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Hawaii Department of Health Release Names, Scores and Rankings of ALL Applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today released the scores and ranking of the applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses.

Honolulu Applicants

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The list of applicants and their respective scores and ranking are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

Hawaii Applicants

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A total of 66 applications for eight dispensary licenses were reviewed, evaluated, and scored (based on 13 merit criteria) by four members of a selection panel. Each application could receive a maximum of 520 points (10 points maximum could be awarded for each merit criterion by each of four individual panelists).

Kauai Applicants

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All applicants were required to submit documentation to prove compliance with the statutory and administrative requirements for both individual applicants and applying entities.

Maui Applicants

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“To meet the ambitious and expedited time schedule for the selection process and given the large number of applications to review, the vetting process was conducted concurrently with the scoring of the applications,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance.

While all applications were scored, 12 applicants who did not submit the requisite documentation or whose documentation did not establish compliance with the requirements were not ranked in the final compilation of scores.

Non Applicants

Unselected applicants

DOH notified all unselected applicants by certified mail this week prior to the posting of the applicants’ scores. To help ensure the medical marijuana dispensary program can be available for patients, DOH has been working on other requirements for the programs implementation.

The department is continuing work with Bio Track THC to establish the web-based seed-to-sale computer tracking system for dispensaries.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has established a certification process for medical marijuana testing facilities and applications are available at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab/.

“It’s an exciting time, launching this new industry in Hawaii,” said Margaret Leong, supervisor of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “So far, the licensing staff have met in person with seven of the licensees and the discussions have been really productive and beneficial to all of us. The licensees have generously shared their knowledge of the industry gained through the application process, and we’ve been able to provide more specific guidance to ensure that their facilities conduct operations in compliance with all state requirements to be able to open their dispensaries in a timely manner.”

Additional information about the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program is available at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

International Ships Sail to Hawaii for Rim of the Pacific 2016

Four multinational groups have set sail toward Hawaii in support of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise commencing on June 30.

The Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) leads a group of multinational ships during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010.  RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise.  Since 1971, this large-scale biennial exercise has been designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea.   (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Taylor/RELEASED)

The Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) leads a group of multinational ships during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. Since 1971, this large-scale biennial exercise has been designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Taylor/RELEASED)

Participating in Group Sail, 10 ships departed from San Diego, while 12 ships met in the Western Pacific Ocean.

  • USS America (LHA 6) departed San Diego on June 21, leading Canadian ship HMCS Vancouver, Chilean ship CNS Cochrane, USS San Diego (LPD 22), and USS Howard (DDG 83).
  • USS Princeton (CG 59) departed San Diego on June 22 along with Canadian ship HMCS Calgary, USCG Stratton, and USS Pinckney (DDG 91). USS Coronado (LCS 4) departed San Diego on June 23.
  • Singaporean ship RSS Steadfast departed the Western Pacific Ocean on June 18 with Japanese ship JS Hyuga, Indonesian ship KRI Diponegoro, Indian ship INS Satpura, and USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93).
  • USS Stockdale (DDG 106) departed the Western Pacific Ocean on June 18 with USS William P Lawrence (DDG 110), and the People’s Republic of China vessels PLA(N) Hengshui, PLA(N) Peace Ark, PLA(N) Xian, PLA(N) Gaoyouhu, and PLA(N) Changdao.

The ships participating in Group Sail are expected to arrive in Pearl Harbor during the last week of June.

USS Chung Hoon gets fuel during an exercise in 2010.

USS Chung Hoon gets fuel during an exercise in 2010.

Conducted prior to the start of RIMPAC, Group Sail offers participating units the chance to operate together and conduct basic training like tactical maneuvering drills and communication system checks. Group Sail helps prepare participating units for the more complex exercises conducted during RIMPAC.

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by U.S. Third Fleet in the Hawaiian operating area. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber Joins JCCIH Installation Ceremonies

Officials of the Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry flew to Hilo to participate in the installation of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) officers for 2016-17.

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

During the 66th annual ceremony on June 8, Russell Arikawa of Ginoza Realty, Inc. was installed as president of JCCIH. The two Chambers continue to explore beneficial opportunities between the business communities of Higashi-Hiroshima and East Hawaii.

Arikawa, a realtor, has served the Chamber as government affairs chief and as a chair of the popular Taste of Hilo. He is a director of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, and a commissioner with the Department of Water. Born in Hilo, he graduated from University of Hawaii-Hilo.

