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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement On Trump Administration Decision To End DACA

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI -02) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stated:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.

“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”

Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Statement on Trump Rescinding DACA

In response to the Trump’s administration decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), created by President Obama in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to this country as children, Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) Chair, Tim Vandeveer, released the following statement:

“Today, the Trump administration turned its back on hard-working immigrant families and students. Donald Trump’s actions force thousands of immigrants back into the shadows, tears families and communities apart, and is a devastating blow to the nearly 800,000 young immigrants who only know this country as their home. Trump and his Republicans are choosing to further divide our country, create fear in our communities and hurt our economy. Donald Trump’s cruel actions today bend to the wishes of extremists in his own party. “

“In Hawai‘i, we know better because we are defined by our diversity and guided by Aloha. Democrats proudly stand by the estimated 558 DACA beneficiaries in Hawai‘i and will fight to protect our abiding values of liberty, social justice, economic justice, protection of the environment, and compassion and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual. We will continue to work to fix our broken immigration system and support the DREAMers who are contributing to our economy and society.”

The DPH will be hosting a phone bank to members of Congress and sign-making from 2pm – 4pm today at the DPH Headquarters located at 627 South St. #105 in Honolulu.

Following the phone bank, members will participate in a sign-waving in support of DACA recipients and DREAMers at the Federal Building located at 300 Ala Moana (Ewa corner where Ala Moana Blvd meets Halekauwila St) from 4:30pm – 5:30pm.

UH Manoa Volcanologists Receive International Recognition

Two volcanologists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Geology and Geophysics have received two of the top three awards from the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI). Bruce Houghton, the Gordon A. MacDonald Professor of Volcanology and Science Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at UHM, was honored recently with the IAVCEI Thorarinsson Medal. Sébastien Biass, a post-doctoral researcher at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Department of Geology and Geophysics, was honored with the George Walker Medal.

Houghton’s Thorarinsson Medal

The Thorarinsson Medal is awarded only once every four years by the IAVCEI for outstanding contributions to volcanology, and is the highest award in international volcanology.

“A giant of volcanology, Bruce has tackled ‘big’ problems in geology with innovative approaches and technologies, and is truly a scientist of outstanding distinction,” stated University of Tasmania’s Rebecca Carey in her nomination letter. “His research has not only generated a wealth of new scientific understanding, but also critically Thorarinsson-type pioneering advances in long-standing cornerstone volcanologic concepts.”

Bruce Houghton Near Ruapehu, New Zealand

Further, Houghton has pioneered research across the interface of fundamental volcanological science and hazards, social and behavioral science, leading to a world-first detailed training course for scientists, first responders and emergency managers, titled the U.S. FEMA Volcanic Crisis Awareness course.

Houghton and his predecessor at UHM, George Walker, are among the only 9 volcanologists to date given the Thorarinsson award, which is named for noted Icelandic geologist and volcanologist Sigurdur Thorarinsson.

Houghton reflected on becoming a Thorarinsson Medalist: “I was delighted and surprised by the award. All my research is collaborative and, since moving to UH, 70% of my papers have been first-authored by my students or postdocs, and these are not the type of statistics that usually lead to such awards. I was particularly pleased because all three of my mentors in volcanology are on the list of eight prior winners of the medal; it is quite humbling to be joining them. For UH to have been awarded two of the nine Thorarinsson Medal to date is, I think, a sign that volcanology is in excellent health here in Hawaiʻi. The challenge now is to find ways to build on this reputation and capture for UH some of the wonderful crop of young volcanologists on the market.”

Biass’s George Walker Award 

The George Walker Award is given every two years to a young scientist up to seven years after acquiring a doctoral degree. The award recognizes achievements of a recent outstanding graduate in the fields of research encompassed by IAVCEI.

Sebastien Biass

Sébastien Biass, post-doctoral researcher working with Houghton at UHM, was honored for “achievements that are all deeply rooted in field studies and because of his unique appreciation with the importance of statistical and critical treatment of field data within the growing field of numerical modelling,” cited Professor Costanza Bonadonna of the University of Geneva. “His unique approach stems from combining thorough field studies with state-of-the-art numerical modeling, furthering both deposit characterization and the newly born discipline of hazard and risk assessment that he is pioneering. What makes Sébastien unique in his science is his open mind and multidisciplinary approach, his scientific curiosity and enthusiasm, and his dedication to going beyond his own limits.”

