• Follow on Facebook

  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    May 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

UH Hilo’s Lam Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award

Carolina Lam, director of global education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Center for Global Education and Exchange, has received a prestigious Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) Award to visit South Korea.

Carolina Lam, Director, Global Education at UH Hilo

Carolina Lam, Director, Global Education at UH Hilo

The purpose of the program is to provide international education administrators an opportunity to learn about the host country’s educational system and network with Korean and U.S. cohort colleagues. Lam will spend two weeks in June traveling throughout South Korea, meeting with representatives from the country’s universities, along with selected government and private sector agencies.

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in this program,” Lam said. “I look forward to learning more about South Korea’s culture and educational system, and visiting with at least four of our 11 partner universities that are located there.”

The IEA award is part of the Fulbright Scholar program, which sends approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Fulbright programs are international education exchanges that are sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

For more information, visit http://www.cies.org.

Two New Breakout Lava Flows at Pu’u O’o

Two new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō began this morning just before 7:00 a.m., HST. The larger of the two breakouts, shown here, originated on the northeast flank of the cone, at the site of the vent for the ongoing June 27th lava flow.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This breakout point fed a vigorous channelized flow that extended about 1 km (0.6 miles). This lava flow had not extended beyond the existing Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time this photo was taken (8:30 a.m., HST).

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am.  Click to enlarge

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am. Click to enlarge

Another breakout occurred just east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 500 m (0.3 miles) from the crater, in the area of the “Peace Day” flow that broke out in September 2011.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This second breakout was smaller than the one on the northeast flank, but was still feeding an impressive lava channel. At the time of this photo (8:30 a.m., HST), this flow was about 700 m (0.4 miles) long and traveling towards the southeast.

A video of the larger breakout, flowing northwest.

Shark Study Helps Explain Higher Incidence of Encounters Off Maui

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui.  The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).

shark bites in maui

Dr. Carl Meyer, principle investigator for the study, explained that the Maui Nui complex, consisting of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, has more preferred tiger shark habitat than all other main Hawaiian Islands combined.  According to Dr. Meyer, “Tiger sharks captured around Maui spend most of their time on the extensive Maui Nui insular shelf, which is also an attractive habitat for tiger sharks arriving from elsewhere in Hawaii.  The insular shelf extends offshore from the shoreline to depths of 200 meters (600 feet), and is home to a wide variety of tiger shark prey.”

Although tiger shark movement patterns revealed by the latest study are generally similar to those seen in previous studies, the larger area of shelf habitat around Maui may be able to support more tiger sharks than other main Hawaiian Islands.  In addition, the most frequently-visited areas by tiger sharks around Maui include waters adjacent to popular ocean recreation sites.

Meyer noted “This combination of factors may explain why Maui has had more shark bites than other Main Hawaiian Islands, although we cannot completely rule out a higher number of ocean recreation activities on Maui as the primary cause of these differences.  However, despite the routine presence of large tiger sharks in waters off our beaches, the risk of being bitten remains extremely small, suggesting tiger sharks generally avoid interactions with people.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), said, “This study provided us with important new insights into tiger shark movement behavior around Maui, and helps answer some questions about why that island has led the state recently in shark bites.  We agree with the study’s recommendation that the best approach to reducing numbers of these incidents is to raise public awareness of what people can do to reduce their risk of being bitten.  This has been our focus for a long time.  People who enter the ocean have to understand and appreciate that it is essentially a wilderness experience.  It’s the shark’s house, not ours.

DAR will continue to work with other agencies to expand outreach regarding hazards in the ocean, such as drownings, to include shark safety information so people can make well-informed, fact-based decisions.”

As for the 2012-2014 spike in shark bites around Maui, Meyer said the reasons remain unclear.  He noted, “2015 saw only one unprovoked shark bite off Maui.  Shark behavior didn’t change year to year, and there was no shift in human behavior.  These spikes occur all over the world, and are most likely due to chance.”

Citing previous studies, the HIMB team also noted that historical shark culling in Hawaii neither eliminated nor demonstrably reduced shark bite incidents.  Tiger sharks tracked around Maui exhibit a broad spectrum of movement patterns ranging from somewhat resident to highly transient. This ensures a constant turnover of sharks along coastal locations.  Sharks removed by culling are quickly replaced by new ones locally and from distant locations.

Maui Shark Report-Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

PacIOOS makes tiger shark tracks available online and provides funding for ongoing and future tagging efforts. Melissa Iwamoto, Director of PacIOOS explained, “We are pleased to be a partner in this important effort by offering an online platform where you can view the tiger sharks tracks. Providing ocean users, agencies, residents and visitors with relevant ocean data is our priority. While the tracks do not serve as a warning or real-time monitoring system, they are a great way to raise awareness about the ocean environment and to inform long-term decision-making.”

All of the partners agree that the more information people have, the better decisions they can make when entering the ocean.

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking Report: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2016/05/Maui_tiger_shark_spatial_dynamics_final.pdf

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking website: http://pacioos.org/projects/sharks

Hawaii Sharks website: www.hawaiisharks.org

NELHA and Hawaii Tourism Authority Receives President’s “E” Award

Today in Washington, DC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in awarding two ‪#Hawaii companies—Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and Hawaii Tourism Authority—the President’s “E” Award.

HTA AND NELHA

The “E” Award is the highest honor the United States Government can give to an American exporter and export service provider. Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority were two of 123 U.S. companies and organizations recognized at today’s ceremony.

This year marks the 54th anniversary of the “E” Awards presentation. For the first time in the award’s 54-year history, winners represent every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Of this year’s 123 honorees, 105 are small and medium-sized businesses, and 64 firms are manufacturers.

