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Leeward Oahu Administrator Named Hawaii’s 2017 National Distinguished Principal

The Hawaii Elementary and Middle Schools Administrators Association today named Principal Nelson Shigeta from Makaha Elementary School as the 2017 National Distinguished Principal. Shigeta will join the National Association of Elementary School Principals awardees from the other 49 states in Washington D.C. in October.

2017 National Distinguished Principal Nelson Shigeta thanks his staff and praises other nominees and administrators. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“These school leaders possess strong collaborative values, working with their teachers and staff to create effective school communities to support students,” said Deputy Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “Congratulations to all of the nominees, Principal Nelson Shigeta and the Outstanding Vice Principal of the Year Greg Nakasone.”

Shigeta is a veteran educator who has spent many years on the Leeward Coast. He values technology and has identified ways to incorporate 21st Century Learning strategies to improve reading proficiency, and increased the number of 1:1 devices available to students in order to enhance access to leveled texts in each classroom. As a result, students have spent more than 5,000 hours reading a total of 19,000 books, and reading proficiency has improved in numerous areas.

“I’m humbled to be recognized, especially after hearing the stories of the other nominees,” shared Shigeta. “Leadership is a team effort and one of the things I’m most proud of at Makaha Elementary School is my staff who work hard everyday to meet the needs of our students. This award means so much to me because it recognizes their commitment too.”

The other 2017 National Distinguished Principal (NDP) nominees who were honored include:

  • Alison Higa, Shafter Elementary School
  • Darlene Javar, Naalehu Elementary School
  • Gay Kong, Keolu Elementary School
  • Jason Yoshida, King Kaumualii Elementary School
  • Kim Mukai-Ontai, Kamalii Elementary School
  • Laura Vines, Kalihi Kai Elementary School

Front Row (L to R): Nelson Shigeta, Laura Vines, Darlene Javar; Second Row (L to R): Gay Kong, Kim Mukai-Ontai, Alison Higa, Jason Yoshida, Greg Nakasone. Photo Credit: Department of Education

The 2017 NDP awards took place at the Hale Koa Hotel and were sponsored by Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and VALIC.

The Hawaii Elementary and Middle Schools Administrators Association (HEMSAA) is the local chapter of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The purpose of HEMSAA is to facilitate positive educational leadership and serve as a voice for elementary, middle-level principals and other members. For more information, click here.

Students from Kalani High School Power Ahead to 20th Annual National Ocean Sciences Competition

Kalani High School students will be competing for the first time in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The 20th annual Nationals Finals Competition will take place April 22-23 at Oregon State University. The team joins 24 other regional winners out of a total of 392 competing teams.

L to R: Zoe Asahan, Rovi Porter, Mika Ishii, Daniel Huang, David Higashi, Coach Leslie Hamasaki.  Photo Credit: Kalani High School

Students from Kalani High School will compete against other top high school scholars in the 20th annual National Finals Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) this Sat., April 22 and Sun., April 23. The team won the Hawaii regional competition and joins 24 other regional winners (out of a total of 392 competing teams) at the finals at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

“This is the first time that students from Kalani High School will be competing in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, and we are excited to cheer them on this weekend,” said Principal Mitchell Otani. “The lessons and skills the students have learned by preparing for the competitions have given them a strong foundation as they pursue post-secondary opportunities in science-related fields as well as public policy.”

Students will test their knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology by answering buzzer-style, multiple choice questions, and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions. They will also participate in the Science Expert Briefing, a mock congressional hearing where they present science recommendations on a piece of legislation, enhancing their critical thinking skills and building a better understanding of the broader context of science.

The Kalani High School team consists of: Zoe Asahan, David Higashi, Daniel Huang, Mika Ishii and Rovi Porter.

The NOSB, a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, is building the next generation of ocean-literate citizens and scientists, educating them on timely topics that will remain relevant for years to come. The Finals competition theme this year is “Blue Energy: Powering the Planet With Our Ocean.”

Follow the Kalani High School team at the NOSB National Finals competition this weekend on Twitter (@NOSBRocks), FacebookInstagram, and Tumblr, using #NOSB17 and #NOSBturns20.

