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Pahoa Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pahoa will celebrate Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Festival on May 14, with a procession through the village.

Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo

Santacruzan is a religious holiday traditionally celebrated throughout the month of May, honoring the mother of King Constantinople’s mother, Queen Helena, and her role in bringing Christianity to the Philippines.

Since May is also the month that Christians dedicate to honoring the Virgin Mary, this year’s Pahoa event will commemorate Flores de Mayo, or Flowers of Mary.

The procession through the village will take place after a 4:30 p.m. mass at Sacred Heart Church. The 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. procession will start at Sacred Heart Church, then onto Pahoa Village Road, and end on Kauhale Street, at the Pahoa Community Center.

Spectators can expect to see a colorful pageant procession, with women dressed in their finest attire, carrying symbols of the Santacruzan, escorted by men under hand-carried bamboo arches adorned with native flowers.  The women and men will represent various historical-religious figures detailing the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine the Great, and the return of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem to Rome.  An emcee will narrate the procession and the re-enactment of this pilgrimage.

Those involved in the procession were not only selected for their looks, but also their virtues.  The procession will feature statues of the Virgin Mary and Our Lady of Grace and also include ethnic dances of the different cultures in the Hawaiian Islands.

Nine days of prayer, or a novena, in honor of the Holy Cross precedes the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo.  Introduced by Spaniards, the festival has since become part of the Filipino traditions identified with youth, love and romance.  The Sacred Heart Church community hopes to make the Santacruzan and the Flores de Mayo Festival a tradition for Pahoa Village.

For more information, contact the Sacred Heart Church at (808)965-8202 or email shpahoa@hotmail.com.

Paradise Roller Girls Quadruple Header Coming Up

The Civic was aroused Sat., April 30 as the first roller derby home bouts were held between Pacific Roller Derby and Waimea Wranglers Rough Rollers and Hilo’s very own Paradise Roller Girls.

roller derby 5316Waimea came away most successful, holding a 2-0 victory over both Pacific and Paradise.  PRG lost to Waimea for the second time this season but turned out a 182-105 victory over the Hulagans. Pacific lost both games.

If you missed out on the action this time, don’t worry, local roller derby is ramping up with another home bout around the corner.  Saturday, June 4 will be an all day event with four teams scrapping for wins.

“The first game starts at 11 a.m. and the last game probably won’t end until 8:30 p.m..  That’s so much roller derby. I am just thinking of how much I am going to get slammed into on the track,” Hannah “Hawkalolo Hottie” Hawkins, Paradise Roller Girls skater, said.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under the age of 5. Tickets can be bought at Jungle Love, CD Wizzard, Mt. View Video, Kadota Liquor, Lucy’s Taqueria, at the door or from any of the Paradise Roller Girls.

Robert Cazimero Returns to the Kahilu Theatre

Saturday, May 14 at 7:00 PM, Hawai‘i’s most revered and loved kumu and singer, Robert Cazimero, returns to Kahilu Theatre to carry on with an unbroken 31-year-old tradition – celebrating May Day in Waimea.

Robert Cazimero

Robert Cazimero

Robert’s elegant voice is so distinctive that whether he performs on piano or with his brother Roland as the Brothers Cazimero, he is instantly recognized and people are compelled to listen.

Robert has been a part of close to 40 full album projects; many considered classics in the history of Hawaiian music. The popular success of the music he has made and participated in is recognized through dozens of awards, performances on the world’s most prestigious stages and the millions of albums that have been bought by people around the world.

Robert explains; “Whether you’re going to play at the Carnegie Hall or in Sam Kapu’s garage at Kapahulu, it’s the product and talent and the love that you bring that makes that place a Mercedes or Carnegie Hall. It really doesn’t matter about all the damn accoutrements. It’s what you feel and what you bring to that moment.”

Robert has studied the art of hula for decades and has been an essential player in the evolution of modern Hawaiian music. His passion and talent have played a huge role in taking Hawaiian music and dance to diverse stages all over the globe. Robert’s kane of Na Kamalei were overall winners at the 2015 Merrie Monarch Festival.