Sebastien Biass in the Field

Biass commented, “My vision of the IAVCEI George Walker Award for early career scientist is closely tied to my vision of scientific research, which contains three components. First, scientific curiosity is one of the greatest source of pleasure in life and provides the motivation to attempt understanding the unknown. Second, luck, that is in the selection of work colleagues, has been an integral part of my research. Specifically, Costanza Bonadonna and Bruce Houghton, both part of the UH family in either past or present, have shown me how working on interesting science with bright people is an invaluable source of satisfaction. Thirdly, I see research as having a global objective of the well-being of society, which in volcanology translates to a better understanding of the physics of hazardous processes occurring during eruptions in order to mitigate better the impacts on exposed communities. This award therefore represents a success on these three levels and belongs as much to everyone I have ever looked up to as it does to me. Having been picked amongst a long list of such successful young scientists humbles me and gives great motivation to pursue my scientific career.”

The award honors the memory of former UHM Geology Professor George Walker, whose discoveries pioneered a modern quantitative approach to physical volcanology and greatly accelerated understanding of volcanic processes.

For more information, visit: https://www.soest.hawaii.edu

Governor Ige Visits with Hawaiʻi Air National Guard Members Heading to Texas on Hurricane Harvey Relief Mission

A Hawaiʻi Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft from the 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Wing, departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam early this morning as part of the nation’s Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

The C-17, carrying two flight crews and maintenance personnel (16 Airmen in total) will initially fly to Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, from where they will transport relief supplies to the hurricane-damaged areas around Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey is one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The Hawaiʻi Air National Guard received the request for assistance from the National Guard Bureau yesterday afternoon and was prepared to depart just after dawn today.

Gov. David Y. Ige and Hawaiʻi National Guard leadership were on hand to see the flight crews and maintenance personnel off at Hickam Field.

“I’m very proud of our Hawaiʻi National Guard Airmen who were able to generate this mission on very short notice,” said Gov. Ige. “Hawaiʻi stands with our brothers and sisters in Texas and I know the crew will be bringing the Aloha Spirit to a lot of people who are in great need right now.”

The C-17 has been tasked with transporting relief supplies such as generators, tactical shelters, medical supplies and field kitchens from National Guard units from other states. They anticipate they will be flying multiple missions and the return date has not yet been determined. The 204th Airlift Squadron is one of three flying units within the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, the largest and most complex wing in the entire Air National Guard. The Guard is tasked with being ready for war or any other operational contingency overseas and well as disaster response here at home.

Hawai’i CC Nursing Instructor Receives National Recognition for Work in Psychiatric Nursing

Hawai’i Community College Nursing instructor Cheryl Puntil is the 2017 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Service from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).

Cheryl Puntil

Puntil will be recognized for her commitment, initiative, loyalty, integrity and exceptional and meritorious service at the 31st Annual National APNA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on October 18. With more than 10,000 members, APNA is the largest professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric mental health (PMH) nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems, and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders.

Puntil and several APNA colleagues worked on the APNA Essential Suicide Competencies for nurse assessment and management of individuals at risk for suicide.

“Through [Cheryl’s] vision, determination, and perseverance, the APNA Suicide Competencies initiative became a reality and an exemplar, continues to expand, and addresses both a major national public health problem and gap in nursing education,” Puntil’s colleagues stated.

“It is an incredible honor to receive the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Distinguished Service,” said Puntil. “I followed my passion and was lucky to find awesome mentors who paved the way for me to assist in establishing competencies that will change nursing practice and improve care for those at risk for suicide. I was very surprised and grateful for the acknowledgment from my esteemed colleagues who nominated me, and to the APNA board for voting on my behalf to receive the award.”

Puntil received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the College of Saint Teresa and her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is certified as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS-BC).

Puntil joined Hawai’i CC Division of Nursing and Allied Health in 2014. Hawai’i CC offers Associate of Science Degree in Nursing and a Certificate of Achievement in Practical Nursing.

Suicide Prevention at Hawai’i CC

With suicide the second leading cause of death for persons 15-34, Hawai’i Community College has taken an active approach to suicide prevention. The college has established a Mental Wellness and Personal Development Service that offers services to students and leads trainings for faculty, staff and students in Safe Talk and QPR. Puntil has also brought Safe Talk training to Hawai’i CC Nursing students.

Puntil and Hawai’i CC Mental Health Therapist Kate De Soto were invited by UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes to serve on the UH Suicide Prevention Committee.

The college will participate in National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September with tabling events, sign making and sign waving on September 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The goal is to bring awareness to the issue of suicidality and and enhance prevention efforts, said De Soto.

“We want to reduce the stigma of depression and suicidal thoughts so people have fewer barries to seeking help,” De Soto said. “The more we show support as a community, the more people are likely to speak up and the more people are likely to know what to do if someone does speak up.”

Students seeking services from the Mental Wellness and Personal Development office can contact De Soto at 934-2706 and kdesoto@hawaii.edu.

EPA Penalizes Kapolei Company for Failing to Close Illegal Cesspool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Fileminders of Hawaii, LLC, requiring the company to close a large-capacity cesspool at its Kapolei facility on Oahu.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and large-capacity cesspools have been banned since 2005.