More Than 1,000 Maui Residents Pour Into Castle Theater For Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Last Stop On Statewide Town Hall Tour

At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater last night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted her seventh Town Hall to an audience of more than 1,000 Maui residents, making it the largest of the crowds to gather for a stop on the congresswoman’s statewide tour between April 11-20. In total, more than 3,500 constituents from Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island participated in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Aloha Town Hall Tour” with many of the meetings having more than 30,000 viewers via Facebook Live.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “As we wrap up this Aloha Town Hall Tour that has brought together so many of us from communities across the entire state, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who took the time to come out, to listen, to share, and to ask questions—your kindness, your activism, and your aloha is what made these meetings so powerful and productive. Each of us has an opportunity to act with love and aloha, to respect others, and to work together despite any differences we have as we do our best to be of service to others.”

Issues of concern that came up on the Valley Isle tonight included online privacy rights and the congresswoman’s fight to stop Internet Service Providers from selling individuals’ internet browsing history without consent, Maui’s water infrastructure, overcrowding at the island’s prison, the need for more programs that assist inmates and reduce recidivism, criminal justice reform, decriminalizing marijuana, and access to truly affordable healthcare—not just health insurance. The audience expressed support for her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, her continued push to end the illegal regime change war in Syria, and her fight for peace.

Earlier today on Maui, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard participated in the Future Forum with her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D, CA-15) to address common issues facing millennials, the challenges of entering the work force, and solutions to exponentially increasing student debt. The congresswoman also visited the Maui Food Innovation Center, where she met with young entrepreneurs and UH Maui College students to discuss sustainable business practices and food security on the Valley Isle.

For more information, please contact Erika Tsuji at (808) 286-0803.

Hawaii Attorney General Responds to Attorney General Session’s Comment

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

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

Sea Floor Erodes, Reefs Can’t Keep Up – Coastal Communities Losing Storm Protection

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) near Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands have died and collapsed into rubble. As coral reef structure degrades, habitat for marine life is lost and nearby coastlines become more susceptible to storms, waves and erosion.  Photo: Curt Storlazzi, USGS. Public domain.

In the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Maui, coral reef degradation has caused sea floor depths to increase as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades, the USGS study found. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated.

As sea levels rise worldwide due to climate change, each of these ecologically and economically important reef ecosystems is projected to be affected by increasing water depths. The question of whether coral colonies can grow fast enough to keep up with rising seas is the subject of intense scientific research.

But the USGS study, published April 20, 2017 in the journal Biogeosciences, found the combined effect of rising seas and sea floor erosion has already increased water depths more than what most scientists expected to occur many decades from now. Other studies that do not factor in sea floor erosion have predicted seas will rise by between 0.5 and 1 meter, or between 19 inches and 3 feet 3 inches, by 2100.

“Our measurements show that seafloor erosion has already caused water depths to increase to levels not predicted to occur until near the year 2100,” said biogeochemist Kimberly Yates of the USGS’ St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the study’s lead author. “At current rates, by 2100 sea floor erosion could increase water depths by two to eight times more than what has been predicted from sea level rise alone.”

The study included areas of the reef tract in Florida’s Upper Keys and Lower Keys; looked at two reef ecosystems, St. Thomas and Buck Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and also included the waters surrounding Maui. The researchers did not determine specific causes for the sea floor erosion in these coral reef ecosystems. But the authors pointed out that coral reefs worldwide are declining due to a combination of forces, including natural processes, coastal development, overfishing, pollution, coral bleaching, diseases and ocean acidification (a change in seawater chemistry linked to the oceans’ absorption of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).

For each of the five coral reef ecosystems, the team gathered detailed sea floor measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken between 1934 and 1982, and also used surveys done from the late 1990s to the 2000s by the USGS Lidar Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Until about the 1960s sea floor measurements were done by hand, using lead-weighted lines or sounding poles with depth markings. From approximately the 1960s on, most measurements were based on the time it takes an acoustic pulse to reach the sea floor and return. The USGS researchers converted the old measurements to a format comparable to recent lidar data.

They compared the old and new sets of measurements to find the mean elevation changes at each site. The method has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track other kinds of sea floor changes, such as shifts in shipping channels. This is the first time it has been applied to whole coral reef ecosystems. Next the researchers developed a computer model that used the elevation changes to calculate the volume of sea floor material lost.