Kahilu Theatre doors open at 6pm for evening shows, with food and beverages available for sale

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $47 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday-Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

This performance is made possible by sponsorship from Lorraine and Marianne Maynard.

Big Island of Hawaii 10 Days of Free Health Care – Tropic Care 2016

The Big Island of Hawaii will have 10 days of free health care as a result of Tropic Care 2016.

 

The Oahu-based 1984th United States Army Hospital will conduct a two-week Innovative Readiness Training mission providing medical care to under served communities of Hawaii.

Screenings will be held in Pahala, Hawaii Ocean View Estates and Keaau.  See flyer below for times and dates.

tropic care 2016

Working closely with the Department of Health, State of Hawaii, and other private corporations, the 1984th USAH, along with other military units, are proud to serve the people in the community.

Thanks to the support of The US military, Hawaii State and county plus many non-profits and volunteers for making Tropic Care 2016 possible.

Missing Hawaii Island Extended Furlough Inmate Turns Himself In

Missing extended furlough inmate Michael Joyce turned himself in to Hawaii Police last night.  He was returned to the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) at 2:20 a.m.  Joyce failed to report to HCCC for his scheduled check-in on April 6.

Michael Joyce

Michael Joyce

Joyce is serving time for Assault 2. He is classified as community custody which is the lowest custody level.  Escape 2 is expected to be added to his charges. His next parole hearing was scheduled for June 2016.

Inmates in the extended furlough program live and work outside of the facility but must check in at various times throughout the month.

Hawaii Department of Education to Expand Free Meal Program to 30 Schools on Six Islands

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from seven public schools to 30 across the state. 

School Lunches

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are pleased to be able to expand this program to more schools and include nearly every island with free meals,”stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve heard from parents in this year’s pilot project who say the program was a tremendous help for their families.”

The 23 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2016-17 are:

Kauai:

  • Kekaha Elementary

Hawaii Island:

  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary
  • Keaau Elementary
  • Keaau High
  • Keaau Middle
  • Keonepoko Elementary
  • Naalehu Elementary
  • Pahoa Elementary
  • Pahoa High

Maui:

  • Hana High & Elementary

Lanai:

  • Lanai High & Elementary

Oahu:

  • Leihoku Elementary
  • Maili Elementary
  • Makaha Elementary
  • Nanaikapono Elementary
  • Nanakuli Elementary
  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate
  • Olomana School
  • Pope Elementary
  • Waianae Elementary
  • Waianae High
  • Waianae Middle
  • Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate

The seven schools in the pilot program will continue participating next year, including:

  • Kaunakakai Elementary School, Molokai
  • Kilohana Elementary School, Molokai
  • Maunaloa Elementary School, Molokai
  • Molokai Middle School, Molokai
  • Molokai High School, Molokai
  • Mountain View Elementary School, Hawaii Island
  • Linapuni Elementary School, Oahu

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state. 

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.  

“Last year, we were able to launch this pilot project at seven schools to establish its impacts on finances and staffing,”said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson, Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “The response was positive and we are happy that this year we will be able to expand the program to all counties and include several new whole school complexes. This USDA program allows us to feed more students, for free, and do so in a way that does not increase the cost to the state.”

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jyselle Arruda Awarded Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation Scholarship

Jyselle Arruda of Hilo High School has been awarded the 2016 Youth scholarship from the Hilo Bay Rotary Club.

Hilo Bay Rotarians congratulate Jyselle Arruda on her scholarship award. Left to right, Richard Cunningham, Kim Keahiolalo, Arruda and Bettye Williams, RCHB president.

Hilo Bay Rotarians congratulate Jyselle Arruda on her scholarship award. Left to right, Richard Cunningham, Kim Keahiolalo, Arruda and Bettye Williams, RCHB president.

Ms. Arruda will receive a cash award of $5,000 for her planned studies at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. A member of the National Society of High School Scholars and active in community service and school clubs, Ms. Arruda plans to study pre-med at UH-Hilo with a goal to become a pediatrician and set up a children’s health clinic on Hawaii Island. She lives in Honomu with her grandmother, and buses daily to Hilo High.

Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation Scholarships (HRYF) are awarded to senior high school students across the state on a competitive basis of scholarship, campus leadership and service, and promise of future contributions to the community at large.

