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Hokulea on Display at Virginia’s Mariner’s Museum as Crew Conducts Vital Maintenance Work in Preparation for Journey Home

Legendary voyaging canoe, Hokulea, is currently in dry dock at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia to undergo her last major maintenance of the World Wide Voyage.  This process brings her out of the water for about three weeks to undergo routine inspection and maintenance. During the dry dock period, visitors at the Mariner’s Museum are able to see the iconic sailing vessel while her crew completes their work. In conjunction with Hokulea’s visit, the museum is holding a new exhibition called Polynesian Voyagers, which celebrates the Malama Honua message and voyaging heritage of Polynesian wayfinding.
“This is an educational opportunity to display Hokulea’s beauty and history to an audience unfamiliar with the complexities and skills of Polynesian navigation,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It also allows us time to take necessary care of our seafaring home, our canoe.”
hokulea-drydockHokulea’s last dry dock was in Cape Town, South Africa; the process includes varnishing, repainting or repairing parts of the canoe. At the museum, the crew is working on sealing and replacing parts such as the canoe’s main steering blade.
“It’s so important for any vessel to be examined and refurbished out of the water,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo navigator overseeing the dry dock procedures. “But especially for Hokulea, as she journeys an unprecedented expedition that even motorized vessels don’t attempt.”
hokulea-drydock2Hokulea will remain at the museum until early November, when she will leave Virginia to embark on the last legs of her journey around the world before arriving home in June 2017. To help ensure Hokulea is safe, seaworthy and beautiful for the thousands of nautical miles that lay ahead, supporters can help fund the 2016 dry dock efforts at Hokulea.com/give.

Kaiser High Hosts Cultural Exchange With Students From Japan

Kaiser High’s gymnasium was filled anticipation and excitement this morning as the school welcomed more than 300 students from Hokkaido Sapporo Intercultural & Technological High School (HSITHS). The visitors arrived for cultural exchange activities, which included musical performances, speeches and traditional Japanese dance demonstrations.

kaiser-elementary2Before the assembly started sophomore Noah Matsumoto said, “I’m looking forward to meeting the students from Hokkaido. I’m Japanese and have never been to Japan, so it’ll be interesting to have a chance to talk with them and learn about their culture and be able to teach them about ours.”

kaiser-elementary3The group comprised of 13 dignitaries from Hokkaido including Vice Governor Yoshihiro Yamaya who presented a gift to Principal Justin Mew and shared his goal of increasing educational opportunities between Hokkaido and Hawaii.

“Sharing music is a wonderful way to showcase any culture,” said Principal Mew. “We were honored to be able to make our visitors feel welcomed this morning by having our Kaiser High band play the Hokkaido school song to conclude the assembly. It was heartwarming to hear their song and our alma mater played with such pride in front of a packed gym.”

MCLC at Kaiser High.

MCLC at Kaiser High.

Following the assembly, students spread out in small groups throughout the campus to discuss a variety of topics such as Foreign Studies, Science, Engineering, and Global Business. The students also discussed pop culture.

“I was really excited to talk to the students from Hokkaido about fashion,” said sophomore Grailee Caldwell. “This was an incredible opportunity and experience because we were able to meet with them one-on-one and really get to talk about our similarities and differences, like our high school experiences.”

This morning’s cultural exchange was part of ongoing efforts to establish a Sister-State agreement between Hokkaido and Hawaii in 2017. It will be the fifth prefecture in Japan to establish a formal relationship with the State.

The Hokkaido students will be in Hawaii until Oct. 23. Their only school visit was with Kaiser High because of the school’s prestigious International Baccalaureate accreditation.

For more information about Kaiser High School, visit www.kaiserhighschoolhawaii.org. Information about the State of Hawaii’s current Sister-States is available at http://bit.ly/2ed14Sl.

United Nations Official to Address Global Refugee Crisis at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo observes United Nations Day with a public lecture by Robert Skinner, director of the United Nations Information Centre in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, October 25 at 2 p.m. in UCB Room 100. Skinner’s talk, entitled “Global Refugee Crisis: Finding a Way Forward,” will focus on the current crisis and discuss UN efforts to mitigate such crises.

Robert Skinner

Robert Skinner

Skinner was appointed to his current position by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on November 9, 2015. He previously held leadership positions in the United Nations Foundation New York Office as executive director and the United States Department of State as deputy spokesperson at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. He was also a public affairs officer for the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The talk is sponsored by the UNA-USA Hawaiʻi Chapter, the UH Hilo Political Science Department, and the UH Hilo International Student Services & Intercultural Education program.

