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Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System in Hawaii

Following six meetings earlier this year, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has received a report from a group of experts and organizations with interest in establishing non-commercial fishing licenses in Hawaii’i.

Click to read the study

Click to read the study

The independent group studied the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system.  Participants in the meetings, held between May and November, included the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Conservation International, fisheries resources managers, experts, and representatives from different fishing organizations and interest groups.

The study group interviewed fisheries managers from other coastal states, conducted a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consulted with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

According to DAR Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “This group specifically focused on the ability of a potential system to meet three primary fishery objectives.”  This includes providing additional and more robust data to support fisheries management; to foster more dialogue between fishers and managers; and to create a continuous source of independent funding to support effective fisheries management.  In expressing the DLNR’s appreciation to the members of the study group, Anderson wrote, “It is indeed a thorough and well-researched document.  We are impressed with the way all the members worked together throughout the project.

While Study Group members did not hesitate to express divergent views, their comments were always intended to be constructive. I believe the final report reflects this spirit of cooperation and collaboration as well as the dedication and hard work of all members.  Every member certainly has a great passion and appreciation of the value of our marine resources.”

Anderson concluded, “We look forward to getting comments from a broad range of stakeholders before making such a decision on what option is preferred. Undoubtedly, this report will generate considerable discussion and serve as a valuable reference for all those interested in this issue.”


The Division of Aquatic Resources has received the Final Report from the Study Group for the Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System for Hawai‘i.  The Study Group was jointly convened by Conservation International Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and consisted of fisheries resource managers, experts, and representatives from various fishing organizations and interest groups.  The Study Group examined the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system and specifically focused on the ability of such as system to meet three primary fishery management objectives: (1) provide additional and more robust data to support fisheries management, (2) foster more two-way dialogue between fishers and managers, and (3) create sources of independent, continuous funding to support effective fisheries management and enforcement.  The process included interviews with fisheries managers from other coastal states, a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consultation with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

The final report and supporting appendices can be downloaded below. All are pdf files under 1 MB except where noted.

Final Report (6.2 MB)
Executive Summary (3.6 MB)
Appendix A – Charter of Commitments (1.4 MB)
Appendix B – Coastal States & Territories Comparison Matrix
Appendix C – List of Listening Sessions Between Study Group Meetings
Appendix D – Comparison of Non-commercial Marine Fishing Regulation Systems in States Similar to Hawaii
Appendix E – Overview of Hawaii Legal Considerations for Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix F – Table of Provisions on the Right to Fish from Other States
Appendix G – Hawaii’s Traditional and Customary Rights Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing (19.9 MB)
Appendix H – Financial Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix I – Personal Statements from Study Group Members

Coast Guard Searching for Possibly Two People Off the Big Island – One Wanted By Police

The Coast Guard is searching for two possible persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Sunday.

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. (Courtesy photo/Released)

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and the crew of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) have been launched to search the surrounding areas.

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner. Reports were also received of a man and a woman seen by fellow campers using a dinghy matching the description of the one found.

The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. Owner of the Zodiac is thought to be Derek Liu (SEE BELOW). He is believed to own a green Nissan truck with a trailer that has been left at the campsite.

dinghy-truckAnyone with information that may help locate the owners of the dinghy is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions on scene are reportedly 8 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 8 miles of visibility.


Media Release:

12-02-16 Wanted: Derek Liu

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 52-year-old Honokaʻa man who is wanted for violating terms of bail.

Derek Liu is described as 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

derek-liu

Derek Liu

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide 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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

State of Hawaii Annual Uniform Crime Report – Crime in Hawaii 2015

Attorney General Doug Chin announced the release of the State of Hawaii’s annual Uniform Crime Report, Crime in Hawaii, 2015.

crime-in-hawaii-2015The report shows that in calendar year 2015, a total of 48,919 Index Crimes* were reported in the State of Hawaii, yielding a rate of 3,417 offenses per 100,000 resident population. Hawaii’s total Index Crime rate in 2015 was 0.3% below the rate reported in 2014, and 24.7% below the rate reported a decade earlier (2006).