In 1961, President Kennedy created the “E” Awards to recognize companies supporting the expansion of U.S. exports. The President’s “E” Award recognizes persons, firms, or organizations which contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports. The President’s “E Star” Award affords continuing recognition of noteworthy export promotion efforts. More information on the awards can be found at: http://export.gov/exportawards/

Hawaii Files First Lawsuit Against Takata & Honda Relating to Faulty Airbags

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, on behalf of the State of Hawai’i, today filed a lawsuit against Takata Corporation, TK Holdings, Inc., Honda Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co, and Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. for making, supplying, and using airbags they knew to be unsafe.  Hawai’i is the first state to file a lawsuit against these companies for their roles in causing millions of cars to be sold with airbags that could explode, posing grave, sometimes fatal, dangers to the cars’ occupants.

Click to view complaint

Click to view complaint

Hawai’i asserts claims under the State’s consumer protection laws for unfair and deceptive conduct.  The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including a meaningful campaign to educate drivers about the need to seek repairs, restitution for car buyers, disgorgement of the companies’ profits from these airbags, and the maximum civil penalties allowed by law of $10,000 per violation.

The State’s complaint alleges that Takata made the decision to switch to cheaper ammonium nitrate to inflate its airbags despite the known risks of ammonium nitrate, a chemical principally used to propel rockets and for mining and demolition.  Though Takata’s own testing showed that the ammonium nitrate propellant was unpredictable and prone to explode, Takata sold its airbags to automakers knowing they would be installed in vehicles and sold to consumers.  The complaint quotes one former Takata engineer, who has testified that, prior to the launch of the new inflators, he warned a manager that ‘if we go forward with [ammonium nitrate], someone will be killed.”  As the complaint lays out, a dozen individuals have been killed when Takata airbags exploded in their cars, sending shrapnel through the vehicle, and more than one hundred have been injured.

The complaint also asserts that Takata hid its findings and doctored its data to hide the dangers of its airbags.  According to publicly available documents and the State’s complaint, even when Honda became aware of the problems, it continued to sell cars equipped with Takata airbags and inadequately pursued recalls—saving money while subjecting consumers to an ongoing risk of serious injury and death.

Hawai’i is one of four states that was the original focus of efforts to recall vehicles with Takata airbags because of the greater risks posed in areas with high humidity and high temperatures.  Roughly 70,000 vehicles with Takata airbags have been sold to Hawaii consumers.  Nationally, according to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only one-third to half of these airbags have been repaired or replaced.

“Companies that supply and market goods to Hawai’i consumers are obligated to deliver products that are safe and to provide consumers with full, accurate, and timely information when dangers become known.  According to the facts alleged in the complaint, Takata and Honda put their own profits and reputations ahead of honesty and their customers’ safety.  We intend to hold them accountable for their conduct,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection.

The complaint asserts two causes of action against the Takata and Honda companies, but also names anonymous “Doe Defendants.”  The State will consider adding corporate or individual defendants based upon the evidence revealed during the litigation.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to visit http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/ or to contact their car dealer to determine whether their car is subject to a recall, to request required repairs, and to seek a replacement vehicle from the dealer until their airbag can be replaced or repaired.

The State of Hawai’i is also being assisted in this action by the Honolulu law firm of Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks and the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Cohen Milstein.

Hawai’i’s complaint is attached and available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2016/05/State-of-Hawaii-v.-Takata-Corporation-Complaint.pdf.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the recall is available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/takata-recall-faqs/.

Hawaii State Urges Consumers with Sports Authority Gift Cards to Redeem Unused Balances Immediately

Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, is urging Hawaii consumers who may be holding gift cards, certificates or store credits from Sports Authority to redeem their balances as soon as possible. Consumers are also urged to return unwanted merchandise immediately for a refund or exchange.

sports authority gift card

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March of this year, and initially had received approval from the bankruptcy court to proceed with business as usual. The company has since announced plans to begin liquidating its business throughout the United States, including its operations in Hawaii. Change is expected in the coming weeks, with an auction scheduled for late May, making the future of the company uncertain.

“An important guideline with gift cards is to use them as soon as you can, because if a store closes or goes bankrupt, there may be little to no recourse for a consumer to recover an unspent balance,” said Executive Director Levins. “If you currently have a Sports Authority gift card, you should use it immediately to avoid losing whatever credit it contains.”

Sports Authority operates eight stores in Hawaii, in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kaneohe, Kapolei, Lihue, and Waikele.

Hawaii Ranks Third in Nationwide Access to Justice Study

The Justice Index 2016 Findings, just released by the National Center for Access to Justice, ranks Hawaii among the top three states in the country for practices aimed at making access to justice a reality for all people.  The report measures the accessibility of each state’s justice system in four categories:  attorney access for low-income litigants; support for self-represented litigants; support for litigants with limited language proficiency; and support for people with disabilities.
Judiciary“We are very pleased that we are being recognized for providing Hawaii’s residents with some of the highest levels of service in the country,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “The Justice Index Report not only helps educate the public about the challenges and unmet need for legal assistance that exists in our legal system nationwide, but also raises awareness of the many resources available.  Increasing access to justice requires a collaborative effort.  We are so grateful to all those who are committed and dedicated to making 100% access a reality for all.”

Hawaii was number one in the country for providing support for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).  The State Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts (OEAC) has improved and increased the services available to Hawaii’s growing LEP population.  The Judiciary annually provides interpreting services for LEP clients in as many as 45 different languages.  OEAC also conducts statewide mandatory staff training on language access services for all Judiciary staff, so that the Judiciary can uphold the highest standard of service.

“Language access has always been a priority for us.  These findings are the result of the commitment of our OEAC team and the 382 interpreters who are part of the Judiciary’s Court Interpreter Certification Program,” explained Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary.  “We are continuing to find ways to improve language access, and are currently working on translating court forms from English into the 12 to 14 languages most frequently encountered in our state courts.”