They found that overall, sea floor elevation has decreased at all five sites, in amounts ranging from 0.09 meters (about 3 ½ inches) to 0.8 meters (more than 2 ½ feet). All five reef tracts also lost large amounts of coral, sand, and other sea floor materials to erosion.

“We saw lower rates of erosion—and even some localized increases in seafloor elevation—in areas that were protected, near refuges, or distant from human population centers,” Yates said. “But these were not significant enough to offset the ecosystem-wide pattern of erosion at each of our study sites.”

Worldwide, more than 200 million people live in coastal communities protected by coral reefs, which serve as natural barriers against storms, waves and erosion. These ecosystems also support jobs, provide about one-quarter of all fish harvests in the tropical oceans, and are important recreation and tourism sites.

“Coral reef systems have long been recognized for their important economic and ecological value,” said John Haines, Program Coordinator of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. “This study tells us that they have a critical role in building and sustaining the physical structure of the coastal seafloor, which supports healthy ecosystems and protects coastal communities. These important ecosystem services may be lost by the end of this century, and nearby communities may need to find ways to compensate for these losses.”

The study brought together ecosystem scientists and coastal engineers, who plan to use the results to assess the risks to coastal communities that rely on coral reefs for protection from storms and other hazards.

The study is available at www.biogeosciences.net/14/1739/2017.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Addresses Kauaʻi Dairy, Labor Unions, Water Quality at Town Hall With 500+ Garden Isle Residents

More than 500 Kauaʻi residents packed into the Veterans Center in Līhue to hear from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) at her sixth Town Hall on a statewide tour.

The audience shared concern over the difficulty in accessing quality affordable healthcare, expressed strong support for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s work to reinstate Glass-Steagall and reform Wall Street, and favored her bill (H.R.1227) to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, removing the conflict between federal and state law for places like Hawaiʻi that have approved medical marijuana dispensaries.

Local concerns that took center stage during the Q&A included protecting water and reef quality, the high cost of inter-island travel, the Jones Act, and “Right to Work” legislation. Kauaʻi residents also asked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea’s nuclear escalation and Trump’s recent illegal attack on Syria, and they thanked her for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (H.R.608).

The final stop on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour is tonight on Maui. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

Tulsi’s Maui Town Hall:

Tonight, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Hilo Town Hall Draws Largest Crowd Yet on Statewide Tour With More Than 600 East Hawaii Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) was in Hilo last night to host her fifth Town Hall in a series of seven statewide. More than 600 East Hawaiʻi residents attended the meeting at Waiakea High School—the largest crowd yet on the congresswoman’s Town Hall Tour across the islands. Many brought homemade signs showing their support for peace over escalating wars abroad. They expressed deep concern over the threat of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Hawaii’s preparedness, and also Trump’s recent illegal attack in Syria.

Residents asked Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a variety of questions from healthcare to decriminalizing marijuana to criminal justice reform, and many other issues that affect the people of Hawaiʻi. She was thanked for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, for cosponsoring “Medicare for All” legislation, and for her work to honor Filipino World War II Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The next stops on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Kauaʻi – Tonight, Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy, Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

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

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

Click to read full letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Island High School Senior Earns National Art Award

Parker School is pleased to announce senior Eric Fetsch has earned national recognition in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Eric Fetsch

Fetsch was selected by a panel of creative professionals as the most accomplished in the nation and received a Scholastic National Silver medal award for his art portfolio titled “Human Figures.” His portfolio included 10 sculptures of the human figure in clay and is one of the most prestigious categories as it shows a sustained level of excellence over multiple works in both concept and execution.

This year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted, with approximately 18,800 submissions receiving a Gold Key award – the highest honor at the regional level. Fetsch is among the top 1% of only 2,740 students to be awarded at the national level.

Fetsch has been invited to attend a ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall on June 8 and to participate in showcase events at Parsons School for Design at The New School and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City.

Nine additional Parker high school students earned regional recognition out of more than 1,500 submissions in the state, including Shea Ervin (grade 10), Riley Herendeen (grade 11), and Coco Romano Giordano (grade 12) who each earned Gold Key awards.

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized creative teenagers from across the country. By earning this award, Fetsch joins a legacy of celebrated authors and artists including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Lena Dunham, and many more.