There were 3,530 violent Index Crimes reported statewide in 2015, yielding a rate of 246.6 offenses per 100,000 residents. Hawaii’s violent Index Crime rate in 2015 was 2.3% more than the rate reported in 2014, and 12.9% below the rate reported in 2006. There were 45,389 property Index Crimes reported statewide in 2015, yielding a rate of 3,171 offenses per 100,000 residents. Hawaii’s property Index Crime rate in 2015 was 0.5% below the rate reported in 2014, and 25.5% below the rate reported in 2006. Other highlights of Crime in Hawaii, 2015 include the following:

  • The rate of reported offenses for two violent Index Crimes decreased in the State of Hawaii in 2015: rape, by 1.9%; and aggravated assault, by 1.6%. The rate of reported offenses for the other two violent Index Crimes increased: murder, by 6.5%; and robbery, by 12.4%.
  • Rates of reported offenses increased by 1.3% each for two property Index Crime categories: larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. The rate of reported offenses for burglary decreased by 9.5%.
  • The rate of reported offenses for arson increased by 66.1% statewide in 2015.
  • Based on the proportion of arrests (plus cases closed by “exceptional means”) to reported offenses, the statewide clearance rate for total Index Crimes decreased, from 16.2% in 2014 to 15.3% in 2015.
  • The number of Index Crime arrests fell by 5.0% statewide in 2015. Arrests for violent Index Crimes decreased 8.7%, and arrests for property Index Crimes decreased 3.9%.
  • Adult arrests comprised 83.0% of all Index Crime arrests in 2015; juvenile arrests accounted for 17.0%. Crime in Hawaii 2015 provides state and county data on the age, gender, and race/ethnicity of arrestees.
  • The City & County of Honolulu’s total Index Crime rate increased 1.2% in 2015. The violent and property crime rates increased by 6.6% and 0.8%, respectively. The City & County of Honolulu’s rates for murder, rape, and burglary were the lowest in the State of Hawaii, while its robbery rate was the highest.
  • Hawaii County’s total Index Crime rate decreased 2.8% in 2015; the property crime rate fell 2.1%, and the violent crime rate dropped 13.7%. Hawaii County’s crime rates rose for four of the ten Index Crime offenses, with notable increases of 162.3% for murder and 69.4% for arson. Hawaii County reported the lowest robbery and arson rates in the State of Hawaii, and the highest rates for murder, motor vehicle theft, and human trafficking–commercial sex acts.
  • The total Index Crime rate in Maui County increased 2.3% in 2015; the violent crime rate rose 7.6%, and the property crime rate edged up 1.8%. Maui County’s crime rates increased for six of the ten Index Crime offenses, with a notable increase of 86.4% for arson. Maui County reported the highest statewide rates for total, violent, and property Index Crimes, as well as rape, aggravated assault, and larceny-theft.
  • The total Index Crime rate in Kauai County decreased 22.7% in 2015. Kauai County’s violent crime rate decreased 26.3%, and the property crime rate dropped 22.4%. Kauai County’s arson rate increased by 828.9% in 2015. Kauai County’s rates for total Index Crime, total violentcrime, total property crime, aggravated assault, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft were the lowest in the State of Hawaii, while its rates for burglary and arson were the highest.
  • Twenty-nine murders were reported statewide in 2015. Males comprised 72.4% of the murder victims and 75.0% of the alleged offenders. One-third (33.3%) of known relationships between murder victims and offenders in 2015 were strangers, while about one-quarter (25.9%) were immediate family members.
  • Of the 2,992 murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults reported statewide in 2015, 47.1% were committed using strong-arm weapons (i.e., hands, fists, and feet); 25.0% with “other” or unknown weapons; 17.3% with knives or other edged weapons; and 10.5% with firearms.
  • Over $85 million in property value was reported stolen in the State of Hawaii in 2015, up 8.1% from the figure reported in 2014. Of the total value stolen in 2015, 29.5% was recovered, marking an increase from the 25.7% that was recovered in 2014.
  • No police officers were killed in the line of duty in the State of Hawaii during 2015, but 401 officers were assaulted, yielding a rate of 13.6 assaults per 100 officers. Crime in Hawaii 2015 also provides data on the time of day, type of assignment, and the weapons used in assaults against police officers (see Appendix D).
  • On October 31, 2015, a total of 2,939 police officers and 826 civilians were employed by the four county police departments, denoting a 0.3% decrease in workforce from the figures reported from October 31, 2014.