For more information, contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at 932-7127 or email sumilee@hawaii.edu.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Congratulates Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Graduates

This afternoon at the Historic Hickam Officers Club, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard delivered congratulatory remarks at a ceremony honoring 135 Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility apprentice program graduates.

tulsi-pearl-harborThe congresswoman serves on the House Armed Services’ Sea Power and Projection Forces Subcommittee and spoke about the importance of the journeymen’s service and their work to care for the military’s aging ships, especially with the United States’ focus on the Asia-Pacific Region.

tulsi-pearl-harbor2The Shipyard’s Apprentice Program is a partnership between the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Honolulu Community College. The program prepares students for Shipyard careers by combining academic study with paid work experience. This year’s graduating class includes journeymen in nineteen different trades.

tulsi-pearl-harbor3The Shipyard is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in Hawaiʻi with a combined civilian and military workforce of over 5,000.  Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Navy’s largest ship repair facility between the West Coast and the Far East is about a week of steam time closer to potential regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Connects Hawaii Soldiers With Employers at Transition Summit

This afternoon at Schofield Barracks, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke to a group of more than 200 Hawaiʻi soldiers who are considering a transition from military service to civilian life.

tulsi-schofieldShe explained that our soldiers have the skills, leadership, and experience that would benefit any agency, organization, or business in the private sector. The congresswoman also highlighted some of the obstacles veterans face as highly trained applicants ready to join the civilian workforce when there are misconceptions about their preparedness once the uniform is laid down.

“This kind of transition summit sends a strong message to our service members—when you’re ready to lay down the uniform, you’re not going to get kicked to the curb and left on your own,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed Major with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard. “Changing misconceptions that a veteran may not be fit to serve in the workforce is necessary—and it comes down to each of us affecting change in our own spheres of influence. Tell your story and encourage your fellow soldiers to do the same to help those who have never served understand the value that our veterans bring to the table. The need for this understanding is real.”

tulsi-schofield1In Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has worked to create incentives for businesses to hire veterans, to fight against attempts to roll back the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and to increase opportunities for veterans to participate in apprenticeship programs and more.

On the 12th anniversary of the Iraq War, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard launched the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who have served in the military after 9/11, and who are dedicated to issues related to the newest generation of veterans. The caucus’ legislative agenda focuses on the 2.8 million veterans who have served and deployed since 9/11 and provides a forum for this new generation of veterans to voice their concerns and ideas.

tulsi-schofield2Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act—a bill that works to make that transition smoother by enabling veterans to use their GI Bill benefits to learn critical workplace skills or apprenticeship programs in the skilled-trade industry. Currently, GI Bill benefits cannot be used to cover the cost of Department of Labor approved pre-apprenticeship programs that teach the skills and techniques necessary to prepare individuals for training and careers in the skilled-trade industry.

Hawaii Governor to Request Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance After Surveying Storm Damage

Gov. David Ige today toured Maui’s Iao Stream area, which suffered severe damage during last week’s storm. The governor was joined by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Adjutant General, Major General Arthur Logan, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi and other government and emergency management officials for aerial and ground tours of the disaster site.

maui-storm1The tours follow initial assessments of the disaster area by the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Thursday, Gov. Ige took a 30-minute aerial tour of the site aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter before surveying the disaster site on the ground where he met with residents directly affected by the storm.

maui-storm4“It truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and to see the impact on the stream and the change of the flows that had a devastating effect on families, the state and county. I will be sending a letter to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Ige.

maui-storm3The governor also met with some of the 30 Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guard members who have been activated to clear out debris and boulders which have diverted the stream flow into residential areas along the stream.

Initial assessments put the state and county’s damage estimate at $15 million. About 20 families were directly impacted by the storm.

maui-storm2While the county and National Guard continue to clear out an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris, the state and county are working to ensure the safety of the community.

maui-storm5“This is going to be a large project. Very expensive. It’s going to take months and months to try and secure this area, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Click here for video of the governor’s aerial tour.

World’s Largest Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is Completed on Oahu

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) Forensic Identification Laboratory recently reached construction completion at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Oahu, Hawaii. Designed by SmithGroupJJR, the new $89 million laboratory will aid in the investigation, recovery and accounting of Americans lost during the nation’s past conflicts dating back to World War II.


SmithGroupJJR served as architect, MEP engineer and laboratory planner and programmer of the new DPAA Laboratory, the world’s largest forensic anthropology laboratory.

