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Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, July 22 at 7:45 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 70 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the South Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Hawaii Books and Medical Supplies Heading to Micronesia

Education and healthcare in the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are about to get a significant boost from organizations in Hawaii.  An estimated 10,000 book not sold at the annual Friends of the Library sale will be combined with books from Moanalua Middle School, Hongwanji Mission School, and an assortment of medical supplies donated by Shriner’s Hospital.

“The libraries and hospitals in Micronesia have meager resources,” says Reach out Pacific (REPAC) President Glenn Wakai who is organizing the project.  “The books not sold will fill two containers and ultimately improve literacy in Majuro and Yap.”

Volunteers from the local Micronesian community and the Farrington Football team will box and load the books.  Matson is providing the containers free of charge, and Pacific Transfer is donating trucking services.

“Many of these items were bound for our landfill or incineration, but this Sunday they are being redirected to impoverished areas of Micronesia.  What a win-win projct,” says Reach out Pacific (REPAC) Vice President, Miki Wakai, “There are a variety of volunteers and organizations coming together to send this care package of Aloha.”

  • What:  Volunteers loading thousands of books bound for Micronesia
  • Where: McKinley High School Cafeteria
  • When: Sunday, July 23, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.REPAC was established in 2005.  The organization has sent more than $2.5 million in surplus medical supplies to: Kiribati, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Chuuk, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Palau, Guam, Philippines, Vietnam and Nepal.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin Supports “Dreamers”

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 18 attorneys general in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to maintain and defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the letter, the attorneys general explain how DACA has benefited their states and the nation as a whole and call on the President to fulfill his public commitment to Dreamers.

Click to read

Attorney General Chin said, “I am the son of immigrants. Hawaii is the most diverse state in our country – a nation founded by immigrants. A legal process has been established to ensure the almost one million Dreamers under DACA can stay in the United States and continue contributing to our country. Rescinding DACA would be senseless, cruel, and self-defeating.”

Since DACA’s inception five years ago, nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to this country as children have been granted DACA status after paying application fees, submitting to and passing background checks and applying for work permits. In Hawaii, approximately 2,000 people are eligible for DACA status.

Today’s letter to President Trump states:

“Mr. President, now is the time to affirm the commitment you made, both to the ‘incredible kids’ who benefit from DACA and to their families and communities, to handle this issue ‘with heart.’ You said Dreamers should ‘rest easy.’ We urge you to affirm America’s values and tradition as a nation of immigrants and make clear that you will not only continue DACA, but that you will defend it. The cost of not doing so would be too high for America, the economy, and for these young people. For these reasons, we urge you to maintain and defend DACA, and we stand in support of the effort to defend DACA by all appropriate means.”

The letter refutes arguments set forth by those opposing DACA and threatening litigation, saying they are wrong as a matter of law and policy and urges the President not to capitulate to their demands.

The letter further states:

“DACA is consistent with a long pattern of presidential exercises of prosecutorial discretion … DACA sensibly guides immigration officials’ exercise of their enforcement discretion and reserves limited resources to address individuals who threaten our communities, not those who contribute greatly to them. Challenges have been brought against the original DACA program, including in the Fifth Circuit, but none have succeeded.”

Joining Attorneys General Chin and Becerra in sending the letter are attorneys general from: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

Attorney General Doug Chin’s Statement on Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Order

This morning Attorney General Doug Chin issued the following statement in response to today’s order from the United States Supreme Court:

“Today the United States Supreme Court denied the Trump Administration’s motion to clarify. They confirmed the Hawaii federal court order that grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins are indeed close family. This confirms we were right to say that the Trump Administration over-reached in trying to unilaterally keep families apart from each other, in violation of the Supreme Court’s prior ruling. The Supreme Court did stay Judge Watson’s order with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance, pending resolution by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are currently preparing our arguments for the Ninth Circuit to resolve that issue.”

Global Tourism Summit to Honor Malama Honua and Crew of Hokulea at Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon

Recognizing their global quest to share Hawaii’s sustainability message, Malama Honua and the crew of the Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hokulea, will be the honorees of the 2017 Global Tourism Summit at the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon, September 19.

Over a three-year period, from May 2014 until its triumphant return to Honolulu on June 17, 2017, Hokulea’s crew circled the world sailing approximately 40,300 nautical miles, stopping in more than 150 ports, and visiting 23 countries and territories. In completing Malama Honua (which means “to care for our Earth”), Hokulea’s crew shared its message worldwide on the significance of perpetuating native cultures and protecting natural resources, especially the ocean environment.

Presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the three-day Global Tourism Summit takes place September 19-21 at the Hawaii Convention Center. The Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon is a highlight event of the opening day. The festive luncheon in the Center’s ballroom will feature live music, a video tribute to the worldwide voyage of Holukea, and remarks from Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“Malama Honua is the greatest accomplishment in modern Hawaiian history and we are proud to honor the crew and the purpose for the voyage at the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Attendees of the Global Tourism Summit can join us in showing their aloha to the legacy of Malama Honua and Holukea’s crew, and celebrate the message of sustainability they shared with nations and people around the world.”

Attendance to the Tourism Legacy Awards Luncheon honoring Malama Honua is included as part of the registration to the Global Tourism Summit, which is available online at the dedicated summit website, www.GlobalTourismSummitHawaii.com.

Several options are available for registration, including early-bird savings being offered to individuals and groups attending all three days of the summit if they register by July 31.

  • Individuals: Full Conference, September 19-21: $325, a savings of $70
  • Groups of Eight or More: Full Conference, September 19-21: $300 per person, a savings of $65 per person (Groups can mix and match different attendees during the conference)
  • Student and Faculty Members: Full Conference, September 19-21: $150
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, September 19-20: $275
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, September 20-21: $265

Sustainable tourism is the theme of the Global Tourism Summit. The significance of the Hawaiian culture, global marketing, technology and innovation will be shared in presentations and panel discussions, with the overall intent to bring people together to improve tourism in Hawaii and abroad.

Previously known as the Hawaii Tourism Conference, HTA changed the name of the annual event to the Global Tourism Summit to more accurately reflect Hawaii’s emergence as a leader in international travel and tourism.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Veterans Telephone Townhall with State, Federal Leaders

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live veterans-focused “telephone town hall” on Tuesday, July 25 at 4:00pm HST with Jennifer Gutowski, Director of the VA Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPIHCS); Karen Gooden, Director of the Honolulu Veterans Affairs Regional Office; and Ron Han, Director of the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Veterans’ Services (OVS). The call will provide an opportunity for Hawaiʻi’s veterans, their families, and our community to get updates on veterans legislation being considered by Congress, receive an overview of resources for Hawaiʻi veterans, and ask state and federal leaders about veterans’ healthcare, benefits, services, and more.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, veterans living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework with the VA should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at 808-541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to register for this event:

  • To dial in to the call at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Tuesday July 25
  • To receive a call reminding you to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR  Go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note: you must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

PISCES and Honeybee Robotics Receive $119K Grant From NASA

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. have received a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to jointly develop an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology that could launch the future of space settlement.

ISRU takes raw, natively sourced materials and converts them into usable resources. On places like the Moon and Mars, ISRU can transform regolith (or surface soil) into critical necessities like oxygen, water, rocket fuel and construction materials.PISCES and Honeybee Robotics have partnered on the 12-month ISRU project to design and develop an automated construction process that creates building blocks made entirely of sintered Hawaiian basalt. Since Hawaii’s basalt closely resembles Martian and lunar regolith in chemical composition and appearance, the blocks will have applications both on Earth and in space. ISRU basalt materials could enable the construction of habitats, tools, shelters, roads, landing pads and other critical infrastructure required for space settlement. Basalt building blocks could also provide a sustainable new construction material for the State of Hawaii in place of imported cement.

Through the STTR grant, PISCES is currently investigating the ideal sintering temperature to create these building blocks with an optimal balance of strength and volume. Honeybee Robotics is designing a robotic process for creating and/or deploying the blocks to automate the ISRU construction process. The Brooklyn-based company designs, builds and integrates technologies for a range of challenging environments including space exploration. It has contributed sample acquisition and processing tools for NASA rovers currently exploring Mars.

“We are excited to be working with Honeybee Robotics again on this NASA STTR project,” said PISCES Program Manager, Rodrigo Romo. “Honeybee was a key partner in our robotically built launch and landing pad that we constructed using only local basalt materials. This grant award will take the process a step further, allowing us to optimize the building block design and construction materials to allow for both vertical and horizontal construction applications that can be used both on Earth and on other celestial bodies for space settlement.”

A Honeybee Rover

“Hawaiian basalt is a great analog to the challenging environments we are likely to find on Mars or the Moon, where autonomous ISRU systems will need to work reliably and autonomously in tough conditions,” said Kris Zacny, vice president of the Exploration Technology Group at Honeybee Robotics. “Using local resources will be critical to enable new mission architectures by harvesting materials from the planet as needed. Also, approaches we develop for ISRU can also have applications in space mining, opening doors for both exploration and commercial missions. That’s why we’re so excited to be working with PISCES to advance our experience and robotic technologies.”

The STTR-funded project is Phase I in the development for planetary building blocks. If successful, PISCES and Honeybee Robotics will solicit a proposal for a Phase II STTR award which provides funding awards up to $1 million over two years.

