Hawaii’s Waitlist Trend Increased; Hospital Stays Shorter but Still Longer than Average

Statewide, between 6.9 and 7.8 percent of hospital admissions were waitlisted —that is, remaining in the hospital after the need for acute care ceases—over a five year period (2006-2011), according to discharge data analyzed by the Hawaii Health Information Corporation (HHIC), the state’s premier healthcare data collector and analyzer.

Click to read report

Click to read report

Waitlist patients are those needing treatment after hospital discharge, but not at the severity level that requires inpatient care.  These patients often continue to stay in a hospital because there are limited available community placement options that meet the patient’s needs.

For Hawaii’s neighbor islands, however, the waitlist patterns are significantly different. On Maui, the rate ranged between 12 and 16 percent, whereas on Kauai, the rates varied between 8 and 10.5 percent. Except for 2007 and 2009 (7.7 and 9.2 percent, respectively), Hawaii Island’s rate was similar to the Oahu rate of 6 to 7 percent.

While there were more waitlisted patients statewide in 2011 than in 2006, they experienced shorter hospital stays, according to the HHIC analysis.  Compared to 2006 data, HHIC found that the 2011 average length of stay (ALOS) for waitlisted patients decreased 25 percent, from 21.7 to 16.5 days, across all counties except Maui, which increased 12 percent, from 16.8 to 18.8 days.

However, the ALOS for waitlist patients is still more than the average non-waitlisted patient—nearly four times longer. HHIC found that the risk of a patient being waitlisted increased with age and increased significantly with each decade of life.

Neighbor island hospitals experienced a higher cost and volume of waitlist patients than Oahu with chronic-related disease conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, degenerative nervous system disorders and diabetes.

Bed availability does not appear to be a problem as there was an 11 percent increase in the number of long-term care beds statewide between 2006 and 2011. Appropriately matching the health needs of a waitlisted patient with a sufficiently staffed bed is likely an issue.

The key barriers to community placement of waitlisted patients include insufficient staff with higher skill-mix in nursing homes and other placement alternatives to meet the needs of those with complex conditions, a lack of specialty equipment to provide appropriate care, the cost of multiple or high-cost antibiotics, and lack of community-based resources to support patients with underlying mentally illness in managing their other medical conditions.

“Our analyses make clear that the waitlist problem exists statewide but that has very special dimensions on each island,” said Peter Sybinsky, Ph.D., president and CEO of HHIC.  “Efforts by health plans, hospitals and other providers and community agencies need to take into account this variation as they work together to solve this vexing problem.”

About the Data
Findings are based on data collected from all hospitals across the state, except Tripler Army Medical Center.  The report was prepared based on funding provided by Hawaii Medical Service Association, Kaiser-Permanente, AlohaCare, Ohana Healthcare and United Healthcare, in an attempt to provide a clear description of Hawaii’s waitlist population and estimate the financial impact on Hawaii’s hospitals.

About HHIC/Health Knuggets
Established in 1994, HHIC maintains one of the largest comprehensive health care databases in the state, comprised of local and national inpatient, emergency department, ambulatory care, financial data and other data. The research and data compiled are analyzed and disseminated statewide and are used to help shape healthcare policy and educate decision makers, health care providers and industry experts. Through HHIC Knowledge Nuggets, the organization seeks to inform the public about important healthcare topics. For more information, visit www.hhic.org.

Senator Schatz Lobbies FAA to Support Hawaii’s Ban on Aerial Advertising

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that Honolulu’s aerial advertising ordinance remains valid.

Aerial Banner

The mainland-based company Aerial Banners North has been flying aerial banners over Oahu in violation of Honolulu’s ordinance banning aerial advertising, while ignoring citations from the Honolulu Police Department. The company has argued that its FAA certificate of waiver preempts the Honolulu ordinance and allows it to fly aerial banners over Oahu. In Washington, DC this week, Senator Schatz reached out to the FAA at the request of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and received a written response that the Honolulu ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising remains valid.

“This is great news for Oahu residents who don’t want to see their skies cluttered from mainland companies. One of the things that makes Hawai‘i beautiful is that we have well-thought out rules governing signage,” said Senator Schatz. “This letter from the FAA makes it clear that this rogue company is violating our law and we expect and hope that this clarification will cause them to stop what they’re doing.”