The 136,497-square-foot facility consolidates operations that were previously dispersed on three military locations on Oahu. The goal of the new facility is to improve efficiency, productivity and support the DPAA mission, which is to “provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.”

By bringing all operations under one roof, the new three-story facility demonstrates the unique function and mission of DPAA by providing advanced investigation laboratories, a highly sustainable and flexible working environment for staff and appropriate spaces for the families of the deceased.

Primary laboratory spaces include the DPAA Laboratory, the Material Evidence and Life Support Investigation Lab, DNA lab and a complete forensic medicine facility.

The mission of the DPAA is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.

The mission of the DPAA is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.

“The process of designing this unique facility was a humbling one for our firm,” said Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, design director, SmithGroupJJR. “Having the ability to meaningfully impact DPAA’s mission was a professional honor.”

The design for the new DPAA facility acknowledges the architectural legacy of Hickam Air Force Base (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), while creating a uniquely Hawaiian character. A three-story garden space with outdoor lanais provides a serene respite for staff, while a chapel-like space for family viewing hovers above. Structural concrete as well as pre-cast concrete panels, which were manufactured on the island and fashioned with an abstracted Hawaiian pattern, create the primary architectural aesthetic. A one a kind craftsman-like shade trellis welcomes families and visitors to this highly secure, yet public facility.

DPAA Laboratory

The DPAA Laboratory spaces within this facility occupy the third floor of the building including 70 tables for examination. Approximately half of the floor space is devoted to conducting laboratory procedures, while the remaining half consist of a family viewing room providing a serene meeting space for families to reunite with their deceased loved ones, as well as offices and administrative spaces for the DPAA Laboratory. The general design of the DPAA Laboratory conforms to Biological Safety Level Two in accordance with requirements set forth by the Center for Disease Control/National Institutes of Health.

“The unique island and Pearl Harbor setting, coupled with this significant national mission allowed for a truly one-of-a-kind facility of national significance,” Kranz added.

Lend a Hand to Protect Volcanoes National Park on Public Lands Day this Saturday

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates 100 years protecting native ecosystems and invites everyone to lend a helping hand on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) this Saturday, Sept. 24. It’s a fee-free day, and while all park visitors can enjoy the park at no charge, NPLD volunteers will receive a free pass to use on another day of their choosing.

Keiki cut invasive Himalayan ginger from rainforest near Devastation Trail. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Keiki cut invasive Himalayan ginger from rainforest near Devastation Trail. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Join volunteers on Saturday for the Stewardship at the Summit program, from 8:45 a.m. to noon. Meet NPLD coordinator Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center, then head into the rainforest to remove invasive Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided.  No advance registration required.

While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan ginger (also called kāhili) is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, and makes it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow. This inedible ginger species crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others.

Every year on NPLD, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands. To find out more, visit www.publiclandsday.org.

Rep. Gabbard Calls for Accountability on DoD Travel Card Abuse and Waste

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and a bipartisan group of Congressional Members delivered a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter calling for the Department of Defense (DoD) to address millions of dollars misused by DoD personnel on government travel credit cards. The letter follows a recent Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD OIG) report revealing inadequate action by the DoD to respond to multiple cases of abuse in recent years.


Click to read report

“In just one year, from July 2013 to June 2014, an initial audit found 4,437 transactions totaling $952,258 in which government travel cards were likely used at casinos for personal expenditures. Furthermore, the report noted more than 900 instances of these government-issued cards being used at adult entertainment establishments, totaling $96,576,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The most recent report found that the Department of Defense has failed to take appropriate actions to resolve the issues highlighted by the previous audit. The Department has not taken steps to eliminate additional misuse of the government travel cards, initiated reviews for improper payments, or consistently considered the security implications of the misused travel cards. As a result, the government travel card program remains susceptible to continued waste and exploitation.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. Jim Costa (CA-16), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Walter B. Jones (NC-03), Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09). Full text is available below:

Dear Secretary Carter,

We are writing to express our concern about DoD personnel misusing government travel cards and American tax payer dollars.

The Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD OIG) has investigated these abuses on multiple occasions in recent years. The most recent investigation resulted in a report, issued on August 30, 2016, in which the DoD OIG found the Department has not done enough to respond to the infractions. The report findings also suggest the Department still maintains insufficient processes to address the problem: insufficient instruction on the appropriate use of the government travel card; improper reimbursements for personal expenses; and a tepid response from DoD management to correct these issues. Most troubling is that the most recent audit was conducted as a response to a previous report on DoD misuse of government travel cards released in 2015.