The joint PISCES-Honeybee Robotics project was selected among 1,621 proposals submitted to NASA’s 2017 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR programs. Of those, NASA selected 61 STTR Phase I proposals to negotiate contracts for funding. NASA’s STTR Program funds businesses and research institutions developing technologies that can support the space agency’s missions into deep space.

Azure, Winner of Division 7, Transpac Hero Assisting Distressed Team at Sea Costing Them 7 Hours in Race

At 11:39pm last night the winner of Division 7, Azure crossed Diamond Head Finish line, finally.  Azure will be remembered in this Transpac as Incredible Heroe’s. They went out of their way to help a fellow team, Medusa, costing them 7 hours out of the race, to assist, the first calling of sailors at sea, regardless of a race or not.

Team Azure

During the past 12 hours we welcomed the only Russian boat to ever enter and race in Transpac, Weddel, skippered by  Avanasy Isaev, in his Grand Mistral Italian Made One Design boat; a Lord from England who sailed ALL THE WAY through the Panama Canal from Great Britan to Long Beach, to race in Transpac, and many “kids” with their dads, boys and girls alike, as young as 12 years old.

With all Hawaii affiliated boats having crossed the finish line at Diamond Head safely we now give our final 4 boats the traditional ALOHA WELCOME, during the next 24-30 hours in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor at Hawaii Yacht club, including  our “Tail End Charlie”, the final boat to cross the finish line, projected to arrive late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, Kastor Pollux.  Yes, Transpac is a very prestigious race, started in the late 1800’s by King Kalakaua, but nothing says race orgainzers don’t have tons of fun and throw the best parties for sailors the world knows, in fact our Welcome Parties greeting sailors from across the globe are legendary. And this has been done the same way for over 100 years.

Read more about it here:

We are about 800 miles away from Honolulu and all is well on board. We are still in first place for our division so far. Today the sun finally came out and Tony saw his favorite albatross to start the day. Our next challenge will be to determine our gibe mark to head for Hawaii. You do not want to wait too early or too late, so we are doing a bunch of calculations to determine the correct time.

We received a distress call from the Santa Cruise 52 Medusa at about 11:30am this morning. They reported their fuel was contaminated with water, they were out of power, and were requesting assistance. We measured the fuel we had and offered 5 gallons, and we converged for the transfer at about 4:30 pm – I am sure the yellow brick must show us stopped for some time. Transferring fuel in the middle of the pacific in 18 knots of wind with big swells is not easy. Then we had to figure out how to get the fuel out of our tank. Luckily Medusa had and electric transfer pump and some empty containers. They put everything in a big drybag with a fender attached and sailed by to toss in on Azure. We successfully transferred at least 5 gallons of diesel, in milk containers, OJ containers, and spent motor oil containers. We were able to set everything afloat and they were able to swing by and pick it up. Medusa radioed us later to say every thing was ok, the engine was running and batteries were charging.

The clouds out here in the middle of the ocean are really nice. You can see under them forever, so they make for great sunsets and create some unusual shapes. Jim cracked me up this morning looking at one strange cloud – “Angry Birds” he yelled.

Final 8 Boats Arriving in Transpac 2017

With all Hawaii affiliated boats having crossed the finish line at Diamond Head safely we now give our final 8 boats the traditional ALOHA WELCOME, during the next 36 hours in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor at Hawaii Yacht club, including  our “Tail End Charlie”, the final boat to cross the finish line, projected to arrive late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, Kastor Pollux.

Photos courtesy Sharon Greene (Ultimate Sailing)

Yes, Transpac is a very prestigious race, started in the late 1800’s by King Kalakaua, but nothing says race orgainzers don’t have tons of fun and throw the best parties for sailors the world knows, in fact our Welcome Parties greeting sailors from across the globe are legendary. And this has been done the same way for over 100 years.

A large wave of finishers in the 2017 Transpac have arrived in the Ala Wai last night and in the pre-dawn hours to start to fill up the slip spaces set aside in the Marina for the finishers, known as Transpac Row. From tallest mast to shortest, most of the race entries are moored here, bedecked with leis and ti leaves as symbols of Aloha hospitality from a culture that recognizes the special nature of having completed a long sea voyage.

After crossing the finish line, all boats are escorted to the narrow (sometimes treacherous) entrance to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, a safe haven from the Pacific swells. Donned in their flowered shirts, the crews stand on deck to be greeted like conquering heroes by the amplified sounds of native drums, slack key guitar music and a loud and resounding “Aaaahhh- looohhh – haaaaah” given by staff commodore Howie Mednick from the second deck of the Hawaii YC.