In the 2002 case of Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2002), the Ninth Circuit ruled in support of Honolulu’s view that its prohibition on aerial advertising is not preempted by federal law. The FAA confirmed in writing today that the precedent from the Skysign case remains the FAA’s position and that Honolulu has the right to prohibit aerial advertising.

Tourism to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Creates $124, 937,400 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 1,476 jobs in local economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area.

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park.  NPS Photo by

The summit eruption of Kīlauea volcano from Halema‘uma‘u Crater continues to attract visitors to the park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger

“We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kīlauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.

Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and island-wide, visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.

The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.

The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i, and how the NPS works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.

The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.

Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.

Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.

Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.

“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.

Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.

More here: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Star-Advertiser Poll Confirms that Majority Oppose Federal Involvement in Native Hawaiian Recognition

A new online poll by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirms that despite continued support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a significant majority are opposed to the federal government’s involvement in the creation of a Native Hawaiian government.

Advertiser PollThe poll, which appeared on the Star-Advertiser website as a daily poll question for July 15, 2014, asked, “Should the U.S. Department of Interior keep open the process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians?” An overwhelming 67% of those responding voted “No,” while only 33% supported the continuation of the DOI’s efforts.

In light of the strong opposition voiced at the recent DOI hearings, these results were not a surprise. Support for the nation-building process has waned over the years, but the recent efforts from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the federal response from the Department of the Interior have met with increasing criticism. Many Hawaiian citizens are concerned to see the nation-building process pursued so vigorously despite the many questions that have been raised about it.

“The people of Hawaii have put up a giant flashing ‘Stop’ sign for OHA and the federal government to see” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “In every possible venue they are expressing opposition to the state’s race-based nation-building program.   The question shouldn’t be whether the people support a Native Hawaiian government. The question should be whether the State will finally listen to the voice of the people and abandon this wasteful and divisive effort.”

“After the expenditure of millions of dollars and considerable influence, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has still failed to convince the People of the merit of its nation-building effort,” continued Dr. Akina. “How much more will they throw away on this process? These resources could be better spent helping the people of Hawaii in real and substantial ways such as improving educational achievement or job training. Let us hope that OHA finally hears what the citizens of Hawaii have been trying so hard to tell them–it’s time to get out of the nation-building business.”

Report Shows Access Learning Pilot Enhances Teaching and Student Learning

A first-year report on the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) Access Learning pilot presented to the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) today shows the initiative is helping to reduce burden on teachers, increase student engagement and responsibility, and improve parents’ support of public schools.

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

Last year, the DOE unveiled Access Learning, a pilot project to study the impact of technology and digital curricular resources on teaching and learning, at eight schools. This initiative takes advantage of ongoing Department efforts such as new technology for learning while addressing challenges facing our public schools. Access Learning does not focus on the device, rather on how technology can be a tool to support teachers’ efforts to personalize instruction and engage students.

Monanalua Middle School Principal Lisa Nagamine told the BOE, “Access Learning has enhanced the collaborative learning environment of our school.”

Moanalua Middle is one of the eight Access Learning schools that has incorporated technology for learning at all levels within its campus, not just the student level.

“The dedication and commitment by the school leaders, staff, and students allowed us to see the full potential of this initiative and its impact on student learning,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We appreciate their input and based on the positive results, hope to increase access to digital learning in all schools in the near future.”

Information and data collected from the eight Access Learning schools from October 2013 through April 2014 revealed:

  • Teachers use computers in a wide variety of ways to improve job performance and teaching – and that usage has increased since an initial survey was done last fall.
  • Teachers believe access to technology will benefit English language learners and special education students.
  • Students reported having positive experiences with the program. More than 90 percent of students surveyed say laptops make schoolwork more interesting and better prepare them for the future.
  • Students reported computers help them to be more organized and finish work more quickly and with better quality. Access to technology also made assignments a lot more fun by creating blogs, slideshows, movie trailers, and usage of other media.
  • Laptops allowed for better peer collaboration during project work and completing homework.
  • Parents believe computers help students gain a better insight into the happenings of the classroom and learn essential skills to compete globally.

“The 1-to-1 laptop program has improved education opportunities for students,” noted one parent. “The school has finally caught up with private schools.”

“I have seen increased student engagement in classwork because their computer allows them to have a ‘voice’ at the same time as everyone else. Less students are distracted or off task. (This) has allowed students to work more collaboratively in and out of the classroom setting,” one teacher reported.