* Including the violent Index Crimes of murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, and tracked separately, human trafficking, commercial sex acts and human trafficking, involuntary servitude; the property Index Crimes of burglary, motor vehicle theft, and larceny-theft; and, tracked separately, arson.

Record Crime Rates* State of Hawaii and Counties, 2015:

State of HawaiiRecord low burglary rate

City & County of Honolulu – Record low burglary rate

Hawaii CountyRecord high motor vehicle theft rate

Maui County (None )

Kauai CountyRecord low total Index Crime rate, Record low property crime rate, Record low burglary rate, Record low larceny-theft rate, Record low motor vehicle theft rate, Record high arson rate

* Within jurisdiction, since the start of statewide data collection in 1975 (1980 for arson rates).

Copies of the complete Crime in Hawaii, 2015report can be downloaded from the Attorney General’s Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division web site at http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/crime-in-hawaii-2015.

Hilo Attorneys Recognized for Volunteer Service to the East Hawaii Community

Forty-three attorneys were recognized during the Self-Help Center Recognition Awards on December 2nd for providing free legal information to more than 700 Hawaii Island residents who sought assistance at the Hilo Courthouse Self-Help Center in 2016.  Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald attended the recognition ceremony at the Hilo Yacht Club.

judiciaryThe Hilo Self-Help Center was established in July 2012 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts. Since opening, the Hilo Self-Help Center has assisted more than 3,700 people, with volunteer attorneys providing over 900 hours of legal information on civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce.  For over four years, these services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.

“I am grateful to the attorneys who volunteer their time at our Self-Help Centers, assisting individuals representing themselves in civil legal cases.  The generosity of these attorneys has been essential to increasing access to justice in our civil courts,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

The volunteers were recognized by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Chief Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Lester Oshiro, and Third Circuit Deputy Chief Court Administrators Dawn West and Cheryl Salmo.

The individual attorneys who were honored are as follows:  Al Konishi, Robert Crudele, Paul Hamano, Melody Parker, William Heflin, Jeff Ng, Chris Schlueter, Damir Kouliev, Francis Alcain, Jennifer Ng, Laureen Martin, Chris Rothfus, J. Yoshimoto, Raymond Hasegawa, Joy San Buenaventura, Al Thompson, Austin Hsu, Doug Halsted, Dwayne Lerma, Joanne Goya, Kenneth Goodenow, Michelle Oishi, Nelson Kinoshita, Amy Self, Charlene Iboshi, Dakota Frenz, Darien Nagata, Edith Kawai, Harry Eliason, Jennifer Wharton, Jo Kim, Kanani Laubach, Lincoln Ashida, Lionel Riley, Lynne Kushi, Michael Kagami, Peter Kubota, Ryan Caday, Steven Strauss, Sylvia Wan, Ted Hong, Zachary Wingert, and Mitch Roth.

Chief Justice Recktenwald acknowledged the strong support of the late State Representative Clift Tsuji, who had attended the ceremony in previous years to recognize the volunteer attorneys.  “Representative Tsuji’s commitment to access to justice for all was truly inspiring, and is part of the legacy that he leaves for this community.”

Also acknowledged were AmeriCorps Advocates Samantha Puluole-Mitchell and Alexandria Agdeppa, as well as Legal Aid of Hawaii Staff Attorney Mark Haines, who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, organize the Self-Help Center at the Hilo Courthouse each week.

Valerie Grab, Managing Attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii’s Hilo Office said, “I am so pleased by the support the Hawaii County Bar Association and our local attorneys have given to this effort.  Every week, Hawaii Island residents use the Hilo Self-Help Center to gain information that helps them meet their legal needs.  The Hilo Self-Help Center is the product of a statewide collaboration of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.  With the donation of their time and talents, today’s honorees are helping to make access to justice a reality for the Big Island community.”