In May 2016, EPA inspected the Fileminders facility, a records storage company in the Campbell Industrial Park, and found one large-capacity cesspool (LCC) in use. EPA regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act required closure of all existing LCCs by April 5, 2005.

Fileminders, the operator of the cesspool, and Hawaii MMGD, the company’s owner, will pay a civil penalty of $122,000 for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. In June, the cesspool was closed and the company installed an individual wastewater system.

“Closing large cesspools is essential to protecting Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory.”

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit

https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#oahu

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, visit http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Hawaii Garners National Recognition for Investment in Energy Efficiency

A national network of energy efficiency experts recently honored Hawaii with its “Race to the Top Award” for the pioneering work being done by state and county agencies to boost investment in energy efficiency projects that are helping the state meet its clean energy goals.

The nonprofit Energy Services Coalition (ESC) for the sixth consecutive year recognized Hawaii as the nation’s per capita leader in energy performance contracting (EPC), a form of innovative financing for capital improvements that allows government agencies to pay for energy efficiency upgrades with the savings on their utility bills. In addition, the ESC for the second straight year named Hawaii one of its “Energy Stewardship Champions” for achieving infrastructure modernization, environmental stewardship, and economic development through performance contracting.

“The growth of energy performance contracting is making a significant impact on Hawaii’s use of imported fossil fuels while helping diversify our economy by sustaining and creating jobs in the clean tech sector,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. “I commend the state and county agencies that are executing energy performance contracts, and for playing a leadership role in Hawaii’s clean energy transformation.”

EPC uses the savings from upgrades such as digital controls for energy systems, and lighting, plumbing and air conditioning improvements to repay the cost of the equipment and its installation. The costs are borne by the performance contractor and paid back out of the energy savings.  The ESC in its annual “Race to the Top” program ranks the 50 states based on the per capita amount invested in performance contracts for government buildings. Hawaii’s investment of $372.81 per capita in 2017 earned the state a sixth consecutive No. 1 ranking. The national average for EPC investment is $62.72 per capita.

“Using a tool like energy performance contracting to retrofit buildings not only makes them more efficient and comfortable, it delivers meaningful energy cost savings to building owners,” said Carilyn Shon, HSEO administrator. “Furthermore, using energy more efficiently is the fastest, most cost-effective way to pursue Hawaii’s clean energy goals.”

In addition to the Race to the Top honor, Hawaii was one of 12 states that earned the ESC’s Energy Stewardship Champion award for a combination of its political leadership, programmatic design, and the amount of private sector investment in guaranteed energy savings performance contracting (GESPC) in their states.

“GESPC is a financial strategy leveraging guaranteed future energy savings to pay for energy efficiency upgrades today,” said Jim Arwood, ESC Executive Director. “Hawaii has achieved considerable recent success in support of implementing energy efficiency projects in public buildings and infrastructure through the use of a GESPC.”

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO), a division of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, accepted the Race to the Top and Energy Stewardship Champion awards during the ESC’s annual conference August 9-11 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada.

HSEO provides technical assistance to state and country agencies entering into energy performance contracts. The EPC projects vary widely and include office buildings, community colleges, airports, highways, and prisons. In a typical EPC, the building owner contracts with an energy service company to install the energy improvements and guarantee the energy savings over the contract term. The contractor is then paid out of the energy savings and captures the incentives made available by Hawai‘i Energy to promote investment in energy efficiency.

“Hawaii continues to be a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawaii Energy.  “Since 1996, Hawaii state government agencies have saved, on average, more than 5 million kilowatt hours a year, equating to over $24 million in savings, with the majority of this coming through EPCs. Hawaii Energy has worked with the State Energy Office and state agencies to help them make smart energy choices. Hawaii Energy has rewarded these agencies with over $11 million in incentives for projects such as lighting, air conditioning system efficiency upgrades, and advanced building automation systems to promote investments that ultimately save taxpayers money while helping Hawai‘i achieve its 100 percent clean energy goal faster.”

Performance contracts signed by state and local government agencies in Hawaii since 1996 include 295 buildings and facilities covering more than 112 million square feet. The savings are the equivalent of powering 388,210 homes for one year.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns Justice Department’s Politically Motivated Search Warrant

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today warned that, in violation of First Amendment privacy protections afforded under the Constitution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested a search warrant for IP addresses and personal information stored on the server of a private company who helped organize protests during President Trump’s inauguration. The search warrant, filed by the federal government in the D.C. Superior Court, is trying to force DreamHost to provide the DOJ with the user information for anyone who visited their site in an effort to identify anyone involved in Inauguration Day protests.

Tulsi and my son when he won an art competition at the state capitol.