The 2013 Legislature appropriated $8.2 million to the DOE for the pilot, which funded computers for teachers and students, technical support, professional development, and also helped offset curriculum and implementation expenses. In addition to Moanalua Middle, Access Learning pilot schools include Keaau Elementary and Pahoa Elementary, Mililani Mauka Elementary, Mililani Waena Elementary, Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary, and Nanakuli Intermediate and High.

Pilot schools received devices for every student and teacher equipped with Hawaii Common Core-aligned digital curriculum for English Language Arts. The DOE partnered with county police departments to safeguard the computers, all of which are equipped with advanced security tracking software. As a result, the schools reported a combined theft and loss rate of only six computers (less than 1 percent).

Due to funding requirements, the Department was given a very short window to implement the initiative and the report noted those challenges. Teachers expressed frustration with limited time for professional development sessions. View the full report here.

During the past legislative session, DOE requested funding for ongoing Access Learning technical assistance and professional development. The budget request was denied; however, DOE officials worked with and received approval from the BOE to expend funding to continue technical assistance for the pilot schools through FY15. The funding request to the BOE will provide customized professional development for schools, overall and school specific program evaluation for formative purposes, and support for project management. For more information about the program, see the DOE’s Access Learning page.

Canadian Navy Orders Ship Return After Misconduct by Sailors at RIMPAC

I just don’t know what to say about these Canucks at times!

HMCS Whitehorse

HMCS Whitehorse

The head of the Royal Canadian Navy has taken the rare step of ordering one of its ships to return from an international exercise because of misconduct by its sailors.

Vice Admiral Mark Norman issued the message Monday, citing three incidents involving the crew of HMCS Whitehorse that took place during Exercise RIMPAC 2014.

The Elders Headline Pillars of Peace Hawaii Events

Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i to host peace leaders Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hina Jilani, and Desmond Tutu in a series of community events.

Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i, an initiative of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, will host three preeminent global leaders from The Elders from August 29-31. While in Honolulu, they will engage in a series of exchanges with the people of Hawai‘i on peace, compassion, and ethical leadership. The Pillars of Peace Hawaii program was established in part to inspire our community to cultivate empathy, mindfulness and justice in our daily lives and better understand the roles of diversity and culture in the practice of peace.

Elders

The Elders include former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland; renowned lawyer, pro-democracy campaigner and Pakistani women’s movement leader Hina Jilani; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, veteran anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner.

This is the first time that representatives of The Elders will engage Hawai‘i. The community will have the unique opportunity to listen to this world-renowned group of leaders in a public forum entitled “A Just and Inclusive Global Community,” on Sunday, August 31, 4:00 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Convention Center’s Lili‘u Theater. Tickets for the public presentation will be available for purchase at http://pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/schedule-tickets-the-elders on August 1st. Student tickets are $12 and general public tickets are $20; both include validated parking at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

There will also be an opportunity for selected Hawai‘i students to attend a special Student Leaders Program, “Leaders Make the Future: the Wisdom of Elders and Youngers.” The student leaders will be chosen to attend by their schools’ administrators or teachers. Other areas of discussion during the Elders’ visit to Hawai‘i include climate change and ethical leadership.

“We are honored to have such an esteemed group of leaders come to Hawai‘i to share their global experiences and perspectives on peace issues,” said Kelvin H. Taketa, President and CEO of Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “Their visit will enable us, in turn, to share our approach to peace, influenced by the spirit of aloha and our community that merges numerous cultural influences.”

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007; they use their collective wisdom, experience, and influence to support peace building, address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General, currently chairs The Elders. Archbishop Tutu served for six years as Chair and remains an Honorary Elder. Using its members’ collective experiences and insights, the group promotes universal human rights and peace. For more information on The Elders, please visit http://www.theelders.org/.

The Elders’ visit is part of “Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha,” an initiative of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation launched in 2012. The program’s events aim to spark conversations about the roles of compassion, diversity, and culture in the practice of peace. Highlighting Hawai‘i’s culture and its spirit of aloha, the program also positions Hawai‘i as a leading voice for peace. Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i is funded by the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and other partners. For more information on this initiative, please visit http://pillarsofpeacehawaii.org/.

About Hawai‘i Community Foundation

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF), with 98 years of community service, is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. The Foundation is a steward of over 650 funds, including more than 190 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2013, $43 million in grants and contracts were distributed by HCF statewide, including $4 million in scholarships. The HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. For more information on HCF, please visit http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/.