Over 500 Attend Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Town Hall in Windward Oʻahu

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted a Town Hall on Saturday evening for Oʻahu residents of the Second Congressional District.  More than 500 constituents from all over the island, including North Shore, Central Oʻahu, and Waianae Coast residents, gathered in Kailua to hear from and ask questions of their congresswoman. More than 25,000 viewers tuned in via Facebook Live for the third of seven meetings she is hosting on her statewide Town Hall Tour during the April District Work Period.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress, explained the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that benefit Hawaiʻi families, and answered questions from the audience on a range of topics, including the threat of North Korea’s nuclear escalation, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and Trump’s recent illegal attack on Syria.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard earned roaring applause for her work to pass “Medicare for All” legislation, her strong positions fighting for peace, demanding transparency in the Trump Administration by releasing the president’s tax returns, and fighting to protect the environment and our precious resources. She used the example of Kainalu Elementary School’s warm cafeteria, where the meeting was held, as she spoke about the many local infrastructure projects here at home that would benefit from taxpayer dollars if they weren’t being spent abroad in regime change wars.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Relocates Maui Town Hall to Accommodate High Number of Attendees

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced that her Maui Town Hall location has been moved to accommodate the growing number of attendees. The previous venue had a maximum capacity of 250 people, and already, more than 400 Valley Isle residents have RSVP’d to attend this week’s meeting.

The town hall meeting in Kona drew a huge crowd.

Please note the new location that can accommodate a larger crowd:

  • Tulsi’s Maui Town Hall – Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

All other meeting locations on Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour during the April District Work Period remain unchanged at this time. To RSVP for one of the upcoming Town Halls, residents from the Second Congressional District are encouraged to sign up at gabbard.house.gov/townhall at least one day prior to the meeting date:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Supports Tax Marchers, Calls on House Republicans to Bring Transparency Bill to a Floor Vote

In support of local and national participation in the “Tax March” movement, which has gained momentum around the country to demand transparency from President Trump, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) issued the following statement today:

“Every president has a duty to put the interests of the American people first and foremost, and the American people deserve to know whether allegiance to special interests or undue foreign influence might be interfering with that duty.”

Addressing the Hawaiʻi residents who participated in the Tax March events on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island this weekend, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “We need leadership in this country that is committed to setting aside personal interests and serving the interests of the American people.  I thank everyone who took the time to march today to demand the transparency required to ensure our government remains of, by, and for the people.”

Last week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard signed a Discharge Petition that would force House Republicans to bring HR305 to the floor for a vote. This bill would require the president to disclose federal income tax returns for the three most recent taxable years and establishes civil and criminal penalties for failing to file or falsifying these income tax returns.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of Rep. Nadler’s resolution that would require Attorney General Jeff Sessions to turn over any records relating to investment by any foreign government in any entity owned in whole or in part by President Trump. Additionally, the resolution would require the Attorney General to produce documents related to Trump’s failure to create a blind trust for his business dealings and his proposal to instead maintain an interest in his business holdings while turning over the day-to-day operation of those interests to his sons.

Hokulea Received and Celebrated in Mahina

Legendary voyaging canoes Hokulea, Hikianalia and their crews were welcomed by the Mahina community yesterday. The crews enjoyed performances of traditional song and dance from people of all ages during the arrival celebration hosted on the shores of Mahina, which is near Papeete in Tahiti.

The arrival was filled with the true meaning of aloha. “You could feel it from the canoe. The community here was overwhelmingly happy and thrilled with love in their hearts that Hokulea and Hikianalia were there,” says Kala Tanaka, captain and navigator of Hikianalia. Adorned with welcome wishes and lei, the crews were treated to a front row celebration of traditional song and dance.

The arrival in Tahiti marks the reconnection of Hokulea and Hikianalia. The sister canoes were last together in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the spring of 2015. “We started his voyage together and now we end this voyage together,” says Bruce Blankenfeld, master navigator of Hokulea.

The crew will travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and educational outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Together with her sister canoe Hikianalia, Hokulea will head home to a welcoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Lānaʻi Town Hall, Addresses Local and National Issues

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted an intimate Town Hall on the Island of Lānaʻi this evening, where over one hundred residents turned out despite the pouring rain—something they welcomed after a very long period of dryness. Students from the Lānaʻi Academy of Performing Arts kicked off the meeting with a lively local rendition of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress and the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that affect Hawaiʻi communities. The Lānaʻi residents were particularly interested in her work to improve access to services and health care in rural areas, high cost of housing, and increased opportunities for workforce vocational training. They stressed the importance of protecting our environment and preserving precious water resources.