“We welcome you to Hawaii, and ask only that you do Drink well, Sing well, Eat well, Sleep well…and Drink well some more!”

Boats then proceed to their assigned slips, get boarded and inspected for rules compliance, and then are released to the awaiting leis and hugs of family, friends and well-wishers. Regardless of the time of day or night, every crew is given an Aloha Party of food and drink, some more traditionally Hawaiian than others, with the unshaven and weary crews growing their smiles with each re-told story and re-acquaintance with terra firma.

This is a unique feature of Transpac among the world’s ocean races: nowhere else will you find this intimate and embracing level of hospitality and respect. Finishers of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vendee Globe will experience their re-entry into life ashore under the glare of TV lights, crowds and microphones, whereas at Transpac it will be under the flickering flames of a tiki torch and the inner glow from a Mai Tai.

The lore of this hospitality reaches far and wide, as evidenced by not only entries who come every two years from around the Pacific Basin, but also those who come from the other side of the world. This year two entries from Europe were here to have the Aloha experience.

One was Michael St Aldwyn’s J&J 50 Zephyr from the Royal Yacht Squadron, with many of the team hailing from London and Lymington. Despite the reception another English crew received in Hawaii in 1778 when Captain Cook met his demise on the island of Hawai’i, David Sharples was effusive in praise of the race, the help given by TPYC, and the reception received at their finish at 7:11 PM last night.

“We have sailed in many races, and there is nothing like the warm reception we had here,” said Sharples. “This was a great race, and from here we are off next to Australia for the Sydney-Hobart.” This is a typical path for many yachts from overseas as they pursue the items on their bucket lists…another for St Aldwyn is black marlin fishing, which Hawaii offers on the Kona Coast.

Another entry from another seafaring nation in Europe was Karl Otto Book’s Wasa 44 Cubanaren from Norway, the first to finish in Division 7 at 3:24 AM this morning. Book is an active racer, competing in a variety of regattas and a variety of boats throughout Europe. His modest-sized team of four started their journey a year ago at the ORC World Championship in Copenhagen, where racing on a Landmark 43 they placed 6th in a competitive class of 59 boats in Class B.

“We really enjoyed this race, and had no problems except for one broken afterguy,” said Book. “We sailed the boat well I think, but we don’t know if we will continue to have our lead when Azure comes in.” At their current rate of speed Rod Pimentel’s Cal 40 is only 2.5 hours behind Cubaneren in corrected time, and they will be asking for time in redress for having diverted mid-race race to assist the Division 4 Santa Cruz 52 Medusa with fuel. If given more then this margin, Azure will likely take the prize in this class as the last finishers come in today, tonight and tomorrow.

Book says they were considering going south and west to Australia, but have changed their plans to stay in this hemisphere for a while. “We will cruise around the islands for a week, then go back to California, down to Panama, the Caribbean, Cuba, then the East Coast, possibly the Bermuda Race next year.”

Another story from today was the morning finishes of Scott Grealish’s Farr 400 Blue Flash, hampered by an ailing steering system since the second day of the race, and thus on training wheels of having to use smaller sails while nursing their steering system. Grealish said they may have tried to push harder, but with only a crew of five this was difficult, and three of the five were teenagers: son Sean, Kyle Collins, and John Ped were all 18 and 19 years old, with Kyle celebrating his 18th birthday today at their Aloha party.

Another teenager finishing today was 16 year old Will Vanderwort on board Ross Pearlman’s Jeanneau 50 Between the Sheets. “I’m really interested in keelboat and match race sailing, but my dad started a tradition of bringing [us kids] on the Transpac, and this was my turn. I think it was great, I really enjoyed it.”

Transpacific YC’s handling of this race is full-service: not only are there dozens of volunteers to handle all aspects of this complex race, but a prerequisite for membership in this club is in having done this race at least once, so everyone has a passion to replicate its special and unique features every two years. Planning for the next race begins immediately after the last, with a new Commodore installed and dates set within weeks after the Awards…this year the torch will be passed from Bo Wheeler to Tom Hogan.

There are already ideas floating around about expanding the reach and appeal of this special race to include more multihull classes, re-examine the Barn Door Trophy criteria, and other notions. Start dates for 2019 will be examined to consider moon phases, consolidation of the fleet into being in the same weather, weekend start days to encourage more spectating, etc.

“It’s a balance between tradition and innovation,” said Dan Nowlan, TPYC Commodore for the 2015 race. “This is a unique race, and we want to preserve its character, but also invite entries to come from all over the world.”

For more information – position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website at https://2017.transpacyc.com.

Stay tuned also to the Transpac Facebook page for photos, videos and even stories coming in from the teams while at sea: www.facebook.com/ TranspacRace/.