In a one year period from July 2013 to June 2014, the initial audit found 4,437 transactions totaling $952,258 in which government travel cards were likely used at casinos for personal use. Furthermore, the report noted more than 900 instances of cards being used at adult entertainment establishments, totaling $96,576.

The most recent report found that the DoD has not taken appropriate actions to resolve the issues highlighted by the previous audit. The DoD has not taken steps to eliminate additional misuse, initiate reviews for improper payments, or consistently considered the security implications of the misused travel cards. As a result, the government travel card program remains vulnerable to continued waste and exploitation.

The DoD IG made a number of recommendations to re-focus the Department’s efforts on identifying, investigating, and reporting the misuse or abuse of government travel cards. In light of the Department’s halfhearted response to the previous audit, we request a response on how the Department intends to implement the DoD IG’s recommendations. We will continue to monitor the Department’s progress.

We thank you for your attention to our concerns. We welcome further discussion on this issue.

Hawaii Health Centers to Receive $753K for IT Enhancements

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today that 14 Hawaiʻi Health Centers will receive a total of $753,064 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health information technology (IT) enhancements. The funding is part of more than $87 million provided by HHS to 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. The funding will support health IT enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. This is the first significant investment directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health IT since 2009.

health-center“Health centers across Hawaiʻi provide high-quality health and wellness services that our communities depend upon. Yet, in Hawaiʻi and in states across the country, remote locations, lack of funding, and staff shortages make it difficult to keep up with rapidly changing healthcare technology,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Investing in our local health centers will increase information sharing, improve electronic healthcare record systems, and expand access to comprehensive, quality care for people in every county across the state.”

The following organizations are the Hawaiʻi recipients of the HHS health IT enhancement funds:

  • Hilo – $66,682 for the Bay Clinic
  • Wailuku – $52,900 for the Community Clinic of Maui
  • Honokaʻa – $46,535 for the Hamakua Health Center
  • Hana – $42,428 for the Hana Community Health Center
  • Līhuʻe – $46,320 for Hoʻola Lahui Hawaiʻi
  • Honolulu – $73,739 for the Kalihi-Palama Health Center
  • Honolulu – $54,075 for Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
  • Kahuku – $48,198 for the Koʻolauloa Community Health and Wellness Center
  • Lanaʻi City – $41,749 for the Lanaʻi Community Health Center
  • Kaunakakai – $42,884 for Molokaʻi Ohana Health Care
  • Waiʻanae – $81,237 for the Waiʻanae District Comprehensive Health and Hospital Board
  • Honolulu – $55,087 for the Waikiki Health Center
  • Waimānalo – $46,056 for the Waimānalo Health Center
  • Kailua-Kona – $55,174 for the West Hawaiʻi CommunityHealthCenter

For a list of all fiscal year 2016 Delivery System Health Information Investment Awards recipients, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/dshii/fy2016awards/index.html

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html

To find a health center in your area, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Hokulea Spreading the Malama Honua Message at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference

To Malama Honua is to take care and protect all that makes up our planet. From the lands to the seas to perpetuating indigenous cultures across the globe, Hokulea’s historic Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage connects communities and countries through stories of hope and wisdom-utilizing these different perspectives as a guiding force to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and master navigator of Hokulea shared his vision of Malama Honua at this year’s 2016 Our Ocean Conference, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, September 15, 2016.

our-ocean-nainoaWith a special connection to the sea, Thompson was chosen to speak among prominent influencers and leaders to help explore and understand the importance of conserving the ocean. The Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage has been inspiring collective actions from different organizations around the world-many of which are starting in Hawaiʻi, as Governor David Ige announced Hawaiʻi’s commitment to manage 30 percent of Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters by 2030 during the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress.


“It was an honor to provide a voice for Hawaii and the Pacific at this important conference focused on ocean protection,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Being in the room and hearing the actions being taken by these great ‘navigators’ makes me hopeful that the world will get back on the right course with a sail plan for a sustainable ocean and future for our children.”

The ocean is a vital resource to sustain all life on Earth. The Our Ocean Conference brings together many of the world’s environmental activists, and higher-level government leaders to catalyze actions in order to protect our ocean from pollution, climate-related impacts, and unsustainable and illegal fishing.

our-ocean-obamaSeveral speakers of the 2016 Our Ocean Conference included President of the United States, Barack Obama; Actor and Environmental Activists, Leonardo DiCaprio; and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii-all who hope to empower and create a movement for generations to follow.