Other local issues discussed included federal funding for highways and education, improving veteran services on the island, and supporting local farmers whose focus is farm-to-table and increasing food security.

A Lānaʻi resident from Syria thanked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for fighting for peace in her home country after the congresswoman spoke about the need to end the counterproductive regime change war in Syria. Other topics of interest included the threat of North Korea’s nuclear escalation, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and Trump’s recent illegal attack on Syria.

Hawaii Attorney General Urges Hawaii Residents to Submit Claims for Provigil Settlement

Attorney General Doug Chin urges eligible Hawaii residents to file claims or make their views known on a $125 million multistate settlement that provides $35 million to consumers who purchased the brand-name drug Provigil or generic Modafinil from June 24, 2006 to March 31, 2012.

The deadline to file claims is June 25, 2017.

Eligible consumers include residents of Hawaii and all other states except California or Louisiana, who paid for the drug from June 24, 2006 to March 31, 2012.

Provigil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve wakefulness in adult patients with excessive sleepiness. In August 2016, Hawaii and 47 other state attorneys general announced the settlement with biopharmaceutical company Cephalon and its affiliated companies. The settlement resolved allegations that the companies engaged in unlawful “pay-for-delay” anticompetitive conduct involving patent exclusivity for Provigil. “Pay for delay” occurs when a branded drug company unlawfully maintains its exclusive rights by paying a would-be generic competitor to delay entry into the market, keeping prices at artificially high levels.

As the patent for Provigil neared expiration in 2001, the states alleged that Cephalon intentionally misled the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) in order to secure an additional patent for the purpose of preventing competition. By misleading the PTO, Cephalon was able to obtain FDA exclusivity for Modafinil until June 2006, and extend patent exclusivity until April 2012.

For additional information or to obtain a claim form, visit www.StateAGProvigilSettlement.com or call 1-877-236-1413.

Hokulea and Hikianalia Arrive in Tahiti

Legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia have arrived in Tahiti.

This arrival marks the first time the sister canoes have reunited since the vessels embarked on separate Malama Honua sail plans in spring of 2015 – when Hikianalia sailed for the Hawaiian Islands to advance the education mission of the Worldwide Voyage while Hokulea continued on her unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe. The canoes’ arrival will be celebrated with the Tahiti community tomorrow, April 14, 2017.

Tahiti holds special historical significance for the Polynesian Voyaging Society as the destination of Hokulea’s first deep sea voyage in 1976, over 40 years ago. Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia and shares origins with the rest of the Polynesian Triangle. The mountain, Moua Orohena, tops the island and stands 7,352 feet tall, earning the distinction as the highest point in French Polynesia; its height has made Tahiti the home base of voyaging for generations.

Sister canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia will travel to Raiatea for a ceremony in Taputapuatea on April 25. Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail home in early May to begin the final deep-sea leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

Leilehua High and Waimea High Qualify for National Leadership Bowl Championship

After advancing through two phases of online competition against 1,378 teams worldwide, the Leilehua High “Mighty Mules” JROTC Leadership Team and the Waimea High Menehune Battalion will compete at the 2017 Army JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl in Washington DC.

​After advancing through two phases of online competition, the Leilehua High “Mighty Mules” JROTC Leadership Team and the Waimea High Menehune Battalion will compete at the 2017 Army JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB) in Washington DC. The competition will be held from June 22-27, 2017, and is sponsored by the Army JROTC and conducted by the College Options Foundation.

“This will be the first time that two of our public schools have simultaneously reached this level of competition in the National Leadership Bowl Championship,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are proud of these cadets and congratulate them for being among the best teams in the country. We also send our best wishes as they head to Washington DC.”

Forty Army JROTC Leadership Bowl teams in the nation have advanced to JLAB, which includes an all-expense paid trip to the Championship event in DC. During the two fast-paced preliminary rounds, cadets were tested on their knowledge of current events, leadership values and leadership skills.