UH Hilo HOSA Students Compete at International Leadership Conference

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo earned a pair of top three finishes at the 40th Annual HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) -International Leadership Conference held recently in Orlando, Florida. The gathering featured 10,000 participants from across the nation, including 230 delegates from Hawaiʻi, along with teams from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada.
UH Hilo’s top performer was Chrisovolandou Gronowski, who placed 1st in Behavioral Health. Lark Jason Canico took top 10 honors in Prepared Speaking.

In team competition, HOSA at UH Hilo members Leslie Erece Arce, Marjie Ann Retundo and Jerold Alexis Cabel, placed 3rd in the Public Service Announcement event with their 30-second PSA on “My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient!”

UH Hilo Alumna Amerfil Grace Acob presided as the Hawaiʻi HOSA Postsecondary Collegiate Voting Delegate and participated in the election of the upcoming National HOSA Executive Council. Lorelei Domingo served as a member of the National HOSA conference staff. The Hilo HOSA Chapter was also recognized for its participation in the HOSA Happening event, where local chapters are required to submit a newsletter showcasing their activities and achievements.

Competition resumes in January 2018 with the Hawaiʻi Island HOSA Regional Conference at UH Hilo. Next year’s International Conference will be held in Dallas, Texas.

University of Hawaii Research Uses Satellites to Predict End of Volcanic Eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end.

Map of 34 volcanoes used to test hypothesis. Modified from Google Maps.

Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava flow rate changes during a typical effusive volcanic eruption. The model predicted that once a lava flow-forming eruption begins, the rate at which lava exits the vent quickly rises to a peak and then reduces to zero over a much longer period of time—when the rate reaches zero, the eruption has ended.

HIGP faculty developed a system that uses infrared measurements made by NASA’s MODIS sensors to detect and measure the heat emissions from erupting volcanoes—heat is used to retrieve the rate of lava flow.

Mt. Etna from space. Credit: NASA & US/Japan ASTER Science Team.

“The system has been monitoring every square kilometer of Earth’s surface up to four times per day, every day, since 2000,” said Bonny. “During that time, we have detected eruptions at more than 100 different volcanoes around the globe. The database for this project contains 104 lava flow-forming eruptions from 34 volcanoes with which we could test this hypothesis.”

Once peak flow was reached, the researchers determined where the volcano was along the predicted curve of decreasing flow and therefore predict when the eruption will end. While the model has been around for decades, this is the first time satellite data was used with it to test how useful this approach is for predicting the end of an effusive eruption. The test was successful.

Erupting Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

“Being able to predict the end of a lava flow-forming eruption is really important, because it will greatly reduce the disturbance caused to those affected by the eruption, for example, those who live close to the volcano and have been evacuated,” said Bonny.

“This study is potentially relevant for the Hawai’i island and its active volcanoes,” said Wright. “A future eruption of Mauna Loa may be expected to display the kind of pattern of lava discharge rate that would allow us to use this method to try to predict the end of eruption from space.”

In the future, the researchers plan to use this approach during an ongoing eruption as a near-real time predictive tool.

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Travel Ban Plaintiffs

Yesterday, Hawaii federal district Judge Derrick K. Watson issued an order, which largely grants the State of Hawaii and Dr. Ismail Elshikh’s motion to enforce, or in the alternative, to modify the preliminary injunction, filed last Friday in Hawaii v. Trump.

Click to view order

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

Judge Watson’s order notes that “context matters” and:

“[W]hen appropriately considered in the context of the June 26 order, the Government’s narrowly defined list finds no support in the careful language of the Supreme Court or even in the immigration statutes on which the Government relies.

[T]he Government’s utilization of the specific, family-based visa provisions of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] … constitutes cherry-picking and resulted in a predetermined and unduly restrictive reading of ‘close familial relationship.’ Other, equally relevant federal immigration statutes define a close family in a much broader manner.

In sum, the Government’s definition of ‘close familial relationship’ is not only not compelled by the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision, but contradicts it. Equally problematic, the Government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense. Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”

Attorney General Chin said, “The federal court today makes clear that the U.S. Government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit. Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this Executive Order has no basis in stopping terrorism and is just a pretext for illegal and unconstitutional discrimination. We will continue preparing for arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in October.”

Judge Watson’s order also notes that contrary to the Trump Administration’s arguments, “[n]othing in the Supreme Court’s decision requires a refugee to enter into a contract with a United States entity in order to demonstrate the type of formal relationship necessary to avoid the effects of [the Executive Order]. An assurance from a United States refugee resettlement agency, in fact, meets each of the Supreme Court’s touchstones … [b]ona fide does not get any more bona fide than that.”