Hawaii ranked in the top five for providing support to self-represented litigants.  The Hawaii State Judiciary together with the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and various community partners opened Self-Help Centers in every circuit in the state, where parties who cannot afford an attorney for their civil legal cases can get information from volunteer attorneys.  The Judiciary has worked with the Bar organizations on each island to increase the hours of operation and number of volunteers available to assist individuals who cannot afford an attorney.  Since the first Self-Help Center opened in 2011, volunteer attorneys and AmeriCorps Advocates have assisted more than 12,000 people, at almost no cost to the public.

The Hawaii State Judiciary also partnered with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Bar Association to make self-help interactive court forms available online.  Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software.  This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly.  For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide.

Hawaii rankedtop seven in providing support for people with disabilities.  The Hawaii State Judiciary is recognized for providing website information on how to request an accommodation, using only certified sign language interpreters in court, and providing information on how to file a complaint for anyone who has difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of a disability.

Accommodations covered by the courts may include, but are not limited to, modifications to schedules to assist those with disabilities, the cost of providing sign language interpreters or computer assisted real-time transcription for persons who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Chief Justice Recktenwald thanked Access to Justice Commission Chair, Justice Simeon R. Acoba, and his predecessor, Judge Daniel R. Foley, for their leadership on the Commission.  He went on to say, “None of this would be possible without the leadership and hard work of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission as well as our partnerships with the Hawaii State Bar Association, county bar associations, William S. Richardson School of Law, Hawaii Justice Foundation, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, AmeriCorps, and other legal service providers.  I would especially like to acknowledge the work of hundreds of attorneys who have volunteered their time and talents to help those with the greatest need of legal support.”

Senator Schatz Meets With Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court. The two met in Senator Schatz’s office on Capitol Hill to discuss the nominating process, his record and judicial philosophy.

Meeting Follows Garland’s Submission Of Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, An Essential Part Of The Confirmation Process For All Federal Judicial Nominees

Meeting Follows Garland’s Submission Of Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, An Essential Part Of The Confirmation Process For All Federal Judicial Nominees

“Chief Judge Garland and I had a productive discussion about his record and approach to the law, and it is clear to me that he is a well-qualified candidate for the Supreme Court. While I was glad to hear from him personally, the American people deserve to hear from him too,” said Senator Schatz. “We also now have Chief Judge Garland’s completed Senate Judiciary Questionnaire which I will be carefully reviewing. These documents hold key information on his judicial philosophy, opinions, and experience. Every member of the Senate should read it. Now that we have these documents, it’s time for Senate Republicans to do their job, take the next step in the process, and give Chief Judge Garland a fair and timely hearing and vote.”

Earlier today, Chief Judge Garland officially submitted his Senate Judiciary Questionnaire, as all previous nominees to the Supreme Court have done. The completed questionnaire is 141 pages long and includes 2,066 pages of appendices. It includes key information on Chief Judge Garland’s employment, honors and awards, published writings, litigated cases, judicial opinions, speeches, and interviews.

The standard Senate Judiciary Questionnaire is an essential part of the confirmation process for all federal judicial nominees. It is typically used by all senators to evaluate the nominee’s qualifications and then used as the basis for developing questions at the nominee’s confirmation hearing.

National Science Foundation Awards $20 Million Dollar Grant to UH System for Clean Water Research Project

Today, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $20,000,000 grant to the University of Hawaii System for a clean water research project. The project, titled Ike Wai from the Hawaiian words for knowledge and water, will address the critical needs of the state to maintain its supply of clean water, most of which comes from groundwater sources.

Ike Wai

“This grant will greatly improve our understanding of one of Hawaii’s most precious natural resources,” said Representative Mark Takai (HI-01). “Through public-private collaboration with federal, state and local agencies, we can increase the efficiency of our state’s water management, and ensure that we have the federal resources necessary to promote a workforce capable of conducting this type of research for generations to come.”

“Due to our volcanic origins, our system of aquifers is far more complex than we once thought,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “This grant will allow scientists to use modern mapping tools to provide policymakers with critical information about our water resources, and help ensure that there is enough for the needs of people, agriculture, and future generations.”

“Hawaii’s water is a precious resource, and this competitive funding will support the University of Hawaii’s research into protecting our fresh water sources for future generations,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. “Ike Wai and other projects that build an innovative, sustainable future are essential to understanding and finding solutions for our island state’s unique needs, and also underscore the importance of significant federal investments in research in these critical areas, something that I strongly support.”

“Pollution, fracking, unsustainable farming practices, and over development have put serious pressure on our clean water supply across the globe. It is essential that we protect and maintain access to fresh and clean water in Hawaiʻi due our isolated location in the Pacific,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “There is still much unknown about how water flows through the unique landscapes and volcanic foundations of our islands. This grant from the National Science Foundation will help us to better understand how to use our precious natural resources to ensure a continuous and high quality water supply.”

Ike Wai Valley

The Ike Wai project, awarded under the NSF’s Research Infrastructure Improvements Program, will greatly improve understanding of where the water that provides for the needs of Hawaii’s cities, farms, and industries comes from and how to ensure a continued, high quality supply. This supply is under increasing pressures from population growth, economic development, and climate change. The funding provided by the NSF will encourage collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies and community groups concerned with water management.

Hirono, Ige, Public Health, and Emergency Response Experts Raise Awareness, Call for Funding To Fight Zika

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Governor David Ige, Hawaii Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler, State Administrator of Emergency Management Vern Miyagi, Healthcare Association of Hawaii emergency responders, and Dr. Elliot Parks, CEO of Hawaii Biotech today called for increased public awareness and additional federal resources to prepare for and fight the Zika virus in Hawaii and across the country. Senator Hirono and Governor Ige also got a firsthand look at Hawaii Biotech’s work to develop a Zika vaccine.