“The Justice Department’s politically motivated probe to collect personal information on its own citizens exercising their legal right to express dissenting political views is nothing short of a constitutional violation and is wholly un-American. It reeks of actions that Presidents Nixon and Johnson took against Americans protesting the war in Vietnam. Our country was founded on the rule of law which protects our right to free speech and prohibits the government from violating our personal privacy with baseless warrants. These fundamental rights and protections separate our democracy from dictators around the world who seek to silence and intimidate their political opponents to maintain power. The Justice Department’s witch hunt serves as a reminder that we must take a stand to defend our constitutional rights and ensure our government is not allowed to violate our constitutional rights and civil liberties,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties. She is a founding member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus and has been a champion for strengthening privacy and civil liberties protections in the digital age. She has introduced legislation to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and cosponsored legislation like the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act and Email Privacy Act to modernize electronic privacy laws.

Polynesian Voyaging Society Launches Hōkūleʻa Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail

Hōkūleʻa departed the Marine Education Training Center (METC) at Sand Island today to begin the Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail. The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) announced some of the stops that the canoe will be making during this six-month voyage throughout the Hawaiian Islands:

Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail – *Ports and dates are subject to change:

  • August and September: Maui (Honolua), Oʻahu (Haleʻiwa), Kauaʻi
  • October: Moku O Keawe, Maui (Hana)
  • November: Maui Nui – Maui (Maʻalaea/Wailea), Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi
  • Late-November to mid-December: Windward Oʻahu
  • January: Leeward, East and South Oʻahu

The Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail will give PVS an opportunity to thank Hawaiʻi’s people, bring Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia home to all of Hawaiʻi, share lessons learned from the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and deepen the organization’s connection and understanding of the important work being done here in the islands to care for the earth. During the port visits, PVS will engage with schools and organizations through outreach events, service projects, crew presentations and canoe tours.

The first stop will be at Honolua Bay, Maui, where Hōkūleʻa first departed on her maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. The crew will begin to mahalo and mālama Hawai’i by participating in the planting of 1,000 koa seedlings as part of a series of community engagement events in West Maui. In partnership with the Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc. through the conservation department of the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve, State of Hawaiʻi DLNR, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi and Kamehameha Schools Maui, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crewmembers will be engaging with schools and the community in West Maui where they are scheduled to conduct presentations and canoe tours (see detailed schedule below).

Voyaging canoe Hikianalia is scheduled to depart Sand Island on Friday, August 18, and will join Hōkūleʻa at Honolua Bay on Saturday, August 19.

Honolua Bay Engagement Schedule (Events are free and open to the public):
*All dates and times schedule to change

Thursday, August 17
4 pm Hōkūleʻa arrives at Honolua Bay, Honolua Bay Ramp
6 pm Huliau Film & Lecture Series presents Ola ʻo Maui Nui featuring speakers from the 1976 Voyage and Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage crew at
Kamehameha Schools Maui, Keōpūolani Hale

Friday, August 18
9:30-12:30 pm Kamehameha Schools Maui students and teachers visit with Hōkūleʻa crew at Honolua for informational activities and service project

6:30 pm Crew Talk Story at Westin Nanea
(Participating crew members: Max Yarawamai, Archie Kalepa, Lehua Kamalu and Billy Richards)

6:30-8:00 pm Crew Talk Story at Kaanapali Beach Hotel
(Participating crew members: Mark Ellis, Kekaimalu Lee, Kaʻiulani Murphy and Pua Lincoln)

Saturday, August 19
8-8:30 am Cultural welcome at Honolua Bay
9 am-5 pm Informational activities
10:30 am-1 pm Planting of koa and native plants with Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve makai conservation area. For information, visit puukukui.org
2-5 pm Public canoe tours and informational activities at Honolua Bay Ramp
7 pm Hōkūleʻa Revisted: 1976 Crew Member Talk at Ritz Carlton Kapalua
(Participating crew members: Buffalo Keaulana, Snake Ah Hee, Billy Richards, John Kruse, Gordon Piʻianaia, Penny Martin, Kimo Lyman, Marion Lyman-Mersereau, Makaala Yates and Kainoa Lee)

Sunday, August 20
8 am-5 pm Public canoe tours at Honolua Bay Ramp
TBD Crew Talk at Sheraton Maui
(Puu Kukui Watershed representatives and and Hōkūleʻa crew)
6:30 pm Crew Talk at Montage Kapalua Bay
(Participating crew members: Kalepa Baybayan, Kalā Tanaka and Austin Kino

Gabbard-Backed Bill to Expand, Extend GI Bill Signed Into Law

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, released the statement below after legislation she helped introduce to improve and extend GI Bill education benefits for veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents was signed into law today.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate unanimously, and is widely supported by veteran and education advocacy organizations, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Enlisted Association of The National Guard of The United States, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, the STEM Education Coalition, and others.