A copy of Judge Watson’s order is attached.

EPA Requires Matheson Tri-Gas Kapolei to Close Illegal Cesspools

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with Matheson Tri-Gas to close three cesspools at its Kapolei facility on Oahu.

Click to read the consent agreement and final order

In May 2016, EPA inspected the Matheson Tri-Gas facility, a commercial gas supply company in the Campbell Industrial Park, and found two large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) in use. EPA regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act required closure of all existing LCCs by April 5, 2005.

Matheson, which acquired the facility in 2015, will close the two LCCs and convert to a septic system. The company will pay a civil penalty of $88,374 for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and spend $50,000 on a supplemental environmental project to close an on-site small-capacity cesspool. Matheson expects to complete the closure of all three cesspools and convert to a septic system by the end of 2017.

“Matheson has agreed to not only close and replace its LCCs with approved systems, but will also close an additional small-capacity cesspool at its facility,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA will continue to focus on closing illegal cesspools to protect Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal water resources.”

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. Groundwater provides 99 percent of all domestic water in Hawaii, where cesspools are used more widely than in any other state. Since EPA banned LCCs in 2005, over 3,000 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance. The ban does not apply to individual cesspools connected to single-family homes.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement visit:

https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#oahu

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

National Accreditation Board Approves Eight-Year Tenure for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) has graduated to the next step in national recognition by attaining full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for a full eight years for the first time.
ACPE is the national accreditation body that evaluates all colleges of pharmacy in the nation. They sent the results after the June 21-24 Executive Board Meeting in Chicago to Chancellor Donald Straney and DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma.

“This is affirmation of the significance of maintaining excellence in all ways at UH Hilo,” said Chancellor Straney. “As DKICP passes the 10-year anniversary as the only College of Pharmacy in the Pacific Region, we can celebrate with all stakeholders, both at the University level and in the community, to recognize their hard work that has gotten us this far.”

DKICP was found to be “compliant” or “compliant with monitoring” in all 25 standards set by ACPE with no “partial” or “noncompliant” findings. In a prior ACPE evaluation in 2015, DKICP was granted full accreditation for two years with the provision that it was “contingent on continuous progress” and monitored by ACPE.

This year’s positive assessment was determined by a combination of a site visit as well as from a 110-page self-study compiled by faculty, staff, students, preceptors, administrators and community members from the Dean’s Advisory Council.

The ACPE survey team, representing faculty and administration from several notable pharmacy schools, practitioners in the field, and the ACPE accreditation staff, conducted the on-site evaluation in Hilo and Honolulu during the week of March 7-9.

According to their report, particular attention was made to the progress and changes that have occurred since the last focused on-site evaluation in fall 2014. It cited the appointment of a new dean as well as new chairs for each of the College’s departments.

The report to the Board noted that while research is still regarded critical activity for faculty, the College has revisited its mission and vision so that “evaluative expectations have been revised to more realistic levels.”

Other changes noted in the report include progress on construction for the College’s permanent building.

“As we all recall, accreditation was at risk previously when we couldn’t prove support for a permanent building,” Dean Ma said. “This time when the survey team visited, they could see concrete evidence that building has begun, and that we have a clear future. We are forever appreciative to the many members of our College, the community and the legislature who rallied behind us.”

Citing “good support” from the University, the report showed encouragement by future developments in interprofessional education, which includes working with members from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and public health.

The accreditation term granted for the Doctor of Pharmacy program extends until June 30, 2025.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Launching “Summer of Resistance and Renewal” Program

This week, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) is launching their “Summer of Resistance and Renewal,” a nationwide organizing program geared toward engaging and activating party members and activists in the grassroots.

“The goal of the program will be to reconnect Hawai‘i Democrats with one another and with voters, rebuild a sense of political unity, and afford our residents an opportunity to identify mutual areas of concern and address their issues through the vehicle of party activism” said Tim Vandeveer, State Party Chair. “With these efforts, we seek to recruit new members, train new leaders, and increase voter turnout in Hawai‘i by 10% in the 2018 elections.”

Through a fellowship program made possible by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the DPH selected five local organizers, each of whom bring a unique perspective to the program and diverse background in electoral politics, labor organizing, or community activism. DPH leadership engaged traditional allies such as labor organizations, as well as newer grassroots “resistance” groups to apprise them of the project and invite them to participate in the program.

The Hawai‘i organizers recently spent a full week at a training camp in Washington D.C. where they met with DNC leadership and learned about national issues from prominent Democratic elected officials. They also participated in Congressional town halls, Resistance events, and a Healthcare vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Though much of the focus of the national program has focused on converting the energy generated in resistance to the Trump administration into political power during next year’s midterms, Vandeveer feels that this is only part of the goal.