“Once again, Rotary Club of Hilo Bay had a number of outstanding scholar applicants. Jyselle impressed us not only with her academics, but with her drive to overcome obstacles on her path to meet her goals,” said Kim Keahiolalo, scholarship committee chair.

The Rotary Club of Hilo Bay is a staunch supporter of academic scholarships for future leaders, and is generally the Club with the largest contribution to the HRYF each year. This year alone, Hilo Bay contributed $6,100 to the scholarship fund. Richard Cunningham of Cunningham Galleries, spearheads scholarship donations in East Hawaii.

Dunkin’ Donuts Entering Hawaii Market

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. has signed a multi-unit store development agreement with new franchise group, Aloha Petroleum, Ltd., under which Aloha Petroleum will develop 15 new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (The Big Island) in the state of Hawaii.

dunkin-donuts

The first restaurant is scheduled to open in 2017 and will mark Dunkin’s foray into Hawaii.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to launch the Dunkin’ Donuts brand in Hawaii and look forward to opening our first location early next year,” said Richard Parry, president and chief executive officer of Aloha Petroleum. “This new business venture will complement our existing retail offerings throughout the islands and help us diversify our portfolio.”

The agreement would mark Dunkin’s entry into its 42nd U.S. state.

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

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

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

Brad with Arab

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

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

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

Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management Understaffed and Overworked – Appliances Stack Up

The recent Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island of Hawaii has had everyone on edge the last few months and both State and County officials have had their hands full dealing with this outbreak.  Thousands and thousands of tires have been disposed of since the county started accepting tires at the transfer stations.

Folks have been noticing that the Hilo Transfer station in general has had a lot of e-waste and appliances stacking up.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Appliances at the Hilo Landfill on 4/30/2016.

Recently Doug Arnott, from Arnott’s Lodge in Hilo, asked the following question in the Facebook Group Opala in Paradise to Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, Head of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Environmental Management:

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd can you give us an update on the ever growing pile of refrigerators and stoves at the Hilo Station…it seems that a good economy is causing old units to be dumped faster than they can be removed….or is this related to refrigerant removal or a slowdown in scrap metal buying by China…can we get an update please

Leithead-Todd responded:

We’ve had to pull manpower and equipment away to deal with tires and other dengue related clean ups. Earlier we had it pile up as we had a contract dispute and we could not move them until the contract issue was resolved at the state level. Now we are moving the white goods out but they seem to be coming back in as fast as we dispose of them. We hope to get ahead of it after we stop accepting tires.

USDOE Grants Waiver Extension to Hawaiian Language Test

For the second consecutive year, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) will issue a specialized assessment to Hawaiian immersion students. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) granted HIDOE’s request for an extended waiver that allows Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) students to take a specialized assessment in lieu of the state’s English language arts and math student assessments.

“The continued opportunity for our Hawaiian Immersion students to be tested in their language of instruction has been a highlight for the Department, and we appreciate the USDOE’s recognition of our progress in this initiative,”said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work continues as we are piloting an innovative Hawaiian Language State Assessment in science and look forward to federal approval next year.”

Click to view entire letter

Click to view entire letter

The double testing waiver response by the USDOE advised that HIDOE’s Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Language Immersion) schools lacks the data required for a specialized science assessment to provide student results during this pilot year of testing.

Two years ago, HIDOE, in partnership with the University of Hawaii-Manoa (UHM), developed a field test for HLIP students that measures progress toward mastery of academic standards given in the English language Smarter Balanced Assessments. In Spring 2015, a field test in language arts and math for third and fourth graders enrolled in Ka Papahana Kaiapuni schools was used. This year, the pilot becomes operational and assessment scores will be recorded in the Kaiapuni students’ records.

The field test foregoes the statewide assessment, Smarter Balanced, which is administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11.

Last year, the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) was established under the Office of the Superintendent, a result of a policy audit of Hawaiʻi State Board of Education (BOE) policies 105.7 (2104) and 105.8 (2105) pertaining to Hawaiian Education and Hawaiian Language Immersion programs.