During his remarks, Arikawa said East Hawaii faces many challenges, old and new. “It is an era distinguished by community service,” he said, but it is also a time “which challenges every elected official and public servant. We must be more accountable and more accessible to the people.”

Arikiawa received the gavel from immediate past president, Darren Nishioka of CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union.
Other officers of JCCIH include: first VP, Audrey Takamine of Takamine Construction; second VP, Stephen Ueda of Suisan; third VP, Donn Mende of County of Hawaii; treasurer, Joseph Skruch; auditor, Ivan Nakano of I. Kitagawa & Company, Ltd.; and Japanese secretary, Naomi Menor of Naomi’s World Travel Service. The officers and 34 directors were installed by Attorney Peter Kubota.

Sandra Dawson of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) gave the installation keynote address, reporting on the status of the project and its challenges. JCCIH has been a staunch supporter of TMT and has worked closely with the astronomy community to promote culturally appropriate scientific research.

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

JCCIH fosters economic sustainability and perpetuates the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawaii. The two value pillars that the JCCIH is built on are the Hawaiian Kahiau (giving without expecting anything in return) and the Japanese Okage Sama De (I am what I am because of you.)

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo. It also hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit the website at www.jccih.org

Hawaii Becomes First State in Nation to Enroll Firearms Owners in Centralized Information System

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawai‘i to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed HB 625 (ACT 109) and HB 2632 (ACT 110) Relating to Firearms.

HB 625 specifies that harassment by stalking and sexual assault are among the offenses that disqualify a person from owning, possessing or controlling any firearm or ammunition.

HB 2632 requires firearms owners to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police if they have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition for the following reasons: Diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility. This measure authorizes the Chief of Police to seize firearms and ammunition if a disqualified firearms owner fails to surrender the items after receiving written notice.

Hokulea Crewmembers Conduct Crew Switch for the Next Leg in the Worldwide Voyage

While docked on Block Island on Wednesday, crewmembers of Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea began the detailed process of a crew switch. The latest crew of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage arrived safely on Block Island, where they spent the day in training, preparing and receiving information from the canoe’s leg 20 crew, for leg 21 of Hokulea’s sail. Captain Bruce Blankenfeld conducted an orientation for the canoe’s latest crewmembers, as well as a brief overview of future port stops.

crew change

The Hokulea crew’s time on Block Island was spent engaging the local community through canoe tours and educational outreach. The canoe’s next stop is about 50 nautical miles away in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut where crewmembers will conduct lectures and interactive demonstrations of Polynesian wayfinding, voyaging and navigation at the Mystic Seaport Museum’s 25th Annual Wooden Boat Show.

Hokulea Arrives at Block Island

On Sunday, June 19 at approximately 8:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. HST), Hawaii’s famed voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived at Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island after departing New York City on Sunday.
Block IslandAs part of the Hokulea crew’s protocol for showing respect for the land and its people, crew members sought permission to dock the sailing vessel from the indigenous tribes of the area. They were welcomed by a representative of the Narrangansett Indian Tribe. Hokulea captain and master navigator Kalepa Baybayan offered a kahili (feather standard) on behalf of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. 
block island2
Community members are encouraged to visit the canoe from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 at the Block Island Boat Basin Marina for canoe tours and to learn more about the Worldwide Voyage. Hokulea is expected to remain on Block Island until Thursday, June 23, before continuing onto Mystic, Connecticut, with safety and weather conditions dictating any sail plans. 

Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation in Hawaii

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a fifth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until August of this year. The supplemental proclamation provides an additional 60 days in which to continue the state’s cross-sector collaboration and coordinated efforts with the counties.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

“The state has taken strides forward in creating a truly client-centered system among federal, state, county and community organizations,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige. “We are seeing unprecedented alignment of services and a commitment to the common goal of connecting people to permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible.” Morishige made the statement from the Maui Landlord Summit, where he outlined progress in the state’s unified response to homelessness:

Section 8 Landlords Recruited

The Maui Landlord Summit is the fourth in a series of state-supported events aimed at increasing government-assisted housing inventory. It serves to introduce potential landlords to homeless service providers and government agencies providing landlord support. The summit dispels misperceptions about Section 8 and the Housing First program, and is a collaborative effort between the State of Hawai‘i, County of Maui and Maui’s nonprofit service providers.

100 Homeless Families to be Housed

The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) board has approved emergency rules to establish a special rental subsidy program, which will make available approximately $600,000 to quickly move at least 100 homeless families statewide into housing. HPHA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi said, “With partnership with local nonprofits, this program is specifically focused on homeless families, where we expect to have an immediate, noticeable and lasting impact across generations.”

