-for-missing-31-year-old-kainaliu-woman/

Photo from the last time she went missing.