Hawaii’s State Debt Now Represents 92% of the Average Taxpayer’s Income

Hawaii’s mounting state debt now represents $41,300 per taxpayer, the second highest in the country. This, according to Truth in Accounting’s State Data Lab, which calculates the Per Taxpayer Burden (the debt remaining after all assets are tapped) for all 50 states.

income

According to Truth in Accounting, the five states with the highest Per Taxpayer Burden are Illinois, Hawaii, Connecticut, Kentucky, and New Jersey. With the average income in Hawaii at approximately $44,767, the Per Taxpayer Burden represents approximately 92% of the average income.

The continued growth of the state’s debt has caused some to ponder the viability of current spending practices and state benefits.

“Hawaii’s Taxpayer Burden is one of the 5 highest across the 50 states, and has increased every year since 2009.  Most of Hawaii’s debt is unfunded retiree pension and healthcare benefits, left for tomorrow’s taxpayers who may not receive services today’s taxpayers should have fully paid for,” stated Donna Rook, President of StateDataLab.org.

“It is time to face some hard truths when it comes to government spending,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “Hawaii’s unfunded liabilities threaten to sink our future. We cannot pass such a burden on to the next generation, but must make the hard decisions that will ensure the fiscal health of our state for decades to come. I urge our state’s policymakers to put aside partisanship and embrace a ‘best practices’ plan of action that reduces our state debt.”

United 777 Diverts to Remote Pacific Island After Burning Smell Reported

A United Boeing 777 diverted to the tiny Pacific island of Midway last night after a burning smell filled the plane while it flew over one of the most remote places on earth.

Stranded Plane

The airline will only say it was a mechanical issue. But this may have been a fairly serious incident. No one was hurt but those on board had the scare of their lives, says Teresita Smith from Maryland, who was traveling on board with 25 family members.

“The smell was getting stronger…it smelled like something burning,” she told ABC News in a phone interview today from Honolulu.

The departure had originally been delayed in Honolulu because of the odor but was cleared for takeoff for the eight-hour flight to Guam after about three hours, she said.

And then five hours into the flight the smell returned. “In the back section of the plane alarms were going off,” Smith said. Then after the pilot announced the plane would be diverting to Midway, the power seemed to go out and the plane dropped precipitously. “It was very scary,” she said. “It shook a lot of people up.”

More here: United 777 Diverts to Remote Pacific Island After Burning Smell Reported

House Tourism Chair to Introduce Legislation Banning Aerial Advertising

Representative Tom Brower (Waikiki, Ala Moana) announced plans to introduce legislation banning aerial advertisement in the state of Hawaii. The proposed legislation will seek to clarify the ambiguities and jurisdiction of aerial advertising written in federal, state, and city law. The measure will specifically make it illegal for a pilot to fly a plane out of a state airport for the purpose of towing a banner for advertisement.
Aerial Banner
“I have had discussions with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state officials to identify what we can do. Due to the ambiguities of city, state and federal law, there is a need for legislation to add more clarity. Right now, we have federal and state laws that need further explanation,” said Brower. “Our skies are under federal and local jurisdiction, but state airport officials issue contracts and agreements with pilots and businesses. While the FAA has indicated that plane operators need to abide by state law and county ordinance, the contract signed by the particular pilot in question did not specifically allow or deny the operation of a tow banner business.”

The plane operator, Aerial Banners North (ABN), has received a federal waiver to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, but state and city officials have strongly asserted that aerial advertisement is illegal under local law. ABN has argued that the waiver allowing them to operate across the nation, and in Hawaii, supersedes any state or county prohibitions.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration clarified that the waiver granted to Aerial Banners North which authorizes the company to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, “does not waive any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operations conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the operator’s responsibility to resolve the matter.”

“I care about the threat of aerial banners flying over Hawaii’s tourist destinations, ruining the natural beauty, interfering with outdoor recreation and enjoyment of residents and tourists. Most importantly, if we don’t act, this will set a bad precedent, opening the flood gates for more aerial advertising in Hawaii’s skies,” added Brower, Chair of the House Tourism Committee.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Hold Change of Command

After three years as commander, Capt. Jeffrey W. James will transfer command of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Capt. Stanley Keeve, Jr. during a change of command ceremony on Friday, July 11 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the grassy knoll on the south end of Ford Island.

Capt. Jeffrey W. James (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

Capt. Jeffrey W. James (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

James took command in June 2011 as the second commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which officially stood up in October 2010. Prior to reporting to Joint Base, James served on the staff of Commander, U. S. Pacific Fleet. He will retire after 30 years of naval service.