Scott Morishige underscored the importance of the developments: “These are two examples of community partnerships the state is forging to effectively and quickly address homelessness.  We are looking at new and creative ways for the community to pool funds, leverage resources, and work in alignment across all sectors to house and stabilize people experiencing homelessness.”

Over the past week, representatives from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Governors Association have been in Hawai‘i as the Governor’s office has convened cross-sector meetings with stakeholders from every county and every sector.

Nainoa Thompson Receives Hubbard Medal – National Geographic’s Highest Honor

Today, an extraordinary group of individuals were honored by the National Geographic Society at the 2016 Explorer Awards, presented by Rolex.

Nainoa Thompson received the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for his outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation.

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

A master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigating known as “wayfinding,” Thompson revived the ancient practice while advocating for ocean conservation and a sustainable future for our planet.

THE HUBBARD MEDAL

Named for the National Geographic Society’s first president, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the Hubbard Medal is given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in exploration, discovery and research. In 1906, Robert E. Peary was the first to receive the Hubbard Medal for his exploration of the Arctic. This year’s recipients, Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson, will join the ranks of distinguished honorees, including Charles Lindbergh, John Glenn and Jane Goodall, among others.

Nainoa Thompson

Charles Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is an expert in the ancient Pacific Island tradition of wayfinding, a non-instrument method of navigating on long ocean voyages using the stars, swells and natural elements as guides. The first native Hawaiian to practice wayfinding since the 14th century, he studied under Micronesian master navigator Pius Mau Piailug of Satawal, Yap.

In the 1970s, Thompson was part of an important movement among young Hawaiians committed to restoring cultural pride. He has since dedicated his life to teaching wayfinding to future generations, developing a method that combines the tenets of ancient Pacific navigation with modern science, fostering a renewed interest in Hawaiian heritage.

Nearly 40 years ago, Thompson made history when he navigated Hōkūleʻa, a traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe, 2,500 nautical miles from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti relying entirely on the art of Polynesian wayfinding.

Today, Hōkūleʻa is on a three-year, 60,000-nautical-mile expedition around the world. The sail, known as the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, aims to encourage the global community to live sustainably by drawing upon the wisdom and teachings of ancient Polynesian culture. Upon its completion, the voyage will stop in 100 ports, 27 nations and 12 UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites. Along the way, Hōkūleʻa and her crew have met with a number of global peace and marine conservation leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle.

Thompson is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi, where he received a bachelor’s degree in ocean science. A member of the Ocean Elders, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Exploration; the Unsung Hero of Compassion, presented by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on behalf of the organization Wisdom in Action; and the Native Hawaiian Education Association’s Manomano Ka ‘Ike (Depth and Breadth of Knowledge) Educator of the Year Award.

Candlelight Vigil Held in Hilo for Victims of Orlando Mass Shooting

Members of East Hawaii’s LGBT community and allies gathered in downtown Hilo tonight for a candlelight vigil at Mo’oheau Bandstand & Park 6pm to honor the victims of Orlando’s shooting at Pulse gay bar. 50 people were killed and 53 wounded in the attack. Though the motives for the attack are unknown, violence against LGBT people is not a rare occurrence.

Hilo for Orlando

Travis Rogers, the organizer of the Hilo vigil, said he “heard the news and just had to do something”. Travis shared a personal story of  homophobic violence so others may feel safe to do the same. Though Hawaii’s LGBT residents come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, most have these kind of stories.

Above all, Travis shared his hope for people standing up against hatred and making communities safe for all. “I feel for those who’ve lost their lives” Travis said. “This homophobic violence must end”

Individuals or organizations who want to help make Big Island a safe and friendly place for LGBT residents can support Hawaii Island Pride. The annual Pride parade is being planned for July 9th from 12-4 in downtown Hilo and volunteers are needed to join planning meetings every Tuesday at 6pm at the Church of the Holy Apostles at 1407 Kapiolani St.

New Findings Show Promising Trends in Hawaii Student Health Behaviors

Today the Hawaii State Department of Health, Department of Education (HIDOE), and University of Hawaii released high school data from the 2015 Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for the state and all four counties. The YRBS is a bi-annual survey that regularly monitors the health risk behaviors of public, non-charter school students statewide. Over 12,000 Hawaii students in grades 6 through 12 participated in the 2015 survey.