The Chief Justice also thanked the Hawaii County Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Self-Help Center.

Attorneys who would like to become involved with the Hilo Self-Help Center are invited to attend the next volunteer attorney training on Friday, January 20, 2017.  To register, please visit: http://www.legalaidhawaii.org/pro-bono-attorney.html.

For more information on the Hilo Self-Help Center as well as the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse, visit the Hawaii State Judiciary website, click on the “Self-Help” tab at the top of the page, and look for “Self-Help Centers” (see: http://bit.ly/23bEaXX).

Hu Honua Bioenergy Files Federal Complaint

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC, a baseload 24/7 biomass electric plant on the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii Island, filed a civil antitrust complaint in federal court against Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Co., NextEra Energy Resources, and Hamakua Energy Partners, Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2016).

hu-honua

Hu Honua had a Public Utilities Commission-approved power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light, which was unlawfully terminated as a result of actions by the defendants.

“Hu Honua regrets that the matter has come to this,” said Harold Robinson IV, president of Island BioEnergy, a majority owner of Hu Honua, “we’d rather have a power plant than a lawsuit. For almost two years we have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain Hawaiian Electric Light’s agreement to our reasonable requests to extend two milestone dates. Hawaiian Electric Light’s refusal to provide these extensions has left us with no recourse but to file suit to recover our substantial damages of $120 million that was invested in our 50 percent complete biomass power plant and our lost profits of $435 million.”

The complaint was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court, Hawaii District, by the legal teams of Bronster Fujichaku Robbins of Honolulu and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP of San Francisco.

The detailed allegations and the project’s complex history are outlined in the complaint, which alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Hawaii unfair competition laws, as well as breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeks to recover actual and treble damages. Hu Honua asks for a jury trial.

Robinson noted that “the concerted effort to monopolize electricity generated on the Big Island has not only blocked the state’s progress toward the achievement of its energy self-sufficiency mandates set by Hawaii Law, but also stunted the creation of almost 200 local jobs at the facility, in agriculture and ancillary services.”

Victims Identified in Kona Crash

A woman and a man died in a two-vehicle traffic crash Thursday afternoon (December 1) in Kona near the 31.5-mile marker of Highway 190.hpd-badge
They have been identified as 45-year-old Jeongah Hyun of Kailua-Kona and 46-year-old Iljung Nam of South Korea.

Responding to a 12:35 p.m. call Thursday, police determined that Hyun had been operating a silver 2006 Mazda multi-purpose vehicle on Highway 190 just north of the 31.5-mile marker, when she crossed left of center and was broadsided by a white 2013 Peterbilt dump truck that was heading south on Highway 190. The operator of the dump truck, a 46-year-old Honokaʻa man, was taken to Kona Community Hospital with minor injuries. Hyun and Nam, her passenger, were pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:10 p.m. and 6:11 p.m., respectively.

Autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact causes of their deaths.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 30th traffic fatality this year compared with 17 at this time last year.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges President to Immediately Halt Dakota Access Pipeline

In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard called on President Obama to immediately halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and announced plans to join thousands of veterans from across the country to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota this weekend.

tulsi-dakota“Growing up in Hawaii, I learned the value of caring for our home, caring for our planet, and the basic principle that we are all connected in a great chain of cause and effect.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to this great balance of life. Despite strong opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux and serious concerns raised by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline without adequately consulting the tribes, and without fully evaluating the potential impacts to neighboring tribal lands, sacred sites, and their water supply. Just one spill near the tribe’s reservation could release thousands of barrels of crude oil, contaminating the tribe’s drinking water.

“The impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is clear. Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Pipeline, has a history of serious pipeline explosions, which have caused injury, death, and significant property damage in the past decade. The future operator of the planned pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has had over 200 environmentally damaging oil spills in the last 6 years alone—more than any of its competitors.

“Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it is an issue that is important to all people and all living beings everywhere. Water is life. We cannot survive without it. Once we allow an aquifer to be polluted, there is very little that can be done about it. This is why it is essential that we prevent water resources from being polluted in the first place.

“Our Founding Fathers took great inspiration from Native American forms of governance, and the democratic principles that they were founded on. Their unique form of governance was built on an agreement called the Great Law of Peace, which states that before beginning their deliberations, the council shall be obliged, and I quote, “to express their gratitude to their cousins and greet them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.”

“This recognition of our debt to the Creator and our responsibility to be responsible members of this great web of life was there from the beginning of Western democracy.

“Freedom is not a buzzword. The freedom of our Founding Fathers was not the freedom to bulldoze wherever you like.

“Our freedom is a freedom of mind, a freedom of heart, freedom to worship as we see fit, freedom from tyranny and freedom from terror. That’s the freedom this country was founded on, the freedom cultivated by America’s Native people, and the freedom the Standing Rock Sioux are now exercising.

“This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters. Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water. The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaiʻi aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources.

“We can’t undo history, but we must learn lessons from the past and carry them forward—to encourage cooperation among free people, to protect the sacred, to care for the Earth and for our children, and our children’s children. What’s at stake is our shared heritage of freedom and democracy and our shared future on this Great Turtle Island, our great United States of America.”

Background: In September, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and 18 House Democrats wrote to President Barack Obama calling on the United States Army Corps of Engineers to fulfill their responsibility of holding meaningful consultation and collaboration with the Standing Rock Sioux over the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Full text of the letter is available here.

Big Island Police Warning About Increase in Counterfeit Money in Circulation

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about an increase in counterfeit money in circulation. Kona police officers have been responding to numerous calls about fake $100 bills. The phony money looks, feels and appears to be real even after using the test pen, so police advise businesses and individuals to look for security features on the bank note itself.

c-note

  • Locate and read the plastic embedded security thread. It should say “USA” and the bill’s denomination.
  • Use an ultra-violet light to detect the thread glow color. The $5 dollar bill should glow blue, the $10 bill should glow orange, the $20 bill should glow green and the $50 bill should glow yellow. In older versions, the $100 bill should glow pink, while the current $100 bill has a 3-D ribbon.
  • Hold the bill up to a light to check for a watermark.
  • Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink.
  • With a magnifying glass, locate and examine the micro-printing.

More information on detecting counterfeit money and security features can be found at www.uscurrency.gov.

Citizens and businesses are reminded to treat the fake bill as evidence by placing it into an envelope and to call the police immediately.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Girl Missing Since October

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Kamuela girl who was reported missing.

Alexia Galeon

Alexia Galeon

Alexia Galeon was last seen in Honokaʻa on October 21.

She is described as 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-3, 150-160 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair. She may be in Captain Cook.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300.

Big Island Police Warning About Resort Awards Telephone Scam

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a series of telephone scams by callers claiming to represent resort hotels.
scam-alertA recorded messages claims that the recipient is an awards member of the resort and has earned either free accommodations or a discounted vacation package. The recipient is then asked to press “1” after which a live person makes a presentation that ultimately ends with a request for the recipient’s credit card number.

The caller ID on these calls shows up as a local telephone number but detectives have determined that the callers are using phone applications that alter the caller’s true phone number.

Police urge the public to hang up if they receive such a call and not to provide any personal information.

Senate Sends Thune-Schatz Legislation Protecting Consumer Reviews to President

Bipartisan Proposal Put Forward by Thune, Schatz, and Moran Outlaws Abusive “Gag Clauses”

yelp-advisorThe U.S. Senate today, by unanimous consent, sent bicameral legislation to the White House for the President’s signature that will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts. Some businesses have attracted national scrutiny for using gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services. The sponsors of the Senate version released the following statements:

“Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money. Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right,” said Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i).

“By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online. I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my Senate and House colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.).