Senator Hirono and Governor Ige get a firsthand look at Hawaii Biotech’s work in developing a Zika virus vaccine.

Senator Hirono and Governor Ige get a firsthand look at Hawaii Biotech’s work in developing a Zika virus vaccine.

“As Hawaii continues to recover from the recent dengue fever outbreak, we must act before the Zika virus poses a major threat to Hawaii families,” said Senator Hirono. “Bringing together Governor Ige and Zika experts today underscored that we must ensure first responders, state and county governments, and pioneering scientists like Dr. Parks have the necessary resources to face Zika head on. Stopping a widespread U.S. Zika outbreak requires a comprehensive approach and that’s why I’ll continue to push for action on the President’s emergency funding request to fund vector control, education programs, and vaccine development in Hawaii.”

“We all have a stake in preventing the Zika virus and other mosquito borne illnesses from taking hold in Hawaii. We must continue our collaboration and coordinated statewide fight against these illnesses, and with much needed support from the federal government, we will work to reduce the risks here in Hawaii and across the country,” said Governor David Ige.

“Although Zika is not currently circulating in Hawaii and there have been no locally-acquired cases, the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika – the same species that transmit dengue fever and chikungunya – are found in Hawaii, so the virus could be brought into our state by an infected traveler if precautions are not taken,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler, Hawaii State Department of Health. “All of the cases identified here have been travel-related and infected while outside of Hawaii, and the risk of imported cases increases as we head into warmer summer months and peak travel season. It is crucial for infected individuals to avoid mosquito exposure for three weeks upon their return home. The Department of Health aggressively investigates all reported cases of Zika to reduce the possibility of the disease spreading in our state.”

“We thank Senator Hirono for highlighting the dangerous potential for a Zika outbreak in Hawaii. The recent fight against Dengue has prepared us for Zika however we must continue our efforts to eliminate the mosquito vector. County, state, and Federal agencies can provide support and guidance, but success can only come as the result of a strong and sustained community effort to eliminate the mosquito vector and its breeding grounds,” said State Administrator of Emergency Management Vern Miyagi.

“It’s important for Hawaii to prepare now in order to prevent or minimize a Zika outbreak,” said Chris Crabtree, Interim Director of Emergency Services, Healthcare Association of Hawaii Emergency Services. “HAH Emergency Services has been supporting the efforts of the state and community partners during the dengue outbreak, and is prepared to do the same for future outbreaks of any infectious disease including Zika. Active preparation can prevent or reduce the health impact of disease outbreaks and increase the safety of our residents and visitors. We support any increase in aid to fight Zika.”

“We strongly support Senator Hirono’s call for the Federal government’s leadership in the battle against the Zika virus. Hawaii Biotech is working diligently to rapidly develop a safe and effective vaccine to protect all of us from this dangerous virus,” said Dr. Elliot Parks, CEO of Hawaii Biotech, Inc.

For nearly three months, Congressional Republicans have failed to respond to the President’s emergency funding request, even though the virus continues to spread from South America. In Hawaii, there are nine confirmed cases of Zika since 2015, which includes a case of an infected infant born with microcephaly, a serious birth defect directly linked to Zika. On Friday, the first U.S. death caused by Zika was reported in Puerto Rico.

Senator Hirono is an original cosponsor of federal legislation that would fund the President’s emergency request to provide resources for education and outreach programs, shore up Hawaii health care workers’ response to Zika, increase Hawaii vector control programs, and support the work of companies like Hawaii Biotech, which is racing to develop a Zika vaccine.

Local Artist Files “Breach of Contract” Lawsuit Against Dubai Based Retail Giant

Well known local artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker and his company Tiki Shark Art Inc, who are currently featured in Hana Hou – The magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, filed a “breach of contract” lawsuit against Dubai based retail giant Mohamed Al Hashemi Enterprises.

Brad in Hana Hou“Its so strange to be sought after, revved up for huge project on a International scale and then unceremoniously dropped” quoted artist Parker who is also the owner of Tiki Shark Art Inc. “A Hawaii judge has already ruled in my favor and now it seems the Middle Easterner’s continue to ignore and disrespect that decision? I am puzzled and distraught.”

Brad with Arab

According to public court record Parker won over a $43,000 award via default judgment after no one appeared on the Middle Eastern Company’s behalf back in March even when the officers of the company were clearly served papers and informed of the lawsuit and court date.

tiki shark lawsuitTiki Shark’s long term corporate attorney David Eugene Smith said “I am use to going to bat for the small business owners and their rights just like I have done in the past”. Smith added “It’s going to be a David verses Goliath situation on this case again and right will prevail”.

Mohammed Al Hashemi Enterprises currently does business with several high profile US brands and in this case being represented by DeVries & Associates – Porter DeVries who did not respond to questions emailed to them.

Hawaii Judiciary Celebrates Law Day Across the State

The Hawaii State Judiciary will host a variety of activities for Law Day, the annual celebration of the role of law, the legal process, and the courts in our democratic society.

The theme of Law Day 2016 is, “Miranda: More than Words,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of one of America’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court cases, Miranda v. Arizona.  Through the “Miranda” theme, Law Day will explore the procedural protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution, how these rights are safeguarded by the courts, and why the preservation of these principles is essential to our liberty.

Supreme Court Law Library staff members Chelsea DeMott and Jason Weekley are pictured above with the Library’s “Law Day 2016: Miranda More Than Words” display that provides an overview of the historical significance of the Miranda case in the United States, along with basic information on Miranda rights.