The 2016 Our Ocean Conference was held in Washington D.C.from September 15 to September 16, 2016.

Hawaii to Receive $3.8 Million to Protect Threatened and Endangered Species

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday welcomed more than $3.8 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect threatened and endangered species in Hawai‘i through better land use management. These funds are a part of a $44.8 million investment under the Endangered Species Act grant program that will be distributed among 20 states.

“This new funding will help ensure that threatened and endangered species in our state will be protected for years to come,” said Senator Schatz. “These funds are a strategic investment that will help strike a better balance between human use and wildlife habitats.  By accounting for threatened and endangered species in our land use planning, we can reduce our impact on the environment and allow our state’s unique wildlife to thrive.”

In Hawai‘i, these funds will be allocated to four programs including:

Helemano Wilderness Area (Honolulu County) $2,000,000:

The Helemano Wilderness Area (HWA) project on Oahu will permanently protect over 3,000 acres of habitat for the federally-listed endangered Hawaiian hoary bat. The proposed acquisition will complement mitigation efforts outlined in HCPs for three Oahu wind energy complexes. Half of the acquisition area contains bat habitat with no need for management or restoration and a substantial portion of the remainder will be reforested and incorporated into ongoing research studies on optimal bat habitat and forest design. The HWA project also includes upland portions of the Paukauila and Kiikii Watersheds.  The Paukauila-Kiikii stream drainage basin is the largest on Oahu, supplying drinking water to communities from Pearl Harbor to the North Shore – a third of Oahu’s residents. Thus, in addition to aiding the recovery of the Hawaiian hoary bat, acquiring the HWA will protect and secure clean drinking water for Oahu’s residents.

Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Program: Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Habitat Conservation Plan (Kauai County) $906,105:

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is developing the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Program – Kauai Island Utility Cooperative HCP (KIUC HCP) to address incidental take of the endangered Hawaiian petrel, the threatened Newell’s shearwater, and the band-rumped storm petrel, a candidate for listing, due to light attraction and utility line collisions on the island of Kauai. Completion of the KIUC HCP will result in the implementation of landscape-scale conservation to mitigate for island-wide take and a thorough minimization plan for listed seabirds on Kauai. It is critical to the listed seabirds’ survival that landscape-scale breeding colony management takes place to abate the current population declines.

A Hawaii Hoary Bat

A Hawaii Hoary Bat

Hawaiian Hoary Bat Habitat Conservation Plan for Biomass and Timber Harvest in the Hawaiian Islands* (Hawaii, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui Counties) $395,000:

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, in cooperation with members of the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association and biomass industry, will develop an HCP to conserve the Hawaiian hoary bat (HHB) during biomass and timber harvest activities in the Hawaiian Islands. The HCP will result in a better understanding of the HHB’s status and distribution in commercial forest stands, reduce and mitigate impacts from biomass and timber harvest operations, and conserve the HHB while allowing sustainable forest management practices, which will allow public and private landowners to meet economic, ecological, and social goals.

Kaluaaha Ranch Conservation Easement (Maui County) $500,000:

The Kaluaaha Ranch Conservation Easement on Molokai Island will permanently protect 969 acres to support the recovery of numerous endangered species, as well as minimize sedimentation of the near shore ecosystem and the Nation’s largest fringing coral reef. Extending from near sea level to over 4,000 feet at the summit of the East Molokai Range, upper Kaluaaha Valley has high-quality native forest currently being degraded by feral ungulates resulting in increased sediments flowing downstream, which smothers the reefs below. The Molokai Land Trust, The Trust for Public Land, and the Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife will permanently protect the upper Kaluaaha Valley via a conservation easement. Surveys of the property have documented three highly endangered native plant species — one of them having fewer than 50 extant individuals. Kaluaaha Valley also provides habitat for endangered seabirds such as the Newell’s shearwater that nests in extremely steep valley walls as well as the Hawaiian goose (Nene). The Kaluaaha Stream flows year round and ensures the vitality of the forest and its ability to absorb water will sustain the water supply and clean drinking water for East Molokai.

Hawaii DLNR Shares Concerns Over Reports of Sub-Standard Living Conditions on Certain Longline Fishing Vessels

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is aware of media reports regarding living and working conditions on longline fishing vessels that bring catches into Hawai‘i ports. DLNR’S area of responsibility is limited to the ministerial task of issuing commercial fishing licenses to qualified applicants.

dlnr“The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), issues licenses to individual fishermen engaged in commercial catch.  DAR continues to follow long-established statutory and administrative rules which require commercial marine licenses for the taking of marine life and landing it in the state for commercial purposes,” explained DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  The rules regarding Hawai‘i commercial marine licenses can be found in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS-189-2 and HRS-189-5).