A native of the Washington D. C. area, Capt. Keeve comes to Hawaii from the Pentagon, where he served as military assistant to the Defense Business Board in the Pentagon. He is a surface warfare officer with tours of duty on numerous ships, including the former Pearl Harbor-based frigate, USS Reuben James (FFG 57).

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is home to the Air Force’s key strategic flight line in the Pacific and the Navy’s most historically significant homeport, with 177 tenant commands and about 93,000 active duty personal and their family members, Dept. of Defense civilians and contractors.

Drone Planes Banned From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and ALL Other National Parks

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today signed a policy memorandum that directs superintendents nationwide to prohibit launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Entrance

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Entrance

“We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care,” Jarvis said. “However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.”

Unmanned aircraft have already been prohibited at several national parks. These parks initiated bans after noise and nuisance complaints from park visitors, an incident in which park wildlife were harassed, and park visitor safety concerns.

Last September, an unmanned aircraft flew above evening visitors seated in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Amphitheater. Park rangers concerned for visitors’ safety confiscated the unmanned aircraft.

In April, visitors at Grand Canyon National Park gathered for a quiet sunset, which was interrupted by a loud unmanned aircraft flying back and forth and eventually crashing in the canyon. Later in the month, volunteers at Zion National Park witnessed an unmanned aircraft disturb a herd of bighorn sheep, reportedly separating adults from young animals.

The policy memorandum directs park superintendents to take a number of steps to exclude unmanned aircraft from national parks. The steps include drafting a written justification for the action, ensuring compliance with applicable laws, and providing public notice of the action.

The memorandum does not affect the primary jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration over the National Airspace System.

The policy memorandum is a temporary measure. Jarvis said the next step will be to propose a Servicewide regulation regarding unmanned aircraft. That process can take considerable time, depending on the complexity of the rule, and includes public notice of the proposed regulation and opportunity for public comment.

The policy memo directs superintendents to use their existing authority within the Code of Federal Regulations to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft, and to include that prohibition in the park’s compendium, a set of park-specific regulations.

All permits previously issued for unmanned aircraft will be suspended until reviewed and approved by the associate director of the National Park Service’s Visitor and Resource Protection directorate. The associate director must approve any new special use permits authorizing the use of unmanned aircraft. Superintendents who have previously authorized the use of model aircraft for hobbyist or recreational use may allow such use to continue.

The National Park Service may use unmanned aircraft for administrative purposes such as search and rescue, fire operations and scientific study. These uses must also be approved by the associate director for Visitor and Resource Protection.

HI-EMA Encourages Public to Update Emergency Notification Service

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly known as State Civil Defense, encourages members of the public to sign up for local emergency notifications provided by county civil defense and emergency management agencies.

Department of DefenseInstructions for island-specific systems are available at:

On June 30, 2014, Sprint Relay Hawaii discontinued its emergency notification system that the company had been providing free of charge for 6 years. Relay Hawaii was designed to provide Short Message Service (SMS)/text messages on natural disasters and other emergencies to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

“Sprint Relay Hawaii has been a terrific partner in providing warning of approaching hazards and emergencies, and we are grateful for the services it provided,” said Doug Mayne, Administrator for Emergency Management. “Individuals are urged to update notice subscriptions with alternatives. Having a reliable way to get information on local dangers is crucial to making sure an emergency doesn’t turn into a disaster.”

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are also available through the federal government for people with WEA-enabled phones. Go to http://www.ready.gov/alerts for more information.

Permanent Building Helps College of Pharmacy Receive Extended Accreditation

In a report to the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the national accreditation body has extended the accreditation of the only pharmacy school in the Pacific region, reversing an earlier noncompliance finding.

UH Hilo Inouye College of Pharmacy

The American Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has now found DKICP compliant with all of the 30 standards that it uses to evaluate colleges of pharmacy.

The main issue considered by the ACPE was compliance with the standard concerning physical facilities. In May this year, State House and Senate budget conferees agreed to fund a building to house the College on Hawaiʻi Island.

Chancellor Donald Straney: “I was secure in the knowledge that our community knew the value of the College of Pharmacy to the future, to the economy and to the general well-being of our State. I want to thank everyone involved for their continued support that led to the funding of a permanent building.”

In 2013, ACPE declared DKICP was out of compliance with the standard concerning physical facilities after which, without promise of a permanent building, could ultimately lead to probation. Founding Dean John Pezzuto said probation could have signaled the end of the College.