OHE is currently implementing a new policy, known as Nā Hopena Aʻo, which provides for the expansion of Hawaiian education across Hawaiʻi’s K-12 public education system for all students and adults. Together, this work helps HIDOE meet its obligations to both BOE policies and the Hawaiʻi State Constitution (Article X, Section 4 and Article XV, Section 4).

Hawaii Judiciary Celebrates Law Day Across the State

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRST CIRCUIT (Oahu)

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

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

SECOND CIRCUIT (Maui)

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

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

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

THIRD CIRCUIT (Big Island)

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

FIFTH CIRCUIT (Kauai)

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Bills to Address Homelessness, Housing, Health, Good Governance Head for Final Vote

State lawmakers have passed a number of important measures ahead of tonight’s final decking deadline that align with the Senate Majority’s Legislative Priorities outlined at the start of the 2016 Legislative Session.

Capital

Approved by members of the Senate and House conference committees include bills that address housing and homelessness such as SB2561 SD2 HD1 which establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units ready for occupancy between 01/01/17 and 12/31/26 and SB2559 SD1 HD1 which addresses homelessness by making available emergency and transitional shelter space and appropriates general funds to improve homeless shelter space.

Measures addressing health include SB2083 SD1 HD1 which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle in which a minor is present.

Other Legislative priorities in which lawmakers approved bills:

Mālama ‘Ohana (Providing for our Families)

SB2557 SD2 HD1 expands the concussion educational program established under Act 197, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, and incorporates additional concussion protocol program requirements. Appropriates funds to develop and implement the concussion monitoring and education program for school athletics and youth athletic activities, administer concussion testing to high school student athletes, and implement a concussion awareness program for Hawaii public school students aged 11 to 13.

SB2315 SD2 HD2 which exempts from jury duty a woman who is breastfeeding or expressing breast milk for a period of two years from the birth of the child.

SB2476 SD2 HD2 CD1 enhances early intervention language services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Mālama Honua (Nurturing the Earth)

SB2647 SD1 HD2 which prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species.

SB2659 SD2 HD1 establishes an industrial hemp pilot program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research.

Mālama Kaiaulu (Sustaining our Communities)

SB2566 SD1 HD1 CD1 transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund.

SB3077 SD1 HD1 which designates the Office of Planning as the lead state agency for transit-oriented development coordination.

SB3109 SD1 HD1 CD1 supports and appropriates funds for the manufacturing development program with the High Technology Development Corporation.

SB2618 SD1 HD2 requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.

Mālama Aupuni (Good Governance)

SB2954 SD2 HD1 which authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

SB2512 SD1 HD2 increases penalties for animal desertion, except where the animal is released as part of a game management program.

These bills will be forwarded to the full Senate for Final Reading or have passed Final Reading and have been enrolled to the Governor.

A list of all the Senate bills that have passed the Legislature or been decked for Final Reading is on the Hawaii State Legislative website.

The 2016 Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program can be viewed on the Hawai‘i Senate Majority website.

Hawaii Lawmakers Provide $100 Million for Cooling Schools and Energy Efficiency

House and Senate conferees today provided $100 million to the Department of Education to install air conditioning and heat abatement equipment to cool 1,000 public school classrooms throughout the state and to establish a sustainable schools initiative.

Capital

In his State of the State address, Governor David Ige proposed borrowing $100 million from the state’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program to cool 1,000 public school classrooms.  In response, lawmakers drafted House Bill 2569 and Senate Bill 3126, proposing varying methods of funding, but in essence, working toward the same end.  Both bills were sent to conference with unspecified funding for the conferees to decide.

During negotiations, the conferees agreed to $100 million in general funding to immediately begin carrying out the work of installing cooling and energy efficiency upgrades.  The measure now goes to the full House and Senate on Tuesday, May 3, for approval.

“The faster we can reduce our electric costs, the more money we can put back into helping students and teachers.  If the DOE can make progress reducing electric costs even a couple percent per year, that could still save millions over the long term that could be better spent in our classrooms, rather than going to utility bills,” said Rep. Chris Lee, Conference Committee chair, who took the lead for the House on the pair of bills.