Leilehua’s team is composed of Cadet Faith Boyce-Jennings, Cadet Morgan Burks, Cadet Kobee Ledward, Cadet Janarah Jones, and team alternate Cadet Essence Johnson. The team’s coach is Nick Spiridigliozzi, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Retired.

The Leilehua High JROTC team earned top scores out of the 1,378 Army JROTC teams that competed from around the world. It is composed of Cadet Faith Boyce-Jennings, Cadet Morgan Burks, Cadet Kobee Ledward, Cadet Janarah Jones, and team alternate Cadet Essence Johnson. The team’s coach and chaperone is Nick Spiridigliozzi, Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Retired.

Waimea’s team is composed of the following cadets: Micah Guillermo (Team Captain), Kristine Ruiz, Wayne Noda, Cade Tanaka and team alternate Leilani Hikashi. Chaperones are JROTC instructor Victor Aguilar, Major U.S. Army Retired and Corazon Guillermo. Photo Credit: Waimea High School

This is the fourth time that Waimea High’s Menehune Battalion has qualified and competed at the National Leadership Bowl Championship. The team earned high scores and is composed of the following cadets: Micah Guillermo (Team Captain), Kristine Ruiz, Wayne Noda, Cade Tanaka and team alternate Leilani Hikashi. Chaperones are JROTC instructor Victor Aguilar, Major U.S. Army Retired and Corazon Guillermo.

JLAB is a nationally recognized competition created exclusively for JROTC students. By participating, cadets learn the values of citizenship, academic competition, and college opportunity. The competition creates tremendous opportunities for JROTC cadets by allowing them to demonstrate leadership and academic abilities.

College Options Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the academic development of high school students and assisting them in their preparation for higher education.  Using academic competitions, college exam study guides, college admissions tutorials and personalized counseling, College Options Foundation has assisted the nation’s JROTC cadets worldwide for over a decade.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Kicks Off Statewide Town Hall Tour With 500 Kona Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) kicked off her statewide Town Hall Tour in Kona last night, where nearly 500 residents of West Hawaiʻi packed the Kealakehe Intermediate School cafeteria to hear from their congresswoman and discuss issues affecting the people of Hawaiʻi, our country, and the world.

More than 30,000 viewers tuned in via Facebook Live for the first of seven Town Halls that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is hosting during the April District Work Period on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about her work in Congress and the bills she’s introduced and cosponsored that affect Hawaiʻi communities, including legislation to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and to combat invasive species like the coffee berry borer, macadamia felted coccid, albizia trees, coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fire ants, and the fungus that causes rapid ohia death. She also highlighted her bills to support local farmers, small businesses, the agriculture industry, and sustainability efforts.

The congresswoman spent the majority of the meeting answering questions from the audience on topics including ending the counterproductive regime change war in Syria, defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, Trump’s recent attack on Syria, federal spending, civil liberties, healthcare, education, military issues, and veteran services.

The next stops on Tulsi’s Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Lānaʻi – Thursday, April 13th, 4:45 – 6:30 PM, Lānaʻi Senior Center, 309 Seventh Street Lānaʻi City, HI 96763
  • Oʻahu – Saturday, April 15th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Kainalu Elementary School, 165 Kaiholu Street Kailua, HI 96734
  • Molokaʻi – Monday, April 17th, 4:30 – 6:00 PM, Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa Street Kaunakakai, HI 96748
  • Hawaiʻi Island – Hilo, Tuesday, April 18th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Waiakea High School, 155 W. Kawili Street Hilo, HI 96720
  • Kauaʻi – Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Tropical Plantation, 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy Wailuku, HI 96793

North Korea Nuclear Threat to Hawaii is REAL

Nuclear arms experts think North Korea already has, or soon will have, the ability to target Hawaii with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with possibly about the same destructive force as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Warnings are mounting apace with that growing threat.

“North Korea’s unprecedented level of nuclear testing and ballistic missile development offers a sobering reminder that the United States must remain vigilant against rogue nation-states that are able to threaten the homeland,” Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a congressional committee Thursday.

In Hawaii a profusion of four-star military commands — including U.S. Pacific Command, which oversees U.S. military activity over half the globe — makes Oahu a strategic and symbolic target. The threat from an unpredictable North Korea, in turn, is prompting a revisitation of some old Cold War practices that until recently seemed laughable.