“If we had followed the path we were on just a year ago, I could be saying that we have been placed on probation, which would’ve been disastrous for the future of the College,” Pezzuto said. “It is heartening that our accreditation is once again secure, but we all must remain diligent and prepare for the next steps.”

The College now must complete a self-study due by September, to be followed by an on-site visit in October 2014. The results of the site visit and continuation of accreditation will be reviewed at the next ACPE Board meeting, to be held in January 2015.

Hawaii State Department of Education Receives ESEA Flex Extension

As a sign of its continued confidence in the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), the United States Department of Education (USDOE) has extended the DOE’s waiver from some components of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

DOE
The ESEA Flexibility Waiver includes the Strive HI Performance System, which replaces the NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress system and its other obligations around college and career readiness and teacher and principal evaluations.

“The extension validates our work thus far in our efforts to transform public education in Hawaii,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, it recognizes our strategic plan moving forward as we work tirelessly to elevate student achievement, and prepare all of our students for post-secondary success.”

The DOE initially applied for the waiver in September of 2012, and on May 20, 2013, it received conditional approval for one year – for the School Year 2013-14. Under the conditional approval, the DOE had to meet certain conditions to be granted an extension for a second year, for the School Year 2014-15. Among the conditions the USDOE required of the DOE for an extension was clear and compelling evidence of the DOE’s substantial progress with its Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. On July 29, 2013, the DOE was cleared entirely from “high risk” status with its RTTT grant.

The Strive HI Performance System not only reflects the State Strategic Plan, it aligns and connects with state education policies and initiatives including the Hawaii Common Core, updated assessments, more rigorous diploma and graduation requirements, successful school improvement strategies in the Zones of School Innovation and robust teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

More about the DOE’s Strive HI Performance System can be found here.

VIDEO: NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) Recovered

First video of NASA’s saucer-shaped test vehicle, the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) after it was recovered from the ocean and returned to Port Allen, Kauai, on June 29, 2014.

The LDSD Test Vehicle recovered

The LDSD Test Vehicle recovered

The LDSD vehicle had completed its first test flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai one day earlier.

2014 RIMPAC Exercises Begin – Bloggers Invited Previously

Well the ships are coming in for the 2014 RIMPAC Exercises.  I don’t have a sponsorship with Go!Airlines anymore, so if I do get selected to go on some embarks… I’ll have to be selective about the ones I get chosen for as I know I’ll be paying my own flights this time!

Here are some of the previous embarks and adventures I have gone on in the past.

I always try to get something to remember my embarks from!

I always try to get something to remember my embarks from!

Proportion of People Living In Poverty in Hawaii Declines

One in four U.S. residents live in “poverty areas,” according to American Community Survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2008 to 2012, up from less than one in five in 2000. These areas of concentrated poverty refer to any census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent of more. The number of people living in poverty areas increased from 49.5 million (18.0 percent) in 2000 to 77.4 million (25.7 percent) in 2008-2012. The 2012 American Community Survey five-year estimates show a U.S. poverty rate of 14.9 percent.

Click to read full report

Click to read full report

While for most areas the percent of people living in poverty areas increased, some parts of the country moved in the opposite direction of the nation’s 7.6 percentage points increase. In Louisiana (-3.6 percentage points), West Virginia (-2.3), Alaska (-0.4), Hawaii (-1.0) and the District of Columbia (-6.7), the proportion of people living in poverty areas declined over the period. On the other hand, Arkansas (15.7 percentage points), North Carolina (17.9), Oregon (16.0) and Tennessee (16.0) had among the largest percentage point increases in the proportion of people living in poverty areas.

By state, according to the 2008-2012 figures, the percentage of people living in a poverty area ranged from 6.8 percent in New Hampshire to 48.5 percent in Mississippi.

Page 3 of report

Page 3 of report

The report, Changes in Areas with Concentrated Poverty: 2000 to 2010, uses data from the 2000 Census and the American Community Survey to analyze changes in the spatial distribution and socio-economic characteristics of people living in such areas. More than half of people living in poverty lived in a poverty area, and about 30 percent of people living in poverty areas had incomes below the poverty level.

“Researchers have found that living in poor neighborhoods adds burdens to low-income families, such as poor housing conditions and fewer job opportunities,” said the report’s author, Alemayehu Bishaw of the Census Bureau’s Poverty Statistics Branch. “Many federal and local government agencies use the Census Bureau’s definition of poverty areas to provide much-needed resources to communities with a large concentration of people in poverty.”