“We cannot focus on resistance alone,” Vandeveer said. “Saying ‘no’ to the cruel and draconian policies of this administration is important, but we must also demand bold action and do the hard work of organizing for social change. We need to renew our historical role as the party of ideas and solutions that benefit working people. This means building upon our proud local history as a party of diversity and inclusion.”

“The ‘Summer of Resistance and Renewal’ begins this month with plans to knock on doors, engage Democratic Party members, host events, and make a difference in our communities. Make sure you’re a part of the movement and find an event near you at resistsummer.com.”

Ninth Circuit Rules District Court Has the Ability to Interpret and Enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s Order

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order this afternoon in response to today’s filing by the State of Hawaii asking the Ninth Circuit to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump.

The Ninth Circuit’s order explained it lacks jurisdiction to address the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh’s appeal of Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify the scope of the injunction, because Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify was not a final judgment nor immediately appealable. According to the court, “[b]ecause the “practical effect” of Plaintiffs’ requested relief is declaratory in nature—not injunctive—we do not construe their clarification motion before the district court as one for injunctive relief. And this scenario does not present an order of “practical finality” because … Plaintiffs may seek injunctive relief from the district court.”

Of critical importance, the Ninth Circuit said in part:

[W]e note that … the district court … does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against, for example, a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction … Because the district court was not asked to grant injunctive relief or to modify the injunction, we do not fault it for not doing so.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s Ninth Circuit ruling makes clear that Judge Watson does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction. We appreciate the Ninth Circuit for ruling so quickly and will comply.”

Ninth Circuit Dockets Hawaii Appeal Regarding Scope of Travel Ban

Today the State of Hawaii asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump after federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson declined to grant Hawaii’s motion for clarification.

Click to view Ninth Circuit Filing

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in October regarding this case. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ordered that while arguments were pending, people from the six Muslim-majority countries with no connection to the United States may not enter the country, but those with a good faith connection to a U.S. individual or entity may enter. The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. Hawaii alleges that the Trump Administration’s guidelines issued on June 29 are overly restrictive and do not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. That same day, Hawaii asked the federal district court to clarify the Supreme Court’s order.

Yesterday’s order from Judge Watson declined to address the merits of the request and suggested that Hawaii instead seek clarification from the Supreme Court. Judge Watson also stated that he would rule on the merits if instructed to do so by the higher court.

Today’s motion is directed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for first review. This tracks the ordinary process for appeals within the federal courts and is done to indicate to the Supreme Court that Hawaii followed proper procedures in the courts below. Both district courts and courts of appeal routinely interpret Supreme Court decisions.

Attorney General Chin said, “We are now in the middle of a 90-day partial travel ban. The Trump Administration has reserved the option to extend or even expand the travel ban at the end of it. Many felt the balance struck by the Supreme Court was nuanced and fairly reasonable, but the Trump Administration has flouted the Supreme Court’s order from the start. What happens in the next several weeks matters a lot if the administration is not subject to the checks and balances of the courts.”

Today’s motion states in part:

Parties seeking to clarify or enforce an injunction—even an injunction that has been partially stayed by the Supreme Court—must seek relief in the first instance from the district court that issued it. That is precisely what the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh did when they became aware that the Government intended to flagrantly violate the injunction against the President’s thinly veiled Muslim bans. They had obtained the injunction from the District Court of the District of Hawaii to protect their own constitutional and statutory rights, as well as the rights of the citizens of the State of Hawaii and the United States as a whole. They therefore returned to that District Court to ensure that injunction was followed and their rights were vindicated. But the District Court refused to grant this relief, making the assertion—endorsed by no party—that Plaintiffs must seek relief directly from the Supreme Court.

That is wrong. For over a week, the Government has been unlawfully excluding foreign nationals and thereby inflicting irreparable harm on the American individuals and entities with whom they have relationships. For over a week, the Government has been ignoring the dictates of the Judicial Branch, fashioning and imposing a new Muslim ban wholly divorced from any national security rationale. Every day that passes is a day when our Government is turning away human beings—from newborn children to elderly grandparents—whom the injunction requires to be admitted. It is therefore incumbent on this Court to fulfill its traditional role by reversing the District Court’s erroneous holding and issuing the injunctive relief necessary to ensure that Plaintiffs’ statutory and constitutional rights are protected in the manner intended by the District Court, this Court, and the Supreme Court itself.

Hawaii Federal Court Judge Declines to Rule on Request to Clarify Scope of Travel Ban

Hawaii federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson today denied the State of Hawaii’s motion to clarify the scope of the injunction regarding the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump.