Duck and cover? Still there in the form of “shelter in place,” state officials say.

Nuclear fallout shelters? In 1981 Oahu had hundreds of them. The Prince Kuhio Building could hold 14,375 people — not because it has a secret underground bunker, but because its concrete parking structure could be used as shelter.

“Each one of those facilities had to be surveyed for how much concrete density (was present),” said Toby Clairmont, executive officer of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the successor to Civil Defense. “And they had to be equipped, so they put medical kits in them, food, sanitary kits, all that kind of stuff.”

As time went on, funding for those provisions stopped, and the stocks were disposed of because they became too old, Clairmont said. In the majority of cases, existing fallout shelter markings are out of date and no longer applicable.

Alternatively, the U.S. military would try to shoot down an incoming North Korean ICBM with ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, although the $36 billion system was rated by the Pentagon in December as having low reliability.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, ICBMs in the late 1990s came off Hawaii Emergency Management’s threat list of mostly natural hazards. Terrorism was added, and in 2006 the state practiced for a half-kiloton explosion in Honolulu Harbor that resulted in up to 8,000 casualties with injuries or radiation.

A new threat

President Donald Trump, who met last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, has warned that the United States might take unilateral action against North Korea unless China does more to rein in its pugnacious neighbor. He did not mention a pre-emptive first strike per se.

Such a first strike presumably would take out the fixed launch sites at Sohae and Tonghae, but North Korea is also believed to have road-mobile launchers that could survive to retaliate — if they actually work.

With North Korea emerging as a new threat, state Emergency Management Administrator Vern Miyagi said it’s time to update the previous plans.

“If you were to ask me what is the status of North Korea, and is (a missile attack) a high probability, no, it’s a low probability,” said Miyagi, a retired Army two-star general who served at the Pacific Command as senior adviser for military support to civil authorities operations and Reserve and National Guard affairs.

“But then, so, we have to keep a lookout for that (threat). That’s why we’re talking about updating the plan. It’s an awakening. Maybe we should get involved with” fallout shelters again and identify where still-usable shelters are located, he said.

Fallout protection exists to some degree in any building, but it is most effective in heavy concrete buildings and underground structures, he said.

The agency does monthly tests with the Pacific Command using secure communications, Miyagi said. The advice in the event of a missile attack is still to duck and cover and “get into a substantial building,” he said.

“The bottom line in our plan right now is close coordination with Pacific Command, the military side, so that we understand what’s happening, and we can prepare for it with what we have — and what we have right now is very thin,” Miyagi said.

Looking for a solution

During the Cold War the state envisioned moving hundreds of thousands of Oahu residents to the neighbor islands if things heated up with the Soviet Union. However, a North Korean ICBM could reach Hawaii in under 20 minutes with no warning, experts say.

Robinson, the North American Aerospace Defense commander, said 2016 was “one of North Korea’s most active years in terms of nuclear weapon and missile program development in pursuit of weaponizing a nuclear ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.”

Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, is among a growing number of voices calling for “operationalizing” the Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai in emergencies to be able to shoot down North Korean missiles. Right now it’s used for missile defense testing only.

Ellison said the new SM-3 Block IIA missile, which is expected to have ICBM shoot-down capability, is a “critical asset required for the region and Hawaii.”

“For U.S. homeland defense, the emergency operational activation of the Aegis Ashore site, to include the AN/TPY-2 radar at the Pacific Missile Range Facility,” is needed in the short term, Ellison said in a release.

In 2015 Adm. Bill Gortney, then commander of North American Aerospace Defense, said, “Our assessment is that they (North Korea) have the ability to put … a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 (missile) and shoot it at the homeland.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program and founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com, said the road-mobile KN-08 hasn’t been flight-tested yet.

“This is a very important caution because an ICBM that has never been tested is very unreliable,” he said in an email. If it works, it can probably hit targets throughout the U.S., he said.

North Korea claimed that its last nuclear test validated a standardized warhead of at least 10 kilotons for its long-range missiles, but it “may be significantly more than that,” Lewis added. Ellison, with the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, maintains North Korea might have a miniaturized warhead around 20 kilotons.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons, while a 20-kiloton device was detonated over Nagasaki

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.