“Just as word of mouth is used by family and friends to share experiences with particular brands or businesses, online reviews have significant benefits to consumers in their purchasing decisions. I’m pleased this legislation will now be sent to the president’s desk. It will help make certain consumers in Kansas and across the country are able to make their voices heard without fear of lawsuits or financial repercussions for honest feedback,” said Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The Commerce Committee held a hearing on gag clauses on November 4, 2015, featuring testimony from Ms. Jen Palmer, a plaintiff in Palmer v. KlearGear, where a company demanded the removal of a negative online review or payment of $3,500 in fines because the online merchant’s terms of service included a non-disparagement clause. When the review was not taken down, the company reported the unpaid $3,500 to a credit reporting agency as an outstanding debt, which negatively impacted the Palmers’ credit.

Thune, Schatz, and Moran introduced S. 2044, the Consumer Review Freedom Act, in September 2015, and the Senate passed the measure unanimously last year. The Senate today approved the companion House version, H.R. 5111, introduced by Rep. Lance Leonard (R-N.J.) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) earlier this year. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) also sponsored an earlier House companion version of the legislation, H.R. 2110, to outlaw gag clauses.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo boy who was reported missing.

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo was last seen in Hilo on October 19.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot-1, 140 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Eight Big Island Police Officers Honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Eight Big Island police officers were honored this week by Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Hawaiʻi, in cooperation with Big Island Toyota, for their efforts and dedication this year to the fight against drunk and drugged driving.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

On Monday (November 21) four East Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at the Hilo Yacht Club. They were Hāmākua Patrol Officer Gregg Karonis for four DUI arrests, Puna Patrol Officer Bryson Miyose for 22 DUI arrests, South Hilo Patrol Officer Jacob Obermiller for 25 DUI arrests and Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Erhard Autrata for 43 DUI arrests.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

On Tuesday (November 22) four West Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at Fumi’s Kitchen in Kailua-Kona. They were South Kohala Patrol Officer Severo Ines for five DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Chandler Nacino for 12 DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Adam Roberg for 21 DUI arrests and Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua for 24 DUI arrests.

This year, MADD-Hawaiʻi, co-sponsored by Servco Pacific/Toyota Hawaii, reinstated their police recognition awards by recognizing officers throughout the state for their efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on our roadways from impaired drivers.

Big Island Police Captain Wagner Named “Hawaii County Manager of the Year”

Police Captain Robert F. Wagner was named “Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year” in a ceremony Monday afternoon (November 21) in Hilo.

Officer Bryan Tina, Officer Kristi Crivello, Chief Harry Kubojiri, Sergeant Brandon Konanui and Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira pose with Captain Robert Wagner (4th from left), who was named 'Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year.'

Officer Bryan Tina, Officer Kristi Crivello, Chief Harry Kubojiri, Sergeant Brandon Konanui and Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira pose with Captain Robert Wagner (4th from left), who was named ‘Hawaiʻi County Manager of the Year.’

Wagner, a 31-year veteran of the Hawaiʻi Police Department, is the commander of the Area I Criminal Investigations Division, which includes the Criminal Investigations Section, the Vice Section and the Juvenile Aid section. Area I CID is responsible for the Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo and Puna Districts.

In nomination papers, Major Randy Apele praised Wagner for providing ongoing training for current and future supervisors and for creating a Special Enforcement Unit to investigate burglaries, felony property crimes, robberies and other high-profile crimes.

“Captain Wagner has also displayed outstanding supervisory and management skills in planning, setting objectives, scheduling, organizing, delegating and controlling the work of the Criminal Investigation Division to lead to the positive resolutions in several high profile cases, including the arrest and charge of Peter Kema Sr. and his wife Jaylin for the murder of Peter Boy Kema,” Apele wrote. “Overall, CID cleared sixteen murder and attempted murder cases during the 2015-16 fiscal year.”

At the ceremony Monday in the Aupuni Center Conference Room, the county also recognized Sergeant Brandon Konanui for being nominated as “Hawaiʻi County Supervisor of the Year” and Officers Bryan Tina and Kristi Crivello for being nominated as “Hawaiʻi County Employee of the Year.”