Hawaii Commission Seeks Suggestions For Future Open Space Acquisitions

Do you know of a special property in Hawai‘i County that should be permanently preserved? The County of Hawai‘i Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) encourages the public to propose properties that should be purchased.

Click to view entire document

Click to view entire document

Forms to suggest properties can be downloaded from the County of Hawai‘i website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/Browse.aspx?startid=13770&dbid=1 or by obtaining a form at the address below. Suggestion forms are due by June 30, 2016.

Commissioners review the suggestion forms submitted by the public, and consider the significant factors of each property such as historic and culturally important features; opportunities for outdoor recreation and education; public access to beaches or mountains; preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, and natural beauty; protection of natural resources and watershed lands; potential partners for management; and the general benefits to the public. Potential acquisitions are then prioritized and listed in a report that is sent to the Mayor at the end of each year. The Mayor then forwards his recommendations to the Hawai‘i County Council, which adopts resolutions to authorize property purchases. For more information on the process, go to:  http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/WebLink8/DocView.aspx?id=71938&dbid=1

Past open space purchases total 1,287 acres, and include Kāwā oceanfront parcels in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena, Pa‘o‘o and Hāwī Banyan Trees property in North Kohala; Kīpapa Park, White Sands Mauka and ‘O‘oma in North Kona; property near Waipi‘o Lookout in Hāmākua; and the newly acquired Pohoiki Bay parcel in Puna.

PONC funds are derived from 2% of Hawai‘i County’s annual real property tax revenues. The County has also been able to obtain more than $7.5 million in matching funds and donations from other sources to help purchase open space properties. A Maintenance Fund has also been established to provide stewardship assistance to community organizations to maintain properties that are acquired with PONC funds.

The nine PONC commissioners represent each of the nine County Council districts on Hawai‘i Island. The Commission meets every other month at the Hilo County Building or the West Hawai’i Civic Center, and public testimony is welcome.

If you need further information please contact Alexandra Kelepolo of the County of Hawai‘i Property Management Division, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 1101 at (808) 961-8069 or visit the website at: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/browse.aspx?dbid=1&startid=13770.

Statewide Family-Owned Business of the Year Named by the Small Business Administration

Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART.  Photo by Fletch Photography

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART. Photo by Fletch Photography

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations.  Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement.  Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.

“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.

Hawaii Department of Health Announces the Selection of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has selected eight applicants to receive Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai as allowed in Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Medical Marijuana

While the announcement of the selected applicants is being made today, selected applicants are required to pay a licensing fee of $75,000 to the Department of Health within seven days of receiving their written notice of selection to be awarded a dispensary license. If the application fee is not timely paid by close of business on the seventh day, the selected applicant will be disqualified, and the Department shall select the next highest scoring applicant for the county, pursuant to section 329D-4(c) HRS, and section 11-850-21(b), HAR.

The applicants that have been selected for dispensary licenses are:

City and County of Honolulu

  • Aloha Green Holdings Inc.
  • Manoa Botanicals LLC
  • TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu

County of Hawaii

  • Hawaiian Ethos LLC
  • Lau Ola LLC

County of Maui

  • Maui Wellness Group, LLC
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC

County of Kauai

  • Green Aloha, Ltd.

“Upon the completion of the selection process and the awarding of licenses, the Department of Health will begin working with the selected licensees to ensure the safety of their products, and the safety of patients and the public,” said State Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We look forward to improving access to marijuana for registered patients who have medical needs, and increasing educational opportunities for healthcare professionals.”

After receiving more than 60 applications in January, the department conducted a rigorous review and selection process. A four-member selection panel reviewed and scored applications based on thirteen merit criteria, some of which include the ability to operate a business, a plan and timeline for operations, proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements, and capacity to meet patient needs.

A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing marijuana no sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health. Each dispensary licensee may operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations within the county they are licensed to serve. Margaret Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, explained that, “There are many steps the dispensaries will need to take in order to actually start production and dispensing, so we can’t say exactly when the dispensing will begin. But we are excited to start working with the selected licensees on the next steps.”