“We are naturally concerned about press reports pertaining to on-board living conditions, pay disparity and the issue of involuntary labor, and applaud the longline fishing industry for the efforts it is taking to resolve these issues,” Case added.  “Further we are happy to engage with any stakeholders, including lawmakers, commercial fishing interests, and other regulatory agencies, in explaining the current laws and regulations pertaining to licensing of commercial longline fishers and in exploring any legislative or administrative rule changes,” Case said. “While our jurisdiction only extends to the protection of natural resources, we are certainly very concerned about any human rights violations that are reportedly occurring on the longline fishing fleet, and stand ready to assist in any way possible,” she concluded.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Plans Mileage Based User Fee Demonstration Using Federal Grant

Demonstration to focus on operational considerations for transition to a mileage based user fee for highway maintenance

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division, in partnership with the four county governments, is planning to test a statewide mileage based user fee as a potential source of revenue for the State Highway Fund.

Click to read about the demonstration

Click to read about the demonstration

HDOT Highways Division is pursuing a mileage based user fee as a possible replacement to the fuel tax, which currently makes up 33 percent of State Highway Fund revenue. A statewide mileage based user fee demonstration would allow HDOT Highways Division to test operational considerations in the assessment and collection of a sustainable source of funding to maintain and build Hawaii roadways.

Details of the planned test, or demonstration, are available in a grant proposal sent by HDOT Highways Division to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The grant proposal may be downloaded at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/library/publications/

HDOT Highways Division was awarded a $3.988 million grant from FHWA based on the grant proposal. A total of $14.2 million was awarded to eight states on a competitive basis. Hawaii received the largest Surface Transportation Funding Alternatives grant award for this grant cycle. HDOT is working with a consortium of states, such as Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado, who have or are in the process of performing their demonstration project.

The mileage based user fee demonstration will include outreach and ample opportunities for public feedback. HDOT Highways Division will make updates on the demonstration to Hawaii drivers through mailings, news releases, and through the department website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Lawmakers Urge President to Ensure Army Corps Consultation with Standing Rock Sioux on Dakota Access Pipeline

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.


“The federal government has a moral and legal trust responsibility to ensure that federally permitted projects do not threaten historically or culturally significant tribal places, the trust lands of tribal nations, or the waters that run through them. We stand with tribal leaders in asking you to uphold our federal trust responsibility and protect tribal interests in this and future permitting decisions by the United States Army Corps of Engineers,” the lawmakers wrote. “In the instance of the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite its location within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers failed in its responsibility to engage in meaningful consultation and collaboration with potentially impacted tribal nations. The lack of proper consultation on the Dakota Access Pipeline has been detrimental to the interests of all stakeholders in this issue, from the tribal governments whose heritage and lands are at risk to the workers hired to construct this pipeline who now face uncertain conditions.”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear President Obama:

As Members of the Congressional Native American Caucus, we are writing to you to share our deep concerns with the lack of tribal consultation in the routing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  In recent weeks, we have heard from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe about the destructive impact that the current route of this pipeline could have upon the tribe’s sacred and cultural places, as well as the risks posed to their waters, due to the lack of proper engagement from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).   We stand with tribal leaders in asking you to uphold our federal trust responsibility and protect tribal interests in this and future permitting decisions by the USACE.

The federal government has a moral and legal trust responsibility to ensure that federally permitted projects do not threaten historically or culturally significant tribal places, the trust lands of tribal nations, or the waters that run through them.  Pursuant to Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, and reinforced by the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation of November 5, 2009, the executive departments and agencies of the federal government are to engage in “regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials”.  In the instance of the DAPL, despite its location within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the USACE failed in its responsibility to engage in meaningful consultation and collaboration with potentially impacted tribal nations.

We are encouraged by the September 9th announcement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior that the Army would be halting construction of the DAPL on Army Corps land and undertaking a review of its previous decisions about the Lake Oahe site.  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is currently petitioning the courts to determine whether the approval process for the DAPL was fully compliant with the National Historic Preservation Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and our federal trust responsibility.  We urge the Administration to maintain its hold on further permitting for the DAPL project until the concerns of the Tribe about the protection of their sacred sites, homelands, and water quality have been fully addressed.  In the meantime, we are pleased to see that the Administration will be holding formal government-to-government consultations this fall to improve tribal input on infrastructure decisions.  We look forward to working with you on legislative proposals to ensure the preservation of tribal sacred and historic sites, protection of trust lands, and access to clean water are prioritized for the DAPL and other USACE project decisions.