Click to see results

Click to see results

Topics covered in the survey include unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. The survey also monitors the percentages of students affected by obesity and asthma.

“The results reflect our recent initiatives to raise the bar at all levels in education,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The downward trend of students engaging in risky behaviors and an increase in healthy choices is testament to the work done by our schools and the commitment of our students to strive higher.”

The 2015 YRBS results show trends towards less-risky behaviors in many important areas, and highlight needed improvements in others:

Physical fighting continues to decline, with 15 percent of high school students reporting that they were in a fight at least once during the 12 months before the survey. Bullying has stayed relatively steady, with 1 in 5 high school students reporting that they were bullied on school property during the same time period.

Consistent with objectives outlined in the State’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan, many YRBS indicators suggest an increase in youth behaviors that support healthy lifestyles. Only 13 percent of high school students report drinking at least one can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop at least once per day, compared to 23 percent in 2007. The survey does not cover drinking other types of beverages with added sugar such as sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks (other than 100 percent fruit juice) or sweetened tea and coffee. The proportion of high school students meeting physical activity recommendations remains steady, with 20 percent achieving the national recommendation of at least 60 minutes per day on each of the seven days before the survey. However, sedentary time continues to increase, with 2 in 5 high school students spending three hours or more per day playing video games or using a computer for non-school purposes.

Alcohol use has declined among Hawaii’s youth, with 1 in 4 high school students reporting that they drank alcohol within the 30 days before the survey. Similarly, we continue to see steady declines in smoking; 90 percent of Hawaii’s high school students do not smoke cigarettes. However, many have tried using electronic smoking devices, with 1 in 4 reporting that they currently use electronic smoking devices.

“This data shows that we are improving as a state in many areas,” said Director of Health Virginia Pressler. “However, the sharp rise in the use of electronic cigarettes reminds us of the importance of continually monitoring student behavior. We will continue to work in partnership with HIDOE to ensure that our programs and interventions target these emerging issues.”

One area that remains a concern is adolescent mental health. In 2015, 29.5 percent of high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row at least once in their lifetime. Rates of attempted suicide over the past 12 months has steadily decreased since 1993, but remain unacceptably high at 11 percent.

Survey procedures protect students’ privacy by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation. The data is gathered from students in public high schools across the State of Hawaii. In a change from the previous years’ survey administration, parents were offered the opportunity to “opt-out,” rather than requiring a form to “opt-in” to the process. This resulted in a 30 to 40 percent increase in response rate, providing a more comprehensive picture of student behavior across the state and all four counties.

The Hawaii YRBS is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National YRBS survey results were also released today by CDC. For a comparison of Hawaii’s data to national rates, please visit http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Default.aspx.

For more information on the Hawaii YRBS, visit http://apps.hidoe.k12.hi.us/research/Pages/YRBS.aspx.

The full survey report, including more detailed data reports by county, gender, grade and race/ethnicity, and the survey questionnaires are available at the www.hawaiihealthmatters.org.

Hokulea Takes Center Stage at the United Nations for World Oceans Day

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe delivers messages to the Secretary General on behalf of the world’s oceans

Hawaii’s legendary traditional voyaging canoe Hokulea achieved the pinnacle of her historic four-year sail around the world at today’s United Nations (UN) celebration of  World Oceans Day: a global event focused on ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future.

United Nations

This year’s theme of “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” encouraged individuals and organizations across the globe to take action in preventing plastic pollution in our ocean, with programming that featured the powerful and lasting presence of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

United Nations 2

“Captain Nainoa, I wish you and your entire crew a wonderful return journey,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who sailed on Hokulea in Apia, Samoa in 2014. “I count on your leadership and commitment as we carry out our plans to make this world safer and more sustainable for all. On World Oceans Day, let us renew our resolve to protect these marine treasures for generations to come.”

United Nations 3

In today’s morning ceremony at Gantry Plaza State Park, Thompson presented UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. with ocean protection declarations and messages of hope that the Hokulea crew members collected from their worldwide journey promoting sustainable oceans.

United Nations 4

Later in the afternoon, Thompson joined Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and representatives of the Federated States of Micronesia, for a talk-story session on the UN’s Ocean Agenda and goals. The leaders also discussed development regarding the negotiation of a new legally binding instrument to protect biodiversity in marine areas in the high seas.

united nations 5

After today’s events, Hokulea crew members will continue their outreach and engagement activities in New York, in which they will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

 

Hokulea Crew on Governors Island for Education and Environment Summit

Community leaders discuss environmental restoration through the Billion Oyster Project

Today, crewmembers of the legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea continued their momentum of focusing on community outreach through the New York Education and Environment Summit. The crew was joined by educators and community members from Hawaii and New York.