Supreme Court Law Library staff members Chelsea DeMott and Jason Weekley are pictured above with the Library’s “Law Day 2016: Miranda More Than Words” display that provides an overview of the historical significance of the Miranda case in the United States, along with basic information on Miranda rights.

Across the islands, the Judiciary will sponsor special events and activities during the first week of May.

As part of the Judiciary’s Access to Justice Initiative, volunteer attorneys and AmeriCorps Advocates at courthouse Self-Help Centers will provide limited legal information to members of the public, free of charge.  At Oahu’s Access to Justice Rooms, volunteer attorneys will also provide limited legal advice.  For Self-Help Center locations, days and times, visit the Hawaii State Judiciary website at:  http://bit.ly/23bEaXX

FIRST CIRCUIT (Oahu)

The Supreme Court Law Library will have an educational display for the public on the historical significance of the Miranda case, basic information on Miranda rights, and the influence of the Miranda case in the media and popular culture.

The Supreme Court Law Library, located at Aliiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, 96813, is open Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Staff is available to provide information services and hand-outs on accessing legal resources.

SECOND CIRCUIT (Maui)

In the days leading up to Law Week, approximately 180 students have visited courts throughout the Second Circuit, observing court proceedings and meeting with judges.  Schools or individual students wishing to arrange a student tour of their local courthouse should contact the court at: (808) 244-2860.  Judges are also available to visit schools to discuss the law and the role of the courts in our society.

During the month of May there will be an educational display at the Second Circuit Court (Hoapili Hale, 2145 Main Street, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793-1679) concerning the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rights of victims and witnesses, Access to Justice, and the different courts in the Second Circuit.

On May 5, 2016, a County of Maui Proclamation recognizing the Drug Courts and Veterans Court will be presented by Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan on behalf of Mayor Arakawa as part of the 55th Graduation Ceremony of the Maui / Molokai Drug Court.

THIRD CIRCUIT (Big Island)

Student tours have been arranged throughout the Third Circuit so students have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and meet with judges.

FIFTH CIRCUIT (Kauai)

Legal Aid Managing Attorney Linda Vass will provide a special 90-minute presentation on “Landlord/Tenant:  Basic Laws for Landlords & Tenants,” on May 2, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Kauai Judicial Complex (Puuhonoa Kaulike Building, 3970 Kaana Street, Lihue, 96766) First Floor, Multi-Purpose Room.  This event is free and open to the public.

On May 6, 2016, the courthouse Self-Help Center will open for extended hours, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., with volunteer attorneys providing free legal information to the public.  Walk-in appointments will be taken on a first come, first served basis.  For more information call (808) 482-2660.

Tours of the Kauai Judicial Complex will be available for schools and interested members of the public.  Tour arrangements may be made by calling (808) 482-2347.

Finally, a number of educational displays will be posted at the Kauai Judicial Complex.  The Adult Client Probation Service will have a display on the HOPE Probation Program, along with the Juvenile Client and Family Service Branch displays on Girls Court and the Kauai Drug Court.  The educational displays will feature program highlights and provide free program literature.

Hawaii Governor Names Every Student Succeeds Act Team Members

Gov. David Ige announced the names of the newly selected members of the Governor’s Team on ESSA – Every Student Succeeds Act. The team will work to develop a blue print for Hawai‘i’s public schools that is consistent with ESSA and will maximize opportunities and possibilities for Hawai‘i to transform education.

essa

The team was selected by Gov. Ige based on recommendations and applications, including one recommendation each from Senate President Ronald Kouchi and House Speaker Joe Souki.

“Our goal was to get a good cross-section of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The work of the ESSA team will be an inclusive process that will involve town meetings and a summit to allow all to participate,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige appointed Darrel Galera as chairman of the ESSA team earlier this month.

Here is a complete list of members:

  • Philip Bossert – Community member, Director of Strategic & International Program, HAIS
  • Catherine Caine – Elementary School Teacher, Waikīkī Elementary
  • Kamana‘opono Crabbe – CEO – Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • Darrel Galera – Chariperson, Executive Director, Education Institute of Hawai‘i
  • Keith Hayashi – Principal, Waipahu High School
  • Michelle Kidani – State Senator, Chair of Senate Education Committee
  • Brennan Lee – Student, State Student council
  • Ann Mahi – DOE – Complex Area Superintendent Waianae/Nanakuli
  • Hubert Minn – Member, Board of Education
  • Lauren Moriguchi – Executive Director, Office of Early Learning
  • Steve Nakasato – Principal, Pearl Ridge Elementary School
  • Alan Oshima – President, CEO Hawaiian Electric Co.
  • Catherine Payne – Chairperson, Charter Schools Commission
  • Amy Perruso – Teacher, Mililani High School
  • Stacey Roberts – UH Professor, Chair of Educational Administration Program
  • Carol Shikada – DOE – Educational Specialist (Kaua‘i)
  • Linda Takayama – Workforce – Director of Labor & Industrial Relations
  • Stephen Terstegge – Parent/Military, Castle High School
  • Takashi Ohno – State Representative

The team had its first preliminary, introductory meeting today. Meeting minutes will be regularly distributed to the Legislature, Schools Superintendent, Board of Education, Department of Education and will be posted on the governor’s website at: governor.hawaii.gov.

The ESSA team will ultimately be responsible for assessing the current public school system and identifying areas of need.

An Education Summit will be scheduled this summer to give organizations and individuals the opportunity to discuss possibilities for a future-focused education system and solicit input on key recommendations to the state’s ESSA plan.

Milestone Reached in Hawai‘i Island Dengue Fever Outbreak

With no reports of recent incidences of locally acquired dengue fever in 30 days, the state and County of Hawai‘i announced a significant milestone in the Hawai‘i Island outbreak that began in October. While the outbreak seems to have come to a halt, Gov. David Ige, along with other state and local officials caution the public not to let their guard down in the fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit.