“Every single day, roughly 500 veterans are transitioning from military life to civilian life, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans who have returned home since 9/11 alone. We have a responsibility to ensure that our troops and veterans are set up for success in the 21st century economy when they lay down the uniform and transition to civilian life. This bipartisan legislation enhances existing benefits, expands eligibility, eliminates bureaucratic barriers, and empowers our troops, veterans and their dependents to get the quality education they’ve earned and deserve. More than 7,000 Hawaiʻi veterans used their earned education benefit to open the door to new opportunities for them and their families last year, and this law will help our next generation of service members to further build on this progress,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (H.R.3218) will apply to all new enlistees in the military, and will:

  • Remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline
  • Simplify the benefit for future service members by consolidating the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill into a single program over time, which would reduce the VA’s administrative costs
  • Provide significant increases in GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents
  • Provide 100% GI Bill eligibility to Post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients
  • Restore eligibility for service members whose school closes in the middle of a semester and create a pilot program that would pay for veterans to take certain high technology courses.

STATEMENT from Governor David Y. Ige on President’s Remarks About Charlottesville

“The president has abandoned any pretense of standing up for American values or the moral authority that defines the United States.

The racism and bigotry that he defended today goes against every value that makes me proud to be an American citizen and governor of the State of Hawai‘i – the place that President John F. Kennedy once said represents all that we are, and all that we hope to be.”

Mayor Kim Gets Honorable Mention at US Conference of Mayors’s Climate Protection Awards

The United States Conference of Mayors 11th anniversary Winners Mayors’ Climate protection awards:

Honorable Mentions (Large City) – Hawai’i Mayor Harry Kim and the Lalamilo Windfarm Project:

Hawai’i Department of Water Supply’s (DWS) Lalamilo Windfarm project officially opened for commercial operations in September 2016, with five turbines generating 3.3 megawatts of electricity with no-export to the grid.
As an island state, the State of Hawai’i has been at the mercy of imported fossil fuel supplies. The Lalamilo Windfarm contributes to the State of Hawai’i’s Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

Among the challenges in developing this project were permitting hurdles, most notably those involving the expected take of endangered bats and sea birds such as petrels.

Lighting was installed at downward facing angles and down-shielded to avoid attraction and disorientation of night-flying seabirds. It also will be less attractive to insects at turbine blade heights which may attract bats.

The turbines are also programmed to cut in and produce energy only when the wind exceeds 5 meters per second and the blades are feathered into the wind when the wind speeds are below 5 meters per second to minimize impact to both bats and birds. Bird flight diverters were also installed to minimize the potential for birds colliding with the overhead electrical transmission lines.
The windfarm is designed to provide a renewable energy source and a stable rate platform for the Department of Water Supply’s pumping equipment for the next 20 years. The CO2 offset for the Lalamilo Windfarm is estimated at 5,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

At the 2015 groundbreaking for Lalamilo

This is arguably the first time in Hawai’i, and perhaps the nation, that a local government has developed such a wind-powered, water-pumping facility capable of significant greenhouse gas reductions at no cost to the taxpayer.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, in partnership with DWS and the Department of Research and Development, worked out models of the energy output potential for the windfarm site, at no cost to DWS or its customers. In April 2013, the project was awarded to Lalamilo Windfarm Wind
Company LLC, which designed, constructed, owns, and maintains the facility, through a Power Purchase Agreement. Planning, design, and construction were also done at no cost to DWS.

The turbines of the Windfarm are located on 78 acres adjacent to eight DWS water wells in Lalamilo Windfarm, South Kohala, on the site of a previous windfarm built in the mid-1980s. The use of wind energy while reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, also ensures a stable source of energy that is expected to reduce energy costs to DWS and its customers over the next
20 years.

Questions and Answers: Hawaii and the Threat of a North Korean Missile Strike

Click to enlarge

1. Why now? Has the North Korea missile threat increased so much recently that you were urged to begin preparations for an attack?

Preparations for the North Korea missile and nuclear threat began in late 2016 when this assessment suggested early preparations should be initiated. Hawaii has maintained plans to cope with missile testing since 2009. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) conducts a Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) every year. This process examines potential hazards and threats to the State of Hawaii including natural (hurricane, tsunami), technological (cyberterrorism) and man-made (acts of terrorism) hazards.

2. I have heard that planning for a nuclear attack from North Korea is futile given most of the population will be killed or critically injured. Is that true?

No. Current estimates of human casualties based on the size (yield) of North Korean nuclear weapon technology strongly suggests an explosion less than 3 miles in diameter. More than 90% of the population would survive the direct effects of such an explosion. Planning and preparedness are essential to protect those survivors from delayed residual radiation (fallout) and other effects of the attack such as the loss of utilities and communication systems, structural fires, etc.