As Members of Congress and as fellow trustees for tribal lands with the Administration, we are deeply disappointed in this lapse in our nation-to-nation relationship.  Ultimately, the lack of proper consultation on the DAPL has been detrimental to the interests of all stakeholders in this issue, from the tribal governments whose heritage and lands are at risk to the workers hired to construct this pipeline who now face uncertain conditions.   When tribal consultation is neglected, both tribal nations and our nation as a whole suffer.

Hokulea and Aha Punana Leo Converge on Kahnawake – Heading Towards Great Lakes

As Hokulea continues forth on her Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the crew and founding board members of Aha Punana Leo-a Native Hawaiian nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the Hawaiian language for future generations in Hawaiʻi-honored a relationship that spans nearly 5,000 miles and 40 years of revolutionaries working together to revitalize and perpetuate the core of indigenous knowledge.


Passing through the 34th lock to get to the upper Montreal area of the St. Lawrence river, Hokulea docked at her first Marina within a Native Reserve-the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.

This gathering was yet another opportunity along this Worldwide Voyage to honor the collaborative work being done in native communities to keep indigenous knowledge alive and relevant to the world around us. Additionally, the crew of Hokulea, the founding members of Aha Punana Leo, and the Mohawk community hope to inspire and perpetuate native knowledge and language for generations to come.


Kauanoe Kamana, founding board member and current president of Aha Punana Leo, addressed both groups in Hawaiian. “The connection between our work in language revitalization and the pursuits of our waʻa Hokulea, have to do with the fact that we set out with our work, prepared and with a strong resolve to succeed as best as we can,” said Kamana as translated in English. “But, we donʻt know what the result will be until we actually arrive.”

“Your work in the past had huge impact in Hawaiʻi, and the fact that you would allow us to bring our leaders up here, our pioneers, our courageous individuals, Pila Wilson, his wife Kauanoe, Nāmaka,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator. “These are the ones that are changing the world and bringing back the language with your help,” Thompson added.

The Mohawk community is home to the immersion program whose leaders helped pave the way for Hawaiʻi’s immersion program in the early ʻ80’s. Dorothy Lazore was instrumental in establishing the Mohawk language immersion program in Kahnawake and spoke before Hawaiʻi’s Board of Education on the day that Hawaiʻi DOE’s immersion program was approved-a program that has become a model nationally and internationally.

mohawks“As you were telling us just how we helped you and how we were an inspiration for your people, and how our teachers went out to help you to revitalize what could have been lost in one generation or in two,” said Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House. “It’s interesting because you inspire us.We look to you. We follow your inspiration too in all the work you have been doing in your land,” Hemlock shared.

During this monumental visit, crew members of Hokulea and Mohawk natives gathered at the Kanonsonnionwe Long House as they welcomed each other by exchanging gifts and songs in their native languages. Kālepa Baybayan, captain of Hokulea’s leg 23 of the Worldwide Voyage, presented Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House, with a traditional Hawaiian feather or kahili.

“Working together like this-that is the key to our collective success! It is that kind of mindset, thinking not just about the individual, but thinking about all of us-us as an ʻohana,” said in Hawaiian by Kamanā.

Leg 23 Sail Plan

Leg 23 Sail Plan

Zika Video Released by University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center

The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) at the University of Hawaiʻi focuses on natural hazards like climate change and other threats to coastal and island communities.

Under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, NDPTC has developed a short video in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the University of Hawaiʻi as part of its Just-in-Time Training initiative to promote awareness and deliver basic information about the Zika virus. The center has developed other Just-in-Time Training on tsunamis, volcanoes, and other emerging threats and hazards.

In this video, Sarah Park, state epidemiologist and chief of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Disease Outbreak Control Division, provides key information about the virus including its potential for spreading from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus causing birth defects and transmission via mosquitoes and through sexual contact.

Zika has been found in the Americas, Oceania/Pacific Islands, Africa and Asia. According to the Center for Disease Control, travel-associated cases of the Zika virus have been found in every U.S. state except Alaska and Wyoming, and in every U.S. territory except Guam and American Samoa. Locally acquired cases have been found in only Florida, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. It is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedis albopictus). With the impact of climate change there has been a growth in regions that support mosquito habitats worldwide, increasing the world’s vulnerability to mosquito-borne diseases.