Click to view 6 page docket

In its order today, the court specifically did not address the substance of either party’s arguments regarding the proper scope of the injunction. Rather, the order focused exclusively on the procedural question regarding which court is the appropriate forum to decide the merits of Hawaii’s motion.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “The key takeaway from Judge Watson’s order is that he declined to address the specific merits of our request to clarify the scope of the injunction of the travel and refugee bans. The scope of the travel and refugee bans badly needs to be resolved and not just according to the Trump Administration’s interpretation. While we understand Judge Watson’s direction to address our request to the United States Supreme Court, we must evaluate that against the normal course of order as it relates to appeals and the clarification of injunctions. Whatever course it takes, we will get this resolved.”

Travel Ban Parties Rebut Trump Administration’s Interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Today Hawaii filed a reply memo supporting its June 29th request to federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson to clarify the scope of the travel and refugee ban injunction in Hawaii v. Trump, in light of last Monday’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court. Hawaii’s latest filing is a reply to the opposition memorandum filed by the Trump Administration on July 3rd.

In the Trump Administration’s opposition, it argued that “close familial relationships” should only be those specifically described in certain portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The U.S. Supreme Court, however, already decided that this is not the case. For example, one of the relationships the Supreme Court said was “clearly” close family – Dr. Elshikh’s mother-in-law (and those “similarly situated”) – is not found in any provision of the immigration laws the Trump Administration cites. Yet the Supreme Court still included them as a “close familial relationship” for the purposes of the injunction obtained by Hawaii. Additionally, other immigration laws include the very same close family members the Trump Administration wants to exclude.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “In its 6-3 order, the U.S. Supreme Court used a balancing test that says the travel and refugee bans should not be applied when doing so would inflict a concrete hardship on someone in the United States. The Trump Administration’s guidelines may inflict a concrete hardship by excluding grandparents, uncles, nieces, cousins, and more. This is why we have asked the federal court to clarify the scope of its injunction.”

Hawaii’s reply memorandum states in part:

For five days and counting, the Government has been directing U.S. consulates and refugee processing organizations to deny entry to foreign nationals whose grandparents, aunts, nephews, and other close relatives are waiting for them in this country. At the same time, the Government has barred the doors to numerous refugees with a connection to the United States, even where a resettlement agency has a relationship with a particular refugee that involves the investment of copious resources for pre-arrival planning. These actions plainly “burden * * * American part[ies] by reason of [their] relationship with [a] foreign national,” and so are unlawful.

The Government could have avoided this result. It could have engaged with Plaintiffs in a dialogue that would have brought to light these harms, as well as the multiple additional errors the Government has already corrected. But the Government refused. Indeed, even on the day of the rollout, the Government spent precious hours conducting a conference call not with Plaintiffs, but with reporters. It then issued flawed guidance regarding fiancé admissions that a brief discussion with Plaintiffs would have easily avoided.

In short, the Government elected to implement the stay in a manner that jeopardizes the rights of countless Americans and keeps the Government on the deeply flawed trajectory it has pursued since the release of the first Executive Order.

Hawaii filed its reply memorandum today, one day early, because the people that the Trump Administration has excluded from the definition of “close family members” might already be denied entry into the country.

Click to read full memo

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after North Korea’s recent successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test:

“North Korea’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test further demonstrates the extremely dangerous and growing threat that North Korea poses to Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and the mainland United States.  For the past fifteen years, our leaders have let the people of Hawaiʻi and our country down, allowing the situation in North Korea to worsen to this point of crisis where we are left with nothing but bad options. We must ensure we are able to defend against North Korea’s threat with cutting-edge missile defense technologies, but this is not enough. We must pursue serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize North Korea. However, U.S. leaders need to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against regime change. The Trump Administration would be far more credible in finding a diplomatic solution with North Korea if we weren’t currently waging a regime change war in Syria, and contemplating a regime change war in Iran.  

“The North Korean regime witnessed the regime change wars the U.S. led in Libya and Iraq and what we’re now doing in Syria, and fear they will become like Gadhafi who, after giving up his nuclear weapons program, was deposed by the United States.

“As long as the U.S. is waging regime change wars, we are far less likely to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea because they have no reason to believe our promises.  In fact, we are far more likely to see nuclear proliferation by countries like North Korea who see nuclear weapons as their only deterrent against regime change.

“Serious diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula will require an end to our regime change war in Syria and a public statement that the U.S. will not engage in regime change wars and nation-building overseas, including in Iran and North Korea. We should focus our limited resources on rebuilding our own country and seriously commit ourselves to de-escalating this dangerous stand-off with North Korea and negotiate a peaceful diplomatic solution.”