3. How will the public learn of a possible missile launch from North Korea?

Approximately 5 minutes into the launch sequence, the U.S. Pacific Command will notify the Hawaii State Warning Point (SWP) that a missile is in route from North Korea. The SWP is staffed on a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week basis by skilled emergency management professionals.
Upon receipt of the notification, the SWP will activate the ‘Attack-Warning’ signal on all outdoor sirens statewide (wailing sound) and transmit a warning advisory on radio, television and cellular telephones within 2 minutes.

4. What should Hawaii residents and visitors do when they hear the ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal?

All residents and visitors must immediately seek shelter in a building or other substantial structure. Once the sirens sound, residents and visitors will have less than 12 to 15 minutes before missile impact.

5. Was the recent public messaging recommending that each individual/family maintain a 14-day survival kit made because of the North Korea threat?

The 14-day recommendation was made following an intensive analysis suggesting that Hawaii could experience a major disruption to maritime transportation (shipping and ports) in the event of a major hurricane. This recommendation does however complement the potential need for 14 days of sheltering following a nuclear attack.

6. When will schools begin nuclear drills?

Schools are not expected to conduct drills specific to a nuclear attack. Existing drills known as ‘lock down’ drills serve the same purpose. These drills are regularly conducted at all schools statewide and are considered more than adequate in terms of protecting students and staff.

7. When will the new ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal will available and how will it be tested?

The new (second) ‘Attack-Warning’ siren signal (wailing sound) will be available for use beginning in November 2017. The signal will be tested on the first working day of every month thereafter together with the existing ‘Attention-Alert’ signal (steady sound) used for other emergencies.

8. Are there public shelters (blast or fallout) designated in our communities?

No. There are currently no designated shelters in the State of Hawaii at this time. The short warning time (12 to 15 minutes) would not allow for residents or visitors to locate such a shelter in advance of missile impact.

9. How long will residents and visitors need to remain sheltered following a nuclear detonation?

In most cases, only until the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has assessed residual radiation and fallout. This could be as little as a few hours or as long as 14 days.

10.  What is fallout?

Debris including soil, fragments of destroyed buildings and other material will be drawn into the cloud of a nuclear detonation and propelled into the sky. This debris will begin to settle back to earth within hours. This debris includes residual radiation that poses a significant health risk to humans and animals.

11. How can I tell if nuclear radiation is present?

Nuclear radiation cannot be perceived by the human senses (sight, smell, etc.). Specialized instruments are needed to detect its presence and intensity. Those instruments are available for use by public safety agencies across the State of Hawaii.

12. How long will nuclear radiation persist after a nuclear detonation?

A: Radiation from nuclear detonation in the form of fallout decays very rapidly. Days to weeks in most situations.

13. Are the neighbor island safe?

We do not know. North Korean missile technology may not be adequately advanced to accurately target a specific island or location. Although most analysts believe the desired target will be Oahu given the concentration of military and government facilities, a missile may stray and impact the open ocean or even a neighbor island. All areas of the State of Hawaii must consider the possibility of missile impact.

14. How will the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency communicate with the public post-impact? I have heard that most broadcast stations and other forms of electronic communications (cellular telephones, radio, television) will be damaged or destroyed.

When a nuclear weapon detonates, one of the direct effects produced is called an Electromagnetic Pulse (or EMP). EMP has the potential of destroying electrical devices and telecommunications systems. It may also disrupt electrical power and other essential utilities. Broadcast stations many miles distant from the explosion (such as on another island) will survive EMP effects. Our current plans are to utilize AM and FM broadcast radio stations on unaffected islands to provide essential information to the public. This means residents and visitors should include a battery-powered AM-FM radio in their 14-day survival kit.

15. How can I learn more about the nuclear threat and preparedness?

Public outreach and online information is available to all Hawaii residents.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Email: HawaiiEma@hawaii.gov Web: http://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/ Telephone: 808 -733-4300 or contact your county emergency management agency:

  • Kauai Emergency Management Agency 808-241-1800
  • Honolulu Department of Emergency Management 808-723-8960
  • Maui Emergency management Agency 808-270-7285
  • Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency 808-935-0031

Ready.Gov website https://www.ready.gov/nuclear-blast

Registration Opens for Hawaii LifeSmarts Competition

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Office of the Securities Commissioner announces the start of the 2017-2018 Hawaii LifeSmarts Competition.

LifeSmarts is a free, national educational program that teaches students critical life skills in five key areas: Personal Finance, Consumer Rights & Responsibilities, Health & Safety, the Environment, and Technology through online quizzes and in-person competitions.  Teams must consist of one adult coach/teacher and at least 4 students.

The online portion of the competition will be open from Tuesday, August 1, 2017, to Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7 p.m. HST.  The four highest scoring high school teams will be invited to compete at the state championship competition in Honolulu on February 3, 2018.  The winning team will represent Hawaii at the national LifeSmarts competition, scheduled for April 21-24, 2018 in San Diego, CA.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of Hawaii LifeSmarts and we encourage teams to sign up,” said Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara.