Web-Based System to Track Inventory and Sales at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Hawaii State Department of Health has contracted with BioTech Medical Software Inc., dba BioTrackTHC for a web-based system that will provide the department 24/7 access to real-time data of medical marijuana inventory, sales, and other information required of dispensary licensees statewide. The negotiated cost of the contract is $239,000 for the first year and $160,000 for each successive year during the five-year agreement. BioTrackTHC was selected through the State of Hawaii Request for Proposals process.

biotrack-logo“This is another major step forward to implement the medical marijuana dispensary program to ensure access for registered patients and their caregivers,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance. “After researching various options, we determined a web-based software system would be the most effective and user-friendly way for licensees and state employees to collect and report seed-to-sale tracking information.”

Ridley’s office, which performs all state licensing activities on healthcare facilities, agencies and organizations in Hawaii, is tasked with implementing Act 241, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2015.

Detailed Inventory and Sales Information

The seed-to-sale tracking system will be used to collect detailed inventory and sales information such as:

  • The total amount of marijuana at each dispensary production center, in the form of seeds or plants, including all plants that are derived from cuttings or cloning, until the marijuana products are sold or destroyed
  • The total amount of marijuana product inventory at a retail dispensing location
  • The total amount of marijuana products purchased by a qualifying patient and primary caregiver from all retail dispensing locations in any 15-day period
  • The amount of waste produced during the cultivation, harvest, and manufacturing processes.

“BioTrackTHC is an experienced company that has successfully developed and implemented a seed-to-sale tracking system in other states,” said Ridley. “We expect their experience and expertise will help to implement an effective system for Hawaii and we are glad to have them as partners in our effort to ensure patient safety, product safety, and public safety. However, we also realize it will take several weeks of training and then testing to get the system operating smoothly.”

Background

Eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued earlier this year under Act 241 Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 329D. Three licenses were issued for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center can grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

For more information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Closer to Striking – Possible Shutdown of Airlines

Many folks have seen Hawaiian Airline Pilots wearing lanyards that read “Fully Qualified… Partially Paid” for the last few months that represents the pilots frustrations with their contract negotiations.

I have learned that “mediation process” that was going on during November has ended without resolution.

What this means, is that Hawaiian Airline pilots are getting closer to a strike and shutdown of the airline!

mec-alertHawaiian Pilots:

Your MEC and Negotiating Committee were back in Virginia this week for the last scheduled round of mediation under the supervision of Senior Mediator Patricia Sims and NMB Board Chair Linda Puchala. Like our other sessions, mediation again ended without an agreement. To say we are unhappy is an understatement.

Management efforts to reach an agreement were completely unsatisfactory. While adding money to their previous substandard position, the company does not believe that Hawaiian pilots are due the market compensation that other pilots receive. Instead management continues to argue that we should work for less than our professional colleagues, or “buy” industry pay rates by generating offsets that fund those increases.

The MEC and NC categorically and emphatically reject that choice.  We are tired of subsidizing the company’s success. The company has no choice but to pay market rates for airplanes, and they will have no choice but to pay market rates for pilots.  It’s alarming that the CEO risks Hawaiian Airlines’ 2017 financial plans and projections, and its long-term future, by repeatedly denying the reality of the commercial marketplace.

Not only was the Company’s final pay proposal more than $20 less than the rates in recent pilot settlements, but also, management’s offer continues to pro-rate days off, keep vacation and training days at their current rate, and demand non-seniority list simulator instructors.

Early Saturday morning the NMB advised the bargaining parties that it will not schedule additional mediation sessions.  While no specific timeline was discussed, the NMB stated it will instead move forward with the actions available under the Railway Labor Act to bring negotiations to a close.  We left the meeting with renewed resolve to achieve a market-rate contract – and one that reflects our contribution to the company’s stunning and record profitability.

Senior management will no doubt try to “spin” a story about their latest proposal and argue that ALPA rejected a major pay increase without providing the full picture. We will provide additional information about the parties’ positions in the coming days.  The Association will also provide opportunities for increased pilot activity to warn the public about our looming dispute and possible disruptions to their travel plans once the RLA process is completed.  In addition, ALPA will soon be setting new informational picketing dates and other opportunities for you to show your resolve through lawful activity.