Other highlights:

  • In the 2008-2012 period, in 14 states and the District of Columbia, 30 percent or more of the population lived in poverty areas. In 2000, this was true of four states and the District of Columbia.
  • Of the people living in poverty areas in the 2008-2012 period, 51.1 percent lived in central cities of metro areas, 28.6 percent in suburbs and 20.4 percent outside metro areas. (In the report, the term “suburbs” refers to areas that are inside metropolitan statistical areas but outside the central or principal cities.)
  • Many of the counties with 80 percent or more of the population living in poverty areas were clustered in and around American Indian reservations (in New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota and North Dakota) or in the Mississippi delta region (which includes portions of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas).
  • About 38 percent of all families headed by a female householder with no husband present lived in a poverty area, the largest proportion among all family types.
  • Blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and those in the “some other race” category were the race groups most likely to live in poverty areas, at 50.4 percent, 47.8 percent and 48.3 percent, respectively. Whites, however, experienced the largest percentage point increase in the proportion living in poverty areas over the 2000 to 2008-2012 period. The percent of whites living in poverty areas increased from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 20.3 percent in 2008-2012.
  • Employed people saw a larger increase in the percentage of people living in poverty areas than the unemployed over this period — 8.0 percentage points versus 3.4 percentage points.

About the American Community Survey

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about all communities in the country. The American Community Survey gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results.

Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation’s people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said such information would allow Congress to “adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community,” and over the decades allow America “an opportunity of marking the progress of the society.”

Statement By Admiral Harry Harris Jr., On Opening of RIMPAC

Aloha! Welcome everyone to the Rim of the Pacific exercise. It’s a great day to look across Pearl Harbor and see so many international ships berthed here for RIMPAC 2014. I want to personally welcome every Sailor, Marine, Airman, Soldier and Coastguardsman from all 22 participating nations and from the six observer nations – not only here in Hawaii, but also to the joint forces operating together in Southern California. You may not realize this, but the Southern California RIMPAC phase includes more than 1,000 personnel and seven ships from nine countries.

RIMPAC Line Up

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps our armed forces increase transparency and foster the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring security on the world’s oceans. Everyone standing here with me today recognizes how valuable a cooperative approach can be to sharing the workload and leveraging unique national capabilities.

Today, maritime cooperation is more vital than ever before. For centuries, the world’s oceans kept us apart, but in this increasingly globalized world, they are the pathways that bring us together.

Freedom of the seas is the minimum condition necessary for global prosperity and trade to flourish. This applies to the United States, a maritime nation and a Pacific nation, and it applies to each of the countries participating in RIMPAC.

As the world’s economic center of gravity shifts rapidly toward the Indo-Asia-Pacific, we also note the increasing risks in the region – some man-made, some natural – but all capable of disrupting stability and impacting our collective prosperity. We can all appreciate that conflict and crisis are bad for business. I think it’s important to note that by simply attending RIMPAC, every nation here is making the bold statement that we must improve multinational military cooperation despite disagreements. We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

Capable maritime forces enhance stability, security, prosperity and peace around the world, especially in an ocean as vast as the Pacific. The 22 nations who sent forces to RIMPAC have interests in the Pacific, and they know that this exercise will help them improve their capability to operate with each other and contribute to multilateral efforts when needed.

Mutual trust and open lines of communication are critical, but are very challenging to build. That’s why multilateral exercises like RIMPAC are so important. It helps us work together effectively in real world events like the recent search for Malaysia Airliner MH370, or in responding to the devastating typhoon that hit our friends in the Philippines last November. Friends help friends, and often, the fastest response to crisis comes from the sea.

Capable maritime forces matter to all nations.

And they matter to the United States, which is conducting a whole-of-government strategic rebalance to the Pacific. The rebalance is based on a strategy of cooperation and collaboration, and that’s why it is imperative that we work together to build trust and confidence to solve our collective maritime challenges. When great nations work together, we can accomplish great things.

Collaboration and cooperation, that’s why we are here to learn together, operate together and sail together.

There are three great ships that sail on the high seas – friendship, partnership and leadership – all three are exemplified at RIMPAC. Great leadership is also something I get every day from our U.S. Third Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd, who will serve as the Combined Task Force commander during this exercise.

Adm. Harris is commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.