Middle school or “Junior Varsity” (JV) teams with students in grades 6-8 may participate in an online-only competition from August 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018.  Winners of the JV competition will be recognized online.

For more information about the Hawaii LifeSmarts program, please visit www.lifesmartshawaii.com or contact the LifeSmarts State Coordinator, Theresa Kong Kee, at 587-7400 or tkongkee@dcca.hawaii.gov.

The Hawaii LifeSmarts program is locally sponsored by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Office of the Securities Commissioner, in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League, and is run by the National Consumers League. Over 1,300 local students have participated in Hawaii LifeSmarts since 2005.  Local businesses interested in becoming a sponsor of the Hawaii LifeSmarts program are welcome to contact the State Coordinator for more information.

Rear Adm. Fort Becomes Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

With a reading of his orders to a packed “all-hands call” of Sailors, Airmen and DoD civilians, Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort became commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Aug. 9.

Rear Admiral Brian P. Fort, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and commander of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. US Navy Photo

Commander, Navy Region Hawaii has leadership oversight of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oahu and Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific has leadership oversight of the 10 surface ships homeported in Hawaii.

“It is a remarkable privilege to return for duty in Hawaii,” Fort said. “The Region/MIDPAC team has an amazing reputation of integrity, service and commitment, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing team.”

As an operations officer Fort served aboard USS Ingersoll (DD 990) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70), both formerly homeported in Pearl Harbor. He also served as the executive officer aboard Hawaii-based USS Port Royal (CG 73) in the wake of 9/11/2001.

A change of command ceremony with Rear Adm. John Fuller was canceled in June when Fort was notified of an immediate assignment to Yokosuka, Japan to be an investigating officer of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 60) collision. The Navy has not released results of the investigation.

“While I am not able to speak about the details of the investigation,” Fort said, “I would ask you to continue to keep the Fitzgerald Ohana in your thoughts and prayers for the seven shipmates we lost in the early morning hours of June 17th.”

To his new Region/MIDPAC team Fort says, “Together we can do great things. Our mission is a sacred trust: the defense of our nation. Together, we can all be part of something larger than ourselves.”

Hawaii DLNR Holding Public Information Meeting in Hilo About Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will be holding its fourth public information meeting on sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation on Thursday, August 17, 2017. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Aupuni Center Conference Room, located at 101 Pauahi Street in Hilo, Hawai‘i.This meeting is one of a series of public information meetings being held statewide to educate people about the impacts of sea level rise and to gather comments and input about key issues and concerns regarding preparedness and adaptation. The first meeting was held on O‘ahu in June 2016, a second one in January on Kaua‘i, a third one in March on Maui, and fifth one is planned for Kona on August 22, 2017.

Climate change has the potential to profoundly impact our wellbeing and way of life. In particular, rising sea levels will increase the occurrence and severity of coastal erosion and flooding, threatening coastal communities and natural resources concentrated along low-lying shores.

“We are in the process of developing a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (SLR Report) that is to be submitted in anticipation of the 2018 Hawaii State Legislature, and we are interested in soliciting input from our island communities to help us complete the report,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.

“This SLR Report is the first state-wide assessment of the impacts of sea level rise on our coastal areas. Using the best available scientific knowledge and local experience, it will help us prepare for future sea level rise and present recommendations to reduce our exposure to SLR hazards such as erosion and extreme flooding,” said Sam Lemmo, co-chair of the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee.

Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance, is asked to please contact OCCL at least four days prior to the public hearing. For more information contact the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at (808) 587-0377 or visit our website at http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/.

Hawaii Army National Guard Units Set to Deploy in 2018/2019

The Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG) has just been notified by the Department of Defense about upcoming unit deployments to the Central and European Command’s areas of operation starting in the spring of 2018. A total of six units and approximately 1000 soldiers have received a Notification of Sourcing (NOS) which includes two aviation units from the 103rd Troop Command and elements from the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).NOS requirements are generated by a Combatant Commander (CENTCOM, PACOM, EUCOM, etc.) based upon operational needs. For the Army, United States Forces Command (FORSCOM) will delegate the requirement to an Army Component (Army Active Duty, Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserves) to identify a unit to fulfill the requirement. Units are selected based upon readiness levels and timing within a readiness model. This notification formalizes the process by which a unit is resourced (training and funding) to prepare for deployment. It is not guaranteed that every unit named on a NOS list will be alerted to mobilize and then deploy.

The units named in the NOS are:

  1. Company B, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment (CH-47 Chinook helicopter)
  2. All HIARNG detachments of 1st Battalion, 189th General Support Aviation Battalion (HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, Medical Evacuation)
  3. Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 29th IBCT (Brigade Staff)
  4. 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion
  5. 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment
  6. 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery
  • The 1-171st Aviation has deployed to Iraq in 2004, Afghanistan in 2010 and 2013.
  • The 1-189th GSAB is a brand new unit and this will be their first deployment.
  • The 29th IBCT has deployed to Iraq in 2004, Kuwait in 2008, and elements to Afghanistan in 2012.