Amazingly, management continues to request contract concessions that facilitate more efficient training and operation!  In the face of management’s failure to consider the interests of Hawaiian pilots, ALPA pilot leadership has no appetite whatsoever for new LOAs like those.  In fact, we are considering whether it is even appropriate to continue existing discretionary arrangements.

It’s unfortunate that we have reached this point. Hawaiian continues to earn massive profits and its finances are stronger than ever. The company can afford your proposals. It simply doesn’t want to agree to them and considers pilot pay increases “discretionary” or “controllable.”  As the end of the year approaches, each Hawaiian pilot family must carefully review its personal financial situation to determine whether you are prepared for a strike. We recommend that major purchases or expenditures be postponed.  Be prudent and be ready.

Thank you for your continued interest, support and activity.  Regrettably, we will soon ask you to do even more to help bring home the market rate contract you have earned and deserve.

Rubbernecking Online – Dashcam Video of Yesterday’s 7-Car-Crash

Here is dashcam video of yesterday’s 7-car pile up on the highway over on Oahu.

car-pile-upThis could have been a lot worse then it was!

Big Island Police Donate 136 Boxes of Christmas Gifts for Kids Around the World

Employees from the Hawaiʻi Police Department donated 136 boxes of Christmas gifts destined for children in need around the world.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief's left is Steve Meek, the island's collections coordinator for the charity project.

Chief Harry Kubojiri presents 136 shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by Police Department personnel to Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child area coordinator of East Hawaii. To the chief’s left is Steve Meek, the island’s collections coordinator for the charity project.

The boxes were presented to representatives of Operation Christmas Child on Thursday (November 17) at the South Hilo police station.

Operation Christmas Child is a yearly community project that reaches out to children in need who have never experienced the kindness of receiving a gift. Shoebox gifts are collected around the state in this international effort to assist those in war torn countries or suffering from famine, sickness and poverty.

Nell Quay, Operation Christmas Child’s area coordinator for East Hawaiʻi, said a shipping container carrying the gift boxes will be picked up on Tuesday to sail out of Hilo for processing in California before the presents reach their final destination. Quay said she had the privilege of going to Colombia last year to help distribute Christmas boxes at a public school in the South American nation.

Steve Meek, Operations Christmas Child’s collections coordinator, said donations on Hawaiʻi Island are being accepted through Monday, November 21. Shoeboxes full of gifts may be dropped off at Big Island Toyota from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They also may be dropped off at Hilo Missionary Church from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m., to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year Hawaiʻi Island collected more than 8,300 shoe boxes to combine with a total of more than 42,000 across the state. Internationally, 11.2 million boxes were sent to 110 countries.

Officer Baumgarner Named East Hawaii “Officer of the Month” for November

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Thursday (November 17) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for November.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

Aloha Exchange board member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Joshua Baumgarner.

Baumgarner, who just began solo patrol duty in April, was honored for saving the life of a woman who would have bled to death without his aid.

On September 23, Baumgarner was among the officers who responded to a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision to find a 29-year-old woman bleeding profusely after punching a glass window during a domestic dispute. The woman’s husband and young children were frantic at the scene, where the husband was unsuccessfully attempting to stem the bleeding.

Baumgarner quickly took action. He applied direct pressure to the woman’s affected artery, elevated her feet to concentrate remaining blood in her vital organs, and reassured her to prevent shock. He was successful in stopping the bleeding, and he continued to maintain constant pressure on the artery until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived on the scene about 8-10 minutes later. The woman was taken to the hospital and survived her injuries.

Sergeant Chris Correia, who nominated Baumbarner for the award, noted that the officer had training as a combat medic in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

“Officer Baumgarner’s background in the medical field, as well as his calm demeanor in providing and maintaining first aid treatment saved the life of a gravely injured person,” Correia wrote in nomination papers. “His decisive action in the saving of a life truly embodies the Hawaii Police Department’s Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Baumgarner 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.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Girl Missing Since August

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago

Kailee-Ann Santiago was last seen in Hilo on August 22.

She is described as Puerto Rican, 5-foot, 145 pounds with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.