Mosquito Bite

The state and Hawai‘i County are standing down certain emergency response activities related to the dengue fever outbreak after 30 days of no new locally acquired cases. This decision rests on the fact that three periods of the maximum human incubation period of ten days have passed. The final day of the infectious period for the last reported case was March 27. However, as per routine operations, the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) continues to immediately investigate all travel related cases and conduct mosquito assessments and/or treatment of potential areas of mosquito exposure.

“This milestone could not have been reached without the diligent efforts and teamwork by the Department of Health and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency,” said Gov. Ige. “While this outbreak seems to be ending, our statewide response to mosquito-borne diseases must continue. We must remain vigilant in our mosquito prevention and abatement practices, be ready to respond to the Zika virus, and continue working together as a state to ‘Fight the Bite.’”

Since Oct. 28, 2015, DOH and the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency (HCCDA) have been actively investigating and responding to locally-acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawai‘i Island. Dengue is not endemic to Hawai‘i, but it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. As of April 27, 2016, 264 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever have been confirmed on Hawai‘i  Island with illnesses occurring as early as Sept. 11, 2015.

“By no means are we out of the clear,” said Darryl Oliveira, administrator of the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency. “Cooperation and collaboration between the state and county have been exemplary but we continue to identify actions and efforts that we can improve on in the future. We appreciate the tremendous initiative shown by the community in assisting with mosquito abatement and encourage everyone to continue taking proactive measures around their homes and neighborhoods to keep our state safe.”

Over the course of the outbreak, DOH’s Vector Control team surveyed a total of 523 private properties and 310 public spaces. Of that count, 220 private properties and 65 public spaces were sprayed and/or treated for mosquitoes. A total of more than 1,900 reported potential cases were evaluated and/or tested by DOH disease investigators and State Laboratories Division staff.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “The fight against mosquitoes is far from over and we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our communities from the risk of mosquito borne diseases. We continue to receive and investigate reports of travel-related suspect cases of dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya on all islands. As Zika continues to spread rapidly overseas, we must take precautionary measures to prevent any locally acquired cases from taking hold in our state.”

“Knowing the dengue fever outbreak has been halted is welcome news for Hawaii’s tourism industry, especially for the travel partners, employees and residents who rely on its continued success,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Travelers considering a visit to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months can make their plans with confidence and without the hesitation that dengue may have been causing them.”

On April 11, Gov. Ige signed a supplemental proclamation to extend the state’s emergency period for mosquito borne illnesses. Under the extended emergency proclamation, DOH and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), with input from county partners, will continue ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive response plan detailing appropriate actions and measures dependent on the state’s current risk associated with mosquito borne diseases. A statewide public awareness and education campaign will kick off this year to ensure people understand the risks of mosquito-borne diseases and how to best prevent these illnesses in Hawai‘i.

Pregnant women need to take special precautions against the Zika virus and should avoid travel to areas where Zika is actively circulating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly in newborns, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with other babies of the same sex and age. CDC has also confirmed that Zika can be spread from an infected man to his sexual partners. It is still unknown how long the virus can be spread in this way after the infected male’s symptoms have cleared.

For additional information about Zika virus and precautions, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/. For travel information and advisories, visit CDC’s website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Update on Response Activities for Big Island Dengue Fever Outbreak – Health Department Daily Web Site Updates End

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

The State Health Department is no longer updating their website as of 4/26/2016

What: The State and County will announce the status of the Hawai‘i Island dengue fever outbreak and a new phase of response activities

Who:             

  • Governor David Ige
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawai‘i
  • Darryl Oliveira, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health
  • Maj. Gen. Arthur “Joe” Logan, State Adjutant General and Director of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency
  • George Szigeti, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President & CEO

When: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. 

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

We plan to live stream the event through the governor’s website.

End of Dengue

Hawaii House and Senate Budget Conferees Agree on Funding to Increase Vector Control Staffing – Concern for Dengue and Zika Drives Need

House and Senate conferees on the state budget today agreed to provide $1,270,120 to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease.

Mosquito Bite

Hawaii Island’s recent outbreak of dengue fever and the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which are spread by mosquitoes, have highlighted the continued importance of vector control, and House and Senate conferees want to ensure that the state is prepared to adequately short circuit, monitor and respond to any future outbreaks.

“This funding will help re-establish the vector control branch, which has been reduced over the past few years by furloughs and budget cuts,” said Sylvia Luke, chairperson of the House Finance Committee.  “In making these appropriations, the department will be able to add 20 new positions to monitor populations of vectors such as mosquitoes and rats, and to respond appropriately when a threat arises.”

Before the dengue fever outbreak in October, 2015, the state had 25 vector control positions, but 8 were vacant. With the added 20 new positions, there will be a total of 45 people in vector control when all positions are filled.

“Infectious disease has been and will continue to be one of our key challenges in a world made smaller and more connected with modern day air travel,” said Jill Tokuda, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  “The state’s recent slow response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island was a wake-up call for all us.  We must be more vigilant in anticipating and responding to such outbreaks spread by mosquitoes and other vectors.”

In addition, the budget items agreed upon today included:

  • $6.9 million for public school transportation services;
  • $5.2 million for utilities for public schools;
  • $2.5 million for new fire trucks, firefighter equipment and fire retardant suits to ensure airport safety;
  • $1.5 million to fund a U.S. geographical survey study on Hawaii streams;
  • $1.4 million for port security and safety boats to reduce impact of natural disasters;
  • $1.25 million for maintenance and replacement of equipment at UH community colleges;
  • $400,000 to support beach restoration and protection projects and studies;
  • $180,000 for hydrologist and project development specialist positions for public land management for the disposition of water rights lease management and oversight; and
  • $162,354 for physician salary increases for better access to medical services for the Department of Public Safety.