Currently, the HIARNG’s 297th Fire Fighting Team have deployed in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel to provide first-responder and firefighting support to the U.S. Army on Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base.

Exact dates, locations, numbers or missions have not been finalized. The NOS gives the HIARNG sourcing to plan and coordinate future training necessary for deployment. Soldiers from the affected units have been informing family and their civilian employers about the possibility of an upcoming deployment.

Hawaii Receives Approximately $477,000 in Settlement with Drug Manufacturer

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii joined 29 states and the federal government last week in settling claims against Celgene Corporation (Celgene), a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Celgene had permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its drug Thalamid for skin conditions associated with leprosy and its drug Revlimid for transfusion induced anemia. This settlement resolves allegations that Celgene illegally marketed both drugs for cancer treatments that were unrelated to the skin conditions and anemia. Celgene’s promotions encouraged what the FDA considers “off label” uses without first securing FDA approval.

As a result of the settlement with Celgene, Hawaii will receive approximately $477,000. This money will be split between Hawaii’s MedQuest program and the Hawaii Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Attorney General Chin said of the settlement, “Money from the settlement will help with further investigations and prosecutions of medical fraud in this state.”

Celgene’s alleged illegal marketing included monetary kickbacks to doctors, forged clinical studies and medical literature, and manipulated medical diagnostic codes in order to increase sales of Thalamid and Revlimid.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the settlement negotiations with Celgene on behalf of the states. It included representatives from the offices of the attorneys general for the states of California, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

UPDATED FAQ’s on National Park Specialty License Plates – Available Statewide for Limited Time Only

Updated FAQs: National Park Specialty State License Plates Available at DMV locations throughout Hawai‘i.

License plate frame not included!

Q: Are there any plates left?
A: Yes! There are plenty of plates statewide. (Editors Note – Plate availability is very limited and note that many offices have run out on their first batch received already).

Q: How much do the plates cost?
A: $35.50, and $18 goes to support the corresponding park. There is an annual renewal fee of $25, and $18 is again donated to the corresponding park.

Q: Can I get personalized license plates in the specialty design?
A: The plates are pre-numbered, so customizing isn’t an option.

Q: I have two vehicles. Can I get one of each?
A: Yes! Visit your local DMV, and go to www.hawaiiparkplates.com for the location nearest you.

Q: Can I get the specialty plate for my electric vehicle?
A: You can exchange your EV plates for the specialty plates, however, it does not come with the EV designation so you’d have to forego the benefits of having an EV plate.

Q: Can I get the specialty plate for my motorcycle?
A: There is not a motorcycle option at this time.

Q: Can I get a military/veteran plate transferred to a national park plate?
A: You can exchange your military/veteran plates for the specialty plates, however, you can’t have both.

Q: Are the plates tax deductible?
A: Individuals would have to check with their tax accountants, but specialty plates haven’t been tax deductible in the past.

Q: Can I pay with a credit card?
A: No. The DMV accepts cash or check only (at least that’s the case in Hilo)

We hope to see you on the road and in the park with your gorgeous new license plates soon! Post a photo to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #FindYourVolcano to show your park pride!

Mahalo for supporting your local parks!

National Organization Selects Rep. Beth Fukumoto for Leadership Position

Representative Beth Fukumoto (Mililani Mauka, Mililani) has been selected to serve in a leadership role for the nation’s oldest non-partisan organization addressing the needs of elected women at all levels of government.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto

Fukumoto was appointed to serve as the 2017 Hawaii State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL).

“We need women now more than ever to start stepping into positions of influence in government. I’m proud to be partnering with an organization that has a long history of reinforcing female leaders,” said Fukumoto.

“We are so proud that Representative Fukumoto has accepted a leadership position in our Foundation,” stated Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud, NFWL’s 2017 Chair. “NFWL’s theme for 2017 is leadership and Representative Fukumoto exemplifies this theme. She will play a key role in aiding elected women in Hawaii, as we continue to grow as an organization.”

Photo of Rep. Beth Fukumoto at the Hawaii Women’s March in January, 2017 by Rep. Fukumoto’s office.

Fukumoto begins serving in her new position immediately and will hold this office through the end of 2018.

Elected women from across the country will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota from November 14-18, for NFWL’s 2017 Annual Conference to identify effective solutions to some of the nation’s most timely and pressing issues. Fostering a non-partisan environment that encourages dialogue and the sharing of information and experiences, women leaders are able to build coalitions, share the concerns of their constituents, and identify out-of-the-box solutions to the most pressing issues facing their communities today.

About the National Foundation For Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience. www.womenlegislators.org