Aedes species of mosquito

Aedes species of mosquito

“We are particularly concerned about Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases because of their potential impacts on vulnerable, at-risk populations,” said Karl Kim, professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and executive director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center. “We need to increase awareness of the disease but also work towards effective strategies for monitoring as well as combating Zika. As a global visitor destination, Hawaiʻi needs a multi-pronged approach involving health care providers, urban planners, emergency responders, as well as households and businesses is needed to manage this health threat.”

Homeowners and businesses need to protect themselves against mosquitoes and implement effective programs for mosquito control. Training and education is needed to increase preparedness as well as response and mitigation capabilities.

NDPTC is committed to provide relevant and up-to-date training and education on the latest threats to our society.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses 2016 National Guard Association Conference

This morning, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivered remarks at the 2016 National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Conference in Baltimore, MD.

tulsi-ngauMore than 3,000 National Guardsmen from every U.S. State, three territories and the District of Columbia attended the 3-day conference, including members of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard.

In her speech, the congresswoman discussed the need to preserve the founding mission of the National Guard as the frontline force in domestic emergency response, shared how her more than 13 years of service in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard influences her work on the House Armed Services Committee and in Congress, and more.

She also paid tribute to U.S. Congressman Mark Takai, who addressed the NGAUS Conference in 2015 and served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 17 years.

NGAUS is the nation’s oldest military association working solely for the benefit of the National Guard of the United States and educating the public about the Guard’s role and history in the Armed Forces of the United States. NGAUS represents more than 470,000 men and women currently serving in the Army and Air National Guard, as well as their families, employers and all Guard retirees.

Lawmaker Ing Calls for AG Opinion on Fishing Vessel Controversy, Seeks Injunction

Representative Kaniela Ing, Chairperson of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs today sent a letter to Attorney General Douglas Chin requesting an opinion on the alleged unfair labor and business practices conducted outside Piers 17 and 38 at Honolulu Harbor.

Click to read allegations

Click to read allegations

“I am extremely alarmed by recent reports of the gross mistreatment of workers aboard American fishing vessels right here in our Aloha State,” Ing said. “If these investigations hold any validity, we must act swiftly to end any human rights violations occurring on our docks.”

Ing believes that, while the fishing vessels operate in federal waters in accordance to federal law, vessel operators conduct business under a license with the State of Hawaii, therefore subjecting them to State regulation. Ing’s letter asks whether “the (reported) acts…constitute a restraint of trade or other anti-competitive practices prohibited by HRS§480-13.”

Ing explains: “the first step is requesting an Attorney General’s opinion, which he is required to publish under a legislator’s request. An affirmative answer will likely lead to an injunction that will halt any labor or business violations. A non-affirmative answer illuminates the need for bill that clarifies our ‘anti-competitive practices’ statute, which I am committed to pursue”

Ing believes this issue highlights a larger issue of the abuse of undocumented workers.

“Without any legal recourse, millions of undocumented workers suffer through starvation wages and inhumane work environments across America,” Ing said. “It’s an issue too often ignored by mainstream politics. We can all agree that any abuse of any human being has no place in our Aloha State. These investigations reveal why we must act now.”

EPA Requires Mid Pac Petroleum to Install Air Pollution Controls at Big Island Facility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement valued at more than $600,000 with Mid Pac Petroleum, LLC, resolving federal Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Kawaihae facility on the Island of Hawaii.


EPA claimed that for more than a decade Mid Pac Petroleum failed to install required vapor pollution controls and comply with a volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution limit at its gasoline storage facility. Failure to limit these emissions led to the illegal discharge of about 20 tons of VOCs into the air each year from its gasoline loading equipment. Mid Pac Petroleum will now spend an estimated $432,000 to bring its facility into compliance with the law, and has agreed to pay a $200,000 civil penalty.

“This is EPA’s second settlement in the past year that will improve air quality on the Island of Hawaii,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “As with Aloha Petroleum’s facility in Hilo, we are requiring Mid Pac Petroleum to install air pollution controls, cutting health risks to local residents.”

Bulk gasoline terminals are large storage tank facilities where gasoline is pumped through a loading rack into tanker trucks for distribution to gasoline service stations. Vapors containing VOCs and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a known human carcinogen, can leak from storage tanks, pipes, and tanker trucks as they are loaded.

For more information please visit: http://www3.epa.gov/ozonepollution/