The agreements were part of House and Senate conferees continued negotiations on a final version of HB1700, the state budget bill.  Earlier in the session, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget.

Lawmakers will continue to meet to iron out differences between the two versions through April 29, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.  A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state and judiciary budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2016budget.aspx

The conference committee is scheduled to reconvene on Friday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. in room 309.

DBEDT Releases Report on Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today that examines the non-English speaking population in Hawaii based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2010 to 2014.  The department’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Click to read the report

Click to read the report

The “Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii” report looks at residents aged 5 and older, who can speak a language other than English.  The report shows 17.9 percent of the population are foreign born, and speak more than 130 languages. About one in four Hawaii residents speak a language other than English at home, which is higher than the U.S. average of 21 percent. The data shows 12.4 percent of the state’s population speak English less than “very well,” which is much higher than the U.S. average of 8.6 percent.

Some of the findings in the report include the following:

  • Non-English language speaking at home was more prevalent in Honolulu County than in the neighbor island counties.  The proportion of non-English speakers was highest in Honolulu County at 28 percent and lowest in Hawaii County at 19 percent.
  • Ilocano, Tagalog, and Japanese were the top three most common non-English languages spoken at home in Hawaii.  Speakers of these three languages made up about half of non-English speakers at home in Hawaii.
  • English proficiency of the non-English speaking population varied substantially by language.  Among the top 10 most common non-English languages spoken at home in Hawaii, the German speaking population had the highest English proficiency with 84 percent of them speaking English “very well,” followed by the Hawaiian speaking population at 82 percent.  The proportion of fluent English speakers was relatively low among Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Ilocano speaking population, with less than 40 percent of them speaking English “very well.”
  • Compared with the adult population, the proportion of non-English speakers was lower and English proficiency was better in the 5 to 17 school-age children group. The popular language spoken by the school-age children were also different.  The share of Hawaiian speakers was noticeably bigger in the school-age children group than in the adult group.
  • The most distinctive characteristic of the non-English speaking population from the English-only speaking population was their nativity.  Of the non-English speakers at home, 63 percent in Hawaii were foreign born.  Compared with the English-only speaking population, the non-English speakers in Hawaii had a gender structure with more female population, and an age distribution with higher shares of older age groups.  The overall educational attainments of the non-English speakers were lower than that of the English-only speakers.
  • English proficiency had strong impacts on an individual’s economic activities. Labor force participation rate of the non-English speakers, who could not speak English well was about 15 percentage points lower than the rates for the English-only speakers and the non-English speakers who could speak English well. The rate difference with these groups was bigger at 33 percentage points for the non-English speakers who could not speak English at all.
  • English proficiency also played an important role in the selection of occupation. The occupational composition of the non-English speakers who could not speak English well showed a high concentration in two occupation groups: “Food preparation and serving” and “building/grounds cleaning and maintenance”. About one in two non-English speakers worked in one of these two occupations if they could not speak English well.
  • Earning disparities among various English proficiency groups were evident.  The median earnings of the non-English speakers were lower than that of the English-only speaking population for all English proficiency levels, and the earnings gap amplified as English proficiency decreased.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/reports_studies/non-english-speaking-population-in-hawaii/.

Maps on the non-English speaking population in Hawaii are available on this page by Census Designated Place and by Census Tract (based on the 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5 year data).

New Federal Education Law Prompts Governor to Form Team to Develop Blueprint for Hawaii’s Education

Gov. David Ige today announced the formation of the Governor’s Team on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law calls for the most significant reduction in federal authority over public education in decades. The law returns authority to the 50 states to set the direction for their own public schools.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act. President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act into law on December 10, 2015.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act into law on December 10, 2015.

The governor’s team will work to develop a blue print for Hawai‘i’s public schools that is consistent with ESSA and will maximize opportunities and possibilities for Hawai‘i to transform education.

Gov. Ige has appointed Darrel Galera as chairman of the Governor’s ESSA team and is in the process of appointing 16 additional members representing all stakeholders in public education.

Under the new education law, Gov. Ige will be involved in the development of the new state education plan and will have final approval over the plan.

“This is a major opportunity to change the face of public education in Hawai‘i for the better. Our innovation economy depends on a well-educated workforce to meet the state’s goals in renewable energy, locally grown food production, environmental stewardship and more. It is my hope that the public will participate in this process to help our education system prepare students for high-skill careers in the 21st century,” said Gov. Ige.

The ESSA team will ultimately be responsible for assessing the current public school system and identifying areas of need.

An Education Summit will be scheduled this summer to give organizations and individuals the opportunity to discuss possibilities for a future-focused education system and solicit input on key recommendations to the state’s ESSA plan.

Town hall meetings will also be scheduled to share information with the public and to collect public input for the ESSA plan.

To apply to serve on the Governor’s ESSA Team, go to: https://forms.ehawaii.gov/pages/board-survey/

Deadline for applications is April 22, 2016.

On Equal Pay Day, Senator Hirono Leads Measure To End Gender Barriers In STEM Careers

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today marked Equal Pay Day by introducing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Opportunities Act, legislation that would improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. Equal Pay Day marks the day in 2016 when, on average, women’s wages catch up to what men earned in 2015.

mazie 412“It’s unacceptable that we are more than 100 days into 2016, but women’s salaries are only now catching up with what men made last year,” said Senator Hirono. “While the gender pay gap affects women across all fields, women in STEM careers continue to face barriers that can limit their opportunities for employment and equal pay. The STEM Opportunities Act takes a comprehensive approach to combatting factors that limit the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. For America to remain competitive in a 21st century economy, we must break down barriers for working women through passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the STEM Opportunities Act.”