Pursuant to section 11-850-20, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Department is holding unselected applications in reserve to offer a license to the next highest scoring applicant if the selected applicants fail to timely pay the required licensing fee. When all available licenses have been issued, the unselected applications will be removed from the list of reserved applications and the Department will notify all applicants of their status, at which time they will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The department will post a list of the total scores received by applicants upon completion of the awarding of licenses, which is anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks. The scores will be posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/.

More information about both the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program are located at the website.

Kauai Man Faces Felony Charges in Connection with Pregnant Monk Seal Beating

Arrest Result of Joint Federal, State & County Investigation

19 year old Shylo Akuna of Eleele, Kauai was arrested this afternoon by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) special agents in connection with the beating of a 17-year old pregnant monk seal on April 26, 2016.

Shylo Akuna

Shylo Akuna

A short video clip of the incident was widely posted on social media and was picked up by news organizations around the country. That video, supported by eyewitness accounts led to Akuna’s arrest. He is being held at the Kauai Police Department pending further disposition on suspicion of “taking a monk seal.” This includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or collecting an endangered or threatened aquatic species or terrestrial wildlife. If convicted of this Class C felony, Akuna could face one (1) to five (5) years in prison. Additionally the state environmental court may impose a fine of up to $50,000.

DOCARE Chief Thomas Friel said, “Thanks to the joint efforts of our Kauai branch officers, special agents from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Kauai Police Department, and Hawaii State Sheriffs we were able to investigate this crime, make an arrest, and bring this part of the case to a quick conclusion.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case added, “We’re grateful to the concerned citizens who brought this action to our attention and were willing to step forward with additional information to help law enforcement identify and arrest the suspect. We’re fortunate that the Hawaii State Legislature passed HRS 195D which provides very stiff penalties for these repugnant behaviors.

Ann M. Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office said, “NOAA Fisheries sincerely appreciates the outpouring of community support for RK30, the Hawaiian monk seal involved in this incident. She’s an important and productive member of the seal population. It’s clear from this outpouring that folks care a great deal about monk seals, and don’t want to see them harmed. The quick action by DLNR DOCARE, the Kauai Police Department, and NOAA OLE is very commendable, and likely would not have been as successful without the support of caring community members.”

Anyone who witnesses a monk seal or any other endangered or threatened species being threatened or injured in any manner by a person is urged to immediately call the NOAA Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR.

Hawaii Police Officers of the Month: Daniel Kuwabara and Gregory Horton

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi on Thursday (April 28) recognized Hilo Patrol Officer Daniel Kuwabara as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for March and Puna Patrol Officer Gregory Horton as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.

Officer Kuwabara was honored for his efforts in a sexual assault case, leading to a suspect being taken into custody within an hour.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Daniel Kuwabara.

Last October, an adult female reported she had been sexually assaulted in Hilo. Meanwhile, officers responded to a report of a disorderly man at a nearby location. Officer Kuwabara relayed to the officers arresting the 34-year-old Hilo man for disorderly conduct that the descriptions of the two suspects were similar except for differences in the descriptions of their clothing. Kuwabara met with the sex assault victim and was able to obtain a better description, including that of a tattoo. As a result of that detail, police were able to charge the suspect not only with disorderly conduct but also with kidnapping, burglary and sexual assault.

Officer Horton was honored for providing field training to a police recruit that included drafting a search warrant and recovering evidence that led to felony charges.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an "Officer of the Month" award to Officer Gregory Horton.

Aloha Exchange Club member John Stewart presents an “Officer of the Month” award to Officer Gregory Horton.

On February 8, Horton and his recruit were conducting a roving patrol on Highway 130 near Orchidland when they made a 2 a.m. traffic stop on a sports-utility vehicle traveling slowly without any lights. While making contact with the driver, an assisting officer identified a partially concealed rifle on the passenger side floor mat within arm’s reach of the driver. Recognizing the seriousness of the case, Horton elected to work the case through to its completion with the recruit. Over a two-day period, they drafted and obtained a search warrant, leading to the recovery of a loaded rifle, loose ammunition, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The 20-year-old driver was charged with nine drug and weapons offenses and the officers initiated forfeiture proceedings on his SUV.

As “Officer of the Month,” both Kuwabara and Horton are eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.