Oyster project 1The summit was held on Governors Island, where the delegation was received by the Trust for Governors Island, the National Park Service, New York Harbor School, and the Billion Oyster Project. The Hawaii delegation included University of Hawaii President David Lassner, Kanu o Ka Aina and Ka Waihona o Ka Na auao charter schools’ administrators and students, and representatives and students from Kamehameha Schools. Honolulu City and County Mayor Kirk Caldwell was also present for the discussions that centered on sustainability and protection of the environment.

Oyster project
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, delivered a short speech on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and its significant connections with the Billion Oyster Project – a STEM-based initiative aimed at restoring one billion live oysters in the New York Harbor.

oyster project 2

After the morning’s presentations and discussions, the New York Harbor School conducted tours of the facilities. Event attendees visited the aquaculture lab at the New York Harbor School where the oysters for the Billion Oyster Project are raised, and visited other indoor and outdoor learning environments at the innovative school. Billion Oyster Project Director Pete Malinowski answered questions from the Hawaii educators and students.

Oyster project 3

The summit is part of a roster of community events leading up to Hokulea’s significant role in the upcoming World Oceans Day gathering at the United Nations on Wednesday.

This week, Hokulea crew members will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Tuesday, June 7: Presentation by master navigator Kalepa Baybayan on behalf of Imiloa Astronomy Center at Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Wednesday, June 8: World Oceans Day
  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

Hokulea Greeted by Thousands in New York City

After years of preparation, legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived in New York City and was officially welcomed this morning by thousands of New York residents and a delegation of Hawaii leaders, educators, students and supporters.

Hokulea New York

Among those in attendance were Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff Mike McCartney, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Hawaii Island Senator Kai Kahele, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO George Szigeti, Solomon “Sol” Aikau (Eddie Aikau’s older brother), marine artist Wyland and Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

hokulea new york 2

The arrival event began with a traditional ceremonial welcome by Native American tribes from the area including the Ramapough Lenape Nation, Moraviantown Delaware Nation, Shinnecock, Unkechaug, Mohegan, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. A traditional Hawaiian aha awa, or awa ceremony, was held by Hui Kipaepae of New York. Various hula halau (groups) from New York and Hawaii also offered performances celebrating the historic occasion.

Hokulea New York Kai

“There is something special that this canoe carries on behalf of our home that I think this world not only respects, but needs,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “This day of celebration is really the step we need to give us strength to go to the United Nations on behalf of all of the people who are doing their part to be responsible for our island home called Earth.”

On World Oceans Day on June 8, a series of events with the United Nations will include a ceremonial presentation of ocean protection declarations by Thompson to Secretary General Ban-ki Moon. The canoe’s arrival at Manhattan’s North Cove Marina – the doorstep of the 9/11 Memorial, New York’s financial business district – marks the pinnacle point of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hokulea New York 3

During their time in New York, Hokulea crew members have a robust schedule of outreach and engagement, in which they will lead, participate in, and support the following events:

  • Monday, June 6: Malama Honua Education & Environment Summit at Governors Island
  • Tuesday, June 7: Presentation by master navigator Kalepa Baybayan on behalf of Imiloa Astronomy Center at Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Wednesday, June 8: World Oceans Day
  • Thursday, June 9: Hokulea Storytellers Evening at Patagonia New YorkSoHo
  • Saturday, June 11: Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge

For Hokulea’s most up-to-date US east coast schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.

 

Celebrate “World Oceans Day” June 8 at Hapuna Beach State Park

Join the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks and Big Island partner organizations, on Wednesday, June 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for “World Oceans Day” at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area South Pavilion.

Hapuna Rainbow by Hapuna Prince Hotels

World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and an opportunity to help protect and conserve our oceans. This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.”  Informational booths and educational activities will help visitors learn about Hawaii’s incredible ocean resources and how we can all help protect them. The event is free, but there is a $5 per vehicle parking fee for out-of-state visitors.

A number of different area organizations are coming together for this first-time event at Hapuna Beach, including Hawaii State Parks, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Management, Coral Reef Alliance, Dolphin Quest, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Ke Kai Ola Marine Mammal Center, Kohala Center Reef Teach, National Parks Service, The Nature Conservancy, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Puako Makai Watch and West Hawaii Marine Mammal Response Network.

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.