Senator Hirono also took to the Senate floor to mark Equal Pay Day and highlight disparities in STEM fields. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in school year 2014-2015, men earned more than five times the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees and three times as many bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering as women.

The STEM Opportunities Act helps federal science agencies and institutions of higher education identify and share best practices to overcome barriers that can hurt the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, and also allows universities and nonprofits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act builds on legislation championed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The Senate measure is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“Science, technology, engineering and math are drivers of innovation in states like New Jersey, and across the country. If we are to remain globally competitive, we have to ensure all Americans- including women and minorities- are prepared to succeed in these important fields,” said Senator Booker. “I am pleased to support the STEM Opportunities Act to create inclusive career pathways that will help grow our economy and create opportunities for more Americans.”

“The STEM fields are critical to driving innovation and economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But we limit our potential when our STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation. I was proud to lead a successful bipartisan amendment to the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act to increase access to high-quality STEM coursework in K-12 education for students who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act will improve opportunities for advancement in STEM fields for women and underrepresented minorities further down the pipeline – in higher education, in early careers, and for STEM academics and professionals.”

“Increasing women and minority participation in the STEM economy will keep the United States at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey. “The diversity of STEM professionals will help fuel the diversity of discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. For our future scientific endeavors to produce the next generation of life-changing results, we need to ensure that our universities, laboratories and research institutions reflect the rich diversity of our nation and continue to receive the support that fosters breakthroughs and helps maintain American leadership in science and technology.”

“If we’re serious about empowering more young women and communities of color to take on STEM careers and compete in the 21st century economy, we need to ramp up our research efforts to identify and share best practices so that we can diversify the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Senator Murray. “STEM skills are so important for Washington state’s economy, so making these fields more inclusive will ultimately strengthen our workforce and our economy in the years to come.”

“By expanding access to STEM disciplines in schools and sharing best practices for recruitment and retention in STEM careers, we can help more women and minorities become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, boosting economic success and strengthening America’s competitiveness in the 21st-century global economy,” said Senator Peters. “The STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 will improve inclusion of women and minorities in STEM fields by tapping into and fostering their talents.”

The American Association for University of Women, American Women in Science, Girls, Inc., MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering, Maui Economic Development Board, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Society for Women Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the STEM Opportunities Act.

“When we reduce barriers that deter women and other underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM fields, American businesses get a leg up on the rest of the world. The STEM Opportunities Act will open doors for a more diverse science community, and in so doing help spur innovation and increase our global competitiveness,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at American Association of University Women. “Any serious attempt to modernize our science workforce and our nation’s science priorities is incomplete without this measure.

“In Hawaii, high-paying STEM jobs are boosting our island economy,” said Leslie Wilkins, Vice President, of the Maui Economic Development Board and Director of the Women in Technology Project. “To grow the education to workforce pipeline needed to keep up with STEM job demand, our Women in Technology initiative continues to engage girls and women who are under-represented in technology fields. WIT’s hands-on STEM curriculum, training, mentoring and internship programs have had a significant impact statewide but still need ongoing support.  Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing the STEM Opportunities Act, a comprehensive bill that could strengthen our efforts, as well as others throughout Hawaii and the nation.”

“Investing in STEM is an investment in our nation’s future, and it is imperative that women and people of color are represented and empowered to succeed in these fields. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, and despite stereotypes, some AAPI subgroups are underrepresented in STEM overall. Disaggregated data on AAPIs at institutions of higher education and federal science agencies will highlight the need for more investment in AAPIs in STEM fields, and this legislation would benefit all women and people of color in STEM. Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for STEM inclusion, and we also thank her for her ongoing leadership on behalf of AAPI communities in all areas,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang.

“Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) enthusiastically supports the STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 and applauds its sponsors for their efforts.  Improving data collection, research and sharing best practices across federal science agencies and institutions of higher education to address systemic factors impeding the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are all key elements in the Nation’s interest.  The PAESMEM awards are particularly essential in bringing all groups into STEM; SACNAS was a PAESMEM recipient in 2004 and 20 of SACNAS’ members have received PAESMEM awards.   In order to keep our nation competitive in science and engineering, such legislation as this Act is essential. As classical Clayton Christensen ‘disruptive thinking’ implies, helping the unserved and underserved—women and underrepresented minorities in STEM in this case—enables the greatest movement forward. SACNAS has over 6,000 paid members and serves a larger constituency of over 18,000—over half of whom are females—with particular emphasis on minorities underrepresented in STEM,” said Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Vice President, Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives.

“SEARAC commends Senator Hirono’s proposed STEM Opportunities Act for taking a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce through grants for evidence-based efforts, the creation of a federal inter-agency group to create policies that include a more diverse STEM workforce, and the collection of data to examine progress towards increasing STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.  SEARAC is especially pleased that the STEM Opportunities Act collects disaggregated data for AAPI students — which will illuminate the disparities in access and participation to STEM opportunities within the AAPI community,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

“U Drive U Text U Pay” – Big Island Police Participate in National Campaign

Hawaiʻi Island police will increase enforcement of distracted driving in the month of April as part of a national campaign called “U Drive U Text U Pay”.
U Drive U Text U PayDistracted driving is a problem of national concern. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds that the task of driving requires a driver’s full attention in focusing on the roadway and driving maneuvers.

Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the driver’s risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road or hands off the wheel.

On July 1, 2013, the State of Hawaiʻi enacted law prohibiting the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle (with certain exceptions) and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming and e-mailing, which take a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road and hands off the wheel. Use of an electronic device while operating a vehicle is a $297 fine and $307 if the violation is